As I have mentioned before, I also spend a good majority of my time shooting outdoor apparel for a company called Triple Aught Design. Besides our shoots that are product specific we go out and adventure with our customers. Most recently, we went out and explored a cave with our community. So for me I wanted to shoot this as true to life as I could, meaning that instead of using a flash to light the cave, I wanted to use only the lights that we had. One of our company partners is Surefire. They provided us with several of their Minimus and Maximus Headlamps as well as several of their Flashlights. Having used the Maximus and Minimus once before I knew that these would be provide enough light to shoot with.
One of the struggles of shooting in a cave is that any rock that is right next to the light suffers on being too hot. Losing the highlights while not providing enough light to your subject. This is what makes a flash near impossible to use. I brought a flash so that I could utilize it for any off camera work, but on camera I was just not happy with the results.
Below are a few shots where I used Off Camera Flash to light and you can see a few hot spots in the photos.
Let me know what you think and if you have any questions!
Engagement and couples sessions are probably one of my favorite things to photograph. There is no real timeline. There is no real stress. It is just a fun time to go out and create some rad photos with some rad people. This session with Rachel and Drew was no exception.
This engagement photo session was booked as an engagement gift by some family members. Rachel had seen my photos on Anna Be’s Instagram and quote “ was obsessed with the photos.” Which is always something that you want to hear when you book with someone. Our first day we had to postpone due to all the avalanche warnings in Colorado, and the day that we rescheduled for still had warnings. So we changed locations, which worked out possible even better for us in the end.
After a quick little outfit change, we went and played with light and wind up on the top of the mountain.
Shooting proposals is fun. There are so many elements that go into them that it really challenges the skills as well as puts your talent to the test. I have shot proposals that were in pouring rain, proposals where the guy arrived by sail boat to a dock and leapt out, proposals at night, and during broad daylight. But this one was probably the most challenging by far. There were alot of elements that were out of my control taht I had to plan around
Lots of people
The Ice castles in Dillon are an amazing place to shoot. I knew that we were not going to have much light except for a small bit of ambient light and some light from within the Castle itself. Shooting here you cannot block off anyone, so I had to be able to shoot around people. Luckily when you tell people that someone is about to propose in a spot, people are more than willing to move. The spot that I had picked out was, for the 10 minutes that I observed it, not all that busy. But literally the minute before they were about to come through, everyone seemed to pile up in that one location. But as I mentioned before they were more than willing to move once I told them I was shooting a proposal in that spot.
For those of you that are photographers out there. The proposal part of the shoot was shot at ISO 1000, f2 and 1/200. I was using my Nikon D750 with both the Sigma Art 24mm and the 35mm. I shot a majority of the shoot underexposed so that I would maintain the detail of the Ice Castle and recover the shadows in post. Below is a before and after.
She Said Yes!
After she said yes (thankfully I have never shot a proposal where she said no) we found a few locations around the castle to shoot in and get some seriously rad portraits.
After the Ice Castles JC had a special dinner planned at Ember in Breckenridge. The Chef had prepared a special menu for them and One of my favorite florists in Denver, Flora by Nora did the flower arrangements.
(I previously wrote a blog where I went down and did a promo video for Nora, Check it here)
All I have to say is JC really knows how to plan a proposal.
If you want to see the video I put together.
Proposal at the Ice Castles in Dillon Colorado - YouTube
So last weekend I was hanging out and my wife and I were going to go do something in Boulder. But, alas, she had to go take care of something at work. So rather than sitting inside and playing some video games, I decided that I wanted to get out and shoot. So I posted on my instagram, that I wanted to get out and shoot in Boulder. Low and behold Britnee was hangin out in her living room, probably cuddling with her dog and skipping through insta stories when her eyes fell upon my offer.
“Yes!” She replied.
And we set it up. So we headed out to a spot I had in mind up Flagstaff Mountain and shot some fun little Photos.
Austin is a huge proponent of the Prom Pose so we hooked it up.
Then we were lucky enough to see some deer.
Well, we next moved over to a spot some some rad views of the surrounding mountains and took the photos on a slightly more intimate turn.
Photographers love to brag about their years. At this time there are thousands of blog posts out there about the Best of 2018, and here I am writing one for myself. I really am not worried about if someone sees this or reads my ramblings. Well, I know that my mom probably will.
So personally this year was interesting. I started a full time job working as a visual content producer for and outdoor apparel company called Triple Aught Design. Technically I started in 2017, but in 2018 I accepted a full time position. In this reay I got to go to Spokane Washington to tell the story of White’s Boots.
Making Of A Legend : Hand Making Process of the White's MP Service Boot TAD Edition - YouTube
Having the opportunity to get out and see these handcrafted boots was really amazing and getting to own a pair is really a treat.
We also went on an adventure to Utah and got to shoot some underwater photos and see some rad sights like epic waterfalls in slot canyons and petrified dunes.
We also did some fun overland trips with some super fun people. We explored Moab
We also Explored some of Colorado’s beautiful backcountry
There is much more that we did but man, that would fill so many pages. I got to shoot mountain biking, high alpine running, overlanding, and so much more. We also had the opportunity to launch a women’s line of clothing. Which was certainly something that I never would have expected to do.
