My priority to be more and do more and create an experience they will never forget Capturing their memories in a fun and memorable way is just as important as their beautiful images

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Portersville Pennsylvania Engagement Session

Happy Monday, everyone!  Before I get right down to this engagement session we shot in Portersville, Pennsylvania at McConnells Mill State Park last week, I want to shout out to all my Hannah Barlow Photography wedding couples from current to way back in the beginning!  Those are the couples who took a HUGE chance on me as a new, wedding photographer (and a chance I myself would have never been brave enough to take).  If it wasn’t for ALL of you, I wouldn’t be here today shooting sweet couples like Rebecca and Zach.  So, please give these two a big, warm Hannah Barlow Photography welcome and enjoy their McConnells Mill engagement session! ENJOY!

So, the reason I got all sappy right off the bat is that I just shot my 50th wedding and that’s just crazy to me!  Again, if it wasn’t for those couples in the beginning, I would have never gotten here.  ACTUALLY, Zach’s brother (Hey, Andrew!) and his wife (Hey, Erinn!) were one of those first couples.  They were the 6th wedding I EVER shot to be exact and I even joked with Rebecca and Zach in their car on the way to our shooting location about it.  I told them I look back and think all those clients were CRAZY!  It’s not that I wasn’t capable and those weddings are still some of my favorites to this day for SO many reasons, but you constantly see posts about new wedding photographers making HUGE mistakes because they are new and don’t know any better.  So yea…even though I was more than capable and ready…those first couples didn’t know that for sure and took a chance on a new, budding, wedding photographer with a small portfolio (me).  If people like them hadn’t hired me…I wouldn’t have met these two current Hannah Barlow Photography clients!  AHHHH!!  I love how things come full circle!  Aren’t they amazing?!  I’m a lucky, lucky…lucky gal!

So anyway, now that I’ve gotten completely off track, let’s get back to this couple!!!  I definitely remembered Zach from back at his brother’s wedding in 2017.  Sam also tagged along with me to this session to practice some new stuff (big things coming to Hannah Barlow Photography in the future) and I told her on the way up that I remembered Zach being calm, more quiet, and willing to do whatever I needed him to do!  YAY!  That’s what we like in a groom!  I’d “met” Rebecca through email and Instagram (she was at that past wedding too but we didn’t meet).  This year we’ve chatted here and there.  I got all kinds of calm and good vibes from her online presence so I was super pumped to meet her officially in person!! They didn’t disappoint!! I mean…LOOK!!!!!  They photograph SO WELL together! OoOO my goodness me.  And as a fellow curly, crazy haired person too, I was totally digging her hairstyle!  Outfits were perfection.  Location was perfection.  Their poses were easy and flawless! YAY!  YAY!  YAY!

Give me a rock wall and some flowers?!  I’m a happy girl!! These two met at Westminster College.  They didn’t actually date during their college years though.  It took them a few years to make it official and once that happened…the rest is history!  And now here they are in front of my camera!  These two are just so “comfortable” together…I don’t even know if that makes sense but maybe you can see it in the photos!

I threw all my ridiculous posing cues into about a 5 minutes window.  Shoulder sniffing.  Eskimo kisses (below).  I think this one (below) is my favorite!  I shared it on IG even! <— You can follow me there!! I started sharing more sneak peeks over there recently AND stories!

I’d never been to Portersville, Pennsylvania before for an engagement session and never to McConnells Mill, of course!! My goodness me…it gave me ALL kinds of options.  I’m pretty sure I just moved around in a circle for a while taking it all in and trying to decide my best plan of attack!! Rebecca had just a few suggestions…but really…they were so laid back they left it up to me! SO MANY OPTIONS!

Walking and snuggling by the waterfall!! It’s like a storybook!  Look at her leg placement, I KNEW she had dancing background!

Her ring is simple and stunning.  It’s gorgeous and dainty…just like her!! The side is beautiful and unlike any ring I’ve seen so you better believe I’ve going to keep that little detail for their wedding.  I told her I’m going to stand it up on an invitation to show it off!! AHHHH!  Zach gave this ring to her when he proposed back in January!  He had planned to take her bowling but told her they’d have to take a detour because there was a tournament going on (at this point…I still don’t know the truth behind that part of the story).  Nonetheless, he told her they should take a walk first on the campus back where they met.  Given it wasn’t far, Rebecca didn’t think anything about it.  They walked around for some time until they found a spot where they could look out and enjoy the view.  She did admit he was being extra sentimental but it wasn’t until she stopped looking out at the view and over at Zach that she found him down on one knee with this ring.  She said, “YES” and now they’re going to be tying the knot next year on Labor Day weekend!

