Archive for 'monday moments'

This past Saturday we hosted one of our favorite Dog Days events – Santa Paws!  We collected 450 lbs of dry food, 25 cans of wet food, oodles of toy + treats and best of all, played with 35 lovable dogs! :)  Some of our amazing clients who couldn’t make our annual event even shipped in food to help our cause!  All of the donations are going to Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary - a no kill shelter.  We were so glad to see some old friends and to make some new ones.  Thanks to everyone who made this event such a success!  It was a perfect way to jump start our holiday season here at GPA and we had a blast!  Be sure to keep a lookout on the blog for our post about this fun filled day of woofs + wags! :)

October 08, 2012

As my wedding day was fast approaching and the topic of my bridal shower came up, I made a subtle suggestion to have a tea party theme.  I had no idea how it would turn out!  My family and bridesmaids spent hours hand crafting the favors and the decorative pom poms, not to mention a ton of other amazing details.  I loved the shabby chic look from all the floral tablecloths and antique tea sets to the lace doilies at each place setting.  Almost all 24 tea cups and saucers came from many different china sets that my family members had gotten as wedding gifts in the past.  It was great to have so many people play a part in all the decorations and details of the day.  Everyone seemed to have a blast playing the games and getting to know each other.  To me, the most important part of the day was getting to see all of the amazing ladies that were there.  So many guests traveled from out of town to come and share in the celebrations of the weekend, including my big sister in sorority who flew in all the way from Florida.  I felt so blessed to be able to share tea and scones with so many amazing people, and I honestly couldn’t have imagined anything better!  I can’t believe its 13 days until the wedding!!

August 20, 2012

because a lot of our clients are across the bridge, we usually meet with them over there. recently, I had 3 different clients mention how much they would love to see the studio and I thought I would oblige.. instagram style :)

This weekend I had one of my most memorable and exciting ‘firsts’.  When our former bride and friend Lauren asked me to come along and photograph her husband Drew’s homecoming, I felt honored and thankful that she wanted me there during such a special time.  Lauren and Drew were married in April of 2011 and Raye photographed them at their wedding.  Lauren even had a blue streak in her hair for something blue- how awesome is that?! :)  Five short months later, Drew was sent off with the Army overseas and would be there for eleven months.  With a strong military wife support group, an amazing family and her dog Gizmo by her side, Lauren waited patiently until Drew returned.  We found out the night before that Drew would be coming in the next day at 1:30.  So she asked one of her “wifeys” Nicki to come over and help her decorate the yard and help her get ready.  When I met up with her Saturday, Lauren was on cloud nine and I was so excited to see the look on their faces when the finally see each other.We weren’t the only ones anxiously awaiting Drew’s arrival. :) Nicki helped put red + blue streaks in Lauren’s hair.Once we saw that he arrived, we booked it to the baggage claim!Drew came home with other soldiers in his troop and their families were just as happy to see them. :) Lauren + Drew, I am so incredibly happy that you two are reunited and able to finally enjoy your new house and lives together.  I am so honored and grateful that I was able to be there for this joyous occasion.  Thank you Drew for all that you have done and continue to do for our country and thank you Lauren for being his hero.  xoxo Kristie

July 30, 2012

After getting over all of the general excitement about being engaged, the one part of the planning process I was looking forward to the most was finding the perfect dress. I had all of these amazing designs that I had saved over the years and many that I had come up with on my own. I thought, with all of these beautiful and stunning dresses to choose from, there would be no problem finding one I would love enough to get married in. Little did I know the challenges that would await me.

After a while I realized that instead of the common problem I hear from other brides about not finding a great dress.. I found too many. Now let me clarify – there were many that didn’t really work as well but my biggest issue was trying to pick ‘the one’ from among my favorites. For various reasons, I began weeding through my finalists and eliminating those that were too formal, too casual, too poofy, had too many flowers, prohibited movement to dance or had something that just wasn’t quite right. I quickly realized that my handful of favorite dresses had been dwindled down to none. That’s right; n o n e….

