Gronde Photography
Alexandra - Washington DC Senior Photography - Center Stage/Rocky Mashup Editorial Shoot
Thursday, April 21, 2016 7:00AM
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Every summer we take some time to do some editorial senior sessions just for us and our own creative release.  One of the things we obviously need for these sessions is models!  So how do we pick our models?  The seniors who come to us and book their senior session with us in their junior year or even earlier will get a chance to be a part of these shoots on top of their booked session.  We don't charge have to be a part of two or maybe even three sessions for the price of one.  Plus you get some amazing images that can be outside the box!  How awesome is that?!?!

 

That brings us to Alexandra!  We have wanted and wanted to find a ballerina to work with and we finally found one!  Once we found out Alexandra did ballet and could stand on pointe we started working on a concept.  We started looking for inspiration and kept finding the same thing.  Plain leotards, pink tutus and these bright airy soft images of beautiful ballerinas in gardens and things like that.  They are beautiful images, but we decided that we were going to try and do something different.  So different that it was out of our own comfort zone and even outside of our usual style of more bright, airy, and fun images.  For this we wanted something raw, edgy, and gritty.  Ballerinas are strong and train incredibly hard.  We wanted to portray that in these images.  One of Brandy's favorite movies of all time is Center Stage, so we started thinking about all the training they went through in that movie and how amazing the scene in the red leotard was at the end of that movie.  When Chris was thinking about training he immediately thought of all the training montages from Rocky with stairs, alleys, meat lockers, and dark rainy places.  Then it hit us...why not do both!

 

We pitched the "Center Stage/Rocky Mashup" idea to Alexandra and her mom and they were super excited about it.  The night we met up with Alexandra and her mom it was cold and raining and it took a bit to get everything set up but once we got into a groove it was absolute magic and Alexandra was just killin' it!  We started out with just her tennis shoes on because of how wet it was and we didn't want her to slip, get hurt, and then end up losing half the session, but by the end when we took that final shot down the alley way along the train under those awesome overhead lights.  That was the image we wanted.  That was the entire concept we had come up with in a single image!  

 

 Every time we pick up a camera to do a shoot we try to think:  If we could walk away from a session with only 1 image, what would that image look like?  What is that signature image that our client might hang over their fireplace.  That was the image.  

 

 If you are a sophmore or junior this year and want to have truly unique, incredible Senior photos during your Senior year, and also have the opportunity to be a part of our conceptual shoots like this one!  You gotta book early!  Email us today!  And then leave a comment below about YOUR idea for a concept shoot!

 
Styled Shoot (Part 2) - Washington DC Wedding Photography
Monday, March 21, 2016 7:00AM
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Here is part two of our amazing styled shoot session at the Inn at Kelly's Ford!  Take another look at the beautiful work of these amazing vendors and our model Bride Nicole.  We absolutely fell in love with the Inn's vintage pickup truck!  Be sure to check out part one if you missed it.  Our favorite part of this whole thing was getting to mark off one of the items on our photography bucket list; getting to photograph a bride with a horse.  There is just something about a bride and horse that is just amazing!  Let us know what your favorite part of this shoot was down in the comment section! 

 

 

 

Model Bride: Nicole

Venue: The Inn at Kelly's Ford

Cake: Karen, Cakes in Art

Coordinator: Jennifer, MAYJUNE Events

Flowers: Kristen, Affairs by Ayres

Stationery: Barbara, Mayla Studios

Wedding Gown: Ava Laurenne Bride

Hair & Makeup: Jacquelyn Rodriguez from Enlightened Styles

Catering: A la Carte Catering 

 
Styled Shoot (Part 1) - Washington DC Wedding Photography
Monday, March 14, 2016 7:00AM
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Sometimes you want to just take gorgeous bridal images without the stress of time crunches and let the creativity of each vendor run absolutely wild.  That is why we do Styled Shoots.  We get vendors together and tell them the sky is the limit!  Do what you do best!  Show us what you got!  Luckily we had the opportunity to collaborate with another local amazing photographer named Ken Pak who coordinated this amazing group of vendors together and we created a cohesive rustic theme and let our vendors run wild.  We were able to spend the whole day capturing the beauty of the Inn at Kelly's Ford and the creativity of these amazing vendors with the help of our amazingly gorgeous model bride Emily!  So take a moment and just taken in all the beauty below and maybe borrow a few ideas for your own wedding or event!  All of the vendor information is listed down below for your enjoyment!  Please tell them Chris and Brandy sent you!

