Tina & Daniel // Charlotte, NC

Tina and Daniel's wedding was an incredible way to start March. The entire day was full of pie, happiness, good music and hundreds of beautiful, personal touches that made the day so unique to them. 

Awesome vendors!
Venue and Catering: Olde Mecklenburg Brewery
Pie: BlissLis Baking
Flowers: Silvia's Floral Design
Hair and Makeup: The Bride's Mom :)
Second Shooter: Sarah Ann Photos
Dress: Wedding Dress Me
Tuxedos: Express for Men
DJ: All the Right Grooves

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Leah & Wade // Gastonia, NC

Leah and Wade's wedding was just so cool. It was in a historic mill, there was greenery and twinkle lights everywhere, and they were so, so excited about getting married. The vibe of the whole day was all about joy; in her speech, Leah's sister described the wedding guests as "Leah and Wade's biggest fans" and nothing could have summed up the day better than that. Every second was people wishing them well, expressing over and over again how perfect they were together, and celebrating their happiness. Leah and Wade clearly had a beautiful and positive impact on everyone who got to be a part of their lives, and we were so happy to witness it for a day. 

Awesome vendors:
Coordinator: Heather McCollough
Videographer: Olive and Oak Films
Catering and cake: Guilty Pleasures
Dress: Mecklenburg Bridal Gallery
Band: Liberty Street Band
Flowers: Jimmy Blooms

Super Awesome Second Shooter: Sarah Ann Photos

Elli McGuire Photography

If you're here, it's because my brand spanking-new website is now live and oh, how terrifying and wonderful is that. 

I mentioned this before in my Best Of post, but 2016 was a lot. Out of that lot came a new-found resolve on my part to finally figure out how to be completely and utterly content with my business. A couple of you who actually know me probably snorted just now, because I'm literally never content. I'm always moving, always fixing, always looking for things to improve, always wondering what I could do better. Sometimes, that's good. I think especially in regards to my clients it's a good thing, because that's one area where I never want to become complacent. But I also had to acknowledge that a constant seeking of improvement shouldn't necessarily always be accompanied by a begrudging feeling of being unsettled. You're allowed to be a work in progress and a work of art at the same time. I, personally, felt like a work in progress that a high school student had slid in the back shelf in the closet of the art room because they were too impatient to wait for the oil paint to dry so I got covered in dust and a few bugs. 

So I decided I needed to be happy with my brand. I spent a good six months going back and forth with logos, brand vibes, website layouts, and I was never thrilled with any of them. None of it felt like me, but I didn't know what me looked like. 

I'm going to spare you the cheesy epiphany about changing my business name to my actual name and all that. You understand. The point is, after I changed the name (and after three appeals to get Facebook to change it, including a stern e-mail in which I pointed out that it's my actual legal name) and started thinking about it in terms of just me instead of this faceless entity, everything else made sense. My logo came together in a day and I loved it. My website was suddenly exactly what I wanted all along. I knew everything I wanted to say and I knew what I wanted my clients to know about me. So here it is.

Hi. I'm Elli McGuire, and I'm a wedding and lifestyle photographer. 

I like candids. I like weird couples. I like couples who are crazy about each other. I like alternative venues, wedding cakes shaped like guitars or other miscellaneous objects, dogs being the best man and maid of honor, going off the beaten path for the perfect photo, and doing your wedding exactly how you want it. Sometimes that's traditional, sometimes it isn't. But let it be unapologetically and blissfully you. 

I'm there to have an adventure with you and document the next stage of yours. I show up on your wedding day ready to have a great time and to find every single little beautiful moment you may have missed otherwise. I also love getting to know my clients. You have to spend a lot of time with me, and I'm here to capture the real you on camera; it's a lot easier if we get along! I promise I'll never, ever make you say cheese. 

All that to say, I wanna meet ya. Let's grab coffee or Skype and talk about your big day. I want to hear about how excited you are, what parts of it you're the most proud of, the cool centerpieces you're putting together, and the bowtie I secretly hope your dog is going to wear. I'm beyond excited about my 2017 couples, and I hope you are too. 

