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Annapolis

Sunrise and Capitals in this Downtown Annapolis Engagement

Emily & Matt

My love for Downtown Annapolis truly knows no bounds. Every time we meet a couple that says they live for the waterfront views, cute houses, and friendly people, I know that couple is stellar. Anyone with the dedication to do a photoshoot at sunrise (my preferred time for city sessions) is amazing. But these two are real trophy winners for waking up before sunrise, right after celebrating the Caps Stanley Cup win. The funny thing is, I actually met these two (along with Emily's mom) by total chance. Back in April, I was taking a tour of Main Street Ballroom to for the Big Fake Wedding. While touring it with two other vendors (Rachel Kendall Events and Flour De Casa), one of the site coordinators pulled me aside. She said a future Main Street couple had some questions. Enter: Emily and Matt. There was a level of comfort that I felt immediately when we all started chatting. The conversation flowed so naturally, and when I got home, I was greeted with an email from Emily asking me to be their wedding photographer! I still feel a multitude of emotions, but the one that takes up the most room is joy. Joy in getting being there for their big day, and joy that we made the random connection that we did. During their session we talked more about their wedding details, their love of the Washington Capitals, and the houses we would buy if we won the lottery. I'm pretty sure...

Music at Sunset in Herrington Harbour, Maryland Engagement

Brianna & Ryan

Ohhh, my goodness! Are you all ready for an amazing engagement?! On Wednesday of last week, we traveled down to Herrington Harbour and North Beach for Brianna and Ryan's session. The day was made 100% fantastic thanks to gorgeous weather, scary cool clouds, and music! I'm tellin' ya, we may not have very many weddings this year, but the sessions we do have are out of this world!  We started the session at Ryan's parents house in North Beach. A gorgeous place with beautiful views of the water. It just so happened that on the day of their shoot, there was a sailboat race happening, so speckling the horizon were dozens of crisp white sails. It was honestly just the beginning of the coolness. After admiring the waterfront, Bri and Ryan busted out their guitars and jammed together. They both went back and forth, choosing songs to serenade another. They started with You Are My Sunshine and finished with Take Me Home, Country Roads. It was such a touching moment watching these two that I had tears in my eyes. An engagement session first for me, haha! Bri and Ryan are incredible. They have such a sweet and genuine relationship. While we were in both North Beach and Herrington Harbour these two made sure they were always having fun. Whether the fun was striking a silly pose, or hopping on a swing set, they were constantly laughing. Typically, the time that I'm photographing the ring is pretty quiet. But...

Time to Make Those 2018 Goals

New Year, New Everything!

Happy New Year! Not gonna lie, I've been battling with what exactly to put into this blog post. On the one hand, I want to be positive and joyful, but on the other, I'm kind of not feeling it. I remember being so excited last year when I was writing a similar post to this one. Even in January, our 2017 felt special. We were looking forward to 15 gorgeous days lined up, shooting a wedding in Jamaica, and branching out into the community more. This year, though, already feels a little less balanced. There's more of a shift in my 2018 goals toward personal areas rather than professional. Where as last year I was amped for all BCP was going to be doing, this year I'm more excited for what Britney and Shawn will be up to.  What's coming To start, we're moving! In about 2 weeks we will be upgrading from our very small apartment to a larger space. This has been an "every year" goal, but since it's finally happening, it's real 2018 goals, haha! We'll still be renting, which a lot of people don't understand, but we are really looking forward to it! We don't want to settle on a place we don't see ourselves being in forever. We don't want to be in a starter home for only a couple years, and we don't want townhouse living. Our dream is to get the house that will see future generations playing, growing, and thriving...

Weddings, Engagements, Families - OH MY!

2017 Yearly Review

Welp, 2017 is drawing to a close, and it's that time again. Time to look back on the year and talk about the good, the great, and the surprises! In previous years I've made multiple posts for weddings and engagements, but I wanted to switch it up a bit and have them all together. A few of our wedding couples this year also had their engagement photos done in 2017, so I figured it would be adorable to do little side by side comparisons for those! Kind of like a before and after, only both times it's pretty and sweet, haha! But before I get to sharing, I have to gush a little bit first.   Weddings This year's weddings have been phenomenal. We've learned a lot, met a ton of great people, and have experienced some truly amazing events. Every time I think a wedding can't reinvent itself, it does! I'm honestly shocked at the amount of heart, love, and the occasional tears that go into every single wedding to make it unique and one of a kind. This year, we photographed 19 weddings. N-I-N-E-T-E-E-N. That's the most we've ever had and we can be more grateful for everyone that we got to capture. I'm tearing up a little bit, because I want to be honest and say that next year isn't shaping up to be the same. It's a little bittersweet to reflect on this time now, because I don't think next year will be even remotely as...

A Naval Academy Engagement You'll Absolutely Love

Eliza & Taylor

Even though the summer is coming to a close, the amazing engagement sessions are just starting! Sunday morning we met up with Eliza and Taylor in Annapolis. The morning was bright and the air was cool. It was arguably the best August morning ever. Eliza and Taylor were incredibly charming the second we met up with them. They came relaxed and ready to have an incredible session. Conversation came easily and was very revitalizing despite having to wake up before the sun even started to appear. We never miss an opportunity to be out by the water for our Annapolis engagement sessions. But we always longingly look at the great waterfront rocks over in the Naval Academy. Shawn and I have just never had the opportunity to go past security to have a session there, but Eliza and Taylor were the perfect ones to explore with. Taylor is a Marine and Eliza's brother goes to the Naval Academy, so they both had a ton of knowledge about the area and various interesting facts. It felt like a tour with some friends in addition to a session! There were so many spectacular places at the Naval Academy, including a gorgeous fountain, lots of greenery, and some very awe-inspiring buildings. We even experienced reveille as the academy began its Sunday. Afterwards, we took a trip outside to downtown Annapolis and the Statehouse for some more great photos. These two didn't need any instruction on how to pose, and were like pros as...

