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Monthly Archives: August 2011

A burned forest, a tool shed, and a leap into the pond… Christen and Jay’s Unique Session

After a wedding day full of phrases like “OK, we’re going to run out in the rain to get exactly 2 photos, ready? One… two… three… GO!” We were crossing our fingers for sunshine and clear skies for Christen and Jay’s Unique Session the next day.

No such luck.

Well, I take that back, because we actually DID have quite a bit of luck.  We had just enough time to get the main outdoor shots we needed in the places we wanted to go, while running for brief interludes of rain cover in between the few moments of dryness.

(literally… running).

Luckily, there was one covered area that provided us with some sick pictures and that was the barn/tool shed on the property!

Who knew, right?!

(Good thing Christen is an athlete because some of the positions and poses she had to hold to get these were pretty complex and required plenty of muscle!).

One of the outdoor spots we found allowed us to get some of the most dramatic shots EVER!

I do feel a little guilty capitalizing on the misfortunes of a burned forest… but look at these pictures, wouldn’t you do it?!

While they had joked about doing it on the wedding day, I wasn’t sure it would actually happen… but boy was I wrong! I’m talking about what you’re about to see in the following pics…

Yep!  They jumped into the water together!

So adorable right?!

There couldn’t be a better end to a mountain top Unique Session than a quick swim in the pond in your wedding dress!

But what happened after we took those pictures was even better!!!  We had the opportunity to go back into the dream cabin that they got married in (click here to read about their wedding and the place it was at) and sit at a long family style table eating wedding food leftovers with Jay and Christen, Josh and Kelley (our associate photographers), and Christen’s parents.

We had THE best time sitting around laughing, settling down for some more serious moments, and listening to stories about their lives in South Africa and their complicated process of immigration to the U.S.  It was one of those rare moments that you wish you could just freeze in time.

There we were… sitting around in a gorgeous home in the woods, eating amazing food, getting to know some of the kindest people I’ve ever met, listening to the sort of incredible stories that really make you think and feel like you’ve learned something… all while knowing we were there to celebrate a wedding between two perfectly matched individuals that we’ve grown to care deeply about.  Now that is what I call an unforgettable night.

Which was a great end to a great session!

Thanks to you all for treating us like family and for being such a wonderful example of the kind of family we aspire to have ourselves one day.  Congratulations and we hope we get to see you again one day in the very near future!

Click to see the rest of the photos from the wedding and from Christen and Jay’s Forrest Unique Session.

(This picture looks like it was taken in a dreamland doesn’t it?!)


The Mykytiuk Family together for laughter and food on picture day!

It seems like only yesterday that Zach needed his senior pictures done.  But really it was actually a long time ago and we haven’t really seen the Mykytiuk family much since then.

So we were thrilled at the opportunity to get to spend a little more time with them when Annie and Paul called us to take family pictures for them.  Only this time we got to meet the WHOLE Mykytiuk family!

We quickly discovered that if there’s anything better than a few Mykytiuks, it’s tons of Mykytiuks! Talk about a boisterous family!

We did the normal posy-posy stuff and then we could barely stop them from working on strange body contortions, family pyramids, and fake fighting scenes.

Definitely not the kind of poses you expect from a family session!

(This one was no pose, she was actually just that scared to go on her sister’s shoulders!)(This is the parents breaking up a pretend fight… or at least they told us it was pretend!)

I wish we could take credit for how fun some of these pictures are… but it really was just them being them!

We had lots…

… and lots…

…of laughs that day.

And to finish it all off, we crowded around their big family style table and joined them for dinner… after we took a few photos of it of course!

I was happy that we got to capture the type of meal that just screams family.

Whether it reminds them of Christmas, Thanksgivings, Birthdays, or whatever… I’m sure these photos of a big family meal together will conjure up all kinds of nostalgia for the Mykytiuk family for years to come and forever remind them of what it means to be family.

Thanks for letting us be a part of the fun and the memories!

Click to see the rest of the Mykytiuk family photos here.

Christen and Jay’s Log Cabin Wedding to Remember

Christen and Jay’s wedding was a very special one for us.

