Anna | Miss Clemson University 2019 Portraits

Just a few days before the Miss Clemson University pageant, Anna was on the sidelines with the rest of the Rally Cats dance team as Clemson won the 2018 College Football National Championship. After a super cool Michael Jackson jazz dance, the most picturesque entrance in her evening gown, bringing in the most ad sales, and taking home the philanthropy award, Anna was crowned Miss Clemson University 2019.  She represented Alpha Delta Pi. Not only does Anna come from a family with lots of Clemson Tigers, her great-aunt was the very first Miss Clemson College in 1962!  

We chose the first date that we knew the football stadium was open to the public.  It was the middle of February, but we were lucky that this was a 60-degree day in the middle of an otherwise cold and dreary month.  We took photos all around the parts of campus that are close to Anna’s heart, including the stadium and Fort Hill (John Calhoun’s mansion), where her grandmother used to be a tour guide.

I was able to use the time Anna was changing outfits to do some detail shots with her crown and sash, as well as the adorable crown box from Crown Couture that came with them.  I even got to use her Rally Cat poms for a few shots!  One of the last shots we took was the one I’d been thinking about for weeks: in front of the bleachers that said “Clemson” with her gown floating behind her.

I had such a fun time with Anna and her mom on this perfect day, and I can’t wait to hear about Miss Clemson University’s adventures over the next year!  I hope you love Anna’s Miss Clemson University portraits as much as I do—she was so much fun to have in front of my camera!

Choosing Your Married Name

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It’s actually a pretty big decision and I don’t know why I’ve never read a blog post on it. I never heard anyone talk about this, and I never thought to talk with anyone about it, maybe because everyone has such different views on marriage in general and what different name change options would say about you.  Even when you Google “name change after marriage,” the whole first page is about the process of changing your name and not what to change it to. I’m sure I’m not the only one who would have benefitted from reading something like this.


I initially didn’t like the idea of changing my name. This is what I had been called my whole life. I didn’t want to be called something else just because I made the decision to get married. Changing my name would mean having to update everything from my driver’s license to my Amazon shipping information to my paperwork at my job. I really didn’t want to go through all those processes, in addition to having to update pretty much everyone I knew.  The reason I did change my name was because I wanted our eventual family to all be under one name. “The Gows” wouldn’t include me if my last name was Scott or Scott-Gow. People wouldn’t know to associate me with Dan or our future children.  So I eventually decided that I wanted to be a Gow, but what would come between Christine and Gow? 

For other people, there are several factors to consider. I know professors who didn’t change their names so they can still be tied to different works they’ve published. Other professors might marry another professor in the same department and not want to be confused with each other. Some use a hyphenated name. One of my professors made her husband’s last name her middle name instead of the other way around. Some people change their name, but still choose to be known professionally as the name everyone knows. Carrie Underwood, for example, is not known to the public as Carrie Fisher, partially because so many people know her as Carrie Underwood, and partially because she could be confused with Princess Leia.

After deciding what your last name will be, you have to decide what you want your middle name to be. For some people, it’s an easy choice if they don’t like their middle or last name, or if it’s a name that they don’t want to be associated with anymore. I like my middle name and I didn’t like the idea of completely replacing my family name.  Plus, I had Christine Scott Photography going for me, but it would be weird if Scott wasn’t part of my name anymore.  I don’t think I really knew what I wanted my middle name to be until over a month after I was married.

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This brings me to the legal process of name changes, which can vary by state.  In South Carolina, you can change your middle and last name to reflect your spouse’s name after becoming legally married.  Based on those rules, my options were Christine Laureana Scott, Christine Scott Gow, or Christine Laureana Gow (side note: Laureana is pronounced Laurie-Anna and it was my great-grandma’s name).   Somehow, I got away with making “Laureana Scott” my legal middle name without anyone questioning me. I don’t know what my plan would have been if I’d been told that wasn’t allowed or if I didn’t have enough space on the form.


Here’s where it gets complicated: if you don’t go by your first name, you will need a court order to legally change your name to the one everyone calls you.  This applies to people who go by their middle names, their last names, a nickname, or just another name they’ve chosen for themselves.  According to the South Carolina Legislature’s website, “A person who desires to change his name may petition, in writing, a family court judge in the appropriate circuit, setting forth the reason for the change, his age, his place of residence and birth, and the name by which he desires to be known,” as well as a series of background checks and an affidavit.

