Sally Belle Photography: Blog en-us (C) Sally Belle Photography (Sally Belle Photography) Sun, 28 Jun 2020 19:59:00 GMT Sun, 28 Jun 2020 19:59:00 GMT Sally Belle Photography: Blog 86 120 Kaitlyn & Chris are MARRIED!! Kaitlyn and Chris!!  You did it!  I wanted to start this blog with this sweet image of these two.  I love this photo because even though you can't see Chris's face in it, I KNOW he is looking at Kaitlyn exactly the same way she is looking at him.  This was taken just minutes after they said "I DO" and you can just feel the joy and love they are exuding in this shot! 

Kaitlyn and Chris decided to make the very best of the situation they found themselves in with their wedding date (June 21st) being smack in the middle of a global pandemic! They opted for a very small, intimate outdoor ceremony at Pheasant Run Farm, with only parents, siblings and grandparents in attendance.  Then after the ceremony, they had a backyard reception which included their bridal party, some extended family and a few friends.  It was lovely...(and I thought more than once throughout the day - this might just be the perfect way to have a wedding!!) 

However, like I said, Kaitlyn and Chris opted to make the best of their situation (not just for them - but for everyone who loves them) on Aug 2nd - they are going to have EVERYONE come to their originally chosen ceremony venue - redo the ceremony for their loved ones and have the big party they dreamed of!  Trul it is the Best of both worlds!

Kaitlyn - you are such a beautiful bride!!

And here we have a most handsome Groom! 



Here comes the Bride!!


I just adore these close-ups of Kaitlyn and her Dad as they pray with the Pastor in anticipation of him giving her away.  

So special!!!


The Vows and the Exchange of Rings! Emotional and Beautiful




Man AND Wife!!!  You may kiss the Bride!











Pheasant Run Farm was such an idyllic location and this romantic little bridge was the perfect location for some portraits after the ceremony!

Even the ponies in the pasture wanted to join the celebration!  (So cute!)


After the gorgeous outdoor ceremony, we moved over to the Jordan home for the most lovely backyard reception you've ever see.  Thanks to the floral creations and decorating skills of Susan Mayer the farmhouse tables were elegant and inviting and due to and the tireless work of parents and grandparents - the Jordans backyard was a garden paradise!




Introducing...Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Grove!!!!


Their First Dance


A Good Time was had by all!! 

The final moment... time to cut the Cake!

Congratulations Mr. & Mrs Grove!!!  Can't wait to do it all over again in August! 

(Sally Belle Photography) Lancaster PA Photographer Wedding Sun, 28 Jun 2020 19:58:42 GMT
Kate & Noah - Married!      I have struggled with what to say here... struggled...because I really cannot express how BEAUTIFUL, heart-warming, fun, and special this day was! I often say that "weddings are people." They are not flowers or dresses or venues or any of that other stuff. They are people. The people who come together to bless the couple they love. And that so perfectly describes yesterday. Kate and Noah are an amazing couple, (and that is truly an understatement), but equally amazing are all of the family and friends who gathered around them yesterday to make their day so special!! The defining moment came when the outdoor ceremony they had planned had to be "re-routed" to the tent due to rain, and absolutely everyone came together to make that happen - and fast! 

So many blessings to you Kate & Noah!! Love you both - love you Hartsocks -and LOVED being a part of this awesome day!!

Kate, on her Wedding Day!I have to start with the Bride, because, well just look at her! She's GORGEOUS! I was obsessed with Kate's dress, her flowers her hair...ahhhh! I could go on and on. She was glowing from the inside out and she was the most beautiful bride!


Some of Kate's lovely details


I must say, these ladies were simply the best! From coming up with the perfect playlist for getting ready, to being Kate's full-time bride squad - these girls rocked it! And you can't mention how awesome the ladies were without saying the same about these guys. As you can clearly see from these photos, these guys kept Noah laughing and smiling and generally having a great time all day!

Hello! Handsome Groom!

a moment together before the ceremony... (tissues please!)

So one of my favorite moments of the day is right here. The outdoor ceremony had to be quickly re-routed inside to the reception tent, and all hands joined in to help. Guests, groomsmen, bridesmaids, parents - everyone grabbed chairs, wiped the dance floor with towels, and in no time we had a beautiful bride being processed in by her beaming Dad under a clear umbrella dotted with rain droplets. SUCH a fabulous moment!!

I mean...what can one say? TOO CUTE!!!

I now pronounce you... :)

man and wife!!!!! You may kiss your bride!

Congratulations Mr. & Mrs. Taylor!



(Sally Belle Photography) Lancaster PA Photographer photography wedding Weddings Fri, 14 Sep 2018 01:15:20 GMT
Why I LOVE Senior Portraits!!!  


Why I LOVE Senior Portraits!!


If you are my age...which will soon be.. {ahem} "the big 4-0" then you probably have an old Senior photo lying around somewhere with your hand planted firmly under your chin, or your suit coat/ cardigan swung casually over your shoulder.  Kinda..BORING!!! But as with much of the photography industry...Senior portraits have changed..A LOT!  And I absolutely love it!   Today's Seniors want to express WHO they are in their photos and get creative.  Well that's music to my ears.  I adore working with these kids because they love the process and we always end up having a FABULOUS time together!!  My 2016 Seniors have been amazing so far this year and I am looking forward to more.  Here's a handful of fun Senior portraits for you to check out and get a feel for my style, and if you have a Senior student or you ARE a Senior this year...give me a call!!  I'd love to chat!


Here's to a great Senior Year!!!

(Sally Belle Photography) Lancaster PA Photographer Picture Portraits Senior photographer seniors Wed, 19 Aug 2015 15:24:29 GMT
Lauren & Jared - Married!! (Part 2)      This wedding was so great, it needed TWO separate blog posts!!  Today's post features a few more details and beautiful bridals... but mostly the ceremony and the reception. Both took place at Calvary Church in Lancaster.  The ceremony was so worshipful and beautiful!  A few tears were shed for sure!  It's my pleasure to be able to share it with you!



I just LOVED seeing the worship during this ceremony.  So beautiful!





Jared's brother shared a special song for them!



Man and Wife!!!!


LOOOOVVE this!!!!  Look how excited they are!!




Party Time!!!


Father Daughter Dance...


Mom and Son!!



This was adorable!!



What a gorgeous cake!!

Finally, after the reception, we snuck outside to get a few more portraits and also took these fun ones with Lauren's brother!




And they're off!!  BUBBBLES a plenty!!!  Congratulations Jared and Lauren!!!


(Sally Belle Photography) Lancaster Lancaster PA Weddings Lancaster Wedding Photographer photographer Thu, 04 Jun 2015 13:58:37 GMT
Jared & Lauren - Married!!      So I think I was in 7th grade when I had Renee Alshouse as my Sunday School Teacher.  She was gorgeous, athletic, brainy... and very pregnant with her first baby!  As it turns out - that baby was Lauren!!  And well, the apple did not fall far from the tree.  Lauren Alshouse is, as her mother before her, gorgeous, athletic and brainy!!  And on May 16th, I had the enormous privilege of documenting the her wedding to another wonderful human being, Jared Martin.  

     Lauren and Jared met in highschool, (where apparently Jared had a crush on Lauren) and they were friends.  But they didn't really "find each other" until after highschool.  Lauren went off to Vanderbilt University in Tennessee to become a lawyer and Jared has designs on being a Naval Officer.  But somehow while pursuing their individual dreams, they also managed to dream together.  After dating for about a year, Jared brought Lauren back to the site of their very first date, and proposed.  

     And as they say - the rest is history!!  These two are so loving and kind, their love for Jesus absolutely shines through, and I am so honored to have been able to capture their beautiful wedding day!  Enjoy these images... Lauren and Jared-Married (Part1)


The Details

Lauren & Jared exchange gifts... (via iphone since they were NOT seeing each other before the ceremony!)


