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Virginia Beach Wedding Photos | Francis + Aamir

Our final wedding of 2017 was one I’ll never forget! Francis and Aamir’s Pakistani wedding celebration sounded so unique when she described it to me before the big day, and it definitely lived up to my expectations! It was absolutely gorgeous, filled with color, light, and beautiful, sparkly things. Every detail was so well thought out and all of their guests were so well taken care of! Including, us their photographers, and their video team, too! I will never forget how sweet they were to seat us with their friends and family at dinner and how they made sure we had some of the amazing food!

I loved the glitz and glamour of this day, but even more so, the quiet, simple love that Francis and Aamir share! My favorite moments from their wedding day were their sweet first look (where both of them teared up!) and their private last dance after all the guests had gone outside for the sparkler exit! With such a big wedding day celebration (that spanned two whole days!) it would be easy to get caught up in things, but I noticed that they both made time for one another throughout everything else that was happening, which seemed like such a perfect metaphor for marriage!

Enjoy a few of my favorite images!!


oh my goodness! This is so beautiful! Everything about this wedding is just so colorful and sparkly and just stunning!What a way to end the year!

Five Other Things Wedding Photographers Do

One of my favorite things about being a wedding photographer is that it’s not a boring job. Not in the least! It’s one of those jobs where you wear lots of hats and do lots of things outside of your official job title. Since as wedding photographers we play such an involved role and have such an intimate view of the wedding day, we end up getting to help out in a variety of ways. I thought it would be fun to share a few of those!

  1. Art director One of the things that most people don’t realize is how much work goes into taking a great photograph. It’s not just the lighting or the camera that makes a photo special…it’s also the styling, posing, and mood of an image! While photographers who work in other fields might have an art director on set to help create those moods, most wedding photographers rely on themselves to be the day’s art director. Of course, there are some photographers who don’t do this at all because they take more of a documentary approach. And on the other end of the spectrum, there are photographers who take staging things to the next level by bringing their own stationery or other props in an effort to make the wedding look as “fine art” as possible. Both have their place for sure, but my personal philosophy is to create beautiful images of the wedding day as it actually happened. I will style and/or remove distracting elements (like trash cans or exit signs) in an effort to create beautiful photos, but ultimately, I want the focus to be on your memories and the story of your actual wedding day!
  2. Pharmacist
    I keep all kinds of “just in case” things in my camera case, including lots of medicines like chewable Pepto Bismol, Tums, Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Benadryl, hydrocortisone cream, and even an instant ice pack! I’ve learned to keep these things on hand for myself (because you never know!) but I’ve also passed out my fair share of Pepto to soothe a bride’s sour stomach and shared ibuprofen with groomsmen who had a little bit too much fun at the Rehearsal Dinner.
  3. Weatherman
    Since weddings go on despite whatever the weather decides to do, a photographer also often acts as a makeshift meteorologist. I keep the Dark Sky app on my phone and weigh the odds of rain and/or wind with the timeline. I can read a weather radar like a pro and interpret percentages like the best of them!
  4. Sherpa/pack mule
    Since many photographers keep a camera bag handy for quick lens changes, we’re also known to be somewhat of a stand in sherpa or pack mule on a wedding day. I’ve been known to hold onto any number of random things from the bridesmaids’ lipsticks (for touch ups) to the bride’s phone or the rings!
  5. Dance instructor
    One thing that happens when you become a wedding photographer and attend over 125 weddings is that you’ll eventually learn all of the organized dances that happen at a lot of weddings, like the Wobble or the Cupid’s Shuffle. I’m not even sure if it’s possible to NOT learn these dances after all of that time! At any rate, I’ve photographed at least a few weddings where few, if none, of the guests knew the moves to one of these dances and of course, I was more than happy to demonstrate to get things going!

That’s just a small sampling of some of the ways we serve our clients beyond just photography! We love being a part of each of these wedding days and it makes us so happy to be able to help make the day go more smoothly in any way we can. One of the best things about the job is being able to add to the experience each of our clients has on their wedding day.

Interested in working with us? We’ve got a couple 2017 dates left and we’re booking for 2018! Email me for more information!


Capitol Hill Wedding Photos | Allison + Blake

Allison and Blake’s Capitol Hill wedding day was our second to last of 2016! It was the perfect way to round out our “busy season” before we headed into Winter. From my first time “meeting” Allison over Skype to the very last minutes of their wedding day coverage I was struck by the sweetness of the love that she and Blake both share. Where other couples are sometimes nervous on their wedding day, both Allison and Blake stayed very cool, very calm, and incredibly happy the entire day. I loved that!

My favorite thing about their wedding besides the elegant, simple details that they carefully chose with their planner Kelly Cannon Events, was how much they made the day about what’s most important to the two of them…their faith and their friends and family. It was such a special day that we’ll never forget! We were so lucky to have been a part of it!

