Friday Fun-Day: Thanksgiving Gifts!

Give a little something during the season of giving to show those you love how appreciative you are of them for all they do and the role they play in your life! Why leave presents only for Christmas? Mix it up and surprise your family and loved ones this year with a little gift at their place setting at Thanksgiving dinner as a reminder of how thankful you are for them! Here are some little fun, creative and inexpensive ideas that we found via Pinterest (we LIVE for Pinterest)

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If you love baking sweets, make a small care package of cookies, brownies, or any other type of desert that your loved ones are known to obsesses over! Make a little customized tag and attach it to the package with a little bow and a cute message like the one pictured above!

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This is another cute idea with the same idea of the customized tags with a message on it saying “thank you” or “thankful for you!” Pictured above are bottles of sparkling cider, however you could use any bottle you’d like, and you could do different beverages for various different friends or family members depending on what their drink of choice is. For example, a bottle of craft beer for the men, or a bottle of wine or champagne for the ladies!  It’s an amazing way to thank them with something that they love and will DEFINITELY put to good use – probably right then and there!


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This idea might require a little more thoughtful planning ahead of time – but is still a perfect way to say thank you to the ones your spending Thanksgiving with!  Use a small box, or a small basket/container of any kind, and fill it with some of their favorite things! Candy, nips, books, photos of you two together, gift cards – anything you can think of that will appeal to them (Marshall’s or TJ Maxx is great for little things like that!) Get creative with it and attach a small message on the box as well for some extra flair and have it waiting for them at their place setting at the table when they sit down for Thanksgiving dinner – this will surely surprise your guests!

Mid Week Mix: Holiday Mini Sessions!

5 Diamond Photography is getting ready for the holiday season that’s sneaking up on us, and you should be too! Whether its for babies, your whole family, or just your kids, now is the perfect time to get family photos done in time for the holidays! These types of shoots are amazing for holiday greeting cards, or just as an excuse to get a family photo done and hang i your house! Whatever the reason may be, 5 Diamond Photography is ready to get you into our studio!

We’re offering holiday mini sessions (about 20-30 minutes) all day on Saturday November 28th for any families that get in touch with me quickly and book one of my available time slots!

Below are some ideas for your holiday shoot and some samples of shoots that we’ve done in the past of adorable toddlers, loving siblings, and families (and yes, pets are included in family as well)




We’ve done countless family holiday sessions, these are just a few of our favorites! Feel free to come to me with your own ideas, poses and props that you want included as well.  We LOVE creativity and are always open to new ideas that showcase your families personality!

For more information on holiday family sessions or my availability, contact me directly via email at or by phone at (860) 301-6359

xoxo – Lizz Riley at 5 Diamond Photography

Friday Fun-Day: Holiday Themed Cocktails – Starbucks Inspired

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So everybody has their own versions of holiday cocktails, but with Starbucks releasing their little red cups already for the holiday season, we thought it would be fun to give some cocktail recipes inspired by their holiday lattes that we all love so much!  With a naughty twist added onto these Starbucks favorites, we dare you to bring a batch of any of these to your holiday party this year and not be praised by everyone there!  Feel free to add your own little flair to any of these recipes. We’re using ingredients that we love, but everybody has their own taste. The amount of each ingredient used is also up to you; it all depends on what flavor you want more of in your cocktail. There are tons of different substitutes that can be used, just be creative!

Naughty Gingerbread Latte

ground up gingerbread cookie and dust on the rim of a chilled martini glass, add butterscotch schnapps, patron coffee liquor, whipped vodka & fireball

Naughty Peppermint Mocha

peppermint schnapps, vanilla vodka, Godiva chocolate liquor, peppermint creamer, top with whipped cream & a dusting of cocoa powder

Naughty Caramel Brulee Latte

drizzle caramel in a chilled martini glass, add caramel vodka, coffee liquor, vanilla creamer

Trending Tuesday: Walk Through A Wedding Workshop

Today I want to share with you guys a photography workshop that I attended last November.  It is so important for photographers of all sorts to continue learning new techniques.  Trends change so fast and there is always some new way of capturing beautiful images, so as a woman passionate about what I do, I find it so necessary to take advantage of these workshops whenever I can and learn from others that have the same passion and drive about photography as I do!

