Deena & Phil get married

It’s official. I have now photographed the most beautiful bride. Ever.

How can I be so sure? She’s my stepmom, but really she’s my second mom, and has been for almost 23 years. It was hard for all of us when my dad passed away. The thought of finding new love, when you had love is so hard. Lucky for my mom2, and lucky for the rest of our (now) larger family, she found it.

We are so happy that it’s official Phil. You’re now one of us!

I love you both. I’m so glad I could give you this gift.dp_wedding_fb_10dp_wedding_fb_08 dp_wedding_fb_09   dp_wedding_fb_01

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Becky & Ben tie the knot!

September 22nd 2012

From the moment that I walked into the Gates of Heaven synagogue; I knew this was the perfect place for Becky & Ben to share their vows. Intimate, classic and comfortable – qualities I see very much of in Ben & Becky together.

Sure, the acoustics were outstanding and the wood floor was solid. I had to tiptoe in my heels so I wouldn’t make any embarrassing sounds during their ceremony. I tend to run around a bit when photographing … 😉 But, other than my awkward ballet-style gait … it was lovely.

I’m a huge fan of small weddings. I had one myself. I think it’s fun to get lost in the glamour and minutiae of a lavish wedding. But, it can become too easy to get lost in the distractions and forget what the day essentially means. Becky & Ben are aware of that: Love & their commitment to their (now larger) Family, was the essence of their wedding. One that shone brighter than the sun peeking through the clouds that day.

Their ceremony was led by their close friend Garth; included readings from two family members; a lovely rendition of “Blackbird” by the Beatles sung by Becky’s brother-in-law and they shared personal, intentional vows.  (Not to brag here, but they totally used one of the vows from my wedding that I shared with them! Sure, I “borrowed” them from a wedding I photographed two years ago, but still … YAY! 🙂 )

It was perfect.

Once B&B got their hands on each other for our after ceremony photo shoot … it was hard to separate them. Every time I’d take a picture of Becky alone, Ben would have to swoop in, to be near her again. Pretty. Darn. Sweet.

It really wouldn’t be a B&B wedding without salsa. They made salsa, in personalized jars none-the-less, for everyone. AND did I mention they had a paired beer & cheese tasting for their cocktail hour. Beer. Check. Cheese. Check. This Wisconsin girl was in heaven. ❤

Congrats you two!

Becky come on! Look at those eyes. You are a stunner.

I have to brag a little here … it was a touch to cloudy to get a great sunset where we were. But, I saw this park light & voila! Sunset.

Charlotte & Jon get married in the Tetons

I can count on one hand (okay, maybe two hands) the number of friends I have, that I’d be willing to drive over 4,000 miles and take almost two weeks off of work, to see get married. Two weeks vacation, camping in Grand Tetons National Park none-the-less … oh how I suffer for my friends. 😉

When Jon & Charlotte announced they were getting married, I didn’t even give them a chance. I told them I wanted to be their wedding photographer … what better gift could I give? Plus, I really hate shopping, and this saved me a ton of time! Besides, they’re wonderful friends and it would take some gymnastic-thinking to find a present worthy of them. Luckily they were on-board. Who wants to struggle finding a local photographer from over 2500 miles away? No thanks.

Charlotte & Jon picked a vista along the Snake river for their ceremony … a perfectly intimate place for 40 people. There was only a little bit of drama before the wedding: a torrential rain, wind & hail (!!!!) storm. I arrived at the site 30 minutes before the guests to prep and I ended up sitting in the car for 25 of them. But, once the guest bus pulled up, the rain disappeared and the bright bright sun came out: just for Charlotte & Jon. They’re lucky like that.

I love you guys. Congratulations.

*bonus – see if you can spot my ever helpful husband Ezra assisting me in one of these photos!

*hint – here he is! I love that man.

It was too cloudy to take this picture on wedding day, but Charlotte & Jon are good sports.

We took this one a few nights later.

Becky & Ben; 2 lovebirds in a nest

Don’t you just love it when friends-of-friends prove to be as awesome as your friends? And then you have new friends!

Becky & Ben are the proof of that pudding … they are well awesome! Any couple that buys rice and beans in bulk; gardens;  cans their own pesto AND salsa, are instant friends of mine. It’s true: I’m a little bit jealous.

These two lovebirds are planning a wedding in under 4 months, and are doing a great job. They aren’t even superheroes! Just amazingly organized & efficient. {with excellent taste 😉 }

Shooting their engagement photos was a ton of fun; I’d never been to this location before so I had to wing it. Lucky for me, Becky had scouted the location early. She even called me to make sure she was setting up in a spot that worked well for lighting, THANK YOU!!!  The hammock was perfectly romantic. Trying to move two people around in one however {one in a skirt!!} … was a little bit of a challenge. But we kept it strictly PG.

Voila, what do we have? Two lovebirds in a perfect nest.

