August is such a weird month. Sometimes it’s busy for me and other times it’s a slower time to regroup and relax. This year it was a little of both, but with September arriving tomorrow I’m also looking forward to the change of season. Boots, sweaters, fuzzy blankets. I’m ready. Not ever really ready for winter, but I do like the fall!

With the end of another month though, it’s time for me to look back and pick my favorite photo from the last 30 days of weddings and engagements. This one really stood out to me after seeing it for the first time, and it’s possibly one of my new favorites ever!

Hillsborough Vineyards Wedding in Purcellville VA  | Kelly Ewell Photography

So why did I pick it? To me this just feels like what a couple in love should look like – content, snuggled up, relaxed, and connected. It’s a simply pose but the moment feels real and authentic. More creatively I love that their classic black and white attire is contrasted by the soft pink blooms of the landscape around them. They are the focus though, not their environment.

So did I make the right choice? Check out more of Joan and Jim’s wedding at Hillsborough Vineyards, and in case you missed anything on the blog, here is a quick recap of my posts from the past month:

Ask Anything: Outsourcing Photo Editing
Engaged: Joan and Jim
First Anniversary: Cailin and Marc
First Anniversary: Christine and Quinn
First Anniversary: Kathleen and Charlie
First Anniversary: Suzie and Jesse
Five Photos that Represent My Brand
How I Took It: Balancing Indoor and Outdoor Light
Married: Caroline and Chris
Married: An Elegant Yellow Summer Black Tie Wedding
Our Summer Farm Renovation Updates

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.

One year ago today, they said their vows and joined in marriage at their Merriweather Manor wedding!
Happy first anniversary, Christine and Quinn!

Orange and Pink Summer Wedding at Merriweather Manor in Leesburg VA | Kelly Ewell Photography

 
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.

The idea for this photo first started because the bride’s mom asked for it to be taken. Because it wasn’t something I had initially come up with, I had to figure out how to create it to fit all the mom’s requirements – shooting from the outside of the church all the way to the back side of the altar.

Balancing Indoor and Outdoor Light for Portraits at an Antioch Baptist Church Wedding in Haymarket VA | Kelly Ewell Photography

First off, I knew I’d have to use a long lens, so I popped my 70-200mm lens onto my camera. From where I’m standing there is a long patch of grass that is the end of the parking area (cropped out), a stone fence, a driveway, the church entrance, a small church “lobby”, the bride and groom, the aisle behind the couple, and then finally the altar. The longer focal length I’m using compresses the photo so that the couple looks like they’re right in the doorway and then the altar looks like it’s right behind the couple. I ended up shooting at 95mm because I wanted to still get the full framing of the church entrance in the photo along with the stone wall at the bottom.

The second issue I had was the drastic changes in brightness of light. Outside, the sun was shining and things were quite bright even though the doorway was on the shaded side of the building. Lights were on inside the church, but their brightness was nothing compared to the sun. If I wanted to be able to see the couple, I knew I’d have to light them with off camera flash. I set up a flash with an umbrella to diffuse the harshness at a 45-degree angle in front of them to the right. I used a Pocket Wizard so I could trigger the flash when I fired my camera shutter. How did I know how much flash to use? Well first I set my exposure for the outside of the church since that would determine the overall exposure. I had just been shooting family formals inside the church, so luckily the flash was already set for the inside. Had it not already been dialed in, I would have started with a fairly low power since theflash was quite close to them. I don’t remember what I was on but if I had to guess it was likely about 1/16 power. So one light on a light stand was all I used!

The last issue was that I was so far away from the couple, that it was more difficult to communicate what I wanted them to do and when. Nothing a little yelling and hand signals can’t fix though!

So that’s how I took it! Let me know what you think and if there are other types of photos you want me to talk about by leaving a comment. Or better yet, sign up for my newsletter below and get free photography tips sent right to your inbox!

 
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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 to connect with you on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

  • Morgan - Wow! This requires some thinking, and it’s impressive that you were able to think this fast on you’re feet during the wedding day- at least I’m assuming you did because that’s how wedding day’s roll. Round of applause- this photo is beautiful!

  • Kelsey - Love this style of post! I might have to steal this idea for my own blog 😉 Love this photo!

  • Meghan - SO much respect for wedding photographers. I can only imagine how stressful that gets to capture someone’s perfect day…a day they dream about forever. That photo is so gorgeous – looks like you’re doing an awesome job :)

    blissedout,me

  • Liz Cook - Wow… this is definitely impressive!! Nice work!

  • Nevica Vazquez - Wow what a cool shot! I am not a photographer but this shot is awesome and seeing how much thought went into getting it right just shows how much you care about your craft!

