Category Archives: Special events
I always thought it was weird when people pinch themselves in movies to see if what they’re seeing is real. I mean, I’ve never thought to pinch myself when I’m in a dream and then said “well that didn’t hurt so I guess I’m dreaming”. But I take back my skepticism on the whole pinching thing because I was really tempted to do it several times during the week that we were hanging out with Katy and Shaun and all their friends before their wedding in Hawaii.
(Katie is on the far right and Shaun is sitting to the left of her… and he’s the only boy in the picture).
Let me start by saying this blog will be different than our normal posts. We usually write from the perspective of impartial outsiders who are there to capture a visual record of what’s happening around us.
But Katy and Shaun were cool enough to allow us into their circle of friends and invited us to be just as much guests as we were “hired help”, “vendors”, or whatever other cold and isolated word you could put on it. Throughout the week we were anything but isolated from this astounding couple and their equally wonderful friends.
So instead of writing this blog from the view of 2 photographers who watched all the amazingness happen from the outside, we’re going to write as 2 people who’s lives were affected greatly by Katy and Shaun’s and the beautiful people they’ve surrounded themselves with.
Scottie and I (Breanna) spent 2 weeks vacationing in Hawaii before Katy and Shaun’s showed up with their crew which signified the start of our official “job”. And yet despite the fact that we were working during our 3rd week in Hawaii, it was at least twice as fun as our first two weeks were! (This picture totally cracks me up. She decided to get her snorkel because she was getting too much water in her eyes. Genius!).
The factor that changed and made all the difference was that we were surrounded by a bunch of hyper-intelligent, creative, fun, and ultra cool people (aka Katy & Shaun and their wedding guests).
And really, I’m totally not exaggerating when I say that with the exception of our own wedding week, I think this past week was one of the best in our lives.
I turned to Scottie at least twice and said, “you know, I really can’t ever remember a time where I was happy at this ridiculously high level for such a crazy long amount of time before!” I know we were in one of the most beautiful places in the world, doing all kinds of fun stuff, but it didn’t turn into the best week of my life until we input the new relationships into the equation.
In order to understand why this was a wedding week instead of just a wedding day, you have to understand Katy and Shaun.
These are two people who’s lives revolve around their friendships. In fact, they are known in their group for their huge annual theme parties (which are amazing by the way) that they go through a ton of work to host… and they love every minute of it.
When we were meeting with them at various points throughout their wedding planning, the main thing we heard repeated over and over again with unending enthusiasm, was that this wedding was about the people involved in it all.
(Katy with her mom.)(Shaun with his dad.)
Katy and Shaun made painstaking efforts to do everything in their power to make sure that their guests had the time of their lives…
… and I think that’s exactly what happened.
Now that you’ve had a glimpse into Katy and Shaun’s world back home and the people in it… lets talk about the Hawaii wedding chapter of their lives! Katy and Shaun rented a big house right on the beach to share with their bridal party…
…and a bunch of their guests rented other houses all along the same beach to share with one another.
So basically it was a 24/7 party, overlooking one of the best views you can imagine, in absolutely perfect weather.
To kickoff this week of heaven that Katy and Shaun put together, we had a potluck on the beach in front of one of the houses the guests rented.
Since our job was to capture the whole feel of the week (not just the wedding day), we got to join in on this party (and many others) and reap all the benefits that being guests at a Hawaii wedding has to offer!
For Scottie, one of these main benefits was volleyball. A bunch of Shaun’s friends (including Shaun himself) have either played professional volleyball at one point, or have played so well for so long that they might as well be professional.
This was great news to Scottie who has been looking forward to the day for awhile now where he could play with serious volleyball players again. So of course he saw his chance and jumped in for like a 4 hour or something volleyball showdown (that happened to take place in front of this beautiful mountain backdrop of course).
(Scottie is the giant in the back there).
(There’s Scottie again… the one who looks like he’s about to get beat down!).
He held his own too I might add, I was pretty proud of him for busting out all his latent sporting skills (we’ve both re-discovered a lot of our forgotten skills since we’ve been out from behind our computers for over 3 weeks straight now)!
After Scottie played a game involving Katy he said “When she was playing all I could think about was that scene in ‘Meet the Parents’ where the bride gets hit in the face with a volleyball the day before her wedding.” Thankfully, Katy’s nose was still in tact by the end of the game… but I thought that was pretty funny commentary all the same!
Scottie also jumped into another event that I politely declined (more like bolted in the other direction and pretended not to hear as soon as the words “5:30 am” came out of Shaun’s mouth) and that was a spectacular sunrise hike.
