Dan and Whitney's Excellent Adventure: Day 3 (Lake Las Vegas)


A whirlwind morning!! - I worked out, swam laps, then visited the Container Park in old downtown Vegas.  There was some crazy dirt bike convention where they blocked off several blocks and I experience a culture of people I had never experienced before! But the Container Park was pretty cool. It reminded me of a shopping center I visited in Christchurch New Zealand in 2012.  They set up the shopping area with brightly-colored containers while they were rebuilding the city from the earthquake.  A little stage in the middle with live music, an oasis in the midst of all the destruction.  Apparently the container thing has become a trend!



The one place I always go when I visit Vegas is The Beat Coffeehouse.  They have an entire building of rooms turned into an art gallery.  Each artist has a room and each room in a different style.  I never know quite what I'll find when I walk through.  My favorite this time, was a jewelry guy.  Through our conversation, he shared that after having a stroke last year, his whole life has been about family.  He quit his job and joined his wife in their jewelry making business, they sell the daughter's art on the walls also.  I love those conversations - why people do what they do.  The perspective that comes from our experiences.





And then Lake Las Vegas.  A deserted shopping area, almost a ghost town with all the buildings empty and "for lease" in the window.  But beautiful.  Simply beautiful.  We got there for sunset and went on a stroll.  No hurry, just some photos, some relaxing, and a few moments to take it all in.







  I spent an hour sitting under this bridge.  I wrote, I sang, I meditated, took pictures, and watched people walk by.  The acoustics were magical!  And I love the ripples from the ducks in the water.  It was nice to slow down, no pressure to take certain photos, not running around doing, but instead, just to be.





Sooooo.... I'm getting pretty good at these selfies!  Except no awkward arm out in front of my face.  I set the camera up, focus on the spot intend to sit, then a self timer and 9 photos in a row with 2 seconds in between.  Yes, yes, I know.  I feel a little vain and little ridiculous.  But even photographers need new profile pictures for Facebook!  Or memories.  Oh yes, that's right.  Photos are for memories, not just Facebook :)






And the amazing Dan McBride...










See the other blog posts from this Road Trip:

Day 1: Las Vegas

Day 2: Red Rock Conservation Area

Day 3: Lake Las Vegas

Day 4: Arches National Park











Days Like Today Make It All Worth It!

  I woke up exhausted this morning!  For the last 3 days I've had unbelievable amounts of energy combined with insomnia, so I have been working out - push ups, planks, running, elliptical  pull ups, dancing, stairs, and whatever else I can think of!  Then today, my body finally slowed down and said "thanks for the workout".  Tired, groggy, and very sore today, but then I had a photoshoot this evening that reminded me why I love my job.  Even when I am tired and not sure if I want to leave the comfort of my office, working in front of my computer with a tv show going on the other screen, I go to a session and remember that it's all about the people.  And I really do love it.


I get to work with amazing people like Mattie and Carston.  These two are just adorable!




I know Mattie from when I was a teenager in Austin, she has a smile that is absolutely contagious.  So positive, so loving, so happy!  I love to be around people like her.  She and her family moved every couple years, and after Austin they moved to France.  She speaks the language quite well and actually taught an elementary school immersion program for a few years.  Luckily, there was "A Bit of Paris" here in Utah also...







This shoot was so much fun because it felt like we were just hanging out.  Laughing, talking, exploring - we hiked around and found some cool little places I had never been!

And Carston is a cop.  Which means we got to play with the car!!  I titled this next photo "What a woman will do to get out of a speeding ticket" which might be a controversial title, but I love the photo anyway.








Contest for free photo session!

  Doesn't matter if you are one, two, or 5 people, wearing wedding clothes, street clothes, or halloween costumes, this contest is open to everybody.  Here's the deal though, this is not for traditional portraits, this photo session is a themed shoot.  The challenge: suggest a unique and interested idea.  Based on the outfits, the activity, the location... something's got to be unique, but it's up to you.  Here are some ideas from shoots I've done in the past:


Halloween costumes:



Career photos:



Destroying a cake:








Playing in water:















Cool cars:





Please post your idea as a comment to this blog below. We will choose the best 10 ideas, and then there will be a vote for the winner on our Facebook page.


Here're the deadlines:

Monday Dec 12 at 6am - all comments must be posted on the blog, this is the cut off time for new entries.

Monday Dec 12 at 11pm - the top 10 will be posted on Facebook.  Tell all your friends to vote for your idea (we'll have details on the facebook page on how to do that).

Thursday Dec 15 at 6am - the voting ends, we will review the number of votes for each idea and...

Thursday Dec 15 at noon - We will announce a winner.



We're excited to see what ideas you come up with!




Katherine & Matt Ring Ceremony

First,  let me apologize for my extended absence.   We were supposed to have blogs posting automatically while I was gone for the holiday, but clearly I messed up!  I'll try to make it up to you with a contest for a free shoot this week!  

