Favorites from 2017 – Boulder Wedding at Sunbeam Farm with Erin & Alan

As I photographed Erin & Alan’s wedding at Sunbeam Farm in Boulder, the thing that stood out the most to me was the close relationship with Erin and her dad.  He held the mic in his hand looking out onto Alan’s family that was now part of theirs across the table.  He looked to his own family and Erin’s close friends who were remembering the stories as he told them with laughter.

He spoke of the trouble Erin got into as a kid, the books he read to her, and how proud he was of the women she had grown into.  He said his dad told him when he was a kid getting into trouble, “I hope you have kids someday”.  So he passed that along to Erin and Alan, “I hope you have kids”, he said to them with a loving and joking attitude as he recalled stories of being a worried father.

The day was filled with joy and celebration, with a rustic farm feel.  Yellow and blue colors were the theme.  Erin’s ring with blue stones was picked out by Alan to match her eyes; what a sweet romantic!

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Family and friends pitched in for all the details, making beautiful center pieces and setting out mason jars as glasses that then turned into gifts.  An aunt and uncle played the guitar and sang for part of the music during the reception, while guests roasted smoores at the campfire in the back of the property.  We couldn’t have asked for a lovelier day.

Erin & Alan, it was a pleasure to be part of your celebration this day.  Thanks so much for including me and trusting me to capture these moments for you.  You two fit very well together and I can see you growing old and worrying about your kids in a loving way, just as Erin’s dad worried about her.

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It was beautiful to hear about both sides of your family and the strong support and love you all have for one another.  I’m so excited for you guys as you are going into this new chapter of your lives.  May your love grow for each other as you continue on adventures together as husband and wife!

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Boulder Outdoor Engagement Portrait Session with Reilly & Mikey

It was my pleasure to celebrate with Reilly and Mikey by doing their engagement portrait session outdoor in Boulder.  She wasn’t super excited to go stand outside and check out the lake in the snow, Mikey said as he told their proposal story.  Mikey planned to propose to Reilly while up in Rocky Mountain National Park at a beautiful lake but the problem was…it was cold.

At one point Mikey got down on one knee and Reilly was distracted by the cold so she didn’t even see what was happening.  He convinced her to stay for a little while after some persuasion and questions about why they were there.  He finally got her attention by bringing out the ring and of course she said yes.

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Reilly also brought along her golden retriever Sukie who was a sweet and comedic addition to our session.  Sukie sat and posed for a few photos and also stared at us with her sad sweet face when we tied her up to a tree while we shot some things of the two of them alone, wondering what we were doing hanging out without her.

Reilly & Mikey, I’m so happy for you guys as you start this new chapter in your lives!  Thanks for trusting me to capture this moment for you two.  Both of you had such a kind and joyful attitude even as your clean cute dog ran into a muddy stream before we took photos and the wind came through and made it a little chilly.

We continued on taking photos and having fun knowing that was just going to be part of the authenticity of the day.  It was a pleasure working with you.  You two are adorable together!  I wish you much happiness and more fun adventures in snow and sunshine in the future!!

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Favorite Weddings from 2017 – Will & Siobhan

I waited at the airfield watching skydivers sail down into the landing zone next to me.  Far off in the distance a shuttle approached the landing zone full of people bobbing up and down along the dirt road.

As it got closer I was able to make out Will in his blue suit and his soon to be wife Siobhan with flowy curly blond hair peering out of the shuttle.  On Will’s face was a mix of nerves and excitement.  This was the first time he had been skydiving.

Will and Siobhan decided to take a literal plunge into their adventure of marriage.  They started by skydiving into the landing zone where their family and friends were waiting below.  They then changed out of their jumpsuits and walked over to the ceremony site nearby to say their I do’s.

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Siobhan who had skydived before was so excited for Will to be able to share this experience.  As they touched down into the landing zone and walked over to each other their joy and excitement was contagious.

So many loving hands went into creating their special day from both their family and group of friends.  As they got set up with their jumpsuits their family started to build the archway that they would stand under.

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As they flew up into the sky ready for their jump, Will’s best man led a practice run with everyone of what was to be their song walking down the aisle, here comes the bride, by way of a chorus of kazoos.

