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Prepping for your Engagement Session | Lancaster Wedding and Engagement Photographer

Lets plan on how to prep for your engagement session!

First: Pick a date that works best for you. You should plan to start about 1 to 2 hours before sunset. Timing is key to have the optimal sunlight for your session. While it may seem like you can take pictures at any time during the day, having “soft lighting” is optimal for romantic evenly lit pictures. If you try to take a picture outside during the afternoon, you will have harsh light and shadows. The sun might even be bright enough to reflect the green from the grass back onto your skin (no one wants to look like the Hulk). Not to mention squinting from the sun being so bright! Hence why it will be best to shoot in the early evening before sunset.

Second: Lets talk outfits. You should generally pick 2 to 3 outfits that are easy to change into. Sometimes you will be changing in public or possibly your car! It’s always best to bring a more dressy outfit as well as something a little more casual. You can even mix it up with some uniforms or football jerseys to help tell your story of how you got to this point in your relationship! Try wearing layers to help you change easier with outfits. Lastly make sure to bring comfy shoes if there will be a lot of walking or hiking! 

Third: Props are always fun! Bringing signs, objects, wine glasses (with wine!), couches, or even a chair will make your session more unique. Feel free to look on Pinterest or even through our other blogs to get some ideas of what others have used!

Fourth: Have an open mind! Posing might feel awkward but look awesome. I’ve done numerous sessions where I’m pretty sure my clients think I am super weird. I will tell you to whisper dirty secrets, small hair, and other fun prompts. While they may seem silly, you will more than likely genuinely laugh, and it will look so much more candid on camera.

 

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What are Engagement Sessions For?

First off, lets figure out what an engagement sessions is and what they are for!

Engagement sessions started becoming popular in the past 10 years. Originally, the engagement picture was used in the newspaper to announce your engagement and intentions to be married. As technology has improved, social media has taken over, and pictures mean more than ever, engagement sessions became widely popular!

Why do I think engagement sessions are important? I think they allow the photographer to have a chance to work with the couple before their wedding. Some poses work well with one couple and not with another. Some couples prefer the candid smiles, while others want traditional posed portraits. I try to provide a little of both so you have plenty of options to share and enjoy.

I have had a couple people ask me what to do with engagement pictures. I personally have seen a couple different uses for engagement pictures including photo books, save the dates, and other uses.

Some couples opt to make a canvas from an engagement photo and then have guests sign it at their wedding reception. Some use the engagement pictures to make a sign in book for their wedding. A lot of couples use the images for save the date cards (which get sent out before your wedding). Of course plenty of couples post and share their images online for friends and family to see!

I love engagement sessions because you get to show of what makes you two a couple! Many couples will incorporate props that help tell their story. First, you may have to figure out what your story is. Are you marrying someone in the military? Did you love blossom over coffee or books? Maybe you met at a football game? You can use any of those options to help "style" your session to fit you and for fiancé.


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Saving Time

As any photographer knows, culling is one of the most time consuming processes. If you aren't familiar with the term culling, it basically means cutting down the number of photos you took or picking out the best ones. It's hard for a couple reasons; slow loading images, trouble focusing and sitting still long, and the fact that some pictures look so similar that you're not sure which one to keep!

As a wedding photographer, this process takes extra long. I normally take an average of 2000 images for a wedding day (8 hours). I then try to cut that number down to about 700 (because you only need so many pictures of Aynt Susie smiling at my camera in the same pose and background before it becomes redundant!

 

One thing that's taken me a while to learn is that you only need one shot of simple pictures. I mean, the term don't beat a dead horse comes in to play here. When I first started, I took 10 pictures of a wedding table with details on it. Out of those 10 images, I'm pretty sure all of them were the same with extremely small differences. 

I've since cut that number down. If there is no moving subject, I will usually only take one picture and move on. It makes my post production workflow quicker, and it makes my day of shooting smoother!  

 

So for all the newbies out there, learn a lesson from me! You really only need one shot, then move on!

