Adam and Allyson brought me to White Haven to our own little piece of heaven in the woods! The Lehigh Gorge Trail was the perfect backdrop for their engagement photos! I was completely blown away by the waterfall and all the moss surrounding it. I want to do 100 shoots there non stop! It was the perfect day and these two are so smitten and perfect for each other! I'm excited for their May 2020 wedding at Mountain Valley Golf Course in Barnesville, PA. I know it will be a blast. Thanks for choosing me guys. Xo Lg
Evan and Ashley are a super sweet couple. Their downtown Bethlehem engagement session was the perfect kick off to my outdoor photoshoots for spring! I love it down below the Hotel Bethlehem in the Colonial District, which looks a lot different when Musikfest isn’t in full swing.
I’ve known Ashley for a while now because we used to do kickboxing together on Saturday mornings until I tore my ACL. She was in the class with me that day and heard me say a few choice words and still chose to hire me to shoot her wedding.
I photographed her sister’s wedding last spring and if their wedding is anything like Dan and Courtney’s, we are going to have a blast together celebrating at Woodsgate at Stroudsmoor Country Inn in Stroudsburg, PA.
Can’t wait for the wedding you guys! I know it’ll be here before we know it! Xo Lg
Meghan admitted that she started following my photography when she heard about how crazy people would get about my Awesome Santa photos. She grew to love my work and said I’m really the only photographer she follows. She admitted that she isn’t really a big picture person so as soon as she was ready to do engagement photos, she had no doubt she wanted me to do them. She said “I don’t really care enough about pictures so I knew I wanted you because I’ve never met you before but I KNOW you will care enough for both of us.” That made my heart so happy. Typically I reserve engagement sessions for wedding clients but given the time of year and the back story, I figured I could make an exception. We ended up going to Blue Mountain Vineyards and we explored the property that chilly morning. It is gorgeous there and they have quite an impressive wine selection. Matt makes the wine so he was very knowledgeable and taught me a lot as we went along. These two are awesome. Their Cinco de Mayo wedding is Mexico will no doubt be one for the record books! I wish you guys nothing but happiness to last a lifetime and I’ll always be ready with my camera when you need me! Xo Lg
Josh and Courtnie are two adorably in love people. We FaceTime consulted to book their wedding but it was pretty much a done deal when I got a phone call from Josh’s dad a few months ago... Let me explain.
Josh’s parents were at several weddings I photographed in one particular year and every time I saw them I had to laugh because I said that they were the most popular people I knew. I was shooting one of my last weddings of the year at Normandy Farms in Bluebell, PA and after the ceremony as I was coming in to get set up for reception, who do I see? None other than Sherri and Gary, “The Professional Wedding Guests”! (We named them that and I even put Gary in my phone as that when he sent me a photo we had taken together). We laughed so hard since we were so far from home but there they were, guests at another wedding I was shooting! Gary promised me “when my son gets engaged, you’re going to be the very first person we call!” I laughed it off and threatened that I better be! Fast forward almost two years later, on a particularly stressful and busy day, I get a voicemail that made me forget all of my worries and stress and that made me laugh out loud! Gary The Professional Wedding Guest called me (and yes he referred to himself as that) and said, “My son got engaged and here’s the date, please tell me you’re available!”
I knew without a doubt that the engaged couple would be awesome people. How could they not be?!? We roamed Philly and stopped at some of their favorite spots and a few that jumped at me! I got to climb the “Rocky steps” for the first time since my ACL surgery which was something I was so looking forward to since the Rocky theme song is my ringtone and was a major motivator in my rehab.
We laughed through the whole session and I couldn’t stop raving about how excited I was for their wedding! The wedding will be at Folino Estates Vineyard which is stunning and it will be my last wedding of the year since I no longer shoot weddings during my Christmas season. I feel like it will be the perfect send off to my 2019 season!
Courtnie and Josh, thanks for trusting your parents and hiring me to capture your big day. I promise we will have the best time! I truly can not wait to spend the day with you all!
Josh and Brittany. Ahhhh. Ok, so I met Josh at a wedding he and Brittany were guests at a couple of weeks ago and he told me he had some ideas up his sleeve for their upcoming engagement session.
