Engagement

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JC Raulston Arboretum

When the majority of your relationship is cross state you treasure every moment together. Mary & Jeremy chose the JC Raulston Arboretum for their engagement session in part because Raleigh is “their city.” Mary has been living in Lenoir while Jeremy is all the way in Wilmington. Raleigh was the perfect distance for them to meet together and fall in love! Thankfully Jeremy recently found a job in Lenoir! Their long distance relationship will be ending only to start a new an exciting chapter together! We’re so excited for them!
 
JC Raulston Arboretum was new to all four of us, even tho Mary & Jeremy have explored Raleigh over and over again. We got to adventure through the garden with them, laughing and getting to know each other better. Mary & Jeremy are that couple that you instantly feel comfortable around. It was easy to become friends!
 
Mary & Jeremy definitely know what’s up! There’s nothing like an ice cream from Treat to re-energize you for the last leg of the photo shoot! We couldn’t help but snag some photos there.
 
We then made our way to the Boyland Bridge where there is a beautiful view of the Raleigh sky line. The sun had almost completely set as the lights flickered setting the mood for our last epic shots!
 

Thanks Mary & Jeremy for going on a fun filled adventure with us! We can’t wait for your Hickory wedding next spring!

XOXOXO,
Mabyn

Couple walks together while exploring the JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh, NCThe JC Raulston Arboretum is a gorgeous venue for your engagement sessionCouple snuggles in the palms at the JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh, NCRaleigh loves kisses in the park at the JC Raulston ArboretumThe Asian garden at the JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh, NC is lovely

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A JC Raulston Arboretum Engagement with Mary & Jeremy

A silly moment in the mountains of NC during Mallory & Peter's engagment session. Photography by Mabyn Ludke.

Engagement

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Since moving to North Carolina and getting to experience the beautiful Appalachian mountains, I’ve dreamed of getting a couple to explore the Blue Ridge Parkway with. When Mallory & Peter came along, it quickly became clear that they were going to be the perfect couple to realize this dream with their engagement session. Daniel & I were not disappointed! I may still be on a mountain high, because we all know how I get, but this may be my favorite session to date! It was the perfect combination of a beautiful couple letting their guard down for our cameras + one of the most amazing settings in NC – the Blue Ridge Parkway! I think I’ll always swoon over this engagement session!

Getting to know Mallory & Peter, their love for each other, & their dedication to serve & protect this country has been more amazing than I can express. These two have found the real deal in each other and it shows in every single look, smile, and touch. It’s days like this that set my heart on fire for photography. Thank you both for trusting us to be your genuine loving selves!

Mallory & Peter snuggle at the Moses Cone Manor in Blowing Rock, NC

We started the day at Moses Cone Manor in case the weather proved to be nasty. Thankfully everything was sunshine & beautiful! Especially Mallory & Peter’s snuggles. There is nothing more sweet!

Wide shot of an engaged couple at the Moses Cone Manor of Blowing Rock North Carolina

There was an amazing row of giant and beautiful old tree’s lining the road at the Moses Cone Manor & I was drawn to them like a moth to a flame. The were the perfect frame for our sweet couple!

Mallory & Peter walk together while visiting the Moses Cone Manor in North Carolina

Sometimes during a photo shoot we’ll give our clients prompts to get them interacting together. Something and simple as walking down a hill hand in hand can create some gorgeous moments!

Julian Price Lake was a great backdrop for this sweet couple on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Snuggles are my favorite and these two do it so well it’s ridiculous! Add in that gorgeous afternoon sunlight and there is just pure magic going on!

The wind blows gently through Mallory's hair at Julian Price Lake

Our original plans for their engagement session got derailed due to the weather, so when we met up we looked at all of the fun places we could visit on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Mallory & Peter loved the idea of having some water in their shots so we ventured over to Julian Price Lake and found it to be most accommodating!

A sweet kiss on the nose at Julian Price Lake in North Carolina

Engagement sessions + nose kisses = melting hearts!

Mallory & Peter walk hand in hand on the Rough Ridge Trail in the mountains of NC

Our third location in our adventure with Mallory & Peter was to climb the Rough Ridge trail. There were so many perfect spots to stop along the way!

Engaged couple make silly faces on the rough ridge trail

I got to snag funny little moments like this one all day long! It’s so much fun being silly together!

