Monday, July 28

Jennifer and Nick in Olympia

Jennifer and Nick have a big-time playful streak that made their portrait session a blast, so much so that we're dedicating this entire blog post to their portraits! We particulary like the shot above of Nick and his groomsmen who, after having tried a couple of shots with their fake moustaches, progressed instead to the novel idea of fake unibrows. Nice look, gentlemen!

This shot is unique not only because of the stick-on fuzz, but because we applied a cross-processing effect to shift the colors and contrast of the photo from their natural shades to something decidedly otherworldly. Historically, cross-processing was a film processing error (later refined to a technique) in which print film was processed accidentally in chemicals designed for slide film. In today's digital world, we use a series of Photoshop adjustments to mimic this cool effect. If you compare the wedding party photo below to the groomsmen shot above, you'll see what a difference the processing made. Both of these shots were taken at Grand Holiday Ballroom, their ceremony and reception venue.

Jennifer and Nick's wedding in Olympia was on yet another rumored-to-rain-but-surprisingly-dry day, so we took advantage of the great weather and headed to the Capitol grounds and then to the Japanese Garden for portraits of the two of them.

We were excited to finally "share" a wedding with Colleen from Lynch Creek Floral, who we've known for several years from the Occasions Catering Bridal Teas. Colleen did a great job with their floral arrangements, and because Nick and Jennifer have a family connection in the floral industry, it seemed like there were gorgeous flowers everywhere we looked!

Jenn and Nick, our congrats to you, and thanks for being so much fun to work with! We're really looking forward to sharing the rest of the photos with you soon!

Saturday, July 26

Classy Glassy with Christina and Matt

Recently we showed you some pics from our Grit City portrait tour ... now it's time to share some from a Classy Glassy session from a few weeks ago!

Our wedding clients Christina and Matt are getting married at the Museum of Glass soon, so we started there at the site of their soon-to-be big day. It's hard to remember after our recent stretch of unseasonably cool weather, but that day was blazing hot, and we appreciated shade wherever we could find it, including under the Hotshop Cone. There was a festival going on at the Washington State History Museum, so we decided to save that spot for their wedding day, and headed up the UW-Tacoma hill and over to our favorite Tacoma viewpoint.

Christina and Matt are such a sweet couple, we had so much fun working with them (and showing off all the great photos we got). We can't wait to join them at their wedding — just fifteen more days!

Monday, July 21

Katie and Jon on Gravelly Lake

I'm starting to be a very firm believer that our clients have some of the most gorgeous kids in the world. Case in point: Katie and Jon, and their sweet little boy, Caidyn.

(See what I mean?)

Katie and Jon celebrated their marriage with a ceremony and reception at Katie's parents' beautiful home and property on the edge of Gravelly Lake. The ceremony was in the backyard with the lake in the background, and they lucked out with blue skies and very bright sunshine — even if it did mean a lot of squinting for poor Katie, who had the sun in her eyes throughout their vows. This being Washington, the great weather was quickly replaced with a rain shower just ten minutes after the ceremony ended and everyone was tucked away inside for the reception. If it's going to rain on your wedding day, you really can't ask for better timing!

Of course, since this was a July 4th wedding, one of the highlights of the day was the chance to see fireworks over the lake. One of the neighbors has a pyrotechnics license and puts on a pretty hefty fireworks show! After all the reception events were complete, the guests and happy couple finished off the night by sitting in the garden and watching a lengthy display — we were impressed. And by getting married on the holiday, Katie and Jon will now be spoiled with a day-off from work and the chance to see fireworks on every single wedding anniversary! Good thinking on their part!

Tuesday, July 15

Gretchen and Dave on Hood Canal

Our dear friends Gretchen and Dave tied the knot on the summer solstice at Kitsap Memorial State Park overlooking Hood Canal and the Olympic Mountains — just about 10 miles up the road from where we got married 5½ years earlier. We've known Gretchen over a decade now, and her wedding drew old college friends from all over the country, some of whom we haven't seen in years. It's always fun and rewarding to photograph friends' weddings, and getting the chance to see these longtime buddies was an extra bonus. Gretchen and Dave know a really fun group of people, and there were more than enough characters to keep our camera lenses well entertained!

The day started out with clouds and the threat of rain, but it ended with bright sunshine and blue skies so gorgeous that the indoor dance floor was neglected by virtually every wedding guest. The weather and view were irresistable.

As always, we have far more "favorites" than we have room to share here, but here are some of our top picks from the day.

Above is one of the clear favorites of everyone who has looked at the photos so far: Gretchen peeking out of her cabin to watch the processional just as the ceremony is about to begin.

Not all rings go on easily! Don't worry, Gretchen, you aren't the only one to struggle with that pesky last knuckle. It made for some cute expressions anyway.

Kitsap Memorial is a great spot, with a rustic lodge amongst huge evergreens ...