Time to get pretty!!!

The afore-mentioned gorgeous mother!! :)

Gifts for the ladies...

Ahhhh!!!  Getting the dress on!  One of my favorite parts!!!

Now let's check on the guys...see how they're doing!

So they apparently need to "Google" how to adjust the gorgeous watches Jared gave his groomsmen as gifts so they fit for the ceremony!

LOVE this image!! Very "Madmen!"

Handsome Groom!


Oh Ladies - Work it!!

Look at these blooms - so gorgeous!!


Ok Ladies - time for your Close ups!!


Get ready for one stunningly beautiful bride!!



These two!!!  I can't stand it!!  

You guys are the best!! 


(Sally Belle Photography) Mon, 01 Jun 2015 20:00:05 GMT
Matt & Crystal - MARRIED!!! MATT & CRYSTAL - MARRIED!!


       What an amazing privilege to have been part of this beautiful wedding!! I have known Crystal for a number of years through various circles, and I met Matt last summer when I did their engagement session.  It was obvious right away how much he adored her!  These two have an enduring love which was tested by distance and time apart for much of their courtship.  Matt lived and worked in Ohio, while Crystal has a thriving Irish dancing School that she owns and operates, ( here in Ephrata.  Finally, a couple of months before their big day, Matt secured a job here, and they found a home to call their own!!  These two would finally get to be together!!  And everyone who was there on their happy wedding day knows - it was absolute perfection! 

It is my pleasure to showcase their day and tell their wedding story in the images below.  Enjoy!


The "Details..." it's the little things that say so much!!





















Getting Ready!


       Cute little side note... the girls were so CALM during this part of the day.  They were chatting, nibbling on some lunch... I think Angelina even pulled out some knitting!! (I know - total shocker!) The actual "getting ready" part was a cinch!  The guys on the other hand... well let's just say, (not usually getting to spend as much time with guys prepping on the wedding day), I had no idea the complexities of male formalwear!  Cufflinks, pocket squares, cummerbunds, button covers!!  Ahhh!!  It was a little nutty over in the guy's dressing room.  I have a whole new respect for tuxedos and the men that have to wear them!! :)









The STUNNING Result!






The Girls!





The Boys!




The Whole Wedding Party - very traditional...


Mixing it up a little...


Not so Traditional!!!  "Run for your WIFE!!!" 




The Happy Couple!









The Ceremony







Look at that face!!! 








       These images are some of my absolute favorite.  The way Matt & Crystal laughed and talked and beamed at each other while they were putting each special item into this Keepsake Box just melted my heart!  The feeling conveyed in each of these photos is priceless!





Mr. & Mrs!!!!


Haha!!  SO Cute!!!





Party Time!!

Matt & Crystal's 1st dance - a beautifully choreographed elegant!



Father/Daughter and Mother/Son dances



The Crown Jewel of the reception - 

IRISH DANCING PERFORMANCES!! (Including appearances from the Bride, Groom, Maid of Honor, and flower girls!!)








Party ON!!!




Thank YOU Matt & Crystal for allowing me to share in your Wedding.  It was an honor!



(Venue: Cameron Estates Inn, Mount Joy, PA)

(Sally Belle Photography) Cameron Estates Lancaster PA Weddings Lancaster Wedding Photographer Mon, 28 Jul 2014 19:46:22 GMT
Veritas Academy's "Cheaper By The Dozen!"  

     I clearly remember the day my mother sat me down in our kitchen and said we needed to talk.  I was 14 or 15 years old.  "Priorities" she said.  "You need to decide what your priorities are! You simply cannot be in EVERYTHING!!"  Yup - I was one of those.  Field Hockey, Yearbook, Student Council, Choir, Youth Group, Church Choir... and now I wanted to try out for our school's production of Cheaper by the Dozen too!!  Did I remember that there was actual school work to do??   TOO MUCH!  TOO MUCH!!  

    So I sat there with my Mom and decided what to cut out and what to keep...but I was very clear in my mind - that the play was NOT going to be on the cut-list!  Well, as it turned out...I helped with makeup that year and other odds and ends.  Crew...not cast.  And that ended up being just right!  And as things have a tendancey to do... "Cheaper by the Dozen" came back around in my life.  This year, Veritas Academy performed this iconic bit of theater and I was overjoyed to be able to photograph it!  I invite you to enjoy these images as much I I did taking them, and as much as these students enjoyed making them!!



























(Sally Belle Photography) Thu, 05 Jun 2014 16:34:47 GMT
My Class of 2014!!    

       So I had my 20th Highschool reunion about 8 months ago.  TWENTY YEARS since I was a Senior in Highschool!!  In some ways, that doesn't seem possible, and in others, it really does feel like a lifetime ago.  But one thing I do remember very clearly is the mixed bag of emotions I felt as graduation approached.  Excitement. Nervousness. Bittersweetness. Relief.  There's a lot going on when you're on the cusp of a big transition in your life.  I think that may be one of the reasons I LOVE doing Senior Portraits so very much.  These kids are brimming with all the eagerness of that transitional time...they are creative, fun, and excited... and it shows!  Below is my "Class of 2014."  13 amazing Seniors that I was honored to be able to photograph at this pivotal moment in their lives.  (It was really hard only picking 3 images of each, because they are such unique, awesome kids...but I restrained myself!)  Enjoy!





















































I can't wait to see the places you go!


(Sally Belle Photography) Lancaster, PA Portraits Senior photographer pictures portrait senior Tue, 06 May 2014 00:20:23 GMT
James & Deborah - MARRIED!!      I had never photographed a March Wedding before... and I was nervous!  Was the weather going to be "lion-ish"  or "lamb-ish??"  And with the winter we had, it seemed unlikely to see a "lamb" in the forecast.  But the Lord was gracious to James and Deborah (and to me), for on March 15th, the Arrick and Rentschler families and many friends gathered on a BEAUTIFUL, 50+ degree, sun-filled day to witness the uniting of two hearts in matrimony.  A fairly large wedding party and LOTS of family gave me many opportunities to capture the love between all the people involved in James and Deborah's big day. Another standout of this day (one that I truly loved) was James and Deborah's "First Look..." the moment they chose to privately see each other for the first time before the ceremony.  So many memorable moments...  Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Rentschler!!



Some of Deborah's accessories, and the details that were so carefully planned to help make the day beautiful.
















Getting Ready!!

The beautiful Bride...






Their First Look... (love!)


Mom has a special prayer with Deborah before the ceremony...




Here comes the Bride!!!




Mr. & Mrs!!!!






































Congratulations James & Deborah!!



(Sally Belle Photography) Lancaster PA wedding photographer Tue, 22 Apr 2014 15:57:30 GMT
Camryn Turns ONE!!  

Camryn Turns ONE!!


I have three children of my own, and as a mother, I know I have a tendancy to be biased and think that my kids are just the cutest children ever to grace the planet… but this little munchkin is BEYOND ADORABLE!!!  Seriously THE cutest!!  I began photographing Miss Camryn when she was 2 weeks old and have had the honor of watching her grow over this year.  She is a super expressive, rosy cheeked little cherub of a baby and I have LOVED every session with her!  She's my 1st official "Baby Planner" to reach her 1st birthday and I am thrilled to share her session with you.





Looking forward to watching you grow over the next year and the years to come Camryn!


A quick look at Camryn's 1st year...

If you are interested in the "Baby Plan" click below for more info!



(Sally Belle Photography) Lancaster PA baby baby plan children's photographer portraits Tue, 12 Nov 2013 03:41:21 GMT
Carissa - Senior Portraits      Last Saturday I had the great joy of hanging out with the lovely Carissa Heine.  She is a Senior at Veritas Academy and it was really fun to get to know her a little better and capture some beautiful images of her for her Senior Portraits!  I have to say that doing Senior Portraits is quickly becoming one of my favorite things to do!  Those of you who are my age (ahem... my TWENTY year highschool reunion in in just a few weeks...) will remember that our Senior pictures were nothing like what the kids do today.  Who recalls a nice hand tucked under the chin or the super-suave jacket tossed over the shoulder??? (yuck!)  Anyway - these kids are truly wanting images that reflect who they are and what they love...and I LOVE that!  

