WOW! What a crazy, busy, fun fall it has been – and I just LOVE fall weddings and portraits!

Fall is my favorite time of year making fall weddings and portraits my absolute favorites (we celebrated our 11 year anniversary this October :). The air is clearer, practically glowing throughout the day, and combined with cooler temperatures and colorful leaves it is simply gorgeous outside.

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With 9 fall weddings (Sept. – Nov.), 4 newborn portraits (LOVE babies!!), engagement sessions, corporate work, meetings, and a couple family sessions I have been working non-stop for a couple months now (and completely neglecting my blog – so sorry!). I have been posting a few teasers on Instagram and Facebook so please friend or follow me if you want to see updates a little more often.

And come here to see the mini galleries! (Click HERE if interested in a MINI portrait session before the leaves are all gone!)

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If you love what you see and are still looking for a photographer – I am still booking for 2018 & have started to book for 2019.

I travel everywhere and consider Richmond to Virginia Beach my local area (so NO travel fees ;). Contact me to schedule a meeting at a coffee shop near you or visit me at one of the many bridal shows I will be at after the New Year (I have a couple of free tickets for each show so let me know if you are coming):

Virginia Wedding Week – Norfolk, Jan. 6-7

Colonial Heritage Club – Williamsburg, Jan. 14

Peninsula Winter Bridal Expo – Hampton, Jan. 21

Virginia Bride Magazine Bridal Show – Richmond, Feb. 18

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So without further ado, here are a few highlights from this year’s fall weddings (3 more to go this month), newborn sessions, and a few portraits so you can see a little of what I have been up to (some couples prefer more privacy so I’m not sharing all of them).

Enjoy!

Chrysler Museum Wedding – Norfolk, VA

Awesome Vendors: ProTones Lighting, Simply Perfect Events Coor., Chef by Design

Williamsburg Inn Wedding – Williamsburg, VA

Awesome Vendors: Aleen Floral Design, Colonial Williamsburg, The Finns live band

Dominion Club Wedding – Richmond, VA

Awesome Vendors: Frostings cupcakes, Strange’s Florist

Inn at Warner Hall Wedding – Gloucester, VA

Awesome Vendors: Colonial DJs, A Sharper Palate, Cakes to Remember, Gloucester Floral

 

Newborns & Families

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Newborn photographer Heather Hughes Photography uses a portable studio to photograph your bundles of joy in the comfort of your home.

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Lifestyle portrait sessions are a great way to get professional candid looking photos of those precious moments in life. (This took 10 min. to set up on the couch but was SO worth it!)

There are A LOT of photographers out there, all with different styles & personalities. Which is AWESOME because you can easily hire someone you will enjoy hanging out with on your big day. But how do you know if I will be a good fit for you?

If you want to know what to expect when working with me, Testimonials from past couples are best at explaining the experience, but here is a quick rundown on what to expect if you are looking for something more specific:

BEFORE

I find email can be impersonal and sometimes misunderstood so I prefer to meet or talk before signing a contract to make sure we are on the same page. I LOVE meeting at Panera and always arrive early to get drinks for myself and everyone I’m meeting with so everything is laid out and ready when you arrive.

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Time is precious so I don’t want anyone waiting on me!

When meeting isn’t possible, phone calls, Skype, or email works so you can easily plan from a distance (I planned my wedding out-of-state so I know how much harder it can be).

Finding the perfect photographer is a big decision and I want you to take your time so I don’t ask you to sign a contract when we meet (but you can ;). I give you all the paperwork and price lists, offer advice or referrals, and hold the date for you for a few days so you have time to talk it over with everyone involved with the decision that couldn’t make it to the meeting or call.

And I ask a lot of questions. To get to know you, your personalities, and get a sense of the photos you will love.

Usually we meet 3 times before the wedding – before you hire me, at the engagement session, and about a month before the big day. I help create a timeline (if you don’t have a coordinator), make notes on tricky family dynamics or special requests, and complete a portrait checklist to carry in my pocket on the wedding day. All to help you relax & enjoying the moment.

