Friday, January 30, 2009

New Items

There are so many new products coming along that I don't get a chance to write about them or tell my clients about them before something newer comes along. As well as all the new albums and coffee table books, there are tons of new products. I've got a few to share here that have been popular in our area.
You've probably all seen the calendars. They're a great treat for the grandparents and who doesn't have at least 12 cute photos of their kids. There are also note pads, dry-erase boards, and playing cards with your choice of photo on them. One of my favorites and one of the most popular is the watercolor-paper note cards. These cards really "feel" nice and are a special treat to the person you send them to. I've done some stock cards with some local scenes like the old Red Apple restaurant in Murfreesboro, Conway High School, and some of the peanut-picking scenes from the 1940's. I've also done some note cards from weddings and children's portrait sittings. Nothing is more personal than a note with your photo or your child's photo.
As with everything, we have samples here in the studio. Stop by and take a look!

Jessica & Hunter

We may be a little chilly right now but I think Jessica and Hunter are still basking in the warm sun of their honeymoon. I don't remember the details of their trip but I think they were going somewhere warm. These two have been a wonderful, special couple to work with. I did a great, extensive engagement session with them on the Outer Banks last year and they have met with me several times to discuss their wedding photography. They planned carefully and gave me plenty of opportunities to get to know them and they scheduled their day so that we would have time to get the photos they wanted.

Considering the bad weather we've had lately, I was concerned that they would have a cold, rainy, messy day but Mother Nature really came through. It was the mildest day we've had lately --no rain and we were even able to take lots of photos outside.

Edenton is a beautiful spot for a wedding with all of the wonderful old buildings and history on every corner. Jessica and Hunter got married in picturesque St. Paul's church which has been there since the colonial era. Jessica climbed into her hot, red heels (see my earlier blog about that) and her maids into their elegant cranberry gowns and we had a gorgeous wedding. The flowers were especially beautiful -- by Dozier's Florist of Hertford. After the ceremony, the wedding party climbed on the Edenton trolley and headed for "the Green" in front of the old courthouse for some fun shots. While the girls bustled Jessica's gown, the guys got a little restless and did some "jumping" shots. It reminded me of a Beatles album cover!!

A wonderful evening of dinner and dancing followed at the country club with one of the most unique table favors I've ever seen -- each guest got a lottery ticket!! Throughout the evening I'd see guests scratching away at their lottery ticket and even heard a few "YEAH!". I don't think anyone won a fortune but there must have been a few winners in the crowd.

I'm finishing up their wedding website and hope to have it completed by the time these two come home from their honeymoon. Thanks, Jessica and Hunter, for allowing me to be a part of your special day!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

New Looks!!

You may not have noticed and I hope you really don't care too much but I've finally added my photo to my blog and my Facebook page. I had a few people mention to me that it was a darn shame that a photographer didn't have a photo of herself for all to see and Peggy has been bugging me to take a new photo ever since I cut off my hair. Those of you that know me are correct in recognizing that I'm no fashion plate and not much for make-up but I had an appointment this morning that required both make-up and a presentable sweater so I got Lynn to take my photo before I left. I put my retouching skills to the extreme test and tried to take some years and pounds off before I uploaded the photo. If I can make myself look this presentable, I can make my wonderful clients look like Angelina Jolie!

Also, for those of you (my friends) who helped me select a new logo for the studio before Christmas, thanks for the votes. We're using it already on some of our correspondence, etc. but haven't quite gotten everything switched over yet. I thought you'd enjoy seeing what we selected.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

You've Come a Long Way, Babies!

It probably tells you how old I am that I've used "you've come a long way, baby" as a title since it's from an old Virginia Slims ad but it's the first thing that came to mind when I was working on the new photos of little Katie and Chloe Morris. These precious cuties have come to see me for photos at 3, 6, 9 and now 12 months old and look at how they've grown. We could keep them on the background this time but I suspect that the next time I see them, we'll need lots of help to keep them both in the same place at the same time!

