Bridget McDonald Photography: Blog en-us (C) Bridget McDonald Photography (Bridget McDonald Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:27:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:27:00 GMT Bridget McDonald Photography: Blog 120 80 Donner Giveaway Hey you! Are ya in love? Engaged? Not engaged? Wanna get married? Or maybe renew your vows? This post is for you!

Are you ready to see something absolutely, positively, amazingly crazy??


A dream team of vendors from the Reno-Tahoe area and I are hosting an actual, real life, elopement giveaway. Yes, an elopement that you will actually be legally married at Donner Lake, California on October 2, 2019.


If you’re down for an adventure, keep reading...

So, what’s included?


An elopement for you and the love of your life , and up to 2 witnesses (witnesses are not required)

Full photography coverage by @bridgetmcdonaldphotography //

Planning and coordination from @jalievents //

Floral creations by @finketblake //

Arbor by @cohen_creates //

Hair and makeup for one by @nancyriceartistry //

A small cake and desserts* by @sugarandsagecakedesign //

Officiating by @weddingofficiantlaketahoe //

Calligraphy vow books : @thickandthinlines //


*If you would like a handful people to attend your elopement, you can purchase more cake and desserts and we also have a plentiful list of caterers and other vendors in the Reno Tahoe area for anything else you would like!

How to enter:


  1. ♡ this post on my instagram

  2. Follow all accounts listed in the post caption, we will be checking!

  3. Tag 3 people who might be interested in an epic adventure.

  4. Record a short video, a minute or so, giving us some background on who you two are as a couple! It can be funny and cute, it can be creative or simple. No requirements or guidelines - some suggested topics if you find yourself stuck on what to tell us:

    1. How did you meet?

    2. How’d you know they were the one?

    3. Have a hilarious experience together?

    4. Hell, write us a song!

  5. Email your video and instagram handle to by June 23, 2019 11:59 PM PST



You must be at least 18 years old to enter and available Wednesday, October 2, 2019 for the elopement.

Travel, accommodation, and food other than cake for up to 4 are not included in this giveaway but if we do say so ourselves, a small price to pay when you get allllll-a-dat.

Other than age, there are no restrictions on who can enter! If you have questions about this please message me or one of the other vendors.


**Giveaway is not sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Instagram**



Here's a look into our styled session on Donner Lake with some of the amazing vendors participating in the giveaway.


(Bridget McDonald Photography) Tue, 11 Jun 2019 00:22:12 GMT
Along for the ride of the greatest adventure A little over a week ago, Cala, Matt, and I set on our adventure to the Adirondack Mountains to shoot their engagement session at a well known lookout, Indian Head. It’s not too difficult of a hike, but it was about 9 miles round trip and including shooting time, I spent about 6 hours with them in almost complete solitude.


I have known Cala + Matt for a few years and well aware of their hobbies, because on paper, sometimes, I think we would be mistaken for the same people. Beer, dogs, and hiking just to name a few. But I really have never spent much time with them together, and this 6 hours was enlightening. 


I learned that a Cowboys fan and a Patriots fan can in fact be in love. I learned that Cala’s lack of coordination won Matt over instantaneously which later showed itself when Matt caught her from falling in a brook. I heard about their first kiss, and their first “I love you” - which may or may not be the reason for a few of the outbursts of laughter shown below. I heard of past adventures and future ones. I watched their light heartedness with one another as well as their patience (something we all need to be reminded of in the middle of a mountain with our significant other). I photographed them with no distraction, or people around and still get the goose-bumpy feels going through these and seeing how they really, really do love each other.


That’s enough, I’m a puddle on the floor, here is a collection of my favorites from Cala & Matt’s session in the Adirondacks.

(Bridget McDonald Photography) adirondack mountains adirondacks adventure engaged engagement hiking indian head keene keene new york lake placid photographer lake placid wedding new york new york photographer on location photographer photography portraits upstate new york photographer wedding wedding photographer wedding photography Thu, 26 Oct 2017 17:21:58 GMT
Kyle + Brittany’s Irish engagement, perfectly unplanned. About a week ago Frank and I got together with Britt and Kyle to grab dinner to talk wedding (EEEEKKK!), and catch up, seeing as we hadn’t seen them since our two week excursion through Ireland and Gent, back in March. And that’s what has brought me to this better-late-than-never blog post.

If you didn’t already know or couldn’t guess by the title, Britt and Kyle got engaged in Ireland on our trip. But we will get to that in a bit.