5 of the Best Groom Reactions

Wedding Day Cheer

You know how sometimes you just need to do something that will make you smile? Not anything ridiculous, just something that will make you feel good. This week, I've been working on some pretty exciting things, but I gotta admit: I'm feeling a little tired. I needed this post to just be me writing about something I adore, and one of my favorite things is amazing groom reactions. What can I say, I'm a sucker for a dude that isn't afraid to share his heart.  Over the years, we have seen many different groom reactions. There's been laughter, deep breathing, tears, and so many more. Every groom reaction is so full of joy and it truly makes the wedding feel complete. We've seen guests, of course, be excited to see the bride, but what we see more of are guests taking bets on a great reaction from the groom. It's so funny to watch grandpa study the face of his grandson, waiting for the reaction of a lifetime.  At this point in the season, we've experienced a full gamut of emotions. The groom reactions have been extra stellar this year, and I really just want to show off a handful of them. Like I said earlier, these images all make me feel ridiculously happy, and I wanted to bottle that happiness up into a blog post :).  1. Smiling so hard your jaw hurts 2. "Can you believe this?!" 3. A quick moment of...

An Unbelievable Annapolis Engagement Session

Christa & Grant

There's something special about sunrise engagement sessions! I don't know if it's the way the world looks or what, but sunrise may be my new favorite photo time. Everything seems so soft and airy. Pair that with the Annapolis waterfront and - my goodness - it's Heaven! I think it's safe to say that Christa and Grant are phenomenal. Not only did they drive an hour for their session, but they were so full of energy for their engagement. They had no problems walking around Downtown Annapolis just exploring. The best part is that they were just as amped over cute doors as I am, haha! The true test of a BCP couple is being excited over interesting buildings and cobblestone ❤️. Every second of the morning spent with Christa and Grant was fun. Interestingly, they had never been to Annapolis before, so Shawn and I also got to be mini tour guides. We took them around Ego Alley, Main Street, the State House. We even saw Larry Hogan out in his yard walking - our very own Maryland celebrity sighting 😛. I'm so glad that Christa and Grant were staying in Annapolis for a little bit after the session, because it's so full of amazing things to see. One thing that is easy to say about these two is how they have such a wonderful spirit. About a week before the session, Christa emailed me saying how it might rain, but that they didn't want to reschedule, and were...

Quiet Waters Park Engagement

Alyssa and Ryan's Spotlight!

We are gearing up for another wonderful wedding weekend! Alyssa and Ryan are getting married this Saturday at Robin Hill Farm. The weather is looking truly fantastic, and I just cannot wait to see these two again. But, before we get to the wedding, I have to revisit their stunning engagement session at Quiet Waters. I love the Annapolis area, and that has probably became very obvious over the years. It is - of course - on my list of favorite locations. There's so much greatness in the area from downtown to the parks - Annapolis has everything. So when Alyssa and Ryan chose Quiet Waters for their engagement session, I did a little dance. I mean, on a bad day, the park is beautiful. So on a great day, it's phenomenal, haha! Ryan and Alyssa's engagement session was so much fun. We started off in the garden area, just getting warmed up. I remember very clearly that these two were naturals from the start. They are so comfortable with each other, it was easy for them to have a good time together. Even when our plans in the park changed, they were willing to adventure around. It was their cool and calm demeanor in hiking that ended up paying off big time with a breath-taking sunset. Seriously, the most glorious orange and pink sky I've seen. I really don't think I'll ever be over it. I'm confident that, much like their engagement, Alyssa and Ryan's wedding day will...

6 Tips for Wedding Day Speeches

From Shawn

Hi everyone, Shawn here! As the weather warms up and wedding season commences, there is a lot of excitement for the couples beginning their life together. Most of the responsibility for a successful big day - including happy guests - falls on the shoulders of the bride and groom (and hopefully a select few who are tasked to delegate). However, in pretty much any wedding, there is an event where the loving friends and family have a chance to give back: speeches. I know that speech preparation varies from person to person, with some planning ahead and printing out several pages of amazing content, and other individuals waiting until the day of to give a more dynamic presentation (of which I am guilty). Through my personal experience giving speeches as a best man and a groom, as well as witnessing countless speeches, here are some recommendations I've gathered to make the best possible speech for a wedding. This applies to bridesmaids or groomsmen nervously preparing words, fathers or mothers expressing joy, or brides and grooms who want to politely aid (or warn) one of their upcoming speakers.   1. Set the Mood through Structure Weddings are very sentimental events, since they mark a huge point in the lives of the couple. But that doesn't mean they can't be a lot of fun, too! A wedding speech balances a fine line between the sincerity of the moment with the lighthearted fun of the celebration. Preferably, speeches capture both of these...

The Why Behind Session Timing

"You want us up when?!"

This is the time of year when a lot of our couples are planning their engagement sessions. Whether they are dreaming of a "lost in the wood" session or high fashion city shoot, timing means everything. For Shawn and I, breaching this subject is a point of contention. We are both night owls, so whenever the thought of early morning comes up, we both kind of shudder. However, we recognize the beauty in small crowds and fabulous light. Our couples, though, don't always know of those benefits as well as we do. It means so much to me through chatting with our couples that we are able to provide them with loads of session information. One of the biggest things we cover before an engagement session is the timing for a session. So what better way to benefit everyone than through a blog? There are pretty images below, so everyone stick around until the end :P. What is proper timing? One of the first things I want to touch on is the best hours of the day to be out. We have found that for sunrise sessions, we want to be shooting 30 minutes after the sun has risen. For sunset, we like to give ourselves 2 hours before the sun has fully fallen. These times are typically called the "golden / magic / perfect hour," but I just like to say "ohhhhh, mah gawsh! Best!". Here's a cute little info graphic I've created...

