Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Virginia Beach, VA

August 25, 2020

When I've Been Behind the Camera.

     Normally I'm in front of the camera all the time for the photography on this blog, but let's mix it up today. Time to take a look at the opportunities over the years that I've been behind the camera! 

     I received my DSLR camera for Christmas in 2014 from my parents, and it remains one of the most generous gifts they've ever given me. I had asked for an entry-level Canon Rebel DSLR on my Christmas list, but my parents went above and beyond with what they got. My mom specially picked out the Canon 70D for me, and it was an especially touching gift to me because I knew it meant my parents really believed in my blog! (I had been blogging just over two years at that point.) Since then, it's been a fun few years since with my DSLR camera. It is primarily used by my friends for my blog photos. I've been lucky to have a friend or two in every place that I've lived that is open to helping me with blog photos from time to time when I need them. (For the blog - I do a balance of working with professional photographers and having friends take certain images.)

     While my camera remains mainly used for my blog, I do really enjoy getting behind the camera from time to time! I think photography is so much fun. I have no formal training in it, aside from one photojournalism class in college. But I enjoy setting up shots and working with natural light with what I've taught myself and figured out with my camera over the years.

    I just had the chance a couple days ago to break out my camera for photographing someone else, and as I was going through the photos it inspired me to write this post! I don't think that my photos are super great by any means, but it is fun to see how I've improved as a photographer with these few different things that I've gotten to photograph over the years. 

2016: Engagement Photos 
     Perrin is one of my sorority sisters and closest friends from undergrad! I was a bridesmaid in her wedding, and shortly after we graduated college she asked me to take engagement photos for her save-the-dates. In 2016, Perrin and Taylor were both recent grads of Queens University (her undergrad, him grad school), so they wanted to do their engagement photos on campus. The first photo below is my very favorite that I took of them! Looking back at these I'm very critical see how much room I had for improvement in 2016- I still didn't have a lot of experience using my camera yet. But it's still fun to look back on this special memory, and I'm honored that my images were used for their save-the-dates.

2017: Wedding Second Shooter 
     I went to broadcasting school in 2016-2017, and one of my good friends from my class was pursuing wedding videography as a side hustle with the film skills that he was learning in school. In the winter of 2017 he had the opportunity to be the main videographer for a small wedding in Spartanburg, SC, and he wanted a second shooter with him to capture some extra background footage of the wedding day, while he focused on getting the key detail shots on his camera. Although I had zero experience with videography, he asked me to be his second shooter since he liked my camera! It sounded like a once in a lifetime opportunity, so I said yes. The whole experience was a lot of work but also a lot of fun, and ever since I've had a new appreciation for wedding vendors! 
    While my camera was mainly used that day for b-roll footage of the ceremony and reception from a tripod, I did have the chance to try my hand at a little bit of wedding photography before the ceremony got started. The ceremony and reception venue was definitely on the darker side which made the indoor shots tougher for an amateur like me, but I did get a few shots from the day that I really liked. Sadly I don't even remember this couple's name, but I'll always look fondly back on this experience and their fun little wedding, and getting to assist with their wedding videography!

2020: Graduation Photos
     It was so fun earlier this week to break out my camera to be behind it yet again- much overdue! My friend Emily is one of my closest girlfriends here in Charlottesville, and she's generously helped me out with a lot of blog photography over the last couple years (most recently she's the photographer behind one of my favorite travel collaborations!). Emily works full-time in the wedding industry, but also managed to balance grad school classes over the past couple years, which she completed with straight A's! She just finished grad school this month, and due to the pandemic she wasn't given the opportunity to walk in a graduation ceremony. She still wanted to celebrate her accomplishment, and she asked me to take a few graduation photos here in Charlottesville, which I was honored to do!
    We caught the most beautiful natural light downtown in the early evening, and I was so excited how these turned out! I loved taking Emily around to some spots that I've discovered the past year or two for my own blog photos. 

    Someday I definitely would love to take a photography class and also learn how to properly edit... but for now it's just fun to take a look down memory lane on the chances I've had to be behind my camera. I love using my camera to help out friends who need photos, and hopefully as I keep improving my skills there will be more chances to do this during years to come!

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese 



  1. You are very talented! A huge YAY for supportive and loving parents. Yours sound awesome! Photography can be so fun, and I've enjoyed dabbling in it for the past few years. This post totally inspired me to get out my camera. Phone cameras have come such a long way so that's pretty much what I use, but there is nothing like 'real' photos!!

  2. You are so talented. I would love to take an editing class too.


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