Birmingham, AL wedding & portrait photographer Kelly Cummings

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Ann and Daniel :: Married :: Montevallo Alabama

On an absolutely perfect sunny day in February (this winter has been unusually warm here in Alabama), Ann and Daniel were married at American Village, a historical colonial venue outside of Birmingham, surrounded by friends and family. To incorporate Ann’s Louisiana heritage, the reception included Cajun food (maybe my favorite genre in all the world), Louisiana music, lanterns and Spanish moss…I was in heaven. The light throughout the whole day was my very best friend. I couldn’t stop looking at these images after the wedding, Ann is so stunningly gorgeous (and as you’ll recall from their engagement photos  she looks a lot like Anne Hathaway), and the image above is one of my favorite bridal portraits ever. Oh, and the wedding colors? Aqua and Crimson (my business colors!). I could not be more happy about the opportunity to shoot this wedding and the chance to work with Alene Gamel of I Do, I Do!, Carol Riley of Lillie’s Flowers, Happy Catering (the food was unbelievable, really!) and to have my fun friend Heather Durham along to assist! Enjoy the photos below and most of all best wishes to the very happy sweetest couple ever who are STILL honeymooning through this week! (Jealous!)

WPPI 2012 :: Airplanes and Blazers 2 and lots of sleeping

Smilebooth, Jesh de Rox, Morgan photo-ing.

I love WPPI more than French Connection dresses. But this year I didn’t have to choose (while we were in Vegas we stumbled upon a 50% off sale items and I nabbed 2 dresses for $80 total).

Last year was my first year going to the convention, which takes place in Vegas every year (you might remember that I JUST blogged about it like last week?). Even before I went last year my excitement centered around Airplanes and Blazers, the follow up to 2010’s hippest party, Airhorns and Lasers, which I only lived through the blogposts and photos of the lucky ones who were cool enough to attend. Last year I bought my ticket as soon as I found out they were on sale and took a bus to the party by myself, with full confidence that even alone this would be the best thing ever (excluding getting married, that goes without saying). I’d met Angie & Matt Sloan the May before when they had come to Birmingham for my friend Joanna’s wedding (but I didn’t know good ol’ Jojo back then).  I ran into them at the party and as luck would have it they introduced me to their awesome friends who I’d also admired, the legendary Southern California crew.

Fast forward to 2012 (the best and last year of the world, if those Mayans are right), and I convinced Morgan Trinker to join me. Okay I think it didn’t take any convincing, it was more of a “We’re going this year” with nods and quick plane ticket purchasing. It’s all a blur. Morgan had been in 2010 but hadn’t been to Airhorns and Lasers, and so several weeks before we talked about the party and shopping and how we needed fancy party purses with long chains (my chain broke off within like 10 minutes and I couldn’t dance with it hitting my hip anyway). I bought 2 sequined dresses since Arden B had a buy one get one for a dollar sale and Morgan refused to pick one so that we could split the cost, so I win X2, and Morgan found a really cute colorful skirt at Forever 21 and then some dangerously high colorblocked heels. [We spent an hour before the party discussing walking strategy (barefoot through the casino and then heels outside? flats to walk there and carry our heels to put on for our entrance?), before I insisted we just take a cab for the .6 mile distance between our room at MGM and the Planet Hollywood where the party was.]

We arrived to Vegas Sunday night and ate at Diego in the MGM (and got to see my lovely friend Camille who I had the pleasure of 2nding for last September!), and slept up for Monday, On Monday we registered and hit up the trade show (I had strategically plotted out what booths to hit and it seems like the whole thing only took 30 minutes). I resisted going to the Nikon booth and touching the D800 or the D4, which was probably wise, but we did say hello to The Image is Found (Nate and Jaclyn) at the VSCO booth, saw Jill DeVries and Amanda Van Vels, and happen to sit in on Jesh De Rox’s Beloved demonstration (which we volunteered to be kids for, not a huge stretch for girls who are barely 5 feet tall and shop at GAP kids on occasion).

Jesh making everyone laugh and cry with his genuine emotion evoking techniques (amazing).

Instagram fun on the way to the Miracle Mile Mall which felt like a Miracle Marathon by the time we got there.

Morgan before Jesh’s demonstration, Jose Villa prints from his platform class, our feet.

After Jose Villa’s platform class we spent oh, I don’t know, 2 hours getting ready? Thank you 5 hour energy and Morgan’s MAC eyeshadow and $1 hairspray. No thank you to the cheap pantyhose that ended up making me look jaundiced and thus rendering my legs bare. Airplanes & Blazers 2 was mod 60s themed and my true feelings are that sequins are right for every decade. And that sheer dresses require a lot more underwear preparation. And the use of Smilebooth pins as safety pins.

