Kelsey and Mike - Manayunk Philadelphia Offbeat Elopement

I walked up to where Kelsey and Mike's family were standing on the bridge and was overwhelmed by how perfectly simple the day was going to be.  Mike's mom was weaving tulle into the railing, Kelsey's brother was glancing over his notes for the ceremony and everyone was smiling.  Which maybe doesn't sound like that crazy of a thing, but I often walk into the chaos of a wedding day and Kelsey and Mikes Manayunk Elopement was anything but chaos.  It was full of deep breaths, walks holding hands, hugs from the ones they loved, clinking glasses at their favorite bar and just being together.  

Honestly?  That's why I love elopements and micro weddings.  The pace is much slower and everything is less about perfect details and more about the love between two people and those that love them.  Kelsey and Mike chose to say "I Do" on a beautiful bridge overlooking Main Street Manayunk with their families before walking to Bourbon Blue to celebrate with even more people they loved.  And I loved every damn minute of it.  Kelsey opted to wearing the most gorgeous black gown and everything about the day felt like them....not like what "a wedding is supposed to be" but what their wedding was supposed to be.  And I was honored that they asked me to photograph it for them.  

Kelsey and Mike, I don't have words for how I feel about the two of you.  I work with a lot of couples and while they are all awesome, there was something about the way you love each other and the way you just trusted me that has left an impact on this heart of mine.  Thank you for trusting me and for being so insanely awesome to work with!  I wish ya'll a lifetime of happiness and joy and love!  

Enjoy a few of my favorites!

Aly - A Body Postive Boudoir Session

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I have "known" Aly online for awhile but had never met her in person till she came into the studio for a session and what immediately struck me was how full of joy and laughter she was.  She was confident and funny from the jump, willing to do anything during her shoot and because of that, her session was magical.  She laughed at my painfully corny jokes and was effortless the entire session and its not because of what you may think.  She's not a model, she just allowed her true self to be present the entire session, laughing and smiling because she was just being her.  And that friends, is the best kind of session.  

Aly, I adore you.  Photographing another photographer is nerve wracking and a little intimidating but you were just so incredibly sweet that my nerves melted away within minutes.  Your smile and laugh are infectious and your are freaking stunning.  The confidence you have is what self love and body positive is all about and I could have photographed you all dang day.  

I love this whole session so much and let me tell you, narrowing down my favs to post was damn near impossible!  But scroll on below and see what just a **few** of my favorites are.  

Siona - A Philadelphia Boudoir Session

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I don't even know where to begin with this one.  Siona is an incredible woman and friend and when she came in for a session at our Philadelphia boudoir studio a few months ago, I knew that we were going to make magic together from the moment I started shooting.  I have always loved her easy of being herself, the way confidence and laughter pour from her soul, and her images just show that.  What's fun is I photographed Siona a year before and it was crazy to see how much we both had changed and what that did to the way the images turned out.  

Siona, I am going to miss having your bubbly, sweet, encouraging self around here when you move.  I have appreciated all the times you have encouraged me and spoken life into my heart regarding my work and for the way you have always believed in Jordan and I.  I can't wait though to see what this next adventure will hold for you and Andi and I hope that whoever you come home, we can keep up our this adventure of seeing how we both change as the years go by.  Enjoy just some of my favorites below!  

Style Me Pretty And Why I Am Not Buying Other Photographers Calls For Inclusion

Last Thursday I shared Style Me Pretty's announcement that the owner of the blog was able to regain control of the business and would be continuing the blog after all.  For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, let me give you the important details.  Style Me Pretty is the largest wedding blog in the world and for the last 10 years photographers everywhere have coveted to have their work featured on the site.  Style Me Pretty has a very particular wedding atheistic though.  They love light and airy images that feature stunning florals, the most beautiful of gowns and lavish, stylish details.  And they also really love thin, white brides.  They were bought out awhile back by AOL and they decided that keeping Style Me Pretty open wasn't worth it, and thus it was to go offline the end of this month, until owner Abby was able to require it.  It's been a mess.  And in the middle of it all, a conversation about the diversity has sprung up.  

