Abby Anderson Best 100 of 2019

Abby Anderson Best 100 of 2019
Wedding & Portrait Photography in Fargo, ND

I’m celebrating another year of wedding & portrait photography! The unpredictability of this job is addicting. It’s a wild career, folks. Every session I walk into has a different set of circumstances and inevitably I have to roll with the punches and create on the fly. At night, I often lie awake wondering if I’ve prepared well enough for the shoot ahead. A wedding day is eight hours of intense decision making. Where’s the light bouncing off of, where should I stand, should I add light, what should I say to my client, what angle should I shoot from, can I block that bad color cast, what if I tried something different? When I walk away from a session with a great image it’s as much a gift to me as it is the client! One of the reasons I compile this post every year is to celebrate the fruit of hard work, the times I tried something different or took a risk, as well as the times I shut up and stopped everything to thoughtfully document an unfolding moment.

Because I’m a mom, can I add a teeny tiny disclaimer, please? These are my (painstakingly selected) favorite images of the year, but that doesn’t mean these are my only favorite clients. I love all my clients and appreciate every single one! If an image from your session isn’t included in this collection, know that you are loved and valued greatly! Whew ok, now I feel better.

Narrowing the list down was an extra challenge this year because I decided to draw from all sessions: weddings, engagements, anniversaries, head shots, families and more.

Without further ado – THE BEST 100 OF 2019!

This couple was willing to stand in the landscaping to get this shot. A team of bridesmaids threw petals 3 times until we landed the perfect image. I love how one of the bright pink blooms is over the bride’s ear, almost looking as though it’s incorporated into her hairstyle.
The back of the couple’s invitation card became the background for this image. The vibrant green in the center pops off the screen!
This was a very challenging situation on the edge of a city park with sub-zero windchills. I was waist deep in a snowbank determined to give this couple some sunset images and in this shot, everything fell into place.
My assistant held the bride’s veil and I positioned the rings with shaky fingers. “Now don’t breathe” I told her.This adventurous bride trudged into thick foliage on a sticky August day because I promised her a place in Fargo that looked kind of like Ireland. There were so many mosquitoes though! We carefully laid her dress and veil down on the muddy surface of the ground. This was pre-ceremony and we wanted to keep her as clean as possible.
That nose wrinkle!!!
A perfectly sweet, simple shot.
Lighting that did her dress and veil the justice it deserved. You can see the soft swish of the fabric as she walks.
No faces, only hands.
Ahhh this image!!! I was flat on the ground with straw up my jacket and nose, my flash balanced precariously on a haybale because I forgot a lightstand. The wind swooped in and blew her hair and dress and IT WAS PERFECT so I did a silly dance in a hayfield to celebrate. It looks like the cover of a movie or a book.
This green, the fur, her eyes – it’s all so captivating!
There were about 4 variations of this shot that I loved, but the look in her eye is what gets me.
Black and white studio portraits make a BIG appearance in this year’s selections.
This was an anniversary session and I layered the backdrop to create more dimension.
Found some sparkle, even on a cold night in October!
Sparkles AND TEARS while dancing with her daddy. I can’t stop staring at her fingers.
I’m including some senior portraits in this year’s collection. Cute corgi!
I carefully layered pink petals around the ring for this shot.
A really good classic portrait? Well, there’s really nothing better. I want the subject to look entirely themselves, entirely happy and connected with the camera.  This one nailed all three. (p.s. she’s my niece!)
This one showcases the bouquet design along with a candid connection in the background. Couldn’t love this image more.
This image of the White House Girls was published in Area Woman this February. The yellow was a risk but I wanted to try merging two colors for dimension. The pink and yellow are both paper backdrops, taped together! This is not the last time I will use this technique.Since so much of what these ladies do revolves around furniture I decided to go wild and build a tower of topsy-turvy chairs. I suspected it would create a visual piece of excitement.  They needed to literally balance while retaining the visual balance. One of my lights is hidden in the tower of chairs and lighting up the wall behind.  I was praying the chairs wouldn’t fall over and give the girls a broken nose!!!
More black and whites! And really good hair.
When facial expressions show me a couple’s genuine friendship, I feel like I’ve won the lottery.
65th wedding anniversary, guys.
I never have a lot of time for detail shots so I flap ribbons around and hope they lie nicely. My cell phone was underneath the invitation to help it *pop up* a bit.
A very bad weather day for a Ralph Lauren inspired shoot. I can feel the wind and see it on her cheeks.
I layered the haybales to create this Ralph Lauren like set. It’s lit with one softbox on the right. Plan A was to use an umbrella light modifier but the wind said no and I was glad I had a contingency plan.
There’s a good story for this image. To get this angle I was plastered against the opposite wall with a wide angle lens in my right hand and the veil in my left, which meant my left arm needed to cross over to the right to get the sweeping veil motion. I was all waving arms and craziness. After an expensive repair this wedding was my first time using this particular lens in over a year.  Within ten minutes I dropped it on the ground and broke it again.

