How Did I Get Here?

One of the most humbling – but exciting! – aspects of life is how few things go according to our plans. God graciously (repeatedly!) reveals this to us in His Word, as Proverbs 16:9 states, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps, ” and again in 19:21, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”

Sitting here typing this blogpost is a testimony to that truth. If all Debbie’s plans and dreams would have come to fruition, I probably would have gotten married right out of college and have two kids by now. Or three. Or four. (Raised in a big family = big family dreams.)

Many inquiries have come my way since I have started posting on Instagram & Facebook again under Debbie Dean Photography, and I hope this blogpost gives you a bird’s eye view as to how I am back here today. This will be broad and brief, but I welcome more questions at debbiedeanphotography@gmail.com!

I last used this blog in college when I was building Debbie Dean Photography as a CNU student, interning under the Staff Photographer with the university’s Public Relations’ office and booking weddings on the side. (Scroll back through my old blog posts if you so dare. I keep them up here to remind me of the journey photography has been and all the sweet experiences God has blessed me with in using this gift.) Below is a glimpse into the fun of those CNU PR days…

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Then, on May 11, 2013, I graduated from CNU! (Wow, who let that happen??) Here’s me as a 22 year-old enthusiastic grad…

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And my amazing parents who made those four years possible…

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(Sidenote: if you are wondering about my bigger size in these first photos, I wrestled with various eating disorders throughout college, and the Lord graciously brought me out of those the summer after I graduated in 2013. Another post on that will come one day.)

Following graduation, I moved to East Asia for two years. I lived as a university student, taking language classes and diving into the culture and people of that city for the sake of getting to know them and share the gospel. There are a million words I want to say about those two years (some of the best of my life, to date), but contact me individually to learn more. I will just share a few photos below for now…

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After those two years in East Asia (2013-2015), God led me to join full-time staff with Cru.

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After a year back in Northern VA raising financial support (2015-2016), I moved to the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and began working at Salisbury University in August 2016:

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These students were the bomb diggity… Love them!

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Small but wonderful Cru staff team! Love them dearly!

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The above events lead us to the spring of 2018. During all this time, since I left CNU and headed to Asia in 2013, my Canon 7D camera would come out every now and then, but quick iPhone photos and the craziness of full-time ministry life crowded out any time or desire to schedule photoshoots or weddings. I truly never thought I would go back to the world of photography… I did not even think I would ever leave staff with Cru!

Through a series of events in the spring of 2018, God led me to start praying and thinking about life outside of Cru staff. (Please don’t get any wacky ideas… nothing horrible happened, Cru did not do anything wrong, and I truly continue to praise God for what He is doing through this worldwide parachurch ministry.) I just had never considered the working world or what it meant to bring glory to God in a life lived simply as a faithful church member and woman in the workforce. Also swirling in my head were the many struggles of college students (suicide, depression, eating disorders, etc) that had driven me to the Word to find answers, and I wanted to be better equipped in biblical counseling to care for others. So, in the spring of 2018, God released me in a new way to transition off Cru staff and move in freedom to Hampton Roads, where I had my eye on a sweeeeet church and plans to pursue biblical counseling. After finishing out the school year at SU, I began job applications and moved to Hampton VA in July 2018.

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After a few months of job hunting and interviews that didn’t go anywhere, I started to rethink photography. People who knew me and remembered my CNU days were pushing me to dust off the camera again. As the months continued on and involvement in my new church community grew, God brought part-time babysitting jobs, an internship with the church (focused on biblical counseling), and a part-time admin job for one of my pastors. While the sources of income were not looking as I expected, God was providing! My day to day schedule was inconsistent and crazy, but I truly didn’t mind! In taking time to pray and honestly ask myself if I would rather be in a 9-5 office desk job compared to all the various part-time jobs God was knitting together, I came to a place of peace to continue this road as long as God allows. More thoughts, counsel, and prayers specific to photography grew my desire to steward the gift with people and pictures God has given me, and thus, Debbie Dean Photography is beginning its rebirth, of sorts.

Thinking back to 22 year old Debbie running around CNU’s campus photographing sports games and social events, I never could have planned or imagined the life that was to come… two years living in East Asia, joining Cru staff, going to work with students in Maryland, heading off Cru staff, moving to Hampton without a job… and now working a few part-time gigs, soaking up life in my local church, and diving back into the world of photography! I amazed daily that God allows me to have this life, and thankful that it is HIS purposes and plans that prevail. I am excited for what’s to come, and grateful for your support along this journey!

