Mari Miller Photography: Blog en-us (C) Mari Miller Photography (Mari Miller Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:59:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:59:00 GMT Mari Miller Photography: Blog 80 120 Day 6: It's a Michigan Day Today will be a MICHIGAN day. We start in Detroit at the M1 Concourse, and continue to the upper peninsula UP of Michigan to St. Ignace.


Another city, but the routine is getting familiar. Early up.. get to the track, eat, visit vendors, but today MINI USA had a special announcement!

The arrival of the new SEVEN... and we are the first to see it

MINI flew it into Detroit for us to see it before it's available to order.

The interior was different than in the past... I love the plaid!








I think it's a hit. Unlike past models that are limited in production the SEVEN can be ordered until there isn't a demand for them (so I heard)

Beautiful MINI, but I am holding out for a classic!

Morning routine... gather around for official announcements, and who won prizes!

Time to take to the track.... well kind of. We were able to drive just a small distance at a very low speed, but we did it!

Now we are off to our Surprise and Delight. This time we stop at a cupcake bakery, and they promise not to run out of anything.

My turn to drive.... for some reason he never lets me drive, and this is my Twiggy!

At the next stop we switched, and I had more opportunities to do some drive-by photos.


Our stop... at the cupcake shoppe! Well... they ran out of MINI cookies. This is the one stop that I looked forward to the most, and I am a little disappointed.


A friend let me take a photo of their cookie, and as sweet as she was actually offered me hers. Of course I didn't accept, but how sweet she was just for offering!



Since I didn't get a cookie... we found a great place to stop. Cops and Doughnuts!



This is the best place.... the doughnuts are outstanding, and we had a lot of fun playing with the props!

We just had to stop and see more family. This is Aunt Marie, and she feel in love with Twiggy! We visited with her, and shared our doughnuts then we headed to St Ignace.

Our hotel was located just across the street from the water, and we had an amazing sunset! When we first arrived in Mackinaw City it was raining, an no hopes for a sunset. We checked into our hotel which was not what I was use to, but Twiggy was able to spend the night right outside our door!


So he was really excited, but I was wondering what we were going to do with the huge hot tub in our bathroom.

This was like going back 30 years... it was clean, and all the options were gone since we didn't plan ahead!

AND our view... was worth the money!

Tonight was the first night since we started that we were 'on our own' which meant no big event was scheduled. We had a night to ourselves so we ordered in a pizza, and headed over to watch the sunset over the bridge.

The scenery to St Ignace has been so beautiful... not that you want to stop and take photos, but just so peaceful. The smell of the pine trees just filled the air, and with the convertible we enjoyed every moment!


Here are more photos from today!




(Mari Miller Photography) MINI Takes The States MINI USA MINI. Mari Miller Photography Mini Life Design and Photography Twiggy mtts2016 Thu, 14 Jul 2016 19:48:00 GMT
Day 5: Motoring to the Motor City Today we start in Pittsburgh, and we motor off to the Motor City. Our Rise and Shine was at The Meadows 'horse track'... took me till today to figure out the 'track to track'. It's race tracks, railroad tracks, and horse tracks!


This cutie greeted us with his pony this morning!


Breakfast at the track... and I am thrilled to see theirs coconut water! Driving in a convertible with the heat we have been so dehydrated, and we have stocked up on liquids from the morning events to keep us going.

Our adventure continues..


Still following some MINI as we travel into Ohio where our Surprise and Delight will be today.

A little town of Lisbon known for it's invention of the drinking straw!

Like most little towns they were notified we were coming, and families lined the little streets waving at us. It's great to see the smiles our cars bring to peoples faces!

As we arrived in Lisbon the entire town came out to greet us, and the police had donuts to buy!

I am not sure this little town knew what they were in for, but they were very hospitable as hundreds of MINI tried to find parking places!


I think they made an exception for us!

It still makes me smile to think of all the MINI... shapes, color, designs, and attitude that each bring. MINI is just such a happy place!

After donuts, and a great twisty straw hand-out by MINI service we were off to Detroit.





Again, my drive-by photos kept me busy along our travels. Love this new Clubman!


Much needed laundry stop south of Detroit. We had only planned on three days/two overnights, and now we are on Day 5. I hadn't been to a laundry mat in such a long time I didn't realize that the machines take credit cards!

All clean, and ready for some more travel...

After stopping to get caught up on our laundry we headed to tonight's event at the Eastern Market.


Tonight's event includes Food Trucks! You could see all kinds of food, and dessert trucks parked around Shed 3.




We want in.... some of us arrived a little too early, and it was blazing hot outside. You could see all the set-up going on inside!


Once we realized that all you had to do was walk around to the front we walked into a party with local artist displaying their artwork, and the loudest band ever!



Do you think these would fit in a MINI? Interesting choice of artwork to display to MINI owners.




There were lots of food choices, but we decided on this one!

Would you agree.... Reuben, and a Steak Torta (steak, cheese, jalapeno, and picked onion).


They were delicious, especially with the Orange soda! Just want we needed!



Check out this chick with all her buttons, and MINI purse!



WAIT... there's more!

How could you forget dessert?

Homemade cookies with ice cream. The perfect finish to a great evening!

We left early from the event to visit family.

We hadn't see them in quite a few years, and it was great to catch up. Stayed up a little later than we should have because tomorrow brings an early start again... on the M1 Concourse!


Here are more photos from today!


(Mari Miller Photography) MINI Takes The States MINI USA MINI. Mari Miller Photography Mini Life Design and Photography Twiggy mtts2016 Wed, 13 Jul 2016 19:48:00 GMT
Day 4: Off to Pittsburgh I really can't believe that this is Day 4... I feel like we have been on the road for weeks!

Today we start in Baltimore at the Camden Yards Sports Complex, and I have to say that this stop has brought out more MINI than any other... I am not sure exactly how many, but it's close to 700 from the aerial photos I have seen.

Once again it was an early Rise and Shine at 7:30... same routine 5:30 get up, and pack Twiggy. I have the packing down the only problem is that we only planned for a couple days, and we are running out of clean clothes.

The caters today, which were the ones from last night, were the best so far! Breakfast burritos were on the menu, and some of us enjoy breakfast with our MINI. 

Because we have the best vinyl graphics person at MTTS, and she happened to park in front of us. Lucky for us Joanne put on Twiggy's decal.  Thank you so much Stuck on MINIS. Twiggy is looking great!

Team "Sign Maggie" has been collecting signatures, and donations for Feeding America.

This is what is great about this group. Not only are we having a great time, but along the way there are multiple groups that raising money for MTTS charity. This particular team is a high school boy who has more heart, and soul than most adults decided to plasti dip his Countryman and give you the opportunity to sign it for a donation to Feeding America. Most young kids first of all wouldn't hang out with a bunch of crazy 'MINI' people let alone dedicate his entire trip to help defy hunger! Imagine the things that he will accomplish in his future!

 After spending time socializing, eating, and trying to win some cool MINI stuff we were off to our Surprise and Delight! Like each morning the 'pit crew' was there waving us on to our next adventure. Just to take a moment here... the 'pit crew' were amazing. They greeted you every morning with a smile, they helped, encouraged, and always had such a great attitude- Thank YOU!!!


So we are off... MINI everywhere! Say goodbye to Baltimore, and Hello to Pittsburgh! Our pit stop today is Mr. Ed's Elephant Museum. Well that should be interesting!


Our MINI route took us through quaint little towns where the people must have been told about us coming because it was like a parade through these towns, and families would be outside waving to all of us as we passed by.

On our route I had an opportunity to do some of my Drive-by photos. Not the easiest thing to do, but it's what I am known for. Here's a couple interesting ones.



On the way to Mr. Ed's we passed through Gettysburg, and we just had to make an extra pit stop. This is one place I would love to go back to, and visit. There is so much history here, and just the short time we walked through the monuments didn't give us much opportunity to explore. We will be coming back here!

Now on to Mr. Ed's Elephant Museum!

This was a surprise... as we drove up each MINI was given a Chinese container to fill with candy. Mr Ed's Elephant museum was also a candy store! Just want we needed, a little sugar.  We filled our containers, and enjoy a few moments of strangely decorated yard. This was a great Surprise and Delight!








Now that we have extra energy... off to Pittsburgh, but first we will stop at the Flight 93 Memorial that is on the way.

I didn't expect this stop to affect me as much as it did. It was like we were reliving Sept. 11 all over again. All the memories of that day came back, with all the emotions and disbelief it brought with it. What a beautiful memorial to those that lost their life. As you look over the site where the plane impacted the ground there are wild flowers that soften the impact of that tragic day. I felt like the flowers where the souls that were lost that day coming back year after year to bring beauty back into our world.

Leaving there you left with such a heavy heart.... there's just no more that words can say.

And so we are finally off to Pittsburgh. I will have to say today has been the best sight-seeing day we have had. We will be a little late getting to our event tonight, but it was worth it.

Our event was held at the baseball stadium... no game, but we had a great time enjoying the sunset!

 Early evening tonight... it's been a really long four days! Time to catch up on some sleep before we head to Detroit in the morning.

Yes... we are continuing on to Detroit, and St Ignace. Having the time of our life, and just can't stop!


More photos from today!









(Mari Miller Photography) MINI Takes The States MINI USA MINI. Mari Miller Photography Mini Life Design and Photography Twiggy mtts2016 Tue, 12 Jul 2016 06:56:00 GMT
Day 3: We Made It This Far We begin day three in Richmond at the Richmond International Raceway. We've now been on the Atlanta Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, and now Richmond.... could MTTS get any better?

I think there is more MINI here in Richmond than any of the other cities... we were lucky that some how we showed up, and was sixth in line to get into the speedway.



We had time to actually set down and enjoy breakfast, enter for a few raffles, and play corn hole.

Also.... remember I said I thought we were breaking some law in Charlotte? Turns out that we were.... and we weren't alone, but we were warned in Richmond that we couldn't go over 20mph. Do not go on the bank, and absolutely no passing. Ooops!

As we take to the track today we notice that this track is quite a bit smaller than the previous ones. I don't want to say my excitement was down, but the exhaustion was really setting in. Early morning starts, and six plus hour drives with an event in the evening!


We had a fun 'parade lap' around the track, and it gave me opportunity to snap a few photos of the MINI behind us.

Our track time was short, but another great morning start... now off to the Surprise and Delight. This will be a really cool pit stop today, and we are looking forward to it!

Yep.. . it's where Tim Smith makes his Climax Moonshine. You know from the Moonshiners! Well if you don't watch the shop it's where we live... in the mountains of Western North Carolina where we have moonshine.

This is the owner of the distillery... Chuck. He gave us a tour through the distillery, and was very entertaining!

Some of us had a sampling of the moonshine that is made there... but we choose not to drink and drive. Off to lunch in Culpepper!

We found a great lunch spot in Culpepper called Grill 309 with a couple of friends then we were off to Baltimore for an evening at the B&O Railroad Museum.  I will have to say that the food, music, and place was the best so far! Being in Baltimore they did it right with the best crab cakes, and a variety of food.. not to mention an open bar!

Did I say we went to Baltimore? Woke up in Richmond, and decided to go one more city... we are just loving MTTS! I have a feeling we are going to Detroit, but each day we decide if we should continue.


More photos from the day!


We met Sherry... she didn't have a place to stay for the night, and we had an extra room so we had a guest!



(Mari Miller Photography) MINI Takes The States MINI USA MINI. Mari Miller Photography Mini Life Design and Photography Twiggy mtts2016 Tue, 12 Jul 2016 00:50:00 GMT
Day 2: The Journey Continues Keep smiling..... and Waving even though you are completely exhausted. This is now Day 2, and we are leaving Charlotte headed for Richmond which will be our final stop.

Today we meet at the Charlotte Motor Speedway for our lap around the track... we hope!!

You can tell that this is going to be a BIG day.. MINI are everywhere again, and there is still so much excitement to drive on the race track. Atlanta was pretty cool, but Charlotte promises to be even better.

Arriving at the Speedway again there are the large tents, and lots of vendors.... and swag to be had! Every morning we have breakfast, and meet new MINI friends. Today I met face to face a lady that we have corresponded through social media for the past year, and because of MTTS we have the opportunity to talk in person.  

