Hey guys! this wedding is also featured on Style Me Pretty’s Little Black Book blog- the blog of the best curated wedding vendors! we’re always so honored to be featured there, but especially for this wedding since it’s one of my favorites. and this image below is why- a day filled with pure joy and emotion. this is why i love what i do.
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one of my most favorite weddings.ever.
Julie and Jason are so very special to me, and have an incredible story of true love. Together since college, Julie and Jason spent many years long distance, while Julie pursued her career in dance in LA and Jason finished up Law School in Milwaukee. once they were finally united in Los Angeles, Jason took his California bar exam (and passed!) while suffering some pretty serious headaches and dizziness. Examinations proved the worst: a giant cancerous brain tumor. Thankfully, he survived- thrived really- after many rounds of chemo and radiation, and lots of physical therapy to help regain motor and speech skills. One day last year Jason proposed to Julie- she had stuck by his side and helped him through surgeries, physical therapy, and acclimating back to regular life.
Their wedding was done on a seriously extreme budget due to the extensive bills associated with such a situation, and proved to be a labor of love from all family members and friends. Many services, like photography and videography, and some of the decor were donated. I lent an artists hand in hand-lettering the chalkboard signs, and Julie, herself, made the bridal bouquets and boutonnieres from scraps of fabric and wire wisks. But those weren’t the only unique details about her wedding. They decided to forgo a traditional cake for a dessert bar of doughnuts from their favorite independent local doughnut shop in Madison- Greenbush Doughnuts (they have almost a cult following in Madison). Julie found her wedding dress at a local vintage store in LA, for just $180 and the bridal party was given free-reign to choose the dress of their choice, within a few guidelines. Finally, favors of classic Mix Tape CDs were given to guests – mixes of both Julie and Jason’s favorite tunes- in hand-made little envelopes.
From the bride … The day after Christmas his neurologist finally ordered an MRI. After reading the scan he called Jason and told him to go right to the hospital, that they knew we were coming. We found out at the ER that night that Jason’s “vertigo” was actually a cancerous tumor the size of a lemon growing in his brain. Two surgeries immediately followed, along with chemo and radiation. Because the tumor was on his cerebellum, our body’s coordination center, Jason’s speech, balance and vision were effected. It would be a long road of speech and physical therapy as well as monthly rounds of chemo for a year. I was never in a rush to get married. I didn’t need a ring to know what we had was real. Plus we were broke. But going through all of this together made me wonder, “What are we waiting for?”
On Sept 25th, 2011, about eight months since Jason’s surgery, he proposed. It was at the Hollywood Bowl, a beautiful concert venue tucked inside the hollywood hills. I thought this was just a sweet date night Jason had planned for us. He bought the tickets and packed an elaborate picnic. We were in our seats waiting for the show to start and Jason asked the man in front of us to take a picture of us. He snapped the shot, we looked at it and approved, but then Jason asked him to take another. I thought that was weird because the picture looked fine. Instead of smiling for the camera, Jason got down on his knee, pulled a little red ring box out of his pocket and asked me to marry him. And our camera man snapped pictures of the whole thing. It was perfect.
START EARLY!: Even the simplest DIY projects can get tricky or take forever, so begin them early enough to allow enough time to finish or to go a different direction if needed. And this is coming from a seasoned procrastinator, so if I say start early, I truly mean it. Because of all the preparation we had done we were able to go with the flow and have a great time. Of course not everything went according to plan, but since we had put so much work into everything we could easily solve the problem, brush it off and party on.
MAKE YOUR OWN RULES: It’s easy to get caught up in what you think you “should” be doing at your wedding that it becomes more like an equation than a reflection of you and your fiancé. At the end of the day, it’s a celebration of you two and your love. We did things the way we wanted to, not the way someone told us to.
