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THE IMPORTANCE OF SEEKING REST

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One of the things I struggle with most as a business owner is knowing when it is time to take a break. As cheesy as it sounds, I love what I do so much, most days it doesn’t feel fair calling it “work”.  I truly feel like God designed me to be a wedding photographer, and I hope it is something I get to do for the rest of my life. When my good friend Caroline asked me if I wanted to photograph a wedding with her in California, I hesitated. It was in August, smack dab in the middle of busy season!  Knowing it would be one of my only chances to take a vacation before December, and unable to deny my love for travel and new adventures, I decided to join her.

As I sit on a plane headed back east, I can’t help but smile as I mentally replay so many of the fun memories made. After capturing a magical wedding at the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay with one of my best friends, my husband Matt flew out to explore this beautiful state with me. We spent a day in Napa with Matt’s brother, his girlfriend, and two of our closest friends from college, before heading to Lake Tahoe to enjoy a couple of days of hiking and picnics on the beach with Caroline, Alex, and Caroline’s sweet family.  I leave California feeling rested, rejuvenated, and creatively inspired. Check out a few of my favorite memories from our adventures together below.

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The trip began with a gorgeous wedding at the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay.  A big thanks to my beautiful friend Caroline for bringing me along to help capture it.

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The day after the wedding I joined my husband Matt, Tony, Kelly, Liz and Ben for a relaxing day in Napa.

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It was a blast catching up with some of our closest friends!

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Matt and I spent Monday and Tuesday exploring Lake Tahoe!  We reconnected with Caroline and her husband Alex at Caroline’s family’s home.

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One of my favorite memories from the trip was our hike up this incredible mountain.  There was just something so peaceful and inspiring about exploring God’s creation.

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A big thanks to Dale and Lily for hosting us in your beautiful home.

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How amazing is this view?!

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The whole group.:)

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Dinner was held outside, right before sunset.

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As we enjoyed a delicious meal, we watched the sky change from blue, to golden, to a deep rich purple.

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“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” -Matthew 11:28-30

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Thanks for coming along on my California adventure!  Have you enjoyed a restful summer or explored an exciting new place?  Feel free to share your adventures in the comment box below.:)

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THE SILVERSTROM GROUP : 50% OFF TEETH WHITENING

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A bright smile and beautiful orchids greeted me as I walked into the Silverstrom Group.  To be honest, it felt like I was entering a spa instead of a dentist office.  The calming sound of the water wall put me at ease and the adorable coffee and tea cafe made me feel at home.  It was easy to see why this father-and-son team practice was voted the “Best Dentist of Essex County” last year.

Entering my private suite in the Silverstrom Group, I felt completely taken care of.  As someone who is in front of the camera as often as behind it, I believe it is important to have a beautiful white smile.  Dr. David Silverstrom personally explained exactly how the “Zoom Whitening” would work.  He was so kind and I was extremely impressed with the fact that the owner of the practice would spend so much time to ensure I felt comfortable with the process.  ”At the Silverstrom Group, we are all like family”, David explained.

After a few pictures (for a before and after comparison) and the creation of molds for upper and lower trays (to maintain the whitening at home), I had the opportunity to chose a movie on Netflix to watch while the whitening took place! Forty-five minutes and many laughs through my chosen comedy later, my Zoom Whitening was complete!  I COULDN’T BELIEVE THE DIFFERENCE!  My teeth were whiter than they had ever been and I felt so CONFIDENT with my smile.  Most importantly, the people I worked with were so warm and kind, and for the first time in my life, visiting the dentist felt like a luxury instead of a chore.

To all of my sweet couples…I am BEYOND excited to share an exclusive offer with you!  If you are getting married between now and December 2014, you can receive 50% OFF the Zoom Whitening treatment at the Sliverstrom Group located in Livingston, NJ.  I can’t think of a more perfect way to ensure your smile is bright and beautiful for your wedding day!  Want to come with a friend?  The Silverstrom Group has been so kind to extend the 50% discount to family members, bridal party, and guests of your wedding as well!  Simply mention “Amy Rizzuto Photography” when calling 973-992-3990 to book your appointment.  I can’t wait to hear about you experience!  I am sure it will be just as fabulous as mine.:)

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The Silverstrom Group is an award winning practice, and it is easy to see why!  They are caring, compassionate, patient, and truly value artistry and skill.  Walking into their relaxing space feels more like a visit to the spa than to the dentist!

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There is nothing that impresses me more than great customer service.  With warm smiles and a variety of coffee and teas to choose from, walking into the Silverstrom Group feels like coming home.

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The Sliverstrom Group does it all!  From dental implants, porcelain veneers, and teeth whitening to root canal therapy and emergency care, The Silverstrom Group offers a complete range of cosmetic, restorative, and general dentistry services of the most surpassing quality. All treatments are carefully tailored to meet the unique needs of individual patients, and multiple services can be combined as part of customized smile makeover and full-mouth restoration plans.

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Television screens are located in each individual suite.  I was able to pick my own movie and enjoy it while receiving my ZOOM Whitening treatment!  It doesn’t get much better than that.:)

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A HUGE thank you to the Silverstrom Group for an incredible teeth whitening experience!  If you would like to brighten your smile before your engagement session or wedding day, take advantage of this exclusive 50% OFF offer for the ZOOM Whitening experience.  Simply mention “Amy Rizzuto Photography” when calling 973-992-3990 to reserve your appointment.

