When I was making my list of goals for the year back in January, I had a hard time coming up with things. In the past it was so easy! There were lots of milestones I was striving for as a new business owner…being able to go full time, booking x amount of weddings, etc. After being fortunate enough to accomplish many of the dreams I had back when I was just starting out, I wasn’t 100 percent sure what I wanted to do next or what I wanted to start working towards. I don’t envision myself as striving to become a “rock star” photog or anything like that. I’m happy creating beautiful images, serving my clients, and doing both of those things as best as I can. I realized though, there’s one really big “bucket list” type dream I’d really LOVE to accomplish…and that’s a destination wedding!

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I, like everyone else, LOVE to travel. John does too. Though we don’t get to do it as much as we’d like to, visiting new places together is something we really enjoy. It’s my goal to shoot a destination wedding (okay, maybe more than just one) not just because we want to travel the world together (we do) but because I’m inspired deep down in my heart by parts of the world I’ve yet to even see. As a creative, I yearn for experiences and scenery that fire up the desire in me to create beautiful images, and some of my dream destinations really fill me with joy just even thinking about them. I believe feeling inspired and creating for the love of it are so important to the process.

Here are a few of my DREAM SHOOTING DESTINATIONS!

  • Big Sur
  • Iceland
  • Hawaii
  • Venice (both in California, and Italy)
  • Alaska
  • Mexico
  • Glacier National Park
  • England
  • Paris, France (duh)
  • Seville, Spain
  • Florence, Italy
  • New Zealand (hey, might as well go big, right?)
  • Bali
  • New Orleans
  • Redwood National Park
  • Las Vegas (a Vegas elopement sounds so fun!)
  • Antarctica (again, might as well go big or go home!)
  • Fiji (ditto above)
  • Greece

Needless to say, I’m dying to work with couples who love photography and love travel. Especially those who are inspired by nature and architecture (and amazing cuisines!) like I am. If you are thinking of having a destination wedding and love photography, please reach out to me! I’d love to chat with you!

Also, can I just say, I totally wish HONEYMOON PHOTOGRAPHER was totally a thing?

 

 

I’ve lived in Virginia for almost my entire life and I never knew how amazing Charlottesville really is until the last year or so! It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been…and I live so close to it! Charlottesville is perfect for weddings year round, but this time of year it just takes your breath away. We recently shot a wedding at Panorama Farms, which has some of the best mountain views around! Seriously, this place was probably one of my favorite venues just for the incredible scenery!

Here are a few favorites from Drew and Liz’s wedding day!
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One question I get a lot from friends and family who are just getting their feet wet in the world of digital photography is “What kind of camera do you suggest??”. The truth is, most entry level camera are pretty similar and most of them do everything (and more) that the average person will need them to do. One thing you’ll learn as you get more and more into photography is, it’s less about the camera you choose and more about how you use it. My first DSLR was a $200 used Canon Rebel XT that I bought off of Craigslist. I made great images with that camera, so I definitely believe as long as you have a camera that can shoot in manual, you can do amazing things with it! I actually recommend to my friends and family that they focus more on the glass (lenses) they invest in as opposed to the camera body itself.

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First of all, for the most part, I would recommend everybody who’s interested in taking better pictures with their DSLR run out and get a prime lens. The nifty fifty (the Canon 50 1.8) is an amazing choice! At right around $100 it’s very affordable and it will change your images and the way that you shoot. I got this lens with Christmas money the same year I bought my DSLR and it opened up new doors for me!

Why is this lens better than the lens that comes with the camera? The simple answer is, it lets in a lot more light, so you are able to shoot in lower light situations. It also allows you to open up your aperture and get a nice depth of field (the blurry part in the backgrounds of photos).  This is a lot more difficult to accomplish with the lens that comes with the camera. As photographers we know that the lenses are much more important than the camera body itself. Camera bodies essentially all do similar things, so the differences for the types of photography you’re looking to do for most amateur photogs is not much.

Here are a few of my old images shot on my Canon Rebel with the nifty fifty!

