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Mike & Jen- a sunrise anniversary session amongst wildflowers

The way the light spilled onto the thousands of buttercups, scattered along the meadow floor, it was enough to take anyone’s breath away. But then you add Mike & Jen into the equation, and everything else sort of falls away, and it’s them that you can’t peel your eyes away from, not the wildflowers. That quiet sense of contentment amidst the beautiful sort of chaos of nature. It’s a striking thing to behold, inexplicably beautiful in every way.

And then there’s the experience of it all for Mike & Jen themselves. I’ve shared before my heart behind anniversary sessions, and Jen’s words in a note she gave me yesterday sum it up perfectly-

“…I feel like those moments really breathed new life into our marriage this week…”

Mike & Jen, Monday morning was sheer perfection. Thank you so very, very much for allowing me to photograph you both, I loved every minute of our time together!

Reston, Virginia anniversary session- Abby Grace PhotographyReston, Virginia anniversary session- Abby Grace PhotographyReston, Virginia anniversary session- Abby Grace PhotographyReston, Virginia anniversary session- Abby Grace PhotographyReston, Virginia anniversary session- Abby Grace PhotographyReston, Virginia anniversary session- Abby Grace PhotographyReston, Virginia anniversary session- Abby Grace PhotographyReston, Virginia anniversary session- Abby Grace PhotographyReston, Virginia anniversary session- Abby Grace PhotographyReston, Virginia anniversary session- Abby Grace PhotographyReston, Virginia anniversary session- Abby Grace PhotographyReston, Virginia anniversary session- Abby Grace PhotographyReston, Virginia anniversary session- Abby Grace PhotographyReston, Virginia anniversary session- Abby Grace Photography

Urška Majer - April 19, 2014 - 12:10 pm

Truly stunning session!

Shalese - April 18, 2014 - 1:57 pm

Breathing new life . . . that is so beautiful!!!! :)

Jean - April 18, 2014 - 11:59 am

Beautiful! What a magical location! Lovely couple.

Marisa Crider - April 18, 2014 - 11:03 am

The location is magical!! Lovely photographs Abby.

Lauren Swann - April 18, 2014 - 10:56 am

I’m almost literally drooling over that fun field! Love these images and definitely love anniversary shoots!!

Jason & Lindsay- a sunrise DC cherry blossoms engagement session

After a long few months (mostly) off from shooting, my wedding & engagement season kicked off last week. And Jason & Lindsay were the PERFECT engagement session to get things started! The cherry blossoms had just started to reach full bloom over near the Capitol building, and though the morning chill was palpable, their session was unbelievably marvelous.

These two have this effortlessness about them, the way they laugh with ease and and smile often. I imagine there’s quite a bit of laughter in their lives, there certainly was during my time with Jason & Lindsay. Watching them together, how she calls him “handsome” and teases him about his serious expression, how he can’t seem to get enough of holding her hand, looping his arm around her waist; it’s enough to make anyone smile! She said she knew he was the one after their first date, and with an assuredness that certain, it’s impossible not to see it too.

Jason & Lindsay, thank you so very much for such a wonderful morning in DC! I can’t imagine a better first engagement session to start my year, and I positively cannot wait for your wedding in August!

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms engagement session- Abby GraceWashington DC Cherry Blossoms engagement session- Abby GraceWashington DC Cherry Blossoms engagement session- Abby GraceWashington DC Cherry Blossoms engagement session- Abby GraceWashington DC Cherry Blossoms engagement session- Abby GraceWashington DC Cherry Blossoms engagement session- Abby GraceWashington DC Cherry Blossoms engagement session- Abby GraceWashington DC Cherry Blossoms engagement session- Abby GraceWashington DC Cherry Blossoms engagement session- Abby GraceWashington DC Cherry Blossoms engagement session- Abby GraceWashington DC Cherry Blossoms engagement session- Abby GraceWashington DC Cherry Blossoms engagement session- Abby GraceWashington DC Cherry Blossoms engagement session- Abby GraceWashington DC Cherry Blossoms engagement session- Abby GraceWashington DC Cherry Blossoms engagement session- Abby GraceWashington DC Cherry Blossoms engagement session- Abby Grace

katelyn james - April 17, 2014 - 7:45 pm

yep! love these!!! Lindsay you’ve always been so gorgeous but you’re radiant in these!! Looking at you two makes my heart happy! God is so faithful!!!

