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Take a peek at Pam and Kyle’s big day!

As a general rule, we love shooting weddings at Ancala Country Club, but to have a fun couple like Pam and Kyle makes it even better!

There were so many good things at this wedding, I don’t even know where to start!  We’ll start with Pam (why? because it just makes sense to start with the bride, right?).  Pam had the freaking coolest dress and I couldn’t stop looking at it and taking pictures of it.

I did refrain from touching it because that would make me the creepy photographer that her and her friends talk about for years to come at reunions… but the ruffly shininess was definitely tempting!  As you can see from the tons of pics I have of them… her flowers were another irresistible force for me!

I think there’s this little girl part inside of me that believes (after years of being told this on Valentine’s Day) that red roses make you special and beautiful.  Add that to the whole “diamonds are a girls best friend” thing and I’m hooked.

(oh and by the way, it didn’t actually come with a diamond ring in it.  Although that’s probably the only thing that could’ve made it better than it already was. Ha).

So not to revert to my subconscious too much, but I’m pretty sure Pam’s flowing dress and bling bouquet captured my “little girl wanting to be a princess on her wedding day” psyche perfectly.

You know they are made for each other, because as Pam fully represented girly wedding day dreams, Kyle was the epitome of guy coolness as he threw on his shades and slapped down a few chips for this poker game before the ceremony.  What guy doesn’t want a photo of himself looking this awesome!?

Here’s another one with Kyle in all his awesomeness…

Pam and Kyle decided to veer from the traditional wedding day superstitious practices and see each other before the wedding.  So we set up a “reveal moment” on the golf course for them.  We try to do pre-ceremony reveal moments whenever we can because we LOVE the fact that a couple gets to have some intimate time alone together on the wedding day (the rest of the day is filled with craziness, a little chaos, and mobs of family and friends rushing them at all times).

Having a reveal moment is the perfect chance to freeze a moment of time together to cling to when they remember their wedding.  Pam and Kyle said multiple times that they are so glad they did a reveal moment because it took a ton of stress off the wedding day schedule since we got all the photos done ahead of time so that once their day got going, they were able to just hang out with their guests and go with the flow without an hour of interuption for photos.

It also helped Pam a lot to have a reveal moment because she was very nervous to walk down the aisle in front of so many people and as soon as she saw him, she relaxed a ton and felt like they were more together in all of this. It was awesome for them to get to really feel and express their true emotions the first time they saw each other, instead of feeling like they have to be all reserved in front of a bunch of people during a formal ceremony.

We see a lot of brides who are either stressed or very nervous and then relax as soon as they are with their groom (which we love because it definitely shows how good they are for one another), but for a lot of them this doesn’t come until after the ceremony so the brides spend a good chunk of their day trying to handle these crazy emotions all on their own.  It was so beautiful to watch Pam and Kyle come together on their wedding day in a private moment that was meant for the two of them to step back from the insanity of a wedding day and just be in love for awhile.  Awesome.

I mentioned earlier how much we love shooting at Ancala Country Club… and that’s SO true!  The coordinator for weddings there, Dawn, is AMAZING at what she does!  We’ve done quite a few weddings there, and while the location is beautiful (just check out the photo below), the biggest reason we like it is because we love working with her! She is super professional, but she’s also the kind of person that I can totally see sitting down with a bride and just going back and forth in girl language, getting more and more high pitched as they BOTH get super excited while going over all the details that the wedding entails!  She’s a planner who knows what she’s doing, but she’s also your friend in the way that she loves talking about your wedding and she’s very easy to relate to.  You can have a blast with her even during a formal meeting!  So thanks to Dawn and all the staff at Ancala for helping to create another beautiful wedding for us to capture! Here are some shots that speak volumes about this amazing location!

As you can probably tell by now, Pam and Kyle were an easy couple for us to work with because one of our main goals is to capture genuine emotion… and they were awesome at putting it out there for us to catch!  They were so fun and super expressive.  Here are just a few of their great expressions that we got (check out the rest of the photos to see more)!

