It is absolutely unbelievable to me that I’m blogging this session today!! I have known these two for quite a while - but I’ve known Joe for especially a long time! Joe is my cousin, and finally popped the question to his long time girlfriend, Annie - and they are getting married next YEAR!! What an incredible honor it was to take these photos for you two, Annie and Joe! I am so thankful for you both!
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If you've been following the blog for a little while, you might remember Lauren and Cody from their adorable Moraine State Park family session last year (click here to see more!).
A few weeks ago, Lauren reached out to me and let me know that her and Cody would like to have their engagement photos taken in downtown Beaver, PA! I had never been to downtown Beaver before (even though I've lived nearly 25 minutes away for basically my entire life!), so a few days later, I headed down to check it out. And oh my gosh - was I BLOWN away!
Downtown Beaver is the perfect mix of quaint buildings and bustling town life! The main street is full of adorable and eclectic restaurants, ice cream & donut shots, as well as lots of great little window shops. To say I was excited for their session was an understatement! During their session, we walked all around town, and even had time to visit the nearby historic train station! We had SO much stinking fun!!!
Lauren and Cody, you two are a blessing to work with and I could not be more excited for your wedding day!
Have you ever thought about what kind of legacy you’ll be leaving for your kids? For their kids? For the generations that come after you? Our legacy is what the people we love most and who love us most will remember us by when we’re gone - and legacy is what makes anniversary photos so important.
We all leave behind a little piece of our legacy every day in the way we talk, in how we act, and in how we choose to love the people around us. Those memories are stored in the minds and hearts of current and future generations – but so are the images they carry of us. They say that “a photo is worth a thousand words,” and that statement rings true even more so when someone is gone.
I’ve always seen photos as stakes in the ground, reminding us how where we’ve been and how far we’ve come. These “stakes” of sorts are what hang in our homes, decorate our coffee tables, and remind us of the good times and not so great times.
Take our first wedding anniversary photos, for instance. These photos are so precious to me for a multitude of reasons:
- We had them taken at one of our favorite places
- I wore won of my favorite dresses
- We took them during a time of rest
- They capture our joy at that time in our lives
- They show so many elements of who we are as a couple
ALL of those attributes point to a little piece of who Nick and I were at the time we took the photos, at that specific time in our lives. And now, we get to carry a little piece of that with us for the rest of our lives. Jenna and Nick in one of their favorite places, Jenna wearing that dress she loved, and both of them looking full present and joyful with each other.
Not only that, but we’ve changed SO MUCH since our first day of marriage. The way we interact together has changed. The way we move together has changed. What we wear has changed. And in a couple of years, all of that will probably change again. We’ll have grown physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually – and we want to remember that. And someday, when we’re gone, we want other people to remember that, too.
I've had a few couples over the years who have graciously trusted me to photograph them after a number of years of marriage. And let me tell you - those sessions are always some of my FAVORITES! Married people who are still in love are always so easy to photograph. So, because I had so much fun with these people, I reached out to a couple of them to see exactly why they decided to have their anniversary photos taken. And I loved their answers:
"We decided to get anniversary pictures because we think they are a great way to celebrate your years of marriage, regardless of how long you've been married, and reflect on how far you've come as a couple! Your understanding and love for each other grows so much deeper over time. Your wedding photos will always be so special, but there is something even more sweet about having that time together as a couple without the business of a wedding surrounding it. You can just be with each other and focus on how much your love has grown over the years. " - Kim C. (See her and her husband's anniversary photos here!)
"We had not invested in photos of ourselves since our wedding day SIX years ago. Our treasured engagement and wedding photos hang all over our home. The only problem is that six years ago we were 22 and 23 year olds just out of college. And it shows. We look SO young! But I kept putting off having updated photos done because I believed it was only something to do for the HUGE milestones in life: Marriage and babies. But then I realized that was silly, and our life now is worth documenting. So Naz agreed and we began the process of locking down all of the logistics to making these anniversary photos happen (shout out to Jenna who made the process a blast!).
Initially it seemed to us like a frivolous investment - which is why we kept putting it off. But that notion could not be further from the truth! It turns out, it was an incredible investment - not only into our home decor of updated, beautiful photos, but also into our marriage! It is so awesome to look at our updated photos and see how we’ve changed, not only in how we look, but in our interactions with one another. We are different people than we were even one year ago, and it's fun to see photos of ourselves in this season of life. Truly, they make us SO happy and we are so glad we decided to make this investment! When we see our gallery of images, we can't stop smiling. We see two people who are more in love than ever after six years of sharing life through the ups and downs, and growing stronger in the process!
A side note: It ends up being a BLAST of a date night. You get to get all dressed up and run around snuggling the love of your life. It's worth it to plan dinner or something else fun afterwards :) " - Elisabeth D. (Check out her and her husband's anniversary photo session here!)
