Last year on our 5 year anniversary I posted a tribute to Joe and a Behind the Scene's look at us while we are working.  The post made us laugh, a lot, so we decided we would make it tradition to try and post a behind the scenes look every year in January.  Well, it's Feb 3rd, we almost made it!

I'm one of the lucky ones- having a career that I love and someone that I love that I get to do it with!!  Joe is my dedicated second shooter(hands off other photogs who want to borrow him to second shoot with them!)  Joe does not work in the business day to day, but on weddings days he puts on his best (only) wedding outfit and off we go!  We have a blast together!  At this point, we have shot so many weddings together that we sorta have an unspoken language that happens on weddings days.  I know what shots he's getting, he knows what shots I'm getting and we just have this flow that we have settled into.  Sure, each wedding day brings it's own unique set of circumstances, but we have found a model that works for us uniquely.  I think because of this flow, we are able to be relaxed, help our clients to remain calm on what can sometimes be a stressful day, and to help everyone to have fun and keep the focus on what's important!  There's not a wedding day that goes by that we didn't have a blast and make and meet friends along the way!

The days are long, some of them are VERY hot, but we get to spend them with the best clients in the world celebrating their love!!  A little P.S.A:   you are about to view more photos of my backside than you want to see(some right on the heels of having a baby, that's nice.) AND yes, we do mostly wear the same clothes to every wedding:)

One of Joe's favorite things in the world is when the bride is itty bitty.  Melissa is a tiny little thing.  Makes his job easy because it usually means the dress is tiny, too.  Below: Joe was the expert on veil placement:)  He has some really good self esteem to hang with gaggles of women all day and not be worried about being the guy in the room that cares about dress wrinkles and lace.  I love this about him.  He's an Eagle Scout but can fluff crinoline with the best of them!

Joe shooting Fusion of a first look.

"Joe, go stand over there and pretend like you are smoking a cigar".

Shorties on the right, please.

There is something SO wrong about this left image! ha!  On the right, the bride's feet hurt her so bad but we still had a good amount of walking to do.  We decided to switch shoes and let me tell you, those things were a torture trap!  I don't know how she did it for most of the day!

Jazz Hands!!!!

We really thrive in the demonstration arena.

Can't have all the single ladies cutting their feet on glass.  Joe to the rescue!

I would have never gotten the dress there.  Thank goodnessI married this tall drink of water.

Light for the exit, please.

In action.

It aint a party until the groom and Joe break it down.  We also see friends all year long- past bridesmaids/groomsmen/people on our "wedding circuit".  Each wedding is a mini reunion!

Aside from wedding photographers, we would like to add to our resume: People Movers.

Joe! The bride's shoe keeps falling off!

We need Light...We need Shade!

Joe, please stop being so bossy.

I have moms ask me all the time how the dress keeps from getting dirty.  The answer? Joe.

Show the brides what they want to see!

Let's just get up on this rock.

This wedding so beautiful, but oh so hot. And most of the day was in full sun.  Just looking at this photo makes me hot, but gosh, thats such an amazing venue.

It's ok ya'll, we know them.

This photo still makes me laugh so much!

If you have an aversion to people touching you or getting in your face….please don't hire us.  I say that in the most respectful way possible:)  Joe couldn't even help himself at his own sisters wedding!

Various light checks.

For me?!

Hmmmm??? No words:)

A very common phrase in our life: "The boobs look wierd".

Crouching Tiger Hidden Photographer.

Believe it or not by their facial expressions, I am telling them how to make magic…they are just soaking it in:)

Jenn's wedding was super HOT.  If you don't mind, we don't mind…we'll even hold your sweat rag for you.

We can stand by and watch…painfully….or we can just help move things along:)  We're here for you and we know a thing or two about bouts, bowties and cufflinks, too:)

So, I thought the stockings with the pants looked better than it is actually translating here:)  Joe opted for the man scarf.  It was approx 30 degrees outside.  Judge me later.

This isn't the time for a chip break, Joe!

