Is a First Look Right For You?

A First Look is when the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony on their wedding day. It is a term that has become more and more popular in wedding terminology, and it is a decision most couples have to make when discussing the timeline of the day with their wedding photographer. A lot of couples struggle with whether or not having a first look mainly because of tradition, and usually they do not know the background behind this tradition and the reasons why it was put in place.

In the past, the groom waited to see his bride until she was walking down the aisle; a tradition that originated with arranged marriages. In fact, the bride and groom did not see or meet before their wedding day at all so they wouldn’t have be able to back out once they saw what each other looked like. Crazy right!? I believe that is a couple’s personal decision whether or not to have a first look, and I also believe in educating and preparing my clients so that they can make the best decisions related to their wedding. Even though I waited to see my husband until I walked down the aisle 11 years ago, I wouldn’t have done so if someone would have taken the time to explain the real purpose behind this tradition, and the benefits of having a first look. Also, all I wanted to do when I walked down the aisle was to hug him, kiss him, tell him how much I loved him and how handsome he looked, ask him if he liked how I looked and just be together. Instead, all we got to do was hold hands and the ceremony began. Based on my experience as a past bride and as a photographer, I strongly believe having a first look is the best option for several reasons. Here are a few:

1. You get the chance to share a special private moment of connection between the two of you…

One thing any wedding vendor knows for a fact, is that a wedding day is hectic, especially after the ceremony, and most couples do not get to stop and talk to each other privately and share the emotions and feelings they are experiencing. Once you walk down the aisle every moment is very scheduled and sometimes even rehearsed. Every time that I shoot a First Look it’s so special because the bride and the groom get to express their feelings without all the guests present and looking which puts pressure on the couple. It is one of my favorite moments of the day because the moment is that special and the connection I get to capture is so real! After the First Look we usually take photos of the bride and groom during and after so that your couple portraits are out of the way. We also like to photograph the bridal party right after the First Look; that way the bridal party can get to enjoy the cocktail hour.

2. Enjoy more time…

You can get your formal photos out of the way before the ceremony. After the First Look, we usually take photos of the bride and groom so that your couple portraits are out of the way. We also like to photograph the bridal party and your family right after the First Look so that way the bridal party and your family can get to enjoy the cocktail hour. The bridal party and family can wait in transportation or meet the couple at the First Look location.

Below are two scenarios showing a schedule with and without a First Look…

Photography portrait schedule if you do a First Look:

– (2.5 hours before ceremony) First look then Bride & Groom portraits alone
– (1.5 hours before the ceremony) Bride & Groom portraits with bridal party
– (1 hour before the ceremony) Portraits with families
* You will be done with portraits approximately 30 min before the ceremony giving you time to freshen up and get ready to walk down the aisle.

Photography portrait schedule if you don’t do a First Look:

– (1 .5 hours before ceremony) Bride and Bridesmaids portraits
– (1 hour before ceremony) Groom and Groomsmen portraits
– (30 min. before the ceremony) Pause portraits to give you time to freshen up.   At this time guest start to arrive.
– (Right after the ceremony) Family portraits
– (30 min. after ceremony) Bridal party portraits
– (1 hour after ceremony) Bride and Groom portraits alone
– (1.5 hours after ceremony) Done with portraits

3. You will be able to attend the cocktail hour…

One of the main concerns of couples that choose not to do a First Look is not being able to enjoy the cocktail hour and greet their guests, and that is a legitimate concern because most likely they will not be able to do so due to time restraints. When we do the majority of the photos before the ceremony, the schedule opens up more allowing you to attend some if not all of the cocktail hour to enjoy some time with your guests, bridal party, and family.

4. You will feel more relaxed and able to you enjoy the rest of your day and soak it all in…

One of the things I hear the most from my couples is that after the First Look their stress went away and that their nerves were gone for the ceremony. Like I mentioned before, a wedding day is very scheduled after the ceremony, and most couples do not get a chance to soak it all in by themselves. A First Look allows you to do that, and in addition, you will get beautiful photos of that special moment.

