Ashley and Melissa - An Old City Philadelphia LGBTQ Proposal and Engagement Session

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I always have a little bit of nerves before a session but when a session is actually a proposal? Oh ya’ll, that is a whole different level. We met up with Ashley and Melissa for a Old City Philly LGBTQ couples shoot back in February and Ashley was counting on me to give her the cue to propose all while keeping her then girlfriend in the dark as to the real motive behind the shoot. And I am happy to say, it all went down perfectly! I could tell Ashley was nervous but as soon as she dropped to one knee on that chilly day and Melissa started giggling and bouncing up and down, it was like the nerves for everyone melted to joy. Melissa was so excited ya’ll. I wish sometimes that photos could convey movement because the entire session, she just bounced up and down and kept checking out the new ring on her hand and smiling over at her new fiancée. It was ADORABLE.

After she said yes, we wandered around Old City to capture some engagement photos and while it was definitely cold, I think these two barely felt it. Their joy and happiness and excited was keeping them warm and they were just so easy to photograph. We snuck down little alleys and wandered down my favorite streets and by the time we parted ways, I too couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. And thats what I love about my job…getting to be apart of such exciting, life changing moments that just fill your whole soul up with goodness and getting to be around people who are just so happy and in love.

I am super excited to say these two will be making some more appearances on the blog as they have asked me to be their wedding photographer and I am SO EXCITED to get to work with them again next year. I already know their day will be filled with the same kind of happiness and joy that their proposal day was and Ic can’t wait to capture it all! So look for these two again and enjoy some of my favorites!

Layla and Meg - An Old City Philadelphia Lesbian Wedding

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I usually can get the vibe of a wedding day from the moment I walk into the getting ready rooms of my couples and let me tell ya - I knew from the second I saw these two, their wedding day was going to be a PARTY! And it sure was! Layla and Meg had a beautiful winter wedding in Philly on the last weekend of 2018 in historic Old City Philadelphia at the Renaissance Hotel and they were surrounded by such much love and laughter! I adore Meg’s goofy self, the way she makes every thing feel like a party and I love that Layla is the perfect match for her. Layla is caring, down to earth and oh so sweet, evening feeding me snacks before their ceremony started because she know about my blood sugar issues.

These two decided to have a marathon of a wedding day by renting a party bus to go all over the city for portraits and it was SO MUCH FUN! I rarely get to ride in the bus with my clients and they blasted music, dancing and drinking champagne and it set such a tone for the fun to come! They had the most laughter filled ceremony I have ever been apart of and you know what they say! A Couple who laughs together, stays together and if that’s true….well Layla and Megan are going to be together forever.

I got to work with the incredible team over at KMT Event Group and I made an instant bff in owner Kia. Her team made the day flow perfectly, the details look just right and kept me laughing all day long. It so nice to get to work with vendors who love their jobs and couples as much as I do and it was obvious that they do!

Layla and Meg, thank you for allowing the honor of being apart of your beautiful and joy filled day! I had such a hard time narrowing this down to a few favorites because I loved it all! I wish you both a lifetime of the kind of laughter you shared on this day!

3 Ways to Have The Queer Wedding Of Your Dreams

I recently was chatting with a friend who is getting married and they asked me what my top three tips would be for them as a queer couple as they are planning. It took me a moment to respond because there are so many things I would say to a queer couples but I quickly narrowed it down to what I think are the three biggest tips and I thought it would be helpful to share them here too! While I don’t think this is an exhaustive list or the only ways to have the queer wedding of your dream, I hope it gives any couples out there feeling a bit overwhelmed a place to start!

