Daric & Holly: Salisbury University

Last month, I was able to take a weekend to see friends in Salisbury, Maryland, where I resided from 2016-2018. A couple who I loved doing life with during those few years were Daric & Holly. They showed me how to love Jesus and love people in such practical ways, being constant fun, encouraging presences at meals, Bible studies, movie nights, and the like. Daric even offered to teach me guitar and we had a few great sessions… before I flaked!! They both supported me both financially and in being good friends during my time as Cru staff, and those years in Salisbury would not have been the same without them!! (I’ll especially always hold dearly the time a friend and I visited Daric at work and got a FULL tour of a crematory!!) Y’all bring much joy to me and others, and it was SO fun to photograph y’all that weekend. ­čÖé

Enjoy some favorites from my session with Daric & Holly around Salisbury University!!

A Swing Through 2019

Hello, friends! Happy 2020! Having time this month to slow down, regroup, and pray & plan for 2020 has been so refreshing. (Aside from the week I spent nursing my sick younger sister (a freshman at CNU) back to health from a virus, only to catch some kind of the bug myself and be out of commission for a week. Ah well, tis the season.)

As I look back over 2019, I am so humbled by the faces that fill folder after folder on my harddrive, from engagements, families, expecting parents, and more. As I posted on Instagram recently, 2019 was a year where love for the camera and really truly learning people, serving people, and enjoying people with photography came back to life for me. Selecting a slew of photos to share in this post was so hard because I wanted to use them all!!!! My smile kept growing as I put this selection together. Y’all have been such a joy to work with. I am beyond thankful!!!! I want this business to be a vehicle where people feel the love of God and know the value they hold as His creatures. While I have dreams and goals for Debbie Dean Photography in 2020, I pray that stays primary in all the work I do. Y’all are beautiful, unique, and emulate joy in your own ways. I love the gift it is to capture y’all. Instead of planning today, I’ll just continue scrolling through highlights of 2019, thankful to God for you all and humbled that I get to work with so many different image bearers of our great God!!!

A Note on Thanksgiving + Cummings Family: Cullipher Farm

Thanksgiving is tomorrow and tonight I am sitting on the couch with some of my sisters, at home in Northern VA, bouncing between Hallmark movies and Say Yes To The Dress while I edit photoshoots. I know we all say this annually, but the holidays definitely snuck up on me this year. Life is so full, so fun, and so go go go… I feel like I blinked and I’m home now, smelling my Mom’s Thanksgiving Eve cooking and wondering why I keep deciding it’s a good idea to kick off Thanksgiving with an early morning Turkey Trot run (tomorrow’s race route I’m doing this year is SO HILLY, and I’m hoping the wings on the turkey onesie I’m wearing will give me umph to soar up and over all the inclines!!!).

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, a brother at Fellowship Group (my church‘s version of small groups) prayed last night that God would help us recall the many things this past year that we have ignored or forgotten to thank Him for, and that He would help us to remember and praise Him. I was so humbled by that prayer because I often plow through life without spending much time reflecting specifically on God’s past grace to me, not often being still and thinking across the span of months/years with thanksgiving. In light of this, I am looking over 2019, and tonight I’m particularly humbled by God’s provision of business for Debbie Dean Photography.

A few months ago, I had no idea I could have this life, making a living doing childcare and photography (while learning and studying biblical counseling on the side in the process). Yet, God has opened door after door and I find myself floored at what each day holds! Strangers and friends alike have blessed me to serve them with photo sessions this fall. Reflecting on all the couples and families I’ve captured is stirring great thankfulness to God for the gift and experiences with photography He’s given over the years to bring me to this place. I pray He continues to grow me and show me His purposes for Debbie Dean Photography, and look forward to how I can keep serving others with photo experiences down the road!

In light of all this… enjoy a fun autumn family session I did recently, featuring Marcell, the brother in my Fellowship Group who’s prayer I referenced above! I have loved getting to know him and Hillary and their little guy, Max, since coming to HRF last year, and I hope you enjoy their session from Cullipher Farm in Chesapeake, Virginia!

Will & Beth: Historic Greenbrier Farms

Oh how I’m loving these fall photo sessions! A few weeks ago I gallivanted around Greenbrier Farms in Chesapeake, VA, with these two sweet friends from my church, Will and Beth. Beth in particular has been a sister who’s care and wisdom for me is continually a source that humbles and refreshes me! She challenges me faithfully in how to practically live out gospel truths and she exemplifies quiet servitude. I am so encouraged by how she and Will serve our church body! We had so much fun at Greenbrier Farms and I hope you enjoy some of my favorites from our session.

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Norfolk Maternity Shoot: Brandon & Krystal

This summer and fall have been busy seasons for pregnancies and baby arrivals within my church, Hampton Roads Fellowship! (Though to be honest, there’s somethin in the water at HRF and the children just keep multiplying!) But between babysitting gigs and photoshoots, my heart overflows from all these bundles of joy!!

