Blacksburg Wedding Photographer | Brooke + Joe's Backyard Wedding

Brooke and Joe held an intimate country rustic themed wedding ceremony in their back yard.  It was filled with giant, beautiful sunflowers and equally brilliant smiles despite the downpour that happened during the reception [which was quite a hit with their young daughter].  A little ways down the road from their wedding is a big red barn and even more sunflowers, the owners were kind enough to let us use the property as a gorgeous backdrop for their photos.

Joe proposed to Brooke by making a list of stops that included the place where they first met, first date, first kiss, and the hospital where their daughter was born.  He had Brooke’s friend drive her to around to each location and at every stop there was a friend or family member with a rose and a card for her.  The last stop was the duck pond where all of her friends and family were waiting to watch the proposal!

Wedding Vendors
Blacksburg, Virginia Wedding Photographer: Holly Cromer
Wedding Dress: David’s Bridal
Flowers: Sunflowers which were grown by the groom’s mother
Officiant: Bill Brown
Hair: Sharmelle at Shear Mellagance Salon in Radford
Wedding Cake: Our Daily Bread
Cupcakes: BubbleCake
Wedding Rings: Zales

Vendor Feature: Stonecrop Farm, Florist in Newport, Virginia

I first fell in love with Stonecrop Farm when I saw them at the Blacksburg Farmers Market.  Like the true creeper that I am, I secretly took photos of the beautiful organic flowers they grew in my outings to the market [those are the ones at the tippy top of this post].  Finally we ended up actually working some weddings together - Jordan and Justin’s Beliveau Estate Winery Wedding, Valerie + Brian's Smithfield Plantation Wedding, Ina + Alfred's Virginia Tech Wedding at Hahn Horticulture Garden, and I believe there might be a couple more that I haven’t yet blogged.  I loved working with Gwynn so much, she is so laid back, sweet, and easy to talk to so I asked if I could come by and visit Stonecrop Farm in person to take some photos and she obliged and was kind enough to also answer some questions for me that might help you in your wedding planning journey:

 

Please tell me about yourself and Stonecrop Farm?

Bert and I met this fabulous guy in 1997 that was about to quit his job and start a farm.  This was a crazy notion… that you could just “become” a farmer at age 30 especially if you didn’t grow up on a farm.  Shortly after that we moved so that I could go to graduate school and Bert got his first job on a farm.  Another farm job followed that one and the next.  After several moves he finally decided he knew enough to run his own show.  We moved to his parents land here in Giles County and I became his intern.  That was 2003.

 

When and how did you get started in the flower business?

That first farm job that Bert landed was on a flower farm and the knowledge and interest stayed with him.  We grew flowers alongside the vegetables to bring more beauty and beneficial insect.  Then we started making and selling bouquets.  The flower part of the business has just kept growing as demand continues to increase the competition in the vegetable business becomes more threatening.

 

What is your favorite part of floral design for weddings?

I love a new challenge.  This past July we needed to create something for the stone hearth at Chateau Morrisette and — based on a Pinterest photo — we invented the flower waterfall.  I love being given free reign and a large color palette.  I also love getting to know my clients and then creating something that feels like it’s a great match for the bride.  Yesterday’s wedding creations were for a chef and pastry chef.  This very food oriented wedding inspired Bert to add peppers to the arrangement for the arbor.  And we snuggled asparagus spears into the bridal bouquets. 

 

What are some of your favorite flowers?

There’s something so exciting in every new season.  I love ranunculus and tulips in the spring and dahlias in the summer and fall.  This year delphinium belladonna bellamossa won our hearts.  The color is absolutely stunning and it still flowered even though it was drowning in the weeds.  Then there are sweet little additions like scabiosa, gomphrena, and nigella that really set our flowers apart from a florist arrangement

 

Do you have any favorite trends for wedding flowers?

I love the loose garden style that’s gaining interest. 

 

How would someone go about booking you for their wedding?

A phone call or email will start the process.  We sit down with clients and start the conversation, learning about their celebration and the styles that catch their attention.  We’re getting a lot of requests for 2017 weddings already, which is wonderful, but really tricky to fit in because we still have plenty more weddings for the 2016 calendar year.

[Why yes, this blog post should have happened about 6 months ago!  I’m caught red handed at letting the blogging slide again]

 

Do you have any tips or advice for couples who are currently in the wedding planning process?

If you’re not hiring a coordinator, find someone that is willing to help you out that can be your flower point person.   You don’t want to hire us to come early and install your pieces and hand off your bouquets AND stay until grandma arrives to hand her that wrist corsage.  Get someone that knows your friends and family to take charge of a few last minute flower responsibilities.

 

Anything else you’d like to add?

Pinterest has been great for putting lots of great ideas out there for brides to consider as their designing their celebration.  Remember that flowers like — and need — to be in water.  Those blossoms scattered loosely here and there look wonderful for a twenty minute photo shoot.  Not an afternoon in the sun and a long evening of celebration. 

