Kim & Rene's Wedding

posted on: November 28, 2006

Could this couple be any hotter?! You may remember Kim & Rene from their engagement pictures in the portrait section of my website. They are yummy in so many ways!! Their ceremony was held at Our Lady of Sorrows in Farmington Hills, MI.

I love Kim's makeup!! Heather did an amazing job, but then she went and messed up her own makeup by crying in happiness...

You may remember cute little Natalie who has now been a flower girl in three weddings I've photographed!! Well, she's always had an amusement with veils and whenever she has been close to one, she pretends to wear it like it's her own. So this time, Natalie got her own veil to wear and play with...

I love this picture of the brothers...

and dad giving his little girl away...

What a happy family!

What famous movie character would this be?

After the formal portraits at the church, we had a ton of time to kill, so the wedding party went to Cowley's for a few appetizers and drinks. I just love the bar here - it's so decorative! If you happen to see someone who looks kinda like Kim the next time you're at Cowley's... make sure you leave her a big tip!

When friends and family give me a hard time during portraits or tell me not to take pictures of them, I make it my secret mission to look for the most opportune moment when I can grab an embarassing shot for my blog (all in good fun, of course!) The first shot is what photographers would call "chimping"..

In this next shot, Kim's sister demolished her bouquet and tried to deny it, but the evidence was clear..

Go, boy, GO!

Since we already had a nice bed of roses from the earlier bouquet demolishing, I thought I could make use of it as a nice background...

When I peeked into this forest trail, I saw a small spot of beautiful light and just had to take advantage...

Their reception was held at Burton Manor in Livonia, and was decorated with plenty of lavender roses!

Can you tell what they're thinking in this picture??

... I'm guessing it had something to do with this...

I love how classic this image is...

Girls just wanna have fuh-un!!

Kim looks like she has a surprise for Rene, but click on an image to view the slideshow and see why the joke is really on her!!

This is how I feel at the end of a wedding day!!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

posted on: November 22, 2006

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!! I'm really looking forward to seeing my family again, especially now that we're much farther apart than we used to be. We'll be in Michigan and away from our computers for most of the weekend (totally unheard of for us!), so phone will be the best way to get in touch. Uploads have been verrrry sllllow this week, so I hope that things will pick-up after the holiday weekend!

Nathan & Amber's son Austen would like to tell you a joke to get you in the holiday mood...

Self Portrait

posted on: November 19, 2006

Jenn & AJ Engagement

posted on: November 17, 2006

Jenn & AJ are the first couple I've photographed in my new town of Terre Haute! AJ went to Indiana State University and learned how to fly at the local Sky King airport, and even though neither of them live here now, they made a special trip back to Terre Haute to capture these personal locations in their engagement pictures! It was so fun to get a mini-tour of the places that were so fond to him in college.

When Jenn & AJ told me that we'd be shooting at the airport, I must've spent days thinking about the kind of pictures, angles, and different things we could do to incorporate the planes!! Here are just a few of the things we came up with!!

I have to tell you a little story about the picture below.... if you've been reading my blog and looking at my pictures for a while now, you know how much I loooove kissing pictures! I always ask couples how they feel about kissing, just in case they don't feel comfortable with the idea, and Jenn & AJ surprised me by telling me they are saving their kiss for their wedding day!! Talk about WILL POWER!!! I asked them if they were open to making it look like they were going to kiss, without actually kissing and they said, "sure!" I could literally FEEL the sparks in the picture below - it gave me goosebumps!!! It was pure torture for me knowing that they weren't going to kiss and I can only imagine how much torture it was for them to be THAT CLOSE and still hold back!! Wow. Of course, now I'm just that much more excited to capture their first married kiss!!!

Here's a different kind of ring shot...

On the runway... ready for take-off!

Jenn & AJ, thank you so much for coming back to Terre Haute for your engagement pictures!! I can't wait for the wedding day!!

Why Blog? - Making the Most of Your Blog

posted on: November 14, 2006

At first I was only going to post this on photography forums, but I realize there are quite a few photographers who read my blog but may not visit those same forums. I also know that quite a few of my friends and clients have blogs and/or small businesses, and are looking for ways to attract new readers, or to keep current readers interested. So, in the interest of making all blogs a little more addicting... (as if I don't spend enough time reading them and writing them!!), I thought I would share some ideas with the hope that others will feel free to add to this list and to share their thoughts as well!

