One of my favorite photoshoots is capturing an essence of a person while helping them look their best. That’s the spirit behind our A-List portraits. It’s a mix of technical lighting expertise and direction with the feel of the person. The feel of the shoot conforms to your personality instead of you fitting the mold of the traditional portrait or headshot. Linda is a free spirit who loves spending time in nature with her dog, Biscuit. She is athletic and loves to skateboard, surf and kayak. I wanted to capture her whimsical beauty in a similar style to Roxy or Billabong showing that women can be strong, fun and sexy all at the same time!
Sarah and Jason had a beautiful wedding day in the heart of the Triangle. It was great to be back in North Carolina celebrating such a happy occasion. Sarah was her usual, bubbly self (with a few nerves that quickly subsided when she married her love) and Jason was full to the brim with joy and love for his bride. Whenever tears would threaten to strike, Sarah looked up to the heavens and would say “Look up at Grandpa–that’s how you stop the crying!” Laughter, joy and happy tears were shed all day, including a few of my own. This was our first time meeting Jason in person, but we were thrilled to discover Nick and Jason played in the same soccer club in Ventura and many other California connections.
As for their portraits, Sarah and Jason gave us lots of time to wander the streets of Durham and it really paid off when we discovered it was the semi-annual Food Truck Rally and we had to change our plans for photos at the last minute! Having margin in your wedding day schedule always pays off in one way or another, and in this case it gave us enough time to regroup family members and the wedding party to a new location. After a thoughtful ceremony combining their faith traditions, everyone danced the night away (especially the bride!) to the DJ stylings of Nina from All Events DJ under the gorgeous wood planks and exposed brick of the Rickhouse. It was truly a fabulous day!
Wedding Planner: Paisley and Pearl Events | Photographer: Donner Photos | Video: Gold and Sage Weddings | Venue: The Rickhouse | Officiants: Megan Turner & Daniel Norber | Florals and Chuppah: Tre Bella | Harpist: Amy Kortus | DJ: All Events DJ | Lighting: Get Lit | Catering: Donovan’s Dish | Cakes: Guglhupf | Hair: DB Sutton & Company | MUA: Erin Kelly Makeup
Sarah + Jason | The Rickhouse – Durham, NC from goldandsageweddings on Vimeo.
I have been photographing the Brown family for over two years now. I can hardly believe these boys are the same babies I started taking photos of! Their mom tells me regularly that the reason they continue to work with me (even after moving to Florida!) is because of the quality of the portraits and also the experience her family has during our sessions. Her boys are spunky, funny, and they LOVE to run around–all things I love to capture and I don’t mind. I believe kids’ joy and personalities are the most interesting part about them! So after a few posed photos, we run around, we roll in the grass, and we get a little sweat and dirt on our faces. The Browns love the memories they are capturing, and I am grateful to capture their growing family throughout the years.
On a recent visit to see my best friend in Portland, I knew I wanted to take some portraits of her. I always try to get a few photos for myself when I’m in a new place, and since Alex is basically a model (ahem: tall, brunette, gorgeous inside and out!), I had to take advantage of all the beauty the PNW has to offer and photograph her on our travels. Alex is a professional organizer who contracts regularly with Organizers Northwest helping people organize their homes and businesses in a timely and systematic fashion. I decided she needed some portraits in her recently updated home office to showcase her soft, cozy, minimalistic style. Her pup Theo (affectionately known as my dogphew) is always by her side, so naturally he had to be in the photos, too!
I also wanted to capture Alex in nature because that’s really what makes her tick. We decided to drive up Oregon’s incredible Tillamook Coast and stopped off in several places like Hug Point Beach, Manzanita, and Canon Beach for walks and photos. Leaving Portland, I felt filled up by spending so much time in nature and connecting with one of my oldest friends. It reminded me of the reason I love photography–these aren’t just photos we make; they are memories that I will cherish for a lifetime.
Marcela and Parker celebrated their wedding day at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna on a hot summer day. Their first look was full of love and excitement and Parker could hardly believe how gorgeous his bride looked. I was so glad they decided to see each other before the ceremony because we were able to get a few photos with them and their wedding party before the afternoon showers rolled in. Having a good photo and rain plan is extremely important when expecting lots of guests. It allows us to maximize the amount of time we have and ensure sure you’ll get great photos with your loved ones regardless of weather conditions. Part of our wedding day service is helping you manage your wedding day timeline well with these potential conditions in mind. After meaningful toasts and a delicious dinner, Marcela’s Brazilian family and friends led the way with their best dance moves and everyone danced the night away.
Occasionally we have clients like Sofia and Marcellus who are planning an intimate wedding day with only immediate family, but still want amazing portraits that they can be proud of. We offer a premium elopement option for condensed wedding day coverage for a couple and their closest friends and family aimed at capturing ceremony, portraits and a few reception photos without the full service planning and time required of a larger wedding. This is also a great option for clients who might not have a large wedding budget, but still want to invest in quality photography. 2941 Restaurant was a great venue with lush greenery and a beautiful fountain that gave us a great opportunity to take beautiful, timeless portraits with maximum coverage. Many thanks to Josh Peterson for assisting and photographing with me.
Every wedding has its own personality, character, and tone reflective of the couple tying the knot. Arianna and Sumit’s beautiful wedding on the Intracoastal contained many thoughtful elements that made everything very authentic and personal. After getting ready at the Plunge Beach Hotel in beautiful Lauderdale By the Sea, we made our way to the Grateful Palate where Arianna’s dashing groom was ready for her grand entrance. From Arianna’s mom performing the ceremony, to the hand made items decorating the ballroom reflecting their taste and interests, to the gorgeous attire honoring Sumit’s Indian heritage, the details were touching and made the day very special. Brittany from Florida Beach Wedding did a beautiful job with Arianna’s rose and succulent bouquet (amazing!) and Arianna’s dad is also trained in swordsmanship, so we used some of his Samurai swords as excellent photo props for the bride and groom before dancing the night away at the Grateful Palate!
