Meet Nicole + Terence

In these parts, Spring has sprung and it is about time! This past weekend I got together with Nicole and Terence to do their engagement shoot on and around the Brooklyn Bridge. It was the loveliest of Spring evenings as the sun was setting behind the Brooklyn Bridge and it’s beauty was matched only be the smiles and laughter from Nicole and Terence. They are the type of people that you feel like you’ve known for your whole life within the first few minutes of meeting them. the kind that laugh heartedly, smile widely, and  welcome all those around them as friends and family. 

Brooklyn Bridge engagement session, Engagement on the brooklyn bridge, Brooklyn bridge proposal, brooklyn bridge engagement session photos, brooklyn bridge photographer

Brooklyn Bridge engagement session, Engagement on the brooklyn bridge, Brooklyn bridge proposal, brooklyn bridge engagement session photos, brooklyn bridge photographer

Brooklyn Bridge engagement session, Engagement on the brooklyn bridge, Brooklyn bridge proposal, brooklyn bridge engagement session photos, brooklyn bridge photographer

Brooklyn Bridge engagement session, Engagement on the brooklyn bridge, Brooklyn bridge proposal, brooklyn bridge engagement session photos, brooklyn bridge photographer

Brooklyn Bridge engagement session, Engagement on the brooklyn bridge, Brooklyn bridge proposal, brooklyn bridge engagement session photos, brooklyn bridge photographer

Brooklyn Bridge engagement session, Engagement on the brooklyn bridge, Brooklyn bridge proposal, brooklyn bridge engagement session photos, brooklyn bridge photographer

Brooklyn Bridge engagement session, Engagement on the brooklyn bridge, Brooklyn bridge proposal, brooklyn bridge engagement session photos, brooklyn bridge photographer

Brooklyn Bridge engagement session, Engagement on the brooklyn bridge, Brooklyn bridge proposal, brooklyn bridge engagement session photos, brooklyn bridge photographer

Brooklyn Bridge engagement session, Engagement on the brooklyn bridge, Brooklyn bridge proposal, brooklyn bridge engagement session photos, brooklyn bridge photographer

Brooklyn Bridge engagement session, Engagement on the brooklyn bridge, Brooklyn bridge proposal, brooklyn bridge engagement session photos, brooklyn bridge photographer

Brooklyn Bridge engagement session, Engagement on the brooklyn bridge, Brooklyn bridge proposal, brooklyn bridge engagement session photos, brooklyn bridge photographer

Brooklyn Bridge engagement session, Engagement on the brooklyn bridge, Brooklyn bridge proposal, brooklyn bridge engagement session photos, brooklyn bridge photographer

Brooklyn Bridge engagement session, Engagement on the brooklyn bridge, Brooklyn bridge proposal, brooklyn bridge engagement session photos, brooklyn bridge photographer

Brooklyn Bridge engagement session, Engagement on the brooklyn bridge, Brooklyn bridge proposal, brooklyn bridge engagement session photos, brooklyn bridge photographer

Brooklyn Bridge engagement session, Engagement on the brooklyn bridge, Brooklyn bridge proposal, brooklyn bridge engagement session photos, brooklyn bridge photographer

Brooklyn Bridge engagement session, Engagement on the brooklyn bridge, Brooklyn bridge proposal, brooklyn bridge engagement session photos, brooklyn bridge photographer

Brooklyn Bridge engagement session, Engagement on the brooklyn bridge, Brooklyn bridge proposal, brooklyn bridge engagement session photos, brooklyn bridge photographer

Brooklyn Bridge engagement session, Engagement on the brooklyn bridge, Brooklyn bridge proposal, brooklyn bridge engagement session photos, brooklyn bridge photographer

Brooklyn Bridge engagement session, Engagement on the brooklyn bridge, Brooklyn bridge proposal, brooklyn bridge engagement session photos, brooklyn bridge photographer

