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Monday Mash-Up

Gooood morning from Italy! I’ve been here for just over 36 hours and already, I’m in love. My sweet friend Sarah (remember her Kansas City wedding?) is a OST excellent tour guide, and we spent most of yesterday wandering the streets of Vicenza, getting lost for the sake of seeing life happen in this little town. Italy is so incredible, just as I knew it would be- brightly colored buildings, window boxes with flowers spilling out, bicycles, umbrellas, wine, and cheese. Everything I’d dreamed, and then some. I’m in love.

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

  • How are Italians this gorgeous? Seriously! It’s kind of intimidating, being around so many beautiful people all the time.
  • Pizza: so. much. better in Italy.
  • Also: Italian wine? It’s even better than you’ve imagined.
  • Additionally, meal times here are much later. Sarah’s told me most restaurants don’t even open for dinner until 7, with most people choosing to dine around 8/8:30. I love it!
  • I spent a good 30 seconds yesterday looking for a way to activate the water faucet in a restaurant bathroom yesterday before realizing there was a pedal on the floor. I wish there’d been a camera to record it, because I looked like a total idiot.
  • Listening to Italians talk is utterly fascinating. Sarah mentioned yesterday how they never say “si” (“yes) just once- it’s always two, three or more times. And it makes me laugh whenever I hear it now- “si, si, si!”

My digital camera’s stayed put in my suitcase so far (but I’m shooting plenty of film!), so here’s an Instagram, taken from Greg & Sarah’s living room window. We’re headed to Venice for the day, ciao!

Vicenza, Italy

Jean - March 24, 2014 - 6:53 pm

Beautiful photos! Have a wonderful time! Love you!

Dad - March 24, 2014 - 6:29 pm

So glad you are enjoying Italy, Gives a whole new idea to the word “OLD” doesn’t it?

Rici - March 24, 2014 - 1:02 pm

Benvenuto in ITALIA!!!! OMG how great is it that you are THERE?!?!? Oh I love this country sooooo much! Make sure to soak it in to its fullest and not be too distracted by the things which don´t work seamlessly. Oh Vicenza! Che bello! Will you visit a Palladio Villa?
Happiest of times to you!

Everyone Loves A Classic: the iconic tulle skirt

I realized this may not actually be a “classic” by my usual standard, but hey. This is my series, and I do what I want. Plus, the A-line cut of this skirt has been around for decades and was really popular in the 50′s, so there you go.

Tulle skirts came into my life at a very young age- my parents have photos of me prancing around in my pink ballerina tutu from ages 2 to 7. You know that children’s book “I Wear My Tutu Everywhere?” I LIVED that mantra! I had a matching pink leotard, pink tiara, and pink ballet slippers, of course, and they were my favorite dress-up costume to wear. That tutu is still sitting in my old closet at my parent’s house, but unfortunately it’s no longer appropriate for me to prance around in full ballerina get-up.

Fortunately for me, tulle skirts have made a huge return in the fashion world this year! As soon as I stumbled upon Alexandra Grecco’s work, I fell in love and began obsessing over how I could get my hands on one. I ended up purchasing my blush pink mid-length skirt from Space46 Boutique and stalked the postman for the delivery. It’s a former ballerina’s dream come true- tulle for days, flouncy and light! It makes me feel like I’m walking on a cloud. (Thanks to Sarah of Ampersand Photography for the image!)

Classic blush pink tulle skirt- image by Ampersand Photography

And then I got really ambitious and asked my Granny to help me make a shorter version, this time in white. After eight hours in my Granny’s sewing room, I’m pretty sure she’ll never agree to work with tulle again. But holy cow, the result is sheeeer perfection. (Thanks to Natalie Franke for this one!)

Classic white tulle skirt- image by Natalie Franke Photography

The thing I love most about tulle skirts is how versatile they are- you can pair them with a cute tee and flats, or dress it up with a sparkly top and some heels. The skirt’s a show stopper for sure, I love getting stopped and complimented on it!

What do you all think? Is the tulle skirt a classic, or a quickly-fading fad?

Christimathews - April 5, 2014 - 2:48 am

Love all the pictures and the skirt looks very beautiful. The light colored skirt is stunning.

Tina - March 21, 2014 - 9:28 am

You are the luckiest girl ever. Not only do you have TWO tulle skirts but you pull it off perfectly, with such grace too! :) Love this classic!