At the party we met up with fellow Bham lovelies Breanna Fogg and Amy Carson (okay, watchers of Chuck, doesn’t Breanna look like Ellie? Morgan thinks she looks like Robin from How I met your mother but since I haven’t seen it I can’t yay or nay it)

End of the night, cool people, Nate & Jaclyn, and Matt Sloan

I’m assuming this gem of a face is in response to being kicked out at 2:30 or so in the morning…

The next day was useless. We skipped our classes, ate a few meals, and gave in and went to bed early so that we could actually be awake for Justin & Mary’s talk on Wednesday.

Okay we did go get frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity. That redeemed the day.

On Wednesday morning we were Parisian and ate breakfast at Mon Ami Gabi. Eggs Benedict. Intelligensia coffee. Heated patio seating.

At Justin & Mary’s talk (phenomenal, feel good and tears, no more excuses, you are worth big dreams kind of class) my business card won me some V chocolates (Garrett is now obsessed, I let him have 2). I took so many notes and left feeling so good about being even better for my clients. YES! The far right is a collection of souvenirs, a mix cd that I found after Airplanes & Blazers (The Flashdance is amazing), Smilebooth pin, wristband from the party, and a photo with Birmingham beauty Melissa from Open Air Photobooths. (My speak no evil looks like I’m trying not to vomit sunshine, I love it).

And we said goodbye to Vegas on Thursday, happily, because like a really great religious high, nothing the rest of the week could live up to dancing and singing to the best music ever with thousands of other people for whom this is their wedding reception opportunity. Leaving my camera and checking my bag and shaking it to ” but you say he’s just a friend” and “California knows how to party.”

So, until next year. If you’re considering going for the first time I’d be glad to talk you into it. Your first year is so much different, it’s overwhelming to see so many booths and companies and famous photographers all in one place. You go to as many classes as you can and you learn so much and you might even burn out. For me the second year was this much needed boost, with a lot less focus on being a sponge and more focus on the people (and instagram). Connecting to someone. And dancing.

Thanks to Airplanes and Blazers, WPPI, Smilebooth (for the party pics), Las Vegas, The Flashdance, Ken from Renaissance Albums (for being the most fun vendor ever), Angie & Matt Sloan, Amelia & Justin Lyon (I’m going to these 4’s workshop next month!!!), Justin and Mary, Jesh de Rox, new friends, old friends, sequins and dresses and coffee and pizza and pain au chocolat…

Oh, and check out Morgan’s recap here.

Meghan and Allen :: St. Luke’s :: Matt Jones Gallery

What I love most about Meghan and Allen’s wedding day was the chance to relive my own marriage blessing. In October 2009, a few months after my husband’s best friend, Matt, had fake married us and the State of California had legally married us, we had planned a blessing and party in Birmingham for our friends and family. The blessing took place in St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, the same place Meghan and Allen exchanged vows, and this was my first time photographing a wedding here. We were married in the little chapel that connects to the unbelievable sanctuary, and I still remember (in part due to the photos) walking down the wall of main sanctuary hand in hand with Garrett, following the priest to the chapel.

Meghan and Allen met in high school (the same high school my husband went to, actually, he and Meghan are the same year; we had actually run into each other while Meghan and Allen were eating with some friends of ours but didn’t connect it all until Meghan came into my office), and continued their love at Alabama (which seems right to me). Their wedding day was relaxed, as I’m sure their love feels after all these years. The weather was unseasonably warm for February (but Alabama hasn’t had normal weather all year) and the rain held off until we were finished with the photos which was perfect, it sounded beautiful beating down on the roof of the church.

The night continued at Matt Jones Gallery (which you’ll recognize from Katherine and Frank’s wedding and you long time followers from Meagan and David’s!), with flashing lights and a feel good band (including some Miley Cyrus for the young female vocalist on stage), and The Wobble (I need someone to teach me the wobble, by the way). I love receptions that make me sing along and dance and frown when the night is over. Congratulations to Meghan and Allen and thank you to everyone that had a part in their day.

Vendors:

 Event planner and coordinator: Mariee Ami
Gown: Ivory & White
Catering: Iz Catering
Band: Lucky Town
Cake: Meghan’s Aunt (WHAT?!)
Flowers: Suzanne Graves
Hair and Makeup: Celine Russell
Car: Vintage Auto Car

WPPI 2011 :: Photo Recap

 

This Sunday Morgan and I are heading out to Las Vegas for WPPI, which is basically a huge networking party for wedding and portrait photographers. Whoever decided to designate Las Vegas as the convention capital of the world was genius. Last year was my first trip out and like the terrible blogger I am I am just now posting the photos. But that’s just a testament to how awesome last year was, I was so starstruck and excited that I couldn’t have been bothered with blogging about it.

