A Year in Review | 2018

Deborah Michelle Photography 2018

So you know how everyone is doing their Top 9 right now? Well of course I did mine and it was all pictures of me and none of my work. And honestly that hurt as an artist. Did no one like my work? Did no one see all the portraits I captured this year? Lies. All lies. You, my friend, spent the past year celebrating with me as a person. Sure you loved my work but you were invested in my personal highlights even more so. 2018 was a big year for just that. I got the chance to be the bride for once and wear the white dress. I walked down the aisle and exchanged vows with my best friend.

Even though this past year was a great year personally it was not my favorite professionally. Moving my small business was hard, but luckily I have a team here to help me. If I could put a title on 2018 for my business it would be, ‘Growing Pains’. Stepping back and reevaluating everything is not easy. You are a failure. You are not good enough to make it. Lies. More lies. As I type this I hear my best friend say, “Not today Satan, not today!” Y’all it’s hard. And it’s taken me awhile to realize it’s ok to admit that. One of the many reasons I adore established photographers like Katelyn James and Jenna Kutcher is because they are so open and honest about their struggles both personally and professionally.

Often times I question why I am a photographer, but then I am quickly reminded why. I have a faithful few clients who I photograph year after year. One I have photographed for 10 years and three children later! They are the reason why. They believed in this girl with a camera and continue to support me.

One photographer I follow posted this the other day on Instagram and I completely agree. “If 2018 taught me anything it’s to feel the moment - the hurt, the disappointment - forgive (yourself or others) and MOVE ON. Stop living in a permanent state of punishment for a temporary choice. You’re allowed to fail. Hell. You NEED to fail. Failure teaches us grist and purpose more than success ever will.” (@alisha_crossley_photography)

Goodbye 2018, this girl is eager and expectant of good things to come in the new year. Some might even say magical (*hint to where DMP is relocating to).

Deborah Michelle Photography 2018 Fairhope Alabama Wedding
Deborah Michelle Photography 2018 Citronelle Community Center Mobile Alabama Wedding

Highlights of 2018

  • Created laughter between a bride and her best friends.

Deborah Michelle Photography 2018 Bragg Mitchell Mansion Mobile Alabama Wedding Bridesmaids
  • Captured 12 families during this season of life. A few brought me to the sea shore where I could wiggle my toes in the sand, another allowed me to announce their families’ big news, and all brought about tickle fights and mighty laughter.

  • Played dress up with three of my Deborah Michelle Brides as we awaited their wedding days.

Deborah Michelle Photography 2018 Bridal Session Bella Sera Gardens Alabama
  • Shared quite a few tears. Moments shared between a bride and her mom get me every time; first looks too!

  • Fueled my love of floral design by assisting Lisa of Thorne and Thistle for a couple of weddings in Auburn, Alabama. Upon arriving to a new city, I reached out to several local vendors to try to connect. Lisa took me in and showed me a different side to weddings. It was a treat to work with such a talented floral designer. I could not help myself but to take a few iPhone pictures here and there.

  • Celebrated two college seniors from opposing universities.

  • Consumed a lot of coffee and several slices of wedding cake. After all that’s the REAL reason why I shoot weddings. Ha!

  • Photographed the most dapper of men.

Deborah Michelle Photography 2018 Groomsmen Watson Farms Mobile, Alabama Wedding
  • Reconnected with DMP brides as they take on the role of mommy!

Deborah Michelle Photography 2018 Maternity Portrait Session
Deborah Michelle Photography 2018 Mobile Alabama Maternity Portrait Session
  • Worked with some of the best in the business. Shout out to Toni Goodie, Joanna Lee, Ashley Mason and Sara Grace McClain for helping me out this year.

Not only did Ashley assist me this fall during wedding season, but she gave me the honor of photographing her fifth anniversary with Weston. They are the cutest!

Deborah Michelle Photography 2018 Auburn Alabama Photographer
  • Encouraged as many puppy kisses as possible - after all the canines are part of the family too!

Deborah Michelle Photography 2018 Opelika Alabama Family Photographer
  • Cut many rugs on the dance floor!

  • Shared this season of wedding planning with several couples and discovered what they love most about their partner.

Deborah Michelle Photography 2018 Greensboro Alabama Engagement Portrait Session
Deborah Michelle Photography 2018 Springhill College Mobile Alabama Engagement Portrait Session
  • Was invited to be a part of the most intimate moments in one’s life. And I will forever treasure those opportunities to capture their beginning as husband and wife.

Deborah Michelle Photography 2018 Mobile Alabama Wedding Photographer
Deborah Michelle Photography 2018 Mobile Alabama Wedding Photographer

Deborah Michelle Photography 2018 Bragg Mitchell Mansion Wedding Mobile Alabama

2018 will be a year to remember. A year full of hard lessons mixed sweet memories. A year where I learned I cannot do it on my own and lean heavily on my greatest team member, my business savvy husband.

