People are always asking me what to wear to their photo-shoot, especially if their photo session is going to be more of a specialty shoot like a Maternity Session. I’ve been getting a lot of calls again this Spring for Pregnancy Photos and because of that I thought it would be good to put together a helpful guide to styling your maternity session.

1.) Consider what type of backdrop or theme you would like for your session. Do you want something outdoorsy with a real natural feel or perhaps you’re a city girl at heart that wants to show off the vibrancy of the city you live in? Depending on what type of backgrounds you want in your photos this can help you with choosing your wardrobe selection. An urban shoot maybe would look better with jeans and a t-shirt while a mountain backdrop may call for more of a long flowing dress.

2.) Determine if you want an indoor or an outdoor session. We live in Colorado, a state with so many beautiful locations to take photos at it’s kind of hard to not want to take your photos outside, however I will always recommend an indoor portrait session in the following situations: 1.) If you want any nudity or lingerie shots of any kind because it’s easier and probably more lawful to take these photos in a controlled environment. 2.) If the time of year the weather conditions could make your photo-shoot be a little more challenging, than maybe scheduling something indoors will be a safer bet as well. You can also do more of a lifestyle type shoot and take the photos in the comfort of your own home and/or nursery for an amazing memory of all the hard work you put into designing the baby’s new digs.

3.) Determine who will be in your photos… Will it just be the mother to be or do you want your partner to be in some of the photos with you. If you have other children it’s really cute to incorporate them in the photos. Photos with the kids hugging your belly are always fun! And if you are going to incorporate the rest of the family you might want to have the family in complimentary colors. Everyone in matching outfits is pretty much a thing of the past. When I think of matching Christmas sweaters or everyone wearing a denim shirt in family photos my mind immediately goes to thoughts of the 1980s. Try not to make everyone look exactly the same, but more in outfits that look good together.

4.) If you are doing outside photos consider what the weather will be like during your session. The seasons will give you a pretty good idea on what colors will be available to purcahse and what looks great. Spring and Summer tend to have brighter and lighter feels than Fall and Winter which are more of a Warm and Cozy feel. In the Winter I often see woman in high boots, sweaters, scarves and warmer colors. In the Summer I see sun dresses and light and airy outfits.

5.) Keep from picking out something that’s too trendy. My goal is to always to make your photos look timeless. Twenty years from now I don’t want you to look back at your photos and think what in the heck was I wearing. Solid colors work great. Try to stay away from too much pattern as I always think that distracts form the baby bump. Tight fitting items that accentuate the pregnant belly work the best and minimal jewelry and accessories is also a better idea to keep the focus on your belly.

6.) Plan a couple different outfits so you can get a couple different looks. If you are planning on more than one outfit let your photographer know so that they can schedule in clothing change time and also pick a location near a restroom if you are doing an outdoor site unless you are comfortable with a vehicle change.  Lay everything out and see how your pieces work together and bring a few props that remind you of baby if you have any. Great ideas are his/her first teddy bear, first set of shoes, a book you plan on reading to him, etc.

Here is a list of outfits that work great for maternity photo-shoots:

  • Maxi Dresses
  • Dresses that Tie at The Waist or Have a Slit
  • Sheer/Lacy pieces
  • Long flowy skirt with a crop top or bandeau bra
  • Oversized knit sweaters
  • Jeans and a fitting top

Other prop ideas that are fun:

  • Balloons
  • Sonogram Photo
  • Messages to the Baby (Posters, Signs, Chalkboards, etc)
  • Giftwrap Ribbon with a “Do Not Open Until *insert baby’s due date)
  • Add Humor with Preparing for Parenthood Books or a play on words to make an announcement like in October welcoming our Little Pumpkin and some images taken with a pumpkin.
  • Use holiday elements if you’re due around a holiday like Christmas, Easter or 4th of July
  • If you’ve chosen a Name for baby you can incorporate blocks, letters, etc spelling it out

Always feel free to discuss ideas with us or the photographer you are working with as they are going to be the creative ones full of ideas, locations to suggest and more. If you are looking to do something completely original that signifies your personality that’s even better! Think about a hobby you are into or things that you and your partner like to do together and try to figure out how to bring them into your photos.

