SNEAK PEEK: New Haven Lawn Club Wedding

I seriously can't wait to share Rachel & Harry's GORGEOUS New Haven Lawn Club wedding on the blog at the beginning of next week! 
There was candlelight, sparkle, and an indescribable love... Trust me when I say you don't want to miss this one!

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Q&A: How Do Deal With Negativity

Do you ever find others being really really critical of you and your work, in a mean and not helpful way? It can be hard to hear such harsh words from others, especially others in the industry, and not let it bother me. How do you handle this? Help! 
Ahhhhh, yes. I wish I could say that I have never been the subject of harsh words and scrutiny from others, but the truth is I have. Especially when I was newer to the industry. I can say from personal experience it's really hard to have folks that you have admired and respected say such hurtful words... words that were not helpful constructive criticism. Their lack of encouragement and zeroing in on my weaknesses as a photographer was really hard to just let roll off my shoulders. When I was first starting out my confidence was about the size of an apple seed and this negativity seemed just sooo big. 
The sad reality is that there will always be people that will be mean, right? There will always be people that will doubt you. They will question that you can do this. They will focus on your weaknesses and insecurities, pointing them out and reminding you of them... over and over again. These people will always exist. But the amazing thing is, their words don't have to bother you. They don't have to cause you to question if you really can run this race. I made the decision a long time ago that I didn't have the time and energy to listen to and /or worry about these people. But more importantly, I wasn't living this dream for them. 
One of the biggest things that has helped me when these sour winds have blown my way, is to take the time to refocus on WHY I am doing this. WHY I became a photographer in the first place. I will take some time to read through the sweet emails and notes from my past couples about what their photos mean to them. I will go back and look through some of the photos from their wedding day. I think about how incredibly lucky I have been to get to know them and their stories... That they chose Chris and I to capture the memories of their wedding day. No one else. Our why is grounded in reminding couples and celebrating with them the unique beauty of their stories. I'm not looking for the approval of other photographers... that's not part of my why. Never has been, never will be. So like rain rolling off the feathers of a duck, into the water their sour words fall. Pour your energy into becoming a better photographer and serving your clients on an even higher level. Celebrate and refocus on WHY you are doing this, how far you have come, and how lucky you are to do what you love. 
And as you refocus again and again and their words fade away just as fast as they came, don't forget how small these mean spirited words made you feel. Let them fuel you to encourage other photographers, especially those that are just starting out chasing their dream. Be that person that inspires and motivates them, cheering them on and telling them they can do this. 
Or in the wise words of Taylor Swift, haters gonna hate, so try and "shake it off." :)

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Gouveia Vineyards Engagement | Ashley & Trent

The countdown to their Atlantic City trip was finally at zero days! And both of them couldn't wait to spend time with their family and friends to celebrate Ashley's birthday. But the trip to Atlantic City was going to be an even more special few days then Ashley even knew it would be. It did cross her mind that maybe, juuuust maybe Trent would propose to her while on the trip. But Trent had other, more surprising plans.  
Ashley came home from work and her mind was filled with that pre-trip To Do list that everyone has in their head the day before going on a trip. Finishing packing, fold laundry, run one last errand. So with her thoughts caught up in the To Dos she was totally caught off guard when she slowly opened the door to their home to find rose petals strewn on the floor leading to a room filled with twinkling candles. And Ashley and Trent will tell you that the moment was so filled with excitement and joy that they aren't even sure he ever actually asked her Will You Marry Me and if she ever really answered! Their hearts had spoken for themselves and the trip ended up being a celebration with their loved ones of their engagement! 
Now Chris and I are counting down the days until their Newport wedding next year! : )

