Vendor Spotlight: Bergeron's Flowers & The Kreeger Museum

In over the 7+ years of being in the DC/MD/VA wedding market, we’ve worked with tons of vendors and learned who does good work, and who does GREAT work.  One such vendor who does not just great, but phenomenal work, is Christi Lopez of Bergeron’s Flowers in Springfield, VA.

I met Christi at a networking event several years ago and we instantly clicked and set out on a plan to do a styled photo shoot togethe whcih turned into working real weddings together as well as special events.  Recently, Christi was the florist for a drop dead gorgeous event at The Kreeger Museum.  (If you’re a fan of art and haven’t been there, you must go!)  I walked in and was in awe.  Christi’s beautiful work adorning elegant & colorful tables in the middle of rooms filled to the brim with original pieces Picasso, Braque, Monet, Modigliani, van Gogh and more!  (My double-major-Photography-&-Art-History-self was jumping for joy!)

It’s pretty obvious to say that any florist would have to be pretty awesome in order to “hang” in a room with the likes of those art greats.  Well, Christi did just that.  She used stunning combinations of flowers to highlight the beauty around.  I just love the pieces she did and I think you will too!  Check them out below!

St. Simon's Wedding at The King and Prince

One of the things I love about being a photographer is how I’m in a career that constantly changes and grows.  Imagery constantly needs to be new (as well as beautiful!)  in order to keep a captive audience.  Sometimes, we can get into our own ways and methods and shoot safely, instead of pushing boundaries and trying something new. 

So what is a self employed image maker to do to fix this?  I’ve found that second shooting for other photographers is invaluable.  It’s a way to step out of my routine.  With clients that are completely unknown to me.  I can be more objective.  I can play.  Most importantly, I can grow and try new things.  I am forever grateful to have found Kristi of Kristi Odom Photography.  Not only have I come to call her a dear friend, she’s a great “boss” to second shoot for, as well as a source of inspiration.

Recently, we traveled to a beautiful resort called The King and Prince on St. Simon’s Island, Georgia for the wedding of Jenn & Joe.  It was a chily (actually, freezing) day, and Jenn, Joe, and their bridal party were HUGE troopers to still insist on taking outdoor photos.  The landscape was so beautiful and varied, I’m glad they did!  We even got to go to an airplane hangar!  They were bummed the weather forced the ceremony inside, but The King and Prince offered a gorgeous room with a panorma overlooking the sea and the coolest aisle of petals I’ve ever seen!

Take a look at a few of my favorites!

Being Thankful.

I wanted to take a break today from sharing one of our weddings or engagement shoots and reflect a bit on 2013.  “Reflect already?!” you say?  Yes.  Here’s why:

Over the years I’ve grown to love winter.  After an always crazy Fall season, it’s our time to stop working 7 days a week, 15 hours a day.  It’s time to review our last year, evaluate if we need to make any changes in our branding or marketing.  Time to work on on those little pet projects that don’t get to see the light of day once August hits.  It’s about planning, being methodical, and progress.  So when something out of the ordinary happens and throws your world upside down, it’s hard to feel positive.  Liike say, when your home is broken in to and nearly all of your camera gear being stolen.

Yup.  You heard me.  Stolen.

We don’t know exactly when it happend…and frankly HOW it happened.  We don’t live in an easily accessible area.  We have an alarm system.  We have two dogs.  No one is ever unsupervised in our home.  Ever.  Even the windows are always locked.  Somehow it just vanished.  

A few weeks ago I attended an awesome photography conference in Mystic, CT where I spent the week being inspired and humbled by leaders in the wedding photography industry.  Canon Professional Services was there doing free clean & checks and tune ups on gear so I had packed up a bunch of gear and got it all spiffy again.  I came home from the conference and put the bag in our studio without unpacking it.  I wasn’t going to need any gear for a few days until we were leaving for vacation anyway.  Well, just before we had to leave for the airport we went to grab the gear we needed and the bag was gone!  Tore the whole house apart (which…frankly, there are no hiding places for a large bag full of gear).  Tore the garage apart.  Checked the cars (just in case).  Nothing.

About a month or so ago there was another photographer in the D.C. area who had a similar story.  All her gear was stolen without anything else in her house being touched.  I don’t know what to make of it other than there must be someone out there targeting photographers, who KNOWS who the photographers are.  It’s not a happy, warm fuzzy type of thing that I want to think, but I can’t come to any other conclusion.  It’s left me unnerved, sad, embarassed, and angry, but it’s also left me thankful.

