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Tips And Tricks

How to take headshots with your phone while in quarantine!

This is going to be a pretty candid blog post. For over a month, we have not been able to take any sort of photos. Our last session was March 8th, and since then, I've just been trying to get a grasp on this changing landscape due to COVID-19. I very recently had a couple of people reach out about at home sessions and, unfortunately, I'm not opening up my calendar again until (hopefully) July. It really is heartbreaking to tell people I cannot take their photos until possibly the middle of summer. That's extremely weird, uncomfortable, and downright depressing. However, I RECENTLY (4 days ago) started trying to make the best of it. I want to give business owners the opportunity to still get photos to update their website and social media. Photography as a tool is absolutely necessary, even though phtoography as a career is considered non-essential. With that in mind, I started thinking of ways to help people take their own headshots from the comfort of their homes and with the ease of their cell phones. I was inspired to create this post by a photographer named Graceful Designs Photography. She gave amazing instructions to new parents on how to take their own Fresh 48 photos while we are all currently social distancing. I wanted to kind of expand on that for entrepreneurs, which is why I created a quick step-by-step post that will hopefully keep your website updated and social media game strong! Turning your...

My Experience with The Big Fake Wedding

Advice from a Photographer

I've gotten a lot of people asking for my experience at the The Big Fake Wedding. I participated in the Baltimore event in May. It was something I didn't think I'd be doing at the start of 2018, but I am very glad I did it.  When you are going through the day, you have to remember that there are a lot of key players. You are not the only vendor participating, and often times you aren't even the only photographer, florist, stationery designer, etc. on the scene. A few of the vendors may share your same passion, which is something completely different from a typical wedding day. The benefit, though, is that you get to experience a really unique evening that will make you excited for your business and the new friendships you'll develop. This post is in no way affiliated with The Big Fake Wedding. They did not ask me to write this post, and they did not supply any of the information enclosed. This post is 100% my own take on the day.  What is The Big Fake Wedding? In short, it's a giant party! For guests of the day, you'll get to witness a sweet vow renewal type of ceremony. You'll also get to interact with wedding vendors and see them in action. There's so much to see, lots of good food, and dancing! For vendors, you get the chance to really show off what you got. There's no such thing as "...

Pet Lovers Rejoice: Furever & Fur Always is a MUST for Your Wedding

Guest Post

Anybody who has been following my blog, Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook should know that I love animals. Shawn and I absolutely cherish our little dog, Pony. We also love the special pets that we have the pleasure of photographing for our wedding couples. Normally, we only get to see these bundles of joy for engagement sessions, prancing around Susquehanna State Park or relaxing in the shade at Middle Patuxent Environmental Area (or even just a kitty relaxing at home while everyone is busily getting ready). Every so often, a couple wants to include their furry friend in the wedding, much to the delight of everyone. Unfortunately, this option is often overlooked for even the biggest pet enthusiasts. The logistics of handling, accessorizing, and chauffeuring the furry loved ones can be big hassle. Luckily, Furever & Fur Always is here to fill that gap and ease your concerns! About Furever & Fur Always Tiffany and Tehya (or, T-n-T as they affectionately refer to themselves) work all around the Maryland, DC, and Virginia area as a Wedding Day Dog Care service. This duo solves absolutely everything with your adorable pet on your big day. They safely escort your puppy to and from the venue, manage accessories, and chaperone. They coordinate just about anything you need! These two don't even just stick to weddings, also handling overnight stays, engagement sessions, and more. This concept is so lovable, I reached out to ask if I could find out more about their service...

6 Money Saving Secrets for Your Wedding

Tips & Tricks

When Shawn and I were planning our wedding, we cut corners in a ton of ways. We made our own centerpieces and cake stands, and I learned calligraphy specifically for the invitations. Having the wedding we wanted for a price we could manage is important, and I know we aren't the only ones who were looking for money saving secrets. Now, don't think that DIYing is the only way to save money. Finding savings in any area of a wedding is a big boost for anyone's big day. After all, less money spent elsewhere means more money on the things you care about most!   Since we are wedding photographers and see so many beautiful days, and so many crafty brides and grooms that truly put us to shame. We've been able to witness the best ways to save money, while still throwing one epic party. There's probably way more than 6 money saving secrets, but this quick list will help any couple cut costs and stress. It's your big day, and none of the preparation should be spent arguing over a budget. Do It Yourself (DIY) Decorations We aren't saying couples have to DIY every decoration, but every little bit does counts. If you can save money by creating your own centerpieces or arbor, then there's the flexibility to put that money elsewhere. You want a dream day, and there's nothing saying that you can't have that while also putting a sweat into creating something amazing. One of...

