Category Archives: Reflections

Why scheduling your family session is important! (Remember…It’s more than just a picture)


Last year I had the pleasure of taking photos for a beautiful family. I didn’t know their story and they didn’t pay for my services….yes it was a FREE session.You see, my lovely friends over at Live Free Chiropractic did an amazing giveaway in 2016. Each week on Tuesday they had great prizes during December to give back. They did a Trivia game where their clients were able to answer questions and get entered to win. On Tuesdays they drew a name for a winner of all types of great prizes including but not limited to my services…. a FREE family photo session. Just in time for Christmas none the less.

May I introduce the Perez Family….. Party of 6

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This has to be one of my favorite shots because it was two hearts that melted together to create this family! Mom and Dad often get lost in the mix of fulfilling and supporting their children in everything they do. I always like to take time for the parents to reconnect because they are important too and sometimes need to be reminded.

Once you are parents, your marriage, matters more not less. Because now other people are counting on you. 

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What a sweet family they are, The Perez’s. We had so much fun walking around the New Hanover County Arboretum taking pictures. They were fun, care free and full of life. It may sound biased but I adore the spirit that little boys hold with their energy and spunk and do not get to photograph them near enough. Now, the girls on the other hand, were quiet and caring which made for the perfect family blend.

I hope that when families look back at their “Sessions” they had they don’t just think about the weather, what they wore or even the cost but instead can think of the moments we shared. We created memories that will be captured for a lifetime and shared for generations to come. This session, just like them all, are about creating a time capsule. This time capsule helps bring you back to a place in time much like a song. I pray that we as parents can learn to honor yourself and your family by making time to capture your memories. Unfortunately for some you never know when it may be the last opportunity.

“Ain’t if funny how a melody can bring back a memory. Take you to a another place in time. Completely change your state of mind.”  Clint Black

Thank you Brad and Becky Walter for introducing me to this sweet family and being so great to your clients. They are lucky to have you!

Rushing to the hospital…. a Day to remember forever!


I will forever cherish this day as it can not be forgotten….

I was for the first time in my personal business career “ON CALL” . I got a phone call from Tommy telling me it was time. The funny thing is I had not even meet him yet. I had spoken with Jenn many times, had lunch, and gotten to know her. That’s what you do when you will share in one of the most amazing miracles God has ever given us…Birth. Creating a life inside you and from you.

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I rushed to the hospital and was panicking as I thought I may not make it in time. Tommy said she was starting to push and I was getting no response as I am sure he was tending to helping momma. I was scared I would get pulled but just thought if one tries I will just keep going right? Well, I made it there safe and sound. Now to wait to be passed through to the birthing room which I am sure only took 5 minutes, but to me it felt like an hour. I walked into the room threw my bag down and got to work! Wow, this was REALLY HAPPENING and I was there to WITNESS IT!!!!!!!!! Mom was so busy pushing that it was in this moment after Brayden was laid on her chest that she noticed I was even there.

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I know that these pictures will forever be cherished but I am not sure this family, this woman who trusted me can ever know how honored I am. To have been trusted to share this moment with such intimacy and love. It was amazing to not only see but feel the love between Tommy and Jenn and to see their family complete with his arrival.

I was there to witness his first breath, first kiss, his first bath, his first letter to dad, his first blessing and so much more. Happy birthday sweet boy! I hope to always be a part of your life and watch you grow as well as your amazing family. Your daddy sacrifices so much for your family as well as this country. Be blessed go in love and I can not wait to do your 1 YEAR pictures this weekend. Sending you my love and birthday wishes today.

P.S. I cried several times through writing this so excuse me if it is not grammatically correct because it came from my heart.

5 YEAR ANNIVERSARY!!!


As the date has passed for my 5 year Anniversary my heart is so full. I am sure to some this may sound clique but I have worked so hard and sacrificed a lot to get this business where it is today. Following my heart is my number one priority always  with customer service coming in next. I never envisioned that I would be where I am today but I truly wouldn’t be here without clients like YOU! You have trusted me with your special events both in planning and capturing them.

I started this company to only be an Event planner but God’s plans were bigger than mine. Now I have the BEST JOB EVER and can offer to you LOTS of services including but not limited to;

  • Event/Wedding Planning
  • Day of Coordination
  • Photography for your Events
  • Private Photo Sessions
  • Photobooth Rental (both enclosed and open air)
  • Popcorn Machines
  • Chocolate Fountains
  • Creating art through Face Painting
  • Rental items

With my 5 year anniversary came a makover…I am so happy to announce my new logo!!!

