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 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 September 4, 2013


It’s a huge thing, to leave your kid in the mountains without knowing a soul.

As soon as we put his things in his cabin, he disappeared over the rocks and down the hill, shoeless, like a billy goat.
So I knew he was going to be just fine. But the way he hugged me when we left told me he was nervous.
Charles kept eyeing me on the way back down the mountain, saying, “Are you OK? How are you doing?”
And I was completely OK.
I mean, there were horses, a welcome llama, and a giant slip and slide that runs down the hill into the lake. How could I not be thrilled for him?

And then the week ended, and we were on our way back up the mountain, and about 5 minutes away from the camp, eager to see our boy, and I burst into tears.
The hubs gave me The Baffled Look (I’m not a weepy type person), and I said, “I just…I’m just so ha-ha-haaappy for him, and it’s so sp-sp-eeecial up here, and now he’s going back to ordinary boring home, and I’m not ready for his life to not be spe-eeecial anymore, not quite yet. Sniffle sniff sob.”

Moms can be kind of nuts.

Camp Chatuga

camp activities charleston sc camp





charleston family lifestyle photographer

summer camp canoes

playing guitar at camp chatuga

playing pool at camp


mad llama

Special, right?

Happy fall, y’all!

Posted on June 11, 2013

Hello world!

First, a few updates.

As usual, I post new images as I’m editing on my Facebook business page, so please head on over there to see my most current work!

I’ve also had work featured on a few blogs lately and wanted to link to those. Almost all of the images featured have not yet appeared on my blog, so be sure to check them all out!

The Wedding Row featured Kate and Blake’s gorgeous Boone Hall Plantation engagement session here

Red Dirt bride, a blog for rustic wedding inspiration based in Oklahoma, featured Jenna and Michael’s lovely Alhambra Hall wedding with DIY accents here.

The Lovely Find featured Kellie and Russ’s beautiful Lowcountry casual meets English garden riverside wedding here.

And look for Jennifer and Mike’s Bulow Landing wedding, coming on soon on Borrowed and Bleu!

On a personal note, I’ve gotten several emails lately from parents wanting their 10-12 year old children photographed. The individual phrasing is slightly different, but the same theme runs through all the requests. They want their children documented during those fleeting moments of childhood. That stage where the knees are extra-knobby but the cheeks, in certain light and angles, still retain traces of chubbiness. That stage before Mom and Dad are, OMG, a Complete Embarrassment!

I was at my older childrens’ elementary school last month, and ran into my son’s 4th grade class, lined up in the hall. He saw me. I’m pretty sure he saw me. But he immediately averted eye contact and froze.

Like I was a T-Rex.

And I realized that I probably do some freezing and averting of my own. Sure, we’re great buds, and I spend lots of time with him, and I’m not afraid to discipline him and be active in his life, the good and the bad. But with the camera, I’ve definitely backed off. Part of it’s that he’s less into it, and is on the threshold of some serious orthodontia. Another reason is he’s entered that universal photographic wasteland, from which kids typically emerge around JV sports, and for awkward prom photos.

But I don’t want his tween and teen years documented only by goofy faces, images involving shin guards, or, God forbid, 500 mirror selfies of him trying to look tough with his hand thrown in a sideways V. (What IS that, anyway?).

So I’m going to get better about taking pictures of him. He deserves it. He’s pretty awesome. He’s the only person in the whole wide world who thinks my nonsense song lyrics when I change up or forget the words are hilarious.

If you feel the same way about your child, contact me and we’ll set up a session! I make it painless on them. Promise.

charleston boy

laughing boy

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Posted on January 22, 2013




Last year was a good year.


I laughed, I cried, it was better than Cats!


At a 2012 wedding, I was walking past a groom who was waiting in an alcove for his wedding ceremony to start, in mere minutes. He was a little verklempt, and I raised my camera, then paused, looked at him, and said,

“Is this OK? Or would you prefer privacy?”

And he said, “No, stay. I want the truth. Well… I want the truth, maybe just a little bit more beautiful.”

Yep.  That’s why I do this.


