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  • Welcome to my blog!

    Hello there-- I’ve been waiting for you!!! You know who you are and are true to yourself, you are a liver-of-life, a collector of moments, a person who appreciates great photography and its ability to press the pause button on life’s most incredible moments.

    You want a photographer who is able to handle all aspects of wedding photography with ease, capturing: candid, romantic emotion; flattering, beautiful portraits; breathtaking scenery & architecture; the joy and energy out on the dance floor and all those sweet wedding details that you have been working on for months in an artful, creative way.

    I have great news for you—I’ve got you covered!!!

    My work is creative & thoughtful. My goal is to share your unique love story. I get to know your interests & personalities in order to capture them forever in beautiful, personal, artful photographs that tell your story. I invest my time helping you become comfortable in front of my camera & find the most flattering lighting and angles for you and your surroundings.

    If this sounds good to you, and you’d like to reach out to me to find out more, please connect here.

Carnegie Institution of Science Washington DC Wedding Photographers: Paula & Darryl

Timeless, classic, elegant Washington DC wedding at the Carnegie

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When Paula & Darryl first reached out to me they were looking for a creative wedding photographer that had a real eclectic mix of photography skills.  They enjoyed my blog and liked how unique and personal my work felt and how I was able to capture the architecture and setting as well as the people.

They wanted a photographer who could capture everything from traditional portraiture (like the image above) to candid emotional photos (you will see several of those throughout the post) to unique, colorful, creative images (like the image below) and everything in between.

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Paula & Darryl’s wedding day began at Hotel Rouge, a unique modern hotel located one block from the Carnegie Institution for Science.  It was a highlight of Darryl’s day to enjoy the company of his groomsmen as they all got ready for the ceremony.  They shared many laughs and were such a pleasure to work with throughout the day.

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Paula shared that Darryl exceeds any hopes and dreams she had for her partner in life.  She fell in love with Darryl because of how incredibly loving he is and the way he loves her.

While Paula appreciates Darryl’s sophisticated taste and style, he also has a fun and playful side to him.  I think you can really see a little of both here:

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I like the shadows of the trees and the mix of bare branches with spring buds and just how this photo captures the streetscape of downtown DC.  The men are all in matching tuxedos and walking uniformly.

My favorite part though is the signage– from the street signs giving exact locations of their crossing, to the one way sign which they are obeying, to the cars that will give a time stamp to this image in the future…

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More laughs and jokes– such a fun group!

Notice that Darryl included Paula’s father into his group of friends as well…

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Darryl & Paula’s color scheme included navy, white and charcoal.  The neutral colors allowed us to work with many background including the blossoming trees planted beside the Carnegie.  Looking good, gentlemen…

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Now to the ladies…

Paula’s bouquet featured pure white roses with incredible texture and subtle blue-green accents from of lamb’s ear.

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I arrived as the ladies finished their preparations.  You can see Paula’s stunning wedding dress in the window as her maid of honor prepares to take it down.

Spanish designer, Jesus Piero, was the mastermind behind the concept.  The design itself was elegant and reminded me of classic timeless DC beauty Jackie O– and it had *pockets*. Paula mentioned that her Nordstrom Wedding Stylist, Chelsey Newkirk, was a dream to work with as well.

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I liked working at Hotel Rouge, not only because of it’s proximity to the Carnegie (the hotel is awesome and allowed us to use a trolley to transport camera gear from the hotel to the wedding venue), but also because it has many windows, mirrors and dramatic red velvet curtains– so much visually for me to play with!

I love to give unique perspectives throughout a wedding day.  Here is a very close up photograph of Paula getting her lip gloss re-touched by Shaune Hayes for her bridal portrait.  I like the intimate feel of it…

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Darryl shared that he had feelings for Paula as soon as he met her, but that her love for him grew stronger over time and continues to grow deeper and stronger everyday.