I’m thankful I have insurance for one.  As much as I loved my gear, they’re just tools.  I’m thankful it’s wintertime and I don’t have a ton of shoots to do!  I’m thankful that nothing else was stolen.  I’m thankful even prior to this that I already have business practices in place to safe guard against this kind of thing, so it didn’t affect our clients.  (Even if they had stolen all of the computers and hard drives, we still have off-site backups of everything.)  I’m thankful I have photographer friends all over that have offered me gear to borrow should I need it.

Ultimately, in a long-winded & round about way, it has also made me thankful for our clients & for what we do.  Without them I wouldn’t be having this equipment, and this awesome job where I get to hang out at a big party every week and take photos.  I wouldn’t get to have “slow” winter seasons to rejuvinate & grow.  I wouldn’t get to meet amazing new people all the time, who turn into awesome clients, who turn into even better friends.

A few weeks ago this letter came across my desk from one of our clients and it just made my day, my week, my month even!  Erica and Lincoln have been so fun to work with.  They’re spunky and sweet, and the kind of people that brighten your whole day even if you’ve seen them for 5 minutes.  This is why I do what I do.  They sent us their adorable Save The Date (a crossword puzzle!) that used one of the engagement photos we took for them, and then wrote us a sweet and funny note (I think Erica may have been a tad delirous when she wrote it) that made me laugh at nearly every line.  The best part was the bottom: 

PPS:  It’s late and I just wanted to say please do not confuse this pink sheet of paper with a pink slip…we could never get rid of you guys!!!! (We brag about you ALL THE TIME!)”

Moments like these remind me that I am making an impact on people’s lives and providing something that they value and cherish.  It makes all the other BS of paper shuffling, contracts, insurance paperwork, bookeeping, accouting, marketing, and managing worth it.  Nothing, not even cowardly theives, can stop me from continuing my passion for photography and making impacts on my clients’ lives.


Fall Wedding at Raspberry Plain: Katie & Hans

October was a busy month for us and one wedding that kept us busy was the one of Katie & Hans in Leesburg, VA at beautiful, Raspberry Plain.  The historic mansion was the perfect setting on this crisp & blustery Fall day.  The wind sure gave us a run for our money while we were shooting, but in the end, we totally won.  Check it out:

Earlier, the little flower girl was very concerned that the DJ would be playing Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA”.  Chris Rao (awesome DJ extrordinaire!), of Sound Wave Entertainment made sure to make her little wish come true a little early while we were out photographing.  It was adorable when she started rocking out and the other ladies joined in.  Too cute!!

 Rick’s Flowers in Herndon, VA made these simply stunning bouquets!

 I can’t get over how adorable this couple is! 

Not only is the cake topper adorable, you would not believe how yummy this cake was by Edibles Incredible in Reston, VA.

I included this photo to tell everyone out there just how much I LOVE copper.  Look at how stunning this centerpiece is!!  So creative and it worked just perfectly into the orange & purple color scheme.

I think Katie & Hans (to date) have had my favorite sparkler send off.  They’re the first couple we’ve seen actually get into the fun themselves and grab some sparklers!  Awesome!!

What a night!

India: The After Session

After the main part of the Hindu ceremony was done, we got a chance to spend the day with Hannah, Rajesh, and Hannah’s family toodling around the Indian countryside to take photos for an After Session.  SO much fun!

We were driving on our wait to a temple and someone in the car noticed the camels on the side of the road.  One thing I learned about India is that nothing seems to be off limits regarding exotic animals.  Our driver made a U-turn and stopped at the roadside.  We got out and asked if we could use the camels for some photos.  A few rupees later, Hannah and Rajesh were up on a camel (and later, Kristi & I were, too!)

 Of course, one of my favorites is Hannah and Rajesh with one of the horses that was there.  Many of you know that I’ve been riding for about 20 years.  It was SO cool to finally see this beautiful Indian horse breed, called Marwari, in person.  They’re characterized by their unique, paisley shaped ears that tip in to the middle.  I was touched that the people there brought the white horse (very auspicious in Indian culture) over in it’s best show bridle.  It was beautiful.

Another thing I learned in India is that the phrase “it takes a village” rings very true.  These are all the men that had a hand in facilitating the photos with one camel and one horse. 

After the roadside camels, Rajesh took us to a spectacular Jain temple.  It was a challenge because of the religious rules involving just about zero tolerance for men and women touching (save for a hand hold) at sacred ground, but the place was so beautiful I wouldn’t have traded the location for anything! 

Mmmm!  Fresh coconuts!  YUM

Again, a HUGE thank you to Kristi of Kristi Odom Photography for taking me along on this trip.  Without you, this would not have been possible.