Hailey & Andrew are another one of our Willow Ridge Manor couples who will be tying the knot this Fall. To announce their engagement we did their rustic engagement portrait session in Golden, Colorado. Hailey was hoping for some snow, so I was happy that the foothills had a slight dusting of snow behind them! It ended up being a wonderfully warm day to celebrate their love and we got some awesome shots!  Looking forward to their September wedding!

This couple wanted to have a wedding that was not like anything anyone else they knew had done! So they planned a destination wedding in the mountains of Colorado from their home in Tennessee.  Friends and family that were willing to make the journey were treated to a beautiful morning event complete with brunch after their short outdoor ceremony. The plan was to make it a wonderful ski weekend! So as soon as the ceremony was over they headed for the slopes in Keystone for evening skiing. Destination weddings are becoming a huge draw here in Colorado for those looking for amazing views and something different. It takes a lot of trust on the part of the couple to book vendors strictly off their websites and skype meetings! Luckily, Colorado has a lot of amazing vendors willing to put their best effort forward to satisfy their clients.

Planning a Winter event is also not without it’s difficulties…. we booked a room for the night before the event in Silverthorne because Winter conditions can often shut down the roads in and out of these ski mountain towns. It’s highly recommended that couples do a back-up plan for a Winter event or for all of their guests to arrive early by even a day or two to alleviate any of these headaches. This day was also one of the coldest days so far this Winter! I was worried about my camera not working under such conditions and so was Mike, my husband and DJ for their event. He was worried about his gear seizing up due to the temperatures. Luckily, the ceremony was short that we didn’t run into many difficulties. Our batteries drained quicker, but luckily we come prepared with a lot of extra back-ups!

This truly was a beautiful wedding with unique touches from the couple! My favorite part was their “Grand Exit” They opted to change into their retro looking ski gear and run through smoke bombs! While it made for really cool photos, hindsight I think we should’ve spread out the guests more on a path or in a field rather than on the bridge. Guests were a little too close and the smoke so thick that it was not only hard to see the couple through it, but also a bit hard for guests to breathe. Since this was a first for me… it will just be something to consider when planning more smoke bomb photos!

Vendors who made this day possible:

Venue: Silverthorne Pavilion

Caterer: A Perfect Bite

Donuts: LaMAr’s Donuts

Disc Jockey: Digital DJ

Photography: Crystaline Photography & Video

I got the privilege of delivering Henry & Bethany’s wedding album and parent albums to them yesterday! Nothing is better than getting to see the faces of my clients when they see the final product from all the hard work we put in. I get to spend almost a year with couples at one of the best moments in their lives starting with the process of picking their photographer when they are doing the interviewing and deciding. Working with them in most cases for months leading up to their big day by discussing wedding timelines, photo ideas and more. Sometimes even giving advice on other vendors and how to accomplish an activity that they want to do on their big day! When the actual day comes there’s preparation work that takes almost an entire day beforehand… cleaning gear, charging batteries and more! The day itself goes by so fast! We spend a good 8-10 hours working almost non-stop, making sure we get all of the photos the couple wants and more.

After the wedding our job is only half done. We have many, many hours of editing work ahead of us along with, posting the photos, uploading them to the USB and disks for the clients and then sometimes we meet again to present them with those photos and go over options for their album. The album design process is something we work on over the Winter months during our down time. We take the client’s choices along with some of our own favorite images to design a beautiful album that tells the story of their entire day from start to finish! Working with them during the design process to make sure that the book is just right! It’s an heirloom that will last for generations to come and we want to make sure that it is perfect.

Henry & Bethany also chose to purchase the accompanying parent albums to give to their parents so that they would also have a beautiful memento from the wedding. These books make great gifts for your loved ones!

Congrats again to this amazing couple…. many more album designs to come in the weeks leading up to our Summer season… so stay tuned!

Here’s a couple after my own heart! They both share a passion for riding motorcycles and wanted to incorporate that into their engagement photos! Yes, please sign me up to photograph this! Probably a lot of people don’t know, but my husband and I also found this pastime as an excellent way to connect, once upon a time! While I never got up to owning my own separate motorcycle I relished the days that I could climb on the back of our own bike and head for the mountains with nothing more than the road and the wind and a few stops in between for great BBQ and beers! Unfortunately, with our businesses needing more and more of our time and then adding on children we found that our motorcycle was just collecting dust in the garage and decided to sell it. But I fully intend on someday (when the kids are more independent) purchasing a bike again and getting out there.

Alyssa and Zakery have an amazing hobby that they both enjoy doing together and Colorado offers such amazing scenery it’s just awesome to show their passion for it in photos! Not to mention I got to be a little more creative with my ring shots! Beautiful couple with awesome bikes equals a fun, fantastic Fall portrait session. Looking forward to your 2020 Fall wedding as well!

 

   

It’s not often that a photographer gets to photograph a family member’s wedding (unless of course they have a huge family!). I was honored with the privilege of being able to capture my brother’s intimate backyard wedding to his sweetheart, Heather this past September. With a strict budget and a can do attitude they were able to put together a beautiful backyard BBQ at Heather’s parent’s home in Evans, Colorado. It was the perfect day with the perfect weather! Heather even included a bouncy castle to keep the many children in attendance entertained all day! I didn’t see much of my two boys because they were playing with their cousins all day! They also lucked out to have a sister and brother-in-law in the wedding industry that made sure their photo, video and DJ needs were met. My brother and his groomsmen also smoked all of the meat for this affair while other family members helped with side dishes. It was truly a community effort to send these two off on their life together.

It again just goes to show you that a wedding can be anything you want it to be. While I love beautiful ballrooms or majestic mountains as well, sometimes a simple event with family and close friends can be just as rewarding as an elaborate party.

Here are some tips for the “Do It Yourself” wedding planners:

1.) First set a budget and list items needed in the order of most importance to you. And plan on spending more for the things that are most important to you.

2.) If you are doing an event at a private home take into consideration add-on items needed to host an event that would otherwise be provided by a wedding venue such as: tents, tables, chairs, porta potties, serving items such as chaffing pans, etc. Sometimes these items can add-up quite quickly and it’s almost just as expensive to host your event at a venue that provides all of it. If you have ample resources and can keep under budget with an event on private property by all means take the leap!

3.) Consider how much of it you want to do yourself and how much help you will need from friends and family. Sometimes it’s less of a hassle to hire a caterer unless you have a lot of family members who want to help. Don’t just assume that people will just pitch in. It makes sense to sit down and chat with everyone involved to hand out duties and figure out what areas people are willing to help with. You want to avoid resentment from those who end up having to pick up the slack in areas that weren’t covered by coming up with a list of needs early on.

4.)  And have fun! Make sure to give yourself a lot of time to plan and put together all of your DIY items. Weddings can be stressful, but they don’t have to be. Most weddings are planned out a year or more in advance to allow a lot of time to get things just right and also spread out the expenses. But if you are itching to get hitched you also may be able to find a lot of savings out there for hosting events at venues with dates still available 1-2 months out from the big day. If you go that route be prepared to make quick decisions on everything from the dress down to the flowers.

Congrats again Heather & Cad! Here’s to a Happy and Successful Marriage!

Vendors who Made this Day Possible:

Disc Jockey: Digital DJ

Photography & Video: Crystaline Photography and Video

 

Here’s an in home newborn session I did before Thanksgiving…. this sweet little guy took a while to fall asleep for us… Sometimes come with the territory…. We tried just about everything, extra feedings, white noise, swaddling and even a car ride! Yes, dad took him for a ride around the block! Which was a first for me, typically all of my little tricks work to make baby sleepy, but this time around he was making us work for it. But I think it was worth it in the end what an adorable little guy! Congrats again to the Radcliffe family on your new addition!

Here’s another awesome Fall engagement session for a couple that we will be photographing their wedding next year! We went with a little rustic elegance at one of the best parks for engagement photos in Golden, Colorado. Katie & Ben have romance down! These two had a great time expressing their love and I’m so looking forward to their Spring wedding!

‘Tis the season for engagements! If you got engaged over the holidays and are looking at where to start with the wedding planning process one of the funnest things to do is a photography session! It commemorates the moment and gives you some amazing photos to share with the world your love of each other. It’s also a great way to try out a photographer that you are considering for your wedding coverage. Give us a call, we still have some p[rime dates in 2020 available.

