Category Archives: Session Locations

Vendor Highlight – Overlook Barn Wedding Venue

Overlook Barn wedding venue now open in Banner Elk, North Carolina

Katie & David are the proud owners of Overlook Barn  wedding venue. The property is in Banner Elk, NC on top of Beech Mountain, which, at 5,506 feet above sea level is the highest town in Eastern America.

Overlook Barn wedding venueVenue Images by: Michelle Lyerly Photography

Barn weddings have been all the rage in the last few years and their popularity doesn’t seem to be fading. This venue features 4500 square feet of indoor event space can accommodate 250 people for a seated dinner or 300 for cocktail hour. Includes a catering prep area, built-in bar area, and stage for your DJ/band. It includes a styling room for the girls and a polishing room for the guys. As well as a fire pit area and gorgeous views of the Blue Ridge Mountains!


Uptown Charlotte Fashion Session

Uptown Charlotte Fashion Session

Thankfully the day was a gorgeous 70 degrees for this uptown Charlotte fashion session! Not bad for early February. But the wind was horrendous. It was blowing our hair EVERYWHERE! We spent most of the day pulling hair out of our eyes and wiping our drippy noses.  I would wait for slight breaks in the gusts and then click a few shots. Or try to make the wind work to my advantage. I love the wind, so I thought it was kinda cool, well except for the watery eyes and drippy nose part.


Engagement Session – Charlotte NC

Kara & Stephen’s engagement session at UNC Charlotte botanical gardens & Romare Bearden Park – Uptown Charlotte, NC

Wedding Palisades Country Club - Inspiration & Design Photography_0326 Kara & Stephen met in undergrad at UNC Charlotte. He is from Winston-Salem and Kara is from Woodstock, Georgia.  Kara now lives in Georgia finishing up graduate school studying physical therapy. She will Graduate next year, so the wedding date was set for after the medical boards examination.

Stephen proposal last July, at a metal table. So when I saw these metal tables in the park I thought it would be fun to reenact the proposal…okay maybe cheesy but kinda cute.

They will be getting married here in Charlotte, since it is such a special place for both of them.  Which will make for a two year engagement! Well on the bright side, that leaves plenty of time to plan the wedding!

At the end of the session, I suggested taking off their shoes and getting close to the water falls in the park.  After a few quick shots both mine & Stephen’s pants were wet from the knee down, which felt quite refreshing, for me a least.

The previous session the night before, my couple laid in the lake for the last few photos and left wet and sandy. I jokingly told Stephen & Kara,  my new standard is to make sure each client is wet by the end of the session!

The Proposal:
I was at my first clinical rotation in Stockbridge, GA and it had almost been a month since the last time we had seen each other. Stephen hadn’t mentioned anything about planning a visit to come see me and I began to get frustrated with him thinking he didn’t want to come visit me. Little did I know, he had a plan up his sleeve for a surprise weekend trip in Atlanta. Long story short, he spilled the beans and told me his surprise he had been planning to further prevent me from getting upset! Little did I know of the other surprise he had planned for the weekend!

I stayed down at clinic during the week and would travel back home on weekends. The only clothes I had during the week were work scrubs, so I needed to make
a trip back home to get some “normal” clothes to wear for this surprise weekend! Stephen created an itinerary (being the ops guy that he is, and me being the former college athlete) with TBD activities listed with what clothes I would need for the weekend.  I went home that Thursday night before to pack my clothes and drive back down to Stockbridge the following morning to finish out my 2nd week at clinic. (more…)

Engagement Session – Rankin Lake Gastonia

Jessica & Josh’s engagement session at Rankin Lake, GastoniaWedding Palisades Country Club - Inspiration & Design Photography_0303


I finally had the pleasure of meeting this sweet couple in person. They had entered my wedding giveaway earlier this year and were chosen as runners up in the contest.  It was a special pleasure to work with them.  They have been through an amazingly tough journey during their 3 short years together.  Including:  loss, death, birth, cancer, surgery, health issues…and through it all remained strong for and committed to each other. Those are very hard life struggles to endure for anyone and even harder for a couple so young.

