Monday, December 22, 2008

Because Valentine's Day Will Be Here Before You Know It...

(Click to enlarge!)

Call today to schedule your Boudoir Session! (304) 522-7747

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

2008 Christmas Special!

Only $40!

Includes your 1/2-hour studio session and
choice of either
one box of (24) 4x6 folded Christmas cards with envelopes,
OR (1) 8x10, (2) 5x7's, and (16) wallet prints.
You may also add prints ala carte (see Create Your Own Package pricing on website).

I know I'm late posting a blog about my 2008 Christmas Special (surprise, surprise!), but its not too late to book your holiday session! As shown by these sample photos, Courtney Bell Photography uses simple, contemporary backdrops and props for holiday portraiture (in other words, not cheesy!). The new prop for Christmas '08 is the holiday fireplace setting, but I also have a wodden sled, large snowflakes, oversized ornaments, and a variety of furniture.

The 2008 Christmas Special will run until December 12, so call today to book your session! (304) 522-7747

Friday, November 14, 2008

Catching Up and Looking Ahead

Well, I was afraid this would happen. I hesitated to start a blog for a long time because I wasn't sure if my busy schedule would allow me to keep up with it, and sure enough it looks as though I'm starting to fall behind. So, to make up for it I am going to post a few shots from some recent sessions that I've worked on, including:

Senior sessions for Tanisha (my exotically gorgeous Senior!) and Justin (my charming, talkative Senior!), Cara and Wes' engagement session, a portrait from the Herrenkohl family reunion (Amy Herrenkohl's family of gorgeous men), Jamiee's bridal session (my Phoebe Cates look-alike!), and the weddings of Kelly and Joe and Kristen and Scott.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to let you guys know that Courtney Bell Photography now has profiles on both MySpace and Facebook! Be sure to add yourself to my Friends list to stay updated on the latest news, specials, blog entries, etc.!

In addition, I wanted to mention a couple of things that you guys can look forward to from Courtney Bell Photography. I recently discovered that the program I use to create my Wedding Memories DVDs has the ability to export clips to YouTube!!! I haven't actually tried it yet, but my hope is to soon be showing off clips from some of my wedding DVDs!

Also, be on the lookout for some Christmas portraits, which will probably be posted after this weekend, along with some holiday pricing information. (Sheesh...Christmas already!)

All in all, things have been rather crazy around here, but I really wouldn't have it any other way. Thank you to all of the wonderful families, Seniors, couples, and individuals who have helped make this such a successful, busy season! Hopefully, when things calm down a bit, I will be able to post blog entries on a more regular basis.

Friday, November 7, 2008

I'm Forecasting Stardom!

Okay, I gave this blog entry a really cheesy title, but I just couldn't resist! I had the pleasure recently of working with our local WSAZ meteorologist, Ms. Marina Jurica. In addition to delivering the forecast every weekday morning, Marina also has a great passion for musical theater. She has performed in many local and national theater productions.

Most recently, Marina performed in the Arts Resources for the Tri-State's production of "Clue: The Musical" in the role of Miss Scarlett. The performance took place at The Renaissance Center, which is where my studio happens to be located, and that is how Ms. Jurica came to hire me to photograph some new headshots for her.

I have to say, Marina is even lovlier in person than she is on television and she was an absolute pleasure to work with. I look forward to working with her more in the future.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

When Life Hands You Lemons...Wake Up at Dawn?

We've been having such gorgeous weather and fall foliage here lately that I have looked forward to every single outdoor session that I have shot in the last month or so. I was especially excited to shoot Jess Brooks and Bobby Woods' engagement session last Monday because they wanted very few indoor photos. We had also planned to get some shots at sunset at Harris Riverfront Park. Unfortunately, on the day of their session the weather became cold, windy, dark and rainy. To make things worse, last Monday was, in fact, the last day that Jess would be available for an evening photo session until after Christmas! Therefore, as bummed as we were about it, we simply had to give up on the outdoor/sunset photos.

We still tried to make the most of their session, however. After getting a few studio shots with Jess' adorable dog, Chloe, we went on location to the Huntington Arcade on 4th Avenue. I have gotten some really nice shots there recently, but I hadn't realized how much natural light the building utilizes. Therefore, with the dark, rainy skies outside the Arcade was actually very dark that evening. Erg!

