Miranda + Tom | Wissahickon Park Engagement Session | Philadelphia Wedding Photographer

Miranda and I met virtually a few months ago via The Wedding Connection Facebook group when she was in search of her wedding photographer. During her consultation, I knew we would make a great team! We decided to meet up at Wissahickon Park in Philadelphia for their engagement session. Miranda and Tom were great sports and were open to hiking (and climbing) wherever I asked them to - including over rock walls and on top of waterfalls.

I love their energy, positive vibe, and fun personalities. As an added bonus, Miranda works at a Kitten Cafe and has amazing tattoos! I’m not-so-secretly hoping the kittens find a way of crashing her and Tom’s wedding next year.

Here are a few of my favorite photos from their engagement session last weekend!

(Big thanks to my husband for going along, carrying my gear, and making sure we didn’t get hit by cars, slip on rocks, or drown in waterfalls!)

Dan + Ricky | World Cafe Live | Philadelphia Wedding Photographer

I don't even know how to start describing Dan and Ricky's wedding day... but I'll try my best!  Dan and Ricky were referred to me a few months ago by another photographer.  (Quick off-topic squirrel moment - I am always honored when other photographers trust me and value my work enough to refer me to potential clients!!  I'm so fortunate to have a supportive network of colleagues in this business!)  Back to Dan and Ricky - I never met Dan and Ricky in person, and all of our consultations happened via email and Skype/Facetime.  However, we hit it off immediately, and never doubted that we would make the perfect team on their wedding day.  Our instincts were correct!

Their day in Philly was filled with so much emotion, energy, and color - it really was a photographer's dream!  Mother Nature tried to throw us off by scheduling torrential rains during much of our planned outdoor photography time, but we were flexible and creative and made some pretty fantastic photographs together in spite of the weather!

Dan and Ricky began their day at The Study at University City, in Philadelphia.  That hotel is one of the coolest venues I have ever visited!  I love the architecture and landscaping, and it perfectly complemented Dan and Ricky's semi-formal, romantic, and modern vibe.  Dan and Ricky got ready in separate suites, then met outside The Study for a quick first look.  After their emotional private moment together, we squeezed as many portraits in as we could before the rain started.

Their wedding and reception took place a few blocks away from The Study at World Cafe Live.  I have never been to this concert venue before, but I have heard great things about it and was excited for this chance to combine my wedding portrait and concert photography passions!  It can be tricky to properly expose photos in concert venues, especially one like World Cafe Live where all of the walls and ceiling are painted black.  Lucky for me, I always overpack gear, and had everything I needed to create beautiful and fun photographs for Ricky and Dan and their loved ones.

After their quick and emotion-filled vow exchange on the stage (that included a sentimental handfasting ceremony), we snuck outside for a few more portraits (just as there was a brief pause in the rain).  Then, it was time for the reception.  I don't think I've ever taken as many dancing photos as I have at this wedding, and I had a blast doing it!  I smiled taking them, I smiled editing them, and I'm smiling again as I share them here.  My face was sore from smiling so much all day, and my body ached in places I didn't even know existed from trying to keep up with this crowd all night!  This wedding was so much fun, and I am honored that I was the one asked to capture these memories for them.

Congratulations again, Ricky and Dan!  I hope you enjoy this selection of moments from your Day #1 as husband and husband. 

 

Big thanks to my daughter, Kaiya, for assisting me all day, and to these amazing vendors for coming together to make Dan and Ricky's wedding day a success:

Florist:  Teleflora

Cake Artist: (the cake was AMAZING!!)  Floured Hearth Bakery

DJ:  DJ Bishop

Hair & Makeup Artist:  Allyson Jones at Contempo Cuts Salon

Suits:  Men's Wearhouse

Centerpieces:  Created by Ricky's mother

Hotel:  The Study at University City

Venue:  World Cafe Live, Philly

Jan + Ian | GoggleWorks Center for the Arts Wedding | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Wedding Photographer

Jan and Ian recently got married at the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts, and I was lucky enough to capture their memories for them.  I would describe their wedding day as romantic, semi-formal, and fun!  Jan grew up in the United States, and Ian grew up in Northern Ireland.  As a result, their day was an amalgamation of US and UK traditions, and it was perfectly reflective of Jan and Ian's unique relationship.

I started my day off with the ladies at an amazing Airbnb rental in Reading, Pennsylvania.  I just don't have the words to describe exactly how fabulous that home was!  I had never been there before, but I will definitely be checking out that hidden gem again in the near future.  (It would make an incredible venue for a day of photoshoots, both indoors and out!)  Meanwhile, my second photographer was hanging out with the guys while they were finishing their preparations at the nearby Doubletree by Hilton.