She wanted some bridge photos so I decided to make some pretty light photos!

McConnell's Mill Bridge Engagement Photo

You know your couple is killer and rocking their session when you can get this kind of variety in about 3 minutes flat! AHHHH!!!  Seriously, you can totally tell she was a dancer at one point (I can always spot them).  The foot, leg, and toe placement is always phenomenal!

McConnell's Mill Bridge Engagement Photo

Rebecca told me she didn’t think Zach would be too thrilled about taking photos.  He MAY have not been too thrilled but I never got that impression!  Just look!  Comfortable and relaxed…that’s not easy to do but maybe it’s just because they were together.  Like I said, I got good vibes from these two…comfortable vibes.  I can’t even wait to see them tie the knot which they’re going to do at her childhood church but with Zach’s pastor!

Then, we did an outfit change!  Well, not “we” but them…HA!  We changed locations too and I added some light since the sun was setting!  We’d already spent two small car rides together (to get there and back…then change clothes and go back) and I always love this moment in the session when they get real laid back and start just going with the flow (not that these two had a problem from the beginning…let’s be real here).  Rebecca even started suggesting some different facial expressions and it was at this point I could start picturing their wedding photos.  I see some close up, fierce photos in their future!

Couple on Overlook in Portersville, PA for Engagement Session

Portersville Pennsylvania Engagement Session Photos by Water

Ok..ok…Ok…I’ll go ahead and show you the side of the ring now!! EKKKKK!! Pretty and dainty and stunning, right?!

Engagement Photo of Ring at Portersville, Pennsylvania Engagement Session

Then, I envisioned a photo with her behind her groom-to-be.  I always warn my couples at the very beginning of their sessions that they can’t mess things up.  They always laugh and I always assure them that if anyone is going to mess it up, it is going to be me…and I’m dead serious.  Sometimes I think this stuff up in my head and then it falls flat.  MANY times I put my couples in poses that are awkward and then they think it’s them…when it’s totally me!  THIS was one of those scenarios (below) and we had a good laugh over it.  In my head, Rebecca wasn’t fully up on the ledge.  She hopped right up there though.  She didn’t miss a beat and I think I broke out in a sweat!  It’s a far fall behind her but Zach held on.  Then, we had a moment where I didn’t think we’d get them looking cozy again.  It was important to me BECAUSE I knew how comfortable they are together so I didn’t want it to be weird in any photos just because I thought up something that wasn’t going to work.  Alas, look at them go!! They nailed it!  I should have known!

Rustic Engagement Photos in Portersville, Pennsylvania

…and before we ended the session…I had them go up on this little walking trail.  These two are runners.  Rebecca got Zach into it a few years back and he’s training for a half marathon (or maybe a full blown marathon…I’m drawing a blank).  I figure it seemed fitting to have them do a little dancing…and walking…just because!  So, here they are dancing and enjoying the heck out of each other!

Couple Dancing for Engagement Session in Portersville, Pennsylvania

Can’t you just FEEL their love?!  My goodness…seriously…I see wedding photography goodness happening next Labor Day weekend!! WEEEEEE!!!

Well, that’s it!! That’s a wrap!  After these two say “I do”, we’re going to be celebrating at a classy wedding reception at The Atrium! AHHHHH!!!!  I Googled it and it’s going to give me ALL kinds of options for photos!! EEKKK!! I can’t even stand it!  Again, I can’t thank my past Hannah Barlow Photography couples for getting me here AND I can’t thank couples like Rebecca and Zach enough for continuing to trust me to capture one of the most important days of their lives!  She said she never realized how saturated the wedding photography market was until she started planning herself and figured they’d trust someone they “knew”.  If she hadn’t been driving when she said that, I would have grabbed her for a BIG, OLE HUG!  Seriously, I say it all the time.  How’d I get so lucky?!

Happy Monday, everyone!

I scoured that other wedding for photos of these two!  I can tell you, for sure, she wore the same shoes! HA! AND straightened her hair (I’m guilty too) but I literally did not have one with Rebecca’s face!! This is the one I found! HA!

She saved the day though and sent me some photos!  Here they are!!! AHHHHH!!!  Seriously, I love when this happens and I get to show you a “then and now” comparison – 2017 vs 2019!  Next blog in 2020 is going to be AMAZING!


2020 is just about booked for weddings but dates ARE available in 2021!

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My priority to be more and do more and create an experience they will never forget Capturing their memories in a fun and memorable way is just as important as their beautiful images





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