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It seems like every year since turning 25, folks have asked me how I was feeling about being almost 30. At first I was nervous, but, as I got closer, I started to feel like I was hitting my groove. This is especially true as I’ve found my footing within photography and started to grow my business. My birthday is in June and Dylan in the Details’ birthday is in July, so you can consider us your two favorite Geminis.
In honor of my 30th and Dylan in the Details turning 3, I decided to put together a post of 30 of my favorite shoots, photos, and events as a bit of a highlight reel. It was harder than I thought it would be to only pick 30, so this list isn’t exhaustive and, if you aren’t on it, I promise I still love you.
Thanks to everyone who has helped me along the way. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for all of us.
This was the first time I had ever even entertained the idea of being a photographer. Cailin, a longtime friend, agreed to be my model at Longwood Gardens and patiently let me fumble and experiment my way through our time together. There’s all sorts of weird lighting choices and composition decisions across this gallery, but the fact that I have this gallery as a snapshot in time always makes me smile. Check out Cailin’s full gallery here.
I have never been someone who does something halfway, which, honestly, can both be good and bad. Depends on what is happening. Once I decided that I wanted to be some sort of photographer (which really meant that I’d used the camera twice, with one of those times being the photos of Cailin above), I started looking into other opportunities to shoot. Since this was pre-COVID, the Philly Cosplayers were planning regular meet-ups and photographers were invited. I think the girl in the photo above is named Sarah and I have no idea who she was cosplaying as. What I do know is that she was endlessly patient with an obviously new photographer, as was fellow photographer Aaron. (You can find him at Instagram here.)
Maggie is another longtime friend who answered an Instagram story I had put up asking if anyone needed any photography services done. She was starting a new business and wanted new headshots plus social media content. Plus she hosted me for a magical weekend in Long Island, including seeing the school where they shot School of Rock. (One of my all time favorite movies, in case you were wondering.) This was back when I was blogging galleries (because I didn’t have anything else to talk about), so you can see her gallery here.
This truly was the beginning of everything. I met Z at a blogger meet-up in Philly and we became fast friends. We decided to collaborate and I had no idea what I was in for. Not only was I (unknowingly) gaining a friend for life, she also came to this shoot with something like ten outfits. While it was completely intimidating at the time, Z’s shoot showed me what was possible. She is directly responsible for my current model where fashion bloggers can bring as many outfits as they can fit into a session. Check out her many outfits here!
Although I’m not sure that they still exist, this collaboration with Esoteric Tiger was SO exciting at the time because it was my first one. They sent Cailin some free clothes to wear and we got to plan the whole thing from styling to location to vibe. Not bad for our first time. Check out the full gallery here.
If you’re keeping track of the longtime friends on this list, I’ve been friends with Sarah longer than Maggie, but not longer than Cailin. (Cailin and I go back to middle school.) Sarah’s love of art, fantasy, make-up, and America’s Next Top Model all collide to make her the most perfect best friend any photographer could have. This is the first shoot we did together where she simply said ‘What if I got in a waterfall?’. So we decided what would happen if Sarah got in a waterfall. Endlessly supportive, patient, and always ready for anything, Sarah always pushes me to follow my vision and create what I imagine in my head. Check out her waterfall shoot here.
Gina and Eric were the first couples session I ever did for folks who weren’t already friends of mine. Terrifying doesn’t even begin to cover it. Thankfully, Gina and Eric are the absolute coolest and I am so happy that they now are friends of mine. Check out their whole gallery here.
This was my first time shooting a couples session not in a green area (like a park or a garden), plus I was working on taking horizontal pictures as well as vertical photos. Matt and Dean were such great sports as we explored their neighborhood in Baltimore and tried to dodge the (very) bright sunlight that day.
This was my first proposal and, except in very special circumstances, will probably be my last. Lexi and Herb were beyond lovely and I wish them a lifetime of happiness, but the stress was a lot for me. Trying to coordinate and plan beforehand and then also stay incognito enough that it remains a surprise was so much to manage. I think I’m going to leave the proposals to the wedding photographers from here on out.