This workshop was called Walk Through A Wedding, and it was hosted by Justin and Mary Mantz.  This style shoot, complete with models, covered posing, lighting, timelines, shooting in a time crunch, unruly bridal parties, shooting family photos quickly, shooting details for publication and night shooting – all of which are vital for photographers to know and be comfortable with. The one thing that I took most out of this workshop was the importance of authentic posing of couples! I can’t stress this enough, and the photos below will show how captivating photos can be when the bride and groom are posed correctly, in a way that they feel comfortable and at ease.  It makes their chemistry in the photo so much clearer and you will be able to see their personalities and their relationship shine through the image.

I also learned the necessity of detail shots in wedding photography, and how to capture those in the correct way.  For example, different shots of center pieces and table settings, which you can also see in the photos below, as well as images of various other unique details that each wedding has. Although detail shots are amazing for the bride and groom to have after the wedding to showcase the gorgeous details, it is also important for the photographer to have in order to send in to various publications and getting their work featured.

Justin and Mary were FANTASTIC teachers.  They shared real life experiences and knowledge with all of us photographers that were attending the workshop and we are extremely grateful! I know that I have taken the tips I received and applied them to all of the weddings that I have shot since.

To anybody passionate about their craft – whatever that craft may be – stay interested, stay curious, stay creative and always be eager to acquire more knowledge!
















(all photos taken at the Walk Through A Wedding Workshop by 5 Diamond Photography)

Vendors: Models – Andrea & Christian; Venue – The Historic Lounsbury House in Ridgefield, CT; Bridesmaids – Rachel and Olivia; Workshop Hosts – Justin and Mary Mantz

Feature Monday: Luanne & Robin!


Alright – we’re finally back! And with a wedding feature that is to die for! Today were showing off one of our gorgeous fall weddings from this past weekend.  Luanne & Robin’s wedding was at The Riverhouse in Haddam, CT on November 6th.  With this being a second wedding for both the bride and groom, being able to capture the amazing moments of blending these two families together was absolutely beautiful, and I am honored that I was able to be a part of it and help them preserve the memories from their big night!  With fall colors incorporated into their color palate, including deep navy blue for the bridesmaids dresses, it was the perfect compliment to the crisp November weather this time of year. Check out the photos below of this stunning family of (now) 6 girls and their crazy in love parents!




















Vendors: Planners – Kelley & Hattie at the Riverhouse; Florist – The Root System; Baker – Kim’s Cottage Confections; DJ & Photobooth – 5 Diamond Productions; Photographer – 5 Diamond Photography; Hair and Makeup – done beautifully by friends

5 Diamond Update!

So we’ve been a little MIA on the blog lately and we’re SO sorry! The past few weeks have been crazy hectic getting the last of our senior shoots wrapped up for our high school seniors, and getting ready for our STUNNING November weddings that we have coming up! (PS – stay tuned for those because they will all be gorgeous! I can already tell! And we’ll definitely have a few of them featured on the blog throughout the winter). 

In the last two weeks we’ve also been prepping and now recovering from two huge events we had, our Glam Boudoir booth that we had at Fun Girls Night Out in Hartford last week, and then our Farmington Bridal Show that 5 Diamond Productions took part in just this past Sunday! Thank you to everybody who came out and visited us at either or both of those events! We met some amazing couples that we’re looking forward to working with at the bridal show and some fabulous ladies for Glam Boudoir at the Fun Girls Night Out that we can’t wait get into the studio with!

Here’s a few photos of us killing it at the Fun Girls Night Out show- thanks to all of you that were part of it! We had a blast chatting and showing off our work to all of the ladies that stopped by.  Our booth was a total hit and we could not have had a better time “working” (: For those of you who couldn’t make it – come see us next year, its an event worth marking on your calendar in advance!



(And yes – we did have selfie station for those who we wondering and it was fabulous! Fully equipped with selfie stick and up lighting. We clearly had to take advantage of it and have a little fun using it too!)

So – thank you for baring with us through the craziness!! I PROMISE we will be back on our daily blogging grind starting Monday with a gorgeous feature wedding for you to gush over!

