Lancaster Maternity Session: Conestoga House and Gardens | Sandra and Oscar

Colorful summer maternity session at the Conestoga House and Gardens in Lancaster, PA

One of the best kept secrets in Lancaster, in my opinion, is the Conestoga House and Gardens, located just outside of Lancaster City. When Sandra asked me about locations for their summer maternity session, this place came to mind right away. It’s located just 5 minutes from where they live so we thought it would be perfect. I would describe the Conestoga House and Gardens as a miniature Longwood Gardens and it’s free and open to the public two days a week during the summer and fall. On any given evening you can find the grounds full of families picnicking and photo shoots happening around this beautiful garden oasis.

It was a hot humid July evening and Sandra was just weeks from her due date when we did their maternity session but she and Oscar didn’t complain one bit. Sandra was glowing in the golden summer light and I couldn’t stop exclaiming about it. We even made time to snap some photos of them with their adorable little dog outside the gardens (FYI dogs are not allowed inside the gardens).

Even though this was just a mini session, I managed to sneak in a few double exposures at the end. I love experimenting with this technique, especially to showcase silhouettes of pregnant bellies. I think it might be my new “thing” for maternity sessions. Curious to hear what you think?

As I type this, Sandra and Oscar are now adjusting to life as brand new parents with their one week old baby boy! Perhaps you’ll see more photos of him showing up soon!


Melissa Engle Photography offers portrait and lifestyle photography in Lancaster, PA. Please contact me if you would like to make some photo magic together!

Lancaster Portrait Photography: Spring Butterflies and Blooms Creative Portraits

Colorful creative spring portrait photography in Lancaster, PA with blooms and butterflies

This spring I got together with some creative photographer friends to do something magical and colorful. A little while back I came across these magnetic butterflies on Amazon and bought them thinking I could use them some day for a creative project. And thus we decided on a butterflies and blooms spring themed photoshoot. I created a hanging mobile of butterflies and shot down through it for a neat effect (although the wind made them tangle quite a bit).

Emily of Emily Grace Photography and Sirena of Monsters and Lace brought all the color and creative modeling expertise. It turned out to be a rainy day but we didn’t let that stop us. We each took turns being in front of and behind the lens (though let’s be honest, Sirena’s pink hair stole the show).

When I shared the image of Sirena lying in the yellow flowers with the butterflies on Instagram, someone said it reminded them of Taylor Swift’s new album about butterflies. I am totally out of the loop when it comes to pop culture so I had no idea, but hey, I guess I’m on trend for once?

Melissa Engle Photography offers portrait and lifestyle photography in Lancaster, PA. Please contact me if you would like to make some photo magic together!

Lancaster Portrait Photography: A Vintage Peacock Flapper Inspired Glamour Session in Lancaster City

Vintage flapper peacock glamour creative portraits in Lancaster City, PA

This winter I was itching to do something creative just for myself and so I started tossing around some ideas. After much contemplating I ended up with this vintage peacock flapper inspired glamour session with my new friend and fellow creative Rachel as model. Rachel has this vintage vibe about her (she also collects vintage clothing) and I thought she would be perfect for this. I love jewel tones, especially peacock colors, and so naturally I was drawn to this room with a teal wall above Realm and Reason Shop in Lancaster City.

The idea for this vintage flapper inspired glamour session began when I decided I wanted to dress up fancy for a friend’s New Year’s Eve party. I had ordered this awesome flapper dress on Amazon only to end up with my first ever emergency room visit on NYE due to what I thought was a bone stuck in my throat (thankfully turned out to be nothing) which meant no NYE party for me. I also happened to have a ton of peacock feathers on hand from my wedding back in 2012. We made our own bouquets and used some of the feathers in them. They complemented the flapper look perfectly and I had fun holding them in front of the lens to create some additional depth and color.

We had a limited time window for this shoot since it happened during the 2 hours my daughter was in preschool. I managed to not only shoot digital but also shot a roll of 800 speed Kodak film that was more than 10 years old on my Canon AE-1, my very first camera which functions completely manually. If you scroll down to the bottom of this post you’ll probably be able to tell which images were shot on film.

I have so many favorites from this session that I found it hard to narrow these down. These are the colors of my soul! The light was gorgeous that morning, pouring in through the windows. Rachel was getting over a bad head cold but you can hardly even tell in these photos. She was a real trouper and even smoked a cigarette and sat on an old toilet for some of the shots. The room with the peeling floral wall paper was also a perfect setting for capturing Rachel’s vintage flapper essence and I enjoyed messing around with some freelensing there too.

Melissa Engle Photography offers portrait and lifestyle photography in Lancaster, PA. Please contact me if you would like to make some photo magic together!