Sarah and Bryan - A Manayunk Brewery Winter Wedding

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When I saw the forecast for Sarah and Bryan’s day, I won’t lie, this girl squealed! It was in the mid 50’s and for a wedding that was on the last weekend of 2018, thats practically unheard of! And it was going to be sunny!! I started of their day at the Hilton on City Line Ave for getting ready photos and they both had such gorgeous spaces and light! Which is a photographers dream! Sarah decided to forgo the traditional white gown and had this stunning gold sequin dress custom made for her and it was gorgeous! And Bryan wore the most incredible Burgundy suit! Both of their looks were perfectly complimented by my girl Lauren’s florals (owner of Bloomsbury Floral Design) and those stunning, rich colors added that extra bit of glam every winter wedding needs!

Sarah and Bryan had their first look right outside their venue, the gorgeous Manayunk Brewery. Watching Sarah come around the corner, it was so sweet to see Bryan’s whole face light up! These two so clearly love each other and they couldn’t stop smiling and sneaking kisses all day long! We wandered around Manayunk for some portraits with their wedding party before it was time to make these two officially husband and wife. Sarah’s dad sang a beautiful song that was apart of his wedding with Sarah’s late mother and there were tears all around. There was so much obvious emotion for Sarah in that moment and watching her and her dad walk down the aisle was easily my favorite part of their day.

And then it was party time! The Manayunk Brewery provided incredible cocktails and food, the couple danced, speeches were given and the friends and family danced the night away. Right before we left though, I captured one of my favorite images ever of Sarah and Bryan dancing through the window while I blocked traffic on Main Street in Manayunk. Anything for that perfect shot though and it was the perfect way to end a perfect day!

Oh, and can I just say how much I loved getting to work with this venue? Their coordinator Paris did such an incredible job and was so easy to work with, which as a photographer, is a dream! The venue recently underwent a renovation and its safe to say, its just an incredibly stunning space now! And I really hope some more couples bring me back there soon!

Enjoy some of my favorites from my second to last wedding of 2018! And a massive thank you to Sarah and Bryan for allowing us to be apart of your day!

Florist - Bloomsbury Floral Design

Venue and Catering - Manayunk Brewing Company

Day of Coordinator - Paris Rose, Manayunk Brewing Company

Hotel - Hilton City Line Ave

Penny Praline - A Queer Philadelphia Plus Size Boudoir Session

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Tattoos + a badass queer babe + a gorgeous penthouse = you better believe some serious magic! Penny was such a delight to work with during her shoot and she was game for anything! Her gorgeous tattoos and outfit choices really shined in her session and this Fishtown Philadelphia penthouse was the most ahhhmazing backdrop! We had all the fun laughing and rolling around and getting wet, but more than that, Penny is the kind of person you just wanna hang out with because she is so down to earth and sweet and funny. And she is a photographers DREAM to shoot! I also love that she didn’t wanna hide her body and was all about loving all of it! Not every client who walks through my door is down for this and thats ok, but when I get to work with a babe thats like nah, all of me is amazing, its awesome!

A huge thank you to Penny for hiring me for this shoot and allowing me to share some favs with all of you! Wanna schedule your own shoot? Click here to learn all the details and send us a message!

Jenne and Julian - A University of Penn Intimate Queer Wedding

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Jenne and Julian had one of the most unique weddings I have ever been apart of and to be honest, I loved it! We didn’t do a big first look, there was amazing vegan food, square-dancing that was taught by an instructor during the reception and a ton of time for portraits through out the day. The University of Penn was the most incredible background for their intimate wedding and they were also just so sweet to be around. Jenne wore the most lovely short lace dress that looked incredible on them with beautiful handmade flowers by another one of their partners! Both Jenne and Julian had their other partners support layered in through out the day and it was beautiful to witness and photograph! The couple also went to great efforts to ensure that their guests could enjoy the food, even getting. cake that catered to a few of their friends dietary needs and it was so so beautiful to see this sense of community and love through all of it. Oh! And Julian even made a Ring Bot to deliver their rings during their ceremony! How fun is that?? And while I had a hard time narrowing it down, here are just some of my favorite images of the two of them as I wanted to share this wedding without infringing on the privacy of their guests! Enjoy!!