A way our church encourages personal care and accountability is through small discipleship groups, where we intentionally, purposefully walk through life with a few brothers (for guys) or a few sisters (for girls) during a designated period of time (usually 3-4 months). Krystal and I formed a discipleship group last fall with another sister from HRF, and I loved our early Sunday mornings together in Panera Bread (my favorite restaurant ever!!!). We walked through highs and lows of life during that season, going through Scripture and praying, crying, and laughing much each week.

I still remember the morning Krystal told us she was expecting! So much anticipation and prayers had lead up to her sharing the news, and it was a surreal, sweet gift to watch her belly grow in the months that followed, even after our formal discipleship group time ended. She has continued to be a dear friend who blesses my life richly — she and her husband Brandon are faithful, encouraging church members to do life alongside. They were such a relaxing pair to do maternity photos for last month. Their baby boy, Matthias, has since arrived and he is one of the most healthy, handsome little gentlemen residing in Norfolk these days!!! Hopefully he will be gracing this blog in the coming months. ­čśë Enjoy some of my favorites from our time around the Pagoda & Oriental Garden in Norfolk, VA!

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Give the Perfect Gift this Valentine’s Day!

When was the last time you and your spouse had fun together without the distraction of kids or to do lists?

When was the last time you and your spouse took good photos together, not snapped as a selfie or from the viewpoint of your five year old?

On top of that, how many of you think about Valentine’s Day next month and hope your spouse drops a good hint these next few weeks of something he/she would like other than the chocolate bar and gift card to Starbucks you were planning to grab on February 13th?

If you find yourself in any of the above scenarios, I have the perfect gift for you this Valentine’s Day!

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Gift Debbie Dean Photography’s Valentine’s Day package!

For $120, you get a one-hour photo session AND a 10×14″ canvas of your favorite image from the shoot! Not only will the shoot be a fun time of you two enjoying each other and creating a fun memory together (free from kiddos or other distractions that have seeped into your time as a couple over the years!), but you will also have a canvas to hang in your office or bedroom, reminding you of the love you have for this bestfriend, love of your life, & partner in crime for years to come!

Interested? Book today! Inquire to: debbiedeanphotography@gmail.com. 703-789-0513.

(Based out of Hampton, Virginia — travel rates apply for photo sessions more than 25 miles from Hampton.)

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David & Kala: Kentucky Blue VA Wedding

Despite blog crashes and computer struggles, I’m finally able to post this wedding! Similarly, despite mid-July heat and threatening rain showers on the forecast all day, David & Kala’s Kentucky Blue wedding was probably the most fun wedding I’ve shot to date. David & Kala are a life loving, God loving, people loving couple. They were excited, patient, and energized their whole day (and they had a sweet bridal party that carried similar qualities). It was such a joy to be their photographer and experience them become one family! Congrats, Mr. & Mrs. Herman. Thanks for your patience with these photos! Enjoy some of my favorites.
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_MG_7907_MG_7882_MG_7944_MG_7998_MG_7908_MG_8011_MG_8286_MG_8299_MG_8317David and his groomsmen wanted some shots before the ceremony of them in a nearby home-gym. The images we got were priceless….

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_MG_0041_IM_0023_MG_0014_MG_9927_MG_0133_MG_0142_MG_0148_MG_0158_MG_0216_MG_0184Reception #2: dinner and dancing time._MG_0266_MG_0258_MG_0299_MG_0319_MG_0370_MG_0555_MG_0419_MG_0475_MG_0565_MG_0569_MG_0609_MG_0604_MG_0585_MG_0556_MG_0563_MG_0739_MG_0705_MG_0714Appropriate shot to end on (sums up the night)…_MG_0716Congrats again, guys! Super stoked for you two.

Tara & Matt – Engaged

October 2009. As an insecure, trying-to-find-my-place-in-this-world freshman, I tagged along to a house I had never been at to participate in the birthday party surprise for a girl I hardly knew, thinking, “This will be great… Wait, this is scary, I hardly know ANYONE at the party!… Buuuut I’ve met the birthday girl a few times and she seems nice… But I don’t think I’ll ever be her friend because she’s just SO COOL! Aaaa, I should leave… Oh no, too late now, she’s coming!” I remember that surprise party so vividly. There were dozens of people there to celebrate a freshman babe by the name of Tara Thompson. The Christian community at CNU has always been incredible, and especially my freshman year, the upperclassmen went out of their way to make us feel welcome and included in life at CNU. So in the midst of this birthday party, I remember looking around at the people gathered to celebrate Tara and thinking, “I want to be part of this community. And I want to know this girl that SO many people would come surprise and celebrate as a freshman on her birthday. She’s just so cool………..”

Who would have thought that night at the start of our freshman year that Tara Thompson would end up being one of my very best friends………. and that I would be doing an engagement shoot of her and her FIANC├ë just a few years later!?!

