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A Rainy Day Couldn't Keep the Happiness of this Proposal at Bay. See How Drew Proposed to Bianca!

One of our couples, Bianca and Drew, had their proposal photographed and they were featured in “How He Asked” by the Knot. Learn about how they met, how Drew asked, and the obstacles Drew overcame to finally ask Bianca to be his wife. See the full article here.

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Fall Family Portrait Mini Sessions 2017

A family portrait session is something that many of us regularly consider; and yet, that critical moment –– picking up the phone or sitting down the send the email –– never happens. Our lives in today’s world seem to fly by at an ever increasing rate, and before we have time to reflect, our children are grown, our hair has betrayed us (either making a full and silent departure or turning a shade we never thought we would ever rock), and the moments we reflect on with nostalgia –– Eddie’s awkward phase; Susan’s blonde stage; Dad’s dad-jean nightmare –– are gone forever.

Think for a moment about these transitions; think of them like the subtle growth of hair: the change is unrecognizable day-day, and yet profoundly different when compared over time. We may have albums of iPhone photos buried deep in the depths of our Photos app (or, even worse, gone forever after that “accident” at the beach), but how often do we really seek out these buried moments? How often do we have friends over for dinner and dig out our phones, search for a random photo taken on vacation five years ago by that elderly couple who cropped off little Eddie’s feet, positioned the sun in such a way that Mom has a halo around her head, and Dad is in what appears to be the throws of a sneeze? Never.

What is much more likely is that Grandma comes over for a birthday party and comments on that (beautiful) portrait hanging over the fireplace (no cropped feet, no awkward sun angle, nobody mid-sneeze); Liz from high-school stops by for a visit while she is in town and gushes over the perfect family you have.

In all seriousness, it’s those portraits that you take with you through life. They may help you through a bad day; they may become the center of conversation at dinner; and they will be the link your children have to their past (perhaps with laughs and grunts, but solid and never-changing). Catch the hair as it is; memorialize the dad-jeans; capture Eddie’s uninhibited, joyful awkward grin. We can say one thing with certainty, based upon our decade-long relationship with returning clients: It’s one thing you will never regret doing.


We are offering a limited number of fall mini-portrait sessions on October 29, November 5, and November 12 at our convenient and scenic Lothian, MD location. No procrastinating! This is the perfect time to start preserving your family memories!  Follow this link to schedule now: https://fallminisession2017.acuityscheduling.com/

First Look Tips

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When your big day arrives, we know that despite all of the planning you’ve done in the past year, some things get left out of the timeline. But the one thing that shouldn’t be neglected is the first look. Here are some wedding day tips on how to incorporate a first look into your day.

One of the most memorable moments of any wedding is the moment a bride and groom see each other for the first time. For some more traditional weddings, that doesn’t happen until the bride is walking down the aisle. For the less traditional weddings, there is time ahead of the ceremony where the bride and groom take a moment just for themselves. We tend to favor these “first looks” before the wedding, because we feel that this intimate moment is something that should never be rushed. This beautiful moment should be shared between just the two of you.

First looks allow you to share a private moment before facing hundreds of people and exchanging vows. We have seen it help tremendously with the nerves ahead of the big “I do”s. This moment is exclusive between the couple and allows for an exchange of emotions, hopes for the future, and sometimes even cards or gifts. The first look allows for you two to take a breath before the excitement of the ceremony, just the two of you.

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An intimate moment like this should never be rushed. So, if you choose to do a first look, we advise you to plan at least an extra 10 minutes for it. You can plan more if you would like to take your time, but those 10 minutes can make all the difference in seeing each other and settling nerves. It allows you to have a special moment outside of prying eyes. 

We also suggest that you schedule another 45 minutes for bridal party formals ahead of the ceremony. This extra time before the wedding can alleviate a lot of the stress of the transition from the ceremony to the reception. You don’t have to worry about those formal photos after you’re riding high from having just been married. That way, you have the opportunity to enjoy more of the wedding day that you otherwise might have missed—like attending your cocktail hour.

Your wedding day is incredibly important, and every moment should be preserved and cherished. We highly recommend scheduling a first look so that your reactions are perfectly captured and so that you are allowed to truly enjoy yourselves together. 

Tips for a Successful Family Session

Everyone wants their family photography session to go as smoothly as possible—including your family photographers. Because we want your day to go well, we’ve come up with a list of our top four best tips for making your family session successful. 

