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Monday Mash-Up

Monday. We meet again.

Normally, I LOVE Mondays. But I’m still currently trying to recover from this past weekend’s wedding hangover, and all I really want to do is watch Harry Potter movies and nurse a cup of English Breakfast. But this week is a doozy, so it’s back to work I go!

This past weekend’s wedding brought me to New Haven, CT for Dan & Liz’s gorgeous Yale affair. It was absolutely STUNNING, I can’t wait to share it with y’all! Coral charm peonies, Vera Wang, Yale’s castle-like campus, it was beautiful from start to finish. Totally worth the 15+ hours I ended up in my car in transit to and from.

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

  • Matt asked if he could practice driving my car last week in a Reston Town Center parking garage (it’s stick shift, and his is an automatic). Good idea in theory, but then we ended up stalling out three times in front of a group of teenagers, who then proceeded to ask if we needed help. We laughed and explained the situation, and as we were leaving, one of the kids gave us some sage advice: “Stay pure!”
  • There’s nothing more freeing than driving on the highway with the windows down and sunroof open, admiring the gorgeous blue skies and warm sun on your skin. Each different season has its own merit, and to me? This is what makes summer special.
  • I started eating Paleo about a week and a half ago, and so far, so good! I don’t typically weigh myself so I have no idea if I’ve actually shed any pounds, but I FEEL good and my clothes definitely fit better! And now I’ve got Matt hooked, too :). We’ll keep you posted!
  • I’ve recently become hooked on watching videos of baby goats. And I don’t know why.
  • Also recently: I kind of want to move out to the country and buy a farm. But I have a feeling that’s a result of visiting Big Spring Farm last week. I dare you to see Buddy & Jill’s home and not want the same thing!
  • I’m so fancy. < That song’s been stuck in my head for days! And I don’t hate it.

So, I don’t usually pull out the 24mm for anything other than dancing shots, but Yale’s campus demands anything but the ordinary. So beautiful!

New England wedding at Yale University- Abby Grace Photography

Sydni Jackson - June 16, 2014 - 7:29 pm

So it’s not just me then?? I felt THE SAME WAY after going to Emily & Joe’s wedding at Big Spring a few weekends ago. To make it worse, my brother-in-law got married at Veritas Winery in Afton a few weeks prior. Maaaan I wanna live in southwest VA!!

Evangeline Graham - June 12, 2014 - 10:42 pm

Hi Abby
I was a guest at Liz and dan’s wedding and in between dancing and meeting with everyone, you were everywhere!You were up on chairs, snooping in corners, and even up front and center just to get the right shots! Well done! I cant wait to see more pics from the Liz and Dan wedding!
Thank you.
Mrs Graham

Lorin - June 12, 2014 - 2:07 pm

Hilarious driving story! My hubby is teaching me to drive his stick shift right now & we’re definitely made a few kids/parents who happened to be in almost-empty school parking lot a little nervous with all the circles I drove.

Speaking of baby goats, this video is too adorable! A dear friend of mine from church is crazy in love with them & we watched this a couple weeks ago:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/22/frostie-baby-goat-wheelchair-photos-video_n_5368083.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000023

Sarah Bradshaw - June 9, 2014 - 1:33 pm

STUNNING.

Jean - June 9, 2014 - 10:17 am

Beautiful photos! I think you would love living in the country! Have a great week!

Michael & Mary- an Annapolis, MD anniversary session on film

Mary. She’s one of those rare jewels, the kind of person whose zeal for life and everything it’s brought her so far just draws you in- the most dazzling of smiles, an infectious laugh, and the ability to speak the truth with more love than most everyone around her. She encouraging, life-giving, and and oh so impossibly sweet. Any one of those things alone would have been enough to draw Michael her way, and all of them together are enough to give explanation for the way he looks at her. The tender way his arms wraps around her, and the sweet way his eyes crinkle into a smile when she kisses him. There’s so much joy between the both of them.

