Hopefully you caught the Personal side of our year end review that I made last week- in a nutshell: lots of pics of our babes and how much they've grown!  Time now for the more "business" side of things!

Where to start!  Well…I think I am actually going to start at the end by just saying Whew! What a year!  I look back on our body of work and I am super proud, amazed, humbled…the list goes on...by our amazing clients that trust us, bring us into their families and lives and moments and allow us to be there.  To be their eyes, to be the deliverer of the memories, to be the keepers of their pasts and to create and capture moments that live on in their families and futures.  It's not a job I take lightly.  It's fun, but it's also serious business!  We keep the memories!  I am so grateful for each and every person we had the opportunity to work with this year.  In fact, my clients become our friends, some of my favorite people in the world- people Joe and I long to get to see more of and people we want to be more like.  YOU are a solid bunch.  So solid!  Thank you for trusting us this year!!!

Let's recap! Our year started off "slowly" as we had a newborn at home and lighter first quarter of the year.  There was somewhat of a "maternity" leave in there(if thats possible while also having a 2 year old)- especially since I had to recover from a c-section.  But- just 8 weeks later we were back to work and shooting our first wedding!  By the end of June, we shot 10 weddings.  This was a pretty great pace for us in the beginning, while Joe was still teaching and I was figuring out working with two littles.  It was a pretty great work pace when we decided to...do something a little crazy….like get a new studio…one that needed a complete remodel!

Now it may seem like we've been keeping it a secret, but the truth of the matter was that life was very crazy, I was working tons and now have 2 kids.  There just has been little time to talk about it with the timing of our fall crazy, but introducing to you our new studio: The Cottage!  I guess it was in early spring that the opportunity to have a new studio first developed.  Yes, it was something we had talked about before, but with our awesome home studio space, it was not a high priority.  That was, until we had a toddler AND a home studio.  Life with a toddler became very different than life with a quiet, sleeping baby- which was our previous experience.  Meetings started conflicting with loud dinner times and play times, so we were more open to the idea of moving work out of the house...right when the perfect location came out of nowhere!  We acquired our new studio mid spring, but multiple months of zoning meetings and an almost total remodel kept us from "moving in" until the end of August- which was when we started the craziest wedding run in our businesses history.  What started off as an "easy" start to our year suddenly turned into spending every spare moment working on our new location and trying to make more hours than there were in the day appear.  We outsourced some of the initial work- but much was done by Joe(thankfully the worlds most handy husband), yours truly(really I'm better at giving directions;)) and both of our parents.  We made too many trips to Lowe's with infant Shepherd asleep in the carrier and Sharpe helping us grab the latest items for the remodel- working late in a dark house because we had to do the electrical with the lights off, and bribing Sharpe with cartoons on the iPad while we finished up this or that at the property.  Here are some before pics!  Sorry they are only iPhone, but between the new baby, the manual labor and my real work, there wasn't an opportunity to take pro before shots of the very crusty inside!  I knew the bones were good as soon as I first stepped foot in the space, but there was A.Lot.To.Do.  The home had been sitting empty for 6 years.

All this to say, we finally got the work done( I can still see all the stuff I still want to do) and I got my home office completely moved in and started "going" to work- this was right when the boys started school and we worked out a schedule for our sitters.  Another big thing that happened in this time was that when Joe finished up his school year, he moved full time to real estate.  That seems like forever ago at this point, but I am so proud of him and this move as well!  Shameless plug- if you are looking for someone awesome to help you with your real estate needs- please give him a call!  I do this photography thing full time, but he is "wedding day only" and full time in real estate.  He would love the opportunity to meet and work with you!

So, back to regularly scheduled programming... After a crazy summer of remodeling, sweating, designing and cleaning we officially opened The Cottage!!  We are so proud of it! Joe worked so hard to do much of what you see here!  I can't wait to see how this space morphs and develops as we grow and move forward in this business.  The Cottage is also accompanied by 3 acres, so it is perfect for shooting and it has already gotten so much use!  At first, and a little even still, I was very overwhelmed by the property itself and how much there is to do- so the inside of the property was priority #1 followed by the outside, which has come VERY far, but still has a ways to go with what I "dream" for it!  Updates to that coming along the way.  Enjoy a little Cottage Tour!