This was my first time shoot a couples session indoors and, let me tell you, the Floral Escape in New Jersey did not disappoint. Jess is a very special friend from college and getting to see her glowing with Logan was so beautiful. If you’re looking to shoot there, I recommend doing it on a Sunday. The surrounding stores are closed, which made for a bit of a confusing walk to get there, but meant no one else was around.
You probably read the word ‘wedding’ in this heading and are thinking to yourself that just a few photos ago I said I was swearing off proposals and leaving such things to the wedding photographers. Generally, I am happy to let wedding photographers take all of these types of events. However, Randy and Tasha are two of my favorite people in the entire world and the fact that they asked me to shoot their COVID era courthouse wedding was the biggest honor. But, don’t worry, I am leaving their large-scale festivities next year to the professionals and will be there as a guest only.
At the time of writing, this photo is almost two years old and it still remains one of my all time favorites. I had this vision of capturing the movement of Laura’s braids, but we had tried multiple poses before this and it just wasn’t working. This was the last photo set of the session and I am so glad we kept trying. To me, this photo perfectly encapsulates how glamorous and stylish Laura is, while also showing off how fun and sassy she can be.
Obviously I’m cheating a little bit because these are two photos, but I just couldn’t choose. Both of these ladies came to my holiday session at Greystone Hall dressed to kill and I am so grateful. Having friends who are not only beautiful and talented, but also supportive, has been one of the greatest gifts during my journey so far. (If you ever want to know what type of person Rachel is, she bought this bouquet and then let all of my clients use it that day.)
Ange was my first client who was a full time blogger with thousands and thousands of followers. I responded to one of her Instagram stories about wanting to have a shoot where she could wear a fancy outfit and we have been a pair ever since. What I love most about Ange is that she is unapologetically herself, but also leaves room for me to be me, even when I am her polar opposite. Honest, caring, and fierce, you couldn’t have a better fried than Ange.
I had a trip planned to North Carolina that was part work and part vacation. The client I had originally booked cancelled unexpectedly and, while it was SO disappointing at the time, I am so glad she did because that cancellation brought me Olivia. We connected through an email that I sent her (out of the blue) saying I loved her account, would be in the area, and would love to work together. I was convinced that she already had a photographer and would give me a kind ‘thanks, but no thanks’. Instead she responded that her lovely husband takes all of her photos and a professional photo shoot had always been something she’d wanted to try. In case you were wondering, Olivia is as kind, as giggly, and as beautiful in person as she is in photos.
Don’t let Darby fool you, she sometimes holds back on smiling, but she has a heart of gold and is the kindest person you could ever meet. We were beyond lucky that the foliage held out through November and allowed us to shoot a combination of fall and holiday content during this session.
Maybe it is the sunglasses, but I have always called this Karen’s Kourtney Kardashian look. Karen brings so much personality and fun to her photos that I am always racing to keep up with her. She is always read to pose, ready to smile, and ready for anything.
I’ve probably worked with Tinsaye the most out of anyone on this list and I cannot say enough good things about her. She is kind, glamorous, full of laughter, and probably the most supportive person in the world. This was her holiday shoot where we spent half of our time at a Christmas tree farm and half of our time at a winery to make sure that we got her all of the backgrounds.
This was my second time shooting with Ashley and her shoots are always an adventure because they usually combine family photos, content for her personal page, AND content for her makeup brand, Miss Swiss. With plenty of outfit changes, products to play with, and family members around, Ashley’s shoots are always fun and full of energy.
My favorite thing to mention about Christe, aside from her fabulous sense of fashion and contagious sense of humor, is that I emailed her during the summer of 2021 saying I’d love to work together and she answered that she’d love to, but wasn’t ready yet. So I put her on my email list, emailed her once a quarter, and honestly figured that she was just being nice. So you can imagine my surprise when she DM’d me in February 2022 saying not only was she ready to book me, but her best friend Mairin (an interior designer) also wanted in. Let this be a reminder to you that a combination of pitching yourself and some patience, can truly pay off.
Scheduling a shoot with Talia was stressful because I wanted so badly for her to say yes (and, more generally, be my friend) that I almost didn’t want to DM her. Knowing I’d be in DC for another shoot was the perfect excuse to try to play it off casually, but, honestly, I was nervous. Thankfully Talia was just as cool as I imagined she’d be and we got to do the quintessential DC/Cherry Blossom shoot.
