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LIZ & ALEX’S WEDDING AT WALNUT HILL COLLEGE – PHILADELPHIA WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

Have you ever heard of The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College? Yea, I hadn’t either…. that is, until Liz & Alex told me they were getting married there. Surprised to find the venue just a few minutes from my house, I was tickled to find just how charming the interior is with its European-style bistro decor. Let’s also insert here that Liz has gifted me some sort of baked good pretty much every time that I’ve met with her, other than maybe our initial consult. And, I’m pretty sure they get better and better each time (homemade banana bread, double fudge chocolate brownies…. are you jealous yet?). Given her culinary expertise, I wasn’t particularly surprised to find out that she’s also incredibly crafty – hand-making all their flowers, table decor, etc. Just wait until you see it!

For the day, Liz & Alex opted to see each other beforehand (love the first look experience!), do portraits around the city, and then head over to the college for their ceremony and reception. After their engagement session, I had no doubt that their wedding would be a blast – and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Enjoy a peek at their charming day…

Got to check out the back of the hair! Every girl knows this routine…

And then it was on to portraits!

And then off to the ceremony/reception we go… seriously, guys, can you believe she handmade all those centerpieces?! UNREAL.

Tina - Um, that venue?!? Amazing! I want to shoot there! Who knew that was in Philly. Oh, and I’m in love over the flowers – they’re ALL handmade? They look real!February 19, 2013 – 8:30 AM

Jenna - OMG I think that is the officiant that married Jim & I! :) Gorgeous photos as usual, my dear!February 21, 2013 – 7:37 AM

Dee Nikolaidis - Very beautiful. Such love and happiness in the pictures !!! Love it !February 24, 2013 – 8:01 AM

Ange - WOW! This so SO BEAUTIFUL! She looks so INCREDIBLE AND HE IS HANDSOME. LOVELY CHILD & JUST AMAZING PHOTOS. OMG <3 THIS IS SERIOUSLY MY DREAM WEDDING :(..June 11, 2013 – 12:46 PM

JANUARY SELF-PORTRAIT: BEHIND THE GLOWING SCREEN

While most wedding photographers in the north typically spend the greater part of January loafing around in their sweats, I was fortunate enough to land a rare January jam-packed full of weddingy goodness – despite the arctic climate. And my oh my, what wonderful weddings they were too! This means, of course, that I spent the greater part of the month tucked at my little station, far more hours of the day and night than can be healthy, staring at this little (ok, big) ol’ screen of mine. And means, too, that there’s just that much more to share with you, friends. In the meantime, I present…

January: Behind the Glowing Screen

…here’s to getting out more in February. And a healthy number of days curled up reading a book (in bed, in my pajamas) in my near future. Before wedding season, at least!

For more information and a full explanation about the self-portrait project, please see this post.

THE SELF-PORTRAIT PROJECT: YEAR IN REVIEW

Last week I went to prepare my January self-portrait when I realized that I’d be remiss to post it without a review of the last year of self-portraits. It is, after all, my favorite part of the self-portrait project. Unfortunately, as you may or may not remember (we’ll just pretend you’re paying attention enough to remember, ok? Ok!), I spent a few months last year taking a social media hiatus and, thus, there are only 6 instead of 12 months to share. Nonetheless, it is fun to see them all together and remember exactly what I was feeling when I took each one and how much has changed since then. Here goes! And then, this January’s will be up next… I swear.

January: Finding Peace
February: And So It Grows
March: Painted Progress
April: Self-Reflection
May: Back In the Swing of Things
December: Great New Heights

For more information and a full explanation about the self-portrait project, please see this post.

 

SURPRISE PROPOSAL AT THE MÜTTER MUSEUM – PHILADELPHIA PROPOSAL PHOTOGRAPHY

When Michele of The Heart Bandits contacted me about shooting a proposal I couldn’t have been more excited. For starters, I actually have never had the opportunity to shoot a proposal before, so I was pumped for my first. Secondly, this was to take place at the incredibly unique Mütter Museum in Center City – a fascinating tribute to medical history and also a few blocks from my studio. Lastly (as if that weren’t enough already), this would require me to dust off the cobwebs of the acting skills I learned as a kid; five years of summer drama camp will do something for you, right?

So, on Saturday, my good friend and trusty assistant Laura and I headed on over the museum, met up with the minds behind the plan, and got into place. Colin and Wendy would be arriving and taking a “private tour.” When they entered a particular room Laura and I would be there waiting and approach them as journalists for a local paper that were working on a story about date ideas in preparation for Valentine’s. We asked them to come with us to a private room for a short interview and with a little persuasion/insistence later had them tucked away. Laura then asked them a series of questions leading finally to “how long have you been dating?” and then “well, jeez, what’s taking you so long to propose?”

And, that’s where Colin stepped in… explaining that he had wanted to ask her father’s permission first, but he had passed in the last year. So he brought flowers to his grave as a tribute and had artwork made of the act. Read along for the full story!

Here’s when we first got to the room. At this point Wendy and the girls still think they are being interviewed for the paper.

This is when the jig is up – Wendy realizes that something is going on, but I don’t think she completely got it quite yet.

Until there was a bended knee involved…. 😉

But I love most that her first reaction was to say “what do you think girls?”

The answer was yes…. if you were wondering!

He then gave her and each girl a rose as a sweet token.

But one of the best parts was how stunned Wendy was when she heard all the lengths he had gone to to make it happen. Such commitment!