Brittany was a bridesmaid in one of my favorite weddings last year and she said I was a non-negotiable, she wanted me for her wedding! They are getting married on the beach next year at Seacrets in OCMD and having the reception there, too! It’s going to be a glorious weekend I get the pleasure of being a part of! Seeing how they were together for the engagement, I can’t wait.
They come to Blue Marsh Lake almost every weekend during the summer to ride jet skis and paddle boards or kayaks. So naturally, they wanted lake engagement photos. It was one of my favorite sessions to date! These two are amazing. I can’t wait for the big day guys, thank you for choosing me to capture it!
I absolutely LOVED this engagement session! The light on this late August morning in downtown Bethlehem Colonial District was incredibly gorgeous. The story of how Kate and Felipe met was one of the sweetest I've ever heard. These two are meant to be! I know I say it all the time, but I cannot wait for their wedding day at a brand new wedding venue, Vault 634 in Allentown, PA! Xo Lg
I get asked a few times a month about business "stuff" so I figured I would make a blog to reference it once and for all so I won't ever miss anything and can add on as I think of more things to add...
So you want to be a photographer? Awesome. I can say, it's pretty much the coolest job ever. For me personally, I get to snuggle A LOT of babies, help brides and grooms get through their big days, watch kids grow up right before my eyes and I've made many friendships through clients over the years. It's seriously the coolest job and most days I still shake my head in disbelief about how it all got started and where I'm at today.
First things first though... you NEED insurance and a proper tax ID. I am an LLC. For me, it protects me the way I need to be protected if something were to happen. Sole proprietor is another option but from what I understand, most photogs are LLC. This is a non-negotiable. There are many resources online to help you set this up in your state, even I did it alone back in the day. Insurance is super important. Many wedding venues ask for proof of insurance before I can shoot there. I work with Megan Harper from Allstate, mention me if you talk to her. I was using another company for YEARS and paying a lot more and then someone smashed a brick through my studio window and it wasn't covered. Call my girl Megan, she'll take great care of you.
A lot of people ask me, "Did you go to school for photography or are you self taught?". The answer is "I'm somewhere in the middle." I started shooting when my kids were babies and I posted this photo online and a few people asked me to take their Christmas card photos.
It all snowballed from there. I ended up taking some classes to learn how to shoot manually with my camera at Dan's Camera City in Allentown and they hooked me up with Creative Photo Workshops from Australia who occasionally come to the US. Glynn Lavender was and still is my mentor. He not only taught me how to shoot manual, he's been one of my biggest cheerleaders from across the world and we talk a few times a year about my business. Find yourself a Glynn. Someone you can learn from, who you trust and respect. Take some classes. Workshops galore. I've taken workshops with Rachel Vanoven in Indianapolis, Brigette Schaffarzick in Seattle and Meg Bitton in New York City. The cost of any of those workshops, especially including the very first one with Glynn at Dan's Camera City, have paid for themselves in a few sessions and 1,000 times over. You can't be afraid to spend money on learning. That wedding class at Dan's was $500 and I specifically remember standing at the counter saying to myself, "I can't afford this" and being deflated when I went home to talk to my husband about it, he said, "If you learn ONE THING that can help you be a better photographer, won't it be worth that $500?". So I went back and I put the class on a credit card and I hoped for the best. That money I didn't have in 2011 was HANDS DOWN, THE BEST $500 I have ever spent. I am not a good teacher so I'm not a great person to ask to mentor, but there are many people who are great photographers and teachers. Don't be afraid to ask the question.
If you want to be a photographer, you must be okay with:
-Working LONG and HARD hours. I am pretty disciplined in my editing. Under promise, Over deliver. Editing for me is the "work" in my work. I hate it. It's part of the job.
- People's reply to you saying you're a photographer, "Oh my (fill in the blank) sister's husband's cousin's dad's brother's nephew's mechanic's uncle is a photographer, too!" Just like when you get a new car, you see that car everywhere when you can't specifically remember ever seeing it before, everyone is a photographer or knows someone who is.
-Missing stuff. My kids are very active. Dance, baseball, horse back riding, softball, basketball. I miss A LOT of stuff. It's the toughest part of my job. Finding a balance is key.