SO after a slight mental breakdown and another freak-out where I informed my family that they could choose my dress and surprise me with it the morning of the wedding, I reluctantly agreed to go back out there. I knew what looked good on my body, knew what didn’t and had a firm list of small things I really didn’t want. I wished desperately to be finished with this specific aspect of wedding planning and at some point I realized that I had gone to 10 stores in 3 states and had tried on approximately 100 dresses

Needless to say, I was beyond over it. Fearing that I really would resort to the family surprise dress idea, my mom and aunt took me back to the one dress store where I had felt completely comfortable and truly connected with the owner. Ironically, the store is called The Perfect Dress. I went in and explained my dilemma to Sarah, who after smiling and shaking her head at me said, ‘alright, let’s get to work!’ Without so much as hinting about my last visit, she put my number one dress in the dressing room for me to try on again. I was shocked she remembered! Once I had the dress all clipped on and was standing in front of the mirror she looked at my face and asked what was wrong. I explained to her my OCD problems with the bottom of the dress (looked too Belle-like). She told me I was fine for feeling that way and had me describe exactly what I had in mind. As I continued to peruse around the store, she was ferociously typing into her computer and talking on the phone. Just before I was ready to give up and go home, she came over to me with a huge grin on her face and informed me that she had spoken with the company that made the dress and that they were willing to change the bottom of the dress and suddenly my dream dress was a reality! I was floored and awed by her diligence to make sure I was happy. She truly went above and beyond the call of duty and I couldn’t be happier.

So after months of endless searching, I finally found/created the wedding dress of my dreams, and it wouldn’t have been possible without my family’s unyielding support and the wisdom of the one and only Sarah Dryden. To all of my fellow brides out there, the moral of my story is that there really is a perfect dress for every bride. You just need an open mind, determination, and patience (truckloads of patience) to find it.

July 02, 2012

I usually hate cold and rainy days but there is something about a summer storm that I love!  I woke up to the sound of a loud crack of lightning and thunder rolling over the fields at 4:00 this morning.  After rushing to my car in my PJs to roll up the windows (you think I’d learn) I sat on the porch and watched the storm.  I love seeing the lightning illuminate the sky for that split second and hearing the hollow, bellowing sound of the thunder rolling over the fields.  I especially love a summer rain for the garden!  We plant a garden of fruits + vegetables every year for our family and friends.  When squash + zucchini come in, you can be sure to see Mom whipping up a new recipe using one or both of those vegetables.  She just made Zucchini Brownies (ewww right?!) but they were actually delicious!  I love fresh produce at my fingertips.  It’s always great to freeze some so that you can have them during the winter.  I love frozen blueberries on cereal!  Farmers’ Markets are a great way to find different and unique produce along with the staples.  Plus, the atmosphere is always fun and pleasant!  To check out a list of our local Farmers’ Markets, click here.  I’ve also included the recipe for Zucchini Brownies for all of you daring souls out there willing to give it a try! :)

Reef was helping me weed in the garden this morning before it got too hot.  He inspects the crops. :)

Zucchini Brownies

(may not be the healthiest but I’m sure you can substitute applesauce for the sugar- I’m just not sure the conversion)

Beat Together:

1 1/2 cups of sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup butter



2 cups grated zucchini

2 TBSP cocoa

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour


Pour mixture into a greased 9×13 pan


1 cup chocolate chips

2 TBSP sugar

1/2 cup chopped nuts of your choice


Pour topping over mixture and bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes.  Share + Enjoy! :)


June 25, 2012

I always seem to be late to the party… or it’s a party I don’t think I want to attend - only to find out that all of the ‘cool kids’ are going and I don’t want to miss out. such was the case with twitter, instagram and even facebook. I thought all would be a waste of time and had a ‘why does anyone care what I’m doing?’ attitude about them – still do a little bit when I find myself posting over 4 instagram photos a day. but when I discovered pinterest, I was in heaven. I have always been a hoarder of magazines, spending complete afternoons going through them and ripping out tear sheets of clothes I loved, design ideas, recipes and knitting patterns. so not only did I have these x 1,000 at my virtual fingertips with pinterest, I got to see things my friends thought were cool too!! if I’m honest, this winter it would take me A LOT to tear me away from my computer when I found a category I loved (5 hours spent looking at tattoo ideas alone!) but as the weather warmed and we got busier, my pinterest time was all but non-existent. then I heard rumblings of copyright infringement and potential lawsuits where it concerned photography on pinterest that caught my attention and to my computer I went (maybe I found the best salsa recipe ever during this time, but that’s neither here nor there) now I had known that brides were ‘pinning’ GPA images on their boards long before we created a page specific to the studio and I didn’t mind – in fact I loved it because they were pinning from the blog so therefore our watermark was on the image and if anyone else clicked on that image it took them back to our blog – win win right? at least I thought so. I know that not all photographers love or appreciate this and I totally get it, I’m just speaking for me. in everything I read, the basics were the same in terms of permission and copyright and as a photographer all of that makes sense to me. the slippery slope to me was if I had a photo of a beautiful blanket pinned to my knitting board, when I click on it and it takes me to the knitting blog or yarn manufacturer who initially posted it, haven’t they purchased the right from whichever photographer shot it to use it commercially? I’m assuming yes to which I could be completely wrong but it was all making my head hurt. as I tried to make sense of the ethics of it all (while finding an adorable hat pattern) I decided that for me, I would only be concerned about our images and until I see them misused, I’m cool with it. so kris and I have our own pages and we also have a page for GPA – on the GPA page we have boards that are clearly marked that they contain our images of family, wedding, brides, etc. but we also have boards relating to what we love in terms of wedding decor and style and clothing/hair ideas. none of our pages have ‘inspiration’ boards where I’ve seen other people pin posing ideas that other photographers have shot. for me, photography is all about light, composition, exposure and subject and all of our ‘subjects’ are different so why would I want to duplicate someone else’s posing idea for my couple or person? we are being hired for our eye, our vision – not someone else’s. if a bride asks me to shoot something she saw on pinterest, will I? absolutely! this has been happening to me for years as brides have seen images they loved in martha stewart weddings or the knot – nothing new….. but I can happily report that theses images almost never make it to the album and they fall in love with our initial vision for them. I must say however, that I have noticed many more inspired DIY favors, centerpieces and wedding decor specific to our couple’s personalities and locations since pinterest’s popularity and I love it! just like etsy, it’s allowing our couples to make their special day that much more about them as a couple which is great and from a visual perspective, really fun to shoot. so until late-november my time to hunt down the perfect back splash tiles will be limited, but to any of you that like what you see on here on the blog, all I can say is ‘happy pinning!’

