sparkle, shine, macro filters... oh my!

At first I thought this post would mainly be helpful for fellow photographers... but really, the lessons learned are for anyone with the desire to use what they have and can afford at the time, to better their craft! :) Can you tell I'm a glass half full kinda gal? urbanrowphoto-macrofilter_0014

I've recently added a new lens to my gear collection and I'm SO excited for it! It's an 85mm and an incredible portrait lens... however, it's not what I originally thought I'd be able to buy anytime soon. I've always had my eye on a 100mm lens to allow me to take those dreamy closeup shots of jewelry, food, flowers and all things larger-than-life beautiful.

New gear is what gets my creative juices flowing, but it's also what keeps me up at night since it's so pricey! I constantly second guess myself when it comes to making smart business investments (any fellow small business owners struggle with the same anxiety?).

 

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When I met Ines at the Summer's End Workshop (see even more from that amazing experience here and here!!!), she shared an unbelievable tip with me... if you can't afford to take the 100mm lens plunge now, try macro filters that cost a fraction of the cost of a macro lens. Excuse me, WHATTT. I've heard of these filters, but had never had the chance to try them out in a setting like this. She not only let me try hers, but shared a bunch of veteran tips on how they work (a centrally placed subject is best!), how you need to shift your camera juuuuuust so, to hit that sweet spot of incredible crispness and which filter is best for which subject type.

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Consider me SOLD!!! I needed to snag these fabulous filters right away (thank you Amazon Prime!). Over the last few months I've used them for numerous detail shots and am happy to say, they're life changing. Well, maybe that's a bit extreme, but honestly, after a bit of practice and getting the hang of the nuances, I think this addition to my arsenal was money well spent if for no other reason than to allow me to save up for the 85mm AND still get those wow shots of your super sparkly jewelry and sexy wedding day heels! ;)

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PS - these STUNNING Rachel Mulherin pieces below were from my recent sugar and spice inspired styled shoot at Butterbee Farm... I CAN. NOT. WAIT. to share more with y'all! Have you ever seen jewelry like this!? Unique, custom, handmade geode stones that appear to be dipped in gold and dangling from your ears. HELLOOOOO gorgeous!!! Statement pieces like this are all you and your bridesmaids need to add that extra bit of glam and sophistication. Seriously, I could find a reason / outfit to wear them all. #lifegoals

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Here's wishing you loads of fun playing with whatever new gear is on your holiday wish list... and if you can make it work for you AND your budget, more power to you. Rock on, friends!

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Oh, and speaking of rocks, the ice blue gemstone you see in the background of some of these shots, came from my new favorite local shop, Love That. They recently opened in Belvedere Square and have SO MANY one of a kind finds... need a housewarming present for your coworker? Check! A sweet little baby present for your neighbor? Check! A prosecco scented candle for yourself (I had no idea that was even a thing!)? Yes, please! You definitely need to add them to your #shoplocal efforts on upcoming Small Business Saturday!!!

Stay tuned... I'll be sharing more macro images using these filters from my recent photoshoot at Bond Street Social next week! Small creative bites made for sharing - you might want to get those thanksgiving pants out and ready! ;)

 

 

 

royal sonesta harbor court wedding | baltimore wedding photographer | sara + jake

She grew up in Harford county. He grew up in Carroll county. They met junior year at Stevenson University and bought their first home together in Baltimore City adjacent to Patterson Park, because they love urban life with their 2 dogs. :) Watching Sara + Jake together makes it easy to understand why they are so perfect for each other; we had an incredible time along the water for their spring engagement session, so we all knew their wedding day would be even that much more incredible!

They make an adorable team, and are constantly cheering the other on in so many aspects of life! Sara's parents and sister and brother-in-law were all married on September 4th as well. Now Teresa and Richard will share the same wedding anniversary with both of their daughters - isn't that the sweetest?!

Glamorous, formal, royal and fancy was the way Sara described their wedding vision the first time we met... I think it's safe to say it was definitely that, and so much more!!

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Sara's friend (and bridesmaid!) Natalie designed all of the paper goods, including their crest and the caricature on the cutest koozie wedding favor you've ever seen. So many unique personal touches to all of the wedding details made the day a dream to capture at the Royal Sonesta overlooking Baltimore's Inner Harbor on a bright, sunny fall day...

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During so much of our time together, Sara kept mentioning how excited she was to see Jake all dressed up in his tux - so dapper!!

