2018 Exum Family Christmas Card | Behind The Scenes

Our team at Exum Photography wishes you peace, joy and prosperity throughout the coming year. Thank you for your continued support and friendship. We hope you enjoy the Exum Family Christmas card and keep a check on our website and blog in the coming year.

The Exum family of Elon, North Carolina and staff at Exum Photography give you our 2018 Exum Family Christmas Card – ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas! Merry Christmas to you our friends, family and partners. Enjoy!

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care & that’s about 
all we had managed to finish there.
We still had presents to wrap, a tree to trim & a ceiling to repair.

Bella & Sawyer wanted to watch Netflix all cozy in their beds,
but they were stuck with their parents trying to frantically save Christmas instead.
And I, cloaked in denial & Steve covered in pinesap
realized there’s no way we’d be settling in by the fire with a nightcap.

Thankfully, before it got too late & all our visions were shattered,
we remembered the heart of the matter.
When what to our wondering eyes should appear
but the meaning of Christmas we all hold so 

So with our family together on this special night,
I wasn’t going to give up the good fight.
More rapid than our internet connection my family they came
as I whistled & shouted & called them by name;

Now, Bella! Now, Sawyer! On, Murphy & Steve!
All we have to do now is believe!
Well, & hide the clutter in a closet & wrap the tree in twinkling splendor.
This WILL be a Christmas to remember!

They spoke not a word & went straight to work.
No one even gave me so much as a smirk.
And as we now sit by the fire gazing at our half-decorated tree
among all the chaos & debris,

we drop our illusions of Christmas perfection
& we thank God for our family, friends,
Jesus & the Immaculate Conception. (I mean, wow!)
But before we forget & lose sight,
Merry Christmas to all & to all a good night!

The Exums – Steve, Molly, Bella, Sawyer & Murphy

Molly Exum– Poet & Peace Keeper
Steve Exum– Tree Cutter
Bella Exum– Wrapper
Sawyer Exum– Light Hanger 
Murphy Exum– Wrapper Assistant
Nathan Richards– Photographer 
Kelsey Flowers– Graphic Designer & Video Editor 
Squeaky Hensley– Set Stylist
Amber Honeycutt– Cookie Baker
Misty Hensley – Prop Shopper 
Mark Hensley– Prop Shopper
 Marcus Hensley– Tree Cutter Stand-In 
Tori Hensley– Light Hanger Stand-In

What Did The Bride Say?

Steve did an amazing job telling the story of our wedding journey. He is very professional, but more importantly, he is relational with his clients. Our engagement session was one of our favorite memories due to the way Steve gave us comfort and laughter behind the camera. Steve also went above and beyond to provide a special memory for me and my mom when he took bridal portraits. For the portraits, Steve took his time and paid close attention to detail to capture wonderful shots. Steve even worked around his schedule to pull off bridal portraits in time due to rainy weather. Last but not least, Steve is an amazing wedding day photographer. My favorite part of Steve’s services includes a slideshow that he pulls together the day of the wedding which displays images during the exit of the wedding. I didn’t cry a drop since the wedding ceremony began, but I was in a puddle of happy tears once the slideshow began playing at the end of the night. I highly recommend Steve Exum and team for your wedding photography choice!


Pink Ribbon Super Heroes

Cancer Survivors and those who rally to support them are true superheroes. This year our commercial photography studio worked with local every day heroes to contribute marketing photography and filmmaking efforts to the Pink Ribbon Fund a non-profit breast cancer organization that provides 90-day non-medical cost-of-living expenses to breast cancer patients in active treatment for breast cancer, so they can focus on healing, raising their families, and returning to the workplace. After planting the seed for this year‘s theme of celebrating heroes with the organizers  

Every year the Charitable Foundation of Alamance Regional organizes our local Pink Ribbon Luncheon and selects breast cancer survivors to participate in efforts to raise money for the fund. Having recently shot a series of super hero portraits for one of our clients, Photographer and Filmmaker Steve Exum helped event organizers Patty Brothers and Katie Boon by planting the seed for a “Hero Themed” luncheon. We also shot the video stories of survivors Sandy Cobb, Cindy Dixon, Donna Harris, Sara Rich and Rene Lefler documenting their personal battles.  

