The summer going into fall is the perfect time to schedule a high school senior portrait session. Most Colorado high schools require the yearbook photo submission by the end of September or first part of October. By scheduling your session early you ensure that you can find a great photographer available to meet your needs.  Since Colorado is also a beautiful state with lots of outdoor background opportunities many students want to have their photos taken outside. We offer both an outdoor or an indoor session depending on the desire of the client. Whether you are doing an indoor studio or outdoor session you’ll want your outfits to coordinate with the backdrops. It’s a good idea to discuss the types of looks you are wanting with your photographer so if you’re doing an outdoor session they can suggest locations that will work with your wardrobe or they can pick out some studio backdrops that compliment your chosen outfits.

Here is some suggestions on how to style your wardrobe for your portrait session:

1.) Choose Solid colors over patterns and prints! If you do choose an outfit with a print it’s a good idea to break up some of that print with some solid color items like a belt, scarf, jacket etc. A pattern with a larger scale print is going to look better than a smaller pattern that can be distracting to the camera. I also find that some patterns can really “date” a photo. Choosing a solid color outfit is going to give your portraits a more classic look that will look good hanging on the parents’ wall for years. If you have chosen a session with multiple outfit changes then incorporating one or two outfits with a little bit of pattern isn’t bad.

 

2.) Consider a casual and a more dressy option. A casual option would be jeans and a couple different shirts. A more formal option is a dress, skirt or cocktail dress (this can even be your Prom dress or other dress from a formal dance). For men a dress shirt, jacket and even a tie if they so choose. It’s just nice to have options! One of your more formal photos might even be great addition to a job resume in the future!

  

3.) Make sure your outfits fit well! I find that clothes that are baggy or oversized are not very complimentary on almost all body types and will make you appear larger than you actually are. If your outfit is supposed to fit-to-size, make sure it actually does that and doesn’t fit too tightly or loosely, especially when it comes to your straps, bust area, mid-section area, and hemlines.

On that note, wear something you feel comfortable sitting, standing, and kneeling down in as we will also be incorporating those types of poses. Don’t forget to iron your clothes! If you show up to your session with wrinkly clothing covered in cat hair it’s going to show in all of the photos. Extra retouch costs will be assessed if wrinkles and hair need to be removed in the photos.

4.) Keep the location, weather and season in mind. A summer dress in the middle of winter might not only look out of place, but will keep you shivering during the photoshoot. Chunky sweaters and layered looks are always great for Fall and Winter sessions. Spring and Summer is the perfect time to  wear a cute skirt, tank tops and shorts!

  

5.) Don’t forget the accessories! Jewelry, scarves, shoes and more can only improve a photo! This is also a time to show off your school spirit by bringing your letterman jacket, musical instruments that you play, items that go with the sports you do such as a basketball, football, tennis racket, etc. And if you are into something else like collecting stuff, art, etc. you are always welcome to bring some of those items to commemorate your love for whatever you’re into. Years from now it will be fun to look back at the hobbies you enjoyed as a teenager saved in your senior photos!

6.) Stick to your known style. While it may be fun to get experimental with your clothes for creative photo-shoots,  I don’t really recommend it for senior sessions. This goes for hairstyles and make-up as well. My biggest regret from my own senior session years ago was cutting off my signature long hair to above my shoulders a week before I did my senior photos. While it was a fun change, it’s not how I usually looked and I hated my senior photos. It’s best to capture you the way most people know you before you go wild with a new look!

7.) Think about reflections. We use additional lighting in almost all of our portrait sessions so wearing glitter make-up, highly reflective glasses or anything else that can reflect light is not a great idea. If people are used to seeing you wear glasses on a regular basis and you want to wear them in your photos look at removing the lenses for just the photo-shoot or borrowing a set of frames from your optometrist. We can also incorporate poses that minimize reflections in glasses, but that can also limit the types of poses we can do with you during your session so if you can help us out by removing the lenses it makes the session run smoother. Some reflections can be removed in retouch later, but again that’s an additional charge for the work involved.

