Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays, everyone! As you know, I have been without an internet connection for a couple weeks, but I am finally back online. I have been busy working extra hard and getting ready to go home to Connecticut for Christmas. I will be back shortly after the holidays.


The Deserving Couple Wedding contest has been extended until Valentine’s Day so tell every one you know that is engaged or who gets engaged this holiday season.

Tonight I get to decorate my Christmas tree with Matthew (our first ever tree together). My friend Sasha helped us pick out our tree on Saturday and our apartment is beginning to look warm and cozy. I found an awesome faux garland at Michael’s Crafts for 60% off and wrapped white lights around it and placed it on the divider between my kitchen and dining room. It really brightened up our room and made it so festive. Yes, Maryland is beginning to feel like home. The Christmas music is on and we each have a glass of eggnog. Eggnog, how I have missed you!

Right after Christmas I will be debuting my first ever issue of the Lovely Lens Photography Boutique Catalogue complete with all sorts of goodies and coupons. See some of my latest products and hear about my exclusive photography services and upcoming workshops. Please reply to this post with your e-mail address if you would like to have the magazine mailed to you. Happy Holidays! IMG_0045


Katie and Walter: Southford Falls Engagement

The other week I had an amazing excuse to go home to Connecticut. Katie told me how much she loved the outdoors and that they wanted their pictures to be taken at Southford Falls. “Do you know of it?” she asked. Southford Falls happened to be in my home town and I know the place well. I knew that we were going to have fun. The morning of the photo shoot the clouds were swirling in the sky and the weather threatened rain so we met up early to avoid the impending storm. The rain never came. Instead the clouds parted and we had beautiful sunlight for this fall photo shoot.
This little covered bridge is definitely a center piece of this park.(Funny story about this pond: I was fishing right around this spot when I was 5 and fell in. At the time I could not swim so a stranger jumped in and fished me out.)When Katie and Walter were standing together they were talking to one another, which is great to get emotions caught in the camera. I heard little snippets that were so sweet. Walter was telling Katie how pretty she was, among many things. Their love for one another made the photo shoot such a joy to capture. I asked Katie and Walter how they were engaged. Katie told me about how she loves fire works so she made Walter go with her the day before the fourth of July to watch them on the beach. Walter remarked how he pretended that he didn’t really want to go so that Katie wouldn’t suspect anything.

Walter and Katie made it to the sand and set up their chairs to watch the fire work show. Just as the fire works started to shoot into the sky, Walter turned to Katie and began to tell her how she is his best friend and many things that Katie said she could barely recall because she was so surprised when she realized that Walter was beginning to propose.To see more photos from Katie and Walter’s engagement session visit Lovely Lens Photography on Facebook. Please leave a reply to wish these two the best of luck on their journey together toward their wedding day.

Lovely Look: Katie and Walter’s Engagement -Connecticut Wedding Photographer

I am getting super excited about this one! Meet Katie and Walter, a really sweet Connecticut couple. Last weekend I had the chance to go home to Connecticut for this Southford Falls engagement. The full blog post will be up tomorrow! So check back soon 🙂

Lovely Look -Boordy Vineyards Anniversary Photo Shoot

Here is a quick Lovely Look of last Friday’s Anniversary Happily Ever After Session at Boordy Vineyards in Maryland. (Part of Runaway Bride was filmed here!) We arrived with just 40 minutes of sunlight to use and got some very romantic photos in that short amount of time. Ellen and Bryan also brought along their canine pal, Bourbon. To see more photos of this lovely couple and their enthusiastic dog check out LovelyLensPhotography.com this wednesday. There are also more lovely looks from this session on the Facebook page. Happy Monday!

Top 10 Engagement Photo Shoot Tips -Maryland Wedding Photographer

Engagement photos are usually a one-time event, so knowing what to expect can be daunting, especially for those who have not had many professional photo opportunities in the past. Before going into the session, couples usually discuss the details with their photographer. I have spent some time compiling a list of my best tips and facts about engagement photography to make your experience easier to plan and prepare for.

