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some girls that are just downright SWEET… and then some that are sweet AND hilarious! Abby can bring a smile to ANYONE’s face and that… that is a GIFT! She started following my blog a year-ish ago  and I have been SO blessed by her sweet comments and encouragement!! I loved her and I had never even MET her… until this past fall. She came to my November Workshop Experience and it felt like I was meeting an old friend! She just EXUDES joy and it’s no wonder people are attracted to her and her fabulous business!  Abby is an AWESOME blogger and she does an amazing job at allowing her PERSONALITY to shine

through her posts! So of COURSE, I thought she would be the perfect, most entertaining photog to grace us with her presence (pun intended:)! ….. I’m actually cracking myself up right now! … Katelyn, it wasn’t THAT funny. It’s midnight…. and I’m planning for a workshop AND pre-blogging AND I’m tired……. so maybe, instead of rambling on and cracking more BAD jokes, I should just let Abby do the talking!!! Enjoy!

 

1. Tell us about yourself!  Name, Location and the weirdest thing you could possibly tell us about yourself! (Ex: I can’t bend my last three toes… true story, I really can’t)

My name is Abby, and I’m a passionate, outspoken, loud, fun-loving, God-praising and head-over-heels-in-love-with-life photographer based out of the Washington DC area, where I live with my awesome hubs Matt and our super cute puppy, Lily. Weirdest thing about myself…ugh. I can’t believe I’m admitting this: when I was younger(er) I would make microwave popcorn JUST so that I could rip the bag apart and lick the butter off. I know! It’s so weird! My mom used to fuss at me about my cholesterol levels, but I’m proud to say my blood pressure is doing just fine!

 

2. When did you first consider the fact that photography could be a CAREER?! What or who helped you come to this conclusion? 

 It was during my junior year at Radford- I was taking a dark room photography class and I realized I was kind of good at this whole “photography thing” and that I really REALLY loved taking people’s portraits. I remember sitting down with my photo professor Kathleen and asking her if I was just being ridiculous, or if this was something I could realistically pursue after college. I got into wedding photography after emailing around to a bunch of local photographers and finding a mentor, Mike, who taught me a lot of what I know in regards to running a business. I’d say Kathleen put the spark in me and Mike really helped to stoke the flames.

3. What is your FAVORITE part of the wedding day to photograph and why?

Oh gosh, that’s so hard to choose! I really do love the beginning of the day- the calm before the storm, when my bride is getting ready to make the biggest commitment of her life. There are so many things that take place in that bridal suite prior to the wedding- her mom and dad coming in to see her, her bridesmaids’ faces when she finally has her dress on, everything. It such a beautiful couple of hours and I really look forward to that part of the day. The emotion is so raw and organic.

4. How long have you been shooting and who has been your BIGGEST supporter throughout this journey?

That’s a complicated question J. I first started exploring photography in that dark room class, so about three years ago, but I didn’t shoot my first wedding until the end of 2009. I spent about a year and a half second shooting under Mike before I finally ventured out and began taking my own weddings, a little more than a year ago. So I guess you could say I’ve been shooting for two years, and on my own for about a year! My biggest supporter has EASILY been my husband Matt. There have been days when I’m so overwhelmed with everything on my to-do list, or so intimidated by the “big names” in the industry that all I want to do is quit, but Matt is the one there pushing me ever forward because we both know that this is exactly what I’m called to be doing.

5. If you’re ok with sharing…. what’s a mistake you’ve made that we can all learn from! (Come on, we’ve all had our share of whoopsies! )

Besides that one time when I accidentally left my favorite lens (the one I shoot 95% of a wedding with) at home on a wedding day? I’d have to say it was taking on clients that didn’t fit with me or my vision for my business. It’s SO TRUE what Katelyn, Jasmine and Justin & Mary say about how taking on clients who don’t fit won’t just hold you back, it’ll actually damage your business. I had the mentality that nearly every new photographer has; I thought I needed to book every client that was willing to sign with me. It crippled me by not only making me resent myself for my decisions, but I was also putting my name out there as a photographer of the kinds of weddings I didn’t want to be shooting, thus inviting more couples of a similar disposition. I was so frustrated with myself! Once I finally realized that I needed to hold out for my ideal client, my job satisfaction skyrocketed through the roof. Learning to say “I think I know of another photographer that you all will love infinitely more” is the absolute best thing I can do for my business.

6. If you had to describe your BRAND and your STYLE, how would you do that in three words? This is hard, I know.

Super flipping awesome. Just kidding. Probably “passionate, bright and fresh.” I love authentic, organic emotion and bright, colorful images!

 

7. Who are three photographers that you follow and why do you love their work so much?

Oh this is easy- Katelyn James (duh), Jasmine Star and Just & Mary. All three (well, four) of these photographers have a lot in common- they’re all generous, humble, they freely give to other photographers, and they’re sources of inspiration with images so beautiful it actually hurts sometimes. I love that their styles are all different, too, so I’m not only inspired with the advice they offer but also by the images they display. I can always count on Katelyn’s blog for a million and one posing ideas, Jasmine Star’s work encourages me to really keep things high-end and classy, and Justin & Mary’s lighting makes me want to melt. Three completely different types of visual inspiration to constantly keep me full of fresh ideas, wanting to go out, create, and make things my OWN, not just recreate what they’ve already done.