Those are my top reasons why I believe a First Look is the way to go based on my experience as a bride first and as a photographer; it is now up to you to balance the pros and the cons, and see if a First Look is right for you. If after balancing the options, you are not set on having a First Look, then make sure you communicate this to your photographer so that they can help you come up with the best wedding day timeline. As for myself, I go with what your wishes are, so if a couple decides they don’t want a First Look, I will help them come up with the ideal timeline that accommodates their wishes as best possible; after all it is your wedding and I am there to guide, support you, and capture all the beautiful moments of your union.

Talking about beautiful moments, here are some photos we have captured of our couples during their First Look…

I would love to hear your comments and questions in the comments section below!

Make sure you are following us on Instagram to connect and stay in touch with the latest happenings!

 xo, Ly Sué

 

Laura + Brian’s Woodsy Engagement Session at Mead Botanical Garden in Winter Park, FL

Laura and Brian met in college, and spent their first few years together as friends bonding over their love of food, comedy and the Gators. They started officially dating towards the end of college, and continued to date as they entered into the adult world and learned to navigate their careers and new responsibilities. After dating for 4 years, Brian proposed in the most amazing way! After a leisurely boat ride around the lake, he proposed with a big banner and a beautiful ring. Needless to say they spent the evening celebrating with their family and close friends! As a couple, they love to support and encourage each other as they continue to grow and live life together!

Our Birth Story at Winnie Palmer Hospital in Orlando, FL

Hello there! I am so excited to start the month of February with my very first blog of the year! Yes, I know I haven’t blogged in a while, but hey! life REALLY got in the way this past year in both good and bad ways. Last year I welcomed my first baby, Andy, and just a month after I had to say goodbye to my mom. Needless to say it has been an emotional year for me, and I needed a break to soak it all in. I am hoping to share some more on that soon; I just need to find the right words.

I was planning to share something else, but I just decided I would like to share my birth story with you instead. This year, I am making a conscious effort to be more of an open book, sharing more of me, and my experiences in hopes that I can bring some light and inspiration to some. As some of you know, my husband and I have been trying to conceive for a while, actually we stopped birth control at the end of 2011. We found out we were pregnant in December of 2012. It was such a great surprise, and our excitement was uncontainable. We made an appointment with my OBGYN and scheduled an ultrasound to hear the heartbeat. During the ultrasound, the tech took a long time looking around and called the doctor in, we both new then there was something wrong. The doctor told us that unfortunately there was no heartbeat, and that the baby had stopped growing just a few days before. She also mentioned that having a miscarriage was not that uncommon at all, that roughly 20% of first pregnancies can end up in a miscarriage. We were so heartbroken, as in those short weeks we had imagined ourselves as parents and having a baby in 9 months. Little did we know the longest wait was ahead of us.

In November of 2013 we found out we were pregnant again! This time we were excited but hesitant at the same time. That’s the thing about having a miscarriage, it really sticks with you and makes you worry. About a week later, I had another miscarriage. This time was even harder as we felt something wasn’t right. After that, my doctor sent us both for infertility and genetic screening. We were called to come in for genetic counseling as something wasn’t right in one of my tests. The morning of our genetic counseling appointment, I took a pregnancy test only to find out I was pregnant again! This time I was terrified since I really didn’t know what was going on, if the baby was going to be ok, if it was going to end up in another miscarriage, I was feeling “all the feels” as they say. In the appointment they went on to explain that I had a balanced pericentric inversion in one of my X chromosomes. Yeah, we had not idea what that meant, and even after the genetic counselor explained it, I had to google and read tons of info about it. Without getting all scientific, the bottom line is that part of the information in one of my X chromosomes is inverted, and that causes a 50% percent chance of a miscarriage every time I get pregnant. Also, due to that, I have a higher percentage of miscarriage if the embryo is a boy. We were told that we could obviously get pregnant, but that one of the best chances we had to have a successful pregnancy would be to consider IVF.

