marissa + brooks | historic fells point baltimore engagement

What’s the only thing better than new Urban Row couples that are best friends with past Urban Row couples (heyyyy Kathryn + Casey!) and dog lovers too?

When they meet simply because the groom’s family bought a house across the street from the bride’s family (literally across the street) and when their parents start talking, they discover that they were both going to be seniors at Stevenson University that upcoming fall. Marissa told me it's still up for debate who was peeking at who through the windows across the street. ;)

Everything about Marissa + Brooks’ Fells Point engagement session left me wanting more… their bright and colorful outfits, their adorable golden retriever (#urbanrowpup), the way they look at each other completely head over heels in love and the way Marissa twirled as the water glistened outside the Pendry hotel and Main Street in Fells Point was glowing…

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And how sweet is their first date tradition?

”When we moved back to school for the fall of our senior year, we decided that one evening after my lacrosse practice and Brooks' baseball practice, that we would go to Five Guys for dinner. I guess that was our first date because Brooks generously paid for me. Every year on September 27th, we go to Five Guys to relive our first date. This September will be our 5th year together!”

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I LOVE how much of a surprise Brooks’ proposal truly was! In Marissa’s words, here’s how it unfolded:

“I was always confident that I would know when Brooks was going to propose, he’s terrible at keeping secrets and I'm pretty good at finding things out! I was planning my mom a surprise birthday party but little did I know that Brooks and a select few that were also going to be at the party were planning the proposal. As the party was coming to an end, so I thought, my mom, step dad, and I were told that there was one more gift and that we had to leave the room for a minute. When we came back, Brooks had a huge sign made that read "Marissa will you marry me?" Not many people knew this was happening so everyone was just as shocked as I was. Brooks even arranged for my dad and brother and sisters to be there and snuck them in the back door. I was truly shocked and had no idea this was coming. To have my whole family along with close friends there to celebrate really made the moment even more special.”

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As the sun was setting, they changed into a classic and dressier outfit to end our time together; I love when couples incorporate an outfit change since it allows you to have more diversity in your photos and treat it as a really fun and fancy date night with your love!

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Marissa and Brooks are getting married at Musket Ridge Country Club in June and we can’t wait for the gorgeous Catoctin Mountain views, clean lines of the reception space at Catoctin Hall (think vaulted ceilings, light walls and walls of windows with views of the golf course) and seeing them finally getting to celebrate after so many years of being together!

Let’s do this, cuties!!!

xo,
Naomi

tessa + marshall | codorus state park sunset engagement

Get ready to read the sweetest thing you’ve read in a long time: “I sent her puppy videos every other day because I wanted to make sure she smiled at least once that day.”

I have to say, I don’t think I’ve ever watched 2 people laugh and snuggle so much during an engagement session… Tessa and Marshall, you both are an absolute joy to be around and I love how you make ordinary adventures into extraordinary experiences. Your energy, fun-loving nature and chemistry together is so refreshing!

While trying to choose the perfect location for their engagement session, we considered a few parks and outdoor locations with beautiful views. I’d never been to Codorus State Park before and OHMYGOSH is it gorgeous, serene and so picturesque. Tessa’s breathtaking red curly hair was also literally glowing as the sun was setting, making this a romantic and playful engagement session I’ll never forget. It was all over when we ended with a dip in the lake…

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Here’s their how-we-met story, in Marshall’s words:

“Well, the first time we "met" Tessa didn't remember me. She thought I was a freshman, but that she had seen me around before. I actually saw her my first week at school at a distance and said to myself 'Wow, if I was going to try and marry any girl at this school, that one right there would probably be the one.' Anyways, she was going through her Athletic Training course at school and I had hurt myself during wrestling practice, so I needed to get my ankle taped. I really only needed to get it taped for about a week after hurting it, but I had a crush on Tessa, so I continued to go back to get my ankle taped for about two months. We talked while she was taping my ankle and started hanging out during our free time. We had very similar tastes in movies and books, so we had a number of things to talk about during our time together. We were just friends for about three years and became extremely close. Then we dated for about a month her senior year, but broke up because of the uncertainties of life after college. We still kept in contact. I sent her puppy videos every other day because I wanted to make sure she smiled at least once that day. She eventually went on a trip with her family to Germany and while she was over there we talked for hours. We knew this time was going to be different from the last, so when she got back from Germany, I was there nearly 24 hours afterwards (by invitation of course). We've been together ever since.”