Last year I went with fellow Birmingham wedding photographer Emily Kicklighter and every part of the trip was exciting. From hotel room photo shoots to meeting a leather clothing designer to parties to meeting the faces of Leather Craftsmen (Hi David and Howard!), hearing Jose Villa and Elizabeth Messina speak and almost missing our return flight because we’d forgotten to gamble during the whole trip and the hotel had slots…it was so inspiring and fun. Emily has been such an awesome mentor and friend to me in Birmingham and I know I wouldn’t have had half as much fun without her there! (And if she’s reading this she should book a ticket to Vegas stat.)

One of our first nights there we happened to pop in for the Sony fashion show and Nigel Barker was hosting! If you follow my blog at all you know that I am obsessed with the novelty of fame. As a child I cherished my Greg Fishel and Muddy the Mudcat autographs (our local weatherman on WRAL and our local minor league baseball team’s mascot). I get excited when I see Frank Stitt at one of his restaurants in Birmingham and once in Chapel Hill I squealed when I saw Mama Dip at Mama Dip’s.  Imagine if I lived somewhere like Nashville or Hollywood where real famous people live.

Bobbi and Mike.

Emily modeling one of Kippy’s leather coats. While we were looking at the coats the designer, Kippy, came over and made us try them on! I would post a photo of me in the one with the orange fur collar but I can’t let you convince me I need it so I won’t. But I do need it. And how amazing that the designer was in town?

At the tradeshow The Boudoir Divas had a studio lighting and backdrop set-up you could try out. I’m pretty sure I asked this girl what celebrity she looked like and then decided on Natalie Portman (if you want to debate me you can look at the rest of my photos from WPPI on my proofing site and weigh in).

Pinhole Pro, The professional side of Pinhole Press, was one of my favorite booths just because it’s so important to see products in person and this company offers products to consumers with incentives for photographers. Guestbooks, softcover books, notepads, calendars… The paper feels good. The design is clean. This is what I recommend to clients that want to order their own goodies. I have two Pinhole Press sample albums in my office right now. True fact.

Emily and I both volunteered to model during New York photographer’s Jason Groupp’s lighting seminar.

After feeling inspired my shoes needed a photoshoot.

Arkansas photographers Matt and Meghan aka Aus10 Photoartists after a dinner hangout with Nate and Becka Robinson and their friend’s with PadProof.

Emily spotted Becker the day after we heard him speak and asked if he was doing photographer headshots (something he’d mentioned during his talk), and Emily coaxed him into using my camera to  snap a few headshots. He quickly switched to party mode and we ended up with at least a hundred rapid fire shots. Bringing someone extroverted who is not afraid to ask the biggest photographers to take your photo is helpful really.

And what I’m most looking forward to this year… Airplanes and Blazers. If this event was the only event at WPPI I’d still try to justify going. Ever since stalking photos from the Airhorns and Lasers party in 2010 I’d wanted to go and it was so much fun that I stayed until we were pretty much kicked out of the party!

On the bus to the party I met Jill DeVries (feathers) and Dorothy Huhn (in the green)

So psyched to call these folks dance partners, Nate and Becka Robinson, Angie and Matt Sloan, Mark of Mark Brooke Photographers, and Ken Liu from Renaissance Albums!

And a little bit of Bham representing. Brandon and Stacey Gresham and Steven DeVries showed up too.

In light of all of the memes about what I really do, remember that this is only my glamorous life for three days of the year. If you’re going (most especially to the Airplanes and Blazers 2 party!) let me know! And if you’re considering going next year I’d be happy to convince you…

 

Baby Love :: Noah :: One Year

First of all, I was overwhelmed with how many people liked and commented on the above photo when I added it to my facebook page with the caption “babies think I’m hilarious.” Truthfully I think babies know that they are hilarious, but my willingness to make funny faces and stick my tongue out at them when their parents aren’t looking does help. [I love doing that in public with strangers babies, toddlers look at me in disbelief since they know they aren’t supposed to stick their tongues out and here I am doing it to them. One of the few perks of being an adult.]

I can’t believe Noah is a whole year old now. I’ve known his wonderful parents since I met them a few months before they were married, but we’ve definitely gotten close throughout the process of an anniversary/maternity session and documenting Noah’s first year. He is a happy baby as long as you don’t take away the things he wants (aren’t we all that way?) and I love that he’s already a percussionist. My biggest regret is letting my sister persuade me to pursue clarinet instead of drums in band.

Anywho, I love sweet babies who love the little things like leaves and grass and the click of a camera and I’m so glad to have babies to photograph now and then to stave off the baby fever. Thank you to Shea and Jeremy for the medicine.

Stephanie Frost :: Alabama Theater Bridals

First of all, could there be a more perfect last name for a winter wedding?