Why blog?
- To improve your search engine ratings (if your blog contains searchable text; also known as SEO)
- To keep your customers (and competition) updated on your latest news and work
- To give your customers a way to personally connect to you and/or your business
- To convey your philosophy/personality/style
- To announce new products or specials
- To make your clients/friends/family feel famous and to show your appreciation to them (aka being a lovecat)

What to blog?
- Favorite images from your latest event or shoot complete with location info and any additional vendor info. Key phrases like "chicago, il" "engagement photos" "four seasons hotel" will get attract search engine rankings - website links will help as well.
- Stories about the couple or the wedding (everyone likes to feel famous, right?!)
- Your latest awards and recognition (be your own biggest fan!)
- Create a weekly or monthly feature, such as random favorite things, theme image or technique, favorite quote, fun stuff online, personal news, favorite recipe. It doesn't have to be photography related, in fact it may be even better if it isn't since it will give your clients another way to connect to you that may more closely relate to their lives.
- New products, or products that you're considering
- Questions or contests for your readers
- Sales and promotion information, deadlines for holiday ordering, holiday gift reminders and ideas - Personal news, happenings, and travels
- Random thoughts
- Ideas of things you'd like to try with future clients (planting the seed early! Trash the dress, rolling in sand and water on the beach, sky diving, etc.)

Think about the blogs you're addicted to and why you're addicted to them. Often times addicting blogs have a few things in common...
- It's not always about business
- They blog frequently and you feel like you've missed out if you haven't checked the blog in a few days, or they have a special feature that you look forward to weekly
- They make you feel good or inspire you
- They have a definite sense of personality and feel very "real" with single voice that comes through to personally connect with you instead of a stale company voice (this is the difference between a real blog and just a site for your company's latest news)
- They keep the content fresh and change things up from time to time

Here are a few blogs which I find very addicting!!
Even though this is a company blog, they do an awesome job of connecting to their readers and keeping them interested weekly! I think they actually do all of the blog ideas mentioned on the "what to blog" list above... favorite things, contests, new products, latest news, etc... they've got it all.
Tons of crazy ideas and things to do with your photos or your camera!
Amazingly creative, highly personalized, thought provoking, and interesting little bits of life on paper!
Just plain funny and often unusual! (Thank you Meg for introducing me to this!)
One which I would someday like to contribute to... (hint to past & future brides!!!)
One which I've been featured on a few times, and has some really neat images along with their stories.
An amazing guy who gave up a safe career in pharmacy to become a wedding photographer, inventor, and investor; who is now a millionaire (or is it billions now?) I visit often for the embarassing videos of his friends, but value it for his awesome business info and insights.

... and I love reading my friend's blogs!!!! If you have one and I don't know about it, please post it here or email me a link!!!
An awesome illustrator, creative soul, music lover, and cat servant!
A political critic, horse racing and classic car enthusist, photography lover and now a budding seamstress!

What are some of your favorite blogs? What keeps you addicted? How can you apply that to your business or blog? Did you find this post to be helpful or should I stick to taking pictures? ;-)

(Disclaimer: I don't think my blog is as great as it coule be, but knowing what I need to improve is half the battle. ;-)

And now... because I can't possibly create a post without also including an image of some kind. Here's my latest YouTube video pick. I find it hilarious because I'm sooo guilty!!!! :-) LOL!!! :-)

PS. If you liked this post, click on one of the LABELS below to see other relevant posts!!!

Katie & Matt Engagement

posted on: November 13, 2006

These two high school teachers have known each other since 1st grade!!! Katie & Matt have been friends for most of their lives, but they never really dated each other until their senior year of high school after they had already decided to go separate ways for college. Despite leaving their small town for a bigger city and better opportunities, they never grew apart. I think that's just amazing since I hardly lived in the same place for more than 2 years until high school!!

Katie & Matt chose a great lakeshore location in the Lincoln Park area of Chicago, IL where we were able to include shots of the skyline and the beautiful Lake Michigan. I've been shooting a lot of skyline pictures lately, so it's always fun to try something new, like the image above which almost makes it seem like they flow seamlessly into the Chicago skyline. Of course, the windy city lived up to its name that day and it was VERY windy and ch-ch-chilly too!! (Don't worry, I have pictures where Katie's hair is under control, but I just had to give you a sense of what we were dealing with that day!!)

Does the blue toning make it feel as cold as it was?! LOL!!