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Embracing Her Beauty

When I was working in the coporate world years ago before going full time as a photographer, I will never forget all of my co-workers varying reactions when I told them I was resigning... That I was leaving to chase after what my heart was passionate about. I was making the change so that every day moving forward I could wake up with an excitement and happiness. Upon telling one of my bosses I was resigning to pursue photography, their response was one I will never forget... "So you are going to just like take pictures everyday?" Their slightly condescending remark brought a smile to my face and still does to this day. They had no idea. They had no idea that I was going to be challenged and changed. That I was going to be moved by the people in front of my camera and impacted by their stories. I wasn't going to have a fancy office, steady paycheck every two weeks, reviews, or bonuses. For me, I was going to have more. Much more. 
Last week I received an email from one of my boudoir clients and my heart literally almost burst with an indescribable happiness. And a thankfulness that everyday I get to live this life and do what I love. THIS is why I left my old job. Missing this is why I didn't want to settle and get caught up in the mundane. I wanted to make my days matter. I wanted to change peoples lives and be changed by doing something I love. 
I feel so fortunate to have gotten to know this beautiful woman... Reminding her to celebrate her story and embrace her unique beauty. 
Dear Ashley, 
I cannot thank you enough for my amazing boudoir photo shoot, done as a wedding gift for my husband. When we met months prior to the shoot I expressed to you that I was a very self conscious person [...] When discussing it you made me feel great about myself and suggested some different outfits and poses that I could do to feel confident on the camera. I left the meeting excited for the upcoming shoot, especially knowing that my husband would NEVER expect me to do this.  
The day of the shoot I arrived at your studio to feel beautiful and the makeup and hair was stunning and really helped to make me feel confident. Then it came time to change into some lingerie the butterflies started flying again [...] Luckily within seconds I was on the couch talking to Ashley (as she clicked the camera) as if we were old friends. She told me exactly how to sit, look, etc (trust me I needed the direction). Before I knew it I had changed outfits a few times and accomplished what I thought I would never do.  
A few weeks later I received the pictures. O-M-G shocked is an understatement. I could not believe how beautiful I looked in not one but ALL of them!! I couldn't (and still cannot) pick a favorite.  
Keeping this shoot from my husband was hard because I just wanted to spill the beans and show him, but I kept it quiet until the wedding.  
The day of the wedding was a blur, but after the wedding we went back to our room where I had the photo album along with one framed picture wrapped for him. Excited he ripped the wrapping paper to take out the framed picture [...] tears started streaming down his face as he said how beautiful I looked. He then continued to flip the pages of the album crying more and more with each page. In the 5 years we have been together this was the second time I have ever seen him cry. He continued to be speechless with the exception of repeating the words "I love it" "you're so beautiful, I love you".  
Because of Ashley's kindness, easy going attitude, thoughtfulness and respect I was able to accomplish the best gift I could ever think of for my husband. I now have self confidence that I never knew I had. When I look at those pictures I see a beautiful person and remember a super fun experience." ~ Mrs M

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West Point Hotel Thayer Wedding | Kate & Tom

Even know they call California home now, they have New York City to thank for their paths crossing and their stories becoming intertwined. Among the millions of people living and working in the Big Apple, the city got just a little bit smaller when these two found each other against all odds. Wouldn't you know they both just happened to commute on the very same Coach USA bus to work in NYC?! Yup, a bus. It's like straight out of a movie where after watching it you swear people don't really just happen to meet their soul mates on a subway or bus... But they are proof that it can happen. This forensic accountant and comedian fell for one another and their friends can vouch for the fact that when they talked about one another after meeting, it was different. Their words were filled with the excitement of having met the one your heart was meant for. 
It's no surprise that Kate and Tom's wedding was filled with laughter and an incredible thankfulness. A thankfulness to now be able to call one another husband and wife and a thankfulness to have their family and friends there to celebrate with them. Their Thayer Hotel wedding at West Point had all the elements for the setting of a breathtaking affair... from the changing colors of the autumn leaves, views of the river, and rolling mountains in the backdrop. Champagne was toasted, string lights twinkled, and the dance floor was filled to the brim! 
Kate & Tom - You are such an incredible and sweet couple! Truly. Your laughter and happiness bring such joy to all those around you! Thank you for inviting us to be part of your wedding and witness such beautiful moments.

Seriously the cutest little flower girls!

THIS GIRL. Kate you are stunning!

There was something about this quiet little moment right after the ceremony that was so incredibly sweet. I just love everything about it.


These two!! One of my favorites from their day!

Venue: Thayer Hotel at West Point 
Gown: David's Bridal 
Shoes: Badgley Mischka 
Makeup artist: Makeup By Monique 
Hair stylist: Ciao Bella Salon & Spa 
Groom's Tux: Black by Vera Wang 
Floral Design: Angel Wedding Works 
Music: Music Speaks Volumes 
Cake: Homestyle Desserts Bakery 
Favors: Gertrude Hawk Chocolate & Caramel Apples 
Invitations: Christopher Ladika 
Transportation: Born to Run Limos 
Photography: Ashley Therese Photography
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