I remember the first time I met Rebekah- we’d seen each other’s work online and had decided to meet up for coffee, since we lived to close to one another. She was the first person to encourage me to make the leap to full-time, and for some reason, I felt like she believed in me. Pessimistic, bitter as I was at the time, she believed in me. And now, 3.5 years later, she’s one of my closest and dearest friends!

She invited me over one day this past November to show me around their new house, and then opened a door to a room and said “this one will be our nursery one day because… I’m pregnant!” I’ve never been that excited for anyone before! This baby girl they’re bringing into the world in June, she has been prayed for more than she’ll ever know! And knowing Matt & Rebekah, she’s going to be one amazing person. No doubt at all about that.

We’d been talking about an Anniversary Experience session for a looong time now, and when Rebekah told me she was pregnant, we decided THIS was the perfect time! This time in their marriage is different than anything else they’ve experienced together, and that is worth celebrating! I’m so glad timing worked out the way that it did, because I can’t imagine a more perfect backdrop for the artwork that will hang in Baby Hoyt’s nursery.

Matt, Rebekah, you both know how much my Matt and I love you two. Thank you, thank you so very much for allowing me to photograph you two. It was my joy and honor, and I cannot WAIT to meet your daughter in 9 short weeks!

Washington DC cherry blossom Anniversary Session- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC cherry blossom Anniversary Session- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC cherry blossom Anniversary Session- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC cherry blossom Anniversary Session- Abby Grace Photography

Washington DC cherry blossom Anniversary Session- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC cherry blossom Anniversary Session- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC cherry blossom Anniversary Session- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC cherry blossom Anniversary Session- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC cherry blossom Anniversary Session- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC cherry blossom Anniversary Session- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC cherry blossom Anniversary Session- Abby Grace Photography

Washington DC cherry blossom Anniversary Session- Abby Grace Photography

Washington DC cherry blossom Anniversary Session- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC cherry blossom Anniversary Session- Abby Grace Photography

Washington DC cherry blossom Anniversary Session- Abby Grace Photography

Washington DC cherry blossom Anniversary Session- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC cherry blossom Anniversary Session- Abby Grace Photography

  • Bettina - Oh just beautiful! I had followed Rebekah’s work for so long (I live in Australia, just an admirer from far) and I still miss her work and her blog. So lovely to know they are going to be parents and that they are doing well! Love this post, so much beauty, in your friendship and your work Abby.ReplyCancel

  • Urška Majer - What a gorgeous maternity session!ReplyCancel

  • Lauren - The last one–stunning!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica Fike - That last portrait! WOW! So lucky to have found such a beautiful tree!!! :)ReplyCancel

  • Jean - These photos are absolutely gorgeous. The beautiful backdrop, the gorgeous blue dress, the lovely couple! Great job, Abby!ReplyCancel

  • Rebekah Hoyt - Oh, Abby! Reading your words just brought such joy to my heart. I am SO thankful for your friendship, too. You have been an incredible support to me throughout our friendship, and especially in the last year during my transition. I am so grateful that you have continued to pursue me as a friend despite my absence from this industry – that has meant the world to me! Thank you for the unforgettable anniversary experience and the GORGEOUS photos! I cannot wait for you to return home from Europe so you can see what we’ve done in the nursery! ;)ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Beth Tapanes - Rebekah- you are GORGEOUS. A huge congrats to you and Matt <3 These are so so beautiful, Abby!ReplyCancel

  • Tori Watson - Oh I love this session! The images are gorgeous and Rebekah looks stunning!! Can’t wait to see their sweet baby girl!ReplyCancel

  • Lauren Swann - Rebekah, you look STUNNING!! I love these, Abby!!!ReplyCancel

  • Camille - Abby these are so so GORGEOUS. I want you to do anniversary photos for us at some point!! You are so talented!ReplyCancel

  • rachel - Abby these are GORGEOUS!!! Rebekah you look stunning, I need that dress in my life please share where it is from!ReplyCancel

  • Mia Bjerring - Abby, these are absolutely fantastic! Rebekah you are so gorgeous! Love your dress! These photos of the two of you are so beautiful! And what an amazing time to do the Anniversary Session! I love the cherry blossoms!ReplyCancel

  • Kyla - As always your work is absolutely stunning Abby and it’s even better that you got to shoot Rebekah and Matt! <3<3ReplyCancel

  • lindsay - um yes!! This is gorgeous!!! Rebekah you are radiant!!!ReplyCancel

  • Rosa - Wow!! Gorgeous!!! those two photos at the end … Incredibly beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • ashley - Awww. I love these guys! So sweet!!! So happy that photography opened the door to this friendship! So cool!!! Beautiful images and moments, Abby! <3ReplyCancel

I was sitting in the airport in Vienna, Austria when I was finally able to look at my film scans from the lab. Aware that drawing attention to yourself as a foreigner isn’t the smartest move, it took a lot of self-control to keep from squealing and dancing as I clicked through each new image. These are easily some of my favorite ballerina images ever! I know I say that after every session, but it’s true!!