Even though they're teachers now, don't they still look like they have that teenage romance thing going on?! I have a feeling there will be a few students out there who will be crushed to know that their favorite teacher is about to get married!

The engagement ring was once grandmother's and is absolutely stunning, this shot hardly does it justice! I wonder if anyone can guess what kind of jeans they're wearing based on the pockets?

I just love this last shot. It totally reminds me of something that would come out of a fun little Diana Camera. Thank you for braving the cold and wind Katie & Matt!! I can't wait for the wedding day!

(For the photographers who visit my blog... this was shot at 1/125, f3.2, at 48mm with the focus set about 2ft in front of me, which I kept the same as they walked away. The post processing was done in ACR with blue saturation in the shadows for the cross-processed look.)

Sarah & Josh's Wedding

posted on: November 11, 2006

Sarah & Josh are absolutely perfect together!! Seperately, they seem like a case of opposites attract, but together they seem like they've spent their entire lives with one another... it's really amazing! Their wedding was completely about fellowship with their friends and family. They had a neat beach theme which played itself out in a bunch of little touches, but ultimately the emotions and excitement of the people are what really stood out to me.

Have I mentioned how much I love getting ready moments? I had to stay behind a closed door for most of her getting ready moments, but I still managed to grab a few sentimental shots!

I noticed the bouquets sitting outside on the porch and just I loved the pepper berries mixed with the bright orange roses! (I may be a bit partial since I also had pepper berries in my bouquet!)

I love this shot because at first you're drawn outward by everyone looking out, but then you see Sarah through the glass door and notice that she is shaded by someone's reflection - which happens to be her father, and then you realize Sarah is smiling back at him after he has seen her for the first time on her wedding day.

I always ask how a bride & groom feel about seeing each other before the wedding ceremony because it's still a very sensitive topic between many brides and their photographers. Some photographers insist that you see each other before, but I'm more of a go-with-the-flow kind of person and want your wedding to be a reflection of what you think is best, not what I think. I still find that, when given the choice, most brides elect not to see their grooms before the ceremony. So I was surprised when Sarah & Josh wanted to see each other beforehand, especially since most of their wedding was fairly traditional in nature. They expressed that they still wanted it to be a special moment, so we arranged for Josh to wait at the end of a path where Sarah would walk up behind him and let him know when she was ready for him to turn around and see her.

The intro picture to this blog is from the same moment as well. I really love this moment because it gives the bride & groom a chance to be alone together and to say what's on their mind when they first see each other. It also gives me an opportunity to really capture that moment and the expressions, since it's often difficult to get a great angle or close-up inside the constraints of the church. When Sarah & Josh were ready, their friends and family were waiting nearby and we were able to take almost all of the formal pictures in the beautiful outdoor lighting when everyone's makeup and clothes were fresh. I just love how relaxed and happy Sarah was after seeing Josh...

Josh was obviously excited and happy as well because he started dancing in the street as we were pulling out of the driveway to head to the church!! I normally would not shoot through my car window, but I just had to grab this moment that shows how crazy and excited Josh was!! Notice the groomsman looks like he's ready to run Josh over with the car!

Sarah & Josh were married at St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Holt, MI, where Sarah grew up. Even after seeing each other before the ceremony, the moment inside the church was just as special and emotional because Sarah's father was finally giving his daughter away in marriage.

At one point during the ceremony, the pastor had all of the married couples turn to each other and exchange a few words of love and devotion. Here are Josh's parents doing just that..

A really personal moment during the ceremony came when the pastor pulled out a bag of Skittles!! Sarah's favorite candy! The lesson was about sharing the things you love with those whom you love and giving selflessly. It was such a cool part of the ceremony, and so meaningful to Sarah & Josh. Sarah has a great story about how Josh used Skittles when he proposed to her, and I'm hoping she'll share it in the comments of this post *HINT!*

Their reception was held at the Ingham County Fairgrounds Community Building and they decorated with seashells, sand, and goldfish! Here are a few of those details...

I just loved the sandbucket snacks- complete with cheesy goldfish!! How fun!

Their reception was all about having fun! They had guests sing for a kiss using songs with the word "love", and a few women held up scoring cards each time they kissed! What a fun group of people!! You'll have to click on an image to see the slideshow... there were some really fun and crazy moments!!

Can you guess what song this is? I think the faux Native American headdress in the back is a big clue.

Congratulations Sarah & Josh!!! Thank you so much for inviting me to be a part of your special day!!

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