My wedding dress

11 Sep

(Did you miss Part 1 about how I met my husband slinging mud? Click here.)



I left off my story with a search for the perfect wedding gown. The show, “A Wedding Story” was on TLC during the day and I became an addict! “Say Yes to the Dress” wouldn’t be on air for a couple more years, but the producers of TLC were on to something as we brides-to-be stayed glued to the sappy romances of others in between classes. Everyone said that I would “just know” when I found  my dress. With friends in tow, we all headed to the mecca of all wedding stores.

Let me just say now, as a second-hand clothing junkie and lover of all things vintage: I never should have set foot into this store. But I was 20 and as I said, I still hadn’t nailed down my style or how to make my visions of vintage bliss come true.  The customer service was TERRIBLE and I was treated like scum because I hadn’t nailed down my wedding date exactly. We were waiting on a confirmation from our venue for a Friday or Saturday night wedding. Apparently, this wasn’t good enough for the staff of this mega store and they needed an engraved invitation to treat me like a valuable customer. Can you tell I am still bitter?

After this lack-luster experience, I decided to shop on my own at a local boutique. If you know me, you know that I LOVE to be around people. I am high-energy and get even more energized by conversations and laughter with friends. I mean, I am an actress after all. What would you expect? But for picking out my wedding dress, I decided to visit my second bridal store alone. It was liberating to not have the opinion of well meaning friends about the type of dress that I should purchase.

The little Lakeland bridal boutique (which has since closed it’s doors) was wonderful. I tried on many gowns and the owner could tell I wasn’t finding exactly what I wanted. She pulled out a ivory, spaghetti strapped gown featuring a detailed overlay on top of a structured bodice with a unique train and gorgeous scarf for me to try on. On the hanger, it wasn’t looking very promising, but it was a combination of what I was looking for, so I tried it.


It was perfect.


I felt like a bride. It was unique and classic, with just a hint of my figure and a decidedly romantic charm. The train was my favorite part, as it reminded me of a little garden of flowers at my feet. With the gown came a distinctive scarf that could be worn in a myriad of ways. This strikingly different piece made me love the dress even more! I decided that the scarf would be for the reception, giving a cute transition in my appearance from one location to the next. This dress was very different from the style at the time and was moving me towards my vintage wedding.

Knowing that this was “THE” dress, I put down my payment, was measured for a custom gown since the overlay could not be altered in house, and left the store floating. No one else had seen it, not my mom, not any of friends, but I knew it was the dress for me. In this regard, I was fiercely independent and knew I made a wonderful decision.


Months later, my Mom joined me at my final fitting. I was nervous as I stepped out of the dressing room, rethinking my certainty months before. Catching my breath, I stepped out of the dressing room and in front of the angled mirrors. As tears rolled down both my Mom and my cheeks, I knew that this dress had changed me from a little girl into a woman in so many ways. And that I had made the right decision for my wedding dress.

As a gift to my parents, my best friend borrowed her mother’s camera (her mom was a photo journalist), we bought a roll of color and a roll of black and white film and we headed to Hollis Gardens to take some bridal portraits. Yep, I said “roll” because digital cameras were not up to professional standards back then. Most people didn’t even own digital cameras and you definitely wouldn’t photograph something of importance with digital. For my shoot, we didn’t know what we were doing, but we had a great time and my parents loved the images.


Almost 10 years later, I still like my gown. It was unique, classy and I purchased over half of it with my own money (Mom and Dad had a dress budget and this dress went way over!). It was my first grown-up clothing purchase and it will always hold a special place in my heart. I’ve been thinking about doing a trash the dress session this summer in celebration of my 10 year anniversary. But I don’t know if I feel ready to let it go just yet.


(Stay tuned for a post about my photographer and the actual wedding day, the last in this 3 part series about my love story.)


My love story

10 Sep

All romances begin with a meeting.

The way I met my husband is pretty childish, whimsical and completely us. I was living in Germany at the time, but visiting my high school best friend in Lakeland, Florida where she attended college. Five college guys and five college girls hung out together on a regular basis. My best friend and Craig, my huband, were both apart of that group. In true Florida fashion, a downpour created a muddy mess on campus one afternoon while I was visiting. So, what were five college guys and five college girls, plus a friend suppose to do with these circumstances? Mud fight, of course!


And that is how I met Craig: slinging mud and running all over campus in the rain. Can you see us in the picture? We are the back two on the left.

Two years after this picture I actually started attending the same college. By that time Craig and Karen, my best bud were great friends, which made it easy for all of us to hang out. We went every where together, the three of us: the library, cafeteria, walks around the lake, camping in Key West. I liked Craig, he liked me and we both confided in Karen this truth. She would “fall asleep” on our outings or “have to leave” after we all were settled into a study group together. What  a good friend!

We began dating four months after I started attending college, six months later we said, “I love you” for the first time and nine months after we were “official,” he proposed. Some say that it was fast, but for us it was perfect.

