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As a mom, I see too often how it’s easy to always be behind the camera and never actually in the picture.  Or that when there is the possibility for an affordable professional picture to be made, it’s usually in a school setting without the opportunity to join in.
Also, as an adult with a mom I adore and few pictures of her with me when I was little, I see the importance of creating heirloom portraits for future generations.  Children want to remember not just what you looked like when they were growing up, but they’d also love a reminder of what it was like to be with you.  The hugs, the giggles, the simple act of being together as a child a mom.
So, as a way to get beautiful moms in the picture, I would be thrilled if you could join me on
 
Saturday, May 5 in Crozet  , between 3 and 5
 
for a 5 minute mommy and me session for you and your littles 
(or not so littles. or not quite born littles for those of you who’ve inquired about having a maternity portrait done.  
the answer is yes to all stages of motherhood!)
In short, for $40 you will receive:
 
a 5 minute session
1 digital file of your favorite image
1 8 x 10 of that favorite image
the option to purchase all digital downloads (minimum of 5) and printing rights for $175
 
And just why should you do this?
 
1- because you deserve to have a quality image of you and your child/children that’s created in a fun and painless manner (you’ll get details on what to expect after sign up)
 
and 
 
2- 10% of the proceeds are going to Meals on Wheels of Charlottesville
Sound like something you’re up for?
 
Great!
 
You can scroll down more to see additional examples and a few answered questions, then just head to the link below to sign up.  Once you’re signed up, I’ll send you an invoice to secure your spot and be in touch with more details soon!
*Please note that this is an indoor session (at ZSP Crossfit in the Great Valu shopping center to be exact) and the backdrop for the day will be a flat white one, as opposed to the gray one you see here
*This session is meant to be fun, stress free, and painless.  I totally understand that sometimes little ones aren’t in the best mood for their pictures, and I will do my best to help make them feel comfortable and get a smile or two.  However, at the end of the day, the point is to have an image with your children.  So show up ready to smile regardless of their moods, hug them tight, and you’ll have a frozen moment of you being mom to cherish for years to come.

The post Mother’s Day Mini Sessions appeared first on Lindsey Zovko Photography.

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“Turns out it’s not where but who you’re with that really matters…”

I’ve been remiss in sharing recent engagement sessions, so below I’m sharing a few favorites from three lovely couples I’m excited to celebrate with this year!

But, before I do, let me just say that my favorite aspect of an engagement session is getting to see how couples connect, how they make each other laugh, how they communicate.  Each couple is going to be unique in all of those aspects, but I always have the same goal for any session:  document the moments when the connection is happening and provide images that help them remember what it was like to be in that season of engagement.

Therefore, my advice to couples when it comes to picking a location is to pick a spot where they’ll be comfortable – bonus points if it’s meaningful and has a part in their story (first date spots, proposal location, where they met, their home, etc. etc.).  Sure, beautiful backdrops can be nice, but think first about where you’ll most be able to engage in a natural way and let that guide your choices.  Good pockets of light can be found anywhere, and if the goal is for you to fill the frame with your energy and charismatic love for one another, then location can essentially be an afterthought.

The post Engagement Sessions, Simplified appeared first on Lindsey Zovko Photography.

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Twelve years ago, my now husband popped the question. It was such a sweet moment, and after floating around in a cloud for a few days, it hit me like a ton of bricks: we needed to find a location for our wedding. And since we had less than a year to plan, according to many wedding guides, we needed to do that fast. Or else. (insert dramatic music here)

Therefore, we did as many couples do, which is begin to frantically call places that we were interested in, hoping to secure a primo spot at their venue. Which is when we were hit with the reality that the wedding guides weren’t lying and most (desirable) venues do indeed book up at least a year in advance. So, we were facing the possibility of either needing to wait longer to get married or come up with a better idea.

Thankfully, we had the sense to start looking outside of the box so to speak, and it was a happy day when the option of having our reception in a vacant bird aviary at a local park became available. The round building, with its perfectly aged wooden floors and large original windows, charmed the socks off of me the second we walked through the door.  Based on its beautiful aesthetic, availability, and affordable cost, we knew it was the perfect choice, even if it did require us to do a lot of the work on our own when it came to wedding day preparations.  To us, the fact that we could have a space we loved within the time we needed it was worth sacrificing some of the benefits that may have come with having it elsewhere.