All Time Favorite Engagement Ring Photos

Including A Bonus Tip!

Engaged, married, and jewelry loving friends, this post is for you! Have you ever been going about your day, catch a glimpse of the ring on your hand, and instantly feel a surge of happiness? This happens to me a lot. I'll be working on something really intense and then the sparkle from my engagement ring will draw my attention. It makes me pause what I'm doing, and think of every happy moment related to my ring. Like many people, my engagement ring is very important to me. It's not only perfect, but it also has a special story behind it. During the creation process, Shawn actually got a diamond from my mom. She is a jewelry junkie who lives for the JTV (Jewelry Television). However, the diamond that Shawn asked for was from a ring that my dad had given my mom many moons ago. The value of my ring is priceless to me. Not only are the memories of our life tied to it, but the lives of my parents are also included. My dad may not have been able to walk me down the aisle, but having this ring on my finger made me feel like he was right there with me and my step dad. The importance of sharing the story is because it taught me the value behind every ring. We get the chance to photograph so many stories and I am always giddy when it comes time for engagement ring photos. Every couple...

What Do We Do in the Off Season?

A Little About Us

During the off season, Shawn and I like to take some time for ourselves. We usually spend a few days after the holidays relaxing in our pajamas and binging Netflix (I've watch The Crown twice already). However, we do have to get back to work at some point. Shawn goes back to the lab (literally), and I start making lists for the 2017 season. I plan website updates, restructure our pricing, and find some different business workshops to sign up for. The off season is absolutely not the most exciting time for anyone looking in from the outside, but for us, it's a time to dream big. In last week's post, I talked about our goals for 2017. Both personal and business aspirations were briefly listed, but there wasn't much said about them. Three of the biggest things I am looking forward to from that list are making improvements to the website, creating a newsletter, and unveiling the client lounge. Design elements make me the happiest to think of, and those three items are huge for us. They make me giddy to think about, so I definitely want to share them with everyone. The BCP Website With every passing year, there are new trends and updated styles. Over the course of 2016, I got really inspired by other creative uses of web space, and I began planning my own changes. Now, the updates I have in mind are not a design overhaul or anything crazy. I have plans for a...

2017 Goals to Elevate Our Business

Happy New Year!

Is it seriously time to start writing a new number on everything? I feel like 2016 flew by, and I'm not really sure I'm ready for the new year. I mean, I guess it doesn't really matter if I'm ready, because it's here. The time cannot go backwards, so it's time for me to think about my 2017 goals. I'm not really a fan of making resolutions. They terrify me and I feel they are counterproductive. You set a resolution once for the entire year. When the countdown hits zero, you either succeed or you don't. Even if you came close, you still feel the crushing defeat which is very demoralizing. Any deviations are just "excuses" for not accomplishing your predefined resolution. Basically, a resolution motivates by guilt and the negative feelings associated with anything short of success. That's not a healthy mindset when trying to grow and improve, since it's harder to take big risks when you have the fear of failure. Instead, I prefer to set goals for myself, which are similar but different than resolutions. Goals aren't all or nothing. You can come close to completing your goals, and still feel accomplished. They can adapt to any changes in lifestyle or priorities without having to feel like you failed and started over. Also, I feel like it's much easier to exceed your goals but keep going without putting your work down and feeling like you're done. Goals are just a nicer concept that - given the...

Wedding Favorites of the Year

See Ya Later, 2016

Today has been the blog I have been most looking forward to since January! It's time for the wedding favorites of 2016! I love this time so much because it always brings back so many wonderful memories. From rainy days to 100 degree days, weddings are my absolute favorite. I feel so much joy when looking back at all the couples we've gotten to interact with. Every single one of them have been so good to us and given us a greater purpose in our business. This year in particular has been hugely instrumental to the changes that are coming in 2017. From website updates, to small changes in our interactions. I feel like 2016 has been a year of great influence to our lives and we just cannot thank our couples enough. Shawn and I do not take for granted a single ounce of the love and support that our couples give to us. Shawn can attest that the thank you cards that we receive always bring such a huge smile to my face. They honestly make our day. It's interesting that sharing our wedding favorites year in and year out is really more of an excuse to brag about how wonderful the people in our lives are. I could seriously go on forever about the sweetness between Sara and Charlie during their first dance. The bravery that Emily and Jon shared going out in the rain for portraits. The laughter from Alyssa as Matthew started break dancing...

Engagement Favorites of the Year

Bye Bye, 2016!

I cannot believe how quickly 2016 has flown by, and that we are already at this point again. It feels like yesterday that we were doing our engagement favorites of 2015. How is it possible that we have already experienced another twelve months, and are merely a week and a half away from the New Year?! This year has brought so many wonderful couples into our lives. Getting to be a part of their wedding planning process has been really fantastic. As the year winds down, I love reminiscing about all of their sessions. Every engagement shoot gives us a glimpse into who our couples are and allows us to make fun memories with them. This year, though, I feel as if we have personally been able to open up, as well. We've been sharing more of who we are in order to connect to our couples on an even deeper level during their sessions. I don't think it's any secret that engagements are my absolute favorite aspect of wedding planning. They allow the couple to sit back and just be together. Sure, there is a little posing involved, but it always feels natural and comfortable. We want every engagement shoot to feel exciting, even to the most resistant partner. When we get emails or comments saying how nervous a couple was before their session, but became confident due to our encouragement and enthusiasm, it makes us feel so good. Our entire goal is for the couple to know ...