Family Photography Tip 1: Shoot During the Golden Hour

The “golden hour” is the hour after sunrise or the hour just before sunset. These two times of day create warm, perfect light that will illuminate you in the photos we take throughout your portrait session. This warm light, along with the rims of light that outline the subjects of the photo can create stunning images when your portrait session takes place in an open field or wooded area. 

Family Photography Tip 2: Be Comfortable and Confident

When picking out your clothes for the session, err on the side of comfort. You want to be confident in your clothing styles, but choose something flattering and timeless that will make you want to keep that family portrait up for years to come. Try to avoid trendy patterns and styles that might be outdated in a year. After all, you don’t want to run to the mantle to hide those family portraits taken when shoulder pads and yellow stripes were in vogue when friends come to visit five years down the road. 

Family Photography Tip 3: Listen to Your Photographers

This is especially true for families with small children. Often, photographers have methods of calming children and getting them to participate in the family shoot without a fight. These tried and true methods have been honed by plenty of years of experience. After all, Grandma might think little John’s crying portrait is adorable, but you might not want it framed. Trust your family photographer to get the perfect portrait of your little one for your wallet.

Family Photography Tip 4: Choose Your Location Carefully

When choosing a location for your family session, you may want to go with a place that fits your family style perfectly or has a significant story behind it. That’s a good idea, because it will make you more comfortable on the day of the shoot. With that said, it’s important to be flexible to changes. Many unforeseen circumstances can make a beautiful location less than ideal for pictures. Whether it’s the wind blowing your hair, or the sun shining in the wrong direction, it’s important to trust your photographer. We will work closely on the day of the session to find the best spot for your portraits. After all, our job is to deliver the best possible pictures to you. We might even surprise you and find a location better than the one you had in mind.

Family portraits can sometimes be stressful things as you plan and herd your family—but we want you to be as relaxed and happy as possible. Tips like these can save you time and stress down the line!

Our top 5 favorite places to shoot your engagement session in the DMV

When you’re planning your engagement session, location is key. The two of you are going to look stunning no matter what, especially with how in love you are. But it’s important to find that perfect place to provide a background for your romance and show off your individual style. Engagement pictures are often used in wedding invitations, wedding websites and announcements, so you want your engagement session to reflect who you are as a couple. To help you, we’ve compiled a list of our top five favorite places around Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia to shoot engagement sessions.

Location 1: Downtown Annapolis, Maryland

Not many people know this, but Annapolis was recently voted the top “under the radar” destination wedding location in the United States—and for good reason. Downtown Annapolis is an ideal location not only for local Navy couples, but for eclectic couples who are drawn to its vibrant hues of green, blue, and pink lining the streets. With quaint coffee shops and boutiques on every corner, the downtown area is simply perfect for couples who want a little personality.

One of our favorite images from our many engagement sessions was taken right in downtown Annapolis. The couple, Tess and Brady, didn’t shy away from standing in the middle of the street, illuminated by cars and street lights, to get that unique shot with the beautiful St. Anne’s Church sitting at the top of the hill in the background. Their love radiated through every image and was only enhanced by the gorgeous background

Location 2: Our Farm

This farm is perfect for the more rustic engagements, especially if you want a beautiful fall location. You can find backdrops for any style around the farm; from the barns to the flower fields to the steps outside of the mansion. That variety is one of the many reasons we’ve included the farm on our list.

Location 3: The Washington Monuments

The Washington Monuments are the perfect locations for a metropolitan couple looking for chic engagement photos. That hint of American history in the background adds not only personality but a sense of importance to any session. The reflecting pool and the Potomac also provide a stunning backdrop to photographs, especially when the cherry blossoms are in bloom.

Location 4: Baltimore: Fells Point, National Harbor
This historic district, with its beautiful brick homes, complete with vibrant shutters, provides some of our favorite backdrops for a variety of couples. Every corner of this city has something to offer, from the homes to the Inner Harbor. There are so many unique places that can show off your individual style.

Location 5: Alexandria, Virginia

Old town Alexandria is another one of our favorites for its alleyways and street character. This is especially good for autumn sessions, as the fall leaves look beautiful with the cobblestone streets and historic brick buildings.

These locations have made it to this list because of their ability to fit any couple, whether you’re a fast-paced metropolitan couple or a small-town country couple. From Baltimore to Alexandria and the spots in between, these are all beautiful locations to shoot your engagement session in any season.

