ANDREW + AMANDA // EDEN STRADER WORKSHOP, SLC

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

| Jessie + Lexi | If she doesn't know to pinch your butt to make you laugh, is she even your friend?

Would you just look at these two...

Guys, Jessie (red dress!) was one of my first friends when I moved to Bozeman AND she designed my website AND she's always such a freaking blast to shoot with. This time, she brought a friend and Lexi was the icing on the cupcake. Look at these two. Just look at them.

Anyway, as Jessie was getting ready, Lexi and I did a few solo shots. This is how it went: 

Lexi: "So I've never really had my picture taken. I'm going to be really awkward."

Me: "That's okay - it's not natural for most people to be in front of the camera. We'll just have fun and let you get warmed up a little."

Lexi: "Like this?"

 

Me: "Uhhh...yeah that'll definitely do! That's not what I had in mind when I heard awkward..."

Needless to say, girl's a natural. SO gorgeous! And so sweet! And smart! She's just finishing her degree in Community Health and will be heading into the medical field shortly.

Anyway, once Jessie was ready, I gave Lexi a short break to put Jessie to work. She's got the fierce face down like nobody's business. 

 

She's knock-your-socks-off beautiful and has been such a blessing as a friend and as a long-running piece of my photography world. 

We capped off our morning with something near and dear to my heart: a best friend session. My best friend and I used to do them regularly and they came to be known as our "seasonal engagements." It may seem silly and unnecessary, but I love having those tangible reminders of our friendship (yes I've printed them!) now that we're a few hours apart and don't see each other as often. In fact, it's probably time to update those bad boys ;)

 

We finished the day with tacos and margaritas at Toro (if you haven't been, go! The food is amazing). 'Twas a good day indeed. What are some traditions you have with your best friend? I want to hear about them!