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Floral & Bloom- bouquets & bridals on film

Every once in a while I get the opportunity to work firsthand with other wedding professionals (as opposed to simply photographing the fruits of their labor at a wedding). Rachel of Floral & Bloom Designs contacted me a couple of weeks back about shooting a few of her bouquets for her new website and I KNEW this would be the perfect opportunity to test out my desire to shoot a mostly-film session. Florals, especially bridal bouquets, are the perfect subject for the soft, delicate feel of film, so I knew we at least had to try! Rachel, her friend Terri (our gorgeous model) and I met up at Manassas Battlefield with a couple of bouquets, a wedding dress and a bridesmaid gown and… well, I think these may be my new favorite scans :).
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Terri you are SO GORGEOUS!

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Rachel, the beauty and brains behind Floral & Bloom Design! Seriously- this gal does AMAZING work!

Virginia film photographer

Contax 645, Fuji 400H + Portra 800, developed at Richard Photo Lab

Happy Tuesday!

[...] guys remember Rachel, right? The creator of THESE gorgeous bouquets? This girl is tal. en. ted. She has a GIFT when it comes to putting blooms [...]

molly - October 17, 2012 - 4:24 pm

SERIOUSLY, ABBY?! these are ridiculous. oh my gosh they’re amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! wow. you are so talented!

Jean - October 9, 2012 - 8:38 pm

Beautiful pictures. Pink bouquet is my favorite. Beautiful!

Annie - October 9, 2012 - 8:22 pm

Love love love the flowers! So beautiful, Rachel! Love that first dress, too.

Lee bornstein - October 9, 2012 - 4:26 pm

Sooo pretty. Wish I had Rachel around when I got married.

Lauren @ Every Last Detail - October 9, 2012 - 4:21 pm

Wow these are amazing… the photos are FABULOUS and the bouquets are gorgeous!!!!!

Rachel - October 9, 2012 - 2:33 pm

Thanks ladies for all the sweet compliments! Abby, I had so much fun doing this with you. I’m so glad you were able to experiment more with film…..and well the pictures turned out AMAZING! This is probably my 100th time thanking you but I’m doing it again because this was such a dream come true for me for you to photograph some of my work. I hope we will have an opportunity to work together again in the future! You rock girl :D

Lauren - October 9, 2012 - 11:21 am

Abby,
Every morning when I come into work make cup of coffee and read through your blog. It is so motivating to see all you are accomplishing. You are very inspiring. I am sure there are mornings when it is tough to blog but keep it up because I think it is wonderful! Rachel the flowers are amazing! I love all the details. :)

ashley barnett - October 9, 2012 - 11:11 am

BEYOND obsessed with that pink bouquet. For reals, I’m emailing Rachel today, I neeeeed that at my wedding haha :)

Heidi - October 9, 2012 - 10:08 am

lovely!!

Alison Mish - October 9, 2012 - 9:50 am

These are stunning Abby! I love seeing your film work…it’s beautiful!

Melissa - October 9, 2012 - 9:36 am

Wow- that red with the peach is stunning!!! Makes for beautiful photos! Great job Abby Grace and Rachel for combining your 2 talents for this!

Erica Hamilton - October 9, 2012 - 9:27 am

So beautiful! Hooray film!!

Rebekah Hoyt - October 9, 2012 - 9:20 am

WOW these are so gorgeous!! Rachel, you do beautiful work!!

Monday Mash-Up

Good MORNING! Or… good afternoon, evening or good night, depending on when you read this. As for me, it’s 9 am and I’m at a cozy little coffee shop in Great Falls after just having finished up an engagement session. I got too excited to wait until I’m home to post a preview, so here we are! I’ve had a whirlwind of a weekend and have a whirlwind of a week ahead of me, but it’s all the best kind of chaos. My brother is getting MARRIED this Saturday! We’re leaving for Bald Head Island on Thursday and I’ll be attempting my first effort at playing both the role of photographer and bridesmaid. We’ll see how this works out…