Hydration is key in this job:)

Hope you all enjoyed this behind the scenes look!  The job is super fun, but not always glamourous:)  We look forward to such an amazing year ahead filled with even more fabulous couples!


Oh goodness gracious.  Just like that 2014 came in went!  It would have been nice had I got this post up closer to the new year, but lets  be honest- the pre Christmas crazy kicked my booty so I needed to be home and with my babes and to get out of work mode for a bit.  We had a great holidays with the boys, shot a wedding on Jan 3, then left the next day for DISNEYWORLD! We just got back this past weekend so I am now getting my head around what I need to be doing this winter.  I have so many ideas for this business and where we are going- as well as so many exciting things to share- I decided to break up the Year in Review Posts into 2 posts- Personal and Business.  Here's a little recap into the Hartsell's Year- in mostly iPhone photos and some professional ones, too:)  If you follow me on instagram, some you may have seen, but I tried to find some never before seen images:)

Joe and I started our year celebrating 5 years of marriage, "waiting on baby", and caring for our adorable just turned 2 year old.  Our sweet little Shepherd was born on January 28th weighing in at 9 lbs 3 oz!  Sharpe still seems so smalls when I look back at these photos!  Many people had lots of warnings for us about a few things when it came to having two kids...1- that we would never have a second baby as easy as the first(we got SUPER lucky the first time)…and 2- that having 2 kids was WAY harder than having 1 and a total game changer.  Well, you know, being gigantically pregnant, shooting weddings while being gigantically pregnant, and dreaming of the future of your family with 2 baby boys- both of these nuggets of wisdom were pretty unwelcome!  Well, "the people" were right about 1 of the 2 things: Going from 1 kid to 2 WAS pretty crazy!  However, we were blessed with another great baby with a sweet disposition and easy attitude.  Shepherd did take a little while longer than Sharpe did to figure out the whole sleep thing, but for all other intents and purposes, he has been just the best!!  He was/is way more snuggly than our first guy which pretty much turns everyone who holds/takes care of him into mush.  Now two little boys have our whole family wrapped around their cute little fingers!  Still the only grandchildren(hint hint)- Sharpe and Shepherd have a whole plethora of people loving on them and telling them how special they are!

In the hospital:)  Hmmm, seems like we already took this same baby home once!  They looked so much alike in the newborn phase.  I had so many moments of dejavu those first couple of weeks!  Wearing the same clothes, sleeping in the same crib- it freaked me out more than once!

Shepherd at one month old.   Yup, he was that big at one month....and hasn't stopped since!

I spent the winter on somewhat of a "maternity" break and as spring approached, got back into the swing of working when our wedding season started up again.  Along came the end of Sharpe's school year and on came summer!  After being cooped up inside with a 2 year old and a newborn for the winter, summer was welcomed!

Sharpe on Mothers Day and Shepherd's 6 month portraits.

Sharpe 2.5, Shepherd 6 months.

More of Shepherd's 6 month portraits. 2 teeth!  Poor baby got teeth pretty early, which I think didn't help the sleep thing!

Off to the beach we went- we didn't get to go as much as last year because of our schedule, but we still made a few trips and had fun in the sand.  Sharpe was a perfect age- but babies that can't sit up much on their own or walk, just to be honest, aren't that fun at the beach:)  We had a great time, but boy this summer will be game changer! I can't wait to see them play together!!!!! Get ready for photo overload when that happens!

Made many trips to the lake- being just a short drive away it was a little more manageable with 2 kiddos.  It was easy to tend to the boys here and Sharpe really loved the water this year.

These two don't sleep together(in case you were wondering), but we always put Shepherd in the crib with Sharpe- and while we are at in we throw in Darby, too sometimes:)  Looking at this photo- Sharpe had given up his paci during the day early in the year- but was still using at night and at naps.  This fall he "left it in the mountains" when on a trip with Mimi and Paw Paw.  What a big boy! I was so worried that giving up the paci would RUIN EVERYTHING...but it was all very uneventful. Only one Paci in the house now!