     Carissa loves nutrition and really good food (she plans on studying nutrition in college!), and she is an extremely accomplished pianist.  Therefore we thought a trip downtown to Central Market might just be the ticket.  And since Lancaster is still doing the Keys for City program (where they placed several really cool pianos around the city for anyone to play & enjoy)...we got to combine both her loves into one amazing session!

     Here is a sampling of what we captured during our time together... ENJOY!



Too Gorgeous!!


I loved getting to be "a fly on the wall" and capturing Carissa as she wandered through Central Market!


Keys for the City!!  Such a fun idea and we made the most of it with this great old upright piano!


Thank you SO much Carissa!!  You are amazing! :)


(Sally Belle Photography) Wed, 11 Sep 2013 11:40:09 GMT
Gettin' my game on!     I think of my self primarily as a "lifestyle" photographer... capturing families, precious babies and kiddos, senior portraits and weddings!!  However, over the last couple of years, I've had the chance to photograph several fantastic sporting events, and I have discovered that I LOVE it!!  There is something so fun about capturing the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat! This post will feature some selected images from three events I was privileged to photograph this year.  

  • First, the American Birkebeiner (a cross country ski marathon in Northern Wisconsin) 
  • Second, the Turkey Hill Country Classic (a series of running and biking races held locally in Manor Township)
  • And third, The Battle at the Beach, a North American Grappling Assoc. tournament.  


Enjoy sports fans!



































(Sally Belle Photography) Lancaster PA Sports lifestyle photographer photos sports Fri, 09 Aug 2013 14:21:22 GMT
What I did on my Summer vacation... So I realized that I needed to take a summer "vay-cay" and chill a little more.  One of the ways I accomplished this was to take a break from blogging for a couple of months.  As much as I LOVE sharing with all of you, I knew that with my kiddos at home, I'd want to dedicate as much time to them as possible.  And, we even took and ACTUAL vacation this summer!!  (Those of you who know me, know that my family usually takes 2 weeks off in February to "vacation" in the frozen tundra of Northern Wisconsin!  But this year...Mama got a week in my favorite OCNJ... in the warm weather!!!  YAY!)

But with August just around the corner...I'm feeling the pull back to the blogosphere and I am super excited to share a wee bit of "what I did on my summer vacation!"  So, sit back, grab some coffee and enjoy...


First off... BABIES!!!!!  I was lucky enough to photograph a bunch of super cute little babies this summer.  Camryn, Alice & Annabelle...all around 6-8 months old around the time of their sessions.  And I have to say - I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that age!!  They are so expressive...little personalities just coming into bloom.  I could do this type of session ALL. DAY. LONG!








































Next... young love!  My very first engagement session.  And oh how I enjoyed it!  Crystal and Matt are getting married next June and we met this past June to capture their growing love.  Beautiful Historic Poole Forge set a beautiful stage as the sun just dripped all over these two.  Gorgeousness!





And lastly, while on our own vacation, I did a special photo shoot with my daughter Chloe.  She adores the beach, so we went out at dusk and she just played and frolicked in the waves.  Nothing better than capturing pure joy!  (And she's pretty cute too!)



Thanks for taking some time to scroll by... Looking forward to a busy August - being seeing you back here soon! :)

(Sally Belle Photography) Lancaster children's photographer Lancaster, PA wedding photographer engagement photos infant portraits Tue, 30 Jul 2013 20:17:56 GMT
Holly and Andrew - Married! May Weddings!!  I know ALL about them!  My own wedding was in the Month of May, (actually by the time I publish this, Keith & I will have just celebrated 16 years of wedded bliss!!)  All that to say... you never know what you're going to get with a May wedding...showers?? flowers?? both??  Holly and Andrew were married on Sat., May 11th and for them, it was all of the above!  The weather gave us some rain, some shine, some clouds, and some "well-rounded!" :)  

The first time I met this sweet couple was at our first consultation to discuss wedding photography.  We had a lovely dinner together and by the end of that meal, I felt that I had made new friends.  These two are so easy going and kind.  We laughed, shared stories, and planned out exactly what they wanted me to capture on their special day.  

When the day came, Andrew and Holly were great sports...willing to try out some fun ideas that really made the most of the weather we were given.  The wedding party was filled with close friends who were so obviously happy for their friends.  All around - a super fun group!  I know you'll enjoy looking through the images in this post as much as everyone involved with this wedding enjoyed being there!


getting pretty!

some details...



Holly and her ladies



Andrew and his guys!


The flower girl and ring bearer... (besides the bride, kids always steal the show!) :)


a Special moment for Andrew & Holly before the ceremony... together, but NO peeking!!


The big moment arrives... (after postponing for about a 1/2 hour due to an accident on I-83 keeping special guests delayed.)



One of my favorite moments in the day - when the groom sees his bride for the first time!!



Would you believe the sun appeared just as the ceremony was ending making it possible to get these beautiful portraits outside!


Let's get this party started!

So... the rain reappeared!!  The reception was held at the Elstonville Sportsman's Club and the gathered guests were sheltered under a large pavilion.  However, some could not resist enjoying a little frolicking in the rain!  And who could blame them?  

Congratulations to this beautiful couple!  It was truly my pleasure and honor to be able to capture these memories of your day!



(Sally Belle Photography) Thu, 30 May 2013 19:04:44 GMT
Haley - Senior Portraits      I was looking for flip-flops for my girls.  They both started begging for them at the first sign of warmer weather a few weeks ago.  So I went into this adorable little shop called "Re-runs 4 Little Ones," and I found the cutest pair for each girl!  I brought them up to counter to check out and ended up having a lovely conversation with the owner, Stephanie.  Turns out, her daughter Haley needed Senior pictures done...and quick!  After chatting for a while we decided to set it up.  

     Haley called me and we decided to shoot some of her session at the train station and the rest downtown!  I LOVED the idea and was so excited!!  We met on Saturday afternoon (which was a beautiful day) and had so much fun together!!  Haley is a gorgeous young lady, but her inner beauty shines through just as strongly.  She is kind, sensitive and has a smile that brightens all the space around her!   She was a true pleasure to work with!


Haley - Senior Portraits



























(Sally Belle Photography) Mon, 22 Apr 2013 13:06:45 GMT
My humble opinion - A Stylized Shoot = a great big HOOT!! SO we were in the middle of repainting and recarpeting our ENTIRE house!!  If you are guessing that this was mostly my husband's big idea, you would be right.  I, however, was plenty willing to go along.  So it's a lovely Saturday in March and we decide it's time to get crackin' - ripping up carpet and slapping on paint.  One problem.  My early bird hubby wanted to get at it right away and I had other plans.  

My sweet friends at "Lancaster Vintage, Household & Furniture" were holding their first big sale starting at 7am.  I HAD to go!  I just knew there was going to be treasure(s) there waiting for me to find.  Herein lay the problem... treasure hunting at a "glorified garage sale" (his thoughts) did not supercede "house project" in order of importance!  To his enduring credit, he volunteered to start without me, and off I went!

The sale did not disappoint!  Among the treasures I found were an old Holga camera (YAY!!), a vintage child's pull toy (horsey shaped), and my crown jewel... a kid's size, bright blue vintage suitcase.  SCORE!!  As soon as I saw it, I knew it would star in an upcoming shoot.  I have been wanting to bring my daughter, Bella, out on a shoot and get some updated ("5 year old") photos of her, and the ideas started spinning around this fantastic piece.