Seriously Becky, when am I getting some of that salsa … hint hint?

Ask a photog – Travel tips for photogs.

It’s summer time; let the cheering & chair-dancing begin!

Whether you plan to camp in your backyard, hit the road, or the skies – a vacation (I hope) is in your future! Photography and travel – well they are inseparable. As a well-traveled photographer, I can tell you that it comes down to a lot more than then just “taking pictures” when you get on the road.

Here are 10 tips to consider before you get out there!

Travel Tips for Photogs

1. Plan, plan, plan!

Where are you going, for how long, and what will happen while you’re there? Check local guides for any festivals, national events or really cool scenic spots before you get there. It never hurts to buy a map early. The more you know the better you can prepare.

2. Don’t forget your equipment.

It sounds obvious but it’s surprisingly easy to leave your camera charger at home – been there, done that. You’ll need batteries, memory cards, your charger (plus any world plug-converters if necessary) and your camera! Not to mention any cords or accessories you find useful. If you are traveling out of the country, or out to the country, these things can be hard to find or very pricey.

3. Tripod?

Think about this long and hard. Tripods are bulky and space consuming and usually mean you plan to spend a lot of your time taking photos. If you are flying anywhere or plan on doing a lot of walking on your vacation, you probably want to leave it at home. If you’re traveling by car and want to take leisurely landscapes and family photos then go for it! If you really want one with you, a table top tripod may be all you need. And here’s one for a point-and-shoot.

4. Carry your stuff with you.

Never put your camera equipment under the plane. No explanation needed I’m sure. Get a good camera bag that can hold your equipment comfortably and safely. They even make camera bags that don’t look like camera bags, for extra safety! The security detectors won’t bother your equipment. If you are bringing high-speed or professional film with you, then you probably know all about it and aren’t reading this :).

5. Carry your stuff with you!!!!

Get a strap for your camera and make sure when you hold your camera you have that strap in your hand or on your shoulder (across your body is great). If your camera is in a bag, but you are holding the bag strap … your camera can disappear and you might not notice. A reassuring bag strap doesn’t mean much when the bag is empty. Staying in a hotel? If you don’t need your camera when you go out, put your equipment in a room or hotel safe.

6. Memory cards, smaller may be better.

I recommend taking several low gigabyte/megabyte memory cards with you &, if you can, uploading them to your computer as often as possible. As a professional photog, I would never, ever shoot an entire wedding on one memory card. What if it was defective or damaged – or “knock on wood” I lost it. Instead I keep at hand several memory cards and switch them out throughout the day. It stinks, but you’ll feel much better if you only lose your trip to the Louvre – vs. – your entire European vacation. It happens, or rather, s*it happens – I hope not to you of course!

7. Remember the Golden Hour.

Early mornings and evenings when the light is shiny and “golden” are the best times for good photographs. Mid-day when the light is bright and everyone in your photos has their hand-shade up over their eyes – not so great.  Remember the light: you’ll have better photos and your family will think you’re a pro! If it looks good – it is!

8. Make sure you aren’t breaking the rules.

Museums, galleries and historical sites may have photography restrictions. If the sign says “no photos” they mean it! Don’t risk getting kicked out or having to delete your photos; it’s embarrassing. Also, learn how to turn off your flash before you go. Many places do not allow flash photography and no matter how hard you try your flash isn’t discreet. {You can always cover your flash with electrical tape if it really won’t shut off.}

9. Taking pictures of strangers

{This could be it’s own blog!} If you have a good zoom, you can always shoot from afar.  Or, buck up and just ask someone if you can take their photo! Always approach someone with your smile, not your camera. Smiles are the same in every language. Just smile, show your camera (keep it low, like you’re not shooting) point at it and say “photo?” If they decline, smile say “thanks” and walk away. Most people I’ve encountered have been wonderful and I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything– the memory is better than the photo in most cases (and I’m pretty good at the photo part.)

10. Know your equipment.

If you just got your camera; or, if you haven’t used it in a while; or, if you use it all the time but really don’t know what you are doing  – figure it out before you go. I can tell you from personal experience that you won’t have a revelation on the road. The camera you can’t get to work at home won’t magically start taking better photos on vacation! Read that pesky manual. Or, better yet, get some hands-on experience in your backyard.

(11.) Take some time without your camera!

Don’t forget to put the camera down and take part in your fun! Photos don’t make memories; you do!

Have fun! *heidi

Ask a photog – Tips for photographing kids

They say kids and puppies are the bane of show business. They aren’t wrong.

Here are a few pointers for keeping your sanity around the wiggly ones and getting some great photographs. Bring some wetnaps, a comb and the power of mom-spit: it’s going to be messy.

Shooting kids – with a camera that is

Tip #1  – know your kids

The first thing you need to do with kids is get to know them. Sit on the floor with them or run around the park and play for a while until they are comfortable with you. It’s good to have your camera with you, take a few shots and let them get acclimated to your presence.

