Sassy, Southern Sisters | Styled Shoot – Yale, Virginia

The end of October has been busy, busy, busy over here at Portraits by Anna. Now, this is not me glorifying busy – scheduling yourself within an inch of overwhelmed is no way to live! This has been a good kind of busy, a productive kind of busy, a Making Things Happen kind of busy. But, there hasn’t been much time to sit down and focus on editing and I wanted to give you all a little tease of some of the amazingingness from last Sunday.

Last spring, I was really inspired by the gorgeous images a few of the photogs I network with, who are also in their first year-ish of business, had in there portfolios and they all seemed to be from the same styled shoot. After a little blog stalking, I discovered Sharon Elizabeth, a super talented photographer in Suffolk who I had also happen to see grace Justin & Mary’s blog, and SHE was the one who was hosting these styled shoot-outs! Well, I signed up for the very next one… months away in October. I couldn’t believe I was going to have to wait that long!!

Well… time has a way of passing… haha cheesy, I know… and suddenly I was a week out from this awesome opportunity and hadn’t even rented my lenses yet!! Yikes!!

Now, I wrote a little bit about renting lenses in Monday’s post, but I want to give you the real reason I rent lenses for this type of portfolio building opportunity: As a new photographer to the wedding and portrait industry, I’m still building my equipment collection. This is an expensive craft and it takes time to save all those pennies for each new lens. But!! I would never, ever want one of my brides not to have the very best that I can offer on her big day and renting lenses helps me do just that. Because of this, I want to make sure my portfolio also showcases the best that I can offer and exactly what I would bring to the table as your wedding photographer. Whether I rent or own the equipment, I’m going to make sure I have the tools to capture each and every blissful moment to the best of my abilities.

Okay, now that you know the back story, the who, the what, and the why, let’s get to those images I promised to tease you with!!

These to gorgeous gals were just unbelievably unreal to work with – and they’re sisters!! I love how you can really see the differences in their personalities… both sassy, one sultry, and one sweet!

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BIG thanks to the vendors who participated in this event and Sharon for hosting!!

Venue: Clay Hill Garden Events Decor/Event
Styling: Debbie Harrup Wilson of Clay Hill
Makeup: KristineMarie Makeup Artistry
Hair: Kara Shae Hair Designs BTS
Coordinating: Pinch of Charm Weddings
Hosted by: Sharon Elizabeth Photography

Getting the Ring Details

A few weeks ago I found myself in a photography slump. I didn’t know if it was me, my camera, or my lenses, but no matter what I did I just couldn’t seem to get what I had in my mind to come out in my images. Don’t get me wrong, I was generating some really pretty pictures, but my work seemed to have hit a plateau and I needed to figure out what the problem was.

I was pretty sure it wasn’t me. Not that I don’t have a whole lot to learn – I don’t think photographers ever stop feeling this way, there’s always something new to discover! But, I feel fairly technically on point for where I’m at in this photographic journey of mine. So this left either my lenses or my camera body at fault and I was afraid of the answer either way. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s been an expensive year, and while I might be able to scrape together the money for a new lens in the next few months, finding the money for a camera body upgrade is just not going to happen in the near future.

Fortunately enough, there are a few options for photographers who are still growing their equipment collection. There are quite a few stores and websites that will rent equipment for a reasonable fee. Hoping to find the answer to my problem was in fact my lenses, I rented a 100mm Macro and a 35mm prime lens. I chose these because I’ve struggled with fine detail with my lenses and have seen and heard great things about the 100mm and I wanted to see how much more a 35mm is able to capture as compared to my 50mm.

I nearly cried tears of joy when I pulled these images from the 100mm up on my computer and saw how crisp and clear they were!! I was even a little afraid to show Surfer Hubs how awesome they had turned out since you could even see all the gashes in my bands from some of my less than careful moments…

Here are some of the edited images I took of our wedding rings:

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For ring shots, I love the 100mm Macro. These were shot with an L-series but I’ve heard many photogs mention the non-L works just as well for how little you’ll use it. I’ve found that manual focus works best but if you can get your autofocus to pick up the front prong closest to you, you’ll get a great shot that way as well.