If monograms or initials are important to you, that’s something you’ll want to think about before making a legal name change. Remember the Big Bang Theory episode where they name their teams “Perpetual Motion Squad” and “Army Ants,” not realizing what the acronyms would be on their shirts?  Or what if your initials don’t spell anything, but your monogram does?  As for initials, I always thought “Christine S” sounded weird, maybe because it was rare for me to need to be distinguished from another Christine, so “Christine S Gow” sounded weird to me too. The only times I see “Christine L Gow” are in places like my bank account.  My signature is “Christine L Gow” because that’s what my credit card says and my signature is on the back.  On a side note, Dan and I recently realized that the “G” looks different in our signatures. His G looks like the one on the General Mills logo and mine looks like the one on the Goody hair accessories logo.

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There are online services that will automate the process for you. I considered this since the DMV here wasn’t open when I wasn’t at work, but I read some negative reviews about the online services and decided I didn’t want to risk my legal name getting messed up.  I read that you’re supposed to go to the social security office before the DMV, so that’s what I did once I had a day off work.  I believe I was required to bring two forms of ID, which can include your driver’s license, your passport, your social security card, and your birth certificate.  I got there right when it opened and there was already a huge line across the front of the building.  I had some photography work to do, so I brought that with me in anticipation of a long wait.  The wait at the social security office was actually longer than the wait at the DMV, but I was able to sit down right away at the social security office.

I hope this has provided some insight to you as you get ready for this big change!

Looking Forward to 2019

In 2018, I had sessions or weddings across 6 states.  From fulfilling my lifelong dream of meeting Piglet in Disney World to adding beautiful Kentucky to the list of states I’ve been to, it’s been pretty exciting.  There were pink and white trees, green trees, red and yellow trees, and trees with lights in them.  I shot in Falls Park on the day of prom and right when it stopped pouring down rain after 4 days.  It’s been a year of growth for my business, but I’ve also been lucky to keep shooting for other incredible photographers in the area.

What’s in store for 2019?

First of all, my aunt Diane helped me come up with a new logo last week.  My original logo was meant to be pretty versatile because I wasn’t totally sure what I wanted to focus on.  Once I got a better idea of what would better reflect the work I do, I changed the font and formatting to reflect that a little better.  I kept the same colors I’ve always had, partly because I just like them, and partly because I’ve come to like the elegance of navy with a hint of a bright green that you wouldn’t normally see at a wedding.

Miss Clemson University

I’ll be starting off the year with Miss Clemson University on January 12th.  This will be my third year with the pageant and I can’t wait to meet the new winner and have a session with her! 

Headshots

I’ve had a few headshot sessions this year and I’ve realized how much I enjoy them!  This will become a service that I regularly offer.  It’s important for professionals, small business owners, and pageant contestants to have updated, high-quality photos of themselves so people can become more familiar with the person they’re about to get to know.  Just like with a portrait session, I’ll help you decide what to wear and how you want your hair and makeup so you can look and feel like yourself.  Since this will only be a 30-minute session, I can have these sessions during the week in Greenville!

Education

In the past year, I’ve become more passionate about helping people learn to take better pictures because it’s a skill anyone can benefit from.    You don’t have to be an aspiring photographer to take advantage of this.  This can help you if you want to have a picture of your cute kids before they grow up, you want to show better photos of a product you want to sell, or remember a pretty place you went to.  To let me know you’re interested, join my mailing list and you’ll be the first to know when I have something new to share!

For Couples

You’ll still have a complementary engagement session with your wedding, but there are a few things I’m excited to expand: bridal portraits, albums, and prints.  As someone who’s been through wedding planning and continues to be part of it from the vendor side, I think it’s important to use my experience to help your first day of marriage go as smoothly as possible.  Part of that is to make you feel comfortable with me before the big day comes, and part of that is to help you build your relationship with each other.

      

Here are a few of my favorites from 2018.  Here’s to what comes next year!

Kimpton Brice Wedding, Savannah, Georgia | Amethyst and Matt

Remember Amethyst and Matt, who had their engagement session in Disney World this past April?   They celebrated their happily ever after on a warm and sunny December day in Savannah, Georgia! 

My day started with a Forrest Gump impersonator chatting with me at breakfast and telling me to congratulate the couple for him, which I think is pretty cool.  The day ended with a sparkler exit along the street with trolley passengers cheering and passing cars honking.  Before the ceremony, I took pictures with Amethyst, her family, and her bridesmaids with ivy and palmetto trees. My second shooter, Shain, took Matt, his family, and the groomsmen to the nearby square with lots of giant oak trees and Spanish moss.  The ceremony took place in the courtyard of the Kimpton Brice Hotel, which faces the Savannah River.

