south carolina

Lake Keowee Wedding | Erika and Jameson

Erika and Jameson had an intimate wedding celebration with gorgeous views of Lake Keowee and the mountains behind them.  We started with some portraits beforehand along the water at the Lighthouse Restaurant (a beautiful restaurant where Dan and I had our rehearsal dinner) before the dark clouds rolled in.  We quickly headed to the park, and when there was a little break in the rain, they walked out to the lake for their ceremony.  Afterwards, they cut the wedding cake that Erika’s aunt made for them, picked out koozies, and played cornhole with Clemson boards and beanbags.

I loved how Erika and Jameson valued having their families come together on this day.  When I first met Erika, I could see how much she loved Jameson’s son, Brantley.  He was in almost as many pictures as the bride and groom.  He walked down the aisle with Erika and stood with them during the whole ceremony.  When Erika and Jameson said their vows, Erika made a vow to Brantley as well.   I loved having this sweet boy in some of their wedding portraits and getting his seal of approval on the others!

Check out some of my favorite photos we got right before the storm came through!

Choosing Your Married Name


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.

Bowden rehearsal dinner-17.jpg

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.

Diana and Andrew Wedding-17.jpg

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!

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

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.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Claire had such a fun Irish dance for her talent!


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


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 :)


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


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


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


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


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.


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.

"Never Mind the Great Ideas, Just Life Itself"

When I was a freshman in college, I was part of a play with the theatre department called Hotel Cassiopeia by Charles Mee.  There were many parts of this abstract play and its existential dialogue that pulled at our heartstrings, but one scene stood out to us as we prepared for our final performance, the last time we would all be together onstage, the last time we would play a part in this story, and when the beautiful experience of putting together this show would all come to an end.  Here’s the dialogue from that scene (exactly as it is written):

What sort of future do you see?
what sort of future of humanity and of the world

what new forms

what new visions

this will be the job of the artist

this will be the artist's only job

because the great changes in the world
the changes of consciousness
the changes of our sense of life itself
will not come from the reasoned arguments
of political scientists or philosophers
but from the visions of artists
not by arguing well
but by speaking differently

or is this a promise that has failed, or is failing?
new visions are easy to come up with
but the world goes on ignoring the best of them
the world is littered with so many utopias

so many visions of wondrousness
so many great ideas

and even ideas that were possible at one time or another
beautiful things

or never mind the great ideas
just life itself
the moments of life itself
transporting things
things that will last a moment
and then vanish forever
vanish forever
how does one cherish even what has happened
let alone what might have happened
how does one relish it
how does one relish life itself
it slips through the fingers so quickly

this is where the work comes from
if one is an artist
from the shooting stars
water in a stream
a love
a young girl
a woman
a ballerina on the stage
snow flakes
the lifespan of a butterfly
all gone

The whole script is available for you to read online here.

One of my first photography adventures (and one of my first meetings with Clemson Photography) was to the penthouse of Clemson House.  Clemson House was built as a hotel in the 50s, but was later converted into a dorm.  We needed special permission to go up there and the view was stunning, especially at sunset.  I met Alex, who quickly became my friend and later became my co-president of the club, my roommate, and a trusted fellow photographer.

We've tried to recreate this picture because I was still new to using a DSLR, but he still likes this one the best, and edited it to look a little more vintage.

We've tried to recreate this picture because I was still new to using a DSLR, but he still likes this one the best, and edited it to look a little more vintage.

We went back to the penthouse with the club a few more times.  We somehow all climbed on the actual roof, which was one of my favorite memories of college.

Photo by Madeline Hemmingson

Photo by Madeline Hemmingson

Clemson House Clemson Photography

We played with light after sunset, which was always a good time. 

Playing with the steam from the laundry room coming through the pipe.  Photo by  Alex Stewart

Playing with the steam from the laundry room coming through the pipe.  Photo by Alex Stewart

Same spot, different day.  Photo by  Alex Stewart

Same spot, different day.  Photo by Alex Stewart

Here’s the photo that eventually went on my business card was taken at the penthouse.

Clemson House sunset converse shoes

Clemson House was Dan’s freshman dorm (where he lived when we first started to become friends) and he eventually proposed to me at the penthouse. 

Photo by Michael Scott

Photo by Michael Scott

On our wedding day, we took some time to drive to the main part of campus for some pictures.  We went to Bowman to get Clemson House in the background.  We knew for a while that there were plans to demolish it, but we found out a little before the wedding that the demolition would start within the week after our wedding.  Right before it started storming, we took some wedding pictures with this building that meant so much to us and held so many important memories. 

