I basically begged James to let me come out and shoot their wedding last July, and he was gracious enough to fly me out for it. Sure, it was a chance to shoot in an exotic location with some handsome people (if you think James is handsome believe me, he married way way WAY up), but more than that I was just excited to shoot a hometown wedding - to barbecue with James and his groomsmen the night before, to meet Stephanie's parents and get the dirt on teenage James from them, to witness their community and church gather around them to witness their marriage, to listen to the best best man and maid of honor toasts EVER, and finally to see their friends' band bring down the house at the end. It was a night to remember.
We all know family photos are tough. Anyone who's ever had to sit still while a photographer or a camera on a timed shutter balanced on a propane tank tries to capture your entire family, looking mildly intelligent, with eyes open and smiling right knows it is basically impossible and not very much fun.
But I whole-heartedly believe in the importance and value of family photos so I continue to do them anyway!
Because one day 20 years down the road, you or even that baby sitting on your knee right now is gonna look back on those photos and say, "wow! Look how tiny she was! Did I really used to wear my hair unlit like that? (because in the future we wear lightbulbs in our hair) Oh my gosh, these were taken before our son came along! Our house used to be so clean!"
They're artifacts. They're history. They're memories.
You'll notice that Madie and Tyler here have got a rather large bridal party. And it wasn't like "oh, he's my cousin, she's my soon-to-be sister in law, yadayadayada." Seeing the looks on the bridesmaids' faces when Madie appeared resplendent in her wedding dress outside Hubbard Hall, or the truly sweet embraces between Tyler and his groomsmen in the foyer after the ceremony, I think Madie and Tyler just had eight best friends each, and it's probably because they're some of the kindest and friendliest people around!
And I've got a feeling that the two of them in their marriage are going to be a blessing to many many more.
Highway 377; the old burnt-out stone buildings; a church at every corner; Garcia's and Aloha Donuts and Boatman's Barbecue and that's the extent of the restaurant game in town; kids running through the neighborhoods during 7th period and the Friday night lights over Rattler Stadium.
It's weird, but at the conclusion of AJ and Angie's engagement portrait session I realized that most of my favorite photoshoots have begun with my clients showing up late.*
Whether they were an hour late because they were just putting that little extra oomph into color coordinating their outfits, held up by maintenance on the Paris metro or, like AJ and Angie and most of us who live in and around the metroplex, were preoccupied surviving the seemingly eternal torment of traffic on 35W between Fort Worth and Denton, every SINGLE time the photos have turned out wonderful!**
There has not been a single experience I've had while working with Jessica that I haven't enjoyed. Whether meeting up with her and Brad for coffee and a consultation, taking their engagement photos, joking with her about her eye-rolling prowess via text or especially documenting her wedding last weekend, she has consistently been kind and gracious and affirming not just to me but everyone around her! I almost feel like she has served me more than I've served her over the course of being her photographer.
This bridal portrait session was no exception. How am I supposed to top this, Jessica?! You've given me too much, really. (justkiddingify'alleverwantpicturesagainpleasecallkay?)
You may recognize Kimber there on the left as the senior I did portraits for back in April. That was a really fun shoot, and a large part of the fun was no doubt indebted to Danielle (on the right) for being behind the scenes helping coach a pose or coax a gut-busting laugh out of her little sister. I could see right then and there that these two had great chemistry and a great relationship and I felt bad that I hadn't been able to capture much of that in her senior portraits. So after delivering Kimber's photos I immediately proposed we all get together again for a sister shoot, which they enthusiastically agreed to.
If I thought that first shoot was fun, I was in for a surprise.
As a brother to two sisters, I understand the unique joy of watching that girl you used to trade insults and punches with in the back of mom's car transform into a smart, strong, beautiful woman. Not only does she go from being a girl to a woman, she also goes from being (sometimes) the bane of your existence to one of your very best friends.
And as a brother to two now-married sisters, I also understand that that joy can only be exceeded by watching that smart, strong, beautiful woman marry a good man.
All this to say that photographing Jac giving her brother the first look of her in her wedding dress before the ceremony is a moment I won't soon forget.
I started listening to country music, alright?! Chris and Morgane Stapleton, Willie Nelson, Brent Cobb, Sturgill Simpson.
And I LIKE IT.
The reason I bring this up is because my old high school classmate Alyssa brought me the perfect country shoot. She had a cowboy (her cowboy, Cooper, how perfect is that?!), a cowdog and a ranch. And if I hadn't have been listening to Southern Family leading up to it, I don't know that I would've been able to fully appreciate it.
As you look through these photos I'd forgive you for thinking, "well this girl is borderline schizophrenic! Is she a hippie? An athlete? A tomboy? The lady of the lake? What box do I put her in?! My paradigms are shattering!" While I can't really speak to the state of her mental health, as a photographer I can tell you one thing about Kimber and that's that she is FUN.
As promised, here's part two to Ned and Jenna's engagement shoot! Classic wasn't enough for these two, they needed a healthy dose of whimsy to level it out. And few things are more whimsical than recreating and putting your own spin on the love story from what is arguably Pixar's best film - UP.
Ned, Jenna and I all went to college together. If it isn't obvious enough from the photos we love movies and everything having to do with them, so you won't be surprised to find that we met while enrolled in the film program at UNT. We all became close friends over the course of our last year, and apparently they really hit it off because now they're getting married!
But before that can happen, Jenna had to have the most elaborately produced engagement photos EVER.
The fall people are committed. Many come with the expectation of staying 9 months or more. The way that detail manifested in our relationships is that we essentially became less fellow tourists and more like co-workers and neighbors. We ate together, we worked together, we went to town together, we ruined pictures together, we worshiped together, we climbed the mountain (among other things) together -