Branding Head Shots | Virginia Portrait Photographer

M & M Flowers Virginia

In a day where visual imagery makes up 93% of all human communication [Hubspot.com] combined with a growing number of small businesses with an online presence, it is essential to have images of your face along with images that describe your mission statement and process.   They should also illustrate the values that represent your business.  This is important because your online presence- your website and social media – is the prologue to your client’s experience.  Overall, consumers want to see who they are working with.  Are they friendly?  Are they good at their craft?  Will I have a good experience? 

I Do Weddings With Love

Branding headshots convey your professionalism and your brand by giving a potential client an idea of your demeanor and personality.  A smile, for example, communicates warmth and approachability.   Since potential clients want to see and know who they will choose to work with, your images help to develop trust in you and your brand.  Connectivity is a natural human desire and can be supported through the use of imagery before you meet face to face. 

Magical Vacation Planner

How do you get the most of your branding headshots?  We have a four tips to get you started. 

1.  Choose 3 words that describe how you want potential clients to feel when they connect with your business online.  These words should be connected to your mission statement.  Work with your photographer to find ways to illustrate these words in your imagery. 

2. Choose professional and casual outfits that reinforce your message.  Think of your imagery as a “job interview” and dress for the clients that you are wanting to hire you.  

3.  Have your hair and make-up professionally done.  This is important because YOU are essentially your storefront.  While it’s fine to be transparent on social media and show up without makeup in “real life”, the images that officially represent your brand should represent your brand as “the job interview” version of you.

4.  Light or dark?  Consider and choose backgrounds that “match” your brand.  If you want your online images to be overall light, for example, then work with your photographer to find a background that is overall light in color. 

Anniversary Session Tips | Outfits and Kids | Virginia Portrait Photographer

Have you ever had one of those moments when you were preparing for your family’s anniversary session? You had the perfect outfits chosen for your entire family, including yourself and your spouse, of course.  After all, you did your research.  You pored over Pinterest and chose the perfect color palette for your family.  They were the perfect clothing pieces for your family to wear and you styled them to the smallest detail.  And, you just KNEW that everyone would be happy about their outfits, right?  If your life is anything like mine, you know that what you dream of your kids looking like for an anniversary session and the reality of their opinions of those adorable outfits can be polar opposites.  But you are the mom or dad, so you *MAKE* them wear those perfect outfits.   What do they do?  Thank you for how amazing they look?  Nope.  They cry. Scream. Pout. Scream and cry some more.  Now, you have a headache.  You are stressed, because you have to be at your session in 30 minutes.  Everyone is freaking out.  You finally get there and you are pretty much on time, but your kids just aren’t as cooperative as usual.  They are grumpy. Their faces are still a little red.  They are not smiling and won’t respond to others who speak to them because they are still mad.  The extra irritability in them is making it difficult to enjoy the session, and you keep bugging them to smile, or ELSE.  You and your spouse are working hard to keep your “church faces” on.  After the emotional escalation resulting from the power struggle with your kids, no one is feeling like being photographed.  In fact, it is going to take a while for them to calm down and find their laughter and smiles.  If this has ever happened with your kids, you are not alone.  (Please tell me I’m not the only one!)

Before going full time with my photography business, I was a public school teacher.  I taught Kindergarten mostly, but also served for a while as a middle school English teacher and briefly taught high school Spanish and ESL.  I have worked with a wide range of kids, from well behaved to students with behavior disorders and other challenges.  They all have something in common.  They all want some type of “control” with the ability to make their own choices.  As adults, we know that kids, with their lack of experience and maturity are not always good decision makers.  Their unique “fashion sense” might be influenced by this fact. 

What works?  I have found that when you give kids a choice, it reduces the likelihood of a power struggle.  The key, though, is to provide a limited range of choices that will work for your color palette and style.  Be flexible.  Start with your color palette.  Choose 2-3 outfit options that include not only colors from the palette, but also items they enjoy wearing such as a favorite shirt, shoes, dress, necklace, etc.  “What if my child begs to wear something like a super hero shirt or a Halloween costume and it doesn’t fit the style we are going for?”  Turn it into a reward.  For example, you could suggest that your child can wear it for the last couple of pictures during the session.  “If you choose one of these options over here, then we will bring your _______ so that you can wear it in a few of the photos.”  Using it as a reward will encourage your child to earn the privilege as opposed to telling them no in this situation, especially if you feel that it will trigger an emotional power struggle.  If you communicate with me that your child is bringing their super hero shirt, I can also remind them that they will get to wear their special shirt in “just a little while”.

What colors and clothing choices are best?  The image below of colors that work well together is a great place to start.  Consider using items that you already have to create your style for your anniversary session.  Perfection isn’t required!  Everyone should feel comfortable in their outfits and they should feel that they look great!  The old adage “if you look good, you will feel good” is true here.  Make sure that everyone has comfortable shoes (or comfortable shoes to wear as we walk to various locations) and well fitted clothes.  Limit patterns in clothing so that the patterns will enhance your image instead of distract from the real subject of the images: your family.    

