My love of pearls was born the summer my dad and older brother, Ethan, took a month-long trek through Europe. Dad always brings home gifts from his international adventures, and to me he brought a pair of silver and pearl earrings he’d purchased at the Tower of London. They were simple, but they quickly became my favorites- they went with anything and had the ability to take any outfit and make it a bit more classy. Maybe it’s because the earrings themselves were beautiful, or maybe it’s because they were purchased in England, but I loved them and wore those things almost every day in high school. A few years later I received a pair of simple just-pearl studs, and as a celebratory gift for graduating from Radford my mom presented me with my first pearl necklace. A short rope of pearls that rests on my collarbone, perfect for the office or a date with Matt. I think I actually wore those pearls to my first job interview!

classic pearls- Abby Grace Photography

There’s just something so classy about a pair of pearl earrings or a strand necklace- something about wearing this particular brand of simple lobe candy that makes me FEEL more elegant, refined and chic. I’ve never been a huge “accessories” kind of girl- some of that originates from an inability to accessorize, but the majority of it comes from a deeper desire to stay true to “more is less.” It comes from the fact that I identify more with Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy than I ever will with Twiggy or Marilyn Monroe, that I’d rather wear a black dress with pearl earrings for a night out than something flashy or trendy. There’s something so honest about simplicity- a simple pair of pearl earrings doesn’t demand attention or cause a stir. They distinguish their wearer as classic and tasteful with just a hint of luxury, someone who’s fashion will never fade because classic never goes out of style

classic pearls- Abby Grace Photography

Happy Wednesday!

  • Jean - Nice blog. Pearls have been a favorite of mine since I was a teen. They are timeless.ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth - You already know this, but, I LOVE pearls, too! So simple, so elegant, so timeless… which is why that is all I wanted to wear on my wedding day :)ReplyCancel

  • Jordan - Yes yes yes! Finally, someone who shares my infinite love of this timeless classic. You just can’t go wrong with pearls. I adore mine and wear them just about every single day :)ReplyCancel

  • Lena - Love pearls, wear them almost every day :)ReplyCancel

  • Eryn Kesler - Love it! You are so right…I recently bought a set of 3 pairs of pearl-ish( target) studs, and I’m finding myself thinking they are perfect with everything!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Adams - I love this. Pearls are so perfect for you- because your beauty is SO classic and timeless. Pearls and Abby Grace just fit together :)ReplyCancel

  • Rebekah Hoyt - I love your love of pearls and all things classic! I could not be more opposite when it comes to my jewelry… I think I own one pair of stud earrings… the rest are crazy dangles!ReplyCancel

  • Amelia - I loveeee this post, because I adore pearls too:) I never “knew” why…but it’s definitely the classic simplicity of them. They’re always appropriate! Definitely looking forward to the day I get some real ones!ReplyCancel

  • Bethany - I think most little girls have a pearl story :)
    My pearl obsession began when I was a little girl playing dress-up with my mothers jewelry, clothes, and make up. She had a strand of pearls that I always loved to pull out. The smoothness of the pearls on my cheek is something I always remember.
    I received my first pair of pearl studs from my parents when I was 13 and for my high school graduation my grandparents gave me a diamond and pearl drop pendant necklace. I wear both frequently because you’re right – they’re the perfect Classic accessory. You can pair them with jeans, a blouse and heels, work attire, or a cute date night dress.ReplyCancel

  • Everyone Loves a Classic: The Little Black Dress » Modern Virginia + Destination Wedding Photographer - […] it’s flattering without being too form-fitting, and it goes with pretty much anything- pearls (my favorite), a chunky necklace, heels, flats, a blazer, a cardigan, everything. I always feel […]ReplyCancel

Well hellO there, Monday Morning! And may I say, you’re looking quite lovely today. Spring looks rather dashing on you!

It’s week two of my six-week stretch and I’m feeling great. I’m technically supposed to take today off (at Matt’s insistence, so that I don’t burn out [he is SO awesome!]) because I forgot to stop working on Friday, buuuut I don’t know how well that’ll work out. I have a whole batch of images from this weekend’s wedding that I’m itching to start editing! I’m finding more and more that having a system for everything wedding-related is what helps me transition smoothly from week to week, and I’ll definitely be sharing a few of those in the coming weeks!

