Best of 2017

Anyone else completely like me this year? I got so swept up in the holiday season I still feel my head spinning. For me, November and December are two of my busiest months of the year. Weddings, sessions, family get togethers, my day job...it all added up in the best and most hectic way. This past week I've been reflecting on my year, planning for 2018, growing exciting about the direction my business is headed, and basically just trying to practice gratitude each day.

Below I've dropped a few of my personal favorite images from 2017. Whether its the image itself, the moments they capture,or the memories they document, these are the shots that made my heart flutter and fed my passion.

Boudoir has been the biggest change in my life this year. I began shooting in February and since then have been able to photograph over 20 ladies as they learn to love themselves better. Its been the most challenge genre that I've worked with, more for the misconception boudoir may bring than for any other reason. But man, I have completely fallen for this form of art, the personal changes it motivates in clients lives, and the healing that I've seen first hand. Wanna know more about why I personally believe everyone should experience this for themselves? I would love to talk more with you.

Photographing Wilder and his family was such a special time for me. Knowing Cassie and Jason personally and hearing their story lead to my heart bursting with joy when they welcomed Wilder into they hearts and family. Adoption, foster care, and forever families are things I'm so encouraged by and long for one day. Seeing Wilder's parents fall completely in love with him was one of my favorite times of 2017. Also, this was Wilder at one week. Last week I sat in Christmas Eve service with him on my lap and let me tell you what, he is not a small bundled babe anymore. He has grown SO much, but trust me, he is still just as precious!

Madeline and Jay. Jay and Madeline. It's like peanut butter and jelly, it just was meant to be. Y'all they have pictures together WHEN THEY WERE TODDLERS. As Madeline said when they got engaged "I've never known life without him, and now I never have to". This session was during their second year of marriage and was given by Madeline as a gift to Jay. Their love is special and sweet and consistent, and that will keep me passionate about this any day of the week.

Anne and Jacobs engagement session took place at City Roots. A local sustainable farm in Columbia, SC where Jacob works. It was overcast and a bit rainy and Anne and Jacob for down for anything. This session was one of those sessions that fundamentally changed me as an artist, completely unknown to me at the time. This was the session when I learned to trust my gut even when my head was telling me something was technically not correct. This session drove me to create, not hesitate and to build off of the trust my clients gave to me. Also, holy moly, their connection is so unique and pure.

Wanna know what excites me? When a client has a vision for the session that is absolute perfection, and then trusts me enough to bring it to reality. Also, any client that tells me they want to get into the water is automatically getting all the heart eye emojis from me. Raena and Blake welcomed baby Holland into they family this fall, and man oh man, she is so precious.

This photo was literally the last image taken during Mary Ellen and Scotty's engagement session, and it wasn't even supposed to happen. We left the park we had been shooting at- it had been pouring rain and we just went with it. I was driving a bit behind them and saw this on the side of the road, I knew we needed to stop. I called ahead to Mary and asked her to turn around. Wet hair, soaking clothes, all the intimacy, and this was one of my favorite shots of the session. This photo is a reminder to me to be flexible, go with the flow, and that a little rain never hurt a soul.

So getting ready shots are some of my person favorites to capture during a wedding. Because as much as a couple has dreaming about becoming one, a mother has dreamed of seeing her daughter take this step. Getting ready in Mary's room, just her mother, soaking up these last few moments. Excited, but knowing everything will soon be different. These are special moments, moments that need to be remembered.

Alicia and her father, just moments into their father daughter dance. They both had tears silently streaming down their faces as they held each other. They had a tenderness in their relationship that is rare, and that I often see within military families. The sweetness of this moment, the realness in their love, it became a moment that will always stay with me.

Shane and Mack. I could write a book on these two. I always say I love being able to become cheerleaders for my couples, what I never expected was for one of my couples to become my biggest fans. Throughout the year they have been some of the biggest encouragements, sent couples my way, invited me for the holidays, and basically made me want to uproot and move to Alabama so I can just move in with them already! This photo represents so much. The love they share. The intimacy I witnessed. The trust that was shared. The friendships that I so treasure now.

SO here's the thing. I could probably write for hours. I could look at every session and see moments and shots that inspired, challenged, and shaped me. My favorites are honestly too many to count. The moments this year that effected me are countless. All these captures have one thing in common, they have driven me to grow, see this once hobby as my future, and fall more in love with documenting the lives of my clients.

Wanna chat? Lets make 2018 one to remember!

contact@stephanieraesc.com


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