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And in Marshall’s words, the proposal…

“So we went out Latin dancing/salsa dancing at the end of April (the same day of my parents anniversary funnily enough). We had a great time and it was the first nice, warm night in ages, so I suggested we go down to the lake near her house to take a walk on the beach. I had the ring in my bag, so when we parked the car I said I had to go back and grab my jacket because it was colder than I expected, when in actuality, I was grabbing the ring. I had it inside of a bulky watch box so she wouldn't become suspicious. We started heading down to the beach and she knew something was up. Tessa kept asking, "What's going on? Why are you smiling like that? What are you planning?" (Tessa- He was acting extremely suspicious). I could barely hold my composure together. We starting hugging, but I was trying to get the ring out of the box. I couldn't get the stupid lid off. I eventually did and proposed and we spent the next hour comprehending what just happened.”

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T+M, you two are an incredible force together and we can not wait for your waterfront wedding in June at The Anchor Inn!!

xo,
Naomi

7 tips for taking better candid engagement photos

So, you said YES (or you asked someone if they’d say yes) and now you’re engaged! Once you’ve had a chance to pop multiple bottles and share the news with everyone, the first official act of your new status as an engaged couple may be to take your engagement photos… the most common concern I hear as a photographer is that you don’t take good photos together / hate having your photo taken / want candid moments together that don’t look posed or staged…

I get it! No one is naturally photogenic when told to “SMILE!”… seriously think about it. I’d rather ask people to lick noses since that elicits more of a genuine expression than asking you to smile on command ever will. ;)

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Here are 7 do’s and don’ts that hopefully help get you in the right mindset when it comes to taking photos together!

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Do feel confident.
Shop for a fun new outfit or go to an old classic you know you love the way you look in. Make an appointment to get pampered (meaning, scheduling a hair/makeup trial for the day of your engagement session can kill 2 birds with 1 stone!) if it’ll give you an extra boost of confidence. If not, just do you!!

Don’t worry about how you look.
That’s my job. I’ll tell you if something’s out of place and remind you to empty your pockets. ;) You don’t have to be models! The quality and range of emotion real couples have and want to celebrate together, is why I love what I do.

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Do think of our time together as a rehearsal for your wedding day.
Having casual and everyday photos of you both that aren’t phone selfies is wonderful and something I think more couples should absolutely have, but the main goal of our time together is to get to know each other. I want to feel like a good friend that happens to have a professional camera by the time you’re saying ‘I Do’… not some random person you can’t remember the name of who asks you to smile in my direction. I want to see how affectionate you naturally are together and learn what inside jokes you make that result in nose crinkling laughter and eyes smiling so brightly, it’s unmistakable that your love is unique and special.

Don’t worry if one of you is more enthusiastic about taking photos than the other.
Just being a good sport and going along with the crazy ideas your fiance has or the prompts that may be out of your comfort zone will encourage them to love you that much more for it… and if nothing else, will earn you a beer right after we’re done.

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Do hold hands.
Touch noses, faces, fingers, hips, hair, neck. Seriously, you’re getting married! You found your person!!

Don’t overthink it.
If thinking of it as a photoshoot makes you nervous, think of it as a date and pretend I’m not there!

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Do eat before (nothing good happens on an empty stomach) and drink during.
I’m a huge supporter of liquid courage in whatever form that takes! We can start at your favorite bar, break open champagne when we start or enjoy a fun cocktail halfway through... why not?

