When they tell new moms not to blink, because their precious newborn baby will grow up too fast, they sure weren’t kidding. I still think of Juniper as the tiny little face pressed against mine while I breathe in her newborn skin smell watching her tiny little nose inhale and exhale. But here we are already photographing her as a big girl ballerina for her very first ballet recital. I know she is still “little”, but the last 6 years seem to have went by in fast forward. Another few blinks and she’ll be off to college!

We had to shoot a wedding on the Saturday night recital, but I was able to take some pictures on dress rehearsal night. I also had to miss out on the formal portraits at the ballet studio due to a headshot session that had already been scheduled (#lifeofaphotographer #mommyfail), so I took her portraits in our in-home studio. My friend Josh from 3MI Photography was the official photographer, so for any of our fellow ballet moms, be sure to order those shots from him before they expire!

I remember my mom telling me a long time ago that when I was born, she thought I looked like a little china doll. I never paid much attention to that until the moment the nurses handed Juniper to me and I swear she was so perfect that she really looked like a little china doll! I think about that moment a lot, since it was definitely one of those once in a lifetime experiences. Well, on rehearsal night I grabbed a program and looked for Jun’s group and saw her listed as part of the “China Dolls”. I didn’t realize her cute little outfit was a china doll outfit (I thought it was some kind of german dance getup, haha. I obviously didn’t look at it very well). So yeah, I immediately started balling and her sweet little newborn china doll face popped up in my head as I watched her twirl and plié across the stage. Sigh…

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blog ballet

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ballet portraits martinsburg wv

ballet martinsburg wv

ballet portrait photography

I loved these shots after dress rehearsal of her outside the school. Maybe baby doll!

ballet portraits martinsburg wv

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Today’s vendor spotlight highlights the Historic McFarland House, an elegant wedding venue right here in Martinsburg, WV. I first visited this venue as a last minute second shooter for Robin Day at Carrie and Brandon’s wedding back in 2011. I fell in love as soon as I walked through the door, and when I saw the bridal suite I knew I was in wedding photography heaven. The owners have spared no expense and have put their heart into making sure every detail of the house is amazing. I especially love the art nouveau artwork going up the grand staircase in the foyer. There have been a few different wedding coordinators over the years, and they have all been top notch professionals that go out of their way to create a smooth and seamless wedding day. The one thing that I constantly hear from brides who have a wedding here is how much they love the fact that they didn’t have to do anything to make it “wedding day ready”, because it is already amazing! Enjoy the tour of the venue from a photographer’s perspective, and be sure to check out the links to past weddings that we’ve highlighted from this venue at the bottom of this post!

To kick things off, let’s begin with a general look around the house giving you a little taste of the amazing rooms and details this venue has to offer!

Historic McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding Photographers

Historic McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding Photographers

Historic McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding Photographersaround the house 7

Historic McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding Photographers

Historic McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding Photographers

Historic McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding Photographers

There are countless areas around the house for portraits.

Historic McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding Photographers

Historic McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding Photographers

Historic McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding Photographers

 

Historic McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding Photographers

Historic McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding Photographers

The bridal suite is a gorgeous backdrop for the photos of the bride and her bridal party getting ready.

Historic McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding PhotographersHistoric McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding PhotographersHistoric McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding Photographers

Historic McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding Photographers

Historic McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding Photographers

The backyard provides a versatile space to design your ceremony layout.

Historic McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding Photographers

skies-ceremony

Historic McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding Photographers

Historic McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding Photographers

Historic McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding Photographers

Historic McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding Photographers

This area can also be tented for rainy day weddings. There is also space inside the dining area that can be used for a ceremony on rainy days.

Historic McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding PhotographersHistoric McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding Photographers

My personal favorite layout is facing the house so guests aren’t blinded by the late day sun. This also makes for beautiful light for your pictures and a way for Jon & I to get a little closer to you without distracting guests using the cover of the backdrop of trees.
Historic McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding Photographers

Historic McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding Photographers

Historic McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding Photographers

Outside has the perfect amount of romantic details to make your pictures together timeless.

