Masthead header

Halloween!

I won’t say that I love Halloween (it’s never really been a big deal in my family) but I will say that I LOVE trick or treaters! I get so excited when I hear that little knock on the door from a hand too small to make any more noise, and then the excited (sometimes muffled, due to a mask) “Trick or Treat!” when I throw open the door. But sadly, as we live on the third floor, we only had four knocks last night. Our neighbor informed us that a lot of the kids in our complex head over to the town house development next door because it’s easier, which makes sense, but was disappointing all the same. However, we now have new criteria for our next housing search: TOWN HOUSE. For trick or treaters. I don’t think that’s unreasonable, right?

This year I decided I really wanted to have a legitimate costume (as opposed to last year‘s SORRY last-minute attempt), so I set out to work early. Of course, I left the tiara that I needed to the very last-minute and ended up having to buy a jeweled hair comb and bend it back on itself to make my hair adornment, but it all worked out!

Audrey Hepburn Breakfast at Tiffany

Can you get any classier than Audrey Hepburn? I don’t think so. What did you all dress up as??

Happy THursday, and happy first day of November!

Kristen - November 16, 2012 - 8:42 am

You. Look. AWESOME.

molly - November 1, 2012 - 9:33 am

YESSSSSSSSS my favorite :) i’ve been audrey so many years i’ve lost count. :) love this on you!!!!

leah - November 1, 2012 - 9:27 am

Townhouses are definitely the way to go for trick-or-treaters! I have almost always lived on the higher stories of an apartment complex, and I was super stoked that we nearly gave away all of our candy last night because we now live in a townhouse! Cute costume!

spring - November 1, 2012 - 9:22 am

Marry Poppins!!! Love your costume lady- good choice!

Jean - November 1, 2012 - 9:16 am

Love your costume! We had 4trick or treaters last night. I love them, too!

Lena - November 1, 2012 - 9:00 am

Nothing better than some Audrey!! Brent and I dressed up as Mr and Mrs Potato Head, living on a farm allows for no trick or treaters either :(

Clarisse Coble - November 1, 2012 - 8:04 am

I love this Abby!!! Über classy (my phone decided to add that over the U and I thought it was awesome so I left it).

More lovely faces- Colette’s sunrise bridal session on film

Every so often I’ll meet someone who I feel compelled to photograph; someone so intriguing that it sets the wheels spinning with new ideas and inspiration. Colette is one of those people- she was one of Vicky‘s bridesmaids and I knew from the bridal party portraits that day that I NEEDED to photograph Colette again. I was so thankful that they were willing to make the trip down from New York City for a sunrise bridal session, and the two-week wait for my film scans was SO worth it. Jae & Colette, thank you a hundred times over!!

We began at sunrise in Middleburg…

Virginia bridal session on film- Abby Grace PhotographyVirginia bridal session on film- Abby Grace PhotographyVirginia bridal session on film- Abby Grace PhotographyVirginia bridal session on film- Abby Grace Photography

Holy cow, Colette.

Virginia bridal session on film- Abby Grace PhotographyVirginia bridal session on film- Abby Grace PhotographyVirginia bridal session on film- Abby Grace PhotographyVirginia bridal session on film- Abby Grace PhotographyVirginia bridal session on film- Abby Grace PhotographyVirginia bridal session on film- Abby Grace PhotographyVirginia bridal session on film- Abby Grace PhotographyVirginia bridal session on film- Abby Grace PhotographyVirginia bridal session on film- Abby Grace PhotographyVirginia bridal session on film- Abby Grace PhotographyVirginia bridal session on film- Abby Grace PhotographyVirginia bridal session on film- Abby Grace Photography

DIY bouquet for the win- I made that puppy the night before with stems I found at Whole Foods and Wegmans.

Virginia bridal session on film- Abby Grace PhotographyVirginia bridal session on film- Abby Grace Photography

Virginia bridal session on film- Abby Grace PhotographyVirginia bridal session on film- Abby Grace PhotographyVirginia bridal session on film- Abby Grace PhotographyVirginia bridal session on film- Abby Grace PhotographyVirginia bridal session on film- Abby Grace Photography

I die.

Virginia bridal session on film- Abby Grace PhotographyVirginia bridal session on film- Abby Grace PhotographyVirginia bridal session on film- Abby Grace PhotographyVirginia bridal session on film- Abby Grace PhotographyVirginia bridal session on film- Abby Grace Photography

Kristen - November 28, 2012 - 3:31 pm

I LOVE the colors in this. And the country-esque feel of the very last one of her is beautiful!

Brittany Claud - October 31, 2012 - 11:10 pm

Abby! These are amazing…you are getting insanely good at film! The one where she’s looking over her left shoulder is my absolute favorite!!

molly - October 31, 2012 - 9:03 pm

abby holy moly! these are absolutely stunning. breathtaking. wow!!

