My darling husband Brian is going to be my second shooter this coming weekend for Ashley & Hon's wedding!!! Bri doesn't have any burning desire to be a photographer, and he's always been content to carry my bag and hand me lenses on shoots for the last year. But for a wedding like this weekend when I don't have a second shooter (I have a photographer named Paige as my second shooter for the wedding at the end of the month)...it's wonderful to realize I have someone I can count on. The most important shot Brian can get for me is the one of Hon (the groom) as he catches his first glimpse of Ashley coming down the aisle. With my back turned to him and all my attention focused on getting Ashley in her gorgeous gown, I would never get that amazing expression on HIS face...but now I can. Brian and I spent a few hours this weekend going over camera stuff. He can certainly take a good picture with everything on auto, but he was interested in learning a little bit about shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and manual focusing. So I happily taught him and he soaked it up like the sponge he is. He has a built in safety for that important photo, because even the most seasoned pro can miss a shot and Brian's just beginning, but he will still have free reign to be creative after that shot is taken.
He took some really nice practice shots and got familiar with the DSLR and the two lenses he'll be using. It'll be such a relief to know that not only that all important shot of Hon will be taken care of, but that I can send him to capture any angle I might need when I'm otherwise occupied during the ceremony and/or reception...and trust that he will get the job done to the best of his abilities.
The pic above of our dogs...I took that one on the left, of Mr. Darcy, with my purpose on getting the face in focus and then a soft blur on the body. Brian took the one on the right, of Whiskey, with the same intent. Mission accomplished? I vote yes. :)
My husband is amazing at pretty much everything he does, and I have no doubt that he will be great at this. The nice thing is that he still lets me shine and never needs the spotlight...which is what I think makes his own talent burn the brightest, by letting it speak for itself. His writing gift is luminous, a once in a lifetime kind of talent...yet you'd never know it.
I am so grateful for everything my husband is, the humble and helpful partner he is, the caregiver, the goofball, and of course, the amazing, sensational playwright. I have no doubt that he will be recognized in a great and major way someday soon for his writing...not only for his clever plots and brilliant writing, but because of the man he is.
Ashley & Hon also happen to be dear friends of ours, so we truly can't wait to see them get married this weekend. We're blessed to be able to share in that with them, and I am so excited to be able to capture it. I just hope I can see through my own happy tears to get some clear photos! ;)
Hope everyone had a terrific holiday weekend and that the week ahead is wonderful! T minus 5 days till the wedding!!! :)
I LOVE when I figure out how to do something technical. I built my own website, and I was really happy with how it looked, but it drove me crazy to not have pull down menus. Half my work had to go off to the side in a "more" drop down, which made it look sloppy. Yesterday, I buckled down, did my research, and figured out how to make pull downs...woohoo! I restructured some of the categories, and reloaded pics that had been stamped with my logo...and voila! I have a much more user friendly website. :)
I haven't shot a photo or edited in two whole days, which feels like a lifetime to me. Instead I've been catching up on really bad tv and eating ice cream. :) And taking my usual pics of the laziest (but cutest) doggies in the world!
This weekend I have a session of Natural Treasures by Deb's jewelry collection & headshots...this will be my third shoot for her.
And then next Saturday...ASHLEY & HON'S WEDDING!!! I am so excited...this will be a very modern wedding look in a beautiful traditional setting...outdoor patio with lovely gardens and trees, and the reception inside a two story barn strewn with twinkle lights. And most importantly, a gorgeous young couple who love each other, laugh together, and compliment each other perfectly. Can't wait!
Next week I will be featuring a wedding photographer based in Jacksonville FL AND the DC area...she's amazingly talented and I can't wait to introduce you to her! :)
Hope everyone has a fantastic and safe holiday weekend! :)
So, I'm not sure how I keep getting so lucky. I often joke that the reason I make everyone look good is because I only shoot pretty people. Well, I obviously wouldn't refuse to shoot someone I thought was unattractive, but I am seriously blessed with the couples I've shot over the last several months. Everyone is beautiful!!! They all have a unique look, and are charismatic, attractive, and photogenic...not to mention sweet to work with AND in love with each other. For someone who lives with her very own fairytale prince, this is an awesome thing.
