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Tuesday Mash-Up

Good moooorning, Neverland! Hook is one of my all-time favorite movies, and I’ve been pining to watch it for weeks but we haven’t been able to find it anywhere! Matt finally managed to track down a copy and we settled in on Friday night to watch it, and despite the fact that it’s been 10-15 years since the last time I saw Hook, I still remember all my favorite lines. “Oh THERE you are, Peter!” and “You need a mother very, VERY BADLY!” Let’s just all agree Hook‘s the best iteration of the Peter Pan story, ok?

It’s October, which means wedding season is in full swing. I’ve been running around like a crazy person, but it’s been amazing! Fall tends to be when I travel most for portraits, and with a quick trip up to Manhattan last week for Chris & Shan’s Anniversary Session, I was loving life. New York City is my #1 favorite US destination for portrait sessions, and fortunately for me my couples share the same love of the city! I’m so dang excited to share this particular Anniversary Session with you guys, look for that on the blog this week!

As always, lessons learned/events that transpired over the past week:

  • I always seem to forget that New Yorkers like to keep to themselves/aren’t as friendly as I’m accustomed to. See, on the running trails in northern VA, if you pass someone, you either briefly wave or say “morning/afternoon/evening.” Yeah, that same courtesy doesn’t fly in Central Park- people just look at you like you’re a weirdo.
  • Something else to note when in Central Park: people who are walking their dogs don’t take kindly to you exclaiming “puppy!” every time one walks past. Yes, Abby, it’s a dog. Get over it and let them get on with their walk.
  • To the sure-to-be copyright-infringing characters in Times Square: PUT YOUR FREAKING MASKS/HEADS BACK ON. There’s little more disturbing than seeing a bunch of headless Mickie & Minnies walking around counting out the dollar bills they’ve made from tourists. It felt like I was watching Winnie the Pooh do drugs or something.
  • I had my first Philly Cheesesteak ever last week!…purchased from a Falafel food truck… topped with Greek Tzatziki sauce. Gosh, I love New York.

Previews! One from Chris & Shan’s Anniversary Session in New York…

New York City anniversary photographer- Abby Grace

One from Jacob & Courtney’s wedding this past weekend…

Washington DC wedding photographer

One from a Central Park ballerina session with Georgina…

New York City ballerina photographer- Abby Grace

And one from this morning’s Anniversary Session with Scott & Chelsea! Ahhh, I’m dying over these two!

Washington DC anniversary photographer- Abby Grace

Sydni Jackson - October 15, 2014 - 10:15 pm

Sooo not exactly a Philly cheese steak then, huh? ;) Tip: When in Philly, don’t ever order a “Philly” cheese steak. Made that mistake when I first moved here. #newb. Courtney & Jacob….WOW! Can’t wait to see the rest! And yes, Hook the best!!!

Mary - October 15, 2014 - 9:44 am

this makes me miss living so close to NYC! Also, my husband has been quoting Hook non-stop lately! Haha

Kathryn Grace - October 14, 2014 - 11:33 pm

Ooh! Can’t wait to see more of all of these!

courtney - October 14, 2014 - 2:31 pm

Abby – Hook is available on Netflix I believe – the Kids were just watching it on Roku last weekend : )

Love the photo of Courtney and Jacob – it doesn’t even look like the middle of Arlington!

Nick & Nicole- an Annapolis engagement session on the Bay

This particular engagement session has been seven years in the making. As high school sweethearts, Nick & Nicole have weathered quite a bit- four years of long-distance dating throughout college isn’t for the faint of heart. But you can tell, just by watching them, that the passing years haven’t done anything to dull the sparks- there’s an easiness in the way they interact that suggests a years-long familiarity, but her face still lights up in that “at first blush” kind of way when he looks at her. And his brown eyes still crinkle when he smiles in her direction. Seven years in the making, and they’re absolutely crazy for one another.

Nick & Nicole, I am SO glad that we crossed paths! I sometimes worry that years down the road the sparks of romance inevitably fade, but you both are living proof that that notion simply doesn’t hold water. It was a joy to spend the morning watching and documenting your love! I’m SO excited for next June!

PS- for those of you who think Nicole looks familiar, you’re right! She was a bridesmaid in William & Meg’s wedding in May, and now it’s these two’s turn!

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Jean - October 9, 2014 - 10:07 am

beautiful photos, Abby. Love the light and the beautiful colors in the background. Beautiful couple makes it complete.

Nicole - October 9, 2014 - 9:05 am

Abby – you are so amazing!! I can’t begin to tell you how much I am in love with these!! Thank you for everything!