Janie - October 31, 2012 - 12:27 pm

Absolutely beautiful!

Colette - October 31, 2012 - 11:11 am

OMG!!! I’m freaking out Abby! I knew that you would get great shots, but this is beyond what I expected. This is your calling. Not that anyone had doubts :) Thank you so much for the opportunity to essentially wear a pretty dress, pose, and be told I’m beautiful all morning!! I’m going to have to resist taking out billboard space in the city!

Kelly - October 31, 2012 - 11:10 am

These are beautiful Abby. That lighting is so soft and warm. Gorgeous portraits! You and film are a good match!

Becky - October 31, 2012 - 11:08 am

These are great! I love her expression, the playful little half-smirk, in the close up of her looking straight into the camera.

Kat Marcum - October 31, 2012 - 10:53 am

These are amazing! You are incredible with film! Makes me so jealous I can’t go get a contax 645 right this moment! I use VSCO and the Fuji 400H still just doesn’t compare to the real deal! Great work!

Rebekah Hoyt - October 31, 2012 - 10:09 am

Wow Abby, these are all so beautiful! I LOVE her dress – but I especially love all of these portraits. They are so soft and elegant and romantic. Beautiful work!!

Stephen - October 31, 2012 - 9:41 am

Where do you find these incredible locations and these indescribably beautiful brides?

Monday Mash-Up

Hooray! It’s Monday the 29th of October, a day I’ve been excitedly awaiting for months now. Why is that, you ask? Because yesterday, October 28th, my dad and I ran our second Marine Corps Marathon! And as awesome as it was to train for and complete, I’m glad it’s over. Because now I don’t feel bad about taking this entire next week off of running :).

Yesterday was amazing. Training for this sort of thing teaches you a lot about discipline- doing something you don’t necessarily want to because you know it needs to get done. There were so many times throughout the weeks over our 4 months of training when I was sorely tempted to skip my daily run. “It’s only four today, it won’t make a huge difference,” or “instead of going eight like I planned, I’ll just cut it down to five.” Sometimes I’d give in and slack off, but every time that happened it make my weekly long runs that much harder. Training for something huge like a marathon teaches you so much more than just how to run for a really, really, REALLY long time; it teaches you that short-term struggles are worth it when you reach your goal, to complete what you start, and to be more reliable in your decision-making throughout other areas of your life.

The first time we ran the MCM together, all I cared about was getting through it. I just wanted to be done with it so I could stop having those awful nightmares about showing up late, forgetting my running shoes and accidentally taking the wrong course. But yesterday, as I looked around me and saw the thousands of other people who’d trained just as long and hard as we had, I felt an immense sense of pride for all of them. For all of us. We began with the end in mind, and we put our minds toward a feat that many people gawk at. I was proud of each and every one of those runners. And I was especially proud to be there running next to and crossing the finish line with my dad.

For today’s Monday Mash-Up, I thought I’d share the BEST signs I saw from spectators throughout the course:

  • “Worst parade ever.” (that was my favorite)
  • “Chafe now, wine later!”
  • “Toenails are for sissies”
  • “Forget about Sandy- you’re going to rock this marathon like a hurricane!”
  • “Run like there’s a zombie behind you”
  • “Chuck Norris never ran a marathon”
  • “I’m sure this seemed like a good idea five months ago”
  • “Pain is weakness leaving the body”
  • “That’s not sweat, it’s your fat cells crying”
  • “Don’t stop- people are watching”
  • “If a marathon were easy, it would be called ‘your mother’”

And here are a couple of Instagrams and photos from the point & shoot that Matt took along the way!

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope Sandy avoids creating any real chaos for you all!

Sarah B. - October 31, 2012 - 8:49 am

Yay! Way to go, Abby!!!! You are pretty awesome! And motivational to work towards my own goals.

And, I LOVE those signs you saw. lol!!

Dad - October 29, 2012 - 4:53 pm

BTW don’t let the smile fool you…I WAS IN AGONY!!!!

Dad - October 29, 2012 - 4:52 pm

You all of course noticed that she slide in there that the photos were “Instagrams and photos from the point & shoot that Matt took along the way!” and not the normal HIGH Quality pictures she usually provides….no offense Matt….LOL

Blythe K - October 29, 2012 - 12:51 pm

Great job Abby!!! My fiance and I ran the MCM a few years ago, it is quite the experience! I saw a few of those signs at the Army Ten-Miler last weekend!

Courtney Reese - October 29, 2012 - 12:21 pm

great job! that’s an awesome accomplishment!

