a springtime editorial story – part one

goodstone inn photography by kelly sauer | styling by a daily something

If you follow my work (and I know a few of you do!), you’ll have seen bits and pieces of this shoot over the last couple of years, but I have never shared it in full because it was awaiting a print publication, and then I got pregnant, and well… ANYWAY.

This shoot was the first time I had worked with a team, and before it was done, I had shot five different sets in an afternoon (you’ve already seen a couple here – the gold dress I liked, and this little engagement party). As it is, because the work is almost two years old, it isn’t exactly current to where I am, so I am shy to share it, but I do love these photos and I want to tell you something specific that I learned through this shoot:

 
There is much more to photography than simply taking pictures.
 

I had no idea what I was doing here. I was taking pictures. Rendering opinions. Making little stories. Practicing with film. I am embarrassed to admit that at the time I didn’t really think about what everyone else was putting into what I was photographing.

You hear that “what I do could not be done without the help of my team,” and it is easy to skip over that seeming “caveat” and assume it is just a nice way to give credit where credit is due. You still think it is all about the photography and how amazing the pictures turn out so that publishers will want to feature everyone. You shoot what you think is important, and don’t really consider anything else.

This shoot – and some real relationships with other creatives – began a process that has been changing my perspective, and I am so deeply honored to share the other creatives who so generously let me photograph things that mattered to them.

goodstone inn photography by kelly sauer | styling by a daily something

The whole thing began when my friend Rebekah Pizana turned a simple request for a portrait session into a full-styled shoot with the help of her friends. I wasn’t sure what to do when she brought on Rebecca Gallop of A Daily Something to create our set design and style, and then Rebecca brought on another friend, Tia Stockton, who baked perfect pies and assisted with styling AND modeling. The next thing I knew, the girls had brought in another friend of mine at the Goodstone Inn, who opened their doors to us for our “little” shoot.

I didn’t know then that the people I was working with were SO. GOOD. at what they do. I can be clueless sometimes about things like that – people are people to me – and in this case, I honestly, truly, crazily had no idea how much working with these amazing people was going to humble me and overhaul my direction as a photographer.

It is easy to take people for granted when you have your own goals, but I have been learning that the more intimately I engage others’ work, the more I treasure my own work. Florists and stylists and bakers and designers pour every bit as much (and maybe more!) heart into their work as photographers do. I think a good photographer remembers that, and makes space to feel the heart behind what they photograph.

Knowing this and creating space to be an introvert within my work means that I am pulling back a lot in 2015 with what I shoot. I want every detail of every shoot to be consistent with my direction and my overall aesthetic, and I want to really invest in every person involved with my photography.

I wish that I had done better from behind my lens, knowing now so much more what each person brought to the shoot when I was “just taking pictures,” but these photos hold some of my best photography memories, and a lot of kindness, and a special group of people who made me feel special too.

goodstone inn photography by kelly sauer | styling by a daily something

goodstone inn photography by kelly sauer | styling by a daily something
goodstone inn photography by kelly sauer | styling by a daily something

goodstone inn photography by kelly sauer | styling by a daily something

goodstone inn photography by kelly sauer | styling by a daily something

goodstone inn photography by kelly sauer | styling by a daily something
goodstone inn photography by kelly sauer | styling by a daily something

goodstone inn photography by kelly sauer | styling by a daily something

goodstone inn photography by kelly sauer | styling by a daily something

goodstone inn photography by kelly sauer | styling by a daily something
goodstone inn photography by kelly sauer | styling by a daily something

goodstone inn photography by kelly sauer | styling by a daily something

goodstone inn photography by kelly sauer | styling by a daily something

goodstone inn photography by kelly sauer | styling by a daily something

goodstone inn photography by kelly sauer | styling by a daily something

goodstone inn photography by kelly sauer | styling by a daily something

goodstone inn photography by kelly sauer | styling by a daily something

goodstone inn photography by kelly sauer | styling by a daily something

goodstone inn photography by kelly sauer | styling by a daily something
goodstone inn photography by kelly sauer | styling by a daily something

goodstone inn photography by kelly sauer | styling by a daily something

CREDITS:

Venue: Goodstone Inn & Restaurant
Set Design & Styling: Rebecca Gallop
Styling Assistant: Tia Stockton
Photography: Kelly Sauer
Models: Rebekah Pizana, Kyle Murray, Tia Stockton
Dress: Ebrada Atelier
Groom’s Jacket: Banana Republic
Groom’s Slacks: Express
Groom’s Shirt: Calvin Klein
Bowtie & Pocket Square: Van Heusen
Flower Source: Fields of Flowers
Floral Styling: Rebecca Gallop, Kelly Sauer Ltd. Co.
Pies: Tia Stockton

bridal inspiration – persephone’s spring

exquisitrie by kelly sauer | la joie, la vie | persephone spring

You haven’t blogged this one yet?” Pete was a little incredulous when he looked over my shoulder at lunchtime today. I know, I know, it’s a good one, and it was published last year, around the time that Noley came, and y’all, I am so far BEHIND on my blogging, I’m having to redefine “caught up.” But you see, I can’t not blog, and seeing as I have a little bit of “free” time for blogging and a lot of pictures that are dying to be shared, I’m just going to eke these out little by little.

