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Maryville, TN

Sunday, October 31, 2010
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Happy Halloween!!

I'm about to dress Hayden up for his first official trick-or-treating, but first I wanted to do a quick post to share some photos from Rachel and Brian's wedding at Butterfly Gap Retreat in Maryville last weekend. They had a beautifully sunny and warm fall day for their afternoon ceremony. Rachel incorporated the colors of Autumn into her bouquet, and even this little yellow jacket liked it. I especially loved the orange ranunculus.


Hart / Bledsoe Wedding October 23, 2010

She also had a gorgeous long veil {I love, love those}

Hart / Bledsoe Wedding October 23, 2010

Hart / Bledsoe Wedding October 23, 2010

Butterfly Gap's peninsula is the perfect location for an outdoor wedding in the fall.

Hart / Bledsoe Wedding October 23, 2010

Hart / Bledsoe Wedding October 23, 2010

I've seen plenty of outdoor ceremonies include a unity candle. However, it doesn't work very well if there is a breeze. To avoid any issues, Rachel and Brian opted for a ceremonial wine pouring instead. I thought that was a really great alternative.

Hart / Bledsoe Wedding October 23, 2010

Hart / Bledsoe Wedding October 23, 2010

Hart / Bledsoe Wedding October 23, 2010

To carry the fall theme into the reception, they decorated with pine cones, acorns, pumpkins, and granny smith apples - simple and inexpensive but perfect.

Hart / Bledsoe Wedding October 23, 2010

Butterfly Gap has really cool architecture, and the walls on the studio are one example. They rotate open!

Hart / Bledsoe Wedding October 23, 2010

Hart / Bledsoe Wedding October 23, 2010

Hart / Bledsoe Wedding October 23, 2010

Congratulations to you two and all the other couples celebrating their first Halloween as husband and wife!
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Castleton Farms, Loudon, TN

Wednesday, October 20, 2010
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I was excited to meet up with Afia and Paul for their post-wedding portrait session together last week. They're both a lot of fun and easy to photograph, but I was also excited about the location of their portrait session. I had heard great things about Castleton Farms in Loudon, but it exceeded my expectations. This is my own public service announcement to anyone looking for the perfect wedding venue... set up an appointment to visit ASAP because their dates are going to book up fast!

Castleton Farms is located in rural Loudon, but the venue is contemporary and elegant. You get the beautiful scenery and privacy from being in the country with the amenities and sophistication of a modern, southern manor. They offer several ceremony and reception sites on the property (including a rustic barn if you really do want that farm feel), but my personal favorite is the vineyard. Especially with the fall colors beginning to show, it is just perfect for an outdoor wedding. Trust me. I've been to a lot of wedding venues, and this one is beautiful. I'm not even going to share photos of the grounds because I want everyone to go to their website and check it out.

Of course, after you book Castleton Farms then you should contact me because I'm excited to go back. I'll even offer a free bridal/couple session AND an engagement session to the first couple who books me to photograph their wedding at Castleton Farms and asks for the two free sessions!

Here are some favorite shots of Afia and Paul. We started out with photos in traditional outfits that Afia's parents brought from Africa.

Couple Session with Afia and Paul

Then we moved on to the traditional American clothes and Afia's gorgeous, long veil.

Couple Session with Afia and Paul

Couple Session with Afia and Paul

The bridal session is a great opportunity to wear a different hairstyle or personalize things with accessories from converse to cowboy boots. Afia actually wore these sexy, red shoes for the wedding too, but her wedding day bouquet was completely different. I'm happy that she went with a fun, red bouquet for these photos.

There's no need to spend a lot of money on a bouquet for a bridal or couple session. Some brides omit flowers from their portrait session altogether, but it is simple and inexpensive to put together a hand-tied DIY bouquet.

Couple Session with Afia and Paul

As much as I love a long veil, Afia's feather fascinator may have it beat. I wish that more brides would take a risk and wear a little birdcage veil or feather hairpiece. They're very retro and fashion-forward at the same time.