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I look forward to hearing about your experience!  Have a wonderful day.:)

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FLYING LESSONS + THE SLOW SEASON

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January, February, and March are considered the “slow season” in the Northeast for wedding photographers.  A time to get caught up from a busy fall, submit all the beautiful weddings you have captured, and spend time with your family.  One of my favorite weekends had to be Valentines Day.  On Friday, Matt surprised me with tickets to Matilda on Broadway, and on Sunday, I surprised him with flying lessons!

Matilda was amazing…definitely a must see!  And the flying!  It doesn’t get much better than learning how to take off and land a plane yourself.  Matt and I took turns cruising down the shore, past Fire Island and well out over the beautiful Atlantic Ocean.  There was something wonderfully relaxing about spending the entire weekend together.  It was truly good for the soul.

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Matt and I took lessons from Danny Waizman’s Flight School in Farmingdale, NY.

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We had a 30 minute lesson on the ground before an hour and a half flying lesson in the air.

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It was really cool watching Matt take off and land a plane.  If you like, you can see a video here!

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The views were absolutely breathtaking!

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I even got a chance to fly the plane!

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As amazing as the “slow season” was, I am super excited to jump back into wedding season this weekend!  Stay tuned for a whole lot of pretty over the spring and summer months.  It is going to be one incredible year and I can’t wait!

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PHOTO FIELD TRIP

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A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending Photo Field Trip.  WOW!!!  How do I even begin to explain how incredible this weekend was?  In the heart of the El Capitan Canyon in California, I bunked up in a cabin with four amazing girls, had the opportunity to learn from some of the best photographers in the business, and made so many sweet new friends.  Along with sharing some of my favorite photos from the trip, I thought I would list a few favorite tips I learned from the wonderful people willing to share so much of their hearts and their businesses.:)

Dallas Clayton- This man is incredible!  He gave such an inspiring talk about dreams.  He asked, “How do we maintain a child like sense of wonder”.   Then he rapped the Awesome Book before leaving us with “dreams are meant to come true”.

Panel: Mistakes, Failures, and Lessons Learned-  One of the biggest keys to success is keeping your head down..because there is too much noise. You will start to blend in instead of standing out. Don’t be afraid to break the rules.  It is the unexpected that makes a portrait more interesting.

Guillaume Wolf- As a photographer, you are a communicator. You need to create emotion and action.  A good communicator plays with culture.  Look at what was made in the past.  Stretch yourself.

Dan O’Day- All killer, no filler.  Make sure you are only showing your best work.

Ben Sasso-  I edit in Lightroom in a specific order.  Contrast, Temperature, Exposure, then Split Toning.

Samm Blake-  Only keep images that make you feel something. Only put up photos that you want to shoot.  The best photos are the ones that take risks.  That being said, shoot like a bride. Consider, if I were the one getting married today, what would I want captured?

Jill Thomas- I FEEL my couples. What you put into a session, you get back.  How do we really capture who people are?  We build people up.

Thank you so much to all of you for sharing so much of your hearts!  YOU ARE AWESOME!  And now…all the pretty photos!

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Our cabin was nestled in the center of an open meadow.  Not only was this weekend filled with learning, it was overflowing with peace and relaxation in the great outdoors.

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Cassi picked me up from LA and we drove together along the coast to Santa Barbara.  Thanks Cassi for the photo on the right!

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Our cabin!

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In Jessica Peterson‘s class on how to enhance natural light, we had the opportunity to photograph each other using reflectors.

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Thank you Ashley Caroline for this fun photo of our hike in the hills!

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I LOVED Jill Thomas’ class on artistic vision.  It was fun getting to learn from others as they interacted with a real couple.

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At night we would all gather together under a large tent and share a meal.  It was so interesting to hear what everyone had learned throughout the day!

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One night after dinner Bethany and I got to learn some Acro Yoga!  It was AWESOME!

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The famous Lazers and Blazers party was on the last night of the trip!  Thank you Colin Lyons for the group photo!

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Before leaving California, Cassi, Cameron, and I headed to the beach to photograph each other!  Thank you Cassi for the beautiful photos!

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Some of the best discussions took place with friends by the fire pits…especially at night when there were s’mores!

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To all of the incredible people who made Field Trip possible…THANK YOU!  I hope to be back next year!

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BELLAFINA CHOCOLATES

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There is chocolate…and then there is chocolate that makes a difference!  Today, I am so excited to feature Bellafina Chocolates!  Reasons why they are AWESOME?

1. Bellafina Chocolates is located in my hometown of Kingsport, TN and creates some of the most decadent chocolate I have ever tasted.  (and I have tasted A LOT of chocolate)  :)

2. Every purchase goes towards helping vulnerable children through charities like Children Exceeding Expectations (cancer patient preschool) and Folds of Honor (scholarships for children of fallen soldiers).  Bellafina Chocolates has pledged a dollar for a dollar, meaning for every dollar they earn, they will raise a dollar for one of their seven children’s charities.

3. Customization.  Bellafina Chocolates offers endless customization options!  Not only can they create Custom Photo Gift Boxes, they can also customize the graphic on each delicious chocolate.   Photographers, these would seriously make the perfect client gift.  Not only could you place your favorite photo of your couple on the outside of a 20 piece chocolate box, you could customize each chocolate with your logo.  How COOL is that?!

And because every blog post is better with photos, grab a glass of milk and drool over the delicious Bellafina Chocolates below.

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Bellafina Chocolates are made with the finest ingredients like organic cream, nuts, fruit, and fine chocolate.  Each chocolate can also be customized with a personal graphic or logo.

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Bellafina Chocolates offers one of the most unique chocolates I have ever seen, Moonshine Truffles.  They are handmade in Tennessee and you have to try them for yourself!

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Thanks again Bellafina Chocolates for offering decadent chocolates that make a difference!  Head over to their website and check out all of the delicious flavors today.

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