Babe, thank you. Thank you for letting me soak your t-shirts in tears split over my business. Thank you for driving me to my sessions and reminding me of my talent. Thank you for pushing me to keep going when I was ready to quit. I know it has not been easy but I would not be the photographer I am today with your love and support.

To my clients, thank you. I started my business because I wanted to share my talents with people. I wanted to capture moments that you would treasure for a lifetime. For several years, I have poured out my passions to you over coffee and you invited me into your season of life. I will forever find joy serving you and walking alongside you in this journey called life.

*Oh and I bet you are dying to know where DMP is going next……

HELLO BIRMINGHAM! Alert the presses, DMP is in the Magic City. My husband and I are super excited about moving as newlyweds, establishing some roots and making this Alabama city our home.

Cheers to a New Year and a new city!

Deborah Michelle Photography 2018 Birmingham Alabama Photographer

The Davidsons | Greensboro Alabama Wedding

Katie and Brandon Greensboro Alabama Wedding Deborah Michelle Photography

Katie’s dream was to walk down the center aisle with her dad by her side in the church she grew up in. And sweet Katie got that dream on a Friday evening in October. Surrounded by their closest friends & family, Katie & Brandon tied the knot.

I, too, grew up at Greensboro Baptist Church in Greensboro, Alabama & have known Katie for years. When she asked me to be her photographer, I was delighted. I knew the man who hold stolen her heart would be special indeed. Brandon brings out the crinkles in her nose every time she laughs. I have never seen a bride so smitten.

Katie & Brandon’s wedding day brought me back to my hometown & made me feel like part of the family. It’s funny how coming home will do just that. I loved every moment of this wedding day from the first look in a local coffee shop’s courtyard to sweet momma zipping up her gown in the most fabulous white walled bathroom to dancing to jazz music at their Beauty & The Beast themed reception, it was the day every little girl dreams about.

Katie and Brandon Greensboro Alabama Wedding Deborah Michelle Photography

Greensboro Alabama Wedding Deborah Michelle Photography
Greensboro Alabama Wedding Deborah Michelle Photography
Greensboro Alabama Wedding Deborah Michelle Photography

Ya’ll won’t believe that these getting ready images were taken in a bathroom! Yes, you heard that correctly. A bathroom, ugly toilet & all. See my Instagram post to see what it looked like without a blushing bride involved.

Greensboro Alabama Wedding Deborah Michelle Photography Daddy's First Look

The sweetest first look! I was in tears too!


Katie Greensboro Alabama Wedding Deborah Michelle Photography
Katie and Brandon Greensboro Alabama Wedding Deborah Michelle Photography

Shout out to The Stable for allowing us to crash their beautiful courtyard for these portraits.

Katie and Brandon Greensboro Alabama Wedding Deborah Michelle Photography
Katie and Brandon Greensboro Alabama Wedding Deborah Michelle Photography
Bridesmaids Greensboro Alabama Wedding Deborah Michelle Photography
Katie and Brandon Bridal Party Greensboro Alabama Wedding Deborah Michelle Photography
Groomsmen Greensboro Alabama Wedding Deborah Michelle Photography
Greensboro Baptist Church Alabama Wedding Deborah Michelle Photography
Katie and Brandon Greensboro Alabama Wedding Deborah Michelle Photography
Katie and Brandon Greensboro Alabama Wedding Deborah Michelle Photography

Katie framed pictures of their grandparents who are no longer with them & I absolutely loved that idea.

Katie and Brandon Greensboro Alabama Wedding Deborah Michelle Photography
Katie and Brandon Greensboro Alabama Wedding Deborah Michelle Photography
Katie and Brandon Greensboro Alabama Wedding Deborah Michelle Photography
Katie and Brandon Greensboro Alabama Wedding Deborah Michelle Photography

Vendors who made Katie & Brandon’s wedding day a dream come true.

Photographer: Deborah Michelle Photography

Photographer’s Assistant: Ashley Mason

Wedding Ceremony Venue: Greensboro Baptist Church - Greensboro, Alabama

Getting Ready & Wedding Reception Venue: Martin Stewart Building - Greensboro, Alabama

Bride’s Dress: David’s Bridal

Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal

Hair & Makeup: Brittney Johnson

Groom & Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Wearhouse

Cake: Kelley Whatley

Caterer: Evelyn Seale

First Look Venue: The Sable - Greensboro, Alabama

The Branches | Citronelle Community Center Alabama Summer Wedding

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What comes to mind when you envision your wedding day? Do you picture white sandy beaches or walking down the center aisle of your home church? Do you see yourself surrounded by your closest friends & family in a small ceremony or dancing the night away with 150 people? Either way, your day should be how you envision it to be.

