We had friends over for the first time this past weekend for brunch (such fun!) and a series of  framed family photos in our dining room caught their eye. Two in particular, inherited prints that were taken at Bill’s grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary party are two of our favorite photographs, as well. One shows a three-year old Bill (talk about a cutie – love ya, ‘hon!) cuddling with his beloved grandfather while his beaming grandmother looks on and the other, Bill in rapt attention as his grandfather chats with friend. The beautiful black and white photos bring an incredible wave of emotions each time we look at them.

Bill, although he was too young to remember the event, is flooded with love and warmth towards his dear grandparents. For Anne, she is touched not only how the photographer they hired captured such a precious, tender moment between grandfather and grandson, but adores getting to see her sweet, tender husband as a sweet, tender little boy. The joy on Bill’s face as well as his grandparents, never fails to bring a tear to her eye. We are so thankful that such a special event in family history was documented – even though Bill doesn’t remember it in person and Anne didn’t live through it – because the moments were captured, they will always live on to us even though they are no longer with us. Talk about important. Talk about powerful. That photo is a large reason we chose this profession, or perhaps we should we say, it chose us. Documenting the relationships and real moments our clients have with their families is one of the most important parts of what we do, and is something we relish at each wedding and portrait session.

Bonus Tip! 😉 Our display ledges always draw viewers in. Who doesn’t love looking at friends’ family photos when visiting their home?! We most definitely do. Truly, this is one of the easiest ways to display some of your favorite photos – no nail holes and you can rotate them for different looks and swap some new faves in whenever you want. We like to have varying sizes for interest and while using all black frames would have made this arrangement more unifying, we decided we wanted to keep it more loose and include several of our favorite frames, as well, for a more personal look.

Bill’s favorite photograph of his Mom. It was taken at our wedding and captures her to a T. And the photo on the left – while Anne would have loved a more candid shot of them, she adores this photo of her parent’s in their mid-20’s taken at their wedding in 1962.

No matter how you display them, we hope your home is filled with sweet reminders of all your loved ones, past and present.



Happy Monday! So we’re hard at work on some great and fun Best Of posts for you all, including a few FAB Finds(!), but first up we wanted to share some info that may be helpful to those of you planning your wedding. A sweet tip, if you will. So take it away, Bill…

Are you thinking you could do bicep curls with your two-inch thick wedding notebook, stuffed to the gills with clippings, notes, and other miscellany? Wondering if you could market this as a new exercise video to newly engaged women? Some of you love the tangible feeling of paper, shifting back and forth and laying out sheets on the floor to view them. (Admittedly, Anne is very much a paper gal while I prefer maintaining things electronically). If you’re tired of the dead tree scene though, and have a smartphone or tablet, there might be an easier way.

We’ve used Evernote for quite some time to store wine labels and notes from tastings with friends, restaurant recommendations, to-do lists, shopping notes, copies of important receipts, ideas for the blog, you name it. It’s handy, always with us (even when away from an internet connection), and easy to find information via sorting or filtering based on tags you create. It even has OCR (optical character recognition) for documents of which you take photos with your smartphone so you can search the document later on.

So it’s natural to think of new ways in which the free (premium available for a fee) service can be used in your wedding planning.  Check out this one bride’s story about how she used Evernote to plan her wedding (includes a link to her shared inspiration notebook), and another about how a cake baker maintained wedding client preferences using the same service. Another wedding planner has incorporated Evernote in her clients notes. And for other photographers out there, while we’ll never replace ShootQ as our primary planning database, Evernote has proven useful in various notes associated with a shoot.

We’d love to hear your experiences if you’ve already used Evernote (or something similar) or feedback if you decide to try it out!


We were happy to be asked recently to write an article for latest issue of the Wedding Planner magazine for clients considering whether to see each other privately before their ceremony. Of course we were delighted to help, and the magazine was recently published online and in print. Headed up by Lynn Easton, Editor & Creative Director and Edward Allen, Publisher, it’s full of delightful eye candy, real Virginia weddings and of course, wonderful advice. If you don’t happen to have it where you live, here is the article. Thanks to happy couple, Karen & Michael for having a great first sight, too! See more from their first site in Part 1 of their blog post! Enjoy, and have a great weekend, everyone!

Should You See Each Other Prior to Your Ceremony?

by Anne & Bill Holland, Holland Photo Arts

Modern weddings sometimes hew to tradition, yet more couples are finding their own paths that work best for them and their guests. The bottom line is there is no one right or wrong answer to this–only the way which you feel most comfortable. That said, let’s lay out some advantages and disadvantages to seeing each other prior to your ceremony.

There are two primary advantages to what we call First Sight. The first is that you get to, often in the presence of your photographer, enjoy a few private moments alone with your soon-to-be-spouse. As the bulk of your wedding day is often dictated by a pre-ordained schedule, this period may be the only opportunity the two of you really have alone to reflect on the commitment you’re each about to make. Many clients have reported the alleviating of undue nervousness because they saw their partner first as well.

The second primary advantage to a First Sight is you now have the opportunity to do some of your portraits with the two of you, your wedding party, and perhaps even your family members prior to the ceremony. The upside to all this? You can now attend most, if not all, of your cocktail hour, mingling with your guests. This may also negate or minimize the need to visit each table during dinner (which has the added benefit of giving you and your new spouse the opportunity to actually eat your delicious meal without rushing through it).

Your parents, or even your partner, may have strong feelings about this. Just like in any relationship, the planning of your wedding will involve some compromise, and it is up to the two of you in what you compromise and how strongly you each feel about your position. A little give and take is a good thing here.

Some partners may feel that seeing each other prior to the ceremony can lose some of the emotional charge of proceeding down the aisle and seeing each other then. Again, if feelings are strong on this point, it may be best to leave well enough alone. But in our personal experience as well as the experience of the vast majority of our clients, this feeling remains strong throughout. Why?

With First Sight it’s a completely different feeling–it’s just the two of you–and you have the freedom to act and speak freely with each other. Whereas with the start of your ceremony, your partner is waiting for you with everyone watching, music playing, and the feeling of imminent marriage. Speaking from Bill’s personal experience, it is a completely different feeling. I never once felt a sense of loss in seeing Anne before our own celebration, and our clients have reported similar feelings.

Final Thoughts
While most of our clients who see each other do so privately, some couples will opt to have their families and/or their wedding party present to celebrate with them. This is, of course, your individual choice. In the end, your schedule as well as religious customs may also play a role in deciding to see each other. The key is to speak with your partner about his or her feelings, as well as your wedding planner and photographer to discuss logistics and what you can expect. But in the end, regardless of your choice, you’ll be married. Congratulations!