DURING

I dress in a dark suit, even in the heat of the summer. The groom can do it so I can too – and it never hurts to have extra pockets. Plus, I do a lot of kneeling in the grass or dirt, climbing on chairs, whatever it takes to get the best angle and black or grey helps me blend in and sneak around to catch some great moments!

It has been joked that I am a walking bridal emergency kit. I always have a mini sewing kit, umbrellas, handkerchiefs, and snacks. I always have 2 cameras on my shoulders with one in my trunk, lots of batteries, lenses, and backup equipment. I look like a stereotypical photojournalist but with a suit instead of a photo vest (which is why I often bring an intern along to help carry things 🙂

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Smile and the world smiles with you 🙂

Everything I do is to help your day be easy & fun so I smile a lot, joke a little (my husband is MUCH funnier), and tend to use more honey than vinegar to get everyone to cooperate during the portraits. I’m super flexible too so if things get off schedule I always have a Plan B and try to help everyone remain calm (and work extra fast during the portraits if needed to help us catch up)

AFTER

After the wedding, I edit thousands of photos down to the most flattering angles, natural smiles, unique moments, and great light. I edit out the ones with your eyes closed, leave in the funny ones, and all great moments of people being themselves & having fun. And then I open EVERY SINGLE PHOTO to retouch, crop, and generally make them better.

You end up with about 75 great photos per hour, or more if you have two photographers, about 3-4 weeks after the wedding and if you love Facebook or Instagram I will post a few on there within days of the wedding so you can get a sneak peak. I work with a lot of military and others that need to keep a lower profile so just ask and I can keep your photos private too.

Check out the FAQ page for more details or Contact Us today to experience the photojournalism difference for yourself!

Yorktown Photowalk with Scott Kelby

I am SO excited to be a leader for the Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk – now in it’s 10th year! This Yorktown sunset photowalk is going to be so much fun!!

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Yorktown Photowalk with Scott Kelby leader Heather Hughes Photography, Yorktown photographer and Yorktown photojournalist.


This is an annual event where photographers around the world gather on the same day to explore, photograph, share photos, make new friends, and be a part of a great cause. The Worldwide Photo Walk supports The Springs Of Hope Kenya Orphanage, an organization that feeds, houses, educates and empowers young orphans so that they can grow up to not just survive but succeed.

Each walker who wants to enter the contest submits their single best image from our walk by Monday, Oct. 9, 2017. The winning image from the Yorktown Photowalk with Scott Kelby will receive a copy of Scott Kelby’s The Photoshop CC Book For Digital Photographers e-book, and will be in the running for the Grand Prize! Which is a Canon EOS M5 EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Kit, B&H gift card, and several other great prizes.

NEW! Youth Photo Contest
This contest is new and specifically designed for walkers 16 years or younger. Each youth walker may submit their best photo (one submission only) taken during the walk. Submissions will be sent to Scott Kelby himself who will review and pick 1 winner of the Youth Photo Contest.

Entry into the walk is on a first come basis, until the 50 spaces are filled. If you need to cancel attending, please let me know so I can find a replacement.

Only three rules:

1. You may only submit one photo
2. Collages aren’t allowed, as they are technically more than one photo
3. Photos must be taken during the walk on 10/7 (not before or after) along the Waterfront

Using editing software (such as Lightroom, Photoshop, Camera Raw, etc) is acceptable.

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10th Annual Scott Kelby Worldwide PhotoWalk leader for Yorktown walk. Yorktown Photowalk with Scott Kelby

More details about the Yorktown Photowalk for Photographers

Saturday, October 7th, 2017

5pm-7pm

Where We Will Meet & Details

Everyone will meet and gather under the Coleman Bride on the beach at 4:45pm (323 Water St., Yorktown). We will then walk down Water Street, past the annual Yorktown Wine Festival (over at 6pm) and arrive at the fishing pier around 6pm. The group photo will be taken on the rocks at 6:20. Sunset is at 6:41 so walkers are free to find their spot anywhere along the Yorktown waterfront.

