A Sunny, Spring Four-Day Weekend in Charleston, SC | Travel Guide | Pennsylvania and Tennessee Wedding Photographer

four-day-weekend-travel-guide-charleston-south-carolina-mary-kate-steele-photography

Charleston, South Carolina - home of Rainbow Row, Spanish moss, US history, sailboats, incredible food, pink doorways and so much more! Earlier in March, Collins, Megan and myself took a road trip to Charleston! This was all our first time exploring all Charleston had to offer and let me say, it did not disappoint! I’m already figuring out when I can get back to the charming coastal city. The girls planned this trip to explore and shoot a bunch of fun Spring fashion content for their blogs! I always love when I have the opportunity to travel with them and shoot new, exciting, inspiring content for them. :)

We stayed in the cutest Airbnb in the sweetest neighborhood located in Mount Pleasant, just over the bridge from Charleston. Mount Pleasant and Charleston are so idyllic! Every single street, home and street corner is so picturesque. You feel like you’re walking on streets out of a storybook that are lined with darling historical pastel painted homes and palm trees.

Food:

Tradds is a newer restaurant in Charleston, but one you should definitely add to your list! Their style and atmosphere is so unique and fun. It was a great place to grab drinks and a delicious entrée with a group of friends!

Basic Kitchen was most definitely my favorite food stop! We enjoyed a really lovely lunch there. We got to sample several options on their menu (salads, fish, nachos, fried cauliflower, and my favorite - sweet potato fries!). Basic Kitchen grows much of their food and vegetables out in the back where they have several garden boxes and adorable deck seating! I highly recommend reserving a spot for lunch at Basic Kitchen!

Coastal Crust Pizza is located in the adorable suburbia of Charleston, Mount Pleasant. Their pizza is incredible! You can also order a glass or bottle of wine or beer to pair with your oven-baked pizza. They also serve a delicious homemade ice cream sandwiches, which I could not pass up! It was so good!

To Do:

We took a horse drawn carriage tour with Old South Carriage Tours. Our tour guide was fantastic and we learned so much fascinating history about Charleston, the architecture and all the crazy building codes they have! They take their homes and building/restoring regulations very seriously.

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks (the movie) was filmed in Charleston! We had planned on taking the Notebook movie tour, but ran out of time. This came highly suggested to us by many, so I would love to take this tour next time I’m back!

We made a day trip down to Savannah, Georgia, which was a great decision! Savannah is about a two hour drive and totally worth it! I wish we would’ve had more time there! Savannah is just as darling and charming as Charleston, but in a small town kind of way! I could have easily spent a three-day weekend in Savannah (which will happen at some point). ;)

A few years ago, I was able to take a quick day trip to Savannah. I visited Wormsloe plantation and immediately fell in love with the mile long drive lined with majestic oak trees covered in Spanish Moss. I highly recommend visiting if you can! We had planned on visiting Boone Hall Plantation, but also ran out of time for that. Shooting fashion content can be more time consuming than people think! :)

When I visit a new place, I love to just take a day to walk around on the streets, explore, check out the shops, boutiques, coffee shops etc. One of my favorite things to do is to find a coffee shop and try their coffee, along with a delicious pastry. I always find a cute coffee shop!

I can’t wait to go back to Charleston and add a more extensive travel guide!