 

 

 

 

Model Bride: Emily Lomantagne

Venue: The Inn at Kelly's Ford

Cake: Karen, Cakes in Art

Coordinator: Jennifer, MAYJUNE Events

Flowers: Kristen, Affairs by Ayres

Stationery: Barbara, Mayla Studios

Wedding Gown: Ava Laurenne Bride

Hair & Makeup: Jacquelyn Rodriguez from Enlightened Styles

Catering: A la Carte Catering 

 
Veronica - Washington DC Senior Photography
Monday, February 29, 2016 8:00AM
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We would love for you to meet Veronica, a Seinor at Lake Braddock High School.  She came to us over the summer with her charming smile and incredible urban style and we just couldn't get enough of her personality which shines in every single photo!  She told us the first thing anyone notices about her is her hair AND HOW COULD THEY NOT!  THOSE CURLS!  And as a girl after Chris' own heart, she loves a good scifi novel!  And as a girl after Brandy's own heart... she loves a good pair of colorful converse chucks!  

 

 

Believe it or not, Spring is right around the corner!  Which means we have to get ready for summer!  What does that mean for you?  It means we need new Seniors to go out and represent Gronde Photography to their classmates and their schools!  If you have a unique style and outgoing personality we want to make you a part of our 2016 model program!  Want to know how you could get your photo session with us completely free?  All you have to do is spread the word about how great your experience was.  Be sure to email us today and ask about how you or your Senior can apply!

 
Star Wars - Washington DC Cosplay Photography
Friday, January 22, 2016 8:00AM
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It Doesn't happen very often, but every once and a while we get to shoot just for fun!  No matter what you're doing, whether it's your job, a hobby, or even being a parent, it's important to remember WHY you wanted to start doing it in the first place.  When we are doing photos for clients, we LOVE when a client trusts us enough to let us take some creative liberties, but most of the time we have a very specific formula with how we take portraits and how we edit our portraits that allows us to provide a very consistent and trustworthy style that brings past clients and new clients back to us and lets them know exactly what they are going to get.  Sometimes, however, it's good to do something that just lets the creative juices flow!

 

There is a group of cosplayers here in the DC area that meet up about once a month all aound the DC area to show off their latest creations and take some photos with local photographers.  It allows us to take some amazing photos for our portfolios and lets them get professional level photos of their costumes.  Each month they try to have a theme so that we can pick a location that fits that theme and also helps the cosplayers figure out which costume they want to bring (Some of them have very extensive and diverse collections)  With all the buzz around The Force Awakens which was just about to come out when these photos were taken, it seemed like the perfect time to do a Star Wars shoot!  That was the only rule, it didn't have to be an particular movie in the franchise or even part of the movies.  A few cosplayers created their very own characters that would easily fit into the Star Wars Universe.  The organizers decided that the National Building Museum would be a perfect location because of the amazing pilars in the main lobby.  The lovely people at the Museum even let us in an hour before it opened so we had the entire building to ourselves, once the museum opened we were still shooting but guests and kids and even some of the security guards wanted to take their photos with the Amazing Darth Vader and Force Awakens Storm Trooper costumes.

 

This was probably some of the most extensive Photoshop editing we have done in quite a while, but it was so much fun breaking out some of the skills and techniques that we don't get to use very often!  So if you or someone you know out there is having a Star Wars Wedding...please give us a call! ;)

 

 

 

 

 

           

 

 

 

So, what do you guys think?  Have you seen Force Awakens?  What did you think of it?  If you could cosplay as any character from any movie, who would you be?  Let us know down in the comment section below!