Our Consultation and Viewing Room!  Most of this stuff was in our home studio, but all this new wall space was much needed!  Love showing off our Organic Bloom frames and Custom Frame line!

The "living room" looks into my office.  This place is my dream.  Bright and Airy (this room was the solid pine room in the before photos)- coming to work here makes me happy AND productive with no distractions! (no laundry or dishes calling my name in the other room!)

Our two shooting areas- one room for studio newborn work and one space for Boudoir (more about this to come as well!)  One of my favorite things about The Cottage is that there is storage EVERYWHERE.  Plenty of space for all of my props, backdrops, blankets, you name it!  Cabinets at every turn.

I know it's sorta off to show a photo of a bathroom, but this area had THE BIGGEST transformation.  Goodbye blue press on tile!  Love this space!  Perfect natural light for doing hair and makeup!

Now onto my MOST FAVORITE space in The Cottage (as far as non work space goes):  This adorable kitchen.  Yes, I know we don't live here, but I do make my microwaveable meals here:)  Love the banquet bench seats that Joe made.  When I first saw this little nook, I knew it was begging for window seats!  Thanks hubs for the great handiwork!  These little signs above came out of my Great Grandmothers house- and I love looking at them here.  She always had such a funny sense of humor(even at 90) that bordered on the inappropriate, and every time I walk by these signs I am reminded of the legacy ALL of the women in my life left before me.  They were strong, stubborn, determined, kind, loved, devoted, giving…I never want to forget them.

Yes, the previous counters were RED and the floor most likely asbestos, but what did remain was this original Farm Sink.  We re-designed everything around this beauty!  A good cleaning and it really looks like new!  We just painted the original cabinets and cleaned the original hardware (also looked like new under lots of coats of previous paint) and added the subway tile backsplash along with new countertops (which are "marble" laminate!).  Love my area for packing products and working on shipments (and look at ALLLL that cabinet space to hold all of my packing supplies!)

So, that was some pretty huge news and growth for our business this year!  It was unexpected in its timing, but just what we needed in this season.  My kids have stability and full run of our house and I have a place to meet clients, do work, shoot babies and boudoir and get major work done without distractions.

August came, and so did the place in time known as "Lindsey nearly lost her mind".  Love my work, but I think I was definitely a bit delusional to think I could handle the schedule I had planned for myself and still remain a sane person.  Granted, a lot of the over scheduling did happen mostly by "mistake" (aka, Yes, I have that day "open", but I really need to be editing the three weddings I have in right now and making 4 albums) and "time sucks" happen, too: things take longer than you expect, the kids got pink eye and the stomach bug, putting me two weeks behind because they couldn't go to school, weddings are out of town eating away work days with travel, it rains, we reschedule, babies come late, babies come early...so it was beyond crazy.  We did make it, but my clients definitely got my best while my family got cranky, overtired Lindsey.  Learning experiences were had all around, but shooting 16 weddings in 15 weeks was not my brightest decision making moment.  The weddings alone didn't make me crazy, it was all the other work I took on at the same time as well.  This is where I talked in my personal post that just because it is in my "capacity" (I like to think I am a pretty high functioning individual that DOES THRIVE on getting LOTS of things done) doesn't mean I am "available" to do so.  I hate to even say my work made me crazy, because when I am "working", I am totally IN IT.  I'm there mentally, doing my best, creating awesome memories, loving people I am with- it's when I get home late/miss the kids/miss family events/don't see Joe all day-for days/miss the kids school activities/sit for hours behind the computer/am away from home for 15 hours at a time/see my to do list never going down/get behind on house work/knowing I don't have a break for 3 months that I lose it- not when I am actually "working".  Thankfully there is so much grace in my life.  God is still teaching me and growing me, as a person, a mom, as a friend, and still as a business owner.  All of our weddings were beautiful and portrait and senior clients were amazing and I wouldn't trade a single one of them!  I can't imagine NOT being there for even ONE of the moments we witnessed this fall.  I just learned SO MUCH about scheduling for next year!  I'll be outlining that in the take aways:)

These weddings:)  This year we shot 27 weddings.  A little overly ambitious in hindsight in the same year we had a new baby, but we did it:)  Love all of these people. So much.  I love their stories, I love the way they love each other, I love the way they joined their lives in such personal ways.  So thankful they chose us capture the photos that they will celebrate their day by for the rest of their lives!  (many of these still to hit the blog- get excited:))

So, the takeaways from this year.