Just a little back story, last December Kyle and I started talking on a trip to Massachusetts about the “what ifs” of proposing to Brittany in Ireland as opposed to their weekend away to the Finger Lakes. I think I said, “you’ll be in engaged in IRELAND” enough times  to at least have him thinking about it. Next time we saw each other, in February, I was looking at photos of a freaking beautiful diamond ring. 


So those that know me, know I’m a planner. I love to-do lists, I love researching, and I love timelines. Those that know me also know when I don’t have a plan plus a back up plan, I get a little nutty. 


“So what’s the plan for the proposal, Kyle? Have you picked where or what day?”

“No, I know it’s going to happen in Ireland, but I don’t really want an exact plan. Just when the timing is right, I think I’ll know.”




He at least threw me a bone and said we could have a code phrase when he was about to get down on one knee which was, “I could really go for an iced coffee right now” and later changed to “Will you take our picture?” In hindsight, having a photographer with you 24/7 and needing a code phrase, don’t make it “will you take our picture?"

We arrived in Ireland at around 4 AM, and had a plan to catch sunrise at the Howth Cliffs right outside of Dublin. A small side note, anyone spending a few days in Dublin, I highly recommend doing this, It is absolutely breathtaking. But anyway,  we are on our way to Howth, or trying to be (first timers driving on the other side of the road and car). We are tired, we smell, but we are so happy to be here. Now remember, Frank and I, and even Kyle don’t know when “the timing is right” so we are all a little on edge, while Brittany is just taking in the serene views, cool as a cucumber. I’ll cut the anticipation for now, this wasn’t the spot. 

We - or I - had a few days to relax from this “no plan” approach, since the proposal probably wouldn’t be happening in Dublin. These days were filled with a lot of stew and Guinness. 


Next we were on our way to Blarney Castle with a quick stop through Wicklow National Park.


 “It might be here.” Kyle said as we were getting ready to walk through the park. 




We came down to this lake, which later Kyle mentioned he would have done it here if the wind wasn’t so loud at the shore. Imagine asking your soulmate to marry you and having his or her response be, “what did you say?” ...On to Blarney Castle. 



Honestly, I had very low expectations for Blarney Castle. I’m not sure why or where the expectation came from, but I was very, very wrong. The grounds, even with the construction, were so pristine, delicate, and beautiful. I think I also may have been so pleasantly surprised because it was so quiet and not an overwhelming amount of visitors. We were walking around the gardens and, “Hey, can you take our picture?”





Kyle hopped up on a tree made for two AND…….nope. Not the spot. I never thought I could have so much adrenaline pumping through my veins without jumping out of a plane or something along those lines. 


We stayed in Cork for the night and grabbed a few beers before an early morning to head through the Ring of Kerry and Dingle.


Who has seen the movie PS I Love You? If you have, you’ll know what I am talking about here..


In the movie, the main characters meet-cute happens when the American girl is aimlessly wandering around Ireland, when an Irishman approaches her asking if she is lost. The American replies “I’m looking for Wicklow National Park” and the Irishman laughs and says, “You’ve been in Wicklow for probably about two hours now.”


This was us in the Ring of Kerry, but we didn’t have any cute Irishmen telling us. 


We found a pull off in what was apparently The Ring of Kerry, to stretch our legs, with a hell of a view. We are getting out of the car and Kyle says, “Should I do it?!” Naturally, I burst out into a nervous laughter while scrambling to grab any and all cameras. “What’s so funny?” Britt asked. “Oh, um, my pants were down.” Good save Kyle.


These are shot a few minutes before the proposal, and I will adore them forever. They may not be picture perfect, or what you anticipate to see right before, but I love that they have a touch of awkwardness in a way that reflects how even your very best counterpart of so many years can still make you feel nervous in the best way possible. And this is exactly how I knew it was happening here. 

The perfect reminder that things don’t always go as planned, or planned at all, and they still manage to find their way to being amazing. 


There is plenty more to the trip that maybe I’ll get around to sharing on a rainy day. From our night in Dingle, to the Cliffs of Moher, Athlone, and Belgium. But the last thing I wanted to show you was their impromptu engagement session at Kinnitty Castle that made us overflow with laughter and our flutes with champagne. 

Here’s to a trip I will never forget and even if I did, here’s to the people I have forever with to remind me. Cheers you two, I couldn’t be happier for your continued adventure - and to photograph it :)



(Bridget McDonald Photography) Wed, 12 Jul 2017 19:35:54 GMT
At home newborn session + meeting Andie Charlotte Hi all, and Happy end of 2016!


