Ever since our business began, Danny and I have focused on shooting weddings. But more and more, I’m loving working with families on an ordinary day, just capturing a little bit of their personalities, a little peek into their lives at that specific moment. Because, while weddings only happen once, this exact time in a family’s life, whatever time that may be, also only happens once. And it’s just as worthy of holding on to.
Last week I got together for a shoot with some old friends and their kids, who were just babies (or not born yet!) when I first met them. It’s so much fun seeing how a family’s dynamic evolves as kids grow into their personalities and how parents and kids become friends.
And, okay, truth-telling moment here: Photographing the parents during a family session is still possibly my favorite part. I absolutely love photographing couples and seeing the ways they interact, the ways they look at each other, the ways they hold hands or link arms or lock eyes. And I especially love photographing couples who are parents, because they don’t necessarily get a lot of time to just be a couple when there are kids in the house. And these two? Every bit as adorable as they were when they were middle school sweethearts.
I loved this. The guys told each other jokes all afternoon, competing to see who could make the others laugh the hardest.
One of my favorites!
Yes. Just yes.
After a quick outfit change, we were back to shooting.
A wintery sunset wrapped the evening up perfectly.
Thank you so much for a great afternoon, you guys!
Next week we’ll roll into the holidays again — that wonderful time of year when there is no shortage of family and friends and food . . . and probably photographs. Thanksgiving dinner with the family? Picture time! Christmas cocktails with the girls? Let’s all look cute for the camera!
Whenever Danny and I pose our subjects for portraits, we try to pass along a few simple tips they can use any time they’re photographed, because it’s amazing how changing the way you stand oh-so-slightly can determine whether you like how you look in your pictures. So here are a few quick– very quick, and by no means comprehensive — tricks for looking your best each time a friend wants to grab a quick group photo. Of course there are times when we intentionally break these rules when we’re posing our subjects individually, and different bodies pose well different ways, but here are some standard go-to rules that will help anyone, male or female, look great in a snap.
Turn your body at a three-quarters angle to the camera rather than facing the camera squarely — it’s frequently more figure flattering:
Put your weight on the leg farther away from the camera and put a little bend in the leg nearer the camera — it will keep you from appearing rigid, and as an added bonus, it can be slimming:
If you’re sitting, be sure to cross your legs away from the camera rather than toward the camera — it will almost always be more flattering to your legs:
Tilt your head slightly — it will make you look loose and relaxed:
Give your hands something to do so your arms don’t just hang at your sides – it will help you look comfortable and purposeful:
Oh, and one more thing, but I think you’ve probably got this one down:
When I found out Alicia wanted to do senior portraits with her Thoroughbred, Leo, out at Hidden Creek Stable, I knew we were going to make some magic. I’d photographed at Hidden Creek before, late this summer, so I’d already seen what a perfect place it is for pictures. But take one high school girl with a glowing smile, one handsome bay gelding, and one glorious fall afternoon and you have a recipe for something really special.
Really, really special. I mean, really! The picture above was a combination of my idea and Alicia’s — a collaboration that Leo went along with once Alicia’s mom, Cynthia, came up with the idea of hiding Leo’s treats between Alicia’s fingers.
See what I mean about Alicia’s smile? Her eyes almost flicker when she smiles, and you just have to smile back. Alicia, you are just as pretty on the outside as on the inside.
We pulled Mom and Dad in for a few family portraits. With Leo, of course, since he’s part of the family.
To end off the shoot, Alicia made a quick change into her riding clothes and schooled Leo over some cross rails. He seemed to think we should all just call it a night and go have dinner, but he went along with the plan without too much grumbling.
Alicia, I loved spending the afternoon with you and Leo and your family! Here’s to a great senior year!
Hairstyling: Grace Cobb
Makeup: Sarah Graff
When we first talked about their wedding, back in June, something happened that we’d never experienced with another bride during a pre-wedding meeting before: As Brittany and Justin sat in their house and I sat in mine, on the other end of a Skype call, Brittany got all choked up, and I even saw a few tears. She talked about what she was anticipating for their wedding day, and how she wanted to experience the full range of emotion she saw written on the faces of the couples whose weddings she’d seen on our website. It was so clear so quickly, just what Justin meant to her, and what she meant to Justin. They talked about the details of their wedding — the travel theme, the colors, the venue — but mostly they talked about how much it meant to them to get married.
At their engagement session on The Loop earlier this month, we got to see for ourselves just how much they mean to each other.
Brittany, you looked so beautiful at your engagement shoot — we can’t wait to see how radiant you are as a bride!
The happiness in both their smiles was contagious. And the sunrise looked so good on these two!