Brooklyn Bridge engagement session, Engagement on the brooklyn bridge, Brooklyn bridge proposal, brooklyn bridge engagement session photos, brooklyn bridge photographer

Brooklyn Bridge engagement session, Engagement on the brooklyn bridge, Brooklyn bridge proposal, brooklyn bridge engagement session photos, brooklyn bridge photographer

Brooklyn Bridge engagement session, Engagement on the brooklyn bridge, Brooklyn bridge proposal, brooklyn bridge engagement session photos, brooklyn bridge photographer

Brooklyn Bridge engagement session, Engagement on the brooklyn bridge, Brooklyn bridge proposal, brooklyn bridge engagement session photos, brooklyn bridge photographer

Brooklyn Bridge engagement session, Engagement on the brooklyn bridge, Brooklyn bridge proposal, brooklyn bridge engagement session photos, brooklyn bridge photographer

Brooklyn Bridge engagement session, Engagement on the brooklyn bridge, Brooklyn bridge proposal, brooklyn bridge engagement session photos, brooklyn bridge photographer

Brooklyn Bridge engagement session, Engagement on the brooklyn bridge, Brooklyn bridge proposal, brooklyn bridge engagement session photos, brooklyn bridge photographer

Brooklyn Bridge engagement session, Engagement on the brooklyn bridge, Brooklyn bridge proposal, brooklyn bridge engagement session photos, brooklyn bridge photographer

Brooklyn Bridge engagement session, Engagement on the brooklyn bridge, Brooklyn bridge proposal, brooklyn bridge engagement session photos, brooklyn bridge photographer

Brooklyn Bridge engagement session, Engagement on the brooklyn bridge, Brooklyn bridge proposal, brooklyn bridge engagement session photos, brooklyn bridge photographer

Brooklyn Bridge engagement session, Engagement on the brooklyn bridge, Brooklyn bridge proposal, brooklyn bridge engagement session photos, brooklyn bridge photographer

Spring things

With all this gorgeous, warm weather we’ve been having I’ve been SO in the mood for Spring. I ADORE Spring. it’s the time of year where wedding season starts up again, where love is in the air, the breeze begins to get warm, and new life is popping up everywhere. As Spring has been approaching there are a few things in particular that have been floating around in my mind that I’m looking forward to, and they are..

1. Wedding shopping! Each year I allow myself 3 new outfits for the upcoming wedding season. Two years ago I made the decision to wear the same outfits to every wedding so that a.) I don’t have to destroy my closet the morning of the wedding and, b.) I know how the outfits work and don’t ever have to worry about wardrobe malfunctions or how my Spider belt works with it.

2. Lilac bushes. They are my favorite. The end.

3.Mountain biking! Last year Adam bought me a bike, and I’m so excited to get out and use it now that it’s getting warmer!

4. A garden! This is the first year that I’m actually planting a garden and, although it’s rather small, I’m very excited about it! We have one raised bed and then a few planters and in them I’m trying out spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, zucchini, squash, carrots and beets. If it goes well, you can full expect pictures because I’ll be SUPER proud of them! It’s been a long time dream of mine to grow our own veggies so this is my trial & error year:)

5. Although I don’t think this will happen this season, I’m looking forward to eventually having a patio furniture set where we can lounge on cool summer nights and have barbecues with friends. Until that happens, I’m pinning pins on Pinterest (say that 10 times, fast!) and dreaming up what kind of patio set I eventually want.

6. Cherry blossom engagement shoots! I have 3 scheduled to be schedule, in Wooster Park in New Haven. I looooove cherry blossoms and am SO excited about these sessions.

7. Jest by MAC. It’s my Spring/Summer go-to for eye shadow for weddings.

8. Loafers. Adam definitely does not agree with me on this one, but I love that loafers are coming back into style. These ones from J. Crew are making me swoon.

What are some of the things you are looking forward to for Spring?