I told Bella we were going on a field trip... pics at the Train Station and then a trip to Sweet Frog!!  All I had to say was Sweet Frog and the deal was sealed!  We made our way out to the Lancaster Train Station yesterday and had an absolute ball!  It was the most fun shoot ever!!  All I can say is, if anyone is interested in doing this type of shoot for their child...please let me know!!  I LOVED IT!  I truly believe an image can be powerful, and when you add then element of "story" to it... it becomes art!  You can look at Bella's images below and create your own story... where is she going?  what is she thinking?  what's in the case?  Endless fun!!  I truly hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taking them!











(Sally Belle Photography) Thu, 11 Apr 2013 15:25:54 GMT
The Johnson Family!  

     Nancy Johnson wanted something very special for her birthday this year... a real family portrait!  And her wish came true!  A couple of Saturdays ago, Nancy, her husband Jim, son Jeff, daughter-in-law Juli and 2 adorable grandkids joined me at the Lancaster Train Station for a really unique family session. 

     Busy travellers milling about, the sounds of the tracks, all the noise of the day going on around us - but we were focused!  Focused on capturing the love of this tight knit family unit.  Jeff and Juli have 2 children, Sophia, (age 3) and Ajay (a few months shy of his 1st birthday!)  And well... they are just a stunningly beautiful family!!  The kids are curious and fun and my hope is that the images below capture that quality!  Also, I believe you'll see how lovingly involved Grandma and Grandpa are in their lives!  I hope you enjoy seeing this selection of their images as much as I enjoyed taking them!








(Sally Belle Photography) Mon, 25 Mar 2013 20:33:43 GMT
The American Birkebeiner 2013 - 40th Anniversary!!      Disclaimer!  This post is a BIG ONE!!  As many of you know, my family & I go on an annual trek out to the North Woods of Wisconsin each year in February.  My father-in-law started doing this cross country ski marathon, called the "American Birkebeiner" back in the late 90's, and about 5 years ago my husband Keith decided to go out and do it with him!  

     The story of that 1st "Birkie" trip is lengendary, and perhaps someday I will post about it...(suffice it to say, our 3rd child, Bella, was 2 months old, the older 2 kids got totally sick the day we arrived, enter a blizzard, husband leaves to go "up north" with his Dad...leaving me with the infant and sick children, got lost driving up north, once at the remote cabin, our middle daughter throws up in her sleeping bag, drive 2 hours away to laundromat to clean aforementioned sleeping bag, sub-zero temps, and virtually no sleep, due to aforementioned infant daughter...   you get the picture!)  

     ANYWAY - subsequent years have greatly improved and this year was by far the BEST!  All three of our kids participated in the Barnebirkie (the kids races), and I got an unprecedented opportunity to photograph many of the events that took place during the 3 days of this amazing event.  The images below represent my attempt at a photo essay encapsulating this very special year - the 40th Anniversary of the American Birkebeiner!  I truly hope it gives you all a feel for this unique race.  The sense of community that can be felt during an event that includes literally thousands of people is hard to explain, but I believe these images may give you a sense of it.  At least, That what I'm hoping for!


The Barnebirkie - kids races 1K, 3K and 5K


Our Son, Caleb.  His first year doing the skate skiing rather than the classic!  He loved it and did very well in his race.  There were over 1100 kids skiing the Barnie, and probably 400 or so doing the 3K (which is what Caleb did).  He came in among the top 20 in his race. Not too shabby buddy!!



A gorgeous sunny day in Hayward.


Oh my cute are these twins?!!


Something really special... you'll notice in the images below: there are several handicapped kids who did the Barnebirkie in sit-skis!  Super inspiring!!

The Hayward Highschool Cross Country Ski team always skiis the flags representing all the countries out at the beginning of the Barnebirkie.

LOTS of mini Birkebeiners...and the official Birkebeiners and Queen Inga (Prince Haakon's mother) played this year by 

Chris Lawn, Tom Lawn, and Lori House

here's a little note about the legend that is the basis for the Birkebeiner:

The Birkie was named after the Norwegian Birkebeinerrennet, which commemorates an important historical event. In 1206 a group of Birkebeiner party soldiers, who fought for Sverre Sigurdsson and his descendants in the Norwegian civil war, smuggled the illegitimate son of Norway's King Håkon Sverresson from Lillehammer to safety in Trondheim. In the Norwegian Birkie, skiers still carry packs symbolizing the weight of an 18-month-old child. The packs also contain extra food, clothing and survival gear to protect against unexpected weather changes in the harsh sub-Arctic mountains that the skiers cross during the race.


plenty of colorful outfits!



My girls...coming in to the finish line!!






The Elite Sprints:This is an event I have never watched in previous years.  We normally leave right after the Barnebirkie.  But this year, I stayed in town on my own and had the chance to see these world class athletes compete! Below is an image of Caitlin Compton Gregg...winner of last years Birkie (for the women), and yes - winner of this year's too!!  She won this year's with a time of 2:28.56.  Amazing!  She came in 3rd in the Sprints featured below and is just an overall amazing competitor.

Martina Stursova...second place finisher for the women.

Some really tight races. These were so exciting to watch!!





The Giant Ski.  Again, an event I had never had the joy of seeing before.  And may I just say - HILARIOUS!!  The idea here as you will see, is to have a team of 4-6 people, all strapped in to 2 GIANT skis!  Working together as a team, they move the skis forward and race against other teams.  Let's just say, not much time goes by before someone is falling down.  And heaven forbid it's the poor soul on the back of the skis...'cause it might be a while before the rest of the team realizes, and're being dragged down Main Street!!  Ahhh...good Nordic FUN!






The Nikkerbeiner

I do believe this was the first year for this particular event.  And if anyone cares about my opinion - it was MY FAVORITE!!!  The idea here was to have folks come out dressed in the old-time ski apparel: nikkers and colorful sweaters, and the like.  Also, you had to ski on the old wooden skis.  No fancy Salomon or Swix here, thank you!  Well, seeing as it was the 1st year, I heard organizers feared a low turn out.  But in typical Nordic fashion, scads of folks came out clad in the most fantastic outfits, ready for 5K worth of a great time!! Check them out!


Queen Inga came out to join the Nikkerbeiners!

And here, perhaps my favorite moment of all...As this adorable gentleman crossed the finish line, the announcer introduced him: George Hovland, Jr.  He represented our country in the 1952 Olympic Games in Oslo, Norway!!

 He is a four-time Central USSA four-event champion (jumping, cross-country, slalom, and downhill) He has completed in every Birkebeiner with the exception of the first one. and has been the age group winner approximately ten times!  

And - he is 88 years old.


Everyone gathered around George and wanted to shake his hand, pose for pictures, etc.  He could not have been more gracious!  The top image below, I believe, is his wife. Salt of the earth!!

The Opening Ceremonies and Torch Lighting




The 40th Annual American Birkebeiner,(50K Skate, 54K Classic)

Kortelopet,(26K) and Prince Haakon (12K) 

Cross country Ski Races


Telemark Lodge.  This is where it all begins.  You drive to Telemark and PRAY you get into one of the parking lots.  From there you hop on big yellow school buses and get bused up to the lodge.  Not done yet.  Disembark the buses and you still have a 20 minute hike to the start line.  All I can say is Thank you was 28 degrees this year.  Last time I did this - it was 12 below!!  Yeah - BELOW.  For a girl who serious dislikes the cold - that was not fun!

hiking to the Start...

What a cute little trooper!




The Start Line!  We got here just in the nick of time.  I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off for about 5 minutes until I finally found Keith who was about ready to take off.  The skiers go off in waves.  He was in the 4th wave.  The 3rd had already left and there were literally minutes left to go when this pic was taken!

running up to his spot... skis get on...last minute adjustments... and they're gone!