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I am happy to say that I have NO MORE dates available for 2016 however I am bookking for 2017 already. Stay tuned for my announcement coming soon for regular and mini sessions for your Christmas family photos.

#frommyhearttoyours

Courtney Winter

 

 

From plain chairs to extraordinary bench


I ADORE home projects and repurposing things that some would otherwise throw away! I have had these chairs for 7 years and got them from a family friend who had them for 5 years prior. They are not antiques, but they are sturdy reliable but worn chairs…so I decided to repurpose them. Not only does this make them look unique and beautiful, but it added extra seating space!!!

Here they are in the beginning…

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I pulled each cushion off, pulled off the sliders on the feet (to replace them with new ones). I had pallets sitting around and cut the boards off and measured them perfectly. I cut each board to cover the entire area. This was my FIRST time using the table saw thanks to some help from my brother. The pieces don’t match perfect in color but that is part of the beauty. Not to mention the stain will blend them more. I nailed the boards down and then inset them into the wood. I had to use a planer and belt sander to get the boards smooth and even. ( That took a while and super important that you inset them so you do not damage your tools while smoothing.) Make sure to clean the surface after sanding and then begin staining!

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Follow directions on stain. Make sure to get a nice coat on all the wood without saturating it too much. ( As you can see we cut the backs down, which was a last minute decision, but I thought it would fit better under the table.)

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Once your stain dries you can seal it!!! I used Polyurethane and did two coats, but you can use your discretion as to how think you want it. Now I have a NEW beauty and a conversational piece!!

Be sure to visit my blog again and checkout my pinterest page as I try to upload as much of my own stuff as I can….MORE COMING SOON. Let me know what you think…..THANK you for visiting!!!

Courtney

Preferred Vendor List/ Friendor List… you decide.


What does this mean you might ask?? ….

It is late at night and I can’t sleep so what do I do? I watch tutorials on photography to get better, I read wedding blogs to learn what is up and coming, and I check in on fellow friendors. What is a friendor?? Well we fellow wedding/party vendors call each other friendors to suggest we are all friends, but in reality we are not. Some may call this blog controversial but I call it real!!!!!

I was in the process on wanting to create my own wedding preferred vendor list “friendors” and after looking at some other websites I decided not to. I am torn because especially as a planner I feel like I should offer up a list of people I have worked with, but there are other amazing people in town I haven’t worked with. Should these people be excluded even though they are fantastic at their job? Do I think my preferred list rocks, have I seen tons of their work, is their space beautiful, do they have great food, good service? Yes to all , but does that justify me giving them first preference over TONS of other amazing “friendors” in town? No!

No because…

1. You the client are not me

2. Your personalities may clash

3. Maybe they are amazing but out of your budget

4. Perhaps your “friendor” is someone I have never worked with

I will tell you from the vendors side I don’t want to feel “unworthy” to not be included on a vendors site but sometimes because we are all human it hurts our feelings. It’s like the kid who got picked last in gym class. Then my reality check is that I am not “included” not because I don’t deserve it but because there is a click or a monopoly. One which I am not included in. Fellow “friendors” excluding me from their list whether they know if my work is amazing or bad! Your lose! I have decided I won’t create a list as I don’t want myself or my clients to miss a good thing with any vendor in town. There are so many AMAZING VENDORS to choose from and enough work for us all. Good luck friendors 🙂

Please do not misunderstand me and think that I am saying all preferred lists are not worthy. Many of those vendors do an AMAZING job and deserve a call for a quote. Many vendors do a great job of not only fulfilling their contractual obligation but also making sure you walk away 100% satisfied. Some vendors work hard for each and every client because they are passionate about their company, reputation, and business. These are teh vendors you should hire! Follow your gut and go with who you trust no matter where the recommendation comes from. Hire the vendor that you feel will give you the best quality service not cheapest price.

I write this blog both out of personal frustration sometimes that comes from being on the short side of the stick with some vendors/venues and also to warn future clients. Whether you hire me or not isn’t the issue at hand but ask HOW your planner/venue/photographer/caterer/etc came up with this vendor list. Some will tell you it is whom has worked in the space which makes sense, but some just say because they are good. Ask yourself if a company has been in business for roughly over 2 years or more their “friendor” list would not fit on one page. The reality here is to do your own research, remember to ask questions, and lastly ask for personaly references from past clients for any vendor or venue.

