Sister team of Dear Grace Photography captures beautiful moments
By LAURA JAMESON
LOCK HAVEN — Everyone has special moments in their lives such as weddings, pregnancies and graduations, andthe sister team of Brittany Martin and Hannah Rayls is there to capture all those precious moments.
Brittany and Hannah have been surrounded by photography their whole lives which makes it no surprise that they would decide photography was their calling.
Both sisters can recall the moments that they knew photography was their chosen career, and it started out with Brittany in 2014.
She had been working a full time job and doing photo shoots on the side as a hobby when she had found out she was pregnant with her daughter, Quincy. At the time she wasn’t sure if she could work a full time job, be a mom and continue to take photos, then a hobby. It was then that she decided to quit her job and become a full time photographer.
Two years later her sister would join her.
Now, one year later, Hannah is more than happy with her choice.
“A year ago I was deciding what I wanted to do,” Hannah explained. She had gotten her Bachelor’s degree in social work but said that while looking at jobs in her major, nothing spoke to her quite like photography did.
Brittany, who has a Master’s in Homeland Security and an undergrad in Spanish and international security, agreed.
The sisters specalize in photographing weddings, which is also their favorite thing to shoot.
“Every wedding we do is our favorite wedding,” Brittany said about the multiple weddings they’ve done. They said they have a lot of photo shoots in Philadelphia and Lancaster and they also travel out of state to New Jersey and Maryland.
They said they like to think they’re story tellers,explaining that a wedding is such a large story in a couple’s lives and that they love being able to capture it, to get even the smallest of details involved so that it’s perfect.
They also said that throughout the process of meeting with the clients they get to know them more and start to feel like they’re family. Brittany mentioned that after the wedding they usually will get calls from people who will want to do maternity shoots and then later on family photos. “We have some clients who are like family,” Hannah said.
As for the weddings, although they can’t pinpoint a certain part of each one they like the most, they did share some memorable moments.
Hannah remembers a flower girl who had been shy before a wedding strut down the aisle and threw her flowers all over. Brittany remembers a time that they witnessed a ‘polka dance’, where the bride was in the middle of dance floor and the groom had to reach her. Another moment Brittany enjoys the most is the look on a father’s face when he sees his daughter.
Recently the sisters have made a home out of a building here in Lock Haven. They’ve named it “The Studio” and have put a lot of work into making it a beautiful and open space for clients.
They began the renovations on “The Studio,” located at 7 W. Church St., back in August. They completed the renovations and had an open house in October. Not only were they busy with the renovations, they also were booked solid these two and a half months which made it quite the experience.
Both sisters said “The Studio” is one of their favorite places because they built it themselves. The beautiful pine wood flooring took them an estimated 100 hours to install themselves, but they are happy with the results. The space is used mostly for their Boudoir photo shoots and they also rent the space out.
As of right now, two make up classes by Beauty and the Blush are done at the building. Brittany also explained that they’re hoping to make it a space for people who want to host other events and as a prep area for a bride on her wedding day. “There aren’t many areas like that here,” she said.
Dear Grace Photography also collaborates with other local vendors in an attempt to help save the bride and groom money. Dear Grace Photography, Glassed Up Studios, MixMaster Entertainment Services, Beauty and the Blush, Samantha’s Kitchen and Flower’s by Monica have teamed up to form the Vest and Veil Wedding Collective. Brittany said when you book one of these vendors you can get a discount on the others. It’s their way of making the best wedding possible for future brides and grooms.
Not only are the sisters attempting to make the lives of those in the weddings they photograph better, they’re also attempting to make the world a better place.
Every year Dear Grace Photography usually does a wedding give away, where they give a couple the chance to have a wedding photographed for free. The couple submits an application for the photographers to choose from. Unfortunately, this year they are booked solid and are unable to do the giveaway.
Instead they’ve come up with an even more charitable solution.
“We’ve decided to donate a percentage of what we make on weddings to a charity,” Brittany said. The charity they’ve chosen, Hiinga, which was actually founded by Brittany’s own wedding photography, is a non-profit that helps sponsor women and men in developing countries. Specifically the money that is raised goes to helping people in countries like Uganda start local businesses. The percentage that will be donated per wedding will depend on the cost of the wedding itself, however Brittany said they’re hoping to raise between $2 and $3 thousand for the Hiinga non-profit.
Brittany and Hannah want to continue bringing their dedication and love for their career into the community and into each and every photo shoot. The work they’ve done so far has proven just how much care and love they have for their job.