Scottie didn’t escape as quickly as me and since Shaun is one of those people who could convince you to get up at 5 am for a root canal you don’t need, Scottie found himself lacing up his boots and heading up a mountain in the dark early the next morning.
For as good of a “motivator” as Shaun is, he proved to be every bit as honest because once they were at the top, Scottie saw as much beauty as Shaun had promised and more.
In fact I almost (almost being the key word here) wish I had gotten up that early just so people could at least think that there’s a chance that some of these amazing pictures are mine!
Alas, they are not. I slept through a chance of a lifetime and Scottie’s pictures of perfectection will forever be known as Scottie’s pictures alone.
And yet, I can say in all honesty that I’m still glad I slept in that morning (am I lame or what?!).
Another thing I slept through (in this group you’d think I was a freak for needing to sleep EVERY night!) was golf day…
…and again Scottie got some great shots.
But that’s OK I’m holding on to my pride because of my volleyball shots… and just wait until you see my wedding pics! 😉
We have a little healthy competition going on between us if you can’t tell. Good job Scottie, I’m proud of the freaking amazing pictures you took this week… and the next 3 photos are my favorite series from our entire trip.
(Poor brown shirt guy, he didn’t get the blue shirt memo…)
(So his teammates traded him in for the photographer!)
(Poor brown shirt guy, he’ll just never be good enough.)
Ha ha, those crack me up. 🙂 Oh and to end the story, don’t worry… brown shirt guy changed his shirt the next day and found he had friends again!
Anyways, I heard the golfing was a ton of fun and everyone came back with awesome raccoon eye sunburns to prove it!
So now that you all think I’m stupid and lazy for missing such cool morning events… I will say that I got my fill of late night activities! Starting with a “beach crawl” which is basically a pub crawl but with beach houses instead of pubs.
Each house that the guests were staying at had a different theme for their drinks and appetizers that somehow fit the story of Katy and Shaun (for example the last house was occupied by all Katy’s college friends so the theme was “college” and they served lots of beer, jungle juice, and pizza). The grand finale of the beach crawl was to end up at the bar where Shaun’s band was playing that night.
Shaun says that when he thought about what he wanted to do in Hawaii the week of his wedding the first thing he thought was, “well I’ll do what I love… I’ll play with my band”.
(Two very different faces that both show how much he loves what he’s doing).
He told us this months and months ago and he’s been looking forward to it ever since.
There are no words to describe how much I loved this band.
(By the way, you can like our page on Facebook to tag yourself in some of the photos).
Lets just say that as I sat there listening to a particular song in which Max (one of the groomsmen) was smoothly rapping in Portuguese (at least that’s what language I heard someone say it was)…
….among a bunch of incredible musicians who were pouring out their hearts over the noise of a bar…
…that was packed full of their friends swaying to the music and laughing…
…I had another moment where I considered pinching myself to make sure this incredible moment in life was really happening.
So even with all the amazingness that gushed out of these events, I’m still not done telling you about this week of wedding events. Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you everything since including all of it would work better for a great book rather than one measly blog post and I know you are probably all reading this at work and are starting to get nervous that your boss might walk in…that’s right, we have analytics that tells us you all look at our stuff during work hours!
Scottie is actually going to write about the final event (so it will be much shorter!) which is the Groom’s dinner that was held on deck of the U.S.S. Missouri. If you do a quick scan of your brain to find your old high school history lessons (it’s right there past the lyrics to every Bon Jovi song ever written and the phone number to your secret crush’s parent’s house) you’ll find that this is the ship on which the Japanese soldiers stood 65 years ago when they signed the document of their surrender at the end of WWII. It’s a huge piece of history that most people tour during the day… but we got to party on it at night! Of course an experience like this doesn’t slip past us without some once in a lifetime photos coming out of it (and I didn’t sleep through this one!)! See the photos on our blog about the Groom’s Dinner HERE.
If I had to sum up all the events of this week would be to say that even If I decided to make up this entire blog with a fictional story about the week, I couldn’t have written this week any better than it actually happened.
The people, the places, the activities… all of it was just so so SO perfect!
Katy and Shaun, you were the incredible dreamers behind all this and I hope that it was all you wanted and more! We tried all week to tell you how much your wedding meant to us (and there is still so much to that story that we’ll have to tell you when we come visit you in Venice one day soon) so we hope this blog has helped at least give you some idea about how much we really do mean that!
We love you guys and we’re so excited to post the blog about your wedding day very, very soon!
(There are many more photos from all the events to view and purchase. Click here to see ALL the photos from Katy and Shaun’s Hawaii wedding week events!)
