Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A chilly beach session - Minneapolis Family Photographer

I'm sure you'll recognize this bunch. I used to work with Tara before Olive was born, which was also before Tara had kiddos of her own. Not long after Olive was born, Claire arrived, and then Leah came along just before June, and now they have a third little one, named Owen. It's been so neat to photograph their growing family and compare them year to year!

I met this little family of five on the beach at Lake Harriet in Minneapolis on a mid-August morning. And guess what? It was SO WINDY and really chilly, too! I suppose the upside to this was an empty beach and beautiful wind blown hair.. but man was the weather not fitting for the location! But thanks to their adorable outfits and post processing - they look happy and warm and perfect. ;)

You're probably wondering about the newborn aspect of this session. Here he is.. little Owen. :)

Welcome to the world little Owen! And thanks so much for braving the chilly beach with me! :)

To see more, take a peek at the full gallery.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A fun wedding in downtown St. Paul.

I first met Emmalie and Joseph at Cafetto, a little coffee shop in the Lowry Hill East neighborhood when they were searching for a wedding photographer. I learned a bit about both Emmalie and Joseph and was excited for the opportunity to photograph their wedding!

Weather permitting their ceremony was planned for Rice Park in downtown St. Paul, with the reception to follow in the Landmark Center. Thankfully the weather cooperated and we enjoyed ourselves outdoors - though the sun was keeping me on my toes - popping in and out of the clouds every few minutes!

Emmalie and Joseph are one of the few couples that I have recently worked with who wanted to wait until the ceremony to see each other. Despite this, they still wanted a "first look"... without the look part. Emmalie's friend scoped out a few great options inside the Landmark Center and we settled on a beautiful door on the 4th floor.

With some coordination from Emmalie's friend, I set out to photograph the groom and his guys downtown while the ladies stayed hidden inside the Landmark Center. We went for a short walk during which my husband's cousin, who lives in Cedar Rapids, IA, called out my name and waved - she was in town to attend a wedding just across the park from ours. How funny! We found a couple of great shady spaces for photos and stopped inside a candy shop. The guys had a great laid back attitude about them, which makes photographing wedding groups really enjoyable and fun for everyone!

The guys headed back inside while I waited for the ladies in Rice Park. The sun was bright and the shade was spotty in the park but we found a few great spots to hang out. But with little variety available we soon took a short stroll to the side of the library.

The ladies and I were having a bit too much fun together.. it was time to rush over to the ceremony site to prepare for what all of this is about... time for Emmalie and Joe to get married!

Like I said, the sun and cloud combination kept me on my toes and the wind threatened to blow a few folks away... but in the end everything was beautiful and went as smoothly as possible.

After the license was signed I snapped a few quick shots of the entire wedding party and immediate family and then it was on to some solo time with the new married couple. I really love when couples have their priorities set and a significant portion of time is set aside for photos of the couple!

I had a blast walking around with Emmalie and Joseph. They're both laid back and comfortable in front of the camera. Emmalie's mom is a professional photographer.. it was pretty obvious that she is used to having her photo taken, which is always super helpful!

They had a few special requests for photos but other than that we just wandered around and I gave them some tips and pointers as needed.

I left Emmalie and Joe upstairs where we thought being announced from would be really awesome - looking over the balcony down at their guests. We enjoyed a delicious dinner together followed by wonderful speeches from the best man, maid of honor, and father of the bride.

Like I said, I had a blast with this couple. Their personalities totally shine through in this little cake cutting series.

After dinner and cake a small band played for about an hour as guests mingled and explored the Landmark Center. Members of the band used to be neighbors of Emmalie and Joseph.

Emmalie and Joseph had informed me that they were not planning any additional lighting for the Landmark Center which meant when the sun went down it was going to get pretty darn dark. I went back and forth trying to decide how I was going to tackle that. There are many different options but it's always best to be prepared and have a game plan ahead of time. In the center of the main space the ceiling is four stories high so bouncing flash off the ceiling is obviously not an option. I hoped to be able to bounce off of some of the pillars in the room during portions of the reception, which worked really well, but I knew I would need something else when photographing the dancing in the center of the room.

I settled on using two flashes, one with me and one set up as a "rim flash" near the DJ. Unfortunately when I first started using flashes I wasn't overly educated about them and, about a year apart, purchased two of the same model. The two speedlites that I have function only as slave flashes - in this setting I need a master and a slave. The master generally sits on the camera and triggers the slave. What I did was a little extra work but, with what I currently have available to me, it worked out well.

I set up a speedlite (Canon 430exii) on a light stand right by the DJ. My camera, with a small, lightweight lens, was in my right hand. In my left hand I held my other speedlite. The 430exii flashes do not come with bounce cards so I stuck a business card on the front. On my camera's flash mount I had a trigger which would trigger both of the speedlites to fire at the same time. This was somewhat helpful because I had more flexibility with the flash in my hand - I could bounce of a pillar, hold it up high, to the side, etc. which is not an option when it's stuck on top of the camera. Having a small lens on the camera in my right hand was also keep since I had to shoot one handed. In this case it would have been awesome to have something like a Spider Hand Strap.

The rim flash added a really neat element to the dancing shots and I will certainly be using that again and again - even in well lit dancing situations. See for yourself below and let me know what you think!

Congratulations Emmalie and Joseph! Photographing your wedding was tons and tons of fun! Their entire wedding photo gallery can be viewed here.