Still trying to make the most of our session time, we stepped outside to get a few shots at the entrance to the Keith Albee Theater. I rather like the photos taken at the ticket booth, but it was obviously just too dark outside to try to shoot any place else. So, reluctantly we threw in the towel.

As I was packing up my equipment, Jess and I were talking about how much we had been looking forward to the sunset shots. That's when I informed her that a sunrise is just as beautiful. Her eyes lit up and I knew right away that she was game! Bobby groaned a little at the thought of having photos taken at the break of dawn, but he was a great sport and we scheduled a sunrise session for this morning.

So, I have to say that I'm actually glad that our sunset session was a bust because the shots we got at sunrise this morning are simply spectacular! Its rare to have clients who are that flexible and willing to be photographed at 6:45 AM. Jess and Bobby, you guys are awesome! (P.S. Are you as tired as I am right now???)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Wedding of Alana and Brian (my brother's two best friends!)

Yesterday I had the honor and priviledge of photographing the wedding of Alana Carney and Brian Williams, who just happen to be my brother's two best friends, in my home town of Cross Lanes. In fact, my brother, Zach, served as the Best Man, which made me all the more excited to be photographing their wedding.

First, let me just say what a GORGEOUS couple Alana and Brian are. Besides being asthetically beautiful, both of them are very sweet and pleasant and share an awesome sense of humor. In fact, their sense of humor came in quite handy when the Maid of Honor forgot to bring the Groom's ring to the ceremony and one of the Bridesmaids made a mad dash back to their dressing room immediately after walking up the aisle to retrieve it! (Nice save, Kedron!)

The reception was held at Scarlet Oaks and began with an elegant dinner. Immediately following, Alana and Brian surprised their family and friends by performing a choreographed waltz as their first dance. (They did a fabulous job, by the way!) When it was time for the Maid of Honor and Best Man to give their toasts, I have to admit I was a little nervous for Zach, but he and Sheila both gave fantastic, heartfelt speeches.

All in all, I really enjoyed getting to know Alana and Brian and cannot thank them enough for asking me to participate in their very special day.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Some Autumn Portraits Taken This Week

I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again: I LOVE shooting outdoors in the fall! I have been shooting outdoors every day this week, and several days last week as well (see Kali's Senior session blog below).

I just wanted to take a moment to share a few portraits from this past week. The majority of these were taken in what I refer to as the "backside" of Ritter Park, which is simply GORGEOUS this time of year! If you live in Huntington, I highly recommend taking a stroll through this part of Ritter Park one evening. It is truly breathtaking, and we're not even in peak foliage yet!

Thank you to the Pelfrey/Angel family, Amy and Mark, whose portraits were shot on Amy's parents' property, Ashley and Tave, and Leslie, my "Carrie Underwood look-alike" Senior. Enjoy!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Putting Kali Through the Ringer!

What a fun Senior Portrait session I had this afternoon! Kali was so fun to work with and such a great sport for letting me test out some new ideas with her, even if it meant practically contorting her body at times.

My favorite moment of this session came when I was getting this great shot of her underneath the gorgeous fall foliage in Ritter Park. I was utilizing my fisheye lens, which requires me to get extremely close to my subject. I asked her to lay on the ground on her side, twist around and prop herself up on her elbow. Meanwhile, I laid only about a couple of feet from her on my stomach with my cheek practically pressed to the ground so that I could get some of the awesome red-orange leaves in the foreground of the shot. Eventually the awkward pose began to take its toll on Kali and she cried out, "Oh, my oblique!" Even as I write about it now, I am still cracking up over that one.

In addition to her ab work-out, poor Kali had to endure a fan blowing directly into her face from just about a foot away as she awkwardly sat on her knees looking directly upwards at me while I proceeded to trigger my bright studio flashes to go off into her already dry, tortured eyes. And I'm preeetty sure that laying on one's stomach on a cold, hard park bench isn't the most natural or comfortable position to be in, but Kali never once complained. In fact, she was such a pleasure to work with and I cannot thank her enough for putting up with my shenanigans. You rock, Kali!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Take a Peak at Darrah and Matt's Wedding!