(I love how he’s looking at her in these).

(Trying so hard not to cry… she almost made it too!)

As you can see, they were just as expressive about the fun stuff as they were the serious stuff… and their guests were the same way.

(The groomsmen are winning millions on the lottery tickets the bride and groom gave them as a wedding favor… so do Pam and Kyle get a cut of everyone’s winnings?!  I wonder if traditional wedding etiquette has an answer for that. Ha ha).

(The bridesmaids are ready to get the party started!)

Their reception was a fantastic party!  They had their DJ go crazy with fun games and events!

Of course there was all the usual fun dancing time as well!

I had the hardest time choosing which pictures to use for the blog, I love them all (Click to see the rest of them)!  Here are a few more on my giant list of favorite pics from this wedding…

Pam and Kyle, thank you so much for choosing us to be the ones to have the privilege of shooting your wedding. I know that sounds cliche, but I really do mean it and there’s not better way to say it because we really do consider it an honor that you trusted us to get the photos on your once in a lifetime day!  You guys are SUCH a fun couple and we really loved your wedding.  Congratulations!  Click here to see the rest of  Pam and Kyle’s Scottsdale, Arizona wedding photos!

Michael and Bethany are engaged and ready for Mexico!

Bethany and I met right before I got married, so she was able to go to my “destination” wedding (if you count a little mountain town 4 hours North of Phoenix as a”destination”), and now I get to go to her destination wedding… as her photographer!  Considering that Bethany’s wedding is international, I think it definitely counts as destination!

With as much trouble as Bethany and Mike had with their wedding planning, we couldn’t be happier for them with how it all has worked out!  Radiant was the first vendor they chose but they couldn’t find a location in Phoenix they liked.  Once they did find a place, it went bankrupt and they were starting at square 1 again!  Finally they just said, “Screw it, we’re outta here!” and they decided to do their wedding in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico (near Cancun).

So we’d been talking about their engagement session for awhile before they even officially booked us since they were still waiting on finalizing a location and a date.  By the time the day came to actually do their session, we were very excited and I think it’s safe to say that Bethany was very relieved that she was finally making headway in her wedding planning to do list!

We couldn’t have asked for better people to work with!  Though Bethany and I were friends, we’ve been out of touch for the last couple of years (and then re-united thanks to the magic of Facebook), so when she contacted me about doing their wedding photography, I was thrilled!  It’s been so fun getting to spend time with her again, especially during such an important time in her life!  Mike is super friendly and the kind of guy who makes you feel comfortable the very first time you meet him, so of course we liked him right away and we could not be more happy that Bethany found such a great guy!:-)

You only have to see one photo of Bethany and Mike to know that they are a photographer’s dream!  I don’t think we could take a bad photo of 2 people who are so good looking even if we wanted to!

The actual session was a blast too!  Mike has 2 boxers that he loves… we knew that because he showed us a picture of them on his phone the first time we met him!;-)

These dogs are definitely a part of the family so we thought it would be fun if he brought them along…I’m not sure if Mike agreed in the end because these guys were full to the brim with excitement and Mike was stressing out trying to get them to be better models for us!

We loved it though, they were hilarious and we couldn’t think of a better way to ease some of the awkwardness that couples inevitably feel in the first 15 min. of their sessions!  Plus, Scottie LOVES boxers, so he was very happy to get a chance to spend some time with these 2 loving animals. Although, as much as he loves our new little chihuahua (how we ended up with a chihuahua is a whole other story in itself), I’m sure being around these awesome dogs did make him a little jealous that he doesn’t have another boxer yet.

We only kept the dogs for the first part of the session and Bethany’s parents were kind enough to come get them and take them home so we’d have a chance to get some shots where Bethany and Mike’s arms aren’t being yanked off!

