Here is Part 2 of Jenn and Gilbert’s engagement shoot! (If you missed Part 1, check it out here!) After a quick lunch and change of clothes, we headed over to the Carriage Trail with Jenn’s adorable beagle, Paisley, in tow. This zig-zagging path winds through towering trees that create beautiful dappled light, with views overlooking downtown Charleston. Paisley could not have been happier about this adventure!

Jenn and Gilbert’s wedding theme combines vintage Christmas with rustic touches. In keeping with their color palette, we set out to find the perfect spot to capture the picture that would go on their Save-The-Date.

At the end of the day, Jenn wanted one more shot. She wanted to capture an image of how they actually spend most of their time. So, out came the college sweatshirts,  coffee, and computers. They sat down on the couch, Paisley hopped up there with them, and they began to work as usual. She assures me that this photo will undoubtedly hang on their wall in the future.

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This was a very exciting photo session for me, not just because I got to visit West Virginia for the first time, but also because I got to take my twin sister and her fiancé’s engagement photos! We spent an entire day on this session, breaking it up into two parts: the morning and the afternoon. So that’s how I’ll be sharing the photos with all of you!

I’m not sure what Jenn and Gilbert love more: coffee or books. Over the course of their relationship, they’ve been known to go on coffee/work dates, where they’d hang out at Starbucks and work or read if they somehow had free time. Jenn has also had a slight obsession with Anne of Green Gables ever since she read the series in elementary school. For those who aren’t familiar with the books, Anne Shirley is a book-loving orphan who is taken in by an elderly brother and sister on Prince Edward Island. There, Anne meets Gilbert Blythe. Although Gilbert starts off on the wrong foot with Anne when he teases her about having red hair, he soon becomes a source of inspiration for her, pushing her to compete with him for top honors in school. Eventually, the two become friends and (after much effort on Gilbert’s part), husband and wife. My family always joked that Jenn was looking for her very own Gilbert, and sure enough, she found him!

With this in mind, we started the day at Taylor Books in downtown Charleston, a combination coffeeshop and bookstore. We took some time wandering around the downtown area and then went over to the State Capitol building. Did you know that the architect who designed the Supreme Court of the United States also designed West Virginia’s State Capitol? Ironically enough, his name was Cass Gilbert. I thought this was an excellent backdrop for Jenn and Gilbert, who bonded over their shared love of the law.

Photos from Part 2 are coming soon!

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Matt and Elaine met as freshmen at Lehigh University. Though it was obvious to their siblings and friends that there was something between the two of them, they didn’t become a couple until five years later. Ten years after they first met, they tied the knot surrounded by family and friends in the heart of Philadelphia.

Elaine loves history, so a wedding at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, PA made perfect sense. They said their vows on a snowy/rainy April day in a ceremony that combined both of their Catholic and Jewish faiths. They planned a number of unique moments to capture that day: from signing their ketubah in Signer’s Hall, surrounded by statues of the founding fathers, to recreating a photo of Elaine and her siblings during a childhood trip to the Constitution Center. I wish Matt and Elaine all the best in their future together!

Venue: National Constitution Center

Hotel: The Franklin Hotel at Independence Park

Makeup: Just Teasing LLC

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Looking back at photos from my portrait session with Maria and her family last December. She was all smiles and excitement while wandering around Mosaic in Fairfax, VA!

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Welcome to the world Mikey! This adorable little fellow was 11 days old when I got the chance to photograph him. His parents, Scott and Haley, met at Yale while researching world constitutions for a professor. They fell in love over legal texts years before either of them went to law school. They paid tribute to that “law nerd” beginning by giving out pocket Constitutions at their wedding, and we couldn’t resist incorporating the story into their son’s photo shoot. Only time will tell whether he too will love the law, but I’m sure he will grow up to love Yale, at least if his parents have anything to say about it.

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Fall is such a wonderful time for a family photo shoot! Chrissy and Matt celebrated Max’s 1st birthday with a photo session at Brewster Gardens in Plymouth, MA. We had perfect sweater weather, lots of warm sunlight, and a ton of colorful leaves to play with. With a few props (and toys) in hand, we set out to explore the park. Max certainly loved running around. Every time we set him down, he took off on another adventure!