An Intimate Backyard Wedding | Zuni, Virginia | Virginia Wedding Photographer

An intimate backyard wedding was the perfect way to finish out my summer wedding season, complete with sweet tea and lemonade, sunshine, blue hydrangeas and red roses, and a front porch ceremony. Debbie and Matt wanted a small and simple wedding. Having their wedding at Debbie’s parents’ home in Zuni, Virginia was the perfect venue for them.

Close friends and family came to their small wedding. Debbie’s brother, a United States Coast Guardsman, officiated their beautiful ceremony in front of her parents’ 1940’s era white farm house, as their bridesmaids and groomsmen stood with them. Their endearing ceremony reflected love and commitment, laughter and joy, and persevering through obstacles together. Debbie and Matt hold these values close to their hearts.

After the ceremony, guests enjoyed a backyard barbecue catered meal with all of the fixin’s. As guests finished eating, several close friends and family members gave speeches, sharing their love for Debbie and Matt. One of the sweetest moments was when Debbie’s teenage daughter stood up and shared about her mom’s happiness and her support for the new marriage. After speeches and toasts, the dancing began, with D.J. Bob filling the air with the best dancing tunes, including “The Git Up” by Blanco Brown. It was such a treat to capture this joy-filled celebration!

Vendors:

Photographer: Belle Eve Photography

Florist: The Main Event by Emily

Cake: The Cake House

DJ: D.J. Bob

Dress: Torrid

Rentals: S & B Tent Rentals

Venue Tour | Mariners’ Museum | Virginia Wedding Photographer

Seated in the heart of Mariners’ Park in Newport News, Virginia sits a beautiful gem- The Mariners’ Museum.  Founded in 1930, The Mariners’ Museum is an incredible local landmark filled with maritime history.  You can read more about the history of the museum here.  The wedding and event aspect of the museum is equally impressive.  As Jennifer Kohms, Rental Sales Coordinator, led me on the tour, I was immediately impressed not only by her knowledge of maritime history but also her passion for both the museum and for helping couples use the facility for their wedding venue.

Options.  So many options!  That is what went through my mind as Jennifer explained the three packages available and what they include as we walked through the museum, inside and outside.  In addition to the three packages offered (The Port Package, The Starboard Package, and The Anchor Package) you may also choose event enhancements to create your very own unique wedding experience.  For example, you can add on the option of having your ceremony at the historic Lions Bridge and / or keeping the Monitor Center or Main Galleries open for your guests, depending on the package you choose. 

A few of my favorite features that were unique were the outdoor spaces in the Courtyard, the Front Lawn, the Main Lobby, as well as the many spaces for bridal portraits.

A Gold and White Warwick Yacht & Country Club Wedding | Newport News, Virginia | Virginia Wedding Photographer

Sheer joy is when two people who love one another unite their lives together. Felisha and Gary’s wedding at Warwick Yacht & Country Club in Newport News, Virginia was definitely a memorable one. I looked forward to their wedding day all summer long! The emphasis on love and family made their day so special. “It’s all about family.”

Family

That sentiment was evident throughout the day, from the time before the ceremony until the end of the reception. Their wedding was most definitely a family affair! Felisha and her sisters created the beautiful bouquets, the boutonnieres, and also designed the lovely reception tablescapes. In addition to the flowers, Felisha also made the invitations and the favors for their guests.

The Beginning

Felisha and Gary’s story began three years ago when Felisha went on a cruise to Mexico. At the time, she wasn’t looking for love. She met Gary on the cruise and over time their friendship and love flourished. They maintained a long distance relationship- Gary lived in New York and Felisha lived in Newport News. They would travel as often as they could to spend time together. As their love grew it became increasingly difficult to remain apart. After praying about it, they began making plans to get married. As a couple they both value loyalty, integrity and communication. They encourage and pray for each other, talk about everything, and listen to each other.

Ceremony

Their gold and white ceremony overlooked the beautiful marina and Deep Creek. Verses for I Corinthians 13 were written in white script on wood and lined the aisle as guests entered and were seated. Although it was very hot outside, that detail faded as the Maid of Honor, Best Man, the Flower Girl and Ring Bearer, and then finally, Felisha. The bride was escorted by her two sons to the main aisle. Her sons then handed her off to her father, who escorted her down the aisle to meet her groom. The ministers spoke of selfless love and commitment as Gary and Felisha beamed. Seeing them recite their vows and exchange rings with big smiles filled my heart with happiness.

