I’ll be capturing Michelle + Kyle’s wedding day later this month - here are a few of my favorite shots from their Venice Beach engagement session!
Growing up - especially in the South - it's easy to confuse self-worth with outside validation. Even in the most well meaning of relationships, it can be easy to lose yourself to the idea of being swept off your feet. In the town I grew up in, it's not uncommon to be married with children before your twenty-first birthday, and there's nothing wrong with that-- if that's what you truly want. For years, I attached my worth to this concept. Because that wasn't what I wanted, I felt abnormal and wrong. Even after entering into a healthy and loving relationship, I constantly doubted myself because I didn't have a ring on my finger.
Today and everyday, I'm thankful for a really hard conversation Krisztian and I had about two years ago. I had asked for the millionth time when we would get married. Countless times over the years, I'd be asked when he would propose to me after being together so long. After a frustrated conversation, he said words that struck me to my core: "You're acting like marriage is more important to you than love."
Wow, right? It stopped me in my tracks. I crumpled into a ball and just sat, sobbing, with those words for what felt like one of the longest hours of my life. I was so focused on getting married that I had put the cart before the horse. I had lost track of what was truly important.
From there, everything slowed down. I enjoyed all of the little lovely things again and stopped worrying about the future, just being present with him. The thought still sat in the back of my mind, but it wasn't something that I consciously worried about day in and day out. Instead, I focused on working internally on my mindset, reassessing my values, and becoming a person I would want to be married to (because, to be honest, I had kind of been acting like someone I wouldn't want to be married to for a while).
On Valentine's Day, it's easy to feel alone or wrong. But don't let society or anyone tell you how, or when, or who to love. Practice love everyday - love your friends, love your neighborhood, love your family. Buy chocolates for your significant other (or yourself) just because. Love isn't just a feeling - it truly is a practice - and it's more important than any legal contract you'll ever enter.
*thumbnail photo by Victoria Bonvicini*
Now that the holidays have come to a close, I'm excited to be blogging one of my last sessions of the year. On a warm December morning (hello, LA) I visited Alex & David's home in West Hollywood for an in-home session. In-home sessions are perfect for a low-key morning to celebrate the ordinary things-- things that aren't so ordinary after all.
One of my favorite parts of planning a couples' shoot is discussing location. The planning of these shoots should do anything but stress you out- a day spent together with your partner is something to look forward to! With Jessica + Jason, I was absolutely blown away by the location we chose: Point Dume.
If you know Point Dume at all, you'll know it's beautiful. But more than a gorgeous backdrop, it was where Jason took Jessica on their first date about three years ago. Watching them revisit old memories- while making new ones- was so special.
Learning these intimate details about a relationship makes connecting so much easier and by the time the day comes for us to work together, we already feel like good friends. This was our first time meeting in person, and it was so comfortable! To help reach that level before my shoots, I start every inquiry with a conversation. I want to know the story behind the relationship.
These two were up for just about anything! I knew they enjoyed the outdoors and going to the beach beforehand, but their adventurous spirit was contagious. These are just a few of the moments I captured that morning. There were so many great shots I had trouble narrowing it down to the number I intended to deliver!
I had the best time, saw a new part of my new city + got to do work that brings joy to people's hearts.
If you enjoyed reading about Jessica + Jason's shoot, leave a comment below or share with someone who might be interested!
“It’s not what you know, it’s WHO you know”
This cliche is true is some industries more than others, but it definitely rings true for the wedding photography industry. Getting to know other photographers, both established and up-and-coming, is pivotal to working in wedding photography.
Several years ago when Instagram was still new, I started following anything and everything that I found to be inspirational and fun. As an avid photography + art enthusiast, I found this applied to A LOT. I followed magazines, illustrators, art directors, street photographers, dog accounts, cat accounts, product designers, tech companies, nonprofits, poets, painters, animators, foodies, night photographers, friends from high school, models, wildlife photographers, clothing brands, coffee companies, and wedding photographers. Gradually, my taste became more curated and my eye settled into this new social media landscape. My "following" number whittled down as one by one I unfollowed account that no longer spoke to me but one trend remained: wedding photography. But these weren’t the posed, awkward stances of yesteryear. No, these photos were flawed and fearless: they were intimate and close, raw and unposed, and they translated as a documentary-style art form rather than an interfering, uncomfortable bystander’s work.
A girl in my design school program but a year ahead of me at Georgia State University was taking photos that I found myself absolutely in love with. She captured romance and weddings in a dark, moody way that I found mesmerizing. One day on her account I saw a photo of her and her boyfriend in front of the camera rather than behind it. The photo was taken by Vic Bonvicini Bedingfield - I looked at this account and was blown away. The level of vulnerability her photos portray and the intimate connection you can see between couples is inspiring.
So I did what any normal person would do. I emailed her out of the blue.
From: Morgan Pirkle
To: Vic Bonvicini Bedingfield
Subj: Aspiring Atlanta photographer!
I came across your Instagram and was really blown away by your beautiful photos. I'm a senior at Georgia State studying design & trying to enhance my photography skills outside of school. I'm trying to reach out to photographers I admire in hopes of learning more. I was wondering, are you local to Atlanta? If so, I would absolutely love to grab coffee sometime. If not, would you mind if I sent you some questions I have about photography (wedding + travel particularly).
Have a great weekend!
To my great surprise, this sweet sweet angel replied back. She wasn’t able to meet up for coffee, but she encouraged me to send her any questions I might have.
She signed off:
Looking forward to helping you!
Over the course of almost a year, our email thread grew. Whenever I had a question about posing, gear, talking to clients- I’d try to find information online, and whatever I was still curious about I’d send in a short + sweet email. Within a few days she always responded. She was so generous and open with her advice and her guidance helped me so much more than she could possibly know!
During that time, I worked with other photographers assisting and shadowing weddings. No two were the same, yet I got goosebumps at each ceremony (and I might have cried at one). I began photographing my own clients. I photographed couples, portraits, events, products, festivals, maternity, and families; basically, anything I could get my hands on to gain experience.
Over the summer of 2017 I was offered a job in LA and was beyond excited to move out there. My only stipulation was that it HAD to be after Vic’s workshop in Atlanta, Reset to Rise. On August 3rd, I attended her workshop and at 10:30 p.m. that evening my fiance and I hit the road on our five day cross-country adventure to the west coast.
Her workshop was amazing. Vic brings such a unique perspective to photography and her energy is absolutely contagious. She shared her personal journey with photography and the role it has played in her life since. She brought in models and gave attendees the behind-the-scenes version of her photo shoots. She explained how she talks to models, how she makes them feel comfortable - she was so helpful and full of advice.
Since moving out to California I've shot mostly portraits and couples. Before that workshop I knew I had a passion and admiration for couples photography, but that day I realized that's where my passion lies; in creating this everlasting time capsule for couples to look back on. Photographs are a method of documenting our lives. To be able to capture a place and time for a couple, to document this season of life for them is the work I love to do.