Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I'm always a little embarassed to write about personal matters on the Conway Photo blog because I feel like it should mostly be about my work, but I know a lot of you are animal lovers and will understand my thoughts today. A few posts back you may have seen my Christmas card this year with a photo of our little Abyssinian, Nell Blu -- also known as "The Weasel" or "Weezie." Joe and I didn't really say it out loud but we both knew that the reason we were taking photos of her while we were decorating the tree was because she probably wouldn't be around next Christmas. Though she was not very old, she had been very sick for several months and was fading before our eyes. We tried everything the doctor said but it was obviously just a matter of time and, for the past week, we had watched her give up. We decided we couldn't see her struggle any longer and today we lost her. Joe and I have been married for 25 years and have had a lot of cats in our life but this loss was especially hard for us. She was a good, little girl -- five pounds was her top, fighting weight -- and we'll miss her. I was just looking through my files and found this nice photo of the Weez in her prime, relaxing at the beach house.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Card Bonanza

I was hesitant to show you some of the many cards I designed during the Christmas season before Christmas day because, if you received one of them, I wanted you to enjoy the real thing from the sender and not my ramblings about them on a computer screen. A lot of my clients choose standard cards from my lab's catalog for obvious reasons of simplicity, but I really enjoy designing cards that are more personal and unique. This is just a sample of some from this year and I'll give a little info about them. Above and below are the front, back and inside of Angel and Tony Terry's card which was a combination Christmas card/birth announcement of little Isabella. I love that we were able to include on the back the photo of the bassinet and baby shoes ornament from the tree. Also, the background of the back of the card was the detail of the lace from the bassinet. We selected watercolor paper to print these cards on and they looked beautiful.

I've been doing Christmas cards of Miss Ryleigh since she was born and her mom always gives me free rein to design cards for her. This year I picked up the colors from the cute little outfit she was wearing for the polka dot background and we were even able to include Ryleigh photo from visiting Santa on the card.

We are always thrilled to see Skylar every year just so we can check out the pretty clothes she always has. She had some beautiful Christmas outfits this year and I just love a simple card that really showcases the pretty little girl.

I've shown you Hinton's photos from the cotton field before and it was his mommy's idea to share the sentiment "may all your Christmases be white." I used a burlap design on the brown background which I thought was appropriate for a field of cotton.

Joy and Brent Chafin in Ahoskie are blessed with four beautiful little girls. I had photographed the three older girls earlier in the fall when we could be outside and little Sophie arrived in time to make the card's front. And, this is probably my favorite card back on a folded Christmas card I've ever done; these four little pairs of shoes are just adorable.

Laurie and Mike Ordnung included Preston on the card they sent out from Valley Pine CC this year. He IS the newest member of the club!!
I did a couple of classic cards like this one this Christmas season and I think it's very special to have a really nice photos of all the children on the front that you can frame later and then open up the card and see the individual shots of each child. A heartfelt, seasonal greeting -- you don't need much more than this. Again, this card was printed on watercolor paper which I just love.

You all know how I feel about Carter and those big, beautiful eyes!! It's so much fun to play with color when you design a card. I actually picked up the color from his eyes to use as the background of the card.

The Dunn family used several of the photos from the Chowan sessions to wish a "Merry Christmas" to everyone.

Lynn (or "Miss Lynn" to the children that come by the studio) looked around for some card ideas this year and helped design her own card. We took this nice shot of her family from a summer wedding at the beach, turned it into black and white, and used just a hit of color for the greeting. I thought it ended up being one of the more unique cards of the season.