Amber and Natalie - Fells Point Baltimore LGBTQ Engagement Session

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On the first snow of the year, it felt appropriate to blog this summer engagement session that was full of sunshine, warm weather and the cutest of couples! Amber and Natalie hired us for their lesbian Baltimore wedding next year and ya’ll let me tell you, from even just the first five minutes with them, I knew they were going to be a favorite of next year. For their engagement session, we wandered around the beautiful Fells Point neighborhood Baltimore and we found so many cute spots for photos. Amber and Natalie brought along their sweet puppy and one of their mom’s and they just were so easy going and sweet. These are the kind of sessions I live for, the ones where a couple just is themselves and laughter abounds and they just fall into poses so easily because they just genuinely love being around each other. And their photos show that!

Get excited to see these two again next year and for now, enjoy just a few of my favorites from their engagement session!

Farrah - An Andro Queer Philly Boudoir Session

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While I love me some lace body suits and satin, I also really love when clients show up with wanting to create images that feel different. And Farrah (Or as some of you may know her, Tara) definitely brought a cool vibe to her shoot in downtown Philadelphia with me last week and I am just obsessed with how these images turned out. While my style is often bright and full of natural light, we shot at night with the city lights behind her and I love the editorial vibe the whole session had! This queer babe is a kickass hair and makeup artist by day and sickening performer by night and so she wanted something that felt a little more androgynous for this session, which lets be real, I LOVED. From her amazing green lipstick, to the suite we shot in, to her fun to be around vibes, the whole thing was gold! And I decided to share my favorites in only black and white for this shoot because I love the story and editorial element that black and white brings!

Ps! Need a new stylist? You can hire this babe at the South Philly Ulta for amazing cuts, colors and makeup! Book your appt with Tara online or by calling the store!

Ala and Roy - Old City Philadelphia Engagement Shoot

Old City Philadelphia Engagement Session with Ala and Roy

I have shot engagement sessions in Old City Philadelphia so many times but Ala and Roy brought such a new perceptive to one of my favorite places! These two are historians, 18th century historians to be exact, and so it felt appropriate that we shot their engagement session in one of Philly’s neighborhoods that is rich with history and to start their sessions in the historic 18th Century Gardens! Roy is one of the most easy guys I have ever gotten to work with. He has such a sweet demeanor and was totally down to love on his beautiful fiancé for their session, something that some guys aren’t so into. It was darling the way he would pull her in for snuggles and kisses and because of that, their session was just perfection! As we walked around, I learned tidbits of history, both theirs and Old City and it got me so excited to work with them again next year at one of my favorite Philadelphia wedding venues, The Maas Building. I just know that their day will be every bit as vibrant as their engagement session and that to me is what I love about this job - madly in love couples, celebrating love! Enjoy some of my favorites!

Marianna and Josh - Old City Philadelphia Engagement Session

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Old City Philadelphia has quickly become my favorite location for portrait sessions and elopements! And not only because its the part of the city I call home but also because there are SO many different vibes and colors and unique spots within just a few blocks of each other. I love that this place I call home also allows my clients so much variety in their engagement sessions and Marianna and Josh’s Philly engagement session is no different. The rich colors and history, the stunning views of the Ben Franklin Bridge from atop Bridge on Race, and these two getting lost in each others eyes…well ya’ll, it was perfection.

I am so happy that more and more unique, unashamedly themselves couples are finding their way to me. From tattooed to queer couples, non-traditional weddings to offbeat elopements, one common thread remains and that is how much love my clients have for each other and the trust they have in all my crazy ideas! And it makes me love my job even more!!!

Josh and Marianna, thank you for asking me to be apart of this incredible season of your life and I am already excited to spend your wedding day with you next year. Jordan and I had SO MUCH FUN hanging out with ya’ll and your momma and sister and I hope that these images are exactly what you hoped for! Enjoy my favorites (or many favorites in this case!!!) and get excited to see these two on here again next fall!

Amanda and Joe - Old City Philadelphia Summer Maternity Session

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I have known Amanda since high school but can then I never would have thought she and I would grow up to have spouses who adore us, photography business that are thriving and now her having a sweet baby boy on the way. So much has changed since the days at Pennsbury High School, both in the world and large in and in our personal lives, but it was so nice to catch up with her and her husband Joe to document this exciting new chapter in their lives. We spent an hour in one of my favorite parts of the city, Old City Philadelphia, photographing the two of them and I just am in love with how this turned out! I can’t wait to meet their baby boy arriving any time now and to see the incredible person these two amazing parents raise.