 
Dutton - Washington DC Wedding Photography
Wednesday, January 13, 2016 8:00AM
By Gronde Photography
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We were lucky enough to meet Heather and Jason through the popular social website, Reddit.  Reddit is a place where you can find a community of people talking about anything and everthing, including Wedding Planning!  We browse the wedding planning subreddit occassionally to offer general advice to brides and grooms who are seeking opinions, looking for advice, or just sharing their excitement about their upcoming wedding.  Well, we noticed that another photographer had started an AMA (Ask me anything) thread but was not answering any of the questions that were being asked of him, so we took the liberty of hijacking his post and answering questions from, "what do I wear on my engagement shoot" to "what should I ask my photographer when I meet with them on my consult".  Jason, just happened to be one of the users who was asking questions and noticed that we were local and asked for our information which I had not previously given, except that we were husband and wife photographers from Washington, DC.  We met and hit it off and we are so glad that we did because their wedding was amazing!  Just look below at this amazing vineyard wedding at Lost Creek Winery!

 
Reily - Washington DC Wedding Photography -
Friday, June 27, 2014 9:00AM
By Gronde Photography
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In the spirit of the World Cup, we would like to show you a sneak peek from Leah (that's Lay-uh, like the Princess, in case you were curious) and Dan's Wedding!  Their vintage, romantic wedding was an amazing joining of two families and multiple cultures.  Leah, being from the Netherlands, had family fly in from all over Europe which made for an amazing reception!  Talking with her family and her guests was definitely a fun experience!  Having the beautiful rolling hills as the backdrop at Lansdowne Resort hopefully made them feel a little more at home than the usual Washington, DC scene.  Leah and Daniel's personality and playfulness from beginning to end is really what made us love this wedding. (besides Leah's absolutely amazing dress!!) . From the moment Dan first saw Leah to our trip around the resort taking photos (to include a visit from a groundhog friend) to the last dance they just oozed love that was so much fun to capture!  Take a look!

 

 

 

 
Business Blog - What the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition have Taught me About Owning a Real Business
Tuesday, May 13, 2014 9:00AM
By Chris Gronde
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Ok ok ok...first off I would like to say that I (Chris) am a huge Trekie!  (Brandy is a closet Trekie)  So, with that said, some of you may immediately close this blog post, while others might get super excited and read further.  I just ask, if you own a business or want to, that you hear me out for a moment! 

The other day Brandy was out shopping with one of her girl friends and I was at home with the boys and decided to have a mini Star Trek: Deep Space Nine marathon (a la Netflix).  One of the main characters, Quark, is one of the large eared "alien" race known as the Ferengi.  They are a male dominated society whose entire life is dedicated to making profit.  (and when I say male dominated, their females are not allowed to wear clothing...just to put that in perspective)  They live by a set of 285 rules, "The Rules of Acquisition", that teach them how to remain profitable.  Most people, even in the show, just scoff at their entire race as little trolls who are backwards thinking and don't fit in the 25th century, and on most cases I completely agree and just enjoy them as comic relief to the show.  However, as Quark was reciting the rules of acquisition while talking about the bar he runs on their space station for which the show is named, I realized that there's several of the rules that many of us small business owners can learn from! (and a few that we can't).  Here are just five of my favorite rules for real life business use:

 

 

Rule of Acquisition #17 A contract is a contract is a contract ...but only between Ferengi.

 

We follow a lot of forums and blogs that have a lot of people wanting to break into the business of photography and many times they complain about things like clients who cancel on them last minute or want refunds for ridiculous things or a plethora of things that should have been spelled out explicitly in a well written, binding contract.  No matter how much you charge for your photography, whether $50 a session or $10,000 a wedding, you NEED to have a contract and you need to STICK to that contract!  Let your client know that the contract is there to protect your rights as well as theirs and you can avoid SO many issues.

 

Rule of Acquisition #21 Never place friendship above profit.

 

This might be a hard pill to swallow for some and seem a little harsh, but hear us out for a second, especially for those that are just starting out.  When you start a business, naturally the first place you are going to turn to is your friends for support.  The problem falls into when that friend thinks they can squeeze a deal out of you because they are your friend.  We have fallen prey to this problem more than once.  Unfortunately, the clients we have had who were supposed to be our "friends" before they were our clients have more than once turned out to be some of our worst clients.  They expect to not be charged as much, circumvent our contract, and rush turn around time for their photos before other clients because they are our friends.  They simply did not respect us as business owners.  They thought by being our clients they were doing US a favor by giving us their business and in return we owed them something more than the stellar service we already provide. Which ends up hurting or even destroying friendships.  Now don't get us wrong, we have some FANTASTIC friends that are clients; but they appreciate us as photographers and business owners.  We finally talked to a friend who owns a bakery; she told us that she does not offer "deals" for friends because of this fact.  This also falls back to the 17th Rule of Acquisition which we previously mentioned.  If they respect your friendship, they will respect your business.

