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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...

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...

Great Falls Park

Sunset Hike

This weekend, Shawn and I took a quick trip down to Great Falls Park and did some intense location scouting. We've heard of this amazing spot for years, but haven't been able to check it out. It wasn't until one of our couple's mentioned it that we decided to make the drive down to Virginia. There was no better time to visit, since it was the Centennial for The National Park Service. Not only was there free entry to the park, but they were also showing Wall*E in the evening. I don't think Shawn and I could have planned our impromptu date hike any better, haha! Walking around the park, I honestly could not believe how beautiful it was. Sure, the temperature in August isn't ideal for a hike, but as we reached the edge of the cliffs the view took our breath away. There was a slight breeze from the falls below that filled the air with a wonderful crispness that cooled the scorching heat. As a result, near the edge of the rocks, it was as if fall had already arrived. Shawn and I found this amazing secluded spot to hangout and dream about the e-sessions that we hope take place here. As the sun was setting we strolled around a little bit more. We found the Matildaville Ruins, which were incredibly interesting to see and learn about. Back in 1790, there was a town constructed whose economy relied on the Patowmack Canal. When the canal closed, the...

The First Touch Explained

Tips & Tricks

When we meet with a couple, one of the questions we ask them is if they are doing a first look. Most of the time, our couples do go for the first look, which we enjoy. It's a great way to get intimate portraits and a sentimental memory. However, not all couple are fans of being that non-traditional. They will often mention how they don't want to see each other, but they still want to do something. That's when Shawn and I suggest what we like to call the "first touch". This option is amazing for the couples that want to have a moment together, but also want to save the big reveal for the aisle. Shawn and I totally understand this option because it's what we did. For those who don't know Shawn, his personality during stressful situations is incredibly calm. It's something I knew I needed when planning our big day. The only problem was that we both did not want to do a first look. So I scoured Pinterest and found a sweet alternative. It allowed us to share a beautiful moment, while still seeing each other for the first time right before our vows. On our chilly, rainy wedding day when everything was going crazy, all I wanted was Shawn. Our first touch was exactly what I needed in order to calm my brain (which was working overtime). I know I've talked about our experience a few times. It's important, though, because it made us...

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...

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...

Samantha & Tim

An Unforgettable Wedding at Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center

The day has come for Sam and Tim to exchange vows at the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center, and it is one Shawn and I will remember forever. Like their engagement session at the couple's home in June, the wedding was very intimate and personal. The Environmental Center was a bit of a drive out from the main road, but reaching the clearing with the main building, it was easy to see why they selected it as their special spot. It is a cozy building with a small pond right outside the wall-length windows. It is a gorgeous location, with plenty of tall trees to provide enough shade for anyone who was enjoying some of the summer air. Sam and Tim were incredibly ready for this day. They both had an electrified buzz about them, and even their fur-baby Lincoln (who was also one of the groomsmen), was pacing around the venue with alacrity. When it finally came time for the ceremony, and Tim saw his bride walking down the aisle, all the nerves and anticipation were able to be released and he let out one of the biggest smiles I've seen. Neither one of them dropped their smile for a minute, except for the happy tears during very romantic vow exchanges. Even their personal friend and officiant, Shar, had a tough time holding back the emotions. To finish up the ceremony and seal the kiss, all of their groomsmen stood up holding instruments, and played while the entire wedding party...

Serenity Blue & Cobalt Styled Shoot

Charm City Wed Feature!

I know that everyone is probably well aware by now that, back in March, Marlayna and I collaborated with a ton of amazing vendors on a styled shoot. I've been chronicling that journey in a few different blogs, and I absolutely love being able to share all that we learned. I think the most awesome thing about that day was that we did not just get one shoot out of it, but two, thanks to the generosity and hard working vendors that participated in the shoot. Due to their collective effort, our second shoot was featured on a local wedding inspiration blog called Charm City Wed on Monday! Check out the Charm City Wed feature here! We went into March 15th thinking that we were going to have one shoot and that was going to be it, but as the day evolved we realized how awesome our vendor team truly was. Everything during the day could be split into two different sessions from the stunning earrings by Rachel Mulherin, to the delectable food by Copper Kitchen. Items could be combined and separated in order to create two new worlds within a single day. We used the invitations that Pretty Peacock Paperie artfully crafted within the second shoot to add a different look to the rings from St. Johns Jewelers. Nature of Design, the fantastic florist, created two completely different fairytale-esque tablescapes that were so beautiful and unique. Bella Bridesmaids let us borrow six dresses that made each model take on...

