Masthead header

Katie and Doug met me in Richmond for a sunrise session at Belle Isle. It was the first of a series of warm days, but sunrise was still a little cold. But I like a little cold as it encourages cuddling. I was hoping to have rocks to shoot on, but you know? 4 days of melting snow makes for an angry, high river. So we got creative, and I LOVE these photos. One of my new favorite sessions!

belle_isle_engagement_0001 belle_isle_engagement_0002 belle_isle_engagement_0003 belle_isle_engagement_0005 belle_isle_engagement_0006 belle_isle_engagement_0007 belle_isle_engagement_0008 belle_isle_engagement_0010 belle_isle_engagement_0012 belle_isle_engagement_0013 belle_isle_engagement_0015 belle_isle_engagement_0016 belle_isle_engagement_0017 belle_isle_engagement_0018 belle_isle_engagement_0019 belle_isle_engagement_0021 belle_isle_engagement_0022 belle_isle_engagement_0023

  • These are awesome! I love her outfit. And the lighting is perfect.ReplyCancel

  • Betty

    Love was in the air on Belle Isle and you captured it beautifully with your camera. Thanks for sharing! Love your creativity.ReplyCancel

It was all girls in the studio this month. I help a few studio sessions and had some amazing women join me! We started each of their sessions with make-up from Emily Hudspeth, and she made the girls look beautiful before they jumped on set. Thanks to these women who spent a few hours with me – we had a great time!

studio_0001 studio_0002 studio_0003 20150219_Karen_0024 20150219_Karen_0045 studio_0004 20150219_Lindsay_0019

The island of St. John grew on me daily. It’s so different than any place I’ve ever been. First impressions were overshadowed by the driving. On St. John you drive on the other side of the road, but the roads are crazy. You’re either on a massive hill or gnarly switchback… or both. It took me longer than expected to appreciate the beauty of this island, but once we arrived at our villa in Chocolate Hole, my breath caught in my chest. The view, colors, water, topography… my first thought was that God had a blast designing this place. Second thought? “Can’t.Look.Away…”

We stayed at a villa called Blue Agave, a typical villa on St. John that has a main living area and separate buildings for bedrooms. You have to go outside to go to your room which really keeps you connected with nature. Speaking of nature, 60% of the island is a National Park making the entire island feel remote and private. Also, the island has many random animals. I loved seeing the wild donkeys, herds of goats, chickens… and of course the abundance of sea life about which I could go on forEVER.

On the typical day, we’d wake up early and leave the house by 8:30 to head to the beach. We would either stay until later afternoon, or leave to eat lunch and then go on to another beach. We ate out and cooked in the villa a few times. We did leave the island for a day trip to Virgin Gorda [photos with the big rocks]. I can’t say enough words about the beauty of that place. I’ll just say that when we go back to the Virgin Islands, that will be a place we stay longer.

If you’re interested in visiting St. John, don’t hesitate to email me for restaurant ideas, beach overviews, packing tips, and travel advice! Otherwise, enjoy the views!

st_john_0028 st_john_0024 st_john_0023 st_john_0009 st_john_0010 st_john_0006 st_john_0004 st_john_0002 st_john_0005 st_john_0001 st_john_0011 st_john_0012 st_john_0019 st_john_0016 st_john_0018 st_john_0013 st_john_0011 st_john_0026

  • Ali, these are gorgeous!!! It makes me almost feel like I was there!!ReplyCancel

  • Ali, your film looks SO good!!! And I’m incredibly jealous — that water! Glad you guys had fun :) ReplyCancel

I’ve been wanting to photograph these two for years now. They share my love of the ocean, so when we set up the shoot, we had to include that. I’m so glad we shot down by the shore in Norfolk. Helen and Thomas have such a laid back attitude, keeping things mellow. I’m glad these two were up for anything because it was a crazy day! We had rain, snow, sunshine, and wind… maybe January is a crazy month to schedule a beach shoot, but we had a blast. However, the results look like the perfect day with the most gorgeous warm couple. I’m so happy to share these photos and say that I think my fingers are finally thawed!

