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harrisburg photographer

Christmas Mini Sessions

I’m still smiling about last year’s Downtown Mini Sessions and all of the amazing clients that hit the streets with me. This year, we’re taking mini sessions back into the woods. Imagine plaids, warm blankets, the smell of camp fires and the sound of giggles and laughs. Can’t wait to see you and your family this year and capture more memories for you to cherish for a lifetime.

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The investment cost for this year’s Christmas Mini Sessions is $189. Sessions are 20 minutes long and include 30 digital images. If your group is larger than 6 people, I highly recommend booking two back to back sessions to ensure that we can get all of the images that we need for larger groups. If you have any other questions, please contact me via the contact button above. See you soon!

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Winter Family Session

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Winter Family Session

Well - I jumped the gun on the spring session post earlier this week, eh???  This dreary, cold weather has me feeling like bundling up under a blanket, and sipping hot cocoa. You too?  Grab a warm cuppa and browse through these darling images taken on a cold, blustery day - much like this one. :) 

I've had the honor of photographing this GORGEOUS family 3 years in a row now, and every year, I'm so excited when we put the next date on the calendar. Somehow, every time it's freezing. But we always walk away with some stellar images - I mean - with 4 people this beautiful, how could we not??  Downtown Harrisburg served as the perfect backdrop for this family's session this year and I'm thrilled with the way these images came out!

Schedule your urban family session now!! Perfect for weather all year round.  Click here to get in touch with me!

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M Family {family session}

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M Family {family session}

You guys!  Spring officially begins this week and I, for one, could not be more excited. What says Spring more than rain boots, smiles, greenhouses, Queen Ann's Lace, a little bit o' sunshine and a whole lot of love?!?  So, let's ignore the snow in this week's forecast and enjoy the promise of warmer weather, sunny days and smiles. 

 

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S & J {wedding}

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S & J {wedding}

Remember Sarah and Justin? The couple that did their engagement session with their awesome horses!?!?!?  You can check out that blog post here. Their wedding was just as amazing as their engagement session. You could tell how much they adored each other and all the details seemed to fall into place.

Justin and Sarah first met through a mutual friend.  She would come into Sarah's salon and talk about her husbands best friend and how he would be perfect for her.  Of course, Sarah was hesitant about the thought of a blind date so she put it off for months.  Determined not to get her hopes up, they met up - and she could instantly tell he was different from all the rest.

So many people say when you meet the right person, you just know.  And that is the truth! We dated a little less than a year before getting engaged on Sept 6th, 2016. I couldn’t wait to marry him. We planned the date of July 1, 2017.  I liked that the date read the same frontwards and backwards  (7117). I’m weird like that, I like patterns.  Haha
— Sarah

 

The Details:

Venue: Laurel Rock Farm

"We chose Laurel Rock Farm for our wedding and reception because of the beauty and privacy of the property.  I've always pictured my wedding to be in a beautiful barn setting."

Flowers:  Pamela's Flowers in Enola - they were absolutely gorgeous. 

Sarah's dad made flower boxes out of reclaimed barn wood for each of the tables' centerpieces.

 

 

 

 

Cake: A client of Sarah's made six different kinds of Whoopie Pies for everyone to choose from and they were delicious.  Of course, I had to take one of each for photo purposes ;) 

DJ: Mac2Productions. He kept the day moving smoothly and did a great job.  

"Honestly everything went so well.  Aside from being hotter than we hoped, the day was perfect.  I loved my dress, my hair, and my makeup, but my favorite part was marrying the man of my dreams. We live in Dauphin now with our three dogs, but hope to find our forever home soon where my two horses can be with us.  I've accomplished so much in my 30 something years but feel like my life is just starting. Can't wait to see where our journey takes us next." - Sarah

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J & T { DIY wedding}

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J & T { DIY wedding}

 

I don't even know where to start with this picture perfect wedding. Tom and Jenni were an absolute DREAM to work with - from the booking process, to the engagement session and all throughout the wedding day, it was easy and natural and just felt right. Don't you love those kinds of connections??

I asked Jenni to share part of her story and some insights from her wedding day. Upcoming brides?  You're going to want to take notes!  She's got some great tips and insight. Stick around - you'll be glad you did :) 

Their Story: 

Our love story starts the way that every girl dreams it... One night in a bar. In our defense, we were in the same bar celebrating a mutual friend’s birthday. We hit it off - having more in common than anyone can imagine... And then, like every knight in shining armor, he forgot to ask for my number! The next day I woke up to my friends blowing up my phone because Tom was relentlessly trying to figure out what my number was and how he could reach me. The rest was kind of history from there. And perfectly describes the hilarious type of relationship and love that we share. I had never met somebody that I was so comfortable with and from the beginning, I truly felt like I could grow with this person . All of the ups and downs in our relationship only made us stronger and me more confident that this is the person that I want annoying me, cracking me up, and loving me for the rest of my life.
— Jenni
groom looking at camera

Let's get down to the nitty gritty - the wedding details. 