I thought I would ring in the New Year with a new bundle of joy and a reminder on my newborn sessions and how they work. I made a post about this last year to my Facebook page, Bridget McDonald Photography, but thought I would reiterate because I have been getting a lot of inquiries on newborn sessions! The post was as follows:


“I have recently decided to make the transition into at-home/lifestyle newborn photography. Before I explain why, I wanted to say that I respect to no end photographers that have taken on the challenge of posed newborn photography and succeeded, it is truly an art, it's just not for me.

Over the course of the past 5+ years, I have photographed incredible milestones in other people's lives. Starting from 7 days new to 70 years old, and everything in between. But why after 5+ years of photographing all of these wonderful people, did I have the least interest in photographing arguably the cutest and littlest ones? Here's why:

The approach I took in newborn photography was posed. You know, the cute little human wrapped in pastel cloth, an adorable little hat, hands perfectly placed, fast asleep. I've had my fair share of success with posed newborn photography in my opinion, but again, it's just not for me. Kristin, Rock, and Violet are a perfect example as to why I want to continue with "at-home/lifestyle newborn photography." These are real moments, of new parents absorbing their beautiful daughter entirely. It's a remarkable thing to witness a new mom and a new dad hold their child for an hour and a half, and to literally see their love somehow surpass what it was when I first arrived. These are real moments, in a special place, that will more than likely watch Violet have her first steps, hear her first words, mark her growing inches on the wooden door frame, and already have so many memories up until her arrival. That is what is important to me, and what I love. To capture not just your beautiful newborn, but the environment in which she or he and you will grow.”


I posted this about a year ago when I first made the transition with Rock and Kristen’s baby girl, and I am so happy I did! I now love photographing little ones in cozy homes and seeing them be sleepy, be curious, be comforted, and all things in between. 


I photographed Brad + Shauna’s wedding in May of 2015, and in November visited their home nestled in the back roads of Cambridge to meet their perfect newest edition, Andie. Here are a few of them being totally in love and at home.

(Bridget McDonald Photography) Fri, 30 Dec 2016 19:46:11 GMT
Meg & Cal’s engagement in New Hampshire, the importance of travel, and having rainy sessions Hi Guys! Welcome to November and my latest blog post. Last week my boyfriend, Frank, and I traveled to Portsmouth New Hampshire so I could photograph Meg and Cal’s engagement. I actually have known Meg for probably around ten years. She grew up neighboring my hometown. Same friends circle, and we even traveled to Europe in 2008 together to play soccer. Long story short, Meg and her fiancé, Cal, recently moved to Portsmouth for work, they have fallen in love with the area, and they really wanted their engagement photos taken there.


I wanted to first let people, that are on the fence about contacting me for wedding and engagement photography because of distance, know that isn’t an issue! I will travel WHEREVER!


Second, I wanted to explain why. When I am booked for any type of session, I will always give the option for my client to select the location they would like to shoot at. A lot of the time they open my eyes to beautiful spots that I had no idea existed, such as the Rose Gardens in Schenectady. But even more importantly, gives the opportunity for sentimentality.  Newborn sessions at home snuggled with mom and dad, reunion sessions on land these adults grew up exploring as kids, or cities where the newly engaged will start this chapter of their life together. I want each and every one of you to be able to look back on these photographs and have a story to tell.


When I have requests like this, it needs to be planned in advance, for obvious reasons. It was a four-hour trip one way, it needed to be on a weekday, and it needed to be before winter.  Set in stone, they were in the calendar for last Thursday. The day upstate New York was hit with a mini-blizzard…


We set out for Portsmouth around 10 AM and about an hour in I was trying NOT to rip my hair out as we drove through flurries on the highway. I think all photographers can relate to how stressful weather can be when it’s busy season, and time for rescheduling really isn’t in the picture (reasons stated above). Not long after, I heard from Meg and how she hoped the rain would pass by the time I got there. As many of you can probably guess, it did not. From start to finish, it rained a cold, cold, rain.


This isn’t my first time in an unfortunately wet predicament. I had a wedding this past July where there were tornado warnings two miles down the street and it was a torrential downpour the entire ceremony. Did I mention it was outdoors? Anyway, some of the best wedding photos I have to date came from that day.  It pushed my creativity out of it’s comfort zone, and we worked with and around it. So that’s what Meg, Cal, and I did.

