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Colleen + Michael | A Canton Wedding at the Historic Onesto

What a kickoff to wedding season…

I’ve been anxiously awaiting Colleen + Michael’s wedding since their engagement session so long ago. These two are a class act. From her gorgeous lace gown, to his custom tux – this wedding deserves its own awards show.

We started our morning at Colleen’s family home. Her close friends surrounded her as nieces and nephews watched paw patrol. Just the way your wedding morning should be. The weather was sunny and gorgeous, the company was good, and the emotions were real.

One of my favorite parts of a wedding day is watching the reactions of family + guests. There was a moment from Colleen + Michael’s ceremony that I recently shared on Instagram that will stick with me. The aisle was long, and everyone had plenty of time to watch Colleen and her father make their way to the front. Michael’s eyes, along with all the guests’, were glued to Colleen in her beautiful dress. But as everyone faced the back of the church, Michael’s dad couldn’t look away from Michael – his son seeing his bride for the first time. These are the moments that matter, and the ones I hope to capture for years to come.

Colleen + Michael,
The best is yet to come.


Venue | The Historic Onesto
Caterer | Dishes by Design
Bride’s Dress | Lavender Bridal Salon
Groom’s Tux | Savile Lane
Bridesmaid Dresses | Linda’s
Rings | La Placa Jewelers
Makeup | Maggie Kleinman
Hair | Jls hair studio – Karen
Florist | Tilted Tulip
Cake | Hartville Kitchen
DJ | On the Mic Entertainment
Transportation | Statement Limousine LLC
Videographer | Alyson Sliman

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The Bowen Family | A Berea Family Photo Session at Coe Lake

I’ve known Lauren for about 13 years now. We went to the same high school, and most of our time together was probably spent in the dark room. Over the years, we’ve kept in touch and I’m so glad we have. I’ve loved watching her sweet family grow (one perfect little one at a time), and navigating some of the tough stuff life throws our way together.

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. Photographing friends is my favorite.

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Kaitlin + Sean | An Intimate Cleveland Maternity Session

*I swear I shoot more than maternity photos.*

I recently got the chance to photograph two friends and you know that’s my favorite. I met Kaitlin + Sean when they were still engaged, and knew we’d be friends right away. They recently moved, so we don’t get the chance to hang out as much as I’d like, but this session was the perfect chance to catch up. We wandered around a couple of my favorite Cleveland spots, and made some magic.

Enjoy.

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Shilpi + Nanak – A Cleveland Museum of Art Maternity Session

When I started taking photos so very long ago, I wasn’t sure where I wanted to spend my time, but maternity + newborn photos weren’t even on my radar.

Years later, and countless new families under my belt, I’m just really glad things worked out the way they have, because I get to meet people like Shilpi + Nanak during some of the most special times of their lives.

I can’t wait to meet another little one.

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We Went to Mexico

When I was growing up, vacations looked like a packed Aerostar van, my brother in the backseat with Joy Electric blasting through his headphones, begging me not to bother him, me in the middle making up songs about all the signs we passed on the highway, and trying not to die of boredom before we got to grandpa’s house. Living so far from any family meant that any chance we got, that’s where we were. Of course, we’d always work in trips to Silver Dollar City when visiting Granny, or we’d end up at the beach when it was grandpa’s turn, but I don’t remember a single vacation as a child that was just the four of us, on a mission to have a good time.

Over the last few years, I’ve realized that since we live close to my family now, vacations now sit in the back seat where my brother was. Stephen and I have been married nearly seven years, and this trip was the first time since our honeymoon that we’ve gone somewhere (for longer than a weekend) just to have a good time. My overanalyzing brain spent hours researching destinations, then resorts, then talking myself out of booking anything because something about the house always needs fixed. So one Saturday morning in January, Stephen was looking at resorts and I pretty much said “I don’t care what it is, just book it!” I needed a vacation and I needed one badly.

So late February, we made the trip and WHY DID ANYONE LET ME WAIT SO LONG?

Stephen and I are generally cold weather loving, mountain dwelling, fires in the cabin loving vacationers, so this experience was different for us on so many levels. We’d never been to an all-inclusive before. (loved it.) In our 11 years as a couple, we’d never been to a beach together. (loved it.) And we’d never left the country together. (11/10 would do again.) Our whole trip felt like a dream. We’d start our day with breakfast by the ocean, spend the morning in a cabana, lunch by the pool, 4-5 hours of pool time (which is about half of what my heart desires, but compromise), and then we’d get ready for dinner. Zero emails. Zero worries.