Mabyn Ludke Photography captured an amazing engagement session at Rough Ridge in North Carolina

These two are already amazing, but Mallory definitely added bonus points when she blazed the trail in her adorable booties!

Bride smacks her groom's butt at their engagment session

Mallory & Peter had us laughing all day long…case in point.

bride looks lovingly at her groom on the blue ridge parkway

The way these two look at each other…there’s no one else in the entire world!

a sweet embrace during an engagement session on the blue ridge parkway

This engagement session was more than just a dream come true, it is an incredibly important time in the lives of Mallory & Peter. In just a few short weeks they’ll be deployed to serve & protect our country. I couldn’t be more honored to capture a couple and their love and I pray it will bring them comfort during their time apart.

black and white of a couple on the rough ridge trail in NC

Knowing this kind of love is such a gift and Mallory and Peter understand that like few people do. We truly loved every moment we got to spend with them that afternoon.

A silly moment in the mountains of NC during Mallory & Peter's engagment session. Photography by Mabyn Ludke.

After navigating the muddy trail at Rough Ridge we made it to the top where the winds practically howled they were so strong!

The wind blows bride's dress during their mountain engagement session on the blue ridge parkway photos by Mabyn Ludke Photography

See what I mean about rocking those booties? Mallory is something fierce!

an epic view of the appalachain mountains at Mallory & Peter's Rough Ridge engagment session

It was so clear on the Blue Ridge Parkway, you could see for miles!

the sunlight kisses this engaged couple during their photography session in the mountains of North Carolina. Photography by Mabyn Ludke.

Our last stop during their incredible engagement session was at the Beacon Heights trail where we discovered hundreds of amazing spots to shoot!

A sweet embrace on a mountain top in NC by Mabyn Ludke Photography

By that time the sun was on it’s way down and the light just got better and better.

Engaged couple poses for their session on the Beacon Heights Trail in NC. Mabyn Ludke Photography

Look at how the light just filters so beautifully through those trees? It was like butter!

A black and white sillohuette of an engaged couple at Beacon Heights in NC

Beacon Heights offers another spectacular view of the Appalachian mountains, we just can’t handle it!

A romantic kiss on the mountain top at Beacon Heights on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Photo by Mabyn Ludke Photography

There were mountains and kisses for days on top of Beacon Heights!

A gorgeous mountain view for this engaged couple during their photography session by Mabyn Ludke in the mountains of NC

I’ll never get sick of love & mountains!

The Appalachain Mountains in NC are the perfect backdrop for an engagement session by Mabyn Ludke

A funny story, as we prepared for Mallory & Peter’s engagement session, I got a little distracted by an ad for a beautiful dress. I was considering buying it…guess who wore it to their engagement session? Mallory’s got great taste!

A sunset mountain view during Mallory & Peter's engagment session at Beacon Heights. Photo by Mabyn Ludke.

When Daniel & I visited Beacon Heights a few weeks prior to this shoot, it was at least 15 degrees colder & there were tons of people there trying to capture the sunset. Somehow at Mallory & Peter’s session we got it all to ourselves!

Mabyn Ludke Photography captured this silly moment from Mallory & Peter's Beacon Heights engagement session

We had to push Peter to do this shot a little bit. It’s something they both do on a regular basis, but Peter didn’t want to get makeup on his tongue! These guys were SO funny!

This romantic moment was captured by Mabyn Ludke Photography during Mallory & Peter's Blue Ridge Parkway engagment session

When you’re in love & you let it show, there’s no need for poses. It’s raw & real and we love that!

A romantic sunset kiss during this engagement session on top of the Beacon Heights Trail

This shot looks like it was taken right out of an epic romantic movie doesn’t it? So much happiness!

Mallory & Peter hug as the sun goes down during their Blue Ridge Parkway engagement session by Mabyn Ludke Photography.

This, THIS is why I love engagement sessions people. When else do you get several hours to just breathe each other in? We get so busy in life, everyone needs to hit that pause button and remember why we love!

An epic view of the Appalachain mountains from the top of Beacon Heights during a Mabyn Ludke Photography engagement session

Blue mountains at the end of our Blue Ridge Parkway adventure. Just perfect!

 

XOXOXO,
Mabyn

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Blowing Rock Engagement Session – Mallory & Peter

Tips for Brides

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What is an Engagement Session?

