Sara + Daniel tied the knot on May 2, 2015 at Snipes Farm Retreat in Chapel Hill, NC. This creative couple planned an unconventional wedding stripped of imposed wedding traditionsproving that your wedding can be infused with imagination.

From a self-officiated ceremony to an anarcho-feminist puppet show, their wedding reflected this couple’s authenticity. Sara and Daniel wanted their day to be a celebration of a world that is more free, just, joyful, loving, and beautiful. And their wedding certainly did not miss the mark.

Read the Q&A below to learn more about Sara + Daniel’s inspiration for their unique wedding celebration. And if you’re planning your own unconventional celebration, come check out the Raleigh LGBTQ Wedding Expo on February 25th. This event is an amazing resource—not only if you’re LGBTQ—but also if you’re a hetero couple looking for LGBTQ-friendly vendors who share your values.

Everyone is welcome at this event—gay, hetero, single, curious—and there’ll be all types of vendors, from photographers like myself, to catering, music, and everything in between. Admission is free, click here for more info and to RSVP. I hope to see you there!

A shout-out to all our fab vendors for making this day possible:

Wedding Planner: RedBird Events

Photography Assistant: Katy Folk

Puppet Show: Mysterious Rabbit Puppet Army

Bride’s Dress: BHLDN

Shoes: Swedish Hasbeens

Groom’s Clothing: Ted Baker

Florist: Teacup Floral

Ice Cream: The Parlour

Cake: Wants and Kneads

Catering: Kokyu

Invites: Daniel Meltzer, printed by CatPrint

DJ: Alex DB

Do you love to play outside?

Kristen wanted to connect with nature during her boudoir shoot, so we found the amazing Down Yonder Farm in Hillsborough, NC. And on a pretty spring day back in 2014, we headed to the farm to play outside naked in the fresh grass and flowers.

We had an incredible time on this stunning shoot, which brought so much freedom and joy.

As Kristen and I looked through the photos together to prep for this blog post, we had such a great conversation about body image and body positivity. Both of us have struggled with eating disorders in the past, and it’s especially meaningful for me when I get to work with clients who have also experienced conscious healing from self-destructive patterns. 

Boudoir can be an amazing way to celebrate a special occasion—like your wedding, graduation, or career change. And it can also be an act of liberation, healing, and exploration.  I’ve met women who wanted to undress for the camera to celebrate beating cancer and overcoming depression. 

The truth is, you don’t have to feel super confident or love your body every day in order to explore boudoir.

You may tell yourself the story that you’re not sexy enough, beautiful enough, adventurous enough.

But you are enough. Right here, right now, wherever you are at in your journey.

So I invite you to come and explore what boudoir has for you.

This February, fellow photographer and soul sister Lis Tyroler and I are hosting a Galentine’s Day Boudoir Extravaganza!

Whether you’ve always wanted to try boudoir—or feel super nervous about it—this is the perfect opportunity to dip your toe in the waters! Plus, you’ll get to be a part of supporting women’s health, as a portion of proceeds will be donated to Planned Parenthood in honor of the Women’s March.

When & Where

Sunday, February 4th at the luxurious King’s Daughters Inn in Durham.

Your 2-Hour Boudoir Session Includes

  • 30 minutes of hair & makeup pampering with our two assistants Crystal + Veronica (we’ll have bubbly for ya!)
  • 1 hour photoshoot in the outfit of your choosing
  • 30 minutes of reviewing your photos and picking out your faves, which we’ll order right there so you’ll have them in time for V-Day/G-day

How Much?

$200 for the session fee and you must order $125 minimum in products (gorgeous prints, books, etc.). We’ll have beautiful samples for you to look at before your shoot!

Think this could be for you? Have more questions? Message me at studio@courtney-potter.com. I would love to connect with you.

And now, keep on scrolling for a behind the scenes peek into Kristen’s experience, plus some of the gorgeous photos from her boudoir shoot!

1. What led you to do a boudoir session?

I felt more beautiful and confident leading up to our wedding than I had before. I had just dealt with a lot of personal challenges in my life, finished school and landed my dream job. I had started running and weight lifting and felt proud of my body in a way that I hadn’t before, I felt strong and powerful. I wanted a way to remember that period for myself and for my husband with a positive light. I felt like the photo shoot was a reward for making it through so much.

2. What makes you feel sexy?

Growing up in Vermont I never felt confident about using makeup or doing my hair until I moved to Vegas in my early 20’s. There I learned so much about how to dress up and make myself over. I had a chance to experiment with what made me feel sexy in a way that you just can’t in the woods of VT. Loud colors, sparkles, and interesting shapes on my body were so fun to play with in Vegas. I love playing dress-up and transforming myself from the low-key girl-next-door to a bombshell.

3. What was your inspiration for this shoot? (i.e. any particular blogs/Tumblr feeds/Pinterest ideas). How did you prepare?

My friend does some modeling so I touched base with her and she helped me look up some poses online and on Pinterest which helped my confidence going into the shoot. I spent time goofing around in the mirror and I indulged in some sophisticated and sexy lingerie while also collecting items that were special like the shirt my husband was wearing when we first met.

4. What was it like shooting with me? Was it different than you expected? How so?

It was SO fun! I really liked that you had taken the time to find such a special location. Not only was it stunning but the owners of the property had had their wedding at the same location that my husband and I were getting married at. I got to meet the couple who owned the farm and chat with them about our weddings which made me feel more at ease.

I was initially expecting to do more indoor photos but seeing how beautiful the land was I was really excited to take advantage of the space – I could let go and be silly because I felt so comfortable with you, and the flask of whiskey you encouraged me to bring helped. I appreciated the simple guidance and directions for how to pose while encouraging me to just do my thing. I knew I loved your sense of light from seeing your other work so I knew you had a great eye.