Although this was not a Disney-themed wedding, there had to be Disney references throughout the day, since that’s where Amethyst and Matt met and began their adventures as a couple.  Not only were there some Disney songs carefully placed throughout the day (I especially loved the songs from The Goofy Movie as the wedding party entered the reception), each entrance into the reception space had a Disney quote about love on it.  Like any Disney princess, Amethyst wore a tiara.  Since Beauty and the Beast is one of Amethyst’s favorite Disney movies, Matt had notes and roses given to her throughout the day.  As we took their photos in the square after the ceremony, Matt gave her one more note and a rose.  I only know that part of that note said “I’ll love you until the last petal falls” because Matt pointed out that this rose was artificial, so no petals would fall.

When you’ve spent years working at “the happiest place on earth,” where do you go for your first adventure as a married couple?  Well, “the happiest place on earth” actually refers to several places in different parts of the world, so I’ll just leave it at that.

Here are a few of my favorites from this beautiful wedding day!

Venue: The Kimpton Brice

Videography: Palmetto Digital

DJ: Jus Music

Florals: the couple and their families

The Pines at Sheltowee Wedding: Samantha and Tim

Samantha and Tim's wedding was one of those days that you'd picture if you imagined a peaceful summer wedding in the south.  They were married at the Pines at Sheltowee, under the shade of the trees with the Appalachian mountains of eastern Kentucky right behind them.  

The barn was elegantly rustic on the inside with big windows everywhere to let in plenty of natural light for Samantha's bridal portraits.  Her gown had a beautiful lacy train and she carried a bouquet in a pastel pink and blue palette, while her bridesmaids carried baby's breath.  The reception hall, where Samantha's family served food they made themselves, was decorated with hints of blush.  The clouds rolled in during the wedding ceremony, keeping the sun off of everyone on this 90-degree day.  The rain held off until after the ceremony and it only began sprinkling towards the very end of the bridal party photos.  Luckily, the sun was back out during the golden hour, and you know how I love the way golden hour sun lights up hair like Samantha’s.

Their dog, Tux, walked down the aisle with Tim’s parents and sat quietly for the ceremony and some pictures.  Since Tim is a herpetologist (someone who studies reptiles), his brother and best man mentioned during his speech that he was only allowed to have one room in the new house for critters.  It only made sense for their getaway car to have drawings of some of the many animals he’s worked with. 

I had always imagined that Kentucky would kind of look like West Virginia, where I first started to be conscious of taking “good” pictures of the mountains that would show people who weren’t there exactly how beautiful something could be.  After many years of learning to take better pictures, combining a backdrop like that with the joy of a wedding makes me so happy.  Samantha and Tim’s wedding perfectly combined those two and more.  Here are some of my favorites from this gorgeous Kentucky day!

Venue:  The Pines at Sheltowee

Photographer:  Christine Scott Photography

Dress:  Bridal and Formal, Inc.

Florist:  The Master’s Bouquet

Cake: Root-A-Bakers

Music: Jessika Brust

Tuxes (not including the dog): Men’s Wearhouse

Diana and Andrew's Wedding: Fort Mill and Charlotte

On Thursday, Diana became an alumna of Clemson’s engineering school. On Saturday, she became Andrew’s wife. I did this Clemson couple’s engagement photos on a cold January day in Clemson.  Here are their wedding pictures from a 90-something degree clear day in May!

The wedding ceremony took place in the Fort Mill church Diana grew up in and a priest from Andrew’s church delivered the sermon. Diana wore the same veil that her mother and her mother’s sisters all wore on their wedding days, except Diana added a pretty gold headband to it. And how beautiful are these rings? Diana’s yellow-gold rings look so pretty together!  Diana’s favorite color is gray, so her bridesmaids wore gray, but most of Diana’s accessories were gold and there were hints of blue in their bouquets, with Diana’s rosary wrapped around the bridal bouquet. 

After the ceremony, we found a shaded area by a pond near the church for bride and groom portraits, then crossed the border of the Carolinas to Diana’s aunt’s house in Charlotte for the reception.  Diana and Andrew love the movie Up, so “adventure” was a common theme throughout the reception.  They had a few single-tier cakes from All In, a coffee shop in Clemson where everything tastes amazing, including their cakes.  After a night of line dancing and partner dancing in the backyard, Diana and Andrew walked through a tunnel of their family and friends blowing bubbles that came from champagne bottle-shaped bubble containers, which I thought was adorable, before heading to Asheville for their first adventure as husband and wife. 

Enjoy the photos of this beautiful celebration of love between two sweet people!