The Venue: LakeView Farms 

Jenni andTom started looking at wedding venues right away. Jenni is a planner (and a darn good one, at that) and so having a venue where she could have a say in the details and planning was super important to her.  Upon visiting Lakeview Farms, they knew it was everything they wanted for their day - from the beautiful country farm atmosphere, a stunning lake and perfectly maintained historic barn - it was the perfect venue for them. With only ONE date available, only 6 months away, they excitedly booked the venue and began finalizing the other details of their day. 


The Dress:

BHLDN
The detail I was dreading the most was finding a dress. I feared everything was more expensive than what I wanted to spend and would just look like every other dress I’ve ever seen.

Through a referral she looked into Anthropologie's bridal line BHLDN. On a whim, her and her mom decided to head down to their Georgetown, MD location - not really expecting to find anything. But how can you resist an excuse to check out their perfectly elegant and romantic dresses? 

I tried on just four dresses that day and found exactly what I was looking for. I bought it on the spot. The Marvana dress was exactly what I wanted. It was all lace , simple, and that vintage romance that I loved, plus it paired perfect with my cowboy boots. Did I mention that it was less than $800! I feel like when things are right they just fall into place which made me know that this was the dress for me. 
— Jenni

The Rings:

Tom had a diamond that he was able to turn into a gorgeous customized setting at Littman Jewelers.  After doing research on Tom's ring and looking into tungsten, titanium and ceramic rings Jenni discovered you can find the same things on Amazon for a fraction of the price. 

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We are talking $30-$60! It’s unreal I highly recommend looking into that before buying one from the jewelry store. By the way I ended up buying Tom 3! He enjoys the variety!
— Jenni

The Flowers: 

You can customize pretty much every detail of them and I could not have been happier with how they turned out. Not to mention I still have them to this day and have found different ways to decorate and repurpose them.
— Jenni

Jenni had the same qualms about flowers that a lot of bride's seem to have - not being able to fathom spending money on real flowers that would be dead in a matter of days. After some research, she settled on Eco-Flowers - a company that makes flowers out of wood and other recycled materials.

 

"As far as all of my centerpieces, I knew I wanted everything to be a little different and nothing to be matching. I started searching high and low in my relatives attics and at flea markets. I found collections of antique railroad lanterns, birdcages, mason jars, and milk glass. I cleaned all these items up and decorated them with some lace and incorporated my eco-flowers, and some wheat from the farmers field out back from my parents house. I ended up pretty happy with my collaboration of different antique items. We ended up finding lace off-white tablecloths on clearance from Bed Bath and Beyond and still have them to this day vs. renting them for hundreds of dollars and having to give them back! Any other decorations I got from searching Pinterest high and low . I ended up with a pretty unique customized day. I feel like that's the way to go because it speaks the personality of the bride and groom so much more than just something that everyone typically does.

The Cake:

Jenni is one of those rare individuals that doesn't like cake...  This could have almost completely destroyed our work-relationship ;) But, just like every other perfect detail throughout their day, their cake alternative was 100% taylored to them. Jenni's in-laws are pretty much the masters of desserts.

It’s kind of tradition to have a dessert smorgasbord. We ended up with three 8 foot long tables filled with more desserts than I could ever list here. As favors, I ended up finding cute take-out boxes on Amazon and making customized labels and everybody got to fill a box with a ridiculous variety of desserts. For my cake itself, I was really into the look of the naked cake because of it being so different. We ended up getting that same look with tiered layers of chocolate chip cookies and cream cheese frosting in between the layers.
— Jenni

Advice & Regrets:

While this wedding was about as perfect as they come, everyone of us can look back at an event or experience and find one thing we might have changed...  Jenni has some great perspective on this: 

My only regret in regards to our day was our DJ. While I did all of the right things - researched, red every review possible - this still turned out to be the worst part of our night. And I wish I had stuck with my gut feeling before booking - it seemed too good to be true and his prices were incredibly low. We went with him because I could not find a bad review and he was great to deal with in person. But always trust your gut . His attitude, lack of professionalism and slight craziness had serious potential to ruin the day, but I refused to allow it. Our wedding venue and vendors said that they never have seen somebody like him in all the weddings that they did. We made the best of it but I still definitely twitch if I hear his name. I would strongly advise going with somebody that you have a personal referral with and if your gut steers you in a different direction listen to it! Inevitably something will not go according to plan on the day of your wedding the best thing you can do is not let it ruin your day - focus instead on all the other positive things that are going right!
— Jenni