Tim& Cristina- a chic black, white and gold wedding at the Carnegie Institution for Science

The term “love with abandon” comes to mind with Tim & Cristina- I lost count of the number of times he twirled her in her wedding gown during their first look. He couldn’t take his eyes off of her- it’s the way every girl dreams of being looked at, with the eyes of first love every time he glanced her way. No matter how crowded the room, it seemed they kept forgetting everyone else was there. Caught entirely up in each other, in the moment, in the enchantment of their wedding day, it was just them; a bride and a groom, madly in love, determined to cherish every single moment.

Tim & Cristina, days like September 27th, 2014, and couples like you two are the very epitome of why I fell in love with this life in the first place. Your sweet, sweet love is such a precious thing to witness, and I’m so lucky to have been the one to document your wedding day! I hope marriage so far is nothing short of bliss, and that the shores of Greece are everything you dreamed and more!

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Chic black tie wedding at the Carnegie Institution of Science, DC- Abby Grace Photography

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Chic black tie wedding at the Carnegie Institution of Science, DC- Abby Grace Photography

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Details-

Venue: Carnegie Institution for Science
Coordination: Kelley Cannon Events
Catering: Spilled Milk
Dress: Anna Maier via Hitched Bridal Couture
Shoes: custom design from Milk & Honey
Florals: Helen Olivia
Groomsmen: Brooks Brothers
Hair & Make-up: Modern Bridal Studio
Deejay: Chris Laich Music

Rici - October 18, 2014 - 5:20 am

Beautiful Abby! The first look is truly touching! & I love their venue! OMG!

Emilia Jane - October 17, 2014 - 11:40 am

Love. Love love love.

Lauren Swann - October 8, 2014 - 11:50 am

This is absolutely GORGEOUS! It’s amazing!!

Urška Majer - October 7, 2014 - 1:34 pm

Wow! What a gorgeous wedding :)

Shalese - October 7, 2014 - 12:17 pm

The twirling pictures are still my favorites . . . all of them! Just kidding. They’re all my favorites. And just looking at those donuts makes my mouth water!! Best little things ever!

Sarah Bradshaw - October 7, 2014 - 11:34 am

This is your brand, to a “t”. LOVE IT!!

Jean - October 7, 2014 - 11:22 am

gorgeous photos, Abby. I love the expressions on this bride’s face. Pure joy! Beautiful venue! WOW!

kaitlyn phipps - October 7, 2014 - 11:21 am

abby this wedding is so YOU! and your detail shots were on point!

Monday Mash-Up

Hellooooo! And happy Monday! I accidentally made my coffee uber strong this morning, so I’m pretty cracked out at the moment. The eyelid twitch has yet to set in, but I don’t doubt it’sa comin’ for me.

So, this weekend. Where can I even begin? I photographed my first Indian/Nepalese wedding and it was one of the most life-giving days I’ve experienced as a wedding professional. See, going into it, Megan (one of my awesome interns!) & I knew we’d been shooting for 12 hours. Normally I’m pretty shattered at the end of a 9 hour wedding day, so I was a little worried about making it through with energy to spare for this past weekend. As such, we prepped ourselves with Gatorades, plenty of Luna bars, Cheez-Its and Sour Patch Kids on hand. And miraculously? I felt even BETTER at the end of Neal & Sweta’s wedding than I usually do after most 8-hour days! I was seriously praising God all day yesterday- I even had enough energy to run an 8-miler after church!

As always, lessons learned/events that transpired over the past week:

  • Last Friday was officially Mean Girls Day, so I posted an IG to celebrate the occasion. PLEASE go look at this photo and read the ensuing hashtags of quotes.
  • Things I do not recommend doing: getting less than 6 hours of sleep, followed by waking up at 4:30am, followed by running 20 miles, followed by not-napping and staying up until midnight, followed by another early wake-up at 4:15 am the next morning. But someone, all of that worked in my favor, because Nick & Nicole’s engagement session was PERFECT. Probably a result of their overwhelming adorableness together.
  • Look at this photo and tell me that Lily isn’t actually a house elf. I actually wanted to name her Winky but Matt wouldn’t let me, so we settled on a less-obvious nod to HP with the name Lily. I sometimes call her Winky anyways, though. She just…doesn’t respond.
  • I spent THREE HOURS yesterday searching high and low for the perfect pair of fall boots to replace my current ones (the soles have started to separate, I think they’re trying to tell me “it’s time”). Nothing. Maybe I should just take my old pair to the cobbler?
  • What is it about chilly fall mornings that makes me want to do nothing but curl up under a blanket with a book? I can finally break out my warm fuzz slippers again!

