Monthly Archives: November 2009

Check out our great, wonderous, fantastic new website in all its Flash glory!

If you are one of the many people who have recently asked yourself “are Scottie and Breanna still alive”?  Now you know why we’ve been MIA for so long.  It takes a lot of time to create majesty.  Okay, that MIGHT be overdoing it…just a little bit.  We’ve been heavy under the task of re-doing our website!  Rather I should say Scottie has been redesigning the site, I was more what you’d call “creative director” aka “annoying-detail oriented- nit picking- control freak”; something more along those lines.

So please, please, please make all of our time spent locked up in our cave (office) worth it and go check out our new website!  We’re more excited about it than anyone should ever be about a website… so we want to share it with the world!

I’ll give you a few teaser photos so that you can’t help but go check it out, even if your kids are screaming, your boss is looking over your shoulder (show him too!), or your to do list is a mile long.  Take a load off, fill up your coffee mug, and kick back while you get immersed in all the beauty and emotion of a wedding day.

unique0028unique0121003007unique0004unique0007(These are all photos from the Unique Session in our portfolio so make sure you check that out!)

CLICK TO GO SEE OUR NEW WEBSITE!!

The Cottrells are our dream team.

We’ve recently been dreaming up a certain type of family session… and then someone called us up and asked us to shoot it!  I spent some time talking to Nicole about her vision for the session and the more we talked the more I realized that working with people like this is why I LOVE my job!  I gave her ideas about the kind of session I’ve been wanting to do and she totally ran with it and filled in all the little details to complete my dream!

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I can’t even describe how amazing it is when our clients’ family and friends can look at the photos we took and say “wow, that is SO them” and then at the same time, having OUR family and friends be able to say that as well because our artistic style is enhanced so much by our client’s personal style!  It’s fusion… total fusion.  I could tell from before the date was even set for the shoot that this was one for the record books for us.

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When the big day finally came and we showed up at their house, I turned into a rambling fool every time they pulled out a new tiny sized accessory or trendy prop because I absolutely could not shut up about how perfect every single little detail was!  Everything from the decor of their home (where we started the shoot), to their outfits (thank you H&M), to their photo ideas… it all fit together in a way that made whatever part it is of my heart that beats for beauty, want to explode. (while I hate the term “drama queen”, I can’t help but wonder how many people are silently applying that title to me right about now). So um… I was excited.

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Every Saturday morning, the kids come and climb into bed with Jon and Nicole and they all snuggle up under the covers and hang out together for awhile.

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So while my “dream family session” involved the family playing together in bed like this, the idea to put it into this session actually came from Nicole!  (See!  It’s fusion, I tell ya!).

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Their daughter, Riley, was… gregarious? hilarious? no, neither of those words quite describe her, it has to be some mix of the two words that ends in “arious”, like “grilarious”.

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cottrell_bc0647(You have to check out the rest of the photos to see more of this “grilariousness”… that’s right, I added the “ness” to my new word).

Anyway, she was absolutely amazing.  Bottom line, I hope everyone of you gets a chance to spend sometime playing with a little girl like this at least once in your life.  Any photo we have of her standing still must have been a fluke because I’m pretty sure she spent at least half the day in the air (literally).  Jumping, jumping, bouncing, hopping… she never stopped.

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As she defied gravity, she somehow managed to make up pretend scenarios, tell stories, and ask us important questions about our life.  She’s especially interested in babies right now (and the fact that they actually grow in a belly) so she was quite disappointed that I not only didn’t have my own baby, but that my stomach was void of one as well.  You’d be surprised how often little kids lecture me about getting myself a baby.  A 4 year old boy I used to babysit for thought it was absolutely hilarious that he caught me in my blunder… as much as I argued with him, he insisted that I forgot to buy a baby and I’d better go do that soon. Just today my friend’s 3 year old was getting on my case as well!

cottrell_bc0148cottrell_sc0203(These are photos of jumping story time)

Little Tolan, was not about to be over shadowed by his big sister though!  It was so awesome to watch how he followed her around and copied her.  If she flung herself onto the couch, he followed suit.  When she left the room, he was right on her tail.  It made me miss when my little brother was following me around like that about 20 years ago.

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Tolan loves playing with accessories whether it’s a hat, sunglasses, whatever, he loves them (perfect fit for his parents!), but he’s not about to let all that junk get in the way of him having fun either!  He’s a rough and tumble boy through and through.  I won’t even tell you how many hours I spent in photoshop just doing the bare minimum work to minimize all the toddler battle wounds on his face!

cottrell_bc0417cottrell_bc0422cottrell_bc0431cottrell_sc0416cottrell_sc0618cottrell_sc0001(this is the only pacifier in the world that I would call an “accessory”)!

I have to mention that little Tolan is already a musical genius!  He plays actual songs on the piano already!  Just when you get ready to brace yourself and cover your ears for the obvious obnoxious sounds that come from a toddler sitting at a piano, you realize he’s actually playing something and it sounds good!

