On Authenticity, the color Blue and being Boss(y)

This year marked the 4th wedding season for BlueSky.

The 4th year since I spread my wings, flew the corporate coop–shedding ‘golden hand cuffs’ of a fat salary, a company car, healthy 401K match …and life less-than-authentic.

I have always known I was meant to be an entrepreneur.  I have always known I was meant to lead a life less ‘ordinary.’  And these 4 years…challenge-filled as they have been…have put me on a path to making me more…ME.


Lesson learned:

– Being self-employed requires balls (ovaries?)  the size of Texas.

– You will take yourself waaaaay too seriously.  Yet– some days– not serious enough.

– You will struggle

– You will fail at some things (a lot of things)

– You will be let down: by clients, by peers, by yourself.

– You will lose some ‘connection’ with friends as being an entrepreneur creates a strange lack of understanding with those that aren’t.  (I assume this is a lot like the ‘divide’ that often happens when people have children.)

– Your business will be your ‘baby’

– Your spouse will often look at you sideways

– You will wonder where 4 years just went

– You will consistently ‘evolve’ and learn (if you are lucky)

– You will realize that what you do makes a difference (if you are lucky)

– You will be proud of yourself (very proud)

– It will dawn on you–YOU are your business and this is why you care, why you take it personally.  And  when you lay your cards on the table and show who YOU really are….you get the privileged to work with people that you adore and adore you back.

…and that…..makes ALL of the difference.


In the past year I have been ‘laying low’  (I guess, its technically lying low. Right Karisa;-)

I have been taking a good hard look at me, at my businesses, and leading a more authentic life as it relates to both.

And, I have been working to make my business reflect those things. (by evaluating who I am, whom I love working with best and getting a bit of help from a biz coach) –All in an effort start to become less about ‘tag lines’ and ‘marketing collateral’ and more about who I am at my core and how I wish to impact those around me.  (stay tuned for lots of changes)


But today….4 seasons in….I take the first step. (of many)   To announce a change to make my ‘brand’ fit more like a glove.  To more accurately reflect who I am and bring the ‘right’ people into my life (and me into theirs)  In these 4 years I have learned I thrive and delight in working with people who are Vibrant.  Who are Fearless. And have have a ‘Fire’ inside to make this life so much more than mediocre.  I have been crazy-insanely ‘lucky’ (#nosuchthing) to have spent the past years surrounded them.  I have learned that my colors are not “blush and bashful” (more,  see-it-mile-away: cobalt)  That being called “bossy” no longer bothers me a bit.  (as my ‘say-it-like-I-see-it’ ways come from a place of good vs evil and #banbossy just seems silly to me…Id rather own it.  (especially if the ‘Y’ is silent;-)


So, Step 1 in authenticity?  No longer ‘hiding’ behind a brand.  Though BlueSky is here to stay (for now) I am adding my name in all branding.  I want my clients-to-be to ‘know’ me right out of the gates.  –Though I know adding  my name may not seem like much…it is to me.

The fact of the matter is..BlueSky is and has always been...me.


….stay tuned.


best charlotte wedding photographer







Duke Mansion Bridal Portrait: Laura (by Charlotte Intimate Wedding Photographer)

Though we adore all of our clients–this one has become near and dear to me.:-)

Laura and I met 4 years ago when my studio ran a promotion for family photography sessions.  (seems like a different lifetime but 5 minutes ago all the same)  Laura called to ask if it was at all possible to do a session the day before Thanksgiving as a gift to their mother who was visiting from Florida.  –Though we were in ‘crazy season’ (otherwise known as Oct-Dec for photographers buckling down  to accommodate fall wedding season and getting everything out before the holidays:-) there was something about Laura’s excitement in this gift to her mother I could not say no to.  We spent a sun-drenched day sipping Starbucks, looking through entertainments magazines and documenting a little ‘slice of life’ between she, mom and sister Brenda.

(here is a peek from their session:-)


Over the next few years, we stayed in touch–checking in on one another and meeting for an occasional glass of wine and chatting on life.


