Photo show and share: stairwell of framed prints


These days digital photography makes photo sharing a piece of cake.

After a wedding or portrait session, we post the final edit to a password protected online gallery using a professional photographers lab called Pictage. I've been using this service since I started the business in 2003 and unlike "the old days" where toting around an actual proof book of 4x6's to tally up which relative wants what 5x7 or 8x10 was the norm, clients now rave about the ability to view their images online and share the link with guests to order prints on their own. Easy peasy.

We always recommend printing through Pictage as we are very familiar with and love their high quality results, but we also understand you might have other plans for your photos. 95% of our couples opt to purchase a disc of high resolution images from us, granting even more freedom to print and share images under the guidelines of the included personal use license agreement. We have started including a folder of Facebook-ready images on the disc for our 2012 clients, recognizing the demand and again the ease of sharing through this social media outlet.

In the spirit of all this photo sharing, we are introducing a new feature on the blog called "photo show and share." We're so curious what you have done with your images since your wedding or portrait session, and encourage you to email us with a photo or a few that showcase our work in your home, office, at the in-laws, or even what you carry around in your purse! Wall displays, photo books, paper goods, products, etc! Anything goes! Images must be at least 700px wide and please include a detailed description, how you chose the photos and any advice you want to share with our readers. All entries will be considered for posting.

To get things rolling, Sarah and Hawley agreed to let me stop by to photograph their stairwell, a major focal point in their Portland condo. Sarah and Hawley were married in 2009 at the Spruce Point Inn in Boothbay Harbor, and have a three month old baby Zachary.

From Sarah:

We took advantage of a Pictage 2-for-1 print special and ordered several of our favorites shortly after the wedding. We figured the more time that passed, the less likely we were to actually place an order. Plus we were anxious to fill our stairwell wall with memories. Their 2-for-1 deal also allowed us to order prints for family and friends that served as great framed holiday presents. Selecting the images was at first overwhelming because of the sheer volume of photos to choose from. But it's best not to over think it and just go with your gut. We chose to frame and display a variety of wedding moments- some of the formal portraits of family and wedding party, some of just the two of us, and some our favorite candid moments. We also chose some color and some black and white. We actually have several 8x10 portraits of the two of us, but they are not all hanging at once- this way we can swap them out and we didn't have to pick just one favorite portrait.

We had registered for a bunch of frames from Crate & Barrel and also found some simple frames that were very inexpensive from Kohl's (or somewhere like that). Not all of the frames match, which I was initially worried about, but in the end I actually prefer it this way. As far as hanging the photos, I didn't bother measuring anything out on the wall, I just started at the top of the stairs with the biggest frame and eyeballed it from there. It's a very narrow staircase though, so I think that's why the imperfection works. If this were a bigger wall, some measuring and planning would've been necessary. 

So to whittle my advice down to a few bullet points:
- Order prints as soon as possible after the wedding, before life gets back to "normal" and you lose motivation.
- Don't over think which images to print, otherwise the process can be overwhelming.
- Select a variety of moments that capture different parts of your day.
- Register for frames.

emilie inc. partners with Queensberry for wedding albums


J and I were married three years ago. Perhaps like many of you, we still don't have a wedding album. I'm not entirely sure why, but I haven't yet felt inspired to really want one, to need one, to invest in one.

Until now.

I think the earth may have moved under my feet when I recently unwrapped several of our newest Queensberry albums for our studio. I literally gasped. On every page. Several times. I lingered over the craftsmanship, the precision of each thick handcut mat and perfectly exposed prints. The surprise of a gate fold or the sweet vellum title page. Ohhhhhh my!

Immediately in love with our new meeting room additions, I finally understood what album companies have been selling for years and why they had been falling short- in my opinion, of course. Browsing these, our new lovelies, was an experience. Capturing the timeless elegance and attention to detail our studio strives to document at every moment during a wedding, these books reflect the same work ethic and offer a complementary presentation to what it was like to be there. It's an extension of our art, a stunning showcase, a perfect marriage. I'm not being dramatic- it takes a lot to impress me.

Hook, line and sinker, folks, I must have one of these of my own. I need one.

Here's why...

The obvious: People say it all the time, I know, but after the flowers wilt and the cake is cleared, photographs are what help families remember. Years from now you won't remember what blooms were in your bouquet or what flavor your tiered dessert was, but your images will.

