I always get excited when showing up for a wedding because I really never know how the day will unfold. It's like opening a gift on your birthday. You never know what to expect (even if you did give your partner a list).... I love the anticipation and excitement... the obvious butterflies and emotions that are flowing through the room and then seeing the images of the groomsmen from my second shooter and asking what the heck were they doing! Getting ready photos for me are the most storytelling images of the day. I love arriving 90 minutes before the ceremony to creative and fun shots of my couples getting ready. This year my couples surprised me with a poker game and a blue beer bong...
While I love shooting weddings engagement sessions are my favorite. This is my getting to know you session. My opportunity to get to know and hang out with my couples. Sessions typically can last anywhere between 3- 8 hours depending on where and what we end up doing. This year the most popular spot for engagement photos was Washington DC. Even though I am there all the time I always find new spots for photos so no session ever looks exactly the same. I also love Great Falls National Park.
This year was also the year of travel engagements. From June till October I traveled all over for engagement sessions. From the beaches in Cape Cod, the Milky Way in Michigan, to the Omaha Zoo, and of course NYC. I traveled for just about every engagement session. Like after wedding sessions I always offer an opportunity for couples to meet me while I’m traveling for an engagement session. 2018 I will be kicking off engagement season with two killer sessions in Iceland! Ice, Waterfalls, & Northern Lights… What could be better!
I had one weekend off in June and I was fortunate enough to be selected by Photographers without Borders to document the efforts of Entre Mundos a non profit organization in Guatemala. I had been trying to get hired for one of their project for 3 years. I was so excited when it finally happened. I had the absolute privilege of meeting the most amazing kind hearted people while spending 10 days capturing images to tell the story of Entre Mundos. While I was there I not only captured some amazing documentary images but I learned about organic farming, natural fabric dying, and even how to stay safe during not one but two 6.7 earthquakes. I wrote up some articles about Entre Mundos on my travel site. You can read them to learn more about this fabulous organization. (Entre Mundos article )
In July, I had the opportunity to attend a workshop in Prince Edward Island in Canada with Dave Brosha called Land & See. I met Dave Brosha while he was talking at another workshop 5 years ago. I've been following him ever since. I was never able to get to any of his workshops because they always coincided with weddings. Finally everything lined up. I always get very nervous going to workshops. Even though I am a strong photographer I get very intimidated by other photographers. After signing up I thought of every reason to back out last minute but I had already made a commitment to stay in a house with 4 other girls. When I showed up I immediately felt comfortable. I was rooming with 4 amazingly talented Canadian woman who became like a family by the end of the week. The mentors and the other attendees at Land and See were so kind and humble something that was missing when I would go to other workshops. The workshop itself focused on both portraiture and landscapes. I geeked out a bit when I got to learn night photography from the infamous Paul Zizka . Other then Dave Brosha I was also inspired by Raw & Real Photographer Amy Woodward (Amy has something special inside of her that helps bring out peoples inner light), an amazing portrait story teller Wayne Simpson (who I thought for the longest time was an old man). I was so glad that I didn't back out last minute. Each of the mentors and other photographers that were at this workshop inspired me. They relit my soul which has helped me to create ideas for future projects.
While at this workshop I also got to meet two incredibly young woman. Grace Schattschnieder a beautiful and talented 21 year old woman who creates these absolutely stunning fairytale self portraits. And then Anya Smith who is model with the longest hair I've ever seen and has a stunning folksy voice. I also got to meet and listen to a few Canadian musicians including Danya Manning from Trent Severn. Another folk band. Danya came to the workshop and did a talk on what goes into building a song which was so interesting!
I ended July with back to back Destination Weddings first in Gainesville Florida where I got to go with Becky & Oscar to the Florida Gators Football Stadium for some really fun portraits and then literally left the next day for a small 500 person wedding in Chios, Greece. It was so much fun to see how a Greek Wedding in Greece and Chios is such an absolutely beautiful island. I learned from Tricia’s family while I was there that most of Baltimore’s Greek population comes from 3 islands Chios being one of them. This will play into one of my personal projects that I will tell you about in Part 3 of 2017 in Review!
After getting back from Greece I had my first Hinjew wedding (Hindu and Jewish). It was everything I could have every imagined it to be. And it's not just because the bride is seriously the sweetest! It was also the first time I ever had a bride come down the aisle on a tractor. There were a lot of tears as my brides walked down the aisle. Not just from my couples but families and even random friends sitting in the audience.
On the note of tears... my other favorite part of weddings is the emotion. This year I added a new trick to my game. Ok, trick is not the right word. Over the years the one thing I've noticed is that with everything going on throughout the day my couples don't really get a second to themselves to just be in the moment. I've started to take my couples aside and bring them back to their story and how they fell in love.
Stay Tuned for Part 3- US Roadtrips, My favorite photos of my couples for 2017, the Eclipse, Cuba, & Polar Bears!