Engagement Session: Katie + Mike

Hands down, my favorite session of the year! Why, you might ask. Well, because the gorgeous gal in these photos is my bestest friend and that hottie on her arm is her FIANCÉ!!! Yep, my bestie is getting hitched and I got to photograph their engagement portraits! So, ya, I am a tad excited about these pictures!

Though they have been engaged for close to a year now, these lovebirds haven’t really had the time for pictures which is kinda why I forced them into it! Boy, am I glad I did though. We met at Linn Run State Park near the Adams Falls entrance during the peak of the fall foliage. The backdrop for their shoot was simply awe-inspiring.

I can’t lie. This session was a piece of cake! I got to just hang out with Kayte & her soon-to-be hubs, Mike/Gomez. We cracked jokes, made awkward faces and I even made them dance a little. These two were all smiles, especially for each other and I could not be happier for the two of them!

Their engagement was simple but sweet. On Kate’s birthday last year, Mike had planned to pop the question. When the day came, nothing went as planned. Mike had a terrible cold and felt like crap. To boot, a blizzard hit southwestern Pennsylvania that brought Kate’s birthday festivities to a halt. But, even with all the hiccups, Mike was determined to surprise his soon to be bride. In their home, on a cold winter night, he dropped to one knee with his family heirloom, a diamond ring and Kayte happily agreed to be his forever New Years Eve date.

To Mike and Kate, I wish you nothing but joy and happiness forever and ever. Congratulations. Now, please, pick a date so I can start planning this girl’s bachelorette party!!

Laurel Highlands Portrait Session: Bevan Anniversary

When two of your favorite people in the whole wide world ask you to help capture their 5th wedding anniversary, you don’t just jump at the chance, you make sure you’ve gotta a baller locale and a sweet surprise in your back pocket. Y’all meet Jason and Casey Bevan!

These two lovebirds, I am happy to say, are not just friends, they are family. Jason is my first cousin and Casey is his blushing bride. I am so happy that I had the chance to not only spend time with them during our last visit to Pennsylvania, many because Jason travels out of state for his job, but to capture this milestone anniversary!

We met at the Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania because these crazy kids recently purchased a home in the historic downtown area. Knowing these two so well, I figured this would be the perfect backdrop for their session.

Though the humidity was in high that day, these guys were troopers. They hiked all over the expansive property with me. We all just laughed and joked about how sweaty we were. The rain storm that morning didn’t do us any favors but these two made the best of their session!

Before Casey had a chance to hear, Jason whispered a little secret in my ear. Though their anniversary wasn’t for a few days, he had her present in his pocket and thought it would be sweet if he gave it to her during the photos. Under the shade of the trees, Jason surprised his gal with a brand spanking new sparkly wedding band. It was such a sweet and genuine moment. Casey was just beaming and Jason was so glad that he had actually pulled it off!

We ended their session with a few shots in front of the old cabin and headed our separate ways, just not for long. Stay tuned, because these two crazy cats followed us down to North Carolina a few days later to explore the Highlands area for their anniversary! Our next Travel Guide is all about the waterfalls, the wildlife and the yummy places we visited during our trip down south!

With just 6 weeks left until Baby Norris’ due date, this Mama has been making big plans for her little pumpkin and I cannot wait to share. Dare I say, Fall Mini Sessions in Pennsylvania?!? If you or you know someone who might be interested in being a part of our Fall Mini Sessions, email Angelina at therustienailhead@gmail.com. And keep your eyes and ears open for updates on our social media (@therustienail)!

Colleyville, Texas Portrait Session: Meet the Montgomerys

Meet the Newlyweds, Larry and Mary Beth Montgomery! These two crazy kids tied the knot just a little over a week ago and we had the chance to document the last few days of their engagement. These guys had been in my books for quite some time but the weather in Texas just wasn’t agreeing with our schedules. No worries though! Just as they were approaching the finishing line, the sky cleared up and we ended up shooting their engagement photos on the first really nice spring day in North Texas!

Larry had purchased this session for his then-girlfriend over Christmas. He knew that she would love to have a few photos taken of her with her little boy, Liam. Little did she know that Larry would propose shortly after and this session would become their first shoot as a Family of 3!

MONTGOMERY-10After checking the weather for several weeks and praying for a day without rain, we decided to meet just 7 days before their “I-Dos” at the Colleyville Nature Center. Mary Beth had stressed that she wanted nature to be a the forefront of importance in their portraits because both Larry and Mary Beth lead active lifestyles. Located smack dab in the middle of the metroplex, the Nature Center would be an awe-inspiring backdrop. Spring had just begun and the flowers were blooming all over the park.

They arrived in style. Seeing that they were so close to the big day, Mary Beth had arranged to have her Hair & Make Up Trial that morning and she showed up looking fabulous! I fell in love with her skirt and the simple black off the shoulder top was a beautiful complement to her jeweled necklace and long dark locks!

To boot, the boys were  dressed simple, casual and so very perfect. Larry brought a classic neutral gray suit jacket to wear over his button down and Liam looked picture-perfect with his black and white gingham backwards hat and red corduroys. It was the perfect combination of style and laidback glam.