“How wedding details can make all the difference”

When it comes to planning a wedding, it’s all about the details. Like never before, today's couples can find so many sources of inspiration for their wedding day, from Pinterest to Instagram, so many options exist for them to gather ideas. Wedding details can range from unique floral designs, custom invitations and paper goods, to custom jewelry, handmade signage, unique menu items, and guest welcome bags to name a few. These details give today's couples so many unique ways to express their individuality.

Small Details, Big Impact:

Once the big details like the venue and wedding date are set, the little details are where a couple’s personality can shine through. 

Table décor can be a way to incorporate the wedding colors, and is a subtle way to add a touch of personality. Tables don’t necessarily need to be decorated with only florals. Consider a collection of beautiful candleholders clustered together, a pop of color with ribbon, or something made lovingly by hand. Even the way the table number is displayed can have a touch of personality. With these do-it-yourself elements, couples can point them out years later and say, “I made that!”

Make it Personal:

Cocktail hour can be enhanced with cigars, signature cocktails, and snacks with personal relevance. If there is a unique menu for cocktail hour or dinner, having it artfully displayed brings a pop of flavor to the table. Some couples have a lot of fun thinking of catchy ways to draw attention to drinks or appetizers. 

When it comes to wedding finery, there are even more opportunities to add personal significance. Little touches like a mother’s veil or a grandfather’s handkerchief bring an emotional weight to even the smallest moments. As brides consider their “old, new, borrowed and blue,” incorporating personal items can create a precious memory. A heart cut out of dad’s blue chambray work shirt, or an antique locket with a treasured picture intertwined into the bridal bouquet are just two ways that small details can have big impacts.

 

Wedding Tips:

As photographers, we feel it is our job to capture all of these expressions of individuality throughout the day. After all, it is such a big part of the wedding planning process and is a reflection of the couple’s tastes.

Here are a few suggestions we make to our couples to ensure we capture their details:

  • Bring a complete set of your stationery, including “save the date” cards and invitations, for us to photograph. 
  • Make sure that we have the wedding rings as well as the engagement ring to photograph all three as a set.
  • Set aside jewelry, shoes, dresses, and any other accessories they might wear so we can photograph those for wedding day preparation photos.

When it comes to weddings, the difference is in the details. We want to do our best to make sure when you get your photographs back, you can see yourself in every bit.

From cigar bars to personalized cuff links, here are a few of our favorite wedding details we have captured over the last year.

The Power of a Good Head Shot

Given the rise of social media, a good head shot is more important today than it ever has been for professionals in any career or business.

 

Take a look at Microsoft, for example. They recently purchased LinkedIn for a remarkable $26 billion. As anyone who uses the LinkedIn website knows, it is a head shot-driven, business-oriented social media site. That means a company as big as Microsoft was willing to shell out billions of dollars for a company focused on these all-important images. If Microsoft thinks this is the future, perhaps you should give a little more consideration to the importance to head shots in your overall business plans.

 

The Power of a Good Head Shot

Users on LinkedIn are often trying to market themselves to get a job—or a better job. But, did you know the head shot you use on that website can make or break your chances of getting noticed? LinkedIn’s statistics show user profiles without a head shot, or with an unprofessional head shot, get 95% less traffic than those with a professional headshot. 

 

That number is staggering!

 

A good head shot has one of the highest returns on investment (ROI) of any advertising or promotion that you can do. After all, if you get 95% less traffic without a good head shot, can you afford not to spend that money to make sure your potential clients find you on the internet?

The Right Image for the Right Business

Head shots are business-specific and should not look the same across the board. 

  • A financial business professional wants a head shot that inspires confidence and trust
  • A floral designer wants a head shot that is friendly and candid with more personality. 
  • An interior designer might want a shot in a beautiful room.
  • An athlete’s best option might be an action shot.

But one thing that remains consistent across all professions—the head shots need to be professional. That fun photo your friend took of you last weekend while you were out is not what your potential clients want to see. They want to see an image that inspires conversation about your products or services- not just hang out.

 

Find the Right Style

The most popular types of head shots today are done in either one of two styles: studio or environmental. A classic head shot in a studio does not have to be boring or conservative but can involve classic portraiture or edgy and artistic images. Shots done outside of a studio can often reflect specific businesses, such as outdoor images for a hiking guide.

 

With all that said, getting a head shot session done is quick and easy! My typical studio sessions last about 20 minutes and often include the choice of two different outfits or backdrops. I’ve done head shots for many Fortune 500 companies, small business owners, politicians, celebrities. Whatever your field, I’m confident we can fine tune your image and get you noticed! 

