Meg & Alex’s Sneak Peek….and Happiness Contest Winners!

Meg and Alex are one of the sweetest, most creative, and just flat-out in love couples I know. I have soooooooooo much to say about these two and their DIY “Picnic in the Park” wedding today, but for now I just want to post a few quick sneak peek pics of these lovebirds.

Happy Wedding Day, Alex & Meg!

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Meg, you are beautiful!!

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Woohoo, look at you, Alex. πŸ™‚ (By the way, Alex created all of the awesome videos on my website–I lurve them! Go dig around and watch them if you haven’t already!)

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“Um, yeah. We’re married.”

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Meg & Alex, I wish you more happiness than you can even imagine! Congratulations!

As always folks, it’s such a great feeling when you leave a comment and “show me some love.” Thanks!

CONTEST WINNERS!! I am sooooo far behind on blogging, but I wanted to be sure to announce my contest winners from the “happiness” post! I loved reading all of your entries, and they all made me cry happy tears. (Scroll down to read them if you haven’t already…you may shed a tear or two yourself.) There were two stories, however, that I really seriously loved. Carrie spoke of the simple pleasures of rainy afternoons on the front porch with her husband and kids, and Chrissy wrote beautiful words about the “comfy denim, soft-place-to-land” feelings of fitting in that she has with her love. I think Carrie and Chrissy both perfectly described what we all truly long for…just feeling at home with the ones you love during those little moments that make up life. Congrats ladies–you are both winners! Please email me and let me know if you’d like an iTunes giftcard or a print credit with ACP. amy@amycliftonphotography.com

Finding Happiness (and a contest!)

It was July 2008. My two girlfriends and I were on an afternoon sail in Key West, my favorite place on earth (thus far, anyway…). Our buddy Jarred perched easily on the mast playing guitar while we soaked up the sun and floated over the blue water, passing Christmas Tree Island and Mallory Square.

It was beautiful, and peaceful, and easy.

Sometimes, this is life.

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We sailed out of the harbor and into the open waters of the Atlantic. We picked up speed. We bounded over the waves. It was choppy. Jarred easily navigated while we feisty little Southern girls got quiet and turned a little green. I will neither confirm nor deny whether there was actual seasickness involved.

It was uncomfortable, and awkward, and we were ready for the rough spots to all be over.

Sometimes, this is life.

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We turned back towards the island, and immediately the Carambola sailed more smoothly, the wind seemed less angry, we were relaxed, and the sun began to drop towards the horizon. The worst had passed, and we were all the more grateful for the blue of the water, the sparkle of the sun’s rays on the waves, and the laughter of our free-spirited friends. (Who totally had their sea legs.)

Sometimes, this is life.

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As we sailed back into the calm waters of the harbor, Jarred helped me to the bow of the boat. I sat here, leading the way into the sunset, with my toes dipping into the warm waters every time the sailboat bobbed over a wave. I had finally broken ties from a tumultuous relationship that just would not end; my family was adjusting to the fact that my precious grandparents were becoming more dependent on my parents and me; I worked really hard to find peace in my life, but I still hadn’t relaxed enough to let myself be happy again. Until that moment. In the orange Key West twilight with my toes still in the water, I turned to Jarred and to my college friend Brandy, and I said six words that redefined my life:

“I am so happy right now.”

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Always, this is life.

Sometimes things are peaceful, sometimes they are rough, and sometimes you just feel sick and awkward. But after you turn yourself around and lift your head back up, there is peace. And then, you find happiness.

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CONTEST!!

So tell me: where is your happy place? Where, when, with whom do you find your greatest contentment and happiness? Leave a comment below to share your story. You will be entered to win either an iTunes gift card or free prints from ACP…your choice! You have until 7:00pm EST on Saturday, July 9 Monday, July 12 at 10:00am EST to enter the contest. I can’t wait to read about your happiness!

Contest: Charlie’s Snow Day!

SNOW DAY!! Very few phrases strike such excitement–and such panic–into the hearts of Southerners. If you are reading the blog from anywhere besides the south, I must explain that everything (schools, businesses, major interstates) shuts down for even a dusting of “the white stuff,” and the entire southern population empties the grocery stores of all bread and milk. (Apparently bread and milk are all you need for sustenance if you are trapped indoors during a blizzard.) So anyway, the 1st day of March came in like a lion, with big puffy flakes of snow, and 2 days out of school. It was the best-kind-of-snow that sticks to each tree branch and twig like tufts of cotton and packs the perfect snowball.

By early afternoon, however, I was a little stir-crazy and lonely in the house all by myself, so I announced a FREE contest on facebook! (If you are a blog reader but you aren’t my friend yet on fb, pleaseΒ send me a request!) Little Charlie, via his facebooking mom, was the lucky winner of a frosty cold snow session. They braved the cold, and we traipsed around my backyard for some frikkin adorable photos of Charlie’s Snow Day…

I think this photo of Charlie and Jennifer is simply magical!

I love the happiness on Jennifer’s face here…

By the way, Charlie’s newborn portraits were one of my very first posts on the blog, and now I’m nearing my 50th post. It won’t be long at all before we move over to the new blog and site…I’ll keep you updated!

Now I’m off to eat my bread and milk…. Β πŸ˜‰

(Don’t forget to “show me–and Charlie–some love” by clicking below!)

Holly & Mark–Contest Winners!

Holly and Mark were my cute and sassy contest winners who hadn’t had portraits taken since their wedding 15 years ago. Um, why?? They are adorable and completely rocked it for the camera, in spite of being cold and Mark being a little nervous at first. πŸ™‚ By looking at these photos, you could never tell either of those things! I love their gorgeous eyes and totally real laughter and expressions….so sweet.

Loooove this one…seems like I just stumbled into such a personal moment between these two.

I love this series–the yummy backlight is fabulous!

Too cute! I love it when a couple gets comfortable enough with me that I can capture the expressions that define them….in this case a mix of sweetness, eye rolling, and giggles.

H-O-T-Tness!

And, just a little clue as to why I hosted this contest and what we’ll be doing with these photos on the new website (which IS coming soon!)…

FYI for any photographers out there, I edited this entirely in Lightroom2…only opened PS to add my logo. Craig and Lindsey–yay, I have my life back. Thank you!! πŸ™‚

Don’t forget to “show me (and Holly & Mark!) some love!”

Holly & Mark–Contest Winners!

Holly and Mark were my cute and sassy contest winners who hadn’t had portraits taken since their wedding 15 years ago. Um, why?? They are adorable and completely rocked it for the camera, in spite of being cold and Mark being a little nervous at first. πŸ™‚ By looking at these photos, you could never tell either of those things! I love their gorgeous eyes and totally real laughter and expressions….so sweet.

Loooove this one…seems like I just stumbled into such a personal moment between these two.

I love this series–the yummy backlight is fabulous!

Too cute! I love it when a couple gets comfortable enough with me that I can capture the expressions that define them….in this case a mix of sweetness, eye rolling, and giggles.


H-O-T-Tness!


And, just a little clue as to why I hosted this contest and what we’ll be doing with these photos on the new website (which IS coming soon!)…

FYI for any photographers out there, I edited this entirely in Lightroom2…only opened PS to add my logo. Craig and Lindsey–yay, I have my life back. Thank you!! πŸ™‚
Don’t forget to “show me (and Holly & Mark!) some love!”