Hidden Valley Drive Engagement Shoot, aka Trek through Philly's Jurassic Park

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Hidden Valley Drive Engagement Shoot, aka Trek through Philly's Jurassic Park

With mother nature absolutely refusing to cooperate the last couple months, it was hard to actually get this shoot done. But with a little patience, and finally some weather we could (barely) work with, we set out to get this one in the books.

Mariah and Bill are my last wedding of the 2017 season (barring any of my photographer friends being indisposed and me coming to the rescue! no bride gets left unhappy in my book). They are planning a destination wedding in New Orleans, themed after the cult classic movie Labyrinth. So of course, I'm counting down the days along with them as their day is going to be the cherry on top for my 2017 wedding season!

Mariah told me she wanted to do an engagement shoot as it is included with all my wedding packages. Unlike the urban environments I usually frequent, she wanted to do hers in a more natural setting. Of course, Philadelphia's Wissahickon Park was first on both are list of possible locations.

Check out that outfit change though!

Check out that outfit change though!

Luckily, the weather held up and it was a GORGEOUS day. It also happened to be Father's day as well! So after having brunch with my younger brother and my dad (our annual outing for Father's Day at Lucha Cartel in Old City), I made my way to Valley Green Inn in Wissahickon.

Truth be told, I hadn't been to the Wissahickon Trails in YEARS, the last time being with my Dad and siblings as a kid, no less. So I was personally excited to see one of the places I frequented as a child again.

I met up with Bill and Mariah, who was rocking her favorite Labyrinth Tshirt (see the ast blog post, its pretty awesome!), and we set out on our hike. After a few minutes of hiking, we all realized at the same time that the humidity, for whatever reason, was making things a little.....toasty, to say the least. We bore the sweltering heat though, and marched on. We were DETERMINED to finish this session, regardless of how in her feelings mother nature was that day!

We tried to chase the rays of sun through the trees to get some great hair light on Mariah, but once again, mother nature was (literally) throwing shade. What do you do when there's no sunlight? Make your own! I brought my Adorama Flashpoint Zoom speedlight, transmitter, S-mount bracket, reflector and CTO gel specifically so I can make my own golden rays of sun in case the weather didn't cooperate (darn you beautiful clouds!)

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After trudging on for about 30 mins, we got some awesome results but realized we could get better. We were looking for a specific covered bridge to get a certain shot, and realized it was on the other side of the creek, which was a decidedly more difficult trek. But looking at these shots, you just cant argue with it being worth it!

Once we crossed to the other side of the creek, the rougher terrain rewarded you with one awesome photo op after another. Eventually, we had to ignore the rest because sunlight was fading fast and none of us had flashlights - or anything to ward off any animals waiting in the dark!

We started to joke that this was Jurassic Park....a lot of the terrain reminded us of different scenes from the movie series. The logs Ellie jumped over running from velociraptors, the metal bridge in the pteradactyl compound, the river where the team got chased by a spinosaurus..."clever girl" became the quote of the day in everybody's best british Muldoon accent.

All in all, it ended being an AMAZING shoot, and looking forward to finishing off the wedding season on a high note with these two!

Did you REALLY think I was going to let them get away without doing a dance shot?? 

Did you REALLY think I was going to let them get away without doing a dance shot?? 

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Is Your Photographer a "Full Service" Photographer?

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Is Your Photographer a "Full Service" Photographer?

I'll be honest.....I have the opportunity to shoot with some of the most AMAZING people, especially as of late. I'm thankful everyday for every bride, every family, and every client that I have been able to interact with and become closer to on a personal level. Mariah was no exception.

She's my first bride that I'll be shooting this year, and I can't tell you how excited I am to do it! However, working with her has made me really think about some things, which brought this blog post about. Most clients getting married are doing so for the first time. The entire process of a wedding is SO daunting and stressful, seeing as though this is all new to a bride. I completely understand why brides get so stressed out leading up to the big day!

