The Jackson Family Shoot - MD/VA/DC Photography

"oh reckless abandon
like no one's watching you
a moment, a love, a dream aloud
a kiss, a cry, our rights, our wrongs"

-- sweet disposition by temper trap

You are a child, you go to school, you fall in love, you get a job, you get married, you have children and somewhere in there you grow-up.  Somewhere in there you become an adult. 

Life moves on with little warning.  It's not like a car-racing video game where  you reach flashing checkpoints along the way.  It just sort of happens!

You are a child one day and before you know what's happened you have been married for 25 years and your children are becoming adults!  At least, that's the case for the dear Jackson family.

I've known the Jackson's for a few years now, and they have been so supportive as my business has taken off!  Mrs. Jackson is so quick to encourage me and Nicki was one of my interns this summer!  Check out her fabulously fabulous blog!

The kids are so well-behaved, so adorable and very affectionate and loving!

I have to say, Mr. Jackson, you and your wife have a special and precious 25 year marriage and you are raising your sons so well - I'm sure they will follow right after you!

They are so happy! I'm a fan of happiness :D

Awww.  I hope you two have another 25 years of laughter, memories and growth together.  Give your kids an extra big hug today and love love love them, cause soon I'll be shooting them with their children!

 Much love,



Today I woke up (good start) and decided quickly that I needed a shower. 
I turned on the water to let it get warm (I am NOT a fan of cold showers), while I got my towel, clothes and radio.  A minute later, I jumped in and it was much too hot.  So annoying.
And whaaat is this?!  Katie took the good shampoo!  WAY annoying! Now my hair is gonna be crispy.  Not silky and beautiful. Stink :(

Despite the troublesome start to the day, I managed to continue on with life.  I went to my office, where work was almost leaking out of my 30-inch Mac Pro screen. 
I drove around town, frusterated with the construction and traffic on our main road.  It slows even the simplest trips down!  Plus, the rest of the drivers on the road are being fools today.  Who let them have a license?  Our government needs to buckle down (road pun? haha) and not let these crazies on our streets.  Speaking of government!  Actually, never mind.  I'm not going there. 
Instead I should probably run a load of laundry, or fill up the dishwasher.  Eh.

Haven't we all had those days?  Er, actually, don't we complain - even silently in our thoughts - every day?  Our food wasn't served fast enough, our sleep wasn't good enough, our car isn't cool enough, so-and-so's new album wasn't entertaining enough.  Whatever.  We can complain about it.

I don't really think of myself as a complainer, and compared to some people, I'm probably not.
But I know this:  I have a lot, and I am not nearly as grateful for it all as I should be.

And sometimes it takes a little smack in the face to be reminded.  A group of people from my church have recently gone to Uganda, and started a donation pool to "Give Uganda Water."  Water.  That's the big deal.  Water. 
I have never dreamed of drinking water that was been been soaking in mud, used as a toilet and had dead animals floating through it.

Ha.  No, no, nooo - I need my water perfectly warmed or chilled depending on the activity.  And it better not have a metallic taste to it!

Seriously, how can I complain? Ever?  It's horrible.
The cost of my "good" shampoo can pay for water for a person for life. $23.
The cost of filling up my car, definitely more than $23.
Let's not talk about the cost of my car itself.
Seriously every single part of my life is dripping with blessing!  And somehow I complain.

Construction and traffic?  Oh I'm driving in a machine on paved roads, probably going to buy something or make money somewhere!
Dishes and laundry?  Oh I have food to eat and beautiful clothes to wear, and when I push a button on a machine my dishes and clothes are cleaned! With water!

We have fellow humans, friends and honestly heroes living in downright nasty conditions.  I don't want to make this post an annoying "another cause to support" post.  But I really, really have been so aware of all I have been given, and it's a joy to be able to help someone when you have been given so very much.  If you feel the same way, please consider donating!  100% of the money goes towards putting fresh, healthy water in the mouths of people in Uganda.  No overhead, no percents - all of it goes right to well-building!

Need any more incentive?  If you book me for an engagement shoot this year (until the end of 2009), it will only "cost" water for four people - $92.  I won't even see a penny of it!  I would LOVE to see as much water as possible in Uganda.

Let's help Give Uganda Water!


Sarah and Buddy - a wedding in Annapolis, MD

"Take my hand
Take my whole life, too
For I can't help
Falling in love with you"

-- elvis presley

Clouds hung heavily and I made my way into Columbia to meet with Sarah, a potential client.  I passed the kids on the carousal and the hungry patrons waiting in line for a pretzel.  Sarah was chilling in Starbucks, and easy to spot.  She smiled in her comfy but cute little outfit and we started talking.