This shoot is running a very close competition with one other shoot for my favorite shoot of 2014. I shot it for my wedding giveaway post at Once Wed last year, and while it wasn’t eventually featured there, Wedding Sparrow took this film work and let it shine for a bit. And then Hochzeitsguide picked it up and shared it in Germany, and y’all, I LOVE this shoot.

exquisitrie by kelly sauer | la joie, la vie | persephone spring

exquisitrie by kelly sauer | la joie, la vie | persephone spring
exquisitrie by kelly sauer | la joie, la vie | persephone spring

exquisitrie by kelly sauer | la joie, la vie | persephone spring

exquisitrie by kelly sauer | la joie, la vie | persephone spring

exquisitrie by kelly sauer | la joie, la vie | persephone spring
exquisitrie by kelly sauer | la joie, la vie | persephone spring

exquisitrie by kelly sauer | la joie, la vie | persephone spring

exquisitrie by kelly sauer | la joie, la vie | persephone spring

exquisitrie by kelly sauer | la joie, la vie | persephone spring

exquisitrie by kelly sauer | la joie, la vie | persephone spring
exquisitrie by kelly sauer | la joie, la vie | persephone spring

exquisitrie by kelly sauer | la joie, la vie | persephone spring

exquisitrie by kelly sauer | la joie, la vie | persephone spring

exquisitrie by kelly sauer | la joie, la vie | persephone spring

exquisitriebyKSauer0000114

exquisitrie by kelly sauer | la joie, la vie | persephone spring
exquisitrie by kelly sauer | la joie, la vie | persephone spring

exquisitrie by kelly sauer | la joie, la vie | persephone spring

Also, I have to tell you. I’m really looking forward to what is happening for me this year. I’m redefining my “success,” so that it no longer equals momentum in my brain. I’m going to take things slow, pull back my formal marketing, and rebuild my blog. The more room I make for me, the more room I can make for others, and last year, that space was sorely lacking. I putzed around trying to be something for everybody and by trying to be everything, I ended up totally empty and falling so far short, I nearly quit. By the end of 2015, I want everything I shoot to be consistent with what I see before I ever pick up a camera. I want my work to be my own, no matter what anybody else might say or think.

I think I have it in me to be different, to push past the “reaching” in my work this year and really inhabit it. I have been sick this week (still – can you believe.), and I haven’t been able to work, so my artist side is playing with the down time, giving me words and words about who I am and what is my work and what does it want to be. I’m excited – for as long as I have been taking pictures, I’ve been shooting into someone else’s story, and now, I know I have my own. It feels very RIGHT, like it’s the thing I’ve been missing for all the years I was trying to be someone else behind my camera. I’m so ready to stop feeling trapped.

I am looking for a few people/models who would be willing to let me play over the next few months, since people are my happy place with the camera. If you’re interested in having some Kelly Sauer photos and fun, please contact me. I am looking forward to working with you!

CREDITS

Photography: Exquisitrie by Kelly Sauer
Film Lab: Richard Photo Lab
Gown: Sarafina Dreams
Earrings: World Market
Veil, Headpiece & Barefoot Sandal: DIY
Location: Private Residence, Charleston, South Carolina
Styling & Florals: Kelly Sauer Ltd. Co.
Styling Assistant: Pam Crocker
Model: Emily S., Millie Lewis Models & Talent
Flower Source: Foraged + Whole Foods Market

abundance – in the life of a mama

exquisitrie by kelly sauer | la joie, la vie

“Sometimes when you pick up your child you can feel the map of your own bones beneath your hands, or smell the scent of your skin in the nape of his neck. This is the most extraordinary thing about motherhood – finding a piece of yourself separate and apart that all the same you could not live without.”
― Jodi Picoult

You know you’d give your life for them, but what do you do on the days you can’t do that, when you have to let them be sick or talk to them softly and bravely while they are strapped down for testing? What do you do when all you can do is hold them and pray without words, when all the things that were important yesterday just aren’t that important anymore, because they have to be okay, or you won’t ever be okay again?

