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My name is Susan, and Designs by Prater is what you could call my creative outlet that pulls together my photography, art and graphic design endeavors! The most important thing you should know about me is that my life revolves around my God and my Savior Jesus Christ, my family (especially my husband Todd, son JD, and puppy Lexie), family and friends. Other than that, I am pretty much obsessed with photography, Coca-Cola, and the color green (and all shades of green for that matter, especially teal). I love sports but cannot play them worth a lick. I would not trade my time as a college student at Mississippi State for anything in the world. The friendships and memories made there will stick with me forever...Hail State and Go Dogs! And I am very picky about my chocolate chip cookies, grilled cheeses, and shaved ice (gotta be SnoBiz watermelon flavor).

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Memorable Engagement Stories

Second to the year I got engaged, the year 2008 will go down in the history books as a year of memorable engagement stories! And this summer is the year that I was to witness two of them come to fruition.

Earlier this month, I got to cheer on Hayley and Jordan as they exchanged their "I Do's" in a very elegant afternoon wedding at our church! Now, their engagement story goes back several months ago to a scene in our church's worship service when our Pastor was just about to dismiss the Congregation for lunch. But before that happened, two of our college students walked onto the stage to perform a little skit that was to tell us about all the important announcements from the church bulletin...so we thought!

Well, the last announcement was plugging a married couple's retreat, and one of the guys jokingly asked the other - don't you have to be either married or engaged to go on that? Well, that's when the light bulbs started going off in everyone's mind as everyone slowly started to turn their heads to the section where Hayley and her family always sits. Before we could all take a collective deep breath, Jordan said "Well, there's something I can do about that!" Before you knew it, he was walking off the stage right toward Hayley and dropped down on one knee to ask her to be his wife. And let me tell you...there wasn't a dry eye in the place at that moment! And Hayley? I think we are still picking her jaw up off the floor..she was elated!

Well, fast forward to a few weeks ago, and their dreams became reality as they took one another's hands into their own and pledged their life, love, loyalty, hopes, dreams, and sorrows to the other as long as they both shall live. While I was not their official photographer for the wedding, I was very happy to take my camera along with me for the trip to snap some candids so I could do something special with one of them to serve as our gift for the couple! To see the amazing photos from their official photographer, click here and look for their names under "weddings."

On a sidenote, I must give props to our friend and usher for the day, Jordy, who just so happened to give me a seat with a great view, even though he did happen to place my husband right behind the only lady in the sanctuary wearing the biggest Kentucky-Derby-style hat I've ever seen in person! And what makes this whole story even more hysterical is that Todd was one of the guys helping direct cars to spots in the parking lot, and when he saw this lady pull up, he thought - Man, I sure feel sorry for the poor sap that will have to sit behind her. Haha...True story!!

Anyways, now for the pictures!

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and I just couldn't get enough of the fab details that made up this beautiful wedding cake; didn't Hayley do a great job selecting a cake?!
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To see other snapshots from the wedding, click here to see the album on Facebook!

Oh, and PS...stay tuned! Next weekend, I have the honor to serve as second shooter at a wedding that involves a couple from my other most memorable engagement story of 2008. Those pictures will make an appearance on the blog, along with their story, very soon! :)

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Now Live - focus : stranges

Last week, I had a hard time narrowing it down to just a few photos to show as a sneak peek of my recent session with the Strange family. So you can imagine that narrowing down the rest of the pictures to blog 20 or so images tonight was even harder. This family is just so stinkin' cute!!

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and I just couldn't decide which of these two I liked best, so I posted them both! :)
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To see the rest of the images from their session or to place an order, click on the image below!

stranges front

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

I'll Praise You In This Storm...

Today has been a very long day. One full of shock and amazement, sadness and praise. I've gone through the entire spectrum of emotions since 7:00 this morning that I can't even seem to find the words with which to begin. So we'll start with this picture:


This is Jennie. As I like to dub her, she is my fabulously stylish photography partner in crime! She's half the brains behind my newest venture - Shutter Squared - that was only just introduced to you this week. But she's also so many other wonderful things.

She's a free-spirited eclectic soul. She's a warm-hearted courageous woman. She's a gracious and compassionate sister in Christ. She and her husband are a beloved part of our small group at church. She's a strong-willed and responsible daughter to some very proud parents. And she is also the proud mother of a 20-week in the womb baby boy! But today, she has been through the entire spectrum of emotions more so than me.

Today she has been a shocked, scared, worried, prayerful, elated, and patient woman. Shocked when her water broke at 2:30 this morning. Scared when the thought that she might be losing her baby rushed through her mind. Worried about what the doctor would tell her after being rushed to the hospital. Prayerful as they waited to hear what was going on. Elated when she heard her baby's heartbeat still going strong. And patient once she was told that she would have to stay in the hospital on bed rest until her baby boy's lungs had developed enough for early delivery when her body tells her that's as long as it can carry him.

And now we are all patient. Now we all pray fervently alongside her, her husband, and the rest of their family. Now we praise God that He is there in the middle of this storm, and that He will give them the comfort and strength they need in the next few weeks and months. It's going to be a long road no matter what happens. The chances are against "bun" as everyone so affectionately likes to refer to their baby. He will indeed be a miracle baby if he can hold on long enough for his lungs to develop enough where he can have a fighting chance at a premature birth. But we serve a sovereign God who is still in the business of miracles. So please pray alongside us for one!

With a humble heart, thank you!

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

End of August Specials

We'll be running a sale on a few items as August closes out. If you've been sitting on some photos for awhile and just are not sure what you want to order, perhaps one of these items might be up your alley!

Canvas Gallery Wraps
- Buy one 20x30 canvas gallery wrap for $300, and get a second one free.
- Buy one 11x14 canvas gallery wrap for $150, and get the second one half off.
- Buy a 16x20 canvas gallery wrap for $180 ($40 off original price)

Metallic Wall Prints
- 11x14 metallic print (with non-warp styrene mount) for $30
- 16x20 metallic print (with non-warp styrene mount) for $55

Coffee Table Albums
- 8x8 20-page hard cover album for $130
- 10x10 20-page hard cover album for $170

This sale ends Sunday, August 30. So contact me soon if you are interesting in ordering, and I will make sure your gallery is live again. Thanks!

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Now Live - shutter squared : asbells

Shutter Squared is now open for business! We may still be working out all the kinks as far as logo and website go, but we are officially ready to release the photos from our first shoot. As a reminder, a SS session is simply a session with two photographers - each grabbing photos of the same poses from multiple points of view simultaneously and each editing our photos with our own sense of unique style!

What follows are just a few examples of the different points of view Jennie and I took from the same set-ups...

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To see more photos from the session or to place an order, visit their gallery by clicking on the image below!

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If you are interested in a Shutter Squared session, contact me for all the info...God bless! :)

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