An Anytime Session | Milla and Brad

“Congratulations!” A stranger passing by yells, ducking into the shadows of hanging nicknacks and touristy wares from the shop. I laugh at first because the couple I’m photographing aren’t taking photos on their wedding day or celebrating a recent engagement. In fact, they’ve been married for nine years. But the man doesn’t know that–he simply sees a couple in love.

And then I quickly realize that they of all people should be congratulated. You see, it’s one thing to get married–to make a commitment to love and faithfully care for another–it’s quite another to live that out. The former is full of excitement and anticipation, the latter is more staid and sometimes mundane. It’s all those in between moments that build the legacy of love in a marriage.

We often celebrate the milestones and highlights in life–but I think we should also recognize the sweetness of day-in, day-out devotion. That’s one reason why I so enjoyed photographing my friends Milla and Brad one afternoon a couple weeks ago when I was in Pittsburgh. It was an average afternoon–no fanfare or flowers–just a beautiful, ordinary day. And the dogs of course. You can’t forget Tuco and Turk!

Congratulations Milla and Brad. You deserve it.

Caryn - Absolutely breathtakingly beautiful!!

Milla - Mary thank you thank you thank you. You have such an amazing way of capturing things creatively and naturally. They feel just like “us” – so, thank you for your friendship and for once again providing us with amazing photos that I will cherish forever. Love!!

Sherry - HOLY COW! These are so amazing Mary! I absolutely LOVE them all! And Milla you look gorgeous, love the new hairdo! Really just WOW!!!

Maryland Family Photography | Priscilla is One

“P” is for Priscilla and for personality–because this little girl has a lot of it! I recently photographed Priscilla and her family in honor of her (parents) making it to one year. And believe me, this is definitely an event worth celebrating and documenting!

Until I had my own baby, I never realized just how much work they are! Now when I see other babies and children, I not only see a bundle of cuteness but also many, many long hours of care and love from their parents. In the midst of baby rearing, it’s easy to forget all the sweet little moments, especially because babies change and grow so quickly. And while you’re proud to see your baby growing up–a part of you wants to just hold and snuggle them forever as they are. So I hope these photos are a precious keepsake for Priscilla and her mom and dad. Congratulations to them all on Priscilla’s first birthday.

Here are just a few favorites from their day.

Family Vacation at Chincoteague

Like any young girl with a craze for horses, I read all the Marguerite Henry books I could get my hands on at the library, including Misty of Chincoteague. So when we planned our first family vacation for the three of us to Chincoteague Island in Virginia last month, I couldn’t be more excited. However, as is often the case…ideas don’t meet reality.

Someone forgot to tell me that vacation with a 7-month old isn’t exactly vacation. Or that the picturesque horsey island is also home to 30 million mosquitoes. Despite the reality check, we did enjoy some yummy eats and introducing Harriet to the beach. And I learned a valuable fact about myself: I could never make it as a nature photographer.

So all in all, we had a great first family vacation, and I look forward to sharing many more memories together.

My attempt at nature photography.

I was clearly not prepared like these guys were. For starters, I didn’t have the hat.

This is more my style–people.

She was so excited…

And then reality…the water was pretty cold.

Milla - OH my goodness I love when you post on your blog!!! How funny!! I love the hat comment. And Harriet, wow she is precious. I can’t wait to see her soon!

Emilie - Harriet’s before and after water face is too precious. I’m glad she loved the beach.

I am obviously no expert but I think the first photo is beautiful, who says you can be a nature photographer.

Why You Should Get an Album | My Personal Experience

Last Monday Jay and I celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary. Makes us sound old. But it’s actually because we got married when we were mere babes–or at least looked like babies!

Taken right after the ceremony.

Despite the fun of celebrating another year together, I always feel a bit sad when our anniversary comes around. Not because I regret being married to Jay–not at all!–but basically because I really regret my choice in a wedding photographer and my ignorance as to what I wanted. I won’t rehash all the details here in the this post…I already whined about it another…but I do want to touch on something else that’s related and dear to my heart.

Great wedding photos help you remember the day: the incredible moments, those fleeting feelings–anticipation, excitement, joy. They also contain the family story that you can pass down to future generations–often the only time your family is all together in one place! As each year goes by, your photos increase in value as your own memory fades of the event and becomes that of the photos. Great wedding photos are a precious heirloom–so why leave them on a breakable, soon-to-be outmoded piece of technology–ie, a disc?

You see, I still don’t have a wedding album. In fact, I only have three photos printed from our wedding. That is going to change SOON. Like very soon. As in I’m finally making an album for us. For real this time.

While you might think I don’t have an album because I’m not thrilled with our photos…and that may play a part–the main reason I don’t have an album yet is because I only got the disc with my photography package. Yes, the disc of photos–what everyone seems to want but few know what to do with.

I understand why it’s a popular request. We want a copy of our photos to keep forever, and since they’re in a digital format, we want a disc. The trouble is, digital photos must have a compatible medium to view them on. I doubt our grandkids or even kids are going to be using the same technology as us. Disc, portable hard-drives, ipads, etc.–they’re all going to become outmoded, some sooner than others. Who even has a computer these days that can read a floppy disc?? (Who even remembers using one??) What if the only copy of your photos was on something like that? Actually, they are if they’re just sitting on a disc.

I’m right there with you. That’s why I’m finally making an album. The sad truth, however, is that some of the files have become corrupted and parts of the disc are unreadable. Fortunately I don’t seem to be missing too many more photos than I already knew were lost (see my old post). But if I waited a few more years, I’m not sure what condition the disc would be in.

So, from my personal experience, I highly recommend getting a wedding album with your wedding photos. It doesn’t have to be the biggest thing ever–just get something! Do it for your kids. I am…seriously. That’s why I’m finally making an album–I want Harriet to have something she can hold and look at to see the story of Mommy and Daddy’s wedding day.

I really regret that I used to offer packages without albums or prints. I know there are couples I’ve photographed who didn’t get an album. If you’re one of those couples and you’re still album-less, let me know. Let’s get you an album. I can’t wait to order mine!

Nancy Schwarz - I remember that August day well. It was wonderfu,l but boy was it HOT!I can’t wait to see your album.

Heather - So I went back to your “whiny” post – which wasn’t whiny at all – but somehow I had missed seeing it the first time you posted (probably because I was moving from Peru) – so here I am – three years later, crying at my computer remembering y’all and all those people celebrating your wedding together. And there was John! I had forgotten he married you – I thought Wade had! I am so glad – I need to make a list of all the couples John married. It’s so neat to have been a part of y’alls life as you became a family. We love you! Ok – back to the present. ;)

Emilie - I was hoping there’d be a picture of my album on here…anxiously waiting for it to arrive in the mail.