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Hands down. Cutest flower girl EVER. #allthehearteyes

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Sara, you were such a stunning sight in your Maggie Sottero dress and Betsey Johnson shoes, both with champagne undertones and just the right amount of delicate sparkle!

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Time for a daddy daughter first look that makes it all so real... :)

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I love the focus and concern... donut wedding cake for the win!

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So glad we had such a wonderfully fun couple that was willing to head outside to take some epic night portraits along the water!

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Here's to wishing you both the best as you celebrate your newlywed status! We loved having the honor of being your wedding photographer and hope you cherish the memories of officially starting your lives together in such a romantic and meaningful way! xoxo

This day wouldn't have been possible without the help and talent of this incredible team!

hair: Color Images Salon

makeup: Looks by Lenna

dress: Maggie Sottero, Noelle

shoes: Blue by Betsey Johnson

groom’s attire: Men's Wearhouse, Vera Wang

flowers: Flowers by Jonathan

dj: Event Pro, Mebaa Braha

reception venue / caterer: Royal Sonesta Harbor Court (special thanks to Jay Day, in-house wedding coordinator)

ceremony: Our Lady of Good Counsel

invitations: Natalie DiPaolo

transportation: American Limousine

cake: La Cakerie

 

 

 

bmore kitchen launch party | unique wedding venue | baltimore wedding photographer

Living within walking distance from Belvedere Square means we are always only a few minutes away from locally made food and an easy trip to the market when we have friends and family visiting from out of town. It makes me so proud to be surrounded by so many successful entrepreneurs and food-based small-businesses! When I learned that B'More Kitchen was opening up down the street, I knew it was going to be a fabulous addition to the neighborhood and the city.  Touring it confirmed that! The main doors are made out of the original, historic windows (!). The floor still has remnants of the original green paint and the feature wall is clad in metal panels, repurposed from a nearby barn. The space is flooded with natural light and is a blank, neutral slate for whatever decor you may want to add to it.

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Imagine hosting your wedding in a space that has been transformed from a Chevrolet car dealership into an incredibly unique 6,000 SF event space with a stunning patio (helloooo outdoor ceremony), all just minutes north of downtown Baltimore and room for approximately 300 guests! The food your guests devour is made as local as it gets... downstairs.  :)

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At the recent launch party, I had a chance to meet some of the food members, sample some of their products and hear their unique stories of how they got to where they are today. It was so inspiring to learn how many synergies have already been created just by working alongside each other in the same kitchen space.

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Huge kudos to partners (l-r) Jonathan Fishman and Eben Altmann on the much anticipated opening!

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urbanrowphoto_bmore_kitchen_launch_party_0024 Planning & Styling: Heather St. Clair Events

Floral Design: Local Color Flowers

Hope you think of these talented B'More Kitchen food members the next time you need locally made, delicious eats and of course, a spacious and inviting event space for your upcoming wedding!

Hex Ferments De'bays Cream of Crab B'More Saucy Pie Time Frucasion Well Crafted Pizza Bottoms Up Bagels Green City Kitchen B'More Tasteful

 

stone manor b&b | virginia wedding photographer | keri + patrick

While on opposing trivia teams, Keri and Patrick met at the Ottobar, a neighborhood bar not far from where they used to live. Witty banter eventually turned into serious conversation as they spent more and more time together before, after and outside of trivia happy hours... Patrick knew how much Keri's close college friends meant to her, so he knew he wanted to involve them in his proposal. The rest of their sweet love story is summarized here, from our time during their Wyman Park engagement session!

The intimate and cozy Stone Manor B&B was absolutely perfect for a meaningful, relaxing way to celebrate with the people they love! I wish more couples would indulge in the luxury of a weekend getaway wedding (or maybe I just wish we had for our wedding!). :)

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This moment where Keri's mom helped button up the back of her dress may be one of my absolute favorite; Pride. Love. Joy. Excitement... as a mom myself, I'm no stranger to the emotion-filled ride that is motherhood!

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I can't get over how stunning Keri looked and how perfectly her lace illusion back Allure Bridals dress complimented the romantic, garden aesthetic of the manor's grounds! I love that she left her curly hair untouched, other than a headband. Isn't she absolutely breathtaking?!