Then 3 years into knowing her…she met a ‘boy.’  She was ‘cautiously optimistic’ about this one.  …and 6 months later…we knew he was something special.   (when she started to refer to him by name vs ‘the boy.’:-)


Last fall –Laura messaged excitedly to tell me the news! (besides the fam and close friends…I was high on the ‘notification’ list:-)


….She and Dave were engaged.


I was beyond honored to not only be on the list to call–but also asked to join them on this journey as their photographer.


Just weeks before the wedding I was lucky enough to spend time with she and mom at the stunning Duke Mansion.  I will be posting their amazingly joyful wedding day soon. But in the meantime…here are a few images from Laura’s Duke Mansion Bridal Session.


Charlotte Bridal Session Location:   Duke Mansion    

Charlotte Bridal Session Portrait Photographer:  BlueSky Studios

Bridal Session Bouquet: Nectar

Planner (and lighting assitant:-)   Aisha Thomas Events

Hair:  All About You Salon

Makeup Artist:  Trish McAvoy counter at Nordstrom, South Park (Anastasia)

Why You Should Do a First Look at Your Wedding (by Charlotte Intimate wedding photographer BlueSky Studios)

If you follow this blog,  (or BlueSky on facebook or me on instagram)  you know I love a First Look.


I love the real/raw/ PRIVATE moments between a couple seeing each other on their wedding day alone. I love watching the groom stand alone and shifting his weight from foot to foot eagerly waiting for his bride to find him.  I adore the way the nervous tension dissipates once they see one another.   That tears fall more freely than in front of hundreds of loving-onlookers. (and when the bride does later walk the aisle she can relax a bit and not stare at her feet whilst trying not to cry.:-)  I love the chance to slow down the crazy timeline if only for a short while.  …and I love that when it is time to walk the aisle…there are often more tears.


Many an article has been written on ‘what is a first look?’ and ‘should I do a first look’ (including one written by famed photographer Jasmine Star here.)    However, for those unfamiliar with a First Look (though, the wedding mags have given this a lot of editorial action in the past few years..) A ‘First Look’ is a private moment where couples see each other in a per-determined location BEFORE  the ceremony vs. meeting on the aisle.

And,  in addition to the above…a first look also often offers a chance for many of the ‘couples’ photographs to be taken prior to the ceremony and allowing more time to spend with family and friends..and maybe even attend the cocktail hour. (hello…bonus!)  Or, in the case of a fall/winter wedding…allow for photographs to be taken while there is still daylight. (and in the case of husband and I –a chance for photographs prior to a monsoon taking place for the next 3 hours:-)

So why don;t we take a look at Exhibit A in support of a First Look and let you be the judge?

After discussing both a traditional aisle option  (which–by the way do you know WHY this tradition even started? #googleit  #bestitsnotwhatyouthought  wink-wink.) and a ‘First look’ Lindsey and Greg opted for a first look  for their October wedding at a private estate on Lake Wiley  (**spoiler** you may want to grab your tissues)


bride getting ready for first look
bride nervous for first look
bride getting ready for first look
groom waiting for bride first look
bride walking to meet groom
grrom waiting for bride
bride walking to groom for first look
groom crying diring first look
grrom crying during first look
bride crying during first look
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PS:  Remember how we talked about a first look NOT taking away from walking the aisle?   See below: Lindsey and Greg later on the aisle.


charlotte candid wedding photograher


Though I am a sucker for a First Look and had one myself at our wedding…I think Jasmin Star said it best when discussing the matter:  “I prefer a bride and groom to see each other before the ceremony, but–truthfully–it doesn’t matter to me either way. More than anything, I want my brides to be happy. I simply explain their options because I know they’ll make an educated decision. Often times brides think there are rules to weddings (Cannot see groom before hand, Must throw garter, Cannot be seen as a couple until the Grand Entrance), but I believe there should only be one rule: Do What Makes You Happy. “


Now you decide….


M o r e   i n f o