Wes Anderson Inspired Styled Shoot at Hotel Trundle in Columbia, SC

Wes Anderson Inspired Styled Shoot at Hotel Trundle in Columbia, SC

For this styled shoot, I wanted to emulate one of my favorite directors and a source of inspiration. Wes Anderson is known for his use of color, symmetry, iconic locations, and quirky characters. This styled shoot was loosely inspired by his film, The Darjeeling Limited, and was done to showcase local vendors in a simplicity that felt unique and would help others in their inspiration for their weddings or elopements. 

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How to Find a Wedding Photographer You Trust — And Why That Matters

How to Find a Wedding Photographer You Trust — And Why That Matters

Jessica Hunt is based in Columbia, South Carolina and loves to travel to nearby cities like Asheville, Charlotte, Atlanta, and beyond for passionate couples who share her ideals and want to invest in their wedding photography.

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Samantha + English's Puptastic Same-Sex Newlywed Portraits in Columbia, SC

Samantha + English's Puptastic Same-Sex Newlywed Portraits in Columbia, SC

English and Sam decided to bring along their two dogs during their session for photos of all of them together as a family. If you know me, you know that I am always happy when my clients bring along their fur babies. English and Samantha's pups, Kerwin and Zoe, wore a matching bandanna and bowtie set, and rocked out their photos with the couple

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Real Couples // A Special Clemson Engagement Session in Columbia: Brent + Cass

Real Couples // A Special Clemson Engagement Session in Columbia: Brent + Cass

I loved being able to document the little looks between these two and learn about their engagement story. When Cass first told me about the way Brent proposed I was ecstatic to hear something as romantic as the story she shared! She told me about how Brent invited her to travel to Paris with him, how they spent a few days in the city as girlfriend and boyfriend, and how he surprised her one morning with the question of a lifetime. Doesn’t that sound dreamy and oh-so-romantic?! Brent and Cass left the country as a couple dating and returned ready to promise each other their forever.

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The Catalyst Wedding Review Podcast // Episode 7: Rachel Getting Married with Diana Ascarrunz

The Catalyst Wedding Review Podcast // Episode 7: Rachel Getting Married with Diana Ascarrunz

This week, Jen is joined by Austin, Texas, photographer Diana Ascarrunz to review the 2008 film, Rachel Getting Married. This movie proves that even joyous occasions like weddings aren't without emotional baggage and family drama, but in fact can sometimes amplify those emotions and make for a more stressful situation for everyone, especially if the wedding is also the first time you are reuniting with your family after a period in rehab. This film showcases a gorgeous, diverse, and musical backyard wedding, but it's not without bumps along the way.

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The Queen Photographers // Photo of the Week: The Life & Legacy of Hazel Smith Jones

The Queen Photographers // Photo of the Week: The Life & Legacy of Hazel Smith Jones

"My Great Aunt Mrs Hazel D Jones celebrates her 99th birthday today. She was 2 years old during the Tulsa Race Riot. It is meaningful to me because she is the 8th child of 12 children. (She is my grandmother's sister) She and her baby sister are the only 2 surviving siblings. You must just seize and cherish every moment of life. She holds so much history."

It is with great sadness that we at Catalyst learned that Hazel passed away Sunday at the age of 99. Our thoughts go out to Jada and her family, and we could find no more fitting way to honor her life than to share this photo. 

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The Queen Photographers // Photo of the Week: Music and Mishaps

The Queen Photographers // Photo of the Week: Music and Mishaps

This was a session I did with a musician hailing from Texas known as Myke B. The Label. Our original idea was to shoot in front of this random red door downtown, but turns out the door wasn't so random. The owner to the building came out and asked us to leave so we had to make do with another location nearby. I'd say the photos turned out well despite our mishap. Also: always double check locations before you try to use them. 

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The Queen Photographers // Photo of the Week: Black Excellence

The Queen Photographers // Photo of the Week: Black Excellence

My clients are a real power couple. They are dream clients — successful, stylish and confident. When they arrived for their session, I was blown away by their attire. I immediately thought they looked red carpet ready. So when I saw the red carpet at the location, which isn't normally there, I knew it was fate. It was perfect. I try to show my clients' style and personality in my images. I believe this photo does that. It represents black excellence and black love, two things that aren't really shown in main stream media.

