HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHO TO MARRY? (Hillarious–written by kids)

“You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff.  Like, if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming.”

-Alan, age 10

“No person really decides before they grow up who they’re going to marry.  God decides it all way before , and you get to find out later on who you’re stuck with.”

-Kristen, age 10


“Twenty-three is the best age because you know the person FOREVER by then.”

-Camille, age 10

“No age is good to get married at.  You got to be a fool to get married.”

Freddie, age 6


“You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids.”

Derrick, age 8


“Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other.  Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough.”

Lynnette, age 8

“On the first date, they just tell each other lies and that usually gets them interested enough to go on a second date.”

Martin, age 10

–Forwarded by a friend who had it forward from someone else.

Save-The-Date Cards–UPDATE (This is really neat)

In a recent post about engagement portraits and Save-The-Date cards you may have noticed some recent portraits we’ve done for one of our couples, Jon and Kelsey.  Well, what a GREAT idea they had.  They provided me with a sample of their card, a refrigerator magnet!

No excuse for forgetting the wedding date to all you family members and friends who are attending.  Just raid the fridge!

Click to enlarge…

Pricing Wedding Photographers

Would you go into a department store and buy a dress or a coat based on price alone?  No!  Yet many couples today are comparing Wedding Photographers for their wedding mainly on what they charge, assuming they all do the same thing, or at least the quality of what they offer is similar.  They don’t realize that there is a big difference between run-of-the-mill and great Wedding Photographers.

But like shopping for clothing, there are just as many differences in photographers in terms of what they can do and what they can offer you.  Of course you want value for what you are spending but ultimately you want to be happy with your purchase decision whether you are spending $500 for your wedding photography or $5,000.

So look beyond the price.  See what you are getting.  Are you getting an experienced photographer who has been in business  full-time for at least 8- 10 years?  One who includes a quality album in the price from a variety of styles that are designed to last many years–or one who just gives you a CD and leaves you on your own, known as “shoot & burn” photographers? One with a wide variety of other popular options such as parent albums, digital media, video,  framing?  Optional engagement portraits on location or in a studio?  A real studio for visiting your photographer and viewing sample albums?

And, can you decide on what you want after the wedding  and after you’ve seen the pictures?  As you see, there are many things to consider when shopping and selecting a Professional Wedding Photographer.  Do this and there is a very good likelihood that it will be the best choice you made for your wedding.  Except choosing your fiance of course!

Save-The-Date-Cards & Engagement Portraits


Frequently I do engagement portraits for couples who are getting married so they can create Save-the-date cards.  This is a very popular service that we offer our couples and the session can be done in our Tysons Corner studio or at a few of our favorite outdoor locations in the Tysons area.  Kelsey and Jon, shown below, elected to have their portraits done at the beautiful Meadowlark Park in Vienna.  Engagement portraits can be used also for invitations, signature boards at the reception (instead of a guest book), gifts or just to have to remember this wonderful time in a couple’s lives.  For more information on our services, see our website at














The World’s Best Wedding Albums: Leather Craftsmen

For many years I have been a great proponent of Leather Craftsmen albums and even toured their facility in New York a few years ago.  Recently I have decided to make them our exclusive album supplier.  Other companies we have tried on occasion such as Graphis, Zookbinders, White Glove…  only Leather Craftsmen is a company firing on all cylinders.

For example, I believe they are number one when it comes to the key factors in album manufacturing: the design options in both matted and digital albums, quality of the  printing, the covers, the customer service, and this is where many companies fall short–the binding–is second to none.  Having been in the business for 30 years and seen just about everything I want to provide my couples with the best of everything.   You can be assured that Leather Craftsmen is the best of the many options available today in professional wedding albums!

Below are 2 photographs: one of their matted albums where each photograph is individually and elegantly mounted and matted in the album.  The 2nd photograph shows their digitally-designed albums where the images are composed by an artist on a computer and printed in a collage-type presentation.  Each are roughly equally popular with our wedding couples.

For additional information on our Wedding Photography, please see our website at

Click on thumbnails to enlarge…

The Best Wedding Reception…Ever!

This is actually the name of a great book by Peter Merry of Southern California who has been in the wedding business there for many years.  I saw Peter at a convention there a couple of years ago and found his book a fantastic resource for planning a wedding reception of any type, large or small, formal or informal. It has all kinds of ideas and ways to personalize your reception as well as suggestions as to what NOT to do.  Although I’ve suggested the book to a few people, I thought it would be a great idea to highlight it here in my blog so more couples can be aware of it and utilize it in their planning if they wish.