So, why are anniversary photos so important? Because they are your physical legacy. They show how you’ve grown as a couple – and that’s something so precious worth remembering.
Having your engagement photos taken is one thing, but doing something with them is a whole ‘nother story! It can be easy to have your engagement photos taken, maybe use them for a save the date, then put them in a drawer. (I know the feeling – it took me a year to print my engagement photos after we had them taken, besides our save the dates!). So, I made a little list of a few of my favorite ways I’ve seen my clients use their photos to inspire a little creativity!
1. CREATE SAVE THE DATE CARDS.
Truth be told, this is why most people have their engagement photos taken, but I think it’s worth mentioning any way! Save the dates can come in so many unique varieties personalized to you and your significant other. Instead of just creating a card with a photo, you could go with a bookmark, a magnet, or even a sticker for someone to put right on their calendar!
2. DESIGN A WEDDING GUEST BOOK.
Most certainly one of my FAVORITE ways to see engagement photos used! A wedding guest book is the perfect way to feature lots of photos from your session and knock out something on your wedding to-do list.
3. MAKE SOME GIANT PRINTS OR CANVASES!
This might be another more obvious thing to do with engagement photos, but it’s one that doesn’t always necessarily happen. Printing out your photos is the best way to preserve your memories to hang around your house as daily encouragement. Plus – a giant canvas of an engagement photo looks AMAZING right outside the doors of your wedding reception!
4. DESIGN A WEDDING WEBSITE.
Engagement photos are perfect to use on a wedding website. Pro tip: wear colors for your engagement session that compliment your actual wedding colors to build a cohesive look throughout your wedding website!
5. USE THEM AS "THANK YOU" CARDS (OR POSTCARDS) FOR YOUR SHOWER.
How easy (and how much cheaper!) would it be to use one of your engagement photos on the back of a postcard for thank you cards for your shower?!
6. GIVE THEM AS GIFTS TO PARENTS, GRANDPARENTS, AND RELATIVES.
Christmas, birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day – whatever you can think of, your next holiday is covered! Sentimental gifts are always a win with relatives. One of my personal favorites to make for my relatives is a Christmas ornament! (I also love to make at least one photo Christmas ornament for myself each year to commemorate whatever took place that year!)
7. USE THEM AS DECORATION FOR YOUR SHOWER OR WEDDING DAY.
Get the most use out of those photos by actually using them in your shower and wedding décor! Framed prints and canvases integrate beautifully into any wedding style or theme.
8. MAKE PHOTO STAMPS OUT OF THEM!
This is one of my FAVORITES and one of the most unique uses I’ve seen! Before I saw Rachel and Paul’s stamps (below) on their save the dates, I didn’t even realize you could make customized stamps from something like engagement photos! Customized stamps are a great way to add a little personalized touch to your save the dates, shower invites, thank yous, or wedding invites!
What are some other ways you plan on using (or have used) your engagement photos? Is there anything you would add to the list?
There are not many Saturdays where I don't already have a wedding or session scheduled, but somehow, Anthony contacted me the week before he was planning on proposing to Shelby and I had NOTHING going on! To say I was PUMPED to photograph Anthony proposing to his girlfriend of seven years was an understatement!! These high school sweethearts met as a freshman and sophomore and have been dating ever since (much like my husband and I, who met our freshman and sophomore year, too!)
Throughout the week, we planned out the proposal, and Anthony decided on the platform of Duquesne Incline for the big moment. I stood towards the back of the platform, pretending to take photos of the Pittsburgh skyline as I watched for them from behind my camera and darted in and out of the incline building between bouts of rain. Thankfully, Shelby had absolutely no idea who I was, so I was able to hide in the open!
The pair meandered around the platform, taking photos, before Anthony stopped Shelby right in the middle of the platform, pulled out a ring box, and got down on one knee. I remember Shelby saying "you're really doing this right now!" as he slid the ring onto her finger and the crowd of people behind them erupted into applause and shouts of congratulations!
After I introduced myself to Shelby, we ran around Mount Washington for a few more photos before Anthony's second surprise for Shelby - a dinner reservation at the Le Mont Restaurant, with the most spectacular city views!
Shelby and Anthony, aside from being SO easy to get along with, are incredibly kind, joyful, and truly seem like the best of friends. It was such an honor to document this moment for you both! Congratulations, you two!!
There are few things I love more than a couple that are best friends - and these two most certainly are! Koreen and Kurt laughed their way throughout their entire engagement session, which made my job SO dang easy!! And really, we couldn't have hit up Hartwood at a better time. The trees were in all of their pink, spring glory - which perfectly complimented Koreen's gorgeous dress from Altar'd State!
