Independence Day the 30A Way

Happy (almost) 4th of July! We love this holiday because it’s a perfect day to spend time with family and friends, eat more hamburgers and potato salad than you should, and celebrate our freedom in this beautiful country.

Everyone has their own Independence Day traditions, but in South Walton, we take our freedom celebrations to the next level. It doesn’t matter if you’re a local, visiting for a wedding photo shoot, or taking a much needed beach vacation…we want to show you how to celebrate the 4th of July 30A style.

From morning to night, each of the beaches along 30A hosts unique events to fill your day with family, friends, and fun. We’ve pulled together a list of our favorites – from parades and carnivals to live music and firework extravaganzas – to help you prepare for the best 4th of July of your life. Excited? Good!


Start your day with one of the many 30A patriotic parades. Whether you’re sitting on the sidelines or stealing the show with your decorated car or bike (or kids!), this is an event you don’t want to miss. In Grayton Beach, take a cruise in your freedom vehicle, and enjoy a summer snack at the end of the parade (8:00am). If you’re in the creative mood, grab your red, white, and blue ribbons and join in the bike decorating contest before the parade in Rosemary Beach (7:30am). Or, grab a front row seat at the annual parade from Seagrove to downtown Seaside (8:00am).


Old-fashioned carnivals with lawn games and fun prizes are never, well, old-fashioned. After the parade in Rosemary Beach, keep up the celebrations by participating in the carnival from 9:00am – 11:00am. From falling over in sack races to getting soaked in the water balloon toss to winning game prizes for your special someone, you’ll treasure these 4th of July memories.


There’s nothing like live music to get you pumped, and our 30A beach communities know it. Take your pick of awesome concerts to get you ready for the fireworks show finales. Choose between the “Like Totally” Hep Cats at the Rosemary Beach Western Green (6:00pm), the Bucktown Allstars at the Alys Beach Amphitheater (6:00pm), or the Victory Belles at the Seaside Amphitheater (7:00pm).


Of course, let’s not forget the most traditional of celebrations…fireworks. If you’ve never experienced a beach fireworks show, you are in for a real treat. Nothing beats relaxing in the sand, feeling the cool air, and watching fireworks explode in a starlit sky and reflect in the calm waters. And on 30A, we don’t just have one show…but three – Seaside (8:30pm), Rosemary Beach (8:45pm), and Alys Beach (9:00pm). They’re all at different times, so you can watch them all from your favorite spot on the beach…any beach!

What do you say, are you ready to celebrate Independence Day the 30A way?

We actually spent our last July 4th (2016) in Ryan’s hometown of Ramona, South Dakota! Here’s some from our personal family photo collection from that trip, photographed by Ryan on film cameras. From our family to yours, wishing you a truly blessed Fourth of July!

Annual Showdown of Florida vs Florida State

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If you keep up with college football, you know all about rivalries. If you keep up with college football and you live in Florida, you know all about the annual showdown of Florida vs. Florida State. If you’re a photographer in Florida with credentials, you grab your gear and head to Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee for the biggest game of the year. That is exactly how our lead photographer Ryan Manthey spent his Saturday, thanks to a press pass from Larry Davidson at Emerald Coast Magazine.



It is with excitement beyond belief that we present the maternity portraits of our very own Lindsey of the #pure7fam!  We’ve also included some of her handsome fiance, Josiah.  (Gotta give the daddies love, too!)  But back to the wonderful “Miss Lins”…

As lead associate photographer and portrait sales manager, Lindsey has been an integral part of the Pure7 team for the past 7 years, literally becoming part of our family.  Heck, she’s even helped raise our family and has even been the nanny to our kids while we were away!  Coming to work everyday, she’s been a staple in our business and family since our kids were babies.  Our daughter idolizes her like a cool, hip, older sister and our sons treat her like a big sister, too.  The kind that gives you loving discipline when needed and that you secretly love and adore (but would never admit to it)!


Pure7 Summer | Hangout Music Festival Shot on Film

As we wrap up the last full week of summer break and summer beach portraits, we thought we’d take a look back at a session that was definitely not your average beach shoot.

Pure7 Studios Film Hangout Summer Music Festival 2016

One rainy Friday morning in May, our own Ryan Manthey joined the throngs of the faithful making the annual pilgrimage to the mecca of music festivals. Held along the breathtakingly beautiful beaches of Gulf Shores, Alabama, Hangout Music Festival cannot be explained; it has to be experienced. And experience it, he did.