Why it matters: A few weeks ago I shared with you the story of my stepgrandparents' passing and the comfort I found in browsing their wedding album. I loved hearing how my aunt Missy was the one who was entrusted to care for the book, wondering which one of our children might clamor for my own (soon to be ordered!) album one day. I love looking through my parents' wedding images, remarking on the poses and the fashion, the colors and the style. Don't you? So interesting! When I was little I was the flower girl in my aunt Susie's wedding. My family loves to tell the story that I pouted all day long because the lace around my sleeves was itchy. There are pictures aplenty with my prized scowl. Classic. Will is going to be a ring bearer in my uncle's wedding this summer. I wonder what pictures we'll be sharing with him from that day for the rest of his life?

The process: Photography is as important to you as it is to us, therefore it is our responsibility to take very good care of you, sharing our expertise both before, during and after your wedding. We're the only local wedding photography studio that has a post production manager (who tends to each and every image after I have edited your wedding) and a graphic designer on staff. Our designer walks you through every step of the album process, helping you choose images and collaborating on a custom layout which I oversee and sign off on with you. We aren't merely dropping images into a template, we are working with your photographs to tell the story of your wedding day with the most perfect balance and flow, carefully weaving together image position, size, and style. We are attention to detail professionals with a capital p.

The best and nothing less: You could have hired anyone to photograph your wedding, but you chose us. You didn't want average, you wanted the best. Should you have anything less to preserve your wedding day images? This book has shifted our thinking so drastically that moving forward Queensberry is the only professional album company we are partnering with. It's truly that awesome. Symbiotic with our brand and the emilie inc experience, it just makes sense. Please come by and see one for yourself. We'll guarantee you'll understand why we're so giddy and why you'd be so proud to showcase your gorgeous wedding in one, too.

A mid-size square is our favorite. Not too big, not too small. Coffee mug not for coffee, but just for scale here.
Clean, crisp edges.
Luxe leather cover treatment.
Vellum title page, available in several styles.
A simple design...
.... hinges to reveal this beautiful layout of portraits.
Our biggest crush on this particular style is the combination of both traditional matted images (right) and flush mounted images (dress, left, that bleeds to the edge of the page). Blends the best of both worlds in what Queensberry calls their Duo book.
The ivory mat and blind liner supports the photography, it doesn't detract from it. 


A closer look at the precision cut page mat. Anyone else goo-goo for gorgeous paper like we do?
A book that features a healthy balance of simple and complex designs like this help keep the flow of the book moving, mimicking the wedding day and keeping a viewer's interest. No boring or predictable album templates here!  
So there you have it! Are you in love, too? 

emilie inc staff workshop


The past few summers, you'll recall, I organized a photojournalism workshop called Roots for a week on Cape Cod. We're taking a year off from it this summer, working to restructure the program and our priorities. In the meantime, I didn't want the emilie inc team- who usually attends Roots each summer- to miss the learning and bonding experience a small workshop setting lends itself to. We enlisted the help of one of my bestest photo friends Tyler, of Wirken Photography in Kansas City, to lead a mini workshop on our home turf. Tyler's teaching style is one of the best- both technical, inspirational and even therapeutic. He's easily able to identify students' strengths and weaknesses, and push them toward growth quickly and with amazing results and a great sense of humor. He's a huge part of Roots' success, as he's been on the staff since it started, as well as the Foundation Workshop where we met during my first year on staff in Dallas five years ago.

Aside from our studio trip to Las Vegas for WPPI earlier this year, this was the most amount of time we've spent together consecutively as a group and boy, it was a blast. We photographed at a gymnastics school, our beloved Sea Bags, did a lighting demo one evening at the Portland Company, a portrait session in the Old Port and stuffed ourselves silly at many of our favorite eateries. The weather wasn't ideal, but made for more realistic Maine shooting conditions, right? Our hats are off to Tyler for his unwavering enthusiasm and dedication to helping everyone succeed, and to the amazing emilie inc. team who make me feel fortunate every day to be surrounded by such talent, friendship and fun. Y'all rock.  

Megan's anniversary at emilie inc.


Earlier this month we marked a very exciting milestone: Megan's one year anniversary as our studio manager! For those of you lucky enough to have spent time chatting with Megan on the phone, in a client meeting or back-and-forth over email, you'll know why we feel so lucky to know her. She's kind, smart, witty and quirky- exactly the characteristics needed to hang with this crew. Adore you, Megan!