How I Found Make Things Happen

There is so much that happened in just two days of self introspection surrounded by like-minded creatives. So much that is so hard to put into words. I’m going to try. Bear with me if it gets a little raw and a little broken. It’s going to take a few posts to tell the whole story – I wouldn’t want to throw a novel at you all in one sitting.

Let me start with how I stumbled upon the Make Things Happen movement that begins with a conference.

I’m sure if you’ve been around the blog for a little while, you’ve read mention of our awesome wedding photog a time or two… or three or twelve! She’s amazing, I don’t need to say it again but… well, I just did. My Make Things Happen journey starts with her and the beautiful framed wedding vows print she gave us as a gift on our big day. This print has become a favorite of mine and when I was looking for gifts for some of this summer’s weddings, this is what immediately came to mind. And so I googled it. And Google lead me to the Southern Weddings Shop, which lead me to Lara Casey and the Southern Weddings team. And then something I don’t believe in – coincedence – started to happen. It seemed like every new search, every new blog I stumbled upon, every new pin that I loved, they all lead to someone who would talk about this thing called Make Things Happen which turned out to be lead by Lara Casey. And then I stumbled upon Emily Ley… and then Gina… and then Rhi… and then other people who had already bought their tickets… and then Nancy Ray, who’s work I’ve loved for quite a while, was added to the list of speakers. I just kept ending up back at Make Things Happen.

Remember, I don’t believe in coincedence. I believe in God. I believe that when we label all the little and big and crazy and weird and exciting connections in life as “coincedence” that we’re missing the amazing oportunities to see God’s hand at work in our lives. Coincedence elimates the praise, glory, and thanks we owe Him for taking the time to orchestrate even the most insignificant of details. And I believe that sometimes, He keeps bringing us back to the same place because we didn’t get the hint the first time.

The first time I ended up at the Make Things Happen website I didn’t know whether or not I would be able to graduate in August or if I would have class this fall. So October was out – maybe next year. Then, when I did get word that a seat was available for summer session in that last class I needed, I had to pay for that class. It’s been an expensive year. Now that my calendar was free for October, my finances certainly didn’t feel like they were.

Ever argue with God and not know it? When it happens to me, the tears come. When I think I know better, He breaks me down and humbles me, and brings me to tears. Good tears. Tears that show me that this is where the answers I’ve been begging for in all those prayers can be found. And wouldn’t you know, every time I ended up back at the Make Things Happen website or happened to find another person who had been touched by this conference, the tears wouldn’t stop.

Finally, finally, I knew I had to register, I had to go, I had to find a way. The day I purchased my seat, they announced the conference was full. I don’t know if I bought the last seat but it certainly was one of the last. It was eye opening to realize, once I finally understood that this was something I was supposed to be at, how close I had come to missing out.

Miss Peyton is Four!

After the Princess Tea Party that you all hopefully saw on Monday, we took a few more “normal” pictures of this newly-minted 4-year-old.

Peyton loves to paddleboard with her parents so we made sure to capture some of her silliness with the boards. Just look at her go!

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Sugar and spice and everything nice – and just enough spunk to keep things interesting!

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She even has a Princess Miss Potato Head kit for her pumpkin! It looks pretty cute on her, too. 🙂

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Happy Birthday Princess Peyton!! We hope to celebrate with you for many, many more!

Peyton’s Princess Tea Party

New clients are a blessing but repeat clients are truly gratifying when you’re trying to build a business out of a hobby and a dream. Last week I had the pleasure of working with one of the first families I photographed. It was so good to see them again and catch up!!

I’ve had this idea for a Princess Tea Party for quite some time and was thrilled Miss Peyton was willing to help me out. Since I froze this poor girl the first time I photographed her, I wanted to wait until the weather cooled off a little so I didn’t melt her this time around. Thank goodness we planned for the end of September because this first week of October certainly has not felt like fall!

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These cupcakes and french macarons are from Sweet Temptations Dessert Cafe. The ladies there do a fantastic job.
(They also did the desserts for our wedding!)

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A BIG thank you to Miss Peyton and her wonderful parents for helping me out with this tea party!

Be sure to check back in on Wednesday to see more images of this sweet girl!