 

(This does not apply to key moments such as the kiss or other candid moments throughout the day! I will take multiple of those and cull through them later!) 

This is a screenshot of what some of my detail photos will look like. So. Much. Less. Culling! 

This is a screenshot of what some of my detail photos will look like. So. Much. Less. Culling! 

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TJ 3 Year Old Portraits | Lancaster Pennsylvania Child Photographer | Pennsylvania Photographer

Between all the chaos going on in my life, it was MUCH overdue that i took portraits of my son. 

With him being a 3 year old, I knew it would be difficult and I would have to work fast to get any pictures I wanted. My son will sit still for all of 5 minutes if I'm lucky. 

One little trick I've learned as a mom is to let toddlers play! Let them bring their toys when taking pictures of them. It makes them happy and I personally think it's cute when they play with their toys. My son's toy of choice was his truck and t hen he took interest in some sticks he found outside.  

I got a couple good smiles before he was fed up with me. You can see how antsy and upset he becomes at the end.  That means that it's time to put the camera down and no more pictures for the day! 

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Rachel & James | Spring Wedding at Lakefield Weddings | Lancaster Wedding Photographer

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Rachel & James | Spring Wedding at Lakefield Weddings | Lancaster Wedding Photographer

Rachel & James met with me in 2016 to discuss their wedding. We spoke about their beautiful ideas and what exactly they were looking for. I don't know if the words actually came out, but I got the feeling that it would be a modern rustic theme that was held in a beautiful updated barn. 

When I arrived the day of their wedding, there was a slight chance of rain. We kept our fingers crossed, and luckily had no rain the entire day! The winds did pick up and the skies became a beautiful dark blue color scattered with darker clouds, which all made for even lit wedding photos! As a wedding photographer's opinion goes, cloudy days are the best! the sun doesn't make it too hot, and the clouds help diffuse the light so that it's even and bright all around. Usually it makes it so that there are no harsh shadows, and you can use almost any background without worrying about the sun!

The had a ceremony that included them "planting" a tree together. They then took that tree home and actually planted it in their yard. The winds became so strong during the ceremony, that some of the groomsmen had to hold the archway up! We were able to make it through the entire ceremony without and glitches and the wind was only a minor issue!

The ceremony was followed by the reception which was held in the beautiful barn on the property. Friends, family, and loved ones in heaven celebrated the union of Rachel and James. They ended up dancing the night away after cutting the cake and other formalities.

 

Congrats on your beautiful wedding Rachel and James! Thanks for letting me be your wedding photographer. 

 

Venue: Lakefield Weddings (http://www.lakefieldweddings.com/)

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My Pregnancy Journey

So, as many of you know, Tyler (my husband and I) are expecting baby number two in mid to late February of 2018. We have been over the moon excited with the pregnancy but it has also had it's down sides.

in currently 19 weeks pregnant, and in the 2nd trimester. Normal people have a break about now in their pregnancy where they enjoy it! Usually you're not quite big enough for your belly to be in the way, but you do have a bump to show off. Usually by now most women experience the loss of morning sickness and start eating as normal again, which I would give almost anything for at this point!

 I unfortunately have a disease called Hyperemisis Gravidarum (literally translates to excessive vomiting during pregnancy) and since about 8 weeks have been suffering. This disease does not allow me to eat much or drink much. Most days, I am literally starving (literally) but if I eat, I will end up in a never-ending battle with the "emesis" part of this disease. I have been hospitalized 5 sepeeate times in this pregnancy to receive fluids for severe dehydration. I've also lost a significant amount of weight and I am currently down to about 178lbs (my starting weight was 200lbs). That averages out to 2lbs per week. Which might not seem like a lot, but during a time where I am supposed to gain weight or maintain it, it's definitely considerable. 

I have tried numerous treatments including medications, popsicles, bland diet, oils, etc. I've tried everything that was offered to me and still was losing 2lbs a week. There has been numerous times when nurses tell me I should be "excited" I'm losing this weight. I've also had doctors tell me straight forward that there is nothing they can do for me. This disease has taken over my life currently, and it's hard to be able to sit down at a computer to get work done or even just basic every day duties.  

