Christie + Mike's Great Fall's Engagement Session - Sneak Peek

I always tell my brides and grooms, "Choose a place that resonates with you. Either a place you've been to a billion times because you just love to go there together, maybe where he proposed, or somewhere that just makes you go, 'Yeah! I really want photos done here.'" Choosing your engagement session location is not ONLY about how beautiful it is, because there is beauty to be found everywhere.

After some thought, Christie and Mike fell in love with the beautiful Great Falls park. We opted for the Virginia side for tonight's golden hour engagement session. This was a double golden hour session. Seriously, Christie is so phenomenally beautiful, it's not even funny. Toward the end of the session, as the sunset painted it's beautiful pastel colors over the falls, I realized, "Christie! You look like a sunset!" 

Okay, more about how beautiful Christie is and how much fun Mike was to have around later. Until their full engagement session is up on the blog, here's their sneak peek.

Great Falls engagement session, Virginia side; couple sitting down, looking at camera; rose gold engagement ring in moss and stone; couple sitting and chatting and smiling

I just have to point out Mike's incredibly sweet gift he gave to his bride-to-be, Christie. Christie loves games (I knew I liked this girl!) and so he got her a handmade wooden tic-tac-toe game. Isn't that amazing?!

Wooden handmade tic tac toe game; rose gold engagement ring photo; beautiful red headed woman and her fiance laughing and playing a game; couple walking while holding flowers in Great Falls

Stop what you're doing and admire Christie's natural beauty. Seriously. Wasn't I right people? She looks like a sunset! I am beside myself excited to see what she looks like on her wedding day!

Gorgeous red headed woman with her arms around her lover, deep in thought at Great Falls national park; close up ring shot with heart engraved compass

These gorgeous lovebirds have more photos coming their way. (That last photo just kills me - her eyes and his expression are perfection!) I'm going to get some rest, but as you can see, these photos are too good not to share immediately ;)

Warmly,
Brittany


Interested in your own engagement session in northern Virginia? I'd love to chat with you. Let's set something up that's unique to you and your fiancé(é). 

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Nicole + Alex's Intimate Ashburn Wedding

Apparently I thought I'd been writing blog posts since the fall, but I guess I was writing them in my mind the entire time and never actually on here. OOPS! 

With that, let's start over, okay? In fact, there's some changes coming to Brittany Renee Photography so really the gap was a fantastic way to break things up. I totally did that on purpose.

Nicole, her mom Andie and I met over coffee in Starbucks in Leesburg last December to talk about my wedding collections and what kind of wedding photography Nicole and Alex were looking for. Young, sweet and laid back, Nicole told me all about how she and Alex were all about music. After having just captured the wedding of two opera singers and earlier that spring second shooting during a very musically themed wedding, I knew it was going to be a great wedding and a great couple.

I'm going to be honest with you guys, I was a little nervous meeting Alex on the wedding day as opposed to beforehand. YES I always always have (and will continue) to strongly encourage my couples that they should take full advantage of their engagement sessions especially if one of them are a little on the camera shy side. Luckily, Alex was all game for cheesin' it up and getting everyone to laugh. That boy was on point today! I love it when a groom is able to make his beautiful bride laugh and smile so much. Do you realize how wonderful the photos turn out then?! Anyways, I'll gush on about that later.

Their intimate Christian wedding ceremony began at Our Savior's Way Lutheran Church in Ashburn, Virginia with soft lavender and spring colors. Surrounded by close family and friends, Nicole and Alex received their special present from Pastor Mann, listened to a hilarious joke about a mom giving her daughter advice right before she walks down the aisle... in fact, I have to share:

Pastor Mann told the congregation, "There was a very nervous bride who had a lot of pre-wedding jitters. To help her daughter out, the bride's mom gave her some last minute advice before she was going to walk down the aisle. She told her daughter that she just needed to focus on a few things. Walk down the aisle. Stand at the altar. Marry him. That's all she would have to do. The nervous bride clutched to her father as they walked down the aisle. She began to notice that everyone was giggling after she'd made her way to the altar. Apparently the bride kept muttering her mom's advice loudly enough for all to hear, 'Aisle. Altar. Him.'" 

wedding photographer ashburn


Okay, cheesy joke aside (I thought it was funny!) it was so wonderful to hear an engaging pastor.

One of my FAVORITE moments is watching the groom's face when he first sees his bride. Maybe even that moment juuuuuust before he sees her, when he's preparing himself for the next few seconds. Alex barely saw Nicole as she walked on her father's arm in the lobby, and as he smiled he took a big breath and his eyes fashioned in love as he smiled in awe of Nicole as soon as she stepped in the doorway with her father. Nicole's face was beaming as she met Alex's gaze, and I like to think that it's at that moment that each couple has their first "us" moment. 

Bride walking down the aisle with her father and the groom's first look at his bride in Ashburn, Virginia


After a beautiful ceremony, Nicole and Alex made their way out to be greeted by bubbles! 

bubble exit at Our Savior's Way Lutheran Church in Broadlands, Virginia


What a wonderful surprise it was to see some family members that Nicole and Alex weren't sure would be able to make it. The Wessell/Isom family formal list got a little longer, but their wedding album will be all the happier for it! Also, apparently all my made up words like squich are entirely understood by the amazing bride, Nicole. She knows what's up. 