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One of my favorite stages that little kids go through is when they get their own sense of humor.  Tolan was totally there and I could probably laugh for hours on end watching him decide what he deems as funny in this life.  At one point he took off his cute little converse shoe and threw it on the ground and he got this look on his face that said, “oh wow, I am a comedic genius” and then he laughed hysterically.  And judging by the way he made me laugh at that point, he may very well be a comedic genius!

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(Here’s an “I’m-so-hilarious moment”… take a good look at his face, you might see him live at the Improv one day… if he’s not spending all his time at Carnegie Hall by then).

cottrell_sc0537(Apparently his daddy thinks he is the funniest thing in the world).

The entire time we were at their house, Tolan was absolutely enthralled with the 2 chapsticks he was double fisting.  He spent about 20 minutes studying the mechanical structure and working on getting the caps off.  I emailed Nicole after the session to tell her that if she ever needs extra pictures of her son playing with chapstick, I have about 200 of them!  She said she’d keep that in mind for when he brings his first girlfriend over one day!

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Now that you’ve been a first hand witness to how cool these people are, I have to brag and tell you that they’ve decided we’re cool enough to be their friends!

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Scottie and Jon were actually roommates at one time in the house that Jon and Nicole still live in (so all these photos are taken in Scottie’s old house)!  And Jon was the one who sort of welcomed me into his group of friends, which is how I met Scottie!  Jon also had a ton to do with us ending up together since he was often a key player in all the romantic things Scottie planned to woo me with and he was also very good at picking up the slack to make me think only the best of Scottie (by that I mean the wedding gift you gave us when we got back from our honeymoon…you know what I’m talking about!). ;-)  The Jon touch can’t be mistaken, so as much as Scottie may have wanted to claim all those romantic ideas as his, I knew he would NEVER garnish a plate with vegetable shavings!

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I also got to be a witness the first time Jon and Nicole ever met (in the very same house) when the new “hot girl” walked in and turned all the guys’ heads (I don’t know if you knew that, Nicole)!  All that to say, we were friends with Jon and Nicole during some of the most pivotal moments of our lives and they helped us make it through them all.  Jon and Nicole, doing these pictures meant so much more to me than just getting a chance to do my dream shoot.  It was so fun for us to be involved with you and your family again, and it made us remember how much you mean to us and realize what we’ve been missing out on these past couple of years (or however long it’s been since we’ve hung out regularly).  We absolutely LOVE LOVE both of your personalities and your hearts… and now that we’ve gotten to know your children better we realize we love them as well.

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I kind of want to just publicly recognize how much we value you as individuals, as a couple/family, and as our friends.  You are two of the most generous, intelligent, interesting, creative, loving, and well let’s face it… ultra cool people we’ve ever met and you’ve both done so much for us and been such a big part of our lives (I know those sound like generic adverbs, but you represent all of those things better than most people I’d describe with them!). We want to say thank you for the many, many times you’ve been there for us, whether it was having major talks with us about dating drama (we’re SO glad that stage is over!), inspiring us with your knowledge of the arts, or making us laugh REALLY hard right when we needed it.  We love both of you guys and we hope that you love your pictures!

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It was so hard to pick out photos to post here because I love them all!  Make sure you click to see the rest of the Cottrells’ Family Photo Session!

Gloria and Ricky’s engagement session

Gloria and Ricky decided to be brave and go where no Radiant photographer has ever gone before… downtown Gilbert.

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It’s always fun having sessions in new places and Gilbert, AZ was no different.  It definitely keeps us on our toes and allows the creative juices to flow!  We especially want to thank Gloria and Ricky for driving all the way from Glendale, AZ to allow us to experiment a little!  Well okay, they let us experiment a lot!  We found all kinds of cool places!

0004For example, here’s the magical hallway to nowhere…

00161Here’s the old elevator… how old is it really?  Who knows!?  That’s why they’re such brave souls!;-)

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Here’s that weird vortex area that allows them to just stand right in the middle of the sky!

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And who could forget the inexplicable scientific marvel of water shooting out of the ground at random!

0020And I know we’re all still marveling at that house that was picked up straight from San Francisco and dropped right here just like that!

Wow, who knew that downtown Gilbert would be such an adventure!  Hopefully all these amazing sites made it worth the drive for Gloria and Ricky… if not, maybe I can come up with more natural wonders to elaborate on to help convince them!;-)

Actually I’ll spare you all further pain of these cheesy jokes… I’m dying here!  I’d like to thank you all for making it this far, thus I’ll reward you and stop talking so you can just look at the rest of the photos in peace (and you can always click to see all the photos from Ricky and Gloria’s engagement photo session).

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Oh wait, wait, I need to say one more thing!  Thanks to Gloria and Ricky for being up for this great adventure with us… we’re even more excited to see what sort of fun filled escapades await us at your wedding!

Click here to see all the photos from this downtown Gilbert, AZ engagement photo session!

Pam and Kyle’s Engagement Session

Pam and Kyle are a great example of our main purpose for throwing in free engagement sessions into all our packages… getting to know our couples better!

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We first met with Pam and Kyle about 4 months ago for about an hour, which is hardly enough time to spend with someone to get to know their personalities, their style, what relaxes them during pictures, and which side is their best side!  There’s nothing worse than a couple of strangers hovering over your shoulder while you read private notes from the love of your life on your wedding day, or getting all up in your face with a camera while you’re crying with your dad while he’s getting ready to walk his little girl down the aisle.

