Thursday, December 29, 2011

Kevin's 12 Favorite Photos from 2011

Here they are, my 12 favorite photos from 2011.  I stressed about these, went through 2,000 photos, narrowed them down, re-narrowed, threw them away, started over, narrowed, replaced.  I stressed way too much about this.  It's because this post in particular is so important to me.  These are not the best photos of the year, some of them maybe, but rather, they are my favorite.  Moments that stood out to me, photos that when I see them, still give me goosebumps.  And believe me, there were so many more.  I narrowed it down to 12 when it could have very easily been 50.  You may not love all of these & that's ok, sometimes you just have to be there.

I love the clients we book and these moments we get to share with them.  It's truly amazing, and my favorite part about what we do.  The past few years I've become close with almost all of our wedding clients.  And it's because we are wedged in the middle, soaking up, and capturing some of the most beautiful & emotional moments of their (& their families) lives.

My hope is that you'll enlarge each one and take a moment to really take it in.  That would make my day.

Enjoy! (I'm sorry for those of you I left out, I loved all our weddings last year! )

 Anna & Anthony- Dordogne Valley, France.  Usually when the bride is getting ready the groom is far far away.  These guys are too laid back to worry about that, even though Chateau Lacoste was huge to say the least.  Anthony was right there, uploading his vows to his Kindle.  I came in to them laughing and Anna just getting dressed like no one was there.

 Melissa & Chris - Dominican Republic - The day after the wedding, we wanted to do a trash the dress shoot so headed out the water, with about 15 people from their wedding party following behind, they're behind us in this shot, watching, wondering what the hell I'm doing.  One of them had their diving gear so naturally I thought that would a fun thing to add.  My favorite part about this photo is that I had Melissa put the mask on rather than hold just felt right.  It was still missing some movement so the red wrap in her left hand is actually Katie's.  They made this the cover of their album.  You want to talk about an easy, fun, laid back, amazing wedding with awesome people, this was it.  So much fun.

 Scott & Charlena - Baltimore - Scott's sister led him out with a tie around his eyes to Charlena waiting for him.  When they finally touched hands, they both just about died and were laughing and crying.  We took a million photos of this, both Katie and I with tears in our eyes.  It was pretty awesome.

 Erin & Samuel - Oatlands Plantation, Virginia -I went out to Virginia alone for this one.  As the sun was going down, we made our way through a fence to this beautiful green field.  The sun was in the right spot and I told them to just run around, he picked her up and spun her around, & Erin kicked her feet up, it was perfect.  This photo feels like their wedding, bright, beautiful happy & full of love.  Also, I loved that little house in the trees.

 Greg & Rachel - Kayenta, UT - I love band photos, this was shot from behind facing the crowd.  They had these big lights illuminating the band & dance floor that were not very fun until I stopped fighting them.  I love the energy of this photo, the drummer in full swing, all the band members looking at each other.  It feels loud and alive.

 Jaime & Scott - W Hotel, D.C. - What an amazing hotel, right across the street from the White House.  I knew we'd do something with these stairs, but I wasn't exactly sure until we got her there, with her stellar dress on.  While I stood at the very top, Katie was at the bottom completing the swirl of her dress and holding the softbox that would light it up.  I leaned as far over that rail as I could, I mean like lock my shoes in the rail posts and lean 2/3 of my body over.  I just needed to get the railing in the bottom of my frame.  I can only guess what that looked like from Jaime's point of view and if she had an escape plan if my camera or I, fell.  Another wonderful couple surrounded by an amazing family.  They even gave us a tip - a night at the W Hotel (about $300).

 Lea & Ryan - Creston, IL - Cornfields everywhere!  This was on the way back from taking the bridal party out to a big red barn, more corn fields and old pick up trucks.  But on the way back, in the golf cart Katie and I were driving, we caught this shot of Ryan & Lea just being themselves.  It's not the easiest thing to get a big huge real smile out of my good friend Ryan (we go all the way back to Kindergarden, I believe), but I caught this one, and I just love it.

 Alicia & Shane - Vaux le Vicomte - France - How I love this photo Katie took.  I don't need to say too much here other than, it's not often when a bride, who has been thinking about her wedding her entire life, probably been thinking about her dress just as long, and finally comes that perfect moment when she gets to put it on, takes a second to help her little sister with her necklace.

 Alicia & Shane - Paris - This was aboard the dinner cruise on the Seine for their reception.  We ate delicious French cuisine, cried during toasts and took photos as the sun went down & the Eiffel Tower started to come to life.  This photo just feels like their reception & this couple, beautiful, classic & fun.