Bridal party and family formal photos at the altar of Our Savior's Way Lutheran Church in Broadlands


As we had run out of time, Nicole, Alex and I made a break for the quiet garden area on the church grounds. It provided us with just enough shadows and filtered light during the harsh summer late afternoon sun. It was here that Nicole and Alex were able to catch their breath and be alone for just a moment. After a short portrait break, it was time to say goodbye. Hugs and congratulations were bestowed and I sent them on their way to their reception to be greeted by their family and friends.

Red headed bride and groom fine art portraits outside by the trees
Artistic shots of bride and groom, groom's bout, bride and groom walking and a kiss under the bride's veil
Detail shots of the bride's "something blue" ring from grandmother, groom's wedding band and bride's bouquet 
Fine art pictures of groom looking down at his bride smiling, the bride's wedding and engagement rings, and the details on the bride's dress


If you've ever wondered what an intimate collection looks like, here you have it! I realize not every couple wants or needs a photographer for all parts of their wedding day. Maybe getting ready shots aren't your thing, you really aren't interested in photos from your reception, or let's be honest... some couples just don't have the budget for a fine art photographer to be there for 8-10 hours! That's ok! You can still have amazing wedding photos to share for a lifetime and not miss a beat. 

Bride and groom walking toward the church they just married in

Head over to my contact page and let's get chatting about your wedding ;)

Warmly,
Brittany

The Chesky Family | Stone Bridge, Manassas Battlefield | Family Photographers Virginia

Family of four walking in sunset golden light among fall leaves

Tonight I had the beautiful pleasure of photographing one of my fellow creative's, Heather Chesky and her family. We chose the stunningly autumn appropriate venue of Stone Bridge of the Manassas Battlefields as our location for their family portraits. Virginia is abundant with colorful autumn leaves.  The scenery is truly picturesque! 

It may seem totally odd, but when her son's began kicking dirt up as they walked throughout our session, I was elated. I asked Heather to let them keep kicking the dirt as they walked. Not only is it authentic to their nature, they're  in fact little boys at play, but do you see that? Look at these beautiful glowing light!

toddler boy playing in leaves at manassas battlefields

A large part of my style is capturing people - of all ages - in their element and in their own moments. I don't mind getting a few traditional "Stand/Sit, Smile, Click" photos for traditional portraits, but when you come to a session with me you're going to find yourself exploring the scenery with your family. Tickle fights, love songs and random quiet dances will ensue. Look at her sweet boy enjoying the leaves falling from dad's arms! 

Mother snuggling toddler boy with sun peeking out behind them

Capturing beautiful moments between mother and child are amongst my favorite. Maybe as a mother myself I'm biased, but I know that feeling snuggling close to your littles, feeling them close to you and needing you to ensure them they're safe.

Family snuggling up for portraits in autumn at Manassas battlefields

My heart soars when I'm allowed to capture families, couples, children, and friends open to each other and have fun. This sweet moment between mom and dad while holding onto their handsome crew is one of my favorites. Treasured tender moments like these are why I love being a documentary styled photographer.

Warmly,
Brittany

 

 

 

The Allen Family Glimpse | Lake Accotink | Fairfax Family Photographer

Lake Accotink in Springfield is one of my favorite locations for fall family photos. Honestly, I love it for photos no matter the season, but it's particularly gorgeous in autumn because it's abundant with trees and they don't disappoint with fall colors!

The Allen family came out with me at sunset for some updated portraits. As always, here's a glimpse into their session :) I can't wait to share more with you once they've seen their final gallery!

We all agreed, this leaf definitely looked like a heart! <3

Toddler holding red heart shaped leaf at Lake Accotink

Warmly,
Brittany


Moonlight at Quattro Goomba | Wedding Photographer Aldie, VA

Even though weddings happen for me every weekend, they never get old. In fact, it's like I'm attending one for the first time every time. 

Today's wedding united the souls and hearts of Jenna and Andrew Tabbey. It's nearing midnight, so I'll have to keep this short until their blog post, but at the end of their evening I saw the heart hanging off the barn in the back of Quattro Goomba and knew we needed to do a silhouette shot. 

Jenna and Andrew... thank you so much for having me! You treated me like a friend, and I truly can't thank you two enough for being so kind hearted. Before you travel to your well deserved honeymoon, here's a quick sneak peek :)

 

Couple silhouetted by barn at Quattro Goomba in Aldie, Virginia

Safe travels!

Warmly,
Brittany ququattro

The New Mr. and Mrs. McBride!

Just popping in after a fun evening at Top of the Town in Arlington with Sheila and Kevin, the new Mr and Mrs McBride! 

Such a classy and elegant evening spent with a view to remember. Quick sneak peek before bed!

Just in case you're wondering, they smiled like this the whole evening. I've never seen a couple so much in love and so comfortable together. They exuded a kindred spiritedness that was remarkable. Check back soon to see their blog post and see for yourself :)

Thank you so much for having me along, Sheila and Kevin! <3

Warmly,
Brittany

Fournier Family Sneak Peek | Fall Mini's in Northern Virginia

The Fournier family came out with me tonight after signing up for their Fall Mini session a bit ago. Since their busy family has continued Saturday obligations, we just adjusted to Wednesday evening instead, no problem! :)

I can't share their gallery just yet, but their precious 8.5 month old daughter, Hensley, had a blast in between takes with daddy and I had to share her joy with you!
 

Feel free to share this image on social media! Just please do not crop out the watermark or edit this photo in anyway. Thank you! 

Warmly,
Brittany


Let's schedule a family session for you!