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

  • I recorded a new voicemail yesterday for the first time in two years- I’d forgotten how excruciating it is to hear your own voice coming through the phone. “Do I really sound that annoying when I say ‘Hi’?”
  • Also making voicemail recording difficult- Lily in the background, barking at the dog next door.
  • This weekend Matt and I discovered my new favorite ice cream ever: Cookie dough FLAVORED ice cream, with chunks of chocolate and cookie dough. It’s like double the dough, double the delicious.
  • Are Brussels sprouts the new trendy vegetable? It seems like every grocery store these days is carry them “on the stalk,” and up until a few months ago, I’d NEVER seen Brussels sprouts sold that way. It must be  hipster thing.
  • I finally saw Breakfast at Tiffany’s for the first time on Friday. Audrey Hepburn, you are adorable.
  • Aaaand then we watched Roman Holiday yesterday. I’m of half a mind to go chop all my hair off for a Hepburn-like pixie cut, but then I remember that would look ridiculous on me.
  • Speaking of hair, my new curling iron is BOSS. My friend Meg Courtney put me onto it- THIS ONE by Hot Tools is amazing. I curled my hair on Saturday morning for this weekend’s wedding and it held all through the day without a lick of hairspray. I told myself that I should curl my hair every day if it’s going to look that good, but then I remembered that I work from home and it’s an accomplishment for me to put shoes on at all on any given day.

Happy Monday!

  • Sabrina - You’re adorable! And I love Audrey Hepburn so of course I love those movies :-) I got all excited when you mentioned that amazing curling iron but then read the rest of your sentence and realized (as I sit here in yoga pants and my house slippers) it would be ridiculous for me to purchase as I probably won’t get “dressed” until I go to the gym this evening. ha!ReplyCancel

  • Jean - Beautiful photo. Can’t wait to see the rest! You have beautiful hair, curled or not!ReplyCancel

  • Rebekah Hoyt - GORGEOUS sneak peek! I’m due for a new curling iron, so I might just have to look into that one you recommended!!ReplyCancel

Sooner or later, unless you live in the country and never ever venture into anywhere humans congregate, every photographer is faced with the challenge of shooting in an area where there are a TON of people around. This sort of situation used to make me sweat profusely because I had no idea how to handle it, but these days I have a few go-to tactics to help when our location isn’t as clear as I’d like! Joe & Sara’s wedding was such a good exercise for me- we were photographing part of their wedding portraits down at the Tidal Basin where the Cherry Blossoms were due to bloom, and there were literally THOUSANDS of people down by the water. It was crazy! While I was a bit more apprehensive than usual, it was just a matter of using these tricks to get (mostly) tourist-free photos!

1) Isolate the bride and groom. If there’s a particular place where you’re shooting that doesn’t have a ton of people in the background, shoot there! Maybe that’s a storefront, the waterfront, or a pier. Do whatever it takes to get the bride and groom AWAY from the people swarming your precious shooting space.

2) Get in close! These situations are the type that make me want to kiss my 85 1.2 lens. It allows me to stand far enough back that I’m not way up in my couples’ grills, but I still get those intimate, organic portraits that have become my trademark of a sorts. Shooting closer in eliminates the issue of people who may be on either side of the couple.

Unsightly tourists? Not a problem! I just rotated Joe & Sara a little bit, then got in close to eliminate the extra people.

Shooting in crowded spaces- Abby Grace Photography

Same thing here. I was shocked at how many people were willing to be up at 6:30 in the morning for the blossoms, but Tim & Lauren were champs and we just worked around them.

Shooting in crowded spaces- Abby Grace Photography

3) Throw the aperture WIDE open. I love shooting at f/2.0 and under, so the backgrounds of my images are typically buttery and soft, meaning anyone in the background becomes a blur. Just make sure to watch out for any “black holes,” or super dark things in the background that can distract from your subject.

See all those tiny people on the opposite side of the Tidal Basin? They could have interrupted the shot on the right by becoming distracting blobs of non-pink color, so I dropped my aperture to f/1.2 to blur them out of existence. Also, I had Tim & Lauren backed up right against the water so we didn’t have to worry about people walking through the background of our images.


