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Congratulations to Erin and Josh!

Erin and Josh were married on June 25 and it was truly an amazing day.  I'll certainly be sharing more images from their day, but every now and then I just have to stop and share a favorite.  One of the reasons that I love when the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony is that we get to explore the area and the gorgeous light to create images like this one!  I can't wait to share more.

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How to effectively cut a cupcake

In my last post, I shared an example of Grayson effectively eating a cupcake.  Soon after posting those images, I was reminded of a recent wedding I photographed where the bride and groom effectively CUT their cupcake.  So, in the honor of cupcakes (quite possibly the world's most perfect food), I present to you an example in effective cupcake cutting.  Here are Joseph and Virginie at their Richmond wedding a few weeks ago taking a sword to their cupcake.  Take note of Joseph's careful selection of a cupcake as well as his care to thoughtfully scare the kids away from the sword so they would not be harmed. These two will be celebrating their marriage again in just a few short weeks in France!  Sarah and I cannot wait to go along with them to photograph it all (including the cathedral ceremony and castle reception)!  More on our trip to come, but for now, enjoy!

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Paris, here we come!

Several weeks ago, I received a surprising email from Joseph who was a groomsman in Brandon and Sara's Richmond wedding.  The email went a little something like this:

Peter, we'd love for you to photograph our July wedding.  The only tricky part is that we're getting married in France.  Please call me to see if we can work it out for you to do this.

Obviously, that was the abridged version, but you get the idea!  I've been waiting anxiously to share this great news on the blog until all the details were worked out, but guess what?!?  We're going to Paris this summer to photograph Joseph and Virginie's wedding!  One of the best parts is that we had always hoped to be able to take a big trip to celebrate our 10th anniversary and here we go!  This trip will include a few extra days in Paris followed by two nights in a castle with all the wedding party and maybe an extra adventure thrown in there somewhere.

We'll share more details later, but for now we're off to book our airline tickets, hotels, and learn how to say coffee, wine, cheese, and pastry in French!  Can't wait!

PS - If you have any tips on what we should do while in Paris, let us know!

PPS - We obviously didn't take the picture above since neither one of us has been to Paris.  The image came from www.sxc.hu which is a great place to get free stock images if you need them!

Looking for a Charlottesville wedding photographer?  Click one of the choices below!

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The importance of this job

This has been the longest I've gone without a blog entry in a long time!  These past two weeks have been very full of editing images and designing wedding albums.  It's also been full of life - Zach turned 7 months old and is a constant joy in our household with his experimental noises and new tricks.  Kyla (almost 7) started riding her bike with no training wheels.  And Avery (4) constantly amazes us with her keen perception and sense of humor.  We also celebrated my grandmother's 80th birthday with my entire family and we began making plans for a summer vacation!  We also found out that our fourth recent wedding client in the past 2 years is pregnant!  I also had the opportunity to photograph newborn twins as well as another 3-month-old baby. As I sat down to work on an album tonight, I found my mind in a different place.  I'm usually good at shaking distracting thoughts when a job needs to be done, but not tonight.  I'm in the mood to write.  Most of the time when I think of being a photographer, I imagine all the happy moments I get to capture.  I imagine the wedding portraits we create hanging on the walls of a couple's home as they celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary.  I picture a mother someday glancing at newborn portraits we took of her baby that is now off at college.  I love this job and I am constantly blown away at the opportunities we are entrusted with to document the most special moments of people's lives.

A new thought hit me, however, last night when I received an email from one of our 2009 clients.  She had just given birth to their first baby not much more than a week ago and she was writing to tell me that her father had just passed away.  I immediately knew the broad range of emotions and was whisked away to 2006 when my mother passed away two weeks before our daughter Avery was born.  There are few broader spectrums of emotions that a person can experience in life, in my opinion, than to experience a birth and a death in such a short amount of time.

The new thought that hit me last night was how deeply important a job I have as a photographer.  This new mom wanted to know if she could order some prints of her father from her wedding to have on display at the funeral this weekend.  Of course I could arrange that, and I did.  But as I worked out the details, I was struck with a sense of gratitude that perhaps something I created might serve as a source of comfort for people I've never met.  Perhaps it would not have struck me this way, but this was actually our second wedding client who had recently lost a loved one whom we had photographed at their recent wedding.  I hope that I don't have any more requests like this in the near future, but you'd better believe that I have a renewed perspective on the importance of our role in our clients' lives.  We're capturing special moments in people's lives that will never happen again.  We're creating images that will spark memories and evoke emotion quite possibly for generations to come.  Maybe I'm reading into this too deeply and thank you if you've made it this far.  Maybe I should be editing right now, but this is where my mind and my heart are - I just needed to get this out.

