Save the date photo shoot with Becca and Dan

engagement snow, save the date

I scheduled a save the date photo shoot with Becca and Dan recently. I don’t typically schedule save the date photo sessions because the engagement session photos are typically used for any “save the date” flyers or post cards. But Becca and Dan had a small dilemma. They really want to shoot engagement photos at Gettysburg College. As you know from my past posts, I am a big believer in engagement photos for couples. So I want to accomodate Becca and Dan’s request. Becca and Dan met at Gettysburg and it is a very special place for them. The problem is, it is winter and the save the dates need to go out at the first of the year. So what I offered is to schedule a save the date photo shoot with Becca and Dan now, then schedule the engagement session at Gettysburg in the Spring.

We booked a time to shoot the photos recently and I chose Springton Manor Farms for the shoot. Well, on the big day, IT SNOWED! This is not typically a problem, except our original plan was to create a series of “evergreen” photos that did not relate the time of year. But now with snow on the ground , it was clear this was going to have a winter theme!

Springton Manor looked absolutely gorgeous and I am glad we embraced it. As you take a look at what we were able to capture please keep in mind it was about 30 degrees with a wind chill of 20 degrees! I am very proud of what we were able to create in a very short amount of time. Oh, and a big shoot-out to Becca, who was wearing a dress!

Basically, I came up with a plan, shared it with Becca and Dan and shot as quickly as I could to minimize their exposure to the elements. They did great! We were able to get some amazing shots that I know will be well received by their friends and family. Honestly, one of the photos I took ranks in my top 10 of all-time favorites. So if you are lucky enough to receive a save the date from them please keep in mind that the save the date photo shoot with Becca and Dan may have been done in freezing weather but clearly their love for one another warmed the day!




Engagement Photo on display at Starbucks in West Chester

I was very happy to hear that my photograph that was hanging in Starbucks in West Chester, PA received a few inquiries for purchase. You may remember the photograph I referred to in my past photography blog. No one did purchase it but it is an honor that someone was interested. Of course, I wondered if I had priced it too high. But Darcey and the gang at Chester County Art Association actually thought it was priced too low.  Regardless, I was proud it was shown publicly and appreciated by many. I also know there were many artists work purchased there and I encourage a return visit to Starbucks on Gay Street in West Chester to see the new pieces

Speaking of new pieces of artwork. I have another piece of art at the same Starbucks! Yea! I am glad it was selected. It is one of my favorite engagement photographs. It is of my friends Jonathan and Tracey. It is from a series of engagement photos we did in around Philadelphia. We found this shop on South Street to shoot photos in and around. We did this particular pose several times and I was able to capture this one specific shot. I love the way Jonathan is barely looking up and noticing Tracy in the window. It is a subtle move but very specific. It truly tells a story.



I call it “The First Engagement.” I edited the photograph to look vintage and maybe appear to be a painting instead of a photo. This shot has been the inspiration for all of my engagement photography sessions. I strive to shoot in a location that is important to the couple. Springton Manor was important to Matt and Amanda so we shot there. I feel engagement sessions shouldn’t be “just” outdoors, but should be in a place that has meaning to the couple.  Philadelphia has a very special meaning to these two lovebirds, so it was easy to craft a photo shoot for them. If you want to check out the photograph, it will be on display at the Starbucks on Gay Street in West Chester, PA till the end of December.


If you are looking for more art to view or purchase check out more that Chester County Art has to offer. Feel free to check out more wedding photo samples too!



Autumn Photography at Springton Manor

I love working with Professional models. Just recently, I had an opportunity to do a photo shoot with 2 friends of mine, Staci Ann and Deanna.  We wanted to do a fun autumn shoot for our portfolios. In the past, we have done several high-fashion photo shoots Deanna and Staci Ann and I worked on the bead project together. In fact here’s a sample of that photograph.

The Bead Project

(BTW this photograph will probably be on display in the next month or so at the West Chester Starbucks,  as a part of the Chester County Art Association Gallery display.)

 Typically these ladies are seen on national television, major catalogs and magazines. They are some of my all-time favorite models to work with and their professionalism and creativity comes through in every photo shoot. Also, it doesn’t hurt that they’re best friends. They love to work together and they have this amazing rhythm when they’re modeling. As a photographer, I do my best to give them small guidance but I trust their experience and expertise to come through the lens and it does every single time.

We basically set out for Springton Manor Farm. Even though this was photo shoot was going to involve leaves and apple picking. I wanted to take advantage of how beautiful these ladies were and the fact that we could add some high-fashion to the photo shoot. One of the most interesting things about working with both of these ladies at the same time. Is the fact that they have such different looks to offer. Deanna has a beautiful exotic depth about her. While Staci Ann has that classic bold blonde Hollywood starlet look. But don’t be fooled by their good looks, they are both down-to-earth hard-working and can be a tad silly. They know how to have fun and it comes across on the photographs.


We kept the wardrobe changes to a minimum. I knew that we would have to walk a little bit so I didn’t want us to have to keep running back and forth to the car, or the restroom. That’s another benefit of working with professional models is the fact that they know how to accessorize. They brought along some great design pieces like the fuzzy hood from Rachel Zoe. With just a couple of accessory changes we were able to get a lot of different looks.