When I met with Lauren & Justin, they told me that they envisioned their wedding day to be full of love & joy. And I can testify that those dreams came true. Joy filled the bridal room as Lauren & her girls got ready; followed by the biggest smiles of the day at the bride & groom's first look. Love flowed from the alter of the church while they exchanged vows & continued into the reception as they shared dances with their sweet parents.

I adored every moment capturing this summertime wedding & at the end of the night was sad to see it end. Lauren has the biggest heart & has been the sweetest bride...not to mention how adorable her & Justin are. It truly was a pleasure to be a part of their love story.

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One of my favorite parts of Lauren & Justin's wedding day was their first look!

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The ceremony took place at their home church which is where they met & got engaged too!

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Confession: I love 'stealing' the bride & groom away during the reception to capture a few just married portraits & here's why...

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Ever wish a photo was a scratch & sniff?? Or better yet, a scratch & taste?! Let me tell ya, this cake by Delish Bakery was as wonderful to taste as it was to look at. Not to mention the beautiful backdrop made by the bride’s family.

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Congrats to Mr. & Mrs. Branch! I cannot wait to see what the Lord has in store for you as you begin this journey as husband & wife.

It is often said that teamwork makes the dream work & that is so true when it comes to pulling off the perfect wedding day. Here are all the vendors who made this dream possible:

Photography: Deborah Michelle Photography

Photographer's Assistant: Toni Goodie

Dress: Bliss Bridal Fairhope, Alabama

Florist: Trayce Mathis

Bride's Rings: Lou's Jewelry

Ceremony Venue: Haven Woods Baptist Church

Reception Venue: Citronelle Community Center

DJ: Southern Aire DJ's

Videographer: KWest Videography

Cake: Delish Bakery

Catering: Full of Grace Catering

Bridesmaids Dresses: Bliss Bridal Fairhope, Alabama

Groom & Groomsmen Attire: Fancy That Saraland, Alabama

Invitations: Etsy

Hair & Makeup: Mallory with Root 43 Salon

 

Shelbie & Craig | Greensboro Alabama Engagement Session

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"Where's your hometown?" It's a question you are always asked, no matter where you go.

Greensboro, Alabama, is hometown to me. The land of catfish ponds & pastures. The place where everyone knows your name or at least who your momma is. A frequent stop for pie if you are a passerby. And a community willing to lend a hand to it's neighbor in times of need.

As with any small town (or Nicolas Sparks book), chances of falling for a handsome boy on the football team are very likely & that's just what happened with Shelbie & Craig. These two met in the ninth grade & have been together ever since. All credit goes to Craig for making that first move eight years ago. He loves her for her strong sense of independence & she adores his personality that keeps her laughing.

Rain clouds threaten our entire afternoon but my prayers were answered when I arrived in Greensboro. These high school sweethearts were up for anything & I loved exploring our little town together rain-free. We even got to incorporate the newest addition to downtown, a mural painted by Donald Walker of Arab, Alabama. Enjoy scrolling through some of my many favorites from Shelbie & Craig's hometown engagement session!

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Craig adores his girl & it shows! <3

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Shelbie, girl! You are goregous!

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Congrats you two! Thanks for allowing me to return home for your portrait session. I am so excited to see y'all walk through this exciting new season of life. Happy Wedding Planning!


Shelbie's Hair & Makeup done by the fabulous Jordan of The Best Little Hair House in Greensboro, Alabama.

Goodie Family | Daphne Alabama Family Portraits

Daphne Alabama Family Photographer

As a photographer it's often hard to find the time for you to get in front of the camera. I am so glad that the rain held off this afternoon for this sweet family session. This awesome girl boss is a wife, a mommy to two & a photographer.

And at every family session I try to be intentional about stealing the parents aside for a couple of images. Because let’s be honest, the last time they got professional pictures taken was probably at their wedding.

The Goodie family portrait time ended in a round of hide & go seek which will probably be how I end all family photos from here on out.

Daphne Alabama Family Photographer
Daphne Alabama Family Photographer
Daphne Alabama Family Photographer Bayfront Park
Daphne Alabama Family Portraits

Toni has worked alongside me this wedding season & it's been so much fun. I love her eagerness to lend a hand & seeing the awesome images that she captures.

Check out this Gulf Coast photographer's work - Toni Goodie Photography

New Town Newlywed | A Personal Post

Deborah Michelle Photography Auburn Alabama Alabama Wedding Photographer

Hey Auburn, Hey Auburn, there's a new girl in town...

Never in a million years would I have imagined that this Bama girl would be living in that other town. You see I grew up just south of Tuscaloosa & my t-shirts are crimson & white. But God sure does have a sense of humor because I fell in love with an Auburn boy.

