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Have you ever in your life gazed upon someone or something and experienced a feeling so meaningful to you that the only way you could maintain your composure was to close your eyes or look away because to do otherwise would mean that you succumb to the moment and be absorbed by it and the only way to remain a part of it is to take it in slowly and surely?

Have you ever imagined what it would feel like to be able to revisit these moments, again and again and again?

Have you ever just allowed yourself to sit in these moments, to baste yourself and marinate in them, to erase all divisions between the realms of real time vs. a slowed down dreamy sequence?

If not, I suggest you go practice this right now.  Well, not right this second.  For now, finish reading and gazing at these images.  Then, think about your life and the people in it.  Then ask yourself, who am I most like “me”, around, who am I  most vulnerable around?  Then go find those people and practice with them.  Practice day and night if you have to.  Practice what you say?  Well, since you are asking, practice seeing them, really seeing them.  Practice listening to them and hearing them.  Practice just being you with them, the real you.  It is in these moments, around those who we are most vulnerable that we discover the depths of who we are when we are at our best and sometimes our worst.  When I can be comfortable sitting in silence amongst you or when coaxed to release the tightly gripped fingers of fear and vulnerability is when I know that the heart of who I am is protected and valued and safe.  People that make us feel this way also make us close our eyes tightly as we feel our hearts beat faster and wish that the moment never ends.

I often have conversations with people in love planning weddings.  I spend most of my days with people who are experiencing a heightened sense of euphoria due to LOVE CHEMICALS!!!

phenylethylamine or PEA – “This is an amine that naturally occurs in the brain and also in some foods, such as chocolate. It is a stimulant, much like an amphetamine, that causes the release of norepinephrine and dopamine. This chemical is found when you are falling in love. It’s responsible for the head-over-heels, elated part of love.”

I also support Immersion Learning Techniques! So go immerse yourselves.  I am constantly surrounded by love, engage with people using many different mediums in the name of love, work with clients who are in love, surround myself with like minded friends who share the same views on love and am the recipient of boat loads of love.  The science of Love and Acceptance is something that I have studied since I was the tender age of 5 and probably will continue to study until my eyes can no longer gaze for fear of being consumed.

When you have Love from your partner, your family, your children, your friends, yourself, strangers…  You have most of what you need.  Is love all you need?  No, it’s not all but it’s a damn good start!

I don’t often get to arrive on a wedding day SOLO.  That’s right, no one else to manage, no assistants, no film crew, no lighting or audio techs.  Just me, my 2 cameras, a slew of lenses and lighting equipment that fits into a bag the size of a large purse.  Simple, free, unbridled.  For me, these are the times that I immerse myself and thankfully so because on this particular wedding day, I had to close my eyes a few times.  Watching a father and son connecting as they dress each other, a bride and her daughter having a moment while her mother and the mother of the groom beam, They just freaking beam at each other – full of love, pride, excitement.  Connections- zing, connections, more moments, a collection of them.   Plus, just for fun, a wintery stormy mix of icy rain, pouring on my head, drenching our seemingly perfect plans for the day.

No first look, no daylight to shoot in, just rain, cold, dark, dank rain.  No matter…  You see, when you start with a great foundation and people who really, really, really want you there, it makes no difference if there is light, dark, church rules, rain and the like, it just doesn’t matter because you are left with story and story always wins.

I hope you see their story in these single frames.  I hope you feel what I felt making these images. Don’t forget to pop on over to our FB page and “like” it to stay connected and by all means Pin the ones that inspire you.  Celebrate Love – it’s okay if that sounds corny – just do it, do it for no apparent reason – our lives depend on it!

Congrats to you both Nicole + Michael!  Thank you so very much for being my muses!  xoxoxoxo

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Hop on over to our Studio page or Cinema page via the links below to see more samples of our work

First Look: Filmed at Hotel Palomar
Portrait Session: Filmed in and around Philadelphia + Race Street Pier (with Permit)
Ceremony + Reception: The Old Mill, Rose Valley
Photography & Cinema Team: Cindy Guessford Studios + Be {loved} Cinema
Music: Licensed by The Music Bed

Don’t forget to “like” us on Facebook to stay in touch

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I heard the words coming out of her mouth and immediately could not wrap my head around why anyone would deny a large demographic of soon to be married couples their work simply based on the fact that the ceremony was being held at a church or a synagogue or for that matter any other religious institution.