He said he has never met another person with such an incredible capactiy to give love to others.  She is the most caring and compassionate person he has ever met.

He said that she is just as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside and that makes him a very lucky man…

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Paula shared that one of her favorite elements of her wedding day was being able to have friends and family present with her.

Paula has lived in California for most of her life and moved to DC to be with Darryl.  Many people flew over 2,000 miles to be present on for their wedding day.  Her father was one of those travelers.

I love this photo of Paula’s father seeing her as a bride for the first time.  He was beaming, eyes filled with tears and held her hand.  It was a very sweet moment…

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Darryl & Paula chose to have their first look in front of their wedding venue and then explore the venue alone together before all of their guests arrived.

They chose the Carnegie Institution of Washington because of the architecture of the building.  It has a timeless, classic, Washington DC aesthetic that they wanted their friends and family from California to be able to experience first hand– from the rotunda to the library to the facade, it is a lovely location!

I knew how much they loved all of this architecture, so we made sure to capture it all…

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Darryl shared that seeing Paula for the first time in her wedding dress was more emotional for him than he had anticipated.  It reminded him of how lucky he was to be marrying such an incredible, beautiful, wonderful woman.

I think his facial expression and body language says it all!

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We moved into the boardroom and it was obvious that these two were head over heels in love and completely committed to each other.

I love the dark, dramatic paneling in the board room and the large windows with their elegant draperies.

A final look at Paula’s hand before her wedding band is added to it was particularly beautiful and emotionally charged.

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I like getting creative with my camera exposures and chose to silhouette Paula & Darryl in front of the window.

The timing was perfect as I caught them both laughing.  They are both very joyful, so it is a perfect photograph for them!  I like the juxtaposition of the heavy curtains and dramatic lighting with their lighthearted expressions.

I believe it really captures their personalities so well to show sophisticated elegance & pure joy simultaneously:

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While much of the day was spent capturing creative, candid images, we created traditional portraits as well.

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If you have seen my previous work at the Carnegie, you may have noticed how dramatically my coverage varies from one wedding to the next.

I like to base my photography on my couple’s unique style and personalities and use the light and space that is available to me on the wedding day to create fresh, interesting images.  That being said, Paula fell in love with the editorial-inspired bridal party photo that I captured in the library for Kyle and Kaylan, so I photographed her bridal party in the library, too.  😉

They rocked it!  Vogue called, they want their models back:

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These beautiful bridesmaids were ready to head indoors and get the ceremony started…

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I’m a huge fan of the Carnegie’s marble checkerboard floors and love this perspective from above that show those off as well as the spiral stair that Paula had entwined with eucalyptus and white roses.  I like the patterns on the wall created by daylight streaming in from the rotunda dome.

Here Paula’s father escorts her down the stairs to Darryl.

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Paula’s father shares one last embrace with her before she becomes a married woman.  Paula’s brother is included in the frame as well.

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I really like Darryl’s expression here.  You can see how incredibly lucky he feels to be sharing this moment with Paula.

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While I love capturing emotional moments like the images above, I also wanted to make sure to capture all of the beautiful architecture, too.

Here is a bird’s eye view of their elegant wedding ceremony.  I like how you can see how they are all surrounded by family and friends here.

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Paula mentioned that being supported by family and friends and committing her life to Darryl were the defining moments of the day for her.  You can see one aspect in the image above and one aspect in the image below.

Paula looked absolutely angelic while sharing her vows.  A single beam of light sliced through the left of the frame causing flare in the bottom right corner which added to that to that ethereal feeling.

I like how you can also see Paula’s maid of honor’s teary expression subtly in the background…

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Man and wife!!!  I love their joyful expressions here– this moment is so “them”:

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Appetizers features comfort food presented with gourmet flair by the talented creative team at Main Event Caterers.