Sweet Mason

I've said before how much I love working with former brides and grooms who bring in their new babies for photos. Amanda and Charlie go back even further with me because I remember them both from my years working at Northampton-East. I followed their romance, photographed their wedding, and am now enjoying the privilege of photographing little Mason. He was a sweetheart even though Mandy thinks he "misbehaved" by wetting our blanket during his nudie photos. What are washing machines made for if not for that!

Amanda was my husband's office assistant at East so I had to report to him how special and sweet the baby is. I also told Joe (my husband) that I thought Amanda and Charlie would be good parents and he wanted to know why I said that. My years of observing parents have made me believe that all that love and good common sense will carry little Mason through with flying colors.
You ought to check out Mandy's blog. She's doing a great job of documenting little Mason and is taking some great photos. She's one of the followers of the Conway Photo blog so click around and you'll find her.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Red Hot!

I've had brides in cowboy boots, bedroom shoes, ballet slippers, even barefoot. I've got a special place in my heart for Sami and Jessica -- my brides with the sassy, red heels. I've been wanting to write on my blog about these "red hot" blushing brides for some time but I needed to wait until after yesterday when Jessica got married. I didn't dare put her photo online before the wedding! But check out the cool kicks on these hot chicks!!
In a couple of days, I'll be sharing some photos from Jessica and Hunter's wedding in historic Edenton. It has been so cold lately but they got lucky with a beautiful day!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Looking Back -- "Ain't We Cute!"

I have lots of people who appreciate old photos who tell me that "I'm sittin' on a gold mine" because the studio's files and my father's photography files are pretty much complete and intact from 1946 to the present. My father was insistent on guarding his negatives because he knew that they represented a piece of someones life and I've tried to follow suit. When we switched to digital several years ago, I set up my own system of backups and backups to the backups in the hope that I would never lose someones history as well.

I'm sure there are some negatives that have gotten damaged or misplaced through the past half century but that's a rare occurrence. It really does give us a wonderful feeling when former clients call us because their wedding album has been destroyed or their portrait damaged and they want to know if there is anything we can do to help. The majority of the time it's no problem for us to find the old negative and have a perfect, new photo made.

Sometimes it takes a little digging to find an old set of negatives and sometimes in the process of searching we find an envelope of negative that just looks too irresistible to us. We bring it back in the studio and often find pieces of our own personal history. I found such an envelope last week when I was looking up an old file from 1963. It's my first grade class on a field trip to the Conway Fire Department. We all climbed up on the fire truck and my father was called to take our photo. I don't remember the day very clearly but it was a treat to see all my classmates in this photo. By the way, I'm on the front row, sixth from the left, with the bangs.

Anyway, long story short, I think I'll start sharing some of these treasures from the archives here as I run across them.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Golden Couple

I tell everyone that the best part of my job is that I usually get to be involved with people who are celebrating the happy occasions of their lives -- weddings, graduations, new babies, etc. Nothing tops a golden anniversary and I was fortunate to photograph this past Saturday the 50th anniversary of Bunnie and Betty Shotwell of Roanoke Rapids. The happy couple didn't completely know what their children had planned for them only that they needed to be ready and that a party was in store for them. They were driven to their granddaughter's house in a vintage car (sorry I don't know my cars, folks, but someone said they thought it was a '57 model) and the party got rolling. A delicious lunch, two fabulous bluegrass bands, some toasts and a bit of a roast, and lots of family photos. An altogether happy day for this wonderful family. Congrats, Mr. and Mrs. Shotwell. All of the anniversary photos will be posted within a couple of days. See them from the "Clients" section of my website -- -- under the password "shotwell."

Sunday, January 11, 2009

We're going to miss you, Megan!!

If I've got my timeline correct, today is the day that our intern Megan Klingler of Bertie High School was going to present her senior project. Megan is interested in photography and has been visiting us regularly during this past semester as part of this graduation requirement at Bertie. She has a great personality and has been an asset on the days she has visited with us. She even had the nerve to spend all day with us on the day after Thanksgiving which is traditionally the most hectic day of the year in the studio. She got to observe and absorb a lot that day and I think even ended up babysitting some of our subjects and their exhausted mothers. Megan's photography that she shared with me made some great strides and I only hope we didn't drive her too crazy. We also hope everything went well with the presentation today and that she passed with flying colors. We are going to miss her but plan to call her up and bug her if we need some help.

