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Raccoon State Park – Pennsylvania Engagement Session | Hannah Barlow Photography | PA Wedding Photography

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Ooo mylanta! It’s Monday and I’m excited about that because I’ve been waiting MONTHS to photograph and show off this couple!  Seriously, I can’t wait!!  I’m excited just typing these first few sentences!  MEET SAMANTHA (SAM) AND JOE!  I finally got to photograph their engagement session last Friday and it happened to be exactly ONE YEAR from the moment they will become man and wife! Pretty cool, right?!  Well, you just wait until you see these photos!

Joe first proposed with a bathroom tile.  I’m not even kidding.  He did!  Now that I know him better, it makes perfect sense!  He has the most spunky personality and is a jokester.  More on that later though!! Lucky for Sam, he had good backup and followed up his first proposal with this ring!

So, we met up last week at Raccoon State Park in Pennsylvania to make these beautiful memories!  We started off easy with a little walking and snuggling.  Yes, when your groom-to-be immediately gets into it and kisses his future bride’s hand, you know you’ve hit the jackpot! Check it out!  I’m a lucky photographer!  Truly makes my photographer heart (as my friend Jenna says) REALLY happy!

I knew…just KNEW…Sam and Joe would make beautiful photos!  I met them months ago before they officially hired me.  We chatted it up at a Starbucks and I convinced them they needed me to be their photographer!  Seriously, I knew these two would rock any photos I took of them! They’re super easy going and Joe’s got enough life and personality in him to cover all of us (seriously…him and I together probably makes it VERY overwhelming for Sam! HA!).  He’s not afraid of the camera and that’s SO exciting!  The camera loves her too and her sweet, gentle personality comes out in these beauties!

Another thing I love about these two is they keep me up to date on everything wedding related…right down to adding a bullet for “practice dip” to their wedding “to do” list and sending me lots and lots of photos when they tried out these spots for engagement photos!  I died laughing in my car when we pulled up to this wildflower reserve.  Joe was SO excited to show me these “giant purple flower heads” only to pull up and see they’d all died.  His expression was hysterical and he proceeded to curse mother nature and her biological clock!  I knew it’d throw them off a bit and they’d think I was crazy, but I convinced them that dead foliage and I get along great and I could make it work!! Check it out!! Dead foliage for the win again!!  Magic!

These two pretty much posed themselves.  I would decide on the initial pose and then Joe would take the reigns and make it their own!  The love between these two is fairytale…for real!  When he looks at Sam, he really LOOKS at her…not just with his eyes but with something deeper (keep it clean people).  You’ll see what I mean!  It was like I wasn’t even there and THAT makes for amazing results on my end!

This may be one of my very favorites! That light was just doing GREAT things for all of us!

We had some shoulder sniffing and hair sniffing going on!  Since they were hoping for flowers and these purple ones were pretty much the only ones still blooming, I hid behind them like a crazy person and created the illusion that we were still in a very alive wildflower reserve! What do you think?!  I think we all nailed it!

…and because their cuddles are sincere….here is another one plus some other goodies!

Then, we headed to the lake and this dock.  HUGE shoutout to whoever the couple was who were camped out on this dock.  That’s where Sam and Joe had planned for many of their photos and it didn’t look like it was going to work out.  When we were discussing “Plan B”, the couple overheard us and were kind enough to get up and let us have the dock!  We didn’t even ask!  So, whoever you are…THANK YOU!  YOU’RE THE BEST!

Of course, there was dancing…and dipping…AND a NEW twist on spinning!  Seriously, these two are so sweet it’s almost disgusting (no…really..just wait)! HA!  With very little direction, Joe just did his thing and Sam’s sweet personality added the finishing touch (Joe, you’re sweet too).

Ok, so I mentioned them being “so sweet it’s almost disgusting” in the paragraph above.  Well, get ready…it’s about to get REAL sappy!  I send all my couples a “fun facts” survey so I can get to know them…and I just read it!  Just now!  Even though I knew a little bit of the story ( believe it or not..we’re going to talk Tinder in a second), I wanted to make sure I had ALL the facts straight before I blogged these photos!  Well, get your tissues and the swoon emoji…and maybe the eye roll emoji…and a movie producer ready…because it’s about to get realllllllllllll mushy and romantic!  YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS THIS STORY!