Michael & Mary, spending the evening with you was reviving down to my soul! It’s so easy to see why you two are perfect together, and photographing your love while hearing your stories of living life together was my every idea of the perfect evening. Thank you so very, very much for the opportunity to capture this time in your lives! Your session and the purpose behind it is the embodiment of why I love anniversary sessions so much- it was such an honor!

Also, Mary’s one heck of a photographer. You should go check out her work :).

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[…] narrowing it down to just these haha!), be sure to see the entire post on Abby’s blog, here. […]

jamie - June 6, 2014 - 8:21 am

loved how you captured these two and their love. i love the one of Mary holding on to Michael’s arm leaning in and he is in focus. these two are pretty special!

Rachel Wells - June 6, 2014 - 12:10 am

Oh wow- I LOVE this session!!…and that skirt!! I need it in my life! :)

Jean - June 5, 2014 - 6:44 pm

Beautiful photographs, Abby. What a gorgeous couple!

Jaclyn - June 5, 2014 - 4:57 pm

Love this, beautiful as always!

Danielle - June 5, 2014 - 4:27 pm

Beautiful images of a beautiful lady and her man! I love the light, compositions, and glittery skirt.

Chelsea Anderson - June 5, 2014 - 3:30 pm

I am so incredibly in love with this. So much, images like these are why I do what I do. The love conveyed in each one is so incredibly. Maybe one day we’ll have to do one of these as well :)

Emilia Jane - June 5, 2014 - 3:02 pm

LOVE THESE!!! SO beautiful.

Michael and Carina - June 5, 2014 - 1:18 pm

Such a lovely session!!!!!

Hannah - June 5, 2014 - 12:22 pm

Love, love, love! Incredible work… although, it’s not too difficult with Michael & Mary in front of the camera!

Tara - June 5, 2014 - 12:13 pm

LOVE this session. So gorgeous Abby. And that skirt!!

Natalie - June 5, 2014 - 11:59 am

Oh my goodness, Abby.. This is beautiful!

Mary - June 5, 2014 - 10:19 am

Abby. Beyond, beyond, beyond words. Tears are streaming as I write this!!! So incredibly blessed by you and these amazing images!!! Much, much love!!! xoxo!

Avoiding the dreaded “Wedding Hangover”

If you’re a wedding photographer, you know exactly what I’m talking about: you’ve spent the entire day before on your feet, running around photographing a gorgeous wedding day, and then morning comes. You open your eyes, wondering why on earth your spine feels like you slept with a barbell on your back. Sitting up, rubbing your bleary, sleepy eyes, you find that there’s a dull throbbing coming from your brain. And then, as you swing your legs over the side of the bed and stand up, the soles of your feet cry out in protest as pain shoots up your calves.

We’ve all been there, amIright? You know I am.

Over the past three-four years of shooting weddings, I’ve found recipes for assured success, and recipes for undoubted disaster. In order to avoid feeling like you played a football game with a bunch of 350-lb linebackers the morning after a wedding, I suggest considering some of the following tips:

1) Hydrate. Yep, super simple, but so helpful! This past year Matt started packing ice-filled coolers for me to bring to weddings, stocked with several Gatorades and several water bottles. Part of my second shooter’s job throughout the day is to run back to the car to grab liquids for us both so that we’re both making sure to stay hydrated.

2) Make sure you eat! Also in that cooler that Matt packs are several Luna bars. I typically eat two of those throughout the day in addition to dinner during the reception. Typically I begin shooting around 12 or 1 in the afternoon, and if I’ve left my house an hour or two prior to that, I most likely didn’t eat lunch. In order to stay on my game, I have to have SOMETHING in my stomach. Avoid the hangries at all costs.

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3) Footwear matters! Rule of thumb that’s absolutely essential in finding proper wedding day footwear: if it’s even slightly uncomfortable in the store, it’s going to be downright painful by the time the ceremony rolls around. I’ve plunked down a lot of money over the years on footwear and the best thing I can tell you is DO NOT SKIMP on cheap shoes- you’ll end up replacing them multiple times over the course of wedding season!