Kristin & Andrew

Old Town Alexandria Engagement

Bright and early on Saturday morning, Shawn and I headed down to Old Town, Alexandria to meet up with Kristin, Andrew, and their fluffy pup, Murdock. We also had our friend Karen with us to keep an eye on Murdock, and Andrew's cousin, Frank, was there to catch all of the Pokémon that were encountered, haha! Kristin and Andrew's session was the first time that we were meeting in person. For their initial consultation, we had a Google Hangout's call that lasted over an hour, so I had an idea that when we officially met, we would be very fast friends. I'm not sure if it was the donuts that they brought to the session or just how sweet of a couple they are (probably a mix of both), but it immediately felt like we've known them for years. It made the entire session easy and comfortable. Wandering around the empty streets of Old Town was a total goldmine. Every single corner, alley, and building offered something new and exciting. Whether it was a pop of color or an interesting roadway, we could have spent 10 hours just exploring all of the nooks and crannies of the small city. I loved that we got to this location at sunrise, because that allowed us the opportunity to avoid crowds that would have definitely distracted Murdock. Instead, he was a true model that complemented Kristin and Andrew's power couple status. For the second half of the session, we took a 5...

Family Formals: Reduce the Chaos

For Your Day

There are a lot of important things couples try to perfect for your wedding, like the sweet first look, the heartfelt and poignant ceremony, and the rockin' party. With all of these bits and pieces to worry about, it's easy to miss another big stressor: family formals. These photos typically take place right after the ceremony and with you and your partner and your close family, while the remaining guests enjoy a smooth cocktail hour before dinner. They provide a great opportunity to slow down and capture some precious memories to be used for everything from wedding albums to Facebook profiles. However, what should be a calm and special moment immediately trailing an emotional ceremony, can quickly turn into an upsetting hassle on your big day.     The Scenario Imagine you just finished exchanging vows and sharing your kiss. As soon as you get back down the aisle, you are directed over to a shaded area near by where you can take a few moments to chat, giggle, and spend some time together as your family is collected. As Shawn is gathering parents, siblings, grandparents, and others, we notice some aunts and uncles wandering over to congratulate you and see what is going on. When Grandma is brought over, I begin to set up the shot, and it's gorgeous. She congratulates you, gives the you both a quick hug and kiss on the cheek, and I wait for everyone to settle in before asking the group to...

Sam & Tim

A Comfy Home Engagement

I don't know about everyone else, but when it's storming outside, I just love being at home on the couch. That is precisely how the day was spent two weeks ago with Sam and Tim for their at home engagement session. It worked out pretty nicely that it rained most of the day (and even during their session) because it made the cozy vision that Sam had that much warmer. There was also a threat of a tornado in the early afternoon, which added a bit of excitement, but by the time evening came there was just a light stream of chilly droplets falling from the sky. When Shawn and I arrived to Sam and Tim's beautiful home, we were greeted by their fur-child, Lincoln. He's probably the most calm and soft Labrador I've ever met and was SUPER snuggly. Lincoln was constantly checking out my camera and making his parents laugh. I'm sure if he could, he would have been the third photographer :P. At one point when Sam and Tim were cuddled up on their couch, Lincoln decided that it was his turn for photos. So after he smothered his parents in kisses, he went into his best America's Next Top Doggy pose; it was the cutest! Shawn and I had the best time with these three. From Tim filling their home with music on the organ (and Sam's brave attempts at being his playing partner) to them being on the front lawn cracking jokes to make...

Jessica & Adam

A Breathtaking Waterfront Wedding

"I knew she was the one the first time I heard her say 'I love you'.  Hearing those words come from her in a way I had never heard them said before struck me in such a profound way.  I had never heard such genuine love spoken before Jessica nor had I seen it.  The way she looked at me I knew right away I had finally found the love of my life." I'm a total crier when it comes to weddings, and during every part of Jessica and Adam's day I found myself tearing up. It didn't matter if it was the bridesmaids watching Jessica get final touches on her makeup or the last dance where Adam and Jessica were enveloped in each other's arms, it all created such a beautiful feeling. My favorite part of the day was getting to watch Adam's face light up as he saw Jessica come through the doors and down the aisle. His nerves had been on overdrive the whole day. I seriously thought for a second that he may pass out in anticipation for the ceremony to begin. It wasn't until Adam saw Jessica come around the corner that relief washed over him and a smile spread across his face. As Jessica walked toward Adam she paused halfway down the aisle so that Adam could meet her and they could take the final steps to the arbor together. Honestly, at that point in the ceremony (which...