At this point, I'm waiting for my brother-in-law, Jason, to go.  He raced in the Prince Haakon race...a 12K.  There's about an hour between Keith's departure and his, so I just hung out at the start line and captured the following images - a real "slice of life" of the Birkie!  All ages, shapes, sizes... it's AWESOME!



Simply Stunning!!  Mystifying.  His bib is a Birkie bib...the full 50k. And he has one arm.  I am in awe!

The "Gatekeeper," so to speak.  He stood at the opening to the start line letting skiers in, but was very sweet to let me go in and kiss my hubby before he left!  Thanks Guy in the Awesome hat!!

Jason's turn!  My niece, Hannah, carries her Dad's skis for him. The Hannah and Chloe ran to the announcers table and gave him a sweet send off over the loud speaker!



The Finish!  Just imagine.  15,000 spectators lining both sides of small town Main Street in Hayward.  Hundreds of cowbells ringing...lots of cheering..absolute craziness! :)


Here's the thing about the finish that is so great... just like at the start line, you really see all kinds.  And you see their stories.  The "Birch-leggers" who've been doing it for 30 years, the mother who just gave birth 6 months ago and carries her babe across the finish, the paraplegic who muscles his way across the line on his sit-ski.  It's moving.  Inspiring.  Wonderful!

Top image - my father-in-law, Gerry...coming in for the finish!!




The American Birkebeiner 2013

40 years Strong!

I hope you enjoyed this photo essay as much as I enjoyed creating it!

(Sally Belle Photography) Sat, 02 Mar 2013 19:08:16 GMT
Heidi Shannon - headshots!  

I posted this on my Facebook page on Wednesday:


"For those of you who know know that I LOVE my business, but that right now it is pretty low key. I work in natural light, outdoors...or (in the winter) out of my home. I don't have a studio... but it works for my lifestyle. For example - today I am taking headshots of an absolutely GORGEOUS lady...and she's bringing her 2 sweet daughters along to play with Bella. 

Who else gets a job and a playdate all rolled into one?"


Well...all I can say is, I love my job!  Heidi Shannon stopped my house on Wednesday morning with daughters, Ella and Laiyla.  And it was just delightful!  Bella and the girls had a great time playing Barbies with some occasional "Nemo" watching in the background.  Meanwhile Heidi and I laughed, & chatted about motherhood, Trader Joes, and of course...the reason she was here - headshots.  Heidi is a gorgeous woman with a soprano voice to match her God-given beauty.  She often performs with Lancaster Opera and various other outlets.  As such, she needed an updated headshot for upcoming performances.  I was more than happy to oblige!  Heidi is as lovely inside as she is outside and I truly see that shining through everyone of these images!



Simply Stunning!  Thank you Heidi for a wonderful session!

(Sally Belle Photography) Fri, 25 Jan 2013 15:15:50 GMT
Headshots Baby!!     When I started out on this photography business journey...I envisioned working with families, children and brides & grooms!  All lovely!  However, one area of my business that I did not anticipate or dream about was "Headshots."  I'm not sure why headshots weren't included in my vision...but I am so happy they've found their way into my portfolio!  My brother is a professional actor, and my mother has been involved in local theater for as long as I can remember.  The world of actors has always been one I loved sitting on the periphery of...watching as they work their magic.  So in retrospect, it seems completely natural for me to want to work these wonderful folks!  But as I opened my door to headshots, I realized that it is not only actors/performers who need this service.  Professionals of all sorts need polished headshots for myriads of purposes...from websites, to marketing tools, etc.  

    This week, I had the chance to work with two great people...first, an actor; Mr. Jeff Hackenberger.  Jeff was a dedicated music teacher in the Eastern Lancaster County School District, and often participated in local theater.  Now in retirement he is pursuing acting in full force.  Having had experience doing commercials and film, he is looking to expand on these accomplishments!  Jeff was a pleasure to work with and a man of great talent.  I believe his headshots tell the story!

    And the other session this week was with a professional.  This particular client was easy to book and a JOY to work with.  Not to bad to look at either!  (take it easy... he's my HUSBAND!!)  Yes...we have been saying for years that Keith needed to update his headshot.  He had one done when he first opened his business...(in 1992!!!)  We've been putting it off for too long and even though the weather is no longer nice enough for a natural light, outdoor session, I think we made it work inside.  My opinion is OBVIOUSLY biased...but I think he looks pretty darn handsome!

    Before I post some pictures of these two fellas for you... I just want to conclude by saying, shooting headshots has quickly become a favorite for me!  In all of my photography, I truly love to capture people as they are.  true. organic. real.  Shooting headshots is much more intimate and calls for my subjects to be feel relaxed and be open.  When that happens, what you see in their eyes and expressions is powerful...and that's why I love it!


Mr. Jeff Hackenberger










Dr. Keith Krueger





(Sally Belle Photography) Mon, 21 Jan 2013 13:44:08 GMT
The "Baby Plan!"      So, if you know me, you know - I LOVE babies!!!  I had the privilege of doing several infant shoots last year and just fell in love.  So naturally I'm trying to think of how I can do more and more of these shoots.  A girl has to get her baby fix in somewhere, and once a month in the infant nursery at church just isn't cutting it!  


     As I thought about it, I looked back on my own life as a mom of 3 babes.  I thought about how important it was to me to capture their first year.  Of course I was taking snapshots all the time..."look he's rolling over, look he's eating peas, look she's got the craziest bed-head hair this morning!' snap - snap- snap...  And I treasure those shots.  But I also made it a point to have professional images done at the milestone marks throughout that 1st year.  However, when I got photos of my children, I didn't know anyone who did the personalized, non-studio-look type images.  I just went to Penney's, or Walmart and got the standard blue background.  (kind of boring.)  But you know what - I still love those images, because they recorded a moment in each of my children's babyhood that I treasure.  And let's be honest mom's... (especially moms with more than one kiddo), that time goes by so quickly and it is EASY to forget what they were like!  


So here is my Win-Win plan.  A "Baby Plan" for the first year of your little bundle's life.  But when you choose Sally Belle Photography, you get a personalized, custom session at each of the milestones:


  • "newborn" (within the 1st 2 weeks of life)
  • "sitting" (somewhere around 6-8 months old)
  • "1st birthday" - (can do a regular session here or a "cake smash!" which is basically a nearly naked baby going to town on a little birthday cake just for them!)


     And here is what makes the plan really win-win!  My normal session fee is $150 and includes a DVD containing your images for your personal use.  If you were to book these three baby sessions individually, the total over that year would be $450.  But if you purchase "The Baby Plan" you save $100!!!  The Baby Plan is specially discounted at $350 and still includes your DVD of images.  I will spend as much time with your little one as we need to create beautiful, treasured images and I promise...we'll have fun! 


     So Moms, and Moms-to-be... keep the Baby Plan in mind!  Or perhaps your kids are past the baby years, but you have friends or family that may be interested in the Baby Plan...feel free to pass it on!


A few images from last years sweet babies!





(Sally Belle Photography) Mon, 07 Jan 2013 13:16:32 GMT
The LaSala Family!      One of the reasons I LOVE my job, is the fact that I get to capture moments for people that they will look back on in the coming years, and those heartstrings will be pulled, smiles will crop up...perhaps there may even be some tears.  Memories.  Family.  Togetherness.  That's what it is about!  And this past weekend I was so privileged to be able to do that for the sweet, tight-knit LaSala family!  Last weekend was one of the only times in recent memory and perhaps in the near future where the entire clan would be together.  One daughter, Meredith, and her husband Jeff are both in the Navy and are often far from home.  Another daughter, Morgan is in college and therefore also far flung!  So family portraits capturing this very moment of togetherness were of utmost importance!  

     The location they chose...also incredibly meaningful.  We shot at the Shuts Environmental Library in Lancaster County Park.  It is a place where this family spent a lot of time during their childhood years.  As a homeschooling family, they took advantage of the many fantastic programs offered at the Library and have loads of happy childhood memories it was only fitting!