5. What do you plan to do with the photos?

I printed some of my favorites and they’re hanging up in our bedroom. Because there were so many others that I loved I ended up putting together a book and gave it to my husband as a pre-wedding gift. He loves them all (and so do I!).

6. Which photo(s) from this shoot are your favorite? What do you like most about them?

My husband loves the one of me sitting in the flower petals smiling – but I think that’s just because he loves my smile. My favorites are the one of my hair and pearl necklace down my back and one where I’m sitting in front of a barn with my white leather jacket on. I felt the pictures captured both something incredibly sexy and sensual but also something classic. Almost all the photos I would be okay about my friends and family seeing because they were so artistic.

7. Feel free to share anything else about your boudoir session experience – i.e., where your lingerie was from, who did your makeup, where you boots/jacket were from, etc.

Most of my lingerie was from Victoria’s Secret and Agent Provocateur. I did my own hair and makeup.


 

Karah Leibovich is a fabulous watercolor artist based out of Oakland, CA. She’s a pro at creating whimsical watercolors of botanicals and landscapes, and loves catering to city-dwellers who want to connect with nature in their own homes.

For this artist’s Accelerator package (creative headshots + visual branding session), we wanted to show off Karah’s home painting space in her cozy Oakland apartment. She typically paints with natural light pouring in through the open windows, surrounded by succulents and cacti, the chicory smell of fresh-brewed coffee wafting through the room. So we simply recreated a typical painting day for the shoot, minimal re-arranging required.

I’ve been friends with Karah since we were 14, and it’s been such a joy to watch her grow as an artist over the years. Even as a freshmen in high school, Karah would create the most beautifully decorated notes for her friends and fold them into intricate, delicate shapes. Each letter she passed me in Western Civ felt like a unique treasure made just for me.

Karah continues to spread her love through her unique vision, making each recipient of her work feel special and joyful. She played a big role in my decision to pursue my passion for painting, and I continue to be inspired by this beautiful artist and friend.

To learn more about Karah’s inspiration, read my Q&A with this artist below! And be sure to follow her on Instagram.


1. Tell me about you and your beautiful art! What is the inspiration behind your watercolors? What do you hope your customers feel when they display your work in their homes?

There is something very hopeful to me about painting and drawing. I love the way that it can be used in various ways to express the artist’s story or perspective.

In spite of the challenges I have faced as a woman living in a city far from where I grew up, I feel a sense of being at home when I paint which has allowed me to face things I am afraid of and feel safe. I really revere the home because it is an extension of the self.

Another benefit to me is how art connects me to my family. My mother and sisters are interior designers and visual artists, so it’s fun for us to talk about our work and share our visions and insights.

My goal as an artist is to create a safe space on a page. My hope for my art is that it can bring light to the spaces that need it and be a point of connection for those who view it.

2. What was your motivation or vision behind this photo shoot? What did you want to communicate with your pictures?

I wanted to create an online space which could be another extension of my own physical home but then felt pulled back to school and have been busy being a student, so haven’t used them in that way yet.

3. What did you feel when you first saw the photos?

I felt a lot of joy when I first saw the photos because they are like a diary of our creative play. I love spending time with Courtney and she put me at such ease, which I think you can see when you look through them. As an artist you can really see the technical skill and craftsmanship, crafts-womanship that Courtney brings; that is why she is the only one I would hire to shoot my wedding (and did back in 2015!)

4. What was it like to work with me? Feel free to write anything about the preparation process and the shoot itself!

Haha, what is it like? Well, it’s super laid-back, casual, I think there was tea at some point…? Courtney brings so much energy to her work that I felt like I could follow her lead. I think I also made a couple of requests for set-up and was delighted that she let me be a picky artist and agreed to try new things.

5. How have you used the photos I created for you (or how do you plan to use them?) In what ways have they helped your business (or in what ways do you hope they’ll help your business?)

I’m excited to launch a blog and a business with these photos. Even though I’m in school now and not using them just yet for marketing, they are a good reminder of my hopes.

6. What is next for you as an artist?

I am inspired by so much of the fantastic art I see in the Bay Area. I plan to visit a few local exhibitions such as the upcoming show at The Long Weekend Store and at the SF MOMA and hope to get connected with other artists in my neighborhood as a way to build friendships with other artists.


Are you an artist, musician, or maker looking for photos to show off your unique point of view? I’d love to collaborate with you to help you visually communicate your brand! Check out my professional services for creatives and give me a a shout! I’d love to help you flaunt your work and elevate your brand!

This Accelerator Visual Branding Session with Raleigh artist and maker Erin Stesch was a total blast! Erin’s revamping her website and wanted some seriously gorgeous photos that shows off her unique hand-painted jewelry to prospective clients.

After meeting together to clarify her vision and branding goals, we came up with a game-plan and started building our creative team for her session. Erin found 2 models and brought along a stylist, and I brought my fab creative assistant Veronica to help the session run smoothly.

We settled on the Haw River Ballroom for our location– between the ample natural light upstairs and the dreamy river nearby we would have a variety of backdrops for the photos. The session lasted several hours and included several outfit + styling + backdrop changes. By the end of the night, we were all happily exhausted and energized from a productive session of creating!

What do you think of the images? Sound off in the comments below! Here’s how you can learn more about Erin and connect with her to snag your own statement necklace before they’re gone:

Are you a creative professional who needs help refining and visually communicating your brand? Learn more about ways we can partner together here.

Creative Assistant: Veronica Arenander

Models: Amber Carroll Santibanez +  Michelle Roman

Location: Haw River Ballroom