A girl and her man . . . and her dog. Brittany and Justin brought along Whiskey, their super-smart Australian shepherd who posed as well for the camera as most people. We talked about how when Brittany and Justin get married this spring, Brittany won’t be the only one whose last name changes — Whiskey is going to become a Willis, too!
With Whiskey there to oversee the shoot, could it have been any more appropriate to photograph Brittany’s gorgeous pear-shaped diamond ring (designed by Justin) on a flask?!
After an outfit change, we wrapped up the shoot at Ames Park. The plan had been to do additional pictures at a local diner, but when the diner was unexpectedly closed even though they’d confirmed the shoot with the owner, they rolled with it and quickly suggested a Plan B that was as good as any Plan A we could think of. See for yourself.
So, so cute, you two! (Don’t they just look like they’re a couple of 1930′s socialites breezing around a cottage on holiday?!)
And we’ll end with one of my favorites — a moment that unfolded organically, and after I’d already switched off my camera as we headed back to our cars at the end of the shoot. These are the kinds of authentic, love-filled moments that make me absolutely love being a photographer!
Brittany and Justin, if your engagement session was any indication, you’re going to have one wonderful wedding day next May! We had so much fun with you during this shoot, and we are so excited for your wedding!
~ Laura + Danny
Outside of Orlando’s busy sprawl, up I-75 and twisting and turning along old country roads that feel like a portal into mid-Twentieth Century America, there’s a pristine patch of earth near Bushnell, Florida, where Allen’s family built their beautiful ranch. It’s a place where his family spends much of their time, and it was where Elizabeth and Allen knew they wanted their marriage to begin, under the oak trees and overlooking the pastures Allen’s late cousin, his best friend, had loved.
It was a perfect fall day — crisp skies, clean light, cool (enough, for Florida) air. All their guests enjoyed the property, meticulously and lovingly prepared for Elizabeth and Allen’s rustic wedding, Allen’s uncle, the pastor who performed the ceremony, was nearly as emotional as the couple when they exchanged their vows, and everyone danced the night away in the chandelier-bedecked barn. But the wedding day began, as wedding days should always begin: Filled with anticipation for what was about to unfold. Elizabeth was absolutely radiant.
Elizabeth chose to wear her mother’s ballet slippers — the ballet slippers her mother had worn for her own wedding. I loved the significance of Elizabeth’s something old, and I loved this moment Elizabeth shared with her sister and maid of honor, Caroline.
Then it was off to the ranch.
Elizabeth’s beautiful florals came from Allen’s aunt, Sherry Krawczyk — a florist whose beautiful work we’ve been lucky enough to have photographed before. I loved Elizabeth’s sweet and simple bouquet, the elegant lace edging on her veil, her bridesmaids’ sweeping dresses.
Elizabeth, you were stunning!
Then came one of my favorite wedding day traditions: The bridesmaids circled up, and Elizabeth’s mother prayed over her daughter, her soon-to-be-son, and the marriage that was about to begin.
Meanwhile, on another part of the ranch, Allen got ready for his bride.
Allen gifted his groomsmen wooden razors, each with a unique color and grain in the wood.
Looking sharp, guys!
Have you ever seen a prettier ceremony setup? I just gasped when I walked into this fairy tale.
What followed was one of the most beautiful, emotional, poignant ceremonies I’ve ever witnessed.
The oak grove, brimming with Spanish moss and sunlight, was the perfect setting for Elizabeth and Allen’s wedding portraits with their bridal party.
Then came some of my favorite bride and groom portraits to date. Starting with these two. Elizabeth and Allen just looked so right together, and I don’t think she could stop smiling!
Even when we had to stop shooting to frantically sweep a whole hill’s worth of fire ants off Elizabeth’s train, she just kept smiling. They were so happy to be married!
As they joined the cocktail hour, Danny and I got a peek into their amazing reception setup, under tents and inside the barn.
Talk about a grand entrance!
And then their first dance was just magical: The lights, the chandeliers, the barn rafters — and the way Allen looked at Elizabeth.
What followed was a party!
Elizabeth and Allen, thank you so much for having us be a part of your wedding day! We were honored to be there, and we are so happy for you two. We hope that the honeymoon in Jamaica was amazing, but that the years to come will be even better!
~ Laura + Dannty
Venue: Private ranch
Wedding Gown: Alfred Angelo
Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Donna Morgan
Groom and Groomsmen’s Tuxedos: Men’s Wearhouse
Flowers: Sherry Krawczyk
Catering: Montage Catering
DJ: Adam Passalacqua at Mr. P’s DJ Service
Officiate: Kent Sterchi
Coordinators: Karen DiDea and Marion Arnheim
Videography: TLC Film Productions
Photography: Laura Yang Photography