Category Archives: engagement

6 reasons why you should do an engagement session!

As we head into engagement season (yes, it’s a thing – this Vogue article made me laugh!), I wanted to share my top 5 reasons why engagement sessions are so valuable… since after being in this industry for awhile, I’ve answered all of the questions below and you might be wondering the same thing!


  • “Do we really need an engagement session? We already have our save the dates designed so we don’t need them for that.”
  • “We were going to have Uncle John/my best friend/my brother take them because they can’t wait to try out the new camera they just got and have taken a few photos of us before…”
  • “We have a really tight budget. Can we eliminate them from our wedding package to save money?”
  • “My fiance really isn’t going to be into it…”
  • “I’d rather have my teeth cleaned than stand and pose in front of the camera with a stranger.”

    Hold on, I NEED TO STOP THIS LIST RIGHT THERE and say this:
    I can promise you by the end of our session I’ll have you laughing, snuggling up and holding hands more naturally than you ever thought possible. Strangers will be smiling at you (if we’re in a more public place) and I will be cheering you on as you feel silly and laugh yet look like you belong on the cover of the magazine that would exist if GQ and Vogue merged into one fancypants stylish publication for BOTH of you.

I love engagement sessions with my couples!! I think they are so valuable to our entire experience together that they are complimentary in all of Urban Row Photography’s wedding packages. My goal is to always give you the most enjoyable experience and professional coverage for your wedding day and I don‚Äôt want to give you anything less than my best!

  1. Our time together during an engagement session functions like a rehearsal for your wedding portraits!

    That’s right… the rehearsal for your wedding day *photos* happens months in advance of the actual rehearsal dinner fun. ūüėČ The connection we make helps me learn the quirks and unique gestures that you and your fiance have together; it helps both of you become comfortable around me and in front of the camera. This helps me capture you both in the most natural, flattering and authentic poses at both the session as well as your big day!

    Helpful hint: if you really want it to feel like a¬†true¬†dry run, try coordinating your session with your hair and makeup trials; it will allow you the chance to see how they show up in photos and BONUS… you’ll feel extra glamorous and confident! ūüôā


  2. The timing for an engagement session is generally early on in the process when stress levels are low and excitement is high. (#whycanteverydaybelikethat?)

    It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the wedding day details, planning, guest count decisions, etc, that another reason I enjoy engagement sessions is that it’s time for you and your love to be in the moment with each other with no additional stress of the next planning deadline to occur or finding time to make sure you are in touch with Aunt Martha from California.¬† It’s just you two in a place that’s full of meaning to you!

    Helpful hint: the location of your session is next in importance to taking engagement photos in the first place!! This is where the fun begins! Are you envisioning an urban look to your photos? Maybe downtown along the waterfront?


    What about exploring a historic cobblestoned street?


    Or a more natural garden aesthetic?


    Maybe a local flower farm?


    golden, glowing love on a farm

    Or a cozy, woodland look?

    rainy day engagement

    rainy days can be just as gorgeous!

    Or a timeless and classic historic mansion?


    a timeless and classic engagement at Hampton Mansion

  3. This moment in time is unlike one that will ever happen again. It’s the beginning of your family’s love story.

    Think about it; your life’s path has now been forever altered in the best way possible. You deserve to to have gorgeous, timeless photos to share and show to your loved ones years from now. Sharing how you both looked, felt and even what you wore when you officially began your journey together is so important. It’s not a phase or a season you’ll ever get back and I’m pretty sure your kids will love looking through your engagement photos while hearing you tell your version of the proposal story. Heck, I’ve heard my parents story 17 times but I’ve yet to see a photo from that period in their lives… and I so wish I could!


  4. Bringing your pet to the wedding may not be feasible. So furry friends are welcome at your engagement shoot and actually… ENCOURAGED!

    Your little fur-baby plays such a large part in your life and they are generally absent on your big day for logistical reasons (although I’d LOVE it if they were there! Who is planning to have their pet included in their wedding day and/or ceremony!? Let’s TALK!!).¬† So, I love when my couples include some time during their engagement photos to involve their pets. Let’s be honest, when was the last time all 3 of you got behind the camera together? Those first ‘family’ photos become just as important a keepsake as your wedding ones!


    pups always steal the show!

