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I’m Dakota, a Wilmington, NC-based photographer helping engaged couples feel comfortable in front of the camera and creative businesses grow with purposeful brand imagery.

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Behind The Scenes Of 2019 Dakota Hersey Weddings

December 23, 2019

I love being a part of weddings. The planning, the excitement, the problem solving, the family and friends, the emotion. It’s one of my favorite parts of my job to come alongside my couples for this huge chapter of their journey.

While the images I create are beautiful, sometimes what’s really happening behind and around the camera isn’t, haha! It’s a lot of running around, sweating, throwing my hair up, repeated outfits, silly light testing faces, and dancing at the reception.

I ask my second shooters to capture BTS at all of my weddings so I can look back on the year and remember those little moments in-between the flurry of tulle and flowers and share a sneak peek into what the wedding days look like –– no matter how embarrassing or funny looking!

It was SO windy during Claudia and Jake’s wedding day –– it was like we were in Chicago! We ended up having to use this location with all of the white marble in front of a brewery…but we made it work!!

Anna, one of my past senior spokesmodels, helped second shoot Claudia and Jake’s wedding! I was so thankful for the extra hands!

Weston: second shooter, wedding filmer, light tester, cake eater, reception dancer.

Gracyn and Wyatt’s wedding at Rose Hill Plantation was Weston’s first wedding film of the year! It was raining for part of the day but he crushed it! We loved dancing with all of their friends and family at the reception.

I look pretty pale in these photos but I had a MASSIVE sunburn on my back and shoulders this day! Kelly Mercer was doing Hannah’s makeup and I was so nervous for her to see me because we all know how she feels about sunscreen!

Hannah and Ben’s wedding was the first of the year with Blake from Provision Films! We work so well together and I love hanging out with him, so I’m always suggesting my brides use him.

Evan and Weston, always being the light testers! They are my two main second shooters so I am always SO thankful when they join me for the day. Evan is a photographer himself that does gorgeous work!

From working with all of my brides, I’m a professional veil and dress adjuster! You can’t be afraid to jump in and make sure they look perfect. I can’t help myself!

It helps that I am really good friends with Katie and Jordan. I photographed their proposal, her bridals, and their wedding day!!

One of my favorite parts of Katie and Jordan’s wedding was the buried bottle of bourbon tradition! After everyone had passed the bottle and taken their swig, I wanted to jump in!

…turns out warm bourbon that’s been buried in the ground for a month BURNS. Haha! The photos of the reactions from this part of the day were priceless!

Perfecting my bridesmaids –– getting the flowers justttt right is a tricky job! Liz and Jesse’s wedding at Morris Peaceland Farm was one of my favorite days of the year!

Explaining posing and ALWAYS talking about the light…and using my hands while doing it!

Huge thanks to Payton Herring Photography for second shooting for me and getting all of the BTS photos!

Ah, I just love these two!!! They are so relaxed and fun. They let me steal them for sunset portraits and it was so worth it!!

My light testing subjects… I do love with both Weston and Evan help me with weddings. Their faces are always the best. We loved being a part of Alayna and Padraic’s wedding day (and seeing everyone from Gracyn and Wyatt’s wedding again!).

The first test shot vs. the last one…so thankful for Weston’s patience!

I had the chance to second shoot for Kate Supa this year for two weddings at Airlie Gardens and Wrightsville Manor. I always love hanging out with her and her couples!

I LOVE anniversary sessions! 1) because it lets you celebrate and get updated photos and 2) because I get to see some of my favorite people again! Mitch and Emily met up with me in Raleigh and their anniversary photos are GORGEOUS.

Smoothies and coolant replacements before heading off to Brittany and PJ’s wedding day at the Nuese Breeze Wedding Venue!

Blake joined us again for Brittany and PJ’s wedding! I absolutely LOVE working with him, and this was even more fun because it was his family’s wedding so his babies were there too!

This was one of my favorite portrait locations from this entire year!! The water was SO calm and even though we weren’t able to use the beach because the tide was too high, I LOVED the rocks!

Weston has really gotten the hang of the “veil fluff”! The outtakes are always my favorite, haha!

Jordan and Mike’s wedding was my first real “fall” wedding. I could get used to being a little chillier on the wedding day rather than sweating!! Notice my hair didn’t get thrown up for any of these!

We worked with Dylan Wade Film for Jordan and Mike’s wedding! He is awesome!!!

Right before Jordan’s veil got caught on the concrete, oops!! I was thankful to use the last little bit of light to get these portraits!

We got to use The Parlour At Mann’s Chapel for Jordan’s bridals a month before the big day, and my best friend Kinsey was one of her bridesmaids!

I tagged along with my friend Molly of Seven Makeup + Beauty to the Focus On The Coast Weddings Magazine winter issue launch! We ran into Anna Taylor who was featured too! I’m excited to do more with the wedding industry of Wilmington next year.

The last wedding of the year was with Kiley and Aaron for their elopement portraits at Fort Fisher and reception at Wrightsville Beach Brewery!

We end every engagement session with a selfie. I can’t wait for these 2020 couples to get married next year!!!!


I’m Dakota, a Wilmington, NC-based photographer Helping engaged couples feel comfortable in front of the camera and creative businesses grow with purposeful brand imagery.

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