 

And don’t forget, when your look changes, so should your head shot! Don’t be afraid to come back and do it again when you’re ready for an update.

 

Contact me Mike B. Photography for more information or click here to schedule a head shot session now! You won’t regret giving your business the edge you need to connect and make yourself stand out!

Don't you think it’s time to put your best face forward?

Anticipating candid moments!

As a wedding photographer, I am always looking for the “Holy Grail” photo. For me, this is the one shot that will tell the story of the day. Many of these moments happen throughout the course of the day, and although they can’t all be captured, you need to be prepared to react quickly when they do arise. As I mentioned in my last post, knowing your equipment like the back of your hand is critically important––you don’t want to be messing with camera settings when it comes time to react.  Once you’re very comfortable with your camera it simply becomes an extension of your eye, and you never give it a second thought. 

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After you’ve mastered your equipment, you need to learn to anticipate moments before they happen. This is a skill you will develop over time as you gain experience, but there are things you can do to develop your sense of timing. I started my photography career as a sports photographer. I was out on the fields every weekend shooting my kids’ sporting events. I shot so many photos that I was mentally fried trying to process them all. Often times, I would shoot several thousand photos during a single youth lacrosse game. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this was an invaluable part of my growth as a wedding photographer. By shooting sports, you have to learn how to anticipate what will happen next, and you have to be ready to react before the moment. Even after my wedding photography business started to take off, I continued to shoot sports because I enjoyed it, but also because the more I shot sports the better I became at being prepared to capture big moments. I eventually moved on from youth sports to shooting collegiate and professional sports including covering the NCAA Final Four, NFL, NHL NBA, MLB games, motocross, cycling and even outdoor adventure sports. When first starting out you may not have access to shooting professional level sports, but I would bet that if you don’t have kids of your own who play sports, you have friends that do. Ask them if you can join them at a game and take some photos for them. The skills you will develop from doing this will pay huge dividends down the road. It’s a great education, and other than your time, it’s free!

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If you don’t have the opportunity to shoot sports, you can still learn how to anticipate the big moments during a wedding simply by being observant. If you’re just starting out in wedding photography, do what I did: find quality photographers who will let you assist them, and focus intently on everything that happens. Although I had a bit of part time wedding photography experience before I decided to make it a career, I still assisted other photographers whenever possible. Most of the time I didn’t even bring a camera; I simply focused on everything that was happening around me throughout out the day. My choice to assist without a camera was well thought out. I figured if I had a camera in my hands I would be paying attention to technical things instead of observing the flow of the day. 

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If you are already well into your wedding photography career and feel that sometimes you miss moments that you wish you had captured (we’ve all been there), consider changing up your routine. When I first started––and for my first 30 or 40 weddings––I worked every wedding solo, meaning that I had to carry and set up equipment, deal with transportation, parking, logistics, etc. It was draining. I was so concerned about where I had to be next, what equipment needed to be set up for the next part of the day, etc., that in hind-sight I feel that I wasn’t as focused as I could have been on the flow of the day. The light bulb went off for me when I hired an assistant for a multi location wedding––this was after two years of being in business. Having someone that could set up equipment, deal with parking issues, etc., was a huge weight off of my shoulders, and I found that the photos that I captured at that wedding were some of the best that I had ever taken. Having someone there to help with the logistical issues gave me the freedom to focus clearly on the day as it unfolded. The moral of the story: If you don’t have an assistant, get one! 

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Capturing great candid moments!

What makes a great candid photo? For me it's capturing real emotion at exactly the right moment in time. For my clients, a great candid photo is one that will impact them emotionally when they see it again many years from now. Having been a full-time photographer for over ten years now, and having photographed hundreds of weddings all over the world, as well as fast paced professional sports events, and special occasions of all types, you would think that capturing a great candid would be easy for me. Truthfully, it is easier now than it used to be, but there are many things that go into capturing a great candid photo. Over the next few blog posts, I want to share with you some of the things I’ve learned over time to help you improve your skill in candid photography. Simply having a camera and being at the right place doesn't always mean you'll capture the moment as I feel it should be captured.

My approach as a wedding photographer is to look for the little moments that I call “Emotional transactions”, that are occurring all around me, throughout the wedding day. I have always felt that it’s the photos of these intimate moments that often have the greatest impact, and truly convey the emotion and feel of the wedding day. From my perspective, as soon as your subject knows that he or she has a camera pointed at them, they change their behavior, and the opportunity to capture that candid moment is gone.

