Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Jessica and Scotts Philadelphia Wedding

When Jessica and Scott met back in 2004, they realized that they had very similar personalities and shared interests, but the timing was not quite right.  Later on, Jessica told Scott that she was considering moving back to Chicago, and Scott told her if they did they couldn't hang out anymore.  In 2007 Scott broke his leg snowboarding, at which Jessica nursed him back to health.  They haven't looked back since.

Their wedding was full of laughs and jokes and fun, everything that Jessica loves about Scott.  Especially being that Scott will do anything, including physical comedy to make her laugh.

I love photographing the guys, it's their one chance to feel like they are in GQ.

Look how adorable they are together!

And her dress, I want it! It drapes so lovely.  (Ok, the seamstress in me is starting to come out!)

And probably the most precious moment of the entire day.  This is what makes me love what I do. I swear I look at this picture and get butterflies!

I wish the both of them many years of happiness, and a big thank you for choosing me to photograph their special day!
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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Biggest Change in my Life...

If you haven't been reading or seen my ever rounding belly at weddings or sessions I have done, I am pregnant. I am 32 and a half weeks along at this point. And even at 8 months, I am still shooting weddings! I have three more before I take a break for baby.

But wow! I am having a baby. At times, it seems surreal.  At other times, especially when she is kicking, the reality is there.   In less than two months I will be a mom.  I (in addition to my amazing husband) will be the caretakers of this little human being.  We will be the ones who she will depend on in everything as she grows up.

I've always been a bit baby crazy, which is why I love doing baby and childrens shoots.  But now that I have my own on the way, it's just a wonderful feeling.  I am so happy and blessed that my life is going the way it is going.  I have a wonderful husband who supports me in everything that I do, and not to mention makes me laugh.  I have a job that I love with all my heart, and I have a baby on the way!

I will say though, that I am a bit ashamed that I have not documented this pregnancy more thoroughly through photos.  I will admit it, I hate having my picture taken!  Unless of course, I am in some sort of renaissance or victorian get up, then I have no issues with having my picture taken.

I'm just very excited and can't wait to meet our little bean.  Of course when she is here, she will have a camera in her face so much she will think she is a celebrity!
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Monday, June 20, 2011

The best thing I have ever read

As I was perusing my facebook feed today, I found a link to an article on a website that I used to frequent.  The article was written by Cheryl Jacobs who is a portrait photographer.  After reading it, I felt so compelled to share it.  It is as if Cheryl Jacobs put into words everything that I have felt and learned in my never ending  journey as a photographer.    It's basically advice to aspiring photographers, but I find it to be advice for professionals who sometimes need a look back and a reminder to where they started from and where they are now.

Here is a link to the article, I posted the full article below.

I get asked all the time, during workshops, in e-mails, in private messages, what words of wisdom I would give to a new and aspiring photographer. Here's my answer.

- Style is a voice, not a prop or an action. If you can buy it, borrow it, download it, or steal it, it is not a style. Don't look outward for your style; look inward.

- Know your stuff. Luck is a nice thing, but a terrifying thing to rely on. It's like money; you only have it when you don't need it.

- Never apologize for your own sense of beauty. Nobody can tell you what you should love. Do what you do brazenly and unapologetically. You cannot build your sense of aesthetics on a concensus.

- Say no. Say it often. It may be difficult, but you owe it to yourself and your clients. Turn down jobs that don't fit you, say no to overbooking yourself. You are no good to anyone when you're stressed and anxious.

- Learn to say "I'm a photographer" out loud with a straight face. If you can't say it and believe it, you can't expect anyone else to, either.

- You cannot specialize in everything.

- You don't have to go into business just because people tell you you should! And you don't have to be full time and making an executive income to be successful. If you decide you want to be in business, set your limits before you begin.

- Know your style before you hang out your shingle. If you don't, your clients will dictate your style to you. That makes you nothing more than a picture taker. Changing your style later will force you to start all over again, and that's tough.

- Accept critique, but don't apply it blindly. Just because someone said it does not make it so. Critiques are opinions, nothing more. Consider the advice, consider the perspective of the advice giver, consider your style and what you want to convey in your work. Implement only what makes sense to implement. That doesn't make you ungrateful, it makes you independent.

- Leave room for yourself to grow and evolve. It may seem like a good idea to call your business "Precious Chubby Tootsies"....but what happens when you decide you love to photograph seniors? Or boudoir?

- Remember that if your work looks like everyone else's, there's no reason for a client to book you instead of someone else. Unless you're cheaper. And nobody wants to be known as "the cheaper photographer".

- Gimmicks and merchandise will come and go, but honest photography is never outdated.

- It's easier to focus on buying that next piece of equipment than it is to accept that you should be able to create great work with what you've got. Buying stuff is a convenient and expensive distraction. You need a decent camera, a decent lens, and a light meter. Until you can use those tools consistently and masterfully, don't spend another dime. Spend money on equipment ONLY when you've outgrown your current equipment and you're being limited by it. There are no magic bullets.