Additionally, they have NEVER had professional photos done and it was very important to them, especially Jessica, because let’s be honest…most guys aren’t into the whole photo shoot thing.  We worked through Jessica’s nervousness with several emails and photo texts of clothing choices until it was perfect! Jessica liked the idea of canoe photos, which I thought was such a cute idea! Unfortunately when we got there we discovered we had only 30 minutes of rental time before the canoe had to be turned in. So that meant canoe photos in the bright sun, instead of closer to sunset like planned. That being said, we made it work with just a little sweat here and there, haha.

I consider the opportunity to create these loving, romantic images for this couple an incredible blessing.  I know it means a lot to them and I am blessed to be able to give them something so important to them.

Jessica & Josh, keep doing the amazing job of being there for each other through the peaks and valleys ahead. Keep making each other laugh. Hold each other tight on the bad days. And remember you’re totally awesome!!  I pray that the wedding of your dreams comes true for you both. Jessica I hope you find the perfect black wedding dress! You do look fabulous in black!

I hope these pictures bless you and much as you blessed me by sharing your love for each other that Saturday night…

HUGS, Tess


Bridal Session – The Ivy Place

Bridal session –  The Ivy Place, Lancaster, SCWedding Palisades Country Club - Inspiration & Design Photography_0199

I could hardly wait for her wedding to occur, so I could post these bridal images of this amazingly GORGEOUS bride!  Not only is she stunning on the outside, but she is truly one of the sweetest people I’ve met.  She has been my hairstylist for about two years now and during that time we have gotten quite close.  That old adage “only your hairdresser knows for sure”,  applies on so many levels!  I was thrilled when she asked me to photograph her wedding! Oh my gosh, doesn’t every photographer want to photograph a bride that looks like a Latin super model…Oh Pick Me -I DO!  You’ll hear more about Denise and her love story in my next post…her wedding. The Ivy place is fabulous for weddings or any type of session. With it’s character, charm, gardens, pond, barns, etc., it has so many options for beautiful backdrops.  They also have a spacious and beautiful room to change in, so it’s really a perfect location. Terry & Genie Graham (the owners), are super sweet people, which makes the location even better! Denise is super sultry, but also has the cutest smile and dimples, GAH some girls get all the looks (love ya girl). Anyway, enough gabbing…here’s a selection of my favorites from the session. Oh, one more thing…Bridal sessions are a super good idea. I’ve probably said this before, but not only is it a great way to have a trial run on your hair, make-up, flowers & the comfort level of your shoes, but it gives you another opportunity to wear your dress! I mean come-on, you spent how much?? EXACTLY!!  So why not get all dolled up and feel gorgeous for a couple of hours. And you wanna know something else? It comes in super handy when the wedding day runs behind – yup seen it happen time and time again. No matter how much planning goes into making the day run smoothly, there are just too many links in the wedding day chain. So if you have had your bridal session done, you don’t need to stress…You got this!! (more…)

Exploring The City

Charlotte is such a beautiful city! We found this cool parking garage uptown that had a great vantage point of the cityscape, so of course I snapped a few photos. I wish I would have thought ahead and had Luke wear something different. More color or darker colors would have created more interest.  Oh well, we had fun… AND I got some more photos of my son!! It’s been a while, you know that old saying the cobbler’s children have no shoes…well this photographer’s children have well, let’s say, not as many photos as you would expect. MYBAD…trying to find more time for that stuff and it’s not easy.

 I  feel like a one-man-band playing every instrument known to man, while my cute little monkey in his read suit & bell hop hat sits on me clanging my head with symbols!!  If you’re a business owner out there doing it all, I know you’re feelin me right now! 
















And now onto the city scape, garage photos…


Garden Delight

I had been searching the internet for days trying to familiarize myself with more areas of Charlotte and find additional locations to do photo sessions.  So this past beautiful Saturday, I talked my son Luke, into joining me and maybe…well…um modeling for me?  He’s usually up for an adventure, but rarely does he want to be photographed.  I miss the days when he would say “mommy, take a picture of me!”.  Thankfully this particular day he was on board with the plan and we set out to see a few places on my list.

Our first stop was the Mc Gill Rose Garden.  It’s a charming place for sure. Not much was in bloom, but it was still really beautiful.  Luke enjoyed trying the PET the garden cat, while the garden cat enjoyed trying to BITE him.  Luke loves cats and was just sure that the adorable furry creature would eventually soften to his affections…that would be a NO! Here are a few of the images from the garden and my handsome son.