2016

Y’all, this is the first time I have ever been able to get a “year in review” blog post done.  Back in the day, I blogged a lot.  These days, it feels like a major accomplishment to post something, which is why you will see A LOT Of photos you have never seen before in this post.  A few years back, I realized that clients don’t like to wait a long time for their photos.  I decided that I needed to do everything in my power to get folks their pictures as quickly as possible.  Blogging everything was taking a lot of time, so I cut back, majorly.  I’m excited to finally get to share some of these pictures with you…pictures of clients that I absolutely LOVE.  These people feel like family to me, and I thank GOD everyday for bringing them into my life.  I consider this business a GIFT FROM HIM and these people are a major part of that!  I hope you enjoy looking back over my 2016 as much as I do! 🙂

Now for some looking ahead 🙂 …

1.  I have a new e-mail address (don’t ask me why it took this long to create an e-mail address for my business, but I’ve finally done it!).  From now on, you can contact me at:

erindragophotography@gmail.com

2.  I have been a member of Stocksy United for 2 years.  I am SO THANKFUL to be a part of this wonderful community of photographers.  This year I will begin offering discounts on sessions that will help diversify my Stocksy portfolio, to folks who are willing to sign model releases.  E-mail me for more details! 🙂

3.  I am also excited to announce that in 2017, I will begin offering HOLIDAY SESSIONS (starting in October).  There will be a limited number of spaces, but these will be for folks who are looking for a few pictures for their Christmas card, and not a full session.  Stay tuned for more information on these! 🙂

4.  I am also going to begin offering online mentorships.  These will be done via Skype and e-mail and will be tailored to individuals!  E-mail me for more details! 🙂

 

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a new addition

This is my sophomore Stumbo blog post.  A lot has changed since we first did family photos back in 2015, including adding some rooms  to their home and a baby to their family.  Paige just gave birth (like 3 weeks ago when we did these pictures! 🙂 ) to the newest Stumbo, Silas, and right before that, they moved back into their home after being displaced due to a pretty awesome renovation!

I L O V E THIS FAMILY!!!!!!!!  They literally just live life and let me take pictures of it.  They don’t try to look at the camera at the right time or make everything look picture perfect…in my opinion, that actually makes the pictures, PERFECT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

“Yes, motherhood is hard work. It’s lonely work. It’s a work that doesn’t always yield results for all of the input. But it’s a Christ-like work. Every day we die to ourselves whether through lack of sleep, time, or social interaction, we are taking on the form of a servant in the spirit of our Christ (Phil. 2:7). And it’s beautiful to God.

Children are a precious gift. There is nothing more amazing than staring at the life God created inside of you (or inside someone else). The long days we spend mothering our children have eternal significance that will, Lord willing, one day reap many rewards. Until then, we labor. We wait. And we cry out to the only One who truly understands what it means to lay down his life for his own.”  -Courtney Reissig

 

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Joel and Rylee ENGAGED! / Anderson, SC wedding photographer

Working with couples never gets old to me.  Time and time again, I am amazed by the people God brings into my life via photography.  I have definitely been guilty of taking for granted the fact that He has purposed these relationships for me.  I’m thankful that He reminds me of it over and over again.  I don’t take lightly that I’m the one who gets to tell their stories.  It is a burden I carry, but not in a disgruntled way, but in a heavy and grateful way.

I’m looking forward to being there next year, when Joel and Rylee begin their lives together.  What a privilege it is to do this work!

 

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Alec & Kari | July 1, 2016 | Anderson, SC wedding photographer

On the first day of July, I had the privilege of documenting the beginning of Alec ad Kari’s life together as husband and wife.  They were awesome, as was their venue, family, friends, and wedding.  I left, pinching myself because I get to do this…wedding photography is a great responsibility, but it is an even greater joy!

I could write an entire post on how much I enjoyed my time hanging out with Alec, Kari and their friends & family.  I could also write an entire post about the venue they chose-Green Acres in Honea Path, SC.  (***BRIDES CHECK IT OUT…You’re going to LOVE it!!!!).  In the interest of keeping this short and sweet, I will just say that this wedding is not one I will soon forget!  Alec & Kari, thank-you so much for inviting me into your day…everything about it was absolutely refreshing!

“I do” are the two most famous last words
The beginning of the end
But to lose your life for another I’ve heard
Is a good place to begin

‘Cause the only way to find your life
Is to lay your own life down

And I believe it’s an easy price
For the life that we have found

And we’re dancing in the minefields
We’re sailing in the storm
This is harder than we dreamed
But I believe that’s what the promise is for…

‘Cause he promised not to leave us
And his promises are true
So in the face of all this chaos, baby,
I can dance with you

-Andrew Peterson

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Chris and Kathleen | Anderson, SC engagement photographer

Chris and Kathleen are wonderful.  Spending a Saturday evening hanging out with them, while also taking their engagement photos, was a JOY.  It really does amaze me that I get to photograph people who are such an encouragement…to me and to others.

They will be getting married in January, and Kathleen is moving to the upstate!  She is a very talented photographer, so upstate folks, stay tuned so you can book a session with her!!!! 🙂

Apparently God didn’t create marriage to make life easy. God created marriage to unfold beauty, depth, strength, and love that could never be discovered in a land of “easy.” God created marriage to help us enter into the world of what real love looks like. If we are able to look past daily irritation, inconvenience, and selfish resentments to get a glimpse of the real thing, it will bring us to our knees in worship. Not of our marriage, but of God, himself. God created marriage to show us what his love for us looks like. -Adrien Segal

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A Mountaintop Elopement | Nick & Mattie | North Carolina wedding photographer

I just finished the most incredible stretch of weddings.  I took on more than I normally would in a 3-month period, and wondered if I would “survive” mothering, wifeing, friending, churching, homeschooling, and photographing.  I’m so thankful to say that not only did I survive, but I lived it.  I didn’t just “get it done” or move from one wedding to the next, I enjoyed community, and new friendships, and beautiful stories, and lots of FUN!