     From the moment I started the session, it was obvious how much these people loved one another, and how very much they enjoyed being together.  You have only to look at these images and you'll see it!  And to top it off...there was a BABY!!!  A super adorable little 8 month old - Gracie Mae!  Needless to say I had fun, and I hope you will too as you look through this collection of images of the LaSala Family!!



(Sally Belle Photography) Wed, 19 Dec 2012 13:19:04 GMT
"Baby" Joy to the World!      It was an early Christmas gift for me last Thursday!!  I got to do another newborn shoot....and you know how I LOVE babies!!!  This shoot was such fun.  Sweet baby Camryn is 2 weeks old, and as cute as can be.  Her charming big brother and adorable big sister joined in the session so we could capture some portraits of all three kids as well. I set the stage with a Christmas theme to start and we really had a ball! (no pun intended).  

     Part of what I love about newborn shoots is the fact that the babies don't always cooperate.  I know  that sounds weird, but stay with me.  A fussy babe means I get to hold and cuddle them!!  Yup!  Lots of sweet snuggle time!  I get my baby fix and everybody's happy! :)  Camryn was truly an angel... but you decide as you watch this special slideshow I put together of all the sweet images we captured.  Thank you so much to this fabulous family for a very special afternoon!


(Sally Belle Photography) Tue, 04 Dec 2012 21:10:55 GMT
Stef and Evan: MARRIED!!!      This is a very special blog post!  It has been a while in coming, but I am thrilled to be able to post about Stefanie and Evan
Yoder's beautiful wedding day.  This couple embodies joy and sweetness.  Their deep friendship, a bond that undergirds their love, is so evident whenever you are with them.  And it was on full display the day they wed.  Their first look, (a tender moment they shared alone before all the hub-bub began) was a perfect example... there were smiles, hugs, and then a LOT of laughter!!  In fact Stef's completely contagious laugh made many appearances throughout the day!  And it truly set the tone for one of the most FUN weddings I've ever been a part of.

     For me personally, this wedding was also special... as it was my first.  My first.  Stef and Evan gave me their trust and the unparalleled opportunity to step into the world of wedding photography by choosing me to shoot their big day!  I will be forever grateful!!

    Now, I am almost done ruminating, so we can get to the photos...but before I conclude, I need to mention just a few more people!  First, Stef and Evan's fabulous family & friends... you ALL made the day so easy, and SO much fun!!  Cindy Wilson, who was their wedding coordinator...thank you!! You and your "Mary Poppins" purse containing everything you may need in any eventuality saved me when my tripod broke RIGHT before the ceremony began.  You rock!!!  And Mary Neumann, my amazing second shooter - you know I could NOT have done this without you!  Thank you all from the bottom of my heart!

    Ok - now for the fun...  Stef & Evan: Married!!



The details...






Getting Pretty!!





















the flowers...





the Dress...




getting dressed...




Stef and Evan's first look... (one of my favorite moments of the day!!)




the families...



the Wedding Party...




a few great moments...caught!



flower cuties and ring bearing munchkins!




An absolutely glowing Bride!



the moment we've all been waiting for...



Man. and. Wife!!!




A special portrait session for the Bride and Groom after the ceremony at the Beautiful SIlverstone Inn.





And now... for the PARTY!!!






Stef and Evan... I have no words!! Except - thank you!!  You are the best!



(Sally Belle Photography) Thu, 29 Nov 2012 13:09:22 GMT
The Archibald Family      Saturday was an absolutely perfect day...the kind of fall-ish weather you just revel in!  I was so thankful for it because I was meeting the Archibald family at the Ephrata Park, and conditions couldn't have been better.  Emily & Chuck are the proud parents of two of the most animated and fun-loving little girls I've ever had the pleasure of working with.  This family took a stroll with me around the park and we stopped occasionally to capture the moment.  The girls were easy going and exuberant!  Olivia, (5) was a natural in front of the camera and came up with some awesome ideas for me!! And little Susan, (3) was MOST of my favorite images is of her hugging her big sister...(quite ferociously!!)  The resulting images below reflect the great time we all had together!  Thank you Archibalds for all the FUN!!


(Sally Belle Photography) Mon, 19 Nov 2012 12:31:18 GMT
The Stike Family Last Saturday was indeed a busy day.  I usually don't schedule two shoots on the same day, but with the weather growing colder and the Holidays growing closer... the need to get family portraits done sooner rather than later is great!  So, I met the "adorable" Stike family at Willow Valley on Saturday afternoon!  I had mapped out all the pretty spots I wanted to shoot and was getting all set when a kindly older gentlemen politely told me I was "too close" to the golf course and would need to move.  



Time to enact plan B!  The Stikes arrived and we set up... in the parking lot!  There was an amazing rock wall surrounding the parking lot and it worked perfectly as a plan B!  We got going shooting family pics, but then... poor little Chloe Stike fell down in the aforementioned parking lot and got a huge goose egg right in the middle of her sweet little forehead!!  

Double Bummer!!


She was a trooper and carried on bravely as we enacted...plan C!  A move to the nearby playground!  This turned out to be just the ticket as the kids played and I was able to sneak around (well...sneaking with a large zoom lens isn't super sneaky...but I digress) and capture happy moments at play!

Now, thanks to the wonders of photoshop... I am happy to present a selection of the Stike Family photos (minus a large red boo-boo on little Chloe!!)








(Sally Belle Photography) Fri, 16 Nov 2012 14:45:13 GMT
The Calkins Family     Three months ago I had the privilege of doing a session with 18 month old Isla Calkins, and this past Saturday, I got to have the whole Calkins family in front of my lens!  Andrea and Dave are the proud parents of 5 great kids, all of whom Andrea diligently homeschools.  One of the things I love about large families is the fact that each little person is unique... different personalities, different ways of expressing themselves.  That was on full display with the Calkins clan.  There was the quiet and sweet oldest brother, the spunky daughter sandwiched between a bunch of boys, the super expressive one, the stoic, and the baby with a mind all her own!  I loved being able to capture each one!!  I hope you enjoy this sneak peek of this beautiful family!

(Sally Belle Photography) Mon, 12 Nov 2012 18:50:48 GMT
Little Lottie      I'm not saying I feel old or anything, but when someone who used to be in the youth group where you were a youth leader calls you to photograph her 6 month old baby...  well...  at least I'm young at heart, right?!!!  :)  And how could i feel anything but happy when I get to go take photographs of such a cute little munchkin!! 

     Matt & Katie Strohecker and their sweet little Lottie invited me to their home last Saturday and we spent an hour doing cartwheels, jingling keys, jumping all around trying to get Lottie to smile.  I do believe she was enjoying every minute ("those silly people!...what ARE they doing?")  However, she did  smile ever so big every time her mama came into view...(which is as it should be!) 

     Katie had put a ton of thought and time into choosing Lottie's outfits and relaying to me the type of pictures she was looking for, and her effort truly paid off!  I've selected several photos from our session to share... ENJOY!!


(Sally Belle Photography) Tue, 09 Oct 2012 17:08:39 GMT
"I'm ready for my Close-up!"  

     My mom was always involved in local theater when I was a kid.  She did everything from large scale musicals at the Fulton Opera House, to cutting edge plays at the Ephrata Playhouse.  I used to hang around during rehearsals and just watch the magic unfold.  I love the theater, and I even tried my hand at it in highschool, however the role of "Ida Boothby" in "Meet Me in St. Louis" was the highest role to which I ever rose!  (I think I had one line... the kind you practice over and over, changing inflection on each different word.  Yeah. That was me.)  My brother on the other hand, did inherit the acting gene and he's been out in LA making his way for the last 10 years!  I'm so proud of him!!

