A Gettysburg winter engagement photography session for a pair of sentimental sweethearts, involving history, hot cocoa and candle light…
Connelly & Dominick shared, “We chose you as a photographer because of the quality of your work. Each photo you take is so vivid, crisp and artistic. We fell in love with your style of photography and couldn’t choose anyone but you. We both loved that every photo you take is unique and seems to capture the personality of the couple and every emotion they are experiencing.”
They continued, “Photos, to us, are the most important keepsake of the wedding and we wanted someone we trusted and really loved to be responsible for this important part of our day. Once we met with you Lisa, we instantly clicked and you prioritized things in the same way we do, which just proved you were the right fit for us!”
Dominick shared, “I first fell for Connelly because I thought she was beautiful, had an amazing personality, and we really clicked right off the bat.”
He continued, “On our first real date, the mall almost closed on us because we talked so much and hadn’t even noticed the time!”
We moved inside of the Dobbin House Tavern, a historic tavern established in 1776. It is the oldest standing structure in the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
It was all decked out for the holidays and I really wanted to play up the decorations playing with my aperture and perspective, using depth of field to my advantage…
They sat drinking hot cocoa by candlelight in the cozy tavern, a space that is said to have played a role in the Underground Railroad, due to its proximity to the Mason-Dixon Line.
Connelly explained, “Gettysburg was a favorite date-night spot for us in college, and we both love chocolate so that was a fun (and delicious)!”
Connelly went on, “As a couple, I think we are a combination of very traditional and laid back and we hope that comes across in the photos.”
I think both the traditional setting and very warm, cozy feel of these images, really strikes that balances.
I wanted to really play up the yellow glow of the candlelight and utilized perspective and white balance to really bright out the romantic tones here.
Dominick shared, “We work well together because we are similar but still different. That is to say, we both have similar beliefs, likes and dislikes, but we have different interests and personalities that complement one another. ”
Connelly explained the first date/mall situation further, “We closed the mall because we were literally experiencing one of those cheesy moments in the movies where we literally did not notice anything or anyone around us over a period of three hours!”
Connelly continued, “Dominick is so kind, funny, dorky and can easily make me laugh and feel comfortable in any situation. His kindness and overall personality are why I first fell for him, but our mutual love of the TV shows “Psych” and “Monk” (and all things Harry Potter) definitely sealed the deal for me, haha!”
She continued, “From the moment I met him, he has felt like home to me, like an extension of myself and that is why I love him and why our relationship works so well.”
Dominick recalled their engagement story. He said, “One of the things that Connelly loves about me is that I am a terrible liar. So keeping a pending engagement a secret for almost a month was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. It was made especially more difficult when we attended my cousin’s wedding a few weeks earlier.”
He went on, “The only people who knew about the engagement were my dad, my cousin Catherine (who was designing the ring), and myself. This made things interesting when we were all seated together at the rehearsal dinner and when Catherine decided to mention her role as the ring designer for the *whole family* during her speech at the wedding reception.”
Dominick continued, “We had an amazing time together at the wedding; dancing, laughing, and enjoying getting told “You’re next” by literally every family member at the reception. But keeping this big of a secret from her was so difficult, and trying to pretend like I didn’t know what Catherine did for a living was even harder. Luckily, I didn’t have to keep the secret for too long. The moment I got the ring, I knew I had to propose that week!”
Dominick finished, “I asked her Father’s permission that Wednesday and drove up to her school that Friday to propose. The engagement went well once I finally got her up to ‘our spot’ at the Grotto. I had to hide the ring in my inhaler because she is ridiculously observant and would notice any ring-box shape in my pocket. I got down on one knee, forgot my entire speech because I was so anxious, and just told her I loved her and wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. The rest is history!”
I asked why they chose Gettysburg as their engagement session location. Connelly explained, “Gettysburg is a place we have spent a lot of time during our relationship because of its proximity to the university that I attended, Mount Saint Mary’s. We have experiences plenty of fun date-nights there and it has been so nice to revisit those places with you there to capture it all!”
I have always found the Pennsylvania Memorial to be awe inspiring with its large granite pillars and intricate carvings. It was built to commemorate the 30,000+ soldiers from Pennsylvania that fought in the Battle of Gettysburg. Connelly and Dominick love learning and history and that combines with the beautiful of this space and the view, I knew it would be a perfect fit.
I used a tilt shift lens technique here to draw attention to the arches, couple, artwork and inscription.
Connelly shared, “I think that Dominick and I are both truly sentimental people – memories, family, and tradition are extremely important to us. So, our wedding is right after the anniversary of when we first met and it falls in between my parents, my grandparents, and my aunt and uncles wedding anniversaries.”
She continued, “We had our first date right after Christmas and I really wanted to capture those same feelings that are now forever tied to the season of Christmas.”
Connelly went on, Christmas reminds me of the anticipation before our first date, the years of holidays we’ve spent with each other’s families and together. There is just so much sentimentality tied to the holiday for me.”
She finished her thought with, “I think that this time of year just reminds me of how important family is to me and how soon Dominick and I will be family. It just makes me think about how much I love him and how I’ve always loved him.”
Connelly shared, “I think that one of the reasons that Dominick and I work so well together is because we push each other, value each other’s opinions and care deeply about each other.”
I love to use framing in my composition, here they are perfectly framed in the arches– you notice the massive scale of the architecture, yet they still hold their own in the image!
The sun set on this cloudy, Gettysburg day and the cool blues of twilight began to show. I stepped back until I was quite a distance from them and silhouetted them in the belly of the monument.
There is something so timeless, classic and romantic about a silhouette… and the blue of twilight– wow!!!
As we walked back through town I was very cognizant of the Christmas decorations and the significance to Connelly and Dominick.
In this next photo I actually made the classic Christmas decorations the subject of the photo and allowed the happy couple and incredible architecture to fade into the background.
In this shot I think you can see so many of their statements come together in a visual way– feeling so comfortable and at home together, their love of Christmastime and the fact that they are about to join together and literally become family…
It also makes me think of a greeting card or Hallmark movie, there is even room at the top of the frame for the movie title, hehe…
Connelly and Dominick– that you so much for inviting me to capture such a special time in your relationship together. It was my pleasure to have you two open up to me and set out to capture so many elements of your relationship for you to share for many many years to come!
I hope that these photos are just the sort of crisp, colorful, creative, high-quality, personalized, unique, artistic photographs that you were looking for! I am so excited to hear your thoughts about them and to photograph your wedding this fall at Mount Saint Mary’s and the beautiful Gettysburg Hotel, it is one of my favorite wedding venues!