Using the Stars and Stripes in photography

It’s that time of year again –  Independence Day weekend!  It’s usually a time when patriotic pride swells within us.  It’s a time for parades, celebrations, picnics with friends and families and flags are flown proudly.  I have a lot of British friends so of course there are more than a few emails and phone calls coming up this weekend.  Yeah, we tend to be a nation filled with pride, and many (myself included) would say rightfully so.  Seeing the Stars and Stripes flying high…or sadly flying at half mast…still brings a lump to my throat.  So it’s no surprise that we want the Stars and Stripes in our photography.  Just look at Pinterest and you’ll find countless examples of people proudly using our nation’s flag in their images.  Awesome idea…right!?  Wait a minute, before you pick up the phone or hit us up on the website with your flag inspired portrait shoots…there are a few things I’d ask you to think about.

I believe absolutely amazing images can be built around the flag…BUT, there’s a difference between a prop and a flag, and they’re important to remember as we start designing your photography experience.

Combination of symbols represented on a piece of cloth, serving as a medium of social, typically political, communication. It is usually rectangular and attached by one edge to a staff or is hoisted on a pole with halyards. Flags appear to be as old as civilized human society, though their origin is not well understood. The Chinese may have been the first to develop cloth flags, and it is believed that they were introduced to Europe by returning Crusaders. Most national flags in use today were designed in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Showing your pride by incorporating the Stars and Stripes is a wonderful idea, but here are a few tips to keep in mind.

– The flag should always be flown with respect, with the star field at the top.  A flag flown upside down is a sign of distress.

– Our flag should never be draped over something as a cover or used as a decoration.  Remember flags are draped over the caskets of our fallen as a sign of a nation’s respect.  Do you think the coffee table deserves that same reverence?

– The flag should never be allowed to touch the ground.

– I know it’s incredibly popular, but the flag should not be worn as clothing or used as a cover.  Using red, white and blue themed clothing works terrific as a stand-in and you’ll look incredible.  Patches worn on uniforms are the exception to this one.

– Should never be altered (writing, images, etc).  She’s pretty much perfect just the way she is.

There are some terrific images out there.  However, no matter how cute the kids, or beautiful the model, stepping on the flag, sitting on the flag, draping it over a nude body, etc…is still disrespecting a very important symbol of our nation.  I’m pretty lucky now days.  Living in DC there are countless opportunities and inspirations for incorporating Ol’ Glory into the images we create for our couples, but I constantly remember that that image is going to be hanging in the couple’s home.  The last thing I want to do is create a situation where there is an awkward conversation for them at the next family get-together.

If you’re like me, I tend to want to read it for myself.  So here’s a little light reading for you, in the form of a report prepared for a Senate committee.  Rachel Brenke, the Law Tog, wrote a great piece on this subject too.  You can check it out here.

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Getting married and would like us to be there for you?  Couples are already booking their 2015 dates…and locking in 2014 prices (I love a smart couple)  Click here to contact us now to see if your big day is available and let’s get to know each other.

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The Smartest Marriage Advice

from the desk of: Veronica

I know we’ve probably all read our fair share of “The Best Marriage Advice EVER!” books, articles, and blog posts, and while everyone could use at least a few tips to help improve their marriage, some (most?) of them are pretty annoying, am I right? However, I happened across one the other day on Salon.com that I really liked. It didn’t even include the phrase “Never go to bed angry!”

 

Bride; groom; kiss

Who wouldn’t be as happy as Alex and Holly?

I’ll share a little about the first tip with you and then direct you to the full article.

The first tip was to compliment each other.

According to the article, for the past thirty years, relationship expert and researcher Terri Orbuch has followed 373 married couples, and she has concluded that couples who regularly give each other “affective affirmation” (“compliments, help and support, encouragement, and subtle nonsexual rewards, such as hand holding”) are the happiest.

I can get on board with that. Makes sense, right?

If you want eight more tips for a healthy and happy marriage or long-term partnership, click HERE to read the rest.

You can find Veronica at her blog, Veronica M.D. (no, she’s not a real doctor), and on TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest. Feel free to stalk her. She encourages it.

Wedding day surprises

When it comes to planning the shoot sequence for a wedding, the only certainty is to plan the best I can and expect the unexpected…and I freakin’ love it.  But this wedding, this wedding day surprise is just epic!

If you’re planning something like this at your wedding, call me.  Seriously call me right now.  I have a killer deal for you just to be able to see this in person and get this on camera.

Don’t take my word on it.  Check this out and tell me this isn’t the coolest surprise ever.  Okay, that officiant may just be the coolest officiant ever too.

Here are some other awesome wedding dances.  Warning…what happens at 2:55 can not be unseen.  That being said, wouldn’t you like to be a guest at one of these?

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Getting married and would like us to be there for you?  Click here to contact us now to see if your big day is available and let’s get to know each other.

Hey, don’t just stop here , let’s get social 🙂  Clink on the buttons and below and join in on the fun.

 

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Making Time Stand Still

from the desk of: Veronica

My dear friend’s grandfather recently passed away, and at the visitation this morning, we gravitated to the pictures. Hundreds and hundreds of pictures of him, his wife, his children, his grandchildren, and his great-grandchildren. The room was filled with pictures of him at every stage in life. We pointed out certain pictures, laughing at the stories they conjured. We smiled at the pictures of his youth. We covered the mouth and saw my friend certainly did have his eyes, then covered his eyes and saw the mouth and nose belonged to one of his cousins. We smiled, and sighed, and thought, and remembered.

It’s in moments like these that I remember what a gift photography truly is. The pictures I take of my girls every single day are most certainly for me, so I can look back and smile and cry and remember their youth. They are also a gift for my girls, who will show them to their own spouses and children to tell them all about the people they were once upon a time. They are also a gift for my children’s children, and their children, and their children, who will one day look through them with love and amazement and wistfulness.