By now, I was expecting the worse as I had become very pessimistic, and unfortunately ten days after that I had my third miscarriage. We were devastated again, and we started thinking of consulting an IVF doctor to explore our options. The price of IVF had us sticker shocked and looking for options abroad. We found Barbados Fertility Center after weeks of research and reading review from other patients. We had a phone consultation, and felt incredibly comfortable with the Doctor, their practice, and their success rates, however, even though the price was lower even with travel fees, we still did not know how we were going to be able to afford it. After talking to my dad and my step mom about it, they offered we both stay at their vacation townhouse to save money on rent. In the meantime, we found out we were pregnant for the fourth time in April of 2015. As expected, I had a miscarriage several days later. We then for sure knew that we did not ant to go through a miscarriage again, so we continued saving and saving and saving.

We saved for several months, scheduled our trip to Barbados, and bought tickets and reserved an apartment for our egg retrieval round scheduled to happen in December of 2015. I was scheduled to start fertility stimulation drugs in November, but in September 6th we found out we were pregnant for the fifth time. Instead of being happy, I actually cried because I thought I knew the same thing was going to happen, and this time it might delay the timeline for IVF. Usually my miscarriages happen between five and a half to six weeks, so we were waiting for it to happen soon. Only this time the 5 and a half weeks went by, the six weeks went by and I was still pregnant. We went to the ultrasound that would tell us if there was a heartbeat with little to no hopes at all, and to our surprise this time there was a heartbeat! The sound of our baby’s heart was the most beautiful sound to our ears. We were excited, happy, scared, petrified, again all the feels!!! ​

The months continued to pass by, and our fears were always there, but as time continued to passed by we were more reassured that maybe this time it would be ok.​ I got to full term and we still couldn’t believe it! Since I was high risk, I was induced on May 10th. We couldn’t have asked for a better birth experience, and a better team at Winnie Palmer and from my OBGyn team, Dr. Kareem and Dr. Forde-Kelley at The Women’s Center. We finally welcomed our healthy rainbow baby on May 11th at 2:45pm. Needless to say he was perfect, and my mom was able to be there to experience it all. It was by far the happiest day of our lives hands down. We documented our birth story ourselves (My husband and I would take turns to take photos haha!), and my friend Asha of Bright Frame Films was there to capture it in film. She created the most meaningful keepsake as she not only captured Andy’s first moments with us, but also with my mom!

Bringing Andy home was the best feeling! Being able to capture the moments when my mom was holding Andy and now being able to relive them is more than I could ask for for sure.

I love how Andy’s nursery turned out! We wanted it to be warm, inviting, and modern. My love for black and white and geometrics is pretty evident 😉

Here is the amazing video my friend Asha from Bright Frame Films captured for us!

Andy has filled our hearts with the biggest happiness. We are so proud and honored to get to parent him and be with him every day. He has given hope and a new meaning to our lives!

 

Asha of Bright Frame Films, Creative Artist

We are so excited to start a new blog series called CREATIVE ARTISTS in which we will highlight creative professionals that live and breathe their craft, and are passionate about elevating the creative community around central florida.

Today we bring you Asha Junot the creative mind behind Bright Frame Films. Asha is known for her clean and natural way of capturing films. Asha’s services are sought after because of her personality and authentic way of telling a story through video that really captures your attention and brings you into the story.

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Name: Asha Junot

Business Name: Bright Frame Films

Current City: Orlando, FL

Hometown: Okeechobee, FL

Website: www.brightframefilms.com

What do you do/create?

I have the joy and honor of capturing life’s most shining scenes on video – from weddings to births, as well as stories of individuals and their businesses.

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Tell us a bit about you and how did you get started doing what you love?

Storytelling is my passion. I love to document life, and I have always loved capturing ordinary and extraordinary moments on camera. I graduated from the University of Florida (Go Gators!) with a degree in broadcast journalism and went on to work as a news reporter/anchor for two years after college. I was able to cover sweet, sad, and inspiring stories in the community; and it was in the field and in the newsroom that I learned so much about storytelling – from camera work to script-writing to editing, I was a one-woman show! I am so thankful that God provided me with the opportunity to transition those skills to the wedding world and beyond! I filmed my first wedding in November 2010 and have just fallen more and more in love with this “job” every day since. I am beyond grateful to my couples and clients for choosing me to capture their most special days.

What is your absolute favorite part about what you do?