Enjoy some of my favorites!

Wedding Resources - Non-natural Light Images

We have curated this blog series "Wedding Resources" to help answer some of our most common questions from our couples and to help you in planning the most perfect wedding!  And one of the most common things we are asked about is how we tackle reception photos and those photos where natural or ambient light isn't enough to capture the moment, so today we are sharing of our favorite non-natural light images along with a few tips to help make your images pop!  

The major thing you will notice in the photos below is that most of them have a beautiful wash of color on the walls on the space.  This is called up lighting and it creates a MAJOR difference in how your images will look.  It gives an added pop to an otherwise boring wall and helps create dynamic images and colors.  And not only does it photograph well, it looks amazing in person too!  

We mostly use flash to allow for our images to look consistent in color and feel, both with natural light and without.  This means, that more often than not, we are trying to maintain the same vibrant, natural quality in our images regardless of how or where they are taken.  We do creative and dramatically lit shots as well, but we use those as fun additions, not the norm.  It is our goal the whole wedding day tells a beautiful visual story and we use flash to accomplish this when necessary!

Another thing I like to point out is that while we do use off camera flash on occasion, most of what you see here is us utilizing an on camera flash.  There are many photographers that set up multiple very tall light stands at the edge of the dance floor to achieve similar results, however we prefer to be as non-invasive as possible and to have control as we move about the room!  We also find it's less distracting to you and your guests!  And its also awesome to not see the stands in the background of photos as well!  

Finally, the biggest tip we give our couples who will be having ceremonies or receptions in darker spaces is to hire a videographer that works well with us.  Videographers use large LED video lights that total change how we shoot and our flash will affect how your video turns out as well.  Hiring a video and photo team that can work side by side in a seamless fashion allows you to have the best photo and video possible!  Want to know who we recommend?  Just ask!  

Hotel Monaco Spa Bath Mini Session with Fi

Oh ya'll, this is a good one!!!  The Hotel Monaco in Old City Philadelphia is the perfect background for this luxe spa inspired boudoir session and I am so excited to share just one of the sessions I did there a few weeks ago!  Meet Fi, a bombshell that I am obsessed with!  She was so willing to do just about anything for that perfect shot and boy did it pay off!  And you know what the crazy part is?  All of what you are going to see below was shot in just under 19 minutes!  Mini sessions are a fun way to do something totally different OR dip your toes into the boudoir world and I am so excited for our 2 day marathon at this location September 7th and 8th.  Sessions are $175 and include a 30 minute timeslot that as you can see with Fi, is plenty of time to shoot two looks!  While you certainly don't have to shoot in the tub with water in it, it certainly makes for some gorgeous images!  

If you would like more information on how to secure your own spa inspired session, click HERE!  Or scroll on through Fi's gorgeous images below!  I cant wait to make this kind of magic again!  

Meghan - A Philadelphia Rooftop Body Positive Boudoir Session

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Meet Meghan ya’ll! She is an incredible boudoir photographer out of Toms River NJ and last Monday she and I met up to trade boudoir photos on my roof deck overlooking Philadelphia! And it was pure magic ya’ll! I will be blogging the stunning boudoir photos she took of me very soon but I am just in LOVE with these Philly Roofdeck images of her. From her purple hair, to the great outfits, to that booty, to the city in the background, the whole session was such a breath of fresh air and different from my normal work and I love love love it! It was so nice to just hang out with someone who does what I do and who just gets that this industry is wayyy too over saturated with men! We laughed and traded stories and shot each other and it was the kind of thing I needed! So please enjoy some of my favorites, although its a lot more than a few this time! I had wayyyy too hard of a time narrowing this one down ya’ll!

