Blog : Portraits

Dreamy California Portraits

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We stayed in an airstream and took photos in the mountains until wayyy past when the sun went down. There were beach cruisers and sushi and some sketchy uber rides and really, really good tacos. All of it fed my soul.

It was so fun adventuring with this beautiful girl in Santa Barbara. This is what photographers do on *vacation.*

I’d go back to dreamy California to make photos any day of the week.

 

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Downtown Annapolis Engagement Session // Laura + Rich

 

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Annapolis at sunrise is one of my favorite places. And Laura + Rich’s Downtown Annapolis engagement session at sunrise was one of my favorites from this fall…even though I’m probably not supposed to have favorites.

But, let’s be real. Tulle skirt. Sparkly shoes. Cat mugs. God, I love these two.

I’m always a fan of engagement sessions that are personal. And one of the best ways to find a perfect engagement session spot is to think about a moment, that you’ve spent together, that you’d like to go back and relive.

Laura’s moment was their engagement. Rich got down on one knee during a walk on a beach near her sister’s home, catching Laura by surprise. It was a perfect moment, and one that the two of them wanted to relive and relish by doing some of their photos in this special place. So we met at sunrise on a chilly Saturday morning for a sweet coffee-picnic and a walk on a perfect, leaf and frost covered beach, where Laura and Rich snuggled together to stay warm and remembered the summer day that they made a most special promise.

And when Laura said that she had a tulle skirt, it made perfect sense to have fun in the deserted streets of downtown Annapolis, just as the town was waking up. We got to enjoy the quiet of the sunrise in two beautiful places and celebrate the loveliness of being in love.

 

 

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Meadowlark Gardens engagement photos // Sarah + Ian

 

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Beautiful words will add nothing to these photos. You don’t need me to tell you how in love Sarah and Ian are – you can see it in every picture.

But I will tell you this: every engagement session includes free make-out lessons. And these two didn’t need them. Not because they were love-crazed fools, but because they are authentically, genuinely affectionate with each other and weren’t afraid of being themselves and loving each other purely and openly. Looking at them makes me treasure the feeling of being in love because theirs is the sweetest kind.

Their Meadowlark Gardens engagement photos took place where their engagement story began, and they have so many wonderful stories and beginnings ahead of them in the next few months. I adored frolicking in the last of the golden sun rays of summer with them and loved these images we made together (especially the polaroids!).

 

 

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Naval Academy engagement photos // Allison and Wes

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Engagement sessions should be unique. It should be about you, the way you love one another.

Allison and Wes’ Annapolis Naval Academy engagement photos are just so them.

Which is why these photos are so special – Allison has been a lifelong friend. She has always been vibrant, smiley, energetic, and brilliant. Seeing her so happy, so herself, so comfortable and so loved brings more joy than the word joy even conveys. Wes is in so many ways her perfect match. I can see it in the way he holds her, jokes with her, holds her accountable, and encourages her.

Most of these photos – this wasn’t me, you guys…and I mean that in the best way possible. So much of it was all them. They took the lead, let their guard down, played in the sunset on the beautiful grounds of the Naval Academy, where their story, in so many ways, began. This time was about them being themselves, being silly, being lovely, being fun and full of life…and celebrating being home, being around family, being so close to being married.

I wouldn’t want it any other way. Any other way would not have been as perfect.

 

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Day after sessions // Erin + Brian in Fells Point

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More than anything in the world, I love photographing people in love.

It’s a truth that wedding days go by in a blur. And although every wedding is beautiful and filled with all kinds of love and so much celebration, the romantic side of love sometimes gets only a few moments of attention and consideration and maybe a little bit left aside in the wake of the overwhelming wave of joy and happiness and celebration. All of these are good things, wonderful things, but finding quiet and peace to bask in the cozy warmth of the sun and the feeling of being wrapped in the arms of the one you love…

That’s what day after sessions are for.

For Erin and Brian, good god am I happy that they decided to do a day after session. There were so many wonderful moments from their Flag House Museum wedding, but because of the rain that came down in torrents, we had to stay close to the museum (and it’s beautiful white rooms and giant flag window) and had to save for later the beautiful Baltimore views they craved and wanted to be a part of their wedding story. But some things are worth waiting for, and the sunlit golden hour in Fells Point overlooking the Baltimore Inner Harbor, with just the two of them in the quiet hours after the wedding festivities had passed and they could focus completely on the joy of now being husband and wife, was undoubtedly one of them.

Here’s a little peek into their moments of being completely, fully, joyfully in love as the sun set on the Baltimore Harbor.

 

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Philadelphia whiskey distillery engagement // Emily + Zach

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I love people who dream big. Like Zach, and Emily. Who live in Philadelphia where they are building a whiskey distillery.