  

I also recommend bringing a translucent make-up powder that can be used to cut down the shine on faces. If men are not into using powder, then I suggest at least bringing some blotting sheets to use when you are a bit too shiny. Make-up should look natural and not too heavy. If you don’t wear a lot of make-up or any then at least bring some chapstick for dry lips.

8.) Lastly, have fun with it! It’s great to pick up a few new items before the shoot, but don’t discount some of your old, but favorite outfits! Your senior session should ultimately represent “YOU” and be a fun way to remember your last year of high school!

Here’s another early fall wedding at the fabulous Willow Ridge Manor. We can never get enough weddings from this venue! It’s an amazing place to tie the knot. And with getting ready areas for both the bride and groom on site, gorgeous views and a place for both the ceremony and the reception without having to leave the venue who needs to look further!

Taylor and Sam were just two of the nicest people you could ever meet. I see many many years of marriage for these two. I can’t wait to see what the future will hold for them.

Check out some of my favorite photos from their event last September!

Vendors who made this day possible:

Venue: Willow Ridge Manor

Catering: Rocky Mountain Catering

DJ: Digital DJ

Florist: Hawk Flowers & Gifts

Cake & Desert: Little Man Ice Cream

Bridal Wear: David’s Bridal

Tuxedo Rental: Men’s Wearhouse

Jeweler: Trice Jewelers

 

 

Almost everyone has heard the term “hashtag” but still not everyone knows what a “hashtag” is or what they are used for; most importantly  most folks over the age of 40 are not going to know what the purpose of a hashtag is…. I’m here to help you out and give you some information on this trend for weddings and events just in case you were wondering if you need one or not!

  • A hashtag is any word or unbroken word-grouping (no spaces) with a # sign in front of it, used on a social platform like Instagram or Facebook.
  • A hashtag links your individual posts with all other posts containing that hashtag, giving it greater exposure and longevity, and connecting it to larger conversations.
  • To create a hashtag, just think one up and start using it across your social channels. No need to register it anywhere.
  • It doesn’t matter whether you’re on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram—use the same event hashtag for all content related to your event. This creates a branded hashtag that provides a clear way to track activity across all social platforms.

So how do you create a hashtag that’s perfect for your wedding and why would you need one? Let’s start with the why… Mainly because everyone  has a camera in their phone which is on them at all times. People will be taking photos at your event (as long as it’s the time to do that… see my article about “Unplugged Weddings”). Do you want to see the photos everyone took? Maybe you are not “friends” online with a plus one that was invited, but he or she got an amazing sunset photo at your event and you would love to see it! If they use the hashtag when they post it to their social media you will be able to see it grouped with all of the other photos tagged with your special hashtag! It’s a great way to bring all of these amazing images together in one place!

Here are some tips for picking the best hashtag for your event!

  1. Create your own… try using an online “Hashtag Generator” for ideas. A good place to start is with your names because it will be easy for your guests to remember plus you can put a fun spin on it by doing a funny pun or play on words. #MorganHeBargainedFor #WritghtStateOfMind #SayYesToTheKress
  2. To be more unique try using numbers in the tag so that your hashtag doesn’t get mixed up with another couple’s event. For instance #BobAndSueWedding2022
  3. Capitalize the first letter of each word so that the hashtag is easy to read.  Whether your guests post with the capitalization won’t matter – the hashtag will still work!  It’s just easier to read (and remember) with capital letters.
  4. As you pick your favorite hashtag options, do a quick search to see if it’s already been used before! If so, just add a number, your wedding date, or change a word in the hashtag.  You want yours to be unique to YOUR wedding so it curates photos from your event!
  5. Make a list of several options, and then narrow it down to your favorite!  This is definitely a fun activity for you and your fiancé to do together.
  6. Next spread the word about your hashtag – Start using your hashtag before the wedding.  Tag your engagement pics, selfies during date nights, pictures from your other wedding events such as showers, rehearsal dinners etc. and attach your hashtag in your post.  The more you use it early on, the more people will notice it.
  7. List your hashtag on your wedding website, save the date cards, and/or invitations.  At the wedding, you’ll definitely want to have a cute sign with the hashtag.  Order a few of these signs, have them match your wedding décor, and place them strategically:  near the bar, at each table, on the gifts table, near the cake, etc.  Have the DJ or band encourage guests to take pics and post using your hashtag too! I’ve even seen them on the cocktail napkins!
  8.  Tell your photographer and/or videographer about your hashtag so if they post anything they can use it too! Having access to all the photos friends and family take is awesome! Just make sure that people do not interfere with photos the photographer is taking so you can have photos without cell phones in them!