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Paula is passionate about her career as a nanny and was thrilled that many of the children that she has cared for over the years were able to attend her wedding.  Here is a portrait featuring a few of those children, several of whom are now grown.
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Darryl’s beautiful family portrait…

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For the first time as husband and wife– I thought it was a very nice touch to have two of the ladies from Marshelle Richardson’s “Beyond Perfection” wedding planning team open the pocket doors from the rotunda to reveal the happy couple to the wedding guests who were seated for dinner.

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The toasts were incredibly touching.  Paula’s father is quite the public speaker and I like how you can see several of the guests’ reactions to his speech here.  I also like the mix of guests represented in this photo.  You are able to see Paula’s father, two of Darryl’s sisters and the parents from two of the families that she nannied for, among others.

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Several family members and friends shared their love and support for Paula and Darryl during the dinner.

Two that really stood out to me were those given by Lynn, the mother of one of the families that Paula nannied for over several years, who continues to play an important role in her life.  She shared about the incredible and lasting imprint that Paula has left on the hearts of the families that she has touched through the years.

Paula’s friend shared that not only was she impactful in the lives of so many children, but when he was a new parent and really didn’t know how to care for his first child that Paula would support him and teach him, even after having spent a full day working as a nanny.  Paula you are one-of-a-kind and very loved.  :)

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Paula and Darryl’s first dance was an emotional and beautiful moment for all those in attendance.  While I have several photos of the happy couple dancing, I really like this photo where you can see the candid expressions of all of the wedding guests.

Paula’s father holding back tears as her aunt wipes her own away.  Darryl’s niece and other guests recording the tradition with their cell phone while a few others’ expressions seem to say the moment is so emotionally charged that they need to look away in order to take it all in or keep it together. 😉

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I have several more traditional photographs of the traditional mother-son dance as well, though I really like how visible the architectural detail and lighting is in this photograph.

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As the traditions came to an end it was time to open up the dance floor.  Darryl & his groomsmen certainly knew how to get down, especially when it came to any of the old-school hits that they grew up with– Master Productions did not disappoint. Everyone also needed to get a selfie with the beautiful bride, another time stamp for 2016!

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As the dance floor heated up (both figuratively and literally) the wedding planners propped open the door.  Here Paula and Darryl are slow dancing at the precipice of the Carnegie Institution for Science.

I like how you are able to see them, their venue and all of the exquisite and unique architectural detail of the Carnegie.  I also like how it gives a nod to their elegant, yet spontaneous nature.

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Darryl and Paula, what a treat it has been for me to get to know the two of you over the past year!  I thoroughly enjoyed your iconic DC engagement photography session and your wedding was just as amazing.

Your incredibly kind message that thanked me for my professionalism and organization on the wedding day meant the world to me.  I am so glad to hear that you were able to relax on your wedding day fully trusting my timing and creativity.  I hope that you like these images just as much as I do!

Please feel free to share this link with your friends, family and vendors and please feel free to comment below :).

Annapolis wedding engagement photographers: Lori & Clay

A sweet, nautical Annapolis engagement for this southern gentleman and his east coast bride to be…

Yes I photographed this image through a life-preserver on a dock, you can’t get much more nautical that that.:)

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Clay is from Texas and Lori is from Maryland.  Lori says all of Clay’s southern ways perfectly balance her east coast upbringing.  She shared that Clay is one of the most generous, caring, kind people she has ever met.

Clay agreed that they truly compliment each other.  He shared that Lori is caring, committed and he couldn’t imagine another person that he would rather spend the rest of his life with.

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Lori had always imagined her wedding being in downtown Annapolis, but with so many friends and family members traveling (most of Clay’s guest-list is from Texas), they chose a DC wedding as it would make for easier traveling.  As a result, downtown Annapolis and Eastport was the perfect location for their engagement photos.

We met at Chart House as it is a beautiful waterfront venue with stunning harbor views.  Here I am inside looking out one of those lovely windows at the two of them.  I love the color and contrast of this photograph,  The silhouette adds some mystery and romance as well.

