The husband and wife team of Melissa and Stephen Carter always seem to produce out-of-this-world images that tell far more than a thousand words of stories. They do everything from engagement sessions and wedding day photography coverage to album design and printing, plus tons more.
What’s so interesting about this couple is the way their skills and talents match up. Stephen studied photography in school, becoming “a true photojournalist and master technician.” Melissa, on the other hand, has a genuine love of people and capturing the magic that happens between them.
“We love creating images that are at once natural and impactful, gorgeous and timeless,” Melissa said.
But there’s much more to the story than that. We got a chance to talk with Two Carters Photography and we’re sharing the goodness with you! So take a minute and read through our conversation to find out why they make our list of vendors we love, not to mention their own engagement story!
How did you get started in photography?
Not many people know what they wanted to be - and then do it! - in high school. It was always the plan for Stephen. His career started with an introductory class at Conway High School, where he soon became photo editor, only later to reprise that role at Ouachita Baptist University, where he became an adjunct professor of photography. He later went on to obtain his master's degree in digital photography at the Savannah College of Art and Design. He definitely has a deep and rich knowledge of photography, from developing film in a darkroom to lighting commercial shoots and photographing astounding landscapes.
I, Melissa, on the other hand, started the way many photographers do: with an eye and a passion for creating beautiful images of the people around me. It was truly fate, love and serendipity when our paths re-crossed (not enough time to go into all of that now!) in 2009. I never knew how my life would change when I met Stephen then. Not only did I meet the love of my life, I got to study photography under the most amazing photographer I know! He has taught me so much, and I know I've taught him a few things, like when I showed him how to go from the "perfect composition" to a perfectly relaxed, natural image of two people in love. We are "balance" defined, a yin and yang of masterful technique and playful, relaxed storytelling.
What was the craziest (in a good way!) experience you've had shooting a wedding or engagement?
Oh! So many! There is not a wedding that goes by that does not have one or two unexpected elements to it. It's what makes the job so exciting. We always help walk our brides and grooms through developing a timeline to make sure their day "flows" as much as possible - but we know things can and do change!
One time a beautiful outdoor wedding in June got washed out completely with rain and we ended the night with our couple in a sopping wet field under an umbrella. Another time I ended up driving the bride to the ceremony in her Tahoe with my camera around my neck and no license - whoops! Then there was the time our bride and groom were having so much fun running through their sparkler sendoff that they decided to go back and do it two more times!
What have been some of your favorite special moments you've captured?
For weddings, brides with their dads get us every time! We love setting up a First Look for the father of the bride, as well as the groom!
Speaking of First Looks, I love them. Of course, we would never pressure a couple to have a First Look, but I must say, I cry most of my tears during the First Look. It's so incredibly intimate and special. It's always at that moment that I am reminded again of what a privilege it is to capture this day for this couple.
Oh! And lest you think I am totally First Look crazy, I would be remiss not to mention my love for bridal party First Looks. We have the best time photographing bridal parties. As the old adage goes, you can learn a lot about a person by the type of company they keep. Bridal party shenanigans are my favorite! Groomsmen just being themselves is amazing.
We are absolutely loving our most recent engagement session with Helen and Payam. It represents all that we love about engagement photos: a doting groom who is up for anything as long as he is spending time with his bride, a bride who is as adventurous as she is beautiful, a couple who knows how to laugh and play together and a total "make it work" moment on our part.
This session took place three days after Helen had her wisdom teeth removed!! Plus, it had been raining all morning and was ridiculously cold. We took them to a parking garage in Fayetteville and had the best time. We spent the cold, freezing miserable-ness laughing and getting to know each other while stretching the boundaries of our creativity. It was perfect in a perfectly un-perfect way!
You know we can’t let you go without hearing YOUR engagement story. Give us the details!
What we love most about being wedding photographers is getting to connect with our couples on a personal level. I think it's so comforting for them to know that we were once an engaged couple planning our wedding, too!
We were married in August 2010 after a whirlwind romance that saw us reconnecting for the first time in 15+ years, and then getting engaged and married in just over a year. We were living in Washington, D.C., at the time of our engagement. I was working for the State Department and in the process of figuring out which embassy in which country I would be posted to next.
Stephen had planned to surprise me with a little geocache treasure hunt at a beautiful waterfall before getting down on one knee and pulling out the ring. The plans were foiled when the biggest blizzard/winter storm in history struck the East Coast! As the snow was coming down, he knew he had to abort mission and come up with a Plan B. So, literally slipping and sliding, he pulled the car over at a park near my apartment. With the heat running in the car, he pulled out a beautiful poem he had written and then pulled out the ring!
Ok, so if you’re not totally in love with Two Carters by now, you might just have a heart of stone! If you’re interested in learning more, click here to contact them today. And don’t forget to follow them on Facebook and on their brand new Instagram account!