Liz and I met at the same pre-COVID blogging event where Z and I met. We casually stayed in touch and I was so excited when she first asked me to shoot content for styling business in Summer 2021. Fast forward and Liz is expanding her business to fit all of her passions and I couldn’t be more proud. Liz and I just get each other in a way that just makes our sessions so easy and so fun and I am so grateful to have her.
Doing a beach shoot has always been on my bucket list of locations, even though, honestly, I’m not much of a beach person. However, I knew that getting a group together to shoot at the beach would be magic. Logistics were a bit of a challenge (as are all things that involve more than two people), but, thankfully, Deckonti and Tinsaye were up for the challenge and we had a great time. No doubt they were the most glamorous people in Ocean City, NJ that day.
It’s a bit of a long story to explain how I came to see these president heads in Williamsburg, but the short version is that they were once meant for a roadside attraction in the Dakotas and then were bought and relocated to this farm in VA. (You can read the whole story here.) This was the very first event I went to with other photographers and I was so intimidated. Especially since it was a five hour event that included daylight shooting, twilight shooting, and light painting at night. The post linked above has all of the info, but it was an event that was a perfect combination for my inner history nerd and inner photographer.
Anne and I didn’t really have a vision for their shoot except to show off Anne’s personality. They are the kindest, gutsiest, warm, funny person I know and I just wanted them to bring that to this shoot. Along with those wonderful qualities, Anne also brought these flags that looked amazing against the fresh snow that covered the park. You can imagine the looks we got considering we were both knee deep in snow as Anne waved these around in a crop top.
I spent most of my high school days joking that I wanted to be the third member of the duo that was Katherine and their sister Hannah. Both of them were (and are) so smart and cool and funny, how could you not want to be part of that group? Fast forward many years later and Katherine is now an author whose books sit on my shelves at home. So when they asked me to take their updated author photo, I honestly had to lie to myself and say that they would never use it on a book cover so I didn’t lose my ever loving mind. But, they did. Thanks to Katherine’s generosity in bringing me along on this ride, my photo has been published in some of those same books that sit on my shelf. Also in a Time.com interview – no big deal. (You can learn more about Katherine here.)
Dreamwalk was one of the first live events that I ever covered and, let me tell you, it was like a learning curve on steroids. Between the dress rehearsal, sound check, and the actual show, my arms were exhausted, but it was also SO thrilling. Here’s a shot of Kj rolling down the runway like a boss with Gina Royale rocking out in the background. (Take note of Gina, this isn’t the last time we will be seeing her on this list…)
Do you recognize Gina from the photo above? She is the rocker mid-jump as KJ rolls by her. Dreamwalk was the first time that I saw Gina perform and I’ve been obsessed every since. She rocks like Olivia Rodrigo, but writes songs like Taylor Swift. I was so lucky that she let me photograph her show in Boonton and it was as awesome as I imagined it. (You can learn more about her here.)
My obsession with politics isn’t something that usually finds its way into my work, but, every once in a while, I find a way to combine them. This photo is from John Fetterman’s campaign stop in Chester County, PA on his way to clinching the Democratic nominee for Senator in May 2022. This photo doesn’t quite do justice as to how tall he really is, but it does capture his personality. At almost seven feet tall (no exaggeration), John is a giant ready to fight for progressive politics and I can’t wait to vote for him to be Pennsylvania’s next Senator in November.
Because I don’t generally do sports photography, my love of figure skating also rarely comes up in my work. However, the Ice Dreams tour came to town and graciously allowed me on ice access to shoot their dress rehearsal and their actual show. I never thought I would be crouched against the boards, camera in hand as people like Gracie Gold, Jeremy Abbott, and Polina Edmunds skated by, but there I was. (Pictured above is Polina Edmunds.) In case you were wondering, being star struck did not inhibit my ability to take photos. (Check out the Ice Dreams Tour schedule here.)
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Hi, I'm Dylan, a photographer in the Philadelphia Metro Area. I love iced coffee, red wine, and am always up for binging Gilmore Girls or Parks and Rec..