Hershey Gardens Engagement Photographers: Claire & Earl

Hershey’s kisses, butterflies and palm trees, oh my!  You won’t want to miss my latest blog from The Hershey Gardens and Butterfly Atrium

Claire shared, “From the moment I first saw *one* of your photos, I was immediately intrigued. After finding your website and blog, I was blown away by the artistry and quality of your work. I actually got goosebumps viewing one of the Vogue or GQ-style portraits! It was then that I realized I simply had to reach out to you and ask you to be our wedding and engagement photographer!”

Earl stated, “As a photographer, I wanted someone who could capture my relationship with Claire in a dynamic, unique way.  I was blown away by the quality of your work, I could tell right away you did not take a “cookie cutter” approach.    Your passion for photography came across right away, you are also so easy to work with, patient, and easy to follow– you made us feel very comfortable.  Without seeing any of the photographs, I am already confident that you will be able to capture the relationship that Claire and I have and the love we have for each other in them.”

Wow, thank you both for having confidence in me right from the start.  I so loved working with you two in the beautiful Hershey Gardens!  What a cute couple!

The Hershey Butterfly Gardens offered just the sort of vibrant, romantic, sentimental ties that Claire and Earl were looking for.

One of our biggest challenges was that the butterflies were constantly in motion and not very predictable creatures, haha!  Shy, and delicate, I had to get creative with my approach….

Here I was able to photograph the engagement ring, their hands and a butterfly all in camera… way tougher than it seems to get that depth of field and positioning just right to have the butterfly and engagement ring tack sharp and allowing the rest to fade into the background.

Earl mentioned wanting photos that were dynamic and unique… I loved playing with the various plants and all of the window light in the atrium…  here everything comes together to create a dramatic scene… I purposely under exposed the scene to give it a mysterious, sexy feel– Claire those cheekbones, wow!

Claire explained, “Earl and I originally met in Hershey, when I was attending school to become a dermatologist.  We chose the Gardens for that reason, but mostly because they are so romantic!   I love fresh flowers, chocolate and who doesn’t love butterflies?!”

Earl added, “We both really enjoy the outdoors and Claire loves color and flowers, so the Hershey Gardens were our number one choice.”

Claire explained, “One of the great things about Earl and I is that we are totally ourselves with each other. Whether I’m on a call with a patient or co-worker to being silly and relaxing, he never judges me. I feel pretty, confident, and funny when I’m with him. He makes me feel good about myself, and all the while, I feel like I’m the lucky one. I have a crush on Earl ;).”

Awwwwwww….

They shared, “We are hoping for photos that show the different parts of our personalities.  Particularly the relaxed, natural vibe we have together and the beautiful surroundings, we’d love to see you capture that in a creative way.”

Another creative way I was able to bring in the busy, fluttering butterflies was to play with my aperture and catch them in sharp focus and allow the couple to show subtly in the background… here I focused on the butterfly and yellow flowers… doesn’t it look like we are in Hawaii?

A few things that stood out to me on the shoot were what a natural fit these two are, how they make each other laugh and smile a lot… and seeing them smile just made me smile!

Everyone needs to find someone that makes them laugh this hard:

They shared, “With the garden setting, we wanted a wardrobe that was bright, airy, and would complement the setting. Our honeymoon will be on a tropical island so we were able to tie that in a bit incorporating mostly neutrals with a touch of color.”

Again, it almost looks like we flew to Hawaii for this shoot!

Claire shared, “I love bright colors, and I love summer time.  I loved the colorful flowers on the bottom of my dress. They worked well with my blue sandals and orange painted toes!”

I found a place with even more color so that everything really popped!

Claire smiled, “I remember when I realized Earl was “The One.” It was around our third or so date. We were at Millworks in Harrisburg for brunch. I wore a navy dress with flowers on it and wedge sandals and he was waiting for me across the street (of course he got there on time, I a few moments late haha). It was windy and I got out of the car and my hair was blowing all over the place. I felt excited. I had the tacos, he got pancakes. As we ate, I realized, hit like a ton of bricks, “I really like him.”

She continued, “Then we went for a walk over the Walnut Street foot bridge to City Island. He said, “I’d like to take some pictures of you.” I was like, “Who? Silly ol’ me?!” So I walked toward him, and he was backing up, snapping away. At that moment I realized, “I could spend the rest of my days with this most interesting man.  I’ve never met anyone like him.  What a gem!” 

You can’t be in Hershey, Pennsylvania without a little bit of a Hershey kiss reference… in this shot I imagine them shrunken down to miniature versions of themselves, haha…

Claire explained, “I would describe Earl as a wonderful man. When I first saw him in that restaurant, I thought to myself, “Boy, he sure is cute!” I immediately recognized him as a confident, kind, thoughtful, smart person, and I was definitely interested in getting to know more. He helped that along, because from early on in our relationship, he would text me every morning, and if he was traveling for work, even in the beginning, he would text or call before going to sleep. I felt that he actually courted me, which was so romantic.”

Earl explained, “I love photography and Claire loves calendars, after realizing she was the one that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with I needed to find a special way to propose. I decided to make a personal calendar filled with places I’ve visited for work, our vacation trips, special moments, and family. After I asked her what her perfect wedding month would be, I decided to insert a photo of the engagement ring on that month!”

He continued, “So, after planning to have my family come to her parents’ home and giving Claire an excuse of, “they just wanted to hangout” I was able to get everyone that was important to her and myself together for the special moment. This is when I walked her through the calendar that showed our special moments from day one to our future. The excitement, surprise, and pure joy everyone felt is unforgettable.”

Here is a ring shot, feel free to add it to any future Claire calendars…

Claire shared, “One of the things I love most is that he is a true Renaissance Man. I am always learning new things about him. Most recently, I learned out of nowhere, that he is an excellent skateboarder! Who knew, haha?! He’s just constantly surprising me in the most wonderful and unexpected ways, but at the same time, I know exactly who he is and admire his stability. What makes us work so well together is that we share similar goals and interests. We support each other’s hobbies and are interested in learning more about them. I never thought I would know so much about cars, the Marines, or photography. I could go on and on, but the last thing I will say he is simply the coolest.”

Haaa I nearly climbed in the rose bush for this shot!  I love all the vibrant pops of color that burst throughout this photo as a result…

While I love to capture creative shots in the moment, I also know how important it is for couples to have a few nice, traditional portraits, too.  I always set aside a little time for those, too during the photo session…

Claire enthusiastically shared, “I LOVE roller coasters!  I always have and they’ll always remind me of my time at Hershey, as I worked to study my trade, dermatology.”

I love to play with perspective and use multiple lenses throughout my shoot… here I capture the whole scene– the flowers, atrium, even the blue sky with the happy couple…

Earl smiled, “I fell for Claire on our first date, her energy before she even spoke was unbelievable and it was the first time, I ever experienced something like that. I love that she’s the right amount of extrovert to my introvert which I feel is why we work so well together. She is supportive, determined, funny, and lovable. We both have similar interest and strive to meet our goals.

I love the idea of symmetry here and matching it fit.  I know I used the heart-hand idea earlier in the session, but with a butterfly here, I just thought this was perfect!  Nope, not photo-shopped!  😀

Claire and Earl, Thank you so much for trusting me whole hardheartedly to capture the two of you in your element!  I can’t wait to photograph your upcoming Harrisburg State Capitol and Harrisburg Hilton Wedding!

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