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It’s so much better to have one of your friends show up, who gets all excited with you about how beautiful your bouquet turned out… who then turns around to snap a few quick shots of your best friend’s face when she see’s you for the first time in your wedding dress… who also happens to be the professional photographer that you hired.

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That’s what we aim to be.  We want to be the friend who’s enjoying your whole day with you, while capturing the genuine emotion of it all, rather than the person who shows up when you’re about to get your dress on and makes you feel like you have to stop telling stories about your aunt’s hilarious antics at the rehearsal dinner last night, so you can stop and smile at the camera.  Lame.

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Not to mention, the second a stranger puts your a camera in your face, you’re bound to freeze up and lose the moment.  But when a friend does it, you’re a lot more likely to live it up and just be excited that this wonderful moment is being frozen in time forever! That’s how we get pictures of bride’s looking right at the camera and laughing while they attempt to pick a wedgie in their wedding dress (of course that photo only goes public if they want it to)!

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My point with all of this, is that it takes a lot of time with someone to build a relationship so we were totally glad that Pam and Kyle were up to go grab some coffee with us before their session.  By the time we were following them around, shoving cameras into their faces, they seemed much more relaxed, plus we knew how to make them smile a little bit more to bring them out of their shells even more (you can judge for yourselves by clicking to see the rest of their engagement photos)!

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We consider engagement sessions practice for the wedding day, so if this was any indication about how Pam and Kyle’s wedding is going to go… we have a lot to look forward to!  Thanks guys, we had a great time hanging out with you!

0006100392Click to see the rest of Pam and Kyle’s Tempe, Arizona engagement photo session!

Radiant Photography is now a debt free company!!

We have reached a huge milestone that we’ve been working towards for the past 9 months (no, we didn’t grow a baby)…. we paid off our debt!  Now the only debt that we have (both as the Chansons and as Radiant) is school debt!  No more credit card payments, no car payments, no mortgage payments (only because we don’t have a house though- ha ha), and no -absolutely no- business debt to make payments towards!!  Hooray!

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So if you are planning your wedding during this recession and you are worried about your vendors going bankrupt and shutting down while holding onto your down payments… never fear, Radiant will still be here!  No one’s going to come take our business because of the money we owe them and no one is going to tell us we can’t come shoot the wedding that you have paid us to shoot!

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img_7660img_7694(These photos were taken with our Radiant photobooth set up, minus our usual white backdrop)

We are not saying this to brag about how good we are with money (in fact we wouldn’t have been in debt in the first place if we were money geniuses) we say it because we have been waiting for the day we can whoop it up and get excited about this feeling of freedom and we want all of you to celebrate with us!  We’re also saying it because we wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if we didn’t publicly give credit where credit is due.  We didn’t do this on our own, we actually took a class on how to become debt free and we had an AMAZING group of people taking this class with us who rallied around us to make sure we actually made it to this day!

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Not only that, but the person who led the class was a wonderful woman named Karyn LaRocca who is also a personal budget counselor.  Karyn met with us personally and was always available to help us figure out all the specifics of our finances (which is a big deal because our finances get pretty complicated since we own a business).  Karyn is super passionate about helping people dig themselves out of the hopelessness that debt can bring.  She really truly just wants to see people live their lives to the fullest without the unnecessary stress, relational tension, fear, etc., etc. that debt brings into life and she is very skilled at helping people do that.  Her compassion for people in difficult financial situations is what motivates her daily, so you never have to feel judged or intimidated as you open up about this major area of life that most people are not used to talking about.  If you need help “reclaiming financial control” as Karyn says, then please make sure you call this lady!  Thank you, Karyn, for your passion and dedication to helping people find freedom in life and for working your fingers to the bone every day just so you can help people like us.  We know you pour your heart and soul into your business and we pray that it really pays off for you in the end.  Bottom line… Karyn’s amazing and you should call her!

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Karyn can also help you get hooked up with a Financial Peace University class, which is the one we took that brought us to this wonderful day!  If you’re lucky, you’ll end up with people in your class who are as wonderful as the ones we met in our class (even though I don’t think that’s possible since the people in our class were the most amazing people EVER)!  Once you start discussing finances, it’s amazing how many other extremely important issues come to the table as well, like marriage, family, life crises, depression, etc….which is probably exactly why we SHOULD find people we can talk to about money so that we don’t have to go through all these things in life alone! We really do believe we made life long friends as we spent time bonding over these deep issues in life that are usually considered too taboo to talk about in our culture.   We can’t even begin to describe how grateful we are for the Brannans and the Ellisons for walking through all of this with us and for constantly encouraging us, while being very open and genuine about their lives at the same time. You guys seriously, actually, really did change our lives and we will never be the same… for the better of course.  We love you, and your friendships mean the world to us.  Thanks for getting involved in all the messy parts of our life and for working so hard to help us clean them up.

One last hoorah for us…. yay, yay, yay, YAY!  Radiant Photography is DEBT FREE!!!!!!!!!!!

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P.S. CALL KARYN!