The Critical Role That Creeping Around Like a Ghost Plays in My Wedding Photography

4 Tactics Wedding Photographers Can Use to Avoid Being Disruptive

When I photograph weddings, I morph into the invisible woman.  I frequently receive feedback from couples that I work with saying they didn’t even notice my presence during their wedding, so they’re surprised by all the little moments that I capture.  I love taking relaxed, candid photographs of people as if I were a fly on the wall.  They look so much more natural than asking people to stop what they are doing and pose with a forced grin; I have only encountered a handful of people who actually do like having their photo taken, so for me, this is the best approach to get gorgeous and meaningful portraits throughout your wedding day.  A real hug from your mother is always better than someone barking directions at you: “OK stand beside mom, smile, *click*” and moving on to the next thing.

Here are a few tips on how I maintain a low profile at weddings, capturing priceless moments without distracting from the main event:

  1. I look like a wedding guest.  I dress like a wedding guest [except in black which may break some unwritten rule, but it helps me hide in shadowy corners].  Sure, I have a camera or two strapped to me, but so do half of the guests.  I stash my camera bag in a corner and pretend I’m one of your old friends from college.
  2. Two camera bodies.  I like to carry two camera bodies; it can get heavy, but it has greatly improved the way I photograph weddings.  I keep a wider lens on one camera and a longer lens on the other.  Because I can switch back and forth easily without changing lenses, I don’t miss any moments or have to worry about dropping them; and I don’t cause a distraction from you or your guests with zipping or Velcro noises.
  3. Zoom lenses and long prime lenses are my wedding day BFF.  I stand way back from the action for the entire day.  The only time I step forward is during formal photos when we need to get things done.  During the ceremony, I go around the perimeter with my 70-200mm zoom lens to get close up ceremony shots without distracting guests by going up and down the center aisle.  For the rest of the day, I switch back and forth between my 50mm and 85mm prime lenses for the zoom benefits without the weight.
  4. Ambient light.  Nothing gives away your position like a flash or a video light.  Whenever possible, I use the natural ambient light available so no one knows when I’m lurking around or who/what I am focusing on.  During the reception, when it is too dark, I use an off camera flash set up on a stand in the corner of the room – people know I’m taking photos, but they don’t know what the subject is.

Your wedding day is about you and your partner, not your photographer.  I have been to weddings that have drill sergeant photographers directing every move; as a major introvert, that is not my style and will never happen when you are working with me.  If you are looking for a photographer who will take charge and lead you through your wedding day, I can help you find one.  I’m really more of a photojournalist who is friendly enough to let you know that your bra strap is showing or that turning your head a tiny bit more to the right will put you in better light.

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Ashley's Virginia Tech Senior Portrait Graduation Photos

Virginia Tech Senior Portrait Photography

I had the pleasure of working with Ashley all throughout her senior year so it was an extra special experience taking her Virginia Tech graduation photos.  She’s a social media guru, a real go-getter, and shares my mutual love and adoration for Chris Pratt.  She was a superstar student in her time with the #4 nationally ranked Hospitality and Tourism Management program where she won numerous scholarships and awards…  I mean check out all of those honors cords.  In addition to being a wonderful student, she’s also a spectacular human being who will brighten up any cloudy day, if she didn’t already land herself a job I would be trying to get you to hire her.  Also she’s good at crafts, check out that Boy Meets World inspired graduation cap.  I wish decorating your graduation cap was a thing back when I graduated, I have more regrets over my plain cap and gown than I do over skipping going to prom in high school!

I’m fully booked up for the rest of 2016 [with the exception of Christmas card mini sessions on December 3] so if you are hoping to have senior portraits taken for the 2016-2017 school year, don’t wait till the last minute, please contact me now to get scheduled.  I was heartbroken to have to turn folks away for fall sessions because I didn’t have any more days left, please go ahead and get on the books now using the “Hire Me” button above.