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With this lens you can experiment with shooting techniques and get effects that are much more difficult to achieve with the kit lens. I DEFINITELY suggest this lens to anyone who’s a budding photog!! If you’re interested in learning more about digital photography basics and also about how I use my 50mm lens (and even playing with one, if you shoot with a Canon camera!), make sure you sign up for Photography 101! It’s a class geared towards anyone who’s interested in learning how to take better photographs with their DSLR by me, a full time, working wedding photog! This is great for bloggers, wedding pros, moms who want to take better pictures of their little ones, people who want to take better travel pictures, dog pictures, cat pictures, food pictures, etc, or anyone else who has an active interest in photography who’d like to learn more about how to use their DSLR! I have two seats left and I’d love to meet two more awesome people on December 6th! Go here to register or find out more info!

 

About a month ago, one of our 2012 couples, Gary and Holly celebrated their second anniversary, and Gary surprised Holly by ordering a custom wedding album from us! I thought that was just the sweetest surprise! I worked with Align Album Design on this one (my first time trying them!) and they really created a beautiful story of Gary and Holly’s wedding day! I was so pleased with how it came out, I wanted to share it with you guys

Here’s a peek at it! It’s another black leather book and it’s so, SO incredible to look at in person! It makes me so happy to know that Gary and Holly will have this to share with future generations. Albums are really about creating a legacy and this one hopefully does that really well!

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Double header weekends can be crazy, but I think the key to doing them is making sure you really connect with the couple who’s getting married on the second day.  I do my best work and enjoy myself most with our couples we connect super well with, so when we booked a double wedding weekend for the weekend of Matt and Claire’s wedding, I knew it was going to be great! These two are not only wonderful and extremely likable (as evidenced by all of the guests who came to celebrate with them!), they’re so much fun to be around, and they literally were up for anything I asked picture wise. I loved working with them on portraits because I’d ask them things like “Hey, can we try shooting over here by this tree?” or “Do you guys mind actually turning around and letting me shoot from the other direction?” and they’d say “Sure! Of course! Totally!” to whatever I asked. I love it when people trust me and are so willing to do what it takes to get awesome images!

For the second weekend in a row, the rain started DURING the outdoor ceremony. Instead of putting a damper on things though (HA), it actually seemed fitting for these two laid back souls who are always up for a good time and a new adventure. Instead of being stressed out or upset about the rain, they laughed, fist pumped, and took shots of whiskey after the ceremony. I loved their positive outlook and I’m so glad the ceremony was still outside even with the rain, because the photos are so much more beautiful outdoors with that overcast lighting!

Here are a few of my favorites from Matt and Claire’s the Oaks at Salem wedding!! Huge thank you to the team there, who was EXCELLENT to work with!!

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Notice how much the weather changed in the 20 minutes or so between when the above photo was taken and the rest of the ceremony photos. Holy cow!

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One thing I’ve learned is, when two Virginia Tech alum get married, it’s a PARTY. For real. I don’t know if anyone tops their hype level. Ha!

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I first met Ashley and Rilee at their engagement session back around Christmas time, and I’ve been looking forward to their wedding ever since! They are such a great couple, and so much fun to be around. Their wedding day didn’t disappoint. Despite the fact that it rained almost the entire day, it miraculously cleared up in time for portraits and we got as many as we could into about a 10 minute window! These guys were pros though…and a perfect example of why it’s great to do an engagement session! They were able to nail every one of the poses I called out immediately, so we flew through portrait time! It was pretty bad ass.

Here are a few of my favorites from their wedding day at Trump National Golf Club near DC.

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Their ceremony church was extra special to them…Ashley’s sister was married there too a few years ago!

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This place isn’t what your typical golf club looks like! It’s crazy gorgeous…and the view from the ballroom is to die for!

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We all have those moments when it starts to feel like it really is a small world. I have more of those being in the wedding industry than I ever did before! One of those moments happened recently when I learned that two of my 2015 brides not only know each other, but are going to be in each others weddings! And neither of them found me through the other! How crazy is that? Nicole is one of those brides!