Ceremony venue:  St. Phillip Neri Catholic Church, Fort Mill, SC

Reception Venue: Private residence, Charlotte, NC

Photographer: Christine Scott Photography

Florist:  Fresh Blossom

Catering: Famous Toastery of Dilworth

Clemson Graduation Portraits: Spring 2018

For the Spring 2018 semester, I had 8 Clemson graduation portrait sessions, with 2 more happening after graduation. Here are some of my favorites of each session at the best university. 

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Holly

Holly is graduating with a degree in health sciences. She grew up near University of Georgia and became interested in Clemson after they beat Georgia in football.   We rescheduled her session for a cloudy afternoon that turned into a bright and sunny afternoon, which made the lighting a little different, and some gorgeous blossoms!

 

Logan and Connor

Logan is a political science major and Connor is a computer science major. They were also part of my wedding; we all met through Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity. These were also the guys I spent the College Football National Championship with, as well as a lot of that football season. 

Kinsey

Kinsey is graduating with a degree in chemistry. We arrived at the stadium to find out that the football team had decided to move their practice into the stadium at the last minute, meaning we couldn’t go inside and we had songs like Back in Black blasting through the stadium to pump us up for our other pictures. She did get to come during my next session and get her stadium photos, though! 

Peter

Peter is a management major who will move to Atlanta after graduation. He paid tribute to the football team’s national title from his junior year by wearing a Deshaun Watson jersey for some of his shots around the stadium. 

Mindy and Megan

Mindy and Megan grew up in Tennessee. Although they didn’t have any family ties to Clemson, they both fell in love with the school and are graduating with engineering degrees. 

Taron

Taron is also a chemistry major and wanted to explore the botanical gardens for the first time during her session. We were originally scheduled to have the session when the trees would be blooming, but it poured down rain on the day we scheduled. Her yellow dress looks so perfect in the gardens though! 

Tracy and Katie

Tracy and Katie have already graduated from Clemson once, but now they’re graduating with their Masters in Business Administration. Since all their MBA classes are in Greenville, they wanted to have a session in Greenville instead, which was a new experience for me!

Glenn

Glenn is graduating with a degree in history. His session was right after most people moved out, so the campus was so quiet that day. Since there were no cars and his girlfriend had come along, I tried a shot of the two of them on the paw print at the 4-way stop. 

 

Congratulations to Holly, Logan, Connor, Kinsey, Peter, Mindy, Megan, Taron, Tracy, Katie, and Glenn (and Alexa and Christine, who will be featured once their sessions happen) on their graduation from Clemson! 

Tara, Miss Clemson University 2018

One of my first Clemson portrait sessions was for my friend Tracy when she was crowned Miss Clemson University 2016.  Two years later, I got to cover the pageant and see Tara become Miss Clemson University.  As the representative for the Clemson Rally Cats dance team, she had such an awesome dance routine to a Gloria Estefan mix, taking home the overall talent award in addition to the crown.

I finally got to get to know Tara on what was probably the most perfect day ever for a portrait session—it was a quiet, 65-degree and sunny day with the trees and flowers in full bloom.  Tara is a health sciences major and a sister of Alpha Delta Pi.  She was the 2016 Distinguished Young Woman of America.  A few weeks before our session, she was on the basketball court with the Rally Cats when Clemson men’s basketball team made it to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in over 20 years.  A few days after our session, Tara and the Rally Cats went to Disney World to compete at Nationals.

Of course we had to have some photos of Tara in the stadium with her Rally Cat uniform, where she also posed for some pictures with excited Clemson fans who had come to take some pictures with Howard’s Rock.  When we were taking pictures over by Tillman Hall, there was a group of little girls playing on Bowman Field who kept running up to us, then saying to each other, “I think she’s a REAL beauty queen!”  They finally came close enough for Tara to show them the crown.

Here are some of my favorites from this beautiful day with this sweet lady!

For more information about Miss Clemson University, visit my Miss Clemson University page or contact the Clemson University Mortar Board.

Miss Clemson University 2018

I had the pleasure of shooting the Miss Clemson University pageant once again!  This time, I'm sharing some of my favorite photos of each contestant in a blog post.

After the opening dance in which all 19 contestants introduced themselves, Miss Clemson University 2017, Brooklyn, entered with the Tiger and Miss Clemson Life, Megan.  Brooklyn was an MC for the event with Rachel, who was Miss Clemson 2016, which led her to become Miss South Carolina and the runner-up for Miss America 2016.

(for information about purchasing photos, visit my Miss Clemson University page).

I had the pleasure of meeting Caroline a few weeks before the pageant to do her pageant headshots.  She was given the Miss Congeniality award at the pageant.

