I was so excited when Olivia reached out about taking her senior photos last weekend. Not only was I excited for this shoot because she's a beauty inside and out but also because she is my boyfriend's cousin! We decided on a pretty, open field near the outskirts of town as the sun got low in the sky, and that's when the magic happened! She's a summer girl through and through, so her senior portraits had to capture that! My favorite part was when she whipped out her more casual outfit toward the end of the shoot and showed me her awesome new Nikes she'd brought along for some fun. Scroll to the end to see! Congratulations on this big accomplishment starting your senior year today, sweet girl!
I met up with Anna this past weekend for her senior portrait session. She graduates from high school this school year, and it was super fun spending some time capturing her senior portraits to celebrate. The colder, more Fall-like weather we'd been having warmed up a little, and we had the most perfect mild temps for venturing down to Falls Park on the Reedy River for her session. We even ventured up to a little garden area downtown, and the purple flowers gave a unique twist on the typical Fall color palette for an almost Halloween-like look. So it was perfect! This girl is a beauty inside and out, and it was so fun hanging out with her! Enjoy more of Anna's portraits on the blog today!
The SC State Fair holds a special place in my heart. Fall is already a magical time of year. Things start to get cozy with the weather, and snuggles, sweaters, and comfort foods start making their way into our lives a little more. Even though it's no secret Summer is my favorite season, I'm starting to warm up to the idea Fall. And the best way I know how to do that is with a visit to the state fair. I went for the first time last year, and it was nothing short of incredible and downright fun! You can eat some really great food, ride some pretty fun rides, see a bunch of really cute animals, but I just love the atmosphere the most! Everyone's happy when they walk around the fair. You can't not be!! So I was super excited when I got to hang out with Abigail at the fair this week to take some new portraits for her. Be sure to give this girl a follow on Instagram!! She's doing great things. I hope this post transports you to the fair for a bit if you can't actually make it there this year! :)
What do you get when you mix golden hour, a Clemson orange dress, a pretty senior, and Clemson University's campus? An amazing senior session, that's what! It's been quite the weekend. Things are really starting to ramp up around here with wedding season officially starting back up for me this past weekend! I'm going to be running on full drive until school's out for Christmas break in December, but it's a good thing I love what I do! :) Plus, Fall seemed to be here to stay this past weekend. Temps got to the low 50s, pumpkin spice candles were bought, and all my summer clothes have been put away. So, I'm officially embracing the season! And it couldn't have been kicked off in a better way than hanging out with Sara in Clemson for her senior session! Enjoy the rest of her images, and have a great week!
With the start of my Fall semester tomorrow (!!!), I've been doing some thinking. This summer has been incredible! I was able to throw myself into photography full time, and between weddings and portrait sessions, I traveled to 5 countries, 10 states, and rode on 16 flights to get me everywhere. I saw Prince William, Jimmy Fallon, Taylor Swift, Def Leppard, and Journey with my own eyes, and I've done everything from sailing off the coast of Maine to riding around in a double-decker sightseeing bus in the busy streets of London. It's so easy for me to look back on all the fun and amazing experiences I've been blessed to have this summer and be a little bummed about going back to school. After all, law school is anything but easy. And with family and friends back home, it can seem a little daunting to be going back to a place where I won't be able to see them as much. There is so much new happening, and while it is exciting, it's going to be a lot of work, and I know I can't possibly be alone when I say I'm a little overwhelmed at the thought of the start of another school year. So I thought I'd share a little of my heart and hopefully some encouragement with you today along with Sam's senior graduation photos. You might remember his senior portraits from this past year. He was a pleasure to work with, so I was excited to capture his actual post-graduation photos this past week!
God doesn't call the equipped, He equips the called.
Whatever mountain you're facing, whether it's back to school or something else, God hasn't called you to it because you are perfect or self-sufficient in your own right. Did you get that? He hasn't called you because you're the best or even good at what he's called you to. Instead he promises to equip you for what he has called you to. He is able to equip you for whatever road lies ahead, but that means full dependence on his strength and not your own. It's happened before in your life right? He is willing and able to do it again!
The only thing that's required is faithfulness.
It's nice to have things all figured out. Trust me, I am the planning queen. Having my ducks in a row helps me feel safe, but it's a false sense of security. Ultimately, we don't know what the future will bring. We never can approach anything in this world with 100% certainty apart from God's love for us and His word. While that seems a little scary and more reason to be anxious, it's actually so freeing! We don't have to get it all perfect. There is so much room for mistakes and grace. The only thing we must do is be faithful. We must follow what his word has revealed to us to do, and the rest requires faithfulness. A day-by-day surrendering to his will and an open hand to follow where he leads. Living like that might be unnerving for someone who loves control and thrives off it (like me :)), but it also sounds incredibly unique. No two days will be the same when you follow the Lord's leading.
In light of eternity, this matters because...