Here are some of my favorite images!

Wedding Planner: Kelley Cannon Events // Church: Capitol Hill Baptist Church // Reception Venue: McLean Gardens Ballroom // Flowers: Growing Wild // Hair and Makeup: Norma Rios // Stationery: Reaves Engraving // Dress: Fabulous Frocks //Third Photographer: Abby Grace Photography


FAQ – First Looks and their Impact on the Ceremony

When you look at these photos, can you tell what the common thread is? If you look past the fact that they’re outdoor ceremony images all photographed in the Spring, you’ll see that they’re all photos of our past grooms who are thrilled to see their brides walking towards them down the aisle! Their sweet expressions melt my heart!

What I’m betting you CAN’T see when you look at the images is that they’re actually all grooms who also did a first look with their bride earlier in the day! Or, maybe you’re just really on top of things and you did see that one coming?

One of the things I hear pretty frequently from people who are considering doing a first look is that they’re scared it may take away from the special-ness of the walk down the aisle. They don’t want to feel like they’re missing out on that big, special moment that they’ve been dreaming about for years. And you know what, I can totally understand that. I was once a bride planning my own wedding who spent hours and hours envisioning how everything on the day would turn out. I get it!

It turned out on our wedding day that we really did not feel at all let down by the walk down the aisle even though we’d seen each other already. Just because John knew what I had on because we’d already done photos together didn’t make it any less special for him to see me, his bride, walking toward him about to marry him. And it didn’t make it any less special for me to hold my mom’s hand on the way to meet John at the altar either!  From my experiences both as a bride/wife and as a photographer who’s been shooting weddings for almost 6 years, I can honestly say that doing a first look doesn’t make the walk down the aisle any less special. It’s such an iconic, memorable moment that almost nothing can take away from it.

And while doing a first look doesn’t seem to take away from the ceremony, I’ve heard some people say that they feel like it actually enhances their experience at their ceremony! I believe that this is because most often when people do a first look, it helps to calm their nerves a bit to see their future spouse and spend some time together before that big moment. And once they’re a bit less nervous, they’re able to take it in a little more!

At the end of the day, whether or not you do a first look is a personal choice and we’d love to help you figure out what’s right for you!


For Photographers: Overcoming Failure

Ah, failure. A lot of people don’t like to talk about it, but let’s be real….who hasn’t failed in one way or another? We’re all human, and unfortunately, human beings tend to be prone to making mistakes. It’s just in our nature!

You might think that the more established you are as a business owner, the less likely you are to fail, but I think that’s totally a myth. Of course you gain experience the longer you’re in business, but the length of time you’ve been working doesn’t mean that you suddenly become perfect!

Business tips for female entrepreneurs

Here are some things I’ve learned about overcoming failures in my business over the last six years:

1. Make it Right
What can you do to fix your mistake? If it’s something that cannot be fixed, what can you do to make it better? If the mistake involves your clients, it’s best to put yourself in their shoes and act with as much empathy and kindness as you can. In most situations, people want to know that they’re heard and understood and to see that you’re doing the best that you can do. I genuinely care for all of our clients, so if I make a mistake that affects them on some level, I try to do as much as I can to make the situation right.

Consider the kinds of customer service you’ve received in your life. How would you feel if a company left you out to dry after their mistake affected you? How do you feel when a company goes above and beyond to take care of you? I can’t remember exactly who said it, but I always try to remember this quote: “The one thing people remember about you is how you made them feel”. I find that to be such a great business principle because at the end of the day, business (especially my business!) is really all about relationships!

2. Keep perspective
We sometimes feel like our failures are going to ruin us and destroy our businesses. That the mistakes we’ve made are greater than the sum of all of the awesome things we’ve done. The truth is, no one person and no business is defined solely by a mistake that’s been made. We’re defined by a much bigger picture. In the grand scheme of things, your mistake is probably not that big of a deal! It’s something you’ll be able to learn from…and learning = growth. Instead of beating yourself up about it, It’s best to keep perspective in mind. I sometimes ask myself, “Is this something I’ll still be worried about a year from now?” if not, then it’s not worth losing sleep over.

3. Take something away from the experience
In my opinion, the silver lining to almost every epic fail is that there’s something you can learn from it. Maybe you’ll figure out a new way to do things in your business or pick up a new software or system because of it. Or, maybe you’ll learn something valuable about yourself that you can take into your next interactions! To me, the biggest tragedy isn’t the mistake itself, it’s not using the opportunity to learn something and become better because of it. There’s always something to learn from failure, you just have to be willing to look and to do the work to fix it.

It’s important to remember that everyone is flawed and that’s okay. Life is about staying humble and doing our best, not being the best 24/7. Use your failures to help you to succeed in the future and they won’t have been for nothing!


Love your inspiring and very helpful post. Thank you!