Franciscan Monastery, DC Engagement Portraits: Nella + Tyler

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Nella & Tyler had to travel to the opposite side of the world on a trip to the Philippines to figure out that their Maryland made friendship was much more than just friendship. It was basically an honeymoon before the relationship even began & now they are just a few short months away from saying "I do" then they'll be off on their actual honeymoon. 

When I asked them what they love about each other I nearly cried at their responses. Nella spoke so kindly of Tyler's never-ending thirst for knowledge, & his burning desire to change the world (these were direct quotes). While Tyler shared that Nella is simply inspiring, she is so hard working, patient & is one of the most caring people you'll ever meet. These two are the kind of people who are humbly & gently changing the world with their love, their passion for building others up & helping all those around them with all their skills & knowledge.

When these two are in each other's arms, the admiration in their eyes & the incredible joy on their faces when held by the other is the kind of magic that inspires love songs & movies. It's such a gift to be able to call these two some of my newest friends & I'm over the moon excited to be shooting their wedding in a few short months.

Tyler & Nella, Your love for each other & your passion to change the world for good is so inspiring. Thank you for bringing that encouragement & beauty into my life. I could not have asked the Lord for sweeter clients in this season of my life & I'm so blessed to be working with you two incredible souls. I love you both & your wedding can't come quickly enough!

Photography tips to take on vacation

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It's almost summer & your next big vacation is right around the corner. Are you ready to capture some amazing photos of your trip? Here are the few of tips & tricks I keep up myself when taking photos during vacation. 

(All these photos are images taken during a day trip with family & friends to Wilmington, NC)

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TIP #1. The best camera to use on vacation is the one you have one you. Use it!

One of my best friends went to Greece for a mission trip during our teen years & all she took with here was a disposable camera. There was no such thing as Instagram or Google at the time & I'd never seen anyone's personal photos of Greece before hers. To this day I still remember the impression those photos made on my heart, when she came back & shared her photos with everyone. Greece was stunning in all the graininess & harsh shadows from her disposable camera & that day I saw those photos was the day I put Greece on bucket list of places to visit.

All that to say, YES, more expensive cameras do take better quality images & as a photographer better quality is always ... well better. But sometimes remembering special moments on vacation, means simply taking out your cell phone, or the Polaroid camera you just loaded with film & snapping away. Better a moment remembered than a moment forgotten. 

All the tips I'm sharing today apply to any & all cameras.

*** If you are interested in renting a camera for your next vacation, check out Borrowlenses.com This post is in no way sponsored by them but here is a $20 off discount code just for the Ica Images fam. ***

https://www.talkable.com/x/vfgUEk

TIP #2. Be present on vacation. Truly soak in real, undiluted moments & take photos of friends & family who are soaking in the moments too, these are the good memories you'll want to look back on one day. You don't need to turn every second of your vacation into a full-on photo shoot because real life is sweet & beautiful all on it's one.

But there is a time & place for everything so there are bound to be posed photos of the people you love most. When it comes to taking those group family photos don't simply keep the moment in mind but think about how you'll want to remember it when you get home.

TIP #3. When taking group photos take the photo both horizontally & vertically. 
Someone in the family might want to print out vacation photos to show off at home.
Give them the option to frame it or print it either way.

TIP #4. When you have to ask a stranger to take your photo, first take a photo of the composition you want, then show it to them before they take the photo (or else who knows what you'll get when they hand you back your camera). 

Example: Photo 1 was my composition, Photo 2 my husband & I ran across the street & posed in the spot I wanted.

Another example of TIP #4 but this time with the added challenge of a shallow depth of field. Always make sure you tell the person taking your photo to focus, however your camera focuses. 

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TIP #5. Take in the sights! Literally, take photos of all the pretty places you pass by. Look up or down, check around the corner, turn back & you might like the view even better. Instead of taking trinkets home I like to take photos with signage or flags that are only found in that particular place. It's the same as keychain, but it's saved on my computer instead of my key ring.

And there you have it! A perfect combination of people, places & moments that will help tell the story of your vacation adventures.

Are you in the DC metro area & want to practice out these tips with me during a day trip to Alexandria, VA? Or want to follow me on Instagram as I play tourist down in Oldtown?

Come join the fun in person or online,
on Saturday, April 28, 2018, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm.
as I do an Instagram take over for the
Visit Alexandria!

Get your free ticket for InstaMeetALX: HERE
Or follow me over on Visit Alexandria's Instagram on Sat: HERE

Waldorf, MD family portraits: The Proctors

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If there is room to run, and time to play, if there are trees to climb & kisses to share, do it.
Life is too short to miss out on the good stuff. 

An afternoon with the Proctors reminded me of all the sweet stuff that fill up this life.
It's funny that children are so tiny yet they know how to live & love so big!