I'll leave you with one of my favorite images from our wedding.  Here I am as a young kid with geeky glasses almost 10 years ago dancing with my mom.  I miss her like crazy, but I'm so thankful that Russ captured this image because it is exactly how I will always remember her! 

PS - Tune in soon for some cute pictures of a baby!  Everyone will need some cheering up after this post!

PPS - If you made it this far, seriously, thank you for reading.  I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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Anniversary Guest Blog Post: Jill and John

I (Peter) just want to add a quick note before I turn the blog over to Jill and John.  I'm very excited to have the first installment of our anniversary guest blog posts!  I asked Jill and John to choose a few of their favorite images from their New Year's Eve wedding we photographed last year and explain why they love them!  We couldn't be starting this off with any greater people.  I think you'll really enjoy Jill and John's humor and their perspective on their amazing wedding day!  Happy first anniversary, you two!  Here goes: John: Peter asked us (John, and Jill) to guest blog for our one year anniversary (New Year's Eve).  We were to pick a handful of pictures that we love and describe what we loved about it.  So Jill and I decided to relive our wedding experience through the beautiful pictures that Peter and Sarah took.  We decided that we'd each pick our favorite five and comment about them.

"Okay, I've got mine narrowed down to seven,"  I stated.

"SEVEN?! I have thirty-seven and I haven't even gotten to the day-after pictures yet."

"Jill, these are supposed to be the pictures that you would take with you to a desert island. If you only had room for 5."

"I KNOW! These are the 37...wait...38 I can't live without!"

The next hour was spent describing my favorite pictures from our wedding, to a soundtrack of a clearly exasperated Jill desperately trying to pare down pictures of her memories for the blog-o-sphere.

"Fine," she finally said, "I'm making a compilation picture."

Jill: I have to say, this was HARD. I’ve always loved all of our pictures – I mean, really, each one, and I’ve often thought that Peter and Sarah must love our pictures the best out of all the weddings they’ve done because our pictures are just SO AMAZING.  And that’s challenging, because somehow naturally I make a lot of weird faces and normally they always get caught on film.  Anyway, I like too many of our pictures and I always get overwhelmed when I look at them, because it’s so so hard to pick my favorites.  I have sat here for the past hour trying to narrow down my choices from twenty or thirty (and THOSE were chosen under duress) to six.  I’m pretty sure it’s impossible. An hour and a half later: Ok, yeah, I didn’t get it down to six. I think I did pare it down to under 20, though.  Please note that John did restrain himself, but I asked him to comment on all the pictures I picked.

ceremony-15

ceremony-15

Jill: I love this one because it captures a moment I wasn’t there to see – John and the pastor who married us walking out.  I love the black and white – John looks so classy.

John:  I do look classy in this one, thanks Jill, and thanks Peter.

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ceremony-21

Jill: This is the one of the ones that I always came back to after the wedding. I love that it captures that last moment before we walk into the church – looking at it now, I can still feel that sort of strange mixture of peace and excited-ness and expectation.  And my dad is so dear to me, and those moments with him were really precious.

John:  So fun to see the the bride from this angle, I was busy up in front waiting!

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ceremony-54

Jill: I love all the pictures of the sanctuary and the ceremony – the ones along the side and the wide range shots are great too.  Westwood Baptist Church was very familiar to both John and I, but somehow the night of the ceremony it looked so different – so special.  We had a friend of my sister’s, Michelle, there to help arrange us and the church, and between her and the church coordinator, the sanctuary ended up being so glowy up front – it was so beautiful when I walked in, and I’ll never forget the impression it gave me – shadowy and filled with friends and family and special people (reminded me of the “great cloud of witnesses” verse in the bible) all around the edges, and bright and glowing up front.  I think this picture captures that feeling perfectly.  And our wedding party looks so beautiful.

John: Surrounded by friends, family, and the one whom I hold most dear. I really liked being up there with you, Jill.

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ceremony-95

John: Proud me with excited mom after the wedding. This was one of the super clear moments that I have from the wedding.  It was right after we got married, exited our first room as man and wife.  We walked up the stairs and looked at each other and laughed. We had done it. We were two happy people who just got married and didn't know how to speak the feelings that were currently overwhelming us.  Then a stream of people came to join us, one of the first was my mom.  She just glee'd with joy, and hugged Jill and I. This is one of those mental pictures that I took, but I am so glad that Peter snapped it too - so I can refresh my memory as time dulls the sharp edges of days gone by.

