Styled Shoot turned PROPOSAL!

*This story has since been featured on Love What Matters and Honey9 AU*

Rewind to Valentine's Day 2018, Cody contacted me with the question "Would you be interested in doing a marriage proposal?" My answer... UM... DUH! We discussed location and where the perfect spot would be and decided on the beautiful outdoor ceremony site at K & M Barn at Lewis Farm. The only problem was figuring out how to get Darrien on board without her knowing something was up (fyi, Cody despises taking photos and I had never even spoken to Darrien.) My friend Millie and I had been discussing a styled shoot for a while so I knew this was the perfect opportunity. Not even two weeks later, Darrien messaged me and said she wanted to get some photos of her and Cody taken. PROBLEM SOLVED!

Two months of planning went by and we had the perfect vendors chosen, the perfect ring (the diamond belonged to Darrien's grandmother/ Cody did such a great job) and the day was quickly approaching. Darrien and Cody arrived at the barn as Millie and I were taking detail shots of her ring. Quick! Hide the ring!

We explained what a styled shoot was to the two and began photographing the beautiful couple. There was laughter, music, and just a little dancing! Darrien was turned away from Cody when I pulled the ring out of my camera bag and handed it to him. We continued to photograph while Cody got down on one knee. Darrien turned around, speechless, tears flowing and quickly answered yes. Cody placed the gorgeous ring on her finger. They hugged, laughed, kissed and cried. Darrien finally looked down at the ring and her jaw hit the floor. We moved on into an engagement shoot for the two and later popped the champagne because DARRIEN IS CHANGING HER LAST NAME!

Venue: K & M Barn at Lewis Farm
Models: Darrien Middleton + Cody Arnold
Florals: Sand's Florist & Gifts
Tablescape + Chairs + Hoops: M&M Rentals
HMUA: Lidia Joy Smith
Cake: Tiny Baker
Jewelry: Ellen Hays Jewelry
Calligraphy: Millie Cagle Hayes
Dress: Tobi
Ring: Jared The Galleria Of Jewelry
Photographers: Samantha Slayton + Millie Cagle Hayes

Sergeant Hottie; United States Marine Corps

**This story has since been featured on Love What Matters and Ellen DeGeneres Nation**


Sergeant Hottie; I had the pleasure of meeting this girl shortly after she retired from the Marine Corps. I was honored to photograph this time in her life for Leslie and Chais. <3



In August 2008, Chais joined the Marine Corps. He served our country from August 2008 to August of 2012. In 2011, Chais met Hottie, a black Labrador retriever, who would soon become his IED bomb sniffing partner, companion, and fellow Marine. Chais was her first handler and the two went on their first deployment together in Afghanistan that year for 7 months. It was Chais' second deployment in Afghanistan and Hottie's first. Hottie had two confirmed IED finds while on the tour, which saved the lives of Chais and several of his Marine Corps brothers. Chais was discharged from the Marine Corps in 2012 as Lance Corporal. Hottie completed another tour with a Marine who is unknown at this time. Chais was contacted three years from their deployment that Hottie was being retired as a Sergeant and would be available for adoption. Since Chais was her first handler, he had first choice. This was a no brainer for him. He traveled to North Carolina August of 2014 to be reunited, it was as if the two were never separated. Hottie has completed Chais and his family and has been forever spoiled for her service. She is the best big "sissy" to Chais' 2.5 year old son and has been the best protector of him. Hottie turned 8 this year and has become ill. On July 28th, 2017, the family found out that Hottie has huge masses in her lungs. After several tests, the doctor diagnosed her with insulinomna (Pancreatic Cancer.) She also battles mega esophagus meaning she has to eat in a chair. Hottie has been through war, but cancer will be her biggest battle yet. She will not go down without a fight and Leslie states, "we will be fighting beside her the whole way."


Keep Hottie and her family in your thoughts and prayers during this time.




We Are Messengers

August 30th, 2017 @ Capitol Theater in Lebanon, TN


I was so honored to be a part of this show with We Are Messengers and Charis Healthcare!



SamSlay (46 of 124).JPG





Greg & Brooklyn's Surprise Proposal

**This story has since been featured on ABC News, AOL, MSN, CNN Headline News, New York Daily, Johnstonian News,, Storyful News, Froggy 104, CBS, Daily Motion, WBBJ, NetZero, Channel 4- Nashville, Channel 5- Nashville, News Channel 3- Memphis,  iHeart Radio, and GOOD MORNING AMERICA!**


“As a wedding photographer I witness many life changing moments but Greg's surprise proposal was the most exciting engagement I have ever witnessed. About a wee...k before the proposal, Greg contacted Dalton with this outrageous plan to propose to Brooklyn involving the Sheriff's Department and I just knew it would be amazing. Greg and Brooklyn were high school sweethearts and have been together for almost 4 years, we recently connected through our boyfriends (they are co-workers.) I contacted Brooklyn and told her that I wanted to photograph her and Greg for photos to use to update my website. So we planned for a couple session and dinner on Friday night. Brooklyn and Greg were travelling through Medina to meet us for dinner when a Sheriff's deputy and Medina City Cop pulled them over. The deputy stated that Brooklyn owed court costs on a previous speeding ticket she had, stated that she would be arrested and asked her to step out of the vehicle. He proceeded to put her in the back of the car. Meanwhile, Greg and the deputy discussed the plan to get Brooklyn back out of the car so he could propose... She had no idea. The deputy stated that there had been a mix up in the system and that she was free to go. She was still oblivious to what was going on when Greg dropped to one knee and asked her to spend forever with him.”


My Buddy & Me

This year I started a special session for my clients and their fur babies and WOW at the amount of interest I have had. I am offering these sessions until the end of March, so get with me soon if you want some awesome candid shots of you and your pet!


Bentley and Bella had a blast during their session. We started out with the firefighter theme (which Bentley LOVED) and moved on to do a little duck hunting. I am almost 100% positive they slept good that night... I know I did! I am in love with this ENTIRE gallery but here I will just share a few.



Milk Bath Sessions

Milk Bath Sessions, WOW! I had never heard of these sessions until a few months ago when another local photographer shared her experience. These are beautiful, elegant sessions that can be extremely versatile and different. You can change the entire mood of the photo by just using a different type of flowers so, of course, I figured I would give it a shot! I posted a Facebook status looking for an expecting mother around 30 weeks and a mother with a young child and again, WOW, at the response! So I contacted Tiffany and Bethany and got their input on these sessions and we scheduled a day to play! Tiffany arrived as we were still preparing the milk and flowers in the bathtub, changed outfits and BAM! We didn't stop for the next 2 hours. She is such a sweet soul and so very easy to work with. We laughed through pretty much the entire session... mostly because I almost fell in.. a lot! Right as we were finishing up, Bethany and Sawyer Grace arrived. We changed her outfit, added new flowers and spend the rest of the session trying to keep Sawyer Grace from EATING the flowers! A huge thanks to my mother who assisted me during the shoots and kept me from falling into the tub LOL! If you are interested in scheduling a milk bath session with SamSlay Photography fill out the contact form and I will get in touch with you! Enjoy!  

The McCalls

Lifestyle Sessions: We are now offering these cozy, authentic sessions! These are done in the comfort of your own home. The purpose of these sessions is to capture the special moments that happen under your roof everyday.

I was so honored to capture these sweet moments between Timothy, Savannah, Gage and even Rousey and Cooper!! When Savannah found out they were expecting she contacted me about maternity photos and we began discussing photos of the baby. I knew I had to tell her about these lifestyle sessions! This family means so much to me and working with them never actually feels like work. Gage is so loved already and I cannot wait to document the moments to come.