Emily & Cal's Engagement Spotlight

Rocks State Park

I get so excited when it comes time to prepare for a couple's wedding, and I've been anticipating Emily and Cal's wedding for what feels like forever. There are just three days until these two tie the knot, and I already know it's going to be a fabulous day. Emily and Cal are getting married at Overhills Mansion, which is definitely a favorite venue of mine (see Jennifer's & Brock and Kelli & Aswhin for more images of the venue). It's such a beautiful spot that feels very much like a hidden gem that is dropped in the middle of Catonsville. This venue is beyond perfect for Emily and Cal's classic wedding, and I'm super looking forward to seeing all of their decorations and planning come to life! Thinking back to Emily and Cal's engagement session at Rocks State Park, I'm reminded of how incredibly sweet they are with each other. The way that they look at one another, you can tell that they share such a wonderful and deep connection. There was a moment when we were finishing up the session that they both changed into superhero shirts and had a stare down with each other. I think that was the exact second that I realized that this couple was going to be a dream come true, haha! I love re-living all of the fun times that were in their session, especially since they had their three dogs with them. Adding a furbaby to any session...

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...

Fun Birthday Memories

DIY Celebration!

When it comes to my birthday, I usually think up a few different grand ideas of what I want to do. However, as the day approaches, I always get so busy that I just never follow through with my own plans. This year was different, though. I wanted to have a party that could be relaxed, fun, and give people an excuse to eat lots of food. As Shawn and I racked our brains figuring out how to get all three of those things into one space, a message from my best friend about a BBQ acted as a lightbulb moment for me. Shawn and I have a unique living situation. We live in a house that has been converted into three different apartments, and my parents own the house that we are currently staying in. They also live next door to us, so we currently share a huge backyard with them. It's a beautiful space, and last summer they put in a fire pit so we could gather as a family and hangout. With all of this and also the idea of a BBQ in my head, I just dove right in to wanting to have a backyard bash. The biggest challenge was figuring out where everyone would sit. I found that 84 Lumber sold picnic table blueprints with the wood for just $97 (compared to tables at other stores which were around $300). It did mean that we had to cut and build the tables, but Shawn...

Alyssa & Matt's Engagement Spotlight

Ellicott City

I cannot even begin to describe how excited I am that Alyssa and Matt's wedding day is this Saturday! It's felt as though it's taken so long for this day, and it's less than a week away. For their engagement session, these two chose to have their session in one of my favorite places: Ellicott City. This beautiful spot is filled with colorful shops and variety of textures that create a huge unique space. It is a photographer's dream location; every corner of the city holds something new and exciting. Anytime a couple wants their photos in the city, I pretty much jump for joy, haha! I can't go the entire spotlight post without mentioning the fact that Alyssa and Matt's outfits were on point. I've mentioned in previous posts how coordinating outfits off complimentary colors is the way to go, and these two knocked it out of the park. I always enjoy getting to look back at their session! Shawn and I loved getting to see these two interact with each other during their engagement. I don't think there was a time that a smile wasn't spread across either of their faces. Also, Matt's ability to make Alyssa laugh with a small look was beyond adorable. They are two of the sweetest people, and the fact that their nuptials are just a few short days away has me jumping up and down with glee. Their wedding is taking place at Billingsley House, which took my breath away the first...

4 Tips to Keep Costs Under Control

Tips & Tricks

We experienced first hand that spending money is inevitable when planning a wedding inspiration shoot. (Spending money for anything in life is pretty much a guarantee today, but that's a different discussion, haha.) At the beginning of the process for our Rose Quartz and Cobalt shoot, we didn't really think about the money that we would be investing in the session ourselves. When this styled shoot was just a small little baby, we only thought we would need flowers, a dress, and two models. But being the very high end thinkers and dreamers that we are, we noticed that this shoot was going to be much larger than having just three or four components. As Marlayna and I entered into the later stages of planning, we realized that in order to make this shoot match what was in our heads, we had to put forth some sort of monetary contribution. This included paying for the venue, gathering tablescape decor, and purchasing materials for our DIY activities. We certainly saved quite a bit of money by doing a lot of things on our own and gathering coupons for Target and Hobby Lobby. There is no shame in our coupon and final sales game, haha. We tried really hard to make sure we split the costs equally and that we weren't going ridiculously over budget for any one thing. We were thrifty in our purchases and definitely kept each other in check. And I never realized how awesome and beneficial...

Samantha & John's Engagement Spotlight

Shoemaker Homestead

I have been waiting for this day ever since I met with Sam and John a full year ago! These two are the absolute sweetest, and they are getting married tomorrow at one of the prettiest locations, Shoemaker Homestead. Shawn and I got the pleasure to see their gorgeous wedding location during their engagement session, and I was just blown away. There are horses, a beautiful barn and gardens that have the most colorful flowers. If you want to check out their full engagement session feel free to head over to their original blog post. It is truly going to be amazing to see this homestead all ready for Sam and John to be married. Tomorrow is going to look like it's totally out of a magazine! Getting to know these two and their location over the course of their e-session was one of my greatest joys. It really did make this waiting game for tomorrow almost impossible. Leading up to this day, I do have to mention how incredibly organized Sam has been as a bride. I mean, she has been on top of her timeline and her family group shots, which is rare. It's been a total dream to have this super sweet bride keep us in the loop with everything. We get to attend and shoot a little bit of their rehearsal tonight, and I cannot even begin to describe how excited I am to see these two again and meet their families! If their families are...

