Molly + Johann // A Gloucester Wedding

Molly and Johann's story is such a special one for us to share. These two met at a wedding we filmed a few years ago - you may remember Juliana and Jeremiah's wedding film. Johann is Jeremiah's brother and was one of his groomsmen. Molly is Juliana's best friend and stood up with her as a bridesmaid. Molly and Johann "snuck off" for their first date after Jeremiah and Juliana's wedding, and the rest is history. What a joy for us to have been there right at the beginning (and even to have captured a glimpse of what was to come).

Molly and Johann had their first look upon the rocks overlooking the ocean - I think her words were, "I can scramble up the rocks, and I don't care if my dress rips! I want to get great photos!" What a gift to us as photographers! This day was such a treasure to photograph. Molly and Johann have such a sweet love for one another. We especially loved the time they took right before their reception to reflect on the day, take a little breather before the party, and to soak up a little time together in the middle of it all. That's what it's all about. Not all couples think they have the time on their day to do this, but it's well worth setting aside a few minutes to simply be together.

We hope you enjoy this immensely special love story.

Ceremony Venue: 1st Congregational Church of Hamilton
Reception Venue: Cruiseport Gloucester
Hair/Makeup: Libby Pepin
Florist: Nature's Design
DJ: Eduardo Alves
Officiant: David Horn
Catering: Vinwood Catering
Photography and Videography: Grain & Compass

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Choosing Less to Allow for More

It's easy to get caught up in the doing more, being more, experiencing more trap of being a photographer or even just a creative in general. If you're on social media at all it feels like you need to measure up, to be all things to all people, to prove your worth in a sea of voices louder than your own. It's exhausting. Even when you know you have something good to say, it's often exhausting to even think of trying to say it amidst the noise. There are so many "shoulds" out there. You should be doing this on your social media or that for your marketing campaign. Your reach is suffering if you don't have an email list and a weekly newsletter. Have you attended the latest workshops and weighed in on the most recent webinar? Are you up to speed with the latest SEO for your website? Are you blogging weekly? Fill in the blank with whatever nagging advice you feel you should be doing right now.

Sometimes (a lot of times) it becomes too much. We find ourselves spread too thin, neglecting the things that are most important, while trying to please people we don't even know, and for what? A few more likes? Another email subscriber? Some clicks to your website?

What if what we really need is less? Less noise. Less strategy. Less clamor. And more of what matters. More connection. More soul. More depth. 

Lately Tim and I have been choosing less. We've taken a lengthy break from blogging as we've been working on a new website (update: this is the new site!), we've started growing our family, we've shifted our priorities, and in the midst of all this we've been learning more of what's important to us. It's taken this big step back to see everything - our business, our lives, our relationships - from a distance, to realize the value and beauty of what we have. 

Choosing less noise and less busy with our business has allowed for more of what matters in other areas of our lives. More time with our family, more deep conversation, more meaningful connections, and more of exploring the things that give us life. 

What we get to do through capturing our couples' stories is an extraordinary gift. We are so grateful for each and every person that has trusted us behind the camera. Our creative journey has been fun and challenging, pushing us to ask hard questions and constantly learn and grow. Seeing our business from a distance has also helped us find some sense of balance between work and rest. Our office is across the hall from our bedroom and next door to the nursery, so it's hard to feel like we can truly step away from our work to rest. It's become necessary to rest though. 

And adding a little one to the equation has put an entirely different perspective on our time. We've come to value our own time so much more. We don't want to spend hours upon hours in front of the computer. We'd rather spend them with each other and with Beckett. So we've been asking ourselves - how can we use our time well? 

One of the best ways we know how to balance our time is to take on less, to say no to things (even ones we'd love to say yes to), and to set a limit on how many weddings and how many sessions we do. By saying no to some things we can more fully invest in the wedding days, sessions, and projects that we've said yes to. Rather than getting burnt out by photographing one too many wedding days, we plan to say fresh and energized, resting well between each wedding, being fully present with each of our couples on their day. This choosing less allows us to dig deeper into each story, to truly experience the heart of a wedding day, to savor and soak in each moment and encourage our bride and groom to do the same. 

In the new year we're releasing a new website that has been a long time coming. (Update: You've found it! Welcome!!) Our friend Matt Daniels has done an extraordinary job creating a new logo and new website for us and we are so excited to share it with you. We keep joking that it's the grownup version of Grain & Compass. In a lot of ways it's that "less" we've been looking for. Less noise, less of "trying" so hard, less striving to be all things to all people. It's more of who we really are. More depth. More story. More focus. More confidence in declaring what we are and what we're not. 