Why We Do Weddings

Hint: Because We Love You

The off-season always gives us time to reflect on our business. It gives us the opportunity to invest in our education and really dig deep while there's less on our plate. To answer the questions of how to improve, we have to first consider our foundation. For this reason, I've been spending time lately exploring about why we do weddings. No, I'm not suffering a quarter life crisis, and I'm not planning to do anything but grow, but thinking about our why helps me as photographer and entrepreneur. I've been photographing weddings since 2011. While I enjoyed what I was doing back then, I never gave it much thought into why I was doing it. I certainly did not envision my business going this far, either. It wasn't until 2016 that I felt the strong urge to relax my brain, take a minute to unwind, and figure out my photographic drive. Shawn posted an article about a Groom's role in his wedding a few months ago, and I felt a fire light underneath me. I realized after reading the post and having more discussions that we've always focused on not just the bride but both people in the relationship. We strive to make both sides feel important because they both are. We have been in their shoes, and know what it's like going through the wedding process. It's natural for us to be empathetic to all the love, concerns, stress, and gratitude that goes into such an important event. Feeling...

Sara & Charlie Engagement Spotlight

Mount Aventine

I'm not sure if I can harness the excitement I have for Sara and Charlie's wedding day, but I'll try. We met these two over a year ago, and from that first meeting, we knew they were something special. That was reinforced at their engagement session in Mount Aventine a few days later. The day was warm and typical for July, but Sara and Charlie came ready to cuddle despite the heat. When you meet a couple that just loves being in each other's arms, you know that you are in the presence of a great relationship. Sara and Charlie spent every second laughing and enjoying this moment in their engagement. Walking around Mount Aventine with them and their dog, Hazel, is something that I want to do every day. I'm serious when I say they have one of the best relationships. Charlie is the jokester and Sara is sweet beyond belief. They balance each other so well, and they are really adorable. Reading over their questionnaire, I couldn't help but smile and tear up over the evolution of their relationship. Everything about these two is thoughtful and respectful of one another. It's amazing to hear about and it's even better to see. I know I said in their engagement post that I was starting their wedding countdown early, and I totally did. Luckily the days passed quickly enough to the point that we are only 1 day from wedding bells. I'm giddy and a bit teary over...

Alexa & Eddie

Centennial Park Engagement Session

The best thing about any engagement session is walking away from them with new friends. Getting the opportunity to interact with people that we may not have had the pleasure to otherwise meet always makes me so incredibly happy. On Saturday, we met up with Alexa, Eddie, and their pup, Benji, at Centennial Park. I love this spot, It is seriously one of my favorites because of how gorgeous it is. Centennial is a beautiful park with a lot of green, but tons of variety. It's perfect, and I was giddy the second Alexa and Eddie chose it. Their engagement shoot had been planned for months, and I was eagerly looking forward to it from day one. Chatting back and forth with Alexa, I got the sense of how sweet and genuine her relationship with Eddie is. Getting the chance to see them interact with each other reinforced everything I already felt for them. When a couple spends their entire engagement session cuddled up with each other and giggling, you know it's going to be a fabulous shoot. That is exactly what these two did from the moment we arrived at Centennial Park. They have such a strong connection that is evident from just a few seconds of being in their presence. Wandering around Centennial with these two and getting to know them was an absolute joy. We loved hearing about their adventurous date nights under the stars. Spending the evening with them and Benji capturing all of the...

The First Look Explained

Tips & Tricks

Whenever the question of a first look comes up, we are almost always met with an excited bride and confused groom. It's no fault of the groom that he doesn't know what this wedding trend is. We generally give the bride the chance to explain it, if she is familiar. But it's still kind of difficult to find the right words to describe it. When we explain it, we want to be informative and still give all the sweetness that is involved. The benefits and trade offs are not always immediately obvious. It takes both people to decide if a first look is right for them. Having to find the right words to make a confident choice is a challenge. We want to give you the resources that allow you both to be at peace with your options. So we are excited to give you the information about a first look, and the tools to know if it should be a part of your wedding day. What is a first look? The easiest way to explain a first look is that it's a chance for the couple to be with each other before all of the craziness starts. It's an intimate moment that you two get the chance to share on a day that is all about your love. A first look is never rushed or forced. It's honestly the most exciting time during the wedding, besides the declaration of marriage. The process of this romantic event starts...

The Importance of Saying No

Confidence with Compromising

  The words yes and no are very powerful. Couples and vendors alike can get hung up on the negativity of the word no, which can make both sides feel insignificant during wedding planning. I've had plenty of situations where I know that I shouldn't be saying yes. Yet, since I didn't want to step on anyone's toes, I bit my tongue. Occasionally, my inability to voice my opinions caused a hiccup in my business. The biggest problem with this is never feeling in control of my success. I would do things for my business because it's what everyone else was doing, or because it's what was being demanded of me. It wasn't until this year that I took the reins and began exercising my right to say no. Shawn's and my main priority with couples is to have a friendship that is fun and enthusiastic. If there are certain goals or relationships that aren't being positively fostered, reflect on the situation and weigh the pros and cons. We don't want to tell people we aren't going to do something without reason. We have a thoughtful process that we follow in order to make sure our couples (current and potential) are aware that we are looking out for them. Saying no to things that add stress One of the biggest things that I think couples and vendors need to ask themselves is if certain requests will add too much stress. Weddings already carry a lot of pressure with...

