Baby Grace is here!

Kai & Yesenia are dear fellow church members and friends here in Hampton I have loved getting closer to this past year. I met Sen initially at a biblical counseling conference that I went to with a group from HRF in February 2018, even while I still lived in MD, before I had decided to relocate to Hampton Roads!! (Let’s just say that conference and my time with those HRF members was instrumental in God moving me here!)

Watching God work in the lives of Kai & Sen has been such a gift. Through the beginning days of little Grace being found in Sen’s belly to her arrival on Christmas Eve 2018, I have watched this couple trust and worship Jesus Christ and His plan for their blended family. I love you guys and am so thankful for how your example of clinging to God’s Word and God’s people in daily life encourages me continually!

Kai deploys to South Korea in just a few short weeks, so doing this newborn+family photoshoot for them last weekend was so sweet to me, knowing these images will be held tightly in the months to come. I love you guys so much and am excited for how your beautiful family of FIVE will continuing growing and showing me and others how to follow Christ daily in the grace He gives!

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Give the Perfect Gift this Valentine’s Day!

When was the last time you and your spouse had fun together without the distraction of kids or to do lists?

When was the last time you and your spouse took good photos together, not snapped as a selfie or from the viewpoint of your five year old?

On top of that, how many of you think about Valentine’s Day next month and hope your spouse drops a good hint these next few weeks of something he/she would like other than the chocolate bar and gift card to Starbucks you were planning to grab on February 13th?

If you find yourself in any of the above scenarios, I have the perfect gift for you this Valentine’s Day!

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Gift Debbie Dean Photography’s Valentine’s Day package!

For $120, you get a one-hour photo session AND a 10×14″ canvas of your favorite image from the shoot! Not only will the shoot be a fun time of you two enjoying each other and creating a fun memory together (free from kiddos or other distractions that have seeped into your time as a couple over the years!), but you will also have a canvas to hang in your office or bedroom, reminding you of the love you have for this bestfriend, love of your life, & partner in crime for years to come!

Interested? Book today! Inquire to: debbiedeanphotography@gmail.com. 703-789-0513.

(Based out of Hampton, Virginia — travel rates apply for photo sessions more than 25 miles from Hampton.)

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City Center Christmas Cheer

Last Sunday I had back to back shoots with two families from my church (HRF): Nicole and her crew started us off, and Colin & Myisha with their gaggle of girls followed! It was fun to spend time with these friends and capture them in a variety of spots around City Center. Enjoy a glimpse into our Sunday afternoon fun!

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Highlights from the Season

Today I sit at home nursing a nausea/head/achey/exhausted sickness of some kind, and am reflecting on what a full, wonderful few months it has been capturing families in Hampton Roads! Flipping through photos, I cannot stop smiling as I look at the people who have given me opportunities to capture their crew and create something beautiful for them to look back on for years to come! I could fill blogposts for months with these beautiful faces and the hours we spent trying to get dogs, two year olds, grandparents, and farm animals to cooperate for a few minutes (never a dull moment; thankful for so much laughter!). I have loved the relationships I’ve been able to form with my clients during our sessions, and as we wrap up 2018, I am filled with thankfulness for these families, and eagerness to see what 2019 brings in the world of Debbie Dean Photography! Enjoy some moments from my most recent shoots below.

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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_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!