Oh goodness, this is a tough one! But I think my favorite part is editing. Although sometimes it takes me forever to actually get started, once I sit down, start moving the clips around, and see the story come together, I just get so excited! And then sending clients their finished film is just the best!

What is something unique to your services that you are proud of?

Coming from a news background, I think my storytelling style sets me apart. I like to say my style is “journalistic and joyful.” It is simple and clean, and I do my best to just document the day exactly as it happens. I strive to capture all the little details that tell the whole story. Also, I love to pray with and for my clients, and I hope they feel encouraged and at ease when we’re together.

What are some things brides should look for when looking for a videographer?

It is so important to find vendors who “get you” – people who share your vision and style.

What advice would you give newly engaged couples?

Remember that your wedding day is a celebration of what’s to come – it’s just the beginning of your life together! Don’t let the details stress you out. If, at the end of the day, you’re married to love of your life, then it was perfect.

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Favorite wedding websites that you would recommend to a bride for inspiration or advice?

Southern Weddings is my favorite!

Personal favs?

My husband, our sweet pup, pretty skies, lipstick, southern food, belly laughs, sweet tea, The Office, my robe and slippers.

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Place or way to unwind?

A quiet spot with my Bible, journal, and a pen. Reading God’s Word and spending time with Him in prayer just set my heart on fire. He is peace and hope and joy and love, and freely gives those to all who ask.

Last home-cooked meal?

BBQ chicken in the crockpot

Local business crush?

Oh my goodness, there are so many amazing creatives that I love dearly! But I’d have to say Siuleth, owner of Eleven Note, is super special – she is one wildly-talented woman!

Latest adventure?

Puerto Rico with my hubby to celebrate our anniversary and birthdays (which are all within three weeks of each other!) – what a beautiful country!

Favorite city?

Wilmington, NC

Favorite dessert?

PIE!

Favorite song?

“Free” Zac Brown Band

Favorite movie of all times?

Remember the Titans

Finally where can we find you on social media?

FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

 

ENGAGEMENT SERIES GIVEAWAY… Captured & Engaged!

 

Captured and Engaged Giveaway

Hi there! 2016 sure is off to a great start, and I am beyond thrilled to share some of the exciting projects in the works here at LH PHOTOGRAPHY!
So without further ado… (drumroll, please!)

We’ve partnered with Eleven Note, The Busy Bee Events and Design, and an amazing team of wedding creatives for a unique Engagement Session Series Giveaway called CAPTURED & ENGAGED!  Myself along with a team of hand picked wedding artists will professionally style and photograph the engagement session of four madly in love couples throughout 2016.

Our first giveaway called “Home Is Wherever I’m With You” is an at home engagement session, and you can enter to win today!

Enter the giveaway and read more about our vision below, and stay tuned as we announce the amazing wedding creatives that will be joining us for Captured & Engaged!

How to enter:

Fill out this questionnaire to officially enter

What are your names?

Your Email

Instagram Profile

Mailing Address

Wedding Date

Wedding Venue

Have you hired any wedding professionals at this point? If so, please list their name(s) and role(s) below:

Attach a picture of yourself and your fiancé doing your favorite activity together at home

Tell us about yourselves, and what do you love most about doing this activity together.

Good luck!!!

The giveaway will close on Feb 8th  2016, and the winner will be announced on Instagram on Feb 14th 2016!

 Our Vision and Inspiration:

Captured & Engaged is the tale of four recently engaged couples deeply captured by their love for one another. It’s a story of their journey of engagement as they prepare to share the rest of their lives together and is designed to inspire other recently engaged couples considering ways to celebrate their love. It provides an opportunity for real couples to share their love stories with the world, told through inspirational compositions designed, styled, and captured by a hand selected team of wedding creatives! Our first giveaway, “Home Is Wherever I’m With You”, will tell the story of a couple through beautiful imagery in an at home setting focusing on their bond and love for one another!