Sabastian, the MINI guy... greeted us each morning, and shared his 'special' button! Today would be his last day with us, but we will have our USA MINI person throughout our trip.  It's really awesome to meet, and talk to these guys... they truly showed a genuine interest in us.

AND it's time to "Start Your ENGINES" and take a lap around the track... We waited patiently for our turn. It's either that or run the 'pit crew' over.

Today we are ready for our run on the track...

Twiggy is going to give it all she has. Well not really, but we are going to have some fun!




Twiggy did some banking.... didn't go as fast as we wanted, but 85 mph is pretty good! Being in a convertible with a bank takes a little getting use to.

I think we may have broken some rules.... we passed between two MINI. Just a tad bit scary not knowing the abilities of the other drivers, but it was fun! We will be talking about this for a long time... WOW

Leaving the track each day we were greeted by other MINIacs. Not really sure who they were, but the waved us on our way. On to our next stop... for our Surprise and Delight!

Sadler's Truck Stop... and Checkered Flag MINI was there handing out water, and if you were one of the lucky ones you got a magnet as well!


So this wasn't the best 'pit stop', but it gave us time to catch up with some other MINI people, and a much needed bathroom break!



I just had to share this photo of the cutiest dog yet... besides the labs I saw sitting in the back seat of a Countryman. They looked like kids just sitting in the back seat. He was all decked out in his hat, and shoes!

Tonight we have a night on our own in Richmond, and we choose to go to the Hardywood Brewery where we met some new friends!

Tomorrow we are on our way to Baltimore..... wait I said we were stopping in Richmond. Well we had so much fun that we decided to go one more stop!


Here are more photos from the day!


(Mari Miller Photography) MINI Takes The States MINI USA MINI. Mari Miller Photography Mini Life Design and Photography Twiggy mtts2016 Sun, 10 Jul 2016 20:24:00 GMT
Day 1: Let's Get Motoring on MTTS

Today is the day.... Rise and Shine at 6:30 am at Atlanta Motor Speedway. I have no idea what to expect. How many MINI? What time should we arrive? Am I see people we know? Are we really going to go on the race track?

Not really knowing the answers to all the questions we decided to just go with it. Our hotel was just a short ten minute drive, and we arrive right at 6:30 along with hundreds of other MINI.  I am so overwhelmed by seeing everyone. MINI coming in from the side, they are in front of us... behind us! The excitement continues to build as we go through the tunnel, and actually enter the in track infield. WHAT! It's really happening!

We are greeted by the 'pit crew' dressed in the official MINI t-shirts and flags that go from green to checkered as you reach the end. The pit crew motioned us to park, within inches on all sides, of other MINI. I can't sit still the excitement is just about to explode inside me. As soon as we are parked I am out of Twiggy. The first thing I notice is that my shoes are sticking to the track.... I am squealing with excitement that I AM ACTUALLY ON THE RACE TRACK!!! After a moment I calmed myself down (kind of) and heading towards the MTTS bus as well as huge groups of people.

I am here. it's like being in a daze... a dream. It's everything that I imagined, and then lots more.

There were vendors... our local MINI dealers, and others had tents set up with swag and opportunity to win other prizes. Where do you start... well according to my other half we should start with breakfast. Ok... ok I agreed, but I carried my breakfast because there was no time to stop and eat. There was way too much to see, and too many MINI friends that I have to met.

 When the official start of MTTS began we all went to take a seat in the stands... all but me I had to stand at the fence in anticipation of what was going to happen next. I wasn't let down at all... the playing of the Star Spangled Banner. I don't know about you but hearing that song always brings tears to my eyes, and fills my heart with such pride. Then after the welcoming we look to the sky, and see skydivers. Hummm where will they land... wait this is MTTS, and where else would they land but in a MINI. That's right not one, but two landed on the back of a MINI convertible right in front of my eyes!









ITS OFFICIALLY STARTED... we all head out to our MINI in anticipation of 'taking the tract'. Of course, I couldn't sit still I was up, and about meeting people, taking pictures, and just trying to keep calm.

The time has come... 'start your engines' , and it was our turn to drive the track. If you were anywhere near me you could hear my squeals of excitement. We actually were given the checkered flag by no other than the head of MINI. We are off... should we go fast, drive the banks although we've been warned that if you drive the banks to slow oil change could create an issue. That's fine... we drove fast! The thrill. I can't even begin to express the excitement on driving on the track, and going on the bank. Remember we were in a convertible! I never wanted this moment to end.

Great lap around the track, and lots of memories have started... just wondering what the next day will be like! 

That's the 'big guy' from MINI..,. he flew here from Germany to see why all of are so crazy about our MINI... I think he found out the answer!

We were trying out the bank.... testing our boundaries!


After our 'parade lap' ... it was time to head out to our Surprise and Delight in Ridgeway SC. Our local club were going to do their own run, but at this point we decided that instead of staying with the group of MINI people that we know that we would venture out on our own, and meet as many new MINI friends as we could. We would met up morning, and night with our friends but in between was going to be time to met other

On our way we just happened upon a place that was used in the movie "My Cousin Vinny"... how could we not stop?








Our Surprise and Delight was at a tea room, and if you know me at all you know I love this kind of thing. The quaint little town on maybe 3000 didn't know what hit them. We came in, and took over!

What a great stop... we had the BEST iced tea ever! In a MINI cup made it even better.








So refreshing!!!  Now on to our finally stop tonight... Charlotte.

Tonight we get to visit the Nascar Hall of Fame, and meet up with some more of our MINI friends.

Tomorrow we get to drive the Charlotte track!!!




(Mari Miller Photography) mini life designs photography mini on the states mtts 2016 Sat, 09 Jul 2016 22:42:00 GMT
The Night Before.... MTTS

You know that anxiousness that you feel when something BIG is coming? That just about described the anticipation for MINI Takes The States, and finally after two years it all starts tomorrow.

To those reading this that have no idea what I am talking about... and think I've have gone a little crazy. Crazy for a little imported car TWIGGY, my chili red MINI Cooper convertible. In short, MTTS or MINI Takes The States is the largest gathering on MINI Coopers that travel a predetermined route through lots of states raising money for a charity. This event is only held every two years, and this year we started in Atlanta then onto Charlotte-Richmond-Baltimore-Pittsburgh-Detroit-St Ignace-Greenbay-Minneapolis-Sioux Falls-Sturgis-Cheyenne-Park City-Las Vegas- and ends in Palm Springs California. 15 cities in 15 days from July 9 through July 23, 2016, and along the way raised thousands for the charity Feeding America.

This was my first year attending the event, and I had no idea what to expect. I read lots of post on social media on what to bring, and mostly planning... Because I travel on a regular basis, and can leave in a moments notice I thought 'heck with planning' I wanted to just hop in my MINI, and take off. So I had a duffle bag with clothes, enough for a couple of days... because we only plan on three cities (as you read other blog post you'll see how plans change!). With just a week before MTTS I finally had hotel rooms booked for Atlanta, and Richmond with one night in Charlotte with a friend.  What else would you need.. didn't worry about putting my daily route sheets in a binder or being organized at all. I wanted to experience MTTS, and leave the organization to everyone else. My goal was to meet for the morning event (Rise & Shine), and where I go between there and the next city was going to be an adventure!

This is us.. Craig and Mary Miller aka Twiggy's parents!

The night before the event started in Atlanta we attended the pre-party at The Ponce City Market in Atlanta. As we drove in you could start seeing one, two, three.... twenty MINI, and soon the parking lots of the Ponce Market was full. Every space taken, and even rows of MINI parked down the isle between the parked ones. MINI had taken over Atlanta or at least Ponce City Market. We socialized outside meeting face to face with social media friends, hanging out with club friends, and just enjoying a few hours of good times!

After catching up with old friends, and getting to know new ones. . It was time for the MINI balloon light show featuring the United States premiere of French digital art lab Collectif Coin's performance of "Childhood (Cyclique 2.0)," an immersive light and sound experience.

It took the crew hours to set up hundred of balloons that were synchronized to the music. As the music started MINI balloons began lighting, and dancing to the music. A great display to end one evening, and send us all on our way on MTTS.



All in all we had a great first evening, and tomorrow we will arrive bright and early at Atlanta Speedway for our lap around the track before heading to our next destination.

This isn't Twiggy.... but for the next ??? days we will be following a MINI!


Here's a few more photos of the MTTS Pre-party at Ponce City Market




(Mari Miller Photography) MINI Takes The States MINI USA MINI. Mari Miller Photography Mini Life Design and Photography Twiggy mtts2016 Fri, 08 Jul 2016 21:14:00 GMT
MINI & Me shootings MINI and Me Shootings

I have a true love for the MINI Cooper, and just like most of us I have a favorite. Give me a JWC (that's John Cooper Works) with a manual six speed, and I'm in heaven.  According to some the MINI Cooper was designed for you to make it yours, and personalize it to YOU. A few weeks ago I had my first experience with a MINI club here in WNC and I originated the "Drive by Shooting" ... you should have heard the response on the radios when I asked if I could do a drive by shooting! Why not have a little fun doing what you love?

That was a lot of fun, but what I love to do is photograph people. What better than to photograph their MINI's with them!

This MINI Cooper S which happens to be named Courtney Love because you have to name your car, and this one has lots of attitude!

2013 I think this driver also has an attitude, and who could blame her--- Have you driven a MINI Cooper? No, well then you'll never understand.

2013 Ok, so you don't want your photo with your MINI.... well I'm sure there's not many of you, but just in case I also photograph just your MINI.

This was taken around 1 a.m. after a drive through the Smoky Mountains

Photo taken on the Tail of the Dragon.... MINI Cooper's just love speed and curves.  Check out those curves!

At Fontana Lake!


What to wear for your MINI shooting?

These are professional photo sessions, and you should wear what reflects your personality. Match your MINI's personality. Like the above MINI and Me shooting, she wore a leather jacket that went perfect with the attitude of her car as well as herself. The choice is yours... and what you choose will affect the outcome of the session.

Want to schedule your private MINI and Me Shooting, just send me an email!

Mari Miller Photography

Sessions available on location


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(Mari Miller Photography) MINI Cooper MINI and Me shootings MINI shootings Me and My MINI Wed, 24 Jun 2015 22:30:14 GMT
MINI weekend This past weekend I was invited to join the Appalachian Mountain Mini's event Bonnet, Boot and Brew Rally.... WOW was I in for a surprise!

We also own a MINI Cooper JCW (John Cooper Works) as well as another MINI Cooper S, and we always thought about joining a car club to share our same excitement with others.  After this past weekends events of driving, eating and socializing- we are hooked!

Day 1 of the Bonnet, Boot and Brew Rally

Day 1 began at the Days Inn in North Asheville and headed up to an elevation of 5,722 ft to Mt. Pisgah which was named after the biblical mountain from which Moses first saw the promise land. At the top we stopped in hopes of seeing spectacular views of Asheville about 16 miles away, but with the rain and fog there was little to see.  All the MINI's, about 14 of us... drove through the twisties, over and through the mountains then continue along the French Broad River that lead us through the countryside to the Sierra Nevada Brewery where we had an amazing dinner, and a great evening with new friends.

Rainy and Fog beginning to the AMM Rally

Day 2 began really early at 9am... well not early for most, but we live an hour away so we were up and going at 7! This would be the longest of the weekend with two challenging and spirited runs.

The first run was the Elk Mountain “S”cenic Photo Run.  M15_4666Mari Miller PhotographyHeeeeerrrrreeeeee Weeeee Gooooooo.... It took a while to figure out what the "S"cenic Photo was, but once we were there and the cars where in place it was easy to understand. This particular road has several tight "S" turns and we tried to accomplish a photo that showed all the turns, but a photo just doesn't show what we experienced.

Mari Miller Photography"S"cenic photo

It was a day full of fun as all the MINI's cruised along the high peaks on the mountains of Western North Carolina. Our adventure followed the Elk Mountain Scenic Highway, and then continued through Possum Trot Creek and followed along the Cane River on NC-19W. Then onto Spivey Mountain Road on the Tennessee side where our MINI's enjoyed quite a few twisties throughout the mountains. The last leg of the run took us onto NC-352, which is called the Old Asheville Highway. At this point my photography inspirations kicked in.... a little drive by shootings of each car!  So my husband the great driver he is, drove up beside each car and I was able to capture a photo for each one of them... some were a little more challenging than others, especially the lead driver (no names). I won't disclose the speeds it took to reach him, but let's just say our little MINI was very happy!

