Category Archives: Scott & Breanna

I always have more to say, here’s as much as Scottie let me put on our blog!

Re-visiting Katy and Shaun’s Hawaiian Wedding Day

In honor of Katy and Shaun’s Hawaiian wedding being featured on Style Me Pretty Destinations today, I’m re-posting the original blog entry about their Sept. 5, 2010 wedding. This is still one of our all time favorite weddings with one of our all time favorite couples. So if you missed this the first time around, today is your lucky day! Click here to see blog posts about Katy and Shaun’s pre-wedding day events, Groom’s dinner ON the USS Missouri battleship, and their trash the dress session the day after the wedding. Or just continue reading here to take a trip down memory lane to their wedding day….

 

You’ve now finished the appetizers I’ve been feeding you about Katy and Shaun’s wedding week and are ready for the main course… the wedding day.

Hawaii fish pond photosaloha wedding photosbest destination wedding photographer

By now you’ve read about Katy and Shaun and you’ve seen the heart they put into planning their wedding week (if you missed all this, read part 1 and part 2) for their friends and family to enjoy so you know to expect nothing short of amazingness, in all it’s glory, on their wedding day.

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And you’d be quite right to expect that.

No beauty was spared, no creative ideas left untouched as Katy and Shaun put all the details into their big day.

Everything from big to small was perfect.

(Instead of flower girls and ring bearers, they had the kids at the wedding hand out leis to the guests as they arrived).

I’m sure some of this perfection came from their perfectly wonderful wedding coordinator, Melissa Laudise with Let’s Do This! Event Planning and Coordinating.  We had heard a ton about Melissa long before it was even time to head to Hawaii.  Katy and Shaun were absolutely thrilled with her… as were we once we got to meet and work with her!  She was so easy to work with and she was the perfect combination of relaxed and organized… in short, we have a professional crush on her.

Her arrangement of all the sentimental and beautiful details that Katy and Shaun wanted included in their wedding was pulled off flawlessly, and she did it all with a casual kind of grace that can only be described as “Hawaiian Class”.

Melissa lives in Hawaii but she travels for weddings!  So no matter where you live, if you still need a coordinator for your wedding day, give her a call!

As you can see, the Kahaluu fishpond that Katy and Shaun got married on, also had a part to play in the beauty of the wedding day. I can’t believe how perfectly this place seemed to fit them.

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The little house the girls got ready in (one that President Obama stayed in on a visit by the way) was lit up all bright and beautiful and had a chill, down to earth feel…

… sort of like Katy herself!

Doesn’t she just beam?!

I have to say that when Katy put on the wedding dress I absolutely lost my breath for a second!  She somehow managed to still look like herself, but also just like a Hawaiian princess!

I’m not kidding, the entire day I couldn’t get over how beautiful she looked, I’m sure her face radiating happiness the way it was had a lot to do with it!

It was at this house that Katy and Shaun had their reveal moment…

…which they both agreed they were SO glad they did since  it made them feel more like a team as they prepared to walk down the aisle in front of all their family and friends…

…and I’m sure it’s a moment that neither will ever forget.

Since we loved the house so much, we went ahead and did all the group photos around there as well.

(Someone shouted the cue and before I knew what was happening, they’d spelled out “Katy” with their arms!  Ha ha!).

Once it was time for the ceremony, Katy pulled out all the stops by surprising her guests and coming across the lake on a canoe (that was being paddled by 2 of the groomsmen… who are obviously very trusted and have very good balance!).

(He’s eagerly awaiting the arrival of his beautiful bride from across the water).

Since I (Breanna) knew the canoe entrance was coming, that wasn’t the most surprising part of the ceremony to me… what was surprising was how emotional I got throughout the whole thing!  It was one of those times where I was constantly checking the viewer on my camera to make sure the mist from my eyes wasn’t fogging it up.

I just know how excited they were about every single little part of their day since we’ve been talking with them about it for so long now.

During the very first phone call we ever had with them, Katy and Shaun took great care to explain in detail, how much they wanted their wedding to be about joining them together before God and about the great love they shared with each other and with all the people surrounding them.  For as excited as they were about the actual wedding and reception, they were even more excited about the meaning behind it all.

The location of the ceremony and reception couldn’t have been better… with beautiful tents set up for dinner, complete with my dearest decor love… white lights strung across a night sky.

I’ve always dreamed of having the perfect nighttime garden party… and I think Katy and Shaun nailed my own dreams on the head!

The cocktail hour area was stunning as well, with a magnificent view of the lake and couches to sit on while you stare at it and talk to your friends, it was the whole package.