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(That’s my little girl in the picture, by the way)

Get portraits taken. Take photos often — whether on a fancy camera, a not-so-fancy camera, or your phone. Make time stand still whenever you can. Sure, you’ll remember your life without photographs, but you’ll remember so much more with them. Every picture you take is a gift to yourself, but also to future generations of your family. Capture all the love you can. And remember to tell the people you love that you love them.

You can find Veronica at her blog, Veronica M.D. (no, she’s not a real doctor), and on TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest. Feel free to stalk her. She encourages it.

Live Monarch Foundation

From the desk of: Veronica

You know those days when you stumble across something and just think, This is SUCH a good thing! I love that. Today was one of those days.

I discovered the Live Monarch Foundation, and I am so excited.

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I love butterflies, especially Monarchs (not to be biased — sorry, other butterflies!), and unfortunately, if things continue the way they are, we could lose the Monarch migration in our lifetime. The Live Monarch Foundation wants to change that, and one of their main initiatives is to educate people about the importance of growing a Monarch’s main source of food — milkweed — and get milkweed growing in EVERY YARD.

In order to see this happen, if you send $1 (yes, just ONE DOLLAR!) in a self-addressed stamped envelope, they will send you 50+ seeds to plant! They offer three varieties of milkweed (seen below):

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For every dollar you send, you will get 50+ seeds, but if you can afford to give more, amazing gifts start at the $30 giving range, including:

  • Special variety seed packs for a complete butterfly garden
  • Mature living plants
  • Living Monarch caterpillars and rearing kits
  • T-shirts and butterfly kites
  • Live adult Monarchs ready to fly free at your next special event

In addition, you can find resources on the life cycle of a Monarch, a butterfly drawing contest for kids with prizes in every age group, and advanced caterpillar and butterfly care information.

This was just one of those finds that I immediately wanted to share with the world. Whether you like butterflies and plan to send them a dollar or are a teacher who could make a lesson plan from this to share with an entire class, this is information worth having.

If you plan on planting some milkweed like I do, enjoy your butterfly-filled spring and summer!

You can find Veronica at her blog, Veronica M.D. (no, she’s not a real doctor), and on TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest. Feel free to stalk her. She encourages it.

Amazing Surprise Proposal

From the desk of: Veronica

Okay, I’m not saying everyone wants or needs an over-the-top surprise proposal involving a large crowd, choreography, music, and months of elaborate planning, and it doesn’t make it any better than a “normal” proposal, but … dang it if they aren’t fun to watch. I do love myself a little cry in bed while I watch surprise proposals, so I thought I’d share the love.

Please, do enjoy this adorable proposal:

Swoon, am I right? Have a happy day, everyone!

You can find Veronica at her blog, Veronica M.D. (no, she’s not a real doctor), and on TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest. Feel free to stalk her. She encourages it.

Can’t please em’ all when you’re planning a wedding

So you’re planning your wedding and have figured out that there are nearly as many opinions out there as there are people on your invitation list.  Here’s a simple little formula to remember…(time known+who they’re related to) / gift they’re likely to bring = happiness.  Just kidding, it’s really quite simple, it’s your day.  Yep, that’s it.  No secret formula, or calculator, required.  But you can be sure there’s going to be some ruffled feathers somewhere on your list.  Here are a few tips to prevent some of the biggies.

Sean Purcell Photography wedding photography

Sure, you want everybody to have a fantastic time.  You want everybody to remember your wedding and talk about it like one of these over the top, epic events.  But in the end, the wedding is the celebration of the love you share with your partner.

  • Financial – Unless you’re the one holding the purse strings, try to avoid placing yourself as the point of contact when it comes to making payments.  You have plenty of things on your plate without trying to remember if you’ve made the initial deposit on your cake or paid the retaining fee for your wedding photographer.
  • Expectations – Setting clear expectations with everybody involved lays out the ground rules but also gives them some insight into what your dream wedding is…and what it isn’t.  Say you’ve had enough of the Harlem shake, you may want to let everybody know there will be no spontaneous donning of elephant costumes at your reception.  (please do this)  If your future Mother in-law has offered to “take care” of the hotel reservations, you may want to make sure she knows that the no-tel motel on the edge of the highway is not your idea of a great location.  That way she’ll at least have a starting point and you won’t have to delouse your suitcase after the big day.   On the topic of expectations, any vendor you deal with SHOULD have a written contract that both you and they sign.  Your big day is not the place for any big surprises.  The day you sign with Sean Purcell Photography, your big day is blocked off and that day belongs to you no matter who approaches us after.  Many vendors have this same sort of first come-first served practice.
  • Physical fitness – There is a mountain of evidence that regular exercise releases chemicals into the body that promote good, healthy thought patterns.  But don’t take our word for it, check out this article on Managing Stress with Regular Exercise.  Besides a healthy outlook, who doesn’t want to look HOTTTT on their big day?
  • And closely related to fitness…relax.  That’s right.  Nothing magical or mysterious here.  Sit back and take a deep breath.  It will all work out and when you’re flipping through your wedding album (trust us, you’re going to show it to everybody and anybody who crosses paths with you) do you really want to think about the endless ours of blood, sweat and tears you put yourself through trying to make everybody happy with every detail?  I’m guessing the answer is a resounding no.  It’s the smile and look in your new spouse’s eyes, the first dance, your father’s embrace when he gave you away that you want to remember.  So just sit back, let others help you and enjoy the ride.  :)

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Are you getting married and are looking for a photographer?  Click here to contact us now to see if your big day is available and let’s get to know each other.

Hey, don’t just stop here , let’s get social 🙂  Clink on the buttons and below and join in on the fun.

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