MariMillerPhoto11MariMillerPhoto11One of the Drive by Shootings MariMillerPhoto19MariMillerPhoto19Another Drive by Shooting of the group leader

Here is the whole group from Saturday's morning run.

MariMillerPhoto36MariMillerPhoto36The whole group from Saturdays morning run

The afternoon rally run traveled through the countryside of Western North Carolina passing farms of Leicester, up and down some tight twisties into Hot Springs.  Some of us... yes even us, enjoyed the newly paved part of the road to Hot Springs... those were some great curves, and lots of tire squeals were heard.  I'm impressed at the driving ability of MINI people!  The ride back to Asheville took us through some relaxing roads before we all went our separate ways.

MariMillerPhoto3MariMillerPhoto3 Day 3... Last day of all the MINI fun!  This rustic drive twisted through some rural parts of Western North Carolina leading all the MINIAC's to the historic Lake Lure, the Green River Gorge, and some historical highways.  Finally we finished our Rally through some fun twisties in the back woods and ended up in Black Mountain where we stopped and had lunch at The Monte Vista.

One MINIAC summed it up best~

3 Days.....
4 runs.....
3 States.....
20+ Mini's.....
500+ Miles motored-
not counting the extra miles we drove to get there!

What an amazing weekend photographing and meeting new friends. I truly enjoyed the adventure and look forward to more events with this group!

I just wanted to say a "MINI" Thank YOU to those of you that spent hours, and probably days getting ready for the Bonnet, Boot and Brew Rally ~ Patrick and Judith, Alan, Wendy, Benjamin, Theo and Corey! To my fellow photographer Jeff... so GREAT to have someone taking photos of me- Thank you, Thank YOU!

To all the MINIAC's it was so much fun, and we enjoyed our time this weekend getting to know each of you. I hope that I was able to capture at least one shot of each of you during the event... especially the "Drive by Shooting". I look forward to sharing other fun times, and photos. You can always find me at Mari Miller Photography. Thank you for showing us a great MINI weekend!

Photo by Jeff GoodmanThis is us.... photo by Jeff Goodman!

Thanks Jeff Goodman for the photo!












(Mari Miller Photography) AMM Appalachian Cooper MINI Mini Mini's Mountain Tue, 16 Jun 2015 16:47:36 GMT
Family Photo Sessions DSC_0850DSC_0850 Try and follow the “Three Colors + POP” rule:

1.  Pick three colors (one being a neutral)  and put together outfits with those colors only.  More than three colors can seem a bit busy.  Examples would be navy blue (dark wash blue jeans), gray, and mustard yellow. Neutrals include black, white, gray, khaki, etc.

2.  Add in an unexpected POP of color.  Add a pop of color by adding a colorful scarf or shoes.  Be aware that this POP will become a focal point in the picture, so I wouldn’t advise adding this color in an area that you don’t want others to look at too closely. 

{I must make a disclaimer: RULES CAN BE BROKEN.  These guidelines generally work well to produce a cohesive, vibrant family portrait; a modern take on the whole “white shirts and blue jeans”, if you will.}

Other tips:

1.  Think coordinating, not matching.  Again, unless you have a specific purpose for the entire family to match (white shirts and jeans/Khaki) , try to not match outfits exactly (although matching twins or little ones is generally good because it’s so darn cute). You can accomplish the same look as the white shirts and jeans by using a Blue & White palette.  Keep it simple with different shades of blue and white.  Incorporate different patterns and texture for added interest.

2.  Try and pick colors that complement the surrounding environment.  Pick colors that will compliment your style and your home. Navy & Yellow palette-  Use navy and different shades of blues as your base, then just add pops of white and yellow for added interest.

3.  Use your brightest colors as accessories.  You don’t want the brightest colors detracting from the most important part of the picture:  the PEOPLE!

4.  It is ok to mix solids and simple patterns.  SIMPLE patterns add interest and texture to a picture.  If the guys have patterned, buttoned-down shirts it works just fine with the solid colors.  If you stick to a color scheme, everything just naturally blends together. Large family or multi-family group photos should devise a plan prior to your session. Each family should try to coordinate with everyone and mixing in the neutrals for a cohesive group photo. To simplify this, choose bright or light colors in basic colors: Light colors in Aqua & Coral-  I think this is the perfect color combination for beach pictures.  Add in some grays, browns, or whites for your neutrals. ; Bright colors in Navy & Green-  Pair a deep navy with a bright kelly green for a fun, springtime look.  Pops of yellow or pink would be fun to add too.

So, that’s it!  Hopefully, the above tips will help you do a little advance planning for what to wear for family photo shoots to create a beautiful family portrait you can be proud of.



Thanks to for the below "What to wear" photos:


1.  Turquoise & Yellow-These fun, bright colors just scream “Spring!”  Add in some grays and whites as neutrals and you’re set.

2.  Aqua & Coral-  I think this is the perfect color combination for beach pictures.  Add in some grays, browns, or whites for your neutrals.

3.  Blue & White-  Keep it simple with different shades of blue and white.  Incorporate different patterns and texture for added interest. 


4.  Navy & Coral-  Navy, coral, and white are a great combination alone- or you could add some pops of aqua or gray too.

5.  Navy & Green-  Pair a deep navy with a bright kelly green for a fun, springtime look.  Pops of yellow or pink would be fun to add too.

6.  Navy & Yellow-  Use navy and different shades of blues as your base, then just add pops of white and yellow for added interest.

(Mari Miller Photography) Fri, 15 May 2015 23:12:43 GMT
10 Tips Your Wedding Photographer Wants You to Know 1. Consider an engagement session. A pre-wedding session will help you feel more comfortable in front of the camera.  And, it will prepare your photographer for your wedding day by allowing her to see how you two interact, and get a feel for your best features.

2. Plan your morning carefully. 
 Choose a room with abundant natural light to get ready in. If possible, choose a room with neutral colors, and try to keep things neat and tidy throughout the morning. This will help your photos stay cohesive and clean-looking. If details are important to you, have everything you’d like photographed laid out and waiting for your photographer — a full invitation set, special jewelry, a vintage handkerchief, etc.

3. Share your morning.  “Specifically invite your closest loved ones to be with you when you’re getting ready for your wedding. And encourage them to get totally ready beforehand, because most people like photos of themselves more when they look their best. It could be your mom, dad, a special relative, or simply your closest friends, but I love the idea of intentionally making them feel special by sharing those moments with them.” This is a wonderful way to create an opportunity for those spontaneous, sweet, intimate moments to happen — the ones we want captured on our wedding day, but can’t really plan for.


4. Create a generous timeline.  If photographs are important to you, build in as much time as possible for them. Generally speaking, the more time your photographer has with you, the better the photos she/he will be able to produce. If you’re not sure how much time you’ll need for portraits, check with your photographer.

5. Consider doing a first look. I completely respect those who want to see their significant other for the first time at the end of the aisle, but if you and your fiancé are ambivalent, I’d definitely consider doing a first look. That way, you can take care of the majority, if not all, of the formal family groupings pre-ceremony, leaving extra time for bride and groom portraits or to attend cocktail hour post-ceremony.

6. Do not create a ridiculous shot list. Please, for the love of sweet tea, do not create a shot list with specific poses or moments. (You know the ones I’m talking about: they include things like “Dad whispering last minute advice to groom” and “bride’s parents whispering to each other during dinner.”) Remember why you hired your photographer, trust her, and give her room to let her creativity shine.


7. DO create a formal shot list. On the other hand, it’s important to think carefully about the formal groupings that you’d like captured either pre- or post-ceremony. Try to keep the list to ten or fewer combinations (i.e. bride and groom with bride’s parents, bride and groom with all siblings) to avoid impatience and stress. When you give the list to your photographer, be sure to include names — this will help her direct the portrait session smoothly and kindly!


8. Communicate with the VIPs. Once you’ve got that great shot list, be sure to share it with all the people involved. Email them a copy in advance; print out more copies for the day of – whatever it takes! Make sure they know where to be, when to be there, and what they should be wearing so you’re not scrambling after everyone on the big day.

9. Plan for capturing the details. In addition to gorgeous portraits, many of you want your photographers to capture the details you’ve worked so hard on. This requires communication, too! If possible, work with your planner/venue/special helpers to set up the reception space as early as possible, so that your photographer can snap the details either pre-ceremony or during cocktail hour, before guests have entered the space and ideally while there’s still natural light outside.


10. Ask questions. My last tip for working with your photographer? Ask them! “Is there anything I can do to help you do your job better?” Photographers, like all wedding vendors, try their hardest to be flexible, and they’ll do the best they can under whatever circumstances they find themselves in. But, if you do what you can to provide the optimal environment, they’ll probably produce their optimal results. 

(Mari Miller Photography) Blue Ridge Parkway wedding photography Smoky Mountain wedding photography WNC Wedding biker wedding Thu, 16 Apr 2015 18:09:35 GMT
Marriage Isn't "Happy Ever After"

Marriage Isn't "Happy Ever After", it's not a storybook or fairytale. Marriage is HARD work! It's two people that make a choice every day to 'love' each other.  To overlook the little things that well, if you think about won't make a difference in a month anyhow! This isn't my list, but in my daily reading and going through social media I came across and wanted to share. If you know the creator, please let me know and I will definitely give them credit for it. 

I witness weddings on a regular basis, photographing and being apart of the engagement through the reception and I often wonder what they think marriage is all about.  I've been married for, in a couple weeks, for 29 years. We have three children and three grandchildren and throughout our marriage there have been the happiest of times and then there have been the worst of times as well as the times where we have just lived.

Our marriage vows have been tested and yet we have made a commitment to each other all those years ago and no matter what- We love each other! There is not a perfect person and we all make mistakes but what is important is that you 'together' get through them. Marriage is not a throw-away, it's worth fighting for- especially if you are perfect for each other!


ADVICE from a Husband... and what every women wishes for!

1. Never stop courting. Never stop dating. NEVER EVER take that woman for granted. When you asked her to marry you, you promised to be that man that would OWN HER HEART and to fiercely protect it. This is the most important and sacred treasure you will ever be entrusted with. SHE CHOSE YOU. Never forget that, and NEVER GET LAZY in your love.

2. Protect your own heart. Just as you committed to being the protector of her heart, you must guard your own with the same vigilance. Love yourself fully, love the world openly, but there is a special place in your heart where no one must enter except for your wife. Keep that space always ready to receive her and invite her in, and refuse to let anyone or anything else enter there.

3. Fall in love over and over again. You will constantly change. You’re not the same people you were when you got married, and in five years you will not be the same person you are today. Change will come, and in that you have to re-choose each other everyday. SHE DOESN’T HAVE TO STAY WITH YOU, and if you don’t take care of her heart, she may give that heart to someone else or seal you out completely, and you may never be able to get it back. Always fight to win her love just as you did when you were courting her.

4. Always see the best in her. Focus only on what you love. What you focus on will expand. If you focus on what bugs you, all you will see is reasons to be bugged. If you focus on what you love, you can’t help but be consumed by love. Focus to the point where you can no longer see anything but love, and you know without a doubt that you are the luckiest man on earth to be have this woman as your wife.

5. It’s not your job to change or fix her… your job is to love her as she is with no expectation of her ever changing. And if she changes, love what she becomes, whether it’s what you wanted or not.

6. Take full accountability for your own emotions: It’s not your wife’s job to make you happy, and she CAN’T make you sad. You are responsible for finding your own happiness, and through that your joy will spill over into your relationship and your love.

7. Never blame your wife if you get frustrated or angry at her, it is only because it is triggering something inside of YOU. They are YOUR emotions, and your responsibility. When you feel those feelings take time to get present and to look within and understand what it is inside of YOU that is asking to be healed. You were attracted to this woman because she was the person best suited to trigger all of your childhood wounds in the most painful way so that you could heal them… when you heal yourself, you will no longer be triggered by her, and you will wonder why you ever were.