Here came the start of fall! Annual trip to the fair:)  About this same time we started the most crazy wedding run we have had in the history of this business!  I pretty much went into "survival" mode and boy am I am so thankful for all of my helpers! And in business news- also at this same time my office was moved out of the house!  More details on this to come in the business Year in Review:)  We haven't been "hiding" info, there was just simply no time to talk about it, but I really can't wait to share!  Sharpe and Shepherd both went to "school". Sharpe 3 days a week and Shepherd 2 days and thankfully we settled into a routine- which mostly consisted of having all hands on deck so that we could manage our crazy work schedule.  This was a huge learning process- we have been VERY busy before, but not with two kids.  I learned a lot about juggling it all and definitely suffered from a lot of mom guilt, but we made came to the other side of it.  However, what I learned through it all will definitely affect how I operate things moving forward.  Thankfully and LUCKILY I just LOVE what I do, but 2015 will definitely be the year of balance and I am truly excited about that.

Hello Halloween!  This is one of our favorite times of the year.  Joe and I talk and talk and talk and talk and talk……LITERALLY until we are blue in the face about what do for the kids costumes.  Besides Sharpe's one year costume which was a friends that has been worn for 3 little boys first Halloweens- we have a rule that the kids costumes have to be somewhat "homemade" + add to that the rule that Darby has to be involved.  Ya know, just a few of our criteria:) We were pretty excited about this scuba diver idea.  Personally, I don't think it translates in photos quite as well as in person, but it was pretty much the cutest thing ever!  They had these little "air tanks" and Sharpe walked around in his flippers all day!

Early in the fall Shepherd had to get his "helmet" to try and fix a flat spot on the back/side of his head.  I was SO worried this would disrupt things, but little boy never skipped a beat!  Joe's sister got married early in the fall so there was lots of celebration and excitement in the family.  Sharpe was a ring bearer but refused to walk down the isle, so that, yea, was fun.  He loved soaking up all the attention, but delivering a box down the isle-not so much;)

And then it was Christmas!  Just in the nick of time, literally, I wrapped up all Christmas orders, got all weddings out the door and celebrated with the family.  I love the boys in their picture with their Pops.  It's truly a picture of who they are and their personalities.

And just for fun here are some of the Christmas Card outtakes- I shot them on the white background and 'cut' them out of for our card.   The whole thing was very chaotic- I was sweating, Darby was getting poked in the eye, but we managed a few good shots- but it was not without total chaos while it was happening!

I tried to think of solid takeaways that I had from this past year.  There are a few that stand out- and they all have to do with balance. And in the effort of keeping it real and not letting it seem like our life is all beautiful babies and butterflies(although the beautiful baby part is definitely true;)) There were a few hard lessons that I learned this year.  What I learned is that  I am a go getter/ambitious/can't stop/ won't stop until I reach my goal kind of gal.  I've been that way my whole life.  I like to be earning/achieving/doing/accomplishing/dreaming/implementing/accelerating.  That drive is in my innate makeup- nobody has to push me.  It's self inflicted.  Because of this I can get over committed, work too much, not say no enough, or try to fit too many things into my day.  In 2015 I plan to be more available.  Jut available.  Not be overcommitted, take on what I know I can do WELL without being a crazy person.  I am so thankful I love what I do and LOVE the clients I get to do it with- but I do have two sweet little babes at home.  And they need me.  Lots of me.  Some changes are coming down the pipe- none that have to do with quitting or really even doing "less"- but more having to do with "This is the time I have to do work stuff" and "This is the time I have to do home stuff".  Deliberate boundaries- which will benefit my family as well as my clients.  The person deep inside of me that wants to excel/achieve/design/do/grow/build/dream will know when the time for that will be, and the person inside of me that wants to do nothing, go on walk with the kids, have a play date, go on a real date, workout, read, pray, take a drive somewhere fun- knows when that will be- and there will be TIME for it to even happen.  Every day will not be jammed packed.  Some days will be work days and some days will be home days- and the home days can't/won't turn into work days.  They can't.  and not because I want to be part time or not service my clients, but I can do client things on client days and family things on all the other days. And when the client days are full, thats all the client days that were to be had and from there on the answer has to be "the schedule is full" not, "well monday I was supposed to stay home because we shot an out of town wedding this past weekend and got back late Sunday night, but sure I a can do it".  My takeaway for the year (most specifically the fall) was that I am no good to anyone when I am doing more than I can handle while staying sane.  And when I am missing my kids/hubby/homelife it affects my attitude and disposition to everyone- even when I AM home.  Yes, it may be in my "capacity" to do(as in it did all get done), but thats not the life I want our family to have.  I am braindead when I get home, don't feel like engaging, and in general a pain to be around(ask Joe, the obvious saint in this house!) when I am that tired and giving my best energy away outside our house.  Balance is needed in 2015.  It will be my goal and mantra for the year.  I need time and space to love on my family and love on my friends and love on people I don't even know yet.  Oh yea, and love on my clients more too(obviously!).  I am convinced I will do that when there is time and space to spend time with my family and then have scheduled time for work.  This part may have sounded like a business side of our recap, but it really isn't.  It's very personal in that my heart cries out to be with my little people more.  And, that I am really not keeping it all together perfectly as a wife, mom, friend, and business owner as this new fangled internet makes it seem.  This life is full of different seasons, and this past season was a rough one in the area of family time.  It was full of "success" in many areas, but what felt like me as failures in areas that I thought would be easier in making it all happen and being there for my littles.  We lived and learned, but the lessons will stick with me and changes have to be made because of them.  Be sure to ask me hows its going in a few weeks/months.  This is important to me.  I want some accountability!  The crazy achiever could rear its ugly head and I end back up in this same boat- so please ask!

