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.







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!





Joelle & Brett- The Reception

  Before the reception, we got a couple of additional newlywed photos on the grounds around Magnolia Grove.














...and then the party got started!













Be sure and check out the full galleries for Brett and Joelle's wedding day and reception here.



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!




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.





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.