Hope you all had a Merry Christmas!! Maybe one of these cards will inspire you with an idea for your cards next year.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

MY Christmas Cards

I've designed so many Christmas cards this year and had a wonderful, creative time doing so but time slipped on me and I had to come up with some cards to send out from Joe and me. I took some photos while we were decorating the tree and used some of them to create three different cards for our friends and family. Some people we send cards to know that we are nuts about our cats so I did one that's a close-up of our sweet little Nell (also known as "The Weasel") with the Christmas tree in the background. The other two cards relate a little more closely to my husband. One of them has his absolutely favorite girl, Marilyn Monroe, in all her skirt-blowing glory near the top of the tree. Most years he tries to put her where the angel should go at the very top. The last card reminds us both that he finished his thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail twelve years ago and made it home five days before Christmas. We have two ornaments that are an AT marker and a hiking boot that one of his trail buddies gave him. So, if you weren't on my list to get an actual card in the mail, hope you enjoy these on the blog!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Beautiful Christmas Wedding for Amanda & Zach

I'm finishing up Amanda and Zach's wedding photos and thought I'd share a little preview. Looking at them puts me in the Christmas spirit!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Zach, Amanda & Chester?!?

I'm working away on the photos from last Saturday's wedding of Amanda and Zach and trying to get them finished before the weekend. With this freezing weather that they say is coming in, I thought it was a good time to remember some warmer weather and share some of the photos from Amanda's bridal portrait session. I took her portraits back in the fall because she wanted to do them outside and we needed for the weather to be nicer. We had a wonderful afternoon at Chowan and the new swings that they hung up near the gazebo were put to good use. Don't you like the barefoot bride just swinging away? Amanda also just HAD to have some photos with her little Chester. I imagine that some girls are nervous introducing the new man in their lives to their father, but I think Zach should have been anxious about getting Chester's approval. Chester and his mommy are close!!! I think it's kind of sweet that they're walking off into the sunset in this last photo. I hope Chester's not too lonely this week because I'm pretty sure he got left at home for the honeymoon in Antigua.

Monday, December 14, 2009


I took some photos this morning that I thought had such special meaning and I wanted to share a few of them. First of all, congratulations to Angel and Tony on the birth of their beautiful little Isabella. Angel called me several weeks before the baby was born to see if I would come to their home after she was born and take some photos in her cradle. It's such a special cradle because it is covered in fabric from Angel's mother's wedding dress. I've know Angel's family all my life and photographed her wedding and her sister's wedding and I thought this was just the sweetest thing I had heard of in a long time. I think it made it even more special to me because my father had done "Grandma Debbie's" bridal portrait wearing this gown and it was taken back in the day when my mother was the oil colorist who painted it. While Angel was taking a diaper break with Isabella, I put Debbie's bridal portrait in the cradle among the beautiful little lace pillows made from her dress and snapped a quick photo. And I'm such a sentimental slob that I was just enchanted with her beautiful little christening dress hanging on the closet door and the special ornaments on the Christmas tree including the cake topper from Angel and Terry's wedding and one of baby Isabella's first little shoe ornaments. I know it's going to be a special Christmas around this home this year!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Gift Certificate SALE!!!

We're running around like elves over here and looking ahead to closing next Friday afternoon for our annual two-week vacation. We're finishing orders, framing photos, and swimming in Christmas cards, and I thought I'd offer a sale on gift certificates that can be used in 2010 and beyond. We're selling gift certificates in any denomination at 20% off next Monday through Friday. This is a great last-minute gift or stocking stuffer for that person on your list who may want to visit us next year -- new moms and dads for baby photos, high school seniors and the endless wallets they need, brides and grooms for everything, and framing for everyone. If you're too busy to make it over to Conway or just want to save the gas, give us a call and put it on your credit card and we can mail the gift certificate to you in plenty of time for holiday giving. Be sure to tell us whether you'd like your gift certificate to have a baby, wedding or general photo on the front. Merry Christmas, everyone!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