One of the most important things that I try to ingrain in all of my interns and associate photographers is to always be alert and anticipate when a great candid moment may happen. Some moments like the groom’s expression when he sees his fiancé in her dress for the first time are obvious, but what about the little private smiles, their hands nervously clasped while they are on the alter, or their reactions after the ceremony as they exit the church, and are alone for the first time as a married couple. All of these moments can make for great candid photos, but you have to be looking for them constantly.

Your choice of equipment will also have a big impact on your ability to capture great candid photos. One of the most valuable pieces of advice I can give to photographers who are trying to improve their candid photography skill, is to learn your equipment like the back of your hand. Knowing your equipment well allows you to react instinctively to moments as they happen without having to worry about your camera settings. Teach yourself how to adjust anything on your camera without having to look at it and keep things simple. If you’re carrying three camera bodies with you all of the time, there is no way you’ll have the time, or energy, to react quickly when a moment presents itself.

I typically work with one camera body and 2 lenses during a wedding ceremony. That doesn’t mean I don’t have backup equipment within reach all the time, it simply means that during that one portion of the day I have one or two of my favorite lenses, and a camera body in my hands. I find that when I have too many equipment options available, I tend to get too caught up in technical decisions and my reaction times are slower. The KISS (keep it simple stupid) concept applies here! Some of my favorite lenses for capturing candid moments are telephoto lenses. Telephotos in the 100 to 300mm range allow me to keep a considerable distance between me and my subjects so that I don’t influence the moment. Trying to shoot a wedding with a wide angle lens means that you will have to be very close to your subjects and it can create an awkward invasion of private space which is exactly what you are trying to avoid. Choosing the right lens for the situation is critical to candid photography. Speaking of equipment, there is a new camera that I can’t wait to try out called the Light L16, which combines 16 lenses, of varying focal lengths into one compact body, which would seem to be a great fit for my purposes. If it works as advertised, I think one of these may find it’s way into my bag.

In the next post I’ll discuss how to anticipate and react to moments that create great candid photos. Stay tuned!  

One of our images has been featured in The Huffington Post!

Thinking of ways to spice up the traditional wedding? Many couples are choosing to drop the traditional customs of a wedding and adding their own flare. Check out the article about switching up your conventional ring bearer for a special pup, a groomsmen or an elder family member. Make sure to check out our fun shot from Vanita and Joe's wedding of their ring bearer who was also a groomsmen! Take a look here!  

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-to...

Two of our images appeared in Story Mix Media!

Two of our couples were featured in an article by Story Mix Media on lighting and three great ways to grab your guests attention and create the perfect ambience for a romantic night. Madeline and Graham's gorgeous reception under a sunroom lit with bistro lights gave their reception the perfect golden hue and under the stars feel to the night! Brooke and Brian's image of their outdoors, waterfront and sunset lit reception accompanied by a beautiful fall night sky allowed for a backyard style rustic country evening. Take a look here!

Our images were featured in Plan The Day!

Our bride Natalie and our images from her wedding to Trey were featured in Plan The Day! Natalie and expert wedding consultant Meghan Ely tell brides why you shouldn't neglect your bridesmaids when it comes to the wedding preperations! Having your girls by your side on the biggest day of your life is important but so are the words "Thank you". Don't forget to say them! Check out the article here!

We have been featured in Charm City Wed!

Kylie and Grant's woodland, chic waterfront wedding was featured in Charm City Wed! From farm tables, table settings accented with a rosemary sprig to bistro lights. Kyle and Grant's wedding gave the perfect airy, polished and minimalistic feel to the reception, held at the family estate. Rain or shine the elements couldn't stop this Maryland waterfront wedding from happening. Check it out here

Check out our image featured on Huffington Post!

Thinking of doing a destination wedding or just staying close to home for the big day? Take a look at this article on Huffington Post featuring facts about pricing, decor and celebrities who have also considered having destination weddings. Oh, and don't forget to check out our image! Take a gander here!

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/whats-...

Check out our feature in Forbes for advice for your big day!

It's easy to get caught up in all the wedding planning in the months leading up to the big day. From vendors to favors to dress fittings its easy to lose sight of what the day is really about. Tips, tricks, and hacks help save you time, money and stress. In Forbes' article "33 Wedding Hacks That Save Money And Add Charm To Your Big Day" the best wedding hacks have been collected for you so you can have stress free wedding planning. You can check out the advice we gave  to brides's about booking your photographer here!