Finally here, we are ready to showcase our top 20 picks from 2016 that we feel are “Magazine Worthy.” These are just stand out photos that have some uniqueness to them that make them have a wow factor…..where I could easily see these in a bridal magazine.
We have painstakingly combed through all of the photos that were submitted. It is such an emotional process actually for there are so many great photos, first and foremost, and many that I will even use on the website, so having to single out some and not include others is a chore. We truly appreciate the bride and the photographer sharing these photos with us so generously and we praise you for your talent. This listing of the top 20 is really in honor of our photographers more so than the bride. What we have done differently this year is that I will 1. reveal the photos one at a time (hopefully one a day) so that I can comment and give each picture its justice, and 2. though the bulk of the photos are not placed in any sort of order (that would be way too difficult to do), we did decide to list our top three choices. All of the pictures will be shown on the same blog but I will just revise/update the blog after each new entry. The top three will be revealed at the very end – but even those three will not necessarily be in any order of placement – fyi. So, let the drama and the anticipation and the admiration begin.
As of today, March 23, 2017, I have posted 17 awesome pictures from our 2016 qualifiers. Aren’t they just amazing? Have you enjoyed seeing the vast array of talent from our photographers? As stated, these 17 are not in any sort of order – neither are these remaining three. What is special though about these remaining three is that me and Jill have concluded that these are our top picks of the 20….we both agree and both salute the photographers (and their beautiful subjects as well).
Our final three…..one at a time.
From the wedding of Jules and Kyle by David Avant Photography
This picture just looks like it came straight out of a modern day fairytale book. Everything just seems magical. The dancehall is a gorgeous room with the mismatched board walls but usually itis photographed full of people which takes away from the interesting details of the room. This particular angle keeps the picture crisp without the clutter of the DJ bar or the pews or coffee tables. It is perfectly balanced on both sides with that touch of the curtain so all eyes are then on Jules doing a pirouette. It obviously helps that Jules was a ballerina once so she knows just how to do it right – both with the feet and with placing the hands in a good position too. Her wedding dress was likely selected just so it could twirl beautifully! All of the lighting above her and the mason jar chandelier, though an eye-catcher usually, does nothing more than redirect the attention back to Jules below it. Jules likely made a few twirls before David Avant got this one perfect shot but the position of Jules’ head is in a perfect place as well…..it is just so well executed and so unique. It makes a great calling card for our venue….it conveys “magical venue” more than any other picture I think that I have in my photo files. Every brides wants to feel like a princess on her wedding day….and seeing Jules in this photo makes you believe that indeed you can.
From the wedding of Jo and William by J. Blanche Photograhy
This photograph is one of those that seems full of oxymorons….a mix of two totally different worlds that come together still to present a beautiful picture. The seemingly contradictions are 1. a bride full of tatoos in a very ruffled girly wedding dress, 2. a bride holding a goat, and even 3. a bride on wedding day sitting in the grass in her wedding dress and almost engrossed in the moment of loving on this little baby goat. Point is…..this in so many ways is an extraordinarily unusual photo. Actually not so unusual for here at the farm, but in general, it is……….. yet, often art has those mix of contradictions and that is what gives it the spotlight. Beyond that, the rich green colors that come from this being an early spring wedding plays well in the shot. Jo is loving every minute of this moment holding the baby goat and you can tell that it isn’t even phasing the goat at all….no problem….just chilling….laid back….very content. This picture is certainly an attention-getter…..and it just makes you smile when you see it. Love it!