To be fair to the rain, there is something solace and romantic about it. On rainy days I know I prefer to stay cozy with a glass of wine. It also made for a much quieter session walking around Portsmouth. Sometimes it felt like we were the only ones out and about. We started at the Portsmouth Book and Bar, a cute spot with big windows (a photographer’s dream indoor location), cozy worn in couches, big library style bookshelves, and a killer beer and wine list. Pretty much the storybook location for an engagement session when it rains. We spent some time there, in between shooting, I got to hear about the first time they formally met, the first date, and the beach house proposal, all over a glass of really good wine. 


Getting ready to leave the Book and Bar, I looked out the window and made note of a walkup I really liked across the street and wanted to shoot there before we moved to a park they had in mind. “The one right there?, that was mine and Meg’s first apartment here!” Serendipity.


We wrapped up heading towards the water, something I had my heart set on regardless of weather because I rarely get to shoot at the ocean.


I want your sessions and/or your wedding day to be exactly what you want and envision. I want to explore new places, and I want to get to know the both of you through that. I end up in these exact situations where I know I will return to Portsmouth, just because.


And don’t let rain, rain on your parade. Photographers, make sure your equipment is safe. And to those being photographed, “If you think sunshine brings you happiness, then you haven’t danced in the rain.”


I hope you enjoy seeing Meg and Cal's engagement session!

(Bridget McDonald Photography) Tue, 01 Nov 2016 19:35:07 GMT
The small town wedding that hosted the really big love. Danica + Nash, married in Cambridge, NY Cambridge, New York is a small town nestled in a valley right on the Vermont border. When I say small, I mean a one stop light-one coffee shop town that if you don’t see someone you know at either, you’re probably not from here. The town that we said we would never come back to in our adolescent years, only to find out we would want to grow old a few miles from where we grew up. 


I grew up with Nash and his family in this little slice of heaven of a town.  Over the years I gathered how full hearted he is, his creative and artistic talent, and shared a common ground of being on Mrs. Ridler’s good side in 8th period art class. 


And then there is Danica. The fiancé that I only knew through email, one walk through at the wedding venue, and a last minute engagement session four days before the wedding. Let me tell you, SHE’S FREAKING AMAZING. The best qualities of Nash that I saw grow throughout our childhood and teenage years, I learned about Danica in four days. FOUR DAYS. She is passionate, creative, and infects you with her happiness. And somehow in a world of 7 billion people, they found one another.


They remind me of a really good cheese and a really good wine that are delicious when they standalone. But then you have them together, and they bring out the unknown and better flavors. (I may be biased to this analogy; cheese and wine are my two favorite food groups.)


Their wedding was on a warm Saturday in August. Danica got ready with her closest girls at The Rice Mansion and Nash at a local home in Cambridge.  From there they had their first look and portraits at a family friend’s farmhouse on Content Farm Road, filled with summer yellows, shady trees, mountain views, and stone cottages. The ceremony and reception were at Maple Ridge just down the road. They were married in an open and green field with all of their friends and loved ones, under the arbor Nash made the day before. Cocktail hour was held in the warm shade outside of the barn filling the air with familiar laughs, nostalgic conversations, and cigar smoke. The reception was held in the top floor of the barn where they continued to drink, dance to good music, and eat local food. To those that have forgotten of how great this town can be, I hope these photos and this day remind you.


There are two reasons that I decided to share Danica and Nash’s wedding day. First being their present, big, and contagious love.  But also, their impeccable taste. And when you combine the two you get the wedding Pinterest couldn’t even come up with. Or as one guest worded it, “Straight out of a Bloomingdales catalog.”


From the attire and details, to eloquent speeches and locations, Danica and Nash threw the wedding of our dreams (in our backyard).

For the motion picture, head to OTD Collective’s video,  & if you are looking for a videographer for 2017, Haley is your girl. 

Julia Ehrnstorm is responsible for some of these beautiful photos! She's the best.


(Bridget McDonald Photography) Mon, 17 Oct 2016 18:05:27 GMT
Why my engagement sessions are worth it (aside from being free). AH! A second blog post! And on one of my favorite type of sessions! So.Much.Goodness

First and foremost I wanted to thank Chelsea + Anthony for being a dream couple in front of the camera (as well as just in general). We had a perfect session around Glens Falls and I could NOT wait to share with all of you.

Okay, so, yes you read the headline correctly: My engagement sessions are free once you book your wedding with me. Here are a few reasons why:

1. This is great practice in front of the camera to get me comfortable with you and you both to get comfortable with me and the camera. Because let's face it, the couple's who love getting their photo taken are few and far between. 