Some terms & conditions:

  • The couple must be available all day in Central Florida the day of the photoshoot on Thursday March 31st 2016.
  • Only one entry per couple
  • This contest is open to all couples over the age of 21
  • Liability will not be assumed for any entries lost in transit or not received due to technical difficulties
  • Couples that have already booked with LH Photography, Eleven Note, or The Busy Bee Events and Design or that are in an existing contract with another photographer, stationer, or event planner cannot apply to win.
  • Only the couple might be present the day of the engagement session.
  • Any travel expenses must be covered by the couple.

Cannot wait to hear from you!

xo,

Ly Sué, Siuleth, Shannon, and Jenna

NATALIA’S senior portraits at The Alfond Inn in Winter Park, FL

It’s been a little while since I posted on the blog, and I am getting caught up with the photos I haven’t posted yet so without further due, today I am sharing Natalia’s senior portraits at the Alfond Inn!

Natalia is a natural in front of the camera, and had so many good suggestions for her photos. I love when my clients suggest ideas, and we are able to incorporate them; it makes the photo session so much more personal and tailored to them.

Natalia carefully curated her outfits and accessories to reflect her love for fashion, so we focused on capturing the beautiful outfits she put together, and most importantly her shining personality.

We chose The Alfond Inn because it is one of her favorite landmarks in the Winter Park area, and because she loves visiting and shopping around there. We also captured a couple of shots of her with her little sister Adriana and her family.

Natalia, I wish you the best at UCF and officially welcome you as a “Knight” 😉

xo,

Ly Sué

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LAUREL’S boudoir portraits in orlando, fl

Boudoir photography has become one of my absolute favorite photography specialties. I gives me the chance to be creative in front of the camera and highlight a woman’s natural beauty and sexiness through the lens. Laurel’s session was very special for both of us as it was my very first boudoir  portrait photography session as well as hers. Laurel is a writer and is writing a book on conquering fears (read more about it here), and this was one of her fears, being “exposed” in front of a camera. So with an adventurous heart and many ideas we jumped right in, and I am absolutely thrilled with the results. Let me tell you that if she hadn’t mentioned it was her first boudoir session, I wouldn’t have believed her as she was so natural and sexy in front of the camera. So let’s raise our glasses to conquering your fears, and if you are wondering if you should do a boudoir photography session, don’t think about it anymore, just do it!

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weddings ©lhphotography www.lh-photo.com 2015-006boudoir photography in orlando florida LH Photography orlando wedding photographer servicing central florida and destination weddings ©lhphotography www.lh-photo.com 2015-007boudoir photography in orlando florida LH Photography orlando wedding photographer servicing central florida and destination weddings ©lhphotography www.lh-photo.com 2015-008boudoir photography in orlando florida LH Photography orlando wedding photographer servicing central florida and destination weddings ©lhphotography www.lh-photo.com 2015-009boudoir photography in orlando florida LH Photography orlando wedding photographer servicing central florida and destination weddings ©lhphotography www.lh-photo.com 2015-010boudoir photography in orlando florida LH Photography orlando wedding photographer servicing central florida and destination weddings ©lhphotography www.lh-photo.com 2015-011boudoir photography in orlando florida LH Photography orlando wedding photographer servicing central florida and destination weddings ©lhphotography www.lh-photo.com 2015-012boudoir photography in orlando florida LH Photography orlando wedding photographer servicing central florida and destination weddings ©lhphotography www.lh-photo.com 2015-013boudoir photography in orlando florida LH Photography orlando wedding photographer servicing central florida and destination weddings ©lhphotography www.lh-photo.com 2015-014boudoir photography in orlando florida LH Photography orlando wedding photographer servicing central florida and destination weddings ©lhphotography www.lh-photo.com 2015-015boudoir photography in orlando florida LH Photography orlando wedding photographer servicing central florida and destination weddings ©lhphotography www.lh-photo.com 2015-016boudoir photography in orlando florida LH Photography orlando wedding photographer servicing central florida and destination weddings ©lhphotography www.lh-photo.com 2015-017boudoir photography in 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ART IN LIFE fine art photography at bella collina in montverde, fl

This past month I was invited to participate in Bella Collina’s Art in Life photography exhibition.
When I received the invitation from Paula of Posh Able Events to participate, I was ecstatic and honored! As Paula explained, The Art-In-Life Exhibition called upon a select list of Central Florida Fine Art Photographers to share their talents in showcasing the natural beauty, architectural splendor and lifestyle of Bella Collina through artistic photography.As Bella Collina is one of my favorite wedding venues, I was challenged to come up with beautiful imagery that really represented its beauty.