Since that day, I’ve been really grateful to have photographed other weddings in a variety of “non-traditional” locations. There’s been a beach front ceremony with the reception held at a rental house, a reception at a beautiful antiques gift shop, a mountaintop elopement, a wedding at a state park, a Bed and Breakfast wedding, and several backyard weddings, just to name a few.  All very different, and yet they all had one thing in common:

They took less than a year to plan. Some even less than six months.

Which lead me to write this, for any of you who may have recently been engaged, want to get married sooner than later, but have run into road blocks when it comes to securing a location. Or maybe you don’t have any road blocks but just want something different! Whether your wedding is set to be big or small, listed below are ten options you may want to consider in lieu of a traditional venues. (Quick side note: The suggested businesses and locations are local to the Charlottesville and central Virginia area, but the broad suggestions can be applied anywhere!)

(1) A campground

If you’re a nature lover wanting to have an all outdoor event and offer affordable accommodations for your guests, this may be a perfect option for you! You would need to alert the campground of your plans, especially if you’re hosting a large group of guests, and securing campsites and/or pavilion spaces would be important. Not a fan of tent camping? Many campgrounds offer small cottage options, and there are also Airstream Parks, such as Virginia Highland Haven that may be able to accommodate your wedding day vision.

(2) A farm or open land space  

This is where you would need to ask around and/or use connections to secure a spot, but there are farm and land owners who would consider hosting a wedding in exchange for a rental fee…and the promise that you won’t destroy their property. The great thing with a large open plot of land is that it’s a total blank slate, which you can choose to leave au natural or personalize with items such as arbors and live plant installations (J. W. Townsend is one local company who provides this service). Also, if you wanted to give your guests an overnight experience, there’s the option of providing tents on site, which can be rented from companies such as Solid Ground Shelters.

(3) The beach

Oceanside weddings give off the most relaxed and carefree vibe, but some people are hesitant to choose this as their location because of the tendency for foot traffic on the beach or uninvited guests parking themselves at your ceremony. However, this can be avoided by (1) choosing to marry in the off season, (2) planning a weekday ceremony, and/or (3) securing a beach space that’s small/private/lacks a public access. Last year I photographed a beach wedding that took place on a Thursday in May, and there were less than five people who walked by their ceremony. Additionally, this couple decided to rent a large beach house for the week of the wedding, giving themselves and their closest family/friends/guests a mini vacation to go along with their special day. The house was large and had a pool, making it the perfect spot for their reception as well. Which leads me to option number four…

(4) AirBNB or Bed and Breakfast

As with renting a beach house for your wedding reception space, AirBNB is a great tool for finding a venue that offers space and accommodations. To search for homes that offer event usage as part of their rental fee, make sure to set your search results to 16+ guests, choose that you’d like to rent the entire home, and select “suitable for events” under the additional filter of house rules (where you can also choose “pets allowed” if you’re hoping your four legged friends can join the party). You may also try inquiring with a Bed and Breakfast, as many will offer the option of renting the entire home for your event – and possibly even help with catering and planning.

(5) Mountains

There’s not much to be said here except that getting married in the mountains is beautiful. The trees, the foliage (even lack thereof in the winter), the sky: it all makes for providing a truly sacred space for exchanging vows. Of course choosing this as a ceremony option means you’ll have to roll with the elements and guests may have to be okay with hiking. Parking could also be a concern, depending on how many people you’re inviting to be with you. However, if you’re set on exchanging vows in the mountains, there’s always the option of keeping that moment private or intimate, then descending to another spot for your wedding day celebration. The couple who eloped at Ravens Roost had the most gorgeous weekday exchange of vows witnessed by just a few, followed by a celebration event with a larger group the following weekend.

(6) Parks

Much like campgrounds, parks are a great option if you’re hoping for an outdoor, relaxed wedding day experience. There’s a great website to help you find state parks that serve as wedding venues in the state of Virginia, though I’ll add one more to the list, being that Pocahontas State Park was a spot of a beautiful wedding I photographed a couple years ago.