Don’t look at Pinterest poses.
The light, the location and your love are not the same as that super posed adorable couple who’s flowing hair took more time and setup to capture than it looks like. However, this leads right into my next tip…

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Do communicate if you have a strong vision for what you want.
I love it when couples not only choose a location with meaning but also have an idea of the kind of images they want out of their engagement photos. Are you an outgoing couple that want your photos to reflect a lot of movement and more candid action? Or are you most comfortable at home in a more private spot to allow you to be comfortable getting cuddly and close together while barefoot and quiet?

Don’t lose sight of why you’re doing this in the first place.
You met online… or at college… or at work… or at a bar during a night out with mutual friends. However the stars aligned, the fact is that they DID. Millions of tiny decisions, conversations and choices lead up to the moment you met and when you stop to think about it all, it’s pretty miraculous and deserves to be celebrated.

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Do bring your dog!
I’ve captured the fastest moving hyper little pup and the sassiest 100lb. Great Danes. I was a boxer mom, we have 2 kids and I have plenty of experience and tricks up my sleeve. Besides, slobbery wet kisses make for the best expressions!

Don’t choose a location you’re not comfortable in or familiar with.
Meaning and good vibes are everything. Your location should hold both... and if you can’t think of the perfect spot, I’m happy to share my favorites that may resonate with you!

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Do embrace your awkwardness.
At least for the first 10 minutes. It means you care and you’re doing it right... I promise. Remember your first date? Pretty sure those first 10 minutes were awkward too... and look how that ended up.

Don’t bring an audience.
Other than a friend or family member meeting us to help take the dog home if you bring yours, this is one situation that is best as a party of 3.

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elizabeth + donald | a classic mt vernon engagement

When Elizabeth and Donald are together, they exude calm and gentle love one minute and adorably sweet laughter the next… these two are the perfect blend of fun, sophistication and classic style with a love of city life!

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We started in Mt. Vernon since the Walters holds a special place in their love story and finished by the water in Fells Point… you don’t want to miss Donny’s incredible proposal that involved a Faberge egg exhibit, one of Elizabeth’s favorite things to see at the Walters Art Museum!

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In Elizabeth’s words, this is how it all started…

”At a coworker’s going away party, a few people from my office got together at Ryleigh’s in Federal Hill and each coworker brought friends along. We met briefly and then Donny left and went to the bar next door. I went to the guy that brought him and said “…where did your cute friend go? …bring him back.” And Donny came back. A few fireball shots is all it took and since that night, we have been together.”

And as for the proposal?

”It happened at the Walters Art Museum. We had an action packed weekend with Happy Hour and dinner with friends planned but before it all started Donny suggested we go to brunch and he had a surprise for me. First instinct, I asked if we were going to SPCA to be annoying and get another dog since I would like another... he said no, its a surprise. We pulled up to the Walters and we were just there a few weeks before so I was suspicious why we were here again, since he knows this is one of my favorite places in Baltimore. But he said there was a Faberge exhibit so I really believed we were going to see this and the suspicion went away. Then he asked if we could go to the Chamber of Wonders and in there he got down on one knee after asking what was my favorite thing in the room. Afterwards we still went to HH and dinner with friends and were able to celebrate with them!”

I’m so excited for their wedding day one month from today at the Baltimore Country Club in Roland Park; I can’t wait to share their engagement session with you since Jayce, their cute little pug was the most perfect dog model!

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We CAN NOT wait until your wedding day is finally here, lovebirds!! It’s going to be such an incredible moment when you become husband and wife!

xo,
Naomi

lauren + jeff | general warren inn romantic garden engagement

lauren + jeff | general warren inn romantic garden engagement

A beautifully historic Pennsylvania inn was the backdrop for so many moments in their relationship, so it had to be the location of their engagement session! Spoiler Alert: Jeff’s surprise proposal will bring tears to your eyes…

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6 reasons why you should do an engagement session!

6 reasons why you should do an engagement session!

I wanted to share my top 5 reasons why engagement sessions are so valuable... since after being in this industry for awhile, I've answered all of the questions below and you might be wondering the same thing!

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