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

  • I thought we’d moved past the “eat/chew everything I see” phase with Lily, but then I discovered one of my pearl earrings was missing from my nightstand. Needless to say, she’s no longer allowed in our room.
  • I learned a new term for “model faces” on Saturday! Several of Jay’s groomsmen are from Tennessee, so when I asked them to drop their smiles, they told me the proper term was “mean muggin’.” I will henceforth be using this term at every wedding ever.
  • Yesterday I had the joy of assisting the beautiful Laura Gordon at one of her weddings- SO much fun! Laura’s a blast to be around and as she moves more and more toward shooting film exclusively, her work becomes increasingly more breathtaking with each shoot. I was there rolling film and helping her switch out cameras and it was really good for me to see how and when she uses each throughout the day. It got me excited for shooting more film with each of my couples!
  • Can I just say that as much as I love getting up early, I’m REALLY appreciating the later sunrise times. It means that when I shoot sunrise e-sessions, I only have to get up at 5, as opposed to my 3:30-4:00 wake-ups I was doing during the summer.
  • This morning I nearly threw up when I watched my 50 1.2 slip out of my cold, shriveled hands and bounce down two very large (very solid) rocks at Great Falls. Especially when I remembered the lens didn’t have a filter on it because I’d recently taken it off for some  reason. God is MERCIFUL though, because when I picked up the lens with trembling hands, it was fine but for a few nicks and dings in the casing. I was expecting the glass to be completely shattered, but it was unblemished and in total worked order. Praise the LORD for that!
  • I’ve recently discovered wedge heels. Yes, I realize they’ve been around for quite some time, but as someone who doesn’t wear heels often I’ve never actually owned a pair until a week ago. Now they’re my favorite shoes in my closet! Heads up: Target has some cute taupe wedges for $30. Holla!

And look! A preview of Jarrod & Abby’s sunrise e-session from this morning! I LOVE THEM.

Great Falls engagement photo session

Happy Monday!

Heather - October 10, 2012 - 10:31 am

Thank you so much for all of your help this weekend with Laura. It was so much fun meeting you and I cannot wait for the photos! God bless :)

Lena - October 9, 2012 - 1:17 pm

So cannot wait for you to shoot film at my wedding, well to shoot my wedding at all ahhhh :) and with the Lily thing, the chewing stage does go away eventually, there is hope!!

Rhiannon - October 8, 2012 - 6:02 pm

First of all, thank the Lord your lens is OK. I got nervous for you just reading that, you poor thing. You sure are blessed, friend. Secondly, I’m not sure when you changed up your blog but it’s gorgeous and so so perfect! I’m so proud of you :) xoxo

Kelley - October 8, 2012 - 2:42 pm

I was at a wedding yesterday where the photography team dropped equipment during the ceremony. Also shot a lot of flash while the ceremony was going on. It was an old wood church so everything reverberated. I was a little annoyed by the distractions, but perhaps there’s no real happy medium between getting “real” shots and taking way too long for photos between the ceremony and reception (i.e. reenacting for photos)

Interested in your thoughts. Based on this experience, I wouldn’t recommend that particular team. (I did recommend you but they’d already hired someone. See, they should have listened to me!)

Rici - October 8, 2012 - 1:45 pm

I sooo love the term mean muggin! Wow you learn sth new every day ;-)
Totally understand the panic attack as your 50 slipped down. WOW how amazing is that? Not hurt?? that is sooo nice! Once my 50 slipped out of my hand in Tuscany and that was the one and only time my Spanish roomy heard me swear in German…
Have a great weeK!

Kerith - October 8, 2012 - 12:29 pm

Unbelievable morning shot! That is such an amazing expression of love!

Also- Onyx still chews things… like Acorns. And then throws them up on my floor at 3 a.m. So we now have baby gates to keep her penned into common areas. Maybe gate off your rooms?

Kristin - October 8, 2012 - 11:53 am

Good luck on the bridesmaid/photographer thing! Been there and it was CRAZY!! I’ve never been so exhausted and frantic! But it was lovely nonetheless.
(And praise God on your lens is ok! *shudder*)

molly - October 8, 2012 - 11:18 am

mean muggin!! hahahahaha love it! oh man i love that photo! glad your lens is okay!!

Abby Johnson - October 8, 2012 - 11:15 am

For the amount of throw-up that was creeping up on you, you sure kept your cool as that lens bounced down the rocks. I’m so glad it’s okay! This morning was amazing – chilly, but dare I say perfect? Or, lovely? You really know how to make un-photogenic people relaxed during a photo session – we had so much fun! Thank you again, Abby. I can’t wait to see how the rest of them turn out. :)

Jean - October 8, 2012 - 10:51 am

Love the picture. Sorry about your lens. I know you must have panicked big time!