Weddings/Elopements & Couples
This year was an interesting one. Now that I am working full time, I do not have as much time as I would like for my business. But that also means that I was able to change some things are really focus on what I love. Spending time shooting couples and really exploring that side of my creativity. So no I am focused on Elopements and Couples sessions.
That said I had the opportunity to shoot two weddings this year.
I was up in Vail for this rad Mountain Side wedding. I shot their engagement last year and was looking forward to getting to spend the time in vail shooting something with these views.
I also got to fly back to Rhode Island and shoot a good friends wedding at Roger Williams State Park.
I also got to shoot several Elopements in Colorado
A Winter Elopement in Vail
An Elopement at the Great Sand Dunes
And a rad Sunrise Elopement at Horsetooth Mountain
Elopements have become one of my favorite things to photograph. Especially since moving back to Colorado where there are endless sources of epic locations to shoot. One of my biggest challenges is finding places where I can take couples that have amazing views, but that are not crowded with people.
Rocky Mountain National Park is so crowded now, on some weekend days it can take you 30 minutes just to get into the park. Then you have to wade through the crowds just to get to a view that is rad.
But the good news is, there are a ton of rad locations that are off the beaten path (while still on the path, cuz you know Leave No Trace) that are just as amazing, if not more amazing.
MOUNTAIN TOP ELOPEMENTS
Jones Pass, Kingston Peak, Loveland Pass, or any of the other billions and billions of epic mountain tops are amazing locations to shoot on, near, or around.
MOUNTAIN LAKE ELOPEMENTS
There are so many mountain lakes and even more to discover. I am down to try one of my known locations or go find a new one.
We could even find some inflatable paddle boards and have some fun! (As long as we are allowed).
THE FRONT RANGE
The Front Range in Colorado has some really beautiful locations. I have a few bucket list places, like The Paint Mines Interpretive Park, Eldorado Springs, & Lost Gulch Overlook, and many more.
Thoughts On ELOPEMENTS
Often times there is a stigma in the older generations about eloping. More often than not is is associated with bad choices, someone getting pregnant, or rebellion. But now days that is changing.
Couples are wanting to forego the big wedding, to have a small intimate moment. Sometimes with just the two of them, sometimes with several family members. But no matter what these moments are more focused on the idea of BEING married rather than GETTING married.
My favorite part about shooting elopements is that I really have a chance to connect with my couples. When you spend time hiking up to a location and shooting. As well as getting to witness them say vows that they have written to each other in an intimate setting, man its is such a great moment.
With the longer adventure elopements we can hang out, cook a picnic and really make the day something special. Sometimes hikes can take several hours and other times just a few minutes.
One thing to note is that in Colorado there is a very real chance of dangerous afternoon storms. Morning sessions and elopements are always a better choice due to a lower risk of getting caught in a storm.
So you want to elope in Colorado? (Or Anywhere really).
Decide who you want to be there.
So you might want to elope with just the two of you or you might want some family and friends. Couples usually start just wanting the two of them, but as they plan they realize that maybe some family or friends would be nice to have along. I have packages and solutions for all sorts of intimate wedding options.
Don’t be scared, Be proud!
With elopements there are times when people may fear the reactions of their families. When My wife and I eloped there was mixed reactions. But other people’s reactions is not on you. For is it was more about the being married rather than getting married.
Plan something at home.
After eloping, many couples plan a small gathering at home. Sometimes they have a dance together, sometimes it is just a night of drinks and hanging with family. I have even had one couple have a small reception just for family and friends, that was catered and all that jazz. But again, eloping is making it about the two of you so, as they say
You do you.
Know the laws and requirements of where you are going to be eloping. Colorado is one of the few states where couples self-solemnization and anyone can do it. You have the freedom to have your wedding exactly your way. If you want an officiant let me know and I can help you out. (I am also ordained through a previous job if you are interested in that).
How do I get a Colorado marriage license if I’m from out of state? Colorado makes it pretty easy. You can obtain your license through any county in Colorado, it does not need to be the county in which you are getting married. All the offices are open M-F so plan ahead. You will need a valid ID so be sure that you have that. The clerk & recorder at the office will give you specific instructions on how to fill out the license, where to send it after the ceremony and when you can expect to receive your final copy in the mail. Read more info here!
Research legal requirements for marriage at your destination
Hire a media team (Photo and Video) to tell your story
Book your Airbnb or Hotel
Rent a car (If needed)
Make sure all your shots and travel Docs are up to date
Plan the day with your photo/video team and/or coordinator
When planning your elopement, it is good to do as much research as you can. Feel free to reach out for questions and we can help you with your planning.
How do we book?
Get to know each other. Lets talk. The best option is to set up a phone call/skype/or Facetime.
Contract: I will send you the contract for you to sign.
Retainer: The retainer is 50% of the final package. There are multiple payment options available. The final payment is due within one week prior to your wedding day.
Once you finish with these three steps we are ready to start planning.
Ever since moving back to Colorado I have wanted to shoot a session or elopement at Lookout Mountain in Golden. Finally I was able to meet up with Carrie and Dave and shoot not only some fun photos, but also we were able to create a fun little video together. Check out their session here.
