Guys: know what I love? I love seeing good things happen to good people. I met Maggie about three years ago through my fiance, and while I only saw her sporadically, she was always SO lovely and kind. I've watched her and Marcus' adventures with their sweet daughters from afar (oh hey social media!) and when she asked me to take their engagement photos, I jumped at the chance.
When I asked if they were willing to meet at the lake literally at the crack of dawn, I was expecting a resounding "haha! Hell no. We'll see you at 10:00." Instead, Maggie told me they were a "bunch of silly early risers" and sunrise was no problem. Friends, this was music to my ears. That early morning light is beautiful, but more importantly, getting there (or anywhere, really) at first light means we almost always have the place to ourselves. This is such a luxury: for me because I don't have to remove random people in Photoshop and for the people being followed by the camera because it means they don't feel like they have an audience. They get to just be themselves and this their photos actually reflect them, their relationships, and their personalities.
I think the first words out of Marcus' mouth were "you know, 11:00am is a perfectly acceptable time for photos." I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little afraid we had a grumpy Gus on our hands. Fortunately, Maggie filled me in on his propensity for sarcasm (speakin' my language - turns out I just don't pick up on it so well). Guys, this was one of the most fun sessions I've had in so long. Marcus had Maggie in stitches from the word "go" and they were so naturally comfortable with each other that it didn't matter that there was a creeper following them.
The best part? They brought Ella and Olivia and did a combo engagement/family session. That meant mom and dad got to take some breaks while I hung out with the girls. And it was so nice to see this family together: Ella and Olivia seem to have such a solid friendship and the love Maggie and Marcus have for each other and the two of them is so tangible. It was so nice to be a witness to it all for a couple hours!
Scroll on through for some favorites!
Every once in a while, you meet someone (or two) who inspires you to be better just by being her - or him - self. Kirsten + Dakota are two of these people. They support and encourage each other, and even more admirably, they work together to improve the lives of so many others. In fact, they are heading to Ethiopia for a month right before their September wedding. Yes: instead of immersing themselves in pre-wedding festivities, they'll be serving an incredibly underprivileged population and I admire them so much for this.
Kirsten + Dakota are a beautiful reminder to put faith and service at the center of our relationships. Developing and encouraging a heart and mind for service in each other just seems like a great way to foster devotion and service to one another. Guys, I could go on and on about all the beautiful life lessons I took from these two, but I'll stop here.
Anyway, we had a beautiful evening, full of love, laughter, deep thoughts, a little wine, and a sunset we didn't think we'd catch. We had rescheduled this session several times due to the crazy, erratic Montana spring weather (okay mostly blizzards). Watching the clouds swirl all day, we were sure we'd have to either postpone again or forego the sunset they wanted so badly. Ultimately, we opted to go for it. The clouds hung low for most the session, but parted just in time to catch a little glow on the horizon. It was a great evening, indeed.
Guys, I spent last weekend in Salt Lake City learning from one of my favorite 'togs, Eden Strader. Before I tell you why the workshop was awesome, I feel compelled to tell you why Eden's work is awesome: I found her a year or so ago on IG and immediately noticed her work because it stood out so much in a sea of bridal and wedding photography that, while beautiful, looked very similar. Eden's work stood out to me because she embraced that harsh, midday light that so many avoid and just rocked it. Looking at her feed as a whole, I also loved the fact that, while her work is consistent in her ability and certain elements that she incorporates in all of her work (color!), there was so much variety in where and what she was shooting! It didn't feel like I was looking at a single wedding album: there were high fashion bridal shots in studios with bright backgrounds, super creative double exposures, some carefree outdoor portraits, and so much more. It made me feel infinitely better about the fact that my IG doesn't look like it's made up of a single wedding or occasion (nothing wrong with this approach - I actually HATED that I couldn't master it!). So! Her work spoke to me because it was different from everything else I was seeing, but still so beautifully done.
When Eden announced that she was hosting a workshop, I jumped at the opportunity to learn from her. And guys, this totally pushed me creatively. I've spent some time this winter expanding my studio work (because who wants to stay outside when its -127 degrees and blizzarding - not me), but I definitely wanted the chance to learn from someone who does it so. Damn. Well. As part of the workshop, Eden set up two different shoots: one couples' portrait session (this post) and one editorial bridal session (I'll share this one shortly). If you know me at all, you know I LOVE candid, natural interaction. True posing is way outside my wheelhouse and I didn't think I wanted any part of it, but I really loved the challenge of drawing out certain emotions with nothing to rely on, other than the couple themselves. No background, no space to tell them to run off into the sunset. Just two (okay, admittedly beautiful) people and a blank wall behind them. And I really love the way the shots turned out.
So friends, editorial/studio work may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I hope that you'll consider it when planning your engagement photos or simply for your next portrait session. It's completely different from so much of what's out there right now and I think it can produce some really beautiful results. Scroll on for some highlights!
Styling: Eden Strader // HMUA: Alexa Kait // Models: Andrew + Amanda Gaytan // Dress: Asos