I get to work with so many incredible people at this job; something I don’t take for granted at all. I truly loved working with Heather and Matt for their Graham Banquet Center wedding last October. Many people get wrapped up in what a wedding should be like or should feel like instead of just enjoying it. I didn’t feel that way about these two. Heather, cool as a cucumber, seemed to know exactly what was important on the day of: spending time with Matt and the people gathered together to celebrate THEM. That’s exactly what a wedding should be.
We didn’t get beautiful sunshine or a golden hour, but the fall colors were just starting to peek through and with all the rain we had last October, we were simply lucky. There was a first look that almost brought me to tears (how could I not when Heather literally was Audrey Hepburn stunning) and a fun portrait session with the bridal party right on the grounds. After a beautiful, personal ceremony in the chapel at Graham Banquet Center, their reception was held at the same place…we literally didn’t leave the premises all day long.
When I agreed to photograph Matt and Heather’s day, I agreed that I too would have fun. And I did. I really did have a good time at this wedding because it didn’t feel stressful or rushed really…it just felt like we were there to celebrate. I could tell everyone else felt the same way and were just excited to be there. Also, the carrot cake was delicious…probably one of the best wedding cakes I had last season — and I attempt to try them all if possible because at what other job can you eat cake every weekend?
Every time I look back at these photos, and their engagement session let’s be real, I’m just so grateful for clients that really trust me to create at their weddings. Heather and Matt told me they loved the details, they wanted candid photos that felt like them. And when I look at all of their photos, I can feel their goofy selves seeping through. I LOVE that.
Anyways, I’ll stop gushing over them and their Graham Banquet Center wedding and let the photos speak for themselves.
From the bride: “Besides my husband, Madalyn is the best choice I made for my wedding day! I had originally hired another photographer, but had nightmares about it, so I sent Madalyn a few frantic emails and Instagram DM’s and I was so relieved to find out she still had our date open. We then scheduled our engagement pictures, and had to reschedule a few times (once because I slept in- still sorry about Madalyn!!) but we just laughed it off and chose another day. It truly felt like Madalyn was just as invested in our wedding as we were, and helped us execute the perfect timeline, made us comfortable, and became our bff. The only wrong choice about Madalyn would be to not choose her. Our day absolutely could not have been better, and a lot of that credit goes to Madalyn.”
Happy 2019! I hope that you all had an amazing holiday season. I took a solid week off to be with family and then finished up my 2018 wedding season with two winter weddings. Now it’s the first Friday of January and I’m reflecting on the last year, culminating in sharing some of my favorite images from the year.
It’s always hard to put together any “best of” list, especially when you’ve shot over 85,000 images in just a year. Yes, that’s 26 weddings, nearly 40 engagements, couples, and family sessions, plus who knows whatever personal stuff I did (not as much as I should have).
Honestly, I sometimes uncover images that I forgot about when I’m editing (that part is super fun) or come back to a wedding day after many months to put together a blog post and find more images that I love more than the day after I shot them when I choose previews.
I’m an INFJ and we LOVE reflection, but it wasn’t until pulling together these images from my 2018 archive that I stopped for a moment to reflect, possibly the first time in a long while. It’s all so subjective, but I’m so proud of the body of work that I created this year and when I was looking back, noticed how much I’ve truly grown as a photographer. I think I’ve really honed in on my style and craft, though it feels like things are always evolving in this industry. I have worked with some incredible people this year, many of them feeling more like friends than clients. I welcome a new set of couples starting in March, who are all equally as lovely (some of their engagement photos are featured here).
I cannot post this without mentioning some personal reflection of the year, as it’s my goal in 2019 to infuse more of me in my outreach. I was just telling one of my friends that I never have a problem being myself and sharing in person while in small groups, but struggle with putting everything online. Sharing emotions, struggles, and triumphs in public makes me uncomfortable, but I know it’s necessary. If you care not of personal things, skip to the pretty pictures.
This past year was tough on me. I worked the entire year at a full time job in addition to my business that quickly became full time by summer. I found myself working A LOT, which apparently I am not cut out for. But I wanted my business to flourish, but being the pragmatist I am, I didn’t want to give up a much higher paying position before proving to myself that my business could succeed. Between Labor Day and Christmas, I took maybe three full days off from any work.
During this time, my husband was traveling for work – A LOT and at last minute. During September, he was gone half the month and I often had no idea when he was coming home or when he was leaving. Difficult on him, all of this travel was a bummer because we had agreed that he would take over a lot of household and dog-related things in the second half of the year so that I could remain focused and also balance self-care. As you can imagine, this did not happen and there were many days where I forgot to brush my teeth or shower until late in the day (I worked my day job mostly from home). Later in the year during my busiest season in the fall, Josh was home but working 60+ hour weeks and on weekends.
Needless to say, we ended the year very tired, very stressed out, and very much in need of rest. More on that later. We did it; we made it through somehow. For me, it required cutting out workouts, seeing less of my friends and family, and no time for any “me time.” There just wasn’t enough hours in the day, and I refused to give up my 7-8 hours of sleep per night, my personal form of self-care and a necessity for my focus.
Though the last year exposed many of my faults and problems, it also taught me that I can indeed run a business. I am really good at prioritizing and multi-tasking. With an anxious mind, I’m someone who enjoys a clean space, but I let some of that go this year in favor of some time spent with a friend. I care less about my appearance than ever before, which I’d say is a good thing overall. It taught me that I need time for myself, even if it’s 30 minutes per day, so that I can recharge my batteries for everyone else.
I won’t lie…I’m happy to welcome 2019 and some big changes for me (stay tuned), but I’m also looking back on all of 2018 with gratitude. I cannot say it enough: I am so grateful for this job. Even when I’ve been totally stressed, thinking that I’ve failed myself and my clients (thanks anxiety!), and I haven’t had a moment to myself, I have been grateful. What a privilege to be able to serve my clients and to capture moments that they will cherish and share for generations. I don’t take this job lightly at all. I’m grateful that 26 couples entrusted me with capturing their wedding days. I’m overjoyed that many families sought me out to capture their babies and moments together. I loved every moment behind the camera and spending time with you all.
I loved the variety of couples and places from this year. From backyard weddings with drag queens, to Catholic ceremonies to breweries to intimate restaurant affairs, what a year and what a group of clients. I can’t wait to see what we create together in 2019.
photos of me & josh by athornsphoto.com