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...

Chelsea & Ryan

A Sunset College Park Engagement

It always fascinates me with how close we get to meeting our "other half" for the first time, but we don't actually interact with them until a much later because of life and timing. Chelsea and Ryan know this well, since they even shared a backyard, yet didn't formally meet until a mutual friend introduced them. It's pretty interesting to think about how life goes along until the perfect time when paths can cross, and everything can work out perfectly. I had been eager to meet these two since Chelsea and I started emailing last year. Both of them live in Saint Croix, so our meet up had to wait for a little bit until they both returned back to Maryland. I can totally understand it not happening too frequently, since I'm sure their families always want to come to them, haha! Shawn and I are definitely envious of their island life :P. While we were emailing, Chelsea mentioned that since her and Ryan both attended The University of Maryland, College Park, they wanted their engagement photos to have the beautiful campus as their backdrop. I had never gotten the chance to shoot at the university, so I was definitely looking forward to their session. From the moment that Shawn and I pulled up, I could tell that every piece of the school was going to be fabulous. The grounds were well kept, and the colonial architecture of every single building was breath taking. Every second with Chelsea, Ryan...

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...

Karen in the Big Apple

Spring Time Portraits in Central Park

What better way to spend part of your visit to New York City than having a portrait session in Central Park? I had never seen the park before (unless movies count), so I was super excited to not only adventure around with my friend, but also photograph someone in the amazing space. It is seriously a photographer's dream park since there are fancy bridges, beautiful backdrops, and blooming flowers everywhere. Every time I thought I had found the most awesome location to photograph Karen in, we would walk five steps and there would be another breath-taking area. If it wasn't so dangerous and probably illegal, I think we would have spent the entire night in the park. Apart from all of the fantastic statues and buildings, there was one place that Karen really wanted to find: Madeline Kahn's memorial bench. We started searching as soon as we entered the park, but quickly realized that every bench is a memorial bench or named after a donating family. We had a quick moment of defeat, but by some stroke of rare luck, we soon stumbled upon an empty bench that exhibits the faded plaque of the late great Madeline Kahn. It was pretty cool how we both felt this invisible guide to the area :). I think the best part for Karen, though was seeing The Nanny's establishing shot house and getting some very pretty photos in front of it. A lady who lives across the street even came over and...

Megan & Dave

A Stunning Park and City Engagement

I am just about speechless over Megan and Dave's Sunday engagement session. We started the evening at Patapsco Valley State Park, and those of you that follow along know it's my favorite place. There was some comedic mishaps with finding each other in the part of the park without a signal, but when we finally all got together, it was amazing! Megan and Dave are seriously the cutest couple, and they just so happen to be the parents of the most adorable little Frenchie named Izzy. I love when couples involve their furbabies in their sessions, because it brings a whole new personality to the shoot. Izzy definitely brought a lot of extra fun and laughs to the park. By some crazy chance, we had the entire Cascade Falls trail to ourselves, which was shocking considering Sunday was the first sunny day in weeks! After a quick wardrobe change and a short drive, we arrived at Ellicott City (another favorite) where these two took modeling to a different level. Megan and Dave are absolutely stellar. We were shooting well after the sun had already set, since I was pretty obsessed with their adorableness! The best part about these two was their excitement over their photos. They came ready with props, wonderful ideas, and ready for whatever we got into. It was simply fantastic. Ahhh! I adore them! Shawn and I cannot wait to photograph their wedding next April at the Anchor Inn. It is for sure going to be the...

8 Reasons Why You Should Consider Doing a Bridal Session

Tips and Tricks

Weddings today are a lot different from what they were 30 years ago. There is less of a hold on tradition and more focus on relaxed fun. Certainly, I'm not saying that people didn't have fun at their weddings in a pre-Pinterest time, but we cannot deny that there has been a shift in what couples are doing for during and before their nuptials. There are engagement sessions, first looks and styled elopements. Things that my parents never thought of doing are now staples in the wedding planning process. Bridal sessions are a major event that I feel is on the rise in popularity. A few years ago, these shoots mainly involved just the bride, but I'm seeing more and more couples do these together, and it's pretty awesome. For those who aren't familiar, if an engagement shoot and a first look decided to have a child, a bridal session would be the final product. They are a lot like an engagement shoot in choosing a location that isn't your wedding venue, but the bride gets to be in her gown and the groom is in his suit. Usually these sessions are done right around when your hair and make-up trial happens, since you can take advantage of being all fancied up with the cosmetic style you'll have on the big day. A lot of the time, family likes to attend, which is great because there are a lot more hands on deck and they get to be more...