We didn’t know Christen at all before we met with her about shooting her wedding and by the time we left our very first meeting with her, we felt like we’d known her forever.

We definitely have a lot in common and have many shared passions, including our work with the Princess Program which you may remember from past blogs.  In fact, after that first meeting, we had a chance to watch Christen work with the Princess Program’s teen foster girls at one of their events that we photographed and let me tell you, both Scottie and I had tears in our eyes watching Christen work her magic helping these hardened girls soften up so they could have the night of their lives.

No matter how difficult, hurt, or shy the teen girl was that she was interacting with, Christen could get her to come out of her shell within minutes and it was like watching a miracle happen.  When we left that event, we both felt so lucky that we were going to have the opportunity to work with such an amazing girl.  Her love for people and her ability to connect to people from all walks of life is one of the many things that we love about Christen.

(As you can see, her parents -in the pics above and below- definitely played a major part in teaching her how to love).

Over the time that we worked with her while planning her wedding, our love for Christen grew with each interaction we had.  So much so that when we finally got around to meeting Jay (who wasn’t living in the same city during the time of the wedding planning) on the wedding day, both Scottie and I were pretty skeptical that there could be a guy in this world who was good enough for Christen.

We definitely felt protective of her and neither of us realized we felt this way until we actually met him and noticed how surprised we were when we discovered that he was perfect for Christen and we liked him a ton immediately!

As their wedding day drew on, we found ourselves liking him more and more and our initial assumptions about him were confirmed… he really is an amazing guy and he actually is good enough for the wonderful Christen! 🙂

(You can tell he’s a good guy because he voluntarily rubs her feet for her!).

Every speech made about him, every embrace from one of her family members to him, told us that we weren’t the only ones in the room who felt this way.

Not only was this couple themselves super important to us, but their wedding itself had a lot of significance for us because it reminded us SO much of our own wedding!  Christen and Jay really love the outdoors and when Christen first emailed me, she was looking for venue suggestions of places that had trees.

Considering Phoenix is a desert, she was obviously having a hard time in this quest so I suggested that she do what we did and head up to the forest in Northern, AZ to have a sort of destination wedding (since Christen is originally from South Africa, for many of her family and friends this really was a major destination wedding either way!)!

She loved the idea and soon after, they found the perfect place in Heber, AZ.  It’s a personal vacation home for a family that Jay knows and it’s called the Legacy Lodge.

The Lodge was built in Canada and then all 21,000 square feet of it was transported to Arizona using 20 semi trucks to do it! It has survived fire and flood and continues to be a respite for the family who built it, as well as a place that they are kind enough to share with friends like Christen and Jay.  You can read about the Legacy Lodge here, there’s some very interesting tradition tied to it!

(Like our Facebook page to tag yourself in some of these photos!).

I have to say, there is just something about a mountain destination wedding that feels like no other kind of wedding to me.

Everyone is relaxed and in vacation mode, plus they’ve spent several days together and have already had a great time and made tons of new memories together.

There’s just an overall feel of relaxation and calmness amongst the guests at a mountain wedding, which are not exactly the first words you typically think of when you think weddings!

It’s a good thing that this was a relaxed wedding by the way, because you really have to be chill when the entire schedule gets changed around to accommodate for rain (which Christen handled very well by the way and everything ended up working out great!).

(Getting a little nervous as she looked out at the looming clouds… and all the people she was about to walk in front of!).

(Look at those rain clouds! We were able to pop out while the rain stopped for just a few minutes to get these outdoor shots!).

We picked up on this chill vibe as soon as we arrived at the lodge property and with the beautiful scenic view of pine trees and a lake, combined with the comforting smell of a wood cabin, Scottie and I immediately felt like we were transported back to June 4, 2005 on our own wedding day.

We felt at home.

Everything from the scenery, the attitude, the homemade details, to the fresh scent of pine made us feel sentimental and inspired.

We LOVED it!

Adding to our homey/comfortable feel, was the fact that we got to work with a wedding planner we’ve worked with many times before, Margie Walinski at Party Presentations (who did a fabulous job making this beautiful wedding happen by the way!).