And as for the positives - they were many. Jenni and Tom seemed to enjoy their day more than a lot of other couples I've worked with - and I think Jenni nails it on the head when she the decisions that they made that ensured their day ran smoothly:

We feel truly grateful to be able to look back at the day of our wedding and be able to say we are so happy with how everything came together. I think we can attribute this to several choices we made in the planning process and on the day of.

1. I wanted to be as prepared as possible and as organized as possible so that that day could be fun, relaxing, and a day to never forget. This is an absolute must to guarantee that you're not stressed out the day of your wedding. Think about everything in advance and do as many things as you can to get out-of-the-way beforehand. Our venue allowed us in two days before to allow us to set up and get all of her details ready. The day of our wedding we had nothing to do but enjoy ourselves.

2. Instead of having to pick and choose family and friends for a wedding party we did it super untraditional and opted to not have a wedding party at all. Our friends seemed to appreciate not having so many logistics to do that day and not having to spend so much money on their attire. We still did all the traditional bachelor and bachelorette parties. And still had our friends coordinate somewhat of a color scheme for taking photos that day. All of my closest girlfriends still got ready with me, but there was no bridesmaid drama. It was perfect.

3. Tom and I did first look photos and it's one of the best decisions we could have made. We got time together just the two of us. After this we took photos with family and friends. This way after the ceremony we didn't spend our entire cocktail hour taking pictures. Instead we actually went to our own cocktail hour and were able to enjoy it and get candid pictures with all of our guests. 

4. Step back. Enjoy it and breathe it in. This day can easily become about everyone else and not about the bride and the groom. One of the biggest things that we insisted upon was to spend time together that day. We took multiple breaks and walked away just the two of us to be able to take in this amazing moment that we created with everyone that loves us. It's a pretty incredible feeling and at times overwhelming but at the root of all of the madness this whole crazy magical day happened because you fell in love with someone that you choose to be with forever!

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S & J {engagement}

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S & J {engagement}

I absolutely love it when a couple decides to choose a location that is significant to them, or include props in a session that shows a part of who they are, both as individuals and as a team. 

I have known Sarah for awhile - she was in one of my favorite weddings years ago, and I casually follow her on social media. When she booked me for her upcoming wedding, I was beyond thrilled. And every time she would post a picture of her horses, I would think, "Oh man - I hope she wants to use these beautiful beasts in her engagement session!"  

Wishes do come true. :) 

love and horses
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Working with two massive animals does make a session slightly more challenging. And brought with it several fantastic laughs and epic photo bombs. 

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Sarah bathed her large white horse, Dragon, before the session. He was wildly unimpressed by this and decided to roll as soon as his human turned her back. #whitehorseproblems

A few more bloopers below. Scroll on through for a few more smiles.  

All in all, it was a perfect session, horse rolls and licks included. Enjoy scrolling through this gallery with dozens more images from this gorgeous couple's engagement session. Cannot wait for their wedding this July!

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T & A {engagment}

I'm obsessed with this couple. They were beyond amazing to work with. Gorgeous. Fun. Super flexible. And clearly so very much in love.

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We met up at the always beautiful Boiling Springs Lake and spent an hour or so getting to know each other better, talking, and taking some stunning images of this amazing couple. 

My favorite piece of their story? They met in KINDERGARTEN!! PEOPLE!!!  That's insane. One of them passed a love note to the other, in the most articulate and romantic way a 6 year old can, and they became boyfriend and girlfriend. Life took them very different directions and after individual success in different areas, heartbreak and loss, love brought them back together. True story. 

Enjoy some images from their engagement session. T & A, cannot wait to share your day with you at MoonStone Manor in October! 

Lessons From Abroad

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Lessons From Abroad

If I could toss all caution to the wind, and spend the rest of my life in a constant state of wanderlust, I would. In a heartbeat.  I love to travel - for work or pleasure. Living abroad and international travel have taught me so many valuable lessons about everyday life and the way I view the world. 

Traveling has given me an enhanced cultural awareness and a sensitivity to various cultures and customs. It has schooled me in the art of sensitivity - being able to recognize where people have come from or what they may be currently experiencing. 