    1. The typical engagement photo session lasts anywhere between 3-6 hours. Travel between different locations, outfit changes, and moving photo equipment takes time. If you know this ahead of time it takes the stress off making a time restraint. Have plans after your photo shoot? Maybe reschedule those plans so that you don’t miss out. Engagement photos are a way to celebrate your engagement so take the time to appreciate your moment.

2. Location, location, location. Now this one is important. You are going to want to choose a location that has personal meaning to you (such as where you met or had your first date), is aesthetically pleasing, or fits well with your personality as a couple. Think of your location as a movie set because the backdrop of your venue makes the mood of the photos. Your photographer may also be able to suggest some great places. Choose up to three places to add some variety (or as a back up in case one place is unavailable that day).

3. The engagement ring symbolizes your engagement and commitment. Make sure your photographer gives your ring special consideration and photographs it separately.

4. Pick at least two outfits: one casual and one a bit more formal to change on location or between venues. This will give your more variety. You do not need to match or look like twins, although magazines may have some fun styles for inspiration and to keep you coordinated. And don’t forget to bring comfy shoes to wear in between locations, especially for women who favor heels. 

                                                   I’m sure they thought it was a good idea at the time…..

5. Engagement photos require some intimacy, so if you are shy be prepared to kiss in front of the camera and do not be afraid to be yourselves. your photographer should help you relax after a short while. No one likes silly faces in their pictures.

6. Bring props! Have a shared hobby? Bringing along something to do together or that has some symbolic meaning for your relationship gives you something to do and helps you relax in front of the lens. It also gives your photos a story, which brings us to tip number 7.

    7. create a story. Playing out a story line like how you met or recreating a scene from a favorite novel or film makes your album unique and produces fun photographs. Profile picture anyone? Think of your photo shoot as a series.

8. Consider professional hair and makeup. If you are investing in great photography you will want to look your best. Not necessary, but it is also a great way to test out potential artists for the wedding day.

    9. Search within your interests for inspiration. Using poses and ideas from other engagement photos will make your pictures look just like everyone else’s. Search your favorite paintings, magazines, and movies for ideas and never be afraid to ask your photographer for a specific pose or shot.

         I still think they gave up on that floating door too easily. They could have at least taken turns….. 

10. Have fun! Laugh and do not take yourselves too seriously or you may end up looking stern or miserable in your pictures. Keep your hands relaxed as well because they give your nervousness away. You want to look as happy as you feel.

Were these tips helpful? Please feel free to comment or share some times of your own or share this post on Facebook or Twitter. Just one little click away.

Christine and Jeff Part 2

So here it is, the moment you have all been waiting so patiently for! I hope that everyone has a wonderful labor Day off from work. Here are a few moments from the ceremony. The church was so little and cute.I can honestly say that I have never seen a happier groom at the altar! His reaction and laugh was absolutely priceless. He was so overjoyed and surprised to see Christine all glamoured up in her wedding gown. The officient’s joy at the first kiss was so sweet. This is a man who enjoys his job. I have a special thank you to Fred J. Brown of Fred J. Brown Studios. He was the piano player at the wedding and also happens to be a photographer. In the middle of the wedding he disappeared outside of the church to return with an amazing telephoto Canon lens that he let me borrow to take better photos from the mezzanine. There are so many great people out there. Thank you, Mr. Brown!My favorite part of the wedding is right after the couple is married and they have time to themselves to realize it. Then I get to have so much fun taking beautiful portraits of them and they are simply glowing. The groomsmen arrived in style (and on their motorcycles).Above, the maid of honor, Sarah, gives her beautiful speech. The one room reception hall located next door to the church was so sweet. The night before the girls decorated the walls with polka dots and placed out painted flower pots as center pieces. I love the details in weddings. Each wedding is different from the next and the way it is decorated tells you a lot about the couple’s style. Showing off the rings over dinner. I love photographing the rings! Remember these from the engagement shoot? These rings belonged to Jeff’s parents. Jeff had a blast with the first dance.I loved this rubber ducky cake topper!For a short while I set up a photo booth at the reception with some studio lights. We decided to use the wall with the polka dots as the back drop instead of the fabric I brought because it fit with the style of their wedding day. The above photo is just one of many that I took of the couple and their guests. Christine and Jeff are so cute!This last photo is a little behind the scenes picture that my assistant, Matthew, took of me. While Christine and Jeff were preparing to leave yours truly had the honor of decorating the get-away-car with a couple of their friends. The photographer is such a hidden behind the scenes part of the wedding day, which is perhaps one of the reasons why I adore my job so much. In the span of a wedding day I end up helping the guys with their ties, fixing wedding gown disasters, touching up make up and hair, and reassuring the nervous bride that her day is going to be as beautiful as she is. And yes, the occasional get-away-car.