In November I met up with Stephanie and her mom at The Alabama Theater to make these bridal photos and I couldn’t imagine a more perfect place. Stephanie did her hair and makeup herself for the session (can I get a tutorial please?) and I really felt like I was shooting a Hollywood film star. I would die to pull off 1940s vintage glam so well. It just doesn’t seem fair. Except that I shouldn’t complain, shooting here was a dream and especially with a bride who fit in so well with the gorgeous Christmas decor and lights. Love love lovely. Enjoy and I’ll be back with some favorites from her January wedding soon.

Katherine + Frank :: Birmingham, AL Winter Wedding

Katherine and Frank’s wedding day was the first time I’d met them. I knew a bit from the questionnaire I have couples fill out and I’d chatted with Katherine on the phone, but the day definitely unraveled as such a surprise for me once she arrived. No one tells you how intense and sultry their eyebrows are or how their fiance has Matthew McConaughey’s Southern charm AND his dimples. I knew that The Advent would be gorgeous, I’d heard tale, but that doesn’t mean I was prepared. Oh, and then there was the dancing.

The event took place on December 30th, and since the Christmas decorations would still be in the church, the couple opted not to fight the colors in the church. The bridesmaids wore long navy dresses and carried white lily bouquets with red berries and evergreen accents. Katherine wore red satin shoes. Katherine’s mother wore red and Frank’s wore a deep teal-green. The smell of the pine garlands in the sanctuary hit me right away when I walked in, in the most delightful way. I really loved it, the deep reds and greens and navy feel so rich.


As soon as Katherine and Frank started their first dance, Morgan and I knew the dancefloor would stay full all night, it seems like this wedding was the marriage of two preternaturally gifted dancing empires. Katherine swears they never took a lesson. I’m obsessed with the way her dress swooshed around with her all night.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, every now and then I saw a bit of Helena Bonham Carter in Katherine.

Vendors:

Planner- Mariee Ami

Caterer- Savoie Caterering

Cake- Magic Muffin

Flowers- Carole Sullivan of Lagniappe Designs Inc

Transportation- Coast Classic Cars

Band- The Undergrounders

Ceremony Location- Cathedral Church of the Advent, Birmingham, AL

Reception Venue- Matt Jones Gallery, Downtown Birmingham, AL

Ann and Daniel :: Engaged!

I can’t get over how gorgeous Ann is. I’m sure Daniel, her fiance, thought I was hitting on her throughout this session but I could not get over her eyes and how ridiculously gorgeous that lip color is on her, her eyes just pop and the rosy cheeks! Also, I love that every now and then she looks so so much like Anne Hathaway, who also has that perfect pale skin. I’m so glad we had a chance to do a short session at their venue, American Village, a few weeks ago. I am beyond excited to go back in just a few short weeks to watch these two get hitched! Ann and Daniel’s love is so palpable, and I love how much Daniel’s personality came out once he was playfully picking Ann up and tickling her, these moments when I can get a groom on board with what we’re doing are the best!

Enjoy.

 

Jennifer and Richard :: Downtown Birmingham

bridal portrait, Birmingham Alabama

Once again my reputation as a celebrity look-a-like finder has preceded me. When I showed up for Jennifer’s makeup appointment at the MAC counter almost immediately she admitted to seeing my various posts about my obsession with comparing my brides to celebrities and wanted to know who I thought she looked like. No pressure or anything. I saw a little bit of Jennifer Love Hewitt right away but Jennifer wrinkled her nose. Morgan later claimed to see Joy Williams of The Civil Wars (which I can see a little bit, too, and which Jennifer was much happier with). Flipping through a magazine later I realized that the closest match to me is Nicole Ritchie. The whole idea of celebrity look-a-likes is admittedly silly, of course there are people that will look similar to you in the world and those of us obsessed with fame hope it’s someone famous. Maybe my lack of a suitable celebrity look-a-like is what feeds my constant quest. The MAC makeup artist actually reminded me quite a bit of Sarah Chalke (you’d know her from scrubs), I spent weeks trying to figure out that one of the bridesmaid’s look-a-likes was Sheryl Crow (granted largely in part to her wavy long hair), and Richard (the Groom) is a dead ringer for Drew Lachey from 98˚in some photos.

Of course, as always, the important part is that Jennifer and Richard, two real people in Birmingham, found each other, fell in love. They chose to marry in a gorgeous church in downtown Birmingham and the celebration continued into the night with a reception in the castle-like Gabrella Manor. The rich colors of the stained glass in the church with the red floor and dark wood along with the long black bridesmaid dresses, deep fall colors in the flowers and the lanterns and old books for reception decor created a mysterious romance for the evening, I love all of the jeweltone accents that come through in the details.

It was so great to see how excited both Richard and Jennifer were to be getting married, that was the main reason for the day, and their hearts were so big for one another and for God. The best part of the job is witnessing couples in love first hand. I’m glad these two gorgeous folks found each other.

Enjoy.

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