(7) Antique or gift shops

One of my favorite wedding receptions of 2016 was held at Gather, an adorable shop housed in an old general store. At the time, the shop hadn’t hosted a large wedding before, but the bride didn’t think it hurt to inquire…and it certainly didn’t, as the owner agreed to take on the challenge! The entire vibe of the day was relaxed and had the bonus vintage charm and warmth due to the store’s ambience. Due to that wedding’s success, Gather is now booking weddings for 2017, so contact Melissa if you’re hoping to get married in the Richmond, Virginia area! Or, if you’re in the Lynchburg area, The Farm Basket is also a wonderful space.

(8) A chocolate shop or bakery

Not too different from the above example, but just another version of where you may consider having an intimate wedding. I recently met a couple who eloped in a chocolate shop, and my favorite cupcake shop in town, Sweethaus, rents its space out for private events. No matter where you live, if you have a sweet tooth and want some amazing aromas to accompany your day, it never hurts to inquire with the owners of your favorite spots!

(9) An art gallery

If you’re hoping for a unique indoor venue, then renting an art gallery space could be ideal. With its clean white walls and modern aesthetic, a favorite option here in Charlottesville is Second Street Gallery

(10) Backyard

I was saving maybe the simplest for last, but let me just say: when I receive inquiries with the words “backyard wedding,” I immediately get excited. Typically because it means that the backyard is special to the couple, and that by having a wedding at home, it’s immediately going to be warm and inviting. Yes, guest numbers may be limited due to the size of the home or yard, but it’s definitely an affordable and meaningful option.

So, there you have it: a short list of ten alternative locations for your wedding! Hopefully one of the options has you feeling inspired.

However, I’ll address the fact that maybe none of the above options struck a chord with you, or maybe you’ve just always dreamed of having your wedding at a certain outdoor venue. I can totally understand that, as wedding venues who book quickly are snatched up for good reasons. The name of their game is weddings, so they’re professional, the grounds are typically spacious and well maintained, and their wedding packages come along with amenities and services – often including the assistance of a venue manager to make sure your planning experience and wedding day go smoothly.

That being said, there are many popular outdoor venues who are open to booking weekday weddings and elopements if your weekend dates are taken. Three of my favorite local venues who do so are Meriwether Springs Vineyard , The Market at Grelen, and Montfair Resort Farm. All are beautiful, accommodating, and have the most amazing owners and staff to ensure a great experience.

Annnnd one last thing before I go. If you actually don’t want to plan a wedding at all but just want to exchange vows with the love of your life, witnessed only by God, the officiant, and a photographer (I just so happen to know a gal)…eloping is a fabulous idea which can take place in any of the above scenarios as well.

So I’ll really end by saying this: whichever route you choose to go, enjoy your engagement, revel in this season, and focus on what really matters: at the end the day, you’re vowing to do life with your very best friend. The end.

The post Ten Alternatives to Traditional Wedding Venues appeared first on Lindsey Zovko Photography.

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Every time I’m given the honor to photograph a wedding day, this is my goal:

To tell the story.

The story of when you committed yourselves to one another and began a new chapter in the big book of life.

The story that will inevitably include moments of natural beautyauthentic connection, unpredictability, and a hundred little vignettes of life, love, and celebration as it plays out.

I also believe that my job is to not only help you remember that story, but to preserve your story for your future generations to come.

Which means I show up on your wedding day ready to tell your story in an honest way. Freezing moments that can’t be staged or recreated.  Preserving emotion in its purest form. In short, providing you with imagery that you can feel.

Yes, your wedding day will be beautiful, but you deserve it to be remembered as more than just a pretty picture.

And to show you just how beautiful real weddings can be, below are snippets of the stories I was honored to help preserve in 2017.   Every couple was unique, and every story was unique, and I’m forever grateful to have been a part of their days.

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“Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.” (Dorothea Lang)

If I can’t be in control of time slowing down, then the least I can do is use my camera to freeze little moments as they whiz by me.

A popular question I get as a wedding photographer is “what is your approach to photographing a wedding day?,” and my answer is always that it’s the same approach I take to photographing my life: I’ll create a few portraits to honor how you looked, then spend the majority of the time capturing the story. The moments. The exchanges. The moods. The expressions as the naturally occur within the hours. Ultimately creating images that you can feel as much as you can see.