Preparations: Plunge Beach Hotel | Venue & Cake: Grateful Palate | Day of Coordination: Florida Beach Wedding | DJ: Danny Cohen | Videography: Rick Paladino
Allie and Mark had amazing weather for their April wedding at the Whittemore House in Dupont Circle. They have the ease of a couple who has been together for years and an intimacy that is obvious to everyone around them. They are life partners with a clear vision of how they want to share their lives and cherish each other forever.
We started the day off with preparations at the Dupont Circle Hotel and the Whittemore House, photographing details like the wedding dress, shoes, rings, and some fun getting ready shots with the bridesmaids and groomsmen. We had enough time to do a few fun portraits with Allie and Mark during this time as well! Then it was on to the Whittemore House’s beautiful garden courtyard for their first look.
Allie and Mark spend a lot of time in Rock Creek Park, so we opted to do most of their formals there. Because of the travel and large number of people to photograph, this was a great example of good preparation paying off on a wedding day. Everyone was aware of the schedule ahead of the time and met us at the park after the first look. We also got a permit for the photographs in advance, which saved us a lot of heartache when the park rangers came asking for one and we could get right to the photos!
Allie and Mark had a beautiful ceremony surrounded by the historic decor of the Whittemore House. Their ceremony highlighted traditions of the Jewish faith and they exchanged personal vows that brought laughter and tears.
The Whittemore House balcony and second floor also provided a stunning setting for cocktail hour as the sun set. Many guests enjoyed taking portraits worthy of the Portrait Gallery and exploring the beautiful rooms full of history.
Once the room was ready, it was time to celebrate! We always love the sweet sounds of the Bachelor Boys Band because they undoubtedly keep a good dance party going the entire night. Everyone was lifted in chairs–bride and groom, mother and father of the bride, and mother of the groom and grandmother of the bride! This was a fun and joy filled celebration of love.
How do you pull off a surprise engagement? With planning. Lots and lots of planning.
Ryan reached out several months ago about proposing to his girlfriend Megan while they were vacationing in South Florida. Initially, we discussed some options that required telling her about the photo session as a cover and then proposing during the session. But in the end, the surprise proposal felt like the most special and the safest–she would have no clue it was coming. Ryan decided we would capture the proposal first and then do some engagement photos to top off the Best Surprise Ever™. So I went to work using Google Maps, pinning locations, and sending sample images. We discussed how he would propose and which direction to face. Ryan sent along a couple photos with Megan so I’d know who I was supposed to photograph (always a good idea). By the week before, it was all set up.
I was on the beach absurdly early about 45 minutes before they were supposed to show up. But hey, with a proposal you don’t want to be late! Turns out my Uber was on time, the drawbridge didn’t open, and the path I’d scouted out got me to the location I was supposed to be in quickly. So I enjoyed the sunrise from start to finish, which is a really nice treat for me as I’m not typically a morning person. The color in the sky was magical.
Right on time, Ryan and Megan walked onto the beach as I was taking photos of the sunrise. I could tell she did not suspect a thing! He asked her to look out at the ocean while he took a few photos of her from behind, made sure I was all set, and got down on his knee. After a few seconds she turned around and BAM. It was a picture perfect moment. Megan cupped her hands over her mouth and let out a cry of joy, smiling and emotional. Even with the breeze and the sound of the waves I could hear her say “YES.” They hugged and embraced and only then did Ryan let her onto the fact that someone was photographing them. I love that her expression was so priceless and could tell having the moment photographed meant the world to her.
After they took a few moments to bask in the joy, we walked up and down the beach taking engagement photos. Ryan and Megan were easy going and easy to photograph. We found great spots along the beach and ended our morning with some fun lifts and silhouettes in a lot full of palm trees.
For a couple who has traveled to more than 30 countries and 40 states, it was obvious that having an actual plane in their maternity session would be the coolest, most amazing photo prop EVER. I would have expected nothing less of Josh and Alanna, who have continuously chosen to get creative and incorporate their favorite things and places into their shoots (see their baseball engagement and epic library wedding photos!). We love it when clients think outside the box and come to us with fun challenges like this. Josh and Alanna were able to find an awesome vintage biplane plane at Key West Biplanes, so I jetted down on Silver Airlines for the day and met them to crush some maternity photos and key lime pie.
We travel by plane a lot for work now so we have a pretty good system in place that only requires a few bags to hold all of our important gear and backup equipment (think cameras, lenses, flashes, strobes, etc). With travel and photography, things don’t always go according to plan, so we ensure to the best of our ability that we’ll be able to deliver in time-sensitive and high pressure situations. Such was this day when I underestimated the strong winds being generated by the other planes on the tarmac. I turned around to see my strobe come crashing down to the ground despite being held in place by several cement blocks and weights! I might have yelped and swallowed my stomach in my throat a little. Josh was kind enough to hold my camera and take a few photos of me checking on the gear (internally: freaking out a little).
In one way or another, people often ask us what the difference is between a professional photographer and an amateur? Certainly an eye for photos and quality gear is some of it. But that day I learned more about my value as a professional photographer. I shook it off, smiled at my lovely clients like nothing bad happened and we kept going with my backup light because we only had an hour with the plane and I was determined to make the most of it. Thankfully, after the shoot we discovered that my gear was all OK and in tact! But it was a good reminder why we always bring backups (and an assistant!) on gear-heavy shoots.
I’m so grateful that we have such awesome clients who want the best photos as much as we do. This was a fun and memorable day for the books!