Rebekah Hoyt - October 8, 2012 - 10:06 am

What a gorgeous sneak peek!! Were you on the Maryland side or the Virginia side?! I was on the MD side on Saturday! So glad your 50 is ok!!

Dani - October 8, 2012 - 9:49 am

Mean muggin! Oh wow, that is awesome! And holy cow about the 50! I would have been in tears! And then happy tears! Happy Monday!

Lauren - October 8, 2012 - 9:48 am

Can’t wait to see the rest of these photos!!! :)

Love Everlasting- Robbie & Juliann’s Stonewall Golf Club wedding

It was June of 2005 when Robbie and Juliann found themselves walking the campus of Radford University- it was freshman orientation, you see. There they were, each with their respective families, both probably a bit nervous to be so out of their element, embarking on a new adventure. Well, Robbie may have been nervous, but Juliann’s meticulous planning and organizational skills left her no doubt that this was exactly where she was supposed to be. But I digress…

As they strolled the gorgeous campus, taking in the open quads and classic brick buildings, suddenly their parents saw each other and hint of recognition dawned on them. Juliann & Robbie’s parents were old friends, yet somehow their children had never met. Introductions were made, embarrassed smiles were exchanged, and something special was sparked in that moment. And seven years later, Robbie and Juliann found themselves together with their families again, but this time on the veranda of a golf club, pledging to love and protect as long as they both shall live.

Robbie & Juliann, I am so incredibly thankful that you place your trust in me to document your wedding day. Watching you together was FUN- you two are such a team and complement each other in so many ways, picking up where the other leaves off and bettering each other as individuals. Thank you, a hundred times over, for the absolute joy of photographing your love! I hope California and Cancun are treating you well!

We began in Gainesville…

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Stonewall Golf Club Virginia wedding- Abby Grace Photography

Robbie & Juliann opted to do a First Look and I was SO glad they did! Robbie’s reaction was so sweet, and it left us plenty of relaxed time for portraits. The schedule ended up getting a little crunched later on so because we already did their portraits before the ceremony, we didn’t have to worry about losing out on any of these!

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I love it when my grooms do things like this without any sort of prompt :).

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Favorite.

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You guys are ridiculously good-looking. Juliann- you’re an absolute beauty!

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I don’t normally include family photos in the blog post, but I wanted to illustrate just how much I love doing family formals outside!

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Fun bridal party for the win!

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The Persnickety Cakes cupcake flavor choices were coffee and coconut. SO DELICIOUS!

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Details:
Bridal gown- Maggie Sottero, purchase at Kleinfeld Bridal in New York
Bride’s shoes- DSW
Bridesmaid dresses- Alfred Sung
Ceremony/reception venue- Stonewall Golf Club
Florals- Heaven on Earth
Cupcakes- Persnickety Cakes

Happy Thursday!

Eileen Horner - October 4, 2012 - 3:46 pm

Wow! Great pictures.

Brittany Claud - October 4, 2012 - 3:15 pm

I love how simple yet elegant this wedding is!! And I’m lovin’ that last sparkler shot!!!

jamie - October 4, 2012 - 2:01 pm

what a great way to end the night and your picture captured it perfectly! another beautiful wedding Abby!

Rici - October 4, 2012 - 1:46 pm

Ver beautiful bride! I love her dress!! yay for open backs! so elegant! I loved your posing in the bridesmaids+bride pictures!! Very nice! ~ Saluti.

Alicia Lacey - October 4, 2012 - 1:44 pm

The one at the sweethearts tables with the ampersand in the middle? I die… amazing eye, Abby!

Jean - October 4, 2012 - 10:33 am

Beautiful photos of a gorgeous couple. Looks like a fun wedding . Great job on capturing all the details!

molly - October 4, 2012 - 10:30 am

ABBY! Wow! I love this so much!! Everything is so well shot and framed and posed and that last image? FRAMER!

Sarah - October 4, 2012 - 10:27 am

These are gorgeous Abby! I LOVE the last one.
Congrats to the lovely newlyweds! :)

Rebekah Hoyt - October 4, 2012 - 10:17 am

WOW Abby these are gorgeous!! Congratulations Robbie!! So happy for you!

Dani - October 4, 2012 - 9:43 am

I love all of these so much!! I think my favorite though is in the portraits where he is picking her up and kissing her. So gorge. I love the colors too!! The dress color makes the flowers pop so nicely! And her dress! Amazing!!