    Helpful hint: feel free to bring Max with you but since dogs aren’t able to understand all the benefits of a 60-90 minute engagement shoot, plan to have a family member or friend available to hand them off to once we’ve taken some key shots. ūüėČ

  5. My FAVORITE compliments following engagement sessions are from the grooms telling me how they weren’t expecting to have so much fun during the shoot!

    I sometimes receive comments from my brides that the groom-to-be is a little bashful or uncomfortable in front of the camera.¬† Well, this is obviously a GREAT reason to have the session. Practice makes perfect, right? It’s a wonderful test run in front of the camera looking into each others eyes and forgetting about everything else.¬† My job is to make this easy for you and capture those easily forgotten candid glances, the nose wrinkles when he makes you laugh and then cracks up himself…

    Univ. of Maryland College Park engagement

    a Univ. of Maryland College Park engagement


  6. Focused time with your bling. Since your fiancé spent a ton of time (and $$$) on it!

    Everyone asks to see the ring once you’re engaged and I love taking a few moments to showcase your new sparkly bits! New, antique, unique, I love seeing them all and learning more about your proposal story and why that specific ring was chosen by your fianc√©.

    gold solitaire engagement ring

These are just a few reasons why I not only enjoy capturing your love during the time you’re an engaged couple, but also why I feel it is so, so important.¬† Just like our first meeting, the engagement session is a powerful way for our relationship to grow as we gear up for your wedding.¬† We spend so much time together on your wedding day, it’s almost fitting that we have a fun photo ‘date’ before the big day!
federal hill park engagement kiss

a Federal Hill park engagement


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mary pat + jonathan | cylburn arboretum engagement | baltimore wedding photographer

I always love when couples with a deep connection to Baltimore, return here to get married. It reminds me of our love story a bit: planning a September wedding from afar, where the main goal is for everyone to have fun!!

Mary Pat is originally from Baltimore and still has a large amount of extended family in the area. These lovebirds currently live in Boston, so when I found out they’re working with Courtney of Moore & Company Event Stylists to help execute their wedding day vision, I knew this was going to be not only a fun wedding for their guests, but a rewarding and amazing experience to be a part of as their wedding photographer!cylburn-arboretum-baltimore-engagement_0005
With a love of being outdoors, Mary Pat and Jonathan’s Cylburn Arboretum engagement session was such a gorgeous location to capture their joy and adorable love! Not to mention, how amazing is Mary Pat’s coral dress?! It was the perfect pop of vibrant color among all of the light pink crepe myrtles and greenery.cylburn-arboretum-baltimore-engagement_0003cylburn-arboretum-baltimore-engagement_0012cylburn-arboretum-baltimore-engagement_0006
Cylburn’s historic mansion is one of my favorite pieces of architecture in Charm City; both elegant and approachable, it is surrounded by the most colorful and lush gardens.cylburn-arboretum-baltimore-engagement_0011cylburn-arboretum-baltimore-engagement_0007cylburn-arboretum-baltimore-engagement_0001cylburn-arboretum-baltimore-engagement_0008cylburn-arboretum-baltimore-engagement_0009cylburn-arboretum-baltimore-engagement_0002I had the best time getting to know you both a bit more and love that you were such troopers as we strolled around the arboretum on one of the hottest nights of the summer! I can. not. wait. for your wedding at Frederick Douglass Maritime Park in Fells Point… kicking off the start of a busy fall wedding season at a waterfront ceremony on the pier is my kind of idea of wedded bliss!!cylburn-arboretum-baltimore-engagement_0013cylburn-arboretum-baltimore-engagement_0010cylburn-arboretum-baltimore-engagement_0014cylburn-arboretum-baltimore-engagement_0015Cheers to officially starting married life together on the water among cool breezes and golden sunsets… so honored and excited to capture your wedding day!!


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liz + steven | university of maryland | college park engagement | baltimore wedding photographer

So much of Liz and Steven’s love story can be found in Maryland even though they currently live in Atlanta; having attended high school and college together, their love has steadily grown over the years. It was an absolute joy to explore the campus while hearing all about their memories as students. These sweethearts are University of Maryland Terp fans through and through!!