This week should be a good one on the blog! An exquisite Carnegie Institution wedding, a sweet engagement session, and tips for traveling! Stay tuned :).

One more preview of this weekend’s wedding!

Washington DC fine art wedding photographer

Alicia Lacey - October 6, 2014 - 6:40 pm

Still laughing about the Winky bullet — Miss Lily definitely has the cutest ears that qualify her as a house elf!! Oh and this wedding? Cannot wait!!

Rebekah - October 6, 2014 - 4:23 pm

I can’t wait to see the Indian/Nepalese wedding!!! And I’m excited to be wearing my fuzzy socks again too! Additionally I tried a PSL for the first time last week & I must say I thought of you b/c I seem to remember you saying you don’t actually like them either. I sure didn’t. I figured the pumpkin spice would cover up the coffee taste but it didn’t (I don’t like coffee).

Caili - October 6, 2014 - 3:18 pm

I’m sorry…but I just can’t get over the fact that you drink coffee now!!! xoxo

Shalese - October 6, 2014 - 10:08 am

Whoa, I felt better than usual after my first Indian wedding, too! I think it was because most of the wedding took place on carpeted ballroom floors. And because it was all so new and interesting to witness!! So excited to see all the pictures!

I would totally try to find someone who re-soles boots. Once they’re broken in, they’re a treasure!!

Abby - October 6, 2014 - 9:52 am

Fall boots suggestion — Naturalizer! I swear by them.

Sarah Beth - October 6, 2014 - 9:40 am

Totally read through those hash-tags on mean girls day, and LOLed. SO GOOD. Can’t wait to see more from this wedding! SO colorful- loving it.

Making time for sunset portraits on the wedding day!

I love First Looks. I really, really, really do! But one inherent flaw about the First Look is that it typically happens in the middle of the day, which most photographers would agree is the worst kind of natural light (unless it’s cloudy. God bless cumulonimbus). The engagement session is awesome because we’ll time that according to either morning or evening Golden Hour, but on the wedding day more often than not, it’s my job to just go with whatever lighting conditions I’m given for the First Look. You do your best to find open shade, some sort of natural reflector, but you get the jist- most often, wedding day portraits don’t coincide with Golden Hour.

However.

There’s STILL a way to take advantage of that warm, buttery light that graces us with her presence 45ish minutes before sunset. Typically, when my couples opt to do a first look, I’ll also let them know that we’ll want to set aside 8-10 minutes after the ceremony for a few more portraits. Now that they’re, you know, ACTUALLY married :). I explain that we can either do those portraits right after family formals, or, if they’re down for it, we’ll sneak out during dinner for a few moments of [mostly] alone time.

Sunset portraits on the wedding day- Abby Grace Photography

I’m so fortunate that I have couples who trust me, who know my work and who know what I can do given a few minutes, an open field, and a setting sun. These portraits almost always end up being my favorites from the day! And even if it ends up being cloudy in the evening, it’s still a chance to capture their love in the midst of joy!

Brides, definitely think about making time for sunset portraits on your wedding day. It’s 5-10 minutes, and a chance to take a breather amidst a sometimes hectic reception. I promise you won’t regret it! Don’t hesitate to ask your photographer, even if it’s spur-of-the-moment on the wedding day. Billy, Jenny (below) & I had already done their post-ceremony portraits when she looked outside during dinner, saw the sun coming in over the Chesapeake Bay, and asked if I wouldn’t mind going back out for more portraits. I could have squeezed her!

Sunset portraits on the wedding day- Abby Grace Photography

Photographers- be sensitive on the wedding day to changing attitudes/feelings. Do your best to make time for these portraits ahead of time, but be aware that a bride & groom may change their mind by the time they get to the reception- they might be tired, in the middle of enjoying an incredible dinner or conversation, and if so, let it be. Your portfolio is not as important as their wedding day experience, and sometimes that means letting incredible light pass undocumented. I’d rather my couple savor the wedding day in a way that makes them the happiest, than pushing them for portraits that they’ll always remember they took begrudgingly.

Sunset portraits on the wedding day- Abby Grace Photography

Megan - October 3, 2014 - 3:33 pm

This is so dead on! I remember being upset that we were doing photos at all after the ceremony. We had to do most everything after because my groom’s family (including the best man) was late. But because we were taking photos anyway we got some gorgeous shots as new husband and wife. The sun light was amazing and those are my favorite photos!