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!!

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.

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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!!

 

Blog Spotlight: Beatbox Portraits

Ya’ll this week’s Blog is another Creative Spotlight featuring one of my idols, a photo guru, kindred spirit and kind soul, Trish Dove of Beatbox Portraits. When I started this business, I started to follow so many creatives on social media. But like so many, I felt bogged down by the competition. I felt like I was just treading water. The competition flooded my newsfeed. I was overwhelmed by the challenge but felt this need and want to rise up to it.

So, one by one, I started deleting and unfollowing other photographers. The only way I was going to succeed was to stop comparing myself to every other photographer and to only follow the ones that depicted styles that I could hope to achieve, in my own unique way. The Rising Tide Society’s community over competition model states that we, as creatives, are stronger together than we are apart. We all have different visions and aspire to do different things yet we will not achieve them if we can’t grow together.  You’ve got to have that edge, the eye for curiosity and the heart to share your experience. Which is how I came to find and follow Beatbox. In DFW, there are certain names you know when it comes to the creative world. BeatBox Portraits is a name you should know.

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Recently, I had the chance to sit down and chat with Trish about her business model, her sources for inspiration, including her own upcoming wedding and how she plans to keep her followers on the edge of their seats. We gabbed for over 2 hours while we munched on tacos. We covered everything from advice for budding photographers to brainstorming for new outlets to venture into. At one point, she even graciously drew a map of a secret shoot location that I should check out. She was real and totally down to Earth.

I can see why she continues to gain followers. She makes sure to capture all those small moments, you know, the ones that really are the big moments. She has an eye for anticipating the emotion, the ability to envoke laughter and has mastered the clever approach to promoting affection. Her dreamy engagement shoots and fine art wedding portraiture is simply something out of a fairytale. I was initially drawn to her portfolio because of the romantic style she portrayed in her shoots but her innovation is what kept me following along. I noticed that she was incorporating bakeries and candle companies into her shoots. She was breaking the mold by not conforming to one particular style of shoot. I’ve seen her tackle everything from smoke bombs to cascading cliffs and floral design. Trish has got something that certain creatives lack. She has an audience that can’t wait to see what she does next and that’s what’s going to make her one of the big names here in DFW.

I don’t know what exactly I expected going into our meeting but I know that I walked away from this experience with a sense of forward motion and a fire that had been lit you know where, for how to expand my own portfolio. For the most part though, I walked away having gained a new friend and for that, I am thankful. To read our full interview and to find out how to reach/follow Beatbox Portraits, scroll down below the gorgeous images that Trish was gracious enough to provide for this Blog. Give her a like on Facebook, check out her Pinterest page or Follow her creative journey on Instagram! For more inquiries or questions on how to book with Trish, shoot her an email at beatboxportraits@yahoo.com.

 

Interview with Beatbox Portraits:

RN: Why did you choose to be a wedding photographer?
BB: There is no other greater joy than to find that other person that is the peanut butter to your jelly. I believe amazing images start off with amazing relationships. That includes, couples that believe in building a strong lasting marriage and usually have been courting or dating for at least three years.I am a total romantic so I have always been one who loves to celebrate joy and happiness. Weddings allow my creative romantic side to soar. I am a firm believer that what ever you surround yourself with daily is the main influence on what kind of life you will live. I am surrounded by happy couples, in love, celebrating. This type of energy flows over into my daily life everyday and helps me to live a more fulfilled life full of joy and positive energy.  The number one adjective my clients use to describe me is “high energy happy soul”. What they don’t know is they are the reason for my bubbly personality.

Continue reading “Blog Spotlight: Beatbox Portraits”

Blog Spotlight: Tiffany of Jackson Signature Photography

During my last visit home to Pennsylvania, I had the great pleasure of meeting Tiffany Jackson, half of the Jackson Signature Photography duo. This husband-wife photography team specializes in Wedding, Engagement, Anniversary and Senior Photography. Based out of Latrobe, PA, their client list is growing daily. I first noticed their work while scrolling through a former classmate’s wedding photos. The images were sharp, clean and so light and airy. After a few months of slightly stalking their social media accounts, I reached out to see if Tiff would be interested in meeting for a Spotlight on the Blog. After a few back and forth emails, I knew that I had chosen the right person to interview.

We met for coffee at The White Rabbit in Greensburg, PA to chat about all things business and what it means to dive headfirst into being a small business owner. Coincidentally, Tiffany just so happens to be the Rising Tide Society Leader in Westmoreland County. She has even hosted her Tuesday Together meetings at the very place we sat down to chat. For those of you who don’t know, The Rising Tide Society is an organization that embraces the differences amongst creatives all across the country. Their business model “community over competition” has inspired and encouraged support and guidance for local businesses nationwide. In fact, our entire Blog Spotlight Series featuring creatives like Carolyn Anderson Photography, Whitney Bowman Photography and Katie Norris of FOTOlanthropy is rooted with the Rising Tide Society’s ideals in mind.

When starting this business, I had so many questions and not many small business owners as friends to ask. So, I started to reach out. I found the Rising Tide, learned their motto and chose to start incorporating their ideals into the foundation of my own business model. I knew that I was never going to see my business evolve if I didn’t get some help and who better to ask than the photogs and the accounts that I had been drooling over since my launch date. Which in turn, brought me to Tiffany. I loved her style, the way she mixed the classic and the contemporary with the traditional and the bohemian. I also loved the way she portrayed her business on social media. In a world filled with so many eyes, Tiff found a method to organize her galleries in a way that would draw your eye to her Blog, her website, her IG, her garden, her gorgeous house, her everything. If you take a look at any of her social media posts, you immediately feel like you know her. You can get a sense for what fills her days and what brings her joy. You shouldn’t be surprised to know that her attitude is contagious. I literally felt like I could tell her my deepest darkest secrets and I had only known her for an hour.

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During our meeting, Tiff kept stressing how important the client relationship is. Their business model is founded on the premise of building a lasting relationship with their clients. A huge part of that is just getting to know them. After 8 years in the business, this duo has a good grasp for anticipating the mood of each shoot. More than anything, these two want you to see your “vision” come to life. You can be sure that whatever style or atmosphere you are hoping to convey will most definitely be portrayed if you leave these 2 in charge.

So much of making it in this business is the effort that you put in, the light that you reflect and mark you leave. Tiffany has truly curated a style and personality for their business that keeps their clients coming back. I asked her during our interview if there were any particular IG accounts or Facebook friends that I should check into for inspiration. Her recommendation was @borrowedandblue, a publication full of wedding ideas! She incorporates her love for interior design, her delight in fabulous florals and her passion for joy filled weddings into her everyday life. Which is why I can’t wait to see what she is up to next. Without giving away too many details, I can say that Tiff and Aaron have some BIG news coming up in the next year! So, make sure to keep an eye out for all the details!

If you interested in following along with all of Tiffany and Aaron’s adventures or to book your Wedding or Senior Shoot, head to their website, follow them on IG @jacksonsignaturephotography, Twitter or give them a like on their Facebook page.

If you or you know someone who might be interested in being a part of the next Greensburg Tuesday Together Meeting, head to the White Rabbit Café on September 13th at 7pm. For more information on the Rising Tide Society, head to www.risingtidesociety.com or Join the Facebook Group to see the next upcoming meeting dates, member spotlights and more.