“We don’t book clients that have their ceremony in Churches”, she said… 

My eyes widen as I process what this could mean.  We were at a networking event in Philadelphia and this was not the first time I heard this type of sentiment expressed by some photographers and videographers alike.   I needed to know why, was it a difference of religious beliefs, maybe some kind of new horrible set of rules that I needed to be aware of? Aside from the do not stand, do not breathe do not do anything that takes the spotlight away from what I’m preaching about rules that we already deal with, I had to know WHY don’t you shoot Church Weddings.   I don’t know, I just know that I needed to investigate further because we totally shoot Church weddings.   In fact we shoot Church weddings, Synagogue weddings, Lake, Temple, Hotel Venue, Backyard, Ballroom, Gay, Cliff side, Beach, Mountain, Straight, Destination and even an occasional Holiday wedding.

Even though I personally feel that Church and State should be separated and I do support Marriage Equality and yes, I think that if the government requires you to fill out a piece of paper that binds your Union then every Union is in fact a Civil Union when broken down to the raw truth and should be called as such and that if you want to have a ceremony in whatever faith you believe in, you will in fact be married in the eyes of your God but as far as the government is concerned that is simply a ceremony and you are not “married” by the laws that govern these United States without  that legal and binding license and certificate.  A Priest, Rabbi, ordained minister or even a friend or family member who became ordained online can perform your ceremony and proclaim you married every day of the year and all they want to but that alone, in and of itself does not by any means make it a legal and binding Marriage, Church or no Church.

I’m  bringing up a conversation No-NO, the “P” word, politics,  however the Politics of this country or this industry does not dissuade me from booking clients that have elected to have their ceremony in a religious institution like a church.   I am pro-love and pro all those that choose Love and Tolerance over Hate & Intolerance, I also know not all human beings can elect to have their ceremony in a church and not all want to,  but that doesn’t mean that I will discriminate against the ones that can and do want to have a church wedding by not shooting their weddings at all.

Could it be that simple???  Religious differences?!?  After delving and conversing further,  to my dismay the knowledge that I uncovered had little to do with religion or the government (and those that know me know I love a good ole fashioned conspiracy theory) the statement had more to do with that photographer wanting only a certain kind of client and to shoot only a certain kind of stylized images that are aesthetically interesting to them with less rules to follow or detail heavy and wedding blog submissions or recognition worthy.  This was why that particular photographer opts out of church weddings because the light may not be the best and there is little to no moving around allowed or usage of flash and not enough really cool and colorful details that the and I quote the “modern bride” has when having their wedding outdoors or in spaces other than churches and the like.  NO other reasoning was given except that your Church wedding, how it’s decorated, the lack of back light or perceived inability to shoot with dreamy bokeh is just not cool enough on the so called modern bride cool meter and none of the popular wedding blog sites want to showcase anything that doesn’t lead to more cool modern bride stuff and therefore the Churches and their rules are not shoot worthy… Ummm, okay…

I just add this to the long list of crazy ass shit that I hear when I network BUT just because I think your shit is crazy doesn’t make it so.  It just means that I acknowledge your crazy shit and recognize that my crazy shit is just different than your crazy shit.  To each their own,  after all we are all in some or many ways affected by everything that surrounds us and by natural selection we look for and indirectly or directly repel as well as attract others based on our own words and actions so it is pointless to begrudge someone by how they choose to conduct themselves, their beliefs or their business.  This recent conversation however did cement a few things in my mind.

7 Reasons why we shoot Church Weddings and more.

  1. Whether you are getting married in a church or a ditch,  if you love-love and each other then we like many others would be delighted to book your wedding and document your day even if the rules of the Ceremony suck and the light sucks and you didn’t print or replicate every Pinterest idea that you wanted to or get those really cool Mason Jars and such from Etsy in time to write on and match with your chalkboard signs et al. We would still love to be a part of your moments whether they are made or found because moments matter.
  2. We never make submissions to sites that require advertising dollars to be a highlighted vendor or pay for a wedding blogger site to showcase our work and we won’t, ever.  If you measure what your vendors success is based on FB likes and pay per view advertising you will surely be missing out on the many professionals that could be a great fit for what your specific needs and wants are.  I don’t think this behavior of marketing is wrong in it’s entirety, FYI – I recently started a Pinterest page and I see it as a great way to get our work out there and to research recipes to try out,  I do however feel that just like Facebook has proven, reality becomes diluted when you only see the most epic of amazing-ness 5-10 shots that were set up for the purposes of advertising or display which in turn creates a disproportionate perception of what is the reality of the very specific events and moments on YOUR wedding day as opposed to re-creating images, decor or events from someone else’s wedding day.
  3. Your Wedding is not a glorified Photo or Video Opportunity.  It is not the time for you to play in love or pretend family means something or for us to stage each and every contrived moment.  It is a day that you can’t control.  You can’t control the emotions of, personalities of or the weather or the time and so much more but you CAN embrace whatever unfolds knowing that you did an exceptional job hiring the people you felt would do justice to your vision so go do your due diligence and hire the best fit for you.
  4. Weddings are also a day that every Vendor that you have entrusted should shut their pie holes, not fight against each other but instead just do the best job that we can each do TOGETHER, unified for the good of ONE common goal and that is simply to use the skills you are paying us for to be part of creating and preserving the experience of your day with a tangible product or service that you are expecting to receive.  This means you too Church Lady, Officiant etc… We are all here for and because of the two people standing before us uniting.  is it always for love?  I hope so.  I can say one thing for sure, it is more often for love that marriages occur rather than any other reason under the sun.
  5. It is important that as Photographers and as Filmmakers we continue to strive for creating work that makes us happy, fulfilled, keeps us in business and creatively inspired but never at the cost of taking away your moment.  For us and many others, your story will always trump any pretty, disposable piece of nothing.  The faith that people have no matter denomination or sexual identity is something that should never be stripped from anyone.  Having the ability to have faith in something, even something as flawed as humanity is intrinsically important.
  6. We will schedule the time within the day and work with you to create a realistic schedule or time line in order to make some beautiful, fun or WOW portraits in addition to searching for and documenting your moments as they unfold.  There is a time and place for everything, all you have to do is embrace that as well and be present even when things don’t go to plan.  Quite often something amazing comes out of an unplanned or unprompted scenario.
  7. Moments and Portraits can be found or made in any scenario – even a dark but lovely church and even when it’s too bright and ugly out or raining or snowing or freezing or dripping in sweat just be open to them, be open to the perfection or imperfection of these moments, embrace them for they are the only things that are unique to you and are truly yours and yours only.