BritneyClause.com Website Update

from Shawn

Photography is more to us than just capturing gorgeous photos. A big part of Britney Clause Photography is the people we interact with. We love meeting with clients, talking about engagement sessions over email, and bonding over common interests. Getting feedback is an important part of growing as a company and individuals. Our big goal was making an update that would provide these opportunities to hear and converse more with everyone. We are always looking for ways of expanding our reach and ability to communicate. We've made a few huge changes, so check them out below. Talk to us on the Blog First, and perhaps the biggest update, is that the blog now has commenting! We used to have this feature years ago, but had to lose it with the new and cleaner site design. We've missed this feature, since we love having more opportunities for feedback on our posts. At the bottom of each blog post is a new comment section, similar to what you'll find elsewhere on the Internet. Being able to communicate directly to blog posts means being able to share your opinion and voice more readily. Whether it's a sneak peek of your wedding or a personal post from one of us, you can now join in a conversation directly with others. There are still some features that we'll be adding over time to boost our relationship and connection. Commenting is just the first update to a long list of what we want to accomplish...

5 of Our Favorite Poses

Tips & Tricks

We enjoy giving our couples freedom in their posing. We try to do minimal directing, because we don't want the shoot to slip into being stiff. Don't get me wrong, though, we still give a fair amount of direction. But we give each pose the chance to evolve. When we start off the session, we go with easy poses. Those usually include the chest-to-chest position. Generally, our direction is "face one another and get close". That sets the couple up for the basic look of the image Shawn and I want. From that point, we start easing in to tiny tweaks like having the lady give a small leg pop or for them to start telling each other jokes. All of these are very small things that affect the mood and look of the shoot. When a couple is having fun together, they are more comfortable and confident. When we set up our posing in a very basic way, it allows our couples to feel like they can breath. There is no way that Shawn and I can feel happy by precisely placing every piece of the shot. We know our couples won't be happy with that either. We need the couple to move and to naturally interact with one another. Once those first few shots are accomplished, the nerves melt away. In those instances, we're all able to learn about one another and have a really awesome session. Nice and close bringing chest to chest Think about whenever...

The Key to Wedding Planning Perfection

Something Borrowed, Something True

Since I'm waist deep in my watching of the Olympics, I'm seeing the word "perfection" everywhere. It's an interesting idea that shows up a lot in sports, and also in wedding planning. There is an insurmountable amount of pressure on today's brides and grooms to have that perfect day. Your decor needs to be new and fresh, and you need to be over-accommodating for your guests. It can be incredibly difficult to balance. However, the greatest shift I've seen in our couples is that the perfect day to them means doing what makes them happy. Following happiness makes the planning process run so smoothly. At a certain point in our wedding planning, Shawn and I had to put aside what our guests would like and do what was best for ourselves. Naturally, we were still concerned with throwing a great party. But when we thought about what we enjoyed, the pressure from "perfect" vanished. We created our own idea of what was best for our day, and it made a huge difference. Seeing couples come to the same conclusion as us is fantastic. There is always the fear that, because of sites like Pinterest, the need to chase a flawless wedding is stronger than ever. Reading the positive advice fills me with so much joy. The key to wedding planning perfection is to throw out the idea of perfect. Focus on the fact that your happiness going into marriage will take you much further.   Marielle...

My 3 Favorite Questions to Ask Couples

Tips & Tricks

The questions that Shawn and I ask during meetings with our couples aren't overly technical. We try to keep meetings with us as natural as possible. Occasionally, the meetings can feel like a blind double date, just because we really want to get to know who both of you are. When Shawn and I have a sense of what your relationship is based on, then we are able to give you a better idea of who we are. I know I have stressed this a million times, but we enjoy being friends with our couples. Last week, we sent our September and October couples their wedding day questionnaires. I've covered that topic in the past, but to recap: it's our online document that covers everything. It's extensive, and I would say it takes more than a few hours to complete. But much like our first meeting, it allows us to get to know the couple that we will be photographing. Yesterday, I got the sweetest email from one of the brides, Sara, saying how they had finished the questionnaire (like champs) and how excited her and Charlie were to see us again. From the initial meeting we had with them, Shawn and I really wanted to connect on a level that wasn't just "you're my wedding vendor". We wanted Sara and Charlie to feel happy that they chose us. The questions covered in their consultation were extremely important, and go hand-in-hand with the topics we cover in the...

Alyssa & Ryan

A Gorgeous Engagement at Quiet Waters

This Saturday, Shawn and I spent the day with an amazing couple at Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis. It was one of the few days in May that wasn't plagued with rain, so we were able to get outside and really explore the park for Alyssa and Ryan's engagement session. Unfortunately for us, everyone else seemed to have the same idea, so we had to be extra diligent in finding interesting spots that weren't crowded with photographers. The thing that I love about Quiet Waters, though, is that around every corner is something new. There's gardens by the Blue Heron Center, fields by the amphitheater, and tons of trails. Add in how adorable of a pair Alyssa and Ryan are, and the crowded park wasn't an issue at all. My absolute favorite part about every single engagement session is getting to know the couple better over the course of shooting. We end up spending over an hour together, and typically there is a shared adventure mixed in there somewhere. For Alyssa and Ryan's session, there was the discovery that the road to the waterfront area was completely closed. I'm not a rebel in even the tamest sense of the word, so while it would have been easy to just hop over the barriers and try to make our way down the torn up road, Alyssa and Ryan were more than happy to go and explore an open hiking trail nearby. They were total troopers, and it definitely paid off, since...