Historic McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding PhotographersHistoric McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding PhotographersHistoric McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding PhotographersHistoric McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding Photographers

Historic McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding Photographers

Historic McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding Photographers

Historic McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding Photographers

As you can see there is plenty of room for a large wedding party…Historic McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding Photographers
I mean, isn’t this balcony perfect for photos?

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Inside is the reception area that can be laid out in to a few different arrangements with the dance floor being in the same area or off to the side in the main part of the house.

Historic McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding Photographers

Historic McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding PhotographersHistoric McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding PhotographersHistoric McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding PhotographersHistoric McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding PhotographersHistoric McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding Photographers

Along with the fabulous details, outside courtyard and reception area there is also fantastic food! Executive Chef Brad Spates kills it every time with his unique and delectable creations. You can have a seated dinner, buffets of all kinds (everything from traditional food to taco or potato bars!) or heavy passed hors d’oeuvres.

Historic McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding Photographers

Historic McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding Photographers

Historic McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding PhotographersHistoric McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding Photographers

Here is Chef Brad and his team in action.

Historic McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding Photographers

This was from one of the wonderful date nights that they host each month. Chef Brad was checking to make sure the owner, Dr. Michael McCarty, was enjoying his serving of mussels (can I just say that I am not a fan of mussels, but these were absolutely delicious!). If you ever get a chance to experience one of their date nights, GO FOR IT! It is such a fun and inviting experience with the best food you can get in Martinsburg.

Historic McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding Photographers

A few more shots of the owners and staff (I love this couple!)…

Historic McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding Photographers

This was during the last song at a recent wedding and the whole staff felt the energy in the air and held their own group circle. It was so great to see them like this after a long day of top-notch professional service to the guests.

Historic McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding Photographers

And to top it all off, the grounds and house look beautiful at night!

Historic McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding PhotographersHistoric McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding PhotographersHistoric McFarland House Martingsburg WV Wedding Photographers

Want more of the Historic McFarland House? Check out some more blog posts from this gorgeous venue!

Nathan & Caitlyn 

Jonathan & Lindsey 

Danny & Jenny 

Danny & Jenny’s wedding album 

Tony & Katie 

Ed & Mandy – Coming Soon!

Thanks for following along on our photographic journey! If you would like more info on our wedding photography, use the contact form at the top of this page to request our exclusive wedding magazine. We also shoot senior portraits, newborns and headshots and would love the chance to work with you! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest to get updates on everything happening here at Swadley Studio!

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If you have been around for a while, you know how much I adore First Looks. Not just for the fact that you get so many for photos of the two of you on one of the most important days of your life, but because of the sheer romance of that moment. First Looks create some of the most romantic memories that you will share in your life together, and I love when my couples choose to include one in their wedding day! Caleb & Carrie’s First Look took place in one of the most picturesque settings in Winchester: the vine tunnel at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley.

I decided to dedicate an entire blog post to Caleb & Carrie’s First Look, and some of my favorite images of just the two of them on their wedding day. It was 99 degrees and the humidity was insane, so the First Look provided them with two shorter opportunities for bride and groom portraits. We spent 20 minutes with them for portraits immediately following the First Look, then another 20 minutes after the ceremony once the family and wedding party portraits were complete. This way, Carrie’s beautiful makeup and hair weren’t suffering in the heat, and we still were able to get plenty of gorgeous images for their album.

Carrie is a major photography enthusiast, and her own photography is absolutely breathtaking. She made beautiful stone coasters with a variety of her nature images as favors for her guests. Such a special touch that everyone loved! So, I took the dinner hour to go around the Museum grounds and capture images of some of the lovely plants there on her wedding day. I thought it would be a great addition to their bride and groom portraits here on the blog, and also as background images for their wedding album.

First up, the emotional First Look!