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Lori initially contacted me after seeing another couple’s wedding that I photographed at their soon-to-be wedding venue, the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, DC.  She loved the way I captured candid moments– the large scale moments like the vows but also the more intimate and hidden moments, too.

She liked how I was able to capture beautiful scenery along with the personalities and relationship of the couples in my photos.  Here is a sweet photo of Lori & Clay strolling through the downtown together.  I love this soft warmth of the sunlight illuminating the green buds on the trees and their natural expressions in this photograph:

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I like to play with lines and light.  This image already had many vertical lines of the siding, I shot through the rails and wires of a stairwell, adding diagonal and horizontal lines.

I also kept all of those interesting shadows in the frame as well as our beautiful couple– how cute are they?

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While I love candid, creative imagery, I also make sure to capture a few traditional photos, too.

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Lori and Clay were greeted by a duck and her drake apparently out for a stroll along the Annapolis harbor as well, haha!

They stopped to say hello :).

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Here is a bit more of the nautical feel with the docks and the details on her flats:

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Annapolis was one of the first places that Lori showed Clay when she first brought him home to Maryland.  They love spending time walking downtown and enjoying fresh seafood.

The Spring blossoms were in full bloom as they walked along side of the Maryland State House.  Clay picked her up and gave her a twirl…

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It was a real treat for me to meet Clay and Lori in person, as they are planning their DC wedding from Dallas, so much of our communication has been done via email and video chat.

They flew in to visit Lori’s family over Easter and were able to fit in their engagement photography session as well.  I like how you get a sense of how happy and down to earth Lori and Clay are here.  They are really quite a pair!

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Chart House also was a perfect indoor option as rain was initially expected during their session.  While it did not come, we did experience 20mph winds.

Lori and Clay were game for walking in the wind and I was careful to snap pictures when Lori’s hair was not blowing straight up in the air or over her face, haaa!  Chart House was a beautiful venue with a perfect harbor side location to find shelter from the wind and warm up a bit.

I will end this set with a final romantic sentiment and photo.  Clay shared that Lori has a committed heart and that he trusts her with his life.  I think you really get a sense for the trust and commitment that these two share here:

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Lori and Clay, it was such a pleasure to meet you both in Annapolis last month.  I am eagerly anticipating your upcoming DC Carnegie wedding!!!

Mercersburg Academy Senior Portrait Photographers: Sarah

Meet exuberant, fearless, athletic Sarah– a tomboy with an enormous heart and joyful soul!

During this active senior portrait session, Sarah climbed in a creek, played basketball and rode a bike into the woods!  Incredibly unique, personal and creative photos resulted.:)

In this photo, I’m using a photography technique called panning.  I dragged my shutter and followed Sarah’s exact path, in hopes of capturing the inspiring energy of this amazing young woman:

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Sarah reached out to me after seeing her older siblings’ senior portraits.  She said they were phenomenal and that she was blown away by how accurately their personalities were captured in camera.  She was eager to see how I would capture her, too.  :)

Hailey & Nathanael were as different as night and day and both equally captivating subjects.  I was so excited to get to know Sarah better!

There is a brightness and optimism about Sarah, she sees the good in everything, laughs a lot and has a smile that can light up any room and then some!

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She initially was on the fence about where to meet for her senior pictures.  She was seriously considering having her portrait session on the stunning grounds of Mercersburg Academy, the prestigious boarding school she currently attends.   She eventually chose to meet me at a friend’s farm in Shippensburg.

She wanted to capture the beautiful simplicity of the town that she grew up in.  The Pagel’s farm had a spring, bridge, barn, bikes and so many other aspects for her to incorporate.   It was the perfect setting for Sarah because it maintained the same down-to-earth feeling as Sarah herself– straightforward and authentic.

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Sarah comes from a tight-knit family of nine, yes nine!