And now, for a little back story from Koreen and Kurt!
How did you two meet?
We went to high school together. We met a few years later at a party, and the rest is history!
What do you and your fiance like to do for fun?
"We really enjoy getting to go for a walk together in the evenings. It's a great way for us to find out what is happening in our day to day lives. It's better than sitting on the couch kind of talking and staring at our phones. [Can I get an amen there?! - Jenna] We also enjoy going out to eat and watching movies."
How did he pop the question?!
"He took me out to my favorite restaurant (A Taste of India). Slid the ring in a box across the table and said 'that's for you' I thought that it was maybe another charm for the Pandora bracelet he has been filing up for the past few years. Once I opened the box and saw it was a ring I was shocked! I had every emotion happening all at once. He said 'well what do you think?' I said 'Yes! I can't believe this is happening right now!' When we got home he got down on one knee and asked me."
And now, without further ado - a few of my favorites from Koreen and Kurt's engagement session! Thank you two for trusting me with these precious memories - I cannot wait for the wedding!!
JHP FINALLY has an email list and I couldn't be more excited about it!! Over the course of the last year, I've had numerous current, former, and soon-to-be clients ask if there is a way they could stay updated on a monthly to bi-monthly basis with things like mini-session dates, cancellations, print specials, the latest blog posts new offerings, discounts, and the like, and I'm finally excited to open up this email list to anyone who would like to join!
With all of that being said, let me tell you a few things this email list is not:
- Spam (I cannot STAND when people send me useless emails!)
- A constant sales pitch (who wants to be sold to all the time?! Not me!)
If you are someone who is looking to stay updated on all things JHP, then this email list is certainly for you. Sign up below!
Kayla and Colin were so much fun to photograph at McConnell's Mills! Their bubbly personalities and kind demeanor made them so easy to get along with right from the start. We even figured out right before the session began that not only did Colin graduate from the same college as my husband (Geneva College), but that these two also go to the same church as we do (Grace Community Church)! There were so many connections happening, which always makes sessions that much more fun!
Also - Kayla brought the most adorable "love" shaped balloon with her that we were able to incorporate into the photos - so cute! (And just in case you were wondering, it's from Target!)
So without further ado - here are a few of my favorites from their golden light filled session!
Have you ever met people that are just so instantly comfortable to be around?! Kristin and Brian are most definitely those people! Not only are they easy to be around, but they are incredibly gracious and kind! These two wanted warm weather photos, and if you live in Pittsburgh, you know that we had one of the longest reaching-into-spring winters in a while. So we pushed back their engagement session date once - then twice - and you know what they say - third time's a charm, and it was SO worth the wait!
We met up at Allegheny Commons Park on a chilly morning, but lucky for us, there were some pink blossom trees that were in bloom, which is exactly what Kristin had envisioned (along with lots of green!).
And if you can't tell how adorable and in-love these two are from their photos, listen to how they met: Brian was a teller at a bank, and Kristin was a server at Eat'n Park (a little over three years ago). Kristin would come into the bank to deposit her tips, which is how she met Brian. After she met him, she tried to purposely make sure she would end up going to his counter (doesn't it sound like something out of a movie?!) - and a short while after, they had their first date (on St. Patty's Day!) which included some Eat'n Park grub!
Besides being such fun and kind people, Kristin is actually an incredibly talented wedding and senior photographer herself (check out her work here!!). It is always such a HUGE honor when someone else in the industry trusts me with their precious memories!
Without further ado, check out a few (or, okay, a LOT ) of favorites from Kristin and Brian's session! Cannot wait to celebrate with you two next month!!
If you’re getting married, chances are you definitely want to hire a photographer to document your day. Maybe even you’ve hired someone to take your engagement photos. But are there any other events you should consider hiring a photographer for?
Below are two additional wedding events that are typically heavily photographed, but not always by a professional photographer. Consider hiring a photographer for these two events to avoid the dreaded photo taking impairment effect.
1. Bridal Shower
Your friends and family put SO MUCH work into showering you with love and joy with so many beautiful and personal details, why not hire a photographer to document the day? That way, no one will have to worry about being on “camera duty” and everyone can enjoy your bridal shower fully engaged!
2. Rehearsal Dinner
Do you have a lot of extended family who you’re inviting to your rehearsal dinner? A rehearsal dinner is not only a great time for a photographer to get to know your family and bridal party before the wedding day, but a great way to get extra photos of your extended family all in one place! Plus – having time to take a few group photos at your rehearsal dinner is a great way to lessen the amount of extended family photos on the day of the wedding, saving time the day of your wedding for just having fun!
For more tips, tricks, and blog posts, be sure to follow @jennahidinger on Instagram!