I’ve been on a hiatus from well doing much of anything in regards to blogging.  Once the shelter in place orders starting coming down in Colorado that basically brought everyone and everything to a screeching halt. I’ve been busy re-scheduling weddings and other events when they can be on our calendar. For the most part it has worked out great! We’ve been really lucky this year to have most of our events scheduled at one particular venue and since they are working with clients on re-booking dates we’ve been able to find dates that work out for both us and in most cases my husband’s DJ company, Digital DJ who is also the disc jockey for most of those events. I’m so saddened to hear that couples are having to deal with this situation that has been unprecedented in the 20 years that I’ve been in business. Even 9/11 wasn’t this challenging! At this point everything is being addressed month to month. June events were taken care of and re-booked this month and if the same thing has to happen in July then they will be re-booked in June. We appreciate everyone’s patience while we navigate this situation with you. We are still excited to be a part of your big day no matter when that will happen!

In the meantime we are just doing some housekeeping stuff and enjoying the slower pace of life. Mike and I have been hunkered down at our home since mid-March. This means he’s been diligently working on my “Honey Do” list with projects around the house that have been neglected a lot due to how busy our schedules usually are. We’ve cleaned out our storage room and garage of all our baby gear! Yes, baby stuff! Our kids are 7 and 5! That’s how long I’ve been hoarding that stuff! We’ve stripped and re-stained our deck, planted our garden, set up our above ground pool and countless other smaller projects around the home like flushed out our water heater (a lot of people don’t know you should do that every year for more longevity of your water heater) and more! Since June will be the first time in probably 15 years we don’t have much in the way of work we will do a couple more big projects, enjoy some fun summertime activities with our kids and work on streamlining some of our business practices that I’ve been wanting to do for awhile. We’ll keep crossing our fingers that events will go forward from July on.

We hope everyone is staying safe and that maybe Colorado can start to get back to normal on some level. Remember we are all doing our part to slow the spread of the virus, even those planning one of the best days of their lives!  I remember what it was like to plan this type of event. The stresses of planning a wedding in a normal year can be over whelming, but here’s my thought on this…. At one point I remember looking at my husband (then fiance) and saying to him we should’ve just eloped! There were so many behind the scene things going on, dealing with people who can’t make it, seating arrangements with divorce variations, unhelpful wedding party members and more. But in the end I just let it all go. I told people they could sit where ever they wanted, I didn’t sweat the small stuff and the parental units decided to get a long for our special day.  We have memories of one of the best days ever in our lives that we got to share with everyone we loved. Some of those people are no longer with us so I cherish the moments more than ever. If you have to postpone just realize that the people who want to be there and can be there will come. If they can’t they will be there in spirit and you can share your beautiful photos/video with them afterwards. We’ll get through this together! Best wishes and we’ll see you on the other side of this.

Here’s our first and now our only Spring wedding of 2020! Mandy & Kaleb were so lucky to be able to have their Willow Ridge Manor event in March before all of the Corona Virus Social Distancing Orders starting coming down. It was the best and amazing day for it as well! It was close to 70 degrees on their big day, but still snow peaking through on the mountain backdrops behind them. We had a few firsts for this wedding as well… first time the groomsmen got in a little fun by giving the bride a prop “ball & chain” to pin on her husband after they said their vows and also the first time I’ve ever seen a man in a bunny suit give a toast! You can tell this couple both have a very light hear-ted attitude about life and it was just a great environment to be in! Thanks again for having us be such an important part of your day! A lot of love was shared and captured for years to come!

