Tuesday, February 24

Family Photography in Fircrest

Our recent shoot with the Frazier family in Fircrest was an excellent example of blending portraits and lifestyle photojournalism in a single 1-hour session.

Never heard of lifestyle photojournalism? It's a relatively new approach to "people photography" in which we creatively document our clients doing everyday things that they enjoy. When this photojournalistic approach is blended with relaxed posed portraits taken in familiar, favorite locations, the result is a wonderful collection of images that are far more interesting and meaningful than those taken in an impersonal photo studio.

We met Jerry, Valerie, Caitlin, and Jerry Jr. at their house and started in the living room with some full-family portraits, which would have been a great icebreaker had there been any ice to break — these four were so easy and fun to work with right from the start!

We got some fun shots of the Jerrys in junior's boys-only room, including a few of the two poring over one nice baseball card collection ...

... and of the parents hanging out in their bedroom.

Then we moved to the front yard for several different people combos. It may seem overkill to hire two photographers for a portrait shoot, but one of the greatest benefits is that while one photographer has our clients' attention, the other one can get candids that are sometimes better than the portraits themselves!

When we finished up at the house, we leashed up their two cocker spaniels and headed down the hill to a nearby park, where we took primarily photojournalistic shots of the family at play.

We had a great time and it seemed like the Fraziers did, too! We captured a lot of great photos that will be especially valuable to Jerry, who is now deployed in Iraq, and to his family who is surely missing him. Hopefully these photos will help to at least partially fill that hole as they count down the days to their next reunion.

Tuesday, February 17

A New, Intimate Wedding Show
This Sunday in Olympia

It's that time of year when brides and grooms can immerse themselves in all-things-wedding by attending the various bridal shows held throughout Puget Sound. Most of those shows are big, impersonal, and rather overwhelming.

This Sunday, February 22 from 10 am to 4 pm, we'll be taking part in a new show that we think will be different: The 2009 South Sound Wedding Show in the Olympia Red Lion's Grand Ballroom. It's a relatively small show of exclusively South Sound wedding vendors that will provide a much better opportunity for brides to really evaluate them. At our own big corner booth, we're bringing couches and will have many albums on hand so that brides can get comfortable while they check out the best wedding photography in the South Sound.

You can also register to win prizes, including the grand prize: A two-night stay at an oceanfront condo in Westport, dinner for two, and two passes to the Westport Lighthouse.

Tickets to the wedding show are $5 at the door, or complimentary tickets are available at local stores (visit the South Sound Wedding & Event Magazine website, host of the event, for a full list of stores where tickets are available).

We hope to see you there!

Friday, February 13

Jennifer and Zach Win $30,000
Museum of Glass Wedding!

Last night was a special evening for us, as we — and a who's who collection of other top-tier Tacoma wedding vendors — joined forces at Museum of Glass's first-ever wedding open house. The turnout was great, and we enjoyed meeting a lot of wonderful future brides and grooms.

Of course, the highlight of the evening was the announcement of the essay contest winners! All the attendees packed the theater-style seats of the Hotshop (tucked inside the iconic cone) for the big announcement.

First, the runners-up were announced: Emily and Joe, who penned the memorable and touching line "Truth be told I would be happy to marry Joe in a cardboard box because all that really matters is that we are spending the rest of our lives together."

Then an excerpt of the winning essay was read to the crowd, and Zach was announced as the winner. He ran down to the Hotshop floor and was given the mic to explain to the crowd that his fiance, Jennifer, was finishing up her master's degree at Boston College and wasn't able to join him in person.

Little did he know that she was in fact hiding in a back room, and burst onto the scene to celebrate their amazing win!

The Museum staff asked us to snap a photo of the winning couple and we wanted to capture a memorable image for them, so we took Jennifer and Zach into the cold night air for a few quick shots in front of the Hotshop Cone.

Congrats to our new clients Jennifer and Zach! And for everyone else, we really enjoyed meeting you during the open house and hope to learn more about your wedding plans soon. In the meantime, here's a list of the other vendors who generously donated their services to the winners package:

Gallucci's Catering
Hotel Murano
Celebrity Cake Studio
J. Robbins Florist
Stork Studios
Thoroughbred Classics
Christian's Plant and Tree Rental
Sounds Unlimited

Thursday, February 5

A New Year, A New Venue, An Old Friend

We didn't have to wait long for our first wedding of 2009 — 3 days, to be exact. And what a fabulous wedding it was!

Coincidentally, Laura knows the bride, Christine, from their childhoods in Northern California, and we photographed the wedding of one of Lawrence's "groomswomen" a few years ago.

Christine and Lawrence chose The Sanctuary at Admiral for their wedding and reception, a fabulously restored 80-year-old building that was recently voted "Best New Reception Site for 2008" in Seattle Bride magazine. The foyer is very wide, shallow, tall and red ...

... and features an elephant that Christine was brave enough to climb onto!

The amazing stage in the Grand Room, with diamond walls and starry ceiling, is our favorite feature at this venue, and an old wooden store sign made for some fun photos, too.

I love how both of the ceremony photos below show off the symmetry of the Grand Room, where the ceremony took place. The dads on each side of the aisle really make that first photo.

After the ceremony, I went off with the guys to take a few theme photos envisioned by Lawrence, all to great effect. These shots show off the Reservoir Dogs theme, followed by Cheesy '80s Sitcom Ending. If you look closely or click on the images to see them larger, you'll also spot the skull-topped canes that Lawrence's attendants sported – a really cool look that we've never encountered before.

The cocktail hour took place in the entry room while the staff flipped the Grand Room, and then everyone filed back through the twin doors to dine.

The lighting was very dim — I know all the guests had a really hard time getting good photos — but that gave us some beautiful mood lighting during Christine and Lawrence's first dance. Conditions were also perfect for rear-sync shutter effects, which you can see here in one of our favorite shots. This tricky technique combines a long shutter with a flash burst to capture both motion blur and sharpness.

This reception featured a twist on the usual bouquet and garter toss rules: Instead of girls clawing for the bouquet and guys diving for the garter (or passively watching it fall at their feet) the roles were reversed. Married men fought over the bouquet to give to their wives, while the women battled for the garter to put on their husband's leg (just kidding). Note the successful bouquet catcher's excellent strategy: Throw elbow at guy next to you, then grab bouquet.

Lawrence and his family are from New Orleans, so of course their reception included a Second Line, where bead-wearing, towel-waving guests follow the umbrella-bearing bride and groom on a weaving path around the venue. Rear-sync flash was again the perfect method for capturing the motion and energy of this traditional "nawleans" event.

Christine and Lawrence, your wedding was an awesome way to kick off 2009! Congrats again!