 

Thank you Gwynn and Bert for your hospitality and for taking the time to answer my questions!  Here’s where you can find more of Stonecrop Farm: Website, Facebook, and Instagram and you can go visit them in person at the Blacksburg Farmers Market!

Blacksburg Maternity Portrait Photographer | Charmaine + Bryan

Charmaine is one of the most beautiful, talented, and sweetest people I have ever met.  She is the owner of CharMarie Salon in Christiansburg [check out the vendor feature I did shortly after her shop opened a couple of years ago] and one of my favorite beauty gurus of all time.  I discovered her through Twitter years ago and we were able to team up for some glamour photos [she did hair and makeup for Taylor’s glamour portraits and Ladonna’s glamour portraits], a boudoir session, and a “garden party” inspired styled shoot.  It is always an honor to work creative girlboss masterminds like her.

When Charmaine announced that she and her super sweet and supportive husband Bryan were going to have a little one I was so excited, I insisted on taking some maternity photos for her.  Despite the fact that she herself is a total creative genius, she was kind enough to let me take the lead and do the planning for her photo session.  I made her a couple of flower crowns – one of purple, blue, and green lacecap hydrangeas and one of pink and green spray roses and we ventured up to Mountain Lake in Pembroke, Virginia where Dirty Dancing was filmed.  A couple weeks before the shoot I had spotted the perfect little thicket of ferns for this radiant goddess.  Thank you Charmaine for trusting my vision and allowing me to commemorate this extra special time in you and Bryan’s lives!

Book Review | Pop Manga Coloring Book: A Surreal Journey Through a Cute, Curious, Bizarre, and Beautiful World

I am a huge fan of Camilla d’Errico, she is one of my favorite pop surrealism artists so when I heard that she was coming out with an adult coloring book, and I HAD to have it.  I tend to be intimidated by coloring books because well I hate rules and I never want to color things the “right” color.  Since d’Errico herself uses such wild variations in colors in her artwork, I didn’t have that feeling that I was going to “mess it up” by coloring someone’s skin purple or coloring animals with the whole spectrum of the rainbow.  When the original artist is thinking completely out of the box, it feels like an invitation to go with the flow.

The artwork is incredible, the biggest challenge I have had is fighting my boyfriend and son off because they are dying to color in it too even though they have their own coloring books to work on - they’re just not as fun as Camilla’s.  The pages are nice and thick, but since they are printed with images facing each other I would recommend using color pencils or watercolor pencils to keep the color from transferring onto the next page.  I highly recommend this coloring book, and that you follow Camilla d’Errico on Facebook and Instagram for more of her incredible imagery [and to see her use of colors as long as it wouldn’t make you feel too inclined to follow the rules].

P.S. Please do not judge my coloring skills or lack thereof in the images above. 


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

Julianne + Adam’s Keswick Vineyards Wedding Photos

Charlottesville Wedding Photographer | Julianne + Adam’s Keswick Vineyards Wedding Photos

Julianne and Adam were married at Keswick Vineyards in Charlottesville, Virginia on a bright summer day in July.  Julianne’s accessories were especially sentimental, her necklace and earrings are her grandmother’s 50th anniversary set and her garter was not only worn by Julianne’s mother on her wedding day, but it also is made from lace from her grandmother’s wedding gown.  Julianne wore a beautiful mermaid style wedding dress with lace overlay; the bridesmaids wore mint green sleeveless bridesmaid dresses; and the groom and groomsmen wore grey suits. 

This was my first visit to this particular venue and I was completely blown away by the beautiful property that was packed full of perfect locations for photographs, there was even a pool that was to die for.  Julianne and Adam’s eclectic wedding decor and bright, colorful flowers from Irvington Spring Farm further enhanced the scenery.  After the ceremony came the festivities where guests enjoyed wine from Keswick Vineyards, playing corn hole, trying to outsmart the jumbo Jenga set, taking photos in a photo booth handmade by the groom, and busting a move to Beyonce’s “Formation” followed by a sparkler send-off.

Charlottesville Wedding Vendors
Charlottesville, Virginia Wedding Photographer: Holly Cromer, assisting for Corey Watkins of Skyryder Photography
Venue: Keswick Vineyards
Caterer: Southern Inn Catering
Florist: Irvington Spring Farm
Desserts: SweetHaus
Hair and Makeup: Briana B. Adams
DJ: Ricky Morris
Musician: Adam Carter
Officiant: Evan Wolfe
Transportation: Albemarle Limousine

2016 Christmas Mini Sessions

I don’t do a lot of mini sessions anymore, but since I had received quite a few inquiries for holiday photos and it was getting so late in the year that otherwise I’d never fit everyone in, I caved this year.  I’m so glad I did too, I love how these all turned out and I had so much fun with all of these families.  Jody the uber-talented mastermind from The Moss & Rose made me this GORGEOUS Anthropologie inspired wreath that was huge and so beautiful and the rest of the goodies I brought from home for two days straight of marathon holiday photos.

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.