If you are a girl (and I’m assuming some of you are), you probably have experienced those glorious moments in your life where you get dressed up, look your best, and actually feel… dare I say it?…. pretty.
I’m not sure if we always realize the significance of those “pretty” moments, until we don’t have any for awhile… especially when it’s been a LONG while!
I (Breanna) recently got to spend time with a group of girls that have quite possibly never, ever had a “pretty moment” before.
These girls are all foster children between the ages of 12-15 and some of them have never even worn a dress before.
(I love this one of a girl in her fancy dress getting ready to trade in her Nike’s for a pair of heels).
I met this bunch at a camp called Teen Reach Adventure Camp or TRAC (sponsored by the amazing group Hope & a Future). Scottie and I were headed up there to take pictures for their special event called The Princess Program.
The goal of the Princess Program is to help these girls feel beautiful both inside and out.
The Princess Program happens on a special night of camp when the girls get all dolled up just like they would for prom (which most of these girls will never get to go to) …
…then they head over to eat a fancy meal prepared just for them…
…followed by a night of carefree dancing and fun (definitely not the norm for any of these girls).
(Aside from volunteers, we can’t legally show the faces of any of the girls involved. It was quite a challenge to tell the story without using faces!).
Dolce Salon and Spa collects used prom dresses and bridesmaid dresses at various points throughout the year to save up quite a selection for these girls to choose from when their special night comes.
When the time comes, they put on the dress…
…get their hair and make up done courtesy of Dolce…
(or courtesy of the camp counselors if there’s a mudslide that shuts down the highway so that most of the Dolce crew isn’t able to make it… as was the case this year!).
(If you happen to be one of the people helping out in some of these photos, you can tag yourself in them on our Facebook page).
…add in some accessories…
…and prepare to be treated like royalty for the rest of night!
When I say royalty, I mean it! I’m talking red carpet, paparazzi, and glittering everything!
Not to mention a group of studs who volunteer to escort the girls down the carpet and spend the rest of the night serving them!
They’re older guys of course, because lets face it, they’re the hottest (ha ha I’m just saying that because I always joke with Scottie about being 6 years older than me)!
In the past, we have promoted the dress drive so that all of our brides know where to send their bridesmaids to donate their dresses once the wedding’s over. However, this year we were asked to volunteer our time to take photos for the actual Princess dinner and we couldn’t have been more honored.
Since it was our first time at this camp, we didn’t quite know what to expect so we were a little nervous. And when we showed up at the camp, we found we weren’t the only ones who were nervous.
The girls there were dressed in old jeans, sweats, and tennis shoes and were struggling to balance both their excitement and their nerves as they anticipated the events that were to come that night!
For a girl who is more used to rejection than loving affection, it can be a very scary thing to have that much positive attention thrust on her all at once!
It was so fun to watch them go through their big transformation. They’d get their hair done and would feign indifference by saying “yeah, it looks OK I guess”, then as they put on their necklaces on they’d try to hide the smiles that were creeping out, and by the time the entire process was done, they were absolutely beaming.
I saw one girl who hadn’t even begun the hair and makeup process, but as soon as she saw herself in the dress she broke down crying.
Of course she had her “cousin” (camp counselors) right there next to her to hold her and encourage the experience she was going through as she finally felt beautiful for the first time ever.
I really loved watching the girls walking down the red carpet arm in arm with their male escorts.
As girls will do, they were all giggly about the guys who were all dressed up and about to… touch their arm (gasp)!! It’s funny how teenage girls never change! 😉 Aside from the shy smiles and darting glances up at the guys’ faces, my favorite part about watching this was how the guys treated them.
I know they had some coaching, but man, the guys took this and ran with it! They only had a runways length to talk to the girl on their arm and in that time they managed to help the girls forget the awkwardness of so many eyes on them and start laughing and… well, feeling beautiful.
You could just see it happening, if there was a confidence meter that you could actually see that day, it would have started at the bottom, climbed slowly up with each “beauty station” the girls passed through, and then shot through the top as they walked down that red carpet with the guys. SO awesome!
After their grand entrances, the girls sat down to a fabulous meal, at an equally stunning table.
I have to say, my jaw completely dropped when I saw the “ballroom”. I mean, they had this place decked out!
I’d be surprised if there was a single piece of hot pink anything left in the state of Arizona that was not in that room once they were done decorating.
No bling, no expense, and definitely no pink was spared as this Princess dinner was created. Just as it should be for a princess.
Props to Margie at Party Presentations for making all the shinyness happen!
The girls proceeded to sit through what was probably the first fancy meal they’ve ever had in their lives, complete with place cards, corsages, crabcakes, and cute waitors who filled up their glasses before they even got half empty.