- Learn that people photography is about people, not about photography. Great portraits are a side effect of a strong human connection.

- Never forget why you started taking pictures in the first place. Excellent technique is a great tool, but a terrible end product. The best thing your technique can do is not call attention to itself. Never let your technique upstage your subject.

- Never compare your journey with someone else's. It's a marathon with no finish line. Someone else may start out faster than you, may seem to progress more quickly than you, but every runner has his own pace. Your journey is your journey, not a competition. You will never "arrive". No one ever does.

- Embrace frustration. It pushes you to learn and grow, broadens your horizons, and lights a fire under you when your work has gone cold. Nothing is more dangerous to an artist than complacency.
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Friday, June 17, 2011

Engagement: Heather & Mike

We met at Panera Bread to discuss their wedding. Heather and Mike are into books, and animals, and zombies, pretty much the same things that I am into.  Knowing that they liked zombies, I could tell right then that we were a match made in heaven, and I would love shooting with them.  Most of our consultation was spent actually discussing zombies, and even discussing a zombie cake for their wedding.

Heather and Mike are getting married in July, just under a month away.  They wanted a fun but different engagement session. At first, we were trying to set up an engagement session that had zombies (yes, we like zombies), but that ended up not happening. So the next best thing...water fight!  But first, we had to do their "love" pictures first.

Doesn't she have the classic 1940's look?  I am so in love with her style. And for him, he looks like he can be the spawn of Jamie and Adam from the Mythbusters...which is great in my book!

And after an exhausting and exhilerating water fight, we have the two love birds resting.  Who won?  It's a secret!

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wedding: Niya and Richard's Philadelphia Wedding

This past Saturday I photographed the wedding of Niya and Richard.  I can say nothing more than that they are an absolutely adorable couple.  Niya is so relaxed and Richard is just as equally relaxed, but when put together you can tell the fireworks are between them.  The wedding was held at The Brossman Center in Philadelphia on a slightly overcast day.  The only bad thing I can say is that there seemed to be a swarm of bugs that wanted to attack everyone! While editing the images, there were some that you can actually see the little gnats show up on camera.
Let's start with the details.  Oh, and how much I love her hair!

And here we have the gorgeous bride and her bridesmaids getting ready.  I love the getting ready process, it's so candid.

And here are the ladies walking to the chapel, along with the spunkiest little flower girl to date.  That little girl has a career in fashion I tell you!

Oh, and a mother's job is never done.  Richard and Niya's youngest son appeared to be a bit distressed with all the people and activity going on, so Niya had to switch from bride to mommy mode. She did it quite effortlessly I must say!

I love the way that Richard and Niya interact with each other.  You can tell how much love that they both have for each other through every hold, touch, and kiss!

Ah! One thing I must mention is that Richard actually had a soccer injury weeks before I did their engagement session, and after the session he required surgery. He was determined to walk down the aisle on their wedding day, and walk he did. And he danced too!  He danced the night away. I must admit, I did get kind of nervous, hoping that he wouldn't injure himself further, but he was fine!

Many years of happiness to the both of you Niya and Richard!!!
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Sunday, June 12, 2011

{Another round of awesome client reviews}

I shot a wedding yesterday! Thankfully it was not too hot, and did not rain. I was worried about it raining all day, but it did hold out.  The one thing though that seemed to be crazy was the bugs. We were attacked by a swarm of gnats and other random insects that were absolutely everywhere. There were quite a few images in which everything is perfect one second then within the next people are flailing and waving bugs away.  So while the preview pictures from that wedding are being prepared, I have another round of awesome client reviews!

The new Mrs. Samantha Chestnut said this:

Marisa needs to photograph everyone's wedding! She did an amazing job, i was very impressed!I am so glad that I actually got a photographer that cares and has a warm, fun personality. She gives it a special touch that puts them way above any old plain wedding photos. She was able to give us Amazing photos even though she had to drive over an hour, the sun was incredibly bright AND while she was pregnant. If she can't do it, no one can. I LOVE my Engagement photos, I LOVE my wedding photos, and im gonna LOVE my Rock the Dress pictures too! Watch out Marisa, your going to be my babies photographer too. (but that's not gonna be for a while, lol) Thank you Marisa! You made my wedding perfect! Thank you SO much.

Heather and Oscar (who will be married soon in a destination wedding) said this:

Wow .. where to begin. My fiance' and I where BEYOND pleased with our Engagement Session with Marisa! We had chosen a location that was familiar to us, but a location that Marisa had never been too. Countless emails between us, planning out all the little details and theme for our session. Everything worked out perfectly, and we had a great experience with her. I wish we could take her with us for our DW!! The time and attention put into our overall experience was OUTSTANDING! From start to finish, I can say, that she goes out of her way to make sure that she is capturing the moment, perfectly. We are looking forward to many more sessions with Marisa *hint hint :) Thank you for everything! We couldn't be happier!