Where The Walk Will End

We will finish the day by gathering at the Riverwalk Restaurant at 7:15pm. Walkers that register by Sept. 7 will have a reservation with the group, walkers that register after Sept. 7 should call ahead and make a reservation for a private table if they wish to join us.

About This Yorktown Photowalk with Scott Kelby

Yorktown has a lot of history and combined with the entertainment and crowd the wine festival usually attracts, there will be plenty of photographic opportunities before the sunset.

After meeting up everyone is free to go off exploring and photographing all that Water St. has to offer (including the beach, wildlife, and festival entertainment). I encourage you to pair up with a buddy and explore!

Water Street is fairly flat, but has cobblestones, so please wear comfortable shoes and bring water, your camera, and whatever equipment you prefer. It does not matter what kind of camera you use, I encourage anyone – no matter their skill level – to come out and have fun with us!

Want to join us for this Yorktown Photowalk with Scott Kelby?

Sign up via this LINK

I would absolutely LOVE to see you! But – on the off chance schedules don’t work out, I also offer one on one mentoring, student internships, or you can always CONTACT ME for anything you need – even if it’s just to introduce yourself as another area photog!

A groom commented to me one time, “I noticed when searching for a wedding photographer that all the GOOD wedding photographers were around $3K and up.”

In the age of digital cameras you no longer need a degree or official training to take a decent picture so why do good wedding photographers cost $3K or more? And how do you explain it to the person with the checkbook who expected it to cost WAY less?

Rather than listing out the cost of doing business, here is an excerpt from a blog post I came across by Photography Business Coach Bernie Griffiths that covers a few of the points. (along with a few notes from me)

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A sparkler exit like this one at the Inn at Warner Hall produces tricky and often unpredictable lighting so if you have one planned ask to see examples taken by the photographer to ensure they know how to capture it.

Just because someone owns a camera doesn’t mean they know how to use it.

In the digital age, where anyone with an iPhone and a Facebook page can market himself or herself as a photographer, it is important to find a photographer that you can trust to capture your memories. After all, those precious moments disappear in a flash. (and cannot be re-created)

When considering a photographer, it is a good idea for you to find out about the photographer, their experience, reputation, and business policies.

More Than Point and Shoot

Good Professional wedding photographers do a lot more than point and shoot, hoping to get a great image.

If you are looking for experts in the field of photography, they have the knowledge, expertise and equipment to produce high-quality images that produce creative, perfectly printed portraits. (And backup equipment and staff to ensure a successful session every time)

Professional cameras produce images of much higher resolution than standard cameras. And professional lighting techniques, and understanding of light, can make the difference between a so-so image and an image that can “pop” off your wall.

Using more flattering angles and unique perspectives and settings clearly separate “real” photographers apart from their amateur or part time counterparts. Along with refined editing techniques to clear up imperfections and provide controlled contrast and color balance. (amateurs typically rely on filters to “fix” their photos)

And don’t be surprised if your prints from a discount store fade over a short period of time. Only a professional photographer will supply you with your photographs on lifetime archival paper.

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The first dance at this beautiful barn wedding reception at East Lynn Farm was made even more dramatic with a little help from an off-camera light, and is an effect only made possible by a photographer that knows how to control and use lighting.

The Hidden Risk You Take

Good professional wedding photographers have strong reputations, since what they do is both personal and creative, and image-based. Their work is easy to check out on their website or Facebook page, and look for a photographer that specializes in the particular genre that you want photographed.

Here are a few tips to help –

– Do your research to find a professional who works in the style you want for a price that you are willing to pay.

– Set up a consultation appointment with those whose work seems to be what you like.

– Use this initial meeting/ call to find out more about the photography experience, products and pricing.

– When looking at the work, take note of the style and variety of images, and how that matches your personal preferences. Pay attention to poses, angles, lighting and other techniques.