To see more photos from Christine and Jeff’s wedding visit my Facebook page titled Lovely Lens Photography.

Christine and Jeff – A Friendsville, PA Wedding Part 1

Last Saturday, the 4th, I had the honor of photographing Christine and Jeff’s wedding. Christine has been a good friend of mine from college and it was so great to be such a big part of her wedding day. You may remember their engagement photos from this spring. Matthew (my impromptu assistant) and I took off at 3 a.m. to make it from Maryland to Binghamton, NY in time to photograph the girls getting ready. I cannot believe it, but I took over 1700 photos and wow was it difficult to pick out my favorites! Here are the before the wedding photos:
The veil Christine’s mother adorned her daughter with was her very own veil! Christine’s “something borrowed” has now been down the aisle twice.
Mrs. Corcoran came prepared with tissues. “One is the limit,” she told Sarah, the maid of honor, as she passed her a tissue to dry her happy tears.
When I showed up to the apartment the guys had not even begun to get ready. John refused to wear the suspenders, “They’re for old guys.”Meet the guys: Jarrod, Jason, John, and Jeff -The 4Js.I took the guys outside for some pictures. We looked both ways and ran on and off the road numerous times to get these shots, but they were fun. It was a good thing Matthew had three extra pairs of sunglasses in the car. Jeff enjoyed the pair he wore so much that Matthew forgot them on purpose. The gown! We only had minutes to spare after the hair salon so the girls really rallied to get Christine in her dress and we took off quick for the wedding in Friendsville, PA. Meet the girls: Devinne, Sarah, and Katie.Part 2 is coming soon… Please feel free to leave a comment. I am sure that Christine and Jeff would love to see what you think of their photos.

Meet My Tambourine

This is my new tambourine. This is me with my tambourine. Have you seen my recent post about the Cazenovia College Fashion show? (If not, it can be found here: https://lovelylensphotography.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/wedding-photographers-branch-out-too-cazenovia-college-fashion-show-2012/ ) In that post I mentioned how it is good to get out of your photographic routine. Now, lets talk about getting way out of the routine. Last time I said that it was a good way to refresh and have some creative fun. For a photojournalist turned wedding photographer, going back to photojournalism for a day is not much of a leap. In fact, wedding photography is very photojournalistic. I was looking at some amazing artistic photography today; not wedding photography or documentary images, but photography for the sake of art. Now, I am not calling these images art, but I did do a small 15 minute photo shoot to have some fun and take photos for the sake of taking pictures -not for weddings, not for photojournalism, and not for my family albums.
I just moved to Bel Air, Maryland so the apartment is an absolute mess. I made some room in a small corner and set up a lamp and my tripod. I took some ridiculous photos, I acted silly, I laughed. And I found a little bit of creativity in the process. Some of which I feel I have been missing lately when I fell into the routine of photojournalism then wedding photogrpahy.
Today I decided to make myself a summer project: take more creative photographs just because. Now, I’m not going to set something up every day, but the goal is to have fun outside of my photography business every week. Of course, I absolutely love what I do and it is fun, however, to be better at what I do I need to reach out to the art world that drew me in. To the idea of photography as life documentation that thrilled me when I got my first camera at 5 years old. This summer I plan on taking fun photos (They don’t have to be good!), film photographs, artistic images, and maybe even dabble in a little bit of Photoshop fun as well. So here is my challenge for you: grab your camera and photograph yourself with something new or something that you love. In my case it was my exciting new tambourine. Then this summer make it a point to photograph life for the love of it. Have fun, realize that there are no photography rules (if I followed all the rules these photos wouldn’t be so flat. Once you know the photography rules, break them!), and be creative! 

Engagement Preview

Engagement and wedding season has finally commenced! I am more than excited to share this quick preview of Christine and Jeff’s engagement session. The full post will be posted next Monday.