Shalese - March 21, 2014 - 8:20 am

I hope it sticks around FOREVER! Or at least until I find the perfect occasion to wear one. :)

Jean - March 21, 2014 - 7:12 am

I love your Tulle skirt and I am ready for another one, because we worked out all the bugs on the first one. Have a wonderful trip. Love you.

Rebekah - March 21, 2014 - 7:03 am

These skirts look so gorgeous on you. But they are one of the many styles that I love on other people but hate on myself. Hmm.

LeeAnn- a sunrise ballerina session in DC

What an incredible way to start off a Wednesday morning. I’m so lucky that LeeAnn was willing to get up before the sun for our session in DC because we had the entire Lincoln Memorial to ourselves (except for a few intrigued passing runners and bicyclists). I’m learning more and more that my ballerina portrait series aren’t just photographs for me; they’re an extension of my soul, a piece of who I am. As photographers, we have a tendency to want to point our cameras at “pretty things,” and I totally get that. But that’s not what’s going on here, it’s something much deeper, much more ingrained in the core of who I am. These ballerina sessions breathe new joy into me like nothing else has.

LeeAnn, thank you so much for being such an incredible subject- it was an absolute pleasure to spend the morning with you! Every movement looked effortlessly graceful, and photographing you was a dream.

*Many thanks to Kaitlyn for linking me up with this gorgeous ballerina!*

Washington DC ballet photography- Abby GraceWashington DC ballet photography- Abby GraceWashington DC ballet photography- Abby GraceWashington DC ballet photography- Abby GraceWashington DC ballet photography- Abby GraceWashington DC ballet photography- Abby GraceWashington DC ballet photography- Abby GraceWashington DC ballet photography- Abby GraceWashington DC ballet photography- Abby GraceWashington DC ballet photography- Abby GraceWashington DC ballet photography- Abby GraceWashington DC ballet photography- Abby GraceWashington DC ballet photography- Abby GraceWashington DC ballet photography- Abby GraceWashington DC ballet photography- Abby GraceWashington DC ballet photography- Abby GraceWashington DC ballet photography- Abby GraceWashington DC ballet photography- Abby GraceWashington DC ballet photography- Abby GraceWashington DC ballet photography- Abby GraceWashington DC ballet photography- Abby Grace

Michelle - March 31, 2014 - 7:28 pm

INCREDIBLE!!! Love the softness of these and the spot on white-balance!

Barbara Langston - March 31, 2014 - 6:46 am

Abby, your photography is exceptional. Not only is the model gorgeous she is a beautiful lovely young women who just happens to be my Grandaughter! Thank you for this lovely tribute to her.

Sher - March 26, 2014 - 3:04 pm

wow these images are gorgeous! i love the dreamy pastel colors and how justoposition of a light and lovely ballerina against grey marble columns. Fantastic!

Alexandra Marie - March 23, 2014 - 7:57 pm

Wow, these are so insanely gorgeous!

Rachel Wells - March 22, 2014 - 1:02 pm

Wow….love that last one! Your Ballerina sessions are stunning!!

Pat Brodeur - March 21, 2014 - 1:39 pm

Beautiful pictures. No wonder your grandmother is so proud of you. take care. pat B.

Rick Marstellar - March 20, 2014 - 9:40 am

Mrs. Grace you have made my shining star niece into a supernova, what fantastic talent between the two of you.

Sami - March 19, 2014 - 8:26 pm

LOVE that last photo — beautiful work!!!

Terri Baskin - March 19, 2014 - 5:05 pm

Beautiful! Your talent is beyond amazing, my friend!

Jean - March 19, 2014 - 3:29 pm

These are gorgeous photos. You have done an excellent job! Love you.

Megan S - March 19, 2014 - 3:16 pm

Abby, these are gorgeous!!!

Jess Bulloss - March 19, 2014 - 2:32 pm

LOVE these!! Abby, you are amazing!

Jenna - March 19, 2014 - 1:27 pm

It is so obvious how much you enjoy these shoots by how absolutely stunning the set of images are.

Jill Powers - March 19, 2014 - 11:59 am

OH my GOSH! I LOVE these Abby!! So gorgeous!!

Meredith - March 19, 2014 - 11:53 am

WOW ABBY. Just wow. These are insanely awesome!! The fact that you did it at sunrise when no one/not many people were there… That just made it all the more awesome. Well done!