Moving in general is a huge undertaking but moving a small business can be hard. For years you've worked to established yourself in an area & eventually became friends with the wedding professionals that you've worked alongside & now it's like the first day of kindergarten all over again. But if there's one thing I have learned, it's that you have to seek out community. And that's my number one goal as I move into my new town.

Meet my little family. Richard is my HUSBAND. *Goodness I like the sound of that. :) He is the kindest, gentlest soul that I've ever known & often teaches me to live in the moment. He is finishing up his PhD at Auburn University & I am so proud of him. I'll never forget the first conversation we had. I asked him where he lived & when he said Auburn I responded with "Oh I'm sorry!" Ha! Jokes on me because the loveliest village on the plains is now my new home as a newlywed. 

And our family wouldn't be complete without our four legged son, Elliot. He loves any adventure that we bring him along, especially if it ends in an ice cream cone from Sonic.

So far I am blown away by the hospitality shown by this town & have had the best time exploring new places. I have discovered all the coffee shops (of course) & love weekends spent with brunch at The Hound followed by a trip to Kiesel Park with Elliot.


Hey thanks for reading this little personal post & following me along on this exciting new season of life as a newlywed.

If you are a fellow photographer or creative in the Auburn, Opelika, Columbus areas, let's grab coffee ASAP! (And maybe do a head-shot swap so my sweet husband doesn't have to next time. Bless it, he did so well didn't he?!) Seriously, I cannot wait to get to know you & work alongside you.

xoxo,

Debby Cullum

*Mobile, I am still your girl. I will forever travel to your Gulf Coast to capture your wedding days. So don't think I have abandoned you. My car knows I65 South real well.


Our wedding was shot by the wonderful Elizabeth Gelineau - check out our blog here which was also recently featured on Southern Weddings! AHHH!

Collage pictures were shot with an iPhone X.

A Year in Review | 2017

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As 2017 draws to a close, I will remember this one as a building year & one where things got personal. Two years ago this little photography business was officially formed & I decided to dive head first into the world of weddings. I set a goal to become more intentional with my couples. And just this spring I walked into the bridal suite & the bride exclaimed, "Debby is here! It's really real. Today is my wedding day!" That simple statement meant the world to me. In that moment, all the hard work, all the hours spent behind the computer & camera, & all the struggles as a small business owner became worth it.

You see because I believe in cheering you on throughout your journey. Not just the day my brides step into their dress of white.

So today I celebrate another year of being able to pursue my passion. Another year where I was invited to capture over a dozen love stories. Another year of tickle fights & puppy kisses. Another year of heart to hearts shared over cups of coffee. And y'all that is a reason to celebrate.

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Highlights of 2017

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  • Discovered 17hats & began a workflow sequence that saves me from hours of bookkeeping. #notabusinessmajor

  • RISING TIDES SOCIETY - One of my goals this year was to network with other vendors & other creatives in the area. And what an answer to prayer this group was. Once a month we gather on Tuesdays to discuss a topic as small business owners. We encourage one another & support each others' dreams.

"We believe that when creatives rise, the world is changed for the better. Together, we are empowering the creative economy to pursue their passion with the support of a community."

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  • Shot my first editorial magazine cover for ACCESS magazine's Swim & Fitness Issue. Discover more & see some behind the scenes here on the blog. And then joined up with the ACCESS team again later on this year to photograph a group of Mobile's outstanding teens.

  • Started 12 tickle fights between parents & children that induced good ol' belly laughter.

Premier Wedding Mobile Bay Deborah Michelle Photography
  • Played dress up with five of my Deborah Michelle Brides as we awaited their wedding days.

Ariel Bridals Bellingrath Gardens Mobile Alabama
Catharine Bridals The Pillars Mobile Alabama
  • Traveled nearly 9,000 miles all while consuming more than 400 cups of coffee & many Chickfila cookies.

  • Celebrated 10 seniors. Some with confetti, one with a proposal & another with a baby announcement!

  • Reconnected with DMP couples as they embarked on a new adventure known as parenthood!

Natalie Maternity Session Washington Square Park
  • Enjoyed many puppy kisses. *Pups are always welcomed as long as I am a photographer!

Dauphin Island Engagement session
  • Smiled so much my cheeks hurt after meeting new couples who will get married in the new year!

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Deborah Michelle Photography Behind the Scenes

To everyone who had a part in making 2017 memorable, thank you. You taught me more about myself & how to be a successful girl boss. You encouraged me & challenged me. You brought my heart much joy when you asked me to capture this season of life for you & your family. I will treasure all the friendships made & the lessons learned.

2018 has some big shoes to fill, but I have a feeling it will be extra special for this photographer who will now become a bride!