Katie & Mike scouted out their own fantastic location...River Bend Park in Great Falls, which is right next to the famous Great Falls National Park, but smaller and more intimate. We didn't have to deal with crowds, and I thoroughly enjoyed shooting on the sun-dappled trail filled with light I'm not all that familiar with. It was gorgeous. There was a small wedding happening on the Potomac as well, and what a perfect day for one! We took that as a good omen for their September wedding! :)
Katie & Mike have a great relationship, and they were natural and fun in front of my camera. We did a short and sweet session, gently walking the trail and stopping at various points for photo ops. The trail had these little openings directly to the water, which made everything easier. They bravely sat on rocks over the water, climbed a few trees, and just enjoyed being with each other. Both have great faces and are clearly comfortable with each other, which made my job easy. :)
Their September wedding in Bristow will be classy and beautiful and I can't wait to shoot it!!! :)
So, all the cool kid blogs have names for them, like "Fotog Friday" and "Wedding Wednesday". I wanna be one of the cool kids. So I'm gonna blog with camera related names. Today I begin with "Flash Friday". You can either guess that it's a camera flash, or the hope that Friday will go by in a flash and we'll all get to the weekend. It's up to you. :)
Prepping for Katie & Mike's shoot tomorrow, I just finished my latest inspiration board. It's one of my favorite ways to get fired up about love and romance. :) The theme is mostly "light"...many of the photos feature gorgeous, stunning light. That image on the bottom row center? It's perfect. It's got that golden light that every photographer craves, and then the water, the pier, and the gorgeous bride wrapped in her veil...raptures. :)
I am single-handedly supporting the bridal catalog industry. Even Brian has started searching for the latest issues. He uses wedding mags as an excuse to visit Barnes & Noble since they always have a really great collection. ;) (Of course, he's off buying plays and music while I'm sighing over wedding images.)
I love to look at a picture and have it inspire something totally different of my own. It's all about an idea, and then the direction your own imagination takes you in...you never know what the light will do on the day of the wedding, or if the bride will be able to sit down fully in her gown
That's all. My batteries are charging, and my lens are getting cleaned and packed. And I'm still trying to pry the stuck UV filter off of my precious 24-70mm lens. Without damaging my lens, of course!
Have a fantastic weekend, everyone! Can't wait to photograph Katie & Mike and share some of their images with you. :)
Why yes, my font today IS purple. Thank you for noticing. :)
I passed my Medical Spanish final yesterday. BIG Sigh of Relief. :) As many of you may know (due to my frequent moaning & groaning), Spanish is NOT my thing. I barely made it through Spanish 101/102 alive last semester, and silly me thought that taking the nursing Spanish class would be a little easier since I already had some knowledge of the basics and this would just be memorizing all the medical vocabulary. Not so fast, grasshopper! It was all that...and about a thousand more things on sentence structures and grammar and verb conjugations...enough to make me cry on a regular basis. For someone with a working knowledge of French, and a good grasp on all things poetic in Italian and German, add some Hungarian and smatterings of Russian, Czech, and Gaelic...you'd think Spanish would be cake. Not so. It's truly been a trying experience for me. But I survived.
So what if my Spanish speaking patients will flee in terror when I suggest a prostate exam when they come in for tonsilitis? :) I passed, and that is all that matters. :)
Now on to the fun stuff! After a wonderful engagement session with Bethany & Dave last week, I am very pleased and delighted to photograph Katie & Mike this coming weekend. The weather promises to be an overcast 75, which for me is perfect shooting weather. Last week's evilly harsh sunlight was a bit daunting but we totally made it work, mainly because Bethany & Dave are so attractive that even the brilliant spotlights refused to make them less so. :)
It's so nice to be able to just focus on my upcoming session this weekend AND the fact that I'll be shooting Ashley & Hon's glam meets nature wedding in...drumroll please...3 weeks!!! They are an amazing couple and also a ton of fun, so I know their wedding will be a joy. Dear Hon, I've seen Ashley's wedding gown and let's just say you are a lucky man because she will be GORGEOUS. :)
3 weeks after that, I get to shoot Dave & Bethany's swanky DC evening wedding...woohoo! Knowing them, AND the fact that some of Bethany's family is from New Orleans, means that we are going to have a grand old time. :)
Wedding season is upon us and I couldn't be happier.
Bethany asked me last weekend what I really loved to photograph. My reply? "Pretty things." Yup. I just love pretty things. Photographing love is of course included in this because what could be prettier than true love? But I also just love beautiful people, and sparkly things and stunning flowers. And of course, one finds all of these things at weddings.
Tomorrow I will prep my gear bag and plan the fun that will be had this weekend with Katie & Mike, but today is just for me. I'm still editing pics from Bethany & Dave's session last weekend (almost 100 have been edited but there are still like...50 more!)...but I am doing so just lounging in bed, with the curtains and windows open, the dogs napping at my feet, sipping a Diet Coke, and anxiously awaiting the season finale of Grey's Anatomy tonight. Shonda Rimes, you know what you have to do. Don't tick me off. :)
Happy Thursday! :)
I met Bethany & Dave back in February, where we had an icy cold and rainy mini "meet n greet" session in Georgetown. We hit it off instantly, and they booked me for their June wedding in DC. We met up again this past weekend in Harpers Ferry, WV, where we spent several hours fighting indecently bright sunlight and swarms of gnats who LOVED us...but also thoroughly enjoying ourselves. The historic town is a perfect blend of well preserved, quaint old buildings and churches and then an amazing park with the mountains and the rivers running on all sides. It's a great place for an engagement shoot, especially for a couple who loves the outdoors. We didn't do a lot of formal posing because of the gnats but I think it added spontaneity to the day. Mainly because Bethany & Dave were all too happy to be themselves, tickling each other, laughing hysterically, getting into the spirit of the event. We broke for lunch at a local pub that had surprisingly great food (and local beers that Dave and my husband loved)...and it was a great opportunity to get to know each other better.