Weddings, Portraits, & Football | FSU vs Miami

Most Saturdays will find us shooting, whether it’s a wedding at Watercolor or a family session in Rosemary Beach. One particular Saturday in October, however, brought a brand new experience as Ryan, our lead photographer, traded the soft sugar sands of the Emerald Coast for the fresh-cut grass of a North Florida field. And not just any field, mind you. This was ground zero of one of the most heated rivalries in college football. Goodbye, Destin; Hello, Tallahassee!


Though the roar of the stadium crowd left no question as to what was about to erupt, there was another, much quieter competition taking place behind the scenes, one that only Ryan was aware of. 



I couldn’t be more excited to share today’s photos completing the collection of film photos Ryan took of our family outings, vacations, and daily life shenanigans the past few years. If you saw part one of our personal photographs then you know I don’t love getting my picture taken. You also know I let Ryan take my photo anyway because I know how much it means to him and at the end of the day . . . and I love having the photos of me with the kids to look back on. Many of the below photographs were taken in the small farm town that Ryan grew up in (Ramona, South Dakota). There are also some gems from our travels to visit my family in Pittsburgh, PA.

Selecting the photos to share gave me a revived appreciation for the world we live in. Ryan captured so many point-of-view shots capturing what we saw in addition to who we are. Plus, I love looking at the world the way he sees it. He has such a talent for finding the right frame or angle to expose a moment for what it truly is. I feel that’s what makes him such a great portrait and wedding photographer. He’s able to take a beach wedding at 30A , family portrait or engagement session and really show you the unique personality and love shared at each one. No two families are exactly the same. I hope you enjoy the craziness that is ours!  ~Erica

Some of the cameras Ryan used include (but are not limited to) :

Fuji GF 670, Contax 645, Hasselblad 501C (using a variety of film processed by theFINDlab and Richard Photo Lab).


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To view more personal posts like these, click here.


Personal Photographs | Part 1 of 2

 Ryan loves photographing our family (our three kids & I) with his film cameras. Here are some fun, personal film photographs taken over the past few years during our outings, family vacations, and daily life shenanigans. As you can see, we have a lot of fun while about and about in Destin, 30A & even visiting family in Pennsylvania! Being married to a photographer can prove difficult at times, only because I’m not really wild about having my picture taken. However, this helps me relate to our clients – as having your portrait made isn’t always the most ‘natural’ thing in the world. Luckily, Ryan has a natural gift for making even the toughest of subjects (including me) at ease . . . which is one of the things I admire most about him. Recently, these pictures were used by Ryan to create an amazing family portrait album by Artifact Uprising! It is now displayed proudly on our coffee table, and will be a treasured heirloom for generations to come. I hope you enjoy this little peek into our daily family life! (This post is Part 1 of 2, and Part 2 will be posted next week!)  -Erica

Some of the cameras Ryan used include (but are not limited to) :

 Fuji GF 670, Contax 645, Hasselblad 501C (using a variety of film processed by theFINDlab and Richard Photo Lab).
































To view more personal Pure7 posts, click here.

Veterans Day 2014

This was posted last year on Veterans Day (2013), but since it was and still is such a special post to us we wanted to share it again.  To the Veterans in our lives – family, friends, and clients as posted below and those in our hearts, we want you ALL to know how much your service and sacrifice means to us.  ~ Erica & Ryan

{Originally posted on Veterans Day, 2013}

Growing up a military brat, Veterans Day has always had a special place in my heart. I’ve always held military families in the highest regard and this Veterans Day, I wanted to do a special blog post not only recognizing my father and grandfathers for their service, but also my very best friend in the world, as well as some of our AWESOME Pure7 clients (who are currently serving or have done so in the past). I’ve included a little about each family at the top of their image(s). Thank you seems too little to say, but for lack of a better phrase, THANK YOU all for what you have done for our country. I love each and every one of you!   XOXO, Erica

Jason Melvin

We’re blessed that Jason and his wife Lindsay came into our lives. We met them in 2011 when came to our photography studio to hire Pure7 to photograph their WaterColor wedding. After a four hour consultation, we all knew we were destined to be long-time friends. Shortly after marrying, Lindsay and Jason had to endure two long back-to-back deployments. He was very missed by us all while he was away (really, we all just missed his cooking skills). Here is a personal video and photograph that Ryan & I had the honor of taking upon witnessing the return from his first deployment after they wed. They recently moved to San Antonio and we were so sad to see them go, but know they have great things in store and can’t wait to visit them soon!