Lauren @ Every Last Detail - October 29, 2012 - 11:10 am

Awww YAY! Congrats! :) And those signs sound like they were awesome.. how did you remember them?! I would have been in a daze ;)

Rebekah Hoyt - October 29, 2012 - 11:01 am

Congratulations Abby!!! What an amazing accomplishment, and so cool that you and your dad got to experience it together (twice!) I love your shirts and I really loved all the signs, especially the one you said was your favorite – made me laugh! Enjoy some much-deserved REST today!! :)

Jean - October 29, 2012 - 10:31 am

You two are awesome! So proud of you both! Love you.

molly - October 29, 2012 - 10:09 am

yay!!!! so freaking proud of you! you are a rockstar for reals

Elizabeth Victory - October 29, 2012 - 10:04 am

YOU are SO awesome!!! Yey!!! I saw the marathon on the news last night, and looked for you, but, alas, a three second news clip doesn’t show too many runners. I love all those signs, too… I had no idea people had such great signs like that during marathons! Great job, Abby…. enjoy your week off!

Hannah Rancourt - October 29, 2012 - 9:55 am

I am SO proud of you! Marathons make me feel lazy, mainly cause I haven’t been able to complete one. I would really like to run a half one day but finding the time to train has been the hardest part. Maybe this next year I will push myself harder and be able to! Way to go! I really enjoyed the signs:-)

Aunt TL - October 29, 2012 - 9:55 am

How exciting! And you both look great even after all of that. Love the signs too.

Lessons learned: sunrise sessions

It’s no secret at all that I ADORE sunrise; any of my couples can attest to how giddy I get when I tell them about morning sessions :). Four of my last five e-sessions took place at dawn. I’m just addicted to that morning glow! Golden hour (that 45-ish minute window of warm, coppery light) happens twice a day; once at daybreak, and then again the hour before sunset. To me, though, there’s something just a LITTLE bit more romantic about sunrise, so I do my best to schedule all of my portrait sessions in the morning. Sure, I might regret the decision for 3-4 minutes when my alarm goes off at 4:15 for a 5:45 am start time, but once I’m awake, and especially once we get shooting, I’ve never once heard anyone say “I wish we’d scheduled this later.” It’s ALWAYS a good decision! So in honor of my love affair with pre-dawn wake-ups, let’s chat about some tips for sunrise sessions! Here are a few questions I’ve received from other photographers on the subject:

Q: What time do you start shooting for a sunrise session?
A: Right at sunrise! Literally. I have the sunrise calendar bookmarked on my Google Chrome, and when my couples and I are chatting about what time we meet, I base it off of the exact time the sun will rise. If the calendar say 6:15 am, I ask my couples to meet me 10 minutes beforehand at 6:05, and I tell them we’ll plan to start shooting RIGHT at 6:15. I also make sure to drive home how important it is that they arrive on time, because once that 45 minute window is gone, it’s gone. Starting half an hour late means we’ve lost a substantial amount of the light that we woke up so early to capture.

Washington DC engagement photographer

Q: How long do you shoot for?
A: My e-sessions last about 90 minutes, sometimes an hour 45. After that time, the sun really does get too high to be able to shoot freely anymore. The golden light comes at the beginning, and will generally dissipate about 45 minutes into the shoot.

Q: What if it’s cloudy?
A: Still a win! Cloudy days give us a lot more freedom as to where we can shoot- we don’t have to worry about the harsh sunlight. In my experience, spring + summer are the best times for sunrise sessions. Fall and winter tend to result in a lot of cloudy mornings, which is still great for portraits, but you won’t have the warm light of golden hour.

Q: What are you looking for when location scouting for sunrise sessions?
A: I’m generally looking for open space when the sun will provide direct light. Shooting in somewhere like downtown DC among the higher buildings means I’ll be working with diffused light, which in and of itself is awesome, but generally doesn’t give me that warm glow we’re looking for. Perfect example- whenever I shoot in Reston Town Center at dawn, I ALWAYS ask my clients to meet me at the top of the parking garage. The top level is open air so we have a perfect sunrise greeting us upon arrival. Once the sun gets up over the horizon a bit, we’ll head down into the streets of RTC, but I LOVE starting on top of the parking garage.

Q: I’m not really a morning person… why on earth should I wake up at such an unholy hour for this sort of session?
A: Just look here, here and here. Need more convincing? Check out this one, this one, and oh yeah. THIS ONE.

Virginia film photographer

Have a question? I’d love to see if I can answer it! Just leave it in the comments section.

Happy Friday!

[...] be disappointed. Waking up early isn’t the fun part, but it is so worth it! Check out this {post} from Abby Grace Photography. She explains better than I can why sunrise sessions are so [...]

