The theme of this year at Captured by Candace has really been focused on gratitude. I know that so often, with creative business owners, that word gets thrown around quite a bit. But usually without a lot of context behind it.
So I wanted to take the opportunity to really outline what that looks like for me personally as a mom and a black wedding photographer in Seattle. By taking the time to honor the couples & families I’ve worked with in 2022 and highlighting them in this post. I want to give you some insight into what happened behind the scenes at CBC this year. While also being open about what gratitude means to me personally, and how gratitude has shaped my business and trickled down into the experience that I’m able to provide to my clients!
In short, it’s been an amazing year at CBC. I expanded my team with admin support on the back end. While the forward-facing part of my business expanded with associate photographers and videography offerings. Those expansions have allowed me to provide more services, support, and a more detailed level of service to my clients! Their experience became about their specific needs as opposed to a one size fits all package.
With those expansions in place, I began looking at how CBC could use that detailed level of service to guide clients through every step of the process. From consultations to engagement session planning, and timeline planning. And one of my personal favorites, working with clients on custom album design! We were able to provide them with a uniquely personalized way to approach their most treasured milestones.
As a photographer, I am acutely aware that this niche is very much a heart-centered business. Couples getting married. Seniors graduating High School before heading out into the world. Families coming together in celebration, and sweet babies being welcomed to the world. These beautiful occasions are the benchmarks of our life. So I have never taken for granted what an honor it is to be welcomed into those moments by my clients.
As past clients returned to Captured by Candace, and new clients began to reach out, I noticed something special begin to unfold.
I was welcoming them in as family. It was not a business transaction that existed among contracts, invoices, and back-and-forth emails. It was a moment to form a connection and watch all of these beautiful people, from all walks of life, now become part of the CBC family! The arc of my business went from taking photos to forming long-lasting connections.
And with that, my clients returned the gratitude that I showered them with. They told their friends, and their friends told their friends, and so on down the line. That theme continued throughout the year, and it all came down to one simple idea. Gratitude. I’m just a regular mom, shuttling my kids back and forth to school every day who has never once taken for granted all of the many blessings this business has brought my way!
Below are highlights of just a few of the things I loved this year. Including who we welcomed to the CBC family, who returned, and what we celebrated together. I invite you to scroll through the blog below and step into their stories with me!
We started the year at Captured by Candace with two gorgeous winter elopements, both of which were on the beach, and both of which we featured on the blog!
Nikki + Wayne chose one of the most popular wedding dates of 2022 to celebrate their love story, 2/2/22! Their wedding day was on the beach in the PNW in February, so as you can imagine it was a little chilly. But if my couples are ready to withstand the cold temps (it was 30 degrees that day!), I am so ready to capture their love story. Blankets & prosecco are required! See more of Nikki + Wayne’s “twosday” wedding on the blog, here!
I first shared a bit about Marlena & Vincent’s love story through their engagement photo session in Downtown Ballard. They had a super fun story about how they originally met! They were both new to the Seattle area and were on the lookout for new friends. So, they decided to set up a “friendship interview”. In fact, Marlena even text Vincent the day before their friendship interview to confirm that it was definitely, in fact, not a date. Their original meet-up of pizza & beer over a friendship interview clearly evolved into more because they became part of the CBC family with a wedding on “twosday” on Whidbey Island. See more of their intimate beach wedding and hear more about their beautiful story, here!
With the winter thaw in the PNW, came spring romance. It was time once again to celebrate our couples, and capture the magic of their beautiful stories. During spring, a gorgeous luxury micro wedding was already in the works!
A chance meeting in a Kenyan marketplace brought Jessica + Comex together. Jessica was living in Kenya when she was visiting a local market with her son. Her son wanted to buy some candy but did not have the correct change. He turned to a (literal) stranger to ask for some change. That “stranger” is now Jessica’s husband, Comex. Isn’t that such a beautiful story? I was overjoyed for their union and all of the many details they worked into their luxury micro wedding. I shared it on the blog, in this post!
With love in the air, there were newly engaged couples all around us! But one couple, in particular, had an epic story. A story complete with a beautiful surprise proposal, and an engagement party that brought together friends and family from the east & west coast in celebration.
This surprise proposal story was nearly a year in the making at Captured by Candace! Remember the timeline planning and consultations I talked about at the beginning of this post? They came in handy when Simone was ready to propose! When my clients reach out to me to capture a proposal it’s typically the week of the proposal. Sometimes, it’s even the same day that they are planning to propose. Not Simone! Simone reached out to me on January 1st for a proposal that she wanted to surprise Tiffany with in October! She was determined to make it epic, and she was determined to keep it a surprise. There was so much planning and intention behind their story, and you can see & read all of the details, in this post!
Summer for the CBC family was all about adventure, taking in the beautiful sights of the PNW, and you guessed it, love! When you think of summer, do you recall the days of your childhood? Do you remember where you went to camp, the games you played, and the friends you made? One wedding in particular allowed me to step into their story while traveling back in time to my own!
