Truth be told, we don’t actually know when his birthday is. He was a rescue, and when we adopted him in December, we were told he was two years old. But after working with our trainer in January/February, she estimated him to be more like 18 months. So I decided that July 31st was going to be his birthday, because it’s Harry Potter’s birthday, and that makes it the perfect date, don’t you agree?

Neither of us were prepared for how tough it was going to be to add another pup to our family, but it’s been worth it! When we first brought Sirius home, Matt & I were both worried we’d made a huge mistake- Sirius was aggressively playful with Lily, super possessive over food, and a maniacal barker at anything that moved outside. It was a rough first few weeks, yet slowly-but-surely, he’s started to soften.

German Shepherd mix rescue | Abby Grace Photography

Rescue dogs are WORTH IT! We have no idea what his situation was before he came to us, but judging by the high levels of anxiety over food and separation, I’m guessing it wasn’t a good spot. Knowing that bringing him into our home has helped ease him into a less stressful life has been such an amazing journey, and it’s taught me so much about the importance of long-term vision! It would have been easier to give him up after the first few weeks of frustration, but then where would he be? Back at the shelter, once again homeless. Bringing him into our home has taught Matt & I the importance of rigid discipline, a schedule, and what it looks like to put someone/thing else’s needs above our own comfort at times. So yeah, it’s been hard at points over the last half year, but we’re better off because of this crazy pup!

Sirius, bud, we love you to death. Your crazy play tactics, your insatiable desire to catch cats, and your sweet cuddles, I can’t imagine home anymore without you and your booming barks!

 

This is SUCH an exciting day, you guys!! Some of you have probably already guessed it, as I’ve been hinting over on Insta for a while now, but today’s the day we FINALLY let you guys in on the secret! Without further ado, introducing…Fine Art European Prints by Abby GraceFor all of you who guessed that we’re opening up a print shop, you were RIGHT! Ever since our first trip to France, my soul has been completely enchanted by European life and culture. From the more relaxed pace of life to the way the French especially savor time outdoors, something about it resonates deep within me. After four trips across the Atlantic in the last two years, I have hundreds of film scans from numerous areas just begging to be printed and on display! And since the requests for prints have been coming more and more frequently, Matt & I decided it was high time to make it easy for you guys to order. The full shop will be up and running next Thursday, August 6th with an initial set of available full-sized prints ready for ordering, but I wanted to start the shop off with the main product we’ve been working on over the past two months! For the second time this blog post, introducing…Travel fine art notecards | La Vie en Rose by Abby GraceHow gorgeous is this?! La Vie en Rose is a collection of 12 of my most popular fine art Paris images, printed on luxe 3.5″x 4.75″ notecards, paired with a set of grey envelopes! I mentioned the idea to Jenn of Ribbons & Bluebirds back in May, and if it weren’t for her encouragement, diligence, and stunning design skills, I never would have gotten around to making it into a reality. She did an amazing job on bringing this dream to life, I couldn’t be more grateful!

Travel fine art notecards | La Vie en Rose by Abby Grace

Everything about La Vie en Rose thrills me- from the high-quality paper to the gorgeous packaging to the blush silk Midori ribbon it’s all tied together with, I just want curl up with a glass of wine and write sweet little notes to everyone I know.

Travel fine art notecards | La Vie en Rose by Abby Grace

We’re doing a limited first run of the boxed notecards, so for the time being, we only have 25 sets available for pre-order! If you’ve been following closely with the #50daysinParis series on Insta and were bummed that today was the last day, this might just be the solution for your French- loving wistful heart.

As a preorder special, we’re selling the first 25 sets for $25.00 each! To reserve your set before they’re sold out, just click the “Add to Cart” button below, and you’ll be on your way. The first shipment will go out next Thursday, August 6th, and I’m positively dancing on the spot about it- I can’t wait to get these beauties into your hands!