Her best friend Erika is helping her plan her wedding, which is actually going to be a destination wedding in New Orleans, right off of Bourbon Street, and is themed after the 1980's cult classic movie Labyrinth. How cool is that? but with these extra logistics come even more planning - and more stress.

in a situation like this, A Full Service Photographer can be a HUGE help to making sure your big day goes smoothly. Instead of someone that just shows up, shoots, and hands you a USB key and leaves you to your own devices afterwards, consider someone who is more hands-on and involved with your day. I've been helping Mariah's best friend Erika with planning some of the details of her wedding - contacting vendors such as Ashe B & Co and Bella Bridesmaids Philly to set up appointments for the gowns for the bridal party, working with her venue The Champagne Palace to organize a day-of schedule, suggesting vendors for her wedding invites, coming up with ideas for her first look and sparkler exit....Basically, going above and beyond what a normal wedding photographer would do for their client. I want House of Aperture Brides to think back on their ENTIRE experience with me, not just on the big day, and not be able but to tell everyone that I was worth every penny! You deserve to have everything exactly how you want on your wedding day, and part of what I do is to help in any way I can by putting my knowledge and network to work for you!

So after the planning session we had this past weekend, I decided to take Mariah out for a quick 10 minute urban setting sesh, with Erika as my "voice operated light stand". Had to show off the vintage Labyrinth t-shirt after all! Shes going to be an amazing Bride and Wife, and cant wait to capture her big day later this year!

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Life Getting You Down? Try This Remedy....

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Life Getting You Down? Try This Remedy....

The perpetual wars in the Mideast. Racial tensions coming to a head nationwide. Drug makers vastly inflating prices of medications, because “all the cool pharmaceutical CEOs are doing it”. Women STILL fighting the fight to be considered equal. Everyone watching the economy with collectively quickening pulses and bated breath. The Caribbean being clobbered by a storm whose satellite imagery looked remarkably....villainous. Native Americans protesting their lands from a hostile takeover all for petroleum. And coming down to the wire of a potentially historic, if not decidedly exasperating, election season. It becomes difficult to try and function like a normal human being with the constant bombardment of everything wrong in our society via the wonders of 24/7 “journalism” and social media, doesn't it? It becomes difficult to remember a time when things were much simper, and times were much happier, right? Well, as my first blog post on my revamped little corner of the internets, I decided to pay homage to my absolute favorite part of my business, which is coincidentally the same thing that reminds me that no matter how bad being a modern day adult in a world LITERALLY getting crazier every 2.5 seconds is, there is still hope for it all:

…..kids.

I have always loved working with kids. My very first shoot in the field was a maternity shoot with an awesome couple I'm still friends with to this day. I've watched their son grow into an amazing little guy with an equally amazing personality, and I'm so thankful to have been able to be apart of watching this family grow.

I've been lucky enough to work with even more families and their equally amazing kids. There's been many times when I'll meet people in my line of work, and they introduce me to their son, daughter, or niece/nephew. And within a few minutes, this usually ends up happening:

The Human Jungle Gym, at your service.

The Human Jungle Gym, at your service.

If you can't tell from the photos, most of the time I'm a grown (albeit a little vertically challenged) kid myself! With that being said, kids have a tendency to gravitate towards me. Because of that, I've been able to get some really cool shots of even some more introverted kids.

I value working with kids for one reason (aside from them treating me like a human jungle gym....)

 

Usually, The wonderful (and I say that with every ounce of sarcasm I can muster) world of adulting hasn't impeded on a child's ability to see life without jaded, cynical eyes. The only thing on a child's mind? What saturday morning cartoons do I watch with my cereal? Do I build a fort out of couch cushions and pillows, or draw on every surface I can find with crayons and markers? Ride bikes or play baseball? Climb trees or hide and seek? Build snowmen and igloos, or stay inside and have some hot chocolate?

 

I love working with kids because at the end of the day, they have an innate ability to appreciate the simpler things in life, something that we as adults forgo as time moves on. Children represent possibility, adventure, and probably most important of all, hope....something that, more so nowadays than ever, seems lost upon us. These moments in their lives, before life comes for their innocence, are some of the most important to capture, and I recommend for any and every family to do so!

 

So next time you feel like the election seems pointless, your job is getting you down, or life in general is coming at you like a full bag of bricks....reach out to your son, or daughter, niece or nephew, or any young family member. Don't have any young family members? Volunteer for Big Brother/Sister organizations. And go build that snowman or that go kart. Teach them how to swim. Play football. Help show them that life really can be as awesome as they think it is. And who knows? At the same time, they just might be able to help you remember the very same thing.

Most of the photos of me are by Stephanie Ramones over at www.contigophotography.com.

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