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Leesburg VA Wedding Photographer | Kelly Ewell Photography » Leesburg VA Wedding Photographer | Kelly Ewell Photography

Sometimes these monthly updates are so exciting, especially when I get to share the completion of something big or something that shows a real difference. Sometimes these updates are sad reminders of how slow progress can be, especially when contractors are delayed or “forget” their meetings.

Today I choose to celebrate small victories. Yes, we do have many big projects we want and need to do. One of them is in the works and I hope will be done later this spring. But we also have a list of many small projects that need to get done. They aren’t splashy and probably don’t mean much to most people, but to us every check mark on the list is one less thing to worry about.

You may have heard us bemoaning the vandalism that we’ve had happen somewhat recently. Part of that was having one of our new doors ripped off the frame and causing a bunch of damage. We weren’t sure if the door or the frame was salvageable, but thanks to my handy husband and a few runs to Home Depot, we were able to reinstall the door. We also got a new handle with a lock that functions once again, so we hope that this project is (again) checked off the list. We do still have some other damage around the door to fix, but this was the big part of it.

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Another small victory was that I finished painting the support columns in the lower level of the barn. They just looked like rusty brown metal, but now they’re clean and white. Eventually I will be putting fabric panels around them to give a softer, prettier look but I’m holding off on that until the construction is finished up down here. Again, hopefully later this spring or summer!

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Our last small victory is that we’ve cleaned up the upper level of the barn. No more birds’ nests in the rafters! No more of the 100+ (seriously!) old mud dobber bees’ nests on the wood beams! And no more ugly indoor/outdoor carpet covered in feathers and poop from all the pigeons that used to live there! It’s amazing what a little powerwashing can do!

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So that’s the latest from around the farm. We’ve got a big project in the works and I’d love to showcase it next month. I’m hopeful, but with the way things are going I’m also going to be realistic and not promise anything. Once it is done though, I might do a little video reveal!

Speaking of video, I just sign up for Periscope! Follow me along at @kellyewell and follow 48 Fields at @48fields. Our next farm updates might just show up there first!!

 
Meet the Photographer: Hey there! I’m Kelly Ewell, a Northern Virginia wedding photographer who specializes in engagement, wedding, and anniversary photography. I live in Leesburg, VA with my husband and rescue pup, Piper. When I’m not at weddings, you can find me at the local wineries or renovating our farm, 48 Fields! I’d love for you to connect with me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

  • Edwina - Awesome!! It is looking soo good!

You may remember seeing Kate’s gorgeous Belmont Country Club bridal portraits the other week! If you look through them, I hope you saw that light was used in several different ways. I used a combination of natural light when it was of good quality, but I also used a lot of off camera flash since we were indoors. In the middle of winter. While it was snowing outside! Needless to say, even window light wasn’t very bright that day!

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So these photos of Kate on one of the grand staircases were a couple of my favorites! The stairs are located off a couple of adjoining rooms and a hallway that leads to the front door. I can safely say there was no natural light around! Here are some key elements for creating these photos:

  • I was using my 50mm 1.2 lens, but even shooting wide open and with a high ISO would not have worked.
  • Instead I have an off camera flash mounted to a light stand, which is just out of the frame and set on a low power for being so close.
  • It was set to be about even with Kate’s face and sat at a 45-degree angle from me for the photo on the left. As I moved around to the left also for the photo on the right, the angle of the flash increased to more of a side light.
  • A more important element was that I used a white umbrella to modify the light and make for much softer shadows and contrast.
  • Because we had the neutral stone walls right next to us, they acted as a great reflector to fill in light too.

As a side note, it was actually a pretty narrow space from this angle. I moved a table out of the way and was pressed up against the wall to be back far enough! It must have been a funny visual when so much elegance was standing in front of me!

So let me know what you think! Are there other types of photos you want me to explain? Leave a comment below and let me know. Or better yet, sign up for my newsletter below and get free photography tips sent right to your inbox! The next one comes out next week!
 
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Meet the Photographer: Hey there! I’m Kelly Ewell, a Northern Virginia wedding photographer who specializes in engagement, wedding, and anniversary photography. I live in Leesburg, VA with my husband and rescue pup, Piper. When I’m not at weddings, you can find me at the local wineries or renovating our farm, 48 Fields! I’d love for you to connect with me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

  • Lauren Swann - She is gorgeous! Thanks for sharing your BTS tips!

  • Renee - Beautiful! Love all these tips for creating this image!

  • Caitlin - awesome! love seeing how you took this beautiful photo- it’s gorgeous!

Ah, the first kiss. After months of detailed planning and preparation, you’ve finally said your vows, been pronounced husband and wife, and sealed your new union with a kiss! Hurray!!

But have you thought about your second kiss? You’re probably wondering what the heck a “second kiss” even is!

Consider this. For your first kiss, you’re standing at the altar (or wherever you’ve gotten married). Your bridal party could have shifted around a bit during the ceremony and may be unevenly spread out now. The officiant is very likely to be standing right smack in the middle of your shot behind you. That’s the worst part! This is my perspective usually and part of what I capture. You could say it’s your standard shot.