Susanna + Erick | Morrison House Wedding | Old Town Alexandria

Once upon a time, Erick got down on one knee in the most romantic city in the world - PARIS! - and asked Susanna to be his bride. Fast forward to the first week in October, and their sweet intimate wedding ceremony for family and very close friends is surrounded with reminders of their travels together. Most notably, of course, their Parisian adventure was prominently displayed throughout the Morrison House where their ceremony and reception were held in Old Town Alexandria. 

Love Lock Bridge inspired wedding decor; Parisian inspired wedding; Old Town Alexandria

This is one of the most adorable guest book replacements I've ever seen! A Love Lock Bridge tribute on their wedding day.

Eiffel tower place card holders; Eiffel tower wedding decor

Susanna had found these sweet little Eiffle tower name card holders. They were seriously so cute and added a really nice and unique touch to their setting area. Eiffel Tower and Parisian nuances were tastefully scattered throughout the Morrison House. It was like a treasure hunt!

Morrison House, bride getting ready in suite 404; www.brittany-renee.com

In suite 404 I found Susanna with her cousin and her mother helping her get ready. Her talented cousin took to styling Susanna's gorgeous long brunette locks and applying her makeup. 

Wedding rings in autumn sunflower; autumn wedding bouquet; www.brittany-renee.com

Long ago Susanna's grandmother kindly hand made that sweet little ring bearer pillow just for Susanna's future wedding. How incredibly awesome is that?! When your beloved family members think so far ahead for your future, and then so many years pass and you honor their time and talents in your wedding day... it hits all the feels. 

When a bride allows her bouquet to reflect the season she's chosen to wed in, it really is a wonderfully personal touch to the wedding day. This gorgeous orange sunflower donned her lush and richly colored bouquet. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to use it for her rings! 

Morrison House wedding ceremony in Old Town Alexandria, VA; www.brittany-renee.com

In an intimate room in the gorgeously redecorated and renovated Morrison House, Susanna's father walked her down the aisle to her Erick. You can see here how Erick beamed as soon as he saw beautiful Susanna walking towards him.

Documentary wedding photographers; intimate ceremony at the Morrison House in Alexandria; www.brittany-renee.com

Not every bride has the ability to say that her father not only walked her down the aisle but also officiated! A ceremony in all Spanish (sans their vows), the room was full of family and love. Small intimate weddings are always so dear to my heart. You can literally feel the joy in the room.

Bride and groom praying and walking down the aisle in ceremony at Morrison House

Announced as Mr. and Mrs. Coreas, Erick dipped his new bride for their first kiss as husband and wife. Shortly after they shared a peaceful prayer with Erick's father before walking down the aisle together.

Small wedding, group photo of all attendees with bride and groom in Morrison House ballroom

We weren't entirely sure if we could corral all of the attendee's, but as quickly as we did, they fell into place for a wonderful keepsake for Susanna and Erick -- a photo of every one who came to their wedding! 

Morrison House in Old Town Alexandria; Old Town Alexandria wedding photos; www.brittany-renee.com

Even though the day threatened rain, we stepped outside the gorgeous brick Morrison House to begin the bride and groom portraits as the guest enjoyed a well catered cocktail hour. 

Adorable bride and groom portraits in Old Town Alexandria; Virginia wedding photographers; www.brittany-renee.com

You wouldn't know that these two have never had professional photos together as a couple. As soon as we found our first spot to start warming up for photos, these two fell into place. 

Sweet bride and groom portraits walking in Old Town Alexandria; www.brittany-renee.com

Erick remembered all the little directions I'd given him throughout the beginning of their portraits and continued to implement them as we'd stop. Guys, you have no idea how awesome that is! These two were perfect models. I'm pretty sure I might call them for a styled shoot one day!

Small Eiffel tower statue with wedding rings

You can't not take a photo of their rings with the Eiffel tower, right? I mean, come on. They got engaged in Paris. Their entire reception was donned in tasteful Parisian touches. This was just bound to happen. 

The Morrison House was such a beautifully decorated venue for the new Mr and Mrs Coreas to get ready and get married in. The entire staff was helpful and kind, and I'm sure that helped Susanna remain calm on her wedding day. 

There's no doubt in my mind that Susanna and Erick were meant to be together. It's so hard to explain in words the comfort they had with each other as they were exchanging vows, walking around Old Town Alexandria, and giving thanks to guests during their reception. Susanna and Erick, here's to many years of laughter, love, and health!

Warmly,
Brittany

Venue: Morrison House, Alexandria, Virginia
Bride's Dress: David's Bridal
Bride's Shoes: Guess
Bride's Jewelry: David's Bridal
Bride's Hairpiece: FAYBOX
Groom's Tux: Charles Tyrwhitt
Groom's Shoes: Johnston and Murphy
Eiffel Tower Card Holders: Kate Aspen
Flowers: Atelier Floral Design
Cellist: Tim Thulson with Bialek's
Cake: Alexandria Pastry Shop
 


Planning a wedding? Need family portraits?

I'd be honored to capture your special moment -- wedding, anniversary, family photos, new baby. Let's chat and see what we can do for you!

Sneak Peek! Mr + Mrs Rooks | Amissville Outdoor Wedding

Samantha and Michael are all about the details in their Nightmare Before Christmas themed wedding! Honestly, when Sam mentioned this in one of our consultations, I got giddy. I love love love loooove it when a couple picks an awesome theme. 

Just getting in from their portraits, but to tide you all over, I had to share a few goodies from their rainy wedding day. 

Nightmare Before Christmas Wedding Theme; Virginia Wedding Photographers; Brittany Renee Photography
Rainy wedding day bride and groom photo; Warrenton Wedding Photographer; Brittany Renee Photography

Warmly,
Brittany
 


Planning a wedding? Need family portraits?

