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Author Archives: Stephanie Messick

Born and raised on a family owned dairy farm in Fauquier County, along with two siblings, Amanda and Eric. Graduated Liberty High School and went to James Madison University, where I participated in Kappa Pi Honors Fraternity as well as the Marching Royal Dukes! GO DUKES! Graduated in May of 2012 with my B.F.A. in Graphic Design. I worked as a graphic designer in the D.C. area for almost a year after graduating college and then resided in Warrenton, VA to work for the Piedmont Press & Graphics as one of four graphic designers :) Currently, I am managing to balance my full time graphic design job along with my photography business! It's a hectic lifestyle, but I enjoy it!!! About my photography business: I have learned in the world of photography that it is not just about pretty photos, it is all about the EXPERIENCE the photographer gives to the client. And that is what I am out here to do! Give YOU the best experience that you will not forget! From the moment we schedule the session... to the laughs/smiles we share the day of the shoot... to the moment I hand over the package of your images... I make sure that every step of the way leaves my client smiling :)

Wedding Photographer | What Shoes to Wear

It took me a LONG time to understand that it was not worth putting my feet in pain after running around for 10 straight hours. I love heels and dressing up in cute shoes. :) However, I found myself having 90% of my weddings outside. Wearing heels in the grass isn’t the most comfortable thing especially when you are having to balance on your toes. Not worth it! If I were doing church weddings, yes, that would be appropriate. Basically, purchasing shoes as a wedding photographer can be a bit tricky! I would suggest that if you have church weddings and love heels, find something cute with some sort of padding for the bottom so there is never a chance of slipping on the church floor, something not too high and more importantly, no clicking as you walk around. :)

Recently, I was on the hunt of the ideal shoe for this upcoming wedding season and I am super happy with what I found! I’ll be honest, I am not a “flats” type of girl so originally I was trying to find cute and comfortable wedges. It came down to the point that since I’m already tall, I didn’t like how most wedges were 3+ inches! I don’t want to be towering over my couple. Haha! Flats ended up being the most ideal purchase for me.

Wedding Photographer | What Shoes to Wear


Here are a few tips:

1) Find something with a rounded toe. I tried SO hard to love one pair of flats I found but I could tell within 15 seconds that I would end up in pain due to the pointed toe. Oh well. :) At least I was honest with myself because I would have bought them in a heartbeat!

2) Set a budget. I saw the CUTEST pair of flats that I loved and were made out of a luscious italian leather … not to mention pink with an adorable bow on the front … but the one pair was more than what I budgeted for the entire shopping trip. I was hoping for 2-3 pairs with my budget.

Wedding Photographer | What Shoes to Wear

3) Be realistic with comfort. I must have looked crazy walking around the store picking up every pair of flat and feeling the padding! Haha! Really though, that is super important! The Abella black flats I ended up purchasing were the most comfortable shoe I have ever found! Padding in all of the right spots, including my arches. I’m excited I won’t have to worry about my feet aching from the wrong pair of shoes! If your lovely flats do not support your feet in the right places, simply purchase some inserts to keep your feet secured for the entire day. I will probably end up inserting padding into my Audrey Brooke brown pair just in case, although they are SUPER comfortable!!!

4) Bring a second pair of shoes. When it comes time for the reception, why not switch into something that is more comfortable! If you happen to wear heels throughout the day, switch into a pair of flats or Toms. The reception is dark anyways so no one will notice if your brand is all about the heel. :) Thanks Justin and Mary for the tip!!! Saved me last year!

5) This purchase is actually a tax deduction because it’s considered a “uniform” if purchasing for just photography reasons.

Wedding Photographer | What Shoes to Wear

Really, I believe this blog post can go out to anyone who has a fast paced job. :)


There are some clients who know where and what time of year they want their photos done. That’s great! For those who don’t know where they want their photos taken is very common because there is so much out there. I love helping my clients narrow down the ideal location for their portrait backdrop because they are right, there is SO much out there!!! I use the same system with my engagement couples as I do with my portrait clients and thought I would share it on the blog today. :)

When it comes to a lifestyle portrait client, I always make sure that I have room in my calendar to photograph their session. After we figure a date, we discuss location if we haven’t nailed that topic down yet. If they don’t have a clue where they want to do their portraits, I send them over a general list of backdrops to choose from. From there, I can really help narrow down an exact location!

Beach Photography | Location Ideas
City Photography | Location Ideas

Christmas Tree Farm
Christmas Tree Farm Photography | Location Ideas

College Photography | Location Ideas

New York City Photography | Location Ideas

Estate Photography | Location Ideas

Farm / Country
Farm Photography | Location Ideas

Field Photography | Location Ideas

Garden Photography | Location Ideas

Rustic Photography | Location Ideas


Lake Photography | Location Ideas

Nautical Photography | Location Ideas

Old Town
Old Town Photography | Location Ideas

Orchard Photography | Location Ideas

Park Photography | Location Ideas

Rustic Photography | Location Ideas

Scenic / Views
Scenic Photography | Location Ideas

Seasonal Photography | Location Ideas

Winery Photography | Location Ideas

Woods Photography | Location Ideas

Once they tell me their favorite type of backdrop, I give them a list of suggestions on a specific location that meets their vision. I love this way of going about finding their portrait location because together, we are finding their most comfortable backdrop. This is key! I would never want a client of mine to be in the city if they aren’t the city type. Since I give them this list of backdrop ideas, they have the time to discuss and figure out what speaks to who they are as a couple, family, etc. I want my clients to feel free in their own environment so I have found great success doing this and being active with my clients if they want me to. Otherwise, if they have a significant location in mind that is also great because again, I want to photograph at a place that means something to them and in a space they are comfortable. :)

I hope this helps you figure out your ideal backdrop for a portrait session! Portrait season starts this week for my calendar year! Wohoo!!!