To help raise money for the Pink Ribbon Fund, Exum Photography and  Bloomatini sponsored a photography project called the Pink Ribbon Super Heroes, which is series of superhero portraits of a group local luncheon entertainers called the “Tutus for Tatas.” Over the last five years, this group has have been an integral part of entertaining attendees at our local pink ribbon luncheon. In keeping with our theme, the team of entertainers put on Superhero costumes and choreographed a skit that brought attendees to tears of laughter. Their skit also involved another piece with all dancers dressed as every day heroes, like nurses, policemen, teachers, doctors, scientist, etc. We have the portraits of these everyday heroes, too.

We are selling framed portraits on a live auction site of each of these local celebrity heroes to raise money for the fund.  If you are a friend, family member or co-worker of one of our heroes consider helping the Pink Ribbon Fund cause and purchase a framed print of your favorite local hero. The prints can be purchased and shipped to you. Many thanks to the Tutus for Tata dancers Chris Huneycutt, Chip Schmid, Eddie Gant, Brian Flaherty, Rusty Huffines, Greg Lunsford, Mayor Ian Baltitus, Dan Danielly, Michael Garland, Mike Walsh, Robert Boon, Sean Gilliam, Willy Fisher and Mickie McGinn for collaborating with our studio to make this project a success. 

Help our studio raise funds by clicking on the following auction link to find your favorite superhero framed poster print … https://one.bidpal.net/prl/browse/all

To see all super heroes & every day heroes, visit our Portfolio


Pink Ribbon Super Heroes – Behind The Scenes

UNC Chemistry Department Celebrates 200 years

My Alma mater,  the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has been around a long time. When a department within a university celebrates a 200 year anniversary, the word “longevity” is an understatement. Our commercial photography studio was commissioned by the UNC Arts and Sciences magazine to illustrate the cover story celebrating two centuries of the chemistry department’s influential history. 

Our studio frequently takes on editorial magazine photography assignments in addition to the marketing photography we do for companies.  Steve Exum has been a contributing magazine photographer working for the UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences for more than a decade. 

After a few conversations with the editor Kim Spurr and writer Patty Courtwright, our team did some research on early successes of the chemistry department looking for interesting nuggets and possible imagery of significant early faculty. We learned that the founding father of Carolina chemists and early President of UNC Francis P. Venable helped in the discovery of a process for making acetylene gas in 1892. UNC’s Venable Hall is named for this chemistry giant.

With the portrait of Francis Venable and information about the successes of current faculty, we proposed a portrait concept combining a historic image of Venable with a portrait of senior faculty and younger faculty within the department. We wanted to illustrate the huge span of time in one magazine cover image.  A lot of what our studio does I call “conceptual photography” or more specifically “conceptual portrait photography.” We worked on some mockups and got approval from the magazine. Next, we shot a series of portraits of four UNC chemists mentioned in the story … Royce Murray, Maurice Bursey, Jim Cahoon and Bo Li.  Below is our final mock-up with the image of Francis Venable behind a portrait of senior chemist Royce Murray and rising star Bo Li. 

Ultimately the editorial team decided to eliminate the image of the founder behind the portrait for the cover. Sometimes less is more. The final magazine cover features chemists Bo Li and Royce Murray. It is simple and successfully conveys the central theme of a department’s longevity within our nations oldest public university.

Click here to read more stories about the UNC Chemistry department. Go Heels!




Final Cover



We Brought Bermuda to our Studio in NC

Great product photography of clothing helps sell great clothing brands.  Southern Tide based in Greenville, South Carolina, understands the value of putting together professionally styled lay flat clothing studio photography with inspirational location lifestyle photography of models wearing their brand. Commercial photography studio Exum Photography was responsible for the off-model photography for their 2018 spring catalog. The catalog features multiple spreads with a lifestyle shot of a model next to a studio product-only shot of their clothing professional arranged and lit by Exum Photography. The lifestyle shot helps define the brand while the studio product shot helps identify exactly what clothing is being marketing as well as more color options of the same style. Commercial photographer Steve Exum partners with talented apparel stylist who understand the nuanced skill of stying for lay flat and tabletop clothing photography.  While the models worked on a photo shoot in Bermuda we created our lay flat scenes with Bermuda inspired colors and props. Our two favorite shots were the polos on squares of turf and the beach scene with sand from North Carolina’s crystal coast. Our state has some of the most beautiful and fine white sand in the world and routinely I’ll bring a box of sand back from vacation. The palm branches came from our neighbor and friend Ami Piatt who has probably given us a 1/2 dozen palm branches over the last couple of months as finding these plants in the winter was impossible. With a little creative ingenuity, we brought Bermuda to our studio, which incidentally is located in Elon, North Carolina between Raleigh and Greensboro. To see samples of similar work please check out the Apparel Photography services page.