1.) Do things your own way

Planning a wedding can feel like having to do a whole of traditions that don’t feel anything like the couple you are, but it doesn’t have to be that way.  Your wedding should be about the two of you, the things you like and traditions that matter to you, but there will be people that tell you that you have to do this or that thing.  You have to wait to see each other till the ceremony. You have to have a wedding party. You have to wear a dress. Or a suit. You have wear white. It has to be formal. Or cheap.  Don’t listen to them.  If doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.  Which leads us to number 2…

2.) Plan this thing together

Some of my favorite weddings have been the ones where the couple has brought together all the things and people they love for an epic party party celebrating who they are and how much they love each other.  And that’s what a wedding should be about right? The two of you. So plan this together and pull inspiration and ideas from the things that are you.  Love science and robotics? Have a robot ring bearer! Into craft beer?  Design your whole cocktail hour around craft beer! Was your first date at an art museum?  Maybe plan your wedding at an art gallery! Does your partner have a deep love of 90’s music?  Maybe have your whole dinner playlist be their favorite 90’s songs! Whatever it is you love, whatever things are the two of you, plan your wedding around that and its going to be a day that not only feels like the two of you, but planning it together will be a lot more fun.  


3.) Hire Vendors That Hella Queer

This last one might seem like a duh to some of you, but I hear from a lot of couples that they didn’t think it matter if their DJ/florist/photographer was LGBTQ and how much they wish they would have hired someone from within the community.  Its one thing to be LGBTQ friendly, its a totally different thing to actually be queer as fuck and the later means you are getting to work with people who already get it, not ones you have to explain why neither one of you is “the man in the relationship” or why you are deciding to forgo traditions to do your own thing.  They already get it and it means they are even more ready to help you have the wedding of your dreams, not the wedding that is expected of you.  And this goes for all part of your day. Outfits to DJ’s to caterers to jewelers to planners to florists to photographers to venues.


Are you a queer couple who has gotten married that has some tips of your own? I’d love to hear them! Leave me a comment with what you think are some of the top tips for LGBTQ+ couples tying the knot!

Lillian and Kate - Philly City Hall Elopement

What happens when combine beautiful florals by Bllomsbury Floral Design, custom suits by Bindle and Keep, a love of Giovanni’s Room Bookstore and the cutest lesbian couple eloping at Philadelphia City Hall? Well you get one hella cute queer elopement that’s what! Lillian and Kate were not only so incredible sweet but the whole day I was overwhelmed with the feeling that these two not only have so much love for each other, but also have so much love from their families too! Before their Philly City Hall Elopement, we wandered around Center City taking some portraits of them and then met up with three of their closest family members! These two had such huge smiles while they became Mrs and Mrs and it was just a joy to document!

Afterward we headed to a very special spot for them, Giovanni’s Room Bookstore by Philly Aid’s Thrift Store and they graciously allowed us to take some portraits there as well! I love how Lillian and Kate wanted to incorporate their love of queer books into their day and I really loved the way their suits and florals just popped in that space! We ended the afternoon by wandering through Washington Square Park and Old City and from top to bottom, this was my favorite elopement this year! And when you scroll through this photo’s you’ll see why! I can’t wait to work with these two again next year for their reception but for now enjoy my many favorites from their wedding day!

Nuriya and Jess - A Philadelphia Moshulu LGBTQ Wedding

I knew this wedding blog post was going to be a long one because Nuriya and Jess had the most spectacular LGBTQ wedding in Old City Philadelphia this past spring but I had no idea I was going to have this many favorite images!!!  I have wanted to shoot a wedding at the iconic Moshulu in Philly for years now and despite what ending up being a very rainy night, these two trusted us to take them around Old City Philly that afternoon for wedding portraits.  And they are some of my favorite photos from my entire career.  

This sweet lesbian couple hired us last summer and from the moment I met them, I knew they were going to be more than clients.  They are both so incredibly kind and look at each other in such a way that you can feel the love around them.  They both got ready at the same AirBnB in separate rooms before sharing the sweetest of first looks.  The photos show Nuriya's utter joy when she saw Jess for the first time and I tear up even now looking at them.  I also loved Jess's mom reaction to seeing Jess in her wedding suit!  So many parents struggle with seeing their children wear different than what has come to be expected of a bride or groom and seeing her mom’s face light up with joy and hear her gush over how incredible Jess looked, lets just say it was a really special moment.  We then drove over to Old City and I got to photograph them on the 18th floor of our apartment building BRIDGE over looking the Ben Franklin Bridge.  I loved how their outfits complemented both themselves and each other, Jess in a custom bespoke suit from Bindle and Keep, Nuriya in a gorgeous blush gown from Bhldn.  After some more photos in Old City, even stopping at our favorite coffee chop, United By Blue) we headed down to the Moshulu to do family photos and capture a few shots of their bridal party.  

