Broad Street Engagement shoot

Engagement shoot in front of Philadelphia’s City Hall

It would be impossible to pick my favorite location for a classic Philly engagement shoot, but the Race Street Pier and Broad Street Engagements would definitely top the list.  The secret to both locations is the time of day.  Race Street Pier gets super harsh light mid-day, with little shade, so it can be rough to deal with.  Golden hour is what you’re looking for at the Pier.  Since we love back lighting our couples on Broad Street, late afternoon and evening is our favorite.  We love taking advantage of all the city lights for a more cinematic feel. It’s even better when there’s moisture in the air and the streets are wet.  Lately we’ve also been going back to our street shooting roots and dipping into a nearby alley afterwards, for some grittier Philly.  

We met Jane and John at the Lovesick Expo, where they signed up for our Philly engagement shoot giveaway.  They were the second names we drew.  (Check out our first Philly Engagement shoot winners’ here).  The two drove all the way in from Maryland to shoot with us.  I couldn’t be happier with the images we got. Jane and John are such an elegant couple, who have been together since high school.  I love the way John makes her laugh.  And can we talk about how perfect her blue dress was at the Pier? I LOVE blue at the pier.

I can just see some of these images as Save the Date cards. They’re modern, romantic and sophisticated.  I can’t thank Jane and John enough for coming in. We still have a few more winners that haven’t claimed their complimentary shoots.  What are you waiting for? We’re ready to document this joyful milestone in your journey.


Kitchen engagement shoot

Masterchef winner, Courtney Lapresi finds love in a kitchen

When I first became friends with Courtney Lapresi, I knew she was many things. Stunningly beautiful with a quick wit, fiercely competitive, and a soul stirring, classically trained dancer. What I didn’t know, and I’m not sure she did either, was that she was capable of creating mouthwatering dishes and pastries that would drive her to win Fox’s cooking competition Masterchef with notoriously tough chef, Gordon Ramsay. That somehow she would survive the pressure of a nationally televised competition and the scrutiny of Joe Bastianich, Graham Elliot, and Gordon Ramsay critiquing her food, although she had little experience other than cooking for her friends and family.

Courtney couldn’t share with friends that she had been cast and sequestered away for the competition. Even after winning, she had to keep the biggest secret of her life from everyone she loved. As the season aired and it was clear she was a real force in kitchen, she became the victim of vicious on-line bullying, and handled it with unimaginable grace. So when Courtney told me that she had found love in a professional kitchen with chef Dave Notartomaso, I was thrilled to see her so incredibly happy in this new chapter in her life.

“We met right after I finished filming masterchef so the first part of our relationship was me hiding out in his apartment and writing my cookbook, Everyday Fancy (but he wasn’t supposed to know I was writing it) I just told him not to ask me any questions when I needed him to taste a recipe I was testing. He didn’t like that I was on a reality show so he started giving me tasks at work that were more advanced, testing my ability, and then was really surprised when I was able to complete them. Also, one of our first interactions in a kitchen was him scolding me after I reached for his knife to use- “NEVER touch another chef’s knife” so I went and bought the same one he had just to piss him off 😆 that’s actually my knife he’s holding in the photos- I guess when you’re married there is no more ‘mine and yours’ “

Courtney and Dave are currently living in Colorado where she works at La Fillette Bakery continuing to focus on her main focus, lovely pastries and desserts, while getting her Yoga Certification. Dave’s found a home for his culinary talents at Epicurean Catering, the largest catering company in Colorado, where he plays competitive hockey and makes sure Courtney’s knife skills stay sharp.

For their engagement shoot, we started at Milk and Honey, a cafe near Dave’s old apartment that holds special memories for the couple. We stopped in Old City where we discovered that Dave is capable of the perfect romantic dip, after which I’m pretty sure we made him dance all over Philly. They wanted a few shots with the Ben Franklin Bridge, so Race Street Pier became our dance floor and backdrop. 

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We spent the rest of the afternoon at Grace Winery where chef Scott Megill allowed us to use his beautiful kitchen for some shots of the chefs-in-love with their personal knives, a Nenox and a Nenohi Kiritsuke they  purchased at Korin Knives in NYC and had flown to Philly just for our shoot. I wanted to kitchen shots to be moody and romantic, a contrast to all the bright city images we had gotten so far. We then strolled out to the vineyard, when the two snuggled, lifted and kissed among the rows of juicy grape clusters.  

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And just when you think your friend/dancer/chef/future bride is the most graceful and magical creature on the planet, she headbutts her fiance.  Like all day, in the most romantic and picture perfect moments. ‘Cause they’re complete goofballs, and I couldn’t love them any more.