Jill: This is such a great moment to capture!  Right after the wedding, the wedding party and parents filed off to join us in an upstairs room and wait for people to leave, so we could take a few pictures.  It totally captures the mood that we had – the massive group hug mentality, and captures John’s mom, who is really just the soul of kindness.

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ceremony-96

Jill: I just kind of love this picture – that’s John’s mom’s hands, and Johns, and mine, and you can see my grandmother’s bracelet as well.  This is right after the ceremony, and how they got this shot I have no idea – it wasn’t posed, and I don’t remember him being there.  But it’s definitely an awesome moment.

John: It took me weeks to pick out the ring. I went into countless stores carrying 11x14” spreadsheets of rings printed from kinkos taking notes on all the features I liked the best.  I’m glad it made it into the pics that Peter and Sarah took.

(editor's note: I'm pretty sure Sarah took the two pictures above because she usually follows the bridal party out of the ceremony!)

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details-24

John:  It started about 4.5 seconds after Peter and Sarah left our hotel room, after having taken photos of us the morning after the wedding.  Jill got that glitter in her eye jumped up and down and asked me for the first of about a thousand times, "When do you think we'll get to see the pictures?!"  Peter must've gotten this question plenty from other excited ex-brides, since a couple of days later we had a few preview pics to tide us over.  This was one of them and it absolutely took my breath away.  This photo did what my words couldn't, fully describe the magic of the room that evening. Magical setting, like seriously magical.

Jill: For real.  I mean, the room where the reception was looked amazing, but somehow this picture captures not just how great it looked – but how we felt – glittery and sparkly and magical.  (And we checked our email and Peter’s blog about 15 times at the resort during our honeymoon looking for pictures.  It was SO AWESOME when we got to see some.)

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portraits-85

Jill: How hilarious is this picture?  It’s kind of perfect – it’s so John’s personality, and all the girls in my wedding party were people that were really special to me, and they look so beautiful.  I have always felt blessed to have so many precious people in my life, and I felt like at my wedding, they were all there at once .  It was a little overwhelming, but so special.

John: I really like how natural everyone’s smile is in this pic.

Dance Compilation Picture

Dance Compilation Picture

Jill: Ok, I cheated.  But I loved SO MANY of our dance pictures and to pick one just was too tough.  So I picked five.  I love the one that has our hands in focus, and the ones that Peter took when John spun me – I love the movement in them, and the one that shows John and my back – my veil looks awesome – I love how the lace looks, and well…yeah.  I couldn’t pick.

John: The song we danced to was Rascal Flatts “Bless the Broken Road.” I remember two nights before, sitting in Jill’s car trying to decide between 20 possible ones, but the moment this song came on, I just had blazing memories of Jill and I. Perfect song for a perfect dance.

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reception-42

John: Another mental picture of mine is standing with my beautiful bride beaming as her sister and matron of honor, Jessica, said the most touching toast.  I will remember it as the exact moment that Jessie would hand me the baton to take care of her sister for the rest of my life. It's an honor I gladly accept.

Jill: I love this picture both because it was a great moment and because it has John and I and our best friends –his cousin Jeremy and my sister Jessica.  It was so perfect that they were the best man and the matron of honor.

Mark and Marne Compilation

Mark and Marne Compilation

Jill: The pictures of the photo booth are so fun – and this one is a compilation that I made of Mark and Marne.  Mark was the pastor that married John and I, and he and Marne are old friends of John’s family and huge pranksters.   Once, we were at a wedding with them when John and I were dating (it was my first time meeting them) and Mark had missed out on the mini meatball appetizers.  He teased me the whole night about eating all the meatballs, and then a few months later I got a package from a made up organization about how I ate too many meatballs.  Included in the package was a pack of baby carrots – rancid, as they had obviously shipped ground.  Anyway, we love their whole family and we were so glad it was Mark that was marrying us.

John: I have a photo booth picture on my desk at work. I have gotten many complements on it, and every time I am proud to tell them that it was my wife’s idea to bring in the frames.  Everyone had such a great time with the frames at the photo booth.

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reception-102

Jill: Ok, exhibit A for Jill making weird faces.  But who cares, because look at John’s sister Amanda flying through the air. The whole sequence of the flower toss pictures are AWESOME.  Me preparing to toss the bouquet, the bouquet mid-air, having just left my hand, Amanda making her leap, John trying to take the bouquet away from her – I mean the whole thing is like a flip book of awesome. I’d make another compilation picture if I didn’t think John would make fun of me when he sees what I’ve done.