3b) Change shoes after the reception gets started. I typically start in a low wedge and will wear those through the ceremony + family formals, but as soon as the bride & groom have made their entrance into the reception, I switch to flats. Last year, that was a pair of neutral gray TOMS, this year it’s a pair of nude suede flats from DSW. Whatever your fancy, this will absolutely save your feet from that end-of-wedding throb!

4) Pop some Ibuprofen when you get to the reception. My lower back tends to start hurting after a full day on my feet, often with my 5-10 lb camera bag on my shoulder. I usually take two Advil with dinner to allow me to enjoy shooting the rest of the reception without back pain.

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5) Put your bag down while you’re shooting, if possible. That’s what kills my back, carrying 10lbs of equipment in a bag slung across one shoulder- the uneven distribution of weight through a 9-hour day? No thank you. I try to put my bag down during pretty much any opportunity, and if I can’t put it down, I take out anything I don’t immediately need to save myself the pain later on in the day.

6) If you’re starting to feel sleepy, grab some coffee after the cake is cut and served! It’s just a little pick-me-up for that last hour or two of dancing and can put some pep back in your step :).

I’d love to hear your tricks to avoiding feeling like you were hit by a Mack truck the day after a wedding! Care to share?

Sarah (Danaher) Bradshaw - June 5, 2014 - 8:59 am

Great tips! Additionally— start a good workout routine during off-season, and keep it up during wedding season. Make sure it includes upper body and core strengthening exercises! Being in shape makes a WORLD of difference!

Urška Majer - June 5, 2014 - 4:00 am

These are some great tips :) We actually started using ear plugs at the end of the last season and i have to say that starting this year’s season last saturday that we feel less tired the next day because of them, since you don’t have to listen to loud music for the whole reception :)

Cassady Adams - June 4, 2014 - 9:35 pm

Thanks for posting this! It seems so simple, but I’m really going to be more intentional on hydrating and eating. I would highly suggest Dr. Scholl’s inserts for your shoes, my feet and legs don’t even hurt the next day.

Sarah Street - June 4, 2014 - 5:57 pm

Great tips! I have found that putting my bag down, especially during the reception is KEY! I don’t have near the back pain or foot ache at the end of the night as I use to and have more energy near the end of the night.

Maria Grace - June 4, 2014 - 2:44 pm

Love these tips, thank you! One thing that works for me is to get some Naked juice (or a similar brand) that will hydrate me and give me the best nutrients to get through the day. Doesn’t hurt that it tastes delicious :)

Amanda - June 4, 2014 - 1:55 pm

Such a good post! It took me a couple years to learn these and now I have found they help immensely!

Natalie Gibbs - June 4, 2014 - 1:39 pm

All of these tips are great!
I’ve started stashing a Pepsi in the caterer’s fridge or a cooler in my car so I can have something to pick me up as soon as the wedding ends. And I agree that the change of shoes works wonders.

Jean - June 4, 2014 - 12:30 pm

Great advice, especially the shoes and keeping hydrated!

Shalese - June 4, 2014 - 12:23 pm

Love this!! I’ve recently started switching shoes at the reception, too . . . even if you’re going from flats to different flats, it helps! I’ve also bought little footies (the kind you can’t see even with flats on) with padding in the heel and balls of your feet. It’s simple, but they seem to help a LOT! :)

Kat - June 4, 2014 - 12:22 pm

LOVE these tips, Abby!!! Thanks girl!!

Katie - June 4, 2014 - 12:04 pm

Thank you, Abby!! These are such great tips! I”m just beginning my career in wedding photography (second shooting for the first time this Saturday! EEK!) and I can use all the advice I can get. :)

Dan & Alex- an anniversary session in Charlotte, North Carolina

“That butterfly feeling in your stomach? I found myself feeling that around him, and I didn’t know I could feel like that again.” They met in Long Beach, California on a Summer Project, and somewhere throughout the weeks of living alongside each other (and about 60 other college kids from around the country), she fell for him. And he fell for her. Two years later, after thousands of miles traveled back and forth from Colorado to Virginia, Virginia to Colorado, they were married beneath a flowered pergola in Pennsylvania.

