Category: Love Birds

Brian + Sam’s Winter Engagements {Southern Maryland Engagement Photographer}

Have you ever met someone and clicked in an instant? Getting together with Brian and Sam for engagement photos was just that. Their dating history starts clear back in middle school, so these two are completely familiar with each other and have the most comfortable, relaxed, rich romance. (Having survived high school and college together, I can only imagine the stories they could tell.) We explored St. Mary’s River together, and were fortunate to catch the last bits of snow before it melted away. Sam needed no warm up time, and my stomach ached by the end of the session from laughing until I almost fell over. She is one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met and is also downright hilarious. Brian is no different, and between the two of them they could have their own sitcom. If their engagement session is any indication of how their wedding day will be, we are in for a whole lotta fun in a few months!


What to Wear for Photos {Southern Maryland Family Photographer}

Choosing outfits for a photo session can feel really overwhelming. With so many colors, patterns, and styles, it’s hard to know where to start. You get dressed every single day, and what you wear represents your unique personality. This means choosing the right outfits for photos is key. Creating a colorful, cohesive wardrobe enhances the depth and mood of your photos. With a few simple tips and tricks you can put together ensembles that rock!

Get Inspired

PinterestPinterestPinterest! Pinterest is my happy place. I go there for everything. It’s simply the best way to quickly browse dozens of photos for real outfit inspiration. I’m such a visual person. Actually seeing a husband and wife with their cute kiddos, all dressed in cohesive outfits, gives me a clear picture of how I want to dress everyone. Polyvore is another favorite because it allows you to drag and drop clothing onto a blank canvas. If you’re like me, you do a lot of online shopping. It’s hard to get a sense of how several pieces from several different sites will all come together to create a great ensemble. Polyvore takes out the guesswork, and it’s honestly kind of addicting. As if that weren’t enough, you can look at outfits other users have created for more ideas.

What’s Your Style?

How do you dress everyday? Do you find yourself wearing a certain blouse pretty often, or a favorite pair of heels that you rock like nobody’s business? Choose clothing that represents your style, comfort level, and personality. I love love love accessories and patterns, so jeans and a plain t-shirt wouldn’t be the right representation of who I really am. Choose clothing that’s visually interesting and feels familiar, because when you’re comfortable, it shows in your smile.

Color Scheme

Let’s take a minute and wave goodbye to the days of seven family members, all in perfectly matching khakis and white polos. If you have one of those photos hanging in your living room, I don’t mean any disrespect. It’s just not my style. To me, each person in a photo has their own personalities, quirks, and traits. Colors and patterns add visual variety that give photos depth. The one exception to this is newborn photos. There’s nothing I love more than clean, bright newborn photos that put all the focus on that creamy soft baby skin. If you’re going for that softer, more subdued look, try choosing one to three light neutrals in similar tonal ranges.

Cherry on Top

Fun accessories are the cherry on top! Who doesn’t love a little sparkle? The right necklace draws the eye up to your gorgeous face and completes your look. Earrings help frame your face and add textural interest. Having trouble finding fun accessories that won’t break the bank? I’ll let you in on a little secret: Walmart is your new best friend. I’m not even joking. Some of the necklaces I’ve gotten the most compliments on, came from the same place I buy my groceries. The best part? They were only $5! Charming Charlie is another fantastic spot for all things accessories. Fair warning: it’s dangerous. The entire store is organized by color, and their super fun jewelry is insanely affordable.

Best Foot Forward

Two different pairs of shoes have the power to take a single outfit in two completely different directions. Dressy sandals or fun ballet flats are a safe bet because they’re pretty and practical. Chucks, Clarks, and Sperrys are all great options for guys because they’re comfortable, stylish and versatile. I promise I won’t drag you all over the countryside, but we will be doing a bit of walking so comfort is key. If you’re opting for sky-high heels, I recommend bringing flats you can change into for walking from one location to the next. Regardless of what shoes you pick, be sure they’re nice and broken in before photos. There’s nothing worse than aching, blistered feet when you’re trying to smile for pictures. 

Shimmy Shake

Now that you’ve put together the perfect ensemble for your dream session, it’s time to boogie! Dance, shake, bend, and move to ensure everything stays put. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to pull up your tank top strap every five seconds during photos. A scoop-neck top leaves room for a pretty necklace but a plunging neckline leaves nothing to the imagination. Choose clothing that is figure-flattering and appropriate. The right length skirt, or comfortable pants allow you to be swept up in your guy’s arms, or run down the beach without risking a major wardrobe malfunction.

Stoked

You don’t get professional photos taken every day! These photos represent a unique point in your life, so every detail should be just right. Kick it up a notch! Have fun brainstorming, and get excited about the process.  I promise you won’t regret it.