  • Emilia - Beautiful!!

  • Jackie Phillips - I can imagine how difficult it was to get that photo! It turned out gorgeous!

  • Shalene - Ooo! Fancy photographer secrets!
    Me likey! 😉 lol

If you want to find one of the best sunsets in the area, then planning an elegant evening summer wedding at Hillsborough Vineyards won’t let you down! Joan and Jim had a perfect afternoon to enjoy the stunning panoramic views and to celebrate their wedding with family and close friends. It was simple and elegant, and full of heart-felt toasts and tributes to the bride and groom. Of course, once the sun went down the party moved to the dance floor outside on the terrace. They couldn’t have had a better night for it!

So enjoy highlights from Joan and Jim‘s elegant summer winery wedding at Hillsborough Vineyards!

Hillsborough Vineyards Wedding in Purcellville VA - Joan and Jim | Kelly Ewell Photography

Hillsborough Vineyards Wedding in Purcellville VA - Joan and Jim | Kelly Ewell Photography

Hillsborough Vineyards Wedding in Purcellville VA - Joan and Jim | Kelly Ewell Photography

Hillsborough Vineyards Wedding in Purcellville VA - Joan and Jim | Kelly Ewell Photography

Hillsborough Vineyards Wedding in Purcellville VA - Joan and Jim | Kelly Ewell Photography

Hillsborough Vineyards Wedding in Purcellville VA - Joan and Jim | Kelly Ewell Photography

Hillsborough Vineyards Wedding in Purcellville VA - Joan and Jim | Kelly Ewell Photography

Hillsborough Vineyards Wedding in Purcellville VA - Joan and Jim | Kelly Ewell Photography

Hillsborough Vineyards Wedding in Purcellville VA - Joan and Jim | Kelly Ewell Photography

Hillsborough Vineyards Wedding in Purcellville VA - Joan and Jim | Kelly Ewell Photography

Hillsborough Vineyards Wedding in Purcellville VA - Joan and Jim | Kelly Ewell Photography

Hillsborough Vineyards Wedding in Purcellville VA - Joan and Jim | Kelly Ewell Photography

Hillsborough Vineyards Wedding in Purcellville VA - Joan and Jim | Kelly Ewell Photography

Hillsborough Vineyards Wedding in Purcellville VA - Joan and Jim | Kelly Ewell Photography

Hillsborough Vineyards Wedding in Purcellville VA - Joan and Jim | Kelly Ewell Photography

Hillsborough Vineyards Wedding in Purcellville VA - Joan and Jim | Kelly Ewell Photography

Hillsborough Vineyards Wedding in Purcellville VA - Joan and Jim | Kelly Ewell Photography

Hillsborough Vineyards Wedding in Purcellville VA - Joan and Jim | Kelly Ewell Photography

Hillsborough Vineyards Wedding in Purcellville VA - Joan and Jim | Kelly Ewell Photography

Hillsborough Vineyards Wedding in Purcellville VA - Joan and Jim | Kelly Ewell Photography

Hillsborough Vineyards Wedding in Purcellville VA - Joan and Jim | Kelly Ewell Photography

Hillsborough Vineyards Wedding in Purcellville VA - Joan and Jim | Kelly Ewell Photography

Hillsborough Vineyards Wedding in Purcellville VA - Joan and Jim | Kelly Ewell Photography

Hillsborough Vineyards Wedding in Purcellville VA - Joan and Jim | Kelly Ewell Photography

Hillsborough Vineyards Wedding in Purcellville VA - Joan and Jim | Kelly Ewell Photography

Hillsborough Vineyards Wedding in Purcellville VA - Joan and Jim | Kelly Ewell Photography

Hillsborough Vineyards Wedding in Purcellville VA - Joan and Jim | Kelly Ewell Photography

Hillsborough Vineyards Wedding in Purcellville VA - Joan and Jim | Kelly Ewell Photography

Hillsborough Vineyards Wedding in Purcellville VA - Joan and Jim | Kelly Ewell Photography

Special thanks the team that helped make the day great!

Reception: Hillsborough Vineyards
Catering and Bakery: Karen Harper-Fuog
Florist: Wegmans
DJ: Shawn Knott, Bayside Sounds
Dress: Pattrapon Bridal
Photographer: Kelly Ewell Photography

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.

Hillsborough Vineyards Wedding in Purcellville VA - Joan and Jim | Kelly Ewell Photography

One year ago today, they said their vows and joined in marriage at their Reston Hyatt wedding!
Happy first anniversary, Cailin and Marc!

Navy Blue Summer Wedding at Reston Hyatt in Reston VA - Cailin and Marc | Kelly Ewell Photography

 
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.