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Nicole + Mike | Engagement Session

How to Prepare for Your Upcoming Session

Congrats, you’re engaged!  One question we always get from clients when booking their shoot is “what the heck do we wear?!” Do you go with something more formal?  Casual?  Maybe something with drama?  What about hair and makeup?  And how is he supposed to dress?  The questions are endless, so I’ve come up with a few quick hitting tips to put your mind at ease.

Engagement photos (typically) only happen once so use this as an excuse to go shopping.  Photo sessions are an heirloom investment, something that will live on throughout time, and part of the experience should be build up and preparation.  The likelihood of you pulling something out of the back of your closest a night or two before your shoot probably isn’t going to give you that same fiery feeling of confidence and excitement that a new outfit would. So yeah, go shopping! Suggestion #1. 

Some of my personal favorite online stores for engagement shoot dresses/outfits are: ($$$) Investment pieces for sure. Free 2-day shipping and free returns (the best!). Take the time to measure yourself (bust, hips, waist) for the most accurate sizing.  I did it and it’s rare something doesn’t fit me based on their sizing guides. I get lost on this site… big, big fan. ($) Quality isn’t fabulous, but the prices are cheap and their stuff is super cute.  Ships from China (usually about 2-weeks). First round of returns are free. I did a SHEIN haul before one of my California trips and I swear to God I never got as many clothing compliments in a 5-day span as I did decked out in SHEIN.

Other online favorites: Vici Dolls ($$), Red Dress Boutique ($$), Abercrombie (before you sh*t on me, trust me when I say they have come A LONG WAY since high school… Especially the last 2-3 years).

Good American Jeans: I hadn’t splurged on a pair of jeans in my life until about three years ago.  This brand has become my go-to spot for jeans. 

Suggestion #2- Variety is the spice of life my friends! So I always suggest a full outfit change for our girls and at least a shirt change for our guys.  I usually like the idea one casual outfit and then one on the dressier side, but I’ve had a ton of girls double up on dresses or skirts lately and I’m really loving that too.  

In terms of patterns, I personally have “a one pattern rule” which says that there should only be one pattern for every three people in a group.  So if your fiancé goes with a patterned shirt, pick a solid color found in that pattern and rock it.  Winter accessories (hats, scarves) are the exception to that rule 😉 

Next up, be true to your style.  If you’re not wearing something that you’re comfortable in, the camera will only magnify that.  You’ll want to pick something that compliments your figure. If you’re doing an open air shoot (on a beach, in a field, etc.) I love the idea of picking a dress (or skirts) that’s fitted on top with some flowiness on the bottom; this will allow for movement, playfulness and will help keep your hands busy.  As for shoes?  Barefoot on the beach, heals or wedges in the city and whatever your heart desires for green space.  If you hate your legs, don’t wear shorts and if you hate your arms, wear something with a sleeve. You’re in control here!  So play to your strengths while drawing attention away from those “trouble” spots you might be a little self-conscious of.  We all have them.  

What about hair and makeup? I would say only about a quarter of my clients get their hair and makeup done for their engagement shoot. Some use it as a trial/test run for their big day while others just want to soak up the whole experience.  For me personally? I know I feel my best when I’m tan.  If you’re feeling a little ghostly pre-shoot, consider getting a spray tan 2-3 days prior or invest in some self tanning drops (a link to my favorite can be found here).  Don’t forget to get your nails done too for the engagement ring close-ups!

Give yourself plenty of time.  Plenty of time to find an outfit, plenty of time to get ready, plenty of time to travel to your shoot.  Rushing will only cramp your style and stress you out the day-of, so give yourself grace!  Remember to enjoy the whole experience, preparation included. Blast your best Spotify playlist and indulge in a glass of champagne while getting ready.  Take your time, have fun with it and just let it all sink in. PLUS, a little liquid courage always helps take the edge off <3 

And lastly, FLORALS.  Looking to elevate your engagement session in a big way?  Add a fresh floral bouquet, wristlet or flower crown.  It’s amazing how much one prop can totally up-level the tone and mood for a shoot (not to mention they’re beautiful and live on for days afterwards). Holler at me if you’re interested in this and I’ll gladly put you in touch with some of my favorite local florists. 

Hope this has helped!  Can’t wait to shoot with ya!


Floral Design

Processing COVID-19 in the Wedding Industry

Let’s not beat around the bush here: It sucks.