We can’t wait to see what fun hashtags you come up with for your wedding!

Let’s talk about eloping in Colorado and using our epic views to your advantage! Taylor & Nathan were another one of my couples who were victims of Covid! They planned a beautiful wedding to take place at a resort just outside of Gunnison, Colorado and then the pandemic hit… and after two postponements they gave up on their big celebration. But I was not discouraged, they had already paid their deposits with me and I still wanted to give them some lovely photos to remember the day, so we hatched a plan…. and you know what? I think the plan came out better than we could’ve ever imagined! We looked at a time-frame that was light on our wedding schedule during the summer and my family and I planned a camping trip to Taylor Reservoir just outside of Gunnison. I met the couple just outside of our camping spot and spent two hours photographing them in all the beautiful scenery! It was a win for both them and us! We got to enjoy a little family time in the wilderness and Nathan & Taylor ended up with some epic photographs!

Enjoy this selection of some of my favorites! If you’re up for an adventure please reach out to me, as we’re always up for an experience!!!

I have just one more couple from last year to finish up on their wedding album and that couple’s wedding is being featured on my blog today! The day started out with our associate photographer, Chris going to the couple’s apartment to get photos of the guys getting ready and I went to the mother of the bride’s home to get pictures of the ladies. After that we traveled to Genesee Mountain Park to do a “first look” of the groom seeing his bride and wedding party photos before the ceremony being held at Christies of Genesee. We had some lost wedding party members, but we persevered and were able to get just a few photos of the large wedding party completed before the rain started to come down. After a mad dash back to everyone’s vehicles we continued on to the venue to prepare for the ceremony and moved the rest of the formal portraits to after the ceremony. The day just flew by! Before I knew it we were staging the requested night shots with the full moon in view and seeing the couple out the door for the end of their evening. Sometimes weddings just go so quickly you barely get a chance to take it all in and today was certainly one of those days.

Large wedding parties can always be challenging (especially when you lose a few members). I always recommend booking a package with at least two photographers if you are planning on having more than four bridesmaids or groomsmen and/or if you are getting ready at different locations or even if you can’t utilize the venue for your preparation space. Christies of Genesee is a wonderful venue, but it only has a very small dressing room that can only really accommodate 2-3 people, thus the reason for the separate preparation quarters on this event. Having two photographers ensured that every aspect of this couple’s big day was captured.

Reasons we love this venue: 1.) Close proximity to Denver 2.) Mountain and city views 3.) Affordable price range for couple on a budget 4.) Outdoor and indoor space 5.) Gorgeous picturesque views nearby 6.) Friendly and courteous staff

 

 

Vendors who Made this Day Possible:

Venue, Catering & DJ: Christies of Genesee

Photography: Crystaline Photography & Video

Bride’s Dress: The Bridal Collection

Groomsmen’s Tuxes: Men’s Wearhouse

Bridemaid’s Dresses: Birdy Grey

 

Sanaz and James were a couple that had to postpone their event multiple times due to Covid. Luckily, we were able to accommodate them all along the way and we were able to finally see them through to a fabulous 2021 summer event at Willow Ridge Manor. I know this one was a particularly challenging wedding for my husband to DJ due to the Persian music Sanaz and her side of the family requested, but Mike was a champ. I watched him go through their special requests for days on end prior to the event and it paid off big time! I saw him receive high fives from some of the guests and was told what an amazing job he did. Most of the bride’s family didn’t think that hiring a DJ that doesn’t specialize in Persian events was a good idea, but they were wrong. He did an excellent job of blending classic American tunes with the fun energetic cultural music that the bride’s family loved. That’s what makes him a great Disc Jockey… a personal desire to make an enjoyable event for all the guests! It was an amazing day with lots of love, laughter and dancing!

