Portrait | Klaire | Austin, TX

Oh Klaire. There are very few people in the world who make me laugh as hard as she does. We met last December when she visited her brother here in South Carolina, and then I went to Texas to see their family in January. Klaire has this incredible ability to be serious and vulnerable in one moment and completely silly in the next, all while remaining true to who she is. She is adventurous and kicks me out of my comfort zone when I need it. She makes everyone around her a little brighter, a little more present, a little more whimsical. I'm so thankful for the time we spent chasing the sunset in an open field in Texas and taking these lovely photos. 

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2017 | A Year in Review

Over the last few days, I've been reflecting on this past year. It feels like it went by so quickly, and yet it took me almost three hours to go through all of my photos from 2017 and choose my favorites. It was a good process for me though, because it's been easy for me at various points during the year to become discouraged about my work: Am I growing artistically? Do these images portray the serious joy of life that I want them to? At the core, are these even beautiful? Combing through my hard drive this afternoon turned out to be a really good exercise in observing that practice makes progress.

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Family | The Wingards | Gilbert, SC

Time is a crazy crazy thing and despite my wishes, these three kiddos keep getting older. They're growing up to be pretty fantastic people though, so I guess I don't mind. This was the first fall family session I did this year, and it was a good one. I love when families go out on a limb and do something a little wacky like making a human pyramid (yep, these Wingards did that)!

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Travel | Cinque Terre | Italy

Two years ago, my younger brother and I took a two week trip to northern Italy right after he graduated from Clemson University. I remember being excited about spending time with him, but not really about going to Italy. I can't remember why anymore. I think I dreamt of small mountain towns in Austria and rainy afternoon walks in Scotland. But there I was about to go to Italy with my brother. It turned out to be one of the best adventures I've had so far.

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The Eubanks Family | Lexington, SC

Sometimes I forget about the hidden beautiful places in my hometown, simply because it all seems so familiar. While looking for a location for this family session, I stumbled upon Virginia Hylton Park and fell in love with all of its quiet walkways and dappled light. It reminded me of the hours I spent there playing and wandering with my brother when we were kids, and I knew I had to come here with the Eubanks.

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Travel | Oregon

Last month I traveled to Oregon, where I spent a beautiful ten days soaking up crisp mountain air, catching up with dear friends, and exploring places I'd only heard of. Next to Texas, Oregon has the other half of my heart - I can barely even write this post because tears of longing are actually forming in my eyes right now. (Sidenote: Does anyone else feel like adulthood makes you more weepy?) And it's more than just the evergreens and the coffee and the cool mornings. All of my travels to Oregon can be most likened to a trip to Narnia. It's an adventure, to be sure, but there's always some lesson to be learned, some new way the Lord teaches me to trust Him. 

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Lifestyle | Lake Murray Purple Martins | Lexington, SC

Sometimes you have nights that are so epic and filled to the brim with larger than life moments that they seem like they never happened when you wake up the next morning. Other times you have nights that are pure happiness and gratitude because the people and the food and the sunset and the breeze speak life to your soul. This was one of those nights.

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Travel | Pittsburgh Mission Trip

Last month I spent a week with my church's youth group in Pittsburgh, where we served the small community of Wilkinsburg and our now dear friends at Covenant Fellowship through running a Vacation Bible School and cleaning up abandoned houses in the neighborhood. It was a beautiful week - one where we worked hard every day to the point of exhaustion, but we knew our work was important. It mattered, and it has eternal value. It's always difficult for me to put life changing moments into words, which is probably why I take pictures instead. I hope you see all the lovely and good things that I saw.

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Lauren Clifton