After we finished up at Lookout Mountain, we headed down by Clear Creek to get just a couple other photos down by the river.
Website design and user interface is something that I find interesting. There are so many different templates and designs from Squarespace to Flothemes and Wordpress to name a few, that it is interesting to see how people utilize them to look different (or the same). But there is one thing that can kill your site before your customer even begins their journey. Noise.
(Disclaimer: I am still working on this on my site. I’m not perfect, I just like to help others as I grow)
Donald Miller over at Storybrand talks about this in every podcast and hammers it home in his book Storybrand.
But what does this mean? For the most part, it means that you are confusing the customer before they even know what you do. I see this often enough with photographers. They are not clear on what it is they do. Sometimes they even start with the landing page on the about them section. Now, in all honesty, no one cares about you. What I mean by this is that when the first thing someone reads on your site is
“I love love; it makes me giddy to see two people walk down the aisle….”
No one cares, and worst of all you just made it all about you.
I am also not saying that you shouldn’t have an About page, just don’t let that be your hero. In your about show your personality in a way that describes you, but try to keep it short.
When you start saying “I photograph families, seniors, children, births, weddings, engagements, dog maternity, and boudoir.” They get that you are a photographer, but it really doesn’t set you apart.”
Now what I mean by this is think about it from you clients eyes. When they show up on your site and there is a gallery filled with a bunch of “random” images they might know that you shoot all that but at least be concise. Maybe lump it all in to family photographer.
For example, if you are booking a hotel room at a private resort, do you REALLY care about the detergent that they use on their sheets, the photos of the conference rooms, or the energy output of the sauna? (I know that there will be the small few that do) or would you care more about if your time there is going to be relaxing and stress free?
One of the best websites that I have seen recently is from Adventure Instead (Maddie Mae and her business partners rebranded). Let’s take a look at the first things that you see when you open the site.
The Navigation is simple. The first link is to provide more info then about the photographers, then pricing, then the planning resources.
There is a Contact Us Button right at the top. The call to action that pushes visitors to hit them up about their elopements.
The Main header calls out what they are and what they do
Followed by another call to action (leading those that want more to dive deeper).
Right under this they utilized a space above the fold to tell people about their style in simple words. Relaxed & Stress Free/Intimate & Meaningful/Unique & Adventurous.
Even on mobile the experience is the same, minus the Contact Us button. You still know who they are and what they do.
There is no question in my mind about what they do, who they are, and what the brand is about.
Now here is the big thing. Don’t copy them. Like actually think about your site and your brand. Maybe use elements, but the words and content is theirs.
The other thing that their site and brand does well, is that they make the client the hero, they solve the problems, and provide resources for their clients to have the relaxed and stress free experience that they claim on the home page.
Get rid of the nonsense.
A majority of people are browsing on mobile devices, so when a newly engaged girl is looking for a wedding photographer on her phone while at her desk at work, will she really have time to read through why you shoot sony, or why you like pies, and then go searching for where you are located, pricing, and how to contact you. Might you have the same luck with a landing page showing some of your work, where you shoot and pricing? Especially if they came from a place like pinterest or instagram and have already seen your work?
What about a mother who is booking for a family session over the holidays, right now she is thinking about 9 million other things, and probably doesn’t care to read about your life story, She wants family photos, that look good, and she can send to family and friends and look like life is as put together as she portrays.
People don’t have time. So here are a few tips to cut down on the noise of your site.
Make sure what you do is stated.
Make sure your location (or where you serve) is stated.
Make it easy to contact you
Put at least a starting price on your site (In my opinion, you are wasting time if you don’t, yours and clients. And no one likes that)
Make your site more about your client than you.
If you are looking for insight and brand mentoring shoot me a message. Or check out my page on brand strategy mentoring here.
Being a Colorado native, I love getting out in the mountains. There is something about getting out in nature that just hits the me and breathes life into the soul. Well, anyway, one of my favorite things is taking couples to new places, locations where when we roll up, they just stop and say
Well, when we planned on this location there was a chance that the Mt. Evans road would be closed. We were hoping to get up into the Summit Lake Park, but I knew there was a chance that we would not be able to use the road, so I had a back up plan.
We planned to meet at Echo Lake Park and start shooting. There is a great view of the mountains there and it is absolutely gorgeous.
Next we did a quick outfit change. Heather had been on the search for the perfect red dress for the engagement session. And all I can say is CHECK IT.
And as with all of my sessions we created a video together. Check out their engagement video!
Ok, this session, Literally everything fell into place for. (Yes I just ended that sentence with a preposition, but it’s my blog so I do what I want). Ok, Anyway these two and this session was perfect. (Were perfect?). Geeze. Well, anyway I was rolling back through the Breckenridge/Dillon area after shooting a wedding the day before in Vail and I met up with these two for a quick adventure session. We met up by Dillon reservoir and hiked in for the first part of the shoot.
After shooting at the reservoir we headed up to Loveland Pass for some rad mountain view photos. There was a storm moving in so we had to move fast, but it made for some epic photos.