In a word: SCHEDULING.  I literally "FELL" into Christmas.  As in, I crossed the race finish line but fell down and crashed as soon as I touched the tape.  Legs wouldn't move, crying, sweating, in pain, regretting the race, thankful the race is over, never wanting to race again, why did I try to race to begin with.  How does this translate into something that I can fix and change moving forward?  Earlier Christmas deadlines.  I know it's January and it now seems so far away, but Christmas deadlines will be much earlier….and why that matters greatly is that it means EVERY THING ELSE in the business has to happen earlier, too.  Fall family sessions have to happen weeks earlier in the year, seniors have to be wrapped up before that, album orders must be submitted while there are still leaves on the trees and print orders can't be made last minute.  It's going to take discipline on everyones part to have this forward thinking, but I will be sane, and that will be something that benefits everyone!  Subscribing to my newsletter will be an important step for all of my portrait clients to learn about the cutoffs and deadlines that will 100% be set in stone.  Please don't miss important updates that will go out in these newsletters periodically throughout the year.  We don't spam, we give relevant info and some fun stuff, too!  Along with scheduling, there will be specific work days and specific ordering days and there are days that are for family.  Stops by The Cottage are by appointment only, but I am keeping strict office hours Tues/Wed/Thurs.  You can count on reaching me these days and this is when all portrait work(non-wedding) work will be scheduled.  I am very excited to create a schedule that keeps me rejuvenated and ready/excited for work.  I know in my schedule when I am home, and I know which days I am devoted to work all day and things will be scheduled accordingly.

Growing and sustaining are always at the top of every business owners mind.  Here are some things I want to work on/grow in 2015"

-Staying "on top" of things.  Hi, that's vague, but I want to not let myself get behind and am writing it down so I have to do it.  I have a very quick wedding turnaround, nearly half of that which is considered "industry standard", but I still push my deadlines to the limit.  This causes me dread.  I don't want to dread something I love so much!  Staying on top of my work leads me to a happy place:)

-Putting together a wedding guide to go out to my weddings clients.  I have already started working on a comprehensive guide for my brides and I can't wait to finish it and get it out there!

-Building my boudoir business.  This has been a part of my business for a while, yet I have never really talked about it.  I plan to roll out more of my boudoir work and hopefully build more of that side of my business.  I LOVE shooting these sessions and really want to do more of them at The Cottage.  Helping women to see the beauty in themselves makes my heart dance- and I need more of that!  In the meantime, please shoot me an email and ask for more info if this interests you.  My boudoir clients are real people, not models, and it makes having lots of work to show somewhat difficult in that privacy/anonymity is a top priority.  I respect that to the fullest.  Just know that I shoot these sessions, and if you want one, I can get you all the images/info you need to make that decision in private.

-Helping out my fellow weddings vendors.  I always try and give images when I can/remember the other wedding vendors- but shooting so many weddings I do lose track of who did what/where/when.  I want to stay more on top of this and be able to share images with other wedding vendors in a timely and fair manner.  I want the work I am alble to create with their help to be something that benefits their business as well.  I plan to set up systems to help me to do this without having to "Search" after each wedding.

- Revamping my Senior business!  In my new schedule there will be a cap on the number of seniors that I can take on because there are a limited number of work days in my life.  BUT, this means that each senior I shoot in 2015 is going to be amazing/out of the park/hair and makeup/styled to the max sessions!  Please get on the schedule early!!!  We have some super fun partnerships EXCLUSIVELY for my seniors- I can't wait to share more about this in the coming weeks!  A complete senior guide is already in the works, too!