And I’m happy to report that we did in fact get some “normal” shots (if you can call any photo of these 2 anything other than amazing) of them hanging out together at DC Ranch once the dogs were safely at home.

Thank you guys so much for choosing us for your photography and for being such good sports about bringing the dogs to your session!  We absolutely can’t wait for your Playa Del Carmen wedding!  Seriously, Scottie talks about it and reads about the location online every single day!! Click to see the rest of Bethany and Mike’s Phoenix engagement photo session!

Rachelle & Paul are ALMOST married!

The engagement session we shot with Rachelle and Paul was really fun for us…. and also a little different for us.  The couple was great and totally on their game with smiles and poses.

We loved it because whenever they looked at each other they would just bust up laughing… such a cute couple in love!  It was awesome.

The part that was “different” about this session was that Scottie and I switched roles a little bit.  Usually Scottie is the “lead” shooter.  Which means he poses couples with his vision, while I stand further back with a lens that zooms in close and I focus on catching the intimate moments that happen “between” the poses.  This time, I led the session for a good part of it and Scottie got the sneaky shots!  Scottie was VERY excited because it can be exhausting to lead all the time, so he just got to chill in the background and let me take over this time.  Luckily, Rachelle and Paul were very easy to work with and I was totally relaxed around them, so I was good and ready to take over the session!

Scottie and I always joke about who’s the better photographer (don’t worry, we’re still great at encouraging each other as well!) and him being the lead most of the time puts him at an advantage to get the shots that you get to “design” a little more and you can take all the time in the world to get that perfect shot.  Second shooter is at the mercy of chance… to chance that you can click the button at the EXACT right moment of the couple interacting, not a moment too soon (aka blinking pics) and not a moment too late (aka guys wiping lip gloss off pics) and to chance that your camera settings are perfectly right to catch that perfect moment in the perfect setting.   So basically, now that I’m leading more sessions… watch out Scottie!

(This is my favorite photo that I took when I was leading)!


(Oh and this one…)


(… and these… well, you get the idea. Basically I had fun leading)!:-)

Back to the happy couple…

Rachelle and Paul confided in us when we first got there that they were worried about being awkward in front of the camera.  I was totally shocked when they told me that because they seemed so natural!

Some couples do better when we pose them and some do better when we just put them in the right lighting and tell them to hang out together.  Rachelle and Paul did amazing when they were just interacting.  We loved capturing all the tiny intimate moments between the two of them!

Hopefully they felt good enough about how the engagement session went that they can spend their time worrying about things other than photography on their wedding day (i.e. tripping down the aisle, passing out before you say “I do”, and bees being drawn to the flowers… you know, all the important stuff!).  Don’t worry guys, I’m totally kidding about this stuff,  I’ve been to countless weddings over the years and I’ve never seen any of this happen!  This is why we do the engagement session… to give us all a little practice session before the wedding!  Now we know that they feel the most comfortable when interacting with one another and they know how to hold a long kiss with people looking on and cameras shoved in their faces!

Rachelle and Paul, thanks for being so friendly and easy to work with!  We can’t wait to see your smiling faces standing at the alter with all your family and friends smiling back!  Click to see the rest of Rachelle and Paul’s Tempe Town Lake engagement session.

Lee and Suzanne’s wedding on Top of the Rock!

The main goal of Lee and Suzanne’s wedding (other than for them to be joined as husband and wife!) was to have a great time with their friends and family. 

So they planned an intimate morning wedding at The Buttes Resort

…and had a brunch reception (complete with an awesome chocolate fountain) at Top of the Rock Restaurant there. Top of the Rock has a special place in my heart because it is where I wanted to go to every year for my birthday dinner when I was a little kid.  My parents were always confused why I wanted to go to a fancy place instead of  somewhere for kids.  One year they finally asked me and I said it was because the door handles there are made out of rocks!  We started going to Chucky Cheese after that.