And here we are, three years later, with so much having happened between “I do” and “I still do, every single day.” Grad school, job changes, moving halfway down the coast, totally new surroundings and communities. This time, the in-between, it deserves to be celebrated, to be cherished and marveled at. That after three short years, they know infinitely more about each other than when they started, that their relationship has grown by leaps and bounds, and that by loving Jesus more and more, they learn to love each other better with each passing day.

Dan & Alex, we love you both so much! It was such a blessing to spend the morning with you two, Matt & I are incredibly grateful for your friendship. Charlotte is the perfect place for you guys, thank you for the opportunity to come and capture your love story in your element!

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Rosa - June 3, 2014 - 8:04 pm

I think these anniversary sessions are just AMAZING! You (like always) manage to capture the love, playfulness and special bond that marriage brings. Beautiful couple and great work Abby in capturing their love :)

Kathryn Grace - June 3, 2014 - 9:52 am

Love these!! Beautiful!

Emilia Jane - June 3, 2014 - 9:19 am

So cute!!!

Ashley Herrinton - June 3, 2014 - 8:22 am

Oooh I just love these two! I LOVE the last one!! Great job capturing their love Abby!

Jean - June 3, 2014 - 8:10 am

Gorgeous pictures, Abby.

Monday Mash-Up

Happy Monday! This weekend’s been a total whirlwind- from Reston to Williamsburg for a wedding, then back to Reston for about 18 hours, then down to Lexington, Virginia for an anniversary session this morning. As I write this I’m sitting in my hotel room all packed up and ready to hit the road back home, so we’ll make this short and sweet. I’m making a stop at Big Spring Farm to see the beautiful Jill and word on the street (aka an email from Jill) is that there are baby chicks to be seen!

Lessons learned/things that transpired over the weekend:

  • Matt’s sister’s family got a beagle puppy this weekend, so of COURSE we went to go visit yesterday! Ahhh those droopy ears, big brown eyes and soft paws. I could have squeezed him all freaking day.
  • Megan, Matt’s sister, also keeps chickens in their back yard. We brought Lily with us to go meet the new pup, not thinking about the chickens, and I guess it’s no surprise that Lily spent almost the entire visit with her nose pressed up against the coop, terrorizing the poor birds. That dog is such a jerk sometimes.
  • Every time I catch the scent of boxwoods, I think of Colonial Williamsburg. Is that just me?
  • I’m trying out the whole Paleo thing, since I managed to find five extra pounds while in Europe (from all the pasta I ate in Italy, no doubt) and can’t seem to wish it away. So far it’s been pretty good, but I refuse to give up tea/coffee. I just like the ritual of a morning cup of [insert variety of hot beverage]! We’ll see how it pans out in the next couple of weeks.

Here’s a preview from this weekend’s wedding…

Williamsburg, Virginia wedding- Abby Grace

And one from this morning’s anniversary session with Brian & Jessica in Lexington :).

Virginia anniversary session

Stephen - June 2, 2014 - 3:58 pm

Prettiness my dear Abby, prettiness.

Jill Powers - June 2, 2014 - 1:56 pm

Thank you so much for stopping by! We loved seeing you… and I think our breakfast was pretty Paleo!! YAY!

Ashleigh - June 2, 2014 - 9:08 am

love the previews! you are so talented.
PS. the smell of boxwoods always reminds me of CW too!

Jean - June 2, 2014 - 8:09 am

Beautiful pictures. Can’t wait to see pics of the Williamsburg wedding. Thanks for the Birthday call. You started my day off right by singing Happy Birthday to me. Love you!

Urška Majer - June 2, 2014 - 8:08 am

Both previews are so stunning :)