CONSULT WITH AN EXPERT: Just because you consult with an expert doesn’t mean you have to do exactly what they say. But a wedding coordinator or a friend who works in the industry probably has a lot more experience at weddings than you do. It’s helpful to run ideas by them to see if, logistically, they make sense. For instance, we wanted our wedding to feel like a big party, so we didn’t want to tell guests where to sit. We figured then we didn’t need table numbers, place cards, etc. so we’d be saving money too. But after talking to our videographer (my good friend) she advised me not to. She said in theory it sounds like a great idea, but then you end up with an empty chair here and there and guests split up or standing for dinner. So we heeded her advice and made table numbers and just wrote out seating assignments on big chalkboards. That still eliminated the need for place cards, but gave each guest a place to park themselves for the night.
Photography: Lexia Frank Photography | Cinematography: One Fine Day Productions | Flowers: The bride | Event Planning: Erica Hoke, Century Barn Coordinator | Ceremony Location: Century Barn | Reception Location: Century Barn | Invitations: Brendan Loughrey | Shoes: Sole Society | Dress: Shareen Vintage | Vintage Rental: A La Crate | Catering: Underground Food Collective
because i’m in the business of photographing mainly women, i see on a daily basis how beautiful they are. yet, i hear all the time ‘you have to say that. im sure you say that to all your clients’ which is so deflating. when i’m in the act of photographing, i’m taking shots that i feel are breathtaking- not just because of the light or the scene, but because i see for a few minutes that woman forget about everything else around her and actually FEEL beauty in herself, because someone else is genuinely excited to photograph her. it always takes a couple of minutes- the first few are a little awkward and she gets used to the camera, then you can see her get comfortable with herself and relax, and that is when the beautiful shots happen. yet, of course, on occasion every photographer will hear from their clients “i love the photos, i just hate the way my nose always looks. i love the photos i just hate that my hair is frizzy.” i get it- i dont like the fact that my chin is pointy. and i’m self conscious about my fingers because my pinkies are abnormally small (no really…. they’re stunted… i cant reach an octave on a piano or chords on a guitar.) i wish my eyebrows were shaped differently. i could really go on and on and on, like i’m sure we all could. It is so hard to hear those comments, on photographs I may have thought to myself “this is one of the most beautiful photographs i’ve ever taken” when i know it’s just the self-esteem talking. However, WAY more often than the not I get this response: “i cant believe that is me. i cant believe i look like that- it is so beautiful” and “surely you must have photoshopped me…. is that really me?” and “you saw me differently than i see myself. i’ve never had someone see me that way” and…. of course “i feel so beautiful in my photographs”
I’m not saying i’m changing the world. but if i can help someone see themselves differently, then i’m doing my job. it’s not about taking ‘pretty pictures’, and it’s not about just capturing the ‘moment’ (although hopefully both of those are happening as well)- It’s also about changing how we view ourselves, and for the better.
I absolutely loved this wedding. Have you ever seen a veil so incredible before? this was an heirloom item- Chanda’s late mother wore it for her wedding so long ago. It was such a beautiful way to honor her mother and cary on tradition. This couple i’ve established a long time connection with- photographing Chanda’s maternity session a year ago, and i love being able to be there with clients at huge milestones of their life. and of course, its always great to show up to a wedding already knowing the bride and groom so well, both from behind the camera and away from it as well.
my favorite things about this wedding were the jenga guest book, the adorable bridesmaid gifts, the venue who’s winding gardens and barebulb lights made for tiny private sanctuaries every where you turned. the charm was overwhelming, and at the end of the night i found myself sipping a little coke (my obsession when shooting weddings) through the soda shop straws under the barebulb lights of the courtyard, warm air circling around. the sparkler send off was a perfect end- love sparkler send-off’s and ilford 3200 film. the grain and tones are so deep!
And i also need to give a shout out to cross creek ranch as well… this venue had every detail so superbly thought-out and organized it was like a well-oiled machine. the staff does not only the day-of coordination, but the floral, the styling, the lighting, everything. and they were in constant communication with me during the day, to let me know the tinest of details: like how they were asking the bridal party to enter for the reception grand entrance so that i could be prepared photographically. that type of communication makes for great photography.