From the wedding of Savannah and Tyler by Caressa Rogers Photography
This looks already primed and ready for a magazine cover. If they had planned this as a staged photo, it couldn’t have looked any more professional both from a picturesque stand point as well as hired models. Savannah and her bridesmaids are picture perfect here. Each girl has their own position, their own slight angle, their own prop position with their bouquets, and even down to their own distinct look of attitude on their faces. Whether Caressa gave some instructions or lots of detailed instructions, it isn’t easy to affix your body, your arms, your face in any sort of contorted ways and make it look natural….but they all do. There is nothing over done here too. The bridesmaid dresses are beautiful and comfortable and colorful but not complicated. Savannah’s dress is the same way. This is such a perfect dress choice for a bride for a wedding here at the farm….one that makes you look as though you are a princess but one that is comfortable, flows, but not constraining. Yet….again this choice fits perfect in this photo op. Even Savannah’s posture – leaning back just a tad and her expression is perfect. Sometimes these pensive expressions can look sad or mad or void…much more of a challenge to look like you are being thoughtful or dreaming….and each of these girls pull it off which again…makes this much more of a challenge photograph wise when dealing with many subjects and not just one. Maybe modeling should be a thought for Savannah! Set in the bottom end of the hayfield in the dead stalks of the hayfield (remember – our drought last year left much of our field colorless), but the stalks being in the foreground give depth to the picture, realism as well, and makes you think that the setting is out in the middle of the prairie. When I first saw this photo in the gallery, I had to think long and hard as to “where in the world on the farm is this taken?” which is always a “kudos” to the photographer to make a new twist in a very familiar place. And the colorless haystalks…in front and right behind her help actually to compliment the color in the dresses. And….the blurred watercolor effect in the far background with the trees – and bringing out the color there also helps give some balance and completeness to the overall look. I would encourage Savannah and Caressa Rogers to pitch this gallery to all sorts of wedding blogs and sites….the whole batch is awesome.
From the wedding of Brooke and Jared by Kenney Photography
What a magic angle and photograph this is by Kenney Photography. In fact, the Kenney’s have a canvas on the wall of our lounge of a bride several years ago at this same location. We often tell our brides during the tour (who always marvel at it)…..to be sure and get a picture done like this. Many do and it is certainly a stunning angle…but a few of these rise to the level of extraordinary like this one. I don’t know enough photography intelligence to know how much of this is enhanced, or lens, or photo shop….but he sure does have the lighting down pat. The positioning of the sun plays a key role here by placing an intense glow to Brooke’s dress and even to her body silhouette…plus it gives those great streaks of light coming through the barnwood slats. But, they are able to control any glare from the backside enough to show detailing in the barn wood, her dress, her flower crown, and even to the curtains. Even little details like Brooke looking off to the side allows attention to the slight curls in her hair hanging down. The Kenney’s just always have a bag of tricks up their sleeve and can pull out some special photos….and this ranks up there.
From the wedding of Savannah and Tyler by Caressa Rogers Photography
Isn’t this a stunning picture? The mirror and frame wall was created last fall when i was decorating for a bride. At the time, it wasn’t for a cake table but I like the general effect that the mirrors and the mixed frames gave to the wall so i decided to leave it up. Just as our bottle wall gives interest to many things; cakes, photos, etc….this mirror and frame wall could do the same even if it was a tea table. So, Savannah decided she liked this as a better option than the bottle wall for her cake. This photo has the right angle because you see it in the mirror reflection…but how fortunate that she “noticed” this opportunity just at the right time of day when that sun was coming through the doorway adding the much needed light emphasis. I actually debated a long time over the decision to put this one in the finals mostly because it didn’t have a person in it. Yep – I already included another one without a person – the barn at night shot – but it is generally rare for me to do so. But…i kept going back to this photo and just admiring the artistry of it all…..and that is the whole point of this Magazine Worthy list…..to admire that extra creative umph that is in a few of these photos. Do you like it too?