– Check a photographer’s Facebook reviews, references, and written testimonials. (like WeddingWire.com or theKnot.com)

Being a member of a professional organization (or having a photography degree) shows a level of commitment to grow a photography business and keep skills current. These organizations certify photographers, which involves submitting photos and reaching a certain high standard and bounds them by a set of professional rules of practice, a code of ethics, and adequate liability insurance.

Connecting Is The Key

You should definitely shop around and find wedding photographers whose work you really like, rather than simply making your decision based on the cheapest price. If you do go with a lower rate, make sure the wedding photographer you hire has the skills and experience you are seeking and produces a reasonable quality of work. There is a price to be paid for a good professional wedding photographer, and as the old saying goes you almost always “get what you pay for”.

Beautiful lasting memories on your wall don’t happen by chance, they happen with intent and vision.

Meeting or calling the photographer and having a 2 minute chat is the quickest way to have all of your questions answered and to find out if they are the right “mix” to preserve your priceless memories. (And that’s what you’re paying for, consistency and artistic vision!)

Article by Photography Business Coach Bernie Griffiths.
Copyright 2017

-Note from Heather-

Good wedding photographers are not just vendors.

We are sources for advice, support, and sometimes part family psychiatrist. We have been in most situations and know how to prepare, anticipate, or react which creates a less stressful day for everyone (despite what happens). Price is part quality products, part quality experience, and part a photographer’s experience.

The wedding day is one of the most important days of your life. Don’t make my mistake – I skimped to save a few bucks and it’s one of my biggest regrets.

Contact Us today to experience the photojournalism difference for yourself!

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Professional photographers know how to use creative devices like framing that make the difference between a so-so image and an image that will really “pop” off your wall, like it does for this portrait at Chippokes State Park in Smithfield, VA.

The Photojournalism Difference

Wedding photojournalism, or wedding photojournalists, are photographers who are experienced shooting just about everything. Traditional portraits, details, action shots, we know lighting, creative posing, and we’ve worked in every challenging weather and lighting condition possible. (i.e. we know what to do no matter what 😉

We ask a lot of questions. To get to know you, your style, and the photos you love. We offer help in planning the flow of your day, managing tricky family dynamics, and always have a Plan B so the photo part of the day is stress-free. I send out a portrait checklist to every couple and before the wedding, go over the timeline of the day and make note of ALL the unique details and special requests.

We prefer to act like one of your guests, blending into the background, to encourage everyone to relax & be themselves. So we don’t like to step into the aisle at the ceremony and stay at a respectful distance during your first dance (so many forget we are there). This doesn’t mean we won’t tell you if you have food in your teeth, but if it’s a funny picture we might shoot it first!

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Sometimes the cake smash is a surprise which is why we always position ourselves to get a good shot of it, just in case.

Best of all – you don’t have a photographer telling you what to do or in your face all night. We anticipate what is going to happen, prepare for it, position ourselves for the best angles (from a distance if we can), and capture the moments as they happen (and know what to do when the unexpected happens ;).

Our style of photography is unique because our photographs tell your story by capturing your experiences, personalities, and moments. Details are more meaningful, group portraits are quick & fun, and portraits have creativity AND your personality. True wedding photojournalism.

Click HERE for Facts & Myths about wedding photojournalism

Award-Winning Couple

Virginia Living Magazine’s “Best of Virginia Photographers” 2016 & 2017
WeddingWire.com “Couple’s Choice Award” 2008-2017
Virginia’s Newspaper Photographer of the Year 2nd Place 2013 & 2014
VA Small Newspaper Clip Photographer of the Year
Multiple awards from the VNPA, VPA, NPPA, Hearst competition, and the Eddie Adams workshop
Published in the Daily Press, St. Petersburg Times, People magazine, Washington Post, America 24/7, Virginia 24/7, VOW magazine, The Knot magazine, Hampton Roads Wedding Guide, to list a few