Vendors

Venue: Warwick Yacht & Country Club

Photographer: Joy Mills Belle Eve Photography

Event Rentals: Hampton Roads Event Rentals

DJ: DJ Nene

Cake: Designs by Erinn

Catering: Warwick Yacht & Country Club

Grooms Attire: Macy’s

Five Reasons for Anniversary Sessions | Virginia Family Photographer

57Anniversary-Session-Newport-News-Park-Newport-News-VirginiaSchool is about to begin here in Hampton Roads!  Fall will be here on September 23!  It is definitely time to start thinking about scheduling your Fall Anniversary Session, even though it is definitely “very Summer” outside!  It takes some energy and planning to get a family together for a photography session, but it is so beneficial.  Let me explain.

  1.  It is important to document your family each year as it grows and changes.  As parents, we think we will remember all of the details of our children’s sweet faces at 3, 5, and 10 as they grow through their childhood.  For the most part, we do remember many things.  However, time reduces and fades some of the details of those memories.  Photographs are powerful memory triggers for us as we reflect on those moments and share the stories behind it.  Not only do those photos help you remember, but your children will someday be able to see loved ones and moments that they may not completely remember.  A while back, my momma gave me some pictures of me with my Mamaw.  I was a toddler in the images and don’t remember that time with my sweet Mamaw.   Those images are such precious treasures!
  2. Anniversary Sessions are fun!  My job is to capture your natural interaction with your family as we go through your hour long session.  I love to laugh and want you to enjoy the time with your family as I capture your family!  Let’s have some fun!
  3. This is a great time to gather your family together, especially if you have children who no longer live with you or grandparents who would love to be included in the memories.
  4. Anniversary Sessions allow opportunities to purchase beautiful updated artwork for your home or as a gift for a grandparent’s home.  I have various products you can purchase, such as professionally printed luster paper prints, canvas gallery wraps, and metal prints.   Using my special gallery, you can even see how it will look on your walls.
  5. You will have a keepsake for not only your family, but for your children’s future families.  Will future generations of your family be able to see what you looked like and know a part of your story?  We thankfully have images of my great grandparents and know some of the family stories.  In this digital day and age, we are so dependent on digital images.  However, we may not have them forever.  If your phone dies, the cloud disappears, or your computer crashes, what would happen to your images?  Prints remain regardless of technology.

Five Tips for Finding a Wedding Photographer | Virginia Wedding Photographer | Belle Eve Photography

You just got engaged. You have chosen your wedding date. You have chosen your wedding planner and have narrowed down your choice of wedding venue. You found your florist, the caterer, the cake artist, the DJ, a stationer, and your stylist. You have your eye on several wedding dresses and have made an appointment to get fitted for the dress of your dreams for the biggest event of your life. Now, how do you even begin looking for a wedding photographer? Which photographer will be the best choice for you? Here are five tips you can use when searching for your wedding photographer.

  1. Take the time to look at the portfolio on their website. Consider the editing style you’re looking for. Light and airy? Moody? Clean / true to life? Does the editing style appear consistent overall? If you absolutely love a certain photographer but prefer a completely different processing finish, the final product may result in frustration. Understanding the editing style of your photographer will help you to have realistic and accurate expectations of the final product.
  2. Along the same lines as processing and editing style is “photography style.” If a photographer is strictly photojournalistic, they will document your wedding day with a minimal emphasis on posed portraits and styled details. There will be mostly candid images. On the other hand, a traditional wedding photographer will mostly shoot carefully posed images of key moments. The photographer will have a strict “shot list” and will use that to provide images of those moments. Currently, the majority of wedding photographers in the Hampton Roads area use a “documentary / wedding photojournalism” style, which is a hybrid of the two previously mentioned styles. They capture candid moments and posed moments throughout the day, providing you a combination of images where you and your guests are “camera aware” and images where you and your guests don’t appear to “notice” the camera.
  3. Consider the photographer’s personality and temperament. Take the time to get to know your prospective wedding photographer during the consultation. It is really helpful to hire someone who isn’t going to clash with you, your guests, or other vendors on your wedding day. Having someone who causes strife and interpersonal conflict can contribute to a lot of unnecessary stress. Find a photographer with a positive attitude who is organized, professional and desires to serve you well.
  4. Light. Where will you be getting married? Outside during the day? Inside a church or other type of indoor venue? Will your reception extend into the evening after sunset? While some indoor ceremony sites have beautiful natural lighting, not all do. Most photographers begin learning to master their photography skills using natural light. However, when the situation arises where there is very little light or very dim light, it is usually necessary for the photographer to know how to utilize “off camera flash”. Using lighting equipment adds a professional “finish” to images taken in low light environments, especially after the sun goes down.
  5. Packages and Collections. After you decide on your photography budget, find out when you meet with your prospective photographer what is included in their base price. They will be able to educate you about what they include, set packages, or a la carte items. For example, will the base price include a downloadable gallery? How long will it take to get your digital gallery? Will there be a second shooter? Travel fees? What print products to they offer? Do they offer albums? Knowing exactly what is included will help you to plan ahead for what other products you will want to purchase after your wedding images have been processed so that your wedding photographer can serve you well.

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