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Athens, New York makes for quite a backdrop in the fall foliage! And Tara and Karl are pretty great in the foreground as well…

You’ve met these two before, on the beach this summer! This time we set out to capture their home town, the fall colors, AND their dog Finn!

It has been wonderful hangin’ with these two so much as they prepare for their September wedding at Wychmere Harbor Beach Club. Tara’s a photographer herself, at Tara Wiley Photography, so it’s a crazy honor to be sharing in this incredible celebration with them!

Of course we had to hit up Crossroads Brewing Company, just a couple blocks from their house!

Tara & Karl, thanks for sharing your adorable town of Athens with me! It was such a blast coming out, and finally getting to squish Finn’s face in person! Can’t wait to celebrate in the new year with you both! XO

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  • December 20, 2012 - 9:43 am

    Tara - Yay!! We love you, Stacey!! Thanks for making the trek to hang out with us!! <3

  • December 20, 2012 - 12:28 pm

    Meredith Sledge - Loving these!! The locations are amazing!

I was so excited with Angela and Peter invited me down for their New Orleans wedding this November!

Such a city of character and vibrance, of course New Orleans is a gorgeous place to be married – and a gorgeous place to photograph! It was a destination wedding for all, as they’re living in New York City these days. Their ceremony took place at Dijon, followed by ice-cream for a cocktail party (dessert first!), and dinner at nearby Cochon. The weather was perfect, and their love so giggley. Congratulations Angela and Peter!!

Angela MADE HER OWN DRESS…. incredible. She’s finishing up design school in Manhattan, and how cool to be able to say you designed your own gown.

It wouldn’t have been a New Orleans wedding without the King Cake, and the Saints playing football around every corner!

I absolutely love traveling for weddings! New surroundings, new sounds in the background, and so much inspiration! Thank you to the wonderful people of New Orleans for your hospitality!

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  • December 19, 2012 - 11:50 pm

    angela - thank you for these beautiful pictures =) i love how you put it all together!

  • May 4, 2015 - 12:40 pm

    Carrie Bransford - Where is the Engine 1 station located that’s in the wedding photo? Can it b rented for weddings? I’m a FF in Tx & would love to have my wedding there :)

  • May 4, 2015 - 9:48 pm

    Stacey - Hi Carrie! That is actually Dijon, the venue I link to at the top of the blog post. So YES, definitely available for weddings! Enjoy!

By now you’ve hopefully heard the story of two wedding photographers in South Africa! The film photos are back from the lab, so I thought I’d share a few posts before the wedding itself.

Alicia Swedenborg and I spent about 14 1/2 hours over the Atlantic Ocean before landing in Johannesburg, quickly hopping another plane to the city of Durban. We rested our weary heads (for another 12 hours, oops!), and enjoyed walking along the coastline as local vendors and bars prepped for the busy summer season – only one week away, to kick off with a big concert!

The city has an excellent reputation, but I was a bit jolted by the whole way I had suddenly found myself in Africa, no mental preparation, and found warnings at every turn about areas that are “safe” or not. Mostly not. I’ve never lived in a place where I shouldn’t drive after dark, shouldn’t walk more than one block for dinner at night, shouldn’t visit the Indian market because an Indian man himself says “no way”. On that first day, I wasn’t quite sure what we were in for, but after a week among the South Africans now, I know I want to go back and give Durban a deeper chance.

Not too far outside the city, the landscape and character quickly changed. Alicia and I took the backroads as much as we had the time and comfort for, and we happened upon this little gem called Hillbilly’s for lunch! Sitting on this hillside, spotting our first monkey, savoring the incredible flavors of South Africa… this is where the country started to take shape for me. Like a big inhale.

Hillbilly’s was started by an African woman who suddenly found herself widowed. Without much money for decor, she embraced the pottery, gardens and materials she already had laying around. It was a kind of terrace you could spend hours on. Such a beautiful story.

Stay tuned for more as we drove our little rental car – on the other side of the road – a few more hours up to the Natal Midlands area and Drakensberg mountains for Candice & Justin’s South Africa wedding!

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It’s a question that comes up every holiday season! What’s my advice on buying a camera?

Most consumers are looking to spend around $500-1000 on a full DSLR if they’re asking me, and I’m sooo happy to help! Unfortunately, I’m not really that familiar with camera offerings for the “pro-sumer” these days. That doesn’t make me better than you, it makes me poorer than you, trust me ;-) And right now, cameras do amazing things. The old credentials like megapixels are through the roof – awesome and unnecessary. So here’s what I think you should really be looking for:

(1) Canon or Nikon. They’re both amazing, and they are neck and neck with the best features and innovations. One year Canon is better, the next year Nikon is better. The best thing you can do is physically go hold them both in a store to see which one suits your hands and mental dexterity best. This first decision should be based solely on how it feels to you.

(2) Second big recommendation is do not buy the kit lens – the lens that they’ll offer with the camera. People tend to think the camera quality is where it’s at, but lenses are crucial. The key is to get the lowest aperture/f-stop that you’re willing to pay for. Some great ones can be found for a few hundred dollars. Photographers’ favorite, most recommended lens just happens to cost just around $130, so check out the Canon 50mm f/1.8 or the Nikon 50mm f/1.8 if you can! (for a little more, the f/1.4 versions)

What length? A 24-35mm lens distance will help you cover a big group, scene, or the room of a home. A 50mm lens is kinda the industry go-to, because it’s great for everything – namely people and any individual things you want to capture like flowers or a baby. The 85mm distance is great to have for a bit of zoom and depth of field (the background faded or blurred out), and anything over 135 will be a true zoom for things farther away. If you want to shoot wildlife, go upwards of 200-300mm. These distances can all be covered in a couple of lenses of course, if you want to purchase the 24-70mm zoom lens, etc. I’m just trying to give you some idea of that that looks like.

(3) DSLR cameras and interchangeable lenses will only look as good as a point-and-shoot if you don’t learn a liiiitle more about all the buttons. I recommend the book Understanding Exposure to get you started for just over $20, but then just get out there and shoot shoot shoot (I dare you to put your settings on Manual!)

I buy all of my gear from B&H Photo & Video and Amazon. Lots of great options with Adorama Used and eBay too, particularly with new gear being announced all the time.

When it comes to memory/flash cards, bigger is always great, but not if one gets corrupted. As a wedding photographer, none of mine are over 4 or 8GB because I can’t afford to lose a substantial part of the day. For hangin’ with my friends on the weekend, though, I do pull out my 16GB. Totally up to you. If you’re really gonna take a ton of photos, you will want to get an external hard drive for your computer too.

Another thing you might want to think about is your editing software. Many computers come with something, so it just depends on your commitment level. You can get the industry standard, Adobe Lightroom, for just $150 bucks, and it will allow you to do all kinds of easy things to your photos later. Way more than the standard on your computer, I promise.

Hope this helps! Please check in at my Tumblr  blog for many more tips for the everyday photographer, here at

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