A Wedding With a Style of Their Own

Every wedding is different.  I have said this from the beginning and I will say it again in the future.  They are unique people, with a unique relationship, unique style.  Some couples value tradition, and if that represents their relationship, then wonderful!  Sometimes, a couple will be so much pressure to do "what you're supposed to do" at the wedding that they will have a wedding cake when they don't even like cake.  I applaud Emily and Cody for bringing in such a unique style, I can't help but smile looking through these photos.  



With their two year old daughter :)








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Emily sewed the majority of the two dresses, I am beyond impressed!







This is at the Train Station in Ogden - The Union Station, where they will be getting married today!








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!








Influential People In My Life

Hi friends.  Thanks for visiting my blog.  It's quite apparent that I've struggled keeping up with writing posts and updating this site... but I've just made a resolution that I believe will change this.  Yesterday, I had an amazing photoshoot, and then I met with some prospective clients that made me say "wow.  I love my job.  I get to work with some of the most amazing people."  So, here's my lightbulb moment:  The reason I love my job is because of the people, so I want to tell their stories here on my blog instead of just showing you the photos.  I have a lot of catching up to do and a lot of people to tell you about, but I'm really excited to write these posts now!  

Let me back up to 2012 and tell you about my little sister and her husband.


Angela is amazing.  She is caring, beautiful, talented, and extremely dedicated.  I am constantly impressed by her ability to work hard on school and work, even when it seems easier to give up...  I took this photo just for fun back in 2010 when they were dating, before she traveled to New Zealand as a missionary for a year and a half.



Now, through the years I have learned that while my siblings are quite grateful to have a photographer as a sister, it's also kind of awkward for them.  I remember putting a couple of these photos of Angela and Dallin on facebook and several people thought they were engaged - why else would you have professional photos as a couple?  But then, two years later, I took some more photos which actually were engagement photos!  What do you think?  Do they look older to you?




These were taken at our family reunion in upstate New York the DAY they got engaged.  How's that for pressure?  The boyfriend comes to the family reunion to ask permission for the daughter's hand and to propose to her there.  Wow.  But Dallin is so mature and respectful, he handled the pressure quite well.  It was so fun for me to do photos of them - to watch them let go of inhibitions a little bit and actually kiss in front of me!!  Of course I have to tease my sister a little bit about it... isn't that what siblings are for?   But I couldn't help smiling and actually got a bit emotional just to see how happy he made her.  In fact, if I can make myself vulnerable enough to admit it, I actually get tears in my eyes looking through the photos now.  I am so grateful she found someone like him who will treat her well and make her happy!


  OK Whitney... enough of that sentimental emotional stuff for now.  Time to see more of their photos!




Choosing which photos to put on a blog has always been difficult for me.  I know which photos look the most professional, I know which photos they put on their wall, which photos their friends comment on... but instead of the most professional photos, I want to show you the little bits of uniqueness, the reason why I love my job.  Every couple brings such a different emotion to it, a different personality and looking through photos like these - the laughing, the romance, the funny faces - it makes me smile.  Besides, Angela has a pretty amazing monkey face in this next photo :)






Ok, now this was just adorable.  I've done the "first look" a few times to capture the moment when the groom first sees the bride in her dress.  I have never seen a couple this cute, though.  Angela couldn't stop laughing and Dallin kept telling her how beautiful she was.  And it was true.  She looks amazing! These are some of the photos from the formals at Bountiful temple.





I feel pretty lucky to have the opportunity to capture such special moments as these.  It's really amazing that all I have to do is click a button and then that moment is recorded for the rest of our lives.  It wasn't hard to find moments with Angela and Dallin, though, they were so in their own world that sometimes I wasn't even sure if they knew I was there!  The day for this formals shoot was FREEZING too.  I am so impressed with how "cheerfully cooperative" they were.  (That's the phrase from my wedding contract that most people laugh at, but I think it's the perfect phrase.  I love to work with cheerfully cooperative people!








I'll often do photos at a few locations for a shoot like this, but Ang and Dallin said they'd rather have more photos with the temple. Not only does it make a beautiful backdrop for an evening shoot, but it gives more meaning to the photos as the location also represents the commitment they are making to each other.  I think this photo sums it up - the temple, the romance of the sunset, two happy and beautiful people.  I'm so proud of them!





Alicia and Craig's Formals


If I had to describe Alicia as a bride in one word it would be: elegant.  She was poised and beautiful, it was really hard to get a bad picture of her!  And Craig looked alright too :)  Actually, I loved the suit and thought he pulled off the skinny tie quite well!  We started at the Utah State Capitol and shooting there was rather interesting this day.  There was some meeting in progress - state senate or something - so we had lots of official looking people as an audience or even showing up in the background of the pictures.









Then we drove to the Timpanogos temple to catch the sunset as the temple lit up.  It was so cold!  But worth every minute.  We got such a gorgeous sky that night!





Even the view in the parking lot was amazing!  Alicia was excited because her colors were pink, grey, and white (or cream.  I admit I don't really remember) but the sky cooperated perfectly for the pinks!






Alicia and Craig's wedding day was Saturday and we had a perfectly beautiful snowy day.  Check back tomorrow for the photos!







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.





The First Look

  Brides often ask me how we get such cool sunset shots for wedding pictures.  There isn't usually enough time worked into the wedding day schedule to get photos like this:




So the answer?  Formals.  Groomals. Some people call it a pre-shoot.  Or as one of my favorite clients called it (We took a poll about two years ago), the Prenuptial Vanity Session.  She said, “You could always be brutally honest: “Prenuptual Vanity Shots: I wanna have lots of ammo when I show my exes and frenemies how hot my man is and how good I looked in that dress. BONUS! After you’ve had five children, you’ll have proof that you once did, in fact, wear a size 2.”  But whatever you call it, it is the answer for everything.  It is a bridal session where the groom comes along.  You get beautiful wedding photos without trying to cram it all into your wedding day.


Then the second question is often "But that means he sees me in my dress before the wedding.  People actually do that?"  The answer is, well, yes they do.  The tradition behind not seeing each other before the wedding is not as commonly followed.  I've heard it was originally a way to prevent the groom from backing out in arranged marriages, but it doesn't matter the reason, some cultures hold on to it much more closely.  So here's our compromise: The First Look.


At the beginning of the "pre-nuptial vanity session", we stage a moment before they've seen each other in wedding attire - The groom stands with his back to the bride as she walks up, turns him around, and they take a few minutes in their own little world.

...Then, when they are ready to move on, they let me know and we get started with the rest of the shoot.



Kara and Chris at La Caille:





Kandis and Greg at Sleepy Ridge (Sometimes, especially with LDS brides, we show the bride and groom exchanging rings as part of the first look):





Kirra and Brandon at the Capitol Building:





One of my biggest regrets from my own wedding is that we did an entire session of bridal photos instead of a formals session.  Really, over a hundred photos of just me!  It's wonderful for some people, but I'd rather have more photos with my husband to choose from to hang in my house.  (Though in reality those of you who know me know that I have photos of my clients up instead.)  We have photos from our wedding day, but if only someone had told me that Thomas could be part of the bridals...




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.






Highlights of a formals shoot from an awesome location.  Can you guess where it is?  I’ll show you the behind the scenes tomorrow.