Wendy {Weswen Design} - October 4, 2012 - 9:42 am

I adore the shots by the lake. Beautiful light. Great pictures as always! These couples are SO lucky to have you!

Lauren @ Every Last Detail - October 4, 2012 - 9:35 am

Gorgeous shots Abby!!!!

Lessons Learned: staying on track

I KNOW I’m not the only person in the world who gets distracted during the day, but I think those of us working from home probably get the worst of it. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times a day I’ve found myself on Twitter, Facebook, B&H, etc. doing nothing in particular, just wasting away minutes of the day. It happens the most when I’m in the middle of a task I don’t particularly want to be doing, like a tedious PhotoShop edit or calculating mileage. But these things have to get done whether I like it or not, and I’ve found a couple of things that have helped me out tremendously:

  • Tea! Having a hot cup of tea next to me is almost a surefire way to make any task more enjoyable. No idea why, but it does! Having that tea in a cute Anthropologie mug is an added bonus:)
  • Taking regular, scheduled breaks. Having a dog is really helpful with this- I take Lily out at 9, 12, and 3, so if for some reason I’m chained to my desk with editing or answering emails, I know I HAVE to get up at least once every three hours to walk the puppy. I try to break it up even more than that by refreshing my cup of tea or grabbing a glass of water- just getting UP from my desk helps shake me awake if my eyes are starting to glaze over.
  • Tracking my progress. I found a really fun pad of “to-do” lists at PaperSource and every morning (well, most mornings) I write down whatever I want to accomplish that day. Sometimes it’s a two-bullet list, other times it’s the entire page. But creating a NEW list every morning keeps me feeling sane- I used to do the “three pages of cramped writing” lists, adding whenever something else occurred to me that I hadn’t done yet, but I found myself getting incredibly overwhelmed by that sort of thing. Break it down into day-by-day lists allows me to see how well I’ve done daily at staying on-task- I love being able to cross off everything on the list and tuck it away in my “completed” pile (yes, I keep them).
  • Beginning with the end in mind. I know that every day when Matt gets home, it’s time for me to step away from the computer and close the door to my office. So in the event that I’m working on something I haven’t been looking forward to, I know that the day will END at 5:30. I don’t know about you guys, but when I start on a project with no end in sight, particularly one I’m not jazzed about, I tend to get discouraged. This also relates to my timetable to starting and finishing a wedding- my first few weddings I ever shot took me SIX WEEKS to edit. Six long weeks of working every night and every weekend. Mind you, this was while I was still working at a desk job, but still. It seemed never-ending. These days I’m much quicker- if I stay on task and work efficiently, I can finish in 3-4 days. Knowing that I have ONE week to complete wedding edits keeping me moving and prevents me from getting behind.

So how about y’all? What are your best practices for keeping yourself moving along?

Abby Grace Photography

Happy Wednesday!

Rici - October 4, 2012 - 1:50 pm

I love the writing a new list each day! That´s exactly my problem, the overwhelming lists… I also have an alarm clock I sometimes set, so in case I got lost on pinterest I´m reminded to go back on track… ~ Saluti.

Carlyn Kachurek - October 3, 2012 - 8:51 pm

such great tips!! Social media is totally the death of all my productivity, so I find that if I don’t even have a web browser open whatsoever, I can just keep plowing through LR and not switch over to Safari where a quick little Facebook check somehow turns into 10 minutes later and all focus is lost. And why is it that a hot coffee or tea totally helps?! But it does.

Susan - October 3, 2012 - 11:17 am

I AM SO BAD AT THIS! I get distracted every 5 minutes at work. Someone told me that if you just rest your EYES it helps so much. So every 15 minutes you need to look away and give your eyes a break from the screen for 30-60 seconds. Your mind doesn’t get a break, but you’re eyes will stop going cross-eyed :)

ashley barnett - October 3, 2012 - 10:23 am

This is SO ME. I am the queen of distractions. Oddly though, I find that I work better in spurts, so if I sit myself down and power through something for 30 mins, I allow myself a 10min break. Then I power through another 30 mins, another 10 min break. It works for me…oh and coffee, coffee works for me too. :)

Jean - October 3, 2012 - 10:22 am

Good advice. If only I could do that with quilting!