Couple Session with Afia and Paul

Couple Session with Afia and Paul

Couple Session with Afia and Paul

Couple Session with Afia and Paul

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Maryville College, Maryville, TN

Tuesday, October 12, 2010
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Congratulations to all of the couples who were married on 10/10/10! The gorgeous weather that we had on Sunday was perfect for weddings and for outdoor photography sessions like the combined engagement and family portraits that I did with Olivia Williams and Chris Shubert. I know that they are super anxious to see some of the photos so here's a sneak peek!

We started out with family photos of Olivia and Chris with their little man Liam. He's just 9-months-old and was a little unsure about being on the grass, but he really enjoyed just being outside with his parents.

Engagement Session for Olivia and Chris

Engagement Session for Olivia and Chris

At this age, babies are just as likely to flip over and suck on the grass as they are to smile up at a stranger with a camera. Happily, Chris's dad and Elmo were on hand to coax a few smiles out of Liam, but he wasn't in the mood for kisses.

Engagement Session for Olivia and Chris

Engagement Session for Olivia and Chris

Once Liam left with his grandpa, Olivia and Chris could focus all of their attention on each other, and things got a little more romantic.

Engagement Session for Olivia and Chris

Engagement Session for Olivia and Chris

Engagement Session for Olivia and Chris

For engagement and senior photos, it's nice to do an outfit change so that you get some pictures in casual clothes as well as some that are more formal. Bright, solid colors are also a good choice, and I love Olivia's dress. Chris is a car enthusiast so of course we also wanted to include his ride in a few shots.

Engagement Session for Olivia and Chris

Engagement Session for Olivia and Chris

Engagement Session for Olivia and Chris

Engagement Session for Olivia and Chris

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Craigmiles Mausoleum, Cleveland, TN

Friday, October 8, 2010
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I hadn't seen Natalie and Josh since I photographed their wedding in the fall of 2005, but I was delighted to meet up with them again recently for a photo session with their baby girl. Natalie writes an entertaining blog called Mommy Boots so I already knew how amazingly cute Nellie is, but I had no idea how sweet she would be. She was really so easy to work with. The most difficult thing about the whole session was trying to find a parking spot.

Newborn photos are really important because babies change so drastically and so quickly in those first months. However, I think that if you only do one baby session then the period of time between learning to sit up and actually crawling is probably the best. This is usually right around eight months which is why I recommend documenting the first year with milestone sessions at approximately birth, 4, 8, and 12 months instead of the more common 3, 6, and 9 month interval. This way you can get photos of your child when they begin holding their head up and smiling, when they are sitting on their own, and when they are taking their first steps.

When I found out that Nellie has started dragging herself on her stomach, I knew that we needed to do the photos soon because she'll be fully mobile in no time. Once that happens, she'll be off exploring her world non-stop, but for now she'll just sit and smile and laugh for the camera. Babies like this are a photographer's dream, and we ended up with some beautiful, expressive photographs.

Nellie Rose

Nellie Rose

Nellie Rose

Nellie Rose

Nellie Rose

Nellie Rose

Nellie Rose

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Home, Knoxville, TN

Thursday, October 7, 2010
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I'm always looking for fun and creative ways to use photographs, and I think that these new ornaments from Mpix fit the bill. If you haven't heard of Mpix, it's my favorite online lab for consumers. They have better quality than what you get locally, and their shipping is fast so I recommend them to clients who purchase their high-resolution files.

I think that these would make great gift tags for Christmas. Knowing how much people love photographs, the ornaments will probably be around longer than the actual gift you attach it to!

Of course if you're wanting to order some of these and don't have a great, recent photograph then it's not too late to schedule a fall portrait session. Just email me or fill out the form on my website.

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Welcome!
Welcome to the Nancy Hellsten Photography blog! This is the place to be if you’re looking for wedding ideas and photography promotions or if you just want to view some great photos and see what I’ve been up to. If you or someone you know are getting married, having a baby, or just want some relaxed portraits with the family, please visit my website or contact me for more information. I would love to hear from you. Thanks for visiting and check back often to see what’s new.
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