We have some incredibly talented members of the community in our area, and it never fails to fascinate me. Local Hillsborough author Anna Jean Mayhew (who goes by AJ to friends and family) is one of those talented people. She is 79 years old (these photos were coincidentally taken on her 79th birthday!), and was first published at the age of 71. She’s been writing since her 40s, and also held an incredibly varied career. One of her favorite past jobs was when she managed the opera in Charlotte, but she was also a court reporter where she picked up on an incredible gift she had for dialect. Her job as a court reporter helped shaped a lot of the ways her characters speak in her first book The Dry Grass of August (and I’d say it worked – her book is highly reviewed and rated on Amazon). Kensington, her publisher, offered her a two book deal, and her second book, Tomorrow’s Bread, will be out soon. She is absolutely fascinating. She is kind, outgoing, and has a penchant for wearing lots of jewelry and incredible glasses (her signature). She’s a fan of cats (and was quite accommodating when I needed to reschedule our session due to a sick kitty of our own), and traveling with her Swiss husband who is an expert on author Jules Verne. All of her family seems artistic and talented, and she worn earrings made by her sister, and a sweater and scarf made by another sister. It was a great honor (and a ton of fun) to go around Hillsborough with her, photographer her author headshots, and learn about her life. If I grow up to be half as accomplished and interesting as AJ, I’ll be set.

Rachael and Jared Bowman are the incredibly talented husband and wife photography team behind Rachael Bowman Photography, duo based in Raleigh but kicking ass everywhere. We were so excited to finally meet them in real life, and also nervousssssss (it’s hard not to be when you’re photographing someone so talented), but they are so nice and wonderfully welcoming that they put us instantly at ease (and it didn’t hurt that they had video games and Walking Dead comics). Our task was to photograph them hanging out in their house as a two-fold use for both family photos and promo pictures that they could use for their business showing their chill, laidback selves. This would, of course, involve their two fluffernutters Zoe (black lab) and Ellie (yorkie) whom we won over with an offering of cheese sticks. Later, still hungry, they did attempt to steal Rachael and Jared’s pizza, but I can’t blame them for trying. We all had a fabulous time bonding over photography related things, but also board games and all the Community paintball episodes. We also got a few new two-player video game recommendations out of the deal and have gotten them sucked into the marriage therapy/lessons in communication that is the game Overcooked. We love these guys and hope you get a feeling for their sweet life and home together. Please check out Rachael+Jared’s work! It is stunning and they’re rad people if we do say so ourselves.

Such an absolute pleasure, as usual, working for the brilliant Susan Langford, owner of Gilded Bridal. This is Gilded Bridal’s introduction into the CSP 4 timers club and I couldn’t be happier. Susan’s bridal shop in downtown Raleigh has grown by leaps and bounds over the past several years, with many of our clients getting their dresses from her. She’s extremely careful and contentious about the designers and dresses she carries and it shows. So happy to have photographed these updated small business portraits of Gilded Bridal’s downtown Raleigh store! Also happy to have gotten the chance to hang out with Susan again, as usual, and to look at sparkly things. Sooo much sparkle.