Posted on February 20, 2014



C.R. turned 11 yesterday. He’s a football-loving, Minecrafting, guitar-strumming, didgeridoo-learning, reading-all-the-time all American boy.


(Did I mention the Minecrafting? Lots of Minecraft.)


And last week he received an award for a 100% on his South Carolina PASS standardized test writing section. I’m proud of that! A perfect score on a written essay is pretty awesome.

Charleston boy on his eleventh birthday




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Posted on February 3, 2014



Well, -ish, anyway.


But quasi-snow is enough to shut down our city (lots of bridges and islands!) and to have us all marveling at little things like a drop of water frozen on a winter berry. We almost never see that.


May, walking the dog. Our neighbor’s yellow lab romped luxuriously in the ice. Miller mostly shivered. Bichons are agile but they’re not cut out for the elements.

girl walking bichon


Elvis was also not sure about it.


cat on welcome mat


Charleston winter storm Leon


frozen berries charleston snow


charleston green branches frost





snow day matt pond song quote



carolina bluebird in pine tree james island sc

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Posted on January 27, 2014




Molly’s vision for her family session was to capture them having fun and being themselves.  And we did! I love the light, colors, humor and energy here.


Casual family portrait humor Charleston


brothers wrestling on the beach sulivan's island



boy hugging little brother



adorable blond toddler boy on beach charleston





Boys being boys playing with sticks



father walking on beach holding son



mother and son laughing silly beach sunny charleston



sullivans island standing on rocks



boy playing on beach rocks sullivans island



boy blowing bubbles



father and son blowing bubbles barge in charleston bay



family playing on beach





mother laughing with children charleston family photographer



lifestyle photography charleston mother and son


Posted on January 23, 2014




I’m always so proud to show off how friendly and polite Charlestonians are to out-of-towners.

When I’m meeting Brits, though, it’s a toss-up. There’s a witty good-naturedness to the English that wins me over every time.

The wonderful Potter family gathered in Charleston from Chicago and England for a wonderful vacation and a photo session to document the gang.


Extended family portrait Charleston brick alley



Funny outtake Charleston family portrait



mother and baby portrait red hair



young boy holding grandfather's hand



Candid family portrait crossing street in Charleston



Mother and daughter looking at pearls



grandparents portrait Charleston waterfront park bench



couple portrait on grass charleston waterfront park photographer



Grandparents visiting Charleston



Cousins portrait Charleston family photographer



Funny outtake sibling portrait Charleston


Siblings portrait downtown Charleston on brick steps




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Posted on January 15, 2014



I have a confession.


When I was planning my wedding, there were scarce options available on the web for inspiration. I used The Wedding Channel to gather ideas. Thinking about it now, it’s a wonder that Pinterest and wedding blogs didn’t get invented sooner, because it was a fairly inefficient planning tool. But the plus side was that all the women there read each others’ journals and many became friends.

I know this sounds like  chick lit, but it’s true: now, 12-ish years later, many of us are still in touch. Over the years the group has had meetups all over the country.

We’ve career trajectoried and marathoned and roller derbied and surrogate birthed triplets and published and cooked and cleaned and carpooled. We met Vince Vaughn in a restaurant in New Orleans. Some of us lost months of our sanity to babies who refused to sleep at night, and argued about how to turn that disaster around.  Others decided having a dog was more their speed. We’ve shelved Elves and planted gardens and learned to totter around and cope (or just given up) when, for heaven’s sake, every year, the heels get higher and higher. Feuds, bff’s, divorces, renovations, exotic vacations, incredible opportunities, and, sadly, departures.


We lost a hell of a woman to metastatic breast cancer in December. Quite possibly the wittiest, smartest, gorgeous-est one of us all.


A few of us decided to meet up in Beaufort to honor her.

And typical of our little subclan, our idea of collective grief involved handcrafted cocktails, great food, lots of laughs, and a viewing of I Love You, Man.


Laters on the menjay, dear C. You were a revelation.


cocktail maraschino cherries


french bulldog

no frowning sign



Habersham Beaufort SC

Beaufort SC night sky


woman in kitchen laughing





bourbon handcrafted cocktail


french bulldog in front of fireplace

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Posted on January 3, 2014




The weekend after Christmas, I met up with a lovely family for portraits downtown.

They were running a few minutes late, so I had an ideal unexpected block of time to try my hand at street photography. It’s one of my favorite genres, but due to time constraints, I have virtually no experience with it.