Jane, you are a classic beauty and are such a natural in front of the camera. You made this WAY too easy on me! Thank you so much for allowing me to photograph you, this was the perfect session in every way! The red lipstick + tulle skirt + nude pointe shoes, all of it came together to make the most dreamy session. Ahh!

Also, Indie Film Lab deserves a huge shout out- they worked their tails off to make sure I had my scans before leaving the country!

Washington DC ballet photographer- Abby Grace Photography

Washington DC ballet photographer- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC ballet photographer- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC ballet photographer- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC ballet photographer- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC ballet photographer- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC ballet photographer- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC ballet photographer- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC ballet photographer- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC ballet photographer- Abby Grace Photography

Washington DC ballet photographer- Abby Grace Photography

Washington DC ballet photographer- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC ballet photographer- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC ballet photographer- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC ballet photographer- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC ballet photographer- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC ballet photographer- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC ballet photographer- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC ballet photographer- Abby Grace Photography

 

 

Buongiorno, friends! Raise your hand you if had an amazing week, because I sure as heck did, too. I got a ton of work done, shot a beautiful Anniversary Session, got my film back from Jane’s ballerina session, and left for Italy in a state of pretty much no stress! I mean, there’s the usual stress over “I’m really going to miss my husband,” but I started packing early enough in the day that I managed to avoid the panic associated with last-minute suitcase jamming. AND get this: I have extra room in my suitcase. Yeeeah buddy!

My mom’s the one who holds on to everything, whereas my dad finds purging + a more minimalist approach to be more calming. So I’ve got a bit of both when it comes to packing- “but I *might* have a chance to wear that really cute dress!” warring with “CONSOLIDATE OR DIE.” It usually results in me bringing too many outfits, and then feeling real anxiety about it every time I open my suitcase. So for my last two overseas trips, I’ve made a real effort to bring the bare essentials- enough tops + bottoms to get me through each country, with the plan that I’ll wash everything before packing up to hit my next destination. It worked really well last time, I’ll keep you posted on how it goes over the next couple of weeks!

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

  • If you can’t get a window seat booked on a large flight (the kind with two aisles and a row of seats in the middle), get the middle seat in the middle rows. That way if you want to go to sleep, no one’s having to ask you to get up to let them out!
  • Bring your own ear buds for a long flight. The ones they provide are terrible and they stab your ear canals.
  • I flew through Vienna, Austria on my way to Rome, and I just don’t get German-speakers. I mean, they were all really nice! But their clothing styles? I don’t get it.
  • For example, there was a dude sitting across from me at the airport with a hair style like THIS, and Harry Potter glasses, a tan blazer, cerulean-blue denim pants, hiking boots, and wool socks, with the blue pants tucked into them. I don’t get it.
  • Rome. is. AMAZING. So much more to come on this city once I have my film back, but Italy is winning me over with every new experience.

Alright, I’m going to jet for a day in Siena and an Anniversary Experience session with these two! I don’t have any previews of Italy because I’ve been shooting on my Contax, so you’ll have to make sure you’re following along on Instagram to catch all my #abbygraceineurope adventures as they’re happening! I WILL, however, leave you with a peek at what’s hitting the blog tomorrow :). AH! You’re going to love this one!

Washington DC ballet photographer- Abby Grace Photography

AH! You’re going to love this one! I was dying as I went through my film scans, Jane is absolutely divine!

  • Rhiannon - Oh my gosh! This photo. Absolutely incredible. You’re wonderful, friend.ReplyCancel

  • Jean - i was so happy to find your blog this morning! Looks like you are having a great time. The packing, I understand, especially this time of year, when you need some long sleeve and some short sleeved things. I always come home with some unworn clothes. Keep on having a great time! Love you.ReplyCancel

  • jasminelilovesphotos - Simply beautiful. Did you use tilt shift for this?ReplyCancel

  • Kaitlin Simpson - THAT. PHOTO. *dies*

    Also, LOVED your Periscope stream on packing! The no-air-baggies (I’m blanking on the name) is GENIUS.