I photographed Max at 12 days old and he’s grown so much over the past year! It’s such a joy to be able to photograph families as they reach milestones together year after year.

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I had such a fun time photographing Kathleen, Brian, and their 14-month old, Keegan, at Pageant Field in Quincy, MA! I just love when families incorporate their favorite activities into their photo sessions. The baseball theme for this shoot not only gave us a great setting, but it allowed for some wonderfully candid photos and a lot of laughter.

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Well, no. It really depends on what you want. A wedding photographer and a videographer capture some of the same things in different ways. A wedding photographer can capture all of the details of your day—the table settings that you spent so much time selecting, the look on your fiancé(e)’s face as you see each other for the first time on your wedding day, the awesome dip you spent forever practicing for your first dance. But no matter how talented the photographer, a photograph simply can’t capture the sound of a groom choking up as he reads his bride’s wedding-day letter aloud, the jokes in a best man’s toast that brought down the house, or the piece of marital wisdom offered by the bride’s grandparents at the reception.

It really comes down to the audio. We experience the world through our senses. Photographs use our sight, while videos take advantage of our sense of hearing too. This can be a powerful combination when it comes to triggering our memories. I always say that photographs remind us of the day, but a video can transport us back to it.

In deciding whether you want both a wedding photographer and videographer, my best piece of advice is to think about how you will remember your wedding in 10, 20, or 50 years. Do you see yourself showing your wedding video to your kids and grandkids and watching it on every anniversary? Or do you see yourself leaving it in the cupboard, unwatched and forgotten about?

When my husband and I were planning our wedding, we knew we wanted both wedding photos and a video. To make the video fit in our budget, we did some of the décor ourselves, opted to skip the extra flowers at our ceremony location, and offered only a single flavor of wedding cake. To us, the trade-offs were totally worth it. In the year and a half that we’ve been married, we’ve already watched our video four times: once when we got it, once with my husband’s family, once with my family, and then again on our one-year anniversary (a tradition we hope to continue every year). We also sent a copy to my grandparents who live in California and couldn’t make it to Massachusetts for our wedding. My Grandma loved it and said it felt like she was there. This ability to share our day with loved ones made our investment in a wedding videographer totally worth it!

Not all couples want a wedding video, though, and that’s okay! Whether you are sure you want a wedding video or are simply considering the option, I’m happy to talk it through with you. I offer both photography and videography services, and I’m happy to work with couples to customize either a photography or videography package that suits their needs.

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Hi! My name is Jessica, and I’m a professional photographer and videographer. I first fell in love with photography in high school, and I followed that love through an art major at Lehigh University and a Master of Fine Arts degree at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. For the last few years, I’ve worked throughout New England as a professional digital retoucher, an adjunct professor of digital photography, and a freelance commercial photographer and videographer. Now I’m focusing full time on my freelance business, and I’ve started this blog to share my story with all of you.

Starting this business has been a dream of mine for a long time. I’ve always been the one capturing special moments at my family’s events, but planning my own wedding really highlighted how important capturing those moments can be. I spent over a year planning our big day, from designing my own invitations to taking secret dance lessons so my husband and I could surprise our guests. The day itself was a whirlwind. I never imagined how quickly it would fly by. The pictures and video we have from our day not only remind us of all the details, but they allow us to see moments that we completely missed. Perhaps most importantly, I was able to share the pictures and video with my grandparents, who could not make the cross-country trip to be there for my wedding.

Now I have the incredible privilege of capturing the special moments of others’ lives. I get to capture the joy that a couple experiences as they embark on their marriage or parenthood. I get to put together a video that a couple will hopefully watch year after year. And, perhaps most importantly, I get to tell a story. As you’ll see from my work, I love to tell stories. I love to incorporate details of a couple’s romance in their engagement session and in the photos or video of a couple’s wedding. I also love to include personal details in family photo shoots to really make the session come to life.

With this blog, I hope to share some of those stories with all of you and to share a bit of my own along the way. I hope you’ll join me.

Photo by Anna Beeke.

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