Museum of the Shenandoah Valley Winchester VA Wedding Photographers Swadley Studio-20

Museum of the Shenandoah Valley Winchester VA Wedding Photographers Swadley Studio-20

wedding at the museum of the shenandoah valley

wedding at the museum of the shenandoah valley

Museum of the Shenandoah Valley Winchester VA Wedding Photographers Swadley Studio-20

Museum of the Shenandoah Valley Winchester VA Wedding Photographers Swadley Studio-20

Museum of the Shenandoah Valley Winchester VA Wedding Photographers Swadley Studio-20

Museum of the Shenandoah Valley Winchester VA Wedding Photographers Swadley Studio-20

Museum of the Shenandoah Valley Winchester VA Wedding Photographers Swadley Studio-20

winchester va wedding photographers swadley studio update 5

wedding at the museum of the shenandoah valleywedding at the museum of the shenandoah valley

Museum of the Shenandoah Valley Winchester VA Wedding Photographers Swadley Studio-20Museum of the Shenandoah Valley Winchester VA Wedding Photographers Swadley Studio-20

Museum of the Shenandoah Valley Winchester VA Wedding Photographers Swadley Studio-20

Museum of the Shenandoah Valley Winchester VA Wedding Photographers Swadley Studio-20

wedding at the museum of the shenandoah valleywedding at the museum of the shenandoah valleywedding at the museum of the shenandoah valley

winchester va wedding photographers swadley studio update 5Museum of the Shenandoah Valley Winchester VA Wedding Photographers Swadley Studio-20

Museum of the Shenandoah Valley Winchester VA Wedding Photographers Swadley Studio-20

Here’s a behind the scenes shot Jon got of the cinematographer and I. I was photographing the ring shot on the right.

Museum of the Shenandoah Valley Winchester VA Wedding Photographers Swadley Studio-20

Stay tuned for their wedding day blog post next week!

Thanks for following along on our photographic journey! If you would like more info on our wedding photography, use the contact form at the top of this page to request our exclusive wedding magazine. We also shoot senior portraits, newborns and headshots and would love the chance to work with you! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest to get updates on everything happening here at Swadley Studio!

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Earlier this week, I did a really fun water session with a senior in the miserable humidity, and thought I’d share a throwback to the very first water sessions I did way back in 2008! A water session is a great way to get different images to go with the rest of your senior portraits. You can wear anything you’d like, although I really love how the flowy formal gowns look being moved around by the water. All these dresses have come clean, so to the moms out there: no worries, just lots of fun! Here’s the post I did back in 2008…

beYOUtiful seniorsA

I’m so excited that I finally have a chance to share these with everyone! Before the cold of winter came, I went out with 3 awesome high school seniors to do a Funky Formals session with each of them. We had so much fun that it was really hard to pack up for the day, because we all just wanted to stay in the water and play some more! I can’t wait till the weather warms up, so I can go out & do this again! Oh… and in case anyone is wondering, all 3 dresses came perfectly clean!

I couldn’t pick out just a few, so I’ve put together a slideshow for you to view. Make sure you turn up your speakers to hear the music I picked out for it. This was the theme song to my favorite tv series of all time. Anyone know which show that might be?!?

Thanks for following along on our photographic journey! If you would like more info on our senior photography, use the contact form at the top of this page to request our exclusive wedding magazine. We also shoot weddings, newborns and headshots and would love the chance to work with you! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest to get updates on everything happening here at Swadley Studio!

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I finally had the chance to upload this wedding album from a few months ago to our YouTube Channel, and wanted to post it here to show an example of a larger wedding album that one of our clients had ordered. I was so rushed that day after pulling an almost-all-nighter and having a million and one things to accomplish, but I at least wanted to do a quick video to show off the size. Just ignore the crazy lady who tried to impersonate me who clearly didn’t bother to look in the mirror that day, haha!

To see some of the actual images from their wedding day, check out the blog post here.

Thanks for following along on our photographic journey! If you would like more info on our wedding photography, use the contact form at the top of this page to request our exclusive wedding magazine. We also shoot senior portraits, newborns and headshots and would love the chance to work with you! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest to get updates on everything happening here at Swadley Studio!

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