** Wanna book your own roof deck or normal boudoir session?? You can find more information on how to by clicking HERE **

Jenna - Philadelphia Doula Branding Session

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Meet Jenna, an incredible queer doula located in Philadelphia and to be completely honest, one of the most down to earth humans I have ever met.  Owner of Love Over Fear Wellness, Jenna teaches Yoga, assists folxs with birth and educates a lot people along the way.  We wanted to create images that were both professional but also felt true to who Jenna is as a person, I personally loved the results.  Sessions like these get me so excited because they aren't about typical or traditional headshots, but about showcasing a clients personality, spirit and passion in images they can use across their social media and business.  Which, is honestly a whole lot of fun!    We shot around Jasper Studio (where our studio is located) and I love the images of Jenna talking about what they do because the passion Jenna has for their work is just obvious!   

I am incredibly excited to introduce all of you to Jenna and share some of my fav images from our session!  Should you be in need of a doula who is trauma informed, LGBTQ+ competent and sweet as can be, please reach out to Jenna and let her know I sent ya her way!  

Why Other Photographers Want You To Spend $2500+ on a Boudoir Session And Why This Photographer calls BS

Why Other Photographers Want You To Spend $2500+ on a Boudoir Session And Why This Photographer calls BS

Not too long ago I was scrolling through Instagram and almost every few posts were by boudoir photographers I follow and I notice one common, and honestly, disturbing theme.  Each one of them talked about how every woman should get to feel beautiful and sexy and every single image featured a perfectly made up woman, with not a hair out of place and thats when it struck me.  For many of my colleagues, boudoir is about taking an everyday woman and turning her into a "bombshell version of herself" and that includes hair and makeup and pushing this idea that by doing a boudoir session, the client will get images they can't believe are themselves.  They use hashtags like #everydaytoslay and tell women its about feeling feminine and glamorous and I just start to roll my eyes at it all.  

Because truthfully?  Thats not what boudoir is to me.  I couldn't imagine requiring my clients to pay for professional hair and makeup if thats not something that feels right to them.  I couldn't tell a client that is her time to be feminine and glamorous because not every woman feels her sexiest in lace and satin.  I couldn't fathom running a business where I base my marketing strategy off emotionally manipulating clients.  I couldn't ever define sexiness or beauty or confidence off high end lingerie or arched backs and the curves of her body because I know it leaves out so many folxs who ideas of those things are far more amazing than those limited ideas.

I know this may make me a few enemies in this industry but I think the truth is worth it.  Those photographers, they aren't actually in this to empower women....they are in this for the money.  They see dollar signs in helping boost a woman's ego and want to take every thin woman they can show her how she can look like a Victoria Secret model for day.  They use airbrushing and have rules about what you can bring to a session and require you to purchase more than the session, usually a lot more, to get your images. They don't champion diversity, they believe beauty looks one particular and narrow way and they know that by creating a high end, luxury experience based around telling a woman she is beautiful, they will make money.

Their portfolios lack bigger bodies, women of color and queer folxs.  And when they do include them, they are they edgy queer folxs, thin lesbian couples, the appropriately curvy women and a few women of color sprinkled in to look diverse.  Their language is intrinsically feminine and frilly and elitist.  And woman who are like me, who look like my clients, have no place on their social media, their facebook groups and their websites because we stand against the very thing they desire...to photograph societies idea of perfection and to work with women who wouldn’t dare to speak their mind.

And you know what? It works. Take a single mom, sell her a $250 session that includes nothing, glam her up with all over the top makeup, push her toward being as naked as possible, teach her some sexy poses, tell her to suck in her belly and touch herself sexually, photo shop her skin smooth and remove the wrinkles and stretch marks and laugh lines and then have her come back to your studio for a “reveal party” and bam! She’ll easily spend $2500+ to get those images because she has never seen herself or her body look like that, because well, she doesn’t really look like that. And the photographer uses this to their advantage to sell sell sell. You’ll have to buy an album ($1500+) to be able to purchase your digital images (900+) and of course you have to have all of those images because when will you look like that again, all while never realizing how much this whole thing was going to cost you. And if you decide after seeing the images to only buy a few? Well just know you’ll end up in some facebook group being bitched about because you wasted the photographers time because you didn’t want to spend $2500+ on the experience.

JUST STOP YA’LL.

