This is a special senior session for me because Chelsea is my cousin. Chelsea and I had been waiting for the right time and place to take her senior photos for months. We knew we wanted flowers…and that’s all we knew (other than what she was going to wear…we also knew that).

We were too late for lavender fields, and I called three sunflower fields to no avail. We were starting to feel like we were never going to find the right location.

Tom and Deni Peterson, owners of Blue Door Garden in Abingdon, VA.
(Photo source: Blue Door Garden)

I mentioned our search for floral bliss at family dinner at my parents’ house, and my sister-in-law happened to know the perfect venue: Blue Door Garden in Abingdon, VA, owned by Tom and Deni Peterson.

I toured the garden a few weeks before the session and it was perfect. There were so many different varieties of flowers in rows, a barn, flower fields, and greenhouses. Where in the world do you start shooting when there are so many options to choose from?

Well, when it came time for Chelsea’s session, we started with sunflowers. Then, we moved to lots of other colorful, beautiful, flowers – some of which we had never seen before.

There were so many to choose from, but we found our favorites and made our way through the entire garden. It was so fun exploring all the different types of flowers; just don’t ask me what any of them are called!

Chelsea has always been so fun to take pictures of because she lets me be super silly; we laugh a lot so her smiles never look forced. It goes without saying that my favorite part of her sessions is just hanging out with her, but…do you want to know my favorite part of shooting at this location?

Deni is an amazing horticulturist and floral designer. My favorite part was when Chelsea changed outfits and Deni whipped up a custom bouquet on the spot to coordinate with Chelsea’s dress. Just look at it! (INSERT. HEART. EYES.)

It was amazing to watch Deni cut flowers and start bunching them together in Chelsea’s hands. We had a front-row seat to the making of art, and it was such a special experience.

To finish up her session, we headed over to the hydrangeas. (Hey, I knew the name of those!)

So now, let’s end this post with a flashback to the little Chelsea I remember. Chelsea, I love you and I’m so proud of you! I am so grateful you chose me to capture these photos for you. Happy senior year!


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