From the wedding of Trishell and Jimmy by Rich Smith Photography
This photo shows in one single shot the barn wedding celebration below, the gorgeous mountain landscape in the background, and the rustic elegance of the bridge and groom in the foreground. It is always a cool shot to go up on the hillside and take these photos because you do get that glimpse of your guests enjoying themselves back at the barn – often playing cornhole or feeding the goats….but……you almost feel like you are “on top of the world” on the hill because it is such a peaceful setting up above all the activities below. Even in late fall, there was still lots of color on our mountain. This is Lookout Mountain in the background. It begins in Chattanooga by the Incline and Ruby Falls and extends 100 miles into Alabama southward, but here by us is the highest point of Lookout Mountain – thus why we are called High Point Community here in her shadow. So….not only do we have the beautiful mountain in the background but the peak gives it some stand out…plus it allows some extra special sunset shots with that dip to the south of the peak. Anyway – this photo stands out among some of the others in the same position partly because it has the layer of fall leaves at the base, a bit of the whispy hay, but also because Trishell’s red auburn hair, her unique bouquet, and even Jimmy’s attire all blend wonderfully together with all of the other fall theme going on here. It was semi-staged just right with Jimmy’s angle as he goes in for the kiss keeps his head above hers… plus her flowing dress was pulled outward to showcase how long and flowing it was…. in the photo as well. It just feels like if a magazine layout design was to be created….that they would have found a place like this, a time of year like this, and found a bride and groom that looked like this and then would’ve staged the activities at the barn below like this. Sometimes all the great elements are right there on a lucky day so a talented photographer then just has to figure out how to place them together. Rich Smith figured it out!
From the wedding of Jules and Kyle by David Avant Photography
David Avant Photography was new to the farm when he came to capture pictures for Jules and Kyle back last fall. He had a perfect day and an adorable couple which made part of his tasks that much easier. The challenge becomes in finding unique shots and those that will not only journal the events of the day but capture the mood and the ambiance of the place and the moment. The photo above has been made quite a few times but this one hits perfection in that it is just the right time of night so that there is still plenty of imagery in the background – you can see guests and even the hay stacked in the loft. He center the photo just perfectly making the drooping of the string lights look almost photo-shopped. The candle-like glow of the candles is an attention grabber – both for this photo as well as us as a venue. With the linen chair signs showing Mr. and Mrs., the great skin color and lighting of the bride and groom’s face, and the tender kiss Kyle and Jules shared plus the ‘jewels’ in Jules blonde hair – it just comes together eloquently.
From the wedding of Brooke and Jared by Kenney Photography
Okay, okay…..I may be obsessed with some of these greenhouse photos….but my goodness – just look at all that is going on with this photo. It is just so unique and part of it indeed all of this cool lighting effect that The Kenney’s have it going on…..plus the steaming effect that it produces. I don’t know how planned this shot was or if it was one of those ideas that once you get back to your computer and see the digitals that you know you have got magic going on…..either way….this looks as much like a planned photo shoot for a magazine layout. This is very late in the evening obviously so just the fact that you can still pull out the details….and know that this is indeed a bride and a groom (important), and even the wheelbarrow adds credence to the staging. Then there is still bits of color with what is showing through from the greenhouse. But even the other little details that you notice…..the colors in the ivy running up the chimney, the lit up treetop at the top of the picture, the grapevine off to the right, and more flowers at the base. So, even for this somewhat night time silhouette type photo…there is lots of color and lots of details…but for sure….the steaming effect adds great interest and uniqueness to me on this one…..for sure it is unusual and stands out as very creatively imagined and executed. The Kenney’s are masters – they prove it time and time again.