And, this, this wedding was the cherry on top of these last three, fantastic months.  It was a first for me in many ways.  The first time I photographed an elopement, the first time I was the photographer and the witness at a wedding, the first time my family traveled with me and we camped for the whole weekend in a location near the wedding, the first time I photographed a wedding on top of a mountain.  I could have photographed Nick and Mattie on that mountaintop ALL DAY (every day)!  These two are magic.  It’s not often a groom says of his bride, “She sweats Jesus!”  I can now say that of both of them and am so thankful I was able to participate in their amazingly wonderful day!

John Piper recently said of weddings, “Let the service and the Word and the vows and the Lord and the love be the main thing.  There does not have to be a meal after the wedding.  Believe me.  There doesn’t.  There doesn’t have to be a dance.  It doesn’t have to be in an expensive hotel.  There doesn’t have to be a paid quintet.  Really, it doesn’t have to be so…We need young people with backbone and radical Christian courage to stand against a culture and show what truth and beauty and joy can look like at one fourth the cost and one fourth the anxieties and one fourth the stress-and double the focus on the glory of Christ and the advancement of His kingdom.”

Nick and Mattie get it.  And, I got to capture it.  I’m so very thankful.

FYI, I offer special rates for elopements and smaller weddings…especially if they are near areas where my family can go camping.  I’m not even joking! 🙂  Contact me at drago712@gmail.com if you’re interested or know someone who might be.

 

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J & G ~ Florence, SC wedding photographer

I’m back!  I haven’t blogged in a really. long. time.  The days turned into weeks, and the weeks into months, and here we are.  But, I’m back.  Last year was great…I worked with AMAZINGLY WONDERFUL brides.  I leave pretty much every wedding full of gratitude for the new friendships God has forged as a result of this photography thing.   It really blows my mind how fortunate I have been.

I know 2016 is going to be just as great and I am SUPER EXCITED to work with the brides I have on my calendar!  My first blog post of 2016, is my last wedding of 2015.  A sweet couple that filled me with such hope for my own children, that I was close to bursting as I drove away.  I absolutely loved being a part of John and Genevieve’s day and am humbled they chose me to tell their story!

A husband and wife have covenanted before God to love each other until death. There are no exit ramps or escape hatches. That might sound scary to some, but we were made for this kind of love — covenantal, enduring, lavish, promise-keeping love. It’s how God loves us, and it’s the kind of love that confirms — tangibly and regularly — the gospel we share with our needy world.

Marriage cannot make you complete or happy. Only God will ever satisfy the deepest longings and ambitions you have. But God also made marriage, and he wants lots and lots of his children to experience it, because he loves them. He wants them to make the lifelong promises, to do the everyday hard work, and to enjoy the deep and abiding streams of his grace unique to that relationship.

-Marshall Segal

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Sunday Evening with the Ackermans | Greenville, SC photographer

I could take pictures of the Ackermans all. day. long.  I did pictures for them two years ago and had so much fun doing what I do, while they enjoyed each other with no thoughts of posing or the camera.  It was a dream come true.  This session was no different, except the boys have gotten a little bigger.  We decided to do this session a little closer to home, literally, so we played around in their yard and then headed down to their neighborhood park.

So much of life is hustling and bustiling.  I know I can often go all day without stopping to notice how much my children have grown, or what their newest like or dislike is.  As a photographer, I feel like my super power is freezing time.  Taking moments that might have gone unnoticed, and making sure they don’t.  Rachel, David, Colt, and Pierce…here are your moments…

 

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The Jones Family | Greenville, SC photographer

As soon as I stepped foot into Lindsey’s home I was inspired.  Every corner was decorated with care and every wall was adorned with creativity.  I could have spent an entire day with this family and still not come close to being able to capture the beauty of their home and their connection with one another.  This session was a blessing to me! 🙂

“I feel very strongly that this modern fear of the home becoming non-existent can be countered only if those of us who want to be sure our little spot is really a home take very practical measures to be sure that it is just that, and not a collection of furniture sitting in some sort of enclosure being protected from wind and storm. Of course, human relationships make a house into a home: either the relationships within the house, or the welcome and understanding that guests find. Human relationships depend on communication. But this communication takes time. It is also helped by atmosphere, and the atmosphere is helped by the ‘things’ which are arranged with love and with an expression of creativity in a visible form.” -Edith Schaffer (The Hidden Art of Homemaking)

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Josh and Bethany | Anderson, SC wedding photographer

One month ago today, Josh and Bethany became Mr. and Mrs. Randolph.  These two are awesome.  Their friends and family are awesome.  Their wedding was simply wonderful.

“In his wisdom, God has crafted a life for us that does not careen from huge, consequential moment to huge, consequential moment. In fact, if you examine your life, you will see that you have actually had few of those moments. You can probably name only two or three life-changing situations you have lived through. We are all the same; the character and quality of our life is forged in little moments. Every day we lay little bricks on the foundation of what our life will be. The bricks of words said, the bricks of actions taken, the bricks of little decisions, the bricks of little thoughts, and the bricks of small-moment desires all work together to form the functional edifice that is your marriage. So, you have to view yourself as a marital mason. You are daily on the job adding another layer of bricks that will determine the shape of your marriage for days, weeks, and years to come.” -Paul Tripp

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