It would be my absolute pleasure to talk with you about your portrait needs! Let's chat!

Sneak Peek! Mr + Mrs Coreas | Morrison House

Today I had the pleasure of capturing the intimate wedding ceremony of Susanna and Erick, the new Mr and Mrs Coreas!

Just had to share a little sneak peek since we had so much fun walking around Old Town Alexandria for their bride and groom portraits. I'm not sure of anyone who doesn't like just walking around Old Town Alexandria! There's something cool literally on every block.

Even though it threatened rain, we made it through without a drop! Though as a pluviophile I would have been 100% game for some really cool rainy wedding day shots! 

Old Town Alexandria wedding photos, Morrison House weddings; Brittany Renee Photography
Morrison House, Alexandria, VA | Virginia Wedding Photographer | www.brittany-renee.com
Old Town Alexandria photographers, Morrison House weddings, Brittany Renee Photography 

More from their intimate ceremony at the Morrison House soon!

 

Warmly,
Brittany


Planning a 2017 wedding?

We'd love to talk to you!

Helen + Jon | Inn at Vint Hill

Around this time last year Helen and Jon met me for a wedding consultation. From the beginning it was like hearing a friend tell me about her wedding plans. Helen was down to earth with a beautiful vision of blue and white vases decorating her reception and her desires for an elegant and romantic bridal session. Even amidst the light buzz of the coffee shop, Helen, Jon and I were able to get a true feel for one another and discuss their day.

After nearly a year of planning, the wedding day finally came! This past Saturday I spent the day with Helen, Jon, their family and friends as they vowed their loyalty and love to one another. It is always so remarkable to talk with a bride and hear her ideas, her visions and dreams, during the initial wedding consultation and finally see it all come to life.

Helen and her seven bridesmaids got ready at the quaint and beautifully decorated Thyme Inn above the It's About Thyme American-European restaurant in Culpeper, VA. (If you haven't been, you have to go! The cuuuuuuuuuutest place I have seen in such a long while and to top it off, the staff are all incredibly warm and friendly). Open brick walls, rich wood, a fireplace and a beautiful three-mirror armoire garnished this rustic elegant room.

The ladies had a nice spread of hors d'oeuvres and mimosas. The orange cocktail was served to Helen in a personalized champagne flute as she sat while getting her hair and make up done. At times the room would get more crowded, with two make-up/hair artists, seven bridesmaids, one mom, and a photographer. Through the sea of people and joy, there were moments I would catch Helen sitting in peace as her hair was being braided and curled. 

During Helen's bridal session (releasing soon! -- watch here for a link!) I had not yet seen her beautiful veil. She had chosen to wear her mother's veil, seasoned with tiny pearls. When they brought out the veil at the Thyme Inn, I squealed with delight! Long veils are my favorite!

Helen and Jon wanted to stick with the tradition of the groom seeing his bride for the first time as she walks down the aisle, so instead, Helen opted to keep her dress a secret from her father and have a FATHER DAUGHTER FIRST LOOK. While I do love me a first look (blind or full), my heart strings are always pulled during daddy daughter first looks. There's something unique and special that happens in that moment for a family and I get goosebumps just having the honor to capture this for them.

Just a few blocks away stood Precious Blood Catholic Church in downtown Culpeper, the very same church Helen was baptized in and where Jon received his sacraments. For the first time as his bride, Helen walked down the aisle toward Jon. We all watched as Jon fought tears as soon as the doors were opened. Father Kevin Walsh performed the holy ceremony for Helen and Jon's wedding. 

M R .  &  M R S .  B R A L E Y ! 

After the traditional portraits at the altar, everyone scurried over to The Inn at Vint Hill in Warrenton, VA for the cocktail hour and reception. We had a very small window for bride and groom portraits before the introductions, but we made it work! Helen was already a pro between her modeling history and our bridal session together, and Jon effortlessly followed queues and directions. This is not something most men are comfortable doing, so I was so happy that Jon just fell into place with Helen! 

When you have seven bridesmaids and seven groomsmen with tons of personality, it can make for a some pretty funny and entertaining introductions. The guests were laughing as each of them were introduced. Cheers all around as the new Mr. and Mrs. Braley were announced! Immediately Jon swept Helen into his arms for their first dance to God Only Knows. 

Helen and her father aren't so much super serious, and so a somber father-daughter dance just didn't feel natural. Guests watched as they took to the dance floor for what seemed to be a traditional slow father-daughter dance, then suddenly Helen and her father, Scott, broke out into funky dance moves! Soon after they invited Helen's maid-of-honor/sister to the floor to join them and the three of them rocked out in a much more natural Dawley way. 

The sun was to set at 7:01 PM, so I grabbed Helen and Jon after they'd eaten their dinner to grab some more portraits of just the two of them during sunset. By this time the both of them were loose, happy, and seasoned models who needed very little direction! That's what happens when two people are friends and in love though. When you get them together, they just fall into place. I always call myself a documentary styled wedding photographer because the authentic moments that happen during the day; the organic ways a couple fall into place together, that's what I love capturing and that's what my clients love to have as their memories. 

At the end, the three of us hugged. That moment is always so very bittersweet. Through the year you really get to know the couple, their accomplishments, their wedding dreams, and my favorite... you get to know their love story. Getting to know each love story is as important and unique as the couple themselves because it's in their story that you hear and see who they are; you get to know what kind of wedding day is ahead for you. 

It was a great honor to capture your day, Helen and Jon. I pray many blessings of happiness, health, and success over your many years of marriage. Cheers! Now onto the photos!!