To that I raise my middle finger and call BS along with a loud eff that and every single one of the badass babes I have gotten to work with.  I love that they come with their own hair and makeup or have a friend do it or hire one of our incredible artists or hell, don't do anything at all.  They come with suitcases and Ikea bags full of their favorite things that make them feel incredible.  They bring props and t-shirts and lingerie and dresses and their boyfriends jersey and their favorite bra and underwear.  They rebel against societies ideas of who they should be. They are every size and stunningly beautiful in their own way.  They laugh and dance and roll around with me.  They walk out feeling THEMSELVES because I have no agenda to make them into anybody else idea of beauty.  And that to me is what boudoir is all about. About feeling like the best version of yourself and allowing someone else to see the genuine you, just with some posing, coaching to feel at home in your body and a whole lot of laughter in your underwear.

You can be in this boudoir business and make money. You can sell incredible products, create an amazing experience, make women and queer babes feel great about themselves all while keeping your integrity. You can create packages for clients that value the product you create through an appropriate price tag without using selling strategies to manipulate someone into a higher sale. You can price yourself in a way that doesn’t lean solely on large album sales that need those manipulative strategies and still make a lot of money. You can create a business that is about empowering women and actually empower ALL women, and maybe even make room for folxs who aren’t within the binary. You can people feel incredible, all without making them into someone totally different.

And to the clients out there? You don’t have to pay $2500+ to have images of yourself that you love. You don’t have to want an album or prints to feel good about yourself. You don’t have to become someone else to feel sexy and beautiful and incredible. You don’t have to even want the images if for you its just about the experience of being seen. Boudoir doesn’t have to be a once in lifetime, extravagant experience. It can also be $500 and that price difference doesn’t devalue you. It just means you might want something different. It might mean an album isn’t important to you. Or you only want a few images. And that is OK! It’s also ok if you aren’t totally in love your body yet. Its ok if you are still self conscious or nervous or scared. It’s ok if you aren’t ready to show that part or this thing or whatever. No one should ever yell at you or pressure you to do or be or show anything you aren’t ready to. You also can totally want to the prints and the albums the beautiful art of yourself too! You just should be empowered to choose for yourself, not bullied around into a sale just because you fear never feeling that good again. Boudoir is about you, babe. YOU. And while the rest of the world might tell you what you are supposed to want and have to have and have to be to do a session, let me be one voice saying the opposite.

I might be out here alone in this thought in an industry obsessed with manipulating women, that’s ok with me. I’d rather be known for allowing women to choose what feels right for them, for wanting them to have those digital images, for telling babes they are beautiful right here, right now without the hair and makeup and photoshop and be in the business of actually loving all bodies, not just the societally accepted ones.

So to all women and queer babes out there that are tired of not seeing themselves represented, to the photographers fed up with this rat race to make a lot of money off of manipulating women and to the champions of real diversity, never sit down, shut up or be quiet. Be different, be bold, and most importantly be pulled toward the light of standing in your own truth. Be found in the light and shine brighter than ever toward those that need a way out of the dark. You’ve got this babe.

** Header image curtsey of Lace Boudoir. **

J & E - Old City Philadelphia LGBT Proposal

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Ethiopia thought they were coming to Old City Philadelphia for an LGBT couples session, but little did she know that her girlfriend Jennifer and I had been scheming a big surprise for the last few months.  It was a rainy Saturday in May and the hours leading up the shoot, I was checking the radar obsessively.  Since February, Jennifer and I had been plotting to set up a photoshoot that would start normal, but would end in a proposal I wanted everything to go perfectly and I was crossing my fingers the rain would hold off for us.  

When they arrived in Old City, we took them up to our 18th floor roof deck over looking the Ben Franklin Bridge and I could tell Jennifer was nervous.  Despite the clouds moving in quickly the rain was holding off and the view from up there was still spectacular!  After a few photos, I asked Jennifer to do the most romantic thing she could think of and so she slipped to one knee and asked her beautiful girlfriend to be her wife.  The look on Ethiopia's face was priceless and she of course said yes and we then spent the next 45 minutes capturing some images of them with their newly engaged glow!  We even took a few minutes to celebrate their greek life as well since the rain decided to hold off for us!  

Proposals are something so special to me to be apart of because they signify the start of a new chapter and two people making the decision that they want to spend their lives together.  Being able to watch a couple go from dating to engaged to married to whatever life brings, its such an honor as a photographer and I am just so thrilled Jennifer trusted me to capture this moment for them!  Scroll on to see some of my favorite images of their proposal session and then leave these two incredible people some love for me!  

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.