All About Me: Mermaids and pirates!

Two things that I have always loved for as long as I can remember, are mermaids and the beach.  When my family went on vacation I spent most of my time in the water pretending I was a mermaid.  In fact, the costume that this little mermaid is wearing was my halloween costume when I was five years old.  I loved Ariel, and my mom and great aunt did an amazing job making my costume, and I’m so glad that my mom kept it stored away all of these years.

Recently I spent a week of relaxing vacation at Cape Cod, which is a place that holds so many memories of summer vacations from my childhood.  I had dreamed up doing an all about me session with my friends daughter, Grace.  Grace loves Ariel and just celebrated her 5th birthday with a mermaid party, so I knew she would love the chance to be a mermaid at the beach!

Her younger brother, Noah, also has quite the imagination, and spends most of his time pretending he is a t-rex or a tiger, but since we were at the beach he was happy to be a pirate for a few photos!  These photos just make my heart smile!  To me, they capture the imagination and fun of childhood, and I love the whole process of planning the session to shooting, and editing the final image.

I’ll just end with one of my favorite sayings…”Always be yourself, unless you can be a mermaid.  Then, always be a mermaid!”

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Married: Renee & Eli

Renee & Eli could not have asked for more perfect weather for their outdoor ceremony at White Chimney Estate in the Lancaster area.  I had never been to their venue, and I was immediately in love with all of the beautiful details!  Renee set the tone for the happy day with sunny yellow bridesmaid dresses and sunflowers.  The ceremony was in a gorgeous garden setting with a field of horses in the background (so cool)!  After the ceremony,  guests were entertained during cocktail hour with live music on the patio!   I think it’s safe to say that everyone enjoyed a night of delicious food and dancing, which even included the limbo!  Congratulations Renee & Eli, and thank you for choosing me to capture your wedding day memories!

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Married: Courtney & John 12-5-15

Courtney and John had a beautiful day for their December wedding!  I met the bridal party at the hotel where the girls were getting ready and captured the details of Courtney’s gown and accessories, and the final moments of preparation before the ceremony.  The church was just a short drive from the hotel, and it was one of the most beautiful churches I have ever seen.  Sunlight flooded the nave through the stained glass windows, and the gold wall behind the altar was an amazing glittery backdrop for a beautiful ceremony.  Following the ceremony, we were able to brave the cold for a bit to get some fun portraits of the bridal party and bride and groom.  Some of my favorite images from the day were captured just before they hopped in the limo, when  the golden light on the street seemed to echo the warmth of the love and joy coming from the new Mr. & Mrs.  The reception was filled with thoughtful toasts, delicious food, lots of laughter and dancing.  Thank you Courtney and John for allowing me to be a part of your special day!
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Married: Erica & Ryan

Erica and Ryan had a beautiful fall day for their November wedding in Mechanicsburg, PA.  When I arrived at the Messiah College Chapel, the guys were enjoying a card game with their coffee, and the girls were putting on the finishing touches for the day.  I was especially excited that the sun was shinning through the church windows, and I was able to capture the ceremony with natural light.  The college campus was a beautiful backdrop, and even though it was a chilly afternoon, we were able to get some fun bridal party photos by the covered bridge.  One of the groomsmen couldn’t pass up the opportunity to play in the piles of leaves on the ground, and I think those photos sum up the fun and playful bridal party that I had the pleasure of working with.  The reception was a short drive down the road at Stocks Manor.  It was my first time shooting at this venue, and I definitely hope it won’t be the last! What a beautiful location and truly a photographers dream!  While the guests enjoyed the cocktail hour inside, we took advantage of the last bit of daylight and sunset.  Erica and Ryan were able to join their guests at the cocktail hour before the dinner and reception began.  And I think the photos speak for themselves about the fun time had by all throughout the night!  The toasts were especially entertaining, as the matron of honor performed a dance for the newlyweds!  She and Erica are both dance teachers, and their love of dance is one of the many things that bonded them as friends in college.  And Erica’s brother gave a toast that allowed Ryan to have the upper hand in their marriage one last time.  I was introduced to a new wedding game, as the bride and groom sat back to back each holding their shoes.  The DJ would ask questions such as, “Who spends the most time getting ready?”  “Which one of you did the most planning for the wedding?”  “Which one of you gives the most thoughtful/creative gifts?”  and so on, and the couple would raise the shoe of the person who they felt was the answer to the question.  It was a really fun game and all of the guests seemed to enjoy it! The rest of the evening was full of dancing and celebrating the new Mr. & Mrs. Quinn! What a fun night, and thank you Erica & Ryan for allowing me to be a part of your special day!