Epic Wedding Photo # 1

This black and white photograph is of epic importance to me as my one of my all time favorite wedding images because I love the simple story it tells of a journey and because the  photograph is of one of my best friends Steve Macomber and his wife Maggie. We made this image behind a rental beach house in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina on the intracoastal waterway.  This was a long boat dock over the shallow marsh. To me, this image illustrates a couple at the beginning of a path together. We have no idea where life will take us but in marriage we commit to a walk together to the end. This is the only wedding I’ve ever shot where I was both a groomsmen AND the wedding photographer. In fact, I was  Steve’s best man on Feb 26th, 2005. With each passing year, I appreciate more and more the wedding photographs I’ve made of so many couple’s who have chosen to start a life together. I am now a “seasoned” husband married for more than 17 years with two teenagers. The milestone of wedding celebration means more to me now then when I made this photograph 13 years ago. Moments of celebration are gift in life, when captured in a photo they allow us to reminisce and to cherish. As I write this post, I am overwhelmed by the grief at the loss of my mother who has been fighting for good health for over a year after a fall when she broke 3 ribs and spent 2 weeks in the hospital. This was the beginning of a gradual decline in health with too many ailments to count. After more than 7 hospital stays, 5 operations including a foot amputation, and 4 stints in 3 different nursing homes in 13 months I have seen the definition of pain and suffering. My mother has fought the hardest battles of her life and her groom has been by her side every step of the way. After more than 54 years together Jim and Judy Exum’s journey together is over as COPD and pneumonia have taken away the breath of life. My mom and dad are my heroes, my mentors and my anchors. Life is short and life together is a gift so try to be kind, to be patient, and to cherish the time you have together. With humility – Steve Exum. #lifeisshort

Epic Wedding Photo # 2

Steve Exum’s #2 epic wedding photograph was also shot just off the Blue Ridge Parkway at Doughton Park near Roaring Gap, North Carolina. This is another shot of Kate Hale and Mike Craft. There were so many great features to this epic location for me as a wedding photographer that Kate, Mike and I could not help but walk all over this mountainous overlook and shoot. Doughton Park has wide open fields and big sky overlooks with 360 degree views in multiple spots. After I made the photo of this couple next to the lonesome tree we made a short walk to look at one of North Carolina’s most incredible vistas. They turned their back to me to take it all in. I paused to take it in too almost forgetting why I was there.  Then … “click” the moment was recorded.  Every time I look at this photograph I’m reminded that when a marriage starts the world is in front of you and an adventurous journey begins. Mountains of joy we will climbed and valleys of despair we will cross. I’m reminded to be kind, to be understanding and to be patient, that I should love deeply and love often because sharing a life together IS the gift of our human experience.  For more information about our wedding photography contact our studio at http://www.exumphoto.com/wedding-photography/

Epic Wedding Photo  # 3

This shot takes us to western North Carolina off the Blue Ridge Parkway to Doughton Park near Roaring Gap. Kate Hale and Mike Craft originally from Greensboro, North Carolina became man and wife at one of my top 5 prettiest locations in North Carolina for wedding photography or any photography for that matter. I have since made the two hour drive from Elon to make engagement portraits, family portraits and pictures of my family because I love this area so much.  This mountainous backdrop is where we shot the Exum Family Christmas Card from 2008. It has wide open fields, big sky overlooks with 360 degree views which is rare in NC. Most of the Blue Ridge mountains are covered in trees so the overlooks and views are partially hidden due to the canopy of trees. Doughton Park in contrary has acres of hilly fields, lonesome stand-alone trees surrounded by grassy hills that are green in the summer and covered in broom-straw grass in late fall and winter. Giant rock outcroppings there also make this place an ideal spot for a portrait photographer and a commercial photographer. The long meandering trails, far off views and the protected parkway void of billboards and highway road make this a yoga workout sanctuary. This wedding photo of Mike & Kate in the broom-straw grass next to a lone tree begs to be printed, framed on hung as art work.  Coincidentally. Epic wedding photo # 2 which will post tomorrow also comes from the Wedding of Kate & Mike in September 2006. However, the view is completely different. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s # 2 image. For more information about our wedding photography contact our studio at http://www.exumphoto.com/wedding-photography/

