The Journal

Welcome, and thank you for visiting my daily blog! My name is Stephanie, and I'm a wedding + lifestyle portrait photographer based in Warrenton, VA. Feel free to browse around and check out some of my recent work!

FOLLOW ALONG

Chris & Frankie | Skyline Drive, Virginia Engagement Photographer

Chris & Frankie | Skyline Drive, Virginia Engagement Photographer

Another incredible Skyline Drive session for the books! Can I just live up here? Haha! This is definitely one of my all-time favorite places in Virginia and for a good reason! The sunsets are unreal. Speaking of which, Chris, Frankie and I originally planned to do a session two weeks ago, and unfortunately, the weather didn’t work in our favor. I’m SO grateful they were flexible enough to reschedule because I’m sure they didn’t want a haunted session with the dreary fog and misty weather. ;) Halloween, anyone? Ha! I say if we are making the hike up there, let’s make it a GOOD and unforgettable trip! :) Also, it turned out to be a good thing we postponed because Frankie’s long red dress wouldn’t have been a part of this shoot! I say it was definitely worth the wait — It was meant to be! :)

We met last Friday evening on the most perfect fall day — So blessed!  Although, getting up to them was an eventful drive. There was even a bear that crossed the road. If you can imagine what kind of traffic that created…. Haha! Once I arrived, I had them warm up in front of the camera with their pup, Chloe. Apparently, Chloe was SO excited about this shoot! Haha! She was so energetic and hopped around like a bunny! It was pretty entertaining. :) We played around in the tall grassy fields, and I realized on the way home that I had to pull out splinters that were stuck in my pants! Haha! It was worth it. ;)

 

Chris & Frankie | Skyline Drive, Virginia Engagement Photographer

 

 

 

I had them quickly change into their formal attire to catch the sun setting just in time! I’m so thankful for their sensitivity to time because we captured the glowy light I was after!! We arrived and there were CROWDS of photographers photographing the sunset. I was a little nervous because I assumed everyone wanted to shoot wide for the landscape shot, and that meant we would be right in front of them. We were considerate and asked where their frame was so we could work with them. I think we made friends doing that and not enemies! It was worth taking a moment to be considerate and work with complete strangers instead of thinking you own the mountain. :) Hopefully, we stayed out of everyone’s shot … Otherwise, you might find my couple on a billboard somewhere! LOL! Rightfully so because they looked HOT.

I love it when my couples, especially the men, walk away from the shoot saying they had a genuinely fun time! Score!!! I had just as much fun as these photos below show. :) I’m grateful we had another opportunity to hang out and get to know each other a little better before their big day next year! Just from our time together, I KNOW their wedding will be one for the books, just like this engagement session! I adore Chris and Frankie together, and I enjoyed documenting their outpouring love for life and each other!!!

Thank you, Chris and Frankie, for the BEST time last Friday!!! I loved our time together and cannot waitttttttt for your wedding day next year!! AH! Enjoy this preview from our time together!!! So perfect! <3 XOXO!

Chris & Frankie | Skyline Drive, Virginia Engagement PhotographerChris & Frankie | Skyline Drive, Virginia Engagement PhotographerChris & Frankie | Skyline Drive, Virginia Engagement PhotographerChris & Frankie | Skyline Drive, Virginia Engagement PhotographerChris & Frankie | Skyline Drive, Virginia Engagement PhotographerChris & Frankie | Skyline Drive, Virginia Engagement PhotographerChris & Frankie | Skyline Drive, Virginia Engagement Photographer

Chris & Frankie’s Love Story

How Chris and Frankie Met
from Frankie’s perspective

It was 2005 when I first met “Toves” (what I use to know him as; now he’s Chris and sometimes Christopher, but now fiancé!).  I was in high school and super excited to wear a shirt I recently made because I had never used paint spray before and it turned out really awesome.  It had my name on it with cool paint splatter in the background.