virginia_beach_portrait_0001 virginia_beach_portrait_0002 virginia_beach_portrait_0008 virginia_beach_portrait_0004 virginia_beach_portrait_0011 virginia_beach_portrait_0013 virginia_beach_portrait_0016 virginia_beach_portrait_0019 virginia_beach_portrait_0020 virginia_beach_portrait_0023 virginia_beach_portrait_0024 virginia_beach_portrait_0025 virginia_beach_portrait_0028 virginia_beach_portrait_0030 virginia_beach_portrait_0031 virginia_beach_portrait_0034

  • LOVE her dress and this session!! You can’t even tell they were freezing :) :) Amazing job, Ali!ReplyCancel

  • These are gorgeous, Ali!! One of my favorite shoots you’ve done!!!ReplyCancel

  • I agree with Lauren! This is one of my ALL TIME favorite sessions of yours!! Those trees, that light, the SEAGULLS!!! Totally epic and totally you. I love it!ReplyCancel

  • SO beautiful!!! You killed it even in the freezing cold and wind! The shot with the birds is my definite favorite!!!ReplyCancel

  • Katie

    Ali you’re seriously amazing!! This couple is gorgeous and these photos are lovely!ReplyCancel

  • Kendra

    Ali!!!! This is beautiful!!!! Great job and great job to you too Helen! Doesn’t look like you’re cold! ??ReplyCancel

  • Candra Bell

    Such a beautiful display of true love. I love all the pictures.ReplyCancel

  • AH! I loveeeee these! Helen’s dress and this beach setting!!!ReplyCancel

  • Meghan Gangel

    Beautiful. And where did she get her scarf and booties? Seriously love her outfit.ReplyCancel

  • Oh my goodness Ali! That one of her in the blue dress with the wind blowing, I want to hang it up on my wall!!!ReplyCancel

  • These are all so perfectly gorgeous! Great work!ReplyCancel

  • Corinne Barnes

    Gorgeous, Ali! That one under the tree with her dress blowing and the sun peeking out–stunning!!ReplyCancel

When I started to pursue photography, I wanted to be a studio photographer. I loved the perfection in lighting you could achieve, and I even like spending time in photoshop to really polish off the images. But wedding photography was a challenge and most photographers shot in all natural light, so I dove head first into the world of sunlight and outside locations! I can’t say that I hate it, though! It’s a whole different kind of challenge working with natural light! I am first and foremost a wedding photographer and that just means I shoot mostly natural light! But now, having a the studio as an option for clients offers a few things that I just can deny myself any longer. If you’re thinking about booking a studio session, here are a few reasons that should push you over the edge!

Simplicity. I crave simplicity in my life and in my work. My most favorite shots are those up against a neutral background with big window light. When clients book, and we start to plan their engagement session, there are so many decisions to be made! Where will we shoot, what time of day, what if it rains… The studio makes this simple! Studio Sessions also put focus on the couple, or individual. There are no distractions of people walking into the frame, no texture to draw your attention away, no need to walk around to find the perfect background or frame for the shot. The photographs that are delivered can be used in so many more ways because they are simple – they fit into any style! Save the dates, headshots, portrait for the wall… so many possibilities!

Consistency. As I alluded to above, there are always snags when working on location. In studio, you don’t have to have a rain location or make-up date. The light is always perfect! Your hair won’t get frizzy from the humidity. Your make-up won’t melt from the heat. I’d call that a win! The time of day doesn’t matter. I can more easily work with client’s work schedules and am not bound by the sunrise or sunset. The light in the studio is always perfect no matter what time of day it is! Knowing the light and environment is consistent puts clients at ease!

Privacy. I’ve had clients take shots before getting photographed because they are so nervous. And couples ask not to kiss because they’re not into PDA. I’ve had people walk by a session and yell, “Don’t do it!” [Way to set the mood, right?]. I’ve had to wave off large parties of people who decided to slow walk right in the background of the shot. So many things can ruin the moment when you’re on location. Studio sessions are the best solution when it come to privacy. We can set the mood. Make a playlist, bring some snacks, jump around and be goofy knowing that there isn’t anyone looking. I can draw out so much more from my couples in the studio that may not come out in public. Closed quarters and fancy clothes can get people feeling confident and willing to step out of their nervousness that comes with being photographed!