Lexi & Brett Formals


Lexi is one of the most incredible people I know.  And she's worked as an assistant for me this summer, so it was extra exciting to do the photoshoots of her and her wonder Brett :).  This was one crazy day, though, because the weather acted up last minute and we had to change our plans for location.  There was a 10 minute break without rain, so luckily we got a few beautiful outdoor photos too!






I always encourage my clients to add something to their shoot to make it more personal.  Lexi brought the most beautiful "something" possible - her little daughter.  The three of them interact together had some really precious moments.  *Spoiler alert* - little Lindy actually joined them for their first dance at the wedding reception.  So sweet.















I don't remember what the story behind this last photo was - maybe "my cheeks hurt from smiling so much, Whitney!" - but I love it!








Formals - Capitol Building

  Mattie and Carston once again with bride and groom photos - part 2.   I love it when the couple decides to have both the bride and the groom at the bridals... groomals, formals... call it what you will!  It takes so much pressure off the schedule of the wedding day.  We also take the time to feature just the bride, in all her beauty!  Especially those eyes...




Carston, unfortunately, was a little bit sick this day, but we were quite impressed with how positive he was for the photos he jumped in, despite not feeling well.  Ahh, perfect smiles.  Looking at these photos below, I can't help but think what adorable kids these two will have!






And, of course, what would a bridal shoot be without shoes and flowers?







A Bountiful Wedding


Today, Mattie and Carston are getting married at the Bountiful Temple!  I'm just packing up my gear and getting ready to drive there, but I wanted to post a few photos from their formals session to celebrate this day:




I often ask the couple if they have any specific poses or places they want photos.  When I asked Mattie, she got the cutest twitterpated look on her face and said "I want one of him hugging me like this."  That moment was precious!  It's fun seeing two people so flirty, so excited to be next to each other.  And they both have such beautiful smiles!!





Congratulations Mattie and Carston!  And may you have many happy years ahead of you.







Late Fall Wedding: Engagements and a Sneak Peek

  Silvina and Josh were married yesterday!  We did their engagement photos a couple weeks ago up Big Cottonwood Canyon before most of the fall colors disappeared, and as yesterday was the day they officially started their new lives together, I figured it was the right time to share them. :)


Josh is a full-time manager for a security sales company based in Utah, and spends 4 months out of the year working basically around the clock managing an office in different parts of the country.  He met Silvina on a company trip down to Cancun, where she was visiting with her family from her native Argentina.  Out of all the places to meet the love of your life, Cancun definitely sounds like one of the most awesome.



It's interesting how Josh doesn't speak any Spanish at all, but they manage to communicate so well.  The best thing about being around them was how easily Josh was able to make Silvina laugh.






Yesterday was a special day- it was 11/11/11, and while Silvina and Josh's wedding at the South Jordan Courthouse was actually at 11am, the funny thing was that ALL of the weddings that day were "at 11."  The judge ordered that the official clock be stopped at 11, so he was able to perform all three of the ceremonies from the day at 11/11/11 at 11.  Pretty cool.










Saltair Formal Wedding Photography with Andrea & Danielle

  This shoot was a fun mix of casual and dressy, elegant and fun.  Andrea and Danielle were married a couple of months ago, but I was booked for their wedding date and so couldn't be there for the photos on the day of.  We scheduled this formals shoot after the wedding, and it was really nice and relaxed.  While this wasn't a trash-the-dress shoot like Brittany did recently, Danielle didn't have to worry quite as much as we would have if her dress got a bit dirty or where we was needing to walk.  She wanted a more casual feeling so she wore flip flops for the session, and Andrea went without a tie.   These two are some of the sweetest people you will ever meet, and we had a good time walking around the Great Salt Lake getting different bridals and different shots featuring both the bride and the groom.



One of my favorite angles/locations at Saltair is this area where you can get the same clean, almost sterile landscape that you can get at the Salt Flats- without having to drive an extra two hours! :)











This is another favorite area of Saltair.  It's called Sunset Beach, and it's AMAAAAAZING.  Perfect angles to get backlit by sweet sweet sunset colors, foot-friendly rocks to stand on, and convenient access to parking.  It's got it all.





Utah Bridal Photography- Trash the Drash Shoot at Great Salt Lake

  Any long-term blog stalkers I have will most certainly remember Brittany and Jordan.  I shot their engagements and their wedding last winter, but we put off bridals until after the wedding.  Brittany wanted warmer weather for the shoot showing off her dress, and doing it this way we also got to take some shots you can't really pull off before the wedding. Mooostly because more often than not the gown isn't really all that wearable afterwards.  Since Brittany and Jordan live in Wyoming now, it took a while before we could coordinate the session.  I was especially excited for this shoot for a couple of reasons- first, I wasn't took sure it was going to happen (most brides and grooms that schedule after-the-wedding bridals/formals/whatever don't usually end up going through with it because by then the LAST thing they want to do is get dressed up again). Secondly, and most importantly, Brittany is the type of gal who is willing and eager to do absolutely and everything I possibly suggest.  It's fantastic!


We got several traditional style bridals at Saltair showing off how gorgeous she is and how awesome the dress was before we got to trashing it.



What's that hint of purple under her dress you say?  Why, her trusty purple galoshes of course!  I thought they were super cute, and they definitely came in handy a bit later...




Ok, now we start having a bit of fun.  Where can we go that we normally wouldn't be able to?




Whether it was wading out into the Great Salt Lake, sitting in the mud, or climbing up on a rickety gate, Brittany knocked it out of the park.  Look at how fantastic she looks!