Epic Wedding Photo # 4

This epic wedding photo from an epic wedding celebration story is # 4 in our studio countdown of epic photos by Steve Exum. It features a shot of Shawn Daelemans and Nick Hardy of Tracy’s Landing, Maryland getting married on a North Carolina Beach in October 2016.  Every wedding photographer loves a beach wedding. The landscape is beautiful in every direction and no matter the time of day or even the weather conditions, the beach is always beautiful. Combine a beautiful spot that with a fun loving wedding party and a bride that truly appreciates pushing the creative envelope, you have a formula for an epic wedding. I made this shot of Nick & Shawn kissing under incredible cloud formations at sunset barefoot in the sand. I new this decisive moment would make my top 10 when I pressed the shutter. I’m going to retell their epic story because it began with fireball shots and ended with canon-balls into the pool. So here goes … Nick married Shawn in front of Southern Comfort’s ocean front beach house in Ocean Isle, NC. Shawn and Nick booked their wedding with me months prior and when Shawn shared a collection of Pinterest wedding images that featured jumping groomsman, a bride in tug of war with the groom and many other spicy fun photos, I knew I had a bride with spirit. Shawn warned me to expect a rowdy group of friends, family, and wedding party. My second shooter, Alex Tricoli, and I arrived early to find Nick and his groomsmen doing fireball shots while ironing white shirts, khaki pants, and trying to tie sea green neck ties. Immediately, they tempted Alex with a fireball shot. Maybe rowdy was an understatement. While Alex documented groomsmen antics, I made photos of Shawn and her bridesmaids applying make-up and having their hair styled. Shawn looked stunning with flowers in her long brown hair, styled to one side. Her bridesmaids were equally equally beautiful in their sea green dresses, artfully applied make up by Natalie, and their manicured toes prepared for a barefoot beach ceremony. Our formula for a great wedding celebration was just getting started. Shawn’s dad, Greg Daelemans, walked hand in hand with his daughter under picture perfect skies. Our groom Nick, showing his sensitive side, wiped a couple of tears as Shawn and her dad walked down the sandy aisle to join him. It’s the partiers that are also the most sentimental. After reading personally written vows, trading rings, and sealing the deal with an epically long kiss, Greg Daelemans’ daughter became Nick Hardy’s wife. Now the real party could begin. FYI, a wedding reception without liquor, beer, or wine equals a very short party. This was definitely not the case for Nick and Shawn, thankfully.  I have shot hundreds of weddings and I can tell you the level of passion and energy on their dance floor, with tunes spun by Butch Barnes, fell within my top 10 all time favorite weddings. Even the guests at the rental beach house next door were dancing outside on their deck. The hardcore partying climaxed when father of the groom, Jim Hardy, cannonballed into the pool followed by his sons, Nick and Marshall, and a half a dozen friends. Nick and Shawn danced one last song followed by a wildly popular presentation of photos by Alex and me set to music and projected onto a big screen. The “official” party was over. As Alex and I were packing up gear the bride and groom invited us to stay for a beer and enjoy post wedding “fellowship” until 1 a.m. THAT, my friends, was a recipe for a perfect epic wedding. For more information about our wedding photography contact our studio at http://www.exumphoto.com/wedding-photography/

Epic Wedding Photo # 5

This shot happened when Jenny married Jason to become Mrs. Jenny Elmore Paxton in Greenville, NC Sept 17, 2010. This was the second of three wonderful Elmore family weddings I documented over an 8 year period. I LOVE the Elmore family and all of their spouses and am grateful to parents Jennifer Elmore and John Elmore who poured unlimited creativity into these weddings making the photo ops beautiful. It helps having a mother who runs Jennifer Elmore Interior Design This era began with the wedding of Hannah Exum Elmore and Jack Elmore in 2008 in Snow Hill ended in June of 2016 when Jenny’s sister Janey Hachmeister married Chase.  Jenny and Jason’s  black tie affair in downtown Greenville was sandwiched in the middle. I like placing my couple’s in a signature spot and backing up a bit to immortalize the day. One of my goals as a wedding photographer is to create a piece of art you would proudly print big and hang on your wall. I alway begin my wedding  coverage by scouting great locations near the ceremony and the reception in search of an epic location. This colorful downtown mural was within a short walking distance and made for a perfect backdrop for Jenny and Jason. Happy New Year to the Elmore, The Paxtons, The Hachmeisters, and the Exums. For more information about our wedding photography contact our studio at http://www.exumphoto.com/wedding-photography/