Engagement & Bridal Portraits

Ship to Shore wedding dress meets professional dancer by Michael Oppenheim

When professional dancer Kathy Meyers-Leiner told me that the talented R. Brooke Priddy of  Ship to Shore Clothiers was designing her wedding dress I was excited to say the least.  I couldn't wait to see what kind of wedding dress Brooke would design for a dancer.  Even without seeing the dress my mind instantly churned out images of Kathy maneuvering and dancing along water's edge, in a deep forest, surrounded by fall color .  Of course, it wasn't so hard to conjure up these images since I had photographed Kathy earlier this year performing a dance at {Re}Happening at Camp Rockmont at Lake Eden in Black Mountain, NC. So a week and a half before Kathy's wedding we met on a beautiful October late afternoon at Camp Rockmont on Lake Eden. Deja vu!    Kathy looked stunning in her custom Ship to Shore wedding dress and what we were able to capture over the next couple of hours totally exceeded my expectations.  The dress seemed so natural on her.  It allowed for freedom of movement.  But it also had so many layers to it and  wonderful attention to detail.   Hopefully this is reflected in the images shown here.

I want to thank Kathy for really putting so much creative energy into this portrait session.  It was a privilege photographing a professional dancer wearing a custom-made Brooke Priddy wedding dress!  And I also want to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Kathy...this little blog post is a little birthday present for you!!!  Congratulations again on your recent wedding and I can't wait to share those images on my blog very soon!
































Ship to Shore is located in West Asheville.  You can contact Brooke at 828-242-1378 to arrange for a studio visit, or custom design. You can also visit her website at  www.shiptoshoreshop.com



Bethani and Joel's Asheville Portrait Session by Michael Oppenheim

Last weekend I had the great pleasure of photographing a beautiful couple, Bethani and Joel, whose wedding I will be shooting in July here in Asheville at the Grand Bohemian.  We were originally going to head straight to the NC Arboretum and the Blue Ridge Parkway to take advantage of the spring foliage and colors.   But when I saw Bethani in her peach colored mini-skirt and Joel in his sharp bluish suit I knew immediately where I had to take them.   Asheville City Hall, one of architect Douglas Ellington's masterpieces, has an amazing entryway that features vaulted ceilings, pink granite, and a wonderful tile mosaic wall.  Bethani and Joel's attire and "look"  dictated a more urban, architectural backdrop.    Douglas Ellington is arguably Asheville's most celebrated architect having designed the S&W Cafeteria Building, First Baptist Church, City Hall, and Asheville High School. After wrapping up at City Hall we headed to the NC Arboretum and traipsed around the grounds, taking in the wonderful scenery.  For some of the images I used a 50mm f1.0 lens that I've had for many years.  When shot at f1.0-f.1.4 it produces very dreamlike images with a very shallow depth of field.  At f.10 the falloff in focus is dramatic.  It can be a challenging lens to shoot with but can create some remarkable images, soft and ethereal.  I've included some of those in this collection of images.

We ended our shoot on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Having scouted out a location the day before I found a nice spot that highlighted new spring foliage on the trees.  We were at about 4000 ft in elevation for these photos.  The views were obviously spectacular.  Because Bethani and Joel are avid readers we did some fun shots with books as props.  Additionally, given the fact that Bethani lives in New York City and Joel in Washington, D.C. they were wanted to take advantage of Asheville's natural surroundings.  I think we did pretty good with this particular view!

After we wrapped up the shoot, I had them follow me up to Mt. Pisgah to show them where George Vanderbilt's old hunting lodge used to be and to not  only see the view incredible view looking back to Asheville but to also get a sense of how much land Vanderbilt used to own...basically from where we were standing all the way back to the Biltmore Estate.    Also,  at 5000 feet the landscape was still barren and Spring still had not touched many of the trees.   Pretty amazing.

I hope you enjoy these images.  Again, such a wonderful couple and I cannot wait to photograph their wedding!  And thanks to Bethani's mom, Sandra, for playing chauffeur for Bethani and Joel!


Melissa Deboer - Make-Up melissa.deboer@hotmail.com

Cody Louise - Hair codylouise@hotmail.com