The proposal is a wonderfully romantic story, but I’ll save it for another post. Let’s just say that in true Craig fashion, he was HUGELY romantic, surprised me completely and I looked like this for my proposal.


Even though I wasn’t adorable for the proposal, it was one of the best evenings of my life. Craig had become my best friend and I knew that life with him would make the mundane amazing. I mean, we met during a mud fight. How much better could this match be? And with all my enthusiasm for a new life ahead, it was time to start planning a wedding! We were going to get married the summer after Craig graduated, giving us six months to plan.

Enter the planning scrapbook. All of the things I liked, inspired me, struck my fancy were snipped from the magazine and glued into the scrapbook. Sometimes words escape me, but an image expresses my intent perfectly.  This book helped me share my ideas with others as I planned. Now, brides-to-be create boards on Pinterest or a wedding planner might create a  “mood board” for your event. Back then I had a glue stick and a pair of scissors. Look! I was ahead of my time.


I was only *gasp* 21  when we got married, so I was still honing in on my style. My mom was willing to help plan the wedding any way she could, but there was a huge ocean between us as I planned. My magazine clippings gave me an idea of what I wanted, but I struggled to make my DIY, handmade, vintage wedding come true. There wasn’t Etsy and Pinterest back then to show you amazing artisan ideas to do on a budget. And I wanted something different than the traditional wedding that all of my college friends were doing. I was in a dilemma for making my perfect wedding plans come true, but I knew I was in love and the marriage was more important than the wedding. I knew I had that part right, so I just went with what I had.

The next step was dress shopping! The dress had to be perfect.


{Stay tuned for more of the story about my dress, the photographer I chose, our engagement pictures and the wedding!}

And baby makes 4 {Lakeland Maternity Photographer}

16 Aug

Baby bumps are seriously miraculous. A mother expecting a child is a beautiful thing and it is a true privilege to capture this special moment in a family’s life. Anticipation. Joy. Glow.


This family just happens to be my brother, his wife and their son. You might recognize them from their last maternity shoot or even their one year anniversary photos. They are naturally photogenic and cute as a button! I might be partial, but their love for one another shines through in every image. And could my nephew be any cuter?


They have chosen not to find out the gender of the baby, which adds another layer of fun to this pregnancy. You will have to wait to find out if their little bun will be wearing pink or blue.




Tiny Ballet Dancer {Lakeland Childrens Photographer}

31 Jan

My 3 year old daughter started ballet classes. These images were captured the first time she put on her little leotard and shirt. Her innocence as she danced in the shadows and light inspired me and brought a sense of tranquility and quiet. Enjoy.



Color Me Lakeland {Red}

4 May

To read about this project, visit my personal blog.


Color Me Lakeland

Color Me Lakeland

Color Me Lakeland

Color Me Lakeland

Closing for 2012

24 Mar

K. Barber Photography is no longer accepting new clients for the rest of 2012.  New client bookings will tentatively begin again in January 2013. Thank you for your understanding and loyalty.

I wanted to explain why I am “closing up shop” for the rest of the year. There are still shoots I have booked and paid for through the end of 2012, but I will not be accepting any new client bookings and will not being doing my Holiday Mini-Shoots this fall. It was a big decision for my husband and I to make as we looked at how young my business is and my steady client base. This is a very hard choice to make, but it is what is best for my family at this time.

My husband and I are adopting a little boy and a little girl from Uganda. It looks like we will be able to fly there this summer to bring them back with us and begin our new life as a family of six. We have two homegrown kids, a three year old boy and two year old girl, already. The transition from two kids under 4 years old to four kids under four years old will be a very challenging one for us. This major life change will require all of my attention, leaving the business lonely. Instead of delivering poor service and a poor product because I am depleted as an individual, we have decided to close our doors to new clients to maintain the level of professional service you have come to expect from K. Barber Photography.

Rest assured, if you have a contract with me or a wedding booked or are completing your “First Year Collection,” I will honor my existing commitments and deliver quality photos from your session.


Thank you for your loyalty to K. Barber Photography and I look forward to serving your photography needs in 2013. In the meantime, if you would like to keep up with my life or adoption journey, feel free to visit my personal blog, The Acting Mom, by clicking here.

Fellows Wedding / Winter Haven Wedding Photographer

8 Mar

I had the privilege to photograph this intimate wedding in a cute Presbyterian chapel on a beautiful day in February. The day began gloomy, but as the ceremony approached, the gray clouds parted and we had beautiful weather for some outdoor shots of the happy couple in the church memorial gardens. It was a sweet ceremony with the couple’s children acting as their attendants. Close family and friends came to witness this beautiful profession of love and I was a fly on the wall, capturing all the beautiful moments the day held. To view more photos, click here.

Winter Haven Wedding PhotographerWinter Haven Wedding Photographer

Winter Haven Wedding Photographer

Winter Haven Wedding Photographer

Winter Haven Wedding PhotographerWinter Haven Wedding Photographer