The truth, maybe just a little bit more beautiful.


With that philosophy in mind, here’s a look back at  some of the sessions and weddings I shot over the year– a good mixture of both candid and posed and/or planned shots.

My goal for 2013 is to shoot candid moments with more intention and purpose, so that I produce single images that can stand alone and tell stories.


Here’s what we did in 2012:


Hung 0ut in the good light


Riveroaks Charleston dock sunset wedding


Ocean Lodge wedding Saint Simons Island Ga


Plantation at Bulow Charleston wedding


charleston family photographer


folly beach family photography


mills house charleston sc indian wedding







alhambra hall wedding mount pleasant


Kissed a little


waterfront park engagement session charleston sc




mepkin abbey photography session family




riveroaks awendaw venue


Got up offa that thang







Held hands




folly beach photography



bridesmaids praying for bride before wedding











mount pleasant alhambra hall wedding


baby bathng in sink



charleston sc Indian wedding


Showcased the Lowcountry






wedding party on the battery in charleston sc





kiawa family photography





Walked around







Modelled for Mom








Goofed off









myrtle beachengagement session




And called it a wrap!

















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Posted on February 20, 2012

Good afternoon!

First things first, I am so pleased to announce that Karmen and Nazar’s wonderful wedding was featured on The Wedding Row Friday!

Here’s the link:

I loved their wedding so much. Not only because they were really fun and awesome, and got married at the Wentworth Mansion, which is one of my favorite venues, but because Karmen was a DIY bride who really personalized her wedding and a lot of the details. I feel like her wedding had such an individual flair.

And secondly, it was my son’s birthday yesterday! He’s 9.

This kid is so funny and articulate and smart and quirky and BIG! He was born 9 weeks early, and we thought he might be small, but no. He’s tall. Long. Lanky. Solid. We can wear the same shoes. Last summer we bought him a new pair of Rainbow flip flops and I co-opted them.

He likes that messy, skater-y, floppity, Lowcountry hair. Me, I’m more a fan of tidy, preppy, suburban hair. But I try to meet him in the middle.

C.R. has overcome several health issues over his 9 years, and I really admire his ability to own who he is and keep on keepin’ on.

black and white portrait boy

portrait boy laughing

james island photographer

charleston portrait photographer

charleston lifestyle photographer

Posted on September 9, 2011




The kids’ first day back to school. They switched from a private to a public school this year, and I was nervous, but it’s gone swimmingly. And new worlds have opened up to Miss Thang, since she no longer has to wear plaid jumpers to school and can explore all sorts of sartorial silliness. This was a tame day, white t-shirt style.

harbor view elementary school   back to school images

The children have lost his clothes, so they’ve taken to calling him “Nude Dude.” I feel like maybe that’s not quite OK, but I’m sort of at a loss as to how to address the topic. The AAP books don’t have a nude dude chapter; I’ve checked.

Time out for pulling the cat’s tail. (“We don’t gnaw on our ki-tty.”)   She’s so adorable to me.

two year old tantrum time out

The playroom. The children are theoretically responsible for keeping this space clean.

This is my friend’s sweet son. If I babysit your child, I photograph them. I can’t resist new portrait subjects. Luckily, everyone loves the swing.

charleston baby photographer, black and white baby picture

My sweet girlies

toddler girl pigtails

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Posted on July 7, 2011

This is Jane. She’s my sweet newly 6 year old daughter, and she’s outstanding in the field. (Sorry, can’t resist occasional bad puns.)

She’s been my main muse for so long that she really knows how to work the camera, if she’s in the mood to listen, that is, so we wrapped this session in less than 15 minutes.

Rock on, baby girl!

rosalina smocked white dress beach portraits sunset child sullivans island sc

photo session portrait shoot field grass sunset seagull tlr rosalina dress

child portrait black and white candid keepsake

fort moultrie photo shoot child family session lifestyle

six year old lost tooth

sun flare cartwheel field grass child

beach rocks candid portrait vintage

beach portrait rocks sunset charleston beach photographer

modern vintage photojournalism

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copyright 2014 Sally Watts