During this chill hanging out time guests were not only munching on amazing appetizers (called Pupus there), but also filling out postcards to mail to Katy and Shaun sporadically once they return home from their honeymoon.

So they can look forward to getting different postcards from their wedding guests for a long time after their wedding day.  How fun is that?!  This idea is courtesy of Melissa’s special touch.

After the cocktail hour and the dinner, we moved onto the toasts.  I heard some of the best speeches I’ve ever heard that night.  Maybe it’s because I’d spent all week getting to know the people who were giving the speeches…

…but I felt like they were incredibly insightful and exceptionally beautiful.  I also heard one of the funniest speeches I’ve ever heard as one of the groomsmen read out loud a letter Shaun wrote him when he was in Jr. High.

It was hilarious and such a great idea!

During the speeches, it started raining.  But don’t worry, instead of taking away from the perfection of the day, it actually made it better!

In Hawaii, rain on your wedding day is considered good luck and Shaun (who lived in Hawaii for awhile growing up) was really hoping they’d get “the blessing”, but he also didn’t want it to spoil any of their plans.  So after the 20 min. of rain we got, he was SO excited that they had some rain but not too much!

(and Scottie was so excited he had the chance to get these amazing nighttime rain shots!).

Pretty soon it was time to start the party!

Katy and Shaun had hired a super talented and very fun band and their guests took full advantage of this excellent dancing music that was there just for them. Everyone jumped right in and the energy that flowed from the band to the guests was very high!  Katy and Shaun’s first dance was amazing too by the way, it was to a very fun and jazzy number and they busted out with some moves I didn’t know they had in them!

Towards the end of the night, the big surprise we’d been waiting for finally came… Shaun and his band got up there to sing a song dedicated to Katy (read about the coolness of their band in this post here).  They sang “Just the Two of Us” (no, not the Will Smith version!) and there is no less cheesy way to describe this song than as a magical moment.  It just was.  The ebb and flow of the musicians, the excitement of their guests, and the happiness of Katy and Shaun made it all more than complete.  It was definitely unforgettable.

(this was taken when everyone was cheering on Shaun and the band… so cool.  Like our Facebook page if you want to tag yourself in some of these photos.).

As the guests cleared out of the wedding, they weren’t too sad that it was over because for many of them it wasn’t!

Katy and Shaun had planned an after party at a local restaurant where they had hired another musician as well.  We spent the night dancing away and laughing and talking with all their fantastic friends.  We don’t have any after party pictures because Katy and Shaun talked us into not bringing our cameras so we could truly relax.  By the end of the night, we were so thankful that we listened to them because we had more fun than I can remember having in a very long time!

(Katy and her mom… about to walk down the aisle together).

(Shaun with is 90+ year old grandmother who was such a trooper and made it to many of the pre-wedding events as well as the wedding!).

(Shaun giving his nephew- also named Shaun- one of the coolest challenges I’ve ever heard).:-)

Actually, this entire experience in Hawaii with Katy and Shaun and their guests is pretty unforgettable.

I can honestly say with confidence that it was one of the best weeks of Scottie and my lives and we are so thankful we got to be a part of it all.  Thank you Katy and Shaun for being the loving, relaxed, gracious, and fun people that you are.

We not only enjoyed all aspects of your wedding week, but we can’t imagine spending it with a better couple.  You both are very unique individuals and we’re so glad that you’ve joined forces to create the beautiful “collective dream” that you are working on.  We love you both and we’re excited to come visit you in CA soon!

Click to see the rest of the photos from Katy and Shaun’s wedding!

(Also click to see pictures of Katy swimming in her wedding dress after the wedding!)

Morgan is back and ready for graduation!

You may remember her from her super fab, black and white sweet 16 party back in the day… well now Morgan is back with her cap and gown all ready to go!

That’s right, she’s all grown up and graduating! She apparently survived that crazy thing called high school and is ready to move on to see what the wonderful world of college has in store for her!

Morgan my dear, you are going to have so much fun!

I (Breanna) can’t even tell you how happy we were to get the email saying that Morgan was ready for her senior pictures!

It is seriously so cool to get to be involved with such an awesome girl during all the major events in her life! Is something good going on in Morgan’s life? Oh, looks like we get to go hang out with her and celebrate again!!

I mean, how cool is that?!

So Morgan rolled up in her Mustang (that we got to witness her getting as a gift for her 16th birthday!) and we headed out into the trees to get some farewell to high school photos!