By the way, Megan is a busy girl and also works part-time at the U.S. Cellular store in Ahoskie. In fact, she sold me my new Blackberry right before Christmas and, like President-elect Obama, I'm already addicted to it.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Studio Kitty

Most of you who have visited us through the years may have noticed that we've always had a cat or two around the studio. I'm a cat person both at home and at work and thought you might like to know a little about our current "Studio Kitty." If we lived in the city, we would probably call him a rescue cat but out here in the country, I think someone just dropped him off at the road and he decided to adopt us. He wandered up to the studio one day as a full-grown cat and seemed to immediately claim us as his property. He didn't even seem to mind his immediate trip to the vet for shots and neutering. He seemed so congenial, in fact, that we named him "Friendly" but he mainly answers to "Kitty." Unfortunately, this proved to be a misnomer. We have finally come to the conclusion that he bites and scratches the people he loves the most. I have to believe that because he bites and scratches me more than anyone else. So, be warned, he looks nice and most of the time he is, but his schizophrenic kitty personality comes forward sometimes and he is most "unfriendly."

Bridal Parts

Most of you have probably seen or heard of "Baby Parts" photos -- those really cute little composites of infants that highlight all those adorable little body parts that don't stay little forever like plump little toes and fingers, tiny ears, and of course little baby butts. We do lots of sessions for children at anywhere from 2-6 months and the "Baby Parts" have become a part of the sitting that parents love.

On some recent bridal sittings, we've started photographing what (for lack of a better name) we're calling "Bridal Parts." When you think about it, brides put so much effort into all the little details that are a part of their wedding ensemble -- the lace and beading detail on the dress, the ring, the veil, the jewelry. When you highlight these individual pieces with some dramatic, contrasty black and white photography, I think you get a really nice effect. It's a nice way to highlight what creates the sum total of a beautiful bride.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


I love the look and feel of watercolor paper. It just feels so heavy and rich to me with a great texture. In the past few months, we've been doing more and more work that we're having printed on watercolor paper. Of course, I can't begin to show you the texture of the paper in this blog and you may not really appreciate it until you feel it yourself, but I thought I'd share a couple of photos. A really pretty photo this year that was striking on watercolor paper was this beautiful little close-up of Avery Byrum of Ahoskie. And I loved the 3,6,9,12 month composite of Hatch Morris that his mom ordered. It was so pretty when I saw it printed out that I ordered one for the studio so you can see it in person if you stop by.

We're also doing some in-house printing of note cards on watercolor stock. The watercolor cards come in three sizes -- a large note card, a square card, and a small note card. I had a few clients who had me do these for their Christmas cards and they really turned out great! I also personally gave a few sets of the small cards to some of my friends and family as Christmas gifts. I have printed up some of the cards that I have here in the studio with some historic scenes from this area which made great stocking stuffers. I have some of the cards with the famous peanut harvesting photos my father took in 1947. I also have some cards with the original Conway High School in the snow photo that is very special to Conway High alumns.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Wedding Central

It's Wedding Central at Conway Photo. I came back from our two-week Christmas holiday to sixteen messages on the answering machine and twelve of them were about weddings! And that doesn't even include a couple of emails about weddings and the five or six phone calls we got the first day we were open. I think everyone got engaged over Christmas or they either finally settled on a date and they're now in full swing planning weddings. The worst was that two girls that I know and have watched grow up left messages requesting the same date! We'll get all the planning sorted out soon and I'm looking forward to a great year of weddings. Those of you who know me know that I love weddings the best so this is a great start to 2009 for me!!