Bride getting ready, It's About Thyme in Culpeper
Thyme Inn Culpeper, Brittany Renee Photography, Documentary Wedding Photographer
Badgley Mischka bridal shoes, Brittany Renee Photography, Virginia documentary wedding photographer 

Helen chose truly stunning earrings for herself and each bridesmaid. All of us couldn't stop gawking and ooh-ing and ahh-ing over them! Her days helping run a fine clothing boutique and learning the ways of fashion were very apparent in all of her tasteful and beautiful details.

Thyme Inn Culpeper, Brittany Renee Photography, documentary Virginia wedding photographers 
Culpeper bride getting ready with mom and bridesmaids, Brittany Renee Photography, Virginia documentary wedding photographer 
Bride in the mirror, bride and bridesmaids after getting ready, Brittany Renee Photography, Virginia based documentary wedding photographer

Isn't Helen just stunning!? Tall, slender, beautiful. She looked like a painting everywhere I asked her to stand for photos! 

Thyme Room in Culpeper, Bridesmaids on balcony with bride; Brittany Renee Photography, documentary wedding photographers 

It takes a long time to grow an old friend. John Leonard
 

Father and bride first look, Thyme Inn Culpeper
Mother of the bride; Brittany Renee Photography

This is one of my favorite getting ready shots, when Helen's mom, Julie, was off to the side watching as Helen was surrounded by her closest friends. 

Groom seeing bride first time; Precious Blood Catholic Church in Culpeper

Waiting for Jon's first reaction was just too enticing, even for the groomsmen. Natalie, Helen's sister and maid-of-honor, couldn't help but beam with pure joy as she watched her sister come down the aisle.  Oh my heart! 

Precious Blood Catholic Church in Culpeper
Funny groomsmen pose, Inn at Vint Hill, Warrenton Virginia 

You won't believe it, but the Blonde Ale and Hoppily Ever After was brewed by Jon himself! Boy were these guys a load of fun!

Bride and Flower Girl, documentary style wedding photographer in Virginia 

Little Isabelle made for the cutest little flower girl. She dreams of the day she can walk down the aisle and be a bride too. 

Beautiful cascading bouquet from Good Earth flowers; bride and grooms rings
navy and white vases wedding details, warrenton 

The Inn had blue and white vases scattered throughout the cocktail hour and on each table at the reception. Aren't these gorgeous?!

bride and bridesmaids photos

"There is no better friend than a sister, and there is no better sister than you."

bridal party photos, Virginia documentary wedding photographers
Inn at Vint Hill, Bride and Groom portraits, Timeless Wedding photos

See what I mean? They just fall into place when they're together. Genuine love and joy is always a treat to get to photograph. 

Inn at Vint Hill wedding photographers, Virginia wedding photographers 
Groom dipping bride and laughing, Romantic wedding photos, Virginia wedding photography
Father Daughter dance silly, Maid of Honor toast, Virginia documentary photographers
Bride and groom cutting the cake, Inn at Vint Hill wedding reception, dinner prayer
Fun reception photos, Inn at Vint Hill
Flower girl with skirt on head, candid wedding photographers Virginia 

Sometimes you just have to wear a skirt on your head.

Bouquet toss, garter throw; documentary wedding photographers in Virginia 

Many congratulations to you, Helen and Jon! Thank you guys SOO much for giving me the honor to capture your special wedding day!

Warmly,
Brittany


Dawley-Braley Wedding Team

Photographer: Brittany Renee Photography

Second Photographer: Sarah Botta

Bride's Dress: Ava Laurenne

Earrings: Etsy Treasures by Agnes

Shoes: Badgley Mischka

Florist: Good Earth Flowers

Hair + Make-Up: Courtney Yau + Amanda Rocha

Bridesmaid's Dresses: Vow to be Chic

Men's Suits: Men's Warehouse (Groom); JC Penney (groomsmen)

Bridal Suite - Getting Ready: Thyme Inn

Ceremony: Precious Blood Catholic Church, Culpeper, VA

Church Planner: Peggy Young

Cocktail Hour + Reception: Inn at Vint Hill, Warrenton, VA

Reception Planner: Dawn Donaldson, owner of Inn at Vint Hill

DJ: Brian Dlouhy


Planning a 2017 or 2018 wedding? My team and I would love to talk to you about capturing your special day!

Sneak Peek! Mr. + Mrs. Braley | Inn at Vint Hill

Helen and Jon hold a dear place in my heart. They are such a down to earth couple but they're also so gorgeous. The two things are rarely combined, but they're pure gems. 

I am so happy to have been able to capture their beautiful day! I cannot wait to show you all more!

 

Inn at Vint Hill, groom kissing bride's head, bride laughing with groom
bride and groom kissing under a veil, groom dipping laughing bride among trees

And now that Jon has seen the supreme gorgeousness of Helen as his bride, I can show you all her truly amazing bridal photos!

Warmly,
Brittany


Planning a 2017 wedding? We'd love to talk to you! 

Jessica + Lance at Kent Manor Inn | Virginia Wedding Photographers

July weddings are certain. They're certainly going to be hot. Luckily, when you book at a beautiful venue such as at the Kent Manor Inn in Stevensville, MD, you're sure to get at least some reprieve from the sea's breeze. As soon as you walk into Kent Manor though, you won't really care. The manor itself is exactly what any couple would want in a vintage manor, complete with beautiful authentic wood floors and carefully decorated rooms. The outdoor areas are spacious and their air conditioned reception building is complete with a wall of windows. That's right... a WHOLE wall of windows (cue photographer's doing a happy dance). That way you can watch the amazing sunset over Maryland's eastern shore as you celebrate with your family and friends. 