Must Do List
-Invest in lenses, not cameras. I started with a Sony SLR. Invested in lenses and then switched to canon. I had a Canon 7d, Canon 6d and now I shoot with Canon 5d Mark IV. I always refer people to Dan's for which cameras to buy to start. They are the best and know a lot more than I do but I'd say any entry level SLR will be sufficient. Especially since nowadays, their low light capabilities and megapixels are pretty awesome. As far as lenses, they depend on what you're shooting. My favorite portrait lens is 70-200mm and it's on my camera 90% of the time. I love my 35mm and my 50mm. But a great lens that is very versatile is 24-70mm.
- BACK UP EVERYTHING. From photos to your gear. I have all my photos backed up on my hosting site Shootproof and I have back up gear in my camera bag because I can promise you something will break.
-Work with what you have until you can comfortably afford more. Not credit card comfort, cash comfort. I worked out of my basement studio until I literally outgrew it. Make do with what you have because if you try to go too big too quick, you'll find yourself with a closed up shop. I've seen it happen too often. Or share a space with a friend. Lots of options if you think you need a studio.
- Join facebook groups to get your photos critiqued. Some are very mild and some are harsh. The only way to learn is to ask.
- Learn to shoot manual before you call yourself a professional. A professional anything means you get paid to do it. Take on free jobs until you learn more and feel comfortable charging someone.
... BUT DON'T let anyone ever tell you to stop or that you're not good enough. I had a girl message me anonymously saying that I didn't deserve to be a photographer and that my photos looked like I photoshopped everything and that I should be ashamed of myself because of me, she wasn't able to pay her bills. This was 2012. My cousin, a little computer genius, reverse searched who she was and it turns out she was jealous because my boss at the time of a restaurant she frequented, asked me to take some pictures that ended up on a billboard. There's always going to be haters and it's easy to say "don't let them get to you" but I promise they're not worth even ONE SECOND of tears. Imagine if I had taken that girl's words to heart. That same year is when I quit my serving job and went full time. God has provided for me every step of the way.
Be real. Be you. Don't compare yourself to others. Be confident and don't let anyone walk all over you. When you don't know, ask. Never say "I'll fix that later in photoshop." Get it right in the camera. Stay organized. Never stop learning. Have fun and always remember that someone chose YOU to capture their loved ones, never take that for granted. Do your best and everything that's meant to be will be.
PS. If you think you want to sign up with anyone listed above, simply mention my name and we both get free goodies. Here's their contacts.
Megan Harper Allstate: firstname.lastname@example.org
Eric and Tonya were so fun together for their engagement photo shoot at Jacobsburg State Park in Nazareth, PA. When I initially met with Tonya to book the wedding, Eric was working, so it was my first time meeting him and what a pleasure to see them together. They are so natural with each other and so seriously in love it's kind of ridiculous. I loved that they weren't afraid to get in the water and get wet and be super silly with each other when the time was right! I'm very much looking forward to their wedding next year at Hanover Grand Ballroom. Xo Lg
Hair & Makeup: Salon Deevine
Amazing early morning after a wedding with my bride and groom Krista and Kory for May of 2019. They were in town for Krista's birthday so thankfully the rain held off and we ended up with a gorgeous morning for pictures and a few puddles for reflection shots! They braved the water at Glen Onoko Falls and we made beautiful photos celebrating their engagement. Jim Thorpe in general is such a great spot for an engagement session, there's so many options and variety to get in just a small amount of time. So excited for this wedding next year at Capriotti's in McAdoo, PA!! Thanks for choosing me, guys! Xo Lg
Ryan and Angela had me laughing the whole shoot! Their wedding will, no doubt, be a great time! Thanks for choosing me guys!
Rich and Lauren are getting married next year and I get to be there to capture it! I had a fun morning with these guys at Burnside Plantation! Can't wait for the wedding :)
Carissa and Russell joined me for a rare Sunday shoot because they had three rain and fog-outs since their initial date with the crazy September weather we had! I'm excited to shoot their wedding this June!!! You guys are awesome, thanks for picking me!
Tyler & Kortney were such a fun couple to be with. We had such a great night together.
We started our night at Lehigh University and roamed the campus hitting all of my favorite spots. They couldn't believe how gorgeous it was there. Lehigh is a place you can capture in spring, summer, winter and fall and you are going to have gorgeous photos.
Next we snuck over to the Steel Stacks in Bethlehem and ended with a gorgeous sunset. It felt like summer in May and we made some magic.
I CAN NOT WAIT for the wedding at Bear Creek Mountain Resort next year!
Enjoy your peek and thanks for sharing your story with me <3