Pinterest and the Counterfeit Love Obsession {Southern Maryland Engagement Photographer}

There’s something I’ve needed to get off my chest for quite some time. I’m sure it’s already been said in a dozen different ways, by a dozen other photographers, but it bears repeating:

I. Hate. Pinterest. 

Ok, ok, that was a bit harsh, and who am I kidding? I drool over all the cozy coastal cottages with their perfectly imperfect rustic kitchen tables, and chunky knit throws, draped casually across the arm of a bleached-white Restoration Hardware sofa. The 3-ingredient, better-than-your-grandma’s cookie recipe sits quietly on my “yum” board, never to actually be baked, but enticing me with its fail-proof promises, and mouth-watering photos. These dream-worthy boredom busters have a special place in my heart, and will continue to keep my impatience at bay when my time in a doctor’s office waiting room nears 45 minutes. BUT if you want a surefire way to shatter my heart on the spot, here’s the perfect recipe:

Your longtime high school sweetheart just popped the question in the most incredibly sweet, simple way, and you never saw it coming! You find yourself staring at that brand new shiny ring on your finger, in the middle of the day, too distracted to get any real work done. Friends and family gush, your cheeks ache from grinning, and you start planning your dream day. The date, venue, and general details start falling into place. Wedding dress shopping was a success and you found THE DRESS.

Then comes the excitement of engagement photos! We pick a date and location, and hammer out the session details. Through emails, phone calls, and maybe even a date at your favorite local restaurant, we’ve gotten to know each other well. We’ve added each other on Facebook, and I’ve gotten a strong sense of who you are. Most days you lounge around the house in leggings and t-shirts, but when you go out, you kick it up a notch: a little extra mascara, heels instead of flats, curled hair. I see that you love spending time with your family on the weekends, picking crabs in the summer, building bonfires in the winter. You’re a down-to-earth, all around fun gal, and I could totally see us getting together for a movie night in our pjs.

As your photo session approaches, we talk in more detail about styles and poses. Then, with all the good intentions of a well-prepared bride, you hit me with a Pinterest inspiration board. All your favorite poses and outfit ideas are laid out neatly for me to look over, in a lovely little grid. Suddenly, all the unique information I’ve gathered about you and your fiancee has been funneled down into one narrow cookie cutter formula that I’ve seen a thousand times before.

Now, let’s pause for a moment, before I further crush your board love.

Pinterest has its place in the photo session planning process. It’s a wonderful way to visualize tops and bottoms together, colors and patterns, all coming together to create a lovely, cohesive picture of you as a couple. It’s even a great way to narrow down what mood you want to capture. You originally thought you wanted a sleek, urban vibe with sidewalks, and skyscrapers, but Pinterest helped you fall in love with big open fields, and tall wildflowers.

The danger lies in one, tiny detail that can make or break your session. Viewing your photo inspiration as a checklist is a swift, simple way to ensure your photos are forgettable. In essence, what you’re telling your loved ones through photos is that you are a cute, cookie cutter couple, just like anyone else on the street. Imagine how hilarious it would feel to go up to a random couple on the street and say, “You guys look soooo cute together! Here, get in this box, so I can pack you up and take you home.” Even more hilarious would be looking at your guy, with all the sincerity of your romantic heart, and telling him, “They are just so adorable. I want us to copy everything they do, and we’ll have our photographer take pictures.” (The word “creepy” comes to mind.) Ironically, one of the reasons you probably love the photos you’ve pinned is because that couple didn’t have a checklist. They allowed the photographer to capture their emotions, and their love language.

I’ve photographed a wide range of couples in a variety of locations and styles, but the ones I loved the most were the ones who stayed true to themselves. One couple shared a Pinterest board with me, then called and said, “We just wanted you to get a feel for the vibe we want. We love the outdoors, camping, and hiking. The photos we pinned are great because they feel relaxed and natural, like any weekend we spend together. You know us. We trust you. Don’t put us in those poses, just give us that feeling.” Yum. Yes. Perfect. Because they gave me creative liberty, I felt excited, and energized by the entire process. We hiked through the woods, threw leaves at each other, built a campfire, and made s’mores. The whole scene was so real that the couple actually forgot I was there, and gave each other snuggly, gooey s’mores kisses by the campfire. THAT is what I love about photos! I love taking a mood, a tender emotion, and making it tangible. Three years later, that amazing couple is able to look back at their photos and say, “That is us, to a T.” If you’re looking for candid, sweet photos that reflect your absolutely one-of-a-kind style, the best thing you can do is put down your iPad. Stop overthinking it. Stop putting yourself in a box. You are unique, and beautiful, and full of life!

Your love story is yours.