The Koch Family:

We’ve adored photographing the adorable Koch family three times in the last two years. Travis Koch is a Lt. Colonel in the United States Air Force.  He graduated from the AF Academy in 1995 and has been an active duty military member ever since, serving as a fighter pilot in the F-15C Eagle and the F-22A Raptor.  Travis is currently the Commander of the 43rd Fighter Squadron at Tyndall AFB, FL, the only squadron in the world that trains pilots to fly the F-22A.  And just to add to their patriotism, Travis and Amanda were married on Veterans Day in 2000.  This November 11th they are celebrating 13 years of marriage , 10 of which they have been stationed at bases along the Emerald Coast of Florida. Their first son, John, was born in 2004, and their second son, Andy, was born in 2012.

 Veterans Day

Captain Devereux Rogan

This beautiful mother, Devereux, is a Captain in the Air Force and has been in for 8 years.  She has been deployed to several locations: Al Dhafra, UAE to support Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), Rota, Spain to support Odyssey Dawn (Libya conflict), Curacao to support the counter drug mission in USSOUTHCOM, and Baghdad, Iraq to support the Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq (OSC-I).  She is currently a Test Director for Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation at Eglin AFB, FL.  Lindsey absolutely loved photographing Devereux and her cute-as-a-button son, Barrett, this summer.


The Russell Family:

Elaine’s husband was deployed shortly after she became pregnant with their first son. He was still on deployment when little Edward Thomas Russell IV was born, but daddy was able to be there via Skype (gotta love modern technology!). Lindsey was so blessed to be able to capture the newborn portraits of their son, even before daddy’s return. The great news is that Elaine’s hubby is now home safe & sound, and getting to spend some much needed time with his sweet little boy and beautiful wife!


The Kim Family:

We’ve photographed the incredibly cute Kim family twice since 2011, and have loved watching them grow. Their father, Lieutenant Colonel Sonny Kim, has served 18 years as a pilot in the Air Force. He is currently on staff at SOCPAC in Honolulu, Hawaii. His wife, Zoe, has endured many long deployments but says “We are honored to support him during his time serving our country.”

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The McGeady Family:

James McGeady serves in the Marine Corps as a combat engineer officer and is currently stationed in Okinawa, Japan with his stunning wife, Jessica. Ryan and Lindsey photographed their lovely wedding last year and were so happy that James was in uniform. Who doesn’t love a man in uniform?

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The Kittrell Family:

We’ve had the pleasure of photographing the Kittrell family many times over the past couple years (and are also looking forward to photographing them again next month)! Michael Kittrell has been serving in the Air Force for 9 years as a pilot flying various aircrafts.  For the past 5 years he has been stationed at Hurlburt Field, and is presently assigned to the 19th Special Operations Squadron. A little shout-out to Michael from his beautiful family: “We love and support you always. Our hero!” Love Kimberly, Kaden and Kyle



The Johnson Family: 

We photographed the wedding of Troy and Jennifer in 2012, and are so impressed by the level of service that they and their extended families have provided to our country. In Jennifer’s words:

“Patrick (Troy’s son) and I are currently serving and Patrick is now at 1 year and I am at 18. My total family now would be 137 years: Paul Hutto (father) 20 years, USAF; Paul Hutto (grandfather) 21 years, US Army; Al Hutto (uncle) 20 years, US Army; ; John Hutto (uncle) 29 years, USAF; Gerald Hutto (uncle) 4 years, US Navy; Troy P. Johnson (husband) 20 years, US Army; Patrick Johnson (step-son), 8 months, US Army; Dennes Hutto (cousin) 4 years, USMC; I am proudly representing my family in my 17th year, bringing my family to 135 years of continuous military service! Happy Veterans Day to each of you, and to all of my friends whom I have had the pleasure of serving with.”

Next month will be Jen’s 18th anniversary in the US Air Force. She spent the first 16 years as a Knowledge Operations Manger and is currently in the Intelligence career field. She has deployed to Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and is currently preparing for a year in Qatar. She plans to retire at 20 (years) and start her own business as a wedding planner. Troy (Jennifer’s husband) spent 20 years as a Tanker in the US Army before retiring. He supported multiple deployments including the first Gulf War, Bosnia, Korea, and spent a year in Iraq. He is currently a contractor supporting US Army North at Ft Sam Houston, as an IT specialist.



