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Hi! Thanks a million for visiting my blog! This is a place for my business, photography, ideas, inspiration, life stories and, of course, mounds and mounds of pictures. If you're looking for information about my photography services, i welcome you to view some of my most recent work here and then click on the portfolio link above. If you're looking for a place to have fun, relax, feel happy, and be inspired, stick around and grab something to drink! May I suggest the "what I'm sippin'" list of favorites to the bottom left?

Kristi & Brandon: Southwest PA Wedding, Southwest PA Photographer

Kristi and Brandon probably had one of my favorite engagement sessions of 2013. They were excited, friendly and didn’t mind showing a little love for the camera. After a successful summer engagement session, I knew we’d have a successful summer wedding!

So finally their day arrived. I could tell it was going to be a good day when I walked into the girls room and they were smiling, relaxed and ready for action! All they needed to do was put their dresses on and walk down the aisle, which gave me plenty of time to capture the bridal details and some casual moments before the BIG MOMENT! It really helped set the tone for the day and allowed yet another photography experience with these two to go very well!

It was a hot day, but it was a beautiful ceremony for a beautiful couple, with lots of celebrating and pretty details. And I’m glad I was able to be a part of it all. :) Here are my favorites…

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Kristi loves her gram. :)

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While I was taking pictures of Kristi getting ready, it dawned on me…she looks like JLo! Do you agree!?!

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Oh Brandon. So excited and so ready. :)

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Thanks for the shot on the left, mom!

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What a beautiful church!!

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Bubbles! MARRIED!!

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One of my absolute favorites from the day. :)

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The light in the second floor of the church was amazing!

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Another super favorite for me!

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One of the prettiest bridal portraits I’ve ever taken!!! Kristi, you looked flawless!

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I love a good black and white picture. :)

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Kristi and Brandon were excited about their reception decor! So many beautiful details! And so many handmade wooden pieces by Brandon and his family…

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If you’re having a candy buffet at your wedding, I like you. :)

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See that little lady in the background? She made their cake. :)

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LOVE all the colors!

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Brandon flashed me a look and it made for an awesome picture!

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It’s not a bridal dance without some twirling and whirling for the bride…

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Dance with dad last, then it’s the groom’s turn to “bust in” and retrieve his bride!

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And the boys followed with a special YMCA show! :)

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 Lovely wedding, Kristi and Brandon! I really enjoyed working with you and I thank you so much for putting photography at the top of your priority list! I hope we can take more pictures together in the future. :)

Deep Creek Lake MD Family Portraits

This past summer, I realized there was a high demand for family portraits while on vacation at Deep Creek Lake in Maryland. I had photographed one family the year before, but didn’t yet see the trend. It really is a fabulous idea. You’re staying at a beautiful home in a beautiful area. And on you’re on vacation with your whole family. The family that’s hardly ever all together! It’s the perfect recipe for family photo ops!

I met the following family last summer during their family vacation and was honored to photograph them again this year! Their “photography organizer” contacted me six months in advance (and I thanked her for it!) and we put her on the calendar early. I was anxious to see everyone again, especially the little ones. It’s so neat to watch clients grow! Thanks for having me again, Cindy and family! I hope we can continue your family vacation portrait sessions. :)

Their vacation home was located just steps from this gorgeous mountaintop vista!

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We were able to get multiple pictures of all the kiddos happy and looking towards the camera! Myself and the adults were quite excited. :)

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The whole gang!

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One more attempt at a group shot of the kiddos!

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Then we took some individual family pictures…

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Sometimes portrait sessions with young kiddos call for games! Ring around the rosie works for this group!

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And we ended with some scooter rides. :)

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If your family is planning to visit the Deep Creek Lake area for vacation and you’re thinking about using it as a photo op, let me know! I love taking pictures in the beautiful Garrett County, Maryland. :)

Bridal Bliss: Consider The Sunset

I’ve been chatting with my November brides about their wedding day schedules recently and we’re suddenly realizing that the dwindling daylight may greatly affect picture-taking. November 2nd marks the official end of daylight savings this year and that means sunsets at 5pm or earlier for a couple months! (Depressing, right? Darkness before you even eat dinner? Blah.)

Because I’m a natural-light shooter and prefer to take pictures with as much daylight as possible, I’m going to encourage my couples to “fight the light” when planning their wedding day. How do you do that? CONSIDER THE SUNSET!

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(Sunset from our house this past summer!)

First, decide what’s more important: Lots of outdoor portraits in daylight or your venue. I know it seems like an unfair comparison, but some venues have restrictions on ceremony and reception times that could really affect your photography time. Take churches, for example. Churches may have one set time for wedding ceremonies because of evening masses or worship services. If they only allow weddings at 3 o’clock in the afternoon and the sun is going to set at 5pm, it’ll be a tight squeeze trying to fit in the ceremony, receiving line, family pictures, outdoor fun and formals with the wedding party, bride-groom portraits and travel time to the reception. If you’re set on that church and want lots of time for outdoor portraits during daylight, consider an earlier wedding date. Even a few weeks could make a difference in the amount of daylight!

Another suggestion is to consider a first look. If you’re set on a venue with a time restriction that could lead you into dark hours for picture-taking, a first look could be a nice solution. See your soon-to-be spouse before the ceremony and take care of all wedding party fun and formals and bride-groom portraits ahead of time…before the daylight goes away. It’s a non-traditional route, yes. But it’s a great way to have both pictures and daylight…and have your cake and eat it, too. :)

There’s also another reason one could consider the sunset when planning their wedding. Portraits during “golden hour”! “Golden hour” is the last hour before sunset on a sunny day. The light is warm, glowy, and the sun is on its way down instead of overhead like at mid-day when light is harsh. Such light is super flattering for outdoor portraits, so if you want to avoid the harsh light and really make your photographer happy, schedule your ceremony and reception start times so your wedding party fun and formals and bride-groom portraits can happen within an hour or two of sunset. That’s when you can get pictures like this…

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I know this is one more thing for you to have to consider or “worry about” when planning your wedding day, but I don’t think you’ll regret it! Would you rather have pictures in the dark? Or no outdoor portraits at all?? Think about it. :) Happy wedding planning, y’all!