One day on the honeymoon, not even a week after our wedding, we were just lying on the bed talking.  At some point, one of us was on Facebook and saw a Facebook Live video of the first step of the Clemson House demolition: removing the iconic neon sign.  This was where I met Alex and so many of my photography club friends, and where we climbed on the roof and collaborated on photo ideas we had.  This was where I took so many photos.  This was where Dan proposed to me.  This was where we took some of our wedding photos as the thunder started.  And now we were watching that place go away, and nobody else would get to experience what we did.

We were two of thousands who watched as this iconic part of campus was slowly taken apart.  We saw the Facebook comments rolling in:

“I lived here all 4 years!”

“I was married in the penthouse in 1974.”

“I made some of my best friends on the 4th floor.”

Throughout the day, several Clemson Photography alumni who shared some of those memories with me tagged me in some Instagram posts from our trips up there.  We saw that day that even though our connection to the building was unique, we were far from the only ones who felt such a strong connection to this place.

What was unique, though, was that our engagement was PROBABLY the last reservation made at the penthouse, and we MAY have been in the last photos ever taken of the building before the demolition.

Someday, our grandkids will be showing their kids our wedding pictures in front of a building they never got to see in person, and telling them, “That’s back when Clemson House was still there.  That’s where they got engaged and they think they were the last to reserve the penthouse and the last people to take pictures with it.”  If our descendants are Tigers, that’ll be something they can show their friends.  Future Tigers will see those pictures the same way we look at pictures taken with the “Hollywoodland” letters, Old Man on the Mountain, or the Pont des Arts.  I was in Clemson last week and saw that the windows have been removed from Clemson House.  We’ve been married for four months and our wedding portraits are practically already antiquities.

The thing is, we don’t always know when we take a picture that something in it won’t be there in a year.  It could be a building, a person, a connection, a time in your life, or a feeling.  That’s why it’s so important to have pictures, and that’s why so many of us have the drive to give people the best pictures possible. 

Note: Everything in this blog about Clemson House and my own wedding day was drafted before I actually started shooting weddings myself.  I hadn’t published it yet, but now I have something to add to it.

I was recently a second shooter for a major wedding photography company.  With this company, I’m hired to shoot for the whole day and then upload all my RAW (unedited and uncompressed) files for someone else to edit.  The couple receives their whole gallery within six weeks.  One night, a little under three weeks after that wedding, I got a text from the main shooter:

“Hey Christine, sorry for the late text, but can you check your email?”

Well, that’s a text that normally signifies something important.  I nervously opened my email.

“Hey Christine, do you have any pictures of the guy with the glasses?  He passed away and the couple would like some pictures to be able to show at his funeral.”

I froze when I saw the picture he attached.  It was a picture of the groom standing next to a guy with glasses holding his son, the little boy who’d caught the garter.  I remembered that he’d held his son on his shoulders so he could catch the garter.  The main shooter knew that I had pictures of this guy because he was a groomsman and I’d been assigned to take pictures of them getting ready and take group pictures of them.    I couldn’t even remember this guy’s name, but I apparently had some of the last pictures ever taken of him.  I knew that I’d have a picture of just him and the groom and a picture of him getting ready with the groom.  I looked through my pictures and saw pictures of him dancing with his young daughter at the reception, and then a few of him holding hands with his wife as they danced around their son and daughter.  They just seemed like sweet photo ops at the time I decided to take them, not very different from photos from other wedding receptions, but now they were so much more than that.  These moments were how he would be remembered because there are pictures of them.  

Things happen and it’s sometimes hard to explain to other people what life was like before then, but seeing pictures on a wall or in an album doesn’t always require an explanation. The groomsman’s children are 8 and 4.  They won’t have as many memories of him as they’d like, but they can look back on pictures of him to remember how he smiled or that day they all danced together at the wedding reception.  I won’t be able to show my future children where Dan proposed to me, but they’ll be able to see pictures from that day, and they’ll have a better understanding how perfect of a view that was for a proposal.  This is why I do what I do: of course we want to remember the significant events of life, but the little moments that aren't pre-planned or talked about are just as important to us to remember.

"Never mind the great ideas, just life itself." 

-- Charles Mee, Hotel Cassiopeia

Eva's Senior Portraits--Keswick Vineyards

I don’t normally take a weekend trip for portraits, but this was a little different.  First of all, it was in my hometown, where I could stay with my parents.  Second, despite being from the Monticello Wine Trail area, I’d never actually done a portrait session in one of the gorgeous vineyards that surround the city.  Third, it was for Eva.


Not only did I used to babysit Eva, her mom babysat me.  I think I was actually a baby when Cindy and I first met, so we go way back.  Cindy had asked me around December about doing Eva’s senior pictures.  We decided on doing them in September in a vineyard.  We eventually chose Keswick Vineyards, where I actually had my own senior portrait session.  Eva and I explored the vines and the pond while our moms caught up on the porch over a glass of wine.