4 Questions to Ask Yourself

Finding "The One" Wedding Photographer

While preparing for your big day and hoping it all comes together, it's easy to feel like the dating process all over again. Balancing the bittersweet emotions of anticipation, excitement, fear, and hopefulness. This is especially true for your wedding photographers, who you are entrusting with preserving a huge life event for generations. That's a big responsibility, even when you are dealing with those of us who have years of experience and knowledge. You only get one chance for your wedding. So how do you know it is a good choice you can be excited about? They might meet your checklist of requirements, but is that sufficient to finding the perfect wedding photographer? Finding "The One" Wedding Photographer Having gone through it ourselves, we know that feeling of searching for the perfect wedding vendors. Besides budget and guest list, it's one of the biggest stressors of preparing your nuptials. First, there's the balance between cost and value, finding vendors who have quality work but won't break the bank. Then you hope they are available on your date. You spend some time in meetings or email exchanges before narrowing down to one vendor. Finally, you weigh out your options and put money down to lock them in for your date. Everything is finalized, and the commitment is real. So, before you invest, what are some important questions you two can ask yourselves to be certain you won't feel buyer's remorse? Editing Style Does their editing style match what I want...

6 Tips for Wedding Day Speeches

From Shawn

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

The Why Behind Session Timing

"You want us up when?!"

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

Something Borrowed, Something True 2016

Favorite Tips of the Year

Hello friends! It's been quite some time since I've done an installment for the Something Borrowed series. I've really had a blast sharing some of the tips from our brides and grooms. I feel like it's opened my eyes a little more to seeing how other people handle wedding planning. When I first created this series last year, I didn't plan on it being this incredibly insightful for myself. We all have encounter different problems and have different understandings, which helps makes our experiences unique, and my goal for those blogs is to share the tips that others have picked up through the planning process. However, with everything, it wasn't long until I realized that I was learning a lot too. It's pretty awesome to be able to apply the lessons that others have learned to your own life. The tips that our previous couples have shared can still have an impact on more than just a wedding day. Shawn and I have been married for two years, and there really isn't anything about the day I could think to change. So I wouldn't expect the words my couples share to be resonating with me, but they absolutely do. Whether it's in the reflection of how I look at our wedding, or how I go about life in general. Our couples have really made a difference to our life and hopefully to a lot of others. Something Borrowed, Something You One of my favorite excerpts from a Something Borrowed...

Productivity During the Holiday Months

Tips & Tricks

During the wedding season, it's easy to keep productivity high because I follow a format for my days. I cull, edit, post a blog, set up Instagram posts, etc.. But during the off season, all of this changes. There are no longer weekends filled with beautiful receptions or romantic engagements. The off season falls around November and December for us, which means that the weekends are now booked with shopping and family. It's a time that I absolutely love, but to be honest, the holidays completely take every ounce of my energy. What should be a time to regroup and plan for the new year becomes laying on the couch with a plate of mashed potatoes. I struggle big time with being productive during this time of the year. All I want to do is drink hot cocoa and watch Christmas movies, but that's not realistic. Though my mission during the off season definitely goes through some shifts, I make sure that I pay close attention to what I'm doing throughout the day. From list making to "treat yo-self" rewards, I make sure I touch on all of tips below in order to jump start my productivity. This allows me to continue to accomplish all that I want to do, while still enjoying this time of the year. Setting goals for yourself Goals are the biggest thing that keep me in a steady workflow. When we have weddings, the goals are to cull a certain number of images before...

What Do I Do With My Hands?!

Tips & Tricks

We photograph a lot of couples and groups, each with their own collection of unique traits and attitudes. It's a lot of fun to get to know these different people and what makes them special, but it's also interesting to see common threads that link everyone together. Sometimes, it's a pure excitement to be in front of the camera, and other times it's a lack of confidence in modeling abilities. Couples or individuals have warned us before-hand that they feel they aren't photogenic or great at having their picture take. But we have awesome news to the doubters: it's impossible for us to not capture gorgeous images of you! We're not just saying that idly, either, since everyone has the capability to look stunning, no matter what. You can trust in our experience as professional photographers that we will find the perfect way to present you. One of the most common concerns that we get from those who lack faith is not knowing how to pose, specifically on what to do with hands. Hands can be awkward when left hanging at your side, but they need to be comfortable and not distracting when placed elsewhere. During sessions, we've seen people situate their hands three or four different times trying to find a spot that works. We definitely provide instruction when this problem arises, but we understand that having the information before the session is the difference between eager for a session or being scared of it. The tips below apply...