I have not, however, let it take over my ability to photograph weddings. I will continue to fight tooth and nail to not let this disease take over me spending time with all of my wonderful couples on their wedding days. 

 

All in all, I am still excited about this pregnancy. It has been rough, but I know it will be worth it in the end!

 

 Here's my weekly belly picture I try to take each week. No one would be able to tell I was pregnant if I didn't tell them! 19 weeks pregnant and counting.

 Here's my weekly belly picture I try to take each week. No one would be able to tell I was pregnant if I didn't tell them! 19 weeks pregnant and counting.

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Danielle & Corey | Engagement Session at Hunting Hill Mansion Ridley Creek | Lancaster Wedding Photographer

Danielle, Corey, and I met up one evening at the beautiful Hunting Hill Mansion at Ridley Creek. This is a state park with amazing grounds. I visited here about a year ago with my husband and son and there is so much to look at and see! As a photographer, its perfect since there is so much you can use to take pictures of! I made the hour drive from Lancaster and it's so worth it!

Danielle & Corey laughed and had so many smiles the entire engagement session. The hot and humid weather didn't seem to bother them too much.

Their wedding will be here before we know it and I am so excited to be apart of their amazing day!

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Strock Enterprises Wedding | Mechanicsburg Wedding | Sarah & Matt

Sarah & Matt got married on April 29th, 2017 at the beautiful Strock Enterprises in  Mechanicsburg Pennsylvania.

What was supposed to be a rainy day, turned into a mix of clouds and beautiful weather. Their late spring wedding mixed with the colors of their bridesmaids dresses made this wedding look amazing!

Matt was a little nervous at the beginning of the day, but who isn't nervous on their wedding day! He wanted to make sure everything was perfect for her wife, and things were amazing the entire day!

Matt and Sarah opted for wedding cupcakes instead of the traditional cake. It was a cute alternative and we all know that cupcakes will make us limited to how much we eat. If it was up to me, I would eat an entire wedding cake myself! (I also have a ridiculous sweet tooth!)

 

After their formalities were finished at their reception, the dance floor was opened up. Their guests had an amazing time and it was one of the fullest dance floors I've seen in a long time!

Thank you for having me as your wedding photographer Matt & Sarah!

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Recent Life Events

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Recent Life Events

This summer has been one of the most eventful, tragic, and chaotic ones I have ever had.

I wanted to write on here to let you all in on personal events that have happened, and why I have been a little distant lately.

First off, my summer of weddings was off to an amazing start! I have been a part of some amazing and beautiful weddings, and then things got chaotic. Just as quickly as my summer season started in June, it quickly came to a halt.

I am one of 5 children in my family, I have 2 brothers and HAD 2 sisters. Had is the key word there because only one of my sisters is still alive. On the morning of June 24th, 2017 I received tragic news, my younger sister had taken her own life. At a mere 19 years old, her beautiful soul was taken away quickly as she succumbed to her depression that she had been battling for many years. My sister Emily will forever be in my heart.

The grieving process has not been easy what-so-ever. They say that suicide impacts at least 6 people, in my sisters case it was MANY more. Luckily we have had an amazing support system of friends and family to help us through this day to day grieving. I myself, had to take a couple weeks away from my business to try and cope with myself and my family.

I had recently experienced a miscarriage in late March, so when I found out I was expecting in early June I didn’t want to get my hopes up. Luckily I did tell my younger sister before she passed that I was expecting. I didn’t want to announce too early in case of another miscarriage. 

This pregnancy is going great though! The baby is growing perfect and we finally decided to announce with our first sons help! 

As soon as we announced, my morning sickness started. I get what’s called Hyperemesis, so I tend to lose weight and not eat much due to extreme nausea. Low and behold, I was wisked away to the hospital on July 22nd to get fluids and nutrition. I had lost 13 pounds in a short 2 week period and was only able to eat about 500 calories as day. The detected ketones in my urine and decided to keep me over for extra fluids and observation. Unfortunately, even with medications, my morning sickness has not subsided. So I try to eat when I’m hungry and work as much as I can without getting sick.

