Northern Virginia Wedding Photographer | Kelly Ewell Photography » Northern Virginia Wedding Photographer | Kelly Ewell Photography

I’m getting ready to go on vacation for the last couple weeks of the year, and it’s about the time when all the year end compilations and recaps start popping up. I’ve been fortunate to write about a number of different things here over the past 12 months from weddings to personal projects to tutorials to fun things that fill my days with happy. I’m always curious to see what kinds of posts are most popular, and by far it’s weddings! And that makes me happy to see others sharing in such joyful celebrations and enjoying the images of how I captured the days.

Since these posts were so popular, you may have already seen them. But in case you missed any of them, here are my Top 5 Posts of 2014:

5. Sara and Josh’s Birkby House wedding
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4. Jenna and Jimmy’s Belmont Country Club wedding
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3. Fiorella and Kyle’s Morven Park wedding
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2. Vida and Chris’ anniversary portraits
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And the #1 most popular post of the year is…
1. Lindsey and Andrew’s Belmont Country Club wedding
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Thanks for visiting the blog today! Let me know you were here by leaving a comment below telling me what your favorite post was from the past year! Or what you’d like to see more of in 2015!

Before you go, I’d love for you to connect and follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!

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I’ve had a standing date for the past few years. Every Saturday on the first weekend of December I’ve been meeting up with the Matson family, and this year was no different. Katie, who I met as a newborn, is now turning three! Some things remain the same, like having her grandparents come into town to celebrate her birthday. But some things change as she does. Katie now has a very strong personality and is constantly on the go! Our “nice” family portraits have a new element of constant energy to account for, but those candid “life” photos are so much more about life in the family now anyway.

Also new this year was a birthday party with friends. After spending time at the Matson house like usual, we ventured out to The Little Gym for Katie’s party. This place is a kid’s dream! Freedom to run, jump, and play on all the gymnastics equipment and then end with mouthfuls of cupcakes!

I didn’t get to stay through cupcake time, but there was such a flurry of action to capture before then! Enjoy some of the highlights from Katie’s third birthday portraits and party!

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Thanks for visiting the blog today! Let me know you were here by leaving a comment below telling me what your favorite image was from the Matson family’s portraits!

Before you go, I’d love for you to connect and follow me at Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!

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Years ago before I became I wedding photographer, I knew that I’d have to have certain skills in order to be successful. First there were the obvious skills – how to properly expose a photo, creative composition, consistent editing. Without these skills, I wouldn’t even be a photographer! I spent countless hours, day, weeks, and years learning as much as I could about these. Some would say you’re never done learning these skills, but that’s a whole other post!

I knew there would be some secondary skills too that I’d have to master. Things like developing good client relations, understanding how to diffuse stressful situations, and coming up with an efficient workflow. More of the business side of things in a large part, but also things that I had to learn on-the-job a lot of the times and adjust as I saw what worked and what didn’t. Again, these things are always being improved too as long as you’re running a business!

Then, of course, there are the skills I never knew I needed to have. But, wow, have they come in handy! I mean, like, need-to-use-them-at-nearly-every-wedding kind of handy! So I present the Top Four Unexpected Skills I’ve Learned as a Wedding Photographer:

1. How to expertly tie a bow
I can tie a bow on a dress sash, for instance, that is even, fluffy, and doesn’t sag down. I’ve found that it’s how you hold the ribbons and wrap them around each other. Hard to explain without just doing it, but bows come out looking great every time!

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2. How to securely pin a boutonniere
Let’s face it, guys usually aren’t well versed in flowers and accessorizing like women are. And it’s not like anyone wears a boutonniere on a regular basis. Having been asked to lend a hand on more than one occasion though, pinning on a boutonniere is like second nature to me. Here’s a secret, having two pins is always better, but florists don’t always provide that many. Usually I’ll let a mother or groomsman attempt to put it on first so I can still get photos of that moment. But more often than you might think, I step in to do the final pinning.

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3. How to run in heels
First of all, yes I wear heels on wedding days. Not super high ones, but it’s just something I’m used to. I’ve tried wearing flats, but the heels I have with Nike Air are more comfortable than anything else I’ve tried wearing. Because of that, I’m able to move around quickly and however I want without wincing in pain, tripping, or anything else super embarrassing. I’ve just worn heels for so many years that it’s like a second nature to me. And I think they’re just more flattering!

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4. How to quickly and nicely “fluff” the train of a bride’s dress
Again, this is a little hard to describe without just showing someone how to do it, but in reality it’s super easy. I see many bridesmaids trying to make everything so perfect one little section at a time. A tug here, a straighten there. My trick though is to let gravity do its thing. All you have to do is lift up the train enough so that when you release it, it just floats down to the ground. The air underneath makes everything smooth and gets you about 95% of the way to a nice evenly laid out train. I show this to bridesmaids and they quickly start doing it this way too!

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I’m sure there are other funny little tricks and skills I’ve picked up along the way, but like I said, these are things I would have never known that a wedding photographer would need to know how to do. I just like to think that it makes me well rounded, right? Right!

If you’re a wedding vendor reading this, let me know what unexpected skills you’re picked up over the years! Or really any odd skill for any job out there, I’d love to hear it!

Before you go, I’d love for you to connect and follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!

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  • Caitlin - haha this is great- omg heels at a wedding! my feet would fall off!

  • Maureen Pacheco - love this post! and you are a beast for wearing heels!

  • Michael and Carina - Haha, too good! These are must have skills in our profession. I am slowly getting better at adjusting bouts (x amount of days since last workplace accident, too [lol]). Styling getting ready rooms though… I might as well be an interior designer on the side, haha. -M

  • Alexia Garcia - Such useful tips! Although i’m not doing weddings yet I already know the most important tips! thank you!