annie agarwal photography | Buford, Georgia Photographer »

emily’s senior story // buford senior photographer

One of the beauties of social media is it connects us with people we may never have met otherwise.
Such was the case in this sweet senior story.

Since moving to Georgia, I’ve been on the look out for fun little shops and antique stores to frequent. I came across a spectacular one and began following some of their talented artists. It just so happened, that one of these ladies had a gorgeous daughter about to graduate from Buford High School. With a little help from Instagram and a ton of other fun emails in between, we decided on the perfect spot to meet up and capture this incredible season in Emily’s life.

The moment Emily stepped out of the car, it was obvious this girl was the definition of joy. She was bubbly and kind, with a smile that sparkled. She was up for crazy adventures, like hiking through tall weeds in sandals, without even a hint of hesitation. She was thoughtful and witty and so much fun to get to know. Listening to her, I could sense her genuine passion for others and her zeal for life.

Emily serves others by leading both a preschool class and an 8th grade girls small group at her church! But it doesn’t stop there- she’s making another trip to Haiti this summer to work with children, teaching them lessons in both English and God’s Word.

Seriously.
This girl is a dream!

Emily has wanted to be a kindergarten teacher for as long as anyone can remember and she’s been a cheerleader for nearly that long too! She’s just so well rounded, with a heart as big as her smile. I know her parents must be so incredibly honored to call her their daughter.

And here’s what I can picture over Emily’s college career- she’ll make waves- waves that will ripple out and impact countless others. She’ll take her faith and her passion and apply it. She’ll take her goals and crush them. She’ll take that smile and that joy and people will notice- there’s something about this girl that’s different. And they’ll be right!

And those unique qualities, those differences will make her stand out and give her the perfect platform to stand up and change the world!

So congratulations sweet Emily!

I’m so honored and thankful that our Instagram worlds collided and that I was able to serve you and your family. I pray these images will sit in frames and hang on walls and remind everyone who walks by what a treasure you really are!

“Don’t shine so others can see you. Shine so that through you, others can see Him.” C.S. Lewis

Special thanks to Grace for joining us, for adding to the fun and for helping us get those beautiful authentic smiles! Congratulations on your graduation as well! 

nicole and tommy’s engagement story \\ buford engagement photographer

We sat by each other on a cozy couch in an even cozier local coffee shop. We chatted about their story, their dreams and their wedding and it didn’t take long before I realized we’d easily become good friends!

Nicole and Tommy are witty and thoughtful and as they talked about how God moved in their story, I could sense deep gratitude for the way He brought them together.
This same sweet spirit was evident during their early morning engagement session.

They beamed when they caught a glance of each other. They leaned into each other’s arms with ease. And they laughed. We all laughed.
It felt like a cloud of joy was hanging us at every stop along the way!

Nicole and Tommy, I can’t wait to capture your big day and more importantly, I can’t wait to see all the ways God is going to use your beautiful marriage to encourage and bless others!

summer + hunter’s wedding story\\ wauchula wedding photographer

This day.
This couple.
It was perfection, in all the right ways.

It started with a precious email from Summer’s mom back in October. She shared not only their family’s heart for the upcoming wedding, but also the fact that nearly 30 years ago MY DAD was her wedding photographer! How incredible is that?

Over the months, countless emails and texts and a FaceTime meeting; we got to know one another better and found the most beautiful connection in our faith.  When I think back on Summer and Hunter’s wedding day, this will be one of my fondest recollections.

And I know it will be the same for their friends and family as well- because this day and this wedding were focused on the best things, the most important thing.

Summer and Hunter didn’t want a day that was just about them.
They wanted a day that honored their guests and their Savior.

The schedule, the ceremony, the celebration- they were all crafted with others in mind and they all pointed beautifully back to Jesus.

What an incredible honor it was to capture these moments as they unfolded and to do so with my sweet cousin Sarah, who years ago, when I first started this photography business, often second shot with me.

Truly, we couldn’t have asked for a lovelier day- both in the details and thoughtfulness that were on display, but even more so in the smiles, the joy and the relationships that were built along the way!

The day began watching Summer prepare to marry her love. The room was dripping with both anticipation and laughter; the joy palpable. There were smiles and tears, especially after she read the letter Hunter had sent her way. Sweet conversations were met with even sweeter hugs and the first look with Summer’s dad and brother were evidence to the depth and meaning of relationships in this family.

As we stepped outside for some portraits, the wind whirled through dresses and gave everyone a reason to snuggle in closer. The flowers, bold and breathtaking were the perfect compliment to the variety of colors the girls had selected to wear. Every ribbon, every bud, every hue seemed to flow seamlessly- the attention to detail was remarkable.

As Summer prepared to make her way down the aisle, her friends and family looked on. Her mom, clasped her hands to her mouth in absolute awe. Her groom, amazed at the beauty of his bride. And then, a time of worship etched into the middle of their ceremony and more importantly etched into the hearts of those in that sacred space.