Katelynn & John

A Breath Taking Engagement at Brookside Gardens

I have almost no words to describe the incredible engagement session we had with Katelynn and John at Brookside Gardens over the weekend. It was seriously that amazing. I should first say that I have been wanting (probably more like needing) to photograph at Brookside for about three years. Shawn and I have stopped in there very quickly once before, but have never had the pleasure of exploring the grounds. When Katelynn mentioned that her and John wanted their photos to be there, I immediately started jumping up and down with excitement. We arrived at the gardens on Saturday morning, bright and early. The day had a cloudy start, but that just meant that the flow of tourists Brookside normally attracts would be staying warm at home :P. While it didn't feel much like Spring, the gardens were still in full bloom. There were yellows, pinks and purples everywhere, as well as beautiful tulips blossoming on every side of the path. All of the beautiful colors took us by surprise, since we expected lots of prettiness, but this was just a totally different level of jaw dropping gorgeous. Not only were the gardens perfect, but Katelynn and John were fantastically adorable. They were such naturals in front of the camera, and I loved watching how they fit so wonderfully in each other's arms. Being able to hang out with them for the morning made Shawn and I even more excited for their Jamaican destination wedding next May. We just...

Jessica & Frank's Engagement Spotlight

An Amazing Summer Shoot

This Saturday is Jessica and Frank's big day! I have been excitedly waiting for their day to come, and now it is almost here! I know if I'm getting giddy, then the soon-to-be newlyweds must be on a totally different level of eagerness, haha. Way back in August, Shawn and I traveled out to Rocks State Park to photograph these two sweetheart's engagement photos. This park is seriously so beautiful. I just fell in love with the waterfall and all of the greenery in the surrounding area. We've shot here once before, and it is just incredible with all of the different looks it offers. I was even more excited to get to know Jess and Frank a little better, because one of my favorite things about engagement sessions is bonding with the couple. Seeing that they brought their adorable pup, Mufasa, with them made adoring these two even easier :P. Shawn and I cannot wait for their wedding on Saturday. It's going to be such a wonderful day, especially now that Spring seems to be here to stay!   ______________________________________________________________________________ ...

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...

Sarah & Kevin

A Beautiful Ballroom Wedding at La Fontaine Bleue

Sarah and Kevin were married at the fabulous La Fontaine Bleue on one of the most perfect Spring days. Seriously, the sun was shining and the temperature was just right for a bride in a Cinderella gown, haha. Their wedding was intimate, romantic, and full of so much love. Kevin's reaction when he saw his beautiful bride coming down the aisle was so full of excitement that I thought he was going to burst. Probably one of the things I adore the most on a wedding day is when a couple softly sings their first dance song to each other. It's such a simple thing, twirling around on the dance floor and being so overcome with the song's feelings that you have to whisper certain parts of it in your beloved's ear. The moment Sarah and Kevin's song came on, Forever Ain't Enough by J Holiday, Kevin immediately took Sarah into his arms and started singing to her while dancing. Witnessing this filled me with so much giddy happiness, and it easily became my most favorite part of the day <3. Shawn and I are so happy for these two. I cannot say enough how wonderful and amazing they both are. We know that their marriage is going to be beautiful!   _____________________________________________________________________________   All of the amazing vendors that made this day the best day ever! Ceremony & Reception Venue: La Fontaine Bleue Caterer & Cake: La Fontaine Bleue Makeup: Kristen Goldberg Hair:...

Exciting News About Our Styled Shoot

Smitten Feature

So I know I've been talking quite a lot recently about the styled shoot that Marlayna and I did, but that's because I'm really proud of everyone involved and what we were able to accomplish in such a short amount of time. I feel like most planned shoots don't happen within a month and a half (but I could be wrong, haha). We worked tremendously hard, and I fully intend on covering every topic that there is through this blog. I've already started a little bit of the conversation in my blog last week, which made me excited to share every happy, joyous, and heartbreaking moment that we had on this journey. One of the most amazing things happened yesterday: our first shoot - our little photo child - was accepted by Smitten Magazine. As embarrassing as it is to admit, Marlayna and I both cried when we got the email from Audrey, the editor-in-chief. Our entire goal for this shoot was showcasing everyone who dedicated time and their talent to it. After getting just a couple of rejections, we were feeling like failures in the publishing world. But then Smitten happened and our energy, emotions. and belief in love was completely restored! Can I just cuddle this exciting feeling for a little bit :P? Again, I'll cover ever single topic in the series on styled shoots, but just know that this acceptance did not come easy, and the joy of having our work recognized is really freakin' awesome. &...