My favorite teacher in elementary school used to respond to us in class when we brought a pointless issue up to her by posing this question: "In the light of eternity, this matters because?" She was teasing us mostly but with a little bit of truth. And it's always stuck with me. And whenever I feel overwhelmed by my circumstances or I make a big deal of something in my mind and cause unnecessary or irrational grief, this saying always comes back to me. My law school GPA isn't going to matter in heaven. The amount of times I was able to give an amazing answer when cold-called in class won't matter either. The Netflix show I binged watched to take the stress away also won't matter. What will matter is how I use my talents to further God's kingdom here on earth and how I've impacted others for Him as well. Doing my best, taking care of myself because I am His, and reaching out to others is what truly matters. And keeping eternity in the front of my mind helps put that into perspective.
So, whatever it is. Whether you're off to your first day of high school, college, grad school, law school, med school, or a new job, I wish you the best! It's going to be a great year. You've got this!!
I met up with Amanda on a Saturday afternoon in front of the iconic Tillman Hall on Clemson's campus. She was followed close behind by her sweet fiance who she proudly told me had "come all the way from Alabama to help with my session!" I was blown away at how sweet that was, and we proceeded to have just the best time snapping some pictures of Amanda all around my alma mater. Amanda and I got to talking more, and she explained she was also planning to head to MY law school after taking a year off to work in the legal field. It was so cool chatting with her and hearing her plans about work, law school, and life with her new fiance. This girl was an absolute ray of sunshine, and I think you'll definitely be able to tell. It was all genuine smiles with this one, and I was so honored she chose me to capture her smiles at the end of SENIOR YEAR! Congrats, grads on making it to graduation week!!
Every brunette needs a redheaded best friend, am I right?! These besties met all because something a little unexpected happened Freshman Year that made Amelia move out of her Freshman dorm room. And they have been inseparable ever since! I know graduation will be bittersweet for them as they leave Clemson and each other. These two have such bright futures ahead of them as they head on to the next step of graduate school. So, I'm very glad I they trusted me to capture these memories for them that they can look back on for years to come! It was such a sweet friendship to photograph and an all-around amazing session. They brought plenty of props from tiger paw flags to champagne, we got to meander all over the most iconic spots around campus, and I am just in love with how it all turned out!! Shooting this session had me feeling all sorts of nostalgia, and as I reminisced about my time here at Clemson, and I couldn't help but be amazed that it's been a whole YEAR since I graduated myself! Crazy how time flies! Enjoy these two cuties!
There are definitely times I miss this place! That's why I LOVE going back for senior sessions. There truly is something in these hills, and I feel right at home as I make the last leg of that drive up 123, a road I traveled often back in the day, no billboards, little traffic, just lots of country music and time to gather my thoughts. This place hold so much significance for me. The times weren't always easy, but I grew in ways I never imagined I could in just a few short years here. It was the first time I attended a big, public school after attending a small, private school my entire life. It was my first time living away from home in a place other than a dormitory. I made some of my sweetest Christian friendships through a Bible study I joined my junior year, and it was a place I felt very loyal and excited about unlike any other institution I had ever been a part of before. But probably my sweetest memory at Clemson was pulling my friends out between classes to pose for me as I was just getting this photography business thing up and running. I can't believe that my first official gigs as Nichole Lauren Photography were Clemson seniors from the class of 2015. That makes my business 3 years old this month!! What a blessing to look back and see how God has weaved my story through so many events big and small. I'm so humbled and so thankful for the opportunity to do this job, and I'm especially grateful for senior sessions that remind me of my humble beginnings. And THANK YOU for supporting my journey and following along! It means the world to me.
Where the Blue Ridge yawns its greatness;
Where the Tigers play;
Here the sons of dear Old Clemson,
Reign supreme alway.
Dear Old Clemson, we will triumph
And with all our might
That the Tiger's roar may echo
O'er the mountain height.
Just a couple days since I graduated college, and y'all I already miss it a little. Is this normal?! I got some major nostalgia as I drove into my first full week of work this morning and realized that I'm not going back to Clemson (as a student, anyways). And while I'm really glad for no more late homework nights and tests, there is a lot I think I'll miss about college. So here's my ode to Clemson in the form of a list of things I will truly miss, plus a super pretty grad session of one of the most joyful 2017 Clemson grads I photographed this year. Holly was super great! I hope you don't mind my sentimental post...I'll be brief.
Y'all stuff is getting so real. Graduation is only a couple weeks away, and starting exam week today really made that hit home for me. I'm so thankful for the past three years I've been able to spend at Clemson, and it's hard to believe how quickly the time has passed. It amazes me how much has changed and how much I've grown in ways I didn't think were possible, and it's just been a testament of God's goodness and His grace toward me over the years. I started photographing 2015 seniors, and now it's 2017, and I'm also one of them!! These girls really captured the joy I feel as graduation approaches, and I'm so excited to share their session with you. I'll be in front of the camera this week getting my senior portraits done by an awesome photographer friend, and I'm super pumped! Stay tuned for a blog post with those and scroll to the end of this one to see the gorgeous golden light we got at the end of this session at sunset!! Agh!! Loved it!!
I love travel and adventure. I love seeing things from new perspectives. I love to find good food in exciting places. And I love making moments last for as long as possible.
Follow along for behind-the-scenes on Instagram!