On top of rolling out this new brand, I'm also thrilled to announce that I'm now offering packages specifically for small business photography. This will work a little bit like a lifestyle shoot, but it revolves around your business and the products you create. I'll be there to capture the process, the passion, and probably some of the frustration that inevitably follows being a small business owner. But the point is that I'll also capture how incredibly worth it it is. Some examples are up in my portfolio, so go have a peek and drop me a line if you're interested! I'm completely thrilled to be working with some really cool people this year in this new venture, from a jewelry designer to a barista and even a massage therapist.

Cool things are happening in 2017, and I'm so humbled, warm and fuzzy over the fact that this continues to be my daily life. Thank you all for sticking along with Due West Photography this far, and I hope you'll continue along this really weird and awesome adventure with me. 

(and a huuuge thank you to Amy Ellis for being up for some last-minute shots of me frolicking in the woods. <3)

Tiffany & John // Davidson, NC

Tiffany e-mailed me a couple months ago, and told me about her beautiful, intimate and personal wedding to John that was going to be nestled in a gorgeous old house in the heart of Davidson. I knew I had to shoot this wedding. I was completely in love with their vision, and how happy Tiffany became when she talked about John. It was going to be something special.

The night before the wedding, Charlotte was due for a blizzard. The roads were going to be icy, and there were a lot of frantic texts back and forth and a lot of anxiously looking out the window. Despite my (wonderful) boyfriend's numerous assurances that he would drive me if he had to (Charlotte people like me don't know how to drive in the snow, lets be real) I didn't sleep well that night. The first thing I did in the morning was check outside, and check the news: the roads were already clear, and a beautiful blanket of sparkly snow was covering the ground outside. I texted Tiffany to let her know everything was okay, and after exuberantly confirming that YES, they absolutely wanted photos in the snow, I happily made my way up to Davidson. 

I cannot fathom how I could have started 2017 any better. This day was all about love. The house was warm and full of greenery, lights, good food, laughing people and excited kids. The sun came out at the last minute for a knock-out sunset. It just doesn't get better than days like this. 

Best of 2016

Okay. This year.

This year was a lot. Regardless of if you're one of those people who thinks 2016 was the peak of horror or the type who doesn't like designating those kinds of trends to a numerical figure, I think we can all agree that it was a lot. A lot of everything. But see, I did a lot of reflecting on New Years Eve (cause nobody reflects on their year on New Years Eve) and while there were some bad vibes to wade through personally, I cannot say a single bad thing about my job in 2016. And that's because of all of you. 

I mean it. When I think about my 2016 couples, my heart wants to just explode from happiness. I am perpetually gobsmacked by how much love I got to see and be a part of. How much joy, how much laughter, how much excitement, how much giddy nervousness (and how much cake.) I still cannot believe that this is my job: getting to know incredible people like these beautiful pairs in the photos below, getting to befriend them, and getting to share in their complete elation. Documenting that kind of carefree and unbridled celebration is what I want to do for the rest of my life.

These photos don't even come close to encompassing all of the moments I was so thrilled to capture, but I didn't think you guys wanted to spend your evening scrolling through 10,000+ photos. So here is my feeble attempt to do my 2016 justice. 

I also want to make it abundantly clear how much my second shooters completely and utterly rocked this year. Thank you times a million to Sarah Tatum, Ariel Perry, and Laura Plyler for putting in so many hours with me and seeing me through to the end!

 

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Courtney & Kris, Charlotte NC Wedding

This wedding. Oh, this beautiful wedding. Rain and hurricanes didn't even put a dent in it. Courtney and Kris were the vision of happiness, calm and contentment, and their beautiful ceremony was at the fireplace in the most lovely room in the church surrounded by their closest. The reception was a cozy family dinner in a log cabin serenaded by the groom's own bluegrass band. I've never seen so many happy tears and warmth in one room. 

Awesome vendors:

Wedding venue: Forest Hill Southpark
Reception venue: Lower Providence Community House
Dress: Classic Bride and Formals
Flowers: Herr Fresh Flowers
Caterer: Debbie Slugs Catering
Cake: Agape Sweets
Band: The Gospel Plowboys
And a big big thank you to Ariel Perry for second-shooting!