 

Rule of Acquisition #57 Good customers are as rare as latinum (their currency)-- treasure them.

 

When it comes to small business two of the biggest things that can increase your bottom line is word of mouth marketing and repeat business!  Both of those things require you to really appreciate your good clients and show them that they are appreciated!  Does this mean giving them huge discounts?  Not really.  Not every client out there is just looking for a discount.  Your GOOD clients will know value when they see it.  They can get pictures from anywhere and if you think you have the best pictures out there...you're wrong.  Somebody out there is better than you.  What you can do though, is provide them with an unforgettable experience from beginning to end.  From your first email, to the packaging of their photos, make them feel appreciated and they will come back to you and bring friends!

 

Rule of Acquisition #218 Always know what you're buying.

 

This is another one that I have especially for the newbies out there, but naturally for everyone in this business.  Since 1839, photography has always been a two part deal: 1 part art, and 1 part science.  In the old days the science was more about chemicals and developing.  Today, the science part is more about technology and software.  Know what you're buying!  Do your research and know how the software or camera or lens or lighting is going to help your bottom line.  Do you want it because it will help an aspect of your business grow or because it's the new cool trendy thing to have in photography?   

 

Rule of Acquisition #255 A wife is a luxury ... a smart accountant is a necessity.

 

This one I put mainly because it makes me giggle, but there is a little bit of truth behind it.  Brandy is a entrepreneurial business major and she knows her stuff when it comes to keeping us out of the red, and we grow exponentially every single year and I treasure that!  Yes, we also now have a CPA who does our taxes as well!  As a small business, it's not a question of if you get audited, it's a question of when you get audited, and there is probably an obscure tax law out there that you didn't know about.  You need a CPA who knows the federal laws and especially your specific states laws!  In your state is giving a CD of images considered a service or a product, and is it subject to sales tax?  What's the best way to get a tax deduction for vehicle use?  Can I charge this meal as an expense?  Your CPA is going to keep you out of trouble!  

 

So, although much of the Ferengi rules of Acquisition contains frivolous amounts of greed and selfishness, there are several that have real sound advice for business owners.  You can't always be the good guy in business.  It's not personal...it's business!  If we had millions of dollars we would probably just travel the world shooting weddings for free to people who deserved to have beautiful photos, like Extreme Wedding Makeover: Photography Edition, but alas we are not millionaires and need to make a living and choose to do so by owning our own business like so many hard working Americans do, and even more did so before them.  The next time I get into a business discussion, I plan on having one or two of these rules ready to quote!

 
Washington DC Boudoir - Gronde Photography Boudoir Mini-Marathon
Tuesday, May 06, 2014 9:00AM
By Gronde Photography
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Here in Virginia things were finally starting to heat up after such a crazy winter, but then it got cold again and actually snowed in April in some areas.  We decided that we would help things heat back up a little bit by giving you guys a very limited sneak peek at our boudoir mini-sessions from February.  There are many reasons we love doing boudoir photography and why our clients love it, as well.  These aren’t paid models who hang out in their lingerie all day.  These are real women, of all shapes and sizes, who work regular jobs and always come into our studio space and say the same thing, “I’ve never done anything like this before.”  The amazing thing is, as nervous as they are to take photos like these and see themselves with their hair and makeup professionally done, it only takes a few minutes of shooting for them to find a new confidence and empowerment in themselves.  We stop having to direct the poses and just shoot what we see.  They leave the session ready to take on the world and then again when they get the photos back and see how amazing they look in them (we never hear any complaints from their husbands either, who always receive a “little black book” as a gift).  The ladies below specifically asked us not to share any images that show their faces (with todays age of internet privacy, or lack there of we completely understand) which is a shame because there are so many AMAZING images we wish we could share with you where you can see the confidence in their eyes, which as any guy knows, is the sexiest part!