Tip #2 – get down

Shoot on their level. Get low to the ground or shoot with extreme angles. You really want to avoid the “god” shot with kids, looking down on them from heaven. Go ahead and zoom in – we recommend getting really close to their face and getting interesting expressions … don’t forget to focus on their eyes. A good rule of thumb for checking focus in your viewfinder … check out the eyelashes. If you can see distinct eyelashes, you’ve got it!

Tip #3 – play

Shoot at a playground or outside where they can run around. Or if you’re in a studio, bring a toy or have the kids play with something they like. (You can keep those toys in the shot if it works).  Basically, you want them to distract their focus from the camera (and keep them entertained) until you’re ready. Jangling keys over your lens …. totally works.

Tip #4 – k.i.s.s {keep it simple … silly!}

Keep your equipment easy and simple. You’ll have enough to handle with your subject. If you have crazy equipment bring in a friend to help as a second pair of hands. Heck, bring a friend anyway.  Also, if you have a setting like “sports” or “child” use it. A fast shutter speed and a fast recycle time will help you get more shots. If you have a camera that “thinks” before it shutters, hold the shutter half way down until you see the shot you want to take – no lag time.

Tip #5 – go outside

Shoot outdoors when you can – the light is right. If you’re indoors try bouncing flash or opening a lot of curtains.  Always keep an eye out for the background. Trust me, I have seen my share of palm trees growing out of heads. Don’t let your children become victims to the ‘head pole’ menace. Use what you find outdoors in your shots too. Have your kids climb trees, or look through fence holes, or play on the swings … use these elements to frame your shot.

Tip #6 – plant those kids

Here’s a favorite trick for the wiggly ones. Stick those kids in a swing, a bucket or even (ala the dreaded Anne Geddes) a tire or flower pot. Sometimes you do what you have to do. And, hey if we have to take the Anne Geddes shot it’s not terribly lame – it’s cool … um, right?

Good luck!


Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day!

It’s been quite a week. I finally dug into an old chest of my mom’s photos – all gems.

What else could I do? I’ve scanned them all in, and I’m currently editing every single one. I can’t wait to make some new photo books of old treasures.

Here’s one of my favorites of my Oma, in honor of all flexible women everywhere!



R.I.P. mom. I love you!

Annika’s First Communion

A mini-session with my beautiful friend Annika, who celebrated her very first communion yesterday!

Congratulations Annika!

On the way to church with her dad.

Ask a photog – blurry photos?

Because I’m a pro, I never forget to bring the proper equipment.

Okay, you got me … because I’m a pro, I have a lot of tricks up my sleeve! 😉 I always get the shot, even if I leave the tripod behind. Here are a few tricks for stabilizing your camera when you don’t have a tripod.

Honey I left the tripod at home

{Don’t forget that if your shutter speed is lower than 1/60th (maybe 1/40th if you are steady) then you will have an unfocused photograph.}

Tip #1 – increase your ISO

The easiest is the best. Can you change your ISO? An increase in ISO will let you shoot at a higher shutter speed thus eliminating the need for a tripod all together.

Tip #2 – hold your breath

If your shutter speed is between 1/30th – 1/50th you may be able to steady yourself. Check your camera settings, step wide (about two feet – make yourself a tripod), press the camera to your face, take a deep breath and hold it, then take your picture.

Tip #3 – find a friend

Find a friend! Have your friend step wide and step wide yourself. Get nice and close until the two of you almost create a quad-pod. Use your friend’s shoulder or head and press down with your camera. (Avoid hurting your friend.) Both of you should take a deep breath and hold it – release the shutter.

Tip #4 – find a flat surface

Find a flat surface nearby. Tree stumps or tree “Y’s” are useful – as are barricades, fences and balconies. You can use these surfaces to steady yourself or your camera as you take your picture. If you can let go of your camera use your self-timer.

Tip #5 – use your flash

Use your flash. The use of a flash “stills” action. This will work if you are taking pictures of people or something within about 3-10 feet of your camera. If you are taking a wide shot, or a landscape photograph, this won’t work for you.

Tip #6 – use your self timer

Use your self-timer whenever possible. The act of pressing the shutter shakes the camera and as we all know, every bit helps.

Tip #7 – buy a faster lens

If you’re fancy-schmancy SLR shooter like me, get your self a great fast-lens. My 50mm 1.8 works great, and quickly, in all light sources.

Good luck!


{Nope – this image isn’t photoshopped. This photo was a team effort. How did we do this without a tripod? Easy, we followed some of the steps above. We each took turns holding the camera on a steady flat surface. Our camera was on “bulb” setting, which means the shutter stayed open until we manually closed it. Then, we each took turns “flashing” each other in front of the lens. Neat, right? Now, it’s your turn.}

The new family

Hello Baby Ian. You are so loved!

Here are a few shots from our recent full-session: