We have been spending a ton of time up in the mountains this summer. We love it out there and it’s certainly our second home even though we split most of our time out there between the Asheville area and the Boone area. Both areas have a lot of sentiment for us with Brett growing up near Asheville and us going to school up near Boone. Like we’ve said before, we are mountain people living in the city now. The trip up there for Ellie + Brett’s Rough Ridge engagement session was perfect. It was just cool enough to give some relief from the summer heat back in Raleigh and the light was incredible. We had most of Rough Ridge to ourselves and we used up every bit of light we could. I think we could do a shoot like this everyday and never get tired of it.
We aren’t exactly sure what good deed’s we’ve done to be so blessed with such incredible opportunities to be a part of so many amazing peoples lives in return. But don’t you doubt for a moment that we wouldn’t repeat those good deeds everyday if they continue to allow us to be a part of days like Sarah & Joel’s Brown Mountain Beach wedding day. Two remarkable people, a beautiful location, tons of supportive family/friends and exchanging of vows. Plus, a pyrotechnican brother who puts on a firework display is pretty epic too. Surely enough, this wedding was easily one of our favorites to shoot and now one of our favorites to look back on.
We had the best time adventuring around with Erin + Josh for their Boone engagement session earlier this year. The way they just click and can finish each others sentences is pure evidence of the love they have for one another. Can’t wait for their wedding later this year! Here are some of our favorites from our shoot.
A few images from our time with Elizabeth and Evan up in the Pisgah National Forest for their Max Patch engagement session. It was such an incredible day and although we may have stayed up there well past daylight looking for Brett’s car keys (which we never found – ask us if you want the full story – it’s rather ridiculous) with our iPhone lights and whatever other lights we could find, it made for an experience with this amazing couple that was even more memorable. So excited to be shooting them again in November up in Blowing Rock, NC. Here’s to securely placing our keys somewhere safe next time around!
Angela and Michael were married at the Timberock at Hopkins Farm in Greenville, SC. Greenville is a city that they are proud to call home. Angela is an amazing and incredible photographer in her own right, based in Greenville and Michael is the soccer coach at Anderson University. So, naturally, it was an exceptional honor to be chosen for their wedding day. All of the beautiful details and thoughtful design put into their wedding was just incredible. The ceremony, underneath that beautiful big tree and the the outdoor dance floor… I mean, it was a dream to be there and to be able to photograph it for this amazing, sweet and big hearted couple. We really loved how much of themselves they put into their wedding through the way they planned out their day to the thoughtful details all the way down to the music they chose for their guests to dance to. We adored the fact that their wedding was authentic and true to them. Her bridesmaids rocked those beautiful black dresses and that incredible Watters dress Angela wore! It was just a really great wedding and a really great time to be a wedding photographer 🙂
Insanely excited to share this session! We went out to the Outer Banks for their engagement session and despite the multiple speeding tickets that Brett got on the way there, it was amazing! There was hardly anyone around for miles it seemed and although it was cold, it just had this warm yet exciting feeling about roaming around such an amazing place. The sand dunes made us feel like we were literally in the middle of a desert. Can’t wait to share some images from Tara + Dustin’s wedding, which we just shot last month, but until then, hope you dig their Outer Banks engagement shoot!
Each year is a chance for us to grow. To expand and better our craft, vision and ourselves. But this year, we also grew our family! So, naturally, the most incredible part of this year for us was when we welcomed our first child, Forrest Nolan, into the world on Oct. 25th! Looking back now, we’re not exactly sure how we made it through this year. Two months into 2015, we found out we’d be growing our family. Feelings of excitement and that nervousness of the unknown sank in quickly. After almost 5 years of marriage, we were both beyond ready to start to our family. With all of the excitement and love that had already begun to fill parts of our hearts we had yet to know existed, we were naive to the challenges we’d face with having a rather busy year with weddings and some editorial, commercial and lifestyle work juggled with pregnancy throughout it all. We travel from coast to coast starting with a trip out to Portland, Oregon early on. This was our first time either of us had been out there. We went out to Cannon Beach for a shoot, traveled the Historic Columbia River Gorge a few times, visited Mt. Hood and ate too much amazing food. It was a great way to start our year. Beyond that, we got to travel and shoot in NYC, Minneapolis, Detroit, Shenandoah Valley, West Virginia, Washington DC and of course, a lot of trips to Asheville and Boone. I (Brett) must admit, Jessica was an absolute champion throughout it all. Hiking mountains to 7,000 ft. while 6 1/2 months pregnant, shooting a wedding for 10 hours at 8 months and then giving me all the support I needed, and then some, when I had to leave and go shoot by myself.
We certainly grew this year. We grew a lot, as individuals, partners, artists and now, parents. Along with that, our priorities shifted and we became more intentional. The day we saw Forrest on the ultrasound screen, our mindset changed and our values toward life and family became more aware of the importance of what we do as photographers. We are striving to be present with him while also wanting to document everything he does. Finding balance is hard, but it happens quickly when someone you love more than you could of ever imaged changes even fast and changes day by day.
The way we want to document a couples love has evolved so much this year. Wanting to create images that really show who the couple was during that season is life so that when they show their children those images someday, that child can visually see the love they are a product of is now an even bigger and more profound part of why we do what what we do. And to us, that is one of the biggest symbols of our growth this year.
And so for that, this year is dedicated to our sweet and beautiful baby boy, Forrest. Thank you for blessing our life and opening up parts of our hearts we didn’t know existed. Thank you for showing us there is more to life than sacrificing real relationships with friends and family in exchange for success. Thank you for creating more of sense of responsibility and dedication in us. Thank you for choosing us to be your parents.
Hope you enjoyed some of our favorites images from the wild journey we took this year.
It’s always hard to top the previous year, but somehow, we’ve managed to do so each year. And this year is no exception. It’s going to be an incredible year as well. We’re scheduled to visit Maine, California, New York and hopefully make our way over to Europe this year. If you’re getting married in 2016 or 2017, get in touch with us! We would be honored and love to be a part of documenting your life and your story.
And of course, here are some cute shots of our baby boy, Forrest Nolan. But be sure to follow us on instagram to see more! @brettdonar | @jessicadonar
We had the best time adventuring around one of our favorite places, Black Balsam Knob, with Stephanie + Cortland. The energy and love these two have one for another is incredible to witness and we can’t wait celebrate and document their love at their wedding next month . Here are some of our favorites from our shoot.
Elopements have become one of our favorites to shoot and Kelly & Michaels was no exception. Aside from them deciding to elope at one of our favorite locations, Craggy Gardens, they are just so much fun to be around. They live in Birmingham, AL and just picked a spot that seemed like a good spot and they nailed it. We are truly thankful they invited us to be a part of such an intimate elopement. It was literally just the two of them and their pup! Crazy intimate, right?! They did have their family come up to join them dinner after their Craggy Gardens elopement. They also had some of their best friends, in addition to their family, all stay nearby them in Airbnb’s in Asheville so that they could still celebrate with everyone while still have the most intimate of intimate elopements.