Hanna + Brett’s wedding at NatureBridge was joyful, fun, and a little bit damp! But hey, what else could possibly be expected of a PNW summer wedding? Hanna + Brett met online, because where else do couples meet these days? And they quickly bonded over a shared interest in traveling, exploring, and enjoying all of the great outdoors that the PNW has to offer. Hanna + Brett’s wedding planning process was a little different than that of many couples. For them, the focus was on writing personalized vows and being present throughout each moment of their day together. Isn’t that really beautiful? I shared all of the details of their wedding day, including photos from their “day after” wedding shoot at Marymere (my childhood summer camp!), in this blog post.
A summer wedding that was serious fun and a unique experience! Jayda + Christian are both originally from the PNW area, but currently residing in Chicago where they both practice law. They wanted to have their summer wedding “back home” in the Seattle area. Because they were from out of town, we ran up against scheduling when coming together for their engagement photos, but we finally met the night before their wedding at the rehearsal dinner!
They were hosting their rehearsal dinner at their wedding venue, the Four Seasons Hotel in Seattle. I went to the venue to meet their family and do a little walk-through beforehand. Although I’m familiar with the venue and the area, I wanted to take another look around. Once the walkthrough was out of the way, they invited me to hang out at the rehearsal dinner. It was such an amazing night & they made me feel so welcome! It really set the tone for how we would work together on their wedding day. To see every moment of their day, including a beautiful heartfelt first look in front of their venue, you can find the details on the blog here!
I have long said that Captured by Candace is about celebrating a diverse range of cultural weddings. And the summer brought about the opportunity to capture a first for us. A beautiful Hindu wedding ceremony for Casey + Shonoy.
I know I say it often when I talk about our couples, but I truly feel honored to have been a part of Casey + Shonoy’s Hindu wedding ceremony. I got to see two people, who cherish one another, come together in love and share each others cultural values with so much reverence. Casey + Shonoy were wed in a traditional Hindu ceremony, to honor the groom’s culture & family, and later a western ceremony to honor the bride’s culture and family.
I was present for their Hindu ceremony and I could not have been more thankful that a detailed wedding program was provided to me. Through it, I had the chance to learn the proper names for each ritual throughout the ceremony, as well as the significance behind them. If you’ve never attended a Hindu wedding ceremony and you’d love the see the beautiful rituals along with the meanings they hold, you can read more in Casey + Shonoy’s story, here!
And then it was time to say goodbye to 2022 and get ready to welcome 2023. But not before a winter elopement for one more couple! This winter elopement was unlike any other, with a hike into Rattlesnake Ledge for Hannah + Ayo’s vows!
Hannah + Ayo was the very last couple that Captured by Candace celebrated the union of in 2022. Their elopement-style wedding on December 21st was held at Rattlesnake Ledge. One of the most sought-after outdoor locations, just outside of Seattle!
I originally met Hannah + Ayo back when we shot their engagement photos on a gorgeous fall afternoon in Ballard. Their engagement session was not necessarily planned in a traditional sense. There were no timelines, there was no shot list. We just picked a town, met up, and spent the afternoon walking around with no set plans, talking, hanging out, exploring the city, and of course, capturing their engagement photos! I absolutely love going on these walking tours of the city with my couples when shooting their engagement photos. It’s more like hanging out with a friend than planning a photoshoot! It allows me to get to know my couples on a much more personal level ahead of their wedding day.
So it was a full circle moment to be able to spend their wedding day going on a hike together, and capturing their winter wonderland vows!
Those in-between moments at Captured by Candace; as we watched the season change, continued to bring new stories, and beautiful families our way.
James + Brianna are one family who the entire Captured by Candace team has followed through every season of life. We watched as James surprised Brianna with a beautiful proposal and engagement party. James’ sister Allison reached out to me on the day of the planned surprise proposal & engagement party to ask if I was available to capture the moment. I jumped at the opportunity and everything that James had planned for Brianna that day, was absolute magic!
But Brianna had a surprise of her own. She was secretly pregnant on the night of their engagement party! I then heard from James + Brianna a few months later when they asked if I was available for their baby shower. Unfortunately, I was not, but one of my associates was. I cannot stress enough what it meant to still be part of their story through my associate team! It allowed me to stay connected with James + Brianna so that when the call came that their sweet little one had arrived, I was able to meet them for a family photoshoot at Acylete Beach in West Seattle. As their story continued, it was then time to pronounce them Mr & Mrs, and yes, we were there to document that too! I share their story on the blog here.
Every year at Captured by Candace brings new challenges, new opportunities for growth, and new members of the CBC family. I’ve been amazed at how the CBC family has continued to show up. But it all harken’s back to the theme of 2022, gratitude. With that, dear friends, a deeply heartfelt thank you & best wishes for the new year!