Engagement Session Preparation

Tips & Tricks

It is always a little daunting to have photos taken. It's not something that is normal for day-to-day life and can be one of the hardest things to prepare for. For me, I instantly clam up when a lens is pointing at me. Spending so much time around cameras does not prepare me for being in front of the camera. I know that most couples feel the exact same way as I do. The great thing is, there are ways to prepare for your engagement session that will greatly put your mind at ease. Engagement photos can feel very strange and it can often times seem like your relationship isn't accurately portrayed in them. When we chat with our couples about their engagement shoot, one of the most common thing is someone in the couple not understanding the point of these photos. They don't care, they hate their photo taken, or they just want to hire us for the wedding and be done. Unfortunately, that's not how this all works. We want to experience your relationship in advance. With our photos, we get really wonderful emotion because we don't just show up on the wedding day. Our bond with the couple is what creates a genuine interaction and ability for them to show us who they are. Your photos are important, and we want everyone to feel something when they look at your photos. The following advice to prepare for your engagement session all go hand-in-hand together. If each...

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 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...

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...

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...

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...

3 Reasons Why You Should Not Direct Message Vendors on Social Media

Tips & Tricks

Social media is a resource difficult to live without in today's society. Of course, there are those strong individuals who can go more than a day without checking their accounts or uploading selfies, but they are in the minority of people. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even Tumblr, are all platforms for people to showcase their personalities and find people that they want to know more about. In most cases, these vessels are also used by professionals to display their talents and attract potential clients. One really awesome feature that most sites boast is the ability to direct message (DM). It's an amazing resource that allows you to stay connected with friends and keep up with the people you may have lost touch with. It's an important feature in the world of social media, but a lot of times, we don't realize the short-comings that can also surface from it. Today, I want to spend a little bit of time talking about the problems with DMing your potential wedding vendors instead of reaching out via email or their website. If this can save one message from getting lost and bring you closer to the vendor of your dreams, then it has done the job :).   The 3 Reasons Why You Should Not Direct Message Your Wedding Vendors: 1. The Message Request Folder The biggest problem I see with DMing is when you message someone's personal account, your inquiry will most likely end up in an alternate area that...

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...

Maximize Your Time with Your Photographers

from Shawn

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

I'm Happy it Rained on My Wedding Day

Tips and Tricks

Rain on your wedding is something that you don't even want to think about for fear that you may be jinxing the day. I totally get it, because when we were planning ours, we avoided any and all mention of rain. So what did I do when I checked the 10-day weather report and saw the little stormy cloud graphic? Well, first I cried, and then I got to planning. Besides marrying each other (which is number one on the priority list, no matter what), photos were important to us. We wanted to take advantage of the grounds at our amazing venue, so we came up with a photo rain plan. We purchased a clear umbrella to use, and started researching rainy wedding photos. Shawn's parents even took a trip to Ikea and got us tons of towels, bridal party umbrellas, and a blanket that I could put the train of my dress on so that it didn't get muddy. We were ready, and the fact that we were so prepared made all of the emotions that that tiny, evil rain cloud held completely disappear. When a couple ask me "what if it rains?" I let them know that rain just means we have to be a little more creative with their portraits. As a photographer, I'm glad to be challenged and to be in situations that aren't perfect . It's being able to produce beautiful images in a situation that isn't ideal that makes me feel proud of...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Tips and Tricks: Kicking Up Your Engagement Session

I'm so excited to be starting a new section on my blog! I've been wanting for a really long time to offer informational posts to help clients. I've had many clients ask me for styling help, vendor help, location suggestions, etc., and now I finally get the chance to put my knowledge together and put it all out into the blog-o-sphere. Today's entry? Engagement session tips and tricks! I absolutely adore engagement sessions, they are fun, can be super unique, and a great way for me to get to know my couples. Usually my couples aren't use to having a camera following them around, so this gets them comfortable with the process and makes the wedding day photos that much better. The best part of it all is that I offer these session as complimentary in all of my wedding collections. There is really no downside at all, haha! Today I want to share a few things I love about engagements and some tips on getting the most from these sessions. Have fun! Easy, right? The first thing I tell my couples when we are starting out is to get close together and to tell jokes to one another. Pretend you aren't in the middle of the city or the park with a camera next to you :P. If you want to make silly faces, go for it! I love the goofiness and I will often be laughing with you two. The reactions that come from being silly are the...