You do the thing you can’t do. You get up again and again, and you hold on and you get all the help you can get and give all the help you can give, and you cease to be you until they can be them again.

I knew this. My mom told me this is what happens when you have children. I didn’t want to believe her, and then as we raced, terrified, for the ER on Saturday, trying to keep my baby with us after a fall from our bed, something inside me shifted, because whether I wanted it or not, my entire purpose and existence depended on my sweet child being okay, or I would never be okay again.

Yesterday, the day after she was hurt, felt normal to me, but I knew I held a miracle in my arms; however surreal the memory, I will never forget the way the light went out of her eyes after she fell and her little body convulsed with the concussion. She wanted to sleep, and I couldn’t let her go, couldn’t make it better. I kept calling her back, talking to her, trying to pique her interest, breathing only once they had hooked her up to check her vital signs, holding her while she slept with the neck collar on, singing to her over the lump in my throat that she would be okay while she had a CT scan, all wrapped up and unable to move. And then, just a few hours later, she was back, her curious, bouncy self, and she smiled at me and at her daddy and at Pip and Squiggy, and I knew she wouldn’t even remember being hurt, even as I knew it would stay with me in my heart until I die.

I’ve known mothers who have been through what I went through on Saturday, and I have known mothers who’ve lost their babies, and mothers who are with their babies day in and day out as they hang onto life by a thread and a breath, and I know that I am so very weak and so very passed over compared to them, for I have received mercy, and small graces of the ridiculous kind, and God has not yet allowed anything so hard for me.

This year, as I consider abundance, I am wrestling with questions that are bigger than I am. Life, death, breathing, not breathing – I don’t think I can live with abundance when I am always trying to avoid the things that make me afraid. Fear says “this will happen,” predicting a future that it doesn’t have the right to define. I have never wished to live in my moments so much as I have wished it in the last few days. I feel that may be where abundance lies, in moving on to the next moment and living there, instead of putting off my life until I feel free to live it, with all risks removed.

I am holding my baby extra close, because she is here, and she is smiling and giggling and fussing at me and I am so glad to have her here still, needing me. I feel that maybe I am tasting abundance each time I tell her I love her, each time I feel her warmth and absorb her happy little hugs.

It is a beginning. And I am glad to have that, and to know I have that.

Friday Favorites VI

It has been WAY too long since I got to do one of these posts, but I have been saving some stuff up to share, and I want to revive this little series of posts in 2015. I may only do one per month (they can be time-consuming), but I’m just so happy to get to share some of my very favorite things from around the Web, the things that I keep coming back to for inspiration, encouragement, or just general happy feelings.

 

1.) A Favorite Quote

“When you are crazy you learn to keep quiet.”
― Philip K. Dick

 

2.) A Favorite Inspiration – Once Wed and Madison James Wedding Ideas at Coqui Coqui

photo by MK Sadler for Once Wed | Madison James in Tulum
PHOTO: M.K. SADLER

 

3.) A Favorite Idea – Relocating to France

photo credit - unknown | la joie, la vie
PHOTO: JANNE PETERS

 

4.) A Favorite Pin

I am pretty much in love with the elegant lines, the textures, the mood, and the old oil-painted feeling of the photo created by the grain in the film. Someday, I want to be able to do this with my own photos.

by PH. Paolo Roversi
PHOTO: PH PAOLO ROVERSI

 

5.) A Favorite Photographer (and his inspiration) – “Photography is Joy

You lose a little bit in translation here, but if you watch the video, if you spend any time behind the camera, if you love photographing people – you will get it. I love Carlo Carletti.

photo by Carlo Carletti | shared at la joie, la vie
PHOTO: CARLO CARLETTI

 

6.) A Favorite Challenge (from Chase Jarvis) – Get Used to Hearing “No.”

“…When you start to hear a lot of “yes”, consider doing what it takes to hear a bit more “no”. I’m betting that you’ll thank me – or more importantly, thank yourself.” - Chase Jarvis

 

7.) A Favorite Fun Thing – My Tumblr (j’adore le style)

I revived this little board again over Christmas, when we were all really too sick to do much of anything but sit around and be all bleary. We are fighting round two again after just part of a week off, so I’m looking forward to adding a little bit to this collection!

j'adore le style | kelly sauer tumblr

 

8.) A Favorite Personal Photo

This wedding is coming soon with my very first publication at Snippet & Ink – one of my favorite photography moments happened this week when I got a “yes” to a submission to which I didn’t expect a yes. Lara Casey said a few years ago that “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” and this was a shot I took, just to see what would happen. Y’all, I didn’t miss this shot. You just never know what will happen when you put yourself out there. It’s not always this amazing, but you do win some.

exquisitrie by kelly sauer | la joie, la vie | wedding preview

 

And that does it for me today – I have other things to do, like editing a wedding and running out to pick up medicines and such to make sleeping easier for us this weekend. If you think of us, pray for us? It isn’t easy keeping all my people alive and thriving. It’s all just hanging on and being patient while we get better.