While we celebrated the Mexican militia victory over the French army at the Battle of Puebla, my first year at emilie inc. drew to a close. Margaritas all around!

Seriously though, I can't believe it's been just a year. I feel as if I've known everyone on the emilie inc. team for years. We've had great experiences traveling around the city, state and country to weddings, photography meetings, workshops and a conference. Recently we even road-tripped to New Hampshire for a superbly delicious cake tasting (an added perk- thanks, Erin!). My coworkers had to put up with my extreme sugar high on the ride home but hey- it was a wonderful bonding experience.

I've grown a lot as a photographer this past year (which I was expecting) but what I wasn't expecting is how much I would learn about weddings, too. You might find this difficult to believe, but before last year I had been to only two weddings and both as a child. Luckily, last year quickly changed that (I attended 15). Before, I had a preconceived notion of weddings that consisted solely of a pretty white dress, a first kiss as man and wife, a cutting of the cake and dancing. Throughout the course of last season these notions rapidly evolved. Now- as cliché as this sounds- I think the important moments of the day are not the ones printed on the schedule (listed above) but the smaller, intimate moments that wedding days are riddled with. Learning to look for these wonderful unplanned events has been integral to my growth as a wedding photographer and makes me so excited for each individual wedding.

Last season was so great, but this year I have the added bonus of getting to know our couples months before their big day. I am oh-so-excited for all of their upcoming celebrations! Those that I won't have the opportunity to attend as a second photographer, I look forward to reliving through the images.

Cheers to another fun-filled year to come!

Mother's Day at the Black Point Inn


As a mom, I totally get it now. Mother's Day, simply put, rocks. Better than birthdays or even Christmas, Mother's Day salutes the hardest and most rewarding job ever, a special sorority celebrated annually during the height of spring bloom. And if you're lucky like me and live in Maine, today might have included a formal brunch with a jazz quartet, white glove service, a view of the water and lobster on your eggs at the Black Point Inn in Scarborough. Will's baby shower was there, too, and I believe we have just birthed our Mother's Day tradition (under the same ownership as Migis Lodge, the Inn at Ocean's Edge and now the Colony Hotel, too, the inn and its partner sites are poised to be the wedding powerhouse in the area. All locations would be great for rehearsal dinners, too, fyi!). A post brunch walk on the beach with my parents and Dakota and time to explore the inn's beautiful gardens and paths sealed the deal, and we overheard others saying the same.

Happy Mother's Day, mom, and to all the moms out there! We love you!   

Real Maine Weddings magazine giveaway planning day 2


With the voting for Alyssa and Nick's wedding invitations coming to a close, the wedding dress comes next!! I recently visited my go-to local designer dress shop, Spoil Me, with Alyssa, her mom, her two best friends, Melanie from Real Maine Weddings magazine and the planning team from Sweetest Thing Weddings, Amber and Kathryn. We took over the place! The reactions as Alyssa came out of the dressing room in dress after dress from contest partner Canadian dress designer Lea Ann Belter were priceless! Gasps! Tears! And a rare silence when no one was entirely crazy about the design. Choosing three favorites for the public to vote on was almost easy and gosh, Alyssa is going to make a beautiful bride!

Then (I know, who thought the day could get even more fun?!), we went to eat cake! My favorite part of a wedding! Kidding. Er, sorta. I'm kinda an expert in wedding cake, you should know. I've tried a few hundred over the years. :) Jessica from Nothing Bakes Like a Parrott (her last name is Parrott, hence where the name comes from) hosted all of us in her darling new shop in South Portland (the same plaza as Greener Postures yoga). Pink and white striped walls, black and white checkered floors, the smell of sweets! Oh, we thought we walked straight to heaven! Jessica spoiled Nick and Alyssa with a silly amount of cupcakes, cake pops and whoopie pies to try, actually making the cake flavor decision more difficult than the dress! Based on the notes she took during their meeting, Jessica is going to present three different designs for the public to vote on for their cake in the coming weeks. Fun, fun!

Kinda makes me want to get married again! Five year vow renewal perhaps?! :)

Be sure to stop by the Real Maine Weddings blog to vote on Alyssa's dress options starting Monday. But don't tell Nick! He still wants to be surprised on their wedding day.
  Cupcake liner wreath on Jessica's store door. Adorable!