2. And because those couple's are few and far between, I'm here to tell you that you are in the majority! Don't let your insecurity in front of the camera scare you away from doing the engagement session. We will get beautiful photos, I promise.

3. Engagement photos are a solid alternative to wedding photos to have hanging around the house. They will show you two together in a more "everyday" kind of light. 

4. It can be as casual as you want it to be. Do you want to hang with your dog and fiance in your pajamas on the couch? PERFECT! Maybe grab a few drinks at the local brewery? I'M IN! Alternatively, it can be as formal as you would like too, or even a mixture of both.


5. Chelsea + Anthony's session consisted of looking at each other, kissing a bunch, laughing just as much, and drinking Mean Max's brews. This could be you.


Honestly, I could give you ten more reasons why taking advantage of an engagement session is definitely worth it, but I'll let these two show it off. If you have questions on wedding photography or engagement, contact me!, I'd love to talk and get together. 

(Bridget McDonald Photography) Wed, 07 Sep 2016 05:15:31 GMT
I hope they don't serve banana pancakes in heaven. Hi Everyone,

I have finally started blogging, but we will talk about that at a later date.

This is for Jeanne + her family.

I had a session yesterday with a family visiting from out of town. Afterwards one of them asked, "What is your favorite type of shoot?" A pretty common question in my profession, something I answer on a regular basis. As I was giving my usual response..."young children are always the most entertaining, weddings are where I find I take my best photographs," it hit me like a ton of bricks thinking about what my least favorite type of shoot is, yet so simultaneously humbling.

Maybe I drove away from this session so heavy hearted because my "least favorite" shoot was just two Sunday's ago with Jeanne. Maybe because I know growing up in this town and with Racquel and Scott, that they are the most joyous and loving family, or maybe because my heart felt that same weight leaving Jeanne's home two Sunday's ago. Probably a little of everything.


God, she was such a beautiful woman and a truly great mother. Racquel + Scott, you have inherited your mom's most perfect parts. The parts that we will look at and listen to and be reminded of her. From her generosity and humor, to her genuineness. And her laugh, her unmistakable, contagious, from the belly laugh. I hope on bad days you can look at yourselves and be reminded of her too.


Sadly, it has been so long since I have sat in her presence and ate too many of her m&m cookies fresh out of the oven, but I was given a small reminder of her Sunday, and I will forever be grateful for that. I went over in the morning to take a few photos of everyone. We filtered through the list of what we thought was important and then we just sat, talked, and listened in the shade by her garden. I told my favorite story I could remember of Jeanne, which felt like a lot of pressure. We all know they possess the best story telling ability. But we did have a few laughs, so I thought I would share my story with all of you:


Growing up, Racquel would have the best sleepovers. We are talking pizza, soda, junk food galore, sappy movie after sappy movie, way more girl talk than sleeping, and then waking up to Jeanne's pancake breakfasts. mmmm. Except this one time, Jeanne decide to change things up and make banana pancakes. I don't know if Jack Johnson inspired her or maybe she had a batch of bananas going bad in the kitchen, but it was a disaster. Ten hungry girls poking at a plate full of pancakes, refusing to eat them. Well surely they couldn't be that bad, we were just teenage girls with our picky mouths. What was Jeanne supposed to do? Throw them out after she had spent her entire morning slaving in the kitchen? No, not Jeanne. We could feed them to the dog, of course! Lovable and chunky, Chester. 10 bellies relieved of these banana pancakes, and 1 dog belly happily filled. Or so we thought. Sure enough, Chester mowed down that pile of flapjacks like it was his only calling in life and 10 minutes later there was a pile of banana-pancake-dog-vomit on the kitchen floor. Not even Chester could stomach these things. I think Jeanne finally admitted that maybe the pancakes weren't that great. We all laughed until our empty bellies hurt and tears from giggling strolled down our faces. That story has stuck so vividly with me for so many years.


This world is twisted and I don't think I will ever fathom why people like Jeanne, are taken from those who love them whole-heartedly. Some say heaven needs those people too, and somedays that's the only reason I can come close to understanding.


To all of Jeanne's friends and family: memories and photographs will be a small light in this darkness. Remind yourselves of all the good she possessed, all the love she gave, and how beautiful she was. And never forget that these are things that are still here, just a little harder to find.


Jeanne: I hope they don't serve banana pancakes in heaven. Thank you for all of the laughs, leaving us with such caring and good people, and reminding us to hug our loved ones a little tighter. You are already so heavily missed.

(Bridget McDonald Photography) Wed, 13 Jul 2016 19:50:02 GMT