HAPPY PLANNING!!!!!!!!!!!!

Courtney Winter

(910)688-3433

Miracles Do happen


This is a true miracle that I am blessed to be a part of and happy to share this story. Their is an amazing organization called Capturing Hope Photography based out of Clemmons, NC. They are a non profit that recruits photographers to volunteer their time to photograph babies and familis in the NICU. I filled out an application and waiting almost two years after hearing about them from a previous bride. Finally the call come through!! There was a family in our area in need. I immediately said yes.

Now please know how nervous I was on so many different levels; 1. I had never photographed a baby inside 2. I had no experience with the NICU and my heart is big (also that meant I didn’t want to cry in front of this family) 3. I wasn’t sure what to expect from mother or child. I arrived to take photos and feel in love. His name was Aiden, and as I write this now my eyes tear up thinking about seeing him with tubes, unable to breath on his own, and a young mother who was unsure of where to go next. He was a precious gift from God who was born early.

I meet Aiden And Carene on December 18th 2014, after he had already been fighting for his life for 3 weeks. Even a year later I think of them both often. My original contract was to visit once but I went back two more times for photos and another time to visit and bring her dinner. I was a young mother and even though I have no idea what it is like to be in NICU with your angel praying that he lives another day I do understand how hard it is to be alone. I watched him grow, get stronger, and even remember seeing him without his tubes in. I was so scared to overstep my boundaries or not take pictures that would do him, and possibly his memory justice. Thank God he is better than ever now and his pictures were not a rememberance of his life, but of how strong he is and his fight to continue to live.

Through the capability of facebook I am able to still keep in touch with her and I love hearing how happy they are now and how far Aiden has come along. She has married and expecting another child. I couldn’t be happier for them both, They will both have a piece of my heart and always will. Carene shared this picture she made with me the other day and I had to write down my feelings and share. Thank you Carene for letting me into a small piece of your life and Aiden’s.

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Quote from Carene ” You weren’t a small part! You gave us some of our most treasured moments. Especially going home. ”

More photos of Aiden can be found here : https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.877995162244935.1073741874.245082725536185&type=3

Capturing Hopes Photography; https://www.facebook.com/CapturingHopesPhotography/?fref=ts

Where do heroes come from?


Through the course on starting this business I have come across a lot of amazing people, and I mean amazing! I pray that I can meet even more along the journey this career choice will take me on. A little over a year ago I was reunited with a dear friend from high school that I always looked up to back then, and still do, Kelli Neese Russell. Kelli is one of those amazing people who do amazing things for so many!!! Through her I have been blessed and will forever be in debt to her and her kindness.

This story began when Kelli asked me to facepaint for the St. Baldrick’s Event at Fibber’s in March of 2012. I had just started my business a little over six months before hand when she so graciously trusted me with her baby.  I brought my crew made up of my most trusted employees Tara Womble and Shawn Best both being my siblings. We painted on cheeks, foreheads, arms, backs, hands, and much more! We watched as all of those amazing and brave people shaved their heads to raise money for others in need. As we watched I remember my brother mentioning he wanted to shave his head after he saw a lovely lady shave hers especially after having scars that would be revealed. Not an easy thing for a woman, much less a woman with scars to show her story.

What you don’t know is that my brother, Christopher Shawn Best aka Shawn, was in a car accident in 1992. He was thrown out of the back windshield and a piece of metal went through his cheek, through his nasal glands, and entered his brain. He has a plate in his head and over the last 21 years has multiple brain surgeries, infections, scars, lost his ability to smell, and not to mention the scare of not seeing another day. As I am writing this he is scheduled for another surgery on March 20th. He is making a huge leap to shave his head this year despite his scars and wounds that go beyond physical so I am asking for any donation that you can give to help an amazing lady right here in our home town, Wilmington NC, who has been diagnosed with cancer. The more money we can raise the more help we can provide!

HELP HIM HELP HER………Where do heroes come from?

CONTACT P3 TO GIVE YOUR DONATION TODAY OR GIVE ONLINE FOLLOWING LINK! Donations being accepted until March 17th!    http://www.youcaring.com/dashboard.aspx#home

Check out Shaving for Chere , donate, and come to the event if you can!

https://www.facebook.com/events/510779698960994/?fref=ts