They met nearly 7 years ago over a game of Ultimate Frisbee. Both were attending the U. of Wisconsin for grad school (they are both brilliant science brains) and fell for each other. They've made their lives in DC and are a perfect match. It's so nice to see a couple who are deeply in love, who make each other laugh with their special glances and private jokes, people who genuinely like each other. Those are the couples who are built to last forever. I have been SO blessed with the couples I've been able to photograph over the last year. Each of them bring something sweet and special to the table, and it's been anything but "work" to document their love.
It was my pleasure to spend the day with Dave & Bethany last Saturday, and it will be my honor to photograph their wedding at the end of next month. They're both Beautiful People...and their insides match their outsides. :) Congrats, guys...the big day is almost here! :)
Irish wedding jewelry
We live in a world of instant gratification. Anything we can possibly think to look up, we can Google it on our laptops or on our cell phones, and voila! there it is. This includes art of all kinds. Once upon a time, people would wait with baited breath to see the latest painting from an artist, the glaze to harden on a piece of pottery, for the film to be developed from a great photographer. No more. Almost everything we could want is available instantaneously.
And I think that's why many people have stopped appreciating art the way it was meant to be appreciated. There's no real thought or enjoyment. It's certainly convenient to have such awesome things available everywhere you look, but sometimes the more there is of something, the easier it is to pass it by for the next sparkly object.
Photography is probably one of the worst as far as industry saturation. Anyone with $500 to spare can buy a DSLR, which means that there are a lot of people out there who think that having a decent camera suddenly makes one a photographer. It's a little more complicated than that...but that said, you're only as good as your audience perceives you to be. I visit new photography sites every day (online AND on FB) and I'm absolutely floored at just how many there are! Lots and lots of talent, lots of creativity and things that make you sit up & take notice...and lots and lots of mediocrity that's really depressing.
On FB, it's so much easier to "like" something rather than taking the time to study it and write a thoughtful comment or compliment. Mainly because the average person on FB has about 200 friends, and while one friend is putting up their latest vacation pics, another is putting up photos of their sculptures at a local gallery, or their handmade jewelry, or their pen & ink sketches, or their sweet kids. You have a job, a family, a life...who has time to do more than "like" a pic of something to show your support?
I did a mini bridal detail shoot yesterday. It involved taking a total of 5 photos of Irish themed wedding jewelry. It took 1.5 hours...not because I had to snap several photos and get five that were "good", but because I had to decide what I was going to photograph, gather it, stage it in the most interesting fashion, plan for my light, decide the best angles, make sure I had the most appropriate lenses and camera settings, then take the pics...then upload, then edit, then post. I wanted to show off the jewelry in a clean, elegant way without being boring in their display. A lot of thought went into those five little pics and I'm happy with the results. I generally don't get feedback from anyone so I'm never sure if my work is any good or anything special...I just have to keep reminding myself that my clients always seem really happy with their photos and that *I* love what I do, and that has to be enough. :)
I'm not complaining, incidentally. It's just a statement on how we as a society too often take art for granted. Art should be revered...it's part of what makes the world special. It's how many people express themselves and their personalities and give you this cherished glimpse into their souls.
For me, when I see that a photographer (or any other artist I admire) has something new to see, I set aside time to look at it. It usually involves getting something to drink and a snack, and then I turn off the tv, tune out the distractions, and give it my full attention. When Katelyn James or Laura Yang post a new wedding on their blogs, I consider my first look at their photos to be an exciting thing. I sit back, relax, and study each and every photo like the art it is. I take in the light, the color, the textures, and get caught up in the dreamy perfection that is every wedding they shoot.
I'm nowhere near that yet. I may never be in their class of photography. But I'd like to think that doesn't make me any less of an artist. So much thought really does go into everything I photograph, and I am always taking pictures with my mind everywhere around me, planning for the next chance I'll have to actually freeze frame the image with my camera. I hope that someday even a few people take the time to linger over my pictures, and that they get a sense of beauty and joy from them.
Art is extremely accessible these days, but that doesn't mean that one shouldn't still stop and smell the roses. There is an artist behind each and every one of those pieces on display.