After the ceremony, a band of celebratory guests made their way to Summer’s family property where we not only captured the newlyweds, but witnessed a stunning and heartfelt gathering to honor the bride and groom. Tables lined with greenery and flowers, twinkling lights that were matched by the twinkle in Summer’s eyes, delicious food to fill the body and soul, dancing under oak trees and a dessert bar that truly put a bow on a spectacular day.

And then they were off, leaving amidst their cheering guests in a sea of balloons. Off on this grand, refining and sanctifying adventure that is marriage- with a solid foundation, an unceasing love for others and the most important thing of all- a resolve to love forever and to fall deeper in love with Jesus together.

That my friends is what this perfect day was made of!

 

 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10

 


Hunter and Summer (and your sweet families), Thank you for trusting us with these moments and allowing us to be a part of a day that will surely live on in more than just these photos- but within your hearts for years to come. As you walk into this new season of marriage, may you always lean into one another and into Jesus. It won’t always be easy; but it will always be worth it! I can not wait to see how HE uses your marriage to share His message of hope!

Congratulations and Love,
Annie
————————————–

The Creative Team 

Dress: Essence of Australia | Florals: Cooper’s Wayside Flowers |  Make-Up: Taylor Bolin |  Hair: Lisa’s Hair and Nail Salon | Catering: Belinda Wheeler and Darin Hughes | Pie: Bride and Groom | Desserts: Jodi Albritton and Shelby Albritton | Ceremony Venue: First Baptist Church Wauchula | Reception: Bar Crescent S Ranch

 

 

 

 

 

Valentine’s Day: The Heart of Giving

I come from a long line of really great gift givers. You know, the ones who can walk in a store- see something that isn’t on anyone’s “list” and instantly know that it’s perfect?

As a child, this was exhilarating, because the element of surprise made opening each present a celebration in and of itself.
As a teenager, I may not have appreciated it quite as much- since every 15 year old’s list is so precise (ahem: gift cards and money please).
But now as an adult, I treasure it- like deep down in my heart treasure it- because it reminds me that someone not only loves me, but that they know me.
They know my heart, my likes, my personality, the things that will impact me- what will make me smile.
And don’t we all really long for that?
With February 14th quickly approaching, we’re all on the hunt for sweet little somethings that express to our Valentines they are both known and loved.
To help get you started, I’m sharing a few creative ideas which I have recently been the recipient of and some questions that will hopefully get your creative juices flowing!
1) What do they like- really like?
If they had a gift card to Target what section would they run to first? Some people would dart to the shoes, some to electronics… but if they’re like me, they would head right over to those cute accessories, because who doesn’t love a great bag? See, this wasn’t on any list- in fact, woe to me that I had never even heard of this awesome company, but when I unwrapped it, I was smitten! Heavy gray exterior, adorable striped interior and big enough to handle whatever I throw it’s way!
2) What’s been going on in their life lately? 
Finding a great gift really can be as easy as thinking through this question! Rather than just picking up a dozen roses, this type of gift says I see what you’re walking through and I know what’s heavy on your heart. For me, it was making this gigantic move from Florida to Georgia! So when I opened up this candle from my brother, I had to fight back the tears! He was aware of the struggles and found this thoughtful way to remind me that he cared. Every time I see this candle in our new home, I have two thoughts: I am loved. I am known.
3) Who do they cheer for?
Top of their lungs, loud as they can cheering… a favorite sports team perhaps? Then maybe a creative item that reflects their allegiance is the way to go! I love this blanket for a few reasons- one, it’s big enough for cuddling and two, it blends in with the rest of our decor. Don’t get me wrong, I love garnet and gold, but that doesn’t always fit the look of the room. Finding a favorite team item, but with a special spin is a win in my book! 
Who else might your Valentine cheer for? Their children of course! Consider having a custom necklace created so they can have them close by their hearts each day. I especially love this one because it comes with longer length chain options!
4) What inspires them? 
Remember that idea of being loved and known…well, this is the question that emphasizes the latter more than any of the others. What inspires each of us varies- for some it’s music, others it’s the written word, beautiful art, a stunning photograph. And that’s why this question will really get you digging down into your heart, so that you can see into theirs. One of the ways I’m inspired is by reading stories of women, moms specifically, who are in the trenches of parenting like me, and are doing so with great purpose. I love seeing the truth’s that God has taught them through their journeys and making similar applications to my own. I am inspired and challenged by their words and reminded that just like them, we all have a story to tell.
With a garden theme carried from cover to cover, Cultivate, encourages you to live a life of intentionality. It has truly tugged at my heart to be more aware of the grace offered to us by a loving God and to share it with all I encounter.
I have been following Ruth Chou Simons on Instagram for some time now. Her art work alone leaves me breathless, but coupled with her powerful words- the result is nothing less than magnificent. As she walks through various seasons of the heart, you’ll find this devotional to be like none other.
5) Where do their interests and passions collide?  
When my husband and I were attending seminary, we enjoyed study dates over this incredibly yummy coffee at the on campus cafe. It’s been years since we’ve sat in a grad class or studied for a final exam, but we are still passionate about the ministry training NOBTS provides. Our time there changed our lives and we are better followers of Jesus, stronger leaders and more passionate about our faith because of it. So when I open up a bag of coffee, with the Cafe New Orleans logo on it, my heart skips a beat. I love supporting a place that invested in our family!
Recently, we discovered another awesome coffee distributer that gives away up to 50% of their profits to an organization we have always been inspired by, One Life. So it goes a little something like this:
Interest = Coffee
Passion = Sharing the love of Jesus with others
And this is where they collide:
You know the things that break the heart of your Valentine better than anyone else; and finding a way to help support that cause, well, it goes a lot farther than a box of assorted chocolates!
While all of these ideas are incredibly thoughtful, none of them will ever satisfy the hole we each have in our hearts for being completely known and unconditionally loved. There is only ONE gift that could ever do that and it’s so powerful, so life giving that it’s nearly inconceivable that it’s FREE… the gift we find in a relationship with Jesus.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 NLT
No more hiding.  No more guilt.  No more trying to be enough.  No more feelings of defeat.  No more wondering if you’re worth it.
NO. MORE. OF. THAT.
Just this: completely known, unconditionally loved. HIS.
God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the worldso that we might have eternal life through him.
This is real love—not that we loved God,
but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 1 John 4:9-11 NLT
May The Greatest Gift of all be yours this Valentine’s Season!