8. Allow your woman to just be. When she’s sad or upset, it’s not your job to fix it, it’s your job to HOLD HER and let her know it’s ok. Let her know that you hear her, and that she’s important and that you are that pillar on which she can always lean. The feminine spirit is about change and emotion and like a storm her emotions will roll in and out, and as you remain strong and unjudging she will trust you and open her soul to you… DON’T RUN-AWAY WHEN SHE’S UPSET. Stand present and strong and let her know you aren’t going anywhere. Listen to what she is really saying behind the words and emotion.

9. Be silly… don’t take yourself so damn seriously. Laugh. And make her laugh. Laughter makes everything else easier.

10. Fill her soul everyday… learn her love languages and the specific ways that she feels important and validated and CHERISHED. Ask her to create a list of 10 THINGS that make her feel loved and memorize those things and make it a priority everyday to make her feel like a queen.

11. Be present. Give her not only your time, but your focus, your attention and your soul. Do whatever it takes to clear your head so that when you are with her you are fully WITH HER. Treat her as you would your most valuable client. She is.

12. Be willing to take her sexually, to carry her away in the power of your masculine presence, to consume her and devour her with your strength, and to penetrate her to the deepest levels of her soul. Let her melt into her feminine softness as she knows she can trust you fully.

13. Don’t be an idiot…. And don’t be afraid of being one either. You will make mistakes and so will she. Try not to make too big of mistakes, and learn from the ones you do make. You’re not supposed to be perfect, just try to not be too stupid.

14. Give her space… The woman is so good at giving and giving, and sometimes she will need to be reminded to take time to nurture herself. Sometimes she will need to fly from your branches to go and find what feeds her soul, and if you give her that space she will come back with new songs to sing…. (okay, getting a little too poetic here, but you get the point. Tell her to take time for herself, ESPECIALLY after you have kids. She needs that space to renew and get re-centered, and to find herself after she gets lost in serving you, the kids and the world.)

15. Be vulnerable… you don’t have to have it all together. Be willing to share your fears and feelings, and quick to acknowledge your mistakes.

16. Be fully transparent. If you want to have trust you must be willing to share EVERYTHING… Especially those things you don’t want to share. It takes courage to fully love, to fully open your heart and let her in when you don’t know i she will like what she finds… Part of that courage is allowing her to love you completely, your darkness as well as your light. DROP THE MASK… If you feel like you need to wear a mask around her, and show up perfect all the time, you will never experience the full dimension of what love can be.

17. Never stop growing together… The stagnant pond breeds malaria, the flowing stream is always fresh and cool. Atrophy is the natural process when you stop working a muscle, just as it is if you stop working on your relationship. Find common goals, dreams and visions to work towards.

18. Don’t worry about money. Money is a game, find ways to work together as a team to win it. It never helps when teammates fight. Figure out ways to leverage both persons strength to win.

19. Forgive immediately and focus on the future rather than carrying weight from the past. Don’t let your history hold you hostage. Holding onto past mistakes that either you or she makes, is like a heavy anchor to your marriage and will hold you back. FORGIVENESS IS FREEDOM. Cut the anchor loose and always choose love.

20. Always choose love. ALWAYS CHOOSE LOVE. In the end, this is the only advice you need. If this is the guiding principle through which all your choices is governed, there is nothing that will threaten the happiness of your marriage. Love will always endure.

In the end marriage isn’t about happily ever after. It’s about work. And a commitment to grow together and a willingness to continually invest in creating something that can endure eternity. Through that work, the happiness will come. Marriage is life, and it will bring ups and downs. Embracing all of the cycles and learning to learn from and love each experience will bring the strength and perspective to keep building, one brick at a time.

(Mari Miller Photography) Thu, 26 Mar 2015 21:01:17 GMT
Engagement with Your Pet! Have you considered doing your engagement photos with your dog? Pets are such an integral part of our lives, and quite frankly, they make such cute subjects for photos!

Engagement Photos with Your Dog

Tips for Doing Photos With Your Dog

1. Bring along rewards and distractions.
Pets don’t work for free! If you can bring along some of their extra favorite treats or a favorite toy to get their attention, they’ll have a much better time.  There is nothing that a dog loves more than the most annoying squeaky ball you own.



2. Bring a leash
Your dog may always be by your side. However, when we start to take engagement photos with your dog, there could be some distractions…SQUIRREL!! So, it’s always a good practice to keep your dog on leash at all times. We can always hide the leash, or even Photoshop it out after the fact if it’s distracting.


3. Bring a friend that the dog knows.
As much as we all love our pets, they can’t be the star of every photo. So, I ask every couple to bring along a friend who the dog feels comfortable with. That way, that person is taking care of the dog while I’m taking photos of you.

If I bring along an assistant, they are there to help me with the photos and aren’t responsible for the dog. The car is not a place to leave the dog either, no matter what time of year.


4. Take the dog for a long walk beforehand.
A tired dog always makes for better pictures. There is always that excitement and anticipation when a dog goes for a car ride. There are so many smells to check out when they get out of the car. The last thing the dog is going to want to do is lay down for photos.

I usually recommend to do the photos with the couple first, while your friend takes the dog for a long, long walk. After he’s had a chance to check out everything, we can do the engagement photos with your dog.


5. Enjoy the photo session.
Most of all have fun. Don’t worry if your dog isn’t “smiling”. It takes a little bit of patience, but we will definitely get their personality to come through.

Dogs are always reading their masters and if they know you are having fun, they’ll settle in and have fun too!

Wedding Photos with your Dog
Many of the same suggestions also apply when it comes to having your dog as part of your wedding. Just make sure that there is someone who can watch your dog all day. It’s fun to have them at some point during your wedding. However, I’d suggest that there is also a place that they can go to escape the hustle and bustle of the day.

Also, make sure that your dogs were recently groomed, so that their nails are filed. The last thing you want is your dog tearing your dress with their sharp nails.

(Mari Miller Photography) Thu, 26 Mar 2015 20:39:19 GMT
Mother's Day Contest

Just in time for Mother's Day.... Would you like to WIN a photo session with your mom? Mari Miller Photography is giving you that opportunity. Rules are very simple....
1. Like this page and share (
2. Send me an email or Facebook message what your MOM means to you. (email: [email protected])

Prizes include:

  1. a custom photo session on location (location is subject to my availability to travel!). Photo session with... mom can be substituted with a family session!
  2. Framed 11x14 photo of your choice from session
  3. Complete set of 4x6 prints from the session.
  4. Non-transferrable, no exchange or credit for future sessions.
  5. Winner must use prior to 12/31/2015 
  6. Value of prize $600, without travel.
  7. Mothers= Stepmoms, Grandma's, Aunts or the one that person that was important in your life!

Winner will be notified April 30, 2015 and will be selected from the entries received.




(Mari Miller Photography) Sat, 21 Mar 2015 19:13:12 GMT
Girls best friend. . .Glitter

I spent the day yesterday with a local artist that was practicing her glitter body art. The artist recruited several teenage girls to dress up in prom gowns and have their arms adorned with glitter. The girls were there but not so inspired to dress up in fancy prom gowns - it was late in the afternoon, right after school. Who would blame them! Here's the result of the glitter session. . enjoy!!

(Mari Miller Photography) Fri, 13 Mar 2015 19:03:51 GMT
Hinshaw Family I had the opportunity of doing the Hinshaw's family photo session while they were vacationing here in the mountains of North Carolina.  They anticipated beautiful fall colors and weather, what they got was the earliest snow fall in over 50 years... almost 5"! 


All the 'typical' locations that I would photography a family session were no longer accessible and plan B had to implemented... so I choose one of the prettiest places, the Smokey Mountain National Park. Although most of the colors were gone, there was one beautiful 'orange' tree with perfect fall leaves for our session.

 Hinshaw Family

We were able to capture several great family photos as well as individual family photos.  Below is a few from their session.

DSC_0831DSC_0831 DSC_0850DSC_0850 DSC_0896DSC_0896 DSC_0866DSC_0866

































(Mari Miller Photography) Chalet Hinshaw Lake Suzanne Wales Tue, 04 Nov 2014 20:57:34 GMT
I am a Survivor!

It's hard to understand cancer unless you have gone through the experience. Meet a cancer survivor. . she has fought cancer and WON!

October is recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month and as part of the Shoot for a Cure photographers around the country photograph women and men that have or are facing breast cancer. 

This is Juliette... an amazing women that found breast cancer and won! Her story is simple but speak loudly to us women. Juliette went for her regular mammogram where they discovered she had breast cancer. She didn't let this hold her down, she went through surgery and now is cancer free. To all of the women out there- including procrastinating me, make an appointment for your regular mammogram and be a survivor like Juliette. 

Juliette, you are such a wonderful person and such an inspiration. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to spend time with you while we captured your spirit and are truly an inspiration to me!

(Mari Miller Photography) Sat, 01 Nov 2014 22:22:48 GMT
Chris and Julia An amazing Bride and sparkling taste... The girls gathered in a private suite on Harbour Island preparing for the moment when Julia would met her Prince. With help from mom and her bridesmaids that she had met throughout the World, Julia had her makeup done and put on her beautiful jeweled wedding dress complete with blue shoes!


Then it was on to the wedding venue. The bridesmaids and Bride hopped on a chartered Trolley where they were whisked away to the Catholic Church. 











The ceremony, very traditional was a symbol and commitment to their love in front of family, friends and God.




















After their ceremony, the wedding party hopped on the trolley and was taken to the beautiful Don Vincente in Ybor City. The hotel has a history of being a prior hospital and is said to be haunted. The couple danced away the night before departing through a line of sparklers.



The theme throughout was done with cigar boxes which made for a great backdrop for their wedding ring.





Congratulations Julia and Chris!

(Mari Miller Photography) Mon, 15 Sep 2014 23:26:11 GMT
Colonel Robert and Nancy Maglin Colonel Robert Maglin and his finance Nancy planned their wedding at the Historic Chalet Suzanne in Lake Wales, Florida.  What they wouldn't know was that they would be the last wedding hosted there. Chalet Suzanne is closing their doors to the public at the end of July as announced in their newsletter


Knowing that the Historic Chalet would be closing didn't hinder the couple in sharing their vows in front of family and friends. Their wedding was scheduled for the garden, but the Mother Nature had different plans and the ceremony was moved indoors.  This couple proves that Love has no age.

The couple and their guest enjoyed cocktails in the Lounge followed by the a menu of Prime Rib and Salmon. All prepared to the Chalet Suzanne standards. Colonel Richard's son toasted the couple to many years of happiness, returning the toast that his father shared with him on his wedding day!

A little history was included in the Maglin's photos.. The Chalet Suzanne three wheel bike pedaled by the grandson and the couples friends and family posed in front of the famous inn. Thank you to the entire family that invited me into their family, you all are wonderful people and I am blessed to have met you!

Congratulations to

Colonel Richard and Nancy Maglin!

(Mari Miller Photography) Central Chalet Colonel Florida Lake Maglin Photography Robert Suzanne Wales wedding Sun, 13 Jul 2014 00:17:29 GMT
Erikka and Jorge are Engaged! You hear people say "a photo is worth a thousand words".. This photo definitely says a thousand words!

Jorge prepares to propose to Erikka during a recent engagement session. Jorge hides the ring behind his back, waiting for the perfect moment to ask the BIG question.....

Will you marry me?

and the answer would be~  an absolute YES!

Here are a couple other photos that capture the love that they each have for the other.


The happy couple is planning an April 2015 wedding.


Congratulations to

Erikka and Jorge!

(Mari Miller Photography) Sat, 12 Jul 2014 23:33:11 GMT
Best Wardrobe for a Maternity Photo Shoot What should I wear to my maternity photo shoot...




This answers the big questions for women...


"What should I wear to my photo shoot?"  and,  "What should I bring to my pregnancy photography session?"


Keep in mind that these are just guidelines.




What clothing should I bring to my photo shoot?

  • Colors - I like solid colors: white, black, brown, gray. (Seeing is believing!)


