European Trip | Germany and Spain Travel Photos

I have to admit, I had full intentions on sharing these images last year. However, life happened and I have to be honest—I just forgot, ha! This week I am heading back to Europe and this time we are adding Portugal to our list. My friend, Sophie, has offered up her place again for us to stay in Spain, then after a few days in Salamanca, we will travel north of Spain to see the mountains—and then right across the border to visit Portugal. I figured, now is the time to share these photos from the first time we went to visit her in Europe.

This was my first time in Europe. I was nervous, more so about the plane ride, then about the language barrier in Germany once we arrived. Thankfully, we stayed with good friends, Devon and Alex, for the first leg of the trip. My friend Jessie and I had a blast. Seriously, it was so nice to be in Germany and to actually WALK to the grocery store and village to pick up necessities. Oh, and they eat carbs there!! So much bread! And yet, they are all so skinny. It was delectable, and I enjoyed their morning rituals of actually having a sit down meal every morning because they know its the best one of the day. I left Germany feeling happy.

Later, we went and visited the lower portion of the Swiss Alps. Our original goal was to hike up the mountain and to stay overnight…but, we ended up walking only a little bit up when we realized we probably would not make it up to the top by the time the camp closed. Instead, we took a hike around the lake and was in for a real surprise. After feeling like a failure (me, I was the one that felt like a failure because I could not make it up the mountain), we came across this pier right on top of the glacier water. In the distance we could see not one—but, two castles. It was the most fairytale thing I may have ever seen. I couldnt stop laughing. It was the day before my 29th birthday, I was tired and embarrassed because of the mountain fiasco, and we find this gorgeous spot of land that gave you a spectacular view of CASTLES!

After this trip, Jessie and I headed south to Spain and met up with Sophie. From there, we visited all of the fun places in and around Salamanca. At the end of the trip, we went to Barcelona and oh my goodness yall I could lick the streets there. So much history, so much pretty, and the water was to die for. I wish I could go on about Barcelona, but honestly I dont even think I could do that city justice.

The images are from that trip and were all shot on a pentax 645 with portra 400 film. In case you were wondering, I only bring my film camera with me on big trips. It helps me to stay in the moment. And when the film comes back, it kind of feels like Christmas.

Jen with Makeup For Your Day | How a Hair and Makeup Service can Make or Break Your Wedding Day

I am so excited to share with you an interview between myself and one of the co-owners of Makeup For Your Day! Makeup For Your Day is a hair and makeup company catering to couples in the state of North Carolina and beyond. I have been anxiously waiting to share this, as it holds some great information that soon to be newlyweds could use when picking out their beauty services for their wedding day.

From a photographers standpoint, I have worked with so many great beauty companies. I have also worked with some not-so-professional ones. That’s okay, because every person has to start somewhere. And yes, people have bad days. It’s when you work with professionals that make the biggest difference for us.

For instance, if the hair and makeup team runs late, a photographer loses precious time for those getting ready photos. If they are running late, then that would also put my clients in an anxious state…which in return makes for some interesting images. The whole point of getting ready is to put the clients in an easy state of mind. It’s their wedding day, and when you have people who are still learning the ropes, I find it a bit chaotic for my clients.

Photographers, I am anxious to hear your thoughts after you read this. Am I alone or do you agree?

N: How long has Makeup For Your Day been in business? How did it come to be in this wild and wonderful wedding industry? Tell me more about the client you serve.

J: Makeup for Your Day has been in business 12 years this April!  We started our company as an artistic outlet to our full-time corporate jobs in banking and property management respectively. After referrals started going through the roof from planners and photographers who were thrilled with our business model of showing up on time, dressing and working in a professional capacity and getting our client done on or before scheduled time we got more serious and began recruiting and developing staff to take on more accounts.  Our typical client ranges from young professional to established career veteran. Usually, it’s a woman that wants to feel lovely on her big day by looking like herself...only perfectly polished for the cameras.