So this is what I would encourage you to do in future photo shoots if you want to capture the colors of autumn, Select a few sweaters, to go along with jeans and even short skirts or shorts. Then, the fun comes in hats, shoes and tights. I love making the whole body interesting to look at in a photograph. And layering thick tights or ornamental patterns on opaque leggings always pop on a photograph. Especially when it is an unexpected mix of shorts and tights. So in the future don’t hesitate to mix it up literally from head to toe. ( It also doesn’t hurt to work with professional models who know exactly what they’re doing!)

If you are interested in booking Staci Ann or Deanna for modeling projects, contact their agency at Expressions Modeling in Philly.

Do you like to work with professional models? Do you have a tip on how to get great autumn photographs? Please post a comment below.

Head shots with Don Dawson

I just finished editing the headshot photo shoot I did with Don Dawson. You may recognize Don as a guest expert on QVC. Don has been on the shopping network for almost a decade. But most of you would probably recognize his voice, more than his face. He has been a top notch voice over artist for decades. In fact he was one of the first radio personalities in the Philadelphia area on the popular B101 radio station. Don has done countless voice overs for national commercials on radio and TV.

Host and Voice Over Artist Don Dawson


Don Approached me about getting some new head shots for his portfolio. He had showed me some old pictures, and I agreed he needed some new pics. Not because he looked any different, but his wardrobe was sadly out of date. Don is one of those guys whose genes hang on youth quite well. Honestly if it wasn’t for the outdated tie in his old head shots. He could still use the pics as his current photos to show agents etc.  Don’t even get me started on his hair. (Being follicly challenged, this is an issue for me  . . . . especially with dudes like this that seemingly get thicker hair with age!)


Don and I had a great time at Springton Manor. I wanted to take advantage of the landscape as well as their freshly painted barn. Basically with head shots, I wanted Don to be a comfortable as possible. So we picked out  a few looks and walked around the farm. Don and I are friends and we had a blast telling old radio stories in between shots. Don was a pro to work with and I think these shots captured the “real guy” that he truly embodies.

Palmer/Fenn Engagement shoot

I had a lot of fun photographing Amanda and Matt for their engagement photos. Amanda had found me recently through a google search. She was displeased with her scheduled photographer and needed a change before the big day. I am so glad she found me and hired me for the big day. Which is fast approaching, It is happening on August 25th. So, we needed to knock out these pictures ASAP. I had met Amanda but not her Fiancé’ Matt. Aside from all of the wonderful things she said about him in our initial interview, the one thing that stood out (literally) was his height. Let me put it to you this way, If Matt reclined in a car, his feet would arrive about fifteen minutes before his head. So I wasn’t surprised at the height challenges of taking engaging photographs when they both showed up for the shoot.

Amanda and Matt wanted to shoot at one of their favorite places in Chester, County, PA. It is actually one of my favorite spots too. It is located in Glenmoore, PA. The property is called Springton Manor Farms and is one of the only fully functioning farms in the country owned by the state government.It has beautiful barns, pastures and ponds to use as backdrops.

When Amanda and Matt arrived, I knew this was a guy I could really look up to . . . (rim shot)! I had planned a few playful looks incorporating the pasture fences to have a playful poke at their height differences. Matt seemed on board with my hijinks and of course added to the fun with his satirical humor. (my fave kind BTW.)

The first thing I wanted to do was to get to know Matt and Amanda better. So I sat them down on the old rock fence at Springton Manor. I basically wanted to do an interview while snapping candid photos of them interacting. Amanda had stressed during the initial interview that she prefers an editorial style shoot for her wedding. I, of course, wanted to give her the same results for her engagement pics.


Editorial shot of Matt and Amanda talking about how they met.


Then I wanted to have a little fun with the height difference. I put Amanda on the bottom rung of a pasture fence to be able to “reach” Matt’s lips for a smooch.

Gotta get a smooch . . .

But my favorite “catch’, which is one of the reasons I love being a photographer, happened right at the beginning of sundown. We were walking to the big barn to snap a few more pics and as Amanda and Matt were walking ahead of me, i noticed the setting sun. I said “hang on, we gotta try something.”! So I lined them up for several poses while the sun started to disappear behind the tree line. Now I knew this was a great shot, but I was unsure of how I was going to finish it. If you know anything about my work, I edit. I am a photographer and artist. Normally I know what kind of editing  I am going to do before hitting the shutter. But this shot, I knew would eventual reveal itself to me. I tried soft focus, a watercolor wash and finally edited it to the final shot below.


HDR of Amanda and Matt with a sunset.

I decided to merge a few frames into a HDR format. It took me a while to paint the colors and make adjustments but it was well worth it. I love the majesty that is created by this picture. I wanted their love highlighted and exemplified by the streams of sunshine. Love is powerful and I wanted this picture to be a good example of their love for one another. I had a great time working with Amanda and Matt and I am  looking forward to being a part of their special day.

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