  • Fabrics - look for thin clingy, not necessarily tight, fabrics with a little stretch.
  • Pants - jeans (any color), black pants (yoga pants work well). It doesn't matter if you're wearing maternity jeans with a big, stretchy band. I make it all work.
  • Dresses - these can be incredibly sophisticated and sexy, but choose carefully. Look for dresses that cling to your shape, not the loose, comfortable style. Dresses with ruching at the side seams work beautifully.
  • Tops - I like big, white, button-down, slightly rumpled men's shirt. Any shirt or cardigan that opens down the front works well.
  • Sleeves - Long-sleeved shirts tend to be the most flattering, but sleeveless and spaghetti straps also work.
  • Necklines - select v-necks, squarenecks, turtlenecks or deep scoop necks.
  • Tanks or camisoles - anything clingy, fitted or stretchy in solid colors (white, black, red, blue...)
  • Jewelry & watches - in general, avoid them (unless there's a really good story behind the piece). The BIG exception is wedding and engagement rings! Classic, small and tasteful pieces like pearl or diamond studs make sense and are totally appropriate.
  • Special & unique - unusual items like large swaths of fabric in powerful colors like purple, red and royal blue can make for stunning results.


  • Consider saris or large and luxurious scarves. Consider fabrics that are exceptionally sheer or have a little bit of sheen.



What else should I bring to my photo shoot?

Bring large or small props that have meaning. Bring stuffed animals, building blocks, flowers...


Unusual items: saris, native fabrics, wedding veils.



What does the photographer provide?

Depending on the location, the photographer may have props that correspond with the 'feel' or 'mood' of the photo session.

If any specific clothing, draping or special items are discussed and agreed with the photographer.







Wondering what your husband should wear to a maternity shoot?

  • Men should bring jeans or khaki pants or any other dark bottoms.
  • I encourage soft (not starched), plain white shirts. Cotton and linen are both great choices.
  • Throw a regular, WHITE and/or BLACK crew-neck t-shirt in the bag, too.
  • Bring solid, dark colors like black, dark brown, navy blue and charcoal gray tops and bottoms. Layers are great; wear the t-shirt under a crew- or v-neck sweater or jacket.



What beauty preparation should I consider?

  • Get a manicure and a pedicure a day or two in advance.
  • Wear makeup! You'll get the best results if you visit a makeup center prior to your shoot.
  • Don't wear anything binding to the shoot to avoid marks on your skin. This includes bras with underwires, ribbed socks and hair bands on your wrist.



(Mari Miller Photography) . Baby Bump Franklin, NC Maternity mountain photography Thu, 19 Jun 2014 22:21:41 GMT
Fireflies Twinkle at Elkmont One more thing checked off my bucket list.  I love when I can find opportunities to challenge my photography skills... to learn new things or just to try something different. This past week I had the opportunity to capture thousands of fireflies, yes- thousands!


Each year, for about a two week period June 4-11, the Elkmont area of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park turns into an incredible show of light and amazement. The Synchronous Fireflies are one of many types of fireflies that are in the park, and they are the only species in America who can synchronize their flashing light pattern. No one is certain why the fireflies display synchronously, but during their mating period, it is hypothesized that they are doing so to attract a mate or another theory is competition.


Here is one of the many photos that I was able to capture, well it is the only one out of 100 that I thought turned out.

It was quite the challenge, but I was really happy to have captured this shot... We were there until 11 pm, and this was taken just before then. Next year I will be prepared!


(Mari Miller Photography) Thu, 19 Jun 2014 21:53:34 GMT
Senior Class Represtatives needed Senior Model Representative Program

Attention Class of 2015:

Are you outgoing, involved, and currently a junior at a WNC area high school?

If so, I want YOU to be a Senior Rep M.L.Memories Photography


Here’s what’s in it for you:

Complimentary Senior photo session with unlimited outfits and locations (a $125 value).

50 Model Rep cards with YOUR photos on them to pass out to your friends.

DVD of your selected edited photos

$25 CASH for every senior you refer to M.L.Memories Photography and they book and pay for their session.

A custom Facebook cover photo and Instagram image for online sharing.

20% off a la carte items or collections. No minimum purchase required.



Here's what I'll need from you:

Schedule your session by May 31, 2014 and complete your session by July 31, 2014.

Pass out your Model Rep cards to your friends and classmates and encourage them to choose M.L.Memories Photography for their senior portraits.

Post your Facebook cover photo and tag at least five friends who you think might be interested in booking their Senior Session with M.L.Memories Photography.

Be a Senior Model Rep for M.L.Memories Photography exclusively.

“Like” M.L.Memories Photography on Facebook and “follow” M. L. Memories Photography on Instagram.

Participate, along with your parent(s), in the in-person Session Reveal (approx. one to two weeks after the photo session) where you’ll view your images and have the option to order prints, wall art, albums, custom items and/or the digital negatives with full printing rights.

If you’d like to be a Senior Model Rep, please click here to apply:

(Mari Miller Photography) Class of 2015 Franklin, NC Senior Senior casual WNC Mon, 19 May 2014 17:57:06 GMT
Coipel Wedding on St Pete beach On a beautiful sun filled day, Chelsea and Adrian exchanged their vows on the beaches of St. Pete with a 'Sand & Sea' theme.


The groomsmen and Groom took a little time to do some dancing..

The Bride and her father..


The Ceremony

The Bride and Groom having a little fun....













(Mari Miller Photography) Thu, 01 May 2014 17:05:47 GMT
City Guide to Asheville NC For attractions, restaurants and any and ALL things Asheville, check out Asheville NC:






(Mari Miller Photography) Sun, 20 Apr 2014 23:54:46 GMT
M.L.Memories Portfolio Video  


Let M.L.Memories Photography capture your special moments..

Weddings, Boudoir, Individual and Family/Children Portraits, Senior Casuals and Commercial photography!


2014 Wedding Packages



  • 3 hours of coverage
  • DVD of edited images
  • Online gallery for preview and ordering




  • 6 hours of coverage
  • Hi-res DVD of edited images
  • Online gallery for preview and ordering
  • 2 photographers




  • Unlimited hours of coverage
  • Hi-res DVD of edited images
  • Online gallery for preview and ordering
  • 2 photographers




  • Unlimited hours of coverage
  • Full set of 4x6 prints
  • Hi-res DVD of edited images 
  • Online gallery for preview and ordering
  • add second photographer for $600.




  • Unlimited hours of coverage
  • Hi-res DVD of edited images
  • Unlimited locations of coverage on your wedding day
  • Online gallery for preview and ordering
  • add second photographer for $600.




  • Six hours of coverage on wedding day
  • Hi-res DVD of edited images 
  • Online gallery for preview and ordering
  • add second photographer for $400.




  • Four hours of coverage on wedding day
  • Hi-res DVD of edited images
  • Online gallery for preview and ordering
  • add second photographer for $300.



Ala Carte Menu

  • Hourly photography rate $200. Per hour (3 hour min)
  • Add additional photographer starting at $300.
  • 4x6 prints $1.25
  • Each 5x7 prints $2.10 each (recommended)
  • 8x10 print $17.99
  • 11x14 print $35.00
  • Photo Books starting at $99. (basic)
  • Deluxe large album $699
  • Medium photo book $229
  • Engagement session $299
  • Boudoir session $300
  • DVD of edited Photographs $99.00


Additional hours after scheduled time $200.


Deposit of 20% or $200. which ever is greater is needed to save your date. This is non-refundable for any reason


Final payment is due 15 days prior to the wedding date








(Mari Miller Photography) Franklin NC WNC weddings mountain photography wedding wedding Franklin NC wedding photography Fri, 18 Apr 2014 22:35:14 GMT
Shoots for a Cure

M.L.Memories Photography is excited to announce a partnership with Shoots for a Cure (formerly known as Think Pink Photography). Think Pink Photography was founded in October 2007 to support individuals and their families who have been touched by breast cancer. We are a charitable organization that serves two main purposes – celebrating life and supporting the cause. Recently, we changed our name and our support. We now want to support ALL cancer patients, not just breast cancer.

Through our professional photographer network, we are helping cancer patients to celebrate life with charitable photography sessions. Individuals may choose to document their fight against the disease before or during treatment, or prefer to capture their victory by scheduling a session within 12 months after treatment is completed. Photographers world-wide are now available to donate time and talent to celebrate life and support the cause. There is no cost or obligation to the cancer patient. Clients participating in a Shoots for a Cure session will receive a complimentary photo session, as well as a set of 10 small prints from the session. They will also receive a discount on any additional portraits they wish to purchase, although there is absolutely no purchase required at any time.

To support the cause, we donate and fundraise for The American Cancer Society and the Susan G Komen Foundation. All funds generated through donations and various fundraising efforts are paid directly to The American Cancer Society, the Susan G Komen Foundation, in our name, or used 100% for marketing and awareness of our program.

Please subscribe to our blog (on the Shoots for a Cure website) and tell your friends and family about Shoots for a Cure. Awareness is everything and we can’t be successful without you.

I encourage you to view our website, make a donation, or hire a photographer that supports Shoots for a Cure! If you hire me, mention Shoots for a Cure and I will make a personal donation to the organization. If you, or someone you know, would like to schedule a Shoots for a Cure session, please contact me for details.

I am very proud to be a network photographer with Shoots for a Cure, and am anxious to get the word out about this amazing program. For more information, you can contact me, or you can visit the Shoots for a Cure website at







(Mari Miller Photography) Breast Cancer Cure Shoot Survivor a for Tue, 25 Mar 2014 18:04:34 GMT
Spotlights This is by far my favorite challenge... actually only because I have already done this type of photography in the theater. It wasn't very challenging, but I still enjoyed trying something different.

Last night was the peak of our Winter storm that came through West North Carolina bringing in over 15" of snow. Late in the evening as the snow was falling, I ventured outside with photo subject and a cheap flashlight. Here is the image that I was able to capture.

I have have also shot an entire theater production "Women of Lockerbee" where the actors only used flashlights as their source of lights. It was quite challenging in the beginning, but I was very pleased with the results. Here's a few pictures from that production. If they didn't have the flashlight directly on themselves, they had one of the other actors shining their flashlight. There was a total of 28 actors in this production. To see all the theater pictures

Women of Lockerbee Production Women of Lockerbee Production Women of Lockerbee Production Women of Lockerbee Production Women of Lockerbee Production Women of Lockerbee Production Women of Lockerbee Production







(Mari Miller Photography) Thu, 13 Feb 2014 18:56:06 GMT
Twilight Photography I've taken a few weeks off from my Winter Photo Challenge to deal with my personal life. I can't say that I missed photography but I have learned that through my photography, it gives me an outlet to focus on other things and be creative.

This week the challenge was to photography at twilight... Seeing things a little different now and focusing on what you don't see that you should have seen all along. It's funny how life has a way of changing your perspective on things! As I was looking for the perfect, all inspired photo for this week, I happened to glance at my daughter's new car. What I saw was the reflection of the sunset and realized that there is beauty in everything.  No matter where it is.. it's there. You just have to look for it!

With all of that deep thought behind the picture... Here's my picture!

(Mari Miller Photography) Sun, 09 Feb 2014 18:16:53 GMT
Free Lensing This challenge was a little different... it was called free lensing. Basically you remove your lense from the camera and just hold it in front of it. I have to say I did not enjoy this challenge. Removing my lense and opening my camera up for damage was a little nerve racking!

Here is a picture that I took... nothing great, but as good as I could do.


(Mari Miller Photography) Sun, 19 Jan 2014 15:21:00 GMT
Reflectors This week I focused on using a relector... a large round disk that is white on one side and gold on the other side. In using the reflector, I was able to reflect the light source onto my subject. In the picture below, the one on the left I used the gold side and it case a golden hue on her face. The picture on the right was done with the white side which made her face brighter. I prefer natural photography but there is a time and place to use reflectors to enhance your pictures.



This was done with the white side of the reflector 2013


















(Mari Miller Photography) Thu, 09 Jan 2014 16:14:13 GMT
Crane Portrait After a week off of doing a photo assignment, and being extremely sick, I was glad to get back to photographing. This week the challenge was taking a portrait during the golden hour. The golden hour is the hour just after sunrise and the hour just after sunset that creates a beautiful hue of color on your subject. My portrait subject was a pair of Cranes in my mother-n-laws back yard. I managed to get my strength up to go outside and photography the birds. The one Crane was pretty intrigued with the camera and on several occassions came right up to my camera. I kept backing off, but he/she seemed really interested in what I was doing.  Here are a couple pictures from my Crane portrait session.