Plantable Escort Keys – Recycledideas etsy.com // Hesawsparks – Etsy.com (DIY printable) // hair&MU- Creative Collections -www.inspirecollectivecreations.com // Officient- Bobby Triplett // DJ- Bil Mitchell Harmonic Events www.HarmonicEvents.com // catering- Puff and Stuff www.puffnstuff.com // coordination- Nancy Spooner www.crosscreekranchfl.com // Cake- Alessi Bakeries – Melissa Maggiore www.alessibakeries.com // florist- Alta Fleura www.altafleura.com // Dress – Brides by Demetrios // Shoes – Badgley Mischka // Brides Rings – Mavilo Jeweler www.mavilo.com // Ring Pillow – Giggleroom etsy.com // Hair Flower – Silverpencils etsy.com // Wooden Jenja inspired alternative guestbook – thepapernook etsy.com // Customized hankercheifs – caynonembroidery etsy.com
Hey! i forgot to mention we were featured in On to Baby this week! and, since I never shared these images below with any of you, i thought i would give them a little blog love. From the end of our session, everyone was winding down, and i captured some beautifully quiet moments between kristy and dan and baby claira. i miss so much that special time with my boys feeding them, i SO wish i would have had photos like this. Lately, i’ve been making breastfeeding photos a ‘must have’ for my sessions, and they always turn out to be some of my favorite images from the session.
So happy to share this wedding today on Style Me Pretty!
It’s one of my favorite all time weddings, and i thought i’d also share a few of my favorite images here, since it’s been a while! In the meantime, I’m preparing for my class at WPPI this year, if you’re going, stop by my birth photography class on sunday at 3:30… there will be some awesome prizes being given away too!
Wedding Photography: Lexia Frank Photography / Cinematography: Switzerfilm / Floral Design: Esther Fleming of Impressions Floral / Wedding Planning: David Caruso of Dynamic Events / Getting Ready Venue: The Pfister Hotel / Rehearsal + Ceremony Venue: Trimborn Farm / Reception Venue: Turner Hall Ballroom / Wedding Gown: Lazaro from Gigi’s of Mequon / Wedding Shoes: Vera Wang / Hair: Erinn at Glow Salon & Spa / Makeup: Antonio Fred / Jewelry: Vera’s House of Bridals / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Bella Bridesmaid via Vera’s Bridals / Flower Girl Dress: Bliss Bridal / Tuxedos: Harleys / Photo Booth: Beyond the Booth / Printed goods: Amy Johnson / Calligraphy: Debi Zeinert of The Blooming Quill / Catering: Brocach Catering / Cake: The Cake Lady / Late Night Dessert: Simma’s / Favors: Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier / Beverage Service: Bartenders on the Go / Linens: BBJ Linen / Rentals: Canopies / DJ & Lighting: Sound by Design / Electric Violinist: Elan Artists / String Quartet: Quartessence / Accordion Player: Joe DeLuca / Audio Support: Majic Enterprises / Transportation: Badger Trolley
oh yes, i am a bad bad blogger. i have left you all hanging for so long. why you ask? well, i can give lots of excuses, 1) being that i’m in the middle of a blog re-design with a fabulous designer and it makes me lack motivation to post on THIS here blog. 2) we just moved cross country. twice. from Florida, to Wisconsin to Portland Oregon. and we’re planning on moving into a house soon (here in portland!) so there is that. and 3) most of the work i’ve done in the last 6 months i’m submitting to magazine publications, and they require exclusivity, so while i am dying to share them with you all i’m sort of bound until they publish. SO. the quiet blog.
chirp chirp. chirp chirp.
in the meantime while i am withholding all my goodies from you i needed to update you on a few things.