With the blessing of Mrs. Darrah Perno (formerly Wilcox), who recently married her best friend, Mr. Matt Perno, on August 16, 2008, I am proud to share with you the entire Perno Wedding and Engagement gallery! (see below)

You know, sometimes you just click with a couple, but it is REALLY something special when you feel like you were able to click with both sides of their families as well, and this was certainly the case with the Wilcox's and the Perno's. Both the Bride's and Groom's families were SO fantastic to work with, I can't even tell you. It is because of people like this that I truly feel blessed to finally be earning a living doing something I love and am so sincerely passionate about.

So, without further adieu and/or mushiness, I am pleased to present to you Darrah and Matt's engagement and wedding gallery! Enjoy! (Password: darrahmatt. This link will only be active for a limited time, so enjoy it while you can!)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Down On the Farm with Jared

Yesterday I was very fortunate to be able to enjoy three of my favorite things all at once: Shooting outdoors in the fall, Senior portraits, and Mason County farms. I grew up visiting my grandparents at their farm in Leon, WV, so I've always had a sort of nostalgic affection towards that area. When Jared's mother, Tammy, asked if I would mind shooting his Senior portraits on their Mason County farm in early October, I think I probably responded something like, "Would I?!?!?"

Jared is on the Varsity football team at Hannan High School. After we got some shots at their farm we headed to the school so he could have a few portraits made by his locker with some of his equipment.

As we headed back, we stopped at their field so I could get some shots of him by these hay bales. I've always had a "thing" for hay...don't ask me why!

Even though Jared wasn't all that excited about spending the afternoon having his pictures taken (not many guys are), he was a great sport and I think we got some really great shots. Thank you, Tammy, for inviting me out to your beautiful farm and for giving me a hand during the shoot!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Funny Little Finney

I just finished editing the photos from little Finney's portrait session and there was one shot that I simply HAD to share:

When I opened this photo to edit I instantly cracked up! I don't even really remember getting this shot, but that's what I love about photographing babies and toddlers. I stay so busy trying to keep the child's attention during the session that I just shoot and shoot and shoot in hopes of capturing "THE" moment, because it happens so quickly. Then, when its time to go through all those shots I sometimes discover little treasures like this one, which totally makes my day! Of course, Finney's portraits on the baby chaise were hilarious and adorable anyway simply because he struck this little pose all by himself:

Gotta love those chubby baby legs!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Creekside Cabins Wedding

Yesterday I had the pleasure of photographing the wedding of Atasha and Laine at Creekside Cabins in Louisa, Kentucky. And what a gorgeous day it was! The sky was the bluest blue, the sun was shining, and thanks to a nice breeze it never got too hot.

After getting ready in seperate cabins, the wedding party, family and guests came together out in an open field for the ceremony. The Bride, her father and Maid of Honor arrived by horsedrawn carriage, which I thought was a lovely touch. During the ceremony, I loved watching Atasha get tickled at her Groom, as she couldn't help but giggle several times throughout. The ceremony was short and sweet and the guests retreated to the shade of the reception tent afterwards.

Before making their entrace at the reception, I had a short time alone with the Bride and Groom to take some formal photographs. It was obvious to me during that time how in love Atasha and Laine are and what a happy day this was for them.

I photographed the reception on into the early evening, but I presume that they partied well into the night because not only were they roasting a whole pig for later, but the Kentucky Headhunters had been setting up all day for a concert they were going to be performing on the grounds that evening!

I'm sure it was a day and night that they will all remember for the rest of their lives, and it was an honor for me to be a part of that. Congratulations Atasha and Laine!!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Marley and Me

This little 1 year-old cutie was so much fun! Miss Marley is juuust on the verge of being able to take her first step. In fact, she almost did just as I grabbed this shot of her standing.

I got the biggest kick out of Marley's "Ooh!" face, though. So funny!

Marley's parents and grandmother were a big help to me during this photo session, so I'd like to send out a big, "Thank you!" to them. Who knew that giving a 1 year-old a roaring round of applause is all it takes to provoke adorable smiles and facial espressions??? I'll definitely remember that during my next toddler's photo session!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Courtney Bell Photography on YouTube!!!

Since this is my first official blog, I thought I should kick it off with my most recent news, which is that I now have a video on YouTube! My fabulous "Kelly Clarkson look-alike" Senior, Kayla, agreed to let me film her Indoor/Outdoor Combo session (actually, my brother Zach filmed it) and I edited the footage together with some of the shots from her session. Then, a great local band called the Red Velvet ( gave me permission to add their song "Today", and viola! Check it out: