Jessica & Chris – Westin Annapolis NYE Wedding!



What better way to wrap up a great year than to shoot a fabulously fun New Year’s Eve wedding at the Westin Annapolis? It was the perfect conclusion to my 2011. Jessica and Chris are insanely cute together, and their wedding was such a touching reflection of their vibrant, fun-loving personalities. From Chris vowing to pledge his love from the highest mountaintop (Facebook) to the dance they did down the aisle after the ceremony, this wedding was full of moments I’ll never forget!

Special thanks to Stephen Elliot (of Mud Productions) for helping me out! A few of these photos are his.

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Why I Do What I Do



Over the weekend, I got a short note from Sarah, one of my brides from this past May.

Emily,
I just wanted to share with you how much your photos mean to me. My grandaddy passed away three weeks ago. I never knew how much pictures could mean until I looked back at the ones that you took of him and me at my wedding. You make a difference. :)

Wow! This is what it’s all about. Not gonna lie, I teared up a bit, because I never know when the photos I take might be someone’s last. How humbling is that?

I starting thinking about this and asked myself honestly, “Would I shoot differently if I knew the photos I took would be the last ones to remember someone by?” That’s a hard question, and I’m not sure I want to answer it. But it’s how I should be shooting all the time. And I try for that, I really do. Weddings are about the moments, the relationships, the LOVE for goodness sake! That’s what I want people to remember when they look at my photos.

Thanks, Sarah, for bringing this back into focus for me and letting me share your story.

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Best Songs of 2011



Before the month of January comes to an end, I wanted to share my annual list of favorite songs from the past year! These are songs I discovered in 2011, not necessarily ones that were released then. You can see here my lists from previous years: 2010, 2009, and 2008. It’s kinda fun to chart how my tastes change (and don’t change!) from year to year. I loved all of these songs, but am having a hard time putting them in order of most to least favorite, so here they are in no particular order:

Hide and Seek – Imogen Heap
Little Talks – Of Monsters and Men
Rolling in the Deep – Adele
Sail – AWOLNATION
Life in the Pain – SafetySuit
Us Against the World – Coldplay
Iridescent – Linkin Park
Say (All I Need) – OneRepublic
Hard Times – Eastmountainsouth
Bubbles – Biffy Clyro

Bridal Shoot – Belvedere Hotel in Baltimore



I just shot these photos last Friday but I can’t wait to share them!

For this shoot, I teamed up with the ladies from Amie Decker Beauty at the beautiful Belvedere Hotel in Baltimore. They did all the hair and makeup on eight gorgeous models, and I was one of four photographers shooting the final product! And wow did these models look fabulous. Can’t wait to see what my new photo friends came up with since we were all in the same location with the same models. It’s always fun for me to see everyone else’s vision.

The biggest challenge I faced was doing something creative with each model. I’m usually working with a time constraint when photographing brides, and I can say having plenty of time really did make all the difference! I had time to experiment and try things that I would ordinarily sacrifice to get the normal “must-have” shots. I can’t say everything I tried was successful, but I was really pleased with some of the results!

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WeddingWire – Bride’s Choice Awards 2012



I won again! Woo hoo!

Weddings, Wedding Venues
2012 Bride's Choice Awards | Best Wedding Photographers, Wedding Dresses, Wedding Cakes, Wedding Florists, Wedding Planners

Every year, WeddingWire hosts the annual Bride’s Choice Awards. It’s a badge given to recognize top local wedding professionals from the WeddingWire network. Awards are determined by my reviews, so thanks to everyone who left me such positive feedback! This is my THIRD year to win in a row. If you got married last year and haven’t reviewed me, I’d love it if you did so!

Some Thoughts on Creativity



This is from a TED talk I watched recently on creativity: “If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.”

It got me thinking. Why and how do we lose our creativity as we get older? Why isn’t it encouraged when we’re young?

I think we’re all too afraid of being wrong, doing wrong, and saying the wrong thing.

Creativity is a huge part of my business. I love that facet of the job, but there are some moments when it does feel forced upon me. I have to tell people on the spot where to stand and how to pose, while simultaneously evaluating the lighting, the background, their expression, little details like crooked ties or fly-away hairs AND at the same time field the inevitable questions from the peanut gallery.

Oh yeah, and I’m supposed to be creative.

I don’t want to feel restricted by fear or time or ability anymore.

I can’t promise that my attempts at creativity will be successes, but I can promise I’ll keep trying.

Let’s all agree to try more new things, think more new ideas, and get rid of the underlying fear!
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Best of 2011 – Weddings



2011 was my best year yet – professionally and personally. I feel like I really hit my stride in the business aspect of things. There will ALWAYS be room for improvement, and I could list about 15 things I want to do differently in the future, but there are a lot of things I did right and am proud of. On a personal level, it was a great year because I got engaged, traveled a lot, and knocked quite a few things off my bucket list!

Looking back on my work over the past year, it’s interesting (and encouraging) to see the progression. I do still feel like I am improving, and I hope to always be a work in progress. If I ever reach a point where I think I know it all, or I stop trying new things and exploring new ideas, please slap me.

Complacency is my enemy.

I’ve never really done the whole New Year’s resolution thing, because I believe if I need to make a change, then I should do it now. I don’t need a date in the calendar to tell me when to start. But in 2012, I do pledge to continue to become a better business owner, fiancée (in May – wife!), and Christian. Oh, and I’m really really really gonna try to blog more. :)

Circling back around to this “Best of 2011″ blog post, I do also want to say THANK YOU to all of my truly awesome clients, family, and friends. I know everyone says the cliché, “It wouldn’t be possible without you!” but no, really, IT WOULDN’T BE POSSIBLE WITHOUT YOU! The support and encouragement I got from your emails and Facebook comments and reviews continues to be invaluable. There were times this year when I would look at my work and want to cry because I felt like it didn’t measure up my expectations or something I saw on the Style Me Pretty blog, then I’d get an email from one of you saying how happy you were with the work I’ve done. And that’s all that matters.

I know I’m not saving the world by being a doctor or teacher or philanthropist. I’m just a photographer in an economy where having your picture taken is a luxury, not a necessity. I get that. But I do believe there is something worthwhile and even valuable about turning life experiences and moments into tangible memories that can live on for generations. And that’s why I do it. For that little snapshot of life.

So without further ado, here are my favorite shots from 2011!

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