 Suzanne & Paul - Paris - When we pulled up here, there was a big metal barricade lining the street, which, took a moment or two to take apart and move.  Not sure if that was legal.  When we were about to leave, I had this image in my mind of Suzanne crossing the street, Eiffel Tower in the background, street signs.  So we shot it, and it didn't look right, and she came back across the street, waited for traffic and we did it again, and again and again.  It just was not looking the way I was seeing it in my head.  And it was taking a lot of time, waiting, herding people trying to cross the street, etc.  I could tell it was time to be done, and I just pushed for one more.  Suzanne was great, happy to do it, so we did, one more time, waited for traffic, told the bikes and crowd to please wait, and took one more.  It was perfect.

Tyrus & Sallie - Lake of the Ozarks - On their wedding day, Sallie had just finished getting dressed when her mom came in and saw her for the first time and just lost it.  It was too freakin sweet, but little did we know that when she went out to get her husband, & he came in, it would be even worse.  He paused at the door, hands on his hips and kind of let out a cough/hold it together/cry and walked over to Sallie.  In the meantime, her mom was losing it in the background, and so was I. 

Now for my Personal Favorite Moment from 2011:

Suzanne & Paul - Paris - While Katie was off with the girls I found Paul at this Canadian Pub of all places.  I say that because we were in Paris and he's from Ireland.  He was sitting there working on his speech & it took a few moments for him to realize I was there, which was good.  But he gave me a big hug and we talked for a while, I don't remember much of what we talked about, but it went on long enough for me to order a cafe and hang out a bit.  After the reception Paul told Katie that having me there helped him get through the morning, and that he couldn't have done it without me there, it calmed him down.  I don't know what to say about just floored me.  I love that guy.  Easily my favorite moment of the year, something that I think about often and a moment that defines why I love what we do and the clients we work with.  

Friday, December 2, 2011

Our Albums are Off The Hook, Biotchs!

Not to be vulgar here, but the good people of Millers Professional Imaging are the f-ing bees knees when it comes to printing albums (and everything else, for that matter).  They have been our printers for the past two years and we have always loved their fast turn-around time, their family-style customer service, and the relationship they've worked hard to nurture with us.  We feel part of the Miller's family and hope to for a long time to come. 

On the same token, we couldn't put together these glorious albums without the fantastic Fundy Album Builder Software.  For all you photogs out there designing albums like we used to (really, really slowly) Fundy is a must.  Just check it out.  It's too difficult to try and explain the awesomeness here.  But really quickly, it works as a Photoshop extension.  Enough said.

And now...

Without further ado, we present the album pages of Jaime and Scott, whose Washington DC wedding at the swanky W Hotel was not only one of the most beautiful weddings we've ever attended, but downright classic.  These 12x12 pages will be bound with Kodak Endura metallic photographic paper, with a black leather cover and a matching custom album box.  It will be stunning!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Ryan & Leah - A destination Illinois Wedding!

It's pretty easy to get great photos when your bride is this charismatic.  She had that huge smile plastered on her face all day!  Creston was sunny & beautiful.  The wedding was on Leah's familie's property, in the middle of whole lot of corn and prarie grass.  Awesome couple, lots of fun...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

In Love With: Lumiquest!

I love Lumiquest.  Katie loves Lumiquest.  What else can I say?  Ok...

We travel, a lot, and it's a lot of fun.  You know what sucks though?  Paying to send your bags under the plane.  Know what else sucks?  Your bags not getting to your location.  Which is #1 why we have never sent camera equipment under.  In fact, when we flew into some podunk airport in Florida, don't remember when, we had to get on some tiny car sized airplane and they said no to our camera bag.  Well I showed them, I took out all my cameras/lenses/flashes and put them in my lap.  They never did bring me my coke, think they were kinda mad at the fit I threw...

The point is:

Lumiquest products fold up flat.  You don't have to put anything under the plane AND they work just as wonderful as other non folding flat diffuser things by companies like Arygay Ongfay.  Their biggest diffuser, is the size of a laptop and fits in my bag right next to our ... laptop.

These products are so sexy, versatile, awesometastic, we refuse to use anything else.  And if you've seen any of our photos in the last three years, they're all lit up with Lumiquest products.  Except, of course, the one's that aren't lit with flash (that's just a note for those of you scratching your heads wondering about battery power).

Anyway- Photog freinds, Lumiquest is the way to go if you're looking for lighting stuff.  We aren't about to stand by something we don't use and believe in ourselves.  Our Favorites- Lumiquest Softbox LTp, Big Bounce, and the Snoot XTR .