How cute are they?! Golden locks and glowing laughs while enjoying a perfect summer night on your alma mater’s turf… pretty sure it doesn’t get much better than this!



We found our way up to their season ticket seats within the stadium and took a few minutes to revel in the fact that we had the stadium all to ourselves – it was pretty incredible!!





It was so much fun to see them having fun on their home turf, where it all began…







The light at the stadium was absolutely gorgeous, but it was time to explore the rest of campus!






I was in awe of all of the gorgeous spots we found together – and every time, these two got cuter and cuter with their expressions!








We ended at the M… for Maryland or Marriage, I’ll let you decide. ūüėČ





I adored our time together and am so looking forward to your wedding in Baltimore next June! Cheers, lovebirds!





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caren + jan | mt vernon baltimore | engagement session

I spent a perfect early summer evening with Caren + Jan in Mt. Vernon recently and it was so much fun to explore this historic Baltimore neighborhood together through their eyes! Having lived in the heart of Mt. Vernon for over 3 years, the neighborhood’s sophisticated yet classic feel was such a compliment to their relationship!


Mt. Vernon holds a special place in my heart since it was the first neighborhood I ever lived in when I moved to Baltimore! ūüôā It’s home to the original Washington Monument, and some of the most exquisite architecture, churches, textured walls and ornate fences you’ve ever seen.



The Belvedere Hotel’s Owl Bar holds tons of sentimental memories of their early relationship,¬†so naturally we had to capture golden hour magic under the iconic sign!



I absolutely love how radiant the two of them are together! Their smiles are literally contagious. ūüôā









Caren and Jan, thank you for spending the evening with me among the trees and humoring me with my “wait, let’s take just one more here!” (famous last words) approach! You guys rocked it!! Can’t wait for your November wedding!

xo, Naomi


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devan + bryce | jerusalem mill village | baltimore engagement session

If rain on your wedding day is supposed to mean¬†good luck for your marriage…

What does it mean when it rains on¬†your engagement session? Double the good luck AND that you have the best clients ever when they meet up with you and just say “let’s do this”! ūüôā I kept checking the forecast and crossing my fingers, but since these sweethearts¬†came all the way from Richmond for the weekend, we didn’t have that many options for rescheduling our time together… and I’m so glad they were willing to¬†stick with it! Just look at how rich and lush the trees were!!


Oh and if you’re as adorable¬†as Devan, it means you still get your hair blown dry as if it wasn’t 98% humidity outside and you roll with it as if your sandaled feet weren’t getting full of wet grass.



Jerusalem Mill Village is one of my favorite spots to explore with couples! There are so many textures, colors, historic elements and such a wonderful balance between built and natural environments. Throw gorgeous lovebirds like these in front of all of those backdrops and¬†I get all sorts of giddy…



Bryce¬†met Devan while she was in between semesters of grad school; their relationship persevered through working¬†70+ hours per week¬†while dating¬†long distance… their connection and passion for each other is so evident, I’m pretty sure I had a smile plastered to my face the whole time we were together!

Playful giggles and lots of tickles. Isn’t that what rainy days are made for? ūüôā


Devan even brought their¬†own clear bubble umbrella to use… #rockstarclients.









Then it was time for an outfit change and just when I thought I loved the turquoise and white combination, this happened…





We ended at the covered bridge at the perfect moment! A pastel sunset sky revealed itself and showed all of us how lucky rainy days truly are.



Cheers to dancing in the rain and making the most of it!¬†We’re so excited for you both and can’t wait for your Richmond wedding this fall!


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nicole + bryan | harbor east | baltimore engagement photographer

When I first met Nicole and Bryan,¬†it was love at first conversation!¬†Our personalities clicked¬†as we talked about our passion for¬†living in Baltimore, Nicole’s job as a teacher (my sister is one too!) and our love of their wedding venue, the¬†American Visionary Art Museum.

Since these wonderful lovebirds¬†officially becoming engaged while sailing, we had to¬†capture their love along the water in¬†Harbor East! We debated a few different locations, but when it came down to it, all signs pointed back to the¬†Baltimore waterfront… and you can clearly see how comfortable and at ease they were there!