For years, inclusivity minded wedding professionals have been begging the brand to do more than just say that love is for everyone, but to show a wider variety of content and couples on their site, to little avail.  They rarely feature LGBT couples (let alone a trans* or queer couple) and even more rare, a black bride or groom or a plus size, fat bodied person.  Its honestly gross.  One of the biggest resources to couples planning their wedding day, who is dedicated to providing beautiful inspiration, doesn't see LGBTQ, people of color or bigger people as beautiful or worthy of their site.  

What sparked my post on facebook last week though was how quickly some of the local photographers I know have spoken out now that Style Me Pretty is staying, saying that they hope to see more diversity in the brands reboot.  Which sounds great right?  Photographers calling for more inclusion and diversity makes it seem like maybe the industry is changing right?  But these are the same photographers who think it "makes them cool to photograph a same sex wedding" but have no interest in working with a queer couple who uses they/them pronouns.  They also are the same photographers who don't have people of color in their portfolios, who struggle to work with plus size and fat bodies, who parade more thin, white, cis gendered clients on social media. And they are the same ones who have told me that they believe my marriage is sinful and would send me to hell but also "love love, so send me all your queer friends mmkay?"  

Before I started writing this, I was editing and fighting back tears thinking about how this incredible couple who's wedding I am working on would have been treated by any other photographer.  In an industry that has LOVE at the heart of it, that shouldn't be a concern but it is. I think about the couples I have submitted to publications and been told that "their wedding just isn't the right fit" which is code for my couple is too fat, too queer, too different, not white. I think about my amazing brides who had/have to face buying a dress in a world where size 2 is the standard. I think about how just last week a photographer said she was only taking clients who she felt she was a good fit for stylistically, which let's be real, is a nice way of saying I am too fat, too gay and not pretty enough for her brand.  I think about every one of my GN, trans and queer friends who are "just weird" to the photographers in this area and would never have their pronouns respected.  I think about all the couples who have told me stories of being turned down or judged or rejected because of who they are or who they love.  

This isn't some random group of people that I am going to bat for. These are my friends, my clients, the people in my community, hell even Jordan and I. These are people who deserve better, who aren't some checkbox to mark off by having shot "one of."  And I am overwhelmed with how to make the local photographers around me see that even though they are acknowledging that there is is problem, that they are also part of the problem.  

It's not hard to have a variety of clients in your portfolio, especially when you live in or near one the largest metropolitan cities in the United States.  It's not hard to learn more about different cultures or customs or the LGBTQ community when the internet is full of information.  It takes you being willing to take the time to learn.  Its part of your job as a photographer to know how to pose and communicate and expose properly literally anyone who comes to you.  So stop being lazy or hiding behind religion or saying that "this is just how you shoot" when you can and should do better.  It's not hard.  It's time consuming.  And requires you to see your own biases, which can feel overwhelming.  But thats the real heart of calling for inclusion...calling for it within yourself first. 

What I know I can do is to change my small little corner of the internet.  I can post, with great joy and celebration, the couples who have trusted me to photographer their love.  I can share their stories and show off their beautiful love and be willing to do so in a way that doesn't tokenize them, but makes them feel like they matter to me.  This is what my job is about.  This what photographers should be focused on...not fakely bitching on the internet about how much they want to see inclusion but never doing anything to be more inclusive themselves.  But since I can only control what I do, not what others do, I am going to share below just SOME of the beautiful folks I have been able to work with over the years, because they are what this industry is about.  They are what is core of inspiration and style and beauty and strength and I am so incredibly honored to know each of them.  And I can only hope that somewhere on another corner of the internet a photographer scrolls through these images and realizes just how whitewashed, not diverse or inclusive their work actually is and inspires them to change that.  

 Rita and Angela had the sweetest wedding at The Maas Building despite rain messing up all of our plans.  Their love for each other couldn't be dampened by a little rain 

Rita and Angela had the sweetest wedding at The Maas Building despite rain messing up all of our plans.  Their love for each other couldn't be dampened by a little rain 

 
 Alyssa and Kim get married in September but we celebrated their engagement with a photo session at Philadelphia Magic Gardens last fall!  These two have the most incredible wedding outfits and style and even more than that, they support each other so beautifully!   