So as you can see, my life has been a roller coaster ride of emotions! We are so excited for our new baby even though I won’t be able to share the moment with my younger sister this time around.

I’d like to thank each and everyone of you who support me and my business and have been so extremely patient with my work.

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Tuesday Wedding Tip! Getting Ready Hacks

One of my favorite things to photograph during the wedding day, is the "getting ready" portion. More specifically when the girls are getting ready. It takes me back to a time that reminds me of prom or getting together with my girlfriends before we went out to parties!

I've noticed however, that sometimes we hit a "snag" on wedding days. Let's be honest for a second, getting a wedding dress on a bride is a feat within itself, but some of the smaller details about said wedding can be challenging. That's where I come in! I've seen so many brides get ready that I have a couple tricks up my sleeve.

First thing is first, have everyone try on their dresses, shoes, suits, etc. AHEAD of time. Maybe have a "dry run" a week before he wedding to make sure everything fits everyone. I've seen bridesmaids struggle to get dresses on and I've seen them have dresses falling off their body because they didn't fit right anymore! Also, shoes should be worn around and broken in when possible. Your feet will hurt if you don't and then you won't get to enjoy your day! Pro tip: put on a pair of wool socks, then your heels. Use a hair dryer to heat the shoes up a bit with the socks on and they should stretch a little to help with getting them worn in!

It's always a good idea to have a small sewing kit on hand during your wedding day, buttons fall off and dresses are too loose. You never know what you will need it for! Another small thing to keep with you is clear nail polish. It great to touch up nails if they start to chip but it's ever better to "glue" back on any loose beads that are falling off dresses. It's an old sewing hack I learned for when thread is fraying or not staying put!

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Another quick tip I learned during getting ready is to have a crochet hook or a fork near by when the bride gets dressed. Ok, it sounds super weird, but trust me it works. When the bride has buttons on her dress, it makes it so much easier to put the buttons through the loops with a hook of some sort! It will save your sanity and make your life easier! Another tip, if you don't have buttons but rather have a zipper, put one of those circle key rings on the zipper part to make it easier to pull up. You can take it off after you're done, but your fingers will definitely thank you!

One last time I have learned, if you are worried about your undies or other part of your outfit "rolling" or "bunching" up then spray yourself with stick hairspray first! It will make the fabric stay in place for the most part. Now, if you start sweating, that's a different story.

 

 

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Amber & Billy | Engagement Session at Longwood Gardens

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Amber & Billy | Engagement Session at Longwood Gardens

Being a wedding and engagement photographer in Lancaster has so many perks but, how many people get to visit the beautiful Longwood Gardens during their workday? I know I am beyond lucky to do what I do, and my job as a photographer tends to take me everywhere!

This was my first time visiting the Gardens and it will not be my last. Surrounded by so much beauty and calmness, it was a relaxing way to spend my day with Amber & Billy.

Amber and Billy are one of the sweetest couples I have the pleasure of working with! The laugh, giggle, smile, and are constantly having fun. Seeing them together makes my heart happy and I know their wedding day is going to be amazing and heartfelt!

 

 

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Brittany & Chris | Engagement Session at Overlook Park, Lancaster| Lancaster Pennsylvania Wedding Photographer

Fall is always one of my most popular times for engagement sessions! The beautiful leaves make for a wonderful and colorful backdrop. One thing that is always tricky with fall sessions is how quickly the weather can change! For this engagement session the wind quickly picked up and it became cold rather fast. But we didn't let that stop us!

Brittany and Chris are so much fun to work with and their laid back personalities made their session a breeze! We chose Overlook park in Lancaster for their session. This park is my little gem that I found when I went out to the park with my sonnabout a year ago. It's pretty secluded and has a beautiful sunset at multiple locations! Plus, there is a Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts right down the street that I can grab beforehand!