I love you, Proctor family & thanks for adding more of that good stuff to my life.

Alexandria, VA Confetti Engagement Portraits: Brian + Lyssa

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I've been so eager to share Lyssa & Brian's colorful engagement session from way back in February. This confetti filled engagement session was one for the books as Union 2016 studio served as the perfect crisp & white backdrop.

Brian & Lyssa are just the sweetest.
They love video Gaming, dining and joking & laughing together,
& in each other's arms, they are so at home.

I can't wait for their Rust Manor wedding later this year, especially with Lyssa's graphic design skills. I'm almost certain that as much as I adored shooting their confetti engagement portraits, their confetti & glitter filled wedding will take a run for it's money. 

Strong Mansion at Sugarloaf Mountain, MD wedding: James + Claire

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If you've been following me on social media (Instagram or Facebook), you know that I was recently hospitalized (numerous times) for a lung collapse that ultimately required lung surgery. It was a two month battle that has since,finally ended & this weekend I got to go back to work with the most beautiful wedding of my career, thus far.

Saturday's weather was a perfect 80 degrees, sunny and gorgeous & the views at Strong Mansion were the most glorious backdrop to James & Claire's spring, mountain side wedding. All the wedding details were drenched in beautiful cool hues, using the loveliest greens, & blues with a pinch of blush pink, basically the most perfect spring palette. 

A few of my favorite details from the day were the bride's lace BHLDN wedding gown, the handmade bouquets she crafted herself, the mix & match bridesmaids dresses, & of course Strong Mansion itself. I felt like I was transported to Europe as I walked around the mansion grounds, but we were only an hour away from home.

Claire, your dad said it best before he said goodbye to me on Saturday, “There will always be more love in the world than hate, always more good than evil, love conquers all & God always prevails.” And love is exactly what drenched your wedding day more than the sun that shone in the cloudless sky.

James, the part of Sarah's maid of honor speech where she spoke of how you always celebrate every part of Claire ... oh my lands, she described your love for your WIFE so perfectly.
Never stop celebrating her & never stop celebrating life.

James & Claire, I'm struggling to find the words to describe my gratitude for your friendship & your wedding day. Both things have helped bring even more healing to my soul & I am overwhelmed with joy because of you two.

VENUE // Strong Mansion at Sugarloaf Mountain
BOUQUETS, SIGNAGE, DECOR // Handmade
DJ // 27 entertainment (DE) Aaron Morris
CATERER // Carterque BBQ
HAIR & MAKEUP // Bride & friends
BRIDAL GOWN // BHLDN

 

Ica Insight - How to friendwork instead of network

 
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“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people
than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” 


Dale CarnegieHow to Win Friends and Influence People


On Friday I got on Instagram Live to share tips to help wedding newbies get referrals from seasoned pros. Without having the proper dialog or not knowing how to approach other professionals with the right intentions, may lead to missed opportunities to gain new friends or gain referrals. I'm reviving "Ica Insight" by sharing more networking tips as promised to all my friends who joined me on Instagram this weekend. So let's get to it!

In business "your network is your net worth". But I believe you can gain an even stronger network by doing what I like to call "friendwork", it's networking but with absolute intention to be a friend, with authenticity & love.

Here are 5 ways to "friendwork" instead of network if you are just starting a business OR if you are stuck in a rut & are looking to try new ways to network. These apply to any industry, but I'll be sharing ways to do this specifically in the wedding industry.

1. SERVE OTHERS FREELY - “The world is full of people who are grabbing and self-seeking. So the rare individual who unselfishly tries to serve others has an enormous advantage.” -Dale C arnegie

If you are just starting out, consider collaborating with another business for free on a project you really love. If there isn't another business you want to partner up with for a project, consider doing a creative project with individuals who are your "dream clients". As a photographer that can be something as simple as hosting a styled shoot or mini portrait session. 

I believe there is a distinct difference between working for free without specific intentions and making a creative investment to grow your portfolio & your "friendwork" for free. If you are afraid of being taken advantage of, work on a project you truly love & believe in, then put stipulations on the exchange of work. I don't suggest offering endless amounts of free projects, but put your energy into at least one passion project that can propel you & your business forward.

2. MAKE AN INTERNET FRIEND A REAL FRIEND: GRAB COFFEE OR DRINKS!

Social media is meant to be social, but I find that we sometimes forget that there is a much deeper way to connect with others, oppose to emojis & likes. Offer to get drinks with & for someone whose work you admire. If meeting up in person isn't possible, meet on Facetime or Skype! 

If there is a topic or something specific you are dying to ask another business owner, be honest & make your request known. Most people can see right through hidden intentions if you don't verbalize it with honesty that you'd love their sage advice because you respect & admire them. If you simply want to connect & become friends, share that intention too.