(obviously we left the trees eventually in favor of some dirt!).

Morgan chose a great spot for pictures (on private property so I can’t tell you where it’s at!) and brought along her mom and sister to be her slaves, I mean “assistants” to help her carry stuff and provide a little comedic relief to help us get some laughing shots.

A special thanks to Morgan for bringing us along once again into this new stage of your life. Your excitement and smile are totally contagious, so we are always happy for the opportunity to be around you and to help you commemorate the major milestones in your life!

We can’t wait to see what’s next for you! Congratulations on graduating and good luck in college!
Love,
Scottie and Breanna

(Click to see the rest of Morgan’s senior session photos).

 

How to Plan a Truly Great Family Photo Session (Part 4: The Interactions)

This is the last post in the series “How to Plan a Truly Great Family Photo Session” (click here to start it from the beginning). Unless I think of something else to say about it of course! Today we’re talking about what may seem like the most obvious aspect of a great family photo session… the interactions between family members.

It’s one thing to spend time hanging out together in private in your home but it’s another thing to do it when someone pulls out a camera since that simple action is likely to make at least one of your family members (if not all of them) freeze up and instantly feel awkward. Plus there are different stages throughout your children’s lives and sometimes it’s hard to find an activity that everyone can participate in and have fun with.  Some families interact very naturally together without any outside help and others need something to prompt them, or to do together, to help them interact naturally.  You know your family and if you are the kind that might need a little extra push in this area (especially when there’s a camera around). Either way, I hope the Cottrell’s example might get some wheels turning for you….

(Somehow the kids kept losing important clothing items throughout the session so this picture cracks me up… and reminds me about Nicole’s relaxed, non-stressed attitude! See post 3 for more on that!).

The Cottrells have family snuggle time in bed on Saturday mornings.  This means, dad’s home from work and the kids crawl into their parents’ bed to hang out and start off their weekend together. What an AMAZING and special time to share in together every week! And since this is a regular thing they do together that everyone in the family loves, I can think of nothing better to capture on picture day.

When the Cottrell kids grow up and think of good times with their parents, I have no doubt they’ll think of Saturday mornings in bed together, so those are the kind of memories we want to preserve in photos.  Especially because it will make it that much more amazing when the kids grow up and keep the same tradition with their own kids and have a photographer capture the same memories with their family.  How cool would that be?!?

So why on earth would you rather have pictures of everyone sitting and smiling together in a park than family snuggle time photos?!

Because for some reason, family photo time has become the exact opposite of family snuggle time in many ways.  It has become so much colder.  Why is that?! We have digital now, we can take thousands of pictures and it costs us nothing! So we can afford to sacrifice a few blurry photos due to the kids jumping on the bed too much or a couple of dark pictures as we get the indoor lighting just right.  Posy- posy type of pictures come from back in the day when a single picture cost a ton of money to take and you couldn’t risk one not being perfect!  We can risk it now so lets make the most of it!

So while you’re trying to think of what backgrounds make your family look best (because that’s important too), make sure you take the time to think about what activities make your family the most YOU. Think about what each of your kids like to do to showcase their personalities.  The Cottrells’ little boy loves to sit at the piano and play (he seriously can play specific notes in specific order… I guess that’s called a song!) so they planned some of that time into the session.

Their little girl loves to entertain and tell dramatic stories (while jumping on the bed apparently!) so they let her go ahead and do that while they all sat attentively!

A major factor in the Cottrell family session is that the parents were very active participants.

Don’t forget, it’s not all about the kids.  I don’t care if you don’t like how you look right now, your kids will want pictures of you playing with them when they grow up whether you’re 100 lbs overweight with adult acne or not!

Family picture time is about so much more than looks and these pictures are for everyone so don’t get obsessed with yourself and how YOU look. Get in there and be great parents who really play with their kids and participates in their interests!

(Even if that means getting your head stepped on every once in awhile).

That’s the way people will remember you, rather than as someone who’s missing in all the photos because they were sadly insecure.

So be thinking of things your family does together.  How do you interact together?  I don’t just mean playing kids games either.  Do you hold your child while they stir the brownie batter? Lets get a picture of that. Do they imitate you getting ready in the morning or while you clean house? Lets get a picture of that.  Do you play dress up together, have dance parties, work in the garden, make meals together…. any of that is GREAT for pictures!  Just make sure you chose something that keeps you close, touching, and happy and your pictures will look amazing.

So let’s review what you’ve learned so far…

When you are planning a family photo session make sure you consider the right timing for the session, the style (pick 1 item to build your wardrobe, location, and props from), your attitude and expectations about the session, and what activities show your family as they really are at this stage in life.

