Throwback Thursday: Jessica & Ben - Photography Over Time

Hello, and welcome back to our Throwback Thursday blog series!

If you're just tuning in, each Thursday this summer I will be posting a blog showcasing my earlier photography work in Virginia and then the photography I've done around Raleigh in the past couple years. I'm also doing blog posts on Monday, and I'm really passionate about this past one - check it out if you missed it!

Today I get to share Jessica & Ben with you! They are the first couple to call me their "family photographer," and my immediate response to that was, "I want more of that!" It warms my heart to serve people over time with photography, capture their biggest and most everyday moments alike, and see them grow. It's an extra special treat when I visit them and see their photo art all around their home!

I've really enjoyed photographing Jessica & Ben over time, and I love that while I have seen their love grow and their family grow, they've also witnessed my business and photography growth. I know a lot more now than I did when I started photographing them, and I love that we're in this journey together!

Let me throw it way back for a moment to pre-professional photography days, because I can't resist.

Yes, that is Ben eating a taquito that was still frozen. I went to high school with Jessica, but this photo is of her & Ben from 2009 when I was at home for the summer from college. Clearly they were already quite photogenic :)

I started photographing Jessica & Ben professionally when we had their engagement session in April 2013. Since we're truly throwing it back here, I glimpsed way back at my first photography blog (from before I was married - Kelly Gatewood Photography!) to see what I had to say about this session at that time:

I am so pleased to introduce Jessica and Ben to you! Our friend Allison introduced me to Jessica when we had P.E. together in 10th grade, and we were instant friends :) We got to know Ben as his brother Russell started dating our friend Heaven. We have all grown closer to each other in the years since then; Heaven and Russell got married in 2011, and now Heaven and Jessica get to be sisters when Jessica and Ben get married early next year!! I was SO excited when Jessica asked me to do she and Ben's engagement photos, and it was so much fun spending the day with them!

Since Ben has been training for the United States Coast Guard, he wore his uniform and looked very dapper. Jessica got all fancied up and looked GORGEOUS as always!! Please enjoy the photos from our day in Norfolk at the waterside and in the Botanical Gardens :)

That was a crazy time for me as I had a photography show of some of my earliest photography in Gallery Edit in Richmond, VA, was the second photographer for a wedding for the first time, finished student teaching & earned my Master of Arts in Teaching, and photographed Jessica & Ben's engagement session! I love how much photography was involved that April, and that was over 5 years ago! After all this time, I'm so glad that my words above still hold true. I love that Jessica & Ben's marriage has blossomed into a family, and so has Heaven & Russell's - you get to see baby Phoebe on the blog later this summer! And, we're all still wonderful friends. <3 I am so thankful. 

Without further ado, here are some of my favorite photos from our springtime late afternoon engagement session! 

Their wedding followed early February 2014. It hardly ever snows in Chesapeake, VA, but it did right before their wedding! This made for some pretty backdrops for photos, complemented beautifully by their pink & gold tea party details. This wedding was also special because it was at Traditions, the same venue where my husband and I had our wedding reception. :) Enjoy this throwback!

I had to sneak fellow friends & future clients Heaven & Russell in there at the end :) Let me pause for a moment to say I love looking back at these photos and remembering how special these days were! *Happy sigh* Okay, onward!

"First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in the baby carriage!" I fell in LOVE with maternity sessions while doing Jessica & Ben's in December 2016. I hadn't done one before, but there was something about the sweet anticipation, excitement, and love that made me come to treasure them quickly. We went back down to the Norfolk waterside for the winter maternity session, and I think that added to the magic, knowing that we walked the same areas for their engagement session! 

And then in January 2017, Hudson arrived! This little guy had to spend 6 weeks in the NICU after he was born, but he was surrounded with love. The thing is, he came home on a Friday, and his dad Ben was being deployed the following MONDAY. Three days later. Cue the tears. A weekend isn't long enough to spend at home with your baby boy before being gone for months and months, but they treasured that time, and they even invited me in for their newborn session that weekend. I was honored to share some of that valuable time with them and capture those precious moments.

Heart, warmed. Jessica and Ben have their own little family now, and I can't describe how blessed I feel to be able to journey with them through all of its growth. Look how far they've come!

Ahhh... All the happy tears. I love this so much. Will you let me capture your moments over time, too? If you'd like to get started, contact me! You can read Jessica's words about their experience with me as their photographer on the testimonials page.

Thank you Jessica and Ben, forever & always! Can't wait for our next session - Hudson has grown so, so much!

See y'all next week for a photo art feature on Monday & another Throwback Thursdays post on, you guessed it, Thursday!

In light & love,
Kelly