I Now Live In Portland. after touring the country this past year shooting it has confused the heck out of clients and people inquiring about sessions! long story short: we’ve been wanting to live on the west coast for a long time. we heard about portland and all it’s cool hipness, and decided it was only missing one crucial thing: us. we decided a perfect time to make the big ole move was right after my summer in wisconsin shooting a bagillion weddings/shoots. so we packed our bags, moved to wisconsin for 3 months, then moved to portland to a tiny apartment, and we’ll be moving into a house soon!
speaking of re-locating your business, just released today is the new March issue of Lemonade and Lenses, and guess who has a big article in there?!?! MOI! since we are now practically experts in moving a business across the country (now is time number 3) I wrote a huge article on it (the logistics, what not-to-dos, what to-dos, etc) for your learning pleasure. head over there right now and either order your print copy, or your digital download! i got to preview it and it has lots of great articles on running your own photography business, designing your studio, and overall business savvy. so rich in content AND photography (gorgeous inspiration shots!) http://www.lemonadeandlenses.com/issues/
Next, dont forget that I’ll be speaking at WPPI this year on sunday March 10th on Birth Photography. I also have super secret confirmation that i will be giving away a kick-booty surprise…. which i am very excited about. come take my class, and hopefully i wont do anything embarassing like fall up the stairs or anything like my favorite jennifer lawrence did at the oscars (love her).
i loved shooting this lifestyle session with Craig John and his little family! craig is a photographer himself in milwaukee- and it’s always such an honor when another respected photographer hires you to take their own portraits. there is pressure, and there is a vote of confidence, and there is also a sense of understanding. it’s easier, and harder all at the same time. but what is undisputed here is how adorable this little kid is- are you kidding? he smiled the entire time.always happy, alert, and up for anything. even in the wind, and pretty much skipped his entire nap- slept less than 5 minutes. want to know how he woke up? with a giant smile. love that.
this week i had a great mentor session with Julie Wallace. i love mentoring, i love teaching, and this was no exception. Julie and I got together at noon for coffe/lunch and started dissecting her shooting style, and her business model. she’s an emerging photographer and doing what i WISH i would have done- hiring someone to actually teach her about the industry, and lead her down the right path the first time so she doesnt have to make the typical trial and error mistakes most people (ahem… myself…) make their first year or two in business. we talked about pricing, about resources -like where to get a good website/blog, the logistics of actually launching a legal business, insurance, equipment, the workflow i have from the time clients contact me to the point i ship them their prints. we covered how to handle tricky requests from clients, how to handle problem situations, editing and post processing, we covered contracts and the importance of educating your clients beforehand so everyone’s expectations are where you need and want them to be. I divulged all my resources for programs, presets, album design software, printing companies, album companies, learning/workshop preferences, equipment, etc. and then…. we went out to do a sample shoot. with all mentoring sessions i set up a model family so that I can run my student through how i typically ‘unpose’ my family and get them into natural reactions that are true to who they are, and not posed- just guided. we run through lighting in all different situations- from backlighting the client to open shade secrets (ohhh there is so much more to open shade than you think…), and how to get your clients to just open up to you and quit the ‘say cheese!’ smile that i so very much abhor.
because Julie is a digital shooter, i left my Contax film camera at home and brought the digital, so no film today. but no worries… very shortly you are going to be overloaded with beautiful film photographs… cant wait for those images to get back! for now… the shots we got at julie’s mentoring session:
and here’s julie, connecting with baby Stella.. she did so great!
I am SO excited to announce that not only did Rangefinder write an absolutely beautiful article on my photography and birth photography, but we’re also on the cover! if you have ever wondered anything about birth photography, the logistics, or what it’s like, it is a really great read and I encourage you to go pick up a copy! i’ve been reading Rangefinder for years, flipping through the pages of stunning photography, wonderful articles about photography but also the business side, never imagining myself amongst those pages. but, yet, here it is. exciting and thrilling, and i’m so happy with how it turned out! thank you again Rangefinder for thinking of me and this beautiful genre!