Want “un-standard” or more playful? That’s where the second kiss comes in. And you won’t have to wait long for it! It happens as your walking back down the aisle after your ceremony and it’s a whole different perspective. All you have to do is stop towards the end of the aisle after you’ve passed by most of your guests and lean in for another kiss! There are a few fun benefits of doing this too. For starters, you’ll be walking towards me and more likely to be facing me directly. Your wedding party will be filling the aisle behind you if they’ve also started their recessional, or I’ll just be able to get a “cleaner” shot with a less distracting background. Guests are likely turning around to watch you exit the ceremony, so there’s a better chance that I see their faces too. Also, because the guests typically aren’t expecting this second kiss (unlike the first one), there’s much less of a chance that someone will be leaning into the aisle to take their own photo too!

Here’s a few quick photos of some “second kisses” that I’ve taken over the years:

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Now I realize that thinking about your second kiss might not be at the top of your mind especially after the anxiety that might come with actually saying your vows and getting married, and that’s ok! I hope, though, that this post can just plant a little seed in the back of your mind and give you something to think about for your wedding day! If you opt for a second kiss, I know you won’t regret it!

 
Meet the Photographer: Hey there! I’m Kelly Ewell, a Northern Virginia wedding photographer who specializes in engagement, wedding, and anniversary photography. I live in Leesburg, VA with my husband and rescue pup, Piper. When I’m not at weddings, you can find me at the local wineries or renovating our farm, 48 Fields! I’d love for you to connect with me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

A few weeks ago a read a post about a wedding styling kit from a fellow photographer, Natalie Franke. The timing of her post was funny because I had been collecting different odds and ends to assemble my own styling kit, with many of the same items that she had mentioned!

I don’t use my styling kit for every wedding, or at least not the same things in it each time, because every wedding is different and has their own design and feel. Not everything is appropriate. But for those times when I’m in a small, sparsely decorated getting ready room, I want to know that I’m never without options for creating great images for my couples!

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Here’s a sampling of what’s in my wedding styling kit:

  1. Command Hook. I’ve actually been carrying one of these with me for years! I first heard of it from Justin and Mary, and it just struck me as such a great idea. I bring the big silver ones because it looks a little more elegant and they are much sturdier. They can definitely support the weight of a wedding dress, and you know how heavy they can be sometimes! With a quick pull of the tab underneath, it comes off clean every time and you’d never know it was there. But such a lifesaver when you need it!
  2. Wooden hangar. A wooden hangar has also been with me for many years. Maybe it’s me, but I cringe when I see beautiful dresses sitting on cheap plastic hangars right from the dress shop. Now some brides will order specialty hangars that have their new name on them, which is awesome! But I didn’t want to order a new hangar for every bride if she already gets one herself. So I opted for a more generic option of one that just says “love” that I found on Etsy. I liked that it had the extra little heart hanging down too!
  3. Extra envelopes. This is a newer addition to my kit. Sometimes when a bride gives me her initiation suite to photograph it either doesn’t come with the envelopes or they are all marked up and bent from going through the mail. So I bring a few of these in different neutral colors to pair with the paper set and to add extra visual interest. Honestly, I went into CVS into the card aisle, looked for envelopes that had the colors I wanted in the sizes I wanted, and bought those cards. I couldn’t tell you what the cards were for because I really only cared about the envelopes! I think I actually threw out the cards when I got home!
  4. Stamps. I’ll admit I took this idea from reading Natalie’s blog. Every invitation needs stamps, right? But these are prettier, unmarked by the post office, and can be used around the invitations too again for a different visual look.
  5. The Little Extras. I’ve picked up some cute little details over the past year or so that I’ve added to my kit. Now these are the things that I need to be careful will match the wedding day’s style. But I have things like vintage ribbon spools, sea shells, antique keys, pieces of lace, a sheet of gold glitter paper, etc. I’m searching for the perfect dried greens to bring along too, and I’d love to add a cute little Mrs. Box!

While this might sound like a lot, it’s really not difficult to manage. I bought a black box from Michael’s that I think is intended to store old photo prints. It’s about the size of a small shoe box, and I use a large black elastic band to hold it closed.

I hope this was a helpful insight into how I best prepare for the getting ready parts of wedding days, but leave a comment below and let me know what else you might use to help style your photos!

 
Meet the Photographer: Hey there! I’m Kelly Ewell, a Northern Virginia wedding photographer who specializes in engagement, wedding, and anniversary photography. I live in Leesburg, VA with my husband and rescue pup, Piper. When I’m not at weddings, you can find me at the local wineries or renovating our farm, 48 Fields! I’d love for you to connect with me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

  • Caitlin - yes! so awesome, love to see what other photographers bring along to weddings! :)

  • Christa Rae - Such good tips!! Thank you for sharing! Already pack a wooden hanger but haven’t thought about the rest!

  • Lauren Swann - These are such good tips, Kelly! I need to grab a command hook!!

  • Nastja - I wish I had a command hook. I don’t think you can get them in Slovenia. :(
    Great post!

  • Yuliya - Thank you for sharing, Kelly, awesome ideas!!

One year ago today, they said their vows and joined in marriage.
Happy first anniversary, Patti and George!

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Meet the Photographer: Hey there! I’m Kelly Ewell, a Northern Virginia wedding photographer who specializes in engagement, wedding, and anniversary photography. I live in Leesburg, VA with my husband and rescue pup, Piper. When I’m not at weddings, you can find me at the local wineries or renovating our farm, 48 Fields! I’d love for you to connect with me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.