Melhorn Manor Wedding Photographer: Michelle & Billy’s Engagement

A lake, pup and super sweet couple– you want want to miss Michelle & Billy’s blog…
My husband, Kris and I have known Billy for a long time, “two decades” as he put it– we’ve known his family for years, when he was in graduate school, he student taught with Kris and learned how to teach world history to students in Shippensburg.  He even helped us move!
He explained, “I was the one who started the conversation, I had followed your work for years, so I introduced Michelle to it and she loved how creative you are and just the way you are able to use light and capture scenes, emotion and moments.”
Above is a scene that struck me as so beautiful, the reflecting blue sky with white puffy clouds in the lake and the long path out to the edge of the dock where Michelle and Billy are sitting perfectly balanced, Billy creating ripples in the water from his movement, haha– more on that later 😉
While I love capturing the personalities of couples, I also make sure to photograph a few standard portraits as well, too…
Michelle shared, “We chose Pine Grove Furnace because it was one of our first dates.  We went hiking on one of the trails.  Billy said it’d be a super easy hike, and it definitely was NOT!”
She laughed, “But once we got to the top, the view was phenomenal.”  Speaking of nice views, Laurel Lake is full of them:
Michelle shared, “Spencer, our rescue dog, is a huge part of our lives now. At first, I was the only one that wanted a dog. I really had to convince Billy. We actually applied for a different dog but he had already been adopted out by the time our application was processed. The rescue called us and said they had a dog that they thought would fit us and asked if we wanted to meet him.”
She continued, “I of course said yes and Billy said he would at least go meet him. Well the rest is history because I think Spencer knew who he needed to convince. The minute we walked in to the house he went over to Billy and basically crawled on to his lap and wanted belly rubs. From that moment on Spencer has pretty much been at Billy’s side. I was the one that wanted a dog, and now our dog is definitely a daddy’s boy.”
She smiled, “That just means we need to get another one.”
I love to play with different tools and technique with my camera.  In the photo above I used “depth of field” focusing on Spencer and allowing Michelle & Billy to fade into the background.
In the photograph below, I used a tilt-shift technique to shoot through kayaked that were stacked, adding interesting depth, color, lines and framing to the image.
A stacked kayak rack (try saying that 5 times fast)…
Billy shared, “Basically we are happy with this engagement session if we are outside, are comfortable and have a good time.  You’ve already incorporated our pup and a place that means something to both of us, and I see a smile on Michelle’s face so, I mean we are already happy…”
Michelle added, “Yes, relaxed is the vibe I was going for, too.”
Billy shared, “I tend to be very spur of the moment, spontaneous, while Michelle enjoys the ride and keeps us headed in a productive direction.”
I love the way this photo captures that sentiment so well… I used a slow-shutter speed and panning technique to pull this one off.  I wanted you to really feel the movement looking at it…
Michelle shared, “Billy is finally excited to have pictures of us together when he has a beard. He always comments that I must hate the beard because all of the pictures in the house are of him with a “baby face”, when in reality, I actually like the beard.”
Billy goat gruff…
This scene is honestly too beautiful for words, the adorable couple, the lines of canoes, the deep, dark reflection among the lily pads…
Billy explained, “I love the fact that Michelle is a strong, independent woman. Her smile can light up a room, and she truly embodies the meaning of friendship and love.”
I really wanted to show how this opposites attract by bringing balance to the relationship.
Here Michelle sits, grounded and first, while Billy balances on one leg teetering at the water’s edge.
You better believe I was ready to capture any misstep and waited until the end of the shoot to try this, haha!
Billy smiled, “How Michelle & I ended up together was interesting. A mutual friend kept trying to set us up.  Michelle was working for Central Dauphin, the arch rival of the school I not only wrestled for, but was coaching for at the time. We wrestled @ CD and beat them for their first ever loss in their home gym!  After the match, I felt like having some fun, and got Michelle’s number to text and gloat a little.”
Geese flew overhead–  such an interesting, authentic moment…
Billy continued, “About a week later, I had tickets to see Wicked in Pittsburgh. I decided to fast track the whole dating idea, and realized if I could stand her for a 3 hour ride out, 6+ hours in Pittsburgh, and a 3 hour ride back, she might be ok. The day went great and the rest is history.”
Michelle added, “Our friend must have seen something in Billy, because she kept trying and clearly she was right. I very much felt the same way about when he asked me to go see Wicked.  Wicked is one of my favorite shows, so I figured how bad could it be?!? Even if he did drive me crazy, I would still get to see a show and visit a city that I love. Needless to say, we both survived the trip and had a great time. Almost 6 years later, here we are.”
Could the sky be more beautiful???
Michelle and Billy, after seeing so many other couples on my blog, I hope you enjoyed seeing yourselves.  It was such a pleasure to photograph you two and Spencer.  You have dozens more photos coming your way.  Until then feel free to share your photos and story to anyone you’d like!  😉

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