In the meantime, have a fantastic weekend!

xoxo – 5 Diamond Photography team

Trending Tuesday: Pinterest Inspired EVERYTHING


With Pinterest being the go-to for brides when it comes to all things wedding inspiration, it can get easy for brides to go a little overboard when gathering inspiration for their vendors.  Florals, photo ideas, as well as color schemes (all depending on the season of your wedding) are things that brides tend to search for on Pinterest to get ideas that make their big day stand out against others.

As amazing as Pinterest can be for getting visuals together to explain to your vendors what you’re exactly looking for you, you need to know when enough is enough! You also need to be aware that photos and floral arrangements can not be duplicated! Use these ideas to inspire your own ideas, but don’t copy!  Every wedding day, engagement shoot, or event in general is different, and you want to have a twist of your own personality and preferences in everything you choose for your day! You also don’t want to overwhelm your vendors.  Find A FEW inspirational ideas for whatever your looking for, and have it be a guide for them to use.

For example, find two or three photos of floral arrangements that you love! That will give your florist an idea of the types of flowers and colors that appeal to you the most. Same goes when finding inspiration for you wedding photos.  Pick out some poses for your photographer to go off of, he or she will see the vibe your going for and the type of photographs that appeal to you and be able to come up with more ideas from there.

If your wedding has unique or specific characteristics of any kind, such as the way your bridal party is dressed or your venue, it’s a great idea to have some different poses that showcase those aspects. Pinterest is amazing when it comes to inspiration with photography. Haley and Zack’s barn wedding that we shot at Indian Meadow Farm is one that could be made into a Pinterest board! It shows off the bride and groom’s personalities and lends to the fact that their entire bridal party was dressed PERFECTLY to match the rustic & elegant venue.

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Vendors: Hair: Scott Corey at Salon Q; Makeup: Valerie Pac at Salon Q; Florist: Brittany (Price Chopper in Torrington, CT); Venue: Indian Meadow Farm in Winstead, CT

Feature Monday: Jess & Steve’s Gorgeous May Wedding!

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In light of all of the rainy weather we’ve had the past few days, we wanted to give some wedding inspiration and ideas on what to do it if rains on your big day, while showing off one our BEAUTIFUL weddings that used the rain to their benefit! By incorporating cute touches like the clear umbrellas into the details with the bridal party portraits, as well as the pink and white umbrella (that went perfectly with the rest of their color scheme) Jess and Steve were able to take the fact that the weather was less than ideal, and twist it to work out in their favor! With aspects of your wedding day that you can’t control, such as the weather, you need be flexible and open minded.  Just by looking at these amazing shots that we captured, you can see how despite the rain, this day turned out to be everything they (and we) hoped it would!

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Vendors: Venue: The Farmington Club; Florist: Harwinton Florist; Wedding Gown: Mariella’s; Bridesmaid Dresses: Mariella’s;  Groom’s Attire & Menswear: Joseph A. Bank; Hair: Samantha O’Conner; Makeup: Stacey Palencia at Blush Couture

Glam Thursday: Boudoir Basics!

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First things first, for those of you who don’t know exactly what boudoir is, or what exactly boudoir photography consists of, lets give you the definition!  Boudoir, by itself, is French for a woman’s private room or bedroom.  Boudoir in a photography sense has to do with capturing classy and romantic images in a bedroom, hotel or anywhere of that sort that creates an intimate setting.

Glam Boudoir, which I also refer to as my baby because its my own little project that I love, is my line of luxury boudoir photography coming from 5 Diamond Photography.  The goal of my boudoir shoots is to make my girls feel as confident, sexy and comfortable as possible. There are so many misinterpretations about boudoir shoots, and one of those (probably the biggest) is that you need to have a ton of skin showing in order for it to be classified as boudoir photography.  Not always true! I have plenty of boudoir clients that come in with full length gowns, because that’s how they feel the most sexy, women that come in and don’t want their faces shown at all, and plenty of clients who want solely head shots with seductive makeup and AMAZING hairstyles.  Empowering women is what I strive to do with my boudoir photography, and  you do not need to be a size 0 to have an amazing boudoir shoot either! Boudoir is all about embracing yourself, your curves, and doing what makes you the most comfortable while bringing out your highest level of confidence!

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Have more questions about boudoir shoots and what they’re all about? Want to book your own boudoir session? Head over to my website to learn more about it, at , or email me directly at! I’d love to hear from you!

xoxo – Lizz