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As Keri and the girls were getting ready (in the largest bridal suite I've ever seen!), Patrick and his brother used the opportunity to make some final adjustments to his coral polka dotted pocket square and tie. #coraleverythingplease

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Their first look was one of the most unique first looks I've ever captured... peeking out among a set of juliet balconies inside the manor!

 

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Keri's dad, a retired minister, performed the ceremony and her brother walked her down the aisle... cue the happy tears!

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I was definitely drooling as I was photographing the cookie dessert table... not only were they delicious, but an extremely popular Pittsburgh tradition! Who knew!?!

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I couldn't get over the dancers they had in their presence!

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We were so honored to capture each and every moment of your day and wish you nothing but the best as you continue to learn and discover more trivia facts about each other with each passing happy celebration. ;)

Cheers! xoxo, N

Here's a huge thank you to the fabulous vendors that worked together to bring their vision to life!

shoes: Miz Mooz

flowers: Costco

Planner / Day of Coordinator: Megan Gass, family friend

DJ: Shew-sical Entertainment

Caterer: Grandale Farms

Dress: Allure Bridals

Groom's attire: Generation Tux

Invitations: Zazzle

Cakes: Hamilton Bakery

 

 

 

 

 

southern blooms: a styled shoot | culpeper, va | virginia wedding photographer

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Hi friends! Hope you had a fabulous Labor Day weekend and an even better time celebrating Summer's End... Mother Nature seems to still be confused with these humid 90 degree days, but I'm excited for the start of Fall and some unique projects on the horizon!! I will be sure to keep you posted as long as you promise to come back and show the blog some love whenever you are in need of eye candy that's spicy, sweet and sentimental. ;)

First things first! I have to share, that crushed tulle is my new favorite styling element - it transports so well because it's already crushed and wrinkled. Um, genius. Can someone please make a line of clothing made out of this wondrous material? Ha, no but seriously, my wedding dress dry cleaning bill (as in the dresses I photograph weddings in... I don't actually twirl around in my old wedding dress at home, although my daughter would probably think I'm the coolest mom ever if I did!) will thank you.

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Speaking of styling tips, work with herbs as much as possible! Here I specifically used lavender (courtesy of the contents from Southern Grown Vintage's adorably sweet and unique custom welcome gift box - see below!) which smells amazing and makes a great prop for ring shots...

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The venue at Rixey Manor was incredible in so many ways, but for this styled shoot specifically, it was so bright, airy and elegant! The endlessly talented Tabitha of the Girls from Main Street, styled our stunning "southern blooms" inspired tablescape. It was stunning with linens in the most romantic and sophisticated shade of blue and floral design by Good Earth Flowers...

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Timeout... these monogrammed plates by Sasha Nicholas took everything to the next level! How special and personalized can a wedding get?! You just found your answer.

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SO many fun wedding details including paper flowers by Creations by DGB!

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Now, what's a gorgeous table if you don't have the tastiest and most beautifully presented food to eat while sitting at it?! Roadside Chive absolutely outdid themselves with this spread... I dare you not to drool.

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Since you might need a break after eating staring at all of that fresh fruit, veggie and pork tenderloin goodness, I'll let you digest before sharing images of the beautiful models at sunset along the rolling hills of the Piedmont!

Stay tuned for soft pastel sunset skies, the classiest champagne bucket you've ever seen and bridesmaid dresses you'll actually want to wear and OWN to wear over and over again because they're so classy yet fun all at the same time. Yes, they are out there! Oh, and did I mention the wedding cake? Yeah, there may have been a swing involved...

Venue: Rixey Manor

Planning + Styling: The Girls from Main Street and Lieb Photographic

Rentals: The Girls from Main Street

Linens: Main Street Linens Florals: Good Earth Flowers

Stationery + Calligraphy: Farmstead Design Studio

Cake: Cakes in Art

Wedding Gown: Fab Frocks

Hair + Makeup: Bobbypins and Blush

Catering: Roadside Chive

Custom Welcome Gift: Southern Grown Vintage

Paper Flowers: Creations by DGB

Models: Angela Moberley, Cassie Ervin, Marlynn Casillas

copper + candelight: a styled shoot | culpeper, va | virginia wedding photographer

Earlier this month I had one of the best workshop experiences I could have imagined; I'm still on a high from all of what I learned! Michelle from Lieb Photographic is one of the most genuine, inspiring and talented photographers and mentors I've ever met. This is one of those crazy awesome circumstances that I have social media (specifically Instagram!) to thank for connecting us many months ago. Another reason I totally believe everything happens for a reason and a larger purpose...! urbanrowphoto-copper-wedding-details_0001

I've been dying to share highlights of the Summer's End workshop - we participated in 2 styled shoots that were made possible thanks to the most fabulous wedding vendors in Culpeper, VA. Without further ado, grab a copper mug with your cold drink of choice (a moscow mule, perhaps?) and settle in for a dose of 'copper + candelight' goodness! Our shoot focused on 'Southern Blooms' will be coming at ya in a separate blog post, so stay tuned to this space! You do NOT want to miss it, I promise!