Last year I hired business coaches & an online friend reached out about my experience, so we Skyped & talked through my awesome experience, thus solidified an even sweeter friendship in the process.

Is it me or is making friends/networking is a lot like dating?

3. FIND AN OPPORTUNITY TO HELP A STRANGER/FELLOW CREATIVE IN NEED

Ever see people post on social media asking for help? Find a way to help someone you don't know, but you want to know & again, do it with a genuine heart to help. On Instagram Live I shared how I offered to help a fellow photographer in need because she posted an SOS on social media, and that connection led to 8 weddings in the last 7 years.

Helping might not mean doing physical labor or offering your services, it might be something as simple as sharing some encouraging words. You never know until you try.

4. PROMOTE SOMEONE ELSE ONLINE, JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN

When's the last time you promoted someone else's business on your Facebook feed or Instagram, and not your own business? How would you feel if another professional promoted your work on their social media accounts or even promoted you on their website? You'd most likely feel loved & encouraged that your first reaction would be to promote them right back, am I right?

It's the gift that keeps on giving. If you are on Instagram, join in on the love & do a Follow Friday post where you share a few other instagram accounts you follow & want others to know about. Heck, you don't even have to wait until Friday ... share the love anytime! Or do a blog giveaway for products or services you love from other businesses. I've seen some Cinderella, collaboration stories come to life from people avidly posting about businesses they love, Like this!

Disclaimer: I'm not talking about any of that "follow for follow" or "like for like" business. That doesn't build authentic friendships, my friends! Sow love & you might just reap it in return.

5. ATTEND NETWORKING EVENTS & "friendwork" your guts out

This is SUPER obvious, but I'm surprised that so many people don't or haven't gone to any networking events for their industry. Are there any local events that are happening in your industry? Sign up & bring a trusted friend with you for added insurance that you will have a great time regardless of how new connections you may or may not make. 

You don't get better at making new friends if you don't have new people to make friends with. Simple as that.

Before I go here's one last great resource in learning to network & make friends:
 Dale Carnegie's book: How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Was this helplful any or want more tips? Let me know in the comments below. I love having your feedback & I hope your "friendwork" grows because of this!

Behind the Scenes of 2017

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This has been one incredible year for Ica Images. I've had the pleasure of capturing & celebrating the marriage of 12 beautiful couples, all of which are near and dear to my heart. I've also had the joy of capturing more than 45 different portrait sessions, making so many new friends along the way. Not forgetting 4 incredibly life-giving Ica Insight Sessions with budding creatives who are going to take on the world.  

It has been a busy & beautiful year, come take a look at all that happened behind the scenes.

One Ica Images first was shooting on a horse drawn carriage with a bride in blush pink.

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Besides a photographer, I am a professional dress fluffer & dress carrier.

I also do other things like make magic out of random fabrics & ribbons, I am a model while I also shoot my clients, I am a professional hair fixer, a professional reflector holder while shooting, I am a seasoned boutonniere pinning pro. I also moonlight as a professional secret keeper (when my clients want to keep their proposals secret or their baby's gender). I do all the things. 

I also hide messes & make pretty things with what I am given.

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I enjoy playing hide & seek with my 2nd shooting husband, from across very large churches.

And I play night when working along side some incredibly talented & kind videographers.

Did I mention that I shoot with the very best, my handsome & super talented husband, Tim.

I've worked with the very best this year & my life is fuller & sweeter because of you all!

Thank you all for investing in Ica Images & for believing in my work & my dreams.
Lastly, thank you all for inviting me into your homes, into your families,
& allowing me to capture your memories.

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2017, you were a great one!

Caboose Farm, Sabillasville, MD Wedding: David + Jackie

Caboose Farm, Sabillasville, MD Wedding: David + Jackie

"{Mama} Where are we going?" "We are going to walk in a cloud" ,
answered one of the bridesmaids to her daughter, this weekend.

It was foggy and maybe a little bit muddy, but it wonderful all the same. Jackie (Jay) & David's intimate mountain top wedding was all my fall wedding dreams come true. Can't wait to share more from this gorgeous wedding in the woods!

David & Jay, Thank you for trusting Tim and I to capture your beautiful wedding day.
We couldn't have asked for a more perfect wedding to end our season with.
Cheers to your incredible love!

Wilmington, North Carolina Maternity Portraits: Reinna

We have lived on opposite coasts for all of our lives, but times they are a changin'!
My California bestie, Reinna is now living on the East Coast a few states south of me & she's very pregnant.

The last time we saw each other was so early on in her pregnancy that I didn't get to see her beautiful baby bump in all it's glory. So this month my family & I took a trip down to see her and Christian, her husband.
Here are some photos of Rein & her 3rd trimester bump on the streets of downtown Wilmington &  Wrightsville beach. 

Rein, I love you, Chris and that baby boy growing inside you, so much!