One of my biggest struggles when it comes to travel is whether or not to take my camera. I want to have all the memories, but I tend to obsess over photos sometimes, and fun trips can start to feel like work for me reeaaaaal fast. So a couple weeks before this trip, I decided to splurge on a nice *digital point and shoot camera – the best of both worlds. It takes gorgeous photos, without me having to think like a photographer. All of the photos (and the video) you’ll see here were taken by that point and shoot. I also brought along a couple disposable underwater cameras, and they were so much fun. I planned on sharing more of those photos but the disc Walgreen’s gave me with my photos was unfortunately not of our vacation photos but of Grandma Linda’s first Christmas with her new grandbaby.

If you look closely, you’ll see a couple grainy photos that I scanned for you, and scroll all the way to the bottom to see the video I made of our trip.

TLDR: Had fun. Would do again. Enjoy.

*I should note that when I travel, I am a shameless tourist. I don’t care what I look like, or how bad my spanish is – I’m having a good time.

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Kylie + Paul | A Cuyahoga Valley National Park Engagement Session

Man, this winter’s been brutal. I’m the first one to appreciate a good snow storm, and I really don’t even mind getting bundled up to go outside. I generally really enjoy the winter time. But by the time March rolls around, I just want to be outside again. So on this particular twelve degree day, we did just that.

Kylie + Paul were referred to me by another photographer who wasn’t available to shoot their wedding, but if you ask me, it all feels a little like fate. Their wedding this October is actually on my own wedding anniversary, and if I’m being honest, I turned down a couple weddings for that day because I intended to keep the weekend open to celebrate with my husband. But once I learned all about Kylie + Paul, the wedding they’re having and the kind of people they are, there was no way I could turn them down.

Kylie + Paul live in Wheeling, WV and ventured to the arctic white north for their engagement session. I was so excited to finally meet them, and man they didn’t disappoint. They have no more experience in front of a camera than any other engaged couple, but their chemistry made all the difference. When two people are in love, and they allow themselves to forget about how cold it is, or what’s going on around them for a second, I can get images like these – open mouth laughs, genuine “warm me up” cuddles, and a little taste of what their love looks like in a single still frame. As an added bonus, we got to hang out with my friend Nick. He’s their wedding videographer, and he captured this whole session in motion! I can’t wait to see what kind of magic he worked.

Kylie + Paul,
I had the most incredible time getting to know both of you just a little bit better.
I’m happy to share October 12 with you. <3

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Mike + Julie | A Downtown Cleveland Wedding at The Union Club

So many different factors have the opportunity to define a wedding day. Maybe it’s the weather – a freak snowstorm threatening to keep everyone off the roads. It could be a late cake delivery, or the wrong color flowers. But most often it’s the sweeter things – like a dad healthy enough to walk his baby girl down the aisle, or a grandpa dancing the night away with the bride.

The most defining part of Mike + Julie’s wedding was the lovely people surrounding them.

Their bridal party, full of friends and family. The pews, full of elated family members. The dance floor, full of friends from years passed.

Mike + Julie,
I’m so honored you chose me to be a part of your wedding day. It was truly one for the books.

Venues
Ceremony | St. James Catholic Church
Reception | Union Club of Cleveland

Hair | Alex Walters + Alicia Piscura
Makeup | Cleveland Bridal Makeup
Bride’s Dress | La Blanca Bridal
Bridesmaid Dresses | David’s Bridal
Groom’s Tux | Jos A. Bank
Florist | Urban Orchid
DJ | A Bride’s DJ
Catering | The Union Club
Cake | Wildflour Bakery
Transportation | A1 Mr. Limo
Videographer | Emily Schutz
Invitations | Alexa Nelson

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Greg + Deana – An Ohio University Engagement Session in Athens

Man, it feels good to be back.

The new year is one of the things I live for. My heart loves change, and January 1st is just what it needed. The last 4 months or so of every year get a little crazy for me, but never have I experienced busy like the end of 2018. I was shooting constantly, and editing every moment that I wasn’t, I was editing. If you know me in real life, you know that I generally feel most fulfilled when I’m working , but as I slowed things down in December and really began to evaluate the last 12 months, I realized that I was creating habits that I didn’t want to bring into the new year. I had given up all my weekends for work. Most weekdays looked like 12 hours in front of the computer. I was a slave to my phone – checking emails and DM’s while I ate dinner, and as I was falling asleep. I put work before most other things, and left myself without any time of my own.

Transitioning into full time photography has been the most wonderful + challenging things I’ve done in a while. Every day, I get out of bed so excited to begin my day – grateful is an understatement. But it’s also forced me to look far deeper into myself and my strengths + weaknesses than I ever have. Have you done that lately? It’s not much fun. I’m finding the ways that I fall short at the expense of no one but myself.