Yep. This Philadelphia whiskey distillery engagement session took place in their whiskey distillery, among toasted wooden barrels and steel cylindrical containers in a red brick building on the north side of the city.

This is the whiskey distillery that Zach is building (with his friend Brian), while he and Emily finish up their graduate degrees and plan a wedding.

But nowhere in the world made more sense as a backdrop for their engagement session, and spending a day in Philly to make photos that tell the story of their relationship, that began in the halls of the University of Pennsylvania, was the perfect way to celebrate the first part of their wedding story.

I always mean it when I say I love my couples. Every single one. And Emily and Zach are so easy to love – they treasure each other, as told by the way they intertwine their arms in as they embrace one another, and the way they smile when they look into each others’ eyes, and it would be impossible not to feel joyful around them because they bring so much of it into the room when they’re together. They made Philly such a fun place to be and welcomed me with open arms to document the dreams that they will bring to life together.

 

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Baltimore sunrise engagement // Julia and Tristan

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In the way that sunset over an ocean is celebrated on the the left coast, so it would seem we should also greet the sun in the morning here in the east. But being a lover of sleep, I never thought I would be excited to see a sunrise, although this Baltimore sunrise engagement is so quickly changing my mind.

The gloriousness of summer sunrises lie in the one thing that makes them almost too easy to write off, and that thing is early. At this time of day, the park benches seem lonely, the stop lights change on what seems like a whim, and the coolness of night lifts off of the water into the air and lands gently and glowingly on your skin, cloaking you like a blanket before the heat of the day becomes too burdensome to endure. The world feels quiet and made only for you, and the sky changes into magnificent colors before the eyes of those who are willing to wake up for it.

For Julia and Tristan, having their engagement session in Baltimore was an easy choice, as it was the start of their story together. We visited their favorite walking spots – the places they spent hours together with each other and with their dog – and made new memories in the quiet moments of a new day in front of a still blue harbor sparkling in the brilliant summer sun. They are just as sweet as can be – I love that Tristan is Canadian (and is as friendly as can be) and has a fabulous smile that brightens up everything when he’s near Julia, and I love that Julia is dreamy in every way possible and has such a fun and free spirit. This is just the first part of their love story that I get to tell, and I can’t wait to share more next June!

 

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Baltimore engagement session at home // Jess and Eric in love

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Engagement sessions that feel personal are always my favorite…which is why I was so excited upon meeting with Jess and Eric and one of the first things they told me was that they wanted to do their Baltimore engagement session at home. At that moment, I knew for certain I was going to love them and being a part of their love story.

And trust me when I say that spending an hour at sunset with them this past weekend was so fun and beyond anything I possibly could have expected – they are adorable, and their home is adorable, as are the streets and gardens and alleyways around it. But most of all, I loved getting a peek into how they love each other.

Because, even if I had walked away with nothing else at the end of their session (and I definitely walked away with so much love for them and their incredible style), there was so much affection and compassion and sweet love shared between these two, and being around them and then reliving our time together through these photos, I feel so much joy and see such genuine happiness in the way that they are with each other.

Maybe the best way to explain it is this: all weekend long, I had Dear Future Husband stuck in my head (probably definitely from playing it on repeat all of last week). Aside from being so catchy, I love that song because it reminds me why I love my husband…see, he’s the kind of guy who knows exactly how to make me feel loved and that everything’s alright – whether that’s as simple as a hug or knowing when we need to take a walk or when I need to have a glass of wine. So when I see these kinds of little things happen between my couples during an engagement session, where they know each other so well and know exactly what each other needs, how to make the other one laugh, and how to keep each other happy and feeling loved, the kinds of moments of which there were so many for Jess and Eric…well, that’s when I know that no matter what, these two are going love each other for so many more years to come.

 

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Cheerful Family Portraits // Photos for holiday cards

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A colorful family photo card is one of my favorite things to get in the mail as the holidays draw near. And my face lights up with joy when I see a familiar family portrait below the cheerful greeting.

I always want to explain myself when someone asks if I would take their photos for holiday cards. I believe photos should feel real. These aren’t studio sessions with a backdrop where I ask you to move your chin one inch to the left. I’ve never felt like those look real. I like real life. I like movement, candor, a feeling of being relaxed and genuine, and being outdoors. These are portraits with emotion – real laughs, real hugs, real places – and the freedom and space to be yourself. A half-hour or hour to spend with each other, being goofy, being funny, being lovely.

And even more – I love doing these for all types of families. Families with little kids, families with big kids. Families of just the kids. Furry families. Just-the-two-of-us families. Friends-who-are-families. Every kind of family deserves to celebrate being together and sharing in each other’s world.

But I love the most that these are the way we wish each other a joyful holiday season. That we use photos to spread peace and happiness and love with all of the ones we care about.

 

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