But back to the Austin wedding...

I have the opportunity to photograph weddings of all kinds.  Themed costumes, crazy dance parties, small family weddings, outdoor, indoor, etc.  Each couple brings in different traditions and personalities.  Every wedding is unique, and that's why I love it.  I grew up in Austin, but I've lived in Utah for almost 6 years now and started my business in Utah.  In Utah, a little over half of the wedding I photograph are at LDS (Mormon) temples.  I love the temples, taking pictures around the grounds, the beautiful architecture, and all the symbolism.  Thomas and I were married in the Timpanogos temple in Utah.  But for all the wonderful things about LDS temples, as a photographer, we don't actually take pictures during the ceremony, we just take pictures after the wedding on the temple grounds.  We don't photograph the "I do's" and the ring exchanges, so it's a different experience.


Katherine and Matt decided to do a ring ceremony the day after the temple ceremony.  It was absolutely beautiful.  (Much better than the dream I had of a vow-renewal with Thomas where he forgot to write his vows and everyone showed up late.  I must have been subconsciously jealous of this ceremony :D)


It's at a new reception venue in Austin called the Vineyards at Chappell Lodge.  A gorgeous venue with lots of land and trees.  But without further ado, here are the photos:










Below, Katherine's siblings singing to her.  This family is just awesome.








This is the other reason I love ceremonies:  The couple walking hand in hand down the aisle.  I'm female, so I'm allowed to admit that it made me cry... right?  They just look so happy.




Why I love my job


I love happy people. Growing up, most of my closest friends were theatre-folk. Expressive, confident, and happy. I like being around people who enjoy life and like being with each other.


Doing engagements for Alishia & Tyler made my day! These two are just plain adorable. And I love that everyone can see how in love they are.


   I got a greeting card once that said "Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional." It was so much fun to take photos of Alishia & Tyler swinging and riding in the little red wagon, I got all sentimental remembering my childhood!


My favorite was a facebook comment on Alishia's page where she posted the photo below: "This picture looks most like my experience with you as a quasi-roommate. Approval++"



We had this magical mix of those bright late-summerish greens and all the awesome fall colors for the shoot. I honestly could not think of a better or more vibrant background to show off how awesome this couple is.




Be sure and check out their full engagement gallery here. The first half of their photos are up, and the remaining ones will follow.






















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.










  Emily Mangum was an intern with me this last winter and spring.  She and her husband Ryan moved to Boston so Ryan could finish school, so sadly we don't get to hang out that much anymore.  Emily was a fantastic intern.  She was always happy and fun to be around.  She is incredibly hardworking, and a very talented photographer.  She is also one of those people who is always positive... no matter when you talk to her she's always got a smile on her face.



Right before Emily and Ryan moved away, we did this portrait shoot for them at Nielsen's Grove in Orem.




These cupcakes were delicious.  Almost as delicious as her apron was cute.  Ryan, you're a lucky man!!!





Ryan and Emily are both sports fans, so we showed a little baseball spirit. :D




I also wanted to take a minute to feature Emily's photos.  She was able to put together a good portrait portfolio before they left Utah, and I especially love her black and white's!  If you know anyone in the Boston area who needs photos...

















Bluesy Blues

  As avid WLP blog-stalkers, I am sure many of you are aware that Thomas and I hold a deep and abiding love for jazz music and traditional jazz dance (e.g. "Lindy Hop", "Charleston", "Balboa", and "Blues", just to name a few).  In fact, we met dancing, and a big highlight from our recent anniversary trip to San Francisco was the dancing we were able to sneak in there.


So when it came time to do another workshop with my current trusty intern Abby, we headed over to the Bluesy Blues Practica, an excellent local blues dance that happens in Salt Lake County every first and third Wednesday in Sandy.  It's a great venue- they do a free lesson, some great dancers turn out for it, and they've got some fantastic blues playing the whole night.  It was the perfect setting for a lesson on flash photography, and specifically one that emulates the type of lighting situations you get at a lot of wedding receptions.  Because I was mostly teaching, not shooting, I didn't get many photos (though I am sure Abby will be posting some of hers soon), but there were a couple I wanted to share with y'all.



See what a difference lighting can make?  Two shots, taken in pretty much the same initial conditions, come out juuuuust a little different.







Lindy's Cake Smash

To try and meet my cuteness quota for the blog, I decided to share these photos from Lindy's 1 yr shoot.  She has one of the best names ever for a little girl. Our friends Lexi and Alan are both swing dancers. They met dancing, just like Thomas and I did, and so when they had a little girl, they decided to name her after their favorite dance- the Lindy Hop!  

Of course, she also goes by her dad's nickname for her...   "Chunk".

It took a little while for Lindy to decide what to do with the cake, but she got into the swing of things pretty quick.


This last one is probably my favorite.