4) Have your assistant or a couple of groomsmen run interference. If you need a couple of extra feet of space, position your second shooter or groomsmen far enough behind you that people will get the idea not to walk between you and the couple. Try to be sensitive to just HOW crowded the space is, and if you’re taking up the only possible avenue for walking, get the shot quickly and then get out of there. If you hold too many people up, you run the risk of being asked to leave.

5) If all else fails, embrace it and make the chaos part of the story. Maybe your bride and groom are getting married in New York City- people KNOW that New York is crowded, so have the masses as part of your images functions as part of the story you’re trying to tell. When Matt and I scheduled our anniversary session with J&M in New York, I knew we’d have people walking through the back of some of our images, but truth be told, I really love those images! It serves as part of the beauty of the image, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

How about you all? Any secret tips on shooting in places jam packed with people? I’d love to hear it!

  • Megan Garrison - FABULOUS post Abby! Love that you showed both comparisons.ReplyCancel

  • Jean - Beautiful shots! Surprised there were so many folks out that early. The cherry blossoms do make a lovely background! You are so creative!ReplyCancel

  • Rebekah Hoyt - You hit the nail on the head with this post! Love it!ReplyCancel

  • Emily - This makes me want to see the NYC pics:)ReplyCancel

  • rosa - I tend to be very self conscient when there is way too many people, your post made me feel at ease knowing I’m not the only one that gets all nervous ;) Great tips! thank you.ReplyCancel

  • ashley barnett - My tip for shooting in places with jam packed people – trip them. That’ll teach them to just walk in front of your shot!

    KIDDING. Shooting wide open is definitely a great way to eliminate distractions. Also, really having it in mind what you want/need the couple to do so when that golden moment appears where the background is less occupied you can get the shot quickly without wasting time. :)ReplyCancel

  • Spicytee - Great Post Abby.
    Learned something new.
    Thank youReplyCancel

  • For Photographers: Shooting in crowded spaces, part deux » Modern International Wedding Photographer - […] you’ve been hanging around the blog for a while, you might remember THIS post from spring of 2013! Well, today’s post is a follow-up to that one. After spending this […]ReplyCancel

The morning of April 6th dawned in the nation’s Capital as clear, cool and breezy as Joe & Sara had dreamed. This particular day had been six years in the making, beginning during their days at the University of Maryland, surviving semesters abroad and graduation, and eventually resulting in the joining of two families. Sara’s demeanor was very much the same as the weather outside- clear, calm, collected. She knew that being there, in her parents’ house, getting ready to marry Joe? This was exactly where she wanted to be, where she belonged. The morning unfurled itself in the typical frenzy of excitement- gorgeous bridesmaids helping to prim and prep her, Sara’s aunts exclaiming over what a stunning bride she was, and her sweet father’s warm smiles when he saw her the first time. And all throughout the morning, Sara never wavered from her steadfast way, because she knew that this was the perfect day to marry the perfect man for her. So when the time came for their First Look, she was all excitement, all positive nerves- it was finally time.

Joe & Sara, I cannot begin to express to you how full my heart still is from documenting your love on Saturday! The way you two interact is so lighthearted and fun that I don’t think I stopped smiling the entire day. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for the opportunity to spending the day photographing your nuptials and capturing your families’ joy.

Washington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace Photography

I almost died over Sara’s Kate Spades!

Washington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace Photography

Washington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace Photography

Washington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace Photography

Washington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace Photography

Love this moment!

Washington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace Photography

Washington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace Photography

Perks of getting married in a big city- people honk and tour buses wave as they drive by!

Washington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace Photography

I LOVED Sara’s bridesmaids! And all of their Kate Spade accessories :).

Washington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace Photography

Because Sara’s family is Persian and Joe’s is Lebanese, they combined both Persian and Catholic traditions into one ceremony. The sofreh was laden with stunning details- honey, sugar cones, pomegranates, coins, bread, each one signifying a different blessing for the newlyweds.

Washington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace Photography

Married!