From the wedding of Caroline and Shot by Innamarato Photography
I took Caroline and Shot down to the tree tunnel (and a slew of other places) for photos after their ceremony. Once there, the photographer (Melody) was all engaged while taking photos of one sort or the other in the tunnel. While they were occupied, I snuck off and found the youngest goat we had (but still quite a hefty little boy at that). When Shot saw me, I asked “does anybody want a goat picture?” Caroline was quick to shake her head no but Shot spoke out quickly with certain glee that he was more than anxious to. His face lit up like a kid on Christmas morning. This was when you use the term “tickled pink” for he was. Once the goat was securely held, Caroline came up to approach the little baby..then he let out a little muffled “baaaa” which resulted in Caroline’s ecstatic reaction and the photographers quick take. Picture wise – again, that tree tunnel just sets a gorgeous stage and a bride and a goat is an unusual thing (except here at the farm)….and though part of this was indeed staged, Caroline’s reaction was spontaneous…and for that matter… Shot has this wonderfully happy expression on his face that adds truth to the story. Melody at Innamarato was at the right place and ready to capture the photo at the right time. Beyond that, she has the ability to play with the lighting and the effects that turns a picture of a bride and groom positioned in an ordinary pathway into what looks like a page out of a fairytale storybook.
From the wedding of Jenna and Taylor by John Shim Photography
This photo of Jenna is just more artistry than most of the previous photos. Jenna is just one of those natural beauties who just seems to look stunning in every photo of her gallery – making the work of her photographer a bit easier….granted. And…the photographer, John Shim. John – John….he always comes up with something very unique and fresh when he comes to the farm. There is typically one photo in each brides’ gallery that he send me…. where I think, “oh my, where on the farm did he take that photo at?” and if not that, it is one like the picture above….taken in a familiar spot (by the Milkhouse vine) but the results is like none other. That is a creative photographer for you – which is what these top 20 photos are celebrating. This photo of Jenna blurs out many of the details….but even the blurred flowers in the background add a touch of color to this cloudy effect….and the blooming vine adds such wedding vibe to the angle. The lighting effect is just magic. Jenna – with her beautiful dark hair with those soft peachy pink flower petals in her crown and her off the shoulder wedding dress just blend together like a great recipe.
The wedding of Camila and Kevin by Amanda May Photography
Oh, our military couples are always a bit extra special. These weddings just seem to have a common thread of sorts….there love has been tested through absence so these unions seem to understand and know what is at risk and know how precious it all is….both life and love. So, just the fact that there is the obvious military aspect to this gives it a stand out feature. Now, look at all of those poppies! Those are my mother’s infamous double bloom pink poppies that for years and years – as far back into my memory as I can remember, she has always been growing these unusual blossoms….and how they stand out especially in bulk. The color of the pink engulfed with that touch of muted turquoise play off of the gray barn wood and they all blend together wonderfully. With Camila and Kevin front and center, their natural positioning makes for a story. It is as if she is wooing him somewhere and with that sweet smile – almost a snicker – it is as if she has something amusing up her sleeve. This angle of the barn is rarely photographed – I guess because our garden becomes a force to be reckoned with as wedding season gathers summer momentum and photographers don’t venture into the thicket. With the day a bit cloudy, it makes for some interesting clouds and the cloud coverage helps to keep any harsh lighting away from the final product. Again, this is just a lot of unique factors blending together to make a memorable photo and gets a major thumbs up from me and Jill. Our nostalgia may have played a role in this choice but my mother’s poppies (Mimi, as so many called her) were generously given to so many friends and strangers throughout her many many years that these blooms remind me of the kind heart that my mother possessed and lived. There were many awesome photos in the full gallery and I thank Amanda for taking so many detail shots and for sharing them so generously herself.
From the wedding of Amy and Eric by Kenney Photography
The magic duo of Kenney Photography seems to always make my Magazine Worthy lists every year. This photo has all of the elements of greatness. There are so many details of interest in this shot. The old garden gate with the words “It all began in the garden” sets the tone of the shot. The time of year has helped pad the setting with flowers galore. The Cock’s Comb fuchsia flower is dominant in this photo but a closer look will reveal white zinnias towards the bottom, sunflowers topping overhead of the fuchsia on the left, and even the over-sized rosemary plants are putting off a glow due to the lighting effect that they Kenney’s have staged. Add to all of that floral eye candy, you have Amy and Eric front and center doing what newly weds do best and that is ‘kiss for the camera’. The glowing effect is around them as well and with the somewhat dark and cloud-filled sky, it helps to highlight the couple at the center stage of this photo. It is a unique shot and very well staged and executed. This photo could be selling flower seeds to a wedding dress to deodorant to allergy medicine – maybe we will see it in a magazine.