As the guests gathered for the ceremony, the windows picked up and the dark clouds rolled in, forcing the ceremony into a different space than originally intended but I was struck by how calm Nuriya and Jess were.  Even when there were mishaps from the torrential down pour that lasted for several hours (the sound equipment got wet, water leaked all over the reception space, mics wouldn't work), these two faced it all with such calm and unaffected joy.  Jess had planned a surprise to sing to Nuriya and when the water caused the sound equipment not work, Jess grabbed a guitar and sang acousticly to her new wife.  And there were few dry eyes in the room after that! 

Thats what married life is about though.  Making it work.  Staying by each other when the figurative (and in their case!!) literally storms roll through.  Its making each other laugh, being present, finding joy and holding each others hand the whole way through.  And these two did that so so beautifully.  Listening to their friends and family give toasts about how strong, resilient, compassionate and kind these two are, confirmed what I already knew.  Nuriya and Jess are the kind of people who's love will not only last but inspire.  

And a HUGE shout out to their DJ and our friend DJ Jovi for working through all the craziness and being such an incredible DJ.  It is so fun to work with people we already love!  If you are looking for an LGBTQ friendly DJ and someone who knows how to keep your dance floor going all night long, Jovi is your girl!!!

It was my honor to not only photograph their wedding day, but to get to know these two incredible women on a personal level and I thrilled to now call them friends.  Jess and Nuriya, I hope you are enjoying every minute of this crazy thing called life and that you know just how honored I am that you chose Jordan and I to photograph your wedding day!  Enjoy my (many!!) favorites ya'll! 

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!

Jenn - Philadelphia Boudoir Session

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Oh ya’ll. This is a GOOD one!!!! Jenn is someone I have know for over 6 years and this gorgeous babe is not only one of the sweetest people but Lord is she one hottie too! She came to play with me at a gorgeous suite in Philadelphia in November and it was just one of those sessions that had me going yes yes yaaasss! I love the way her blue eyes pop in the images and let’s be real, any curvy woman who brings me a body stocking, corset and stripper heels is going to create some magic and oh my did we! From sweet to ultra sexy, this session has it all and I am SO EXCITED to be sharing my dear friend with all of you! Please enjoy just a few of my favorites!

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!

Jackie and Kit - A South Philly Lesbian Engagement Session

South Philly Lesbian Engagement Session

South Philly Lesbian Engagement Session

The number of times I field emails from couples telling me how nervous they are for pictures because one of them is just so awkward are too many to count.  Almost every couple I work with at least one of them is apologizing for the fact that they don’t know what to do or will be awkward, and within minutes, I am showing them just how NOT awkward they are!  Jackie was def one of those people. But a few minutes into her and fiancee Kit’s engagement session in South Philly, she exclaimed, “Hey! This is more fun than I thought it would be!” And this photographer’s heart rushed with joy! Having couples who are up for anything and trust you AND think it was actually fun? A dream ya’ll!

I know first hand the nerves of having your picture taken and how especially as an LGBTQ couple it can feel overwhelming to be totally yourself and not worry about someone judging you. Its why I spend so much of my sessions talking to my couples from behind the camera. I want you to be yourself, whoever that is, and feel like being photographed by me is a safe, fun, and affirming experience. And I love when that comes across to my clients too! I loved what Kit wrote on her facebook page after they got their gallery - “Considering how much I hate PDA and having my picture taken, the fact that I don't hate my face in every one of these tells me we picked the right wedding photographer. Thanks Amanda Swiger!”

I am so excited to get to work with these two again next summer at one of my dream venues, Power Plant Productions, right in Old City. I just know their day is going to be the perfect celebration of their love for each other and the big gay party they are dreaming of! Enjoy my favorites ya’ll!