Liz and Mike are Married!! | Intimate Backyard Ceremony – Chesapeake, VA

There’s nothing quite as sweet as an intimate backyard wedding ceremony! And what a perfect, sunny May afternoon they had for their big day! We all met at a marriage commisioner’s home in Chespeake and her tree-lined backyard made a gorgeous backdrop for the ceremony and their kids made sure we were in the perfect spot.

Congrats, Liz and Mike!! And thank you so much for inviting me to capture these memories for you and your awesome kids!

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They chose to include a sand ceremony – even making sure to measure out just the right amount of sand – to show how all six of them would come together to form something new and beautiful.

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After the big kiss that made it all official, the kids wanted in on the action and called for a big, family group hug!!

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Don’t they make a gorgeous family!??!

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Congrats Liz and Mike!! And thank you again for sharing such a special day with me!

2013 – A Year in Review

2013 was… so many things. Wonderful. Challenging. Amazing. Crazy. Unreal. Scary. Heartbreaking. Awesome. Dramatic. There’s just no one word that sums it up. I’m thankful for all the good and for all the lessons learned from the not so good. There were many blessings and many challenges and I’m not sure when it’s all said and done that the scales tipped in our favor but I do know that we finished the year in a better place than where we started and that in itself is a success.

It was a big year for my photography dream. It was the year I turned a seven year hobby into a business and maybe one day, that business will become a career. Thank you so much to everyone who supported and encouraged this little adventure of mine and to all of my clients – past, present, and future – it’s only because of you that I’m able to make this happen! It has been such a blessing to capture your memories and some of your biggest moments.

Here’s a little photographic recap of all that the year brought to Portraits by Anna. Enjoy!

Karen & Mike

The Seymour Family
Expecting Baby Smith
Miss Kayleigh
The Bedingfield Family
Erica & Nick
Rex & Sylvia turn one!
The McLaughlin Family
Kaiden
The Dow Brothers
Gavin
Kayleigh & Jocelyn
Barrett turns two!Kayleigh's 6-month session
Peyton's Princess Teaparty
Sassy Sister Styled Session
Shoot-a-Thon with Sharon Elizabeth Photography
Styled Session with Amanda Hedgepeth Photography
Reagan turns one!
Brooke and Nicholas get married!
The Cloke Family

I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings!! Remember, the best is yet to come!

Brooke and Nicholas | Intimate Church Point Manor Wedding, Virginia Beach, VA

Ever get so nervous about something that you become petrified and avoid that thing that is making you nervous?? I’ve been sitting on this blog post for nearly two weeks because I was so nervous about showing the world these images. How silly is that?!?! You see, this is the very first wedding I’ve photographed that wasn’t for a friend or someone I knew before hand. And, because of the timeframe of the wedding planning, I wasn’t able to meet either the bride or the groom and get to know them a little before their big day. Oh boy was I one big ball of nerves before this one!!

I love the relief you get when everything falls into place and you realize you were nervous about nothing. The venue was surreal, the groom a true gentleman who was so excited to marry his girl, and the bride just gorgeous and sweet. It was trully an honor to be chosen to capture their intimate ceremony surrounded by close family and friends. Everything about this wedding was simple, southern, and absolutely beautiful. I wish these two all the best of everything in their new lives together!!

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Behind the Scenes | Lesner Inn Styled Shoot

It’s always fun to see what goes on behind the camera, so I thought you all might like to see a few behind-the-scenes shots from the Styled Shoot you saw in this week’s posts.

We started out with a few instructions from Amanda on how she would approach capturing all the details that the lovely vendors had put together for us.

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Then we moved outside, where Amanda gave us a rundown on the challenges of shooting a back-lit table and bride.

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Here are some candid photo ops with the model while some of the other gals captured the table details. As you can see, its important to photograph the details from every angle.

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Here’s the secret to making a sample gown fit a teeny model!

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A few more instructions from Amanda herself – this time showing us how to help pose a bride.

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And here are a few more of the gals, hard at work.

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Thanks again, Amanda, for putting together such an awesome portfolio-building opportunity and to all the vendors who participated in this event!!

Styled Fall Wedding Details | Virginia Beach Wedding Photographer – The Lesner Inn, Virginia Beach, VA

Today, I want to share with you some of the details from the fall-themed, styled shoot you saw in Monday’s post.

Let me just say… these vendors!!! They are amazing!!

Again, the Lesner Inn, provided the perfect backdrop for this event. This venue is large enough to accomodate most weddings and yet still feel very intimate – and the view of the bay is just phenomenal!