We've been reluctant to say goodbye to our old brand - in a way it feels like saying goodbye to an old friend. But it has served us well, brought us so many sweet couples, and taught us a lot about who we are and who we want to be. We want to care deeply for each of our couples, we want to work smarter and more efficiently while providing each wedding our full attention, we value our time as a little family of three so we'll be taking on a limited number of weddings next year and a very limited number of video-specific weddings. (Update: we are no longer booking additional video weddings. It's time for us to focus on just photography again.) Some people would see this as a step backward for our business, as if we should constantly be doing more and more weddings, but we see it as freedom. Freedom to invest fully in each one of our couples, freedom to devote our attention more wholly to each wedding, and the freedom to provide each bride and groom with our undivided care and love on their wedding day and the highest quality photos and video we can give them. 

Letting go of our current identity and growing into this new one feels so significant and we're beyond excited for this new chapter of our creative journey. We hope you'll join us!

This post also serves as a look back at 2016. These are a few of our favorite images from this past year.

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Juan + Janae // A Taco Truck and Goat Farm Wedding

We don’t usually play favorites, but I have to say that Juan and Janae’s wedding day has to be one of our favorite ones to date. Tim and I confessed that if we were to get married all over again we’d want our day to look and feel like this one. They got married on a goat farm in rural North Carolina with friends and family who traveled from as far away as Portland, Colombia, and Spain, they spoke their vows in both English and Spanish, they served their guests out of food trucks for the reception, and everyone snacked on popsicles and Colombian rice pudding and then danced the night away beneath the stars.

Juan and Janae have such a sweet and beautiful love for one another. They purposely chose to keep their celebration simple, to keep the focus on their commitment to one another, and to make their day exactly what they wanted it to be. From the moment we arrived in the morning their families and friends were helping setup for the day – they were creating flower arrangements and table décor, building the dance floor, carrying tables and chairs back and forth, setting up the bar, and creating the escort card display.

Janae and Juan just had one maid of honor and one best man, but it was the most beautiful thing to see their other friends step in and help in every way possible. From helping Janae with her makeup and praying over her before the start of the day, to running errands, to setting up for the reception – their friends truly stepped up and did what I imagine all bridesmaids and groomsmen should ordinarily feel compelled to do. Because their friends weren’t so concerned with getting ready and preparing for photos themselves, they were able to love on Juan and Janae even better. It was amazing to see the ways they blessed them through their actions that morning.

I truly wish we could go back and relive this day again and again!


Venue: Elodie Farms

Hair: Mikeah Sleigh

Makeup: Tiara Weiner and Nicole Palotta

Flowers: Lisa Lacaden

Officiant: Brian Fowler

Ceremony Musicians: Katie and Micah Berman

Food Trucks: Dos Taquitos and American Meltdown

Popsicles: Locopops

Photography: Grain & Compass

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Alx + Dewey // A Kiawah Island Wedding

Alx and Dewey had an absolutely stunning celebration at the River Course on Kiawah Island just outside of Charleston, South Carolina. These two high school sweethearts live in California and decided to get married at Kiawah where they grew up going on family vacations. Their film tells the story better than I could in words, so I’ll just leave it at that!


Ceremony Venue: Holy Spirit Catholic Church

Venue: River Course, Kiawah Island Club

Getting Ready Venue for the Ladies: Cassique Clubhouse

Coordinator: Margaret Roberts with WED

Hair: Patrick Navarro

Makeup: Kori Mahoney

Florist: SYG Designs

Officiant: Rev. Monsignor Charles H. Rowland

Live Band: Men of Distinction

Cake: Sugar Bakeshop

Photography: Nathan Bell of Richard Bell Photography

Videography: Grain & Compass

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Robin + Luke // A Family Farm Wedding in Big Rock, Illinois

Robin and Luke spoke their vows on a family farm in rural Illinois over the Fourth of July weekend. She wore her friend’s dress and a flower crown, they celebrated with bonfires and apple pie, and they kept things sweet and simple from the beginning to the end of the day.

 You might recognize Robin and her family, as well as the gorgeous Frank Lloyd Wright house where she and her girls got ready. We captured her sister Amy’s wedding the year before, so it was an enormous pleasure for us to be back celebrating with their family again! They’re one of those families that simply invite you in and make you feel like you are truly one of them. With us they showed that by trusting our creative vision completely – they let us come and go and do our thing, they invited us into their home and let us have free reign. It’s incredible the difference it makes when we have not just our couple’s complete trust, but that of their families as well. It might be selfish to say, but we wish Amy and Robin had more sisters so we could capture a few more wedding days for their sweet family!

It was truly a pleasure for us to do both the photography and video for this day. It’s a labor of love for us to capture a wedding day in this way, but Tim and I are always so pleased when we get to share a cohesive story, with a consistent style, across both the photo and video platform.



Venue: Family Farm in Big Rock, Illinois

Hair/Makeup: Friends of the Bride

Robin's Ring: Designed by the Bride's grandmother, Gail Witttekind

Dress: BHLDN, borrowed from her bridesmaid Jill Fortson

Flowers: Joanne DeGroot of The Tree House

Pastor: Rev. Rick Alnutt

Ceremony Program: Designed by the Bride

Catering: South Moon Barbeque

Photography and Videography: Grain & Compass

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