Ina + Alfred's Virginia Tech Wedding at Hahn Horticulture Garden

Ina and Alfred’s story begins when Ina was in 8th grade.  Ina met Alfred’s younger sister, Kira.  Kira talked about Alfred often, but Ina did not actually end up meeting back then.  Alfred knew Ina as “the Sheep Girl” because she liked doodling sheep on Kira’s class notes and homework.  Fast-forward to 2006:  When Ina started her freshman year at Virginia Tech where Alfred was starting his sophomore year.  In an attempt to get Alfred to be more social, Kira told Alfred that “Sheep Girl” was also a student at Virginia Tech.  A few weeks later, Ina and Alfred finally met and the rest is history!  In summer of 2015, Alfred and Ina mutually agreed to get married, Alfred purchased a ring and they made their engagement official just after Christmas.

The two prepared for their beautiful Friday garden wedding at the Inn at Virginia Tech surrounded by their closest friends and family.  Ina’s friend did her makeup as her mother looked on, beaming with pride.  We moved on to Hahn Horticulture Garden where Ina slipped into her absolutely stunning Vera Wang bridal gown.  The bridesmaids and groom’s woman wore aubergine and peridot dresses from Mod cloth and carried white, cream, yellow, and purple bouquets that were meticulously handcrafted by the talented folks at Stonecrop Farms.

After the wedding ceremony was complete, we sought refuge from the hot June sun under the trees of the horticulture garden where Ina and Alfred whipped out a sword to take some photos inspired by one of their favorite movies, Kill Bill.  We moved on to some other beautiful locations around the campus of Virginia Tech for additional photo opportunities including the Duck Pond, Torgerson Bridge, and the Pylons above War Memorial Chapel.  Finally we went to Owens Hall to join Ina and Alfred’s guests for high tea.  The seating chart and table numbers were inspired by the Pokemon card series.  Their centerpieces were made up of vintage tea cups with candles and tea tins filled with more beautiful flower arrangements by Stonecrop Farms.

Blacksburg Wedding Vendors

Blacksburg Wedding Photographer: Holly Cromer
Wedding Venue: Hahn Horticulture Garden at Virginia Tech
Wedding Reception Venue: Owens Hall at Virginia Tech
Wedding Gown: Vera Wang, from David’s Bridal
Bridesmaid Dresses: ModCloth
Groomswoman Dress: ModCloth
Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Wearhouse
Florist: Stonecrop Farms, Newport, Virginia
Officiant: Luther Alexander
Cake Baker: Courtney Hinkley at All Caked Out, Radford, Virginia
Caterer: Personal Touch Catering
Jewelers: Dominion Jewelers, Falls Church, Virginia and Jared, Vienna, Virginia
Wedding Invitations: Miki Zuckerman

You might also want to check out Ina + Alfred's Virginia Tech Spring Engagement Photos which ended up being timed so perfectly that we were able to get all of the beautiful blooming trees in the background.

Blacksburg Newborn Photographer | Newborn Baby C, Part 2

Newborn session take 2… this time with mama and daddy and a little cameo from my son, Auden, who is still very curious about his new little cousin that is getting a lot of attention even though he isn’t doing all that much yet.  Both of their newborn sessions [and maternity session too actually!] took place at their home.  Such a sweet idea because you can look back through the photos and relive your memories and remember where you lived at the time and where your baby was raised. 

If you’re wondering why little baby C got to have two newborn sessions [check out his first newborn session with ivy, daisies, and roses here], it is because he is basically my nephew and I love sweet little tiny babies and love taking their pictures, not because he’s naughty.  If you were my friend, neighbor, etc. and had a tiny little baby, I would probably be at your house all the time for snuggles and multiple baby photo sessions too.  Oh yeah and I’d probably come over while you are still pregnant for a maternity session with a milk bath filled with rose petals like I did with baby C’s mama.

Autumn Bucket List Ideas

13 Fun Ideas to Make Your Fall More Memorable

It still feels like summer outside so it is hard to believe that the autumn equinox was last week.  The trees may not be changing colors yet, but I’ve been pondering my Halloween costume for a good two months now.  Halloween is my favorite holiday, I dress like a witch year round and now everyone else is finally starting to get on my level.  My summer bucket list ideas blog post was pretty popular so I thought I would put one together for fall as well.  Without further ado, I challenge you to complete my Autumn Bucket List Challenge:

  1. Watch Hocus Pocus
  2. Snuggle up by a bonfire
  3. Tailgate at a college football game
  4. Go apple picking
  5. Burn a woodsy and/or cinnamon candle [I’m quite partial to Paddywax Ralph Waldo Emerson Cedar/Wild Fern, Paddywax Apothecary Tobacco and Patchouli, and Northern Lights Candles Whiskey & Tobacco because they all smell amazing and have lovely design]
  6. Make a leaf pile and jump in it, repeat, repeat again
  7. Drink a Pumpkin Spice Latte, post a photo of it to Instagram for proof
  8. Pick your own pumpkin from a pumpkin patch
  9. Carve a jack o’ lantern and roast the leftover pumpkin seeds
  10. Visit a haunted house
  11. Get lost in a corn maze
  12. DIY a Halloween costume
  13. Eat your body weight in candy corn and mellowcreme pumpkins while cackling “Witch better have my candy!”

While I could probably think up some more ideas, I want to stop at lucky number 13. 

Action Items:

  1. Leave me a comment below and let me know what your favorite fall activities are that I failed to include in the list
  2. Share this post with a friend you want to complete this bucket list with
  3. Pin it so you don’t forget to finish the challenge

Blacksburg Senior Portrait Photographer | Megan Class of 2017

Blacksburg High School Senior Portraits

I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to take some beautiful Blacksburg High School senior portraits for Megan.  Her style is a little bit bohemian with those glorious Free People vibes just like mine!  I love the outfits she chose and could tell we would get along smashingly after she gave me a glimpse at her Pinterest boards…  I am a firm believer that I can tell if we will be best friends forever or if we won’t get along just by browsing your Pinterest profile, does that make me some kind of social media psychic?  Anyways, Megan was just another example that I am indeed a Pinterest psychic...

In addition to being an amazing soccer player, Megan also has a creative streak.  She is a free spirit and has a wonderful sense of style.  It was such a pleasure working with her, especially since she was down for anything including wading through muddy water in her pristine white dress, climbing through spider webs, and almost getting stuck in an epic summer thunderstorm.

I know Fall seems too early to book your senior portrait session, but IT ISN'T!  Seriously, do not wait until the last minute because once spring rolls around I will be all booked up and you won't have your senior portraits back until after graduation which is just lame.  Book your senior portrait session now!

"Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers" Review

I decided to check out Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers by Jo Firestone and Fred Firestone because 1. I love puns/ridiculous dad jokes, and 2. I saw a little note that said “This punderful game will replace Cards Against Humanity at your next party." [].  Who doesn’t love Cards Against Humanity, that is a huge claim to live up to!

The Verdict: Stick to Cards Against Humanity.  I’m a strong believer of not pulling out card games like this unless there is alcohol involved and Punderdome is difficult enough that (unless you are a comedian or a dad joke expert) you will need to play sober.  That noted, I’m still not good at this game.  I’m not clever enough or good enough at puns to play it correctly and get the same level of amusement that I get from Cards Against Humanity which entertains me to no end because I love jokes to be as raunchy and low-brow as possible.  If you are more intelligent than me and kick ass at puns, you’d probably enjoy this game a lot more than I did.  I’ll probably play it again, but I wouldn’t ever bring this along with me to a party.

I received this game from Blogging for Books for this review.

Blacksburg Newborn Photographer | Newborn Baby C, Part 1

I was so excited when Laura’s mother spilled the beans to me at her baby shower that she wanted me to take newborn photos for her.  I can’t remember when the last time I took newborn photos was, possibly the time that my high school best friend tried to cram her daughter into a beautiful shabby chic bucket and dear sweet baby was having none of it.  Needless to say, I am not the type of newborn photographer who folds your baby up like a frog so I was a tiny bit intimidated going into this shoot, I don’t want to be the person who makes your boobs leak because I made your sweet new baby cry more, I really don’t want to do that to you.  Thankfully his newborn photos were short and sweet, VERY sweet!  I don't think I ruined his little life at all.  I foraged the ivy and daisies (his mama’s favorite flowers and they also make an appearance in the background of some of her maternity photos) from around my house and used them to make a sweet little laurel around him.  I also couldn’t resist the urge to bring along some roses and rose petals to drop around him since her maternity session also included a milk bath filled with rose petals.  My boyfriend insists that roses are “girl stuff”, but I think baby C still looks dashing and handsome surrounded by them, what do you think?