Borrowed & Blue: Wedding Day Timelines

Wedding season officially begins this month and, as a result, I’ve had lots of emails come through my inbox regarding timelines. 8 weeks before their wedding, I send each client a questionnaire asking for some of the details I need for their wedding day. One of the most important things is the timeline. By getting the timeline 6-8 weeks before their wedding day, it gives me time to give input or advice if I feel like there isn’t enough time for a certain part of the day. The timeline is one of the most integral parts of the wedding day, as it can relieve or create incredible amounts of stress. It is very important to pad your timeline as much as possible, especially early in the day, in order to give yourself time to breathe and soak it all in. Every photographer is different in their preferences but we have things down to a pretty good science for us, and therefore, know how much time we need for each portion of the day. There, of course, are always variables but assuming the ceremony + reception is at the same location, or within 10-15 min of each other, the timelines below work well. A few key aspects to the day is that we like to have 30 minutes with the bride to get some iconic portraits and at least 45 minutes with the Bride & Groom for portraits (at least 20 of those should be during golden hour). We allot 15 minutes each for bridal party + family because we have those kinda down to a science and it is really important for us to make sure our couples get to enjoy their day.

 

With a First Look:

9:30 – Brides hair

10:30 – Brides makeup

11:30 – Bridesmaids get dressed

11:45 – Bride prepares to dressed

12:15 – Bridal portraits/Guys get dressed

1:00 – First look

1:30 – Bridal party portraits

2:00 – Family portraits

2:30 – Freshen up

3:00 – Ceremony

3:45 – Family portraits

4:00 – Bridal party portraits

4:15 – Bride and Groom portraits

5:00 – Cocktail Hour

(Bride and Groom mingle with guests)

6:00 – Guests get seated

6:15 – Bridal Party Entrance

6:25 – First dance

6:30 – First course

(golden hour portraits)

7:00 – Main course

(parent dances)

7:30 – Cake cutting/Dance floor opens

 

Without a first look:

11:00 – Brides hair

12:00 – Brides makeup

1:15 – Bridesmaids get dressed

1:30 – Bride prepares to dressed/Guys get dressed

2:00 – Bridal portraits

3:00 – Ceremony

3:45 – Family portraits

4:00 – Bridal party portraits

4:15 – Bride and Groom portraits

5:00 – Cocktail Hour

6:00 – Guests get seated

6:15 – Bridal Party Entrance

6:25 – First dance

6:30 – First course

(golden hour portraits)

7:00 – Main course

(parent dances)

7:30 – Cake cutting/Dance floor opens

Wake up, child, for winter is over

This week…has been a week. One where heart strings have been tugged at, where each morning came with a new challenge, and one where I just felt like going back to bed and waking up when it’s all over. You know the kind of week I’m talking about, because we’ve all been there before. Yesterday morning I woke up to what looked like 6 inches of unexpected snow on the ground. I later found out that we had received nearly a foot….on a day that was supposed to be 60 degrees and sunny. In fact, I intended on spending the afternoon working on my new raised bed garden but, instead, the hose and wheelbarrow were completely covered with a fresh blanket of snow. It forced me to sit back and decide on other plans for the day. And as I was sitting there thinking about which tasks I should tackle, it was as though God Himself reached down from heaven, cupped my face in his hands and said the following:

 

“Wake up, child, for winter is over. This snow is a reminder that spring is coming and with that, new life, new hope, new joy. Though weeping may endure for the night, joy comes in the morning. So pick your head up, stop worrying about all the problems that surround you, and trust Me. Trust Me to be the one to get the work done, for in your own power it’s all for nothing.”