xoxo, MK

four-day-weekend-travel-guide-charleston-south-carolina-mary-kate-steele-photography
four-day-weekend-travel-guide-charleston-south-carolina-mary-kate-steele-photography
four-day-weekend-travel-guide-charleston-south-carolina-mary-kate-steele-photography
four-day-weekend-travel-guide-charleston-south-carolina-mary-kate-steele-photography
four-day-weekend-travel-guide-charleston-south-carolina-mary-kate-steele-photography
four-day-weekend-travel-guide-charleston-south-carolina-mary-kate-steele-photography
four-day-weekend-travel-guide-charleston-south-carolina-mary-kate-steele-photography
four-day-weekend-travel-guide-charleston-south-carolina-mary-kate-steele-photography
four-day-weekend-travel-guide-charleston-south-carolina-mary-kate-steele-photography
four-day-weekend-travel-guide-charleston-south-carolina-mary-kate-steele-photography
four-day-weekend-travel-guide-charleston-south-carolina-mary-kate-steele-photography
four-day-weekend-travel-guide-charleston-south-carolina-mary-kate-steele-photography
four-day-weekend-travel-guide-charleston-south-carolina-mary-kate-steele-photography
four-day-weekend-travel-guide-charleston-south-carolina-mary-kate-steele-photography
four-day-weekend-travel-guide-charleston-south-carolina-mary-kate-steele-photography
four-day-weekend-travel-guide-charleston-south-carolina-mary-kate-steele-photography
four-day-weekend-travel-guide-charleston-south-carolina-mary-kate-steele-photography
four-day-weekend-travel-guide-charleston-south-carolina-mary-kate-steele-photography
four-day-weekend-travel-guide-charleston-south-carolina-mary-kate-steele-photography
four-day-weekend-travel-guide-charleston-south-carolina-mary-kate-steele-photography
four-day-weekend-travel-guide-charleston-south-carolina-mary-kate-steele-photography
four-day-weekend-travel-guide-charleston-south-carolina-mary-kate-steele-photography
four-day-weekend-travel-guide-charleston-south-carolina-mary-kate-steele-photography
four-day-weekend-travel-guide-charleston-south-carolina-mary-kate-steele-photography
four-day-weekend-travel-guide-charleston-south-carolina-mary-kate-steele-photography
four-day-weekend-travel-guide-charleston-south-carolina-mary-kate-steele-photography
four-day-weekend-travel-guide-charleston-south-carolina-mary-kate-steele-photography
four-day-weekend-travel-guide-charleston-south-carolina-mary-kate-steele-photography

A Simple Solution to Protect Your Eyes in 2019 | Pixel Eyewear | Tennessee and Pennsylvania Wedding Photographer

women's-eyewear-pixel-eyewear-shot-and-bottle-lancaster-pa-mary-kate-steele-photography

Good morning darling friends!

The sun is shining and I am currently making my to do list for today! I’ve got a question for you! Ever notice the longer you spend staring at your computer at work answering emails, writing proposals, working on reports or scrolling through Instagram that your eyes feel heavy or tired? Do you ever get subtle headaches or fatigue and wonder why you feel so tired?! Let me guess, you probably thought you slept well last night. Well, it is proven that we as a culture spend more time looking at screens than ever before. I certainly love scrolling through my Instagram - haha! At twenty-nine years old though, feeling fatigued and my eyes being tired is not on my agenda. This year, one of my goals is to be better about monitoring my screen time and being healthier — like being more conscious of protecting my eyes!

If eye and/or mental fatigue and mild headaches sounds familiar, I have some good news for you! Pixel Eyewear offers fashionable, non-prescription glasses for both men and women that are designed to help reduce and protect from blue light. These eyeglasses help reduce fatigue and tiredness (strain) in your eyes allowing you to be more efficient and protect your eyes! These glasses are great to wear at work, while you’re on your phone, laying in bed scrolling through Instagram or even watching tv. I will note that I personally have prescription eye-glasses because of a lazy eye. Several times over the last few weeks, I have found myself in situations where I did not have my prescription glasses with me. Luckily, I did have my pair of Pixel Eyeglasses in my bag and they were a huge help, reducing my eye fatigue and keeping me focused and efficient!

As wedding & fashion photographer, a lot of screen time is inevitable, so if there is a way to help protect my eyes, you better believe I am going to take it! My eyes are incredibly vital for me to continue doing what I love to do! :)

I am excited — Pixel Eyewear and I decided it would be fun to host a giveaway! Here’s how to enter:

Follow (on Instagram) @marykatesteele and @pixeleyewear

Like my Instagram post

Tag your friends that need a pair, too!