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The Catalyst Wedding Review Podcast // Episode 3: I Dream of NeNe with Allison Davis

The Catalyst Wedding Review Podcast // Episode 3: I Dream of NeNe with Allison Davis

In this third episode of The Catalyst Wedding Review Podcast, Jen and wedding planner Allison Davis review the 2013 8-episode Bravo TV series, I Dream of NeNe. They talk about The Real Housewives of Atlanta, the stereotype of the "sassy black woman," the stigma of mental health care in the black community, prenups, vajazzling, what it really takes to put on a celebrity wedding, and that time Jen had an unfortunate nip slip. 45 is also mentioned, but don't worry, his name has been bleeped out for your comfort.

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Real Couples // Downtown Tampa Engagement: Michael + Nicholas

Real Couples // Downtown Tampa Engagement: Michael + Nicholas

Michael and I met on Facebook actually! We met through a mutual friend while we was living in Daytona and I was living in Tampa. After years of being friends online, he decided to drive down and we had our first official date at a Red Robin in the mall near my apartment at the time. We connected so well that first meeting and began our relationship soon after.

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Latoya Dixon Photography Knows How to Treat Her Clients Like Family

Latoya Dixon Photography Knows How to Treat Her Clients Like Family

We have loved Latoya Dixon for a long, long time. She has been a huge supporter of Catalyst, our keynote speaker at the last {un}convention, and is the leader of The Queen Photographers, who sponsor our Photo of the Week series. But Latoya is more than just a major part of our community, she is also a vendor who knows how to connect with her clients on a very personal level, resulting in some truly amazing photos. That's why we are so thrilled to have her join our vendor directory!

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Black BeauTEA Talk // Selfish Self Care

Black BeauTEA Talk // Selfish Self Care

I think that people have romanticized the idea of self care; we don’t talk about what it really means to take care of self. What I want you to do when thinking about self care is to keep in mind those things that you need so badly. This includes the physical, mental, emotional, and financial. What is it going to take you to get to the place you need to be in these areas?

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Real Couples // A Vibrant, Urban Anniversary Photoshoot in Orlando: Duong + Vi

Real Couples // A Vibrant, Urban Anniversary Photoshoot in Orlando: Duong + Vi

We are both from Vietnam and both have similar challenges adapting to life here in the States. You would have thought that would make us get along so well that we would have no conflict at all. However, reality struck us hard. Like any other couple we fight, we don’t communicate well with each other, we made mistakes, we separated, we survived a four-month long-distance relationship, we got married, we fought again and again, we lost hope, we tried to mend things, we learned from our mistakes, and we have been loving each other more than ever since.

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Real Couples // Two Dapper Granddads Married in Atlanta: Roderic + Shawn

Real Couples // Two Dapper Granddads Married in Atlanta: Roderic +  Shawn

The day we met, you could not have told me we were going to be married. However, two days later, I knew he was the one for me. On August 19, 2010, I got a text (yeah a text), asking if I wanted to do this dating thing exclusively, and after a quick yes, it was a done deal. There were constant confirmations that this was the one for me. I will share a few:

During our first date night conversation — that lasted five hours — he asks, "What's ya favorite song?" as he queues up his to share with me.
"Faith Evans' 'Keep the Faith'" I respond.
He gives a smile and pushes play... and yes, it was his favorite song, too.

We spent the next few years finishing each other's sentences.

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Real Couples // A Beautiful Garden and Ballroom Wedding: Marquis + Ruth

Real Couples // A Beautiful Garden and Ballroom Wedding: Marquis + Ruth

Ruth is a Registered Nurse, born and raised in Haiti. She met Marquis while she was getting her nursing degree at Keiser University; he was studying criminal justice. Marquis is an army veteran who was raised in Brooklyn, New York, and served eighteen months during a tour of Iraq. 

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Meet Our {un}convention Intersectionality Panelists: Jaime Patterson of Hidden Exposure Photography

 Meet Our {un}convention Intersectionality Panelists: Jaime Patterson of Hidden Exposure Photography

If you're a fan of Catalyst, then it's likely you're no stranger to Jaime Patterson of Hidden Exposure Photography. She is a member of our Advisory Board, as well as a contributor both of her photography and her writing. She recently wrote an article discussing the word "fat" and self-worth, and the role the wedding industry has played in perpetuating the ideal that body size and self-worth are somehow intertwined. 

Jaime will be joining us at {un}convention on Sunday, November 5, at Quirk Hotel in Richmond, Virginia for our panel about the importance of intersectionality in the wedding industry. She will be joined by Tim Riddick and our editor, Liz Susong, as they explore how everyone's identity means that we all are affected by oppression in different ways at the points where the many facets of our identity intersect. 

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