So many wonderful things are happening all at once! I am graduating from Cazenovia College this Saturday and my family will be with me all day. Then the day after, my boyfriend Matthew and I will be moving to Bel Air, Maryland! It is a double dose of excitement! I really cannot contain my happiness. Today I have been packing for the trip, and as sad as I have been about leaving my home of four years, I know that this move is going to be a wonderful new step in my life. I hope that everyone enjoys the preview of this lovely couple and is looking forward to seeing the rest next week. Have a wonderful day and keep smiling!

Maryland Wedding Photographer – Gallery Opening

My year long senior project finally came to a close last week so I am happy to say that I will be back to doing what I love (lots of photo shoots and photography!) this week as I finish my finals (for the final time).

My gallery opening was on Monday, April 16th and what a day! I had so many wonderful and amazing volunteers who assisted me while I installed the exhibition. And on Wednesday, the 18th I had my oral defense, which was against a panel of four judges and open to the public. A lot of my wonderful fellow classmates joined me for my presentation and it lasted over an hour (all video taped for my mom at home. She said to me a few days before the defense, “I brought your video camera up from home. You don’t have to video tape your defense, but if you think you would like to that would be nice.” Now, in mom code that means: “video tape the defense or else.” The presentation filled the entire tape). I waited 20 minutes while the judges deliberated and was so surprised to discover that not only did I pass, I received a high pass!

Here is my artist Statement:

Anachronism, the BFA thesis exhibition by Courtney L. Murray, consists of nearly 2,000 photographs from the artist’s family collection from 1902-2012, some which will be viewable as stereographs.

The exhibit examines the use of vernacular photography including the changes technological advances such as roll film and digital photography has had on the family album. In the days of film, family photographs frequently consisted of milestone moments such as graduations, weddings, and portraits. Contemporary albums include everyday photographs, including snapshots from mobile phones. The exhibit illustrates the uses of personal photography, how and why we take photographs, as well as how photography is used to document biographical experience.

Similar to movie stills, the installed photographs document changes: visually piecing together the artist’s family history as well as her own insertion into the visual narrative. “Anachronism” is an archived timeline of 110 years of the artist’s family, demonstrating the art of life.

So many of my classmates and friends were kind enough to volunteer to help me. Brian, pictured here, my mom, and my friend Chris from home stayed with me until security asked us to leave at 1 in the morning! I returned at 7 am to finish the rest. Thank you mom, Chris, Brian, Tom, Lindsey, Brittany, Kari, Judith, Ashley, and Sasha for your help! Could not have done it with out you! Battle wounds. I think we all had blisters by the end of the day.The installation was completed 30 minutes before the opening at 4! Time for gallery set up for our guests.My table was all set and looking pretty. In the box below are the 3d stereographs I made for the opening. (Everyone said I had to have a 3d camera. I’m very proud of my -18 degree method to fool the 3d viewers. If you’re wondering how I did it I will be more than happy to tell you all about it!)The flowers on the right were sent by my cousins Ginger and Jessie They arrived 10 minutes before the opening! How sweet!The grapes and sparkling juice I brought in for the opening. Both my mom and my dad made it in for the opening!I put the flowers from Ginger and Jessie by my tambourines in my living room.Sunflowers! My father brought these up for me. Sunflowers are my absolute favorite (if you can’t tell).Matthew could not make it to the opening because he is living in Maryland (and I will be joining him soon!) so he had his sister Crystal bring these for me. She said to me, “He does realize that his sister is the one writing this note for him, right? I had no idea he was such a romantic!”My mother gave me this lovely notebook. I love the saying on the cover!These photos are from the day of my defense. I brought in more yummy snacks and drinks. Ashley Deyo took these photos of me after I got my high pass.Last Friday Matthew’s work was cancelled so he drove all the way up from Maryland (and arrived at 4 in the morning) to see my installation before I had to take it down.
He signed my guest book. How sweet is he?!My personalized 3d image viewer and a small shadow box I made with my grandfather’s combat V and korean war photos.He enjoyed viewing my installation. Me right before I had to take it all down. All that work and it is down already. Matthew took these photos. He was getting creative with my lens.