(Thank you so much to Julie DiCarlo of Julie DiCarlo Photography for having me as her second photographer for this wedding! I met two exceptional women that day, Julie and her assistant Kim, and I am so blessed to know them and can't wait to work with these ladies again!) 

kent manor inn photographers
groom getting ready, groom's hotel door, instructions how to tie a bow tie

I have yet to shoot a wedding where the men don't need some sort of help tying a tie, a bow tie or putting on their boutonnieres. These wise men kept the instructions (top left). 

groomsmen portrait, groomsmen liquor 
groom helping best man with his bow tie

As soon as you opened the door the the guy's room, there was music and there was so much life in the room. Lance took it all in stride while his buddies celebrated around him. He took a moment out to help his best man make sure his bow was on point.

groomsmen sitting on brick steps 
fun candid group shots of groom and his groomsmen
groom showing his ring off to his groomsmen

No one admits that the groom's get super nervous too. Sometimes sitting in a room getting ready can serve as a constant reminder of why you're nervous, so we went outside for some relaxed shots of Lance and his groomsmen. With the comedic help of one of his friend's, the men were laughing and joking in no time. I personally loved the top photo ;)

roses to arbor at outdoor ceremony

Guests were led to their seats by a delicate guide of rose petals. The white arbor provided a beautiful focal point as the blue summer sky became the magnificent backdrop for Jessica and Lance. 

Lance and the groomsmen lined up, dapper and handsome, before walking down the aisle to their places, while Jessica and her bridesmaids came across the sweet little bridge. 

bride walking down aisle, bridesmaids in black and white

Tell me those bridesmaids dresses Jessica picked out aren't totally ON POINT!! Seriously! Those ladies looked amazing in those dresses. 

wide angle shot of bride and groom exchanging vows, detail shot of roses
collage of ceremony shots

A happy marriage starts with the bride having this much fun during her vows :)

bride and groom jumping the broom

I LOVED watching Jessica and Lance incorporate this awesome African tradition of jumping the broom into their ceremony. 

bridal party photos at sunset
cocktail hour at kent manor inn

Cocktail hour gives friends and family an opportunity to reunite or meet during a time of great happiness. 

bride and groom entrance for reception

There was no doubt in my mind, after seeing Jessica's exceptional choices for her decorations and dresses, that they would enter their reception in style and sass. 

It was at this point that my time was up with this fantastic couple, as well as with Julie and Kim. I sadly departed knowing there was a great party ahead for everyone, but, so is the life when you're the second photographer! 

With some hitches along the wedding day, Jessica and Lance took it all in stride. They are a great example to all couple's that you need to realize the most important things about the wedding day: exchanging the vows with your beloved. A few things or many things can go awry, but the most important thing, and only thing that truly matters is that you're there with the love of your life pledging your loyalty, love, and soul to one another. 

Warmly,
Brittany

Interested in a documentary styled photographer at your wedding? Let's chat! Click here to start the conversation.

 

 

 

More Jessica + Kevin | Virginia Engagement Photographer | Georgetown, Washington D.C.

If you know anything about me, I love books. I love to read (unfortunately that is not a common thing I get to indulge in anymore with my own business and homeschooling two kids). And I love books. Did I say that? Yeah, don't even try converting me to an eReader.

When Jessica and I were talking about her engagement session and she said she wanted it in a library, all my heart flutters burst into tiny pieces of adoration and excitement. I thrive and love photographing unique sessions, and couples who like unique sessions are so into it! 

Most guys hate their photos taken. I get it. Your girlfriend dragged you along, you love her and want to make her happy. Kevin? This guy was so into it! He was hilarious and was ready at a moment's notice to help out. 

Jessica arrived looking gorgeous. She's cute as a button and she begins to glow when she looks at Kevin. She came ready and prepared to rock out her engagement session!

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Jess and Kevin came prepared with special and meaningful books and magazines. Walden is one of her favorites (what bibliophile can choose one book to be stated as their favorite?) and Kevin chose a book close to his family's Irish heritage. 

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These two were flawless. They fell right into perfect documentary styled photography, and I loved how well they followed along with all my ideas. On the top left they're laughing over Kevin's hilarious reciting of A Christmas Carol. The Washingtonian is a periodical they both loved and now share together. 

 

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Did I not say that she absolutely glows? I love working with couples who surround their wedding with meaning and love. 

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The lighting in the library was stunning. Okay, I'll be totally real with you guys, the lighting was actually pretty difficult, but being difficult allowed me the opportunity to find pockets of light to highlight them, silhouette them and reflect off onto them. I let them both know that the lighting was tricky and I would need to play around a bit and they were total sports. Sessions go so much more smoothly when couples are game for anything and come totally willing to mold themselves to your vision.

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You can't tell, but it was miserably hot out. The library also proved to be a tad on the warm side, but somehow Jess remained calm, cool, and beautiful. I loved this white dress on her. Even with heels on she managed to gracefully walk down a very interesting path to the canal! She won't have any trouble on her wedding day!

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You'd never guess that there were a hand full of runners, joggers and cyclists on this path. As quickly as they would have to step out of a pose, they'd effortlessly fall back into each other's arms. They made my job that day incredibly fun and rewarding.

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They're as sweet as they look in their photos, guys. This is what it is all about, and this is why I love my job. This kind of love is worth capturing and remembering forever. Perusing Georgetown for their engagement photos was a true joy. After this, I have goosebumps just thinking of how phenomenal their wedding day will be! 

