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Billingsley House

Beat the Heat

Tips for Photographers and Couples with Hot Summer Weddings

Now that it's August, it's time for summer days to get longer and hotter. I'm having a terrible time thinking how it could be even hotter than July. But it's definitely possible with how ridiculous the weather has been this year. This season has been undeniably on the warmer side for us. Last weekend, we had Samantha and Tim's wedding happen during the peak of a heat wave. Their wedding was a light bulb moment for Shawn and me on how we handle weddings that are absolute scorchers. The tips that we've been able to pick up over the years have made our ability to manage 100° days in a healthy way. As photographers who prefer to work with natural light, we are constantly running around outside trying to find the best places to shoot. We get sweaty - scratch that - grossly sweaty. It's easy for Shawn and me to forget to drink water, to have a quick snack, and to take a break. While the tips below are primarily for photographers, they can also be helpful to couples or bridal party members looking for smoother photo sessions. A little bit of planning and foresight can prevent a lot of problems down the burning asphalt road. Drink plenty of water Back when I was a kid, I always scoffed when my parents would tell me this. It wasn't until I started running track in high school that I realized: staying hydrated is no joke. Even the smallest...

Alyssa & Matthew

A Magical Wedding at Billingsley House

I had been ready for Alyssa and Matt's wedding since we shot their engagement session last year. Not only are they incredibly sweet and kind to others, but they have such an amazing connection with each other. It was easy to tell they were dear friends right from the very start. When Shawn and I pulled up to the Billingsley House in Upper Marlboro (the same location as Alexandra and Sean's wedding last November), my mind was already going nuts with excitement. This venue is one of a kind, with beautiful views of the Patuxent and an excellent tented area, which gives any reception a very fancy but open feeling. Driving up the tree lined drive-way, we could see the perfect pops of coral and mint, and we could also see the most interesting tree centerpieces on the colorful rectangular tables. The tree branches and paper leaves added a dimension to the reception area that wouldn't have been achievable with just vases and flowers. Immediately upon walking into the space, I was filled with a sense of overwhelming happiness thanks to all of the details that fit so perfectly together. All of Alyssa and Matt's unique decor was from the mind of their wedding coordinator, Christina. She put in so much time into every detail, and I was amazed at how she captured Alyssa and Matt's personalities in the decorations. Christina's attention and care to the small things filled the reception and ceremony space with so much magic. My favorite...

Maximize Your Time with Your Photographers

from Shawn

Shawn here! Today's blog post is an advice post for people preparing for their wedding, but it also applies to any Maids of Honor, Best Men, or parents who want to help out their friends and family. We have seen a lot of different weddings as photographers, and each one has it's own unique blend of personalities and attitudes. Some of our couples have are very diligent with a schedule and planning, others like to play the day by ear. Families can be extremely helpful and attentive to the bride and groom or they can be more excited about seeing family that live across the country. But when it comes to capturing your day, we want to make sure you get the best quality possible. There are some simple steps you can make before you get swept up in the day that will help us immensely into packing as much as we can into our limited time. Before the Wedding It seems that couples are usually so excited about getting married, they unfortunately overlook the hours before they even prepare to say "I do." It's important to remember that it's your "Big Day" and not just your "Big Few Hours." The time prior is just as critical to the success and enjoyment of your wedding, and it's very easy to underestimate how much time and energy is put into the first few hours of your time with us. Leave Time for the Details One of...

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...

Alexandra & Sean

An Amazing Wedding at Billingsley House

Aly and Sean are probably two of the most laid back and kind people I have had the pleasure of meeting. They made Shawn and me feel like their close friends, and we were both honored to have captured their wedding day. They have such a wonderful love for each other and getting to witness the smiles and looks they share is something that makes me totally giddy. I loved every piece of their day. From the location of the Billingsley House that overlooked the Patuxent River to the lawn games that Aly and Sean thoughtfully put out for their guests to have even more fun. Just when I thought the day couldn't get any better, Aly pulled me aside and asked me to photograph her giving Sean his wedding gift. The gift was a shotgun which had come from Aly's grandfather, and was engraved with her grandparents wedding year (1961) and with Aly and Sean's underneath. It was an incredible heirloom gift affectionately named "the wedding gun" :P. I couldn't help but be inspired by the loving thoughtfulness that these two possess and all that they do for one another. The life that these two continue to build is going to be such an amazing one. I wish them nothing but the best!   ______________________________________________________________________________ (They had a second cake with Sean's cake topper :P) All of the amazing vendors that made this day the best day ever! Ceremony & Reception Venue: Billingsley House Caterer: Old...