As soon as everyone was ready, we met up at the GoggleWorks for Jan and Ian's wedding ceremony and reception.  The ceremony and reception decorations were simple, elegant, and fun, consisting entirely of personalized elements.  In fact, Jan created all of the ceremony and reception decorations herself!  Jan threw, glazed, and decorated all of the vases that were used as table centerpieces.  She dyed and arranged the sola wood flowers that were used at the ceremony site and as reception centerpieces.  She made the guest book, table cards, and ceramic tile table numbers.  She even made hundreds of atom-like hanging orbs, to honor Ian who is a physicist!  She painted the wedding arch and arranged the flowers and vines that covered it.  She painted the chandelier that hung in the reception room.  She needle-felted the adorable penguin and bear cake toppers.  She even baked the delicious macarons that served as wedding favors for all of the guests!  She is one of the most talented and creative individuals that I have ever met, and I am truly in awe of her skills (and patience)!  To top it off, the girls even made their own bouquets.

Jan and Ian began their Day #1 as husband and wife surrounded by over 120 of their loved ones.  No one was actually local to Berks County, except for me - most of the guests and bridal party members traveled from places such as Philadelphia, Northern Ireland, and other places in the UK.  As an engineer-turned-teacher-turned-photographer, I felt right at home surrounded by so many other academics and creatives.  I hadn't actually met Jan and Ian prior to that day, but by the end of their ceremony and reception, I felt like I knew them for ages.  The (numerous) speeches had me laughing and crying and laughing again, and the dancing was fabulous!  The food looked and smelled absolutely amazing.  (I didn't actually remember to take a break to taste any - I was having too much fun taking pictures and forgot to take my dinner break!)

Between the ceremony and reception, we managed to sneak outside long enough to capture some great photos of the bridal party, and then of Jan and Ian alone.  We made it back inside just minutes before the sky opened up and poured for the next few hours.  (I tried my hardest to play it cool while texts of tornado warnings kept blowing up my phone...)

Jan and Ian's wedding day was perfect.  I'm so thankful that they asked me to photograph their celebration for them.  And, their celebration isn't quite over yet - they are doing it all over again in Northern Ireland this month!  Oh, how I wish I could join them.

I hope you enjoy this selection of photos from their (first) wedding day.

 

Big thanks to the following vendors for helping make Jan and Ian's wedding day a dream come true:

Photographer:  Carrie Kizuka Photography, LLC

Second photographer:  Adam Naples

Venue:  GoggleWorks Center for the Arts

Hair and Makeup Artist:  Daneene Jensen

Bride's Wedding Dress:  Sabrina Ann, Ardmore

Bridesmaids' Dresses:  BHLDN and other various shops from Philadelphia and Northern Ireland

Groom's Suit:  Men's Warehouse

Groomsmen's Suits:  Various shops in the United Kingdom

Cake Artist:  Jennifer Low, Frosted Fox Cake Shop

Catering:  Farm Truck Philly

Chairs:  Wolfe's Rental Company

Cliff Mautner's Bootcamp | A Workshop Review | Pennsylvania and Destination Wedding Photographer

I am proud to be a lifelong learner.  This desire to constantly add to and refine my knowledge base was instilled in me from as young an age as I can remember.  Learning not only helps me hone my skills in whatever I am passionate about, but it truly feeds my brain and my soul.  I really am in my element when I am in an environment that allows me to apply and improve my passions.

I feel that you can never learn everything there is to know about any given subject.  Although I feel that I am a pretty decent photographer, I also acknowledge that I can always keep improving my craft.  My commitment to learning is not only beneficial to myself, but also to my clients who put their trust in me to produce the most beautiful art for them that I am capable of creating.  In order to continue to grow as a photographer, I try to attend at least one workshop or conference a year.  When I heard that Cliff Mautner was offering his Lighting Bootcamp only 1.5 hours from me, I knew that I had to attend this workshop.  Cliff is a renowned wedding and portrait photographer, and is also very real and down-to-earth.  (That can be a rare combination in the world of wedding photographers, especially for those artists who have won as many awards as Cliff has.)  So, I signed up!

Finally, that much anticipated August afternoon had arrived - I threw my camera gear and an overnight bag into my green VW bug, and headed to New Jersey for 2 1/2 action-packed days of learning.  The first night started off with an informal reception where Cliff got to know all 18 of us attendees (who had gathered from all over the world), and we all got to know Cliff.  Cliff promised to be an open book throughout the workshop, and he kept that promise!  No question was off limits, and Cliff personally made sure that everyone was made to feel heard and valued throughout the entirety of our time together.

The learning and sharing continued over the next two days, where Cliff gave us pointers, hands-on demonstrations, and assignments incorporating both natural light and artificial light.  We started early in the morning and worked long after sunset.  Cliff kept our bellies full and our brains working.  I left the workshop about 10 pounds heavier and with more insight and knowledge and inspiration than I could have hoped for.

