Vail Mountain Family Photos

One of the best parts of being a wedding photographer is watching families grow.  Getting those emails from past clients that say “Hey remember us?  It’s no longer just the two of us.  We’re now three.”

So. Stinking. Cool.

Now of course just hearing news like that is always amazing.  However, we’re photographers.  :)

We don’t want to just hear about the expansion of families… we want to document them.

I got the chance to document one such family expansion last summer.  It had been several years since Katie and I photographed Jennifer and Ryan’s wedding in Beaver Creek.  They live in Chicago and were pregnant at the same time as Katie.  When their son Henry was born we were thrilled to hear the news.  We were elated when they let us know that they’d be in Colorado and that they wanted to us to shoot some pictures of their new addition.

Suffice to say we were happy to oblige.  :)

Devils Thumb Ranch Wedding Photography

Happy Friday everyone!  Today we’re looking back at another one of my favorite weddings from this past fall.  Here in Colorado Devils Thumb Ranch is one of those iconic venues.  Away from the crowded ski resort areas, refreshingly quiet, and stunningly beautiful, there isn’t a photographer in the country that wouldn’t love shooting here.  When you combine a venue like Devils Thumb Ranch with a couple like Andrew and Carrie and a coordinator like Stacy Pisani of Alexan Events you’re bound for a incredible day.

Exhibit 1:  :)

Even shooting details at Devils Thumb Ranch is a treat.

You could pick worse places to get married.  ;)

Gotta give one more shout out to the team over at Alexan Events.  They did an absolutely phenomenal job of making Carrie and Andrew’s day look amazing.  :)

Andrew and Carrie, thanks so much for allowing me to get to know you both and to document your fabulous wedding at Devils Thumb Ranch!  It was an honor to work with you!

Beaver Creek Westin Wedding Photography

Today we take a look back to one of my weddings this past August that has been waiting ever so patiently to find it’s way onto the blog.  :)  Tara and Daniel’s wedding took place at the Westin in Beaver Creek.  It’s funny, I very rarely shoot the same venue more than once.  Because so often during the summer I’m traveling out of state it’s somewhat unusual to find myself at a venue that I’ve photographed before much less three or four times.  The Westin in Beaver Creek is the big exception to that rule.   I’ve photographed at least 3 or 4 weddings there over the past 5 years and luckily for me, it’s one of my favorite venues in Vail valley.

Anyways, I digress. Without further ado here a few of my favorites from Daniel and Tara’s wonderful wedding….

When I arrived the ceremony had been pushed back a little bit due to all too common quick little thunderstorm that was making it’s way through the mountains.  It gave me some time to focus on the details at the reception which had already been set up.

After the rain ended people made their outside and mingled while the Westin staff quickly dried off the seats for the outdoor ceremony.

One reason I’m such a big fan of outdoor weddings at the Westin in Beaver Creek is the great view you can get for the ceremony just steps from the hotel.  Not too shabby…

So much of the focus on shooting weddings tends to be about the bride and groom at the front, but it’s always great to try to sneak in a few shots of the bridal party reacting to what’s going on as they watch their best friends tie the knot.

After the wedding Tara, Daniel, and myself stepped away for a few mins to get a couple fun pictures of the two of them.  It never ceases to amaze me how a thunderstorm in the mountains can lead to such beautiful weather and amazing light even just an hour later.

Wedding Dress Trains FAQ

I got a great question (actually several questions) regarding wedding dress trains from a current client whose wedding is coming up in July.  She is about to get her dress altered and was trying to decide if she should keep the train on her dress.  I thought I would share my answers here and hopefully for anyone out there who is trying to figure out if they should have a dress with a train, this at least helps shed a little insight into the matter…. I amended my answers from her email to make them slightly more generic and less specific to her situation, but other than that these are basically the answers I gave her.

1. Are trains a big pain to manage when in grassy areas?
Personally, I don’t think trains are that big of a deal, though some can be easier to bustle than others.  It’s really an issue of how comfortable YOU are with a longer train.  If you’ll be overly concerned with it getting dirty then it might just be better to forgo the train altogether if you’re gonna be shooting in areas with tall grass, sand, dirt, etc etc.   As for walking though, generally brides just gather the train in one arm and hold it up while they walk.  Or they enlist their new husband for the job since his hands are generally empty during photo time.  It’s not a huge deal.

2. Do brides typically need someone with them during photos to help with the train, or is this something you typically help with?
Great question!  No.  And in fact, I’d rather you not have someone come with you. First off, when we’re shooting the two of you, I want you guys totally focused on each other and not on the fact that we’re taking pictures of you.  I’ve found that helpers, while they always have the very best of intentions, can sometimes make you feel self conscious which is the very last thing we want.  Further, while obviously we will do a few “full body” type shots, a lot of the images of the two of you will be rather close in (so nobody can see your train anyways) and I’ve found that “helpers” can sometimes be kinda obsessed with always making sure the train is neatly laid on the ground, even when it won’t show in the photograph and it kinda wastes time.  For the full body shots where we need it to look nice, it’s easy enough for myself or even for the groom to help with it.

3. Does a train add to the photos?
This is subjective.  Some people love ‘em and others could totally care less.  Every year I have some brides who wear dresses that have a huge honkin’ train and then others whose dress barely touches the ground.  Both look great.  Does having a train really “add to the photos” though?  My own personal opinion?… no.  Not really.  But the photos aren’t for me.  They’re for you, and if you really like the look of having a longer train, then by all means you should have one.  The decision is all about what you want and what you think will look good!  :)

4. Any train-wrecks you’ve seen that would sway me against it?:)
I haven’t seen any huge “train-wrecks”… If we’re shooting out in the grass, it’s just gonna be somewhat of a given that the train IS going to get a little dirty.  For some people they totally don’t care… for others, it’s a much bigger deal.  You’re almost certainly going to bustle the dress before the reception which will hide the majority of any dirt or grass stains.  But no, I haven’t seen any huge epic train “fails” that are YouTube worthy or anything like that.  I’m sure there are stories out there, but in general I think having a train ultimately is a personal decision and less a strategical one.

Engagement Session in the Rain Photos

This has been a session I’ve wanted to blog literally for about 3 months now going back to early October when I photographed it.  No matter what, engagement sessions during rainy days are always memorable for all involved.  When the couple has a “We’re cool with whatever” kinda of attitude… they’re downright AMAZING.  Suddenly the focus isn’t on “how does my hair look” or “I don’t like the way I look in this photo.”  Let’s face it… if you’re standing out in the pouring rain, nothing is really going as originally planned.  And with that, you just have kinda throw your hands up and have fun.  What else could you possibly do?  You’re wet.  You’re cold.  And… You’re taking engagement pictures.  The whole notion is kinda downright ridiculous and that’s what makes it fun.

Shaun and Laura embodied this philosophy perfectly.  At the start of the session it was essentially just a mild drizzle.  We wondered if it might let up in a few mins.

It didn’t.  :)

At this point, the rain started really coming down.  Though we had only been shooting for perhaps 10 mins or so, we could have easily called it a day and found a local Starbucks to warm up in.  Instead, we all decided, what the hell… we’re already pretty wet.  Truthfully, as a photographer if I’m going to shoot in the rain, I want it to be REALLY raining.  Drizzling rain doesn’t show up very well in photos.  Heavy rain does.  If you’re gonna be wet and cold, might as well have it show up in the photos and look cool.  :)

At this point the umbrellas were pretty useless as a tool to keep Shaun and Laura dry, but we pulled them out more as photo props than anything else.

Laura and Shaun, thanks so much for being willing participants in a very fun and silly shoot.  :)