 

That unexpected snow was the exact reminder that I needed to lift my head up, to Him, and to breathe in deeper. I know I can trust Him, I know He will come through, but so often I rely on my own strength to carry me through. These past few months have been a doozy, and some that I’m not disappointed to leave behind. So today, as that winter snow melts into spring I choose…

 

Contentment instead of comparison

Trust instead of relying on my own strength

Rest instead of being a busy body

Vulnerability instead of resentment

Forgiveness instead of holding a grudge

Assurance instead of jealousy

Joy instead of sorrow

 

 

 

Tea for Two: Top 5 business decisions

Over the last couple years as I’ve talked to new photographers and mentored some that are starting out, the question often comes up abut what some of the best business decisions are that I’ve made. This list was actually quite easy to make, because they are 5 areas that have been game-changers for my business. The things that make my life easier, allow me to serve my clients better, and have been key to business growth. So, I give you….

1. ShootQ

I signed up for ShootQ within 6 months on opening my business. I can’t sing their praises enough. ShootQ has allowed me to keep tabs on all contracts and payments in one location. It allows me to pre-script emails and questionnaires that automatically get sent to clients through the duration of their engagement, which is a HUGE timesaver. It also automatically send clients invoice reminders, and allows them to pay online via credit card. Prior to using ShootQ, I would have clients email me and say “I’m so sorry I forgot to send your payment out!!” and, honestly, I didn’t have a clue. Excel spreadsheets are not my thing and, for the most part, I trusted them to pay. 5 years, and a lot of clients later, I am so glad I made the decision early on to utilize ShotoQ’s studio management software. There are also features in there for workflow and other management capabilities, but I don’t use those.

2. Showit

Prior to using Showit, I had a template website – one that looked identical to so many other photographers. When I found Showit, I realized I had hit the jackpot. With Showit, I am allowed to customize my website 100%. If I can dream it up, I can likely make it happen. In addition to being fully customizable, I can do it all myself! For this non-techy person who has zero knowledge on web design coding, it is a such a huge relief to be able to change anything on my website whenever I want. Lastly, a Showit subscription comes wit the bonus of unlimited “plus sites”, sub sites that I can make for clients, vendors, other secret pages for my website, etc. A plus site is anyextension.aliciaannphotographers.com and is, also, fully customizable.

3. Learning my gear

There is a huge trend in the industry to be one of the firsts to buy all the latest gear, accessories, actions, presets, and other things for your business. In almost 6 years of being business, I can probably count on one hand the times I’ve made a purchase of something that I didn’t end up using. For me, it has always been key to learn and know the gear I have very well before adding any additional gear. I worked my 5D and 50mm unlike any other and it wasn’t until I really felt like  I was ready for an upgrade that I got the 5D Mark ii, and eventually the 5D Mark iii. The same goes for lenses – I only added one to my collection when I felt like it was absolutely necessary and I had a specific purpose in mind for it. I often see on forums, blogs, ad Facebook groups how photographers ask “what lens/camera did you use for that shot???”, as though purchasing that specific lens or camera will guarantee their images looking as nice. The bottom line – know your gear. I’ve seen plenty of photographers produce beautiful, incredible work, on a basic SLR with a basic lens. While professional gear definitely helps, knowing how to make the most out f that gear is most important

4. Hiring an accountant/bookeeper

Lord. This one. Similarly to how I adore ShootQ for studio management, I am head over heels in love with my accountant/bookkeeper. Maybe not literally, but close. Working with a general business manager who takes care of my finances, taxes and bookkeeping has literally allowed me to sleep so soundly at night. Every year, April comes around and I get so stressed about having to meet with her, but she always say “Alicia, just keep making money. I’ll handle the rest for you”. It is SUCH A RELIEF to have someone you can trust to handle tax payments, quarterly statements, etc. I mail her all my receipts, and she does the rest. She sends me quarterly P&L’s so that I can see where I am compared to the previous year and, in general, keeps me sane.

5. Learning SEO

This has been absolutely pivotal and instrumental for my business. When I was new to the industry, I had a lot of extra time on my hands and I used that time studying SEO as much as I could. Currently 75% of my leads come from SEO. My go-to for a lot of SEO related stuff has been Lawrence Chan of Tofurious. The majority of what I have learned has come from his brilliant techniques.