Samantha L - March 19, 2014 - 11:30 am

Gorgeous!! Absolutely love this!

Clara - March 19, 2014 - 11:23 am

I can’t ever finish one of your ballerina session posts without pinning something to my “pretty” board. Love them, love them.

molly @ still being molly - March 19, 2014 - 11:23 am

i am obsessed with these. obsessed, i tell you. absolutely stunning.

Kat - March 19, 2014 - 10:59 am

STUNNING!!! Love these, Abby!!

Rici - March 19, 2014 - 10:58 am

These are so beautiful & full of gorgeous grace!
~ Saluti.

Monday Mash-Up

Welp, it’s snowing again in Virginia. I won’t say I mind it, because I think snow is just about the prettiest thing on earth, but it was a little jarring to go from sunbathing in Orlando yesterday afternoon to Matt picking me up at Reagan with snowflakes in my hair. But I’m embracing it, because I have a feeling this’ll be the last snow we get all year! Today also happens to be a sick day for me (I didn’t know a throat could be this sore), so I’m camped out on the couch with Lily at my feet, watching Frozen and drinking tea as the flakes continue to come down outside. It’s a peaceful kind of day!

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

  • As of last Monday, I’d yet to see Frozen. So when Matt & I were babysitting for our Pastor’s kids and they mentioned they’d bought it on AppleTV, I flipped out and pleaded with them to watch it. Word to the wise: watching a moving for the first time with two young girls who know it by heart isn’t the best way to keep the element of surprise of suspense. Lots of “Don’t trust him!”s and “Ah! This is the part where [insert various plot twist spoiler] happens!” I loved it though!
  • Something I learned last night: dill pickles don’t make sore throats feel better.
  • Also something I learned last night: NyQuil will be my best friend in the future when I’m feeling sick at night. Slept like a baby.
  • Disney World is truly the most magical place on earth. I was there this part weekend for my cousin’s bachelorette party and it brought back so many memories of being a kid and going totally nuts there. We had dinner at the brand new “Be Our Guest” restaurant and the main ballroom took my breath away. It was exactly like the ballroom in Beauty and the Beast!
  • Useless trivia: did you know that gum is the one treat that isn’t available ANYWHERE on any Disney property?
  • The trick to not getting in trouble for shooting at the DC monuments without a permit is to shoot at sunrise. LeeAnn & I were the only people around for the first hour of our shoot, it was amazing!

I CANNOT WAIT to post my most recent ballerina shoot later this week- stay tuned!

Washington DC ballerina photographer- Abby Grace


kaitlyn phipps - March 17, 2014 - 10:19 pm

love this one! cannot wait to see more of leeann! feel better my traveling friend :]

Jean - March 17, 2014 - 3:19 pm

Hope you feel better soon. Love the photo. You are amazing!

Jessica Bulloss - March 17, 2014 - 1:01 pm

Wow, that ballerina! Stunning! I so cannot wait to see the rest!!!

Rebekah - March 17, 2014 - 12:16 pm

I can’t wait for those ballerina pics. This one is stunning!

Life in the fast lane- UNITED 2014 and WPPI recap

Sometimes I have to stop, give myself a shake, and just reflect on how absolute blessed/lucky/fortunate I am to have this life that I do. My work has taken me all over the world, and though sometimes I do get a bit tired and wish for the peace of a week spent at home, I wouldn’t trade this season of life for anything. From the lessons I’ve learned to the people I’ve been befriended by, to the late night talks and the hundreds of laughs, it’s been absolutely worth the resulting exhaustion.

Two weeks ago, I was in Santa Barbara, California for UNITED 2014. I attended UNITED last year and had an absolute bang-up of a time, but with the size of the conference almost doubling this year, I wasn’t quite sure how that would change things. Good news: turns out it just made everything twice as fun. Because I felt like I was a returning veteran instead of a complete n00b who knew no one, I was SO much more comfortable at the outset. For anyone contemplating going next year, my best advice is to go with someone you know! Or plan to room with someone you know, so you don’t feel like you’re going at it alone :).