 

 

Tis the Season

With the passing of Thanksgiving, the Christmas season is officially upon us. As a photographer, however, I have been celebrating the coming holidays with photography clients in the Hampton Roads area since they started booking family portrait sessions back in September. Christmas card prep and photo gifts have kept business booming these last few months, for which I am incredibly thankful. Not only has it been fun to rekindle my love for getting behind the camera with my recent transition off of full-time Cru staff (Christian campus ministry work) and into the working world, but I also have been freshly reminded of the joy it is to get to know people more deeply through each photography session. My church family here in Hampton (Hampton Roads Fellowship) has booked up most of my schedule, and I have immensely enjoyed learning some of the ins and outs of each family unit in the time we spend together throughout our shoot.

Enjoy some below shots of various photoshoots from this holiday season! And if you know anyone still looking to get Christmas cards done, give them my info: debbiedeanphotography@gmail.com (shoots start at $100/one hour session, plus gas for driving over 15 miles from Hampton).

One of my bestfriends from college, Tara, and her family were a fun bunch in Newport News park!

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Mika, Austin, and little baby Riley enjoyed their first shoot as a family at Ft. Monroe, in Hampton VA…

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The Logsdon family and I had a great time in Williamsburg!

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Back to Ft. Monroe (a favorite location of mine… the locations for shots abound!) for fun with out-of-town friends, the Harrisons…

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The bridge at Newport News Park was a hit with these two sisters, Artresah & Siedah, and their sweet families…

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Christmas Cards: Book Your Shoot Today!

Virginia finally decided to end its summer temperatures here in Hampton Roads and give us some autumn colors and crunchy leaves! Interested in gathering your family to create a holiday card in Colonial Williamsburg? Wanting an updated group photo including the two youngest kids who weren’t born the last time you did a family session? Hoping to give Grandma a canvas of her favorite grandkids for Christmas? I’m ready for you! Downtown Norfolk, nature-filled Chesapeake, Ft. Monroe beach in Hampton, and more! Hampton Roads has innumerable places for capturing your family this holiday season. Book your shoot today!

$100, one hour session, 50 digital images. (+gas mileage money if traveling further than 20 miles from Hampton, VA)

Email: debbiedeanphotography@gmail.com

Instagram: debdeanphotography

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David & Kala: Kentucky Blue VA Wedding

Despite blog crashes and computer struggles, I’m finally able to post this wedding! Similarly, despite mid-July heat and threatening rain showers on the forecast all day, David & Kala’s Kentucky Blue wedding was probably the most fun wedding I’ve shot to date. David & Kala are a life loving, God loving, people loving couple. They were excited, patient, and energized their whole day (and they had a sweet bridal party that carried similar qualities). It was such a joy to be their photographer and experience them become one family! Congrats, Mr. & Mrs. Herman. Thanks for your patience with these photos! Enjoy some of my favorites.
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_MG_7907_MG_7882_MG_7944_MG_7998_MG_7908_MG_8011_MG_8286_MG_8299_MG_8317David and his groomsmen wanted some shots before the ceremony of them in a nearby home-gym. The images we got were priceless….

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_MG_0041_IM_0023_MG_0014_MG_9927_MG_0133_MG_0142_MG_0148_MG_0158_MG_0216_MG_0184Reception #2: dinner and dancing time._MG_0266_MG_0258_MG_0299_MG_0319_MG_0370_MG_0555_MG_0419_MG_0475_MG_0565_MG_0569_MG_0609_MG_0604_MG_0585_MG_0556_MG_0563_MG_0739_MG_0705_MG_0714Appropriate shot to end on (sums up the night)…_MG_0716Congrats again, guys! Super stoked for you two.

Tara & Matt – Engaged

October 2009. As an insecure, trying-to-find-my-place-in-this-world freshman, I tagged along to a house I had never been at to participate in the birthday party surprise for a girl I hardly knew, thinking, “This will be great… Wait, this is scary, I hardly know ANYONE at the party!… Buuuut I’ve met the birthday girl a few times and she seems nice… But I don’t think I’ll ever be her friend because she’s just SO COOL! Aaaa, I should leave… Oh no, too late now, she’s coming!” I remember that surprise party so vividly. There were dozens of people there to celebrate a freshman babe by the name of Tara Thompson. The Christian community at CNU has always been incredible, and especially my freshman year, the upperclassmen went out of their way to make us feel welcome and included in life at CNU. So in the midst of this birthday party, I remember looking around at the people gathered to celebrate Tara and thinking, “I want to be part of this community. And I want to know this girl that SO many people would come surprise and celebrate as a freshman on her birthday. She’s just so cool………..”

Who would have thought that night at the start of our freshman year that Tara Thompson would end up being one of my very best friends………. and that I would be doing an engagement shoot of her and her FIANCÉ just a few years later!?!