For all of you folks out there worried about your upcoming 2020 event or  those already planning a post-postponement we feel your pain. This is going to be hard for all of us! We had two events in March cancel, four events in April cancel and so far four weddings altogether postpone with May events in jeopardy as well. The canceled events will not be re-booked so we’re out all the income that those would’ve generated for our business. The saving grace has been the fact that people still want to get married and don’t want to lose all of the money they have already invested in their big events. There are still options to postpone until a later date in 2020 and postponements instead of cancellations are what’s going to save a lot of small businesses. The talk about this lingering on for quite a while has people concerned about their Summer plans as well. We are encouraging all couples to take a wait and see attitude with all Summer dates with the hopes that our self isolation measures will kill this virus off before June.  Stay safe Colorado and the rest of the world, we’re all counting on all of you to become couch potatoes for the next couple months! We’ll be back soon and better than ever!

 

Vendors Who Made This Day Possible:

Venue: Willow Ridge Manor

Caterer: Rocky Mountain Catering

Disc Jockey: Digital DJ

Officiant: CoCreative Journeys – Paul Paiva

Photography & Video: Crystaline Photography & Video

 

I know Amanda, Alec and their families have been waiting patiently for me to finish their wedding video! And the time has come to release their highlight clip and get their photos and images back to them! This was an amazing wedding with a lot of moving parts to it and also not without it’s challenges, which makes me even happier to see the final results of their photos and video. Having a Winter event is always a bit of gamble especially if you are planning it the mountains of Colorado. Taking a chance on this Silverthorne Pavilion wedding was well worth it for them and even though the Eisenhower tunnel closed for a period of time on this day, almost all of the guests were able to make it to the ceremony on time! The couple notified their guests through their personalized website that due to the ski traffic and unforeseen weather issues that people should allow extra time for travel. That warning seemed to pay off for them! I would highly recommend that any couple planning an event do a little research on the area they plan on getting married at for what’s going on around the time of year they schedule it. Many times I’ve seen couples run into things like a festival being scheduled in the town at the same time as their event so accommodations for rooms being scarce, or unforeseen road closures due to construction or weather. If you know about these types of issues beforehand and let your guests know this can help them prepare for traveling and an on-time arrival for your event as much as as they can!

This venue boasts beautiful mountain and creek-side views, but because the sun goes down quicker in the Winter months we had to plan to do all of their formal portraits prior to the ceremony. This lead to a decision to do a “first look “between the bride and groom so that we could get their formal portraits out of the way before the ceremony. It ended up being a really touching intimate moment that they shared on the bridge. It was completely magical which fits in with their magical Disney themed wedding! Loved the romantic photos in the snow. And all of the children that participated in the ceremony singing songs was adorable!

The reception had a lot of unique elements as well. First, the bridesmaids did double duty as bartenders for the cocktail hour where the couple served their guests “Mocktails” which were non-alcoholic fun fruity drinks. This is a great idea for someone either looking to save money on their bar tab or for couples with religious or other reasons for not drinking. In Amanda and Alec’s situation they still served alcoholic drinks they just opted to wait to open the liquor bar until after dinner when the paid bar staff took over.  It was so cute seeing all the bridesmaids wearing rain smocks over their beautiful dresses to prevent them from getting dirty and I think it also gave another level of entertainment to the many young guests both attending and in their wedding.

Amanda’s brother was the DJ/MC for their event. In most cases I would also try to dissuade couples from using a family member for this important service, but in this case her brother had a background in entertainment having worked for a company that hosts parties and provides games and more for their clients. He did an amazing job not only running games that were entertaining for both the kids and adults, but also keeping the dance floor full.  The reception was also very unique in having a line up of different performers that were chosen from their friends and family who sang at different points in the evening. Amanda and her dad even chose to do a duet instead of a typical father and daughter dance. It really put a personal stamp on the event by including guests that were near and dear to them in the festivities.

We had a ton of fun doing the photography and video for this fairy tale event! I hope it will be a moment that they cherish forever!

Vendors who made this day possible:

Venue: Silverthorne Pavilion

Caterer: A Perfect Bite

Photography & Video: Crystaline Photography & Video

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

Hair & Make-Up: Rollers & Rouge

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!