Available in many bookstores for $23 or on Amazon for less, you’ll find it a valuable resource for ideas and wedding reception planning!

“The Best Wedding Reception…Ever!” by Peter Merry.


Wedding Photography Pricing in 2011

In Wedding Photography in Northern Virginia today, there seems to be a tendancy to offer couples a lot of intangeables at very little cost to the photographer. In other words, what EXACTLY are you getting for $2,500 today, which seems to be in the average range for Wedding Photographers in Northern Virginia and the Washington DC area. (This says nothing about the quality of the photography, which is another issue).

For example, 5 hours is the normal coverage offered. Addtional time is “only” $200 per hour. A CD of the images and online hosting is also included. Total cost of materials to the Photographer? About $1 for the CD.

But what about a matted album or digitally-designed “coffetable” book. These add-ons could easily cost you another $1,000 to $2,000 so you’re now up to $4,000 or more–if you want something “tangible”,  like actual photographs in an album.

So be sure you know what is important and what you are getting AND what you are paying for. We provide our couples before they reserve us with complete and detailed pricing info along with an information package. And, our mininum order of just $1,750 INCLUDES a custom matted album, photographs and up to 6 hours of coverage. Additional hours if needed are just $80 per hour.

For $2,500 you would get an even larger album, many more photographs AND a CD/DVD of all your images if desired. Not to mention, some the best wedding photography in Northern Va.   As an added benefit, we work out of a convenient commercial location with regular business hours, so we’re easy to contact and work with!

We have, I believe, the best value for the best wedding photography in the area. It doesn’t get better than that!

See our website for more information.

Beautiful Photo Mosaics of Wedding Photos!

The brother of the bride from a recent wedding I photographed created a stunning mosaic of her wedding photographs. She brought it in to show me and I was VERY impressed (and I don’t impress that easily).

Robert Marriott is a true artist and I wanted to share his work here. Below are 2 images: one of the overall mosaic and one close-up showing some to the individual photos in detail used in the mosaic.

Not just for wedding photographs, this would be a great way to showcase a couple’s engagement portrait with other smaller photos in the mosaic from their dating times or childhood for display at the reception.

If you would like Robert to create one these beautiful works of art for you, contact him directly and see his new website at

See our website of recent work at

Photography and Choosing The Best Career

In my 50s and having owned a Photography business for over 30 years, I talk frequently with clients about my enjoyment of the profession. When you do something you love, it’s not about moving up the corporate ladder or seeking postion and influence in a government organization.

Doctors do it because they like to help people get better. Other professionals have their own reasons, financial, prestige, fun, whatever. I do it because it brings joy into my clients lives, whether it’s capturing their wedding day in a visual feast of memories or preserving children and families in a portrait that forever reflects how they were at that moment of their lives.

With our success over the years I could retire today if I wanted and move to the beach or somewhere and live a comfortable life. But I would miss going into someone’s home to do a family portrait and seeing the wedding photogaphs that I took 20 years earlier hanging on their walls. Or, the portraits I did years ago of their kids when they were toddlers but are now going off to college. I know that with every job I do for someone, it is going to remain a permanent and positive memory for the rest of their lives of a day that meant so much for them.

And then there are their friends, and years later. Lately I’ve been getting a number of calls from brides-to-be inquiring about our services after they saw their friends or acquaintances wedding albums done by us 15 or 20 years ago. Quite a legacy indeed!

See the recent posts on this blog for some of our latest work or on our website at

Wedding Make-up Tips from Mary Kay Cosmetics

Here are some great make-up tips from Kathy Kalmar of Mary Kay Cosmetics in Burke, Va. Kathy can be reached at via her website at

Start with a Basic Skin Care Program at least 3 months prior to your wedding. You’ll look and feel better if you begin IMMEDIATELY!
You may shed a few tears of joy!
For kissable lips that won’t fade away throughout the day!
Sets makeup, provides a matte finish, helps control shine–picture perfect!
Don’t select a foundation shade to match the back of your hand!
Harmonize lip color, cheek color and nail color.
Blusher should provide a soft glow, never streaky!
Layering helps the fragrance last all day!
Beautiful skin care and glamour isn’t something you buy–it’s something you learn!
Don’t try a new look the day of your wedding! Go for a natural look the enhances your beauty–begin today! –made-up artist Robert Jones

This information is provided as a courtesy by Master Photographer Philip Kent, who knows nothing about make-up!

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