A couple of examples:

Christina and Nacho- San Sebastian, Spain.  From Nacho's Family's Castle overlooking the ocean.  Yes, his family's Castle.

Suzanne and Paul in Paris along the Sienne at Pont Alexander III.

Josie, in San Sebastian, Spain.

So check them out, their products are versatile, consistent, and always reliable.  And aside from the results we love, they're also fun to use.  

Thursday, September 22, 2011

In Love With: Fête in France

Over the past few years we've had the privilege of working with and getting to know some very cool ladies, Anne and Nancy of Fête in France.  They are wedding planners who work with clients from all over the world to help them plan their dream French weddings.

Anne & Nancy being giggly in front of the camera

Not only are these two seriously talented, but they are also extremely likeable and have become friends we look forward to spending time with while in France.  In fact, we enjoyed an entire evening in Anne's home during our recent trip.  We were able to meet her husband and get to know Anne, Nancy, and some of their loved ones a little better.  We had a wonderful time :)

Some shots from Anna & Anthony's Dordogne Valley Wedding.  The table setting was absolutely stunning.

Just another beautiful display for this power team.
 They've introduced us to some remarkable clients; some that have become good friends.  Like Helen and Gene, the couple we shot in 2010.  On that rainy day, Anne not only held umbrellas over the couple while they were being photographed, but also held lights and assisted us whenever we needed it.  Oh, and she gave Kevin her beret because he was freezing cold.

These two are originally from the states, but have lived in Paris for a number of years.  They both speak French impeccably.  So, for anyone thinking about a wedding in France, this team can help you plan your wedding and communicate to you in English, then use their knowledge of everything France to arrange your dream wedding with all the bells and whistles.  

This shot is from Suzanne and Paul's Paris wedding--an Irish couple who was very happy with Fête in France
and what Anne and Nancy created for them.
One more thing I want to say about them is that the way a wedding coordinator treats her/his vendors says a lot about them as people.  Anne and Nancy take care of their vendors (they always make sure we are staying hydrated and make sure we take time to sit down and have dinner--which is a big deal at the end of a long wedding day).  Not just us, but their DJs, the band, the kitchen, etc.  They treat us professionally when it's necessary but take the time to get to know us as individuals.  

So once more, if you're even thinking about a wedding in France, shoot these two an email.  Oh, and shoot us an email for your photography, while you're at it :)

Fête in France
Within France: 06 72 15 22 69
From the US & Canada: 011 33 6 72 15 22 69
From the UK & Ireland: 00 33 6 72 15 22 69
From Australia:  011 33 6 72 15 22 69

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Today this wonderful guy is 31: 

(He's the one getting served by all the much smaller, much more children-like people)

If you don't know Kevin very well, or if you do know him but aren't married to him (we can't all be so lucky), I'd like to share some things about someone very amazing:

Thing #1:

Kevin is a truly wonderful dad.

He spends a good part of every day playing games, wrestling, coloring pictures, being a horse/spaceship/student/sick doggie at the vet/2nd grader/etc., and snuggling with our two little girls.  Since we work from home, he regularly counts his blessings that he has the opportunity to be involved in their lives.  I've never known someone to take so much time with their kids; who feels guilty at the end of each day for not spending enough time with them.  It's so important to him.
From left to right, top to bottom: Hiking and getting a big wet one from Hazel; Playing his favorite game in the whole world, hands down;  Trying not to look too excited at Maynard's Vineyard in Arizona (He would lick Maynard's bald head if given the opportunity, or just make out with him); Escorting his mommy (who he loves, so much) down the isle at his sister's wedding rehearsal; Trying to be comfortable in front of the camera with me, his wifey; Hanging out in the boat with his girlfriends (being on the boat is up there in his top 5 favorite pastimes.  FYI); Swimming with his family; Being the best dad ever; A memorable Christmas for Kevin (BTW, Lego Harry Potter is played on this much more than Halo or NCAA Football.  He's just that kind of guy).
Thing #2:
Kevin is an amazing husband, lover, and best friend.  
Some examples of this are:

1. He brings me coffee in my favorite cup, in my bed, nearly every morning.  (If you don't drink coffee, imagine someone bringing you something awesome--like $100--every single morning.  With a smile.
2. He's a great listener.  He'll sit and listen to me ramble on and on for a very long time.  He even knows what I've been talking about and offers advice.
3. He buys me things like dresses, jewelry, and original art for special occasions.  And he buys me flowers when he knows I need a lift.  And he'll get me things out of Victoria Secret (obviously this is for him too), but everything he picks out is my size and style--totally cute.  AND we've almost been married for 10 years and this hasn't slowed down.  Be jealous ladies, be jealous.
4.  He likes to "pop my back," or give me these big, long hugs where he puts his arms around my lower back and squeezes me really tightly.  There's usually a kiss at the end.
5.  He charges my cell phone for me and finds it when I don't give a rat's a** about being available.  He's also very patient about this fact.
6.  He is supportive about everything I do.  For example, he encourages me with school even though it adds extra responsibility and pressure to him, and he responds emotionally to my writing and art.
7.  I trust him, love him, and hope to always be his girl. 