BELLA COLLINA fine art photography orlando © LH PHOTOGRAPHY 2015-0001

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When walking the grounds, you get a sense of peace, and I really wanted to showcase that in my photographs.
I also wanted to showcase the beautiful carefully thought out architecture, and the amenities there are for the residents and members of the club.
To achieve this, I focused on layers and angles to convey what I was feeling, and to draw the viewer into the composition.
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The symmetry and lines of the bell tower from down below are just beautiful and intriguing.
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There is a beautiful mixture of nature, earth, and sky throughout Bella Collina that I wanted to sum up in a photo, so to do so I shot about 10 times to come up with this double exposure of the grass and skies, and this might be my favorite photo!
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The juxtaposition of nature and architecture is very prominent throughout Bella Collina, and I wanted to pay homage to it in my photos.
When I saw the free flowing grass and the clubhouse in the distance I knew I needed to showcase that.
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I got lucky it had stopped raining, and I was able to shoot the skies and wrought iron detail through this water puddle!I really love how free I felt to photograph and be creative, and I thank Paula , Bella Collina, and the Artistic Ambassadors for letting me be part of this amazing art exhibition.

xo,
Ly Sué

MELINDA + FELIPE’S elopement portraits at disney’s boardwalk in kissimmee, fl

Disney’s BoardWalk is one of my favorite places to photograph at. The scenery is fun an relaxed, and the lighting is really pretty specially around sunset, and that is exactly what Melinda and Felipe were looking for for their elopement session.

Melinda and Felipe are madly in love and crazy for each other! As Melinda would explain it “Like all great soap opera romances, we met at the hospital where we worked together”. We asked them a little bit about their story and elopement and this is what they told us…

What was the overall theme and style of your wedding/elopement and how did you come up with it?

We eloped, so it was very intimate and personal. We chose Disney as the back drop, particularly the BoardWalk, because we have spent many vacations there as a family, but rarely experience it as a couple. And since we are kids at heart, it was a no-brainer!

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What was your favorite part of your wedding day?

The weather!!

If you could have changed|done something different about your wedding day what would it be?

We intended to make it an elopement; and be personal, but will have a small ceremony with our children on a separate occasion as they are central to our lives as well.

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Any advice you would like to give to newly engaged couples?

Spend time together. Often times, we don’t need to speak…just listen.
Don’t sweat the small stuff; half the time the things we think are monumental are merely tiny bumps. And if you are in a “discussion” that seems like one of the “small stuffs” kiss your partner, laugh, make a funny face…just out of the blue. Guaranteed you won’t even remember what the “discussion” was about.

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I love Melinda’s advice to newly weds and could not agree more!

I hope you have an amazing rest of your week.

See you soon,

xo Ly Sué

MAURICIO’S CAKE SMASH portraits in Lake Nona, FL

When Linnette told me she wanted me to take photos of Mauricio I was thrilled. It seemed like yesterday when I took photos of him as a newborn, and now I was able to document his first year! What an honor!

In addition to Mauricio “smashing” a mini cake, she wanted me to take photos of different things he enjoys along with portraits of just him and his cute expressions. She sewed clouds, the number one, and had several items he liked ready for him to play with at the session, and we had the greatest time capturing him just being himself! The one thing that we did not expect was Mauricio’s reaction to smashing the cake; he was not so thrilled and actually cried! After all, who wants to get their hands dirty right?!

In addition to documenting this big step for Mauricio, Linnette also wanted the photos to be able to create an infographic to give to Mauricio’s birthday party guests as a keepsake. This was a such a great idea, and Siuleth with Eleven Note designed the coolest infographic for them! I love it when my photos get printed and used in unique ways like this!

Make sure to scroll all the way to the bottom of the photos to see what she created.

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I hope you guys have a great rest of your week!

xo,

Ly Sué