My portrait subject.. Look into those eyes, they are quite intimidating! 










I think this Crane was trying to keep the other Crane away from the camera... He/She was enjoying all the attention and didn't want to share it with anyone else!


(Mari Miller Photography) Wed, 01 Jan 2014 20:25:14 GMT
Bokeh This week I focused on bokeh... it's creating an image with an out of focus lense.  To create the heart shape, I used a piece of hard copy paper and punched a heart into it. Then placing the paper in front of my lense, I manually focused on the gingerbread cookie. This caused the lights in the Christmas tree to change their shape into a heart... also called bokeh!

Here's a few other photos that I tried before I achieved the final result.


I call this 'Sugar Plums dancing in my head". I cut out the sugar plum fairy shape and manually unfocused to create this shape!






And this would be my final photography.

I used one of my Gingerbread Man cookies and manually focused on the cookie. I cut out the 'heart' so that when I shot the photo, I would get this effect. I also choose to use my macro lense for more detail on the cookie!

With the cookie in focus, the background was not and it created the 'heart' shaped bokeh!




(Mari Miller Photography) Thu, 19 Dec 2013 21:47:29 GMT
Light Painting This weeks Winter Challenge used light in a different way. At low shutter speeds and some sort of light source, you can 'paint' designs onto your images. I used a simple background of a teddy bear and a mug and used a small flashlight to paint the 'tree steam' coming up from the mug.

Here are a couple of the photos I took.


This was my favorite version because the tree looked a little more whimsical. Below are a few other photos.

2013 2013

The tree on the left was a little to doodly and the one on the right looked like a Charlie Brown tree!

(Mari Miller Photography) Fri, 13 Dec 2013 21:45:16 GMT
Silhouettes This week I focused on back lighting, creating a silhouette effect. As I was out enjoying the quaint town of Dillsboro for the Luminaries, it starting pouring and people were walking around with their umbrellas. I happened to capture this photo of a couple strolling through the streets with the lights in the background creating the perfect silhouette effect.




(Mari Miller Photography) Sat, 07 Dec 2013 02:22:16 GMT
Star Gazing This week I ventured out late at night... in the C O L D and took a few pictures of the stars. What you normally see when you look into the sky, is not what you can capture in a picture. When you open your aperture (f3.5) up, lower your shutter speed (20 sec) as well as raise your ISO (1000), you can capture the lights of the stars you can't see with your eyes. Here are a couple of pictures I took last night from my front deck. The long streaks are actually cars coming up the mountain, which I though added an interesting detail in the picture.

This is overlooking our town of Franklin.




(Mari Miller Photography) Sat, 30 Nov 2013 16:26:56 GMT
Prism This week's photo challenge was a little harder than I anticipated. I used a prism to give my picture interest by creating interesting images. Because the prism has three sides, it brought the right and left side into my picture. I was facing the mountains, and with the use of the prism you can see what was to the left and right of the picture. The prism that I used was only about 3 inches and didn't really give me the desired effect I was hoping for. I will be redoing this assignment and trying it with the correct 6 inche prism so I can get a different effect.


(Mari Miller Photography) Fri, 22 Nov 2013 17:00:25 GMT
Rembrandt Triangle The Rembrandt triangle is a concept you use to get beautiful shadows and highlights on a person’s face. It all relates back to the painter, Rembrandt, and his paintings.  They all have strong highlights on one side and shadow on the other. The strong side angled light creates a little triangle shadow next to the nose. Some consider this to be the Rembrandt triangle, some consider a small triangle of light on the cheekbone on the shadowed side of the face to be the Rembrandt triangle.

Two other shots I took.

(Mari Miller Photography) Tue, 12 Nov 2013 17:21:06 GMT
Golden Hour This weeks photo challenge is landscape pictures during the golden hour. The golden hour is the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset. My landscape consist of mountains, so I set out to capture what I see on a regular basis!

Sunset was at 5:25 pm so my golden hour was from 4:25 to 5:25... This picture was taken around 5:10

The best part about getting the golden hour pictures is that you can stay around a few minutes longer and get sunset pictures.

This was actually as I was coming down off our mountain heading towards town.  Beautiful red/orange sunset!


(Mari Miller Photography) Wed, 06 Nov 2013 23:06:33 GMT
Back Lighting I have accepted the Winter Challenge from my fellow photogs. One 'new' picture per week using different lighting sources! This is week one, Back Lighting. With the weather this past week, it has been hard to have the right lighting. This picture was taken just as the sun was setting. I had a pile of Fall leaves, so I through them together pulled off my wedding rings... and BAM!


Here's a few of the other shots...


(Mari Miller Photography) Sun, 03 Nov 2013 17:35:56 GMT
Bear Shadow I know, you probably were thinking something different and this is what I posted as the 'bear shadow'... Well, it's one of those things that you have to live here to be able to appreciate! It's not as simple as just going between certain times and dates, you have to factor in the clouds and weather. This just happened to be the perfect day to take a picture... nice cool, crisp day! Another photo op off my bucket list.

The 'bear shadow' is only visible for 30 minutes daily between 5:30 and 6:00 pm from mid October through early November. During this period, the bear-like shadow comes out of hibernation when the sun sets behind Whiteside Mountain.



(Mari Miller Photography) Thu, 24 Oct 2013 16:58:30 GMT
Brunswick Stew Brunswick Stew



In a small mountain town located in Franklin North Carolina there is a tradition among friends and family of the Jones family... Brunswick Stew.

Mid October, just as the leaves are at peak it is time for the yearly tradition.  This past weekend was the 20th Anniversary of Brunswick Stew. For those that have never heard of the Franklin Brunswick Stew, it's a local families tradition of inviting friends and family to their rustic cabin high in the mountains of North Carolina. By rustic I mean rustic, complete with no running water and yes, an outhouse located along a short hiking trail. 


To see the gallery of pictures from Brunswick Stew, click on the link below.                           

2013 2013

The tradition begins around noon on Saturday where all the Jones' children, one a Senior in high school and the other a Sophomore in college, best friends arrive to unpack the massive amount of camping gear and food. From a family recipe, the famous Brunswick stew, a mixture of five meats and vegetables, is started in a large cauldron type pot. Adults and children take turns stirring the pot with a large wooden ore and chopping the meat into little bits.

Around 4 o'clock in the afternoon, the stew is ready. By that time, there are people from all over that have been invited to join.... Old college roommates of the Mr. Jones, their parents and siblings as well as people that they have met over the years through work and church. My invite came from being the parent of their daughter's best friend.  My daughter graduated last year and is in college, but she wasn't going to miss out!

This year, like all years, there are literally hundreds that come out for dinner. When I say a rustic mountain cabin, I didn't say what it took to travel to the cabin! Their cabin is located just below Wayah Bald fire tower, about 5800' about 45 minutes from Franklin. Once you manage the little dirt road to the top, you see cars parked alongside the road and a little rutted, overgrown road that leads back to the cabin. Cars are parked outside because only 4x4 can access the cabin. Because it is a one lane road, that's an overstatement, they have devised a clever way of controlling traffic.. 1-29 goes out and 30-59 goes in. Can't understand that, well it took some time to finally get but that's by the minutes! It takes 30 minutes going in or coming out!


Once the stew is ready, it's time to come out front and make a large circle. We each tell who we are and where we are from; them join hands and say a prayer. This year they invited a few musicians up to add to the atmosphere and it just added that extra special touch.



The circle began with Mr. Jones thanking the ones that have made the Brunswick Stew possible and telling a few stories from past participants.

The Jones family took turns reading a poem from a special friend. Then to commemorate the 20th Anniversary, special t-shirts were made and given to those that have participated the longest in their tradition. In addition, a special beer was introduced 'Wayah Cabin Fever' made especially for Brunswick Stew.



The back reads

Wayah Cabin Fever (noun)

1. A seasonal, highly contagious disease in which the afflicted have the overwhelming desire to subject themselves to:

A car-crippling road; a smelly/breezy outhouse; black coffee in a rusty pot; sketchy stew made by even sketcher men; tater guns; a field full of dusty mattresses; slicing cold meat in the early dawn; relaxing in a cabin and on a deck that know no building code; bad shooting; worse stories; unrestrained laughter; warm fires and warmer friends; enough food to ensure overindulgence; and a propensity to stand near the make-shift railing and just stare at the beauty that is Wayah. There's an outbreak every Fall and fortunately NO cure.

Catch it!

Just before the sun was setting and everyone was preparing for bed the Jones dog, a beautiful golden retriever, could not be found. The teens organized a search party and went to the tower looking for her... nothing! We are right on the Appalachian Trail and some went down looking for her, and still could not find her. She was no where to be found and she didn't have her collar and tags on.  The Jones has always brought her and she has never just wondered off.

After an evening of food and friends... and sharing a huge bottle of Merlot with a new girlfriend, even though she wouldn't spend the night in the tent because she pays a mortgage----- Denise! The unbrave head down the mountain leaving about ten adults and all the teens! The cabin has dozens of mattress that are spread out on the floor and are covered with sleeping bags and blankets. The girls get the main room, with the wonderful fireplace that gives out the warmth and coziness of the cabin. While the girls sleep in luxury (lol) the guys get the bat cave. The room in the back behind what was the kitchen. It's ok, they are boys and the ceiling had black plastic nailed to the ceiling keeping the bats away.  Bed time comes early at the cabin, as soon as it gets dark it's bedtime! I and a few other braver souls decided to either tent camp or sleep in our cars. For me, I choose my car... safe from bears and whatever else that may want to find us.

Inside the main room of the cabin. All the mattress and blankets from the girls  

With our mountains, you never know what the weather will be like, but are sure it will be cold! This year was suppose to be colder than the past few years have been so I brought along four heavy blankets and a couple of jackets.  I thought that would be sufficient for the back seat of my car.

I'm not much of a going-to-bed-early type of person so being in bed by 9ish was a little bit early.  I thought putting on the long johns on would help keep me warm.  So, I'm ready for bed all snuggled under four blankets that had been doubled and my two jackets. Not sure when I finally got to sleep, but I remember waking up around 2 am and my face was freezing as well as all of me. There was no getting warm, no matter how I laid. I finally figured out how to make a tent over my face so at least my nose wouldn't be so cold. The temperatures dropped in the 20's that night and when I got up and out at 6:30 for the beautiful sunrise that Mr. Jones promises, the ground was covered in frost! I think I was covered in frost as well..

I managed to wrap enough blankets around me to stagger to the cabin where I knew there would be an amazingly warm fire going. After pushing my way inside the door, I headed straight for the fire! All the teens know that they need to be out on the deck for sunrise, so shortly after I burst inside I watched each one get up in their sleeping bag and wonder to the porch to claim their spot. Not a word was uttered, I'm not even sure they were awake, but they were headed out to the freezing porch.

It's a 24 hour adventure starting about noon on Saturday and ending on Sunday morning with a spectacular sunrise, and breakfast! At least that's what we had been promised. I managed to drag myself from the fire and set my camera and tripod up so that I could capture this amazing sunset. It seemed like forever waiting for the sun to pop up from behind the mountains..

The clouds were filling the valleys, and the beautiful glow of the sun was beginning to show.

Little by little, the sun began to show and rays of light filled the sky. Everyone on the front porch bundled up in rocking chairs just waiting for that magically moment to happen.

And just as promised, the beautiful sunset was right before our eyes! The beauty of God's hand... the mountains lighting up with clouds filling in the valleys. It's a feeling that I just can't describe in words other than to say the suffering of sleeping in the car combined with freezing and not feeling my feet... were so worth it at that moment.

As everyone was retreating back inside the cabin for a little warm and thawing out, the adults began preparing for breakfast.  I thought the sunset was amazing... just imagine cooking pancakes on a Paella pan with sausage and bacon. Oh, the sights and smells of breakfast!

The teens take over the pancake station and start making pancakes with guidance. The large Paella pan was loaned by another family and has worked out so well.

Mr. Jones does his duty on the bacon and sausage station.. What a magnificent view. I overheard Mrs. Jones telling Mr. Jones if he would get her a house with a view like that, she would cook all the time!