These pics are from his family b-day party last week.

Thing #3

Kevin loves to be where the party is going on.

Although he is shy at first, he'll risk it to be in the middle of a bunch of people who are full of energy.  Something like New Years in Vegas is idea of a great time.  He loves loud, loud, loud music and people crowding one another, laughing and having the time of their lives.  For this reason, he loves concerts.  I think that his background as a drummer (playing drums means LOUD music playing and a LOUD beat and HUGE energy output) gives him this incredible natural high when he is in a small space with tons of people.  He'll get so excited that he literally starts jumping around and does this huge, ninja-turtle smile.
It's adorable to watch.

 Thing #4:

Kevin loves to laugh, and make other people laugh.

A good day for Kevin is writing obscene texts with one of my sisters, usually Aubrie, Heidi, or Dayci.  (By obscene, I mean they say things like, "You're a jerk, freaking poop-head" or something like that).  Then he'll choke, he's laughing so hard, writing back and forth with his buddy Derek--let's see, the other day it was about Derek measuring a canvas print with his... well, you get the idea.  He actually made me stop what I was doing so he could (try) to repeat what Derek said, through his tears.  Later, he'll wrestle with our girls and they'll all be cackling until someone bangs their head against something, and then he'll be bouncing around, making me laugh as we cook, or work together.  The best part of a good day for him, would be watching some stand-up comedy at night, after the kids go to bed.   

Some of Kevin's current/past favorite comedians/funny shows are:
Arrested Development
Kids in the Hall
Parks and Recreation
30 Rock
David Cross
Comedy Central Standup
The Simpsons
Family Guy
Jim Gaffigan
Steve Martin
Bill Cosby

Playing Bocce with his buddy, Charlie.
Thing #5: 

Kevin loves, not just likes, the following random things:
  • Hispanic culture.  More specifically, the accents, skin color, and hair of the women.  He gets all wobbly and distracted around this type of girl.
  • Bjork and Iceland.  Loves the singer (favorite albums are Vespertine and Medulla) and her home town.  I've been trying, without success, to plan a trip there for many years.  Someday.
  • Long, brown hair.  Score!
  • Football.  Watching it, playing it, throwing one, talking about it, listening to people talking about it, wearing jerseys, going to games, and anything else I didn't put on here.
  • Teaching and Leading.  He's very good at this, like, is fantastic.  
  • Creativity.  Feeling the artistic flow and giving himself over to it.
  • Confidence.  Whether it's in himself, a model he's shooting, or just some person.  He recognizes it in people and not only admires them for it, but responds to it.
  • Rebelling against the system.  He likes to make waves and question everything.  
  • Boxer briefs.  Only strange people who desire to be uncomfortable would wear something different.  
  • Original Artwork.  Nothing is more annoying to him than mass-produced artwork.  He likes exclusivity, originality, and the energy that can only come from the artist's hand.  Which is one of the reasons we have only original art hanging in our home. 
  • His photography clients.  He really does.

He loves his girls and niece, Eva, and nephew, Jordan.

Thing #6:

Kevin is super sexy.
In fact, he is only getting sexier with age.  We can't all be so lucky.  I love his eyes, which vary in shades of green, his morning hair, his tattoos, his arms and hands when he gets dressed up in all his rings and bracelets, his scratchy face, and, well, everything else.

Thing #7:

Kevin is like glue, no, superglue.  He holds people together.
My family went through a couple of really rough patches while Kev and I have been together.  With a family full of kids who had been walked out on by not just one, but two fathers, Kevin's presence has always been a reminder that there are good men out there.  It sounds like an easy thing to know, but trust me, it isn't.  Without his calming and loyal influence, things could be a lot different right now.  We're all so thankful for Kevin.  We're all loyal right back.  And I know I can speak for his Missouri family who misses him and are so proud of his accomplishments, his creativity and passion, and his kind and heroic heart.

We love our friend, brother, lover, uncle, son, grandson, and daddy.  

And I love you, sweetheart, always.