8. What advice would you give a new photographer who is just starting out?

Second shoot as much as you possibly can and do your research! Second shooting gives you a chance to photograph a wedding without the pressure of being the primary photographer, and you get the added experience of watching how an experienced professional handles a wedding day. When I say do your research, I mean study. Go out and read other photographer’s blogs, trade magazines, online tutorials- find what YOU like, not what others say you should like. And lastly, shoot shoot shoot! It’ll only strengthen your in-camera skills and your ability to really find your voice and style.

9. What’s your favorite place to buy SHOES? And what’s your favorite place to buy PURSES?! 

I’m actually a fashion disaster- I think I buy two or three pairs of shoes a year, if that. It’s so sad! But if I had to pick one place for shoes, it’d be DSW. They never fail me! And purses? TJ Max all the way!

 

10. What has been your FAVORITE wedding or engagement session to date?! Include a link so we can all see!:) 

Can I answer this in two parts? Yes? Great! Ok so my favorite e-session was with Jamie and Abbeigh in Annapolis- they are so in love and so much fun in front of a camera! I can’t wait to shoot their wedding! And my favorite wedding? I’d have to say David and Chrissy’s was my favorite. Their ceremony was so genuine and heartfelt, and we were blessed with a rainbow right after dinner was served. It was beautiful!

Be Sure to FOLLOW Abby!

22 Comments Photography
  1. Rebekah Hoyt reply

    YAYAYYY!!!! Abby, you are SO wonderful! This was a great post and what you said is true, Katelyn – she is SO joyful. I immediately felt like her bff when we met. Great feature!! :)

  2. Abby Grace reply

    AH!! Katelyn! Thank you so so so much for the feature!! I’m so completely flattered that I’m not even sure what to do with myself right now!!

  3. Giveaway winner! » : Abby Grace Photography • Modern Washington D.C. Wedding, Engagement and Portrait Photographer reply

    […] is like a literal dream come true. So go on over to Katelyn’s blog and leave some love on the post. Who knows, you may learn something new about […]

  4. Anna Grace reply

    This is so awesome!!! You guys are both so great :) Abby it is so great learning more about you!!! Those are my favorite three photographers to follow too – they are so great! Katelyn you are awesome for posting about other photographers!!! Have fun teaching the workshop today!!! Wishing I would be there again :)

  5. Gabby / En Route Photography reply

    It’s always so fun to meet new photographers! HI ABBY!!! ;D

  6. caitlin elizabeth reply

    ABBY GRACE IS SUCH A BALLER. look at you! beein featured. on KATELYN JAMES (ALSOP’S) BLOG. holla. you so legit ;)

  7. Hannah reply

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE Abby!!!!! She is actually such an inspiration to me! I don’t know that I would even know who Jasmise Star or the beautiful Katelyn James is without her! I “Met” her through my brother and instantly fell in love with her and her photography. I am so PUMPED you decided to feature such an amazing person on your blog today! :-)

  8. Deborah Zoe reply

    sooo fun! Love seeing you ON the blog Abby:)!

  9. Emily reply

    Oh Abby, when I read the part about the pop corn bags, I literally laughed out loud! You’re awesome, and I’m glad that my favorite wedding photographer has featured another one of my favorite wedding photographers!

  10. Amanda Brendle reply

    I love it! I have followed Abby for a while and have always enjoyed seeing her work and reading her blog.

  11. Krista A. Jones reply

    I’m so excited to see Abby featured here! She’s such a sweetheart and I love reading every one of her blog posts! Her personality definitely shines through everything that she writes!

  12. Andy Mac reply

    Great post, Congratulations Abby. Keep up the good work

  13. Shauna Ploeger reply

    LOVE her!

  14. Lindsay reply

    This is awesome! Abby is such an amazing person inside and out!!!! She has been one of my biggest inspirations and it is delightful to see how far she has come in JUST 2 YEARS!!! sincerely, one of her biggest fans!!

  15. jamie reply

    abby…love reading more about you and your thoughts! So thankful to have met you at Katelyn’s workshop Experience!!

  16. Meredith Sledge reply

    I love her photography!!!

  17. Anastasia reply

    I love Abby, have been following her blog for a while now, and she is one talented and warm and open-hearted young lady! xxx

  18. KyAnn reply

    I love Abby-her photography is such an inspiration!! And she’s just super great! :) So glad that you featured her here!!

  19. Lindsey reply

    Number 8 really made me happy! My good friend is shooting a wedding at the end of April and asked me to be a second shooter! EEEEP! I am so excited and it’s true, it does take the stress off of me to be the primary shooter. I know that this will be the best learning experience for me (: And also, Abby sounds like someone I would be friends with. I love her genuine humor and confidence! (:

  20. Lindy reply

    Okay miss katelyn! I hope you realize in describing Abby’s blogging… you described your own! Exuding joy and allowing your personality to shine through X’s 100! No wonder you two get along!
    Keep it up ladies!!

  21. LeolaK reply

    What a nice feature/introduction to Abby! I’ve seen her name (and site) when reading your blog, J* and J&M! Funny lady! All the best to you Abby!

  22. Susan Evans reply

    Beautiful work, Abby!

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