While breakfast was being made, search parties were being formed to look for the missing dog, Honey. It had been a cold night and everyone was worried about Honey. Their son took a ride up to the tower to look while other's searched trails and called for her. We all hoped that she had found a hiker and was just bedding down with them for the night and would be back.

The Jones daughter and her friends were making "lost dog" signs to hang up along the trail and on the house just in case someone would see her. Honey is an older dog and none of us were sure if we would ever see her again.


It was a really hard time for the Jones, their 20th Anniversary and the worse thing happened. A member of their family, Honey was missing. They tried so hard to make everyone feel at home, but you just knew their heart was breaking.

We all managed to get through breakfast, I had no doubts! Again, it was a wonderful food with an amazing view.


2013 2013


After breakfast, it was time to clean up and leave... our 24 hour adventure was about to be over. Everything had to be cleaned, packed and put into vehicles to go down the mountain. The cabin had to be locked up and secured from traveling visitors.


There were lots to be done and everyone is expected to pitch in and help.

The last thing that gets done is the group pictures in the morning... another tradition! Everything is done, cabin secured, cars packed and now I am putting the girls together for a group picture...




I can't hardly describe what happens next, or who even said it but.... all I know is when we look up towards the Appalachian Trail, here comes Honey. Tongue hanging out and tail just a wagging away. You could fill the emotions building up inside... She just trotted up like ok, the works done, and I'm here! The Jones family just hugged her in such relief, and the rest of us all had tears in our eyes.

The Perfect ending to a Perfect weekend!

A special Thank you to the Jones family for hosting such a wonderful, memorible weekend for everyone. The Brunswick Stew has become part of our memories and we have enjoyed sharing your tradition.

The Jones Family

Here are the group pictures...


This is the original five... every year we take a picture of them. They are the best of friends, and no matter what happens between them I know they will always be best friends forever!

The girls.... all met through Rabun Gap Nacoochee school and one is from Germany, the others are from Georgia, and North Carolina.

The guys.... This was their idea.  Big Bag Mountain Men!!!

The Whole RGNS group

This is the brave group that stayed overnight and roughed the elements of what is known as Brunswick Stew!


To see the gallery of pictures from Brunswick Stew, click on the link below.


Past Best Friends Pictures




(Mari Miller Photography) #brunswick stew #franklin #jones #north carolina Tue, 22 Oct 2013 21:50:09 GMT
Fall Fall is such a beautiful time of year. Watching the leaves change their colors and gently float to the ground! I live at 3800' and the clouds routinely fill my view. This morning when I went outside, the beauty of Fall was all around!

You can almost feel the crispness in the air!

(Mari Miller Photography) #Fall #leaves Fri, 18 Oct 2013 16:08:00 GMT
'lil Miss Fall Fall is definately in the air! There's nothing better than a Fall photo shoot with a tutu skirt and a huge sunflower. My lil model, Stevie Lynne did such a great job being photographed..


(Mari Miller Photography) Mon, 14 Oct 2013 21:18:57 GMT
Breast Cancer Awareness October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. While most people are aware of breast cancer, many forget to take the steps to have a plan to detect the disease in its early stages and encourage others to do the same. We have made a lot of progress but still have a long way to go and need your help! During the month of October, I will be offering free photo sessions for those that are fighting and those who have won the fight against Breast Cancer! Send me an email at [email protected] for more information.


(Mari Miller Photography) Tue, 08 Oct 2013 19:24:21 GMT
Specific Tips for Preparing for a Photo Session Maternity

  • Moisturize that belly!
  • Gather your props to bring along – ultrasound printout, alphabet blocks that spell your baby’s name, baby shoes, stuffed animals, flowers, whatever you’ve seen in other maternity photos that you like.
  • Wear whatever you feel comfortable and pretty in – long, flowy skirts, especially solids are nice, and strapless bras that coordinate with them. Tube dresses are great for showing off your shape. Bring a pair of regular jeans, not the belly panel ones. A button-up shirt also makes it easy to transition into showing your belly.
  • If you’re doing semi-nude/implied nude photos, bras and underwear will create noticable lines on your skin, so wear loose-fitting clothing to the shoot. You can add undergarments as necessary for photos later in the shoot.
  • Do bring your significant other! They’ll make a great prop for your photos, and greatly expand on the number of different photos you can make during your shoot. They should bring outfits that coordinate with what you’ll be wearing, or a dark long-sleeved shirt or sweater and dark pants. The focus should always be on you, your expressions, your emotions, your personality, your joy and your connection.

Newborns and Babies

  • Use a wash cloth to clean away flaky skin and eye boogers.
  • If your baby has flaky skin, cradle cap, or eczema, I can highly suggest Lil’ Outlaws Rump Rub [seeing as it's made by my wife!]. It’s handmade, it’s vegan, it’s chemical free, I know exactly what’s in it, and it works wonderfully.
  • Trim those tiny fingernails and toenails with appropriate baby trimmers.
  • Book your shoot around your baby’s feeding and nap times, work with the natural rhythm of your baby. The perfect time to shoot is right when the baby would be laying down for a nap. If your baby normally falls asleep after a feeding, wait to feed the baby until you’re at the shoot. Baby photographers allot plenty of time for this sort of thing to set up the best situation for great photos.
  • Dress up paper diapers. Cloth diapers are classy and stylish, but if you don’t use them, bring bloomers or decorative diaper covers, solids preferred.
  • Nothing is the best wardrobe for a newborn – no outfit fits a newborn well, and they often look swallowed in clothes. Accessories are good, though – little hats, dainty headbands, boys in crocheted hats, etc. Bring sentimental items like the quilt that Grandma made for the baby, a baby blanket from your own childhood – they’re great for the youngster to lay on.
  • If your baby takes a pacifier, bring it – if they’re bottle fed, bring an extra bottle to help put the baby to sleep.


Clean, clean, clean – clean nails, clean hair, wipe away eye boogers, clean feet (sandals on kids = black feet!), wipe snotty noses, fresh-scrub teeth. The cleaner the kid, the better their photos will turn out.

If your child is still in diapers or pull-ups, tuck’em in or wear bloomers.

  • If your child is still of napping age, make sure they nap before the shoot.

It is perfectly okay to bring bribes to a photo shoot – given a stage and being the center of attention, it’s like our kids know exactly when to act their worst. Some cereal, smarties or other candy that won’t stain teeth can help a short photo shoot go by smoothly.

Avoid colorful drinks or lollypops within 24 hours of your shoot, don’t let them eat or drink anything that will stain their face, teeth or mouths.

Wardrobe – For girls, you can’t go wrong with cute dresses, rompers, and dainty hats or headbands. For boys, jeans and polos or a button-up shirt, or a T-shirt with a button-up over it can be very cute, as well as overalls on the right age and personality. For siblings, the children don’t have to match perfectly, just coordinate. You can’t go wrong with dark, rich monotones, which drive the attention in photos to sweet faces and darling expressions instead of loud prints or colors. If nothing else, pick a color that compliments your child’s eye color.


Dad – Have a fresh shave or trim, and use a new razor with shaving cream and a moisturizing after-shave lotion to limit bumps and redness. Make sure nails are clean and trimmed. Wash your hands. Clean up your shoes. Moisturize and scrub away flaky facial skin (see above General advice). When you wash your face, pay attention to eye boogers and sleep crusties. For wardrobe, go for jeans or pants, tucked polo or dress shirt with a belt, or go casual with just a T-shirt or untucked polo, button-up short sleeve, etc. In general, whatever your wife tells you to wear. Again you don’t have to perfectly match the rest of the family, just wear something that coordinates.

Mom – Women know what to wear, but in general, unless you are extremely thin you may want to wear something that covers your upper-arms. Long- or 3/4-sleeve tops are very flattering. If you wear jewelry, aim for subtlety, and be aware of it twisting or turning.

Kids – Same advice as above, but again, everything needn’t match, simply coordinate with the parents’ outfits. If Dad’s in a T-shirt, don’t put the kids in dress shirts – make it make sense.


High school seniors

The biggest tips for seniors are to have an even tan, don’t get sunburned, clean and freshly-paint those nails, and moisturize and scrub away dry skin.

Bring a variety of outfits – cap and gown, something casual, something stylish, ladies slip a dress in there to throw folks off, fellas try a formal look to impress. Wear what you think you look best in, but take the opportunity to also try a new look, just to surprise folks.

Bring props that recall your high school years – band instrument, sports gear like a volleyball or baseball bat, your beloved (or cursed) high school car, letter jacket, sunglasses. Most of all, rep your style, whatever that may be. Your senior photo should be unique to your life and personality.


(Mari Miller Photography) Mon, 30 Sep 2013 15:15:00 GMT
Yummy Fall treats When you think of Fall.. you think of colors, smells and all those yummy treats! On a recent commercial photo session I picked up a few apples and it just so happened that I had all the ingredients to make caramel... There you have it Caramel Chocolate covered apples with Pecans.


(Mari Miller Photography) Tue, 24 Sep 2013 18:45:00 GMT
Tips for Your Senior Portrait Session Tips for Your Senior Portrait Session

With the school year ending, many seniors have already begun planning for their senior portrait sessions. It is never too early! Here are a few tips to ensure your senior portraits are the very best they can be.

Tips for Your Senior Portrait Session

  1. The most important part of the shoot is having fun! Relax and have fun in your shoot.
  2. If your senior photographer shoots using natural light only, it is very important to be on time. Since the sun is the main light source, the sun depends on how long the photographer can continue shooting. If you’re late to your shoot (morning or afternoon session), you cut into the time allotted for the shoot. If you show up 30 minutes late, your session isn’t extended, but rather will end when there is no longer adequate light to keep shooting.
  3. Girls want to feel especially pretty and confident for their shoot! Spending a little extra time getting ready or hiring a professional makeup artist achieves just that.
  4. Bring props that showcase your wonderful personality! Don’t be afraid to bring along anything that truly reflects your individuality. If you have your cap and gown or just the tassel that also make memorable photos.
  5. Bring a change of clothing! This allows for a little diversity in your images. I like to suggest a very casual outfit and one a little dressier.
  6. However, whatever clothing you bring, make sure you are comfortable in it. Make sure it isn’t trendy; this will date your images. Don’t choose clothing that is too loose or too tight.
  7. PLEASE, PLEASE do not dress in all white, or black, or any color for that matter. Get creative! Wear colors and patterns and textures that complement each other! Don’t forget to accessorize!
  8. Make sure you keep your location in mind. You don’t want to blend into the background, you want to stand out! If your session is in a forest, I’d suggest staying away from green and brown colors. If you plan on jumping in a pool, I wouldn’t wear white.
  9. If at any time during your shoot, you have an idea, share it with your photographer!
  10. It’s best to have your senior session (mini or regular) completed prior to January 1st. This will leave time to post process all the images and still have time to order any prints or customized graduation invitations in time for the big day!
  11. Trust your photographer. See #1 above.



(Mari Miller Photography) Fri, 20 Sep 2013 15:15:00 GMT
Fall Visitor I have been decorating my porch for Fall... corn stalks, pumpkins, purple and yellow mums, but I didn't invite this little spider! It looks like it's sticking it's tongue out at me :\

(Mari Miller Photography) Thu, 19 Sep 2013 18:35:15 GMT
Big Yawns! I live in a pretty rural town in the mountains of North Carolina.. there's not a lot happening. My kitten, Beans, is usually being photographed on a regular basis. After trying to get him to chase bubbles, he just layed down and yawned! I think he had had enough!


(Mari Miller Photography) Wed, 18 Sep 2013 21:00:00 GMT
Preparing for a Photo Session Session Prep A to Z


Avoid white

Try to avoid wearing white clothes in your photos.  White always wins the eye, and it also tends to overexpose, so the eye will be stolen by a white shirt or dress instead of the person wearing it.


Avoid high--‐salt and high--‐fat foods for two to three days in advance of your shoot.  I’ve also found that staying well hydrated helps thin out your face.  Being bloated will sap your confidence and comfort in front of the camera.


Comfort is key! Photo sessions aren’t designed to be torturous—I want you to have fun. If you don’t feel comfortable in them, there’s no need to wear overly formal dresses or suits, or skin--‐tight outfits (similarly, avoid overly baggy clothing—the camera won’t add 10 lbs, but ill--‐fitting clothes will!)