The Morrow Family:

Ryan photographed Monica and Chad’s maternity session, and Lindsey the newborn session of their precious daughter, Kennedy. They’ve been a pleasure to get to know (and photograph)! Major Chad Morrow is a psychologist in the Air Force and has served for 6 years. He is currently supporting the 23 Special Tactics Squadron at Hurlburt. A shout-out from Monica to her beloved hubby: “We couldn’t be more proud of him for his service!” Love, Monica and Kennedy


The Manthey Family’s Sister Wife

As my best friend, I couldn’t help but joke and put Jennifer Fisher as part of ‘The Manthey Family because family she truly is! To those that don’t know, Jennifer served in the United States Air Force as a medic on the back of a very fancy big plane (that I think has a ‘C’ in the title). I should know exactly which, but usually our conversations revolve more around wine, food, and our love lives.  However, I do know that her service is one of the things about her that I love most and am so impressed by. She endured several deployments and has visited almost all of the ‘stans’, and this gorgeous lady has one of the biggest hearts in the world. She also has a very heightened sense of awareness of her surroundings due to her military training (which comes in very handy in seedy areas of nola, but I’ll save that story for another day). I could go on for paragraphs about her and what she means to me, but I’ll leave it at: she’s awesome. and beautiful. and the best friend a girl could have.

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My grandpa, Reed Swope:

My beloved grandpa entered the service on April 17th, 1945. He was drafted into the Army, became a Military Police officer, and was sent to Okinawa to guard Japanese prisoners. During a recent visit to his home, I was fascinated looking through the albums he has at his house full of old pictures from this time. After his service, my grandpa returned to his hometown of DuBois, PA, where he raised three sons and still currently resides with his wife, Betty (my beautiful, loving, wonderful grandma). I would like to personally thank my grandpa for not only his service to our country, but for being such a wonderful man of God and a spiritual man and leader in our family that I have always loved, admired, and adored with all my heart and soul. I love you, grandpa!


My grandpa, Stanley Rusonis:

My grandpa Stan passed away too soon, when I was only 10 years old. I really wish our family had more time with this loving, gentle soul. In his military days, he served in the Army Air Corp and was a Link trainer (aircraft simulator instructor) in Florida. After his service, my grandfather returned to DuBois, PA where he worked for the Post Office for 38 years and raised five children along with my amazing grandma Lillian (who now resides in Pittsburgh).

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My dad, Timothy Swope

I’ve started and re-started this sentence three times, and keep deleting and starting over . . . because there is no way to properly sum up the amazing-ness that is my father with only a few sentences. But I’ll try, so here goes. Lieutenant Colonel Timothy W. Swope served in the United States Air Force for 20 years, which was throughout my entire childhood and most of my teen years. A few of the programs he worked on as an aerospace and systems engineer were the Space Shuttle Program and developing the C-17 cargo plane. He retired in 1995 and resides in Niceville with my beautiful mother, Marie. Being a military brat was a life that I absolutely loved. We moved seven times before I was in 5th grade, but each move was an adventure and the memories of our journeys and destinations are ones that I adore and look back upon often. I always loved seeing my dad in his uniform and thought he looked so handsome and important, and although I wasn’t sure what he actually did, in my mind he was out there saving the world. I recall bragging to friends that “he knows all about aliens and extraterrestrial life, but can’t tell you about it because he’s been de-briefed”. Wonder where I got that idea . . . Dad?  I’d like my dad to know how proud I am of him, to thank him for his sacrifices in order to serve our country, and that I’ve always admired and looked up to him. Love you, daddy!


FIND Park City, Utah | Part 4

 These images capture the beauty of Park City in autumn. Coming from where I live Park City is so different. The mountains that reach to the clouds and feeling of openness. It is a place that I will not soon forget. I am so thankful for Jonathan Canlas and his FIND workshops. I am lucky to have made it to one of his last FIND workshops. His last one in the United States will be where he first started, Hawaii.

to view previous click  part1part2  or  part3

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”  – Albert Camus


















FIND Park City, Utah | Part 3

In this series of images you will see Park City through my eyes. During the FIND workshop we were given an assignment to walk around and photograph our surroundings. Each person will see things differently through their camera. That is the beauty of photography, and the importance of defining your voice and vision as a photographer. There are so many great photographers out there, but there is only one you. If you want to be different have a vision and follow it. Be inspired by what is around you.

to view  part1   or  part2