Washington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace Photography

Washington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace Photography

Washington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace Photography

Washington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace PhotographyWashington DC wedding cherry blossoms- Abby Grace Photography

Congratulations, Mr. & Mrs. Kek!

Details:
Event coordinator: Patrice of Exclusively Events
Venue: National Museum of Women in the Arts
Floral design: Toulies en Fleur
Hair & Make-up: Shauné Hayes
Lighting: John Farr Lighting
Catering: Well Dunn Catering
Bridal gown: Lazaro
Bride’s shoes: Kate Spade
Bridesmaid dresses: Adrianna Papel
Bridesmaid gold bracelets, earrings: Kate Spade

  • Rebekah Hoyt - OH MY GOSH ABBY I AM DYING. This wedding is GORGEOUS from head-to-toe and you captured it to perfection!!! WOW!! Seriously seriously gorgeous…!ReplyCancel

  • Erica - Absolutely stunning, Abby! What a way to kick off your wedding season!ReplyCancel

  • Rachel Ziegler - totally swooning over this wedding!ReplyCancel

  • Jodi - ABBBBBY!! This is amazing!!!! Your photos are so dreamy! I’m so happy that I ran into you in the hall at United! I am so inspired by you and your work! Keep rocking.

    xo. JodiReplyCancel

  • Megan Chase - My favorite wedding of yours EVER! Wow! Gorgeous! It screams ABBY!!!!! Every detail and shot is absolute perfection! LOVE it!ReplyCancel

  • Kathy - Impeccable. Seriously – gorgeous! Great job!ReplyCancel

  • Shalese - This is the most gorgeous wedding ever! You did an amazing job capturing little moments. I loved every single photo!ReplyCancel

  • Jean - Beautiful photos, Abby! Great job!ReplyCancel

  • Leo - Fantastic work, Abby. This was a beautiful wedding and you captured the day perfectly.ReplyCancel

  • Blythe K - WOW! The details are amazing and you captured everything so beautifully!!! I have so many favorites!!! :)ReplyCancel

  • Rebekah Carter - Abby, you out-do yourself w/ each new wedding you shoot. And this girl has got to win the most beautiful bride ever award. Wowwww.ReplyCancel

  • ashley link - oh my goodness!!! this looks amazing!!! such a classic bride!!! STUNNING!!! fabulous job as always, girl! :)ReplyCancel

  • Shauné - Gorgeous, stunning, fabulous, perfection! Abby, I am completely in awe of the amazing job you did capturing Joe and Sara’s day. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!ReplyCancel

  • sharon elizabeth - holy stunning wedding!ReplyCancel

  • Karen Field - What is there to say that all of the previous commenters haven’t already said? Here was one shot in the area of the cherry blossoms, I think, where they were embracing and she looks up at you and you see are looking into her beautiful green eyes. Magic.ReplyCancel

  • Karen Allen - Abby!! These are simply stunning!! Awesome job girl!

    Side note: I always get SO CONFUSED when I see “Karen Field” in the comments…I think, ‘wait, I haven’t commented yet, and why did I use my maiden name?’ every.time. :)ReplyCancel

  • heather - Beautiful :)ReplyCancel

  • Lessons Learned: Shooting in crowded spaces » Modern Virginia + Destination Wedding Photographer - […] days I have a few go-to tactics to help when our location isn’t as clear as I’d like! Joe & Sara’s wedding was such a good exercise for me- we were photographing part of their wedding portraits down at the […]ReplyCancel

  • ashley barnett - I would do unspeakable things for that dress!!! My goodness this wedding is gorgeous! I LOVE the style- so different yet timeless!ReplyCancel

  • Rosa - Beautiful!! I would have been so nervous shooting in such bright daylight.. but you did an amazing job! :)ReplyCancel

  • Eryn Kesler - BEAUTIFUL. I just love love love the lighting in all of it! Your reception and detail photos are gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • Kristen - That bright sunlight made for some beautiful, beautiful photos! And that one of her looking up at her bridesmaids is adorable! Just such a lovely collection to scroll through. I think I’ll go do it again. :-)ReplyCancel

  • Carly Arnwine - Abby, these photos are absolutely incredible. You are a master of light, my friend. Awesome work!! xoReplyCancel