Spring and early summer couples: I feel your pain and I’m sorry that the timing and overall health of the world could not be worse for your big day.  Let’s not beat around the bush here: It sucks.  It’s the anxiety of the unknown—when do we see the other side of this? Next month? Two months?— It sucks.  Will we learn a lot from this? Yes.  Will it make us safer, more prepared and stronger in the future?  I sure hope so. Will it be a time that is recorded in our nation’s history and discussed and analyzed for decades to come? Absolutely. 

Some of you are high school sweethearts that have waited for this day for over 10-years. Some of you are delaying out of caution, because your closest loved ones fall under the “most vulnerable” or “high risk” category.  Some of you are nurses, who instead of getting married next month, are now living the stresses of replanning a postponed wedding while still working on the front lines. Some of you have family or friends that live out of the country, and the unknown of when they’ll be able to make it on to U.S. soil again straight-up drains your emotions.  The colors, the weather, the flowers and maybe even the location that you once imagined might look a little different now.  The situation fcking sucks, but it’s going to be okay.

It’s going to be okay because when we do get on the other side of this, can you imagine what that celebration will look like?  Can you just freaking imagine?  The love, the support, the anticipation and excitement will only be stronger.  The build up will only continue.  Your guests will be ready to party in your honor because their heart aches for you right now too. You and your fiancé are experiencing something hard —unprecedented— but it’s YOUR person by your side through it all.  

As much as you want your wedding to happen, so do we. This is our livelihood.  We don’t work every weekend because we have nothing better to do. We don’t do this to get rich. We do this because we love it. We. Love. It. We love the energy. The purpose. The pretty. The relationships. The memories.  The creativity.

To date, I’ve had six regular shoots and one event cancel.  I’ve had five weddings postpone (three pushed to the fall, two pushed to 2021) with three others on the fence. This wedding season was one I was really excited about, because I felt like I had finally properly paced myself. I was very thoughtful and intentional and now it’s turned completely upside down. Looking ahead, I’m seeing one of my most difficult, condensed seasons to date. I had hopes of scaling Freebird in a fun new way, which for now, will sadly take a back seat. But I keep reminding myself: It’s temporary. It’s not permanent. This gives us more time to prepare. More time to work on the back-end of businesses. More time to do projects around the house, to slow down and be present. We will rise from this and we will celebrate again, and when we do we will celebrate hard. 

Coastal Nantucket-Style Home Full of Modern Charm

“Whether it was their modest urban apartment, their charming seaside boathouse, or now, a grand Nantucket-style home, the Andersons possess a fabulous yet grounded way of life. It’s a sort of chic but casual lifestyle that’s beautiful in its own contradiction.”

Did you see our most recent feature on The HAVEN List? This was one of my favorite residential interiors to shoot because it involved so many of my Newburyport girlfriends who are oh, so talented. They’re all passionate in their work, brilliant and willing to take risks to further their craft, and really do exhibit the community over competition mantra. And this house?! A dream. The decor, the views, the SWINGS, the tall, grand windows and the wide open space; Get ready to sink your teeth into this coastal beauty.

Interior Designer: Katie Goodrich of Ivory + Bone Interiors
Homeowner/Blogger: Mary Jo Anderson / @Port2Palm
Writer: Melissa Baran of The Haven List

My First Multi-Page Print Feature: Interior Design Photography

The side-chick niche I can’t seem to get enough of.

So while weddings probably make up 75% of my business, Interior Design Photography is this niche that I’ve really been loving, developing and fine-tuning over the last few years. I like to think I’ve always had an eye and mind for style and design (Best Dressed of Londonderry High’s Class of ’07 😂) , so working with other creatives who are pulled towards the same aesthetic is amazing. And who doesn’t love checking out gorgeous houses with beautiful vignettes everywhere?

What I don’t love though ? When I get home from these shoots and wish I had tens of thousands of dollars to make serious home improvements 😆

Recently, I was hired by BLB Custom Building to shoot a project they renovated from top to bottom on Newburyport’s prestigious High Street. The craftsmanship and attention to detail that these guys have in their work is noteworthy. The risks that the designer (Sarah Beth Design Co.) and architect (Vesta Architecture) took were well worth the reward. Together these three, with the blessing of patient and trusting homeowners, brought new life to this historical Victorian Home. Read more about this project below, featured in Northshore Home‘s Winter 2020 Edition.

Write up by Lauren Mahoney | Photos by FREEBIRD

Living Room Design.
Living Room Design, Kitchen Design
A wide angle view of the renovated living room with a tall shiplap ceiling, custom kitchen and dining room.

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