Alyssa and Kim get married in September but we celebrated their engagement with a photo session at Philadelphia Magic Gardens last fall!  These two have the most incredible wedding outfits and style and even more than that, they support each other so beautifully!   

 
 Fall + a cute puppy and the sweetest guys in love?  Magic if you ask me.  

Fall + a cute puppy and the sweetest guys in love?  Magic if you ask me.  

 
 Brooke surprised us all when she got down on one knee during a sweetheart session and asked Gabby to spend the rest of her life as her wife.  Gabby's face says it all and it was one of my favorite moments I have ever photographed.  

Brooke surprised us all when she got down on one knee during a sweetheart session and asked Gabby to spend the rest of her life as her wife.  Gabby's face says it all and it was one of my favorite moments I have ever photographed.  

 
 Katie and Celeste got married Jan 2nd 2017 just weeks before Trump became president because they feared what the future might bring.  They allowed me to plan them the most beautiful styled shoot turned elopement and it was one of the best things I have done in my career.  Their theme was inspired after Mary Lamberts "My Love She Keeps Me Warm" because even amid chilly political times, love always wins.  

Katie and Celeste got married Jan 2nd 2017 just weeks before Trump became president because they feared what the future might bring.  They allowed me to plan them the most beautiful styled shoot turned elopement and it was one of the best things I have done in my career.  Their theme was inspired after Mary Lamberts "My Love She Keeps Me Warm" because even amid chilly political times, love always wins.  

 
 While these two aren't engaged or married, they are one of the most social justice minded couples I know.  And are madly in love to boot.  I was so grateful Eric and Javeon let me capture some sweet photos of them loving on each other on the streets of Manayunk!

While these two aren't engaged or married, they are one of the most social justice minded couples I know.  And are madly in love to boot.  I was so grateful Eric and Javeon let me capture some sweet photos of them loving on each other on the streets of Manayunk!

 
 Crystal and Marissa asked Jordan and I to both witness and photograph their elopement shortly after Trump became president because they were afraid of what might come between then and their beautiful wedding many months later.  I loved watching these two commit their lives to each other in their living room, because love is all that its about anyways.  

Crystal and Marissa asked Jordan and I to both witness and photograph their elopement shortly after Trump became president because they were afraid of what might come between then and their beautiful wedding many months later.  I loved watching these two commit their lives to each other in their living room, because love is all that its about anyways.  

 
 Alex and Lee got married at Alex's family farm in the burbs of Philadelphia and it was the sweetest celebration and is also one of my favorite weddings of all time.  Lee chose to go by "broom" - a combo of bride and groom and I love that they found a way to give themselves a title that felt right for them!  

Alex and Lee got married at Alex's family farm in the burbs of Philadelphia and it was the sweetest celebration and is also one of my favorite weddings of all time.  Lee chose to go by "broom" - a combo of bride and groom and I love that they found a way to give themselves a title that felt right for them!  

 
 I am a little biased here but I think Liv is one of the greatest people in the world.  She is a fellow photographer but lives all the way in Grand Rapids MI so when we happened to be near her and man Maxx, we HAD to make photos of them happen.  If you want another social justice, queer, amazing photog to follow, check her out  HERE .  

I am a little biased here but I think Liv is one of the greatest people in the world.  She is a fellow photographer but lives all the way in Grand Rapids MI so when we happened to be near her and man Maxx, we HAD to make photos of them happen.  If you want another social justice, queer, amazing photog to follow, check her out HERE.  

 
 Speaking of Michigan - Trista and her beautiful bride Erin had Jordan and I come to Ann Arbor Michigan for their amazing summer wedding.  I have no words for much I adore these two and how awesome its been to watch them support each other and grow as both people and a couple!