-Newborns: I will also be capping the number of newborn sessions we take per month.  These sessions are the most time consuming(and understandably so!) of all the sessions I do.  Babies dance to the beat of their own drum, I am just there to work with that little one and create beautiful memories with what I am given.  Because of the unpredictability of babies moods and particular "due dates" (aka, no baby listens to their due date) I will only be able to take a limited number of newborns per month.  Please get in touch with me asap with your due date to see if your month still has availability.  Implementing our Baby's First Year Sessions was one of my highlights from 2014.  Getting to see my newborn clients through the rest of the Baby's First Year and creating products throughout and at the end of that year that document in such a tangible way how much Baby has grown and learned brings my heart so much JOY...and I know together we created something the parents could not do on their own.  It takes a lot of work and commitment to bring your baby and family in more than once per year for professional photos, but it is not a decision anyone regrets when they can look back on that year and see beautiful products of a time when life was "hard" but certainly beautiful and unforgettable.

- Getting back to sharing.  I truly enjoy helping others learn about photography.  With more availability in my schedule, I hope to 1- hold another beginner camera workshops and 2- have time to mentor new and upcoming professionals.

Things that are GONE in 2015:

- No more commercial work.  This has always been a "calendar filler" for me, but in 2015 there will be no more commercial work available.  No headshots, no shooting corporate of private "events", etc.  These things take away time from getting the work that makes my heart happy done.

- Being available 24/7 for emails, calls and texts.  I own a business...and the solid majority of that work will get done within business hours.  I am thankful to be so close with my clients that they feel comfortable reaching out to me at all different times, and I REALLY don't want that to stop, but I am not a slave to my phone or to my email.  Please expect the majority of phone calls emails and messages to be returned within business hours.  (This does not mean I am completely unavailable, it just means that rarely is there a "photo emergency".  If it CAN wait until my next work day, then it will.)

- Thinking I can do it ALL and fit it ALL in.  Ya'll.  I can't.  Let's clear the air about that right now.  I don't even want to try.  I need Jesus and Grace more than I need accolades and a busy schedule.

Ok, that was a lot.  THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU  #1 for reading this ridiculously long post and #2 for supporting me so well in 2014.  My business continues to be 90% word of mouth, so I couldn't do this without YOU.  So many of you love me and my family so well.  It may have been years since we have worked together, or we may even never have, but I know my community of "believers" are out there and telling their friends newly engaged daughter about me, their coworker who just found out they are pregnant about me, their babysitter about my senior work...I don't do this alone and I don't think I do even for a second.  And to our family, who take my kids for over half the Saturdays of the year(granted they are really cute) so that we can travel the US and beyond doing something we love, YOU ARE THE BEST! I am one ridiculously blessed lady.

  1. blar:

    so proud of all you accomplished this year!
    so proud of your structure for 2015!

  2. Niyati:

    Love the new office space – hopefully, I can visit someday. And congratulations on a busy yet successful year! I think Joe will agree with me when I say 27 is a great number :)

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!


Time to share a work project I had been working on last year! I had been talking with the owner of Boxwood Lodge about doing some sort of shoot out there ever since my sister used the venue for her wedding back in 2011.  Everything about the property is dying to be photographed!!  Well, it was only a few years in the making, but it was on my "must complete" list for 2014.  I have been a part of styled shoots before- where I simply show up and shoot, but I have never tried to plan one of these shoots…thats a whole different ballgame!  We shot this styled shoot in April of 2014, but as it turns out, the shoot was picked up for a featured spread in Carolina Bride this current issue, so we waited for the issue to be released to finally share the photos!  You can see it in print now in the Jan-March issue:) oh, and check out our cover image, too;)

When I had the idea for the shoot, I knew what I wanted to do/accomplish, but I #1 just had a baby and #2 was drowning in the work I was still trying to do while just having said baby(oh yea, and a toddler)  I had already lined up some of the vendors before Shepherd was born(really only the dress shop and venue), but there was still so much to do and plan for our shoot.  Monica, owner of Bellisima in downtown Salisbury was with me on the ground level of planning the shoot and helped to connect some of other potential vendors, but I knew at that point we had to bring on a planner.  Ashley was a 2013 bride of mine and is a planner extraordinaire- and also had bought her own wedding gown at Belissima, so it all seemed very kismet to ask her if she wanted to be a part of what we were doing!  I knew her "get it done" attitude was exactly what we needed.  As it turned out, she  had just left her venue planning job to do full service wedding planning on her own with a new company, Kerri Leigh Weddings and Events.  She totally ran with our very broad concept and made the WHOLE ENTIRE SHOOT AMAZING.  Inspired by magnolia's, she made this southern wedding come to life.  I can take credit for nothing you see here, it was all Ashley- her amazing vision, complete attention to detail, working with each vendor, finding vendors I didn't even know we needed- and working her little booty off setting up our whole day and making it look like a real live wedding(minus 100 of your closest friends and family).

