Just finished up the video and photos from this late July wedding at Willow Ridge Manor. Jon, Eve and their friends and family were a joy to photograph and videotape. There were so many smiles and laughter at this event that we never had to say “cheese”! When I first met with this couple I immediately clicked with them because they were high school sweethearts who had been together for 10 years before they tied the knot just like my husband and I were when we said our “I Do’s” and now on the eve of our 12 year wedding anniversary I can look back fondly and remember where we started through reminiscing with a another young couple in love!  You two have been together longer than a lot of marriages survive already so I have faith that you have many, many more years to come together. Thank you again for having us capture your special day, I’m so excited for you to see your photos and your finished video!

      

 

Vendors who made this day possible:

Venue – Willow Ridge Manor

Caterer – Rocky Mountain Catering

Disc Jockey – Gotta Dance DJs

Bakery: Das Meyer Bakery

Florist – Hawk Flowers

Hair & Make-Up – Bel Viso

Photo & Video – Crystaline Photography and Video

The day I receive a couple’s wedding album is always one of the best days for me! It’s a day where I get to see all of our hard work in print the way it should be displayed. The best images from the day are organized in a storytelling fashion that captures the essence of this beautiful moment as a young couple begins their lives together. Our Riveli albums are the the flush-mount albums that are included in our Gold Wedding package and are printed by a professional grade photo lab on the highest quality of photographic paper and they are just stunning. I can’t wait for Sarah & Jason to finally see the end results!

 

   

I’m really looking forward to Erin & Jerod’s wedding next Summer at Willow Ridge Manor!  We took a nice stroll around Washington Park in Denver near where the couple lives one warm evening to do their engagement photos. There was an amazing Red sunset due to all of the forest fire smoke in the air. I always thought these unique “fire” sunsets would look pretty dramatic in a photo-shoot and now I have the photos to prove it. Summer is an excellent time to do your engagement photos because there are so many options for places to go. Maybe you are a couple looking to save money by having a Winter wedding, but still would like to have some great photos taken of you in skirts and shorts in a beautiful garden then Summer is a great time of year for these.  A gorgeous couple with love on their minds! Enjoy!

 

Abbi & David’s amazing mountainside wedding at The View Restaurant at Historic Crags Lodge in Estes Park, Colorado. Beautiful ceremony for a wonderful couple.

Tis’ the season for High School Senior Portraits…. Now that all of the kids are back in school and they realize that their yearbook photo is due int eh next couple months I start to get a barrage of calls from panicking parents! And my days start to fill in with last minute bookings to have their senior captured for posterity! I love doing these photos because it’s so much fun getting to work with teens about to take the next big leap into the unknown. You get to hear about their plans for the future,  discuss the activities and interests that they are into right now and photograph them at a time in their life when they are young, excited and ready to take on the world! Amanda was no exception and we had a blast doing her photos! I do still have some weekday dates available before time runs out. So give me a call if you are searching for a photographer for this momentous occasion!

 

In a wedding that is just a small step up from an elopement Joshua & Rosa decided to hold their event on a mountainside in Genesee Park one morning in July! With just their immediate family and one close friend (just 10 guests). The park offered a beautiful picturesque view without a lot of hassle. A few rented chairs, an officiant, flowers put together by the bride, a bluetooth speaker and their photographer (me) and they were all set. Again proving that love doesn’t have to wait for thousands of dollars to host an event. After their nuptial vows and some formal portraits the couple along with their family headed back down the mountain to have a celebratory luncheon at Maggiano’s in Denver. A beautiful day for a beautiful couple.

What a great day I had covering this event on a really hot day in July! Hirsch Precision asked their employees to come out on a weekend to volunteer their time to clean up a park that was in need of a little TLC and they picked East Park on Interlochen Blvd. near Hwy 36. It has a really great Frisbee golf course and large pavilion for group picnics, so if you ever have the privilege of using this park you can thank these hard workers for the beautiful work they did! I was impressed to see that it was also a family affair as most of the workers brought their family members to help out and celebrate at the company BBQ after all the hard work.  While they put in some grueling hours in the hot sun cleaning up some areas that needed work they also got to enjoy the park afterwards with some burgers, salads and games! Thank you for having me there to capture this special event!

Scott Dikkers Keynote Speaker at Digital Summit from Jamie Striplin on Vimeo.

Sharing this really engaging speech that we covered for Scott Dikkers last month at the Digital Summit in Denver, Colorado.  Scott is the CEO of “The Onion” satire newspaper so needless to say this is a really funny speech about how his business was started and the secrets to their success!

It’s a whole new ball game for photographers when it comes to weddings…. gone are the days when one “Uncle Bob” shows up with a nice camera wanting to take photos of the same wedding the photographer is getting paid to cover. Now every person attending a wedding has a pretty decent camera in their pockets in the form of a “smart phone” and for some reason this has given wedding guests the idea that the photos taken from such phones are wanted and/or needed making it more difficult for the actual paid professional to complete their assigned duties! A couple years ago it was a nuisance at best, however in 2018 if you have not asked your guests to refrain from taking photos at least during the ceremony it can become an all out war fighting guests for the best spot to photograph the happy couple.

Now you may be asking yourself “What’s the Big Deal? Why wouldn’t we want more images from our wedding that can be provided by our guests?” And that is a great question because I have seen some great photos taken by guests over the years, and maybe they capture something that the photographer has missed while he or she is photographing other things. It makes me happy knowing that others have captured other angles or events that I may have missed, but it literally breaks my heart when a guest ruins a perfect photo opportunity by jumping in front of me when I’m capturing a key moment of the day; mainly because I know that the photo that they just had to get will more than likely be blurry, low resolution or perhaps the couple will never see because it doesn’t get posted or even given to them! If I had been able to get the shot that I had prepared myself for than my clients would be happy. Shots like I knew we were just seconds away from like “the first kiss” that would’ve been a key element in their wedding album!