Of course, it goes without saying that we took plenty of opportunities for Brittany to twirl around and stomp as hard as she could.  It kind of brought to mind the sheer joy you could have as a little kid playing around in puddles and mud.  That never really goes away... :D



Be sure and check out the full gallery from the shoot here (more to come as they get finished).  At the end of the day, we decided that Brittany's dress still looked a little too good, so stay tuned for a future post.  Brittany and I are both excited about the possibility of doing a another shoot sometime where we light it on fire!


It might be a while before that shoot though.  Brittany is insanely busy starting her own salon in Laramie, Wyoming.  It looks like it's going to be fantastic though, so if you happen to be passing through and need an awesome stylist, you should definitely check out Studio220.









How to shoot a bride in a Walmart parking lot

  As promised, here's the behind-the-scene photos from the bridals and formals I posted the other day.  This was an experiment/demonstration I did for my intern Abby, and is something I've been working on in my head for a long time.  So here it is, how to shoot a bride in a Wal-mart parking lot.


Photographers: Myself and Abby (my lovely intern), with Thomas shooting "behind-the-scene"


Models: Lybie and Ravi

Location: Wal-Mart Parking Lot

Purpose: To prove that there is ALWAYS a beautiful photo to be found, even in unsuspecting locations.


First, here's me :)



I have learned many principles from many people through my photography years, and I have been grateful for all these lessons.  I found a couple of these principles were most applicable to this kind of location shooting and would like to share them with y'all.


Principle #1 - The best photos are taken from below 3 feet and above 6 feet (while most photos you see are taken from between 3ft and 6ft, general standing/crouching height.) Here we shot from low to crop out the parking lot and other distractions to show the sky, with the tree, bush, and light post (love having the light posts in parking lots to work with!) framing her.  3 lights, fill light on the camera, main light from left, backlight from right.  Sometimes I would put a fourth light below the tree to help light it up, but the main light was doing a good job already.



...and this is what we had to work with for that shot, and the next...



Principle #2: Bokeh.  Leaving the bride and lights in the same place, I stood up and actually used the cars and parking lot as a background, but zoomed in as far as possible and dropped the f/stop for a shallow depth of field.  Now instead of obviously being cars and parking lot, it's just a lot of texture. Lybie really wanted an edgy look, and I feel like this complimented the messy-hair and unique bouquet.




Principle #3: Empty space is ok!  And wide open sky shots do not have to include the subject's feet.  This is a simple thing, but one I've been working on recently.  I feel that this photo would not have been pretty if we included the asphalt!  Also played with white balance - warm vs. cold plays an important role in the atmosphere of the photo.  Fill light on camera, main light from the right, car headlights as back light from the left.



Principle #4: Who cares what the background is when the subject fills the frame?




Principle #5: Lighting is everything!!!   This is the photo I'm most proud of.  Yes, she is standing in front of a dumpster.  It might not have smelled fantastic, but we don't have to see the smell on camera!  And with the shadow from the tree on the dumpster, the car lights shooting across it, and backlight on the bride, it makes a great textured background.



...and this is what we had to work with.  Beautiful bride, but an interesting scene indeed.



And again, 200mm, shallow depth of field.  This could be a cool classy downtown night scene, but if you look really closely, you can almost read the Wal-mart "Always" sign behind them.  :)




So here's the deal:  I love shooting at places like Thanksgiving Point Gardens or La Caille, but at the end of the day, it's not the location that determines the quality of the photos, it's the angles, the composition, the depth of field, the lighting, and having awesome subjects to work with.  We can take a location as ordinary as a Wal-Mart parking lot and without walking more than 20 steps in any direction get a wide variety of photos.  I was so excited to have this opportunity and hope to do many more of these experiments in the near future.


If you'd like to see more photos (and behind the scene photos) from the session, take a look at the full gallery here.





Katherine & Matt: Formal Wedding Photos at Zilker Botanical Gardens

  Now some of these photos might seem familiar from the wedding highlight slideshow I posted recently.  Katherine and Matthew (or "Kat" and "Matt") are both friends that I have known for a loooong long time.  Coincidentally, they have also been dating a loooong long time.  How long you say?  How does since middle school strike you?


It's been a wild ride as they've dated on and off, and throughout the whole remained the best of friends.   Though if I had a nickel for every time someone said "I am so excited y'all are  finally getting married"... well I would have a lot of nickels.


Thomas and I flew down Thursday before the wedding, which was a grand two-day affair on Friday and Saturday.  We managed to catch a flight early enough in the day that we were able to do this bride and groom pre-shoot at the Zilker Botanical Gardens.  We got some individual bridals as well as some photos of the two of them.  After the shoot we headed on over to Katherine's home for some pre-wedding day barbeque and some music, where I sorted and edited like a madwoman on my laptop so that we could order some enlargements for the reception on Saturday. (On a side-note, anybody going to Austin that wants great bbq MUST go to Rudy's.  It's not optional.  But I digress...)


Matt and Katherine both looked fabulous, and had that glow that only those on the brink of the best day of their life really can show.



Having moved out of Texas before I really started shooting professionally, I had never taken photographs at the Botanical Gardens quite the same way before.  I used to come here all the time, but I never realized the wealth of photo locations this place has.  It's chock full of beautiful spots like this one below...



I've known Katherine forever, and she's one of the sweetest, most outrageous, talented, and "out there" people you will ever meet.




Katherine is a playwright, and has directed many a play (she and I even ran a theater camp once-upon-a-time, but that's another story).  So of course, we had to show off her very official director's chair.



There will be more to come of these two as I finish up the photos from the wedding day in San Antonio and the reception in Austin.  We'll probably have to break it up over several days, because a LOT happened, and there was so many cool things that I wanted to share with y'all.