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Now, I have to admit, I’m pretty partial to Sweet Temptations Dessert Cafe. They provided all of the deliciousness you see here and… they’re pretty awesome. They also happen to have been my wedding dessert vendor! (We didn’t quite go the traditional route and instead had a cupcake, cookie, and French macaron dessert table. Ooooohhh the macarons… mmmmmm!!!!) You’ve got to check them out!

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Invitations, place cards, table numbers, and all other paper and calligraphy goods were provided by the oh-so-talented PaperDolls Design. I perused through their website when looking for a link to attach here – they have some seriously beautiful stationary products, if you’re looking for custom invitations, please check them out!

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These gorgeous floral arrangements were provided by Palette of Petals and all rentals came from Waterford Event Rentals, LLC. How beautiful are those gold chargers?! And the tablecloths seemed to float in the breezes off the bay – they would be perfect for any outdoor wedding!!

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Hannah Hildebrandt Events pulled it all together and styled the event. If you’re looking for an event coordinator, check her out! She kept everything looking pristine – and even kept the candles lit when the breeze was determined to blow them out!

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To see the lovely bride and take a peek at what the other vendors have to offer, be sure to stop by Monday’s post! And… for a little glimpse at the behind-the-scenes, be sure to come by on Friday!

Styled Fall Bride & Reception Table | Virginia Beach Wedding Photographer – The Lesner Inn, Virginia Beach, VA

I’m so excited to finally be able to show you the images from the gorgeous, fall-themed, styled wedding workshop hosted by Amanda Hedgepeth, at the Lesner Inn, back in October!! We had to wait until after Amanda’s images had been accepted for publish and last week, we finally got word that we were free to post. Murphy’s Law delayed my posts until this week, but as I’m sure you’ll agree, these images are SO worth the wait!!

We had some of the best vendors participate in this event and they worked hard to put together these gorgeous table-scapes. The decor, the flowers, the food, it was all just beautiful!

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This stunning gal is actually a wedding photographer herself, in the Richmond area, and graciously agreed to come model this unique gown from Maya Couture. The feathered bodice and ruffles make this dress just perfect for a fall wedding!

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Table-scapes were designed by Hannah Hildebrandt Events using rentals from Waterford Event Rentals and floral arrangements by Palette of Petals. All of the papergoods and calligraphy were provided by Paper Doll Design.

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Isn’t she just gorgeous!! This lovely lady’s hair and makeup design is by Blushing Brides VA.

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This is just the beginning of the gorgeousness from this event – check back in on Wednesday to see more of the details and the amazing dessert and cake table provided by Sweet Temptations Dessert Cafe!!

Styled Country Bride & Groom | Virginia Wedding Photographer – Yale, VA

Last week, in this post, I talked about the styled shoot-a-thon hosted by Sharon Elizabeth and gave you all a little teaser of the gorgeous sisters who were there to model for us. Today, I want to show you some of my images of the Bride and Groom.

First, can I just tell you that these two had never met before?!? They were able to brew up some pretty awesome chemistry for two people who had just met!! And can I also say… gorgeous?!?! Leah and AJ really rocked this session. It was so hard to pick just a few of the images and not post an entire album!!

(I’m working out the logistics of a website to go with this blog and, well, I’ve got to give you a reason to check it out when it goes live!)

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Sharon did an incredible job finding the models, vendors, and venue for this event. Thanks again to everyone who participated!!

Venue: Clay Hill Garden Events Decor/Event
Styling: Debbie Harrup Wilson of Clay Hill
Floral Centerpiece + Bouquet + Boutonniere: C & J Floral Design
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.

The Making of a Family | From wedding bells to baby bliss

As I mentioned in the previous post on Monday, Angie and I were at Penn State together and it was there that we bonded over being “failed archies”. (Which has nothing to do with grades or failing but that we both started out in Architecture and then changed majors.) It’s been ten years this fall since we met and in that time we’ve shared some of the best times and made a whole lot of memories.

Senior year, while I headed to Rome – the Archies let me tag along – Angie had a little extra time on her hands to get cozy with Shawn. And we’re all pretty glad she did, because that was where it all started…

Summer 2010, we all headed off to the Dominican Republic for their tropical destination wedding, where I served as Maid of Honor and honorary photog. Angie can probably be credited with my start in portrait photography – she may not have been the first, but this was where something clicked. What could you expect when the bride is as beautiful as this??!

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Three years later, we trucked up to Philly to shower Baby Kostreva with everything a little boy starting out in this world could need!

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And just last week, Angie brought her momma and her little man to the beach for a visit. While I was photographing her as a new mom, I couldn’t help but notice how much she glowed. Its a radiance very similar to what we all saw on her wedding day. Angie is a very beautiful woman, but as Audrey Hepburn said, “I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls”, and as you can see for yourself, that is so true.

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And here’s just one more of the little man himself. Congrats momma, you did very well.

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