     SO, all that to say...I love actors!  And this week, I had a very special opportunity to work with an up and coming young actor named Alex Bannon.  Alex has the great good fortune to have figured out what he wants to do "when he's grown up."  He's been active in theater all his life and when thinking of choosing a career, it seemed fairly obvious that he would choose to act.  I feel honored that he asked me to take his headshots.  He's charming and sweet and I wish him all the best in his chosen path! 


    Below are just a sampling of the many faces of Alex Bannon!


(Sally Belle Photography) Fri, 05 Oct 2012 20:21:26 GMT
The Bender Family... A Lady & her Gentlemen!!      It had been a decade.  Or maybe more.   According to Wilma Bender, there had not been a portrait taken of her family in at least ten years.  And a lot tends to change in 10 years!  The Benders are a fun, amazing family and it was my pleasure to help them get the photos on their walls up to date.  Wilma and Tim have 3 sons...Clayton, Owen, and the youngest little guy, Seth coming along as a surprise 4 years ago!  All 3 boys are complete gentlemen: sweet, polite, and easy going. Photographing this family was not only a delight, it was a lot of fun. 


     As I was going through the images to include in this post, I couldn't stop myself from choosing just one more.  There is so much love and joy that comes through when this family is together, I just wanted to share all of it.  So there are a good many more pictures in this post than I normally share in a "sneak peek," but I figure...those of you who know the Benders won't mind that at all!








Bender men?  or the hottest new band?  :)






I have never seen a boy so happy to get a pumpkin!  Such a sweet heart!






I love this one!!


Thank you Bender family!  You guys were so much fun!




(Sally Belle Photography) Mon, 01 Oct 2012 17:50:56 GMT
The Myers & the Musslemans!      Let's just all agree right now that this past Sunday was the most GORGEOUS day in recent memory.  I mean...crisp air, BLUE sky, big white puffy clouds.  It was so beautiful, I kept thanking The Lord for it over and over throughout the day.  And not just because I had a shoot that evening.  But because it reminded me of HIS goodness.  To delight his children with a perfect day!  It seems like a small thing, yet it really filled me with such gratitude!

     And I believe the Myers and Mussleman family were grateful as well.  Stephanie and Dean Myers live on a local horse farm in New Holland, and Stephanie's mother and father, the Mussleman's live on the property as well.  The evening's shoot was to capture this sweet family in their element...on their farm!

     I reveled in the glowing sun as we traipsed around the beautiful property getting all sorts of fun images.  We even ended the evening with a trampoline show put on by 7 year old Madison and 11 year old Tate!  Now that is something I don't get to see on every shoot!  Thanks Myers family for a great time!!

Below are a handful of images for you to enjoy!


I just LOVE this one!!  You guys are awesome!


Daddy's girl!



What a handsome group!






 Tate...such a grown up fella!



 A happy girl after she finished her awesome jumps on the trampoline!!



(Sally Belle Photography) Tue, 25 Sep 2012 16:48:45 GMT
The Gibsons & the Gift of "Tim!"     Saturday...was a banner day for me!!

    It started with a photo session with the Gibson family.  Sarah (Oblender) Gibson and I went to highschool together.  Her sweet mother ("Mrs. O") was my highschool Spanish teacher.  We've known each other for years.  However I had never had the pleasure of meeting her husband, Chuck, and their four ADORABLE children.  (When you see their photos, you'll understand the need for capital letters!) 

    But Saturday changed all that.  The forecast was not good and the view of the sky while I drank my morning coffee was... well...scary!  But God is so good to us and as I drove to the shoot, the clouds parted, the sun peeked out, and sprinkled light all over our chosen location.  I met the Gibsons in the morning and we spent a delightful hour frolicking around Judy Goodhart's wondrous yard...(thank you Judy!!)  It is truly a wonderland for children and adults alike, and the images we captured there were so much fun.

    I was overflowing.  For a photographer, a shoot like that, the weather just doesn't get much better. 

    Little did I know how much better it would get!  :)  For those of you who know me, you know my birthday is in a week or so.  AND if you know my husband, you know that if he gets me a gift...he is TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY unable to keep it until the day!  He gets it in his hot little hands and he is compelled to give it!  (I happen to love that quality in him!)  Well this year, he planned ahead and I'll save you the suspense... He sent me and my two best girlfriends to see TIM HAWKINS Rock Show Comedy Tour!!  I mean... BEST. NIGHT. EVER!!  If you are not familiar with the comdey stylings of Tim Hawkins, I have taken the liberty of including 2 awesome clips in this post.  You can thank me later.


    First though... some images from the darling Gibson family!



And now for some "Tim!"


(Sally Belle Photography) Tue, 11 Sep 2012 12:49:45 GMT
Firsts & Festivities!     This seems to be my year for "firsts" and I am truly grateful for that!  Since starting my business last Fall, each new job seems to be a chance to flex my photography muscles and learn something new.   I am EVER so grateful for amazing clients (and friends!), who have trusted me enough to allow me to have my "firsts" with them.  From photographing families to parties to sporting events to infants... the growth this year has brought has been huge!  

    And a couple of weeks ago, another first!  An outdoor wedding reception for a dear friend...a long, lost friend...from Junior High!  My dear friend, Nicole and her wonderful husband Steve married in June in Virginia, where they now live.  However, they wanted to come home to Lancaster County to have a big celebration with their family and friends.  The reception was held at the Dombach family absolutely gorgeous property in Lancaster!  Nicole and Steve along with many "helpers" went all out to prepare both a beautiful and meaningful evening for all who attended.  From the decor to the food, to the evening's entertainment (personal performances from loved ones)... this night could not have been more special.  I was honored down to my toes to be a part of it!! 

   Below are some photos which tell the story better than I could! 

*Special thanks to event coordinator, Lori Hempfill of "The Perfect Plan"




(Sally Belle Photography) Wed, 05 Sep 2012 14:53:30 GMT
Smiles & Spontaneity I'm going to start this post with a confession.  I LOOOVE alliteration!  If you've read my past few posts, you've probably noticed this in my titles.  I can't help myself.  I try to stop, but it just keeps working out so nicely!  This week for instance - "Smiles & Spontaneity."  (Such a nice ring to it, don't you think?)  And well, it sums up my thoughts exactly.

Last week I did 2 photo sessions.  One was "spontaneous" and the other planned.  The spur of the moment was of course with my own children.  I posted about it on Facebook last week:

I have learned over this last year, that sometimes... my favorite shots come from catching a moment, and NOT from tons of planning and staging. My girls were outside on a typical Sat. afternoon...climbing the neighbors tree (as is their recent custom!!) :)  I just whipped out the camera and started shooting and I am so happy with the result. I wasn't stressed out - they weren't stressed out. We were just having fun!! And enjoying the moment!  Now I have updated portraits to decorate their room with... and... they still like me!!!


I had so much fun with my girls, just catching them in the moment.  All too often, as moms, I think we get so stressed out preparing our kids to have their pictures taken.  Hours picking the outfits, fights over the hair-do's, anxiety over them getting their picture-ready clothes dirty before the shoot...  Ugh!  I've done that SOOO many times.  This, may I say, was much more preferable!!  Lesson learned!


The second shoot was with an adorable little 18 month old named Isla; {pronounced eye-la}.  (Don't you love that name?)  She has 4 older brothers and sisters and as the baby of this family...she has a strong personality and knows her own mind.  She toddled all over the garden where we shot the photos and had lots of ideas of what she wanted to do.  However, those ideas did not include smiling for my camera!! :)  What I learned through this shoot however was two-fold.  A.)  You can create beautiful images that don't necessarily include a smile.  And, if you're patient, and maybe a little might find a smile at just the right moment too!  Lesson learned!


It was a good week for lessons!!


Some photos from both shoots...


My girlies...





Sweet Little Isla!








there it is!!