Well that’s it!  Now you know how to do it, how to have a truly great family photo session! You know how to have the right style, attitude, and interactions.  But even with all that great info, the most  important thing is that you don’t think of this as picture day.  Think of it as a visual representation of the kind of love you have for one another and most of all… think of it as a great day you’ll have with your family that you want to remember forever. That will make it a truly great family photo session.

(Click to read the series from the beginning.)

 

Vincent – A Baby Story Video

“Video? Wait, aren’t you guys Radiant PHOTOGRAPHY?” Why yes, yes we are. However we also have Canon’s 5D Mark II cameras that happen to have amazing video capabilities and we also both happen to love the art of film! So because of those two strong coincidences, we decided to do a little experimenting!

When Pete and Allison called us while they were pregnant to schedule their newborn photo session (which was very smart of them because the best time for newborn photos is within 10 days after birth) we proposed a new idea for them to consider.

Not only did we want to do their newborn photos, but we also wanted to use video to tell their story as they excitedly awaited their little one!

 

Thanks to Pete, Allison, and Vincent for being so patient as we worked through the kinks of our new project. You guys were all very brave for letting us experiment with you!

 

 

 

 

 

Megan and Mark’s Maui Exploring Unique Session

First things first, if you missed seeing the photos from Mark and Megan’s incredible Hawaii wedding… take a second to check those out.

Now that we’re all caught up, I want to tell you about what happened after the glitz and glam of the wedding day had faded, guests were beginning the trek home, and Megan and Mark had gotten at least a few hours of sleep. We’re talking about the day after the wedding photo session, or what we call a “Unique Session“.

Unique Sessions are a MUST for destination weddings! Once you’ve spent that much money and time planning a wedding in a place you specifically chose for it’s beauty, you want to get as many photos of it as you can!

Which is exactly what we did when we headed out to explore the island of Maui with Megan and Mark all dressed up in their wedding clothes again the day after the wedding.

The Unique Session is a great way to help couples relax more on their wedding day because they know they’re going to have a second chance to get the best photos possible out of us in case things don’t go exactly as planned on the wedding day.

(Not to mention, it gives us more time to get special shots like this one which is a replicate of a photo Mark’s parents have from their wedding!).

 It also frees us up a bit to do our absolute best because it gives us a chance to be a little more in control of the timing, lighting, location, and everything else that goes into making a fabulous magazine style image that is a little bit harder to get on a busy wedding day!

Whenever we have a destination wedding, Scottie and I (Breanna) always arrive a few days early to explore the location and get our bearings around the area so that we can find the killer photo locations that we know are out there!

On this particular trip, we spent 2 full days scouting the entire island before the wedding day, looking for just the right spot for the shoot. We talked to locals, went a little bit off the trails the signs told us to stay on, and put lots and LOTS of miles on our rental car in our search for the perfect spot. And then we found it!

We found a couple of spots actually!

(Over looking the city).

(wide open fields)

(the jungle)

(the beach)

(and of course, the beautiful rolling green hills)

As you can see, Maui has quite a bit to show off! Luckily, Megan and Mark fully trusted us and let us guide their ready and willing selves around with smiles on their faces the entire time. Thanks to their willingness and their choice to do the Unique Session in the first place, we were able to really capture all that Maui has to offer!

Actually they REALLY trusted us, as we found out when Megan told us she was willing to risk ruining her wedding dress because she was confident we could get some amazing photos that would make the destruction all worth it! So that’s what we did! Little bit, by little bit, Mark took her out further into the deep blue ocean.

They had soooo much fun out there! They took some time to savor the moment, squeeze in a few kisses, and had a couple of surprise waves make their way over to them as well!

Once they were out of the water, it was fair game for us in the sand!

We took the opportunity to get a few more of the kind of photos you can only get with a dirty wedding dress and a bride who is actually happy about it!

It was so wonderful to feel like we really got to tap into the full beauty potential Maui brings and to get to spend even more time with this amazing couple now that the wedding was over and the honeymoon relaxation was starting to kick in for them!

In fact, we did a few “off to the honeymoon” sort of photos to finish off the session!

Thanks for giving us that extra day guys, I know you had to be exhausted, but it looks like you had fun and we absolutely LOVE the pictures so I hope you feel it was all worth it! Congratulations again, we’re so excited for you two!

Click to see the rest of the photos from Megan and Mark’s Maui Exploring Unique Session.

Click to read the blog about their wedding day!