Our first interaction went something like this:

Toves: “Hey is your name on your shirt so you don’t forget it?”

Me: (insert cricket noises and this expressionless emoji face -_-)

Needless to say, I didn’t think much of Toves and thought he was a total douchecanoe.  Having never had a conversation with him after this first interaction, my perception of him was slightly REALLY different from what it is today.

Fast forward 8 years later to 2013.  I was invited out for a friend’s birthday with my normal Springs crew.  We did the yooj of dinner and party after at a club called the Mansion in downtown Colorado Springs.  It was a big group for dinner, but I did notice Toves at the end of the table because I thought to myself, “That’s odd, I never see him out.  Oh I think I remember Glenda saying he was back from Florida…that’s nice”.

With our bellies full and ready to dance the night away, we walked over to the Mansion. In full birthday celebration fashion, drinks and shots were ordered to celebrate the birthday boy. We took up our normal spot on the dance floor on the second level. The girls and I were dancing in our own group until toward the end of the night someone started dancing behind me. I began to have that dreaded feeling every girl knows – who is this person dancing behind me, someone save me?!?! I’m usually not into it and only like dancing with the girls, but this person actually had rhythm and could dance.  I was pleasantly surprised to find out it was not a complete and total stranger; it was Toves.

We had a good time dancing and continued to dance while song after song played and ended.  We were dancing face to face and after a while he leaned in and asked,

“I really feel like kissing you.  What would you do?”

I answered him with a kiss.

Chris & Frankie | Skyline Drive, Virginia Engagement PhotographerChris & Frankie | Skyline Drive, Virginia Engagement PhotographerChris & Frankie | Skyline Drive, Virginia Engagement PhotographerChris & Frankie | Skyline Drive, Virginia Engagement PhotographerChris & Frankie | Skyline Drive, Virginia Engagement PhotographerChris & Frankie | Skyline Drive, Virginia Engagement PhotographerHow Chris and Frankie Met
from Chris’ perspective

One of my most fondest memories of Francesca probably dates back to around 2008.  Francesca was competing in the Miss Asian American Colorado leadership program where she performed her own choreography to some hip-hop song.  I was in awe and was instantly attracted.  I do recall afterward complimenting her with something like,

‘I didn’t know you could dance so well.  You were awesome!’  

I received a sarcastic, “Thanks -_-.”  

This dialogue and the other one with her name on her shirt were probably the two lengthiest conversations we ever had until we began dating.

Fast forward to 2013.  I was 7 months into my second military assignment in Colorado Springs and I was still rekindling old college friendships after being away three years stationed in Florida.  We were celebrating our friend, Gabe’s birthday at Phantom Canyon Brewery in Colorado Springs followed by booze and smooth moves at the infamous Club Mansion.  A friend of mine, Eric, and I stood on the outside of the huge group until we gained the liquid courage to hit the dance floor.  I took to the cougs of course and was having a grand ol’ time.  The night was coming to an end when Ginuwine’s “Pony” came on to close.  I Channing Tatum’ed my way toward Francesca…okay not really, and I have no idea what the song was, but I recall feeling pretty smooth as I danced my way toward Francesca.  With her dancing turned away from me, I swooped in to dance in the group thinking follow the booty, follow the booty.  At the end of the song she turned to me with a not surprised look because c’mon I know you know I can dance.  We both had enough drinks to be three sheets to the wind and with my “works 100% of the time one liner (because I only used it once) …

“I really feel like kissing you.  What would you do?”

She answered me with a kiss.