Making Tough Calls When it Comes to Guests

Something Borrowed, Something True

Guests liven up a wedding like no other. From emotions during the ceremony to wobble skills during the reception, guests add an extra layer of fun to any day. However, before the wedding, it can be a little daunting coordinating for all the attendees. There's addresses to gather, families to figure out, and seating charts to map to maximize everyone's enjoyment. I know from my own experiences that it can be exhausting, but the thing that worked for Shawn and me when taking them all on: set a cap on guests and hold strong to that number. For our wedding, Shawn and I decided that we would do a couple of things in order to keep our list manageable. Our first decision was to not invite children except for the two in the bridal party (my niece and nephew). The second thing we decided early on was to keep our family invites to parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and first cousins. Shawn has a huge family, and while we didn't want to exclude anyone, we had to think of costs and what wedding size we could manage. The last thing we did was to put the number of seats that were being held in their honor on our guests RSVP cards. We kept this to just two seats for each of our guests, and they were super respectful of our request. I've heard horror stories of people crossing out these numbers and writing in their own, but luckily, our...

Not Letting the Details Consume You

Something Borrowed, Something True

When you think of a wedding planning check list, what are some of the first things on your list? On my list there are: floral inspiration, venues, hair and make-up wizardry, dress designs, a whole ton of other things that - when put together - create a magical day for two very special people. When Shawn and I were organizing our day, every time I felt like all the important things were covered, someone would mention lighting, or our vows, or the guestbook and I immediately would realize that I had no idea. It wasn't until I started looking at resources like WeddingWire and utilizing Google Sheets for our guest list that details started fitting into place, and the nightmares of having a wedding missing something important went from once a week to once a month :P. I know Shawn and I weren't the only ones that have dealt with a check list that is more list than checked, but in the thick of it can be hard to stay positive and not feel overwhelmed. Seeing the way that some of our couples dealt with the anxiety of their details really showed me that there are some great ways to conquer the bridal fears. From Pinterest to dealing with late RSVPs, these couples kept themselves in fantastic order and can truly help others throughout the entire process.   Jen & Brock  "Definitely follow the local wedding blogs for inspiration, especially early on. We discovered...

4 Ways We Prepare for Engagement Sessions

Tips & Tricks

The more days with perfect weather we have, the more and more I'm itching to get outside for some of this years engagement sessions. I am so excited for all of the couples that Shawn and I get to photograph, and all this sunshine is making it hard to wait for next month when everything fully kicks into gear. I wanted to do tonight's blog on how Shawn and I prepare for engagement sessions after a few months of not being behind the camera regularly. For future brides and grooms who are reading this: you are not the only ones who get nervous before photos. I'm not going to lie, it can be difficult getting back into the groove, and when I feel an ounce of jitters I become a tongue tied mess, haha. However, after doing this for awhile, I've been able to come up with a process that has knocked out a lot of pre-session butterflies. My steps help me, and whether you are a couple preparing for your own engagement photos or a photographer gearing up for a crazy awesome season, I hope these will be useful! My first step toward calming nerves is always getting to know the clients. Shawn and I meet with our couples, we send them welcome gifts, and I try to be in almost constant communication leading up to the session. The main motivation behind doing all of that is for everyone to feel very comfortable with each other...

Why I Have a Wedding Day Questionnaire

Getting to Know You

One the emails that I look forward to sending to our couples is their wedding day questionnaire. The main reason we send this out is because it allows Shawn and I to get to know the couple on a deeper level, and I love seeing what they type out. The form itself is split into different categories that, when completed, paints us a perfect picture of the wedding day. Of course, there are basic logistical questions that cover locations, honeymoon length, the main contact's phone number, etc. But then there are sections that are dedicated to the bridal party, family, and vendors. It's extremely in-depth (and a lot to fill-in), but when Shawn and I originally planned out the sections, we tried hard to include some fun questions so that it isn't overwhelming for anyone. I also have a whole section dedicated to items "For the Blog" that asks the couple questions about their relationship and wedding. This part has to be my favorite, because the answers vary so much, but are always incredibly sweet. Usually the first question I check when I get a finished questionnaire is: "When did you know he/she was the one for you". That one question makes me tear up pretty much 100% of the time, because I feel like I'm getting a glimpse into the relationship that isn't commonly heard from. The biggest thing that I encourage with my questionnaire is to have fun with it. Shawn and I want to get...

Allowing Outside Opinions In

Something Borrowed, Something True

Last time in my bride-to-bride advice series, I shared some of the thoughts that my couples had about timing and how important it is. For this installment, it's all about those outside sources and what they may have to say about your wedding. I know it's a little bit of a touchy subject, because with wedding planning everyone has their own ideas and a lot of the time there is unsolicited advice offered that isn't always productive. Also, through the wedding process, you may find that some people aren't exactly in your corner on some decisions as you would expect them to be. Wedding planning is definitely a trying time in friendships and family relationships. But a bright spot is how it brings you and your significant other as a couple much closer together, and makes you really start to see the family that you are building. Shawn and I went through a very difficult situation in our own planning regarding a family member, and the situation was completely heartbreaking and really altered relationships. We faced backlash from my family over a difficult decision we had to make, but it was necessary. The thing that mattered was that we learned that we always have each other. Through thick and thin we can look at one another and know that we are a unit, and when either of us need even just a simple hug: it's there. The most important takeaway from this installment in the series is that you...