Michelle Williams - November 19, 2012 - 11:33 am

I am not sure if you check comments on older posts but I sure hope so! First, I love your work! And that you are a believer! Cool. Second, I am new to photography, but I have read a lot and am having trouble with one thing in particular. At sunrise / sunset shoots I love the backlit look! But when I shoot these I never get crisp shots of my subject. They are hazy with sun rays :( I don’t mind that sometimes, but I wish I knew how to avoid it? Help? . . .

Cate Alman - October 28, 2012 - 9:11 pm

I’m going to have a sunrise session in the next few weeks and these images are making me look forward to getting up early on a Saturday morning lol. Especially that last one with the willow tree (my favourite kind of tree)! Where was that taken? It’s gorgeous!

Sophia Jordan - October 26, 2012 - 1:22 pm

Beautiful! There is something so innocent and pure about sunrise lighting. You know what is funny?? Since moving to Alaska, the times I schedule outdoor sessions have drastically changed whether it is during the summer or winter. During the summer, I have to shoot way later than DC summer sessions (because we have almost 24/7 sunlight here in the summer). Then in the winter, my sessions are usually in the middle of the day (weird!! Never thought I would recommend that time!) because the sun never rises above our heads (just stays on the horizon for a few hours!).

Funny huh???

Love these images!

Serena Severtson - October 26, 2012 - 12:59 pm

Great post, Abby! Sunrise sessions = amazing. <3

admin - October 26, 2012 - 10:00 am

Hey Alicia! I’d never force someone into a sunrise session- I just present my argument as to why I feel it’s best and let them make their own decision. If they really don’t want to do one, I don’t push it- it’s more important to me that my couples be COMFORTABLE than for me to get to shoot at my dream time of day. . Hope that helps!

Alicia - October 26, 2012 - 9:58 am

I love your sunrise sessions! Do you ever get complaints or hesitation from brides about it being too early for them to get up and be ready by sunrise?

molly - October 26, 2012 - 9:36 am

love love love love love! i am obsessed with your sunrise shoots!

Urška - October 26, 2012 - 9:23 am

So good written :) We have to try a morning session soon even though we just love to sleep :)

Happy scans from RPL

I’m pretty set on Fuji 400H being my favorite go-to film for portraits and such. But there are times when 400 isn’t fast enough (like when I’m shooting details in a hotel room) and I need something different, so I gave a few rolls of Portra 800 a shot. I’d heard some not-so-awesome things ago Portra 800, but I have to say I was definitely pleased with what I got back! It was a bit of a relief- now I don’t necessarily have to resign myself to shooting 400H at 1/30th of a second anymore :).

These are some of my latest scans from RPL, just a couple of rolls from each wedding. It’s like a smorgasbord of wedding memories! I’m going to have to figure out a different way to do these sooner or later- blogging images the week after the wedding is great, but then waiting for my film scans to come in means I’m essentially presenting my couples with two different sets of images. I’m still trying to figure out HOW I’m going to make using my Contax during wedding flow with my current style, process, etc., and it’s definitely causing a bit of anxiety because my typical editing style is so different from the look of film. I foresee some soul searching in the near future.
Modern romantic Virginia film photographerModern romantic Virginia film photographerModern romantic Virginia film photographerModern romantic Virginia film photographerModern romantic Virginia film photographerModern romantic Virginia film photographerModern romantic Virginia film photographerModern romantic Virginia film photographerModern romantic Virginia film photographerModern romantic Virginia film photographer

I love this one!

Modern romantic Virginia film photographerModern romantic Virginia film photographerModern romantic Virginia film photographerModern romantic Virginia film photographerModern romantic Virginia film photographer

Happy Thursday!
Autumn - November 2, 2012 - 1:20 pm

I love how your film shots make me really feel. These images made me feel it. The way photography makes a person feel is why i fell in love with it in the first place!

Megan - October 25, 2012 - 7:43 pm

Simply beautiful photos! I could imagine it must be tough to figure out the workflow. But the images are really stunning! (I’ve been following your blog for a few weeks now – I think this might be my first comment though – sorry!)

Jean - October 25, 2012 - 5:11 pm

These are beautiful, Abby! Love them all!

jamie - October 25, 2012 - 2:50 pm

abby…these images are stunning. really. I am loving watching your grow in shooting film and the beautiful results that are finding you.

Rebekah Hoyt - October 25, 2012 - 2:48 pm

Those verticals of Robbie and Julianne and the last one are just TO DIE FOR! That last one belongs on a canvas!! SO gorgeous!

molly - October 25, 2012 - 2:23 pm

GAH!! those last few are just to DIE for! amazing.

Serena Severtson - October 25, 2012 - 2:15 pm

Great set, Abby! I LOVE the ones with the wooden ladder + tree. So adorable! :)