Tara’s one of those people who’s beauty on the outside is just a smidgen of the beauty that’s inside her. Her heart is unlike any other I know. She loves genuinely, she loves faithfully, she loves honestly, she loves bluntly, she loves encouragingly. When Tara cares for people, she gives 100%. She isn’t wishy-washy or half in. I remember a time during sophomore or junior year when one of the downtown guys from the DownTown Ministry Tara leads at CNU was in a serious car accident. Tara threw herself into praying and caring for this dear friend. She was steadfast in hospital visits and figuring out how to best serve him, and she constantly was reminding me to pray for him. Tara also loves openly and candidly. I can’t tell you how many times she has straight-up rebuked lies I was believing or spoken Truth to me in love, encouraging me away from frustration and disappointment (she makes it very difficult for me to keep hurt inside, the stinker….. she ALWAYS knows when something is wrong). Aaaaand she can also make me laugh. Like none other. She’s made me pee in my pants from laughing (maybe more than once). She’s a super goof ball (just ask her what she knows about armed robbery or how good she is at kitchen spatula singing to Grease‘s “You’re the One that I Want). I always wish we could have more time together when we hangout.

And now my darling Tara is getting MARRIED! Had you told either of us freshman year that Matt Hayes was gonna be her husband, we would have laughed and said, “Yeahhhhhhh… what?” Let’s just say, the dorky, handsome boy Matt from our early CNU years has become dorky, handsome man Matt. And MAN, is he perfect for my Tara. Matt is one of the most humble & gentle yet strong & leader guys that I know. He serves and loves Tara with such selflessness, putting her before himself and setting such an amazing example of Christ in their relationship. I remember this one time semi-early on in their relationship when Tara was digging into some theology and praying about what she believed about a certain doctrine. Matt took time by himself and with her to find biblical, sound teaching and wisdom on this doctrine and talk and work through hard questions with Tara. That’s just a tiny example of how he goes above and beyond to look to others’ interests and serve them before himself. I could not think of a better man for Tara. He calms her down, leads her  so well, has this hilarious quiet humor, and puts His relationship with Christ as a priority over all else. I’m so excited to see what the Lord has for their marriage and how they will continue to serve Him as Mr. & Mrs. Hayes!

I love you two so so much, and am so grateful you let me take these photos. Thanks for letting me be part of your lives!!

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Williamsburg Wedding: Dani & Ryan

I still quite vividly remember the day Dani asked me to shoot her wedding. It was last semester, fall 2012, and the five-foot tall, double major in English and Theater sat next to me as we furiously composed papers that were soon to be due. We were in Chinese Literature together, and both only had an hour to spare before class. In the midst of paper writing, Dani and I chit chatted, and I let it slip that I was getting into wedding photography. I swear she jumped in her chair and moved herself a foot closer to me, then stretched her fingers and said, “Ooohhhh you do wedding photography do you….????” She proceeded to explain how she and her darling Ryan were to be wed in February, and they had yet to solidify a photographer. That conversation led to another, and within a month or so, they had booked me for their early 2013 Williamsburg Inn wedding.

 Their late February wedding started out a bit rainy and chilly, but by the time the ceremony was over and we were doing portraits, the rain had stopped and it was a photographer’s paradise of an overcast sky and a happyhappy bride and groom. Enjoy some of my favorite shots from the day (including a few from my wonderful second shooter Maggie Gore!). Dani and Ryan, thanks for being such a relaxed, FUN couple to work with. It was seriously nothing but a joy to share in your special day with you.

This is what greeted me when I arrived at Dani’s house the morning of the wedding…. So precious.

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Williamsburg Inn! Stunning.

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Dani’s centerpieces were incredible… Perfectly blending her love for literature and theater (and Beauty & the Beast!)…

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Ryan LOVED this little phone booth near the groom’s prep room….

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Gazing at one another’s rings…..

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Beautiful reception room!

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Maggie’s fantastic shot from their first dance….. LOVE HER DRESS!

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SO so happy for you two!! Thanks for letting me be part of such an incredible day. My best wishes to you two, Mr. & Mrs. Doster!

 

Proposal: Matt & Tara

I seriously don’t know how to begin this post. What are you supposed to say about the engagement of one of your very best friends in the whole world?? How do you describe the flashmob proposal her boyfriend arranged with 30+ people that ended with a human tunnel leading her to her boy down by the water?? There are no words.

When Matt Facebook messaged a bunch of us with his proposal plans, I quickly volunteered to take photos. I was honored he wanted so many of us involved in this special night, and nothing would make me more glad but to document it. We all arrived at City Center (Oyster Point) in Newport News with plenty of time to spare before Tara would be led there by roommates, under the false news that they were going to celebrate a few friends’ internships and acceptance to grad school at one of the restaurants. Little did she know what was waiting for her…..

(Note: I switched on and off all night between using my strobe and shooting with a slooooow shutter speed…… I have so much to learn about night photography!)

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So so SOOOOOOOOO excited for you two!!! Matt, I know you’re one amazing guy to win the affections of my dear Tootie. She’s a gem.Take good care of her! Love you both!!!!