However, I needed to stay in one place so I’d know when the family arrived, so my challenge was to shoot from a static position.

I think serendipitously being in that situation led me to notice the traffic and vibe on King in a way that I’m not sure I have in a long time. I wasn’t attempting to anticipate or frame moments or being proactive about composition; I just photographed whatever happened by and looked unique or interesting.


It was a great way to spend 7 minutes.


Lower king Street charleston at christmas


Horse drawn carriage Charleston SC



Charleston SC bike taxi


dog in stroller King Street Charleston


Charleston King Street wreaths




skating longboard charleston skater boy king street



spanish moss and blue sky in downtown charleston



Domicile Charleston King St



Here, the woman in the scarf walked out of the door and called, “I was told to grab the woman in the red sweater?”

I couldn’t understand the context of their conversation thereafter but thought it was a wonderfully Charleston vignette.


Charleston King St shop owner



Charleston Library Society





couple arm in arm walking on king street charleston




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Posted on November 21, 2013




I met the adorable and vivacious Fornshell family this past spring with a group of their friends.

The group of 4 families opted to do four back to back mini sessions of each family, as well as get a few whole group shots. It was not only an affordable way to commemorate your gang on vacation, but, more importantly, works out well with the kids’ attention spans. It was unseasonably chilly, but I hope they had a great time anyway.


mother and son kiawah beach


blond boy laughing in the sun



twin babies family photos



charleston twins photo





Mom and Dad kissing on beach family portraits



mother and son charleston photographer


laughing family charleston family photos

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Posted on November 6, 2013



Today I’m featuring another family session from the archives.

The Butlers had portraits made before a deployment.

Little guy Adam had one of the most joyous smiles I’ve ever seen!


father and son portrait purple shirt


toddler boy smiling with truck


Casual family portraiture in Charleston


family photo by the pineapple fountain






father and toddler son hugging



father throwing son into the air at waterfront park



family sitting on charleston waterfront park swings



mother and son holding hands



casual family portrait in charleston sc

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Posted on October 30, 2013




Today I’m back in the archives, from our unseasonably chilly 2013 spring.

Of course, Melissa, who is glowingly expectant in these images, now has two children.

They’ve booked another family session this winter, and I can’t wait to meet the baby!




















Melissa5767sfamily on dock at Kiawah


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Posted on October 29, 2013




Last week, I saw a man at the gas station. 60’s-ish, neat and pressed, kind face,  classically confident walk. He was adding air to his tires, and the hose kept retracting as he pulled it around the vehicle. Not wanting to lose the hose or have it rub against his nice SUV, he was doing this stop/start, twisty, yanky, crab shimmy to get correctly positioned. He then took an exaggerated side step, the kind preschoolers take when pretending they’re a toy soldier or the Jolly Green Giant, and stepped on one end of the hose to keep it stationary.

I wished so badly that I had my camera to document him, and an invitation to do so.

I love to watch people. The funny, sweet, preciously awkward things. The bonds, reactions and traditions. That’s why I love photographing families.

Don’t get me wrong. I have a family. I *know* what was involved in preparing for your photo shoot, and it’s not all hugs and coordinating colors and smiles. Someone was running late, a shoe went missing, hair frizzed at the last minute, kids fought in the car on the way over. And a 30% chance of rain. It’s *messy*.

But despite all that nonsense, it’s the deliberateness of the gesture. The showing up to say “this is us, and we are worthy of documenting and preserving, today, together, just as we are, so have at it” is what pulls us through every time.


I intended to do one blog post and include an image from all the Charleston family portraits I did this year. But I couldn’t pull it off. They each have their own wonderful stories to tell. So I’m going to try to blog one family a day for the next few weeks until I’ve caught up.


Today, the Fedders clan!


Family cuddling on Folly Beach



cute blond blue eyed boy smirk



casual family portraits in Charleston sister hugging brother


Fun family photo grandmother and grandchildren


Three blond siblings family portrait posing



Walking down the beach path Folly Beach



Family beach portrait children in white



Folly Beach family portrait on beach wearing whites and blues



This was in honor of the late patriarch of the family, who had a collection of crazy Cosby sweaters he would wear to parties. I love that they chose to honor him this way, and lugged a tub full of sweaters along on summer vacation. Awesome.




Ice cream and cookie rewards back at the house after a wonderful photo session:

Face in bowl of ice cream





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copyright 2014 Sally Watts