Jenna had this to say about her engagement session:

I Declare My Love For Marisa! She was awesome. She did our engagement session at Rockwood Mansion. We used the photos she took for our Wedding favors. Everyone that has seen them keeps asking who did I send them here. Marissa thank you so much! You do a great job and you have a natural gift for making people feel comfortable. Keep it up.

What more can I say? Other than my clients are awesome, and I love them, and thank you!

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Monday, June 6, 2011


I admit it, I am a sucker for love.  Not that romantic comedy kind of love, which is quite funny.  But the type of love where you can't imagine how your life can go on without that person.  The love that a couple has on their wedding day, the love that a mom has when she first sees her newborn child, a love that a kid has for their dog.  Love is amazing in so many ways.  To live a life without love is to live a life without happiness.  It's heart wrenching to know that there are people in life who will never know what it is to be love or to love someone in any capacity.  But one cannot focus on the sadness, for love is all around and is so wonderful and amazing that we should relish in it each and every day.

When my husband leaves for work, I always tell him I love him. Even if I am in a deep sleep, I will somehow wake up to tell him that I love him.  When he is at work, I always send at least one email telling him I love him. And before we go to sleep it's the same thing.

I am a strong believer that you should never go to bed angry, so tel those in your life that you love them every day, all day long.
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Sunday, June 5, 2011

{Fun Times}

Yesterday was my baby shower. It was an absolute blast.  I want to thank everyone who came and shared this special moment with me.  One of the funny things was that when my mother arrived and I was introducing her to people, she was saying "Oh! I remember you from the pictures on Marisa's website!!!".  Yes, almost everyone who had a child there (all except two) I have photographed their maternity, baby session, or even both.  I didn't even realize it until my mother pointed it out.  I thought it was hilarious that many of my friends that were at the baby shower were also my clients who have allowed me to take part of their lives and photograph their special moments.

My life, my friends, my clients, are awesome!

I will be posting the pictures soon! But I do warn you, I was not allowed to be a photographer that day! So I had the camera in my hand for about 10 shots, the rest were taken by friends and family, and I wasn't even in my "aware of the camera pose!"

Till next time!
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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

{Not enough hours in the day}

I am thankful to have a job in which I genuinely love what I do.  Now don't get me wrong, there is a lot of work that goes into it.  It definitely wasn't easy taking the jump and deciding to do this full time.  I mean, the security of a paycheck was not there, neither was health insurance in the beginning.  It was a very daunting thing.  But, because of a series of events, I finally decided to take the plunge, and jump in.  Now, I am thankful that I did.

Many people assume that the life of a photographer is glamorous and fun.  Fun, it definitely is.  Glamorous, it could be. But many people don't realize how much work goes into it.  When talking with many of my friends who work regular 9-5's, they tell me that since I am home all of the time, I am not really working.  If I had a dollar for each time that was said to me, then hey! Perhaps I could be that glamorous photographer.

Admittedly, most of my weddings and sessions are on weekends.  Weddings usually last between 6-8 hours.  But that doesn't include the traveling time to and from the wedding. Essentially, my work day for a wedding could last 10-12 hours.  Then you throw in the engagement session for that wedding, which is a 1 hour shoot, but once again, travel time. Oh wait, let's not forget backing up my images when I come home from a wedding!  For a typical wedding I shoot about 1400 images, and these do not include the images from my second shooter.  I back them up online and on an external hard drive.  Then comes the editing.  Ah, the editing.  I have three phases of editing that I do. The first is culling the images.  I go through each and every single individual image, well over 2000 for a complete wedding.  I delete the blurry, out of focus, not technically great shots.  That could take upwards to 8-10 hours alone. Then comes the first round of editing! Once again, I go through each picture, and edit each one individually. I don't do a batch process which applies the same settings to a group of images. Each one gets my tender loving care!

Then, the final stage, culling the images again.  To put together a final product that tells the story of the wedding day.  In total, I put anywhere between 30-45 hours for each wedding.  Now considering I have one wedding each weekend, plus the engagement session, yeah...that is a lot of hours.

Let's not forget my portrait sessions! Albeit, portrait sessions are shorter in time, and usually yield about 200-300 images. But I have the same editing process as weddings.

Besides the actual photographing and editing, I hold a list of other jobs that I do with my business. I am the marketing director.  I am the one that pushes my business out to the public.  Creating the Facebook page, all of the ads and promotions and giveaways and such.  I am also the creative director!  All of my logos and such, I designed and made.  I am the accountant also (good thing I majored in Business Management and Marketing in college-dual majors!), even though I hate numbers.  And with each client, I am the only person they talk to directly to set up their session and give them ideas.

In the end, I am a one woman super house.  Every day, even on my days "off" I spend at least 4 hours doing something business related, and then on top of that is the actual shooting time, plus editing, plus travelling, and all that other fun stuff!

But in the end, I love doing what I do.  I could not imagine myself working a regular 40 hour work week at a job that I can just barely tolerate. So even though there are times when it feels like I don't have enough hours in the day, and that I have 3 weddings plus 2 sessions to deliver to clients, I take a breath, and am thankful that I am able to do this as my career.
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