I love decorating! But I also love decorating with a budget in mind. When I first moved into my rental home 1.5 years ago, I went from decorating one bedroom at my parents house to 7+ rooms! That is a LOT of space to cover! I didn’t want to spend everything I had in my checking account to make a room look polished. I decided to do a series of projects to fill the space with a budget.

When it came to my bathroom, I needed something that was approachable when I first walk in. Obviously, it’s a bathroom and doesn’t need to be done up too much. ;) Typically I wouldn’t worry about this space but with this one particular wall highly visible to anyone who walked upstairs, I wanted to find a design. The wall called for something narrow to fit the space proportionally so instead of hunting down a narrow painting, I thought this might be a better solution! I bought eight dark blue 4×6 frames from Target and quilt blocks from JoAnn’s! I spent less than $20 on this project. :) I brought home the supplies, cut the fabric into 4×6 rectangles and placed them strategically to balance out the space. I used Command Strips to hang these frames which are SO great for rental homes!!! Plus, there is a little flexibility if I accidentally placed something a smidge off. :)

Here’s the turn out! Superrrrrr easy and affordable!

DIY Fabric Frame Project


I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend!!! We are now starting our final full week of March … where has the time gone?! April is just about here which means my spring schedule picks UP and slow season is done. I will admit that I am SO ready for the warm sunshine! Porch living … mini beach trips … camping … sun bathing … pina coladas. ;) Okay, now I’m REALLY ready for the beach!!!

This weekend, I spent some time with Kyle enjoying this last bit of a “free weekend”. I also spent it doing a few business chores like preparing packages, dropping off my cameras to be cleaned, minor sprucing up to the blog, etc. Along with this, I also did some spring cleaning around my office and decided it was time to let go of a few things I do not use for my packaging anymore. I have some photos below of what I am trying to sell if you are interested. :) I won’t be able to ship these (except for possibly the folders), but I am willing to meet half way (depending on the distance) or would love for you to come visit my office space! Whatever convenient!

Email me at if you are interested in any of these items! First come, first serve!

White 7″L x 7″W x 2″H shipping boxes
Come unfolded
28 for $13.50
(I paid 79 cents per box after shipping and handling <= ULINE requires you to do one day shipping. This means I sometimes pay more for the shipping than I do for the product!!!)
ULine Boxes for Sale

Ivory 10.25L” x 12.25W” x 3H” shipping boxes
Come unfolded
22 for $35
(I paid $4.40 each for these boxes)

White folders with unique pocket: 8.75″ x 11.25″

49 for $35
(I paid $1.39 per folder)


Let me know if anyone is interested. :)


I cannot believe it has been three years since first meeting this little munchkin! If you don’t know the story how Pixie came into my life, read all about it HERE. This morning … like 45 minutes ago (lol) … we did a little photo shoot in celebration of her third birthday. What do you expect from a photographer who has a fur baby? ;) These photo shoots create nothing but laughs every time I am behind the camera. She never disappoints! Although, I could not find her birthday hat from last year so I had to whip one up quickly for her shoot today. Makes me wonder if she took off with the old hat to never return again … hmmm.

I have learned so much about her personality over the course of three years and I’m still surprised when I find something else I didn’t know about her. For example, I bought this healthy cat food that she now apparently loves. By morning, she has eaten her entire dish. Boy oh boy … if you don’t fill up her dish as soon as you step out of bed, she gets HANGRY.

Hangry (adj)
To be starving and ANGRY.

She will physically attack my angles, not to mention huff and puff. I thought only humans feel this way … apparently so does Pixie. ;) I have learned that she stops her abusive ways once I have her dish filled as soon as I wake up. Lesson learned for sure because her attacks remind me of the bunny scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. No. Joke.

Let’s have a blast from the past! Last year, Pixie did a little photo shoot and here was the turn out. :) She was so innocent then at only two years old…
Pixie 2nd Birthday Cat Funny Photo

This year I wanted to do something different with all of her friends! Of course she was organizing them for the photo … ;)


Loved how her little hat turned out. :) Maybe I should have an etsy store for animal party hats. Lol!

In celebration for her Birthday, I tried throwing confetti in the air … I didn’t realize how scared she was of little pieces of paper!!!! Look at that face! The look of HORROR! Lol!!! That definitely ended the photo shoot…

Happy Birthday Pixie!!! :)


After all of the snow portraits, I cannot wait for the spring flowers to start blooming! :) I miss going outside in my bare feet in the green grass and hang out on the front porch. One of my favorite things about living on the countryside! Spring portraits are so bright and happy with the warm sunshine, cute sun dresses, green grass and fragrant flowers. Are we all ready?!

In spirit of the upcoming cheerful spring season, I thought I would share some of my favorite flower session photos! Seeing these photos immediately brightened my day. :) Over the weekend, I walked around Kyle’s garden to see some flowers starting to sprout! Cannot wait to have fields of flowers to photograph with my couples this spring!

Stephanie Messick Photography | Spring Flower PortraitsStephanie Messick Photography | Spring Flower PortraitsStephanie Messick Photography | Spring Flower PortraitsStephanie Messick Photography | Spring Flower PortraitsStephanie Messick Photography | Spring Flower PortraitsStephanie Messick Photography | Spring Flower PortraitsStephanie Messick Photography | Spring Flower PortraitsStephanie Messick Photography | Spring Flower PortraitsStephanie Messick Photography | Spring Flower PortraitsStephanie Messick Photography | Spring Flower Portraits, Virginia PhotographerStephanie Messick Photography | Spring Flower Portraits, Virginia Photographer