N: What separates Makeup For Your Day than the other companies? 

J: A few things separate Makeup for Your Day from other companies. Namely, we have a large, experienced team to draw on for bridal parties both large and small. In addition, we live in an age where a lot of our clients are flying in from out of state to get married back in the Triangle where they may have gone to school, or to the coast or mountains where they may have vacationed growing up. The benefit of hiring Makeup for Your Day is that we have teams across the state in Raleigh, Charlotte and Wilmington that can accommodate any location and we even have teams in Atlanta, GA and Nashville, TN to pull from, as well.  Our clients can rest assured that they’ll get a consistent, luxury experience no matter which team they work with! Other distinctive qualities that we take pride in are personalized beauty schedules for our brides that expertly map out their “pre-wedding planner timeline” to ensure their day gets off to the best start and that everyone is completely pampered in time for the photographer, planner or coordinator to take over the reigns as expected. We also have a boutique studio location in Raleigh that is convenient for our brides that are flying in to RDU (less than 4 minutes from the airport!) and our Triangle and surrounding area brides to come in for all pre-wedding appointments and festivities such as their trial run, bridal portraits, engagement photos, boudoir session, etc.

N: For myself and my clients, I want the best for them, especially when it comes to wedding day. I have noticed in the past that if clients choose hair and makeup artists who are not well versed, or have not been in the industry long enough, etc., actually cause the timeline to shrink. This will, in return, give the couple anxiety, etc. Why is it important for a couple to have a decent hair and makeup artist? What are some things that they should look out for when booking this service?

J: Great point and one of the biggest talking points for us with our brides! The makeup artist and hair stylist completely set the tone for the day first thing so if they are late, working too slow or worse, can’t manage the bridal party to keep them on task of “cheeks in the seats” when they’re supposed to be...the whole train become derailed.  Hiring a professional makeup artist and hair stylist (read “professional” again and again) that is talented in their art for color and styling is only half the battle. A client truly has to find someone with an understanding of business and customer service in order to not have any worries going in to their day. I stress this because a lot of people can do beautiful makeup on themselves and their friends and some can even style hair that looks gorgeous for a few hours or for a night out but how do they work under pressure?  Can they conform to a strict timeline? Do they show up early and with everything they could possibly need? Do they communicate well with not only the client but her guests and other vendors? Do they understand what mediums the photographers and videographers are shooting in so they can adjust the makeup accordingly? Most importantly, do they have a contract and is it THOROUGH? I could go on and on! The biggest advice is do your due diligence and research the artist or stylist you want to hire. Read reviews and dig for more than just the superficial “look” that they gave the other client. Find out how professional they really are from the way they dress, their timeliness to their discussions with people in their chairs. That will help you decide if you’re working with someone that takes your day seriously and approaches it from a business transaction standpoint or just a hobby that earns them a quick buck on a Saturday.  

N: How often do you receive images from wedding photographers who have photographed weddings that you or your team have done hair and makeup services on? Which images are you looking for in regards to showcasing your work?

J: I’m chuckling at this question because I can answer it two ways. The first thing that came to mind was, “rarely”. Even though our handiwork is featured on every shot of the bride and bridal party, MOB, MOG, extended family, etc. we are so often overlooked for receiving credit on such images and even more so included in albums that get shared by photographers. It’s sad, really!  The reason why I say I can answer it two ways is because the second thing that comes to mind is that I actually get images of our clients pretty regularly now because I go after them. It’s like a second job sometimes to track down all of our clients’ photographers info and reach out and follow up (and follow up again...sometimes with the planner instead) but it’s worth it once we get access.  Other times it takes some serious internet stalking to find the photos and reach out but it’s all taught me to be super thankful for blogs with a search feature! :) We’re typically looking for a series of images that tell the story of their day. In general I like to have bridal portraits from the day both profile and face forward with eyes up and gazing down - to appreciate the awesome lashes and eyeshadow work -  as well as an aisle shot (for the hair), ceremony shot, the kiss, after they’re pronounced married, first dance either with spouse or we always love a good bride/daddy shot or groom/mama shot, and finally the exit.