What has been inspiring you lately? Anything good you want to share somewhere? I’d love to see!

mood board | i might secretly like green

exquisitrie by kelly sauer | la joie, la vie | mood board

Officially, I hate green. I’m not sure why this is, exactly, since it is actually one of my favorite colors. Maybe it’s the way it translates into the digital cameras, or the way it can be *really* ugly sometimes. But every once in a while, I get in a green mood, and EVERYTHING MUST BE GREEN. This week, surrounded by cold and brown and tired and too much blue in the sky (I like THAT better with clouds and color – variegated skies are incredible, don’t you think so too?), I have just been craving green. So, I made a mood board. Enjoy.

CREDITS

1. decorative country living
2. Gage-Betterton
3. samantha hobson
4. inks and thread

one word 2015 | abundance

exquisitrie by kelly sauer | la joie, la vie

“A gift that cannot be given away ceases to be a gift. The spirit of a gift is kept alive by its constant donation…” – Lewis Hyde, Introduction, The Gift

In 2014, my life became very small. I kept making mistakes. I kept getting hurt. And I kept shutting down in order to Get Things Done. I stopped taking time to inhabit my life. I just… got through. I knew there was going to be some fallout when I could make time to process things beyond survival mode, but I didn’t really know that the walls I was building around myself were going to start fissuring before I was ready for them to come down. Before I felt safe enough to pull them down brick by brick.

Desire is the earthquake that is bringing them down. Desire and the God behind it, the One who gave me my photography dream in the first place, the One who created me with all this artistic wrestling and inadvertent authenticity, the only One I really trust to love me with my foot in my mouth and my heart in the right place.

I am in a place with my art this year where I need everything I do to come from the realest, deepest parts of me, and I can’t just go by halves. I need to be able to give my art away and to feel that I won’t be losing anything when I do. I need to not be “stretched” or “strained” or “pinched” or “measured.” I want to be “abandoned” and “full” and “generous” and “extravagant.”

ExquisitriebyKellySauer

For this year, I have been given “abundance” for my word, the larger-than-life opposite of the smallness that ended my 2014, the risky “put-you-out-there-and-let-Me-be-God” answer to the regrets and the brokenness that flood through the cracks in my protective walls. I am one part curious, five parts hopeful, and a whole lotta parts scared to death, but I can’t not accept the word. It’s what I want. And I want to see God be as big as He says He is on this one, making crooked paths straight, providing or repairing relationships and fellowships, making space for me to love as fully as I want to love and dream as big as He made me to dream.

bridal inspiration | a girl and her dream

exquisitrie by kelly sauer | la joie, la vie

 
“You must give everything to make your life as beautiful as the dreams that dance in your imagination.” ― Roman Payne
 

What sort of bride do I want to be? The question comes to the four-year-old who wants to make her Sunday School classmate her Prince Charming for life, to the sixteen-year-old falling hard for her first true love, and to the newly-engaged girl faced with the idea of planning her wedding. I tell my brides to be willing to choose what they want; I tell them that I will help defend their dreams. I always hope that my pictures will capture the vision that they had for their wedding day.

I have shared a peek at this little session here at the blog before, but I ran across the shoot again this morning and I found the post I knew was hiding in there when I initially shot and processed these a few weeks before Noley was born. The light and the freshness of my teenage friend playing dress-up with me just tickled my fancy, so I’ve spent most of the day putzing around with the images and trying to find something to write to go with them. It has been too long since I have written, however, and the words aren’t coming easily at all, so I’ll give you the above quote for now and keep trying on the writing another day.

The pictures are worth several thousand words anyway, right?

exquisitrie by kelly sauer | la joie, la vie

exquisitrie by kelly sauer | la joie, la vie
exquisitrie by kelly sauer | la joie, la vie

exquisitrie by kelly sauer | la joie, la vie

exquisitrie by kelly sauer | la joie, la vie

exquisitrie by kelly sauer | la joie, la vie
exquisitrie by kelly sauer | la joie, la vie

exquisitrie by kelly sauer | la joie, la vie

CREDITS

Photography & Styling:
Exquisitrie by Kelly Sauer
Location: Charleston, SC
Model: Audrey B.
Gown: Aire Barcelona