View full post »

Valentine’s Day Family Traditions : Part 2

I’m not really sure how this tradition began, but much like the secret notes I shared about last week, this one stuck too!
It must have been somewhere in the mix of juggling work, ministry and raising four kids that I discovered I could often go an entire day without giving appropriate praise to my littles. So as February 1st rolled around, I thought it would be an exercise in both self discipline and good parenting to make time to encourage each of them on the 14 days leading up to Valentines.

I wanted this idea to be simple to implement, but I desperately wanted it to be powerful as well.
So I did what any last minute mom would do on January 31st, when an idea has sprouted in her heart. I brewed a pot of coffee, found the construction paper and got settled in, cutting out 14 hearts for each of my kiddos.

I knew from all the research that the words we speak to our children carry a great deal of weight and I wanted to leverage mine for their good. I wanted to sing their praises for something more than just getting an A on their math test (although that’s a reasonable celebration to be had), but I wanted to add applause for matters of the heart, character traits I wanted them to continue developing… things like “You make me smile when I watch you hold the door open for a stranger” or “I enjoy watching you grow to become more and more like Jesus, as you love the children at school who aren’t always nice.” These were the kinds of words that I knew could make a difference and these are the words I needed to be more intentional about communicating.

So armed with a stack of paper cut outs, I wrote a “love note” to each of our children and taped a single message to each of their bedroom doors before calling it a night.  I tucked the 52 remaining hearts into a drawer and wondered if this might be just the thing they needed- the thing I needed.

Indeed it was.

As the month continued, each child would pop out of bed and race to their door to see what message was waiting. There were smiles and hugs and joy- lots of joy.

And just to be sure there were some tears on my end. Tears of happiness mixed with tears of regret…

Because sometimes we just get busy as moms, right? We’re so occupied with laundry, making the meals, carting everyone to practice and praying somehow along the way we don’t mess them up- that we miss these tiny little slivers of time where we can impact their growing hearts with powerful words of encouragement and truth.

I didn’t want to miss those moments any more. I wanted to dive deeply into the sea of ways to build up my children.

I love what H. Norman Wright shares in his book How to Talk So Your Kids Will Listen

One of our goals as parents should be to enable our children to think as highly of themselves as God thinks of them. A chief means for accomplishing this goal is to convey nurturing messages, both verbally and nonverbally. If you fill their lives with positive messages of their value to you and to God, they will develop self-worth and self- discipline, and become responsible, independent adults.

Nurturing messages convey to your children something good about themselves. These positive messages don’t increase your children’s value, because your children are already priceless in God’s eyes. However, nurturing messages increase your children’s value in their own eyes, thus opening the door for learning, growth, maturity and independence.

 

When my children pack up their last bag and leave me standing teary eyed on the front steps, that’s one thing I desperately want for them to have received under our care- the knowledge that they are of immense value- not just to us, but to God. That His love and ours is like an ocean- so vast and so deep. That we are proud of their accomplishments, but also proud of their character. And as silly as it may sound, this Valentine’s Tradition reminds me of that year after year, as I sit down with a stack of paper hearts to bear my own, in words of love and adoration to each of the blessings God has given me to nurture.

And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. Ephesians 3:18

_____________________________________________________________________________

Here’s a guide to get you started on your own Love Notes Countdown. You’ll find 14 hearts with writing prompts and a few blank ones too! Use them for your kids, use them for your spouse. Encourage, applaud and cheer on the ones God has given you to love!

 

February 7, 2018 - 5:02 pm

Annie - Oh, we miss being at SCA every day! Thanks for your sweet words!!

February 1, 2018 - 10:42 pm

Donna Baird - Thanks Annie what a great idea! We miss you and your kiddos at SCA. Hope you are all doing well.

Thanks for always being an inspiration.

Blessings, Donna