One of my favorite parts of the whole wedding photography experience is our engagement sessions! It’s good quality time that we crave with our clients. It’s a session prior to your wedding that allows us to see how you interact. We also learn about your hopes, dreams, and desires, and allows us to capture some invaluable memories.

Over the years our sessions have evolved from pretty pictures in a park to a more involved and experiential session.  Most of our sessions are full of fun exploring new places or doing activities with you while laughing and joking with each other. Sometimes they even  and end with a pretty spectacular dinner and drinks. By the end of the whole day we feel like we’ve known our clients for years and we’re better for it.

Why are we so passionate about our engagement sessions?

Well other than the fact that they’re so much fun, it allows us to see into your world for just a small window of time. This little bit of insight allows us to understand what is going to be important to you on your wedding day. It’ll also put you at ease for your wedding day because you’ll trust us even more and you’ll feel completely comfortable being in front of our lenses!

How do we plan for our engagement session?

If you’re feeling a little nervous about your session with us, don’t worry! We gotchu! We’ve put together a few tips and tricks on how to create your dream engagement session! Check out this video!

6 Tips for creating your dream engagement session:


1 – Think about what’s special or exciting to you: Is there a location that means something to you both? Are there activities you enjoy doing together (i.e. going for coffee/drinks, hiking in the mountains, reading comic books together, ect..) Do you want to go on an adventure together to a place you’ve never been? The options are endless & will help ensure your engagement session is more than just pretty pictures at a nice location.

2 – Make a day of it: Use this as an opportunity to “treat youself” and enjoy the entire day. Go out for coffee or brunch. Get a massage, get your hair & makeup done. Get pampered, relax, and then have fun at our session together.

3 – This is not your friends engagement sessions: I’m sure you’ve all seen your friends engagement pictures. They may have a lot of deer in the headlight photos with smiles plastered to their faces. They may have been posed awkwardly and you can’t help but cringe a little when you see them. We all know “those engagement photos.” Don’t worry, this experience will be the complete opposite. My goal during this session is to capture your true dynamic as a couple, not a manufactured one. Who are you as a couple? Are you goofy & love to pick on one another? Are you more introverted and prefer to just hold hands? If you’re ever uncomfortable, you just have to say the word. I’ll also work to pose you in moment making opporunities. So there will be a lot of banter & activites to keep you distracted from the fact that I’ve got a camera in front of my face.

4 – Be yourself!: There’s something about being in front of the camera that makes a lot of people instantly turn into robots who don’t know what to do with their hands! I’ve got you boo! I’ve been posing couples for years and I can tell you the easiest way to know what to do with those awkward hands is to STAY CONNECTED. By holding onto your honey naturally you’ll instantly look like a pro on the camera. Plus I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve to help you kill it no matter what!

5 – Dress comfortably: Be sure to wear clothes that make you feel comortable and confident! I usually recommend bringing 2 outfits and a lot of my couples like to make them contrasting (i.e. formal vs casual). Also by having 2 outfits you’ll have variety and a backup outfit in case one doesn’t photograph quite the way you’d hope. You can also see my blog on how to choose the best outfits for your engagement session here.

6 – Go with the flow: You’ll hear me say this a lot for both your engagement session and your wedding day. Things happen, weather changes, you get a crazy text right before your session. No matter what, if you go with the flow and just enjoy each other you’re going to have a fabulous session and we’ll create some amazing images together!

I hope these tips help you feel more confident and inspire you to dream up an amazing engagement session! I can’t wait to hear all about your plans.
XOXOXO,
Mabyn

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How to Create your Dream Engagement Session

The Forest Theater Chapel Hill, NC Geeky Engagement Photographer Mabyn Ludke Photogaphy

Engagement

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When you think of an engagement session what pops into your mind? A pretty garden with lots of sunlight & fragrant blooms where the couple smiles dreamily at each other and then back at the camera? Yeah…that’s not what we’ve got here. Prepare yourselves for some seriously delicious awesome sauce!

When Aine & Joe first reached out, they came over to our little apartment and hung out with me for 5 hours! That’s right friends, 5 hours. They win the longest wedding consult ever, but I loved every. single. minute! I kinda wish they didn’t live all the way near Raleigh, because I have a feeling there would be many more of those amazing hang out sessions…like AAAAAAALL the time!