(The little flower girl was smiling up at them like that throughout the entire ceremony! So cute!).

We were also surprised to find that our good friend Jay Worsley, from Everly Films, was hired last minute to be the videographer!  See the wedding video trailer here to get even more of the experience from this wedding day!

The entire wedding was beautiful and covered with personal touches!

There was even a little bit of South African food to top it all off and give us a taste of Christen’s homeland!

It seems to me that when you realize that you are better with someone than you are by yourself, you know you’re doing the right thing by getting married and I can definitely say I believe this is true for Christen and Jay.

They truly are the perfect team and I think their mutual love for people will prove stronger with them working together as a married couple than it would be if they continued on with their lives as separate individuals.

Thanks to the both of you for being such amazing, incredible people and for giving us the opportunity to work with you! We couldn’t have hoped to work with a better couple on a better wedding!  Thanks so much!  We can’t wait for you to see the pictures from your UNIQUE SESSION that we shot of the two of you the day after your wedding… I think you’re going to absolutely love them- we do!!  Coming soon!

Click to see the rest of Christen and Jay’s Mountain Wedding Photos.

Cute Couple Overload… Stephanie and Garrison’s Wedding

Stephanie and Garrison have quite a history with Radiant, so we were beyond stoked when they called us and asked us to be a part of the biggest day of their lives!

To make a long story short, it wasn’t until after we’d already established a relationship with both Stephanie’s family and Garrison’s family, as well as shot one wedding for each, that we found out that my mom went to school with one of each of their parents!

So of course, this means that Stephanie’s dad and Garrison’s mom also went to school together.  They did, but that’s not even how Stephanie and Garrison met! Their story’s even cuter than that!

Here’s how it happened… Stephanie took a job dog sitting next door to Garrison’s parent’s house. Apparently, the neighbor had previously informed Garrison that a really pretty girl was next door that he might want to find a way to meet… so he  took  the advice and did just that.

(Good thing he did too… I mean, just look at her!).

Garrison threw a frisbee over the wall on “accident” and had to go knock on the door to meet Stephanie and “get the frisbee”.  Genius isn’t it?!

It definitely worked and they spent the rest of her dog sitting experience that summer hanging out together.  It wasn’t until down the road that they figured out that their parents not only went to high school together, but were actually neighbors!  And of course considering that Stephanie and Garrison met being neighbors… this story just couldn’t get any more adorable!

As I mentioned, this was not the first Radiant wedding for either Stephanie or Garrison’s family. Before we shot their wedding, we had also photographed weddings for both Garrison’s sister and Stephanie’s sister!

So there were three couples at this wedding who are related who’s wedding we’ve been a part of.  How awesome is that?!

(Here are the three Radiant couples! The couple on the left, also has a baby but he was sleeping when we took this.)

So a chance to work with two of our favorite families again at the same wedding… in July in Phoenix when it’s 112 degrees outside… totally worth it. At least it wasn’t the day before which hit a record setting 118 degrees Fahrenheit!

I can’t even explain to you how much I love seeing two incredible families join together like this!  You should’ve SEEN that party on the dance floor.  Oh yes, everyone in both of those families knows how to have a good time and when you put that many fun people in one room together, you’re going to have one fantastic party!

(Stephanie’s sister and her husband entertaining the newly weds!).

I seriously was smiling during the entire reception because it was so much fun watching all these wonderful people that I care so much about having fun together and busting a move while celebrating such a beautiful thing as a wedding together.

As if these two families could get any cooler, I noticed one major thing at this wedding that really stood out to me and spoke volumes about the quality of these families.  All the in-laws for all the kids in these two families were present at this wedding.  That means that when one of the kids in either Stephanie or Garrison’s families gets married, their entire family adopts their new family in as one of their own.  Of course that’s what’s supposed to happen when two people get married, but how often does it really?  I thought that said a lot about these people!

(Garrison’s dad prepping the get away car with his son-in-law).

Now that I’ve gone on and on about their families, let me tell you about Stephanie and Garrison themselves!

(Like our Facebook page to tag yourself in some of the photos… including the photobooth photos!).

