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!!!

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 FIANCÉ 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 Grease‘s “You’re the One that I Want). I always wish we could have more time together when we hangout.

And now my darling Tara 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 man 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  so 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!!

hayes1webhayes2webhayes3webhayes4webhayes9webhayes_10webhayes8webhayes7webhayes6webhayes_15webhayes_16webhayes_14webhayes_12webhayes_11webhayes_29webhayes_27webhayes_28webhayes_26webhayes_25webhayes_24webhayes_23webhayes_22webhayes_21webhayes_20webhayes_19webhayes_18webhayes_17webhayes_31webhayes_30webhayes_38webhayes_37webhayes_36webhayes_35web
hayes_33webhayes_32webhayes_39webhayes_40webhayes_41webhayes_42webhayes_43webhayes_46webhayes_54webhayes_53webhayes_44webhayes_45webhayes_57webhayes_58web hayes_56web hayes_55web hayes_52web hayes_51web hayes_50webhayes_49web hayes_47webhayes_63webhayes_60web

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 volunteered 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!)

matttaramatttara_1matttara_2matttara_3matttara_4matttara_5matttara_6matttara_7matttara_8matttara_9matttara_10matttara_11matttara_12matttara_13matttara_14matttara_15matttara_16matttara_17matttara_18matttara_19matttara_20matttara_21matttara_22matttara_23matttara_24matttara_25matttara_39

matttara_40 matttara_35 matttara_34 matttara_33 matttara_32 matttara_31 matttara_30matttara_36 matttara_29 matttara_28 matttara_27 matttara_41matttara_42

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!!!!

Kylie and Dominic — Clifton Engagement Shoot


I know it’s been YEARS it seems since I posted something on here, and for that I apologize! I was trying to make some renovations and changes to the blog that have had to come to a halt, so there really are no excuses for me to not continue blogposts at this time. And MAN do I have stuff to post!

This shoot goes back to this past December when I was home in Northern Virginia for Christmas break (my last winter break EVER as a college student!). Kylie and Dominic met me in downtown Clifton, VA on a crisp Sunday afternoon, full of energy and making me more excited with every minute of interaction. Kylie is a CNU grad and Dominic went to the Air Force Academy, and they’ve been together for more than SIX YEARS. (Woohoo!) It was clear right from the get-go of shooting that they’re best friends. They were so comfortable, continually laughing and building on the other’s jokes, while at the same time easy-going and flexible. They made my job so easy with their laughter and model faces! I had a awesome hour of shooting with them. Thanks for the fun afternoon, guys! (Aaaanndd… Go Army! Beat Air Force! (Sorry Dominic… had to do it!))

kd2

kd3 kd5kd_22

kd8 kd_12
kd_24 kd_31 kd_34 kd_38 kd_43 kd_44 kd_48

kd_57bwkd_58

kd_50 kd_59 kd_61 kd_64 kd_65 kd_70 kd_73 kd_74 kd_77 kd_79 kd_82 kd_86 kd_87