Finding the Best Time to Post on Instagram

Tips & Tricks

About three weeks ago I decided to step up my Instagram game. I wanted to post more and earn new followers organically. I started posting whenever I thought about it, usually at lunch time or just after dinner. Eventually, I decided I needed to determine the best time of day to post so I could maximize the return on each post. [I want to preface that my following is relatively small, so the numbers that I receive are not astronomical at all, but still large enough for the data to be accurate.] My first post on my Instagram plan was just before noon (specifically at 11:45 am). Within the first hour I had received about 15 likes on the photo. I was pretty proud of that number, so that night I decided to post at 8:00 in the evening. My thought process for that time was people would be home, finished cleaning up from dinner, and ready to scroll through Instagram. Sounds plausible, but my post at this time only got 5 likes. Frustrated, I started looking at articles on Instagram post timing and found a Huffington Post article that really matched exactly what I was looking for. The best part about the article was that the research was done using Latergramme, which is an amazing scheduling service that I now use regularly. However, I wasn't sure if their analysis of times would be accurate for me and my readers. I wanted to find my best times to post...

3 Tips for Choosing the Best Engagement Session Location

Tips & Tricks

One of the biggest questions I get from clients: where should we do our engagement session? I can seriously pick locations for days. There are a ton of parks all around Maryland, and urban locations like Baltimore, Annapolis, and Washington DC are all within 30-40 minutes. The thing I can't search for in a location, though, is a place that you will click with and love. That's the reason I always suggest that you and your other half find a spot that you can envision yourself being in together. Imagine the session you want -- not one that you found on Pinterest or Facebook -- but one that you truly think will capture you two as a couple. Think of the environment that you enjoy and pick out certain aspects from it. Is there a lot of green? Water? Maybe there are some different unique elements like stone buildings? (If I just described everything that you are seeing, then I can suggest your session being at Savage Mill or Ellicott City.) Figuring out certain details that you want in a location can help immensely with searching for that perfect spot. A great example of picking out a location is how Shawn and I narrowed down our own ideas for our engagement session. For starters, I had outfits picked out months prior: a lace salmon color dress for me and a maroon button down with khaki's for Shawn; then an outfit change into more casual jeans and sweaters for later...

Kati and Chris's Engagement

Bayside Bride Feature

Today I am so happy to have one of my engagement sessions featured on Bayside Bride! It's a total honor to have Kati and Chris's session showcased. Not only are these two the sweetest couple, but they have an adorable pup named Dempsey that I completely fell in love with during our session. You might remember their session when I posted it a month ago, but I wanted to post some of their images again because I am overjoyed that their beautiful session is being recognized. It's also thrilling and exciting when your work is appreciated, and from reading all that Kati said for the feature, I absolutely feel incredibly blessed. I have to thank Kati, Chris, and Dempsey again for waking up early and braving the chilly morning. Enjoy some of my favorite images from their session and be sure to check out Bayside Bride's feature! <3   ______________________________________________________________________________ ...

5 Reasons to Take Advantage of an Engagement Session

Tips and Tricks

Since I've been stuck indoors for the past 4 days, I've done a lot of thinking about engagement sessions. Weird? Maybe. But engagement season is here and, soon enough, the weather will be gorgeous, the sun will be warm, and the snow will be not trapping everyone to their house. Ahhh, a beautiful day-dream, haha. The main thing on my mind is getting clients to recognize the benefit of a professional engagement session. It may be tempting to overlook engagement photos. The benefits of these sessions are amazing, not just for you as the couple, but also for Shawn and I as the photographers. I've taken note of the 5 main reasons to do an engagement session with your wedding photographer and I'm really looking forward to going over them: 1.) The biggest benefit is getting to know your photographer and their style. Every photographer is different between their shooting and editing style. My shooting style is relaxed, romantic, and fun with a huge focus on your natural interactions rather than looking at me and cheesy smiling. That's not something that couples can necessarily see just by looking at photos on my blog.   2.) You get to have real and true stress-free fun! There are so many things when it comes to wedding planning that get you into a hectic mood, but when you prepare for your session with your photographer you should feel at ease with the images from their portfolio and know that...

Should You Do a First Look?

Things to Consider

At this point, more than a few of the wedding planning sites you are on may be telling you to do a first look. They give a run-down of what it is and of all of the good that comes from doing one. Some of those sites may even say that your photographer will tell you to do one. Seriously, though, who am I to say "you must have a first look"? I would be a complete hypocrite if I demanded that; Shawn and I didn't do a first look, and even if we had the chance to go back and have one, we wouldn't. One of the things we both wanted from our day was for the first moment we see each other to be when I was walking down the aisle to him. We instead did an alternative to a first look where we held hands and said a prayer while separated by a door frame. I'm so glad that we did it this way because it was a moment I would never take back for anything. It was special and real and -- yes -- there were tears <3. We knew in our case a first look wouldn't work. Shawn and I talked about it, we made our photographer aware of our alternate idea, and we planned our timeline accordingly. I had where we would be during that last hour of light for sunset all mapped out. I think the most important thing, if...

Happy New Year!

Reflection and Moving Forward

With the switching over of years comes making new optimistic promises, because a new number means a new start. I'm usually in that group of people, creating more things to do and vows to keep. Except for this year; this year, I am not making any new starts. My main focus is going to be expansion on what Shawn and I are already doing. I fell in love with all that 2015 has brought us and I don't want that to "end." Sure, we didn't buy a house, or check off a million things on our list of "things to do as an adult," but we were together. We got to fully start on this journey of being business partners and accomplishing so many great things. For Shawn, he got to have a few of his papers for his Ph.D. accepted into some huge conference. We also adopted our first dog together named Pony. He has brought nothing but joy and millions of laughs to our lives. I got to slow down a little bit and enjoy more time with my mom, drinking tootsie roll hot cocoa and crying over Hallmark movies. Together with Shawn's family we have set up family game nights that I really love, because I love getting to bond with my new family. Those family nights are very, very special to me. I also got to attend my first conference this year, which lit a crazy fire under me to...

