12.18.2014

2014 end of year round-up!

2014 was so, so fantastic. I worked with dozens of amazing people, spent my weekends with beautiful brides and nervous grooms, and continued to grow a business that allows me to do what I love. Wedding season can be such a blur and I always love this time of year when Christmas cards from my couples start showing up in my mailbox with their wedding photos displayed front and center. It reminds me that this is important, meaningful work. It's important because I'm asked to be part of a once in a lifetime day, to make art and meaningful images, and I'm never any less surprised when someone decides to invite me along for the ride. Some days are long and hot and my feet hurt and the camera gear feels impossibly heavy, and those feelings are tangible reminders that what I'm doing matters. It's a pretty swell gig.

I intended to go through each and every engagement, portrait session, and wedding to pick out a few favorite images and it took about .0004 seconds before I was totally overwhelmed with the task - I do it to myself, people. So I skimmed through a few favorite sessions and tried to pick one (or two!) images from each one that I loved, the one I would pick over and over, amen.

Here are some of my 2014 favs! (This is totally not all-inclusive, there were so many to choose from!)

P.S. Newly engaged with a 2015 wedding date? Contact me for more info! Let's make some magic.

This one of Adam and Maggie - it was one of the last few shots of their Catoctin Furnace engagement session and the second I glanced at the back of the camera, I thought of it in black and white. I love the crinkle around his eyes, her scrunched up nose and relaxed embrace. They planned their sessions around hot cider (with a cup for me, for reals) and s'mores. Perfect.


Kate and Alan's engagement session at Linganore Winery. She changed into a gorgeous white and silver gown that reminded me of Audrey Hepburn and braved the tangled grass in her heels. It paid off. I love this shot, the way her dress is floating up and the endless vines in the background.


This one of John and Terra at their Elk Run Vineyard engagement session with Terra laughing her head off. I love when moments like this happen (sometimes because of something ridiculous I said but hey, it works) because it can be nerve-wracking to be in front of the camera. It's such a treat when couples forget about me for a moment or two. :)


Emily and Matt's beautiful wedding at a little farm in Pennsylvania - they kept it sweet and intimate and full of people they love. This shot was one of my favorites from the start - I love how they're looking in opposite directions but their expressions tell the truth - they were still talking and laughing together. Also, how Emily couldn't stay away from the turkeys. ;)


Jeanna and Justin got married in his grandparent's backyard and I still think about Jeanna's dress - they keyhole back, the lace and the ribbon sash. It was so perfect for her and you can tell she felt beautiful in it. I love that. Their entire day was so relaxed, the food was delicious, and Justin and Jeanna were such gracious hosts for my pregnant self - and now they're having a little girl, too!


Crystal and Mike's colorful sparkler exit was one of my favorites - sometimes my coverage doesn't extend all the way through the end of the reception so any grand exits don't make it to the gallery. I'm grateful theirs ended just at sunset when the sky was pink and the guests were cheering and sparks were (literally) flying.


Anne and Greg's absolutely stunning wedding at Walker's Overlook has a permanent place in my heart - I couldn't decide between the two images below, so you're getting both (you're welcome). For starters, the venue is pretty hard to beat. The gorgeous mansion, the rustic grounds, the sun that dips below the backyard swing in the summertime for that perfect through-the-veil glow...it's a magical thing.

Anne had her gown custom made and the veil did it for me - I LOVE a long veil and Anne looked so gorgeous and womanly in hers. A total babe.


This shot of Danielle dancing with her Dad at their reception - their entire day was gorgeous and I was debating between this one and one of her and Jordan, but this one is what it's all about. This is the bread and butter. This is why I love what I do.


Jessie and Steve's Mathwig Estate wedding was phenomenal for dozens of reasons - they turned a somewhat plain venue into a gorgeous, custom-designed celebration and filled it with delicious food, hilarious friends, perfectly heartfelt speeches, and some pretty incredible dance moves. The Best Man's speech still resonates with me because it was so genuine, funny, and pointed out all the best things about Jessie and Steve, and before the dancing started there was a quick rainstorm and hello, a rainbow. Truly an incredible day.


Sara and Mitch's Smokey Glen Farm wedding was such a fantastic start to the 2014 season and it set the tone for my entire season. It was breezy and cool all day with dancing that kept going right through the evening thunderstorms. Sara was (and is) an absolute joy to work with, she cut me loose to create beautiful images, and included me in dozens of conversations about wedding decisions. She's funny, sweet, and apparently liked getting married so much you can hire her to help plan yours. Do it. You won't be sorry.

These two images are my absolute favorites - the first because the veil flared up by accident and I wasn't ready and sometimes that's the best way to work. The second one because I love a good sunflare and I adore Sara's relaxed, easy expression. I hope that one is hanging on their bedroom wall somewhere.


And hey! How about some Behind the Scenes!? Here I am staring awkwardly while the newlyweds smooch. Don't mind me.


I can also frame your face in the crook of my elbow at no extra charge!


I can appear to be going bald when your wedding day is super windy!


I can multi-task while shooting!


I can photograph some serious PDA!


I am so grateful for all my clients this year - brides, grooms, parents, families - you all deserve hugs and high-fives. 2015 booking has officially begun and I already have several on the books that I am so, so excited about (Key Largo! St. Michael's! Gorgeous local venues!). 

Many thanks to my incredible, hot, hard-working husband for helping me juggle everything this year and reminding me in your quiet way that we are better together. I love you a bushel and a peck.

And thank you-thank you-thank you to my family for keeping Quinlan on long days and late nights so I can do what I love. xoxo.

12.08.2014

hagerstown, md newborn photographer | brendan tate.

In case you missed it a few months back, I blogged about why posed newborn photography is not my thing. There was a lot of sweating, and a fair amount of diaper explosions, and an unfortunate idea that resulted in my newborn sitting uncomfortably inside a ballistic helmet. It was bad for all involved.

There are photographers who do it and do it incredibly well, but after my experience photographing Quinlan, I decided I was not one of them. So when Zach and Colleen asked after their maternity session if I might be interested in doing a session for Brendan when he arrived, I felt a little nervous. I mean, I wanted to, but it wouldn't be with the backdrops and knitted hats - it would just be them, relaxed at home with their new little cub, snuggling and enjoying each other. Lucky for me, that's exactly what they wanted.

Colleen texted me on my way over that they were all upstairs and to let myself in - when I did, I thought I had the wrong house. I paused awkwardly in the foyer and looked around, trying to remember what their house looked like because I was suddenly drawing a blank. This house was fully decorated for the season - there were lights and garland and stockings and the smell of chocolate cookies wafting out of the kitchen. It was completely quiet except for the gentle hum of electric heat and I thought there is no way this is a household with a newborn.

Thankfully, I was in the right place with the right family and everyone was quietly lounging upstairs, reading books and nursing and somehow being completely prepared for Christmas with a 5 day old baby. Zach and Colleen. They blow my mind. (Can I also tell you that Colleen came to my Baby Sprinkle two days later with Brendan in tow? I don't think I left the house for two months after I had a baby - she's my hero.)

It was such a joy to photograph their family this way - Kaden excited about his baby brother, Zach and Colleen learning how to be parents all over again and still being totally sweet on each other despite the lack of sleep and shake-up in their routine. It really was the best. I love you guys! Enjoy your sneak peak!

P.S. The Hot Chocolate Cookies were insane. I ate 2 more in the parking lot and scraped the marshmallow off the lid with my teeth. Not sorry.