Mar

FAQ: Why do a First Look?

One of my favorite moments during a wedding day, is the First Look... no question about it. A First Look is when a bride and groom see one another before the wedding ceremony in a very special and moment. No words can describe the tender emotions and reactions of that instant when the couple sees each other for the first time on the most important day in their love story... 
 
People always ask if Chris and I did a First Look, and I regrettably have to answer no. It wasn't because I didn't want to but simply didn't know what it was and that it was an option! I so WISH we had done a First Look and if we could do it all again, we definitely would without a doubt. When I walked down the over 90 foot aisle of the church we were married in (yes, it was a suuuper long aisle and I almost needed to take a break half way through... just kidding!) I couldn't really see Chris' reaction and when I got to the end of the aisle to him he just whispered to me and the ceremony began. In that moment what I really wanted to do was hug him, tell him how much I loved him... I wanted to hear how excited he was and how the morning was with the guys. I wanted to know if he liked my dress and I wanted to tell him how handsome he looked and wipe the tears from our eyes in a private moment. But all eyes were on us as the ceremony began, and we didn't have a chance to until after the ceremony... Because I so wish we had known what a First Look was and all the benefits, I make it a point to discuss with my couple's a First Look if they have not thought about it. Now it's just as important to note that a First Look is not for everyone, but this way each couple can decide for themselves! 
 
There are a few benefits of doing a First Look and I wanted to break down some of the big ones... Soooo, without further ado: 
 
Enjoying that special moment. Being able to enjoy and savor that first moment of seeing one another on your wedding day... Without all your guests watching. Being able to hug/kiss/cry/laugh/smile and not feel like you have to hold back. Having that instant reaction and tender moment documented. 
 
Timing. Doing a First Look provides much more time for photos without being rushed. Immediately after the First Look, I typically photograph the bride and groom together for a little while. Then I photograph the bridal party (the bridal party can meet the bride and groom at First Look location or wait in transportation until First Look and bride/groom photos are complete.) Family photos can even be done before the ceremony as well. Then after the ceremony, I usually do family photos if they have not been done already and additional photos of the bride/groom and sometimes more of the bridal party if time allows it. 
 
Attending Cocktail Hour. This ties into timing, but when we do the majority of photos before the cocktail hour, couples can attend some if not all of their cocktail hour. Doing a First Look and photos before the ceremony often allows for much flexibility and options with the wedding day timeline and photo opportunities. 
 
Daylight. Depending on what time of year a wedding is or how late the ceremony starts, a First Look enables the couple to have beautiful natural light photos while it is still light outside. If a couple is getting married in November on the east coast with an evening ceremony at 7:00pm, it will obviously be pitch dark outside when the ceremony is done. Doing a First Look, bride/groom photos, bridal party photos, and even family photos prior to the ceremony and sunset would allow for photos outside in the beautiful light... 
 
Calming those nerves. My brides are definitely less nervous for the ceremony and the rest of the wedding day when they do a First Look. They are just as excited and anxious, as are the grooms, but less nervous since they have already had time with their soul mate before the ceremony. One of my brides described it best when she told me that the First Look and walking down the aisle were two completely different experiences, but just as emotional and exciting. Walking down the aisle was something she had always dreamed about and the First Look was something she had been looking forward to in the year leading up to the wedding when they decided to do a First Look. And I will tell you that their First Look and walk down the aisle were so incredibly beautiful and emotional in their own way. 
 
Here are some of our couples' amazing First Look photos... :)



















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Mar

A Cake Smash

Celebrating Greyson's first birthday a few weeks ago with our families was just the best. With a fire crackling in the fireplace, we cheered to surviving this first year of parenthood and all watched as Greyson ripped the wrapping paper off his gifts. It was bittersweet to think back over this past year and see how quickly time has flown by. 
 
Naturally I am always so happy to see Greyson share things with others - it just warms my mama heart. However, it wasn't more then three seconds into his cake smash as we knelt down to take a photo with him that Greyson decided to share his cake with Chris and I. In our faces. In my hair. Up our noses. Before Chris and I even got a photo with him and his cake we found it alllll over us. It turned into a cake smash with the three of us (yes, both Greyson and I took this opportunity to put some frosting on Chris' face!) But the photos of this moment are my favorite. They remind me of so many of the things I have learned this past year as a mom. I have learned that things often don't go as planned and that's okay. I have been reminded that seeking perfection is crazy. I have been reminded not to take myself too seriously and the importance of living in the moment. And I have learned to always keep a change of clothes in the car for Greyson... and myself. :) 
 
Love this little cutie and can't wait for more messy and beautiful memories with him!