"I'm marrying Santa Elvis!"
Hold ooooon.  Sarah caught me off guard - she was so pulled together, so graceful.  Did she just say Santa Elvis? 
Yep!  That's how she met her man - at a costume party where he was the Jolly King of Rock n' Roll.  "It's a good thing he was cute," she told me "cause we hit it off and I hadn't even seen his face!"

The next time I saw Sarah was on another cloudy day, but instead of being surrounded by shopping bags, strollers and barista's there was a trolley, best friends and a wedding dress.

As soon as we pulled up to Quiet Waters Park, the rain started up again.  Sarah, in her effortlessly classy way, wasn't bothered a bit.  And neither were her gorgeous bff's!

They grabbed the umbrella's, sunk their heels into the dirt and smiled like their was no tomorrow.  Those kind of bridesmaids tell you something about the bride.  Someone who has such kind, understanding, helpful friends must be one of those girls herself.  These ladies were just gems :D

They left the umbrellas behind because I thought the picture would look better!  Oh I heart you ALL!

In the meantime, Sarah just glowed.  I always think my brides are gorgeous (and I'm always right) but I think Sarah had the most "glow" I had ever seen. She just glowed.  That quiet but thrilled emotion that somehow dazzles a bride's face like no make-up can. 

I'm willing to bet that Santa Elvis knew what he was doing when he kept his mask on all night - what guy wants to show this girl his face ;) Wow!  Sarah, you are ridiculous!

Actually, the groom ("Buddy"), looked quite dapper, polished and handsome.  They are a smokin' couple ;D 
The small garden and beautiful music only added to the elegant charm.

Isn't that so pretty?  I'm a fan.

During the ceremony I had an idea to take pictures of people's arms.  Arms totally tell the story of what is happening!

Here we have bridesmaid arms. 

Guest arms:

Oooo and husband and wife arms.  Those are my favorite :D

They practically drip class.  Let me tell you, it's no chore to shoot gorgeous, stylish couples!

Especially ones who are giddy and wildly in love.

Definitley a fave "first kiss" picture! So sweeet!

Cloudy days make for killer black and whites. Nooo joke.

Okee. Now I am going to tell you about my favorite part of the wedding.  It was actually when Buddy gave a toast at the reception - a toast to his bride.

"I remember our first date.  It was wonderful and we had selfishly planned our second date before I had even taken her home."

"I watched her walk inside, then I started counting how many more days I had to wait until I could see her again."

"How much work did I have to do until I could be with Sarah? And you can be sure that I was so excited to see her for our second date."

"Every day I wake up and feel the same way.  I'm just as excited to see her - actually more."

"And now she's my wife.  I love you, Sarah. Cheers!"

Sarah and Buddy, I hope you are enjoying the sunshine and it was a joy being at your stunning, wonderful day :D


Charles and Emily - Wedding

Dancin' in your wooden shoes
In a wedding gown
Are you happy now?
-- when the stars go blue
It was "stretch and bathroom break" time in the middle of our long history class.  Emily, Lydia, Courtney and I loved "stretch and bathroom break" time.  In our ill-fitting private-school-logo-embroidered polo shirts, horrible khaki pants and make-up-less faces we giggled and stretched our way down the hall, as all cool highschool girls do. 
"Guuuuys! Guuuys.  My dad said something to me about a guy asking me out last night!" Lydia and I rushed through the bathroom door, letting it slam on Courtney trailing behind us.  We had to hear this story about Emily and boy - especially since she never talked about boys.  "Ok, well, he didn't say anyone asked me out.  He just wanted to know what I would do. BUT can you imagine?!" 
We did our very best to imagine Emily dating.  Hahahahaa aaaaaw.  Little Emily.  That'd be cute.
Emily was a little package of naive joy.  So innocent, always thinking the best of others.  If she were to make a sarcastic joke, it would be followed with an immediate "I'm sorry!  I was joking. You know I was joking right? I really was.  I was really joking. I'm so so sorry."  Usually a phone call, note or e-mail would happen later in the day to apologize again. 
Most of Emily's life in school was spent doing two things: laughing or forgetting her question.  If that pattern continued in being a girlfriend, I could picture some amazing dates. 
Boy: "Hi Emily!"
Emily: "Hahahahahah!"
Boy: "Did you have a good day?"
Emily: "I DID! hahaha Did you...oh dear. Ooooh no. Come back *hits forehead with fist* Ooooh maaan!  What was my question?
Boy: We--
Emily: "OH! Did you have a good day?! I remember!"
I have good news, everyone.
Emily made it through highschool, made it through being asked out, made it through being a girlfriend, made it through engagement and two weeks ago she got married.
Little joyful, apologetic, excited, laugh-y Emily.  Our little highschool bestie who wears moccasins, watches Jane Austen movies and writes papers about bear cubs.
Our Emily who was the last to get her drivers license, who is the Queen of Baby-sitting and who always had colorful pens in her school bag.
She's a wife now.  She went out, met a boy, fell in love, put on a ring and promised "to have and to hold" that boy forever.  In some ways in seems like nothing more normal has ever happened, and in others I can't believe it really happened!  Emily! You are married. Wow, hasn't God been good.
I love seeing you in the arms of your husband.
I love watching him hold you.
I love when he talks and you stare at him, smiling.
I love that Charles is your husband and that you get to be married to him.
He's a good good man and you are an amazing girl.
(I'm not ready to call you a woman yet -- maybe when the rest of us are married we can be women ;D  I still think we are college-age girls...haha)