Rebekah Hoyt - October 3, 2012 - 9:37 am

Amen! I love all this! I HAVE to have my cup of tea too. I wish I had a dog for the reasons you just shared! The BEST thing that helps me is that I don’t listen to music through an internet browser (like pandora) because if I go to change a song or playlist, immediately I am back on Safari and tempted to check facebook or email. Instead, I only listen to music in Spotify or iTunes on my computer so I can change music without having to open my browser! This helps me a lot so I can stay off the browser and stay on task! :)

Standards of grace

Some days I wake up and I just, plain and simple, don’t want to blog. But I do, because I made a public declaration on my blog last year that I would post five days a week. And the natural human condition causes us to want to appear consistent, to practice what we preach. Every couple of months I’ll skip a day, but I always feel guilty about it, like I’ve broken my word and I’ve let someone down. It’s absurd, really- no one’s going to come after me if I fail to post riveting new information. And yet it sort of feels like I’m playing hooky, like I’m disappointing someone.

This morning was one of those days. I’ve been sitting at my computer for nearly two hours now, starting new sentences with the intention of writing some hard-hitting blog post about the meaning of life, only to get frustrated and press the delete key until my canvas is once again blank. Staring wildly around my office, desperate for inspiration so that I can write SOMETHING for today’s blog. I keep a list of blogging ideas in my desk for this very reason, but nothing on that list really appealed to me today. Maybe it’s the rain drumming on my window, or the fact that I woke with the same crick in my spine that’s been bothering me since Saturday. But today? Today, I’m in a funk. And that’s ok.

I know I’m not the only one who feels the pressure to always be on, always be smiling, and always be my peppy, cheerful self. And most days I fall into it incredibly naturally- I love looking toward the days and weeks to come with bright, hopeful eyes. But sometimes, just sometimes, I want to retreat. To burrow back under the safety of my duvet, turn off my iPhone, and hide out with a good book until my husband gets home. And then I feel guilty about wanting to retreat, guilty about taking this life for granted, for failing to appreciate just how incredibly blessed I am. But Emily Ley’s wall art says it best and gets me every single time I’m down and out: “I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection.”

I’m human. We all are. This means I’m going to fall short, I’m going to mess up, and I’m going to have those occasional off days. And it’s ok :). As long as I pick myself back up again and remind myself that those failures DON’T define me. I am more than the number of comments on any individual blog post, I am more than my blog stats, and if I miss a day of blogging and it throws off my average number of hits that week? It’s not the end of the world, not the end of MY world. I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection.

Happy Tuesday, friends

Rici - October 4, 2012 - 1:58 pm

Thank you for being honest!! we all have these days and I love your reference to that quote! wonderful I have to put it up somewhere. ~ Saluti.

Molly - October 3, 2012 - 9:16 am

Love this post, Abby. You are so inspiring.

Lane Baldwin - October 2, 2012 - 11:13 pm

Love this. I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels like this sometimes.

Anna D - October 2, 2012 - 11:35 am

Your blog entry could always be… “Today my friends… Today I am having an Abby Day. Because we all need a mental break” :) I used to take “mental health days” at my last job (still do now but they are now called Wine and Grey’s Anatomy Days LOL). Seriously though, its your blog and if you do not want to write on that day you shouldn’t feel guilty. You could just post a photo of one thing that is going on in your life at that moment with no text and leave it to the interpretation of your readers (although if that is not your style that is cool, just a thought). Go enjoy an Abby Day!

Rebekah Hoyt - October 2, 2012 - 9:57 am

Thank you for this! Something I need to constantly remind myself! This Sunday at church, Mark preached on God’s design for the Sabbath – I felt really convicted that I always feel like I need to EARN my time off instead of just enjoying it because time to rest and time away from work is a gift, and it is part of God’s design. I don’t give myself enough credit and being self-employed (and proud of what you do!) makes it even harder to set boundaries. We need to extend grace to ourselves just like we extend it toward other people. You are wonderful! Thanks again for opening up and sharing this :)

Wendy {Weswen Design} - October 2, 2012 - 9:32 am

I adore the saying and her print and it’s SO true! To make it in our busy lives, you have to glide through with a sense of grace and comfort, not perfection. Otherwise, we’d all be crazy!

Hannah Rancourt - October 2, 2012 - 9:30 am

I LOVE this! I also love that photo of you and your hubby!

Alexandra {Heart Love Weddings} - October 2, 2012 - 9:29 am

AMEN! Amazing reminder, Abby!