(Sally Belle Photography) Mon, 20 Aug 2012 14:42:38 GMT
Humidity & Happenstance!      So...if you live in Lancaster County, you know!  You know that it has been ONE HOT SUMMER!!  And our little corner of the globe gets ridiculously humid.  "It's like a SAUNA out there!"  So, in an effort to keep the kiddos in good spirits (and hopefully their Mama too...), we got a family membership to our local pool for the summer.  All I can say is - lifesaver!!  It has been a huge blessing to be able to head over to the cool, clear waters and colorful slides & fountains of the Ephrata Community Pool.  And just last week I encountered another blessing at our beloved Pool in the form of pure happenstance...

    I'll give a teeny bit of backstory.  Several years back (at this very same pool), I struck up a sweet friendship with a mom, "Jen," who was also sitting by the baby pool watching her wee ones splash about. Turns out, this delightful lady was a missionary, home on furlough.  We met up at the pool several times throughout that summer and since then have kept in touch through Facebook. 

    Last week, at this self-same pool, (for whatever weird reason), I saw a lady who reminded me of Jen.  I approached her and asked if she was maybe related to my friend.  It could've been one of those awkward moments where you are just way off base and the person kindly says..."No."  But amazingly...she was Jen's sister-in-law, Sara!!  We began to talk, and discovered our children went to the same school.  We chatted some more and she told me she was the leader of this string quintet called "Vivace Strings!"  "I know Vivace Strings!!," said I!  One of the sweet higschool girls that rides the bus with my children is in that group!!

    Vivace Strings is this amazingly talented group of women.  They play for events of all kinds, including weddings!  Since I am photographing my first wedding this fall, I was really excited to talk to Sara about her experiences playing weddings and how she advertises the group, etc.  I am looking to expand into wedding photography more in the next year, so talking with someone who works weddings so frequently was SUCH a blessing! She was extremely helpful and kind.  We excitedly chattered on with each other until a few dark thunderclouds had the audacity to interupt us, and send all the pool-goers fleeing for their cars.  But what a "Happy Happenstance!"  Thank you humidity, thank you Ephrata Pool, and thank you Lord, for giving me the opportunity to meet Sara!


 If you need a string quintet, please check out their website:


Just for are a few photos from the Bridal Shower of my first Bride.  Stef & Even get married this October and this past May, I had the pleasure of capturing this first step toward her wedding day!




(Sally Belle Photography) Mon, 06 Aug 2012 12:58:27 GMT
Infants & Insecurity!    So... I said I wanted this blog to be a place where I can share my heart.  In an effort to do that, I thought it might be appropriate to tell you a little bit about my last photo shoot.  It was with an ADORABLE little guy named Kellen.  He is 2 weeks old and just the cutest thing EVER!!  Two days before Kellen's shoot, I did my first session with a baby, (Jessika, 7 weeks old...another bundle of cuteness!).  But Kellen was the first true "newborn" session I had done.  I was nervous.  I love little babies, but it's been 4 1/2 years since my youngest daughter was born. 

   I went into the session very excited, but also...a bit insecure.  Was I going to be able to do this?  I honestly wasn't sure.  And to top it off, I have been feeling very strongly lately that I need to shoot in Manual Mode.  I need to know that I can be in control of the settings and decisions I'm making during a shoot, rather than relying on my admittedly AMAZING camera to think for me.  I had determined that this would be the shoot where I would step out and do it... on my own.

   Well... I am happy to say that Kellen's shoot was a great success!!  It wasn't perfect.  But what shoot is?  And who learns from a perfect shoot?  Kellen pee'd all over the place after the first 2 seconds we laid him down on the set.  No worries.  That's what wipes and new props are for!  He fussed. settled. fussed some more. burped. settled...and on we went!  It was perfect!  And as far as me and my camera went... well, I certainly made some mistakes...but then corrected them and moved on.  And when I got home, and started to cull and edit the images, I found that there was so much LESS to do.  They didn't need nearly as much editing.  I was amazed.  Literally amazed!   

   So I guess...all that to say...THANK YOU!  I am so grateful to all the photographers I love out there...blogs I follow, tutorials, seminars (Jasmine Star, Julie Klassmyer, Katelyn James, Jaime Sentz, and so many more).  It has been through those avenues that I felt able to begin this journey at all and why I feel the constant need to continue to push myself and improve.  Here's to new challenges!


{some shots from Kellen's shoot}







(Sally Belle Photography) Mon, 23 Jul 2012 17:49:11 GMT
New Frontiers! My First Blog Entry...ever.

I'm a Star Trek it's fitting, right? That I should be exploring "new frontiers!" I suppose that is how I am looking at this blog. I've spent years enjoying blogs from friends, fellow photographers, wise women of faith I admire, and foodies willing to share their amazing recipes...but I never thought I'd write one myself! But here I am. I embarked on this adventure of "Sally Belle Photography" in the Fall of 2011 and just this past weekend, I launched my website. (I've been so blessed to see this venture grow and have enjoyed every minute!) So... a blog seemed like the next logical step. When I read a blog, I find that the very personal nature of them is what draws me in. I love getting to know the author through each post. And I hope that is what happens here. I want my readers to become my friends. I will endeavor to share my heart as well as my photos with you in each post. So... in that spirit... I thought that this first post would be a list of fun-facts about me. Things you may or may not need to know...both serious and silly. Enjoy!


1. I have unusaully big ears, and apparently they were this big when I was a baby - my mother was told "she'll grow into them!"

2. I've moved 16 times in my 36 (almost 37...) years.

3. I cannot make a sunny side up egg to save my life!

4.I once had my portrait sketched by a Vietnamese artist on the Charles Bridge in Prague.

5. My nose is often cold. just my nose. weird...

6. staying on the nose theme - I've often sneeze or get a runny nose while in the checkout line at the grocery store. No kidding - like about 75% of the time. I'm thinking I must be allergic to cash registers or conveyor belts!

7. I have a knack for retaining useless trivia. I could've made a killing on "Who wants to be a millionaire."

8. I like mathematical patterns...for example - for the entire decade that I am in my 30's and my husband Keith is in his 40's...our respective ages will add up to my son's age each year...i.e. last year I turned 36 and Keith turned 45 and Caleb turned 9. 3+6=9 and 4+5=9. This year -I'll be 37, Keith 46 and Caleb 10..and so on! I say Cool! Keith says I'm a freak. You decide! :)

9. Sunglasses (or any glasses for that matter) do not fit my face. I think my extra large ears are off kilter.

10. I can make a ridiculously loud popping noise with my mouth.

11. I am a political junkie.

12. I get irritated if I can't do something well right away - Keith had a tough time trying to teach me tennis and golf.

13. I like plants but can't seem to keep them alive. (Although I do have a Cactus that seems to be doing well).

14. I love doing crafts and art projects with my kids.

15. I can't seem to type the word "photogrpahy" correctly...ever... <----- (see!!)


16. I have gained an appreciation for history as I've gotten older. Love early American as well as the British monarchy - great stories all around. Lady Jane Grey topping the list on the Brit side.

17. I am a mushroom person.

18. I really enjoy cooking - but I like cookbooks even more! Might be addicted.

19. I once sat next to John Schneider at a "Children's Miracle Network" dinner...and all I came up with to say was - "My mother never let me watch the Dukes of Hazzard." Nice.

20. I usually only manage to smile and wave until I've had my coffee in the A.M.

21. I am so grateful for my church!

22. My childhhood nicknames included "silly sally," "salamander sally," "sally davis, jr.!" and of course, "Sally Belle!"

23. I love Sherlock Holmes anything...books, movies, radio... "elementary!"

24. I can no longer do a backward my strained neck will prove.


25. I cut my LONG hair on a whim!


26. My greatest loves include the Lord Jesus, My sweet husband Keith, my 3 kiddos, Caleb, Chloe & Bella...and of course, photogrpahy, photography!




(Sally Belle Photography) Wed, 11 Jul 2012 12:41:39 GMT