Ohhhh my goodness, I am so excited to get to share this anniversary session today – for so many reasons! First, these two people are super special to me and Jason. We’ve known Hannah since her childhood, and it’s been such a joy to not only watch her transition into adulthood, but also, to get to experience the friendship that’s grown between us as the years have gone by! Just like her mama and the rest of her family, Hannah has a big heart and she brings a little extra joy into any room she walks into – and it’s a blessing to call her my friend!
Then, getting to watch her and Zach’s relationship blossom, and having the immense honor of walking with them through pre-marital counseling leading up to their wedding day (because Jason officiated their wedding!) was such a sweet season of life for us. We really got to know these two on a deeper level, and it made being their wedding photographer even more special than I already knew it would be!
Fast forward one year after their wedding, and I was *thrilled* when Hannah said they wanted to do an anniversary session! And I was even more thrilled when they chose Hotel Roanoke as their session location! It had been a few years since I’d shot at Hotel Roanoke, but I have always loved the architecture, the landscaping, and the downtown feel that Hotel Roanoke offers and I was itching to get back there and shoot again! And if you ask me, I think Hannah + Zach got the best timing out of the whole year – because we were blessed with the perfect mix of fresh green leaves on some of the trees, and some fluffy pink spring blossoms on others! (Which just so happened to match Zach + Hannah’s second set of outfits!!!)
Okay, okay, I’ll stop jabbering and share my faves with you already!
Did I mention these two also became puppy parents during their first year of marriage? Let me introduce you to Scout; aka “Scouty-Scout” or “Scouters,” as we often call him! Such a sweet, sweet boy!
Also, y’all, this next angle … it’s one I had never used at Hotel Roanoke before but when inspiration hit me during their session and we started shooting here, I knew *immediately* that these images were going to be some of my all-time faves! I’m so grateful these two trusted me when I asked them to move all the way to the edge of the railing and stand in front of a trash can! Haha! But for reals, it was 100% worth it – I just LOVE that city backdrop and the way the breezeway railing and columns add extra visual interest to these images!
Also, obsessed with this sweet shot of Scout up next on the right…
These two… the joy that happens when I start shooting them together is pure magic, every. single. time.
Another fave with Scout up next on the left … so stinking cute!
Another thing I love about shooting at Hotel Roanoke … there’s no shortage of variety! There are SO many pretty spots to shoot here!! We literally ran out of time before we could even hit them all! But one of the reasons Hannah chose this location was for all of the pretty greenery and landscaping, so of course we had to show those off in their images!
Love, love, love this next shot in black + white!
They changed outfits and we switched up our shooting locations again!
Remember the pretty pink blooms I mentioned, and how they matched Hannah + Zach’s second outfits perfectly?! See below:
This next one is another one of my top faves from our whole session! I love the big, genuine, contagious smiles these two get when they hold each other close!
Also love this next shot of Hannah on the left!!
Okay, so I love this next (and last) set of images for a couple of reasons! First, they were a little bit of a gamble, lighting-wise – but one that ended up working in our favor. What I mean by that is, technically, we broke a few of my normal lighting rules that I almost always follow when I shoot natural light portraits. Specifically, we got to this courtyard after sunset, and there were a LOT of artificial lights in the background – which often means there’s no way to get proper looking skin tones. But in this case, it worked (I think because all of the artificial lights were behind Hannah + Zach, not in front of them) – and I actually loved the way they turned out, because I think the glowy artificial lights in the background give these images an extra romantic feel to them. Almost like you would get during wedding reception photos that are taken after sunset!
Which brings me to the second reason I love these images. Hannah + Zach’s wedding date was April 4, 2020. Two weeks after normal life in the U.S. all but shut down due to the pandemic. They were faced with an incredibly difficult decision: postpone the start of their new life as husband + wife, or move ahead with their wedding but only have 8 other people there to celebrate with them. I watched them navigate that season with SO much grace, and with a deep sense of contentment in just getting to begin married life, even if their wedding day didn’t quite look like they’d planned. But they did sacrifice their big reception celebration. Which meant that they sacrificed that “First Dance” moment (and the photos of it!) that so many other brides + grooms get to have during their reception.
BUT this year, just after their first anniversary, they got to share a little dance (and a few twirls) in the Hotel Roanoke courtyard, with glowy wedding-reception-esque lighting in the background. It felt just a little redemptive of that sacrificed First Dance, and that makes me adore these images even more!
Hannah, Zach, thank you for trusting me yet again to capture a little glimpse of this season of your lives. Y’all seriously do bring magic with you every time we do this, and I love every. single. minute. of shooting you two! HUGS, and happy first anniversary!!!