Throwback Thursday: Happy Birthday, David

Last week was my older brother David’s 25th birthday. So hard to wrap my brain around the fact that the four “older kids” in our family (as opposed to the three “little girls”) are all in their twenties. Where the heck has time gone…

This Throwback Thursday is in honor of David. He didn’t get to spend this past birthday as us Deans prefer with “sugar” cereal, a King For The Day crown, Happy Birthday signs around the house, and spoiling love and care from family members. Instead, he put his boots on and went about an army officer’s normal day in Afghanistan. He’s been there about eight months now, and MAN has it provoked growth in my prayer life! Any anxieties and fears have to be taken to the Lord daily because I am in no way in control of Dave’s safety over there. (Praise the Lord he only has a few weeks left and he’ll be out of Afghanistan and back to his post in Italy!)

To celebrate his belated birthday, the photos in this post show snippets of the past 25 years of David’s life. (That’s quite a few years so these photos compose just a short summary. ;)) Dave, I love you so much and am eagerly waiting for May when you come to the States and I get see your face in person! Thanks for making me proud and encouraging me through your faith, servant’s heart, humor, strength, perseverance, affection… and lushus eyelashes. 🙂 Love you!

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Yes, we WERE a darling, homeschooled, true-90s bunch…

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Skip a few years …… crazy as ever.

100_2096100_2171Plebe year at West Point….. true to his Black Knights.

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Best big brother…

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Granny and Papa Beaumont’s 50th wedding anniversary, 2008! David surprised them. 🙂

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Sandhurst military competition at West Point, 2010…..

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West Point graduation, 2010!

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Pillow fight with little Abby and handlebar mustache ……

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The parents and little girls visiting him in Italy before his deployment….

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Aaaand Afghanistan……….

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Love you, Dave.

Throwback Thursday: Billy & Renee

Sorry I’ve been such a slacker in blogging this week! It’s been a long, full week and I’m so excited for the weekend. More free time to figure out my new iPhone, actually do my homework readings, cover some photography events for CNU, and watch the Superbowl with friends?? Yes please.

This week’s Throwback Thursday is from another wedding that I shot last fall but was unable to post due to blog complications. The darling couple is Billy and Renee Herbert. Billy was my brother David’s closest friend at West Point (USMA) and our family pretty much adopted him as a son and brother. Renee and Billy met through David when Dave and a group of his friends (church friends from home + Army buds on leave) went to NYC to watch 2011 become 2012. Renee was one of the said church friends, and let’s just say… Billy was one determined guy. Despite Christmas leave ending and his going back to Germany where he was posted, Billy chased after this little lady. Hours of phone calls, the finishing of his post in Germany, a move to Virginia, and not-so-many months later, our little Billy put a ring on it.

When Renee asked me to shoot their September wedding, I was thrilllllllllled. I hadn’t known Renee all that well before Billy started going after her, but the more we talked and the more I saw them together (Billy got posted to Arlington, Va, with the Old Guard when he finished up with Germany in the spring of 2012), the more I grew excited about his perfect choice of a wife.

I love you two very very VERY much, and I hope I’m around when little Herbert babies start popping out so I can take photos of them too. 😉 Enjoy some shots from your special day!

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Back to Renee….HerbertWedding_43 HerbertWedding_49 HerbertWedding_53Ceremony time! Here she comes…

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Billy’s Mom, Eda, and his nephew, Daniel…. precious!
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Love you guys! xoxo

Weekend At Home: The Patchwork Girl of Oz

This weekend I’m in Northern Virginia, home to see my sister Tori’s drama play, “The Patchwork Girl of Oz.” My roommate Arielle and I drove up yesterday evening through the snow and craziness of I-95 to arrive in time for the 7 o’clock showing. Though the drive was rather frightening, I was so glad when we arrived safely, with time to spare before the show. I pretty much tackled this guy when I saw him at the church (little brother Clarky)…

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He’s on crutches because he recently tore some ligaments in his right foot while playing basketball… crazy boy!tori_13webThe play was SO good! Tori and rest of our church’s Homeschool Co-op Drama Club did a fabulous job performing this stage adaption to the book by L. Frank Baum. The sets were incredible, the kids did great, and I was laughing all night. Tor Tor was a sassy Porcelain Cat, and she was incredible. SO proud of her!

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Yes, she’s the white feline in the unitard….

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Me with my Dad and all but one of my sisters. So proud of Tori!!

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This kid……

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The two cats, Tori and Wes (the Cowardly Lion)…

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Our crazy cat….

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Love her!

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So glad Arielle could come with me!

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My brother Clark (with the crutches) and good friend Chris….. 
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They’re ridiculous.

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It was a great night, and I’m so glad to be home and able to relax for the rest of the weekend. I love home. Now off to talk wedding stuff with my sister….. Happy Saturday!