N: Why is it important to know the style of your clients photographer? For instance, I shoot film on a wedding day. Does this have any inkling to what you do as the stylist to mesh well with that? If so, what is the process of determining how to correctly apply makeup, etc.?

J: It is IMPERATIVE to know the style of your client’s photographer and the medium in which they are shooting!  For a makeup artist, we need to know if the client will be photographed in film or digital and if film which type of film. The type matters because, as you know being a film photographer, certain film is more saturated than others and that’s important when applying color to the face.  The makeup artist only has one shot to get it right with film because it isn’t like digital where you can edit to the hills for more or less saturation. With film, a client generally doesn’t want as much post editing done because that defeats the purpose of using film in the first place and negates the authentic feel of the overall image. Therefore, if a makeup artist puts too much blush or a lip that saturates to fuchsia or worse, a chunky highlight that renders like glitter in the sunlight on film the photographer is going to be in for a heap of issues to try to tone all that down without losing skin tone in the process.  It’s a mess! And that’s just one example. So, I’d highly recommend that photographers also start referring clients to professional artists that really invest in their craft that take classes and educate themselves with multiple mediums so they can better inform their clients where to go and save themselves an editing headache in the process.

N: What advice would you give newcomers that are coming in to this wedding industry? 

J: Newcomers to the wedding industry: welcome! Find your niche and go after it. We are blessed to be in a big wedding area and there’s more than enough business to go around. Don’t undercut others and do a disservice to yourselves right out of the gate...charge what you’re worth!  Network with others and really LISTEN to experience so you can take the good with the bad and make something awesome for yourself.

All images were taken by Fancy This Photography of Makeup For Your Days work.

Durham, NC Engagement Session at Motorco and Bar Virgile

Leslie and Jean were my kind of people. They enjoy the rain, which worked out in our favor for their engagement session, and liked images that were a tad bit off the cuff. We met right as the sun was tired at one of their favorite hole in the walls—Bar Virgile. After a drink or two there, we waited for the rain to stop momentarily and then bolted to the parking deck right beside Bar Virgile.

The parking deck is kind of like my secret hiding spot. It’s fun to go there at night and watch the fireworks after the Durham Bulls play. However, for photos it is absolutely gorgeous because you can see downtown Durham, the American Tobacco Campus, and the fun neon bull sign that welcomes everyone to the city. I loved that Leslie and Jean were up for this—they love Durham as much as I do.

We capped the night off at Motorco. This little area is one of MY favorites because it is full of color and those twinkly street lights. We finished just in time before the next batch of rain came.


**To view more photos of a downtown Durham engagement session at Motorco, make sure you check our Marina & Dustin’s session! It can be found HERE.

Raleigh Food Photography | MealSmith

I have found myself drawn to food photography. It has taken a while, but, I am so excited to share with you some of my favorite food images from this past year. I have had the privilege to work with a brand spanking new catering business —MealSmith— who has given me free range to create some scrumptious art.

When photographing food the main thing that I want to portray is how delicious things look. It is important to me to have the viewer TASTE from the image. With so many things happening online in the social media world, I want my clients to have images that make other people stop scrolling and look at their content. For MealSmith, we wanted to create images that look homemade, ready to eat, and a sort of natural bright light that creates some beautiful shadows.

If you are in the Mebane/Hillsbourough area you should definitely check MealSmith out! They use all local sources for their meals and they are an incredible company to support. For more information on them please visit their website HERE.

Plateware by American Party Rentals
Styling of the “Dinner Table” done by Gather Together Events
Catering by MealSmith
Florals on the “Dinner Table” by Tre Bella Flowers