... but it's even better for the stunning view of the Olympic Mountains nestled up against Hood Canal. I love this shot not only for the view, but also for the quiet, intimate moment between Gretchen and Dave.

Because the wedding was held in a state park with lots of open space, Gretchen and Dave had lots of games on hand to make sure that everyone was active and having fun. This shot of Gretchen playing badminton is one of my all-time favorites. Nice legs!

The most popular toy of the night, with both kids and adults alike, was the Stomp Rocket. You can see it in action here with the ringbearers, Gretchen's nephews, who whole-heartedly threw themselves into the game of aiming the styrofoam rocket at the closest innocent guest.

Congrats Gretchen and Dave! We hope you're having a great time in Ecuador and can't wait to hear all about it when you return.

Friday, July 11

Wedding Day Recession Blues on MSNBC

We just spotted this article on MSNBC about the impact of the impending recession on wedding budgets and thought it was worth commenting on. It says that the average cost of a wedding — close to $29,000 — is expected to dip slightly for the first time this decade, and mentions ways that couples are saving money. For example, 48 percent of caterers reported that couples were spending less on their food.

We were glad to note that skimping on photography wasn't suggested in the article. Obviously, we're a bit biased as far as photography goes. But as a bride or groom, it's important to remember that your photography is one of the only things that lasts long after the wedding is over. Most of your other expenses — catering, florist, DJ, cake, hair — are gone as soon as the wedding ends. You and your bridesmaids most likely won't wear those fancy dresses again, either! But your photo album, on the other hand, becomes your new family's first heirloom. It will help you remember all those details, events, and emotions years later when the memories start to fade, and someday you can share it with your children and grandchildren. There's a wide range of skill levels and styles among wedding photographers, and degrees of quality in wedding albums. You'll get what you pay for, so think twice before going cheap!

The other thing in the article that concerned us was the descriptions of how the down economy has driven some vendors and venues out of business. Not only does this leave brides and grooms frantically searching for replacements after most other options have already been booked, but in most cases those couples never see refunds of their down payments. This happened recently in Tacoma when reception venue Stadium Bistro closed. Read about it here.

Wedding photography seems like it'll be really fun and easy until wannabe pros realize just how much hard work, time, and money go into it. That's when they give up and screw over their clients. Every year we book couples who are in a panic because their initial photographers have disappeared on them, and this year is no exception. For the sake of your family heritage, we encourage you to be very careful to book only established wedding vendors with excellent track records and at least a few years of experience. Ask your other vendors for recommendations, or ask your first choice of photographer to provide references, preferably from both clients and other wedding pros. The local "wedding industry" is pretty tight-knit and most of the top vendors know and support each other, and can make sure you're well taken care of with a high level of quality and professionalism. Recessions are temporary, but your photos will stick around for a lifetime!

Monday, July 7

The Inaugural Grit City Portrait Tour!

We recently kicked off our first-ever Grit City Portrait Tour with 2009 wedding clients Stephanie and Levi for their engagement portraits. They were a perfect fit for the edgier look of this tour, and we all had a blast! We think Levi and Steph will be ready to hit those modeling runways soon, while they swear that one of these shots will be their next album cover (if only they had a band)! Here are just a handful of our faves from the shoot.

We're really excited about Wallflower's new Portrait Tour™ concept: 2 hours with 2 award-winning photographers (Laura and Scott, of course) at some of our favorite spots, hand-picked to create a distinctive look. We've created three unique tours for our clients:
  • Five Mile, which includes our favorite stops in Point Defiance
  • Classy Glassy, in Tacoma's shiny south downtown museum district
  • Grit City, featuring the shabby chic (and not-so-chic) of north downtown and across the Foss
We've been shooting at Pt. D. and around the museums for years, and we're sure they'll continue to be our most popular Portrait Tours, but we think there's a certain type of person who will love Grit City, too. In fact, we'd really like to take a male high school senior on it soon, and will offer HALF OFF to the first one to book!

One of the stops on the Grit City tour is the Murray Morgan Bridge, featured in our blurb a couple of posts below. This rusty piece of Tacoma history is already closed to car traffic, and will soon be closed to foot traffic as well. We're glad to be able to get these photos in time, but sad that we won't be able to get more for who knows how long. Here's hoping the WA DOT does the right thing and starts restoration work soon!

Friday, July 4

Tall Ships is here!

We took a few hours out of our busy photo processing schedule yesterday to venture down to Ruston Way and take in the Parade of Sail, which kicks off the Tall Ships 2008 festival. Tall Ships will be in downtown Tacoma from July 3-7, and it's well worth checking out — not that we'll have much time to do so personally!

We arrived early (too early) and watched the ships line up for the parade at a distance. Scott brought his longest lens to snap the first shot of the Lady Washington while it was still miles away near Vashon Island. Then he turned around and caught the second shot of a cute kid watching excitedly from his room at the Silver Cloud. The third shot is of the replica Bounty (of "mutiny" fame) as it sailed along the waterfront.