Speaking of Michigan - Trista and her beautiful bride Erin had Jordan and I come to Ann Arbor Michigan for their amazing summer wedding.  I have no words for much I adore these two and how awesome its been to watch them support each other and grow as both people and a couple!

 
 Courtney and Fame are one super awesome power couple who is always demanding our community step up and do more.  But they are also two sweeties in love too.  And I adore both sides of them!  

Courtney and Fame are one super awesome power couple who is always demanding our community step up and do more.  But they are also two sweeties in love too.  And I adore both sides of them!  

 These two had me crying along side time at their beautiful elopement last fall.  There is something that gets me about two fellow queers pledging their lives, whatever that might look like, to each other.  

These two had me crying along side time at their beautiful elopement last fall.  There is something that gets me about two fellow queers pledging their lives, whatever that might look like, to each other.  

 
 While Jess (on the right) is one of my dearest friends and is the co-owner of inclusivity minded lingerie brand  Fortuna Femme , I honestly can say, that there is nothing more magical that watching a powerhouse like her fall deeply in love with a fellow badass like Rebecca.  And I adore these two babes to pieces.  

While Jess (on the right) is one of my dearest friends and is the co-owner of inclusivity minded lingerie brand Fortuna Femme, I honestly can say, that there is nothing more magical that watching a powerhouse like her fall deeply in love with a fellow badass like Rebecca.  And I adore these two babes to pieces.  

 
 Bianca and Rosea perfectly embody what I love most about my job.  They love each other so immensely that anyone around them can feel it.  And I am stupid excited to photograph their beautiful love again on their wedding day in August!!  

Bianca and Rosea perfectly embody what I love most about my job.  They love each other so immensely that anyone around them can feel it.  And I am stupid excited to photograph their beautiful love again on their wedding day in August!!  

 
 Lizz and Ali are planning the most beautiful offbeat summer camp themed wedding and I love it all!  Weddings can be anything you want them to be, and I am so happy they are going with something that feels so incredible them, even if its not "traditional!"

Lizz and Ali are planning the most beautiful offbeat summer camp themed wedding and I love it all!  Weddings can be anything you want them to be, and I am so happy they are going with something that feels so incredible them, even if its not "traditional!"

 
 Tia and Rachel celebrated 10 years together this past March and they hired me to capture so images of them, being well, them.  We shot around my studio and they spent the whole session making each other laugh, which honestly, is the cutest thing ever!!!

Tia and Rachel celebrated 10 years together this past March and they hired me to capture so images of them, being well, them.  We shot around my studio and they spent the whole session making each other laugh, which honestly, is the cutest thing ever!!!

 
 I had always wanted to shoot around West Philly and these two made that dream a reality.  They wanted their engagement session to reflect them and so went went to their fav coffee shop, grocery store, book store and park and needless to say, the pictures are perfection.  

I had always wanted to shoot around West Philly and these two made that dream a reality.  They wanted their engagement session to reflect them and so went went to their fav coffee shop, grocery store, book store and park and needless to say, the pictures are perfection.  

 
 Monet will go down as one of my most beautiful brides ever and I still get chills thinking about her wedding.  How perfect are these two??

Monet will go down as one of my most beautiful brides ever and I still get chills thinking about her wedding.  How perfect are these two??

 
 Arielle and Mary shared one of the most emotional first looks I've ever photographed and what I loved about it was how all those feels came from a place of these two beaing so excited to finally be wife and wife.  

Arielle and Mary shared one of the most emotional first looks I've ever photographed and what I loved about it was how all those feels came from a place of these two beaing so excited to finally be wife and wife.  

 

Last but not least, I couldn't pick a fav from Simon and Heather's wedding because the shot on the left doesn't have Heather in it but is one of my favorite wedding photos I have ever taken.  Not because of how great it is, but because of the beautiful moment it captures.  Simon read vows to their little one P and it left us all in tears.  