Be sure to check back on my Instagram, a winner will be randomly chosen and announced on Friday evening! Pixel was so generous to also offer a special discount to all my friends — use the code “marykate” at checkout! <3

women's-eyewear-pixel-eyewear-shot-and-bottle-lancaster-pa-mary-kate-steele-photography
women's-eyewear-pixel-eyewear-shot-and-bottle-lancaster-pa-mary-kate-steele-photography
women's-eyewear-pixel-eyewear-shot-and-bottle-lancaster-pa-mary-kate-steele-photography
women's-eyewear-pixel-eyewear-shot-and-bottle-lancaster-pa-mary-kate-steele-photography
women's-eyewear-pixel-eyewear-shot-and-bottle-lancaster-pa-mary-kate-steele-photography
women's-eyewear-pixel-eyewear-shot-and-bottle-lancaster-pa-mary-kate-steele-photography

My Tips, Tricks and Recap of New York Fashion Week as a Photographer | New York City | NYC Photographer

New York City fashion week Collins Touhy Smith Megan Bonner rooftop by Mary Kate Steele Photography

Two weeks ago I hopped on an airplane and landed in New York City. I was so excited to take on my second year as a photographer at New York City Fashion Week! Every time I travel to the Big Apple, Taylor Swift’s song, (which if you don’t know yet, I LOVE TSwift), “Welcome to New York” plays in my head. Definitely not complaining! New York City is hands down my favorite place (aside from Lititz), so to me, it is always magical. But when you combine Fall fashion and weather with NYC, it is extra magical to me. 

This time entering the city on my own, I felt a lot more confident about navigating the craziness. I’ll be completely honest, last year attending Fashion Week for the first time, I was so anxious, nervous and overwhelmed - more on why later in the post. ;) But this time around, I felt comfortable, confident and ready to take on the city! 

I decided to write a post about fashion week from a photographer’s perspective because I think it is a bit foreign to many people. It definitely was to me before I started attending. Now that I have two years under my belt, and have learned a lot, I thought you might enjoy gaining more of an inside “photographer’s” perspective of the week! 

New York Fashion Week is hands down one of the most fun events I have had the privilege to experience and shoot! Now, let me clarify something on the front end. While I have had the opportunity to shoot shows at fashion week, I do not shoot solely for the Fashion week company. I shoot for bloggers, social media/brand influencers that attend Fashion Week and the designer shows. One of my dreams would to one day have the opportunity to shoot a show solely for a brand/designer - one can dream - first step to making it come true. :) 

I primarily shoot during Fashion Week for my babes Collins Tuohy Smith (@collinstuohysmith) and Megan Bonner (@pipmegan). In addition to shooting for them, I also shoot other Influencers that reach out to me and book a session/s. With the incredibly fast rise of Instagram, LikeItToKnowIt, and Rewards Style; being a blogger/influencer has become a new outlet both for brands/companies and as a career or job for Influencers. It is amazing how many Influencers end up making this a full-time gig. And let me tell you, they work really hard to make it full-time. There is so much you can write about what exactly Influencers do, but I’ll leave that to Collins and Megan to really explain it in more detail. Here are blog posts they’ve recently written that explain it well. (featured blog posts linked above - hover over their names for links.)

So picture this: literally hundreds of Influencers from all over the country and other countries fly into NYC to attend Fashion Week, go to shows, network with brands and other Influencers and, obviously; have some fun, too! So, as a photographer, the opportunity to work with so many of them is huge! 

Fashion Week is SO busy, busy, busy! In between shows and parties throughout each day, you’re walking and Uber-ing (is that a word yet?) all over Manhattan shooting content for these Influencers. The week consists of early mornings, long days on your feet, late nights, rooftop parties, networking, importing hundreds of photos into Lightroom, editing, editing, editing and in your spare time, sleeping, eating, drinking lots of water and having some fun at the parties.

A question I get asked often is, “why go to fashion week?” Well, if you haven’t caught on yet, let me explain. It’s pretty simple to me at least. Haha! 1). The opportunity to network with both Influencers and Brands/Designers alike. 2). It is a fun way to make some extra money! 3). The experience is unlike anything else you may shoot as a photographer. 4). If you love the hustle and craziness like I do (I relate it to an adrenaline rush), you’ll love shooting during Fashion Week!

Tips, Tricks and Wisdom

If you ever decide to take on NYFW, I’ve made a list of some suggestions I’ve personally learned either the hard way or will do again because it worked well! 