A few highlights of my time in Santa Barbara:

  • Spending some time in front of the camera as well as behind it. I got to don the tulle skirt my Granny & I made for three different shoots!
  • Getting to spend some quality time with Ali, Tori, Anna, Natalie, Anna K, Lauren, Katie, Jen, and Katelyn. Late night soul-to-souls are so good!
  • Having the opportunity to photograph an anniversary session with THIS gorgeous couple!
  • The incredible Mexican food. No seriously- it’s so much better in California!
  • Meeting approximately 374 new friends.
  • Throwing down an Eminem rap during the Tuesday night concert in front of at least 100 other photographers. In my tulle skirt, no less. And seeing people’s faces as I began to spit it, and then the resulting collection of iPhones that were then pointed toward the stage. (thanks to Terri Baskin for the iPhone photo!)


And then 56 hours after arriving home from Santa Barbara, I got back on a plane to head out to Las Vegas for WPPI! I decided to attend about a week and a half beforehand, so I didn’t have a chance to sign up for any classes or map out what I wanted to do throughout the week, but you know, I kind of loved that approach. It left a ton of freedom to do whatever I currently felt like doing, and if I go again next year I think I’ll do the same thing. I’m usually such a planner that having a bit of forced spontaneity was incredibly refreshing.

And now, a few highlights from Vegas!

  • Helping out at the Shoot & Share booth on the tradeshow floor. I had so much fun walking people through how I use PASS to simplify my business! One of the best interactions I had was with two French gentleman who spoke limited English, and as I speak limited French, the ensuing conversation was hilarious to watch.
  • Having dinner with J&M, Kelly Lemon, and Vivienne of Make A Stand Lemon-Aid + the Harr family. Go check out both Kelly & Vivienne’s website- both of these ladies will make you take a step back.
  • Walking the tradeshow floor- WPPI was worth the trip just for that. There were dozens of album vendors, tons of print companies, gear, photobooths, knick knacks, everything photo-related that you could ever want. I got to meet the faces behind Indie Film Lab, too, and I’m excited to send them my film from my upcoming Europe trip!
  • Karaoke with 20+ other photographers. I’d never been before, and we chose an outdoor karaoke place that blasted passers-by with our dulcet tones. Seriously one of the most entertaining nights of my life, and the next morning my voice was totally gone.
  • Heading out to Red Rock Canyon to photograph THIS pair of sweethearts.:)
  • Going out dancing! Another thing I’d never done before but had always wanted to experience, so on my last night in Vegas when I declared I wanted to go dancing, Meg & Jeremy answered the call. We first stopped into Francesca’s and I picked out a new dress, and then we hit the Las Vegas strip for a night of hilarity. If you’ve never met Meg or Jeremy, they’re two of the most FUN people I know! I haven’t laughed that much in one night in a looooong time.

Whew. Two whirlwinds of weeks, and I’m about to jetset again this afternoon, but this time there’s no business involved. It’s my cousin Meg’s bachelorette weekend and we’re headed to Disney! Happy weekend-ing, friends!

Meg Courtney - March 19, 2014 - 2:55 pm

haha love you girl! So fun to hang with you, can’t wait until we can do it again!!! xoxo

Rachel Wells - March 17, 2014 - 1:15 pm

Your recap makes me want to sign up for next year’s UNITED and WPPI right this instant!! Also, I’m loving your rapping skillz!

Terri Baskin - March 17, 2014 - 11:09 am

When I heard you were going to rap, I thought “Abby is so cute, I gotta see this”…but girlfriend I have a new found respect for you knowing ALL the lyrics to Eminem’s song, rocking the tulle skirt, looking oh so cute THEN rocking out a midnight photo session as our model!!! Can I just say you are!?

Wendy Wade - March 14, 2014 - 8:17 am

You crack me up. All while looking oh-so-adorable in your tulle skirt. Go girl.

Kristi McKeag - March 14, 2014 - 7:51 am

Abby!! It was sooooo wonderful meeting you and getting to chat a little more on the way to the airport!! Hope you get to settle back home for a little bit before more traveling!! :-) Hope to see you soon!!! xoxo-Kristi And LOVEEE this recap and rap!! A-MAZZZZINNNNGGG!!!

Stephanie Messick - March 14, 2014 - 7:49 am

So funny that you mention Mexican food because when I was out there a few weeks ago … I felt like that was all I was finding when google mapping surrounding restaurants! Lol! So definitely it’s legitimate mexican food.

Jean - March 14, 2014 - 7:38 am

Wow, you really get around! Hope you enjoy your Disney experience. Maybe we’ll see you there!

Katie - March 14, 2014 - 7:32 am

Lol I’ll sign up to go to United next year just to see you rap. Haha that’s awesome:)