My Favorite Engagement Photos of 2015

Year in Review

I am so shocked that the end of the year is already here! Today's blog has been an absolute breeze to write and a dream to pick images for. I've had in mind some of the images that I would use for today's post for quite awhile, but actually going through them brought back so many happy memories of the great people Shawn and I have gotten to meet. Over the past year, I have felt so much growth in engagements sessions; from getting couples to feel comfortable, to putting on the final edits. It's truly been a wonderful year. We have had our share of challenges, but, through facing them head-on, we have been able to completely obliterate any problems (hulk style :P). 2015 was also Shawn's first full year of shooting along side me. I can't speak for him, but I can say it has been the most amazing thing. I love working with my husband, we can pretty much read each other's minds and he helps me calm down in times of high stress. He is my rock and I cannot thank him enough for all the hard-work and dedication he has shown to Britney Clause Photography. There are not enough jellybeans in the world for me to pay him back with <3. Going forward into 2016, I hope to take my engagement sessions to the next level. Shawn and I are constantly learning in order to give every couple we have the best possible...

Kati & Chris

A Stunning Engagement in Annapolis, Maryland

We met up with Kati and Chris on a cool November morning at St. John's College in Annapolis. Though it was a sunrise session, these two showed up with bright smiles and a wonderful positive glow around them. They also brought along their sweet goldendoodle, Dempsey, who is so goofy and charming that you cannot help but laugh when you see him. We were just into the first few minutes of the session when the cops came and hauled us off to campus jail... Just kidding! Although we did have to take Dempsey off campus grounds, the security guard was totally nice about it and even hung around for a little to talk to us about how adorable dogs are. (Shout out to that awesome guy!) Once we stepped off campus, Dempsey he made his triumphantly adorable return for the rest of the session :). Shawn and I loved wandering around downtown with these three, chatting about how nice of a day it was and about their proposal. Kati and Chris showed us just how crazy their height difference with a reenactment of Chris on one knee (so funny!). We made stops at the State House, Ego Alley, and then the William Paca House and Gardens. There was some construction  going on out front of the house, which meant that the workers on this fall day got a nice little glimpse of romance, haha. Kati and Chris are so cute and fit together so well that they look...

Kristy & Jonathan

An Awesome Wedding at Quiet Waters Park

At the beginning of September, Shawn and I shot Kristy and Jonathan's self described "backyard BBQ meets contemporary" wedding and family hangout. Their ceremony took place at the Severna Park Evangelical Presbyterian Church, with their reception happening at the Sassafras Pavilion in Quiet Waters Park. Since their engagement session had taken place in August, I didn't have to wait too long to be in the incredible presence of these two again. Kristy and Jonathan's entire day was accented with the greatest details from some of their favorite things (I love that they ship Luigi and Peach), but bigger than the details: their day was filled with a massive amount of love from their family and friends. I teared up more than a few times at the amount of support and happiness that these two have surrounding them. From Kristy, to other couples preparing to marry their best friend: "Pray more than you worry. Also, plan for the marriage more than you plan for the wedding day. It doesn't matter what the centerpieces look like or how many people didn't RSVP but still showed up.... you're still just as married as anyone else is once you say 'I do!'" I could - and probably will - carry that quote with me for all time :). Congratulations, Kristy and Jonathan! May your life be as wonderful and strong as the love that you have for one another. It was truly a pleasure being a part of your day...

Marielle & Don, Quiet Waters

A Beautiful Waterfront Wedding

A few weeks ago Shawn and I went down to our hometown of Pasadena, Maryland for Marielle and Don's wedding. Admittedly we only live 30 minutes away from the 'Dena - but hey - it's still fun to see all the familiar sites, haha! Marielle and Don were married at the beautiful Our Lady of the Chesapeake. Their fantastic reception took place at Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis. I always enjoy being able to do sessions here, because it has a little bit of everything for portraits. The Blue Heron Center was the perfect spot for this classic wedding, and it was filled with lovely details. The guests had an amazing time celebrating these two newlyweds, and the party seemed to be going constantly. At the end of the night, Marielle and Don's guests all formed a huge circle around these two and sent them off with great cheers and applause! :D Congratulations, Marielle and Don!   ______________________________________________________________________________ The getting ready was much less stressful for the guys :P   The fantastic vendors that made this day absolutely amazing! Ceremony Venue: Our Lady of the Chesapeake Reception Venue: Blue Heron Center Florist: Cedar Hill Florist Hair: Vanity Salon at Angies - stylist: Amber Caterer: Absolutely Perfect Catering Cake: Patti Kake DJ:  Mix Masters Entertainment Dress & Designer: Bridal Boutique - Allure Suit: Men's Wearhouse - Vera Wang ...

Kristy & Jonathan

An Annapolis Waterfront Engagement

I had been looking forward to Kristy and Jonathan's engagement session since we first started planning it in June. We had some trouble finding a date that worked for everyone, but when we finally were able to meet, it ended up being one of the most beautiful days of the summer. Their session kicked off at St. John's College, which was an amazing location with tons of intimate and romantic spots. From there, we wandered around the streets of Annapolis taking advantage of the gardens and all the cute side streets. Kristy and Jonathan are a really amazing couple. They are so laid back and - as everyone will see - adorable together! They have such fun personalities, which became really apparent when Jonathan changed into a button-up taco shirt. How fantastic is that? Their engagement session got Shawn and I even more pumped for their September wedding. They were discussing some of the details with us during our downtown stroll and I just know it's going to be a wonderful day!   ...