  • Terri Baskin - Congratulations Abby!!! What a beautiful idea!ReplyCancel

  • Emily - How exciting!!! I love looking at all your beautiful pictures from France!ReplyCancel

  • Mary - YAY!! Ordered! So excited for you and this new adventure! xoReplyCancel

  • Ally Allison - Abby this is so wonderful!!! Congratulations, sweet friend! I hope you’ve got some Firenze portraits in there, somewhere!!!!! :)ReplyCancel

  • Jean - What a wonderful thing for you to do. I love these! Congrats on your new venture!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Anne Hayes - And here I am, in the midst of decorating my home, and wishing I could have gorgeous prints of Paris up on my walls to inspire upcoming trips! So excited about this!!ReplyCancel

  • rebekah j. - aww – good for you!! this is so exciting. I respect this even more since I’ve been meaning to launch a print shop too and it keeps getting ignored. ;)ReplyCancel

  • Ethan - Good choice. Do work, son.ReplyCancel

  • Karen aka Mom - I got a prototype set and had to find my own envelopes for them. They are gorgeous! I highly recommend them!ReplyCancel

  • La Vie en Rose, by Abby Grace - […] to announce the results of collaboration with my friend Abby Grace are here for you to enjoy: La Vie en Rose, a set of fine art photography notecards! Abby and Europe have a love affair that’s been going on for years but Paris holds the key to […]ReplyCancel

  • Monday Mash-Up - […] last week was big- in case you missed the announcement, we’re opening a print shop!! We launched pre-order for our first product, La Vie en Rose, a set of 12 fine art photography […]ReplyCancel

I wrote a post a couple of months ago about why I like traveling solo, and after my most recent international trip, I figured now’s a good time to follow up with what I’ve learned in the process!

Traveling alone is it’s own adventure, regardless of where you are. I’m Type A in that I typically need to know where I’m going, when I’ll get there, exactly HOW I’ll get there, what I’ll need in my suitcase, etc. I’ve never been a “go with the flow” kind of person, because in the past, those type of people have driven me absolutely nuts. My Type A-ness makes me borderline inflexible, which is great when you need to stick to a schedule, but not great when a situation calls for flexibility. Forced flexibility has always made me extremely anxious.

Travling alone- what I

Buuut then I started traveling by myself. I remember the first time flexibility forced itself upon me- I’d just arrived in Paris, I’d taken the RER train and then metro to the 6th arrondissement and was attempting to find the apartment where I’d be staying. But I couldn’t find it- the instructions were a little confusing, I didn’t have a map, my phone didn’t have international service, and my French was super rusty so I couldn’t really ask for help. I was freaking out in a big way. But freaking out didn’t magically make my French any better, or cause my directions to suddenly make sense, so I took a deep breath and began to problem-solve. And you know what? It ended up being totally fine. I stopped into a travel agency to ask for directions, wandered around for a bit, and finally found where I was supposed to be going. No harm done.

Travling alone- what I

Then a few days later, when I was heading to Ireland, I had another opportunity to let flexibility force itself upon me. I’d booked a B&B in Galway, and somehow I’d misunderstood- I thought the Cliffs of Moher would be biking or even walking distance from Galway. NOPE. I’d been checked in at the B&B for all of 5 minutes when I realized my mistake, so you know what I did? I walked downstairs, found my host, and told them I was so sorry but I was actually going to leave- I really wanted to be in Doolin instead. So the host helped me find another B&B owner in Doolin, I booked a room, then I went to the bus station and booked a ticket that would take me there. No previous plan, no internet service, just good old-fashioned spontaneity. And those days in Doolin ended up being some of my favorite from the entire trip!

Travling alone- what I

More than anything, traveling by myself has taught me three things:

  1. I am far more capable than I previously thought. Whenever things got hard during travels in the past, I’d just look to someone else to solve the issue for me. These days, I’m 100% more confident in my ability to problem-solve.
  2. Flexibility is a beautiful thing, and I’m learning to embrace it. I love a good old-fashioned schedule and travel itinerary as much as the next person, but having the ability to go with the flow results in less anxiety, and opens me up to new possibilities I hadn’t previously considered.
  3. I’m braver and more courageous than I ever knew. Truthfully, the fear of looking like an incompetent foreigner is still enough to give me pause at times, but I’m learning to push past the fear in order to get what I need or go where I’m led. And yes, I make look like a fool with my broken French, but at least I’m TRYING. And the more I try, the better my French becomes, and the more likely I am to be able to pursue something new once the language barrier is down!