Sarah and Kevin's Engagement Spotlight

Gorgeous Morning Baltimore Session

I'm so incredibly happy to say that Sarah and Kevin's wedding is just a few short days away! I remember meeting up with them in September at Federal Hill Park for their engagement photos and chatting about how much time they had for planning. It felt like the months would take forever to pass at that point, but here we are, just a handful of days away! On Friday these two will be exchanging vows and celebrating with family and friends at the beautiful La Fontaine Bleue. Shawn and I are ecstatic to witness and photograph their day. Going through their engagement session for this little highlight reel brought back all of the giddy feelings I had while photographing them. These two are just the absolute sweetest, and the fact that you can see the love they have for each other is just amazing. I adore them so incredibly much. <3     ...

The Beginning Steps to Organizing a Styled Shoot

For the Creative

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a little bit about the styled shoot that my friend, Marlayna, and I put together. The time leading up to the shoot was exciting, frustrating, and - at times - overwhelming. But we kept pushing forward, because we knew at the end something great was waiting for us. We truly weren't expecting all of the hard-work and beauty that everyone contributed to this day. Even though our final images have to stay under-wraps for now, I wanted to start a conversation about the behind the scenes of the shoot. As I said earlier, there was a lot that Marlayna and I put into this, and I feel like there is so much that we can share regarding the process of planning and executing. I am totally aware that there is just too much information for one blog, so I'll be organizing my posts into the different parts of a styled shoot. Organization is the key to staying sane. If you are planning a styled shoot either on your own or with a fellow creative, please utilize a service like Google Drive. I cannot tell you enough how huge this was in keeping us on track and professional. The ability to have a cloud system that can share spreadsheets and documents is a total lifesaver. For our shoot, we started by creating a shared folder. Anything that we needed from that point was readily available in the form of a spreadsheet...

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...

Meeting with Your Photographer

Conversations Beyond Email

This past weekend, Shawn and I had two client meetings. These chat sessions are always really exciting to me because it's the chance to get to know someone and have comfortable conversations with them. After the meetings, I started to think of how important it is to me that Shawn and I get to have this time with our potential couples. I know I'm not the only one that is at least a little different in face-to-face conversations versus email. I am well aware that while my emails are thought out with conservative exclamation point placement and carefully typed words, real life me is just a ball of excitement that makes a lot of high pitched sounds when proposal stories are shared. It's a high priority to make time to get to know who you will be capturing your love on your wedding day. I know when meeting your photographer, there are time commitments to be considered and other places to be. But the best part about living in today's world is that we have the capability to meet over the Internet with services like Skype and Google Hangouts. For one of the meetings this weekend, Shawn and I got to virtually meet with the bride who was out of the country for school. Sure, we had to worry about the occasional lag, but the meaning and excitement behind the call was still there. Shawn and I still got to see the personality of this particular bride and she...

Remember the Big Picture

Something Borrowed, Something True

Weddings are almost always viewed as the beginning of a beautiful life with your partner. It's exciting and special, and most of the time our imaginations build a spectacular day full of sparkle. But our imagination rarely takes into account the stress leading up to the day or the cost of that dream wedding. Both stress and money together can lead to a lot of heartbreak throughout the planning process if you aren't well equipped. Tonight's blog is about strategies to remaining sane when you are in the thick of planning. A few of our brides touched on this topic, and I found it fascinating how each couple dealt with things differently. From organizing finances to just remaining calm, the advice in this installment is very unique to the couple that wrote it. I must say, though, one of the common factors across the board is that at the end of the day you are marrying your perfect person. Even if the cake gets dented, or there is an accident which backs up traffic and delays your wedding, you still get to say "I do" and start your new beginning.   April & Corey "Really consider your dream wedding plans. It's so easy to feel pressured to find things that fit your theme, but really think about it because halfway through the planning process that probably won't matter to you anymore. Really all that matters is marrying the person you love."  ...

Instagram Analytics

Rising Tide Society Feature

Today has been such a productive and fantastic day! For one, my fellow photo-friend, Marlayna, and I have been working tirelessly on a really amazing styled shoot. Also, an article I wrote for the Rising Tide Society went live this morning! A few weeks ago I wrote my first technical blog post about finding the best time to post on Instagram, which included a short paragraph on three different analytic providers. After I wrote  the blog, I realized that I wanted to expand on the idea and reach a broader audience, since the information I gathered could be used by pretty much anyone. So I started digging deeper into my numbers investigation and honed in on what it was I wanted to provide people with: affordable resources that could be use to gain insight into your Instagram. I submitted a brief (although brief for me is 3 paragraphs, haha) synopsis of my goal and then I crossed my fingers that they would agree my ideas would be beneficial to the community. When I got word that my topic was something that RTS wanted to read more about, I did a short little happy dance and promptly started pacing back and forth thinking of the right words to include in the article. I was ecstatic, and it showed in my 2000+ word write up. Poor Shawn had to go through and edit my ridiculous word count down about four times (thanks, Shawny :P). I have never felt as confident as...

