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Fall

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...

Welcoming Pony Express!

Introductions

This blog has been such a long time coming. I have been wanting to formally introduce our dog, Pony, for a while now. I'm kind of glad I waited, though, because over the past 7 months we have gotten to know all of his goofy quirks and build up a semi-obsessive photo collection of him.  We adopted Pony (formally known as Indie) from a wonderful organization called PapAdopters. Our journey to puppy-hood was not easy, because we fell in love with a dog on the opposite side of the country. Shawn and I had always said "we'll get a dog when we have a house", but that never stopped us from Internet window shopping different local rescue sites, or making lists of what the perfect dog would be. While Internet looking, I came across Indie's photo. Something inside me just knew, and as soon as I showed Shawn, he knew as well: this was our dog. Reading what he had been through was heart-breaking. Indie was a 2 year old Papillon mix from California. The organizers at PapAdopters told us that they believe he was in a hoarding situation with almost 200 other dogs. He was malnourished, dirty, and his tail was stained yellow from having to sit in his own mess. Our hearts broke for him and I cried after hearing all that had happened to him since no animal should suffer through that. We carefully filled out the application, and heard back the next day...

My Favorite Wedding Photos of 2015

Year in Review

Every photo of Shawn and I is important, but the photos that we cherish and love the most are our wedding photos. We look back on our day and see the family that was present along with the memories that were created. Our love for each other and for the day itself shines in every single image. They are a wonderful representation of who we are and why our marriage is special. Those feelings we have for our photos are what motivates us to be our best possible selves for all of our couples. This past year we were able to photograph 17 amazing couples coming together in marriage. Each wedding was unique to the style of the couple, and every single marriage announcement, I teared up. Shawn and I got to do our first out-of-state wedding in Massachusetts, and because that was such a fabulous experience, we now hope to get more out-of-state nuptials! The best part about this year is that from these weddings, we came out with new friends that we are so excited for and are cheering for every single day. Gathering the images for this post was something that I wish I could do all of the time. Seeing these days unfold again was beautiful. Shawn and I are incredibly grateful for every opportunity that we have been given. We have really grown as partners and photographers so much over 2015. It was no surprise to me that I started tearing up at...

Ali & Matt

Romantic and Chic Country Club Wedding

When Shawn and I first met with Ali and Matt for their summer engagement session, we had a feeling that their wedding was going to be absolutely fabulous. Little did we know that not only was the day going to be beautiful, but that it was going to be filled with so much warmth and love from everyone involved. Ali and Matt were married on a gorgeous fall day at the St. Martin's in-the-Field Episcopal Church, a stunning location in Severna Park that was surrounded by orange and yellow leaf trees. Their family and friends all cheered when they shared their first kiss and gave high fives to the newlyweds as they recessed. The reception at Chartwell Country Club was glowing with flickering candles that created such a beautiful atmosphere. One of the most touching moments during the entire night was Matt's brother's speech; just thinking back to has me tearing up. We all take so much for granted, but not these families. They cherish their time with one another, and it absolutely shows with the amount of care that they have for one another. Shawn and I are so happy that we got to photograph this special day for these two incredible people. Ali and Matt are just amazing and I look forward to seeing where life takes them!   ______________________________________________________________________________ A little Blue Steel to finish off the portraits :P All of the amazing vendors that made this day the best day ever! Ceremony Venue: St. Martin's...

Alyssa & Matt

A Fall Engagement in Ellicott City

In September, I met up with Alyssa and Matt on Main Street for their Ellicott City engagement session. It was a perfect fall day with a little bit of summer warmth still lingering in the air. We began the session in a wonderful little garden right next to Patapsco river before strolling up and down the main strip of the city. The colorful shops lining the streets added a great touch to the location. It was pretty much like being in a candy store with all of the pretty backdrop opportunities :P. Shawn and I really enjoyed spending the evening getting to know Alyssa and Matt. They are such a fun loving pair and I don't think there was a moment during their session where they weren't smiling or laughing. We are really, really looking forward to their summer wedding next June at the Billingsley House -- which I'm positive is going on my list of "best venues ever"!   ______________________________________________________________________________ ...