I hope you treasure these first few days, weeks and months of being married.
I hope that every time he comes home from work, your heart will beat a bit faster.
I hope each time you get to cuddle with your husband, you fall for him a little more.
I hope your adorable apartment is filled with laughter and memories.
And I hope you don't take any of it for granted - God has been so kind.

When those gloomy, quiet, sad and hard days come, I hope you can look back and see how God has proven Himself faithful.  He has proven His love to you not only by giving you this man, but by rescuing you and preparing you a home in heaven. Oh how He loves you!

And I am counting on you to find the rest of us some great guys ;D 

We love you Emily Puglisi!

Special thanks to Emily Hayes who shot the wedding with me!  Since I was a bridesmaid, I couldn't shoot the whole event (Duh.)  and Emily Hayes was a dear and shot with/for me!


Tony and Tori - A wedding in MD/VA/DC shot by I'm Kristen

"I need you 
Like water,
Like breath,
Like rain"
-- leanne rimes

August in Maryland is the equivalent to a 14-year-old teeny-bopper who just got dumpped by her "first true love."  It's for the most part predictable - you know it's going to be a mess and kind of miserable.  And then out of nowhere it will be cheery, fresh and lovely! Then BAM! it will fall apart on you and be more severe and crazy then ever.  You just never know what you will get.

Thanks, weather doppler slash sob-story-late-night radio Kristen.  Thanks? Cool...story?
No it's true.  August in Maryland is typically hothothot and humid like you wouldn't believe. 

But for poor, dear Tori our weather went all "I thought he loved me! I HATE him!" on her.  It rained and rained and rained and rained.  The outdoor ceremony and semi-outdoor reception located in the heart of rolling hills was about to get cried upon.  Talk about stress! 

The groomsmen did their pictures in the rain for me (there really was no where else to go :-/)
I pinned boutonnieres while groomsmen ran around carrying chairs and unloading boxes.
In between applying her lipstick, Tori's mom was assembling centerpieces and trying to stay out of the caterer's way.
Umbrella's become almost as important as our lungs and to be quite honest it was a wet, crazy circus.
Inside the one-room-cottage where Tori stayed hidden, her friends and family rallied around her to keep her calm.  It was so sweet to see everyone bend over backwards to help Tori enjoy her day. 

Tori was a gem who handled the craziness with elegance. 
"I just want to be with Tony.  I will marry him in this room.  Just get me married."

As we all patiently waited for that longed for moment, I scooted around the caterers, guests and bridal party to grab some details.  No joke, the effort was worth it - everyone looked like a Marta Stewart ad. 

When it was finally time to go, oh the joy.  It was one of the most truly, genuinely happy "ceremony starts" I have ever seen.

The music played delicately, the leaves of the wet trees shook above us, the drops trickled down, the flowers popped in comparison to the cloudy background, the guests smiled.  Tori looked ridiculously perfect.

And Tony cried.  The world stood still for a few moments.  Everything fell into perspective.  The wet shoes and crowded dance floor (er, altar) didn't make a heap of difference.  Tony was marrying Tori.
His Tori.

As they vowed to love each other and stayed committed in their marriage through "better or worse" everyone couldn't help but know how true those words were.  The vows they made were real and were about each other, not about having an ideal wedding day.

Seriously, Tori. Whoooa.

It was marvelously sweet seeing them light up together. 
Ps.  Is that not a gorgeous wedding?  They should have planned for it to rain!

Oh my laaand how cute and happy is that?! I really love these pictures and love how it's so their wedding: smiles and umbrellas :D

Just as the wedding ended, the sun started to come out!  The rain kept coming down, but man did the golden sun make for a stunning backdrop with the wet trees and pavement!

We started the oh-so-fun process of shooting formals in the rain.  Maybe not my favorite activity of all time?  But I loved how they turned out. 

Definitley a new fave.  Get those ugly boy faces out of there ;D Kidding...kidding...

Awww, a walk in the rain with your love.  With your HUSband!  I support that :D

I love how Tony really knows what to do to cheer her up.  She adores being with him.

As we made our way back down for dinner, we saw this painting of a venue. 
Don't people dream in these colors?

The night ended magically and everyone danced holes into their shoes.  It was SUCH a celebration! 
And Tony and Tori were married. 
Good day.  Good day indeed :D