So this year, things are going to change a little.

In an effort to be the best Allison + photographer I can be this year I’ve decided to implement a couple new boundaries for myself.

I’ve decided not to schedule anything on Sundays.
Sunday weddings are the only exception.
Because of this, weekends are going to book up a little extra fast,
so it’s safest to contact me about 8-12 weeks before you’d like to schedule your session!

This year, I’m actually going to keep business hours.
No more 10pm emails for this girl.

Not only do I want to be a more balanced human being, but I’d like to be the best for my clients and I know that I can’t do that unless I’m taking care of myself. I hope you’ve found ways to be kinder to yourself this year, as well.
Ok, that’s certainly enough about me.

Let’s talk about Greg + Deana.

One of the incredible couples I got to work with last year was Greg + Deana. Greg is a videographer and he happened to be shooting a wedding alongside me. (I’ll be blogging that one, too!) We exchanged information at the end of the night, and a few weeks later, we all drove down to Athens for their engagement session! Greg + Deana met at Ohio University, and wanted to take their engagement photos in the town that’s so special to them. We woke up before the sun, and I thanked the heavens for this gorgeous fog that made an appearance just for us. We stopped at the bar where they had their first date, and walked through campus together. I know I say this way too much, but this was one of my favorite sessions of the year!

Greg + Deana, I can’t wait for your Hines Hill wedding next year!

 

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Savana + Nate | A Downtown Cleveland Wedding at Windows on the River

The morning I walked into Savana + Nate’s adorable home to begin photographing their wedding day, I felt like I belonged there. Savana has this wonderful way of making everyone feel welcome. As I’m sure you’ve heard me mention, I always think of a wedding day in terms of how it makes me feel. Throughout Savana + Nate’s wedding day, there were threats of winter weather. It monsooned during family photos. The power went out while we took photos in a brewery. Our schedule was determined by when the storm clouds rolled in and out.

But somehow, my most prominent memories were being warm and cozy in their home while Savana and her girls got ready. I remember when we stepped out on East 4th and the sun shined so brightly it took my eyes a minute to adjust. I remember the hugs and the tears. The way Nate made sure she was safe and warm while we walked down the street. The belly laughs and the warmth of the room as they danced for the first time as husband and wife.

Savana + Nate’s wedding felt like an evening by the fireplace with the people they love most.

& once again, I can’t believe I got to be the one to watch it all happen.

Venues
Ceremony | Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist
Reception | Windows on the River

Hair | Shannon Hammond
Makeup | Ramona Dauksa
Bride’s Dress | Radiant Bride
Bridesmaid Dresses | David’s Bridal
Groom’s Tux | Men’s Warehouse
Florist | Countryside Florist
DJ | DJ Jesse Webb
Catering | Windows on the River
Cake | Wildflour Bakery
Transportation | Platinum Limo
Rings | Thurber’s
Invitations | Alexa Taylor Designs

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Tana + Nick | A Gordon Square and Edgewater Park Engagement Session

“Together, we’ll shine way too bright.
I see you squint those eyes.
Back in school I should’ve tried.
When life is failing, you’re my cheat sheet.”

Yeah, you’re my cheat sheet.

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Ben + Audrey | A Cleveland History Center Wedding

You know that feeling when a song can take you right back to your first slow dance? Or you get a whiff of that distantly familiar perfume your grandma always wore? I’m such a believer in the relation of seemingly minute details to the nostalgia it can later bring. When I photograph your wedding, I want to show it all to you.

I remember on Ben and Audrey’s wedding day, the steady pattern of clouds + sunshine. I remember Ben and his guys watching the office on their phone before the ceremony began. I remember the calm, unspoken love that I felt when I walked into Audrey’s hotel room at Glidden House where she was enjoying a slow morning with her girls. Most of all, I remember the sound of the Cleveland Air Show just before their ceremony began. To me, it wasn’t a nuisance, or unfortunate timing. It was just another one of those details to remember.

Ben + Audrey, Congratulations on your beautiful wedding, and more importantly, your beautiful marriage. I hope that every time you see these photos, it brings you right back to that day.

The sun, the clouds, and the airplanes.

 

Venues
Getting Ready | Glidden House
Ceremony | Cleveland History Center
Reception | Ariel International Center

Planning | Cassie Mullins Events
Hair + Makeup | Sin Pretty Beauty
Bride’s Dress | Abbot Bridal
Bridesmaid Dresses | Bella Bridesmaids
Tux | American Commodore
Florist | Dietz Falls Floral
DJ | Cleveland Music Group
Catering | Sausalito
Cake | Luna Bakery

 

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