Jaclyn & Josh

A Nautical Wedding at Celebrations at the Bay

If rain on the wedding day is lucky, than a hurricane on your wedding day must give you luck for this lifetime and the next! Rain and wind aside, this beautiful fall wedding took place at Celebrations at the Bay in Pasadena, Maryland. The decor of the wedding was -- fittingly -- nautical with the main color being navy blue and pops of orange showing up in the flowers, centerpieces, and Josh's ring. The storm brewing outside, in a weird way, added an extra layer of excitement to this bayside wedding. Shawn and I had the best time watching everything come together perfectly for these two. They were surrounded by so many great people, and their bridal party was incredibly fun and kept the couples' minds off the weather. The affectionate term for the day became #StillJoaquinDownTheAisle, haha! I loved capturing their day and I'm still blown away by how gorgeous Jaclyn's dress looked, how touching her dance with her dad was, and how much fun Josh had learning the Whip and Nae Nae.   ______________________________________________________________________________ All of the amazing vendors that made this day the best day ever! Ceremony & Reception Venue: Celebrations at the Bay Caterer: Uptown Catering Florist: Rose Squatrito  Makeup: Valerie Hammer Hair: Sally Canterna DJ: Dave from Event Entertainment Dress, Designer: David's Bridal Tuxes: Men's Wearhouse ...

Sarah & Kevin

Sunrise Engagement Session in Baltimore

Early morning Baltimore sunrise sessions are some of my absolute favorite! It's so calm and peaceful that you almost forget you are in the middle of the city. Seeing the sun poke through the construction off in the distance gave the city a nice industrial golden look that was the perfect start to a wonderful session. Sarah and Kevin chose Federal Hill Park and the Inner Harbor as the backdrops for their sweet engagement photos. It was such a fun day with these two; even some of the ducks crowding the harbor wanted to get into a few shots :P. Seeing how much love Sarah and Kevin have in their eyes for one another made me that much more excited for their April wedding at the La Fontaine Bleue in Glen Burnie! Ahh - I can't wait!   ______________________________________________________________________________ ...

Charleston and Ice Cream

Creative at Heart Conference

For the past few days, I have been very busy in Charleston, South Carolina learning all that I can from amazing creatives at the Creative at Heart conference. One of the most important things I took away was to focus on the clients I have, not the ones I'm trying to get. All of my couples and families are incredibly special to me. Everything I have is because others believed in me and trusted me enough to let me photograph the most important time in their lives. I get so much back from all of the joy in my clients. You have all helped me reach a point that I thought was just a distant dream. While in Charleston, my fellow photographer friend, Marlayna (marlaynaphotography.com), and I dug deep and pretty much got to the root of what we want from our businesses. It was refreshing to hear "you're doing just fine" from Mary Marantz (justinandmaryweddings.com), and to be true to our story from Shay Cochrane (shaycochrane.com). Our brand should be authentic and in this creative world we need to be a positive community that builds with each other, not one that tears each other down. I'm blown away by the amount of information that I've taken in and I'm so excited for what is to come! Post conference, Marlayna and I did some exploring of the city. We got to see the Market, Rainbow Row, The Angel Oak, and Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams (who also...

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...

Hannah & Terry, Emory Grove

A Wedding Full of Heart

Everyone has heard that it's good luck to have rain on your wedding day; with that in mind, Hannah and Terry will have the luckiest marriage ever. The venue for Hannah and Terry's wedding is a gorgeous historic hotel called Emory Grove. It is surrounded by lush green trees and colorful little cabins. Because their engagement session had taken place at Emory Grove, I already had an idea of the beauty surrounding the area. When Shawn and I first arrived, it didn't look like the rain was going to let up, but as soon as Hannah and Terry said "I do" their luck kicked in and the down-pour ceased. Needless to say, I was ecstatic that we were able to explore without having to bother with umbrellas. Not only did Hannah and Terry choose a breathtaking location, but they found the most uniquely fun vendors. From the meals being supplied by food trucks to The Loop band getting everyone on the dance floor -- the entire day was mind blowing. There are tons of things about weddings that I absolutely love. One of the major things, though, is the incredible families that make the day possible. Hannah and Terry are surrounded by an absolutely amazing support system and it was easy to see how these two individuals became such a strong and loving couple. At certain points during the day, I had to step back and simply enjoy the precious moments shared between not only Hannah and Terry...

Katie & Matt

A Chic Wedding at Mt. Washington Mill

Katie and Matt completed my trio of weddings at the beginning of September, and it was one of the most beautiful weddings I've had the pleasure of photographing. Their wedding took place at the breath-taking Mt. Washington Mill-Dye House, which is a complete dream. My jaw dropped as soon as I stepped through the door's of the Dye House. Unique architecture, exposed brick, string lights creating a fairytale like glow over dinner and dancing; it's a space that doesn't need many additions to be perfect, but the small details that Katie and Matt did have played wonderfully with the overall atmosphere of the Dye House. In order to maximize time on their wedding day, I met with Katie and Matt at Fort McHenry a week before their wedding to take their bridal portraits. It was a new experience for me, and I think I may be in love with bridal portraits now. Katie and Matt were able to choose a location that had plenty of variety from bright green trees, to spectacular waterfront. They weren't limited to what their wedding venue had to offer and it allowed them a lot more time at the wedding to enjoy the amazing party. Shawn and I really enjoyed working with Katie, Matt, and their daughter, Larkin. Not only are they calm and down-to-Earth, but they are incredibly sweet. I look forward to any chance I get to work with these three again :).   ______________________________________________________________________________ The fabulous vendors that made this...