So as a mom, my ultimate gift to my girls is to provide them with a collection of frozen moments from their life to help them remember what it felt like to grow up. Goodness knows they won’t be getting any handmade dresses or special recipes from me, so hopefully these hand me downs will do.

(Images shot using a Canon EOS 1-N and Kodak Portra 400 or Kodak 400 TX film, developed using The Find Lab for color and PhotoVision for B&W. Last four images shot with my trusty Canon 5D Markiii and edited using my favorite Mastin Lab presets to emulate film.)

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Alyson and Ethan’s wedding day at The Kyle House may have been absolutely freezing, but I’m going to get a little cheesy and say that all the love surrounding their day added a type of warmth that helped your forget about the cold.  Well, unless you were standing outside for more than ten minutes…but Alyson was thoughtful enough to give everyone hand warmers for those moments, so that when the theoretical warmth wore off, there was technical to tide you over.

But enough of my talking.  Below is a summary of their beautiful wedding day story, beginning in the gorgeous historic house and ending with a getaway in a vintage car restored by Alyson’s dad – classy and meaningful, the best kind of detail.

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Backyard weddings.  The phrase has such appeal, alluding to couples exchanging their vows in a comfortable space with a familiar feel.  I’ve been fortunate to photograph several amazing weddings in a backyard, and without a doubt there is a relaxed vibe that naturally comes along with being in a space that feels like home.

Though traditionally a backyard wedding referred to a couple exchanging vows in a yard that belonged to them or a family member, the good news is thanks to AirBNB and other home rental sites, you can pick the backyard of your dreams in any location you can think of to hold your wedding.

So, if you find yourself needing to find a backyard, here are a few pointers to get you started:

As mentioned, AirBNB is a great tool for finding a venue that offers a wedding space you can personalize anywhere in the world.

To search for homes that offer event usage as part of their rental fee, simply make sure to set your search results to 16+ guests, choose that you’d like to rent the entire home, and select “suitable for events” under the additional filter of house rules.

Home Away is another wonderful site for finding a wedding venue, though I was unable to find a filter that included homes that could be used as event spaces when doing the initial search for rentals. So going through this site could require more time contacting owners. (As a side note, this backyard wedding took place in a gorgeous home found via Home Away, and I’d highly recommend it if you’re hoping for a Virginia country estate backyard feel).

Alrighty.  The backyard has been secured.  Now what?

Well, besides hiring a *ahem* photographer to document all the awesomeness your day will bring , there are certain vendors who will be the key players in turning a yard into a wedding celebration – whether it be on a simple level or over the top.

Naturally, a wedding planner would be someone to hire first, as they will help you execute the vision – or help you create one if you’re at a loss.  However, if you’re opting to plan it yourself, these are people you’ll want to contact first:

A caterer:  Not only will they bring the food, but often they can provide tables/chairs/linens – and an ABC license if you’re intending to serve alcohol (note: if you don’t have a caterer, you’ll need apply for a banquet license so you’re wedding won’t be shut down in a horribly awkward fashion…)

A floral designer:  Nothing takes a space from plain to exquisite quicker than beautiful flowers.  Besides bouquets and centerpieces, floral designers have the creative vision and skills to produce larger installations such as floral archways, making your space unique and memorable.

A tent company and/or furniture rental company:  Tents aren’t always necessary, but they’re a great thing to have if weather if a concern, and tent companies also provide lighting installations for dark outdoor spaces. Also, furniture rental companies such as Paisly and Jade offer lots of unique pieces that can be used to personalize your space!

DJ or musician: Music always helps make for a great party, but note that you’ll need to check in about noise ordinances before deciding on the type of entertainment you’ll have.

Transportation:  It may be that your wedding guest list is small enough that parking space doesn’t need to be considered.  However, if that is a concern, hiring a transportation company to alleviate parking problems (or fees from ruining a yard) is highly recommended.

Additionally, here are two things your photographer will thank you for considering:

Lighting:  String lights and candles are the best way to add ambience to a space after sunset – and ensure that your photographer isn’t literally shooting in the dark (and guests aren’t tripping all night).