Between all the fun poses and laughs we made sure to capture some amazing pictures!

 

 

 

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Dan & Amber Engagement

A beautiful fall engagement session as the leaves begin to change! 

We took a short hike out to Chiques Rock in Columbia, PA to get some gorgeous scenery!

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Jen & John | Harrisburg Wedding Photographer |

Jen and I never met until the day of her wedding. I had known her through her sister Meghan, whom I knew through the Lebanon Softball League (long story, I know!) 

There was a terrible situation that rocked Lebanon County before I met Jen, her brother had passed away due to a drug overdose. That situation hit a little too close to home for me, so I contacted Jen when she needed a wedding photographer. I told her that I would photograph her wedding for free on one condition, she should take whatever budget she had for a wedding photographer and donate it to a drug and addiction rehab facility in honor of her brother.

 

Flash forward to her wedding day, it was a joyus occasion celebrated by friends and family and they also found a way to include their late brother. You can see for yourself how beautiful the wedding day was and I am so lucky to be able to give back to the community as a wedding photographer for the Lebanon, Lancaster, Harrisburg, and Central Pennsylvania area!

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Rachel & Andrew | Strocks Enterprises Wedding | Harrisburg Wedding Photographer

Rachel and Andrew had a small and intimate wedding at Strocks Enterprises in Harrisburg, PA. The overcast skies and slight rain made the weather almost perfect!

They shared a perfect ceremony in the Corn Crib, in case it rained outside. Their entire day had the perfect small touches that allowed their personalities to show through!

The ended the evening with a sparkler exit and a car filled with balloons! 

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Steph and Sean Lancaster Wedding | Pheasant Run Farm Bed & Breakfast | Lancaster Wedding Photographer

I met Steph and Sean back in the spring/early summer of 2016. We met at a local coffee shop and discused the details of their beautiful Fall wedding. Their wedding took place at the beautiful Pheasant Run Farm Bed & Breakfast in Lancaster Pennsylvania. Pheasant Run Farm Bed & Breakfast is a unique venue in the aspect that they have their very own little waterfall in the back of the property that they host most of their wedding ceremonies at! This venue is also boasts an adorable little fenced in field where a couple horses will usually make an appearance during the wedding day.

I first introduced you to Steph and Sean in the blog post featuring their engagement session. They both aren't afraid to show affection both in front of the camera and behind it. 

Steph and Sean exchanged notes and gifts on their wedding day. Steph also had suprise cufflinks made for Sean, that features his late father. Their wedding was filled with beautiful dark bold colors and plenty of love! 

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Nichi & Dan's Wedding | Lancaster Pennsylvania | Lancaster Wedding Photographer

A beautiful fall day in Lancaster Pennsylvania sets the scene for the intimate and perfect wedding between Nichi and Dan. I arrived first at the beautiful church where the bride was getting ready. Between the wooden pews and gorgeous tall windows, I had so much beautiful and natural light and backgrounds! I usually start with the detail photographs first thing when I arrive. This also gives the bride extra time to do "Finishing touches" before we start taking shots of her "getting ready". 

Nichi chose to have a first look with both her bridesmaids and then her father. You can see these beautiful moments documented below. Nichi also chose to give her father customized cufflinks to wear at her wedding. As a professional wedding photographer, I personally love seeing the emotions and reactions during the first looks.

Nichi's beautiful color scheme set the romantic mood for her wedding day. I love the plum/maroon color and how  contrasts wth the lighter colors in her bouquet. You can see for yourself what a beautiful bride Nichi was and how perfect her wedding was!

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Kristine & Dan | Wedding at Lauxmont Farms | Lancaster Wedding Photographer

I have known Kristine for a couple of years now. We went to high school together and played softball together as well! So when she asked me to be her photographer, of course I said yes!

Kristine and Dan had a fall wedding at the Cobblestone Courtyard at Lauxmont Farms. While we wished the rain held off, it did end up making for some beautiful evening pictures! 

 

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