I have to preface this post by saying, I didn’t mean to be gone from the blog as long as I was over the course of the trip! I’m somewhat of a scatterbrain when I travel, and I lost my MacBook charger fairly early on into the trip, meaning I was basically without a computer for five days. FIVE DAYS! Which is an eternity without a computer when you’re a small business owner. To be completely honest though, I think losing that charger was a blessing in disguise. It definitely sucks to shell out $80 for a new one (who knew Macbook chargers were so expensive??) but I’d gladly lose it all over again because not having access to a computer for the majority of the trip meant I had to unplug from the business for the most part and just enjoy life as it happened. Not feeling obligated to stay on top of social media and everything was such a freeing feeling!

It’s so hard to sit here, back at home in my office and try to put this trip into words! It’s funny how the day or two after coming back from a trip are sort of a weird limbo-like time. It feels like when you’re waking up from a really good dream and you want to do all you can to remember every detail of what happened so you can hold onto it and keep reliving it just a little bit longer.  Part of me wants to keep that to myself for a little while so that I don’t lose that magic feeling that only good trips give you. The other part of me is so excited to share and to write about how amazing it was here, because writing it down will mean I’ll remember everything!

Today I’m going to share the first part of the trip, which was a workshop called Foster!

A few months ago, Ben Sasso and Katch Silva announced they were hosting a workshop called Foster in the Fall and I knew immediately I wanted to go. I’ve been following Ben’s work for some time now, and I knew this would be a great experience! There are SO MANY amazing film photographers, but I almost feel like there aren’t a ton of digital photographers that I would personally consider “elite”. Ben and Katch are. I’ve always been so impressed by moods and emotions captured in photographs and they both do this so well. When the workshop was announced, I purchased my seat and immediately booked my ticket to California.

I’m so not a “fly by the seat of my pants, whatever happens, happens,” type of person, so going to something like this always makes me nervous. Not knowing exactly what to expect made me a little apprehensive leading up to the trip, but once I arrived, I knew I had made the right decision in going. I’m very lucky that where I live, the community of photographers is so welcoming and fun to be a part of. We share referrals, help each other out, and have each others backs. I know there are lots of markets where the industry is super cut-throat, but I’ve never experienced that. If there was any downside at all to this, it would be that so many of us who live out here near one another share very similar styles and points of view. So many of the photographers here are very extroverted and sometimes that makes me, as an introvert, a little anxious. I love my photography community, but I was craving some new experiences for sure. When I arrived at Foster, I realized I was in the perfect place, because not only was I in a locale that in itself, was beautiful and inspiring to me in a way that my hometown sometimes isn’t, there were so many other unique people there attending from different parts of the country…and Canada! ;) It felt like a breath of fresh air to be exposed to all of these personalities and perspectives.

Once I was there, I was so excited to experience something DIFFERENT. Foster was exactly what I’d been craving in that respect. The natural beauty of California, shooting models, making new friends, and picking up all sorts of new tips and tricks and ideas along the way were perfect for me…especially at the end of a long wedding season when my creative juices might be a little lower than they are at the beginning. We had the opportunity to work with both an incredibly fun couple that I loved, AND a professional model who’s currently on this cycle of America’s Next Top Model! Here are a few of my favorite images!

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 I’ll close out this post by saying this: I’ve been to one other photographer’s workshop as well as a retreat for photogs/creatives, and to WPPI twice now and I can honestly say that the absolute best thing that I’ve gotten out of any of those experiences have been the friendships that have been made and/or strengthened over these trips. I’ve met so many wonderful, talented, and inspiring women (and a handful of cool men too!) during these travels that I wouldn’t have gotten to meet otherwise. Meeting new people and making friends with others who live in all sorts of different places and have all kinds of different personalities and points of view has enriched my life AND made me better as an artist. I’m so thankful for the relationships that these trips have brought into my life!

One of my favorite things about living in Virginia is unseasonably warm days during the Fall and Winter! During this past week or two of engagement sessions, we’ve had a couple of them, and it’s been so nice! Johannes and Kelsey came from Blacksburg to Colonial Williamsburg last week for their engagement session, which was perfect since that’s where Johannes proposed to Kelsey!

Here are a few of my favorites from the session:

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Darby and Chad are two very genuine, fun-loving, and kind people. I feel so fortunate we get to work with them, and be a part of their wedding next year! We traveled to Hume, VA for their engagement session (at Marriott Ranch, where they’ll be getting married next year!!) and not only were they kind enough to put us up for the night in a hotel room nearby since it was a sunrise session, they surprised us with cupcakes! How thoughtful is that???

The morning of the shoot was incredibly cold and windy…I’m talking 20-30 mph winds and gusts up to 40 mph. At one point I felt my body being moved across the lawn by the force of the wind! Darby and Chad stayed so positive and upbeat throughout the frigid temps and made it all look so easy! Here are some of my favorites!!

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On Halloween I spent the afternoon shooting Jessica and Tim’s engagement session on the William and Mary campus. Jessica went to William and Mary, so though they live in Baltimore, they decided to take a road trip and spend Halloween weekend in Williamsburg for their session! It was so much fun exploring campus with the two of them. They’re so easy going and fun to talk to, our time together flew by! I’m so excited for their wedding next year!!

Here are a few of my favorites of their session:)

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Fall is the busiest time of year for engagement sessions! And after you see these images, you’ll know exactly why! It’s the most beautiful time of year, hands down. I love this time of year in Virginia because it’s not too humid anymore and there are vibrant Fall colors everywhere you look! It’s good that busy season happens during this time of year because I can’t imagine feeling uninspired by all of the natural beauty around us right now. Jake and Lindsay knew they wanted to have their engagement session in Charlottesville in the Fall, so I met them first at the Downtown Mall before heading to a park near Monticello! Sometimes I get nervous before engagement sessions, especially when I haven’t met the couple yet, but Jake and Lindsay were so easy to talk to and so much fun to work with! I can’t wait for their wedding next year!

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Georgetown engagement sessions are so much fun! There’s a little bit of nature, a lot of urban backdrops, and tons of character everywhere you look! I drove out last week to shoot Rae and Jon’s engagement session on the perfect indian summer afternoon. It was the kind of toasty day that makes you think of Spring or Summer more than Fall. These two have such a great chemistry together that was so much fun to photograph. The way they’d look at each other and make each other smile or laugh was infectious. I’m so excited for their wedding next June!

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Rae totally reminds me of Natalie Portman! I love her smile!

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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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