We really wanted to showcase each of our amazing vendors- who are some of THE ABSOLUTE BEST in all of the wedding industry.  I do not say that lightly.  Every. single. one. gets my stamp of approval.  If you have not hired them for your wedding and you are still planning, literally RUN to hire them.  You will not regret it! All that to say, Ashley worked with each of them to make everything seamlessly tie together.  Quite honestly, even being in this business myself, I could not have made a vision come together like she did.  I cannot recommend her enough!  Boxwood itself was the main inspiration for us and adding that touch of southern charm made for the exact type of classy, timeless wedding we were all going for.

I knew Danielle and Drew were perfect for being our "wedding couple".  Thankfully they agreed (props to Drew for participating in essentially playing dress-up)!  Lindsey made Danielle look picture perfect and  Monica had an amazing concept of "One Dress, Three Ways".  There are really only two dresses in this shoot, but yet 4 looks!  One dress alone can be worn 3 different ways!  Perfect for the girls who are wanting to mix up their look throughout the day- genius!  Chelish Moore created the most beautiful, southern florals- I have a feeling many of my 2015 brides will use as inspiration.  I love white flowers, but really think they need "something else" to make them pop- and this bouquet is THE PERFECT example of that.

I am really proud of everyones hard work and dedication to make our shoot a success!  Please check out each of the vendors below- everything you see was begged/borrowed/renter/created for our shoot and available for your event as well!

planning + design: kerri leigh weddings and events | venue: boxwood estate | bridal gowns + accessories: bellissima of salisbury | florist: chelish moore flowers | invitations + paper goods: the lettered lily | hair + makeup: be pretty | harpist: harps n things | transportation: hotrod getaways | linens + tabletop rentals: party reflections | menswear: bruce's tuxedo | cake + macaroons: tart sweets | monogrammed bouquet ribbon: oatmeal lace


  1. HotRod GetAway:

    Thank you, Lindsey, for the amazing photos and the opportunity to participate in such an elegant style shoot! It was such a beautiful venue to visit and your couple, a joy! ~Cyndi @ HotRod GetAway

I can't believe it has been so long since a Sharpe update!  Unacceptable!  I've shared lots of photos of him on our instagram, but not a real blog post in a while.  We took some time off this summer to spend time as a family, especially since we have the busiest fall we've ever booked since being in business.  We spent most of our down time on Oak Island, just playing in the sand and not doing much of anything photography related.  Middle of August we hit the ground running again and now here we are at the end of September!  Unbelievable!  Here is a much needed update on "us"!

Our little man is growing like a weed- still taller than most little boys his age, he has really thinned out and continues to shoot up!  Our "quiet" boy (not really one to make much of a racket, babble, or be too noisy) is all of the sudden a total chatterbox!  Repeating everything we say, he is just the cutest!  Big accomplishments are counting to ten and learning new words every single day.  His favorite things to talk about are, of course, Darby, firetrucks, and ambulances.  He is back in school(mothers morning out 2 times a week- it's big stuff), where this year we do a car line as opposed to last year when I had to walk him in.  This has been a pretty big adjustment.  He will spend all morning saying "school" and his friends names only to pitch a Total fit, yup with a capital T, when the teachers try and get him out of the car.  They promise me he is fine as soon as they get him in, but this mama can't help but be a little embarrassed!

At the beach this summer with Darby.  Still looking like our bald little guy.  Darby, well just being Darby.