I’m including some photos from recent weddings that I’ve covered in this blog post with the faces of the couple and guests blurred out because my objective is not to shame these people, but rather to inform the public the benefits of an “Unplugged Wedding” or at the very least an “Unplugged Ceremony”.  I’ve been in the business for 18 years. Not to make myself look old, but I started out assisting my mother who was a pro in the days of film. It’s been sad watching the progression of seeing the smiling faces of wedding guests during the ceremony when the bride walks down the aisle to seeing faces hidden behind cameras and tablets. It really looks like the guests are more engaged with their phones than the actual wedding.

The most recent wedding I covered I literally had to push between at least four woman all vying for a position to photograph the couple. How was I ever to get the photos I was getting paid to take without having to be a little rude to guests. One time I was covering a Jewish wedding and I and my 2nd cameraman were both positioned for a crucial shot. When the rabbi got to the end of the ceremony and the couple were about to smash the glass an important Jewish tradition. Suddenly, a big guy sitting up front jumped up with his iPad blocking both of our views and so you can’t see the groom stomping on the glass at all! It’s not like I could yell, hey you up front move! Guests standing in the aisle of the photos also makes me sad because no matter what when you look at the photo your eyes go directly to the person standing in the aisle taking the photo and not to the actual subject of the photo.

I also really cringe when guests try to take photos over my shoulder during the formals. Usually, we are already under a time crunch so this extra interference doesn’t help. Flashes from others cameras can ruin my photos and the eyes of my subjects tend to wander to whomever is trying to take an additional  photo and so they won’t be focused on my camera. And it can make guests angry if I have to tell them to put down their cameras. It’s better just to leave these photos up to the professionals. I’m not even interested in making money off print sales as most of my clients are getting all of their high resolution digital files anyways. I just want their photos to be the best that they can be, so the respectful thing is to let the photographer do their job.

So for the distinguished couple comes the new trend that is actually kind of sad that it has to be done… “The Unplugged Wedding”. Other than having your guests surrender their phones at the door to the venue like they do at some comedy shows now to protect the artists’ routines, some wise person came up with the idea of the “Unplugged Wedding”. The idea is plain enough in that it’s a simple request from the couple to their guests to turn off all of their electronic devices (even if it’s just for the actual ceremony only) and to be present in the moment for their special day. To facilitate this couples will not only write this in their wedding program, but also create signs to have displayed at their event and/or ask their wedding officiant to make an announcement during the opening remarks before the processional begins. I’ve only actually been to a couple weddings so far that put this idea into practice and I can tell you it was completely worth it! The photos and video during the ceremony that we took at these events were all amazing and the guests look like people participating in something rather than screen zombies!

I know selfies are a thing now and so are wedding hashtags, but if I were getting married today instead of 12 years ago when I did get married I would be going for a fully unplugged wedding with the reception included. Smart phones were around when I got married, but they weren’t as prevalent as they are today. My mother has always been the photographer in our family, but I ordered her not to bring her camera to my wedding because I wanted her to be present, to enjoy herself and to not be concerned about whether or not she was getting enough photos. And for one of the few times in my life I saw her at an important event in our family’s lives without a camera in hand and she was loving it! I also ended up with some beautiful photos with her in them which are few and far between because she was always the person taking them. I researched my photographer thoroughly, I had seen his work and I spent more money on that then almost everything else (besides food) because photos were that important to me. And I didn’t worry about a thing. He covered every moment of our big day, nothing was missed. I saw maybe two people pull out other cameras that day. I received one disk of photos from one of those people and almost every image was either blurry, over exposed and just not up to my standards. The other person posted a few on Facebook and I never saw the rest. I’m so grateful for the photographer that I hired and happy that I got married in another time!

 

I loved working with Angelina & Darrin to create their dream wedding in the mountains! This was another case of less is more! This couple planned a destination wedding here in Colorado from their home state of Illinois. Angie and I spent quite a bit a time on the phone discussing the special places that she wanted to go to do some of their photos, colors, and more. I even ended up fielding a call for where they should look to rent chairs! I just enjoy helping couples plan their big day and having seen almost every kind of wedding imaginable over the years, I can almost always point them in the right direction for their needs. This couple had camped in Golden Gate Canyon State Park many times prior to their wedding so having it here just seemed like the best idea! It was a simple affair with I think with no more than 20 guests. They utilized the Harmsen Guest House in the park where their parents were staying as the getting ready area and held their beautiful ceremony at Panorama Point. On most days this location yields a beautiful 180 degree view of mountain peaks, but unfortunately, the mountains were fogged in during their ceremony.  Luckily, the clouds parted right after the vows and we were able to get quite a few photos with them in the background.  After the family photos we did a couple mini hikes to a couple more spots with amazing views for photos and then afterwards headed to Black Hawk which is just a short drive from the park. The Saratoga Casino houses The Mill Chophouse on their top floor where the small dinner was held. The food was amazing and abundant! I think each person present went home with a  “to-go” bag!  It was a beautiful day and I’m glad I got to spend it with them!

 

   

Ceremony Venue: Harmsen Guest House & Panorama Point in Golden Gate Canyon State Park

Reception Venue: The Mill City Chophouse at Saratoga Casino

Chair Rental – Area Rent Alls

Officiant: Edwin Ward