Tara’s one of those people who’s beauty on the outside is just a smidgen of the beauty that’s inside her. Her heart is unlike any other I know. She loves genuinely, she loves faithfully, she loves honestly, she loves bluntly, she loves encouragingly. When Tara cares for people, she gives 100%. She isn’t wishy-washy or half in. I remember a time during sophomore or junior year when one of the downtown guys from the DownTown Ministry Tara leads at CNU was in a serious car accident. Tara threw herself into praying and caring for this dear friend. She was steadfast in hospital visits and figuring out how to best serve him, and she constantly was reminding me to pray for him. Tara also loves openly and candidly. I can’t tell you how many times she has straight-up rebuked lies I was believing or spoken Truth to me in love, encouraging me away from frustration and disappointment (she makes it very difficult for me to keep hurt inside, the stinker….. she ALWAYS knows when something is wrong). Aaaaand she can also make me laugh. Like none other. She’s made me pee in my pants from laughing (maybe more than once). She’s a super goof ball (just ask her what she knows about armed robbery or how good she is at kitchen spatula singing to┬áGrease‘s “You’re the One that I Want). I always wish we could have more time together when we hangout.

And now my darling┬áTara is getting MARRIED! Had you told either of us freshman year that Matt Hayes was gonna be her husband, we would have laughed and said, “Yeahhhhhhh… what?” Let’s just say, the dorky, handsome boy Matt from our early CNU years has become dorky, handsome┬áman Matt. And MAN, is he perfect for my Tara. Matt is one of the most humble & gentle yet strong & leader guys that I know. He serves and loves Tara with such selflessness, putting her before himself and setting such an amazing example of Christ in their relationship. I remember this one time semi-early on in their relationship when Tara was digging into some theology and praying about what she believed about a certain doctrine. Matt took time by himself and with her to find biblical, sound teaching and wisdom on this doctrine and talk and work through hard questions with Tara. That’s just a tiny example of how he goes above and beyond to look to others’ interests and serve them before himself. I could not think of a better man for Tara. He calms her down, leads her ┬áso well, has this hilarious quiet humor, and puts His relationship with Christ as a priority over all else. I’m so excited to see what the Lord has for their marriage and how they will continue to serve Him as Mr. & Mrs. Hayes!

I love you two so so much, and am so grateful you let me take these photos. Thanks for letting me be part of your lives!!

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Williamsburg Wedding: Dani & Ryan

I still quite vividly remember the day Dani asked me to shoot her wedding. It was last semester, fall 2012, and the five-foot tall, double major in English and Theater sat next to me as we furiously composed papers that were soon to be due. We were in Chinese Literature together, and both only had an hour to spare before class. In the midst of paper writing, Dani and I chit chatted, and I let it slip that I was getting into wedding photography. I swear she jumped in her chair and moved herself a foot closer to me, then stretched her fingers and said, “Ooohhhh you do wedding photography do you….????” She proceeded to explain how she and her darling Ryan were to be wed in February, and they had yet to solidify a photographer. That conversation led to another, and within a month or so, they had booked me for their early 2013 Williamsburg Inn wedding.

┬áTheir late February wedding started out a bit rainy and chilly, but by the time the ceremony was over and we were doing portraits, the rain had stopped and it was a photographer’s paradise of an overcast sky and a happyhappy bride and groom. Enjoy some of my favorite shots from the day (including a few from my wonderful second shooter Maggie Gore!). Dani and Ryan, thanks for being such a relaxed, FUN couple to work with. It was seriously nothing but a joy to share in your special day with you.

This is what greeted me when I arrived at Dani’s house the morning of the wedding…. So precious.

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Williamsburg Inn! Stunning.

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Dani’s centerpieces were incredible… Perfectly blending her love for literature and theater (and Beauty & the Beast!)…

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Ryan LOVED this little phone booth near the groom’s prep room….

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Gazing at one another’s rings…..

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Beautiful reception room!

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Maggie’s fantastic shot from their first dance….. LOVE HER DRESS!

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SO so happy for you two!! Thanks for letting me be part of such an incredible day. My best wishes to you two, Mr. & Mrs. Doster!

 

Proposal: Matt & Tara

I seriously don’t know how to begin this post. What are you supposed to say about the engagement of one of your very best friends in the whole world?? How do you describe the flashmob proposal her boyfriend arranged with 30+ people that ended with a human tunnel leading her to her boy down by the water?? There are no words.

When Matt Facebook messaged a bunch of us with his proposal plans, I quickly┬ávolunteered to take photos. I was honored he wanted so many of us involved in this special night, and nothing would make me more glad but to document it. We all arrived at City Center (Oyster Point) in Newport News with plenty of time to spare before Tara would be led there by roommates, under the false news that they were going to celebrate a few friends’ internships and acceptance to grad school at one of the restaurants. Little did she know what was waiting for her…..

(Note: I switched on and off all night between using my strobe and shooting with a slooooow shutter speed…… I have so much to learn about night photography!)

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So so SOOOOOOOOO excited for you two!!! Matt, I know you’re one amazing guy to win the affections of my dear Tootie. She’s a gem.Take good care of her! Love you both!!!!