I tell my couples to do a lot of things during a photo shoot and in this shot, I found their friendship. Ten year anniversary!
She was standing across the room from the dress but the reflection in the wall art brought them together.
Getting large groups to look GOOD is an art and sometimes magic.
I can hear her laughter.
The energy in their walk.
We walked back to this location twice to see if a car moved out of the way so I could take the shot. It didn’t. I had to stand in the street and shoot over the car roof, carefully cropping it out of the bottom of the frame.
The background flowers mimic the ring prongs!
Follow the bride, time it just right, focus just right…
I’ll never get over brides walking into big churches. ALSO I got married in this church and walked the same aisle so you know why I love this.
These two have perfect skin and eyes.
I brought my kitchen stool to the studio to try out this pose.
The strength in her eyes.
You can feel this hug.
A variation on a classic church portrait and I really like that blue carpet.
Mom and siblings watching the father-daughter dance and I AM HERE FOR IT. Had to photoshop out a giant lightstand because it was majorly ruining the moment,
You can feel this hug, too.
That row of wavy buttons, just waiting for their moment.
There wasn’t much of a sky that night but I milked it for all it was worth.
This moment was so fun!
My sister and her family. Meeting their new baby brother.
This amazing girl and gymnast has celiac and I brought white flour to our session because I figured it would look like chalk. I’m such an idiot. (But it looked like chalk, and we cleaned everything really well afterwards!)
She’s the best dancer! No, he’s the best dancer!
A candid moment during a gown shoot for Your Day by Nicole. The model stopped to adjust her earring and, well, it was perfect. Forever obsessed with bridal capes.
I had so many huge bridal parties this year!
This was on a sandbar in the middle of a lake! We walked around with water only up to our ankles.
A perfect, perfect classic portrait.

This just had to make the collection. I was setting up a shot of the bride in her custom gown and the groom was either really bored or in awe. We laughed about this one so hard!
Another editorial for Area Woman featuring Molly Yeh! I brought my studio to Grand Forks and set it up in a postage stamp dining room working around a *very large* chandelier.
I bought these strands of felt lights on Amazon and taped them to the green paper. As you can imagine, the pieces of scotch tape had to be photoshopped out later.
I used the screen of my cell phone underneath my lens to get this reflection of the sky!
Moments after they were pronounced husband and wife.A very technically difficult photograph using a random little box of  natural light. I was working fast, hoping a priest wouldn’t come in and kick us out for standing here.
I bought a super wide angle lens this year and it make me so happy for shots like these.
On our way to planned location #2, I saw these lilac bushes on the side of the road. Anyone who’s driven behind me during a photo session knows I am prone to VERY FAST PULL OVERS. I didn’t know until we stopped that lilacs were her favorite flower!
Difficult light and an ugly parking lot = one of my favorite images of the year. Again, used a cell phone screen under my lens to reflect the trees and get rid of the parking lot surface.
There was no sunset on this day. I made this sunset!
A sparkler send-off to close out this post.

Ahhh that was so fun! Thank you for following along this year and enjoying this collection. Tell me, which ones were your favorites?


Abby Anderson is a Wedding & Portrait Photographer in Fargo, ND + Moorhead, MN
Vibrant Lovestories, Modern Fairytales //



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