To My Husband on Our First Anniversary

I Love You

To My Husband In this extremely quick year of marriage, we have done so much together. From small road trips to adopting our Pony pup our life is my favorite. You have sacrificed your time to help me accomplish my dreams, and you have encouraged me every step of the way. I can only hope that when it comes time for me to help you, I can be as impactful on your work as you have been on mine. I promise, even though I know nothing about what your dissertation will be about, I will try my absolute hardest to learn. Us being each other's biggest fans is something I never expected, or knew I would need and want from a partner. You have been such a wonderful light in my life. Your happiness and calm demeanor brings me so much peace. It fills in a part of my heart that I thought would be missing forever. I love every new thing I learn about you. In the 5 years that we have known each other, I am always surprised and giddy to learn more about you. Your smile, your singing, your dancing at your computer while coding, are pieces of you that, when I'm feeling an ounce of sadness, I can look to and immediately feel a familiar rush of comfort. You are my touchstone and my home. To be married to such a dedicated, goofy, intelligent, non-judgemental man; I am fully aware that I am the lucky one...

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 ...

Heather & Tommy

A Fall Engagement

I know I've probably said this a million times before, but my favorite spot to shoot is Patapsco Valley State Park. It seriously has everything anyone could ever need for photos: fields, a cable bridge, rivers, train tracks, and tunnels. Each session I try to get a different look from each spot and I never have trouble finding new and interesting areas. Heather and Tommy are just under 5 months away from their May nuptials and there is no a better season than Fall to take engagement photos (I may be a little biased to the fall :P). The weather on this November morning was actually pretty perfect! The weather was cool, but it wasn't an unbearable freezing. These two just had to get close together in order to forget about the slight chill that ran through the air. I think one of my favorite things from this day was how these two looked at each other. Every time Tommy would look at Heather, a smile would spread across his face that just made it obvious how much he loves her :D. I can't wait for their wedding this Spring!   ...

April & Corey

Sunrise in the City Engagement

I met with April and Corey in October to go over some of the details of their August wedding. In just one meeting I could tell that they were one of the loveliest couples I've had the pleasure of meeting. They had a few places planned out for a shoot, and the two that we decided to go to were Federal Hill and Patterson Park. I had shot at Federal Hill a couple times, but I hadn't ever had a session at Patterson Park, so I was pretty thrilled. We started just before sunrise at Federal Hill and this was the morning to be out in Baltimore. The clouds were amazing, and it stayed dark long enough that the lights of the city lit up the background. Don't even get me started about the color of the sky: it was perfect! Since we were out so early, there was barely any traffic and no crowds, so we had the location to ourselves. We stayed at Federal Hill for about an hour and took full advantage of the city overlook and the beautiful fall colored trees. Our next location was Patterson Park, which was easy to get to at 7:30 am. This park was wonderful for a morning session. The only people that were out were joggers and dog walkers - people that speed out of frame quickly and people with adorable puppies. April had looked up some facts about the park, so as we walked she talked about some...

Meghan & Morgan

A Fun and Fall Engagement

Meghan and Morgan's engagement session ended up being one of the windiest days in November, which wasn't any problem for us since it just made these two cuddle closer together :P. It was such a beautiful day: the trees still had all of their colorful fall leaves on their branches and there wasn't a cloud in sight to block the setting sun. Even though it was chilly, it really had no effect on the greatness of the day. When I met with Meghan and Morgan back in August they mentioned that they wanted to do a comic book picnic. I was immediately on board and counting down the days until their session. I love having little scenes during engagement sessions, since it gives an extra pop to the already adorable happenings and I love when couples express themselves in super cute ways! I've seen vintage books, full picnic setups with food, and records sprawled on blankets, but I had never seen a comic book setup. It was really unique and something that just pushed this session to a whole new level. I am so excited for their May wedding. I can only imagine how personalized and how wonderful it is going to be!   ______________________________________________________________________________ ...