DID I MENTION THE ROCK ON HER FINGER? Holy moly, it is gorgeous. It is shiny and beautiful and looks oh-so perfect on her freshly manicured fingers! I even gave Larry a High Five! Good Job Buddy!

We strolled around the park stopping underneath fresh blooms and by the various waterways that surround the Nature Center for  photos of this sweet new family. If truth be told, it seemed to me like they had been a family for quite some time.

Liam really loves his Mama. It’s hard not to notice the way he looks at her. But, he really admires Larry too. You can tell. He looks up to him and has this ease about playing and joking with his StepDad that comes with an air of trust and respect. It made my heart so happy to see them all lovingly holding hands and embracing this new journey they were about to take off on.

Our last stop was by the ponds. I had promised Liam that he could take a few photos. I try do this with all my sessions because you would be amazed at the authenticity of the smiles you get when the little ones become the one behind the lens. Liam had Larry dipping his Mom and was posing her all kinds of funny ways.  He really enjoyed himself and I was glad to see his perspective documented so naturally.

I had asked them to bring a blanket to sit on. This is usually an easy photo. Not with these guys though. I was crying laughing at Larry on that blanket. He could not get comfortable to save his life. We tried so hard to make it work and in the long run, the photos were really cute but only they and I will know what a struggle that blanket was. Larry kept tipping over and wrestling to get comfy. Liam and Mary Beth couldn’t keep it together while watching him struggle. I hope that in 20 years from now, these guys still laugh at that memory that way I do.

Congratulations to the Montgomerys! I could not be happier for you guys! I wish you a wonderful and prosperous life together and I appreciate you allowing me the opportunity to document this very special time in your lives!

Engagement Session: Sam & Andrew

Are you guys ready for the most adorable engagement session?!? I had the great pleasure of documenting this special time for a longtime family friend, Samantha, and her sweet fiancé, Andrew, while I was back in Pennsylvania and I have been itching to share a few highlights with you guys!

 

Samantha is the very best friend to my younger cousin, Lisa, and over the years, I have had the great pleasure of watching their sweet friendship blossom. We’ve spent 21st birthdays together and almost every Memorial Day for the last 10 years chilling by the pool. Flash forward to today and these childhood besties are still going strong hence the reason I felt compelled to love on Sam and her adorable fiancé.

 

This session has been in the books for quite some time now. When we first started talking about engagement photos, she mentioned that she would love to have fall colors in her photos since they would be getting married in October. I love that she wanted to incorporate the beautiful fall foliage of the Laurel Highlands into their shoot so I made it a point to fly back in November to help make her wish come true!

 

We could not have picked a better week for a portrait session. Though it was a little bit chilly, the colors were in full force and I couldn’t wait to capture these two celebrating their love story. We decided to meet at Linn Run State Park in Ligonier, Pennsylvania for an afternoon basking in the last little bit of sunlight before Daylight Savings hit.

 

We started our shoot at Adams Falls. We even blew off a few smoke bombs but I am not gonna lie, the shots were no bueno. My assistant, aka My Mama, wasn’t the best special effects coordinator so we ended up with a few photos of these two choking on the smell of the sulphur but I gotta give them props, both Andrew and Sam just laughed it off.

 

It is amazing how much I got to learn about these two while photographing these images. Considering how long I have known them, I thought had their personalities down to a T but sure enough, they kept surprising me. Sam and Andrew have 2 completely different personalities. Sam is wild and crazy, witty and so hilarious at all the right moments and by contrast, Andrew is quiet and stoic, smart and more than happy to let Sam take the lead 80% of the time. But together, these two have their own personality. Together, they both smile bigger and brighter. They have that sort of affection that only could only come from really knowing one another. After all these years together, I think it is fair to say that these sweethearts have got it figured out.

 

After playing around at Adams Falls for a bit, I told them to jump in the car to follow me on a little adventure. We raced our way down the mountain towards a dirt road for those really pretty natural light photos and then we made our back towards Ligonier so we could fence-hop. Yes, I do trespass with my clients’ consent and thank goodness these two are always down for an adventure. We made our way to a small stream that was surrounded with sugar maples and elm trees. When the light began to flicker in, these two got their snuggle on for some of the most adorable shots.

SAM+ANDREW-36

Our last set of images were the best. Sam wanted to add a little personal touch to their shoot. Since they got engaged in New York City, she had brought along the infamous “I LOVE NY” shirts for a few fun shots.  I even laughed out loud when I realized that Andrew had been wearing it all along under his flannel! Smart guy, he is!

 

If I were to offer any solid piece of advice to these two as they embark on this wonderful journey together,  it would be this…

 ‘It burns like a blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love, rivers cannot wash it away.” Song of Solomon 8: 6-7

In other words, love each other hard through all of it because there will be good and there will be bad but you guys, you will always have each other to lean on. Remember that and remember that marriage is work, really hard work but the absolute best kind of work too. Stay true to your love for one another and you two will be golden. Oh, and Congratulations!!