Here it goes.  Joe and Sam met on the VERY reputable (her words) dating app known as Tinder.  I know what you’re thinking, “HOW is this going to play out and WHY is she telling us this?!”  Well, hold on to your horses and I’ll tell ya!  Sam was living in Ohio and Joe was in Pittsburgh.  Joe didn’t realize he was set to a 100-mile radius and at one point Sam had traveled through Pittsburgh and her app’s location got struck on Pittsburgh (already so stupid sweet it doesn’t seem real, right?!).  I know! I know!  Well, they apparently swiped whatever way you have to swipe to talk to people (I got married before the smartphone era…I don’t know how all this works…clearly).  They chatted and had good conversations until Joe mentioned something about Pittsburgh and they had that “uh oh” moment realizing they were separated by about 2 hours of travel distance!  Nonetheless, after about a week, Joe decided he was going to drive those 2 hours and take Sam on a date.  He gave her some options to choose from, BOUGHT HER FLOWERS, BROUGHT A TOY FOR HER DOG, and even included a bottle of beer HE BREWED HIMSELF. Oooo no.  We’re not done yet! I kid you NOT! He had such a good feeling about the date that he planned and ordered flowers to be delivered to her at work that next Monday BEFORE he had even gone on the date!  Seriously, THIS is what fairytales are made of! I can’t even! GAH!  The rest is really just history and pretty pictures!

Sam described Joe as being “so thoughtful” and explained that he is always one step ahead of her and her needs.  I totally witnessed this!  He takes the lead and snuggles her and just loves her!  And he has good reasons considering he literally….)THIS IS A QUOTE) said “I’d describe you [Samantha] as the one person that makes me want to be a better man every day.  Beautiful, funny, outgoing…” the adjectives continued…and continued.  I’ll just stop right here.  Seriously, I can’t even!

…and then you have photos like THIS!  I was trying to get them a good sunset photo but there are mountains and trees EVERYWHERE and I couldn’t get them above the horizon!  In true Joe fashion, he lifted his lady up to the sky so we could get this shot while I laid on the ground!  A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

…OoOoo the love and joy!  It goes on and on and on….

More goodness!  Here it is! Joe’s last name is Corona! And he frequently said “OUR last name is going to be Corona”.  Nothing about her taking his last name or “my” name…nope..he used “our” last name!  I found that entirely too sweet and that’s BEFORE I knew the whole lovely dovey story!

Hey, Corona people…you need these photos! These were Joe’s idea!  I can’t take credit for the bottles, the poses….nope!  This was all them!

We did some more walking and snuggling while the sun set!

This is their story summarized in two photos!  These photos also describe the whole session…..lots of love…lots of romance…lots of fun and laughs and memories!

…and then you have Joe who is NOT afraid of the camera!  I didn’t ask him to do this but when your groom-to-be is practicing and showing off his “groom poses”…you MUST snap the photos!  Their wedding is going to be off the charts wonderful in so many ways!

…and because we’re never REALLY done…we snapped another one!! I had actually said “goodbye” to them and hopped in my car and drove away about a mile.  I pulled off to the side of the road to take a few shots and they saw me, stopped, and posed!  I love it!

Check out her ring! AHHH!!  I mentioned earlier that Joe was a jokester and he proposed with a bathroom tile.  Well, for their two-year anniversary Joe took Samantha on a trip.  He joked he was going to make “an honest woman out of her one day”.  During that trip he was picking up shells and what not on the beach of Lake Erie and got down on one knee to propose with that dreaded bathroom tile.  BUTTTTTT to Sam’s surprise (and laughter) he pulled out THIS ring and said “No, really…will you marry me?”.  You didn’t think it would get any better, did you?  Well, POW…it just did!  Joe…I’m pretty sure there are angry men reading this right now.  You’ve just raised the bar….like REAL high!  High five though!! Seriously, well done!

So, let’s summarize this amazing love story.  These two met on Tinder.  Sam had her Tinder app set to her favorite number “22” in regards to the mile radius it was set to limit her selections…but happened to also get stuck on Pittsburgh as she was traveling through (and now where she lives with Joe).  Ooo wait!  They’re also getting married on September 22 of next year and we also shot their engagement session on September 22 of this year!  Really?!  Is this real life!  It just can’t be!

Whewwww! Well, now….let’s all say a HUGE “Congrats” to the future Mr. and Mrs. Corona!  They’re going to have a romantic and laid back wedding next year in a barn out in the country of Pennsylvania!! You just wait!  It’s going to be BEAUTIFUL…but you probably already knew that by now!


So, It’s not very often (or ever) that I go behind the scenes at an engagement shoot, but here we go! THIS was happening without my knowledge when I was doing the ring shots! HA!  At one point, I think Joe was videotaping me and I’m a little terrified of where that video might end up!! I’m not going to lie! HA!

…and then he wanted a selfie with his selfie stick.  I can’t make this up! Can you tell how much fun we were having?!  AHHHHH!! I can’t wait for their wedding day selfie!

I had also been getting picture texts from these two (see below) and it makes me so happy!!  I’d say that practice made perfect! They nailed it!

I also have some photos of her saying “YES” to the dress BUT those are just going to have to wait a year! Sorry!!  For now, you’ll just have to enjoy these two via this blog post!  Have a great evening, everyone!  Thanks for looking and reading!! You’re all amazing!! Keep on keeping on!

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i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done by only me is your doing,my darling)

no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true) and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a s n will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

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