Preparing Your Special Wedding Details

Tips & Tricks

When you think of wedding of traditional wedding day photos, what images come to mind? For most people, they imagine portraits of the bride and groom in a beautiful setting, wrapped up in each others arms, or the groom's reaction when he sees his bride walking down the aisle. These huge moments that deliver the feelings of the day are definitely ones that I adore, but what about all the items and features that shape the look and theme of the wedding? When a bride wears the same necklace that her mom wore to her own wedding, it represents a really great bond between two women. While the object may be small, the meaning and sentimental value is huge, and really help make a wedding special and unique for the couple. It's surprising how the smallest bits of the planning process can help deliver the biggest impact. The first thing that Shawn and I do when we arrive at a wedding is gather all of the little mementos and accessories for detail photos. Those pieces need to have their moment to shine, because without them, the day would be missing that amazing sparkle. To all my couples, I recommend organizing your personal detail items into one place by creating "getting ready bags". Taking all the important and unique items that need to be photographed and placing them together in a bag means that when the photographer arrives, they can grab the bag and get started with the shots. It...

How We Spend Our Off-season Weekends

No, this post isn't covering every single off-season weekend in the Squire household. If I went over the entire winter we've had that would be an incredibly long post and mostly just talking about how staying up to play the video game The Witness messed up our sleep cycle after a few late nights working the different puzzles. I have to thank my friend, Marlayna, for the game recommendation and subsequent obsession that Shawn and I now have :P. When we weren't busy drawing puzzle solutions, we spent a good portion of our Saturday and Sunday outside running around with our Pony pup. Thank goodness for the amazing weather, because we had been wanting to take Pony hiking since we first started the process of adopting him. We chose to stay close to home for this first adventure and went to Patapsco Valley's Cascade Falls Trail. Since Sunday was basically a preview of Spring, the hike to the waterfall was fun, easy, and I was able to take photos! (Something that wasn't fun, though, was figuring out that our little angel needs leash training.) We also got to take Pony to his very first dog park for his BFF, Benny's, first birthday party. Happy belated birthday to that adorable little furbaby :D! While these relaxing weekends are nice to recharges our batteries, Shawn and I are looking forward to the 2016 weddings and engagement shoots. I've been reading up and attending a lot of educational webinars that I know...

Venues I Hope to Photograph

Manifesting Dreams

As Shawn pointed out in his post on Monday, when he arrived back home from Arizona, he shared with me an itsy bitsy cold. I am a very dramatic sick person, so I was pretty much out of commission for a day or two. While sprawled out on the couch and binge watching Modern Family, I started to think about all the venues I've had the opportunity to shoot and all of the ones I have only been dreaming to photograph at. I've heard previously that when you want to make something happen, you should put it out in the world because it may manifest itself into reality. After awhile I started to really believe in that and started to be a little more genuine to myself. I was truly surprised in the effect that it had on my life and the positivity that it brought. So, naturally, I have started trying to work the magic into Britney Clause Photography. When Shawn joined me in 2015, he started to experience these beautiful places and adventures with me. After he came aboard, I really started to expand my view on what, where, and who I wanted to photograph. The "where" got me especially excited because I know there are an extraordinary amount of amazing venues in Maryland alone. So when I opened up my mind to all of the possibilities - oh man - that made me start to imagine big things for the future. I have a ton...

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...

Easy and Affordable Engagement Outfit Inspiration

Tips and Tricks

At some point during the planning for an engagement session, most of my couples will come to me and ask about outfits. Whether they are asking for advice on what would look good together, or just telling me their ideas, I love being involved in this process. When Shawn and I were planning our engagement session, the part that was most fun was choosing what we were going to wear. I've mentioned before how I had clothes picked out prior to knowing the location of our session, and I think it's safe to reveal that before our photographer was even booked I was scoping out color swatches that went well together :P. All of that to say, anytime I get to assist in putting some super cute outfits together is a good time for me, haha! I've been working on a client lounge for my couples for the last couples of months, and in the lounge I have a space dedicated to engagement clothing and showing what works well together for couples. I find that section to be such a huge help that I wanted to share a few of the look-book type items I've put together. The outfits that I came up with for all of these were built from clothes at either H&M, Modcloth, or Charlotte Russe, so they are all easy to find and should be affordable. These are also ideas for you to see what goes together, and to really start mapping out how...

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...

Rejection and Her Ugly Sister, Doubt

For the past month I've been working on submitting some of my 2015 weddings to different inspiration blogs. Yesterday, I received my 4th rejection and I have to tell you: it sucks. Every wedding Shawn and I photograph I feel the improvement in us as a partners and as photographers, but being sent denials starts to wear on me. It makes me feel completely inadequate and almost as if all the progress I see is not real. Nothing really compares to skimming an email for the word "unfortunately", and then shutting down when you see it. There isn't any way to prepare for it or deal with it any better. But the more I've put our work out there, the shorter my "shut down" time has become. What use to take half of a day of repeatedly analyzing and thinking of what I possibly did wrong has now turned into responding with a "thank you for your consideration" and moving on. My photos might not be for everyone or every blog, but I do know that there is a place out there for myself and others with a similar style. It's just about digging through all those rejections and finding the eventual acceptance email. Disclaimer: In the process of writing my thank you emails, I do sit for about 5 minutes just staring at the words, wishing they could wrap me up in a tight hug, haha. Everyone has to face rejection at some point in their...