Tiffany Heidenthal - April 17, 2014 - 2:41 pm

So romantic. Love these :)

Monday Mash-Up

You guys have seen Frozen, right? You know Olaf’s song about Summer? That’s how I feel right now, just about Spring instead! The weather this weekend was nothing short of heaven-sent, with sunny skies and warm temperatures. The cherry blossoms are in full bloom around Virginia and we had our first of many warm-weather bonfires at my parents’ house last night. I LOVE WARM WEATHER! It’s so peculiar- I feel like every time we enter a new season, whichever one we’re currently in becomes my new favorite. If you’d asked me in October, I’d have told you Fall is the best. But if you polled me again this morning, I’d say spring. The same goes for Winter & Summer- I guess I’m just happy as a lark all year round :).

So! As always, lessons learned/things that transpired over the weekend:

  • Why is it that bugs always seem to hit the windshield on the driver’s side? And the ones that hit on the drivers side are always the kind that won’t come off with windshield wiper fluid, either. So you’re stuck leaning to the side to see clearly until you can stop at a gas station to remove the offending grease mark.
  • I was down in Radford on Friday to contribute to RU’s Comms Week again- it’s so nerve-wracking being up in front of 100+ students PLUS all your old professors. But I love it! And I wore my tulle skirt that my Granny & I made for an extra dose of confidence.
  • I’d forgotten how sinfully delicious the sugar cookies are in RU’s dining hall, Dalton. Kind of makes me want to go back to school.
  • This has been said before on my blog, but I LOVE books on CD for long road trips! I pulled out a couple of selections from the Reston Library on Thursday before getting on the road and right now, I’m listening to “Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister,” by the same guy who wrote “Wicked.” Time passes so much more enjoyably!

Oh hey- running trails have their moments. My dad and I’ve passed this meadow dozens of times, and I’ve always thought what a pretty spot it would be for an anniversary session. Yesterday’s run showed me that the buttercups were in bloom all over the floor of the meadow, so after a quick PSA on Facebook our friends from church, Mike & Jen, were all hands in to meet me at dawn this morning for a session! Ahhh! I love these so much and can’t wait to share them with you guys!

Reston, Virginia anniversary session- Abby Grace Photography

Jean - April 14, 2014 - 3:43 pm

What a beautiful picture. The setting is fabulous! I also love the four seasons. Would not want to live where it’s warm all the time.

Lauren Swann - April 14, 2014 - 8:23 am

I absolutely love this fun peek!!! The field is gorgeous!!! Can’t wait to see the rest!!!

Rebekah Hoyt - April 14, 2014 - 8:05 am

Gorgeous sneak peek! That field is BEAUTIFUL!!

Sophie- a dramatic ballerina session at the Sacré-Coeur Basilica in Paris, France

God bless Twitter. About six weeks before my most recent trip to France, I Tweeted at Sophie to ask, if I came to Paris, would she be up for shooting again? Within three minutes I had an affirmative response, and within 10 minutes of that, we were on Skype excitedly planning our next shoot.

She became my muse last fall when we shot her first ballerina session with me in DC. As she lives and dances in Paris, I had this audacious dream of one day shooting her in my favorite European city, and words cannot expressed just how thrilled I am that we made this work! Sophie is so beautiful, so graceful, and photographing her is a dance photographer’s dream. Something tells me this won’t be the last time I photograph this gorgeous ballerina, I always have such a wonderful time with her.

Sophie, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for helping me make this session come to life, for being as exquisite lovely as you are, and for being willing to get up at such an un-Parisian hour to oblige my artist’s heart. You’re the BEST!

Paris ballerina session at Sacré-Coeur Basilica in Montmartre- Abby Grace PhotographyParis ballerina session at Sacré-Coeur Basilica in Montmartre- Abby Grace PhotographyParis ballerina session at Sacré-Coeur Basilica in Montmartre- Abby Grace PhotographyParis ballerina session at Sacré-Coeur Basilica in Montmartre- Abby Grace PhotographyParis ballerina session at Sacré-Coeur Basilica in Montmartre- Abby Grace PhotographyParis ballerina session at Sacré-Coeur Basilica in Montmartre- Abby Grace PhotographyParis ballerina session at Sacré-Coeur Basilica in Montmartre- Abby Grace PhotographyParis ballerina session at Sacré-Coeur Basilica in Montmartre- Abby Grace PhotographyParis ballerina session at Sacré-Coeur Basilica in Montmartre- Abby Grace PhotographyParis ballerina session at Sacré-Coeur Basilica in Montmartre- Abby Grace PhotographyParis ballerina session at Sacré-Coeur Basilica in Montmartre- Abby Grace Photography

Paris ballerina session at Sacré-Coeur Basilica in Montmartre- Abby Grace Photography

Paris ballerina session at Sacré-Coeur Basilica in Montmartre- Abby Grace Photography

Deborah Zoe - April 15, 2014 - 5:18 pm

These are breathtaking!!