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Erin, one of Siobhan’s good friends and bridesmaids took care of their cake and a couple of their friends who run a food truck took care of the catering.  It was beautiful to see everyone pitch in to help bring the day together and help celebrate their love story.

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The grandparents even had a extra special task with their grandma acting as the flower girl.  The day was full of joy and fun twists on the traditional marriage ceremony.

Will & Siobhan, thanks for trusting me to capture this special day for you guys.  This has been one of the most unique weddings I’ve been part of.  You guys poured a lot of love and thought into the day and really made it your own.  You two are a beautiful couple, thanks for including me in the celebration of this new chapter in your lives!

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Newborn Portrait Session with Brooklyn McGrath

I knocked on the door, excited for my newborn portrait session with Brooklyn, now 1 month old, little newbie to the world.  The door opened and Natalie’s mom greeted me and welcomed me into their home.  The noise of a baby crying carried down the hall along with the sound of a dog barking.  I was soon welcomed by the furry member of their family, their 12 year old pit bull, Vito.  As I set up a small studio on their dining room table the Vito the pit bull watched me closely sniffing the props and equipment I had brought in and assessing whether or not I was a threat.  I seemed to pass the test.

I looked up and Natalie came walking down the hall with a tiny girl in her arms who was rocking a sweet mohawk.  She voiced a little content grunt as she looked up at us with bright greyish blue eyes.  After picking out some options for outfits and getting her cleaned up, Natalie slipped a little onesie with red roses over her head.  She started to fuss and cry a little bit and then the dog started to bark again.  Anytime Brooklyn would cry the Vito would bark.  It was so sweet to see an old furry member of their family so protective of this new little one.  It was clear that this was his new baby and no one should mess with her.  He was a very sweet protective gentle noisy giant.

With her being born right before Christmas we had some fun with touches of red and green.  We were also able to capture some sweet sleeping moments where she looked like a little angle.  I was so surprised that at only 1 month old she could already hold her head up.  Natalie mentioned that she also loved attention from the people around her and that of course she was going to be a Steelers fan.

Natalie, thanks so much for inviting me into your home for this fun photo shoot.   It was great to meet Brooklyn.  She is going to be one strong little lady with lots of character!  It will be fun to see her grow as she develops more of a personality each day.  Much love to you and Luke with your new parenting adventure.

10 Tips for Creating Engagement Photos You’ll Love

Hooray you’re engaged!  If you’re planning on doing an engagement shoot and want to make the most of it, here are some tips for making your photo shoot go smoothly and creating images that you’ll love.

1. Wear something comfortable

This will help start things off well.  If you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing, you’ll look comfortable in the images.  If something about your outfit is bothering you, it will be a distraction and take away from the opportunity to capture natural expressions.  This also goes for being warm enough or cool enough.  For example, if you’re in the mountains in winter, make sure you’re wearing enough layers to keep you warm and comfortable so you’re not day dreaming about running back to the car and turning the heater on full blast.  If you’re comfortable with what you’re wearing it will help you be present for your shoot and give you the opportunity to enjoy yourselves more.

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2. Pick a location that’s true to you

Think about what you’re daily life is typically like, and pick a location that’s true to your personalities.  Do you love to spend time in the city enjoying tasty eats at the newest restaurant or coffee shop, or perhaps going to museums and shows?  You should probably think about scheduling your shoot around the city in a urban environment.  Do you love spending time in the mountains when you have a day off, camping or hiking?  Then think about having the mountains as the backdrop for your photoshoot.

3. When choosing your outfits, avoid busy patterns

Too much plaid, stripes or busy patterns can be a big distraction in your images.  The focus should be on the two of you, and your smiling faces, not your clothes stealing the show.  This doesn’t mean your fiance can’t wear a plaid shirt, but if one of you is doing plaid have the other person do a solid color.  And if you have the choice between 2 plaid options, pick the more simple pattern.

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4. Don’t be matchy-matchy

Remember those old 80’s family photos where everyone dressed in jeans and the same colored polo shirt?  I would suggest not doing something like that.  You’re individuals and that should show in your photos.  Not wearing the exact same color and/or patterns will add some texture and depth to your images.  Similar colors can work like both of you wearing cool tones or warm tones.  Shades of the same color can work too so that you look like you belong together without being twinsies.