John: LOL, a flip book of awesome – nice Jill!  My sister isn’t afraid to catch some air, go Amanda!

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reception-206

reception-209

reception-209

John: 509 - Our new years kiss. Surrounded by everyone we love, on our wedding day, on new years eve. I love that moment and this picture. Thank you Peter and Sarah.

Jill: This series of pictures –  our kiss right at New Year’s – are really great.  John wanted to pick 509 – our actual kiss, but I couldn’t pass up 516 – we just look so happy, and I love everyone celebrating around us.

The Day After Session

Jill: I really tried to pick just one.  I really did.  But even with John’s picks (we each tried to pick 5 pictures total.  He did well.  I didn’t.)  Anyway, one of my favorite things that we did with the whole wedding was the day after session.  I didn’t want to try to stuff all our pictures into a short half hour/hour between the ceremony and the reception, and John didn’t want to see me before the wedding.  Peter and Sarah were willing to work with us the day after the wedding to do a photo shoot with just the two of us, so we did it.  It was so great – we got to get all dressed up back in our things, and have a really fun and relaxed time taking pictures. I was so glad Sarah was there – she and Peter made a great team and she made sure that I didn’t have funky hair, which I was so glad of.  John and I got some “getting ready” shots (how cute is the “cinderella” picture bottom left?), and I love the “GQ” picture (top right), and I love the smile/kiss picture, and me at the window with things looking so bright outside.  But how do you pick one?

John: The day after session was a grand idea, and one of the best parts of the wedding experience. Peter and Sarah were so accommodating.   They were a blast to work with, and had such creative ideas. What a photog team! I mean, c’mon, we look great. And that’s a hard thing to do for me after a night of dancing and *gasp* sweating.

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day after-72

Jill: I love this shot of my dress – with the light shining through it, and the lace outlined on the front.  The rooms that we got ready in were the youth group rooms in the church, and were painted in neon colors.  It was really great that Peter could get shots the next day of my dress in a pretty location.

John: Jill asked Peter if he could get a shot of her dress and it turned out awesome. Great job Pete!

(editor's note: Again, I'm pretty sure that this is Sarah's photo - so Great job Sarah!)

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day after-68

John: This is one of the pictures I have on my desk at work. This was taken the morning after our wedding when we had our day-after session with Peter and Sarah.  Peter said to us that he had seen a cool pillar in the lobby of the hotel with marble on the bottom of it.  Jill and I both squatted down to the floor in our wedding dress/tuxedo on new years day in front of the marble part of a pillar.  I have never seen both of us look so good.

Jill: I love this picture –  we look so good in it, and having pictures where we both look good is so rare.

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Sneak Peek of tomorrow's Guest Bloggers!

A few days ago, I sent an email to our wonderful clients John and Jill of last year's wonderful New Year's Even wedding.  You can also see their Day After session here.  Their first anniversary was coming up soon and I was hoping to start a new tradition here on the blog of inviting our clients to guest-blog for us on their first anniversaries!  The idea would be to have them reflect back on their wedding, choose some of their favorite images and tell either the story behind the image or why they love them so much. Well, I didn't hear back from the immediately, and I was thinking that perhaps they were too busy with the holidays and such and that maybe it wouldn't happen this time.  Boy was I wrong!  I woke up to an email from this morning that made my day.  They sent me their post and it is a great one!  You won't want to miss this post tomorrow, so be sure to check back and see what they have to say.  Have a great day!

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Sara and Brandon's Photo Booth in Richmond, VA

I am so excited to share the photo booth images from Sara and Brandon's 10/10/10 wedding!  Sara, like with the rest of their wedding, paid attention to all the details and provided her own amazing props including handmade mustaches on sticks, a chalkboard, frames, hats, and weapons (note: no guests were harmed in the photographing of this photo booth)!  That's the great thing about a photo booth at a wedding reception.  We provide the setup and the amazing guests take care of the rest!  Now Sara and Brandon have a creative and hilarious documentation of their friends and family members having a blast at their wedding.  Love it! Wendy "manned" the photo booth that day and I'm not sure who had more fun, her or the guests!  As always, you can see A TON more photo booth images and tag you and your friends over at our facebook page.  Enjoy!

We'll start things off with a nice family photo.  Wouldn't this be a great Christmas card this year?

A photo booth is always much more successful when the bride and groom jump in!

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