I photographed all of them a few years ago before their oldest, Hailey, went off to college.  You can see their blog link here. Sarah is so much younger in it!

Sarah is a trustworthy and caring daughter, sister and friend.  I think you can really get a sense of that in this photograph:

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Sarah was in her element outdoors and was up for absolutely anything.  I saw sparkling sunlight dancing on the water and mentioned that it would be a great spot for a photo.

Without hesitation, Sarah hopped in the water!  She navigates the physical world without encumbrance, as if the ice cold waters of March and mucky slime of a creek bed on bare feet have no effect on her.  She is nimble and humble and truly up for anything.

How beautiful are these lovely orbs of light?  How about their soft, bright feeling among the muck and mud and green growth of spring?  How about the way the water is wicking up her ankles and her knee is peeking out of her ripped jeans?  These are all things that I cannot plan– moments of beautiful serendipity!

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There was a rock perfectly situated near those bouncing orbs of light.

Sarah perched on top of it with her joyful glow– such a natural beauty!

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She shared that she loves life and is so grateful for the awesome life that she has.   I think that this next series of photos  really shows all of that as well as her athleticism, focus and drive.

Running, clicking your heels and cartwheeling in a cornfield filled with obstacles (stones, ditches and 6 inch rigid stalks protruding from the ground)  is no small achievement.  To do all of these with complete abandon and joyfulness, this is Sarah.

This makes me feel that she can overcome anything in her path…

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She is “all in”– fearless and fun-loving… look mom, no feet ;).

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While she is very bubbly and fun, Sarah also has real depth to her.  She has wisdom beyond her years and takes things to heart.  Her faith is also incredibly important to her.

I really think you get a feel for her thoughtfulness here.  Her eyelashes and freckles are absolutely *gorgeous.*

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Sarah also has a quiet, more introverted side that I couldn’t quite figure out.  I think that this photo captures maybe what my words cannot(?)

I focused on the dry branches that blocked my sight lines, she almost seems to be one with the stone wall.  The hole in it was just her size:

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While I spend a great deal of time photographing my subject’s personality, interests and style, I also make sure to get several traditional portraits as well.

This is one of my favorites of Sarah against a mossy stone wall.

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There is one side of Sarah that I haven’t really shown yet, and it is that of a fierce, competitive athlete.  She plays several sports for Mercersburg Academy: soccer, softball and basketball.   Basketball is her favorite.

She was a little hesitant to include basketball at first because she said she didn’t want your typical cheesy sports photos.  I promised that I would not do that to her.  :)

Her basketball photos were, at least in my mind, epicly unique– check out that sky!!!

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We went to Shippensburg University’s campus as they have several outdoor courts that were not far from the farm where we had met for the first portion of her senior portraits.

I hadn’t noticed before, but the basketball backboards are transparent.  It took me some time to overcome this visual challenge at first.  We were surrounded by obstacles that were visible through the backboard that would take attention away from Sarah and clutter the frame– parked cars, a hockey rink, dozens of other players on adjacent courts, etc.

I ended up using the backboard and stunning blue sky to my advantage.  I laid on my back and pointed my camera skyward.

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A total side note here, Sarah is incredibly accurate with her shots.  Nothing but net shot after shot.  She would bounce it off the backboard for me so that I could time it right.  She was pretty incredible.

I am happy that I was presented with this unique idea at the end of the shoot after we had built up a mutual trust and respect.  That ball was coming straight for my face, haaaa.  She told me she’d make sure to catch it and she did.  :)

To say that Sarah loves basketball is an understatement.  Yes, that is a state champ medal she is holding in the photo below and a pair of mismatched socks that Sarah aka “Socks” is wearing:

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The mismatched socks story has its roots firmly planted in second grade.

Sarah had two pairs of basketball socks and rather than wearing matching socks together, she thought it would be “cool” to wear one of each to each game.  She said it wasn’t long until other players in the league would see her play and didn’t know her name, so they’s just refer to her as “Socks”.  The name stuck and it has been with her ever since, as have the mismatched socks!

