Mother’s Day is fast upon us… are you ready? It’s not like you have to do much beyond finding a nice card and taking your mom to a good brunch or a nice dinner. Even those things were kind of pushed by the card companies and it all turned into a holiday on everyone’s calendars. At it’s best, it’s a day to actively celebrate someone you love.
Over the years, I have been privileged to do several portraits of moms and kids and it always makes me think of how, years from now, those moms will look at the photographs and see time. The kids won’t appreciate that sense of time until they are much older and then they will understand how much history and time are intertwined.
Most of my childhood memories are of a working mom and a lot of the pictures reflect that. One of the very early photos, though, is one that catches my heart every time. Bath time on the kitchen floor… I love her wide open smile, her glee in this chore so evident!
On Mother’s Day, my mom liked getting homemade coupons for jelly donuts from a favorite bakery… back then, I was able to set up a deal with said bakery by prepaying…I was 12 or so. I don’t think gift cards were a thing yet. ;0)
Make pictures of the real parts of your life… you don’t always have to be perfectly dressed and posed, ok?
Let me know if I can help. ;0)
The Aisle Walk is that great part of the day when you have made it past the hard work… nothing but good times ahead, right? Emotionally, this walk is a real mix for most people… sometimes the newlyweds are able to focus on the faces of their friends as they swing by and sometimes they are too stunned to focus on anything except getting out of sight for a few minutes. Mostly, I see huge amounts of joy and the camera loves that. ;0)
Personally, I think this is one of the best arguments for doing the formal group photos before the wedding. The Aisle Walk is the beginning of the face time with your guests and you can bet they are ready to get on with it! If you can dive right into the crowd during a cocktail hour, no one is going to feel left out. Receiving lines and bossy photographers can harsh that vibe in a heartbeat. Plan on getting the “business” photography out of the way early and then, if you and your photographer want a small session of relaxed portraits, it can be done easily.
A lot of my couples opt for a 15 minute session right before dinner… they get to have most of the cocktail hour and then when their guests are starting to jockey for a table, we head out into the softer light and get the romantic shots. Nobody misses you for that short time and, if you like, you can be announced to the crowd when you come back. Party on!
We were just about finished with the portraits when I reminded Suzanne and Matthew that the party was just ahead. They had both been so focused on getting all of the responsible bits of the wedding day taken care of… so worried that something or someone might get missed. I watched as a visible relief washed over their happy faces. ;0)
The party is the reward you give yourself, the carrot at the end of the planning stick, if you will. The logistics of almost any wedding will drive most people a little crazy if they think about it too hard. When I arrived at the Ecotrust that afternoon, I encountered a stressed out Matthew in the parking lot. He was nervous about so many things. He improved remarkably when Suzanne swept into sight but it wasn’t until after the ceremony and a walk with her to do some portraits that I started to see him come back into balance. These two are made for each other and watching them come to life at their great party was a treat!
So do the homework and get a good night’s sleep. All that’s left is to get up on your wedding day, take the test and then party like you mean it!
Made for each other barely begins to cover the relationship between these two! Heather and Derek had a courthouse wedding several years ago and they have two beautiful children to round out their family. I met Heather first and we did a few months of communicating before I met Derek. When he sat down at my table with her, I was reminded again that some couples are a perfect pair. The laughing in this picture is pretty much who they are.
Last Saturday, their larger families joined them for a wedding in the gorgeous backyard of a friend. Of course it was another blisteringly hot day and the yard had been tented for the crowd. The tent changed some of the photo planning we had done but we had a Plan B. ;0)
The ceremony was pretty early and the light was harsh so we saved the portraits for later in the day. During our planning meetings, I had asked them to look around the area for a spot for romantic pictures away from the crowd and in the later light… they had found a farm nearby and had asked permission to take some pictures there. The owners were very kind and said drive in and use anything you like. We spent about 20 minutes working our way around the old barn and the hay bales before we went back to the last of the party… a successful and happy day!
Every bride has a wish list. It’s no surprise that parts of her photography coverage will include items on her wish list. It’s my job to find out what she has in mind… to be sure that we communicate in detail about the parts of the day that she has dreamed about. Case in point, I don’t usually look for a huge landscape with a tiny couple in it when I consider portraits. It is a trend in today’s wedding imagery that sort of baffles me because it takes the emotional content out of view.