this was the question on everyone’s mind the week prior to our second annual bridal shoot for the perfect dress bridal salon. last year we were blessed with a sunny (if chilly) day but this year’s forecast was gloomy and wet. kris and I took an hour in the morning to drive around finding location alternatives in and around snow hill as we had a crew of 12 lined up and unless we had to, we didn’t want to cancel. thanks to breaks in the weather and 2 great indoor options, we had a sucessful and super fun day! thanks to ALL who helped especially our hair + makeup artists courtney and meagan, sarah from the perfect dress and our models: payton, lexie, prescilla, lindsay, noelle and dani! you all were amazing and so great to work with – thanks for all of your hard work and making this year’s shoot fabulous! see you in 2013 :) xoxo

since we started working together, we have traveled extensively together from everywhere to las vegas, jamaica, the hudson valley and many places in between – not to mention countless drives across the bridge for weddings, e-sessions and client consultations. some people don’t travel that well together but fortunately we always seem to have so much fun. so when a chance to take a real road trip presented itself, we were both enthusiastically on board. see our friend, photographer and camera bag designing diva kelly moore was having an impromptu workshop focusing primarily on off-camera lighting. we are for the most part natural light photographers, but have been playing around with off camera lighting, specifically in our fashion work and to learn some tips from someone we admire and love was the perfect reason to hit the road. we hit 9 states in just 6 days. we ate some of the best southern food and bbq. we visited some iconic historic sites. we met lisa marie presley :) to see our travels via instagram photos, click here. and although our time on the road was amazing, it was the day spent with kelly that really made it great. working with some amazing models we shot, talked and just had the best time!

June 04, 2012

today is our 7 year wedding anniversary and this morning while I was looking for a wedding photo to post on facebook it got me thinking… if I had it to do over again, would I change anything? the answer is yes and I thought I’d share my experience here for monday moments.

what I wouldn’t change:

  • my groom: as obvious as this may sound, it took me until my early 30′s to find someone who made me laugh every day, loved me for me, thought my quirks were charming, appreciated my ambitions and completely ‘got’ me. I wouldn’t have cared if we got married at a drive threw chapel in vegas – he was my absolute best decision that day and always.
  • our location: here in snow hill on the banks of the pocomoke river with a gorgeous handmade arbor (an amazing “something borrowed” from one of my couples who were married beneath it shortly before us – I still think of them every time I look through our photos. love you steph+jeff!)
  • our photographer: it was kristie… nuff said! :)
  • my bridesmaids and their dresses: all of my girls traveled in from as close as baltimore to as far as california and colorado. I know I’m biased, but I have the best friends on the planet! when I was thinking of what they should wear, I opted to just pick a color (chocolate brown) and have them wear whatever dress they wanted – whether they already had a dress in their closet or bought one for the wedding didn’t matter to me. they varied so much in height and one had just had a baby and it was important to me that they all liked what they wore and that they would indeed wear it again.
  • my flowers: sue ann hudson is an artist and a creative genius. again, I just gave her some colors and left the rest up to her. the result was magical
  • having our dogs in the wedding:  jake, our older pup at the time, walked down the aisle with my best friend heidi’s daughter sky and stayed up front the whole ceremony. he even decided to bark when the statement was read ‘if there is anyone who can show just cause why this couple should not be married, speak now or forever hold your peace.’ and although I’m certain that it was a bark of joy, it got a lot of laughs. sampson who was practically a puppy back then acted as our ring bearer and thanks to the mad knot skills by our friend randy to the flower wreath around sam’s neck, it took 3 of us to get the rings untied when the time came. again, spontaneous laughter filled the ceremony and our hearts. I realize that we had the luxury of only living 3 blocks away from our ceremony location and it was easy to have someone bring them home before the reception, but I simply couldn’t imagine spending such a big day without them.
  • my dress: it literally took me 1 minute to get into, it was beautiful and I could actually move, sit and dance as though I was wearing comfy jeans and a t shirt.
  • our reception food: we choose a large selection of tapas (small plates). that way, mingling was encouraged, people got to taste a lot of different foods and our guests could basically graze the entire night. we didn’t want a formal sit down dinner where we would have to sit down for a long time and miss out on seeing all of our friends and family.
  • our rehearsal dinner: we had it at baywitch in greenbackville on the screened in back porch. since so many of our guests were coming to the shore from out of town, we thought a big ‘ol eastern shore seafood feast would be perfect and it was.
  • our wedding ceremony music: click here to see my blogpost on that
  • our officiant: chuck strickler was a minister in snow hill for decades and he married my parents, baptized me and presided over both of my grandparent’s funerals. I always love it when you can feel a special connection between a couple and whoever is doing their ceremony be it a minister, priest or special friend and with chuck there is so much history and love

what I would have changed

  • our wedding date: 3 weeks after we got engaged my mother got diagnosed with terminal cancer. my first thought was that we were going to move the date up but you had to know my mother to understand why we didn’t. one, we had already sent out the save the dates and my mother was a hearty practitioner of proper etiquette. two, by moving the date she said that we didn’t have faith that she could fight and win this battle. although I was a realist and knew that given her prognosis a year was a long time but I honored her wishes and kept it as we had planned. and for the first 9 months she was responding so well to treatment that it appeared that she may indeed be there in the front row, but sadly she passed 2 months before our wedding. however her spirit was indeed there – in the beautiful sunshine we had at the perfect time, in the gentle breezes though the river tree branches and during the many moments of laughter and love.
  • a wedding planner: if you know me at all, you know that I am a bit of a control freak and I just knew that because I had been in the wedding industry for a few years, that I could handle our relatively small (80 guest) wedding by myself. I had my good friend ann by my side, but I still felt compelled to set all of my tables, make all of my favors and programs, arrange the burlap on our hay bale seating, etc… myself. I even ran down the road mid-reception to get a copy of our first dance song because the DJ couldn’t find it. I know now that I would have enjoyed myself more and would have been able to spend more time with my friends and family had I handed all of those duties over to a professional. even if you don’t have my ‘issues’ I can’t recommend a planner enough – it takes the potential wedding day stress off of everyone from the couple to the vendors.
  • speaking of a DJ: we would have had a band – there’s just something about the energy that comes with a live band that can’t be duplicated.
  • a first look: I am fairly sure that I hadn’t photographed a wedding where a couple did a first look before the ceremony before we got married – because if I had, I know we would have opted to do that. don’t get me wrong, turning the corner while holding onto my father’s arm and seeing roland waiting down the aisle for me was a wonderful moment that I cherish. but I would have loved to see him before the ceremony, soak it all in and share our excitement together, just the two of us (well, and kristie obviously. never forget the photo ops lol) since then, many of our couples do a first look and they are by far some of my favorite photos that I have taken.
  • our wedding day would have been on a friday or sunday: if all of our guests were local this wouldn’t have been a big deal, but because so many were from out of town, I think getting married on a friday and then having the rest of the weekend to spend with everyone would have been great. same with a sunday, everyone got to maryland either late thursday or early friday. I would have loved having all day saturday with them just chilling out at a cook out.

having said all of this doesn’t take away from the single most important part of this day. I married my best friend and it was the beginning of our life and journey together. nothing will go exactly how you want it or plan it. ever. it’s better to know and accept that before your wedding and focus on what’s important – your new marriage. trust me, as a bride and as a wedding photographer, I love all of the ‘stuff’ and details as much as anyone but don’t let it distract you from the big picture and soak in all of the happiness that being surrounded by your friends, family and your beloved brings. xoxo