By this time the sun was setting and a single beam hit the back of Sarah’s face and hair.  She looked at me and I could see that fierce, competitive, athletic nature that she possesses.

She would absolutely annihilate me in a game of H-O-R-S-E, haaaaa.  Does anyone remember that game???

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Back to her fierceness though, and that stunning blue sky.  I like how the definition of the trees are lost in shadow, Sarah is nearly a silhouette but has rim-light defining her cheekbones.

This is what I call a cool basketball shot. 😉

You get a sense of natural gift that she has been given her unique mix of humility and confidence and you get a sense that she is larger than life!

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Sarah it was such a pleasure to work with you and your amazing family again!  Thank you for letting me into your world and for being your authentic self with me.  I hope that these photos do you justice because you are an absolutely amazing human being :).

Creative, unique family portrait photographers: Wallace Family

A PAINT FIGHT and other shenanigans with this creative, fun, family of three…  Yes Kandon is in this photo, too– he’s doing his impersonation of *Flash* ;).  I used a slow shutter speed to capture his movement!

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Laura is an artist and graphic designer.  We met a few years ago when I was doing some commercial work for one of her clients.  She has been watching my work ever since and has fallen in love with my artistic, photographic style and the way I capture people’s unique personalities and relationships.

The Wallace Family is incredibly close.  They are quirky and fun, happy and comfortable and an absolute pleasure to photograph.  Here you can see Kandon in his non-flash state.  😉

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AJ is an architectural draftsman.  He shared that the skyline of New York City blows his mind.  They visit the city often as a family and though their hearts are in their small town, their minds and creativity spark when visiting NYC.

As AJ holds his son’s hand, you can see his sleeve, which is an artistic rendering of some of AJ’s favorite aspects of the NYC skyline…

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Laura had mentioned loving my use of silhouettes and other creative techniques, so when I saw this opportunity to capture the Wallace family against the cloudy sky, I jumped on it.

I like how this image also captures their spontaneity and outgoing personalities.  It also gives you an interesting perspective– sometimes it is nice to be small, exploring a big wide world.

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Laura & AJ have been together for nearly 17 years.  They grew up together, were married and have brought their son into that strong bond that they share.

I like the way the wind swept up Laura’s hair in this image and how AJ has a huge smile on his face.  It is them in their natural state ;).

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I like the soft feel of this next photo.  You can almost sense how loved Kandon feels just by looking at the image.

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The entire Wallace family has a fun, quirky sense of humor and Kandon is no exception.  Here he is hamming it up in front of the camera, showing me some of his silliest faces.

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I was inspired by the flannel curtains that I saw hanging in the window the the train station and the reflection of the parking lot and the downtown Greencastle PA skyline that I could see reflected in the window.

It brought out a little of the Wallace’s rock-and-roll edge.  Yes, it reminded me of 90’s grunge and smelled like Teen Spirit, haha (if you don’t know what I’m talking about you probably did not grow up in the 90’s).  ;).  I was super impressed by Kandon’s air guitar, you are incredible little dude!

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So this was my very favorite part of the photo session– painting!!!

Here is a little sneek peek of how messy they will be getting…

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Yes, what started out as a simple art project became an all out paint war!  Again I used a slow shutter speed to capture the intensity of Laura’s painting technique.

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Haaa love this!!!!

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High five– to the neck!!!  Laura was such an incredible sport, too.  She said that she brought blankets to protect the car and that the paint was washable, so she was game for whatever.

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One of my favorite shots of the set, it tells so much about this creative, free-spirited, fun-loving family.  What deep (and colorful) roots you have!!!

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Laura, AJ & Kandon– thanks so much for letting me into your world to see and capture your family life!  What you guys have is pretty incredible and I hope that my photos do it justice.  :)

F a c e b o o k