Many, many thanks to Michele of The Heart Bandits, Dan of Catering by Design, and Lauren and Evi of The Mütter Museum for all the planning and perfect execution. It was a pleasure working with all of you!

Tina - Such a fun story! Love it!February 11, 2013 – 2:19 PM

Cait - Loved reading along – such a fun story! Congrats to the couple! Nice acting :)February 12, 2013 – 12:21 PM

A NEW BLOG SERIES: HINDSIGHT IS 20/20

My good friends (and very talented photographers), Tina, April, and I were chatting last month about ways to grow our blogs. Things we wanted to do with the future of our careers and whatnot, and we realized we shared a mutual desire to help other people who want to be photographers. Not in a train-your-own-competitors kind of way, but more in a we’re-all-in-this-together fashion.

You see, starting any kind of business is simultaneously scary, exciting, stressful, and overwhelming. But, I strongly feel that starting a photography business may be the best case example for that. Back when I started, I remember I would get queasy when I’d consider all the things I needed to think about: photo gear/equipment, continuing education, using/knowing the best software, establishing pricing, finding second shooters, equipment insurance, liability insurance, back-up equipment, having an emergency plan, meeting spaces, developing a portfolio, sample albums, developing a product offering, figuring out what companies to order products from, where to order prints, how to deliver prints, how to proof images with your client, the best way to host a consult…. seriously, this list could drag on foreverrrrrrr. And, while I by no means think that my way of doing things is better than any other photographer’s, I do think it is a way, and a way that works for me – which is, at the very least, something I would love to share with others considering a career path in photography.

We have aptly named this series “Hindsight is 20/20” – a clever phrase I learned during college from one of my favorite people in the whole wide world, my dear friend Jackie. And if you think about it for just one second you’ll realize it’s true – in hindsight everything is so much clearer. All the answers seem obvious. And so this series is born… all the things about owning a photography business I wish I had known.

But! All my readers aren’t photographers – or aspiring photographers – and I know that. So, these posts will only be once a month, or once every few weeks at most. They’ll be a short little tidbit…. just one thing that I wish I had known back when I started. Sometimes they’ll be business-related, other times they may be gear-inspired. And, of course, if there is something you’d like to know, feel free to email me.

Tip #1: People are (usually) nicer than you think.

When I first started photography, I remember being excited and completely elated at the prospect of having my own business – and in doing something I love, no less! But, every time I let this excitement get a little too far, I would rein it back in by thinking of all those things I needed to consider just to get this little business off the ground. Things like all of those I listed above (and so many more). As soon as these thoughts came rushing to my mind, my heart would sink. How does someone figure all this out? How do you learn the best album companies? Or how to price your work?

Of course, I searched the more obvious places – photographer resources like Professional Photographers of America (PPA.com) and online photography forums like Open Source Photo (http://opensourcephoto.net), and, while those were considerably helpful, sometimes also the rush of opinions – or geographically-specific issues – prevented them from being perfect resources. As I gained confidence, I eventually reached out to some fellow photographers, local people – people I could meet up with, offer free services for (second shooting? help around the office? carry your bags? no problem!). In a day and age where most people prefer an e-mail or text over a phone call or physical visit, I know that this idea seems daunting to some. But really, what do you have to lose? Worst case scenario? They don’t respond. And then what? You reach out to other people!

Not every photographer has the time or energy to respond to every question or offer to help. But, one of the most valuable things I learned was that there are plenty of people out there JUST LIKE YOU and they are perfectly willing to trade knowledge with you. When I moved to Philadelphia a few years ago I was particularly nervous because not only did I not know the city, I didn’t even know a soul in it. Who would second shoot for me? How would I learn about venues? How would I figure out the best locations for engagements, etc.?  Fortunately, I had a couple awesome photographers reach out to me when I got here, and then I fell into a group like Philly Photo Betties – which is all about sharing knowledge and helping each other. Eventually, I even met friends who have become some of my closest friends in the area – and yes, they are technically my competitors. But it doesn’t matter because we are far stronger as a team than we ever would be individually. This open-book policy is something I’ve been pleased to find actually quite frequently throughout the photography industry and it is, perhaps, one of the things I love the most.

So, stop wondering and start asking! You might just be surprised to find how many people are ready to help.

Also, please note that Tina of Tina Jay Photography and April of April Ziegler Photography will also have their own takes on this same series on their blogs every month. Be sure to check it them out here and here.

Jennifer Parke - I am so excited that you are doing this! Thank you for sharing!January 19, 2013 – 7:21 AM

TGA - this is a cool idea! though I wish I had the same experience as you in terms of meeting other phtogs. I really haven’t met anyone that wants to be a friend unless you invest in their business first. interested to see the other hindsight 2013.January 29, 2013 – 1:56 PM

Wedding Invitations - It’s so great that you, Tina and April are getting together to do this. It opens up a lot of things that people don’t really foresee or consider. Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to reading more soon from you and the others.February 2, 2013 – 9:12 AM

Rowland - I came along on you re page on purpose (guess it s a long way from Switzerland) Thx so much for sharing. For sure I will come back. Photography opens so many perspective . open eyes….. hidden things,,, thx again RowlandFebruary 14, 2013 – 11:58 AM

Melbourne Wedding Stationery - You have a very good vision. Good luck with your new endeavor.March 18, 2014 – 4:41 AM

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