With all of the relatives in town for the holidays you may be thinking that you’d like to take a group photo of everyone in the family! So if you can’t hire a professional either due to cost or availability the next best thing is doing it yourself! Here are some quick tips to help make your photo the best that it can be! And with a bunch of you getting the new iphone for Christmas you might want to even try this with your phones!

1.) Prepare! – Scout out the best location to do the photo ahead of time. Make sure your batteries are charged and your lenses are cleaned (including your phone lens)! It would be a real bummer if you couldn’t take the photo due to an empty battery or worse yet a big piece of dirt shows up in the middle of grandma’s face! Make sure everyone you want to be in the photo knows where and when you are taking it (I always ask them to be there 15-20 minutes earlier than needed to make room for late comers).

2.) Location – Make sure you choose the right spot for your photo. If you have to take the photo in the middle of the day scout out spots with open shade so that there are no harsh shadows and so people don’t have to squint in the photos. Make sure there are no distractions in the background such as signs, cars, etc. Or a window behind the group indoors where a flash can bounce back into the camera. If you are indoors I would avoid using a flash on your cell phone camera for the photo if at all possible. The low light capabilities are getting better on phones, but the flash settings are not.

3.) Take Multiple Shots! – One way to try and avoid getting eyes closed or people not looking at the camera is to take a lot of photos. The more you take the more chances you have for a good one. And trust me if you are also going to set the timer so that you can be in it you will more than likely have to take a few to get a good one! A wireless handheld remote for also really helps for this! Do not use the digital zoom feature on a cell phone because the photo will be too grainy, rather than using the zoom position yourself in a way that puts the entire group in the frame.

4.) Use a tripod –  Set your camera up on your tripod so that’s ready to take the shot in terms of framing, settings and focus and then it will be ready at an instant when you get the group looking just right to capture the moment.  It’s important to get the attention of your subjects early so that you can get them posed and take the photo quickly especially if you are working with short attention spans, especially those of children. Tripods also help prevent camera shake and keep the focus sharp!

5.) Posing – You want to make sure that you can see everyone. Taller people should be in the back and shorter in the middle or front. I like to put people in between the “V” of the people in front of them and ask everyone to make sure that they can see me because if they can’t see me I can’t see them. Try to compose in a triangle composition with the tallest members in the middle. When photographing a large family try to keep immediate families near each other, spouses and kids, etc. People also look better slightly angled (not straight on)  so I typically have the people turn slightly into the person next to them and have them either put their hands in their pocket or on their hip for women.  Before releasing the shutter take one last look over through the camera to make sure you can see everyone. And if the group is really large you might want to consider taking the photo from a higher perspective either from a balcony or ladder.

Best wishes and happy portrait taking!

I just received another amazing gift from Groovy Groomsmen Gifts – https://www.groovygroomsmengifts.com/products/personalized-docking-station to review. Are you looking for gift ideas for all of your groomsmen, but wanting something just a little bit different than the normal gifts. I highly suggest the products on this website.  I liked this particular item because it will look good on my husband’s bedside table. It gives him a place to store all of his important items like his keys, watch and of course a place to plug in his cell phone making it not only easier to remember where you put everything, but a nice way to display it. This site has a lot of other great goodies too and almost everything can be personalized! So while there are some great gifts for all of the groomsmen in your wedding party there are also some great thoughtful gifts for dads, grandparents and partners! Check them out!

 

I had a really busy Fall with a ton of bookings already for 2020 wedding couples which kept me busy doing engagement portraits while the weather was nice. I love doing engagement photos! It’s a great way to get to know the couple and how they photograph and it also allows me to find new and different spots to take photos! This location was one I had covered a previous small/elopement wedding at close to Denver and has an amazing mountain view! Rachel & Kyle will be tying the knot this Spring at one of our favorite venues, Willow Ridge Manor! Since they will have more of a red rock look to their wedding photos we were going for something with more pine trees and a view of the mountain range and this location just fit the bill! It’s the perfect way to share their new home off to all of their Chicago friends and family.

Very much looking forward to working with this laid back outdoorsy couple for their big day next year! Enjoy their romantic engagement photos below!