Last week, I had a a great little wedding in Old Town Alexandria. The Morrison House Hotel was the venue and my couple really wanted a portrait on the front staircase… they had seen one like it during their planning sessions. It was a classic sort of space and it made for a nice image. It may not classify as a portrait, per se, but I am sure it will satisfy her wish and will remind them of this happy day for a long time to come.
If you are making plans, local or destination, I’d be happy to talk to you!
Engagement photos can happen anytime… the rules have become much more relaxed and I’m fine with that. These guys, Gary and Steven, jumped the date for legal same sex weddings in Oregon by getting married in Vancouver last Spring. We all went to the courthouse and did the less romantic version to get the wedding done. Now, at the end of October, they will throw a great party for their family and friends. What has been missing in all of this was a chance to take portraits of the two of them in any kind of relaxed and sweet fashion. At the beginning of July, we spent a couple of hours at the Pittock Mansion in an attempt to give them something to hold for the rest of their lives… pictures to frame and take their place on the mantle piece where the rest of their special photographs live…. something to say, look, we are truly a couple and this is a reminder for all time.
Some people will tell you that engagement photos have to happen when you get engaged but that just isn’t the case. Sweet portraits can happen before or after or anywhere in between. It just doesn’t matter. What matters is that I have two people in love and the chance to put that on paper at some point in the relationship. For me, I have had the pleasure to get to know two very nice people and now I get to cover their party in a couple of weeks… how cool is that?
Mixed metal wedding rings have been working their way into the mainstream for a couple of years and I am very happy to see it. For so long, rings and cakes were pretty predictable… to see them take off in many design directions makes this photographer happy. The Knot has an article about choosing your wedding rings and then I found this article about mixed metal jewelry… both are worth the read if you are about to start your shopping.
When I got to Hannah’s mother’s condo for the getting ready pictures, I started with the ring shots that she had requested… I did a few in a beautiful ceramic bowl but then I turned around and saw a great metal sculpture on the wall. No contest! Oddly enough, mixed metals were laced all through our Seattle engagement session last April. All of our locations had fabulous metal sculptures and walls to use as context for their portraits.
On a separate note, this was taken with a mix of camera bits… I recently bought the newest Panasonic mirrorless camera. With an adaptor, I am able to use my older Nikon macro… it was a treat to play at a different level last Saturday and I believe it is part of what keeps me fresh. ;0)
I sure would like to talk to you if you are planning a wedding… there is a lot to consider.
Something about February makes me impatient for the softer air and the sweet ways people are affected by it… Spring is coming but this is the hardest part of the waiting. Katy and Deepak got married in a very formal downtown church… she wore her mother’s dress and veil for her vows. When we turned the page, they had a wonderful party at the Cornelius Pass Roadhouse. Pretty much everyone changed into comfortable shoes, including Katy in her party dress, and kicked back for the rest of the day. We took a stroll through the grounds for about 20 minutes of portraits and I watched the soft Spring air work it’s magic. ;0)
Sometimes the dress is hanging on the edge of a cluttered closet… sometimes it’s still in the bag, like a surprise. This dress was hanging from the loft railing in the guest house. The breeze moved it some and the veil hung down behind. Liz and her girlfriends were busy in the getting ready part of the day… makeup and hair, flower questions and a last minute music list for her DJ. Every now and then, I noticed that she would stop and look up at this dress, this dream she was about to step into. This caterpillar-to-butterfly part of the day… this silk dream.
You may remember from a few posts ago that Liz was casting about at the last minute for a good make-up artist… someone she could be herself with. I sent her a few names but listed Katherine Ross as my favorite and available artist… they clicked and the end result was a fabulous look for this very real woman.
Once the dress was fastened and she had her boots pulled on, the woman looking back from the mirror was quiet and calm for a moment… ready to get married.
Liz turned to me during the portraits, later, and marveled at how much more at ease she was for the camera this time… she trusted the way she looked and it made all the difference in the world. Trust is a good thing. ;0)
I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to take a little extra time to play with your photographer. If you have followed my work for a while you may recognize this wonderful couple. I figure we spent an hour for just the two of them on their wedding day… but we did it in 3 twenty minute chunks so they weren’t out of the guest loop for very long at any given time.
Maybe you think that’s too much time but can you imagine not having the really special portraits? I didn’t think so.