I love it when couples choose the location of their engagement photos because I know it will hold¬†so much meaning to them and their relationship. If there’s any advice I can offer you as you’re planning your engagement session, it’s to choose a spot that relates to where you met, where you got engaged or where you¬†spend most of your time together.¬†It’s kind of like choosing your wedding venue – once your location is set, everything else falls magically into place! ūüôā



Now¬†let’s talk about how perfectly¬†Nicole’s amazing¬†hair and patterned dress blended with the tall grasses along the water and that golden hour glow… ūüôā

LOVE!!! You two are seriously too cute for words.






Once changed into their casual-yet-super-cute-and-so-well-coordinated second outfits, we were off to explore the streets of Harbor East.¬†I can’t get enough of how sweet and joyful they are together! They swore they’d never modeled¬†before, but I’m pretty sure they’re pros.











harbor-east-baltimore-engagement-photographer_0011We came full circle and ended our time together at the water; Light City was in full force, the sun was setting like never before and I was overjoyed to be able to spend my evening with such a genuinely adorable couple.



I am SO excited to capture your wedding at the AVAM in July and know it will be nothing short of spectacular!!!

xoxo, N


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2016: a year in review!

I love having time to reflect, review, contemplate and plan ahead. These days, those moments are few and far between with family time equally a priority, but done is better than perfect, right? ūüėȬ†I’m so excited to share with you¬†the culmination of one of the best year’s Urban Row Photography has had yet!


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None of this would have been possible without all of the incredible vendors, friends, mentors and clients¬†I’ve met throughout the year who have helped me grow, trusted me with your¬†memories and¬†enabled¬†me to share¬†authentic stories¬†that come¬†from our¬†conversations, everyday moments and sentimental¬†details¬†of our time together.

While it would have been nice to choose 16 of my favorite moments¬†from 2016, that was truly¬†impossible! So, how about¬†my favorite¬†50 images from the past year instead? ūüôā

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What would a year in review post be without some behind the scenes fun? ūüôā









The award for best photography workshop and mentor, goes to Michelle Lieb, of Lieb Photographic who has inspired me and been a tremendous resource, friend and teacher in so many ways!



I wish you all a delightfully fabulous 2017, with the cheeriest color, sparkliest love (is sparkliest a word?) and most loving relationships with friends and family, one year can bring! Cheers!!!


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Filed under behind the scenes, end of year review, engagement, wedding

main street ballroom | ellicott city wedding venue | baltimore wedding photographer

Have you ever googled ‘unique Baltimore wedding venue’?

Or maybe ‘unique Maryland wedding venue’… since you’re searching for the perfect wedding reception venue¬†that has a combination of charm, character, amenities, flexibility, indoor/outdoor spaces and enough capacity to accommodate your large guest list?

Let me introduce you to Main Street Ballroom in Ellicott City!



Originally built in 1920 right on Main Street (hence the name, lol), if you’re planning a wedding and looking for a unique space that you can dress up to make your own,¬†you will probably fall in love with this ‘ballroom’ pretty quickly, as I did!urbanrowphoto-mainstballroom-19



I had the pleasure of photographing mini engagement sessions back in November on Small Business Saturday when Ellicott City was abuzz in a post-flood grand reopening event. It was so reassuring to see so many people out and about, supporting so many local, small businesses!

These fabulous couples spent part of their afternoon with me and were so much fun to get to know as we explored the facility on a chilly day. You can see more from my time at the ballroom, here and here!




There’s something so intimate about being in a space that is made up of so much history; solid stone walls with natural light pouring in, a clean, neutral aesthetic for you to make your own. Add some candlelight and let’s talk about the romance factor…




Painted brick. White barn doors. Gray board and batten interior walls. Exposed stone foundation walls. Concrete floors. A river running outside the future patio. Yes, please!







I can’t wait to see this new venue host many memorable events in the future! I look forward to photographing more couples and weddings here; I know that Kate, is ready to transform your day into one that is easy-going, flexible and fun!





Filed under engagement, wedding, wedding venue