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New studio renovation and grand opening party

What a whirlwind the past few months have been! Owning my own studio space has been a huge goal of mine.  I have thought about it and prayed about it for years.  And this summer I found the perfect space!  I actually have my dad to thank for suggesting I look at the building, and I definitely have him to thank for making my vision a reality!  The building was originally home to PT Masonry, and it had a showroom, office, bathroom, and a garage that I knew would have the potential to be an amazing studio space.  I knew it would be a lot of work to make it what I wanted, but luckily I have a very handy dad and amazingly supportive family and friends who were willing to help out all summer.  (I will do another post with the construction and progress photos!)  It took lots and lots of hard work, sweat, and paint, but I am so happy with the transformation.  Here are a few before and after photos of the showroom…

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The biggest transformation was the garage which we turned into the shooting space. We removed the 16 foot garage door and replaced it with french doors and windows so now I have tons of natural light!  We also added a wall to create a huge prop closet and dressing room.  The whole studio is white, except for the wall that I shoot against, which is a beige color because I love using that in my sessions.  It’s so nice to be able to shoot against an entire wall and floor and not just a small backdrop.

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The office before and after!  I liked the concept of the paneling, but I definitely wanted a light and airy workspace, so all of the dark wood had to go!  I love the shelving that my dad built to house all of my packaging, and now I have a whole work space for sorting orders.  In the second before picture below you can see a little tan metal cabinet under the window.  That was left behind by the previous owners and with a little pink paint it is the perfect to hold the printer! I love repurposing things!  Both of the desks in the office were old desks that we painted white as well.

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And the bathroom!  Not the easiest space to photograph, but we replaced the sink and toilet and moved the location of the sink to make a bigger space.  We also relocated the hot water heater and my dad did an awesome job creating a built in for the blue tank that had to stay put.  The walls are the same light mint color as my office, and very calming.

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And now some photos of the finished product and the grand opening party!  The shooting space, prop closet and dressing room…

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The showroom…

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It’s no secret that I love glitter! So of course I love all of the gold glitter accents in the office.  The glitter canvas with the quote “She believed she could so she did” was the first thing that I bought for the new space.  I definitely believe that just believing that you can do something is half of the battle, and then of course the other half is working your butt off to make it happen!  I also love the gold foil print from the very talented Laura Kathryn Creative that says “Every good and perfect gift comes from above.”  Along with the print, Laura sent a little card that states “Start each day with a grateful heart.”  It’s adorable, and I put it in a gold frame that sits on a shelf right beside my desk.  What a great reminder each day!  I spend so much time in my office, that it was important to me to fill it with things that uplift and inspire me.  And my dog Riley loves coming to work with me, so he has a bed right behind my desk.

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PictureThisStudio6All of my clients know how much I love my Organic Bloom frames!  I thought it would be cool to do a “tree of life” and put an ornament frame on a tree branch in the studio for every newborn that I photographed this year.  I had been searching online for a metal tree branch, thinking it was unlikely that I would find a real tree branch that would work.  Then one day I showed up to work and discovered that two large branches had fallen off of the tree outside.  I just had to trim them down a bit and they worked out perfectly!

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I love how the bathroom turned out, and I think my favorite thing about it is the beautiful flower print from Lisa Ridgely Photography. It is the perfect touch of pink in the room!

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We still have a few things to do to the outside, but I love the custom built shutters and window box!  Len Dick Signs did an awesome job with my sign, and had a super quick turn around so that it would be up for the grand opening.

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Some of my biggest supporters!  Words can’t even begin to explain how thankful I am for all that they have done for me.  I especially want to recognize my dad, for all of his hard work, time, and talent.  I am so proud of the finished product!

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Party details! I made lots of yummy cupcakes with pink pearls and gold glitter!

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And I didn’t get everyone that stopped by, but we did have a little photo booth fun!  Thank you so much to everyone that took the time to stop by the grand opening and show your support.  It means so much to me!  And quite a few of the people below played a big part in the renovation process!  Dustin, Shawn, Jaime, Lindsay, Jake, Cameron, Nathan, and Melany,  thank you thank you thank you!

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And finally, I would like to formally introduce my amazing assistant who also happens to be my sister-in-law!  You will find Miss Jaime Smith at the studio in the evenings hard at work in the office!  I am so excited for this new chapter in my business, and again, just want to thank everyone for all of your love and support!

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Julie Rivera - November 25, 2015 - 1:13 PM

Gorgeous location, Brienna! I wish you much happiness and success in the new spot!