Travling alone- what I

Is traveling solo a challenge? Absolutely! But it’s one that I’m willing to fight for and through- the lessons I’ve learned about myself have made all the “I-just-want-to-scream” moments absolutely worth it, and I wouldn’t trade these experiences for anything in the world!

  • Lauren Swann - I love the lessons that travel teaches!! Such a good lesson for all of us Abby!!ReplyCancel

  • Shalese - Abby! I’m curious about how much French you knew before traveling there so much. Did you take French in college or do any Rosetta Stone type things to freshen up before going? I’ve always heard that being immersed in the language makes what you’ve learned come back a little, so I’m curious if that was true for you!ReplyCancel

Paris, France anniversary photography | Abby Grace

One of the perks of a short trip overseas is that your body never really adjusts to the time change, so while that means you don’t sleep much during your travel, it also means you don’t have to deal with jetlag when you arrive home. WOO! Last week was absolutely incredible- I had four shoots in just over 48 hours, and though I was definitely tired by the end of it, it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. And it taught me just how important it is to photograph people I LOVE- if I wasn’t a good fit for the couples I’d been photographing, the experience would have been completely draining. Instead, their personalities and love stories, coupled with how much European travel inspires me, it all came together for what I know is going to be some of my favorite images of all time!!

This week is a going to be a big one- tomorrow evening, I’m teaching a live, FREE class over on LearnElite (see more HERE!), and on Thursday, we’re releasing something that I am so, so excited for! If you want to be one of the first to find out what we’ve been working on, make sure to sign up for the newsletter over on the left side of the page- we’ll be announcing there first, before releasing the news anywhere else.

Paris, France wedding photography | Abby Grace

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

  • My flights to and from Paris last week both stopped for a layover in Moscow. Why? Because it was $200-300 cheaper than a direct flight. Lesson learned: just pay the extra $200-300. What could have been 7 1/2 hour flight turned into a nearly-24 hour in-transit experience.
  • And let me tell you, layovers in Sheremetyevo International Airport are not enjoyable. Everyone there is tired and/or grouchy.
  • And who the heck knows how to convert from rubles to dollars on the fly? It’s something nuts like 59 rubles to 1 USD, and with the crazy cost of everything at the airport, a cup of coffee was 450 rubles. That’s like… $7.50. GAH.
  • I sat next to an Italian restaurant during my Saturday layover in Moscow where I listened to the most bizarre collection of music I’ve ever heard. You’d think it’d be easy to choose music for an Italian restaurant, yes? Just pick up an Andrea Bocelli album. NOPE: instead, I was treated to Bob Marley, Ciara, Christina Aguilera (Genie in a Bottle, to be exact), Let It Go, and club-type trans music. Oh Moscow, you’re so silly.
  • I measure my ability to blend in in Paris by the number of people who approach me with a question, and ask in French, not English. According to this past visit, I’m doing really well- I only had one person start off in a language other than French!

It’ll be a few weeks before I get my film back from last week, but trust me: it’s going to be SO worth it!!