From the wedding of Savannah and Tyler by Caressa Rogers Photography
Yes, this is another greenhouse photo. I think why I am so enamored with them is because they are so unique…not just to us though this is the first full year of photos that have had the greenhouse as a photo op but it is also unique among the wedding world. In this copycat world in which we live in where every little thing gets mimicked (and they do say that imitation is the highest form of flattery – right?), the greenhouse is a unique farm flair that adds that touch of organic to a photo. In this shot, Caressa is able to pull in all sorts of details from the lily foliage on the left, the spilling grapevines on the right, the hanging dried flowers in the greenhouse, and the barn in the background. With Savannah and Tyler being front and center, they too are adding an array of interest from his casual attire versus her gorgeous wedding dress, but also that he is relaxed and leaning back on the edge of the greenhouse while Savannah is “taking” a kiss (as forcefully yet as innocently as possible). I am sure that the kiss was requested by photographer, Caressa, but it sure seems real and effortless on Savannah’s part. The colors are good and rich and the barn blurring in the background helps to draw the attention on Savannah and Tyler….as it should.
From the wedding of Megan and Nathan by Nathan M. Bivens Photography
This photo is just a wow on all fronts. First, just to get the lighting so effective at this hour of the night is a challenge. I am not sure whether it took special lens or special effects but it glows from one end to the other….and if that wasn’t enough, he has a unique lighting effect going on in the sky. Looks like a comet is headed for the barn – either that or God is smiling down on this wedding. It is no small challenge to take a great photo of our barn. Granted – we do have some funky barn doors which all take great photos and we have added unique planters and landscaping and such on all sides which too, make great backdrops for all sorts of wedding photos…but to take the broad view and get the barn AND more of the grounds is a challenge and then to do it so complimenting is a brownie point for sure. One look at this photo and we new it was a keeper and new that we would give it a prominent place on the website. What would we do without our talented photographers when it comes to my website. They make us look good and in turn, we give them a platform to show-off their talent. This photo will certainly get the attention of any on-looker and gets our kudos as well.
From: The wedding of Jo and William by J. Blanche Photography
Every bride deserves to feel like a princess and wedding day is a grand day to have this feeling. I hope that Jo (Jojo?…Josephine – I am not sure!) felt that way on her wedding day. It is no small feat to get up on top of one of these haybales but both Will and Jo were anxious to give it a try. With the mountains in the background, this again creates great depth that accents this photo plus the time of year (early spring), the background colors almost make this photo look like a watercolor. Even with Will’s casual attire (he changed out of his military blues for these more intimate photos) it seems to give a good offset to Jo’s beautiful flowing and frilly wedding dress….in fact, it visually demonstrates this rustic elegant blend. The couple’s embrace looks natural and even the touch of breeze that you notice in the photo gives a great effect.
From: the wedding of Abbey and Sam by Daisy Moffatt Photography
Daisy Moffatt Photography was with us several times this year and we are always impressed with her galleries. This one captured a unique look of the barn which is increasingly more difficult to achieve these days. Seeing the inside of the barn at night with the many lights draped behind is always breath-taking but this particular angle shows a silhouette of Abbey and Sam so their profile becomes the focal point of the photo. As Abbey leans into Sam with a gentle connection and the two of them hand in hand, it just shows a tender moment at night’s end of what has to be a monumental day. The way that the light glows through the slats of the barn also gives a cool effect. With the lights in the tree off to the right and the lights from the Tack Room and Patio showing some on the left – help keep this from being too dark of a photo and again….let’s the eye just zoom in on the very center of the photograph.