How fun are these geometric placesettings?! I love how they complemented the copper chargers and added a more linear element to contrast with the romantic calligraphy of the escort cards.

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Jordan + Jonathan absolutely killed it in the modeling department, as far as I'm concerned. They are a married couple in real life and were so comfortable in front of our paparrazzi crew - even though it was so hot and humid all day long! Jordan wore a beaded vintage chiffon Saja wedding dress and Jonathan sported a tan suit from The Black Tux... didn't they look incredible!?!

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I couldn't get over how even the bottom of her bouquet had such amazing copper detailing to it thanks to the talent of Good Earth Flowers... nothing was overlooked in the styling and execution of this entire shoot while working with the Girls from Main Street!

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I have to stop and mention that Jordan of Elisabeth Jordan Calligraphy is also the artist that created this invitation suite, the menu and escort cards... simply breathtaking.

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At the end of the night we went outside and got to try some OCF (off-camera flash) techniques using umbrellas and LED light-up balloons! Now I not only can't wait for it to rain, but I want to bring light-up balloons to every party I go to, HA.

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I'd highly recommend any of these vendors if you're getting married in the VA/DC area - they were so creative and fun to work with!

Location: Piedmont Steakhouse and Downtown Culpeper

Planning + Styling: The Girls from Main Street and Lieb Photographic

Rentals: The Girls from Main Street

Linens: Main Street Linens Florals: Good Earth Flowers and Events

Stationery + Calligraphy: Elisabeth Jordan Hand Lettering and Designs

Cake: Cakes in Art

Wedding Gown: Saja Wedding

Hair + Makeup: Main Street Hair Studio

Catering: Piedmont Steakhouse

Menswear: The Black Tux

Models: Jordan Munn and Jonathan Munn

 

maryland science center wedding | baltimore wedding photographer | kristina + ed

For devoted Star Wars fans and science geeks that loved the idea of exchanging vows under a starry sky (with the exact sky from their first date, mind you. During the ceremony, the sky transitioned to their wedding date! Technology is amazing...), the Maryland Science Center was quite the perfect fit for Kristina and Ed's Baltimore wedding! These two are so perfect together - they have a quiet, calm sensibility about them but I just love how with one look from Kristina, Ed's face breaks out into the biggest smile you've ever seen. The bridal party got ready at the Lord Baltimore Hotel on Baltimore St. It was the perfect historic setting to contrast the contemporary architecture of the Science Center where they exchanged vows and celebrated as husband and wife!!

Kristina gave her girls gold Kate Spade charm bracelets that had the words 'Partner In Crime' engraved and were the perfect accessory with their bordeaux bridesmaid gowns. All of Kristina's jewelry was exquisite; just the right amount of sparkle to create a timeless and classic look. The necklace Ed gave her brought tears to my eyes!

Ed has 4 brothers. My second photographer (who happens to be my husband!) has 5 brothers, so he was completely at home with the idea of lots of men getting ready together in a small hotel room. There were so many fun, candid moments of guys just being guys. We searched for the perfect location for their first look and at the last minute, stumbled on the overlook to the hotel's ballroom. This intimate series is one of my favorites from their day.

Congratulations, newlyweds! Here's to many more years of dancing under the stars together. :)

Huge thanks to the amazing team that made this day a reality:
Hair: Shy Watters Hair Studio
Makeup: Felicia Nicole Makeup Artistry
Jewelry: Rent the Runway
Shoes: Blue by Betsey Johnson
Florist: Chic Girl Flowers
Planner/Day of Coordinator: Niki Charles
DJ/Band: DJ Max Powers
Caterer: Aramark at the MD Science Center
Dress: Global Bridal Gallery
Groom's Attire: Menguin
Transportation: Lyft
Cake: La Cakerie