I would do you a disservice if I gave away anything that Cliff taught us over those 2 1/2 days.  You really should attend one of his workshops if you have the chance.  So, instead, I'll just show you some of the photographs I created during my time at the workshop.  On the first full day of the workshop, we shot in a few hotel rooms in Haddonfield, New Jersey.  On the second full day, we ventured into Philadelphia and shot at a few of Cliff's favorite public parks.  We had every lighting situation thrown at us during our time together - from dreamy natural light, to harsh afternoon sun, to shade.  And Cliff helped us all gain confidence for creating stunning portraits regardless of the lighting challenges we faced.  He truly helped us learn to SEE the light.

Big thanks to Cliff, the amazing models that worked with us, and to my fellow artists who showed up and allowed themselves to be vulnerable and humble.  And thank you to his talented wife, Susan Stripling, for sharing him with us that week!  I knew that taking his workshop would be a game changer for me and my photography business, and I was right.

 

 

Philadelphia Lantern Fest | Maple Grove Raceway | Berks County Photographer

One of the recent additions to my Bucket List was to attend a lantern festival.  The last two times one was being held within a reasonable drive from me, I had weddings booked.  When I found out another lantern fest was being planned for June 10th, just 15 minutes from my house, I immediately snatched up tickets and blocked out the date on my calendar!  It's a good thing I did, because this one sold out within a few weeks.  It was so popular that the organizers ended up adding a second day!  (I would have gone both days, but my studio open house was scheduled to take place the following day.)

I'm not a fan of crowds, but crowds can't be avoided at lantern festivals.  So, if you go, be prepared to wait... a lot...  However, I have to admit, the more crowded they are, the more amazing the lantern display looks!  I did, however, manage to sneak away from the crowd and score a perfect viewing spot in the bleachers along Maple Grove Raceway.  My plan was to capture a few photos from that vantage point, then join the crowd below to set off my lanterns.  Once the lanterns started being released, however, that plan went to pieces.  My view from the bleachers was so amazing that I just couldn't bring myself to leave.  I am definitely going to attend another one in the future, so I'll be sure to capture some photos from the ground-level vantage point when I go back.

If you decide to go to one of these, plan to arrive early to find a close parking spot.  When you enter, you'll be given a lantern, a marshmallow roasting stick, and a goodie box (containing s'mores supplies, a lighter, and a sharpie for decorating your lantern).  There are food and drink stands for all ages, live music, face-painting, balloon-animal artists, and inflatable rides for the kids.  Again, be prepared to wait - a lot - but in the end, the wait will be worth it!!!  And this is coming from someone who detests crowds!!

My pictures just don't do this experience justice, but I hope you enjoy them anyway.  I'm so glad that I was able to attend.  The view was breathtaking, and being there with my family was the icing on the cake.  If you ever have a chance to go, I highly recommend it.

Charlotte's 4 month photoshoot | Philadelphia Lifestyle Photographer

Last weekend, I drove to Broomall for an in-home lifestyle family photoshoot.  Charlotte recently turned 4 months old, and I was honored to capture this time in her life for her mommy and daddy!  As a mother of three daughters myself, one of whom is graduating from high school this year, I understand first-hand how quickly our littles grow up.  We may not be able to make time slow down, but we can freeze a few moments in photographs so that we can always remember their tiny fingers and toes, chubby arms and legs, and cheeky grins.  Thank you for inviting me into your home, Brian and Jenny!  It was great seeing all of you and meeting Miss Charlotte!

Daniel Boone Homestead Family Session | Berks County Photographer

I recently had the honor of photographing this incredible family.  They drove all the way from Philadelphia to spend some time in front of my camera at the Daniel Boone Homestead!  They are some of the most thoughtful, kind, and positive people that I know, and I'm so honored that they chose me as their family photographer.  Here are a few favorites from our time together.

Wissahickon Valley Park Engagement | Kristen + Joe

Kristen and Joe's engagement session has been a long time in the making!  We were supposed to meet up in May, but Mother Nature threw a wrench in our plans for that day.  Everything finally came to fruition two weeks ago - it was one of the hottest days of the year, but the light was incredible and their chemistry was even better!

I am so glad that I was finally able to meet this incredible couple in person!  They are so much fun and were open to whatever adventures we stumbled upon during our session!  (I'm still bummed that we opted against diving off of the bridge at the end of the session!!)  I can't wait for their wedding this October!  I know everything is going to be absolutely stunning.

Kristen and Joe, thank you so much for driving all the way from New Jersey for our photoshoot!  I hope you enjoy this selection of a few of my favorites from our time together.  There were so many great images - it was so difficult to choose just a few!!

Also, big thanks to my amazing husband for assisting me on this one!  I wouldn't have been able to capture half of these moments without his help.

TLA, Philadelphia PA | The Dead Kennedys

On June 29th, I caught the Dead Kennedys show at the TLA in Philly.  Their tour manager hooked me up with a photo pass for the show, and I'm so appreciative!  The first band to open was Soul Glo, followed by Le Yikes Surf Club and The Welch Boys.  The Dead Kennedys went on around 10, and put on an entertaining and opinionated show, as always!  Here are a few photos from the evening!

(Yes, I know I have a diverse taste in music, and I wouldn't have it any other way!)