5. Dress in the same general style

If your finace is wearing a tux you don’t want to be wearing jeans and t-shirt.  Find a general style that you agree on, like date night attire, casual, or black tie.  Pick something that again you feel comfortable in and reflects who you are as a people.

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6. Bring something that is of importance to you 

This could be as simple as ticket stubs you kept from your first date.  Or maybe if you’re first date night was eating out for sushi, you could bring chopsticks.  My husband and I met working at the climbing gym together so for us it could have been a carabiner or piece of climbing equipment we use often.  We never did engagement photos but our wedding photographer knew that we climbed and had us do the wedding party photos on this rock cropping next to our venue.  Those are some of my favorite images!  The couple below brought a compass and telescope because it had significance to them.  These types of things can make for some fun detail shots with the new ring.

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7. Know what colors work best with your complexion

Here are some general guidelines for what works well for different skin tones…For fair skin – You’ll look best in darker colors that contrast with your skin tone, like navy, burgandy, greys, greens, browns.  Avoid pastels which will wash you out.

For olive or medium skin – You’re skin tone will look better in a wider range of colors, but try to avoid shades of green or yellow which lack contrast.  These colors may be too close to your skin color which might not be as flattering as other options.

For darker skin – You’ll look best in lighter colors like white, peach, yellows, and greens.  Try to avoid darker colors like browns for the same reason of adding some contrast.  Lighter colors will help you stand out more.

8Schedule your shoot around the sun

Typically the most flattering light will be within a couple hours just after sunrise or just before sunset.  The type of light during this time of day will help you to look your best.   Keep in mind that if you’re in the mountains although sunset may be at 6pm you might actually loose the sun at 4pm because of the drastic heights of the landscape.  Depending on your location you may need to adjust the time a little bit to account for features in the landscape.

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9. Keep your shirts wrinkle free

Sometimes when you sit down in the car and drive to your destination your shirt can get bunched up and wrinkled.  If you have an undershirt you can wear, its a great idea to hang up the shirt you want to wear for the shoot while you drive and then put it on right before the shoot when you get to your location keeping your shirt wrinkle free.

10. This is all about the two of you, enjoy each other in the moment and have fun!

Portraits can be awkward.  Trust that your photographer will guide you in a way that will create images that look natural even though they might not feel super natural at the time.  Remember you’re with your favorite person ever and you’re celebrating the start of your new life together!  Enjoy that time together and have fun!

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Boulder Outdoor Family Portrait Session

We walked in the door greeted by a beaming smile from Julie, she bounced around in her dad’s arms and looked at us with wide eyes.  The fresh snow kicked off from our boots started to melt in the doorway.  Craig and I took off our shoes and sat down in their living room as they finished getting ready.  Will, Julie’s Dad picked out some layers for her to wear for our photo shoot and dug through a basket of clothes and toys searching to find an adorable knit purple hat.  Will passed the hat to Craig and asked if he would help put it on.  He started to situate it on Julie’s head and her face instantly changed from smiley to distraught.  She started crying.  We quickly took off the hat and started laughing between all of us.

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Carola, Julie’s mom walked down the hall and greeted us as we put on the finishing touches with Julie.  Christmas decorations hung around the house along with a package of jingle bells that were on a side table.  “Can we bring some jingle bells with us?” I asked Carola, as I jingled them in front of Julie.  Carola looked at me with a warm smile, “Sure!”.

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As we started to walk outside, Carola put the knit purple hat on Julie’s head again.  With mom being the one to do it, she didn’t seem to mind so much now.  The air was crisp and cold.  We walked along the path to a nearby park being careful not to slip on the icy surface.  Craig and I picked out a place in the park earlier that morning where we could see the Flatirons in the distance.  As we came to that spot, we looked up and saw the Flatirons, covered in snow behind us.  They looked like the perfect backdrop for a family Christmas card.

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Will & Carola bounced Julie up and down, gave her kisses and snuggled with her as I snapped the shutter.  Craig stood behind me grabbing Julie’s attention from time to time with jingle bells, toys and smiles.  You could sense the joy in Will & Carola’s heart with their new little one.  Their first daughter, now 7 months old.

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