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Mar

The Juggling Act

Nowadays I wear a lot of different hats, the three biggest ones being mom, wife, and full time business owner. And truth be told, at times it can be tough to juggle these three roles and all of the responsibilities that come with them. In conversations people often make the comment to me, "I don't know how you do it all..." And while my initial answer wants to be, a little luck and a LOOOOT of coffee, I know that the success at which I strike a balance and juggle all that I needs to be done takes more then luck and caffeine.  
 
There are three things that I did when first starting my business and was in the hustle phase of making my dream of being a full time photographer a reality that had a huge impact in helping me juggle all I had going on. And with all I have going on now years later, they are three things I still do to this day to get stuff done and win each day. And let me tell you, for me they still make ALL the difference. They don't appear to be "hard" or earth shattering, and truly aren't once they become an integrated part of your routine. 
 
1. Get up earlier. Boom. There it is. I said it. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that this has single handedly made a HUGE difference in my life throughout different stages of my life. And now especially being I mom. I am most productive from 5:00am - 7:00am when there is a quiet stillness that enables me to focus on the list of things to do and just get 'er done. When I was starting my business, I would get up a heck of a lot earlier then that to make progress and work hard before going to my full time job. I had the most clarity and the most drive at that time of day and after putting in a solid two hours working on my passion, it was easier to then go to my job which I was less then passionate about. I knew I was making progress. Same goes for now. I feel like I get a head start on the day and feel less distracted with a To Do list looming in the back of my mind during the day, because I already completed all or most of it before the sun even rose. Getting up earlier each morning helps me win the day and be a more intentional and present mom and wife. 
 
2. Have a schedule. Being a mom and being a business owner is no easy task and truth be told, more times then not it can feel like there are only 2 hours in a day to do everything that needs to be done. It can be overwhelming to think about all the to dos from doctor appointments, going to the grocery store, cleaning the house, and playdates to answering emails, editing, album design, calls, photoshoots, blogging and so on. And those are just the basic things to keep things rolling. It is a fine balancing act, but having a schedule that reflects my priorities and what needs to get done has made all the difference. Planning out my week and each day, but knowing that things could and will change around has helped me be more efficient, effective, and much more intentional. 
 
3. Know your priorities. This is the golden egg right here. Getting up early and having a plan and schedule makes no difference if you don't know what your priorities are. This goes for your priorities within your work and business, and also within the other areas of your personal life that you are balancing, like for me being a mom. Knowing your priorities is only half of the equation though - ACTING accordingly is the other half. You can have an idea of what your your priorities should be, but knowing and acting in a way which reflects them is equally important. Giving your priorities, well, PRIORITY is absolutely crucial and helps in decision making. For example, if I have the choice to book an extra photoshoot over spending a day as a family, you can be sure that I will chose being with and making memories with my family because they are what is absolutely most important to me. They come first and I want my decisions, choices, and daily juggle to reflect that best it can. This isn't to say that my work and photography doesn't ever get picked over my family at times - photography it is my passion and what I absolutely love. But my decisions and choices in general are always made with my family as my number one priority.

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Mar

What My Heart's In

This past week I have unplugged a little to soak in the joy of our little boy turning 1 and to think about this last year. It's been a great time of reflection on the past 12 months and all that it was filled with... Things that inspired and made me grow. 
 
And this reflection was followed by some looking at the year ahead... Thinking about the blooming of new projects and the grateful closing of doors on others. Embracing the beautiful truth that there is indeed a season for everything.  
 
This year is going to be like none other and I am filled with hope and excitement for all that's in store. Seeds of projects that have been planted in my heart a long time ago that have finally taken root and are growing. Collaboration, inspiration, and imagination... 
 
...Doing more of what my hearts in and less of what it's not... 
 
Maybe that's part of the reason why I have been so excited for spring to get here! I can't wait to share all we have been working on! :)

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Mar

Happy Saint Patrick's Day

If I'm lucky, today will be filled with soda bread eating, parade watching, green colored coffee drinking and day dreaming with my little leprechaun of when this snow will be melted and the yard will be filled with four-leaf clovers! :) Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

(image source: SandraRose, Redbubble.com)
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