Congrats Jess + Kevin!

Warmly,
Brittany


Want to book your own engagement session or wedding with Brittany Renee Photography? Send us an e-mail!

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Digital Dust | Virginia Family Photographer

In a digital age it's hard for any one of us to think outside of obtaining things that are tangible. You can see the revolution of our digital age threatening traditional paper magazines and newspapers as well as books. (This saddens my bibliophile heart greatly!) The convenience that our technology has comfortably created for us has no doubt taken over, but there are just some things our computers and social media can't do for us.

Most mornings our daughter walks into our bedroom, goes to my nightstand and pulls out our wedding album. Pictures she has now viewed a hundred times, she gleefully looks at and points out all the family members she recognizes and when I see she's on a photo that shows a beloved family member she has yet to meet, or may not remember meeting, I like to remind her of them and their importance in our lives. 

My kids aren't going to grab my computer and start looking through our photos. By the time they're allowed to grab our computers to browse, they'll be searching for things on the internet or playing games, not looking through mom and dad's "Wedding Pictures" folder on the desktop. 

Physical dust won't lay on digital photos, so it's harder to see that they're never looked at. Our business is run to preserve family memories from weddings to events to baby's arrival and all those fun family portrait sessions in between the years. 

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Each keepsake photo box allows my client's to preserve their professional quality photos in a safe environment. They're pictures you can take out, touch, and have a conversation over. The photos themselves become conversation starters and bonding moments with our friends and loved ones over special times in our lives. That is a very important aspect that I thrive to provide for each client. This is why there are changes happening to my family and wedding packages because digital dust creeps up on all of us. I don't want the only prints you have to be the Instagram photos you took over the years with your phone. 

When you pay for professional photography, you are paying to preserve moments in time. Don't let that go to waste by having those memories just sitting on a folder in your computer. It isn't old fashioned to have "traditional" prints, it's the entire reason why you hire the talent and time of a professional photographer for your memories. 

Autumn Mini's! <3 | Virginia Family Photographer

Guuuuuuuuuuyyyyyyyyyyssss!! It's that time of year! It's my favorite time of year. I honestly can't keep my excitement down. Autumn is the best. I love love love it and am so excited to share my once a year mini sessions with you all! 

Clients wait eagerly for mini session season to open up. Let's face it, it's an affordable way to get nice photos of your family once a year. 

This year I have been blessed immensely and am rather booked throughout the autumn season, but I have set aside one beautiful day (and a rain date!) for our Autumn Mini's.

Sign up now below!


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Let me know what times work best for you and your family.

A $50 non-refundable, but transferable, retainer is due as well as a signed contract + model release. This is all done easily online! Your remainder is due the week of your mini session.


Christmas cards will be available to purchase in your finished online gallery as well professional prints, canvases and heirloom items.

If you desire a different date or would enjoy a full session with Brittany Renee Photography, just tick the "full session" box above and we'll get you sorted in the books for your personal sunset session before the leaves change :)

 

Artistic Evolution | Newborn Photographer Virginia

When I first opened business (don't mistake the open of my business as the first date I ever pressed a shutter button!), I had in mind to slowly evolve. There are genres in photography that are worth learning, experiencing, and gaining insight into before delving into them. Photography is a whole lot more than just understanding your camera (but that's a good start if you're interested). You must also understand people. You must refine and evolve your ways to create in all circumstances.

Newborn posed photography is not something that just anyone with a good camera can pick up and start shooting. There is a lot of safety and comfort involved in caring for a baby during their session, easing mom and dad's nerves, and creating a posing workflow that allows baby to show you his or her preferences and working with the baby's comfort. Unlike any other form of photography, the time involved with posing newborns is heavily outweighed by merely providing soft, stable, safe comfort in between poses or new props. Family sessions and weddings are so quick -- moments happen and you've shot hundreds of images in a few hours. Newborns ask you to patiently wait for them to comply with a pose, and then you may take your shot. The dynamic is vastly different!

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Today I was beyond excited to bring Sawyer Buffington into the studio for a relaxed posed newborn session. (See his warm and sweet lifestyle newborn session here). To keep in line with my brand, I am limiting the use of props. Wraps, hats and jumpers are essentially the only props I am utilizing to bring the images to focus on baby. 

You see, I want you to see and feel nothing more than what each baby brings to their session. Just like family sessions can be held at the same locations and even wearing similar outfits, each family brings their own personality to a session. Weddings are by far one of my most favorite moments to capture, and we all know how a wedding goes, right? I haven't been to one wedding that was the same as another one. Even though plenty have followed trends, each wedding is filtered by the personality of the couple and their friends and family. 

As my look establishes itself, it's important to me that my particular photography tells the story of the person or people. As a documentary photographer in Virginia, my passion is looking at the world and seeing life, the cycles, the joys, the sorrows, the in-betweens. I don't specialize in one type of photography because I want to specialize in story telling, and I want to help you tell your story no matter where you are in life.

Stay tuned for the rest of Sawyer's posed newborn session on the blog!

Warmly,
Brittany

Do you want me to document your story? Your joy? Your in-between? Contact me!

 

Right at Home | Virginia Documentary/Lifestyle Newborn Photography

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By now you've seen the faces of the Buffington family a few times. They're loyal clients who treasure the preservation of their family memories, and what I love about Stephanie is that she actually gets prints of the photos and uses them! You see photos tastefully decorated throughout their home on their walls, on different surfaces, and in albums. Nothing touches a photographer's heart more than seeing photos in print.

