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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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A CALIFORNIA VACATION

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There really is nothing better than exploring new places with the one you love!  This past weekend, Matt and I had the opportunity to visit sunny California.  If you are on the east coast, you can imagine how incredible it was to escape the endless mounds of snow.:) We started out by visited Matt’s brother Tony in San Francisco, and then headed down to Los Angeles to visit two of our friends from college, Ben and Liz.  I could tell you about our many adventures, but I would rather show you!  Check out a few of my favorite photographs from our vacation below.

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When we arrived in San Francisco we headed straight down to Pier 39 for lunch.  Enjoying a sourdough bread bowl filled with clam chowder while watching the playful sea lions is one of my favorite memories from the entire trip!

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It was so much fun watching Matt and his brother Tony catch up!

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Lombard Street was next.  We walked down…we did not drive!

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Day two we took a trip up to Napa!  Matt and I both agreed we could live here.  The rolling hills and old wineries were beautiful! We began our day at Artesa, then made our way to V. Sattui and Beaulieu Vineyard.

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Thanks Tony for the pretty photographs!

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Day three we enjoyed fish tacos and meandering in and out of the little shops in Sausalito.

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Thank you Tony for showing us San Francisco!!!  You were an amazing host and we miss you already!

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Next stop on our California vacation…Los Angeles!

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Ben and Liz were our incredible hosts.:) Matt and Ben played baseball together in college and I had the honor of capturing their beautiful wedding in Greenville, SC last year.

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Our first night in LA we headed up to the Griffith Observatory for a gorgeous view of the city at sunset.

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We had a little bit of fun while we were there.:)

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The next day Ben and Liz surprised us with a tour of Dodger Stadium!  I loved the opportunity to sit in the dugout and walk on the field.

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Best buds.:)

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Hanging out on the warning track.

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Our last day in LA we did a little hiking to enjoy a great view of the Hollywood sign!

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Then, we headed to Venice Beach and took a bike ride up to the Santa Monica Pier.  It really was the perfect day!

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I can’t even express how amazing it was to just relax and soak in the sun these past few days!  Thanks hubby for taking time off work to enjoy some down time together.  I always love exploring new places and making fun memories with you.  A huge thank you to Tony, Ben, and Liz for showing us an incredible time!  You guys are AWESOME and we hope to see you all again soon.:)

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MEKINA SAYLOR WEDDINGS

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There are friends, and then there are people that come into your life and completely change your world.  I met Mekina Saylor in college, but it wasn’t until we both moved to the greater NYC area that we began to realize how much we had in common.  Two girls from the south that loved the city, adventure, and of course, weddings.

When I took a leap of faith and started my business three years ago, Mekina was one of my biggest cheerleaders.  When I photographed my first wedding, she was by my side as my supportive second shooter.  We have captured over 50 weddings together since 2011, and through all of the magical experiences, she has become one of my best friends.  We have laughed, cried, and challenged each other to be the best versions of ourselves.  These are memories I will treasure for a lifetime.

Today Mekina launched her very own website, Mekina Saylor Weddings!   As much as I wish I could work with Mekina every day for the rest of my life, I know the desire this girl has to photograph her own weddings.  To meet with couples in love, and tell their story through her eyes.  I am so excited to see the beautiful memories she will capture, and I hope to be there to support her every step of the way!  I couldn’t be any prouder of you Mekina!  Keep chasing your dreams.

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Last week, I had the honor of photographing Mekina’s head shots for her new website.  I love the way her contagious personality practically jumps from the pictures!

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Even though Mekina is launching her own business, we will still be photographing close to 30 weddings together this year!  I can’t wait to create and capture more incredible memories with my beautiful friend.

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Congratulations again Mekina on launching your amazing new website!  I am so proud of you and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store.  If you haven’t already, head over to www.mekinasaylorweddings.com and check it out today!

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