Marry Me - Our Philadelphia DIY Lesbian Wedding

 photo credit to Tara Beth Photography

photo credit to Tara Beth Photography

 

Yesterday Jordan and I celebrated 4 years of being married and it's crazy to me its only been 4 years.  To me it feels more like 8.  So much has happened in that period of time and I am constantly overwhelmed with how much Jordan and I have grown both as individuals and as a couple and how much we have accomplished in that time.  She really does make me feel like the luckiest girl in the world and as I was trying to sum up what I wanted to post yesterday, I felt drawn to our wedding photos and realized I have never shared them or our story here.  And what better time then when I am already feeling all the love feels.  

If you aren't heard the story already, Jordan and I got married in 74 days on a $1,000 budget.  It was insanity and it meant that we didn't have a lot of the traditional elements of a wedding like a bridal shower or bachelorette party or a big guest list, but we didn't want to wait till money was right to be wife and wife.  And I don't regret that one bit.  Our wedding day was a gift of love by some truly incredible people who we couldn't have had anything like what we did without them.  We lived in a little attached apartment to Shanna and Rob's house at the time and they were our saving grace for this wedding.  From trouble shooting ideas, to letting us take over their lives with wedding plans, to my wedding dress, to letting us host our reception at their house to Shanna marrying us, we are forever in debt to them for the incredible gift they gave us.  And I would remiss if I didn't start this post with thanking them for EVERYTHING they did for us.  

It wasn't legal yet for Jordan and I to get married in PA so we had a ceremony that morning in a sweet little park in Delaware with just our bridal party and Jordan's family.  We walked down the aisle to Jason Derulo's Marry Me and I let go balloons as I walked because I didn't have my parents support and I always envisioned them walking me down the aisle. To me, it symbolized letting go of all the hurt and anger and pain that I experienced leading up to that moment and it was hands down one of my top 2 favorite memories from that day.  Despite the fact that we did a first look, seeing Jordan, this woman I loved more than anything, at the end of the aisle waiting for me and wanting to marry me....I hope I never forget that feeling.  

  My favorite photo of me from our wedding.  This was right before our first look and seeing the back of Jordan had me SO DANG EXCITED

My favorite photo of me from our wedding.  This was right before our first look and seeing the back of Jordan had me SO DANG EXCITED

You could balloons are something that hold meaning for Jordan and I.  We use them as a way to write messages and thoughts to those that aren't here with us and we chose to include this as part of our ceremony.  We asked our guests to write their wishes for us on balloons and after the ceremony we let them go.  I still get chills thinking about that moment.  

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Following our ceremony, we went and took pictures at our favorite park and then shot around Kensington before heading home to set up for the reception.  Our bridal party took my DIY ideas and brought it to life, turning Shanna's front yard into the perfect garden party.  We had tables set (borrowed from a local church), favors that were hand painted, chalkboard glasses, table names after our favorite lyrics and all the copper, black and grey you could handle.  We set a table on the front porch for those who couldn't be there, had passed on or chose to not attend it was my favorite detail of the day.  While my parents chose to not be apart, I wanted to include them where it felt right to me so that maybe one day they would see that it was me, not them, that chose love after all.  

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I made southern inspired food the day before (chicken and dumplings, baked beans, bacon green beans, Mac and cheese, fried chicken, sweet potatoes) and our friends and family brought booze and food to add to our buffet.  It was this perfect potluck, misfit, joy filled evening and I loved every minute of it.  Our sweet friend Trish provided speakers and music, our best friends gave toasts and everyone ate and drank and laughed.  

Because so many of our guests weren't present at our ceremony, we opted to say our vows again at our reception so that everyone could feel as though they were apart.  Walking out of a front door that had been apart of my life for years to a yard full of friends and family with my beautiful wife waiting was my second most favorite part of the day.  We said our vows, Shanna pronounced us (again!) wife and wife and then we danced to John Legends "All of Me" as the sun faded.  It was magical.  I have never laughed like I did that day and never been so overwhelmed with gratitude for the small but mighty group of people who made that day possible.  