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Reese represented the Clemson cheerleaders and performed the cheer routine to Tiger Rag, the Clemson fight song.

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I'm loving this shot from Johanna's dance!  She was awarded the 4th runner up.

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Laney looked like she was having so much fun with her belly dance routine!

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I had to post a shot of Kyndall's dress from the back because that cape is just so cool!

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Alyx sang Orange Colored Sky with an orange jumpsuit.  Perfect for Clemson!

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I also did Margaret's pageant headshots a few weeks before the pageant.  She received the People's Choice award at the pageant.

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As a lover of all things vintage, I loved Carlyle's evening gown with her hair!

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Tiffany's gown looks so sparkly in the stage lights!

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Shea represented Clemson Dancers, the only organization represented at the pageant that I was part of during my time at Clemson.

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Katherine played one of my favorite Disney songs (When You Wish Upon a Star) and had the perfect dress to go with it!

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Claire had such a fun Irish dance for her talent!

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I have so many favorite photos from Logan's dance routine!  She was the first runner up and had the most ad sales.

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Tara's Gloria Esetefan dance routine won the award for best talent.  It was a compilation of songs I used to dance to in elementary school, but of course Tara looked better :)

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This is my new favorite evening gown photo!  Morgan was given the philanthropy award.

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It's not my best picture of Cara's talent, but it's the one that shows off her outfit the best.

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Nicole's dance routine and gorgeous white evening gown helped get her to 3rd runner up as just a freshman.

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Abigail also sang jazz in a Clemson colored jumpsuit, wearing purple and singing Fly Me to the Moon.

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The interview portion of the pageant took place earlier in the day, so I didn't see the interview for which Makenzie was given an award.  She also was named second runner-up.

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Brooklyn made her final walk as Miss Clemson University.  She was joined onstage by her dad and brother.

The contestants returned to the stage for the award ceremony, which started with the first-ever crowning of Miss Clemson Life, Megan.  Brooklyn passed on the crown she was given for Miss Clemson University 2016.

After all of the other awards were given, Tara of the Rally Cats was crowned Miss Clemson University 2018!

To see more, and for more information on purchasing photos, visit my Miss Clemson University page.

Happy New Year!

Another year over, a new one just begun.

2017 was quite the year for pictures!  Clemson football won the national championship in January, I shot the Miss Clemson University pageant, Dan and I got married in July and took our honeymoon to British Columbia, there was a total solar eclipse in August, and there were all sorts of awesome people in front of my camera in between.  So what's happening in 2018?

If you've been following me for a while, you may have noticed this year that there's been a shift in my focus from individuals to couples.  I think getting married has given me the desire to help more people have the best first day of marriage possible with pictures everyone can look back on for years to come.  There will be more weddings and engagements on the blog in 2018 and I couldn't be more excited to be part of these couples' stories.  I'll still be taking portraits though, so 

I will be shooting the Miss Clemson University pageant again this year!  If you're competing and you don't have professional headshots for the program yet, let me know and we can set up a session.

Thank you so much to everyone who's supported me in my photography so far.  Whether you've chosen me as your photographer or you've given me some words of encouragement, it means so much to me.  I wouldn't have reached this point without your support.

Here are some of my favorite photos from everything I shot in 2017.  I'm always striving to be better at what I do, and I can't wait for all the pictures 2018 has in store!

December 2017 Clemson Graduates

Another semester has gone by!  It was wonderful to be back in such a sentimental place to walk through college memories with these awesome ladies.  These were two of the most beautiful days that this November had to offer.  The stadium looked a little different; the gate had been redesigned to commemorate both championship titles and the tiger paw replaced the tiger.  I was also happy to see that the paw was painted on the field for both of these sessions.  Congratulations to Kate and Aria for finishing this chapter of their lives and receiving their diplomas from this amazing university.

Kate

Kate is graduating with a degree in biology.  She asked for one picture in the life sciences building with artwork inspired by Petri dishes.  Not only was Kate the service vice president for Clemson's chapter of Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity, she was a co-chair for the Blood Bowl, an annual competition between Clemson and University of South Carolina to collect the most blood donations on campus in the last full week before the Clemson-USC game.  The year that Kate was co-chair, the Blood Bowl trophy came back to Clemson for the first time in 9 years!

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Aria

Aria is graduating with a degree in civil engineering.  Not only did she spend a semester in an engineering co-op, she spent her second-to-last semester studying abroad in Spain--I could see from our email interactions that she has her email set to Spanish.  After her semester in Spain ended, Aria spent the summer backpacking through Europe, sometimes a new country every day, then came back to Clemson for her last semester and graduation.  

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