Before Eva and Cindy arrived, my mom and I took a walk through the vines and marked the numbers of the ones that looked like they had the most grapes so I could come back to those with Eva.  What I wasn’t expecting was for a whole section of one row to turn red in mid-September. 


Eva had a whole bag of outfits that fit a fall color scheme, so we had fun looking through that to pick out which ones to use.  I loved the burgundy against the blue and green of the landscape!

Not pictured: me straddling the fence like a horse.  She's much taller than me so standing on the ground wasn't really an option.

Not pictured: me straddling the fence like a horse.  She's much taller than me so standing on the ground wasn't really an option.

I had so much fun with Eva's session and I hope to come back to Virginia for more vineyard sessions!


If you're interested in a portrait or headshot session in the Greenville, SC or Charlottesville, VA area, click here to get in touch.



They say to dress for the job you want.  When Logan came over to my table at Panera before our session, it really looked like the president was coming to my table, and it was a little intimidating.

We had decided on a location, but upon arriving at that location, we saw a sign that said that professional photographers had to have a permit to take pictures there.  We quickly came up with a Plan B: Furman University was about 20 minutes away and I already knew I liked shooting there after doing a session there with Tracy.

How do you pose someone who wants to be President of the United States?  Like a President of the United States!  A lot of my sources of inspiration are actually hanging in the White House or the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.  I think "normal" photographers find inspiration from places like Pinterest, but they probably didn't grow up in Virginia and see portraits like these in person on practically every field trip.

I thought that we would stick to the poses from the more modern presidents since a lot of the older ones are either just generic headshots or poses that looked old-fashioned and uncomfortable.  We were surprised that our favorite pose out of all the portraits of presidents we looked at was from an 1880 portrait of Ulysses S. Grant.  

I thought that we would stick to the poses from the more modern presidents since a lot of the older ones are either just generic headshots or poses that looked old-fashioned and uncomfortable.  We were surprised that our favorite pose out of all the portraits of presidents we looked at was from an 1880 portrait of Ulysses S. Grant.  

One of our favorites ended up being the pose from John F. Kennedy's official portrait.  Not one for something like a headshot, but  it's iconic because it's different.

One of our favorites ended up being the pose from John F. Kennedy's official portrait.  Not one for something like a headshot, but it's iconic because it's different.

Since presidential portraits usually are released about a year or two after the term ends, we can't look to Obama's for inspiration yet, so George W. Bush's portrait was the one released the most recently.  I remember all the talk about how his portrait was so different from the presidents who came before him because of how casually he chose to pose for it in comparison to his predecessors. 

Since presidential portraits usually are released about a year or two after the term ends, we can't look to Obama's for inspiration yet, so George W. Bush's portrait was the one released the most recently.  I remember all the talk about how his portrait was so different from the presidents who came before him because of how casually he chose to pose for it in comparison to his predecessors. 

This was definitely a little out of my comfort zone since my portraits aren't normally this formal, but I guess having the future president in front of the camera made it easier.


It was so much fun to do Logan's portraits, and you'll be seeing these from me again as a throwback anytime LBK gets elected to office.



Tracy at Furman

Tracy and I did a session for fun with a few outfits we both liked.  I ended up getting some of my favorite pictures I’ve had in a while!


We went to Furman University in Greenville, which has a variety of cool backgrounds. 


I had fun pairing outfits with backgrounds.  Some of these pairings were planned and some were not.  Here we have green and gold.  The latter comes from the angle of the sun at that time of day.  We thought this part of campus looked like something out of a Disney movie.

I changed the angle between the previous one and the next one just a little and there’s a huge difference in color.  They both have the similar minor edits (like cropping), but the second one looks like it has a Photoshop layer over it.  This is why I love shooting right before the sunset is supposed to start.

Here we have bright blue and almost white.  This combination was planned, but we were so lost and couldn't remember how to get back to this fountain.  She’s actually facing a really orange sunset, which reflected some orange onto her.


I like the red against the green here, and the vine design on the railing just happened to work perfectly with the style of the dress.

Here we have my favorite color combination in photography: red, blue, and green.  It looks like more of a December picture than a May picture.

Although I was looking for the other fountain to use with the dark blue dress, the shots by this fountain ended up being some of my favorites.  It reminds me of Greece for some reason, not that I've ever been there.

That's all for now!  Hopefully we get an opportunity to do another session soon.  But who says we need a reason?  

Also, I'm perfectly happy with going to Furman for another session if anyone wants to do that, even if you're not affiliated with Furman at all.

Spring 2017 Clemson Graduates

Spring 2017 Clemson Graduates

Highlights from Clemson's spring 2017 graduating class.