Traveling has enhanced my ability to recognize body language and non-verbal communication skills.

It has taught me the importance of adaptability and flexibility; the importance of organization; the importance of resourcefulness.

Adventuring has taught me the necessity of stress management and has compelled me to learn the value of a healthy sense of humor.

The bottom line is this: traveling has the ability to leave us speechless - but it also has the incredible power to turn us into story-tellers. My international experiences have taught me an extraordinary amount in regards to my role as a photographer and story-teller, equipping me to be more confident in my ability to hold life still in timeless images.

Every time I pick up my camera, whether it's to take images at your wedding, at a lifestyle session with you and your family, or just for fun, my goal is always to preserve moments and experiences in an attempt to describe the world the way I see it.

Enjoy browsing through the travel galleries below!

I SEE SOMETHING SPECIAL AND SHOW IT TO THE CAMERA. THE MOMENT IS HELD UNTIL SOMEONE SEES IT. THEN IT IS THEIRS.
~ SAM ABELL ~


INDIA


PHILIPPINES


FRANCE


TRINIDAD & TOBAGO


THAILAND


THE UNITED STATES

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Let Me Introduce Myself...

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Let Me Introduce Myself...

I absolutely love what I do. But I am not your run-of-the-mill photographer. And so, it'd seem strange taking up this section by telling you all about my photographic endeavors...

About how I stumbled onto photography quite by accident - involving a dear friend, a camera phone and a blog…  But, upon picking up my first camera, it was love at first click...

Or all about my philosophy of photography - how it's changed me and stretched me...

About how I've learned to see photography as more than just an art form - but as the art of observation - finding something beautiful in an ordinary place...  

India - laundry

About how I've come to find that photography has very little do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them… That beauty is all around us - in the unexpected and unforeseen - we just have to be willing to look for it. 

India Door

Or more importantly, how people are the reason that I do what I do - because usually, each family that I meet, each couple that I photograph, become friends. Friends whose unique personalities I have the honor of capturing- each smile, each tear, the quiet, private moments, the space filled with laughter...

But - I figured that might bore the ever-living daylights out of you…

So, let me tell you about ME…

I currently live in the Central PA area with my husband, Ryan, and my Great Dane pup, Moses. He's pretty much the most adorable thing ever. I'll let you decide if I'm talking about my husband or the dog. 

I love cake. A lot. It may be my greatest weakness.

Music moves me.  Sometimes to tears. Sometimes to really embarrassing dance moves.

My faith is incredibly important to me. It is my anchor. 

I grew up in South East Asia - it changed the way I view the world and gave me an insatiable desire to travel and explore our incredible planet. I come alive when I am able to capture and document other cultures and the beauty that lies in each and every country I have a privilege of stepping foot in. Traveling has softened my heart to the needs caused by poverty, preventable diseases, human trafficking and all the men, women and children affected by these things. I know, without a doubt, that living abroad growing up and adventuring the past few years has directly impacted  and changed my photographic style and voice, allowing me to be fully comfortable in any place and any situation. 

I have a degree in Counseling. Not in Photography. And I'm constantly amazed at how well those two things work together.

I love adventure. I love trying new and exciting things. It revives my soul. One of my favorite adventures involved jumping out of an airplane. 

When I'm not chasing beautiful light for photo sessions, or making ridiculous noises in an attempt to get children to smile at the camera, I can generally be found hanging between two trees, journaling, coloring or reading a good book. I've been known to turn my hammock into my office as well - somehow, hanging and enjoying nature makes editing way more fun. 

I thrive in high stress situations - which is one of the many reasons I adore wedding photography.

I photograph weddings very differently now that I've been a bride myself.  It made me realize, more than ever, that we have a great responsibility to take care of our memories - whether that be weddings, capturing your family the way it is now, or catching memories of life as it is happening.

I absolutely hate to have my picture taken. Ironic, eh? But seriously - I am probably every photographer's worst nightmare when it comes to taking photos. My husband and I will pose for the occasional selfie - but we pretty much draw the line at that.  Don't be like us! :) 

And as for photography - well, I love it. I come alive behind the lens of a camera. Sometimes, I even gasp taking images of beautiful people. (But really, brace yourselves. I'll be doing a lot of this during your session). I am never more comfortable than when my camera is in both hands, faithfully clicking away, capturing moments.

I picked up my first "professional camera" 10 years ago and have never looked back. My grandpa always told me, "Love what you do, and you'll never work a day in your life…"  I am blessed beyond words to be able to do what I love - capturing people's memories - altering their lives by holding it still.

I'd be honored to capture yours. 

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