Photographs as family history


Last week was a bit of a rough one for my family. My stepfather Steve's dear dad Loring passed. At 91 years young, he had been slowly deteriorating and hardly the strong man we all recalled in his final months. Steve's mom and Loring's wife of more than 60 years (it would have been 66 this Friday!), Polly, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's several years ago and heartbreakingly didn't know her family or her surroundings, spending most of her time stationary in bed at a care facility. Following Loring's death, Steve's sister Barbara visited Polly to tell her of his passing even tho she or the news didn't outwardly register. Barbara continued anyway, and told Polly that it was ok for her, too, to let go, to go see him... Wouldn't you know, a few hours later, she did just that, peacefully exiting this life to go find her love. She was 89 years old.


It's a chilling love story. Simply amazing.

Their double funeral was in their hometown church in Rutland, Massachusetts, where they were longtime members and Polly led the choir and pageants for years. The pews were packed and the tears plentiful as family and friends remembered this dear couple. Personally, I've never done well with death. From dogs to dear friends and relatives, I have a hard time wrapping my brain around the why, how and what's next. My cousin Jeff (whose wedding I photographed in 2001- my very first one!) read a poem from Henry Van Dyke during the service, a nod to Polly and Loring's love for Maine (they vacationed in Ogunquit, hence why my mom & Steve, cousins, etc., have summer cottages there too), that actually helped me quite a lot. It's a beautiful metaphor and I hope it is ok to share with you here in case it offers some comfort for you, too.

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side,
spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts
for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck
of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says, “There, she is gone”
Gone where?
Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast,
hull and spar as she was when she left my side.
And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me — not in her.
And, just at the moment when someone says, “There, she is gone,”
there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices
ready to take up the glad shout, “Here she comes!”
And that is dying…

Later everyone filed downstairs for tea sandwiches and sweets, sharing stories and offering hugs to one another. I was taken with an extensive display of photographs; I loved studying the vitality and youthfulness, the smiles and joy, milestone moments and grace of which both Polly and Loring aged. Their wedding album, a deep red and worn through the edges at the corners, sat on a table for browsing and after thumbing through its fragile pages again and again, I asked if I could take it home with me to scan to make sure we have these images for always. Captivated by the poses, the outfits and the traditions, I had several looking-from-the-outside-in double-takes of identifying so strongly with the loss for my family AND the power of my profession. Both as a historical marker and medium for a family's legacy, in that moment I truly understood why people say the one item they would grab while running from a burning building would be their family wedding album. I can't imagine not having these to share with my family and pass down to theirs and so on.

Thank you, Polly and Loring, for the reminder and for sharing yourselves with us all. You are dearly missed and forever loved. xoxo


* Portland, Maine, wedding of Tracee and Chris at Grace Restaurant by Denise


photographers: Denise and Steve, emilie inc photography
venue: Grace Restaurant Portland, Maine
officiant: Chris' uncle
caterer: Grace Restaurant
florist: Sawyer & Co.
ceremony musician: Peter Albert
band: Bob Charest Band
cupcakes: East End Cupcakes
hair/make-up: Fabu Salon
gown: Marisa at Madeleine's Daughter, Portsmouth
invitations: Paper Source
honeymoon: St Barth's

I was happy to kick off our 2012 wedding season at Grace Restaurant in Portland with Tracee and Chris on Saturday.

I was so impressed with Tracee’s resourcefulness and DIY talents, including finding her adorable J. Crew bridesmaids’ dresses on ebay and making her own gorgeous brooch bouquet.  She was totally humble about it all, but it was clear that a lot of thought and care went into planning her wedding day.  She’s also beautiful and one of the sweetest people you could meet!  She was just a joy to be with that day.  And Chris pulled out some serious swing dance moves for their first dance, gotta love that.

I was happy to be joined by Steve as a second photographer at Grace and let me tell you, he came through in a pinch.  I walked into the ceremony area, on the bottom level of Grace, and noticed a dumpster visible through a window right behind where the ceremony would be taking place!  I mentioned this to Steve and he said “Oh, I’ll go move it”, no big deal.  He put down his camera gear and didn’t mind getting a little dirty to help out.

With all of the beautiful Grace Restaurant to themselves, Tracee, Chris, and their guests enjoyed great food and dancing into the night.  As I photographed the exterior, many a passersby were oh-so-curious about what private occasion was going on inside.  I’m just thankful I was included on the exclusive guest list!

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