Brittany & Steve

A Fall Engagement with Fur-Babies

I am so excited to share some of the beautiful photos from Brittany and Steve's engagement session! I am friends with both Brittany and Steve, and when I found out they were engaged I was super happy for the both of them. I remember seeing the photo on Facebook of a rock on her finger - seriously, it was a rock that Steve had taken from their garden and proposed with :'). Afterwards, Brittany and Steve went and got the sparkly ring, but the original proposal was so memorable, sweet, and perfect! Steve had really thought out his engagement; I find it adorable when guys think about the whole process and the person they are proposing to, and do it in a way that is tailored to them as a couple. It speaks volumes about them as a couple, and I love their story since it makes me smile! Their session was in November, during an autumn with particularly nice weather. I feel like the fall colors stuck around much longer, and the good weather was kind of consistent. This day was particularly great, and Brittany and Steve brought their two gorgeous dogs, which I think boosted the day by 50 points! I cannot wait to see how amazing their wedding will be :D! ...

Sue & Joel

A Charming Wedding at Historic London Town & Gardens

On October 27th, I traveled to Historic London Town & Gardens in Edgewater, Maryland for Sue and Joel's beautiful wedding. I had been looking forward to their fall wedding ever since their summer engagement session in July. When you think of the ideal weather for a wedding, this day was it. It wasn't unbearably hot, it wasn't freezing, it was just flawless! Sue had her daughters and son involved with the wedding and I feel like they helped a great deal with keeping everything Sue envisioned for the day in smooth working order. The best part about the wedding was that Sue and Joel were going to be sailing off into the sunset at the conclusion of the evening and had Joel's sailboat waiting at the venue's pier. Unfortunately, they had a funny memory from their sailing moment, since the boat had become stuck in the sand due to the tide going out. They enlisted all of their friends and family to help, and even Sue got up on the side of the boat to try to rock the boat out of the sand. Though it wasn't what they had in mind, Sue and Joel were in good spirits about it all and ended up getting some good time together on the boat, with a bottle of champagne, as they waited for the tow boat to come. Sue and Joel, thank you so much for letting me share your special day. You both are fantastic! _________________________________________ _________________________________________ A few...

Mary & Justin

Sunrise Farm Engagement

I'm really excited to be sharing these images from Mary and Justin's engagement session. I went out to Laurel to shoot their engagement photos wayyyy back in October at an adorable farm owned by Justin's grandmother. It was a gorgeous morning and Mary and Justin are just so adorable and silly together. When we were finishing up, Mary and Justin busted out their Maryland Terp jerseys, a football, and started some of the cutest goofy photos I've ever seen. Their love for each other show's through in all of the photos and I'm really glad I get to share these because they make me smile. I am so excited for their April wedding and being able to witness a day celebrating them is just something that makes me so giddy! I cannot wait! :D   ______________________________________________________________________________ :D Cute! ...

Jessica & Thomas

A Beautiful Wedding at Linganore Winecellars

A few weeks ago I traveled up to Mount Airy for Jessica and Thomas's wedding! I was super excited and had been looking forward to it since the day I met with them way back in May (before I even knew if I passed their interview process :P). The day started at a salon on the main street of the town, where the girls were getting even more beautified than they were naturally. Jessica was mostly calm, except for occasionally showing her excitement with a huge smile and a laugh with her girls. I don't know how she got through the day without being stressed out at all! It certainly helped that the day ran incredibly smoothly, since both Jessica and Thomas had everything timed and organized perfectly. Before the ceremony, Jessica and Thomas did a first look that was accompanied by the wedding party and most of their family. It was and incredible build-up, with people were cheering and laughing and shouting when Jess was near, Thomas was turning around, when the big reveal finally happened. Just typing it makes me giddy all over again! During the ceremony, the sun created a gorgeous pink and orange sky, and there was plenty of laughter, as well as emotional readings from both the bride and groom's mothers. It was only the ceremony, and the day already felt like it couldn't get any better. But there was still the night-time photo session! After some wonderful buffet selections (quesadillas, meatballs, and 7...

Laura and Michael

Clipper Mill Engagement Session

I met with Laura and Michael at Clipper Mill in the early morning hours of a bright sunny Saturday. Before we even started, I could see the glances that Laura and Michael gave each other, the big smiles, and small excited giggles, and I knew this was going to be an amazing session. They radiate when they are together and they spread it to other people as well because all throughout the shoot I couldn't help but smile and constantly say, "Awwwww"! We spent a good portion of the morning in the Clipper Mill area, and when we had fully exhausted the area, Laura suggested another gorgeous spot in the city - Preston Gardens Park. All around that area is just highway and asphalt; then you come to the park and it's like a little piece of perfection smack dab in the city. We finished up at the gorgeous fountain with a little impromptu dance between these two lovely people. I love being right about a session being amazing :P. Laura and Michael, I am so happy that I get to be a part of your big day and am looking forward to your beautiful December wedding!     ...