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The winners of the 3rd Annual $29 Wedding Photography Contest

It is our pleasure to announce the winners of our 3rd Annual $29 Wedding Photography Contest!  This year, it seems as though the theme of the entries was about long distance relationships!  Nearly every one of our entrants has endured months if not years of long-distance dating leading up to their marriages and it was encouraging and exciting to read all of their stories.  This was a tough call for us as we worked through the process in the wee hours of last night! So without further ado, please welcome the winners, Mindy Sue and Justin!

Mindy Sue and Justin's wedding is in September and we are extremely excited to get to meet them in person soon!  Their story grabbed us from the beginning as they shared about long distance dating and misadventures in communication that nearly ended it all.  Mindy Sue described their wedding to be small, somewhat causal, comfortable, and focused on their faith which has brought them together.  We thought that sounded like a wonderful way to spend a Sunday evening in September!  Congratulations, you two!  We'll be in touch soon to start working out the details.  And many thanks to everyone else who entered.  We truly appreciate you sharing your stories with us!  We wish there was a way for us to photograph all of the weddings!!

Have a great Sunday everyone!

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Quilts for Uganda

Our good friend Amy recently took on a project to send 50 handmade quilts to an orphanage in Uganda.  When I found out about the project, I quickly admitted my lack of quilting skills, but offered to help however possible.  Well, Amy's deadline got pushed up quite a bit as an unexpected opportunity arose to get the quilts to an orphanage via a friend traveling there to adopt a child.  She called me last week to see if I wouldn't mind taking a few photos of the quilts they had made.  Not all of them are pictured here, but they were able to send 33 quilts this time!  I greatly admire people who put faith to action and make sacrifices of time and energy to help others around the world.  If you'd like to find out more about Quilts for Uganda, check out Amy's blog!  Here is some of their handiwork!

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Hollymead Fire Station

I also had the opportunity to travel out to the new Hollymead Fire Station in Albemarle to photograph a few firefighters there. This was a fun crew and they sure do have a nice setup in their new station.  I know where I'm headed to watch the SuperBowl this year!  With Tate at the grill, the comfy recliners to watch the game in, and some of the nicest guys around, you can't go wrong (can you guess which one is Tate below?). We managed to sneak this portrait shoot in before breakfast as it was a brisk, early Saturday morning and the sun was high and bright.  I had hoped to keep a uniform look to these images as the Charlottesville City images, but I had to change it up just a bit.  I like how they came out, though, and since we had a smaller crew, I was able to try a few different things.  Guys, thanks so much for letting me come out to work with you!  Feel free to click on your images below and save the larger files for your own use.  I've also uploaded these onto our facebook page if you'd like to tag yourself.  Enjoy!

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Charlottesville City Fire Department

As I wrote about last week, I had such an amazing time working with the Charlottesville City Fire Department.  I am so excited to see the final product - baseball cards printed up to hand out to kids on field trips or at carnivals, fairs, etc.  I hope that it will be an amazing outreach opportunity for them because they are an amazing group of people.  Below is the complete set of portraits we shot over several days.  I'm putting this up mostly so that all of you who had your portrait taken can click on your picture, and download a larger copy for your personal use. I was told last week that whenever a firefighter is mentioned or noticed in some way (i.e. newspaper or the like), he/she has to buy ice cream or a drink or something for everyone.  Evidently, my last few posts created a bit of a stir in that regard.  Sorry about that!  I'm not quite sure how you all will handle this post since almost every one of you have your picture on here somewhere!  Good luck sorting it out.  Maybe you could all buy me some ice cream!  Thank you again for letting me spend some time with you all and more importantly, thank you for the amazing job you do at serving our city!

I also uploaded these images to our facebook page in case you'd like to tag yourself for a profile picture!  Enjoy!

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Washington, DC Wedding Photography: Jill and John

Happy New Year!  I hope you had a great time last night celebrating the ringing-in of 2010.  Sarah and I had the wonderful opportunity of photographing an amazing wedding last night.  It was our first New Year's Eve wedding and it was a blast!  Jill and John were the winners of our auction a few months ago and we were so thrilled to be a part of their incredibly special night.  We were so inspired by their faith, their relationships, their personalities, and their ability to be relaxed in all situations.  In fact, I'm pretty sure that if we lived closer to these two, I would force John be one of my best friends!  That guy can make anyone feel comfortable and he has the best sense of humor.  Jill, as you can see from the images below, is incredibly sweet and thoughtful.  We know that God will bless them with a long and fulfilling marriage!  Here are a few of our favorite images from last night!  As always, you can head to our facebook page and tag yourself or your friends if you know anyone in the pictures.

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What are you doing New Year's Eve?

When I was a kid, I used to love staying up to watch the ball drop on December 31.  I remember feeling like such a rebel one year when my brother and I ran outside of my grandmother's house to shoot our cap guns up in the air at 12:01.  Ah, those were the days.  I've done some fun things on New Year's Eve since then - everything from huge parties to concerts to small gatherings with close friends.  This year, however, will be a first for Sarah and I! You may remember that we held an auction a few months ago to benefit the Unembraced - a nonprofit run by some of our friends in Los Angeles that support orphans in Kenya.  Well, the winners of that auction are getting married on Thursday night outside of Washington, D.C.!  This will be our first New Year's Eve wedding and we can't wait.  John and Jill are super-nice people (we had breakfast with them in October) who are crazy in love.  Their wedding promises to be a lot of fun all the way through Midnight!

We're spending the night up there Thursday night and we're going to meet up with John and Jill for a Day After portrait session on Friday.  It should be fun as we're pulling out all the stops from a day-of slideshow at the reception on our Imac to setting up the Photo Booth.  I'm sure we'll be ready to crash at the end of the night, but what a better way to spend a New Year's Eve?  I'll be sure to post some images from the wedding and day after session sometime this weekend.  Until then, have a happy and safe New Year's Eve!!

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The Unembraced Auction results...

Last night marked the end of the auction we were hosting to benefit The Unembraced.  When we started out with this idea, we really had no idea what to expect.  All we knew was that we hoped it would 1) raise some money for an amazing cause and 2) bless a couple with added meaning to their wedding day as they begin their marriage.  I really had no idea if anyone at all would even bid, but we felt it was worth a shot! To be honest, as time went on and we hadn't even gotten the slightest hint at a bid, I was beginning to think we were either going to have to extend or cancel the auction.  I started thinking that maybe it just wasn't the right timing.  But a few days ago, I got a nervous email from Jill who had just gotten engaged a week ago and her friend had sent her a link to our auction!  She was hesitant to jump into booking people for her wedding since they weren't sure about their budget, but they felt like this was something they'd like to try!  They threw their hat in the ring and the waiting was on until the end of the auction.

I had a good feeling about Jill and John from the first email I got from them.  In the end, I am actually so glad that they were the only ones to bid!  Their story is so great!  They met about 7 years ago when she arrived at his church as an intern youth counselor.  Their story involves all the classic details including John picking up her Geo Metro with some friends and leaving it on big mulch bags so she couldn't move it.  Their relationship has gone strong through 6 years that has included 5 job changes, 3 months being separated internationally, 2 appendectomies (I'm assuming one each?), a college degree, and much more!  They're so excited about getting married and I am so excited that we get to shoot their wedding!

The cool part for us is that they are getting married on New Year's Eve!  That means Sarah and I have an excuse to get all dressed up for a great party instead of the usual falling asleep at 10:30...no comments...you know you've done that before too.

At any rate, congratulations Jill and John!  We can't wait to meet you both in person.

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