Kate Jones - April 11, 2014 - 6:36 am

You inspire me so much, these are beautiful!
I just set up my first ballerina shoot, being a former dancer, I am super excited!

Beth Hamilton - April 10, 2014 - 12:57 pm

I’ve been thinking about what you said about photographing something for ME and I’ve got some ideas in the works. I’m so glad you had the chance to shoot something you’re so passionate about in a city as beautiful as Paris!

Kathryn Grace - April 10, 2014 - 12:32 pm

Perfection!

Melissa - April 10, 2014 - 9:42 am

seriously, these are so beautiful – you have such a talent!

Urška Majer - April 10, 2014 - 8:29 am

This looks gorgeous!

Jean - April 10, 2014 - 8:21 am

Beautiful photos of a lovely dancer. So glad you had this opportunity to follow your passion. Keep up the good work.

Lessons Learned: adjusting White Balance in-camera to save time on editing

Throughout the past few years, one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned is how to get my images as close to perfect as possible in-camera. It used to take me weeks to edit a wedding, which was due in part to my poor understanding of editing, but also to how much work each image needed. I remember the first time I edited an engagement session in one day and I was SO proud of myself (as I should have been, it was a major accomplishment at the time!), and yet these days I can finish an engagement session in roughly 45 minutes, less than that if I turn off the wifi :). A large part of that is owed to how much I’ve done while shooting to get my ideal image, so that there’s less to do when I bring my images into LightRoom for editing.

I shoot with my mk3 on Manual mode, adjusting pretty much everything myself- exposure, ISO, aperture. The only things I leave up to my camera to figure out are Auto Focus and, in the past, white balance (WB from here on out). I figured I had enough to adjust between exposure and such that I could just let my camera do the work for WB, as it was usually “close enough” that it didn’t require too much work later on.

Shooting in Kelvins instead of Auto WB- Abby Grace Photography

 

But sometimes, auto WB was just plain OFF. Either an image was way too cool (blue) or way too warm (yellow), and even though I was shooting in RAW, it just didn’t look as good after I finished editing when I was having to do substantial overhauls to get my photos close to “natural.” If an image was super blue and I had to drag the temperature slider up by more than 400-500 degrees, it left skin tones looking almost gray. Not pretty.

Then I discovered Kelvins! Well, I mean, I knew it was possible to shoot in Kelvins, but I never bothered with it because as I said, I was “managing” on Auto WB. But now that I know how much time it saves in post-processing if I take five seconds to adjust my white balance manually, I’ll never go back to shooting anything outdoors on Auto WB. Yes, Auto WB can work if it needs to, but one of my main goals is to spend LESS time behind the computer editing, and more time doing what I love: being behind the camera. Auto WB is usually ok for indoor stuff, like family formals and dancing shots, but for outdoor portraits, Kelvins is my jams.

See what I mean? Both of these images are unedited, with the exception of a little straightening (because for some reason, I always tend to shoot a little crookedly). The one on the left was shot on Auto WB, the one on the right was shot using Kelvins.

Shooting in Kelvins instead of Auto WB- Abby Grace Photography

 

Neither is perfect, but the one on the right is a heck of a lot closer to my final product. The one I shot on Kelvins ended up being a little too warm, so I pulled back the temperature by a few degrees, adjusted my exposure and blacks, and voila. Done-zo!

Shooting in Kelvins instead of Auto WB- Abby Grace Photography

There are a couple of ways to adjust a Canon 5dmk3′s Kelvin temperature settings. The way I originally learned to do it was by pressing the video button (the one at the top right corner of your LCD display), and then WHILE you’re in video mode, press your “WB” button, select “K” for Kelvins, and then adjust the degrees according to how warm or cool you want your settings to be. The Live View mode allows you to see how the changing settings will affect your image will turn out without having to take a test shot, so it’s quick and easy! The other method is by finding “White Balance” under your “Shoot” menu.

Happy Wednesday!

Kyla - April 9, 2014 - 8:09 pm

I’m so glad you posted this…..just what I needed! You’re the best!

Kaitlyn Phipps - April 9, 2014 - 12:47 pm

super super helpful abby! can’t wait to try this!

Abbey - April 9, 2014 - 11:35 am

Girl!!!! I used to cringe when I uploaded my images into lightroom and see those awful blue tones. Kelvin has been a lifesaver for me. I refuse to shoot in auto anymore!