So in getting to know our couples I love to look for connection points, aka things we share in common. Usually Daniel and I share at least one sometimes two things in common, when we reach three I get super giddy because I know we’ll be good friends. Well I’m pretty sure Aine, Joe, Daniel, & I share like 50 things in common! We talked about our geeky passions like Harry Potter & Star Wars, then Daniel & Joe moved easily into their musical passions, while Aine & I talked about our adoration for animals and how we keep collecting them!

When their engagement session finally arrived, I couldn’t help but dance inside as we drove out toward Chapel Hill. We started at Joe’s very cool place of employment, the B-Side Lounge in Carboro, NC. Another wonderful commonality that we share is a love for board games! So they busted out Ticket to Ride and had an amazing time “fake” beating each other at the game. Oh the shenanigans!

The light fades fast in the winter, so as we drove to the next location we did a little sun chasing! We found this amazing spot at the end of a side road that looked just like a path out of the Deathly Hallows! I halted our car and waved frantically for them to stop as well and we managed to snag that sunshine JUST in time before it went down.

Our adventure continued and took us to The Forest Theater in Chapel Hill which provided a perfect seat to read some comic books & make snarky remarks at one another. And what geektastic photoshoot would be complete without an appearance by a Star Wars light saber umbrella?! I think these need to be required at every engagement I shoot now. ?

We did eventually put our cameras down, but we had SO much fun that we couldn’t stop the party! We ended our evening hanging out at one of my personal favorite coffee spots in Chapel Hill, Caffé Driade and talking late into the night! The perfect way to wrap things up!

So when you envision an engagement session…what do you think of now?

XOXOXO,
Mabyn

B-Side Lounge Carrboro, NC Geeky Engagement playing Ticket to Ride Photographer Mabyn Ludke Photogaphy B-Side Lounge Carrboro, NC Geeky Engagement playing Ticket to Ride Photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotogaphyB-Side Lounge Carrboro, NC Geeky Engagement playing Ticket to Ride Photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotogaphyB-Side Lounge Carrboro, NC Geeky Engagement playing Ticket to Ride Photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotogaphyB-Side Lounge Carrboro, NC Geeky Engagement playing Ticket to Ride Photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotogaphyB-Side Lounge Carrboro, NC Geeky Engagement Photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotogaphyB-Side Lounge Carrboro, NC Geeky Engagement Photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotogaphyThe Forest Theater Chapel Hill, NC Geeky Engagement Photographer Mabyn Ludke Photogaphy

The Forest Theater Chapel Hill, NC Harry Potter Engagement Photographer Mabyn Ludke Photogaphy

The Forest Theater Chapel Hill, NC Geeky Engagement Photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotogaphyThe Forest Theater Chapel Hill, NC Harry Potter Engagement Photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotogaphyThe Forest Theater Chapel Hill, NC Harry Potter Engagement Photographer Mabyn Ludke Photogaphy

Chapel Hill, NC Harry Potter Engagement Photographer Mabyn Ludke Photography

The Forest Theater Chapel Hill, NC Harry Potter Engagement Photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotogaphyThe Forest Theater Chapel Hill, NC Harry Potter Engagement Photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotogaphyThe Forest Theater Chapel Hill, NC Harry Potter Engagement Photographer Mabyn Ludke Photogaphy

 

The Forest Theater Chapel Hill, NC Geeky Engagement Photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotogaphyThe Forest Theater Chapel Hill, NC Geeky Engagement Photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotogaphyThe Forest Theater Chapel Hill, NC Geeky Comic Book Engagement Photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotogaphyThe Forest Theater Chapel Hill, NC Geeky Comic Book Engagement Photographer Mabyn Ludke Photogaphy

The Forest Theater Chapel Hill, NC Geeky Comic Book Engagement Photographer Mabyn Ludke Photogaphy

The Forest Theater Chapel Hill, NC Star Wars Engagement Photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotogaphyThe Forest Theater Chapel Hill, NC Star Wars Engagement Photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotogaphyThe Forest Theater Chapel Hill, NC Star Wars Engagement Photographer Mabyn Ludke Photogaphy

The Forest Theater Chapel Hill, NC Star Wars Engagement Photographer Mabyn Ludke Photogaphy

The Forest Theater Chapel Hill, NC Star Wars Engagement Photographer Mabyn Ludke Photogaphy

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Geek Love in Chapel Hill, NC – Aine & Joe’s Engagement