Before I share some more favorites from the day, I wanted to take a moment and say how much this day changed me as a wedding photographer.  Being a bride, feeling all those feels, not having my parents there, struggling to make a day special on such limited funds...it was all hard.  But I am so grateful for it now.  I learned that those little details are more than details but blood, sweat and tears of a couple to make a day feel more unique and special.  I learned that photos don't just capture what you remember, but what you don't.  I learned that money isn't what makes a wedding special and humble beginnings can be just as beautiful.  I learned that it would have been ok for me to speak up more.  And I learned that even when you feel alone, you aren't.  These three woman below are the family I would choose and I am so grateful to have photos like these and I now constantly look for these moments at weddings I shoot.  

To my beautiful wife, this has been an adventure I never dreamed would turn out this way.  I think back to us then....so broken and sad and feeling alone and broke....and to us now and I am so incredibly proud of us.  I have seen us grow in ways that hurt and watched you walk through challenges that could have broken us.  But we have always managed to grow more as individuals and as a couple and I love that about us.  You make me feel like I will never know again the kind of alone I felt before you and that I am truly the most beautiful woman you know.  Thank you for standing behind every crazy idea, getting me through every shitty family situation, loving me despite my hamster wheel of a mind and giving me a life I only thought could be a dream.  I love you my sweet Mrs.  And I can't wait to marry you all over again one day.  

Enjoy a few more of my favorites!  All photos are by Tara Beth Photography.  

Philadelphia Headshot Session - Sebastian

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I have had the insane pleasure of knowing this sweet guy for over 3 years now.  We met at queer photoshoot I was hire doing and I instantly found his down to earth, well spoken, kind ways the most charming fresh breath of air.  Over the years, I have witnessed him blossom into a man that puts others first, is humble and funny, cares about our community immensely and has a laugh and smile that will put anyone at ease.  He booked me for a headshot session and I have been looking forward to sharing these photos ever since!  He wanted a mix of all the important things in his life...his job, his interest in modeling (and he is one handsome dude so obviously he should pursue that!) and some photos that showcased his impeccable fashion sense.  To me, the results are perfection and I love that so many of the photos he is laughing in!  

What's even more exciting is he is moving in the coming months to the other side of the country, so before he leaves we are doing one more session and I can not WAIT for Saturday!  Sebastian, thank you for always being so kind to me and Jordan, trusting me vision and for making me laugh endlessly.  We are going to fiercely miss you but are so excited for what the next chapter of your life holds!  Enjoy my favorites from this session and get ready to see this handsome guy here again really soon!  

Martisha - Philly Modeling Session

Philadelphia Model Photographer

I instantly liked Martisha when started messaging about her session at our Philadelphia Photography Studio.  She is so incredibly sweet and gracious and from the moment she and her partner showed up for her shoot, it was like she was already a friend.  Her bubbly personality, contagious laugh and fiery confidence was so easy and natural to photograph!  She was in need of some new modeling photos and so we used her session to get a ton of different looks, shooting everything from more traditional headshots to boudoir to some edgy street looks and I LOVE the results.  We shot all over Jasper Studios and I can honestly say, this was one of my favorite sessions to date because it gave both her and I a lot of diverse images!  And I just adored working with her!

Martisha thank you for allowing me to work with you and for having such confidence in me!  I can not wait to collaborate with you again on future projects and to see where your acting and modeling career takes you!  Enjoy some of my favorites!  

Layla and Meg - A Philly Lesbian Engagement Session

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These two are rockstars!  Their engagement session was rescheduled because of weather a few times and so when we finally met up, I was instantly so grateful they were so sweet because the weather was still not the greatest!  It was cold and SO windy but it was clear that their love for each other was keeping them warm!  That and their love for their adorable dog Mozzarella!  Cutest dog name ever, right? Layla and Meg choose one of my favorite spots for their engagement session, The Philadelphia Museum Art and Boat House Row, and we spent about an hour wandering around and talking about their wedding!  Which is why I love engagement sessions so much!  Its a chill way for us to get to know our couples and our couples to get to know us AND they get cute pics of themselves too!  A win win if you ask me!   

Layla and Meg, we cant wait for your Winter wedding and to get to hang out with ya'll again!  You are seriously the sweetest and we cant wait for you to married!!  Enjoy my favorites from your session!!