    Have fun!ReplyCancel

It was almost two years ago, and I was planning for James & Deanna’s Surrey, UK wedding at the beautiful Gorse Hill. My dad, an avid traveler and lover of Europe (I am definitely my father’s daughter!), was sharing with us all his favorite spots in London, Stamford, and Paris. “You have to do one of those red bus tours- it’s the best way to get around the city! Just jump on and off wherever you like, and that way you can hit up all the major sights.” And then my mom, being the sweetheart that she is, was sharing her advice for documenting memories- “make sure you take a travel journal! That way you can write down and remember later and the fun people you met, and the cool places you see.”

London wedding travel photographer- Abby Grace Photography And of course, various other friends & family sharing their favorite spots and tips for each place we were going. All of it was great advice! I know they were all sharing from a place of being excited for us. But I started getting anxious, really anxious. There was this knot in my chest for a week or so before I finally realized what it was- for every tip I got, I made a mental list of obligations. Like “so-and-so said we had to go to that place Angeline’s in Paris for hot chocolate,” and “so-and-so said I need to make sure to visit that pub Victoria’s over near Ebury St. in London.” And with that list, I somehow felt like I was going to be disappointing people if I didn’t take their travel advice. Which is absurd, obviously.

Paris wedding travel photographer- Abby Grace Photography

I value spontaneity when I’m in a new city- I don’t want to make a huge list of sights we must see, or shops we have to visit. Because what if I wake up one day, and I feel this spontaneous whim to just WANDER instead? Then I end up feeling like I’ve missed out on whatever detailed plans we may have made. You know, that whole “fear of missing out” thing? It’s real, man. It’s real.

When I’m in a new place, I want to experience it like a local. I don’t want to spend my three precious days in Rome going to the Colosseum, or waiting in line at whatever pizza place the tour book says is best. Instead, I want to wander, get lost in the twists and turns of the little alleys and accidentally stumble upon some hole-in-the-wall joint that most tourists never find. Because it’s not on the beaten track, you know? I don’t want to see the Google-image-search-version of Marseille- I want to see the Marseille that locals pride themselves on experiencing every day. It’s experiencing the culture of a place in whatever limited time I have there that I’m after, not just photos of recognizable landmarks.

Paris wedding travel photographer- Abby Grace Photography

So please, if you offer travel advice (and you’re not someone whose spent an extensive amount of time in one place) and I choose not to take it, don’t be offended! It’s just how I like to travel. Other people I know LOVE seeing a new place via tour bus with a guide book in hand, dining at all of Rick Steve’s most recommended eateries (and the guy knows his stuff, so his recommendations are good ones). But as an artist, I need freedom in travel- freedom to wander, to dawdle, to get swept up in a beautiful collection of blooms outside an unassuming Parisian floral shop.

A huge shout out to my bride Caroline (who you’ll meet next week!) who gave me the most amazing gift at their engagement session last week- a set of cards that take you on off-the-beaten-track walking routes around the city, according to whichever arrondissement you’re in! She lived in Paris for a year so she knows the city, and I’m totally using those cards next week along with all her advice for the best places to people-watch among local Parisians.:)

Paris wedding travel photographer- Abby Grace Photography

Happy Friday, dear friends! I’m boarding a plane for Rome today and will see you in two and a half week! Ciao ciao!

London wedding travel photographer- Abby Grace Photography

  • Urška Majer - Such a true post! Have a great trip :)ReplyCancel

  • Currie - So true Abby! When I lived in Prague, my absolute favorite days had no agenda – we just walked and explored! It was the BEST way to experience it.ReplyCancel

  • Leah - So jealous! Have fun, and I can’t wait to hear all about it.ReplyCancel

  • Jean - Have a great trip. Be safe. Love you!ReplyCancel

  • Rebekah - I very much agree with you. When I travel, I like to have a few major sites I want to see but for the most part I really like having no (or very few) set plans. I love being able to just wake up & wander around wherever I am, whether that’s a new (to me) city like Boston or a national park like Yellowstone. I’ve always thought trying to absorb the “every-day” culture of a place is far more exciting than just doing the normal touristy stuff. Also I hate large groups, so the idea of a tour group makes me feel nauseated.ReplyCancel

  • Karen Field aka Mom - See you in Paris on Saturday!ReplyCancel

  • Tammy - I agree, the key hole in Rome is a sight to be seen. Such a wonderful surprise. I can’t wait to see it again.ReplyCancel