Our Trip to the Top of the World

Travelin' with the Squires

It's kind of funny how last weekend, during the blizzard, all Shawn and I wanted to do was be snuggled up in PJs and drink hot cocoa. But this weekend all we wanted to do was be outdoors, bundled up, and snowboard. We traveled to Snowshoe, West Virginia on Friday and met up with my best friend, Christy, and her husband, Nate. Christy and Nate live in Charlotte, North Carolina, so the last time we got to see them was for their wedding last April. This weekend trip was something Christy and I had been super excited about since we started talking about it in September. Snowshoe is a very interesting mountain with its hotels, shops, and restaurants being located at the very top. Everything we needed was all in one spot, with a spectacular view. It was - quite literally - the top of the world. The evening we arrived was right before sunset and (except for Turks and Caicos) this mountain had one of the most gorgeous sunsets I've seen. It was also super windy so I almost ended up with a frozen hand because of my need for pictures XD. The four of us got to hang out, play board games, spend most of Saturday snowboarding, and drink fruity drinks :P. A quick tip: if you are going to play Dead of Winter - the best theme for a game being stuck up on a snowy mountain - be sure to read the instruction manual at least...

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...

Our Trip to Providence, Rhode Island

Travelin' with the Squires

I have a feeling this year is going to be a big traveling year for Shawn and me. Between conferences for Shawn and me just tagging along for the room service, I just know we are going to be able to experience some really, really beautiful places together. Our first trip of the new year was to Providence, Rhode Island. Shawn had a research meeting up at Brown, and when he asked me if I would want to go with him and make a weekend of it, I jumped at the chance. I love whenever we get to escape and spend time in a new city together. Since neither of us had ever been to Providence, it sounded like a great time to go and explore. When we arrived we found out that winter in Providence wasn't the greatest tourist time, which kind of makes sense because of the cold, but it was still super creepy to be in an empty city. Seriously, we ate at a restaurant for a couple hours and were the only patrons. I imagine that our presence was pretty exciting to our waitress (and the bartender), haha! Shawn had his meeting on Friday, so while he was gone I stayed in the hotel room and worked on developing a new venture that I am really excited for. Currently, it's still in the development stages and I'm searching for designers for logos, so I'm staying very hush about it for now (sorry :P)! That night we...

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...

The Other Half

from Shawn

Hello everyone! This is the first in a new series that will be presented by a not-so-new face. My husband, Shawn, has been a huge inspiration for me and Britney Clause Photography. He's helped me build it from day one, and has been an integral part of everything I do. His monthly series should provide a different perspective from what I usually share, including a different opinion and more technical insight to things. Enjoy! ~ Britney After Britney started doing photography right after college (while we were dating) my responsibilities were very simple. I would go with her to shoots as another set of eyes and hands. I would be there to carry her bag , swap lenses, hold up a background blanket, throw leaves in the air, and other tasks trivial for people with four arms. Sometimes, I had the luxury of being the model myself (free professional headshots for life!) I've always tried to support her business and fill any needs she had. It's only natural that she would soon start teaching me how to use a camera, what to look for in a shot, how to adjust for lighting, and all the other various intricacies of photography. It made it much easier that I spent years looking at her photos, giving and listening to her input on how to shoot. Fast forward several months through a training montage, and Britney eventually trusted me as a second shooter at a wedding. It went very well, and even though...

Something Borrowed, Something True

A New Wedding Advice Series

As part of the process for getting to know our couples, I give all of our brides and grooms a questionnaire to fill out at their leisure in the weeks leading up to their big day. It has all of those technical questions about addresses and times, but the questions get a little deeper and more personal, too. One of my favorite things to read from the questionnaire are the tips that my couples give others who are in the beginning stages of wedding planning. Some of the tips are incredibly practical, like "make a budget and take one thing at a time." But some of the couples took the question to heart and provided a very thought provoking response, which made me start thinking about creating a series where I can share some of this amazing advice. My plan for this series is to focus on all of the great suggestions that my brides offer to help other real brides. Shawn and I have worked with all of these couples, and their heart really shows through in their words. My goal is to give you, my readers, some very useful information if you are -- or someone you know is -- in the thrilling journey of wedding planning! I'm so excited about kicking off this new series on my blog. I hope that it is informative and inspires people to evaluate their own planning process to maximize the awesomeness of their day. I plan on releasing the...

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...