Ceremony arrangement: When you have complete control over where you’ll hold your ceremony, it’s best to have your photographer guide your placement choice so as to ensure the best lighting.  Unless you’re getting married at sunset or in a completely shaded space, the direction of the sun in regards to where you and your guests are facing has a huge impact on the lighting of images.  Therefore, asking your photographer to do a site visit prior to the ceremony is strongly suggested – and much appreciated by those of us hoping to give you the best quality images for the day.

So there you have it, a small guide to getting started planning your wedding.  But before I go, here are two caveats:

1- It may be that your whole purpose of getting married in a backyard was to make things simple and avoid paying for extras.  If that’s the case, then by all means ditch the detailed planning list, get dressed up and have a low key celebration around a bon fire if that’s what you want to do.  At the end of the day, what makes a backyard wedding special is that there are almost no restrictions, expectations, or budget minimums.  So do what makes the day memorable to you.

2- It may be that you want a backyard feel but prefer to go through an established venue, as ultimately they are the experts on executing weddings and taking care of all your needs.  If that’s you and you’re looking to get married in Virginia, three venues that offer a beautiful home and backyard setting that I’d highly recommend are The Clifton InnThe Farmhouse at Veritas, and Boxwood Villa.

Hope you found this helpful, and if you have any other tips I’ve left off that should be added, please feel free to share!

Cheers,

Lindsey

 

The post How to throw a backyard wedding appeared first on Lindsey Zovko Photography.

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Every time I’m given the honor to photograph a wedding day, this is my goal:

To tell the story.

The story of when you committed yourselves to one another and began a new chapter in the big book of life.

The story that will inevitably include moments of natural beautyauthentic connection, unpredictability, and a hundred little vignettes of life, love, and celebration as it plays out.

I also believe that my job is to not only help you remember that story, but to preserve your story for your future generations to come.

Which means I show up on your wedding day ready to tell your story in an honest way. Freezing moments that can’t be staged or recreated.  Preserving emotion in its purest form. In short, providing you with imagery that you can feel.

Yes, your wedding day will be beautiful, but you deserve it to be remembered as more than just a pretty picture.

And to show you just how beautiful real weddings can be, below are snippets of the stories I was honored to help preserve in 2017.   Every couple was unique, and every story was unique, and I’m forever grateful to have been a part of their days.

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“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.”  

Every holiday season for the past 14 years I’ve watched Love Actually, and every single time I’m crying within the first 2 minutes of the opening monologue.  Not just because Hugh Grant speaking beautiful words in a British accent makes me weepy, but because watching the peoples’ expressions as they reconnect and hug is showing raw emotion and human connection at its finest.

Which leads to me to talk about my role as a wedding photographer and expert people watcher, where I feel that what I get to witness at every wedding is very similar to what you may see in airports.  Reunions, bear hugs, expressions that are mixed with joy and other overwhelming emotions.   It’s often said that a wedding day is a celebration of the bride and groom, but it shouldn’t be missed that -whether you have one guest or 200 – your day is also a time when the friendships/bonds/connections with others in your life are honored as well.

So given that I highlighted my favorite images of couples’ connections in my previous post, below are favorite moments captured between the couple and their other loved ones.  Though I can’t provide Hugh Grant’s voice to narrate and make you cry while viewing, hopefully the emotion seeping out of the scenes gives you a smile or tear of joy today.

The post Connection appeared first on Lindsey Zovko Photography.

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One of the things I love most about photographing weddings is that every couple is different. Even if I shot a wedding in the same location all year long, the images wouldn’t be the same because no two couples are the same. Their love stories, their personalities, their style, their families and friends. All unique to the day, which makes my job so fun and interesting.

However, if I had to pick on thing that every couple I work with has in common, it’s this: they’re happy and they know it and they aren’t afraid to show it. Their joy is palpable and there’s no stopping it from radiating out of their beings.

So below I’ve pulled two favorites from each 2017 wedding, each one showing wedded bliss and the natural beauty that stems from these amazing couples allowing their light to shine freely and their joy overflow. In short, they show what getting married to your best friend should look like, and I couldn’t be more grateful to have been the one to captured that look.

(and feel free to go back to the blog archives to see their stories in full….)

The post Beauty and Bliss appeared first on Lindsey Zovko Photography.

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