Marine Photographer Meets Girl

How “Me” became “We”

From Marine to Wedding Photographer in Charleston, SC

Yes, I am a Marine and a Photographer.  I am a wedding and portrait photographer local to Charleston, South Carolina. What you also may have not known is I am also a college student and a fiance. Over the course of a few months, this wedding photographer thing has taken hold and become a huge part of my life. I’ve introduced myself a few times and mentioned the love of my life, Valarie, probably just as much. I’ve mentioned our little Maltese Bella (Bay-Yah)  and how she also runs my life. What I haven’t told you guys yet is the story behind Valarie and I met in San Antonio, Texas and ended up here in Charleston, South Carolina.

It all started with a haircut. . .

Marine Photographer Charlie Martin

In the Marine Corps, we get a haircut on a weekly basis. Any guy here could tell you, once you find a good barber you stick to it or pay hefty consequences in the form of a fade that looks like you got in a fight with a lawnmower. From the time I got stationed in San Antonio, TX in November 2015, I had found my barber at a Sports Clips about 5 minutes from where I worked. I went to her on a weekly basis, every Sunday at the same time for 3 months, until one day in February 2017  it happened.  I entered the Sports Clips and she was nowhere to be found.

My faithful barber was on a two-week vacation.

As panic set in, I began to rifle through ideas of how to get away with not getting a haircut for the next few weeks. “Do I call in sick?”  “I can’t wear hats inside or at work.” “Take a vacation?”  For my military friends reading this, you obviously know none of these were practical options. As I drove home in a state of disappointment, I made the decision to stop at a different Sports Clips closer to where I was currently stationed with my Marine unit.

I went in, waited my turn, and then I met HER.  Her sister. Super friendly Erica walked up and shook my hand. Inside my head, I was still questioning my decision to betray my barber for a different hair artist. I sat down in the chair and in the classic form, we start talking about everything. To be cliche and say “Long Story Short” the haircut was amazing and ended with Erica saying,

“My sister is perfect for you.”

She handed me her card with her name and number on it. As a Marine, once you find your barber you stick with them. Erica became my regular barber from that point on. We built the friendship and talked a few times while she worked on the idea of meeting me with her sister.

A few weeks later my little brother Beau was in town visiting. He is also a Marine but was not active at the time and lived about 300 miles away in Odessa.

Photographer and super hard-charging Marine at heart that I am, we sent a selfie of he and I to Erica, attempting to invite Erica and her sister out to hang out. Valarie was with Erica at the time and saw the picture. Small World. My brother Beau was actually living in the city neighboring Valarie’s hometown and about a year prior to this text conversation one of Valarie’s friends had actually tried to introduce my brother to her. (Luckily for me nothing came from that and the coincidence just made our meeting that much more insane.)

Getting back to the story, my brother and I’s invite was turned down. The girls had previous plans and were hosting a Bachelorette party for a friend.  Erica did invite us out however later and we “ran” into them at Kona grill where she introduced me to Valarie for the first time.

Marine, Photographer, Fast Forward

In summary, I spent the next few months trying to convince Valarie to date me. As hard as I was fighting to date her, she was resisting just as hard. We both had a lot of life going on that was blocking us from actually being what we are today. But obviously, this is not where this story ends. Spoiler alert, My persistence finally paid off! Today with live in Charleston, SC. I cannot wait to tell you the story in-betweem then and now!

  1. Charlie Martin says:

    This is a test! Is anyone able to read my blog? Can you comment?

  2. Erica Calderon says:


  3. Amanda Rausch says:

    I want to know how you finally talked the lady into dating you! I LOVE that you still have the business card that started it all! Can’t wait to read your next blog! <3

  4. keonhacai says:

    Love the blog! Keep it up!

  5. Sarah says:

    You are a good writer. Cute story of how you guys met. I really enjoyed reading your blog

    • Charlie Martin says:

      Awe! Thank you so much Sarah! I am doing my best. I just started. Look forward to hearing what you think as I keep going. 🙂

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