Dry skin

Dry skin can really detract from a great photo shoot. Start moisturizing nightly a week in advance of your shoot. When you get out of the shower, dry off until lightly damp, and slather on moisturizer. Focus on your arms, shoulders, neck, face, hands, anywhere you’ll be exposed to the camera. This includes your legs if you’re shooting in shorts or a skirt. ProTip: For dry skin on your face, especially around your nose, use a sugar scrub. Mix a cup of sugar with about a quarter cup of olive oil, or just until it looks like wet sand. Scrub your face with it anywhere you have flaky skin, wash it off, then wash with soap to remove the oil. The sugar paste shouldn’t be oily, just wet enough to moisten the sugar. Also, be sure on your face to use a facial moisturizer, not a thick body moisturizer, or you could break out. [Us men, of course, are most in need of this advice, especially around the face and hands.]

Everyone does NOT have to match!

The biggest misconception I get for portraits is that everyone in the picture should be matching. This isn’t true!  Your entire family doesn’t walk around the kitchen wearing white shirts and khaki pants, so why should you do that in your pictures?  Try choosing a color family (for instance, all warm colors such as red, brown, and gold) and then add some variety within that color family.  It’s okay to mix patterns and fabrics as long as the colors tie everything together. For more advice and examples of what to wear for your family portraits, scroll down!

Facial Hair

Men, be freshly shaved with a new razor, shaving cream and a moisturizing after-shave lotion to avoid bumps and redness. Trim up your board, sideburns, moustache or goatee, especially looking for wiry stray hairs. Ladies, even if you have some light facial hair (particularly around your lip or chin), indulge in a waxing in advance of your shoot – even barely-there light facial hair will be noticeable in your photos. Men and women both, pluck and clean up those eyebrows.


If folks wouldn’t recognize you without glasses, you want to wear glasses in your shoot – however, the glare on glasses can detract from your eyes in photos. You can have your lenses removed from your frames for your shoot (don’t worry, it’s what Hollywood does to avoid glare in movies), ask your eye doctor to loan you a pair of similar frames, or you can also visit an inexpensive company online like Zenni Optical and buy a suitable pair of duplicate frames on the cheap.


If you’re getting a haircut for your shoot, do so about two weeks beforehand, just in case it goes wrong – you just never know. For men, a fresh cut a couple of days before the shoot is fine.


If you iron, iron the night before and then hang the clothes for your shoot. If you’re wearing something that wrinkles easily, don’t wear it in the car on the way to the shoot – just change at the location.


Jeans are my favorite go--‐to piece of clothing because they’re comfortable and casual. They work well for every type of portrait—families, seniors, headshots, etc. When in doubt, bring a great--‐fitting pair of jeans.

Keep Clothes Simple

Avoid logos, busy patterns, and anything that will detract attention away from your face.


You will probably wipe or lick your lips during your shoot, so bring fresh lip gloss or lipstick to do touch-up. Use lip balm for a few days in advance of your shoot to make your smoochers look their best.


A subtle application of make-up can really soften your skin and accent your facial features. But make sure you know what you’re doing, and make sure it matches your skin tone, or your face may look orange compared to the rest of your body


A fresh coat of nail polish will make a world of difference in your photo shoot. Pick a neutral color that won’t distract in your shoot or clash with your outfits. Freshen the morning of the shoot, then be careful not to scuff it while prepping. [I see this most often with high school senior girls, to whom half-gone nail polish seems to be a popular fad.] Your photo shoot is a great excuse for a fresh manicure, but if you can’t go to the salon, make sure your nails look tidy and clean, including the cuticles.


People with lighter skin tones should avoid light colors, like white. Similarly, people with darker skin tones should avoid dark colors such as navy, dark purple, dark brown, or black. Portraits look best when there’s significant contrast between skin and clothing.


Bringing personal items can help make your session more meaningful. Some ideas to get you started:

Newborns: hats, headbands, woven baskets, sentimental items like the quilt that Grandma made for the baby, or a baby blanket from your own childhood

Kids: Jump rope, chalk, bubbles, balloons, giant lollipops, costumes, sunglasses, Radio Flyer wagons

Engagement: Something that shows off your relationship or interests! Bikes, headphones, books, coffee mugs, etc. Bring a blanket if we’re shooting in a field. “Save the Date” or “Thank You” signs for future card designs are also cute!

Seniors: Musical instruments, sports gear, letter jacket, college t--‐shirt

Maternity: Ultrasound printout, alphabet blocks that spell your baby’s name, stuffed animals, flowers

Quit smoking ;)

Not to be your mom, but please avoid smoking and drinking a few days before your session as it will help you look your best. In general, be nice to your body. Sleep is always helpful too!

Red eyes

Visine is your friend. Not getting drunk the night before your shoot helps, too.


Ladies, can’t go wrong in heels or wedges. Men, clean’em up! Dress shoes are best [or boots down here in Texas], but as with most things, let your momma or your wife decide.

Tan Lines & Sunburns

If your shoot is booked for Saturday, don’t go to the beach on Friday. If you plan to tan before your shoot, do so at least a week beforehand and don’t get burned. Be mindful of clothing tan lines, sunglass tan lines, hat tan lines, etc.


Bring a set of bras and strap--‐adjusting accessories to work with any outfit you want to shoot in.  Make sure to keep your straps well-- hidden. Also think about underwear lines—you never know when they might show up in your pictures!


If you’re planning on wearing multiple outfits, change up your looks! Try one formal outfit (for example, a prom dress for senior girls), one casual outfit (jeans and a tee), and something in--‐ between—perhaps a cute sundress for girls, or jeans and dress shoes for guys.


If you want to brighten your smile, start your treatments about two weeks before your session.

eXtra Clothes

Okay, the letter “X” was a stretch.  But please bring a TON of clothes with you if you’re unsure about what to wear. Just pack your trunk full, and I’ll help you choose at your session.

Your job is to have fun!

If this list stresses you out too much, then IGNORE it. All you have to do is show up to your session.  I promise I’ll make you look your best.


Start using African Black Bar Soap for a week in advance of your shoot to help reduce and limit pimples and blemishes. Equally important, don’t cake on a lot of make--‐up to try to hide blemishes it’s almost always easier to Photoshop away pimples than to clean up overdone make--‐up.

(Mari Miller Photography) Tue, 17 Sep 2013 00:50:50 GMT
Main Street in Highlands NC Our area has been filled with visitor from all over the Country.  While in the Highlands this past week, only a few local people were out and about on the streets! We love our visitors, but it's nice to not have all the traffic!


(Mari Miller Photography) Fri, 13 Sep 2013 20:45:00 GMT
Fall Mini Sessions Take advantage of all our beautiful colors this Fall.  In a few weeks we will start seeing the colors and they will make a gorgeous backdrop to your family photo. There are several dates available to schedule your Mini Session... send me an email [email protected]


(Mari Miller Photography) Wed, 11 Sep 2013 20:41:27 GMT
The Same Sky This picture was taken the night that I had a conversation with a special friend. She was leaving for the military the next morning, and she was so upset with the thought of leaving her family and friends. This post is for Shelby.... every time I see the moon, the sky or the stars I think of you and I am praying for you! Love you Ms. Shelby!


(Mari Miller Photography) Mon, 09 Sep 2013 21:00:00 GMT
Quote of the Week


(Mari Miller Photography) Thu, 08 Aug 2013 17:15:00 GMT
An Old Friend... A little reflection back to the good old days.. Today, I pulled out my old friend, my Minolta Maxxium 9... We have been to Paris together and so many trips to the beach, not to mention the celebrations that were captured. It's been 13 years but as I turned it on and focused, it felt like no other camera! I truly miss the 35mm days of shooting pictures and anxiously awaiting the developing to see if I captured that 'moment'.

(Mari Miller Photography) Sat, 03 Aug 2013 20:00:00 GMT
Holidays are Coming! It's August and the Holiday season is just months away... Business are beginnning to decorate their stores! Here is a store in Highlands, North Carolina.. Appalachian Harvest!

(Mari Miller Photography) Fri, 02 Aug 2013 19:46:33 GMT
Quote of the Week


(Mari Miller Photography) Thu, 01 Aug 2013 17:15:00 GMT
Book Your Wedding with M.L.Memories Your beautiful 'Memories' captured and recorded on a custom printed DVD and case. All package prices include edited DVD with copyright release. Email me today for more information about our Wedding Packages and pricing.

(Mari Miller Photography) Emily Foster Jessi Rodriguez Wedding Tue, 30 Jul 2013 16:33:09 GMT
My 'favorite' tea room Lavender N Lace, a sweet little tea room located in Central Florida. Great food and amazing desserts!

(Mari Miller Photography) lake Alfred lavender N Lace tea room Wed, 10 Jul 2013 18:01:05 GMT
Farm to Table I have been inspired by a little place in Highlands, Appalachian Harvest.. C_0169

(Mari Miller Photography) Appalachian harvest Cashiers Franklin Highlands Wed, 10 Jul 2013 17:58:10 GMT
Happy 4th of July

(Mari Miller Photography) Thu, 04 Jul 2013 17:55:00 GMT
Congratulations From this moment on, may you love and cherish each other. Wishing you a lifetime of happiness!

(Mari Miller Photography) Wed, 03 Jul 2013 03:06:45 GMT
Graduation Congratulations Class of 2013 from Rabun Gap Nacoochee-School!

(Mari Miller Photography) Sat, 01 Jun 2013 20:30:00 GMT
Beautiful NC Mountains Beautiful Mountains... enough said!

(Mari Miller Photography) Wed, 22 May 2013 18:02:52 GMT
Apple Blossoms I remember the sweet smells of orange blossoms from Florida, but today... I found Apple Blossoms and they smell amazing, just like fresh picked apples!

(Mari Miller Photography) Sun, 12 May 2013 21:14:50 GMT
Kentucky Derby I hate to admit, but this was the first year I have ever watched the Kentucky Derby... I was inspired by my Mint Julep cupcakes to watch!


(Mari Miller Photography) Wed, 08 May 2013 18:57:06 GMT
Win a new Camera Win a Nikon D800 or Canon 5D Mark III!

Big thanks to the SnapKnot wedding photography directory for offering this great camera giveaway!

 Enter via the widget below and you’ll have a shot at the grand prize.

(Mari Miller Photography) Wed, 01 May 2013 18:52:51 GMT
Bird Nest I combed the dogs hair this morning and put it out on the porch for the birds... it wasn't long before this little birdie came along and gathered up supplies to build a nest!


(Mari Miller Photography) Fri, 26 Apr 2013 17:16:14 GMT
Hummingbird Spring is definately here... the first Hummingbird this year!

(Mari Miller Photography) Wed, 24 Apr 2013 20:26:16 GMT
Spring The first day of Spring is one thing, and the first Spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month.


(Mari Miller Photography) Mon, 22 Apr 2013 14:05:37 GMT
Make it Special Ask how you can make your memories into wearable fashions!

(Mari Miller Photography) Fri, 29 Mar 2013 17:43:18 GMT
Rome Every year as a family, we try to find a destination that will better than the last! This year we did exactly that-- Rome, Italy! A beautiful city with such love and wonderful food!


(Mari Miller Photography) Wed, 13 Mar 2013 17:51:00 GMT
Cumberland Falls I spent the afternoon with a beautiful Senior at Cumberland Falls in Kentucky. Such a beautiful day captured for life!


(Mari Miller Photography) Sun, 10 Feb 2013 19:32:07 GMT
Cardinal I always see the red cardinal outside my window and I want to capture him, but everytime I go near the window he flys away. This weekend we had a Winter storm with eight inches of snow and I look out and he is sitting there! This time I was able to capture him in all his glory!

(Mari Miller Photography) Mon, 04 Feb 2013 16:17:04 GMT
Senior Bradleigh is a Senior at Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School. A quick look at her casual photos...

(Mari Miller Photography) Mon, 28 Jan 2013 15:44:08 GMT

Finding the biggest icicle is a little boys dream come true, but throwing the icicle is even better!

(Mari Miller Photography) Wed, 02 Jan 2013 20:34:24 GMT