Sharpe still loves playing with all of his grandparents, who pretty much have him being the world's most spoiled and loved on child.  We are so thankful for all the help we have while shooting weddings.  We do, however, usually need a good detox when mom and dad get home to remind him that he is in fact not the center of the universe;)  He is so incredibly good natured (sleeping and eating for anyone and a happy disposition) that it is understandable how he is smothered in so much love!

More beach fun!  Summer 2013.  Still with the little tufts of hair mostly in the back.

Settling back into our new fall schedule, he FINALLY(not that I was complaining) dropped his first nap so we are learning what our new days look like- playing in the mornings and him napping in the afternoons.  When things get too crazy with work, I have many Sharpe wranglers that help me with him so I can crank out work.  I'm the never home stay at home mom running a full time business.  It can be stressful at times, but thankful I get to see him so much.  Weekends away shooting weddings are enough!

 First day of school this fall.  More hair!  He really wanted to wear his bookbag- I really wanted him to hold it up and show it had his name on it.  He won because this was the holding it up face.

 I'm sorry, but how stinkin' cute is this little boy! And yes, he has perma-skinned knees!

 Life is busy, but we are so thankful.  We have the best family in the world and the best clients that treat us like family.  Although it is crazy around here, we can't wait for it to get even crazier when we have our second little Hartsell BOY around February.  Yup, in case you missed that, we are pregnant!  I kept thinking I would do something cute and take a picture, but so it goes!  You know, I had these grand ideas of Sharpe and Darby and a sonogram pictures, or some crazy pinterest idea like that, but that's just not our life right now.  What I'm learning is it is just OK!  We are so excited to keep growing our family!  Joe is the best dad and I can't wait to have more babies with him!!!  We will celebrate 5 years of marriage this winter and it's been the best 5 years of my life.  How do I get so lucky to have such an amazing husband, dad and leader for our family.  I know I am mostly the "face" of this operation, but trust me he is the backbone.  If you out there in internet land knew exactly how high maintenance my overall personality is;) (+ add pregnant) you would know this man deserves a medal.  I can't wait to see him with our 2!!!!! boys!  And Sharpe, I know he will be the best big brother:)  We keep telling him about it, not sure how much it is actually registering, but he will point to my belly and say "baby".  Our families can't wait, although all worry how we will keep this routine.  I worry, too, but trust my life and business are in the Father's hands and He will help us to make it work.  Can you believe it?! Another Hartsell baby!

Sharpe at the fair this year.  He gets so serious when he is riding the rides!  Couldn't get him to smile although as soon as he got off he wanted to ride again.

If you took the time to hang in there and read this whole post, thanks so much!  And for all of those who already knew about our big news(because there isn't much hiding it these days), thanks for all of the excitement and well wishes.  We are so pumped to keep growing and sharing with you!

  1. Leslie Mcclellan Cook:

    Just wanted to say how precious Sharpe is and I know how much Scott and Robin love him. So sorry about your grandmother- she was such a kind, loving, and giving person. She will definitely be missed! Thoughts and prayers for your family during this sad and joyous time.

  2. Owen Ross:

    SO HAPPY for you!!!! Don’t have that baby on December 28 ;) xoxo

I have been meaning to get some shots of the Carolina Bride cover we shot up on the blog for close to a month now!  We were so excited to shoot this amazing feature with one of LLP's very own brides as the model- and to be chosen as the cover image!!  Sweet Ashley was the perfect model for our BHDLN gowns.  Yup, that's right, this is the the gown line from Anthropologie.  The dresses literally fit her like a dream, zipped right on up directly off the hanger.   Joe and I had such an amazing time shoot this feature and LOVED the team of wedding professionals that made it all happen! Be sure to look them up! All fabulous vendors to work with.  Here are some shots of the feature as well as some more of the photo goodness we captured at our shoot.  If you want to see it in person be sure to pick up a copy at most local bookstores and Belk's and wedding vendors region wide!  Happy Monday!

Venue: The Ivy Place

Gowns: BHDLN

Accesories: J Majors

Flowers: Flowers by Lingky

Hair and Makeup: Lindsey Regan Thorne- Be Pretty

  1. chelsea cote:

    shut. up. how did i not know about this? these are gorgeous, but it’s hard to lose with bhldn gowns. congratulations – so proud of you and joe!


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