When I remember them on their wedding day, the first thing I think of is how freaking adorable they were together!

It didn’t matter what chaos was going on or what pressing matters there were for them to attend to, when they were together, nothing else mattered and all else faded into the background.

I was so glad they chose to do a reveal moment and see one another before the ceremony because as soon as they were together, the stresses of the day just seemed to melt off their shoulders… which is exactly how a wedding day should be.

I don’t think there’s anything you could say to convince me that these two aren’t madly and completely in love.

I think they had love coming out of their pores!  Along with the sweat that 117 inevitably brings!

To sum up…this perfect wedding day included a beautiful venue (if you haven’t been to The Clayton on the Park yet, put that on your to do list because it’s a must see!), 2 lovely families, a rocking party, and a head over heels in love couple… what more could you ask for on a wedding day?!

Stephanie and Garrison, thank you oh so very much for letting us into your lives on this special day and for being as wonderful to each other as you are. Just being around you two together makes me happy!  We love you both and we wish you the best!  Congratulations!

Click to see the rest of Stephanie and Garrison’s wedding photos (and the photobooth pictures!)!

The Jones Family…smiling pretty for their Carlsbad photo session!

Ah the Jones Family.

These people have been a part of my life since I (Breanna) was 12 years old. I was friends with Ryan back then and once I hit my freshman year of high school, his sister (Tara) became my mentor.

(Ryan on the right…)

(Tara on the right).

It wasn’t until a while into these friendships that I found out that their mom, JoAnn, had gone to high school with my mom!

So I have seen a lot happen in this family as Tara and Ryan have grown up, gotten married, and had kids.

Ironically enough, Tara became a photographer as well (no, she didn’t try to sway me in that direction when she was my mentor… we both did it independently!)!

So we have been following one another’s work for awhile now and when it came time to give her mom a mother’s day present, she decided that a family photo session with Radiant would do the trick!

The best part about it, was that I was once again enfolded into the lives of this fantastic family… and this time I got to be a part of family tradition!

(As you can see by this picture, we’re talking about a REALLY fun family tradition!!! Beach joy is the best.).

Every summer since JoAnn was a little girl, she has gone to Carlsbad, California for vacation. And once she married Doug, they began bringing their own kids to the same spot… and now they get to come along with their grandkids as well!

They stay at the Carlsbad Inn each time and they’ve become so regular with their vacations that they’ve become great friends with some of the other families that stay there every year too!

I am so impressed that they’ve been able to keep up this tradition for so many years… especially because it is one of the best family traditions I’ve ever heard of!

(Funny how it’s easier to get in the hole than out, isn’t it?!).

It was really fun to get to know the little ones in the Jones family now!  They all have such unique personalities and it was so fun for me to be able to spot certain parts of each kid that reminded me of both Tara and Ryan as I knew them when they were younger.

(Ryan, I’m not saying that you did, and I’m not saying that you didn’t, put sand in Tara’s mouth when you were little).

(She has always looked like Tara to me!).

(And this little one, actually reminded me of my own brother more than anyone else!).

(I love this slow motion one that starts out as a brotherly hug and ends with a hardcore belly bump into the sand!!!).

I was really glad that my husband got to spend some time with a family who was such a major part of my life growing up and that I got to get to know both Tara’s husband (Chris) and Ryan’s wife (Danae) better as well.

It was also so cool to watch these little siblings and cousins all play together!

Especially knowing that they are going to grow up coming to this exact same spot to play together for years to come and hopefully even once they all have kids of their own!

(I LOVE the way she’s looking at her dad in this one!!!).

(… and the way he’s cuddling up with his mom in this one!!!).

It’s so crazy to think that the children of these kids here will look back on these photos of their parents playing in the same spot when they were little.  Awesome.  And such a huge blessing for us to be a part of it all.

Thanks to all of you for taking a little time out of your vacation for us and for being such great models while trying to keep everyone together in one piece all at the same time!  It’s hard wrangling in such a big group for photos and you guys pulled it off perfectly!

We hope you love all the photos and we’ll see you all soon! 🙂

Click to see the rest of the photos from the Jones Family’s Carlsbad photo session.