We even got to see a wedding tradition that neither one of us has ever seen even in our over twenty years of covering weddings. It’s called a Persian Wedding Knife Dance…. The dance begins with one person performing a typical Persian dance, holding a knife and asking the couple for money. The couple is expected to give money to the dancer in return for the knife. Once the dancer gets the money she passes the knife on to the next dancer. This little game is played in good humor for some time until one of the dancers decide that they have been won over by the given money and will give the bride and groom their cake knife in exchange so that they may cut their cake. It was a cool tradition that honored the bride’s family heritage.

Check out some of my favorite photos below.

       

Vendors who made this day possible:

Venue – Willow Ridge Manor

Caterer – Rocky Mountain Catering 

Disc Jockey – Digital DJ

Photography – Crystaline Photography & Video

As a wedding photographer/videographer I see a lot of wedding trends come and go. Some of the classics stick around for a good while, but even some of the die hard wedding traditions are starting to move their way out of the limelight. I thought I’d take a peek at the fun trends that are making their way to couples this year and with a mention of the ones on their way out. Let’s see if you agree…

TRENDS ON THEIR WAY IN

1.) Weekday Weddings – We saw quite a few of these over the last year just due to couples needing to work within venue’s availability after they had to postpone their 2020 event. Don’t expect them to go away. Lots of venues offer special savings when a couple is willing to host their event mid-week. Almost everyone has a limited budget, so couples all over have found this is a great way to save big on their wedding!

2.) Customized Weddings – These have already been really popular. Engaged couples want to do something different that stands out and makes their event more memorable. I see a lot more couples wanting to do their wedding “their” way instead of the “traditional” way. This can mean having a food truck instead of a sit down dinner, having a cocktail hour before the vows,  coming up with their own unity ceremony instead of a candle, etc. I already have two “brunch” weddings booked in 2022 for breakfast lovers everywhere! Anywhere a couple can put their personal stamp on their event they will be doing it!

3.) Electronic Invitations – The pandemic made electronic ways to stay in touch with your guests more acceptable due to all the postponements and reschedules. And now they are here to stay. Electronic save-the-dates, invites, RSVPs are a great way for couples to save money, even if you just use a wedding website to get all that extra information out for instance like where to stay, and how to get there. A small QR code placed on a physical invite even gives your guests a quick way to go to your wedding website.

4.) Destination Weddings and Elopements – We’ve covered a lot of these in the past few years and when Covid lockdowns happened couples still wanted to get married, so they chose the most exotic place they could get to within the US borders. We had quite a few couples coming from areas without snow, or from the flat plains to Colorado just because they wanted to get married on a mountain top. And in reverse a lot of couples in Colorado going to locations with beaches!

5.) Renting a Vacation Home for Bachelor & Bachelorette Parties – People looking for ways to avoid crowded clubs and bars are looking into staying with their close friends at a large home they can rent through sites like Vrbo.com and Air BnB. And then they are even hiring a photographer to come out and document it! This can be a long golf or ski weekend or  maybe a great location like Nashville or Las Vegas for fun shows and gambling!

 

TRENDS ON THEIR WAY OUT

1.) Bouquet and garter toss… Many, many couples today are deciding to drop this steadfast tradition. Some of the reasons are because couples are waiting to get married later in life and it just doesn’t seem right singling out  one or two of your last unattached friends. Also your dance floor is rocking, who wants to slow down a party for this out dated tradition.

2.) Things on Guest Registries – Also a sign of the times with couples waiting until later in life to tie the knot; a lot of couples are already in a co-habitating scenario and don’t need stuff.  I see a lot of couple’s that have honeymoon registries or a site for saving for a down payment on a home. Young couples today are not interested in china patterns. Some are even asking for donations to charities in lieu of a wedding gift.