From: The wedding of Kara and Chris by Howell Photography
Our greenhouse is new to the farm beginning early 2016. It is indeed a real greenhouse and it has been utilized much this winter with trying to grow flower seedlings for our more intensive flower farming this year. We made the unique greenhouse mostly with using windows. We laid out the windows to create the design then made 2×4 framing to support the design….then used old wood pieces to close it in. We have been excited to see the amazing photos that have come from our photographers using the greenhouse.
Part of the appeal of this picture – and those using the greenhouse as a backdrop is that it is a way that can showcase that this wedding is a “farm wedding” and seeing the watering tins, garden boxes, and plants in the background only add to the charm. Kara, being a beautiful brunette, is positioned right in the doorway and her dark hair helps to keep her from blending into all of the white surrounding her. She has an infectious smile and is stunning in her wedding dress. If you look closely, you can see our chandelier hanging behind her. There is just so much staging in this photo without it being staged meaning there are little details all over that help add interest to this photo; not just the watering tins and plants but also the red door to the supply room off to the right, the blooming vines trailing up the walls, the chandelier hanging in the background, and even the wash tin stand off to the left. It has all of the elements of a stand-out photo and indeed it does do that for us. ~ Margie
From: The wedding of Megan and Nate by Nathan M. Bivens Photography
This photograph is one of those that makes you feel as though you were right there in the field with her. Part of this comes from the lighting which of course is very natural and part of it is that you can see the hay stalks blowing in the wind and easily imagine the feel of the wind on your face. Megan is one of those natural beauties who looks stunning in the whole gallery of photos but beyond her good looks, she is smiling in virtually every picture of the gallery, as well, and even her smiles seem natural and genuine. Her bouquet is a mixture of wildflowers and garden flowers so again, you could almost imagine her wedding taking place steps away from where she stands now. Beauty doesn’t need to be contrived or adorned with jewels and bling…..but often in the simplicity of the natural do we find it best.
From: The wedding of Caroline and Matt by Nashville Wedding Collection.
This photographer was a first-timer to the venue but he took to the farm like a hunting dog looking for a fox. He showcased an amazing array in his collection with some very artistic shots of Caroline’s dress hanging from the barn and even her shoes atop the moss-ridden horse ring fence….but this picture taken in the first hayfield kept getting our attention. Again, it is the depth that helps give this photo extended interest and having Lookout Mountain as your background is always a plus. The particular time of year was summer but before we cut the hayfield so the hay stalks are long and give great texture to the foreground as if the couch lived there. Even the “fortunate circumstance” of the bridesmaid bouquets being babies breath blended better with the hayfield location than if they had an intricate floral bouquet. Yes – this is a staged reaction but the girls do a good job at it and Caroline’s reaction is priceless – like she is just soaking it all in – all of the attention! The blue turquoise vintage couch always makes a statement and the photographer sure did get his money’s worth by using it for a variety of bridal shots. All of these elements just came together to present a visually stunning photo as well as it shows the fun side of wedding day where it is ‘all about you’ and your bridesmaids are suppose to pamper you. Likely the one day that you get such a royal treatment so bring it on and enjoy it!
From: The wedding of Rachel and Brad by Erin Morrison Photography
The Tree Tunnel is just a magical spot. It was a hidden gem for so long filled with wild blackberry bushes, poison ivy, and tarp covered haybales. As time has moved on, we have tamed it and cleared out the clutter. Part of its appeal, whether shooting on the top end or the bottom end, is the depth that it shows. In this particular shot, the placement of the bride and groom are framed with the cedar trees on either side and with the draping foliage overhead. The colors are very rich and work well with this shot. The lighting is perfect so you can see the subjects and even the angle of their bodies is perfect. Was this a natural stance or instructed by the photographer? Who knows, it is often either of those. Even the kiss seems unstaged and the overall feel of the photo is that Rachel and Brad have darted away from the crowds at the barn and snuck a moment – a kiss – in the woods beyond the venue.