A Christmas Challenge

I know them and love them so I don't think Sherri and Kristie Rawls (they have married names now, I know, but I always remember everyone by the name they had when I photographed their wedding) will take offense at me calling their portrait session one of the greatest challenges of the holiday season. We often photograph groups of grandchildren to give as Christmas gifts to the grandparents. The Rawls grandchildren had a unique, built-in challenge -- lots of little ones. Since five of the six children were under five years old and three of these were under six months old, it was a challenge just keeping them from crying. We managed to make it through the session with a couple of exhausted mothers and a portrait that should have melted a grandparent's heart. Please tell me it was worth it, Sherri & Kristie, because I thought it was.

Some nice looking ladies!

I don't share a lot about my family but I thought you'd enjoy seeing these four beautiful women. They are my mother and her three sisters at our annual "after Christmas get-together with all the Spivey chicks to eat up the leftovers" party. My mother came from a large family of thirteen children (the Spiveys) in the Rehoboth community outside Jackson. There are only five of them still living -- my mother, who is the oldest still living, her three sisters and one brother (he doesn't get invited to this strictly female party). Getting these wonderful women and their daughters, granddaughters, nieces, daughters-in-law, etc. together is a special holiday treat and we look forward to it every year. Just so you'll know -- from left to right, this is Fannye Ashley, Rachel Gassner, Evelyn Hedspeth, and Eloise Smith.

Christmas Cards

I thought we had an especially good group of Christmas cards for our clients this year and I wanted to share some of them with you. Don't you just love the variety of ideas that work for a card? Some of them are just great classic portraits like the photos of Logan and Mason Harrell and Owen Black. I really loved the vintage look of Scott & Jenny Culpepper's family from Courtland in their Civil War garb . And you'd never know that we almost turned the Chamblee children into living popsicles taking their photo. It was so cold outside that day (it was the day that it snowed for about 10 minutes) that I was afraid Cyndi was going to end up with three frostbitten children. I also did some custom-design cards with multiple images for some of our kids and families. Hope you enjoy a touch of the holiday spirit!

Santa said there were good girls and bad girls!!

The bad girl I'm talking about here is definitely ME!! I was so stressed trying to finish holiday orders around here that I haven't written anything for weeks. Peggy really got on me today when she came back to work and I ALWAYS listen to Peggy because she's kept me straight for more years than I care to think about. Anyway, I wanted to get back to writing and she gave me the push I needed. So, my apologies to Santa and everyone who reads this for not writing sooner. I'll try to be a "good girl" in the new year and write more often.
Of course, as usual, I had lots of good little girls around the holidays and wanted to share a few photos with you. I have so many sweet little girls that come my way every year and their mothers go to so much trouble to find the most beautiful little outfits. They are all fun to photograph and we look forward to some of our favorite repeat customers. I wanted to share a few with you.
It wouldn't be Christmas around here without a visit from Miss Ryleigh Skeeters of Newsoms. Ryleigh always has STUNNING Christmas dresses and a new doll with a matching outfit. I designed her mommy, Lisa, two different Christmas cards that included several of her poses and even ordered her the Photostamps with Ryleigh's photos on them. That really adds a nice touch to a special holiday greeting.

Many times we don't get to see our little ones after they start school but we had little Miss Carly Stephenson come back to us this year. Isn't she a sweetheart? She ran the gamut from elegant, grown-up poses to ones with pizzazz. I hope she doesn't get it in her head any time soon to cut that beautiful hair!

And the "Dancing Queen" title of the year has to go to Anna Faith Howell! Sometimes to loosen up someone when we first start taking photos. I'll have them dance a little or spin around. Anna Faith has not forgotten me having her dance about a year ago and now she insists on a little dance every time she comes by. She had so many adorable photos that her mom couldn't pick just one so I created a little dancing panel for her. Have you ever seen so many moves on one so young?
And, of course, we're always happy to see Skylar Wood. Her mommy and daddy have been very faithful about bringing her over since she was born and it's such a joy to be a small part of her growing up. Her mommy finds the MOST BEAUTIFUL clothes for her and has had us make very special little albums and collages of her photos. Such a little sweetie!!