3.) Wedding Favors – Most couples are ditching the wedding favors in order to afford other items like a video record of their event, or higher end entertainment. Over the years I have found that the largest waste of money goes to wedding favors. People often forget the trinkets given to them by the couple leaving most items behind. The exception to this rule is if you give them something you know they will use like food or drink. I remember one couple that provided a bottle of wine to each family on their way home from their family owned vineyard. Now this is something we all know will get used! Photo-booths have also become a popular favor replacement because it gives guests a memorable experience and a memento that you know they will save and cherish.

4.) Extra Large Bridal Parties – While couples have a lot of friends many are opting to go with small 1-2 attendants or none at all. It gets really hard trying to coordinate schedules of a lot of people for dress fittings, parties, and more. Couples are finding that they’d rather have their guests be guests instead of having them full-fill the obligations of a wedding party. Not to mention how you’ll need a larger alter space in the ceremony to fit a large bridal party. Group photos also take twice as long to do with large entourages.

5.) Receiving Lines – I will go as far as to say this one is pretty much already gone. When I ask couples if they are going to have a “receiving line” I often get a blank stare followed up with the question of “what is that?” A lot of today’s couples have never even seen one unless they’ve been to a very traditional church ceremony. If you’ve never seen one  here’s a brief explanation: it’s where the couple and their parents stand in a line to greet and shake the hands of each and every guest after the ceremony and it can take 30-60 minutes depending the amount of guests you have invited. One of the main reasons this one has disappeared is because of the amount of time couples have to do their formal group photos after the ceremony. Most of the time the photos take precedence over a receiving line. Covid pretty much put a complete kibosh to this tradition. A lot of couples now greet their guests while dinner is going on at the reception after they have eaten.

 

 

I always love covering a classic wedding for a young couple in love. A simple ceremony at the couple’s hometown church with a reception held at the same location proves that you don’t have to spend a fortune on your event to have a beautiful heartfelt wedding. Corinne’s mom reached out to me only a couple months leading up to their big day in Strasburg, Colorado and the rest they say is history. The plan originally had been to host the ceremony outdoors in a field near the church, but the weather had other plans that day, so with storm clouds gathering the ceremony moved indoors and we opted to do most of the photos inside as well. We were able to step outside to get a few photos of the wedding party and the couple alone, but luckily the church still offered a beautiful backdrop for their event.

It was wonderful seeing their faith brought to the forefront of their wedding and all of the friends and family that came to celebrate. It was a lovely day that will be full of memories in the years to come for this couple. Enjoy some of my favorite photos and the highlight video below.

Check out the highlight video from our video services for their event:

Vendors who Made this Day Possible:

Venue – Mountain View Fellowship Church

Photography & Video – Crystaline Photography & Video

Another beautiful summer wedding at Willow Ridge Manor with just the cutest couple ever! Kelly and Matthew bonded over their love of adventure and bicycling which also made for a very cute an adorable wedding theme. Our team had a great time capturing both photo and video for this couple for many years of enjoyment to come.  When couples host their event during the Summer at Willow Ridge they can have a grand affair utilizing the outside deck for seating with still more room inside for all of their guests. This beautiful venue looks great anytime of year, but  it’s especially beautiful when the grass is green and the flowers are in bloom. Just perfect with the black and white color scheme with green accent colors! Enjoy the highlight video above and some of my favorite photos below!

 

Vendors who made this day possible:

Venue – Willow Ridge Manor

Caterer – Rocky Mountain Catering 

Disc Jockey – Digital DJ

Photography & Video – Crystaline Photography & Video

 

We covered quite a few elopements again this year. I think some couples were just done dealing with Covid and wanted to get married. Ashley & Nicholas came all the way from Florida to tie the knot in April. They found us and all of their vendors online for their simple elopement at Legacy Ridge Golf Course in Westminster, Colorado. This public golf course has some amazing views of the mountains from within the suburbs of Denver and was the perfect place for their quick ceremony with a handful of friends. Ashley had never seen snow in person so it was a real treat to still have some peaking through on the mountains behind them. Mike and I were there to capture the event on both photo and video for those that could not attend. It ended up being the perfect day for the both of them!

            

Vendors who made this day possible:

Venue – Legacy Ridge Golf Course

Florist – Mossholders Floral

Photo & Video – Crystaline Photography and Video