Meeting Nicole and John Paul last week at Tuckahoe Plantation for their engagement session was a ton of fun. This is one of my favorite locations to shoot at because everywhere you look there’s something beautiful! It was a perfect fit for Nicole and John Paul, who love to spend time outdoors. They also really love riding bikes, so they brought a vintage two person bike! How cute is that? When people personalize their engagement session and put a lot of thought into it, I get so excited for the wedding because I know it will be amazing!

Here are a few of my favorites from our evening with these two!

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This morning’s post will be short and sweet since I have lots of things on my agenda today (and really, for the rest of the week!). We had our first two state double header ever over the weekend, and it was AMAZING! And I woke up on the third day feeling not as tired as I thought I would be….I thought I would be super wiped out like I have been in past  years, but I woke up feeling like I could have shot a third wedding! I was definitely sore, but still feeling like I could go out and get things done. Surprisingly, exercising 4 times a week this wedding season has been so beneficial to how I feel before, during, and after shooting a wedding! A lot of people might not realize how physical wedding photography is…but it is, and being in better shape definitely has made a difference!

Here are two quick peeks from our weekend. This first one is from Friday’s wedding at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling. How pretty is this place?? And this is the back of it!!

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This one is from Saturday’s wedding in Raleigh, NC at the Oaks at Salem! Another wonderful day! And, the second weekend in a row where we’ve gotten rained on during the ceremony. A little water never hurt anybody, and the photos from the ceremony are so beautiful due to the overcast light! I can’t wait to share them :)

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All in all, I’d say the weekend was a success! I’m looking forward to sharing more from these two weddings later on this week :) Hope you all have a great Monday!

 

 

Oh man, where do I start this post?? I knew from the initial inquiry email from Leslie and Dan that this was going to be one heck of an amazing wedding day. First of all, Leslie is a super talented photographer so I knew her vision was going to be incredible. But Dan is also in the wedding industry…he’s a DJ! Two wedding pros who have been to a bajillion weddings are bound to have a ridiculously awesome wedding day. What I didn’t know back then was that not only are they skilled wedding pros, they’re also the kindest two people I think I’ve ever worked with. I was lucky enough to get the chance to get to know them at this year’s WPPI and they are not only one of the most genuine couples, but they’re also super fun!

Being asked to photograph their wedding was a huge honor. Out of all of the people they’ve met through their years in the wedding industry, they somehow decided to pick John and I. We’re really grateful they did, too, because getting to know them and being a part of their wedding was such a wonderful experience!

Leslie and Dan’s wedding day was at the beautiful Trump Winery in Charlottesville. Leslie’s vision of a French inspired wedding day was thought out and executed so well. From the soft romantic florals by Amanda Burnette (our bride two years ago!!!) to the wedding logo Leslie created, it was almost a dream come true to photograph! Here are some of my favorites from their day.

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The ring bearer was also the reader! He read “Falling In Love is Like Having a Dog” by Taylor Mali.

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The reception was the best! Such a fun party. We had a blast!

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Vendors:
Venue: Trump Winery
Planner: Natalie Seng
Stationery: Paper Stories
Flowers: Amanda Burnette
Catering: C&O Catering
Cake: Pearl’s Cupcakes
Gown: bhldn
Hair and Makeup: Sass Factory
Music: Johnny with Premier DJ Services
Bridesmaid attire: Jenny Yoo
Men’s attire: Joseph A. Banks

I am loving this time of year! The weather is absolutely perfect and we’re getting to meet a lot of our 2015 couples! Can you believe I just wrote 2015 COUPLES?? That’s crazy to me! Back when I started the business I had no idea if it was going to work out or not, so the fact that I’m still doing this and my business is going to live to see another year, is just amazing to me! We spent Sunday afternoon exploring Church Hill with Bonnie and Quentin, whose wedding is next June. This area of Richmond is my favorite to shoot in because there are so many adorable spots to photograph that no two sessions shot there look exactly the same. We really enjoyed getting to know these two a little bit better over the course of the session…and is there really a better way to spend an afternoon than outdoors photographing couples like these two??

Enjoy my faves!

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