And let me tell you, they definitely succeeded in their goal to have a great time with family and friends!  It was so fun watching them interact with their loved ones before the ceremony, during family portraits, and at the reception.

Well, especially at the reception I should say!  I’ve never seen people get down and dance so hard during the afternoon before!  I’m sure a good part of that had to do with their AH-MAZING DJ, Chad, from All American DJ.  We’ve worked with him on more than a few weddings and every time he is super professional, fun (but not obnoxious), and he gets the party going with some great activities, all while managing to keep the attention on the right people and off of himself…. perfect.  He was a success, yet again, at this wedding where everyone was on their feet most of the time.

Lee and Suzanne had taken dance lessons for their wedding (we got some shots of them practicing at their engagement session), and by the looks of it, you would think the rest of their guests had been taking classes with them all along as well!  The father/daughter dance was particularly one of our favorites since they did a really fun song (I believe it was “Another One Bites the Dust”) and just had a blast with it (that’s the pic on the left above)! Of course the mother son dance gave it a run for it’s money since it was totally beautiful and full of genuine emotion.

Lee & Suzanne, we were very proud of you on your first dance as well… your lessons paid off!

Somehow Lee and Suzanne had enough time to plan, not only a really fun reception, but also to add in some beautiful details as well!  Here’s a few shots of the little things that made up the bigger picture of their wedding day…

(Just a minor detail there… it’s only the marriage license!):-)

And here’s a few more of my favorite pics of the happy couple!

Congratulations Lee and Suzanne!!  We’re glad your wedding was a success in all ways and we wish you all the best!  Click to see the rest of Lee and Suzanne’s Top of the Rock wedding photos!

Vicki & Zach FINALLY get an engagement session!

You may remember Tim from my brother’s wedding.  He was the main photographer there since Scottie was pulling double duty as a photographer/ groomsman and I got the chance to be a full- fledged bridesmaid!  So because we love his work enough to choose him for our own family member’s wedding, here Tim pops up again as the main photographer for Vicki & Zach’s wedding!

One thing we love about Tim (other than his mad photography skillz and just his genuine, intriguing, intelligent self ) is his desire to truly help people.  You may remember our blog about Abby and the work she does in Africa (especially since it’s right below this one) well, Abby is Tim’s sister-in-law!  Tim is saving all the money he makes doing photography to go to Africa with his wife to visit Abby next summer.  We’re more than thrilled to help fund Tim’s worth while goal.

When he’s not working with Radiant, Tim is a High School English teacher (this is starting to sound like an add on eharmony or something).  Judging by his extraordinarily creative vocabulary (and his chosen profession) I figured he was a good writer, but I was still surprised by just how good he actually is when I read the blog he wrote about Vicki & Zach’s engagement session!

And now, some words from the man himself!!

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They say, “Good things come to those who wait.”  For Vicki and Zach’s engagement shoot, this couldn’t be more true.

We were originally scheduled to shoot in December, at Tempe Town Lake, but the Iron Man Triathlon foiled the plans – not many people want short-shorted people adorning the background of their engagement photos.  We blindly rescheduled for January, a few weeks after the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.

A few weeks before the rescheduled shoot, we realized the PF Change Rock and Roll Marathon was scheduled for the same day!  Coincidence?  Nay.  Frustration?  Yeah.

We settled on Scottsdale Civic Center Park – home of the infamous “LOVE” sculpture on a chilly Sunday morning and the day couldn’t have gone better.

Vicki and Zach were such a pleasure to work with.  Comfortable in their own right and with one another, they were photogenic to say the least.

We cruised around the park, and with Scottie as our guide, hit some great spots for shooting.  Vicki and Zach appeased our creative risk-taking as we placed them on cold metal walls and had them dance around in plain view of passersby.

All in all, it was a great shoot and I am very much looking forward to photographing Vicki and Zach’s wedding in May. Click to see the rest of Vicki and Zach’s Scottsdale Engagement photos.