Try it one of these days...find art you really love, in any medium, and give it the attention and respect it deserves. It might become your new morning ritual, an oasis in the middle of a crazy afternoon at work, or your unwinding right before bed. Life passes by so quickly...don't forget to savor the little things.
AND...on an exciting note, my MarkII arrived today! I have it until Monday and it's beautiful. I'd cradle it in my arms and sing to it except that my hubby might commit me! :) I'm so tickled pink to use it to photograph the awesome Bethany & Dave this weekend in WV and then the beautiful Erin on Sunday night in DC. Woohoo! :)
Canon Mark II with a Canon 70-200mm zoom lens. :)
I stole the above image from www.kenrockwell.com If you need extensive, honest, easy to understand knowledge on ANYTHING Canon related...Ken's your guy. He's a fantastic photographer and he also knows his stuff. I learned so much just from referencing his site every time I wanted to make a purchase or needed advice on something. Check him out!
My dream camera will arrive, by way of rental, in two days. I'm like a kid at Christmas...I haven't wanted anything so much in a good long while, even jewelry. ;)
I've been shooting with an entry level DSLR crop sensor camera for a year now. It's a wonderful camera, and I'm grateful to have it. The best advice I got when starting out in this business was that if you couldn't take a great picture with an entry level DSLR and a kit lens, then you couldn't take a great pic with the best equipment out there. That is absolutely true. What has made me a better photographer is constant practice, reading, research, friends who model selflessly for me, and knowing my equipment inside & out. When I first got my lenses, I really didn't know what they were for other than that they were recommended! Why use a fast prime lens when you could use a zoom, right? Why use a macro for jewelry shots? Why get a wide angle lens when you could just stand REALLY far back with a 50? :) Now I use my lenses to the best of their abilities.
I don't expect that using the Canon Mark II will make me a better photographer...but I think that combined with the knowledge I have of my current camera, and the differences that I understand between the crop sensor and the full frame cameras, that I will be able to utilize the benefits of the full frame for maximum benefit...and hopefully have better images overall.
I have an engagement session on Saturday, so I ordered the camera to arrive on Thursday to have some time to play with it and grow accustomed to where everything is on the camera as well as how different things appear with my lenses and how I'll have to make adjustments to my shooting style.
If all goes well, and I see a marked difference in my photography, I will also be renting the camera for my upcoming weddings this summer...and then making the full investment for my weddings this fall.
I'm nervous and psyched all at the same time. I've been waiting for this moment for months now and it's almost here...wish me luck. :)
...which to the naked eye looked a lot like a regular old moon. :) That said, I've never been good at taking night or moon pics, so I was eager to apply the recent knowledge I have of shutter speeds and other things to this Super Moon. And I ended up liking every shot! I adjusted the white balance and it gave the moon this gorgeous, spooky orange glow...at other times I had it in my sights as old gold and still others, pure silver. It was really lovely. We only got a good glimpse of it here in Manassas from about 9:15pm to 9:45pm but it was worth it.
Resting up for my engagement shoot with Bethany & Dave next Saturday in WV...we are all psyched! Their wedding's only 7 weeks away...and Ashley & Hon's is in less than a month! Woohoo...wedding season is begun! :)
I had the amazing opportunity of photographing the 4th Annual Art Auction at Project Create, a non-profit organization in DC. For those unfamiliar with the program, it assists DC's homeless children by giving them the gift of art. They offer art programs staffed with dedicated teachers who make a difference in their lives by introducing them to an artistic experience. It's a wonderful concept, and brilliantly executed by all those who give themselves wholeheartedly to the program.
I am not much of an event photographer. Indoors at night with artificial light and hoards of people is a little bit of a nightmare. for me and my particular equipment For this, people were there to eat, drink, and bid on art for a good cause. I refused to use an obnoxious flash, and didn't want to "pose" anyone, and also didn't want to catch them drinking or eating. This was a difficult feat, mainly because instead of the wine & cheese that most of these events offer, Project Create had a TON of delicious food, from fruit and cheese to meatballs and chicken skewers. I was too busy to drink more than a few sips of Diet Coke but my husband/trusty assistant made the rounds and confirmed that everything was as delectable as it smelled. :)
I tried to remain as unobtrusive as possible, focusing in whenever I saw people studying the fantastic paintings on the walls or laughing in small groups. And there were a LOT of laughs...people really seemed to enjoy themselves last night. I hope that means they raised a lot of $$$ for the kids!!! :)
I ended up with roughly 200 pics and I pray they are what Project Create was hoping for! My favorites are below. :) If you believe that all children are entitled to artistic exposure, please consider making a donation to this truly worthy cause:
To see the complete event photographs, please visit my SmugMug gallery: