It’s a rainy fall day here in Maryland, as Hurricane Joaquin makes his way up the East Coast. I’m snuggled in with a Twilight marathon, my mug of coffee, and a bowl of oatmeal – oh, and a yummy smelling candle burning on my desk! The forecast is calling for dipping temperatures and rain for the rest of the week! I confess to loving this weather. This is my favorite time of year to hunker down and get some editing and writing done. It’s also the perfect timing for this month’s blog circle theme: moody.
Moody may make you think of teenagers, or your grumpy boss, or your Aunt Joan; photographers have a different idea of what “moody” means, and it actually varies quite a bit from one artist to the next. One photographer may love moody black and whites. Another may really love the moody matte look. Yet another may use the idea of moody in his posing or composition, or subject matter. Due to the nature of what I photograph – weddings, families, and teens – I don’t get a ton of opportunity to really explore my moody side. This month, I think I’ll share some edits that I would consider more “moody” than my norm!
It was actually quite a bit of fun to put these together! I debated showing you the before and afters, but opted for just the “after”, or moody look. I hope you enjoy them! I loved the opportunity to think outside of my usual box! In my art, moody is more than just a “darker” image….it’s conveying emotion through tones and color. Some of these images are still quite bright – as my usual style is – but are more matted or earthy. Definitely a big change for me!
I hope all my Washington DC area weddings are staying dry this weekend, or trying to! For some more moody work, please be sure to visit all of my friends in this month’s circle, starting with Columbia, SC Lifestyle Photographer, Eleventh Hour Goods, LLC!
A July 4th wedding? I’ve been dying to shoot one for quite a while! When I think of July 4th wedding, I think of fireworks, lots of red, white, and blue, and BBQ. I think of music, and laughter, and bright blue skies. Americans observe the 4th of July as a day of Independence, but it is also a celebration of togetherness, of freedom, and after the recent ruling of the Supreme Court, this particular July 4th wedding had lots to celebrate!
I was introduced to Dennis + Ryan through a mutual friend, Carly. She is another ah-mazing photographer, and was looking for someone to capture their wedding day, as she would be in the wedding party. (She captured the proposal, and you just have to read the story here!) Our first meeting was a Skype date. With busy schedules and wedding planning, it was a great way to connect and get to know each other better. Dennis proposed exactly one year before their wedding day, and I admit, I swooned when I heard Dennis + Ryan retelling the story. Then when we started talking about all the details of their wedding day, I couldn’t help but get excited and silently chant in my head, “Pick me! Pick me!” Well, they did, and I could not have wished for a better day for these two!
A Perfect July 4th Wedding Day
The big day started off a little cloudy. It looked like it might rain, so I made a quick detour to Target to buy a couple of extra umbrellas – just in case wedding party portraits got rained on. As I hung out with the girls while they got ready, the sky gradually lightened up – I think it was all the laughter in the hotel room. The sky just couldn’t be gloomy with all these smiles! When Dennis + Ryan joined us in the room, the amount of excitement literally tripled. And they get the award for Best Dressed Grooms in All of History. The navy blue and gray palette for the wedding party was perfect! The details were simple, but none were overlooked! Simple baby’s breath bouquets for the girls, and coordinating boutonnieres for the gentlemen tied everything together. Carly even brought her film camera along and shot some alongside me, which was a ton of fun! (And her film shots are BEAUTIFUL!)
I was a little nervous about taking wedding party photos in downtown Frederick on the July 4th holiday, but as it turned out, we found some of the most amazing locations just outside the hubbub. Dennis + Ryan were all smiles the entire time. Soon, it was time to head to the house for the ceremony and reception! The ceremony made me cry – happy tears. Usually I can hold off until the first dance or parent dances before the tears fall, but seeing these two get their Happily Ever After, and hearing the stories and wishes from their friends and family, I couldn’t help myself. It is pretty obvious how loved these two guys are by everyone they meet! This was probably the first and only time I’ve ever wished I was a videographer instead of a photographer. So many touching moments!
A Themed July 4th Wedding Reception
Then it was time to party! Once more, Dennis + Ryan thought of every detail for their reception. Delish food, beautiful July 4th decor, lots of DIY, a fabulous cake, fun music and backyard games. There were lots of tears and laughter during the toasts and mother-son dances. The life-sized Jenga game was a huge hit! And then the fireworks – the perfect end to the evening!
I’m so thrilled that these two get to spend a lifetime of happiness and love together. Thank you for including me on your day. I love you both!
A Wedding Photographer Who Takes a Camera Everywhere
Friends and family say it all the time, “Oh, I bet you take your camera everywhere!” And it’s true, I used to. Even up until a few years ago, I took my camera everywhere. It’s part of the daily uniform when you are both a professional wedding photographer and mom to a young child. You never want to miss capturing one of their “firsts” or major milestones. I even carried my gear to events with friends, just to have it handy. But over the years, I started carrying my camera less and less. My harddrives are bursting with tens of thousands of personal images a year from 2007, 2008, 2009; but after 2010, the number in each folder dwindles.
As a mom, I feel extremely guilty that I am no longer taking as many photographs as I used to of our little family. About this time last year, after dragging my camera along on our summer beach vacation and not using it even once, I made a promise to myself that while I wouldn’t take the camera everywhere, I would start taking more photographs of the “important” moments, such as holidays and vacations.
Oops, I did it again.
We just returned from our summer vacation in North Carolina. It was beautiful. Wide beaches with beautiful sunrises and sunsets, calm turquoise waters. We spent an entire evening learning about sea turtles and looking for their protected nests. I packed my beautiful House of Flynn camera bag (more on that in a future post!) and everything I would need to capture these important summer memories, much like my dad used to. Well, wouldn’t you know it. I took about 5 pictures the whole trip, not counting my phone’s camera, which leaves much to be desired.
Major. Mom-Photographer. Fail.
I took a few photos of my daughter sleeping in on a rainy morning, and then about 5 minutes before we departed to come back home, I snapped these of the sunrise, and they’re not even great photos, as the air was so humid and full of sea water vapor, it was foggy and my lens kept getting salty condensation all over it, so I dashed back inside to protect my equipment.
So many memories lost forever. I’m actually extremely disappointed in myself. I must try harder, and do better. My daughter recently turned 7, and loves photographs, drawing, and telling stories. I bought her some scrapbooking supplies (another hobby I used to enjoy) and promised her that we would start an album this summer. I will continue to remind myself that photography is not just my career, it is her legacy. I should understand that so well, especially after losing my dad in 2004. He lives on in photographs, even after our memories dim, and details of the stories begin to erode.
My Promise. My Vow.
That’s the great thing about being human: when you make a mistake, you have the choice to not make the same mistake twice. So, starting now, I promise myself (and my family) these things:
- I will take more photographs.
- I will be in more photographs.
- I will print more photographs.
Those three seemingly simple vows are my promise. I am so much more than a wedding photographer. I am a storyteller. I am a historian. I am an artist. And I must be a storyteller, a historian and an artist even when I’m “off the clock”. I see so many of my fellow wedding photographer friends posting their exquisite summer vacation photos, and yes, I enjoy them, but for now, I’ll start with taking photographs for my family first and foremost. And never again will this wedding photographer fail on Summer Vacation.
Do yourself a favor, and visit my friends who also participate in this blog circle – I promise they have tons of great summer photos! Start here, with my friend Alicia Q, Jacksonville NC Wedding Photographer
I first met Steph in 2008. I was about to become a mom, and she had the most adorable little girl. We became friends over lots of scrapbooking and girls nights out. Our girls grew, and life took us to opposite coasts, but we always stayed in touch. I would visit with her whenever I got back to the East Coast from California. Then two years ago, shortly after we moved back to the area, she asked me to photograph her family, including Jason and his two adorable kids. During that session, it was easy to see how happy Jason made Steph, and how amazing they were together. Jason definitely earned my stamp of approval! A few months later, I received a text from Steph, asking what my May availability was like for 2015. Jason had proposed, and there was no way I was missing out on their wedding!
A Beautiful Sunny Day for a Potomac Point Winery Wedding
So, May came and the day was absolutely perfect for Stephanie + Jason to welcome their closest friends and family to witness their wedding. As a couple, they love to visit the local wineries throughout Virginia, so a Potomac Point Winery wedding was the perfect choice for Stephanie + Jason! I’ve always loved the cozy, European vibe at Potomac Point. The sun was shining, the vines were beginning to come in, and Steph and Jason had the biggest smiles on their faces. My favorite moment might have been when Jason first saw his beautiful bride as she walked down the aisle with her new stepson!
More than just a couple coming together, it was a blending of families. Celebrating their new family was an important part of the wedding day and into the evening. The “wedding party” was actually Steph’s daughter, and Jason’s son and daughter. I love how they included the kids throughout the day! It was certainly a special time for the five of them to finally become a family. (Although I know they were always a family in their hearts!) The kids each gave a speech during the reception, and of course, I cried a little. The whole day was beautiful from beginning to end!
Congratulations on becoming Mr. & Mrs.! I love you guys and am so happy that you have found each other. You complement each other perfectly, and even though you’re both absolutely amazing on your own, you are even better together!