Thanks for reading this worlds longest post about our year and for checking in on us.  Please stay tuned for the Biz recap next week! I have SO many FUN and FUNNY things to share!  Really, get excited!

November 10, 2014

Shepherd is 9 months!


I make these little "deals" with myself to get my work done.  Like-if I get this print order in or this wedding culled, then I get to edit the pictures of the kids:)  It helps to me stay motivated during long hours behind the computer screen.  As it turns out, I made such deal with myself this morning so I got to look through and edit really quick these pictures we took of Shepherd for his 9 months!  We took a few of Sharpe, too:) Had to! Couldn't forget my first born:)

Shepherd is SUCH a sweet and gentle "little" baby.  I say little very loosely because he is GIGANTIC and off the charts in height, weight and head.  Everyone said our second baby would be terrible because Sharpe was such a good little guy....but Shepherd is proving them all quite wrong.  He is always happy, smiling, and easily entertains himself.  The one thing that makes me sad about his wearing a helmet (we are about half way in!) is that it comes down to his eyebrows and in front of both ears and just makes it hard to see his face- he has the sweetest little face!!! Here are some of my favorites from the torturous time we had when we take our own kids photos:)  Good thing the final product is cute! Makes it all worth it:)

October 28, 2014

Pumpkin Patch 2014


We did our annual trip to the pumpkin patch a few weekends ago.  The boys love going to Riverbend Farm in Midland, NC.  It is such a cute and fun place for families!  Pinking pumpkins can get a little tricky when you want to get big pumpkins, but must carry them, a gigantic 9 month old, diaper bag, etc....but we managed:)  We do Sharpe's photos every year in the patch, so I was excited for Shepherd to get his taken, too.  Here are a few snippets- them together and us as a family was nearly impossible, but they are still cute.  Happy Tuesday!

 Are 9 month old babies supposed to be so HUGE?! Sharpe almost 3:)  True story- I really wanted Sharpe to wear this outfit that he had from last year...but it was too short- but there was plenty of room to move the buttons down(3 inches +).  We threw him in the car to go to the pumpkin patch and I moved the buttons down on the way to the very bottom.  Got there, put on was still WAY too short.  Didn't bring anything else.  Hence these highwater photos.  I have a feeling this is going to be the story of his life, guess he should start getting used to it:)

 See Sharpe year one pumpkin patch photos here.

  1. Owen Davis:

    OMGGGG I dieeee! LOVE them!


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