Chris & Frankie | Skyline Drive, Virginia Engagement PhotographerChris & Frankie | Skyline Drive, Virginia Engagement PhotographerChris & Frankie | Skyline Drive, Virginia Engagement PhotographerChris & Frankie | Skyline Drive, Virginia Engagement PhotographerChris & Frankie | Skyline Drive, Virginia Engagement PhotographerChris & Frankie | Skyline Drive, Virginia Engagement PhotographerChris & Frankie | Skyline Drive, Virginia Engagement PhotographerChris & Frankie | Skyline Drive, Virginia Engagement Photographer

How Chris Proposed to Frankie
from Frankie’s perspective

The Fourth of July was coming up and we made plans to take advantage of the nice long weekend to finally visit the Natural Bridge and Charlottesville area. Chris had taken the initiative to plan and visit some of the LOVE works signs along the way and even suggested how we could dress up at each sign. If you don’t know, I make Chris dress up all the time (see our Beauty and the Beast Halloween Outfit of 2016). In hind sight, I should have been a little more suspicious, but I was more thrilled by Chris’ enthusiasm to want to do all these outfit changes to coordinate with the signs.

We began with an early July 1st morning with a 3 hour drive ahead of us to get to the Natural Bridge. The weather forecast was to reach the 90°s, so we wanted to get there right when it opened and avoid being outside in the heat of the day. We decided to start off dressed in comfortable clothing and just change at the signs. Along the way were two LOVE work signs in Harrisonburg and Dayton, so we decided to do a quick pit stop. By the time we reached the Natural Bridge, it was reaching a high of 92°, but with the humidity it felt like 102°. We spent some time exploring the Natural Bridge area with Chloe and visited the waterfall while enjoying the great outdoors.

Our next stop was Lynchburg for a LOVE works sign. I knew we needed to eat first before we got hangry, so we stopped at a local bbq spot. After we ate, Chris wanted to change into our dress up clothes, which consisted of an all black attire. I cannot describe in to words, just how hot it was that day, and how bad of an idea it was to wear all black in that weather. I tried to persuade Chris to just stay in the clothes we were in. Before I knew it, he had already gotten his clothes from the car, came out changed, and ready to go. I told myself “you make him dress up all the time…you can do this“.

We reached the LOVE work sign and this one was very unique from the other ones we had visited. For 1) it was a really big heel and 2) you can sit inside it! Thankfully it was overcast, which made being outside and taking pictures bearable. The second sign was not too far, but we drove up to it.  As we parked, I looked up and there was not a cloud in the sky with the sun beaming in full force.

“Do I really have to wear my heels?” , “Are you sure you want to go out there?” , “You’re going to be really hot in that!” and many more other pleads to try to skip out on dressing up for this sign. Again, before I knew it, he turned off the car along the air conditioning with it, so I was left with no choice but to jump out of the car.

We walked up to the sign where Chris directed me on where to stand with Chloe. I was trying to get Chloe to sit. She wasn’t having it, so she left to go lay in the shade. This should give you somewhat of an idea of how hot it was, that Chloe, who usually LOVES laying out in the sun, did not want to.

So I’m standing there waiting for him to get everything setup. After the camera and GoPro are all set, I hear Chris say “Oh and I have props!” He pulls out two grey wigs. I’m thinking “Really? Another thing to add to this hot mess right now?!?!” As I’m trying to figure out how to put the wig on, Chris kneels down on one knee and asks “will you grow old with me?”

All I could think to reply with was, “you’re so silly”. The whole time I kept thinking too was, “but wait our family and friends aren’t here to share this moment with us”. 

I did eventually say yes, and Chris said, “let’s call and tell your parents!” He immediately starts dialing for my mom and hands me the phone. My mom sounded flustered on the other end and I asked, “what are you doing?!” I turn around to see her walking up to the sign from behind us. And that was the moment I started balling my eyes out in complete surprise.

Chris & Frankie | Skyline Drive, Virginia Engagement PhotographerChris & Frankie | Skyline Drive, Virginia Engagement PhotographerChris & Frankie | Skyline Drive, Virginia Engagement PhotographerChris & Frankie | Skyline Drive, Virginia Engagement PhotographerChris & Frankie | Skyline Drive, Virginia Engagement PhotographerChris & Frankie | Skyline Drive, Virginia Engagement Photographer

Congratulations!!!

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