No cute photos today, folks. Just some heartfelt words that I want to write and you're welcome to read if you like. Today would have been my father's 90th birthday. I've admitted on many occasions that I was a "daddy's girl." We were close and I am very aware that, as we say in the South, I "take after him" and I consider that a compliment. I am writing today not just to celebrate the date of his birth but also his influence on my life as a photographer. Conway Photo would literally not exist without all of the hard work, sweat, anxiety and, most importantly, the love he poured into this business. Nothing in his young life should have created an artist. He was born on the farm and would probably have lived happily as a farmer except for the passion for photography that he discovered at an early age. He had to farm to make a living when he was young but he worked beyond overtime to perfect his craft. There were many components of his life that are a study in contrasts. He came along at a time when he had to leave school at a young age to work, but he became a man who educated himself in the things that were important to him and he continued to grow and learn throughout his life. He went without complaint to serve his country and lived for two years in foreign countries but he was always the happiest in his own corner of Northampton county. He worked in a profession that was practically unknown in this rural corner of the state and became both professionally and financially successful, but I'm pretty sure he did not measure his own happiness in terms of these successes. I can list for you several of the things that made him happy. He enjoyed seeing a really pretty field of peanuts or cotton. He delighted in watching the deer come into the edge of the field behind the house at twilight. He was overjoyed at the sight of the church pews at Zion Methodist filled with people. He was beyond proud when his children or his grandson made the honor roll at school. He loved photographing weddings and enjoyed a fatherly affection for "his brides." When he died we tried to estimate how many weddings he had photographed through the years and the only number we could come up with was 3000+. Just about every wedding I photograph today has at least one man, woman or couple approach me and tell me about my father photographing their wedding 10, 20, 30, 40 or more years ago. I treasure every one of those encounters because I know how important this was to him. He never really stopped working and actually photographed two weddings with me the weekend before the heart attack that would ultimately take his life. Photography was not just his job; it was his passion. I believe that he considered he was lucky for much of his life. He found his career in something he loved and he never had to leave the farm that was a part of his life; he met and married the woman I once heard him describe as "the most beautiful girl he ever met"; he was able to return home from war and was painfully conscious of the many men who did not; he raised two children that he was proud of and who loved him dearly; he created a business that became a part of the lives of generations of families in two states and left behind not just the building that I sit in and write from this morning but a visual history of our past. I can take you back to see the boxes and boxes of negatives that are the lives of my neighbors -- the baby photos, the senior portraits, the weddings, the families. He was able to capture these moments in their lives and was proud and happy to do so. It's not just me that wouldn't be here without him; I think a lot of us would have bare walls and only memories without his life's work. Happy Birthday, Daddy.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Jack & Carter

I've had these little sweethearts saved in my blog folder for almost a month and just couldn't get around to writing about them. (I also wanted to check with their mom to be sure I could show them -- I didn't want to spoil a Christmas surprise). It's sometimes hard to get two that are this little to cooperate but Jack and Carter were great. Of course, Carter slept some of the time which made his cooperation easier. I just thought they were so precious and wanted to show them off.
Doesn't Jack have some of the cutest expressions?

Their little Christmas pajamas were perfect for the season and Jack was trying to be so helpful in getting his little brother to stop crying.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Reindeer Reese!!

Is this a Christmas card or what?!! I think it's absolutely adorable even if I did design it myself. I had help. Mommy Valerie said she wanted red and green polka dots, I found a cool font and, most importantly, Reese was her perfect little self with her monogrammed bloomers and sassy reindeer ears. I know everyone that opens this card from Valerie, Graham and Reese is going to smile!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Growing Up Right Before My Lens

I feel like I've taken photos of so many wonderful families and beautiful children in the past few weeks but I'm petrified about putting them on my blog because I don't want to ruin a Christmas surprise for anyone. So I decided to share a couple of families that I know are "safe" for me to show. I've said before that it's one of the best parts of my job that I get to see treasured clients year after year and watch them grow. I photographed Jody and Vickie Soper's wedding "x" number of years ago (I can't remember how many) and Vickie actually set a goal for herself of having photos taken every year on or around their anniversary. They've missed a couple of years or didn't get them taken right around their anniversary (like the photo at the beach) but they have actually been more successful than most at keeping a record of the growth of their family. I've done their family photos in the studio, at the beach, at their house, at the church they were married in and several other locations. I look forward to hearing Vickie's wonderful Southern accent on the other end of the phone line every year when she calls. I don't know if I'll make it until the girls get married but I'd probably drag myself out of retirement if they called.
I got to know Morgan and Tammy Tackett when they lived in Ahoskie several years ago. They moved to Durham about the time that Spencer Margaret was born but they've given me the privilege of continuing to photograph their growing family. Every year in November they make the trek from Durham to Conway for a family photo and some shots of the children. I can't believe how fast they're growing!