 

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I am a spiritual person.  I believe in love.  I believe in hope.  I believe that if you work really hard for something or for someone that you never have to look backwards because no matter if the experience is good, bad or indifferent, your future always lays ahead of you and when armed with these three tools things just don’t matter otherwise.  Spending time with Yavetta and Nate on their wedding day really brought this into view.  Thank you so much to Merissa from Merissa Lynne Events for sending Yavetta and Nate my way.  One of the best attributes that I feel a Wedding Planner possesses is the ability to match their clients with not just vendors but with Event Professionals that are well matched and best suited to create the type of  work or experience that the particular client is looking for and Merissa, I am so very THANKFUL for your ability to do this and for the incredible work you did that day.

I witnessed quiet moments of reflection before the ceremony that really took my breath away, fleeting looks, happy  hopeful tears, chocked up words spoken amongst family, a celebration, an all out, throw down celebration!  Have you ever heard the saying, “…your wedding day goes by so fast, make sure to take time to take it in.”  I’m sure if you have been in a wedding or know anyone who is married that this is something that you most likely have heard at least once.  Sometimes when you have heard something  you feel like you know it but until you actually put the work in to do it, well you don’t really know the true meaning of these somewhat cliche yet highly accurate phrases at all.

Thank you Nate & Yavetta so so so much for living those words and for truly taking your moments, taking the time and living within them, taking the time to slow down and to really be open to seeing all of the love and support you had that day.  Thank you both for sharing with me and my team and for owning it all.  Whether it was a quiet moment of solitude or a towel twirling affirmation, you owned it and you deserve it.  Enjoy your lives my friends, enjoy loving  each other, continue to have hope always and may you always remember to be present and to take the time necessary to breathe in all that is good.  There is a lot of it out there especially if we work at it =)

Along with documenting the wedding in stills we were also the cinema team that day.  Take a Peek at the highlight film and don’t forget to show us some love for the pics.  If you hover over the image and click pin it or  like us and share share share on  FB.

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You can live what seems like a lifetime never to experience the way that someone has the capacity to love you more than they love themselves.  Then on the flip side, you can be seemingly young and have more depth and space within your heart that is emotionally available and receptive to when the person destined to make you a better person walks in the room.  If you know Vinae or Eric then you know they belong to the latter description.  When we shot and filmed their {us} session and {us} story I was able to sit and chat with them for a bit.  I have many conversations with many people and most often when prompted people are pretty divulging about the feelings and experiences that they share with their partners.  Vinae and Eric took it one step further, they have this beautiful ability to communicate with each other and to be so pure and real about the wonders as well as hardships of a relationship.  Sometimes one’s capacity for love is making yourself mentally and emotionally available or taking the steps necessary to get there.  Eric told me he was soul searching, he was ready, he was looking but not just for anyone to fill that space.  He was looking for THE ONE…

Well Eric, you found her and she found you.  You chose each other and have built the type of relationship that I love to write about.  It makes feel very lucky because when I see you both and the life that lights up in your eyes I can appreciate the depth of where you have come and where you are going.  As I sit here working on projects, planning a Valentine Promo, edits and blogs I couldn’t help but pull a few frames from your session. You both inspire me beyond what these simple words can illustrate!

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M o r e   i n f o
M o r e   i n f o