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They invited me in a few weeks after their new son was born, Sawyer Buffington, for their in-home lifestyle or documentary styled newborn session.

By now they know me, I know them, and their oldest son, Liam, knows my camera. No matter how well you may know your photographer, inviting them in your own home can seem a little scary. What if they see how messy I am? What if they notice the peanut butter on the wall? Wait, what? You don't have peanut butter on your walls? Okay, well see, that's where you win. I don't care how high your laundry pile is (see my recent post on "Choose Your 3" and you'll see I don't often choose laundry...) because we can make your house look tidy, and dust actually doesn't show up in photos. I also have some magic tricks ;)
 

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I love using door frames to frame a scene. It reminds me of times when dads are walking by as mom is cuddling or nursing the baby and he gets this beautiful glimpse of his wife with the light from baby's window glowing on her and his new little crew member.

When you see these timeless and priceless photos that authentically capture your day-to-day life with your newest little human, you can't really get anxious about the order of your house. Everything falls perfectly into place, including the messes.

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Sawyer was a champ during his session. In fact, I'm pretty sure he had no idea I was even there, which is all the better! We kept mom, dad and big brother in relaxed but well chosen clothes to keep them comfortable but presentable, shoes off and little Sawyer sported a white onesie with a simple airplane pattern that was befitting for a boy with an awesome nursery decorated in things that go.

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Big brother Liam laid down to read his little brother a story (bottom left). Sawyer was all ears to listen to big brother, and then to daddy (bottom right) as Liam continued his story sitting on daddy's lap as little brother was cradled in dad's arms.

Sessions are always so much more relaxed when mom isn't thrown by a few baby whimpers as seen above. Sawyer didn't particularly like the fact that by this time we had switched him from nursery, to mom and dad's bedroom, to the floor, and now to the window down in the living room. He was telling us, "Hey guys! I'm almost hungry and you're about to remind me of that!" Mama's warm and comforting presence quickly put him back to sleep on her shoulder.
 

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As mom and I were making our way back upstairs to have Sawyer model his Mally Moc's, we noticed dad with big brother still reading and one of their indoor cats sitting by the window pondering life's newest addition. (Hey, newborns are a life changer for the family pets too!)

But look at the snuggles on mama! Oh my heart! Sawyer's little face just chunks up into all forms of Buddha relaxation and it makes my heart full. By the looks of mama's sweet smile, I think it fills her heart and soul ;)

I hope your heart is warmed from all the snuggly baby photos. I'm not sure who would not be softened by Sawyer's sweet snuggle faces!

Warmly,
Brittany

Book your in-home documentary session - newborn or not! Contact me! I'd love to shoot your family doing something you love, whether it's baking together, playing a game, or just being a family in your home. Document it today while they're still little.
 

Choose Your 3 | Personal | Day in the Life Photography

I once read that everyday we can focus on up to three things in a day. 

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After three, things get complicated. I mean, we are all only human right? While we may be able to do many things in one 24-hour period, over the long haul we cannot do well in all of these areas because we have spread ourselves too thin. 

At first I pfft-ed at the article, sure to show them up and do ALL THE THINGS! in one day. On top of having my own photography business, I'm also a stay-at-home mother to two minions, one of which has special needs, we recently got a puppy (sure, why not!?), I'm kind of a wee bit crazy in love with my handsome husband, I lead a small online group of women in a daily Bible study, we prefer to eat from home 3x day, both my husband and I like to exercise (don't judge my book by it's cover... babies you guys, I had babies) and at the end of the day I'm also a person who likes to do things for herself as well.

That's a lot to focus on.

In one day it is feasible. Over a week, totally doable. Month? Sure, but I'm exhausted and may want to sit in a dark corner and cry. After 6 months of taking care of ALL THE THINGS! this means I get no rest (thanks also to our 2.5 year old who often wakes up in the middle of the night) and by this time am totally depleted. This is no way to live.

I make choices and lots and lots of allowances. My house is not pristine, but it isn't a pig sty either. We eat healthy meals, but not at the price of my sanity: we do order to-go! Our clothes are clean... it just takes them a while to get put away.

Every single day I try to consciously choose family and faith. Those are not focus areas I feel are ever worth compromising for me. That leaves me with one area to focus on each day outside of my faith and family. Most of the time it's work, which means our housework suffers and dinners are often eaten later (better late than never!) and the laundry not being put away. Almost ever. 

It's hard to tell one area of focus you might love (friends, exercise, self-time) that it has to suffer because other areas mean much more to you. I love to exercise people (I also love/hate sugar for this reason) but I love my kids more. A healthy way to integrate the two is to have my kids work out with me. This means I can't run for 5 miles outside 3x week but I can involve my kids with me for strength. This lets us all spend bonding time together doing something healthy while hopefully establishing good habits for them as they grow. 

Other times I can't integrate other focus areas together. Like work. It would not be cool for me to bring my entire family to a wedding I'm shooting. Editing? Kind of a one man game, and pretty boring for my kids to watch. 

This can also pose as a complication for couples when two people have chosen different focus areas and there's no time for each other. This is why, for me, family is always my #2 spot. I don't always choose my focus areas with purpose, and when I do, I see it now. It took a lot of concentration for me to realize everyday how to consciously choose those areas that are significant to my heart.

What three focus areas do you choose? 

Now onto cute pictures of my adorable kids + puppy on a day I consciously chose them. Look at their smiles and tell me it's not worth it! Liam says to stop and remember to water your own garden instead of looking over the neighbor's fence...

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