They were living the high life… and loving every second of it. After dinner came the dancing. The girls learned a few dances and then got to let loose and have a little fun.
I can’t even imagine what a night like this would mean to girls who are so used to being treated the exact opposite of a princess. I know that they will absolutely never forget it.
The best part is that this was just the first night of the TRAC camp! When we left, they still had a couple more days to go where they had people all around them loving on them and trying to reinforce in everyway that they are each just as special as a princess.
P.S. Since one of our goals with our Radiant Love program is to spread the word about different ways to help others in your community, I couldn’t possibly end this without telling you how to get involved (fan us on Facebook to stay updated with our Radiant Love activities along with all our recent photo sessions)! There are so many ways for you to help out with this! You can donate money (and get tax credits!), volunteer time, give your old dresses, etc, etc. And the Princess Program is only one piece of the puzzle. They also have TRAC camps for boys where they have an “All-Star Program“. If you’re looking for a place to invest your time, money, or heart, I highly recommend you check out Hope & a Future because after doing it personally, I’d say it’s a VERY worthwhile investment!
Yes, we will be like everyone else and tell you how important it is to use social networking for your business, but unlike everyone else we will also tell you HOW to use it!!
The meeting we’re speaking at is hosted by the Phoenix SMUG (Smug Mug User Group). SMUG is open to everyone who loves photography. So whether you have a business or you just want to learn how to share your photos on Facebook more effectively… we are personally inviting you to come!
Wed, May 19th, 2010 | 6:30-9:00PM
7740 N. 16 Street
Phoenix, AZ 85020
Email us if you have any questions: email@example.com
In case you’re STILL not convinced to come, here are some of the other perks of attending (thanks to James VanderWeide for taking these photos at our last class!) If you come to a Radiant class, there are all kinds of sights to see. If you’re lucky you’ll get to witness Scottie…
…pegging unsuspecting victims in the leg with baseballs.
…teaching secret Kung Fu Ninja moves…
(the sitting down AND the standing up kind!)…
…taking random breaks to practice his mad dunking skills (you know, in case this whole photography thing doesn’t pan out!)…
…discussing the problem areas of his skin… (there’s one here…
…and oh, it looks like there’s another one here)…
…and of course, who would want to miss a big giant white guy’s attempt at rapping!
Breanna puts on quite a show as well. Often when teaching you can find her…
…pretending like she’s not ready to throw her computer through a wall…
… looking very worried that her gigantic husband might topple over on her…
…standing around doing nothing while Scottie does all the hard work…
…and sometimes she’s just sleeping.
Come to our class… you never know what you’ll catch us doing this time! (By the way, thanks for putting up with our cheesy attempt at captions!)
Scottie & Breanna
We finally have a good answer to that ever so popular question, “Do you guys offer photography classes?” Well I think we at least have a better answer than our old one which was, “uh, um, I…. maybe? Eventually, I think….. hmm” (Some people call that stuttering, we call it being so busy that we don’t even have enough time to formulate complete sentences!). Now the answer to that question is a resounding “YES!!!!” Oh wait I mean, “Yes, we are offering photography classes” (I just wanted to show that I can in fact answer in complete sentences now!).
It’s official… we finally pulled everything together and out came the details for our photography class! That’s right, Scottie and Breanna Chanson from Radiant Photography are now both photographers and teachers (does this mean we get summers off? Or at least a teachers lounge that’s always stocked with cookies?)! So here is the official word you’ve all been waiting for…
What it’s all about…
Learning to see light the way your camera does will completely change the way you approach photography and we want to teach you how to do that! This class will give you the chance to learn how to manipulate various lighting situations to your advantage, have a Q&A time with Scottie & Breanna from Radiant, and to meet other photographers who can continue to encourage you as you learn.
The Need to knows…
- Sunday, March 28th from 3-6pm at SOLA Coffee Bar (7124 E 5th Avenue Scottsdale, AZ, 85251). And just so you know, Sola is really hard to find! You have to look on the actual glass on the door, they don’t have a sign above the building like most of the other places in Oldtown Scottsdale do. So leave early and be prepared to use your eagle eyes! 😉
- $35 a person. You can pay by check or cash at the door. The cost includes a drink of your choice and a pastry from Sola!
- Bring. Your camera, a notebook/pen, and happiness.
- RSVP by March 25th. Just reply to this email.
- Questions or lost? Call 480-284-5973.
- Who’s invited? Anyone with a basic knowledge of their own camera that allows manual control of aperture & shutter (preferably a digital SLR).
We hope to see you all there!!!! I know people always say that, but we mean it! 😉