Amsterdam, Netherlands anniversary photography | Abby Grace

  • Dad - Yes but inquiring minds want to know how many people asked you for directions in Russian while at the Airport in Moscow?!?!?!?ReplyCancel

  • Jean - I wondered how that layover in Russia would be. Glad you made it home safely. These photos are beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Maria - ‘Layover in Russia’ sounds more magical than it probably really is ;) Can’t wait to see pictures of your travel!ReplyCancel

My sweet friend Natalie Franke wrote an awesome post a couple of weeks ago about her three favorite lenses, and I liked it so much I decided to do one of my own! Natalie is one the most well-known blogtographers (the name I just made up for photographers who blog) in this area of the country, and though I’d consider our work somewhat similar in terms of aesthetic, it’s fun to see how different our lists of favorite equipment is. It just goes to show you that a lens is only what YOU make of it- one of my least favorite lenses in my bag is the 70-200, whereas that’s on Natalie’s list of top three pieces of glass! Let’s dive into my top picks- if I could only shoot a wedding with three lenses, these are the ones I’d pick:

1) the 50mm f/1.2. If I could adopt a lens as a little sister, this would be the one. My 50 is on my camera for 75% of a wedding day- it’s easily the most versatile piece of glass in my camera bag. I use it for everything from bridal details to family portraits to the sparkler exit. Because of how wide the aperture can go, it’s a FAST lens, so it’s my go-to in any low-lit situation. It’s with me at every wedding, engagement session, anniversary session, anything. And if I were traveling and couple only bring one lens, this one would be it! Here are a few images all shot with the 50:

Top 3 lens picks for wedding photographers | Abby Grace PhotographyTop 3 lens picks for wedding photographers | Abby Grace PhotographyTop 3 lens picks for wedding photographers | Abby Grace PhotographyTop 3 lens picks for wedding photographers | Abby Grace PhotographyTop 3 lens picks for wedding photographers | Abby Grace PhotographyTop 3 lens picks for wedding photographers | Abby Grace PhotographyTop 3 lens picks for wedding photographers | Abby Grace Photography

2) the 85mm f/1.2, I have a crush on my 85. It’s a bit heavier than the 50, but it’s well worth the haul- the backgrounds are softer, the skin tones are creamier, the bokeh is UNBELIEVABLE. It’s a great lens for shooting in big cities with tons of people in the background- stopping it down to 2.0 or less blurs out all those unwanted photobombers in the background :). Here are a few images all shot with the 85:

Top 3 lens picks for wedding photographers | Abby Grace PhotographyTop 3 lens picks for wedding photographers | Abby Grace PhotographyTop 3 lens picks for wedding photographers | Abby Grace PhotographyTop 3 lens picks for wedding photographers | Abby Grace PhotographyTop 3 lens picks for wedding photographers | Abby Grace PhotographyTop 3 lens picks for wedding photographers | Abby Grace PhotographyTop 3 lens picks for wedding photographers | Abby Grace Photography

3) the 35mm f/1.4.  This lens isn’t my favorite, but it’s necessary. Having a wide angle lens is crucial for wedding photographers, since part of being a professional means having the ability to shoot in any scenario, no matter how tight the space. The 35 is my go-to when a bridal suite it a little small or cramped- I love that it stops down to 35 1.4, and though it doesn’t have the same bokeh as the 50 or 85, I consider it a better option than the 24-70 2.8 for the sake of a consistent work throughout all my images. Here are a few images all shot with the 35:

Top 3 lens picks for wedding photographers | Abby Grace PhotographyTop 3 lens picks for wedding photographers | Abby Grace PhotographyTop 3 lens picks for wedding photographers | Abby Grace PhotographyTop 3 lens picks for wedding photographers | Abby Grace PhotographyTop 3 lens picks for wedding photographers | Abby Grace Photography

So there you have it! If you’re a photographer, what do you think? Would your list be similar or completely different?

  • lily - Thank you for sharing.
    Love that you shared so many sample images and from the same wedding too :)ReplyCancel

  • Jean - Love all the photos and your explanations of the lenses. You are so talented!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley Braswell - Great post and gooooorgeous work! Do you use all primes for weddings then? I’m just getting started as a wedding photographer and I feel like I carry a small arsenal with me, haha!ReplyCancel

  • Amy Cherry - These are my 3 most-used lenses too! Except, I haven’t upgraded to the 85 1.2 just yet since I’m simply obsessed with the 50. Thinking I need to rent it and try it out soon!ReplyCancel