  • Yes, staying in Manhattan is expensive, but if you can, do it. The first time I participated with NYFW, to save some money, I stayed at a cute AirBnb on Staten Island. I took the bus and ferry every day, hopped on the Subway from the ferry and sometimes after the Subway, took an Uber to my final destination. The experience, while it made me feel like a true New Yorker (and I loved taking the ferry and subway), was overwhelming and stressful at times. Also, I had to plan for an hour and a half of travel time to the city and back to my AirBnb — in my opinion, not worth it. (Remember I mentioned earlier to this post that I struggled last year with some anxiety and stress - this was why). I do think that staying in Jersey and taking the PATH train and/or subway would work well, too. This time I stayed in Manhattan with Collins and Megan at a newer, cool, modern hotel called Yotel — very clean, reasonably priced, small, but perfect for what we needed.

  • Next time, I think it would be helpful to have an assistant with me. Someone that is willing to carry random equipment, take behind the scenes and travel along with me! (However, I do think this is more of a personal preference)

  • Drink lots of water! (this year’s NYFW was very hot!) and stick to wearing cute, comfy clothes and walking shoes! There’s no need to dress to impress too much. ;) 

  • Pick the locations you want to shoot each day a few weeks prior and then schedule your sessions with Influencers based on time availability and where you’re shooting! Last year I was literally going all over Manhattan, but went about it geographically and logistically all wrong. Traffic is already bad in the city. Then add extra traffic for NYFW events and any other events happening during the week — let’s just say, you spend more time in an Uber, subway or Taxi than you do shooting. That was bad planning on my part the first time around. Now I know for the future. This year, Collins, Megan and I mapped out exactly where we wanted to shoot each day, made an itinerary and “wow!”, we were so productive! 

  • Schedule hourly time slots when booking with Influencers. 

  • Buy a weekly Metro card if you plan to take the Subway

  • NYFW is usually 10 days long, so plan on being in the city for 4-7 days to make the most of your trip! 

A personal goal I have for next year, attend both NYFW, NY Bridal Fashion Week, and MAYBE Fashion Week in London! Collins and Megan, are we setting that goal next year? ;)

Top of the Rock Observatory Deck New York City by Mary Kate Steele Photography
Greenrich Village New York City by Mary Kate Steele Photography
New York City
The Little Prince Cafe Soho New York City by Mary Kate Steele Photography
The Metropolitan Museum New York City by Mary Kate Steele Photography
New York Fashion Week Collins Tuohy Smith & Megan Bonner
IMG_1815.jpg
Collins Tuohy Smith and Megan Bonner on Brooklyn Bridge New York City by Mary Kate Steele Photography
Collins Tuohy Smith & Megan Bonner on Brooklyn Bridge by Mary Kate Steele Photography
Megan Bonner in DUMBO Brooklyn by Mary Kate Steele Photography
Collins Tuohy Smith Flat Iron Building New York City by Mary Kate Steele Photography
Megan Bonner Flat Iron Building NYC by Mary Kate Steele Photography
New York Fashion Week Collins Tuohy Smith and Megan Bonner Flat Iron Building by Mary Kate Steele Photography
Megan Bonner and Collins Tuohy Smith NYFW by Mary Kate Steele Photography
Settling Southern Freeman's Alley NYC NYFW by Mary Kate Steele Photography
Collins Tuohy Smith Freeman's Alley New York City NYFW by Mary Kate Steele Photography
Central Park NYFW Nashville Wifestyles by Mary Kate Steele Photography
Central Park NYFW New York City Megan Bonner by Mary Kate Steele Photography
NYFW Rooftop party Ashlee K Nikols, Megan Bonner, Laura Boswell WalkinginMemphisinHighheels, Collins Tuohy Smith by Mary Kate Steele Photography
Megan Bonner and Collins Tuohy Smith rooftop NYC New York Fashion Week by Mary Kate Steele Photography
Collins Tuohy Smith and Megan Bonner and Mary Kate Steele NYC rooftop NYFW by Mary Kate Steele Photography
Megan Bonner and Collins Tuohy Smith rooftop in New York City for NYFW by Mary Kate Steele Photography
Blank Slate Tea and Coffee New York City by Mary Kate Steele Photography
Toby's Coffee New York City by Mary Kate Steele Photography
Top of the Rock Observation Deck Empire State Building New York City by Mary Kate Steele Photography