Monthly Archives: February 2010

Julie and Andrew show us who they really are on their wedding day!

Oh what to say about Julie and Andrew!?  I don’t even know how to describe such a fantastic couple!

We have a special place in our heart for sweet Julie because she was referring us to all her friends back when we first started Radiant, long before we did her wedding photography or she was even engaged… she was one of our first true fans and we love her for it!

And I have to say that Andrew holds a special place in our heart because he’s simply hilarious and a ton of fun to hang out with!:-)

(Yep, that’s him!)

(Told you he’s fun!)

We’ve gotten to know Andrew and Julie pretty well throughout their engagement/wedding process, I was even invited to Julie’s bridal shower which not only made me feel like a VIP, but also gave me the chance to spend time with her friends and family before the wedding so that on the day of, they were more comfortable with me and trusted me enough to let me into their world a little bit so I could capture it better!

So thanks to all of Julie’s family and friends for bringing me in and letting me feel like part of the crew on the day of.:-)

We are firm believers that our relationships with the people we’re photographing can totally make or break the overall feel of the photos.  There’s something to say for earning the trust of the people you’re taking pictures of. They have to feel comfortable enough with you to be truly vulnerable around you and to allow you to not only witness them being real with who they are, but to let you capture that and show it to the world.

The buzz word for our style of photography is “photojournalism” and it now makes more sense to me then ever when I think about a journalist as someone who others trust  to reveal who they are to the world.  They trust that the journalist will do it with truth, accuracy, and beauty.

And I think it’s the same with pictures.  When we’re exposing people’s true emotion and personality to everyone, they have to trust us to do it right.  And the better they know us, the more willing they are to let us do that.

A wedding is a very emotional day (obviously!) and we’re with the people involved every step of the way.

We always tell couples that no matter who you choose for your wedding photography, make sure it’s someone you’re comfortable with because you spend more time with your photographer on your wedding day than you do with your fiance!

(We were with her before the dress was even on!)

When you’re hanging out beforehand with your bridesmaids, and you start re-living moments from the bachelorette party…

(or admiring each other’s shoes…)

…do you want some weirdo hovering over your shoulder hanging on to your every word and making you feel awkward enough that it  shows on your face every time he interrupts your natural moments and shoves a camera at you?  Or would you rather have a friend (who happens to also be a professional photographer that you hired) standing there snapping shots of you and laughing along with the stories you’re telling? I can tell you right now which one’s pictures will turn out better!

(I love all the photos of brides breathing deeply right before they walk down the aisle. She’ll be OK once she sees him!).

So Julie and Andrew both did a great job of letting us into their lives, being vulnerable, honest, and emotional around us… and let me tell you, that means the world to us.

We can’t even describe how much more a wedding means to us when there’s a real connection there between us and the couple.  Not only does it help them be more natural and real in front of the camera but we inevitably add our own emotion to the photos.

Even if we wanted to separate ourselves from our art, we couldn’t do it.  It’s just a part of us.

Photography is a fluid combination between ourselves and the people we’re photographing, so the better we relate to one another, the more spectacular that intertwining turns out!

Sorry, I got a little carried away with all that… back to the people of the hour, Julie and Andrew!

As a whole I’d say their day was a HUGE success!

Everything about the day was beautiful…

… everyone there had a GREAT time…

….and of course, Andrew and Julie emerged from it as husband and wife!

That’s a pretty perfect wedding I’d say!

I’ve already thanked Andrew and Julie both privately and publicly, but I’ll say it again…. you guys have meant the world to us!  Thank you SO much for your kind words, support, encouragement, etc., etc, etc, etc. (that’s right, 4 etc.’s!)  You guys are awesome and I feel like I’m totally doing you an injustice with this short little thank you, but I’m just out of words to describe you.  So I’ll just put a giant smile here and hopefully you’ll know everything that it means!:-)

Lucky for us, we get to spend even MORE time photographing Andrew and Julie during their upcoming “Unique Session“!  If you don’t know what that means, click here! Keep an eye for that session because I have a feeling, it’s going to be a great one!  By the way, if you haven’t seen their engagement session, make sure you check that out, it’s a fun one!

Click to see the rest of the photos from Julie & Andrew’s Gilbert, AZ wedding!

Color and confidence collide for Rachel’s senior session

It only took a couple of emails from Rachel to figure out that she LOVES color!

Unfortunately for her, it’s winter time and the dead vegetation (if you can ever call it “vegetation” in Phoenix) doesn’t really provide a lot of vibrant color right now.

She was OK with that though and she just decided to make up for it by wearing lots of bright colors.  She rotated around between her flowing green skirt….

…her bright yellow shirt….

….and her pretty purple shirt.

Aside from her colorful attire, the other thing that really stood out about Rachel that comes across very strong in her pictures is her confidence!

From the moment we met her, we could tell that Rachel was very comfortable in her own skin.

She definitely had a unique, sparky little personality and she was confident enough that she wasn’t afraid to show it!

That bodes very well for photographers whose goal it is to communicate who you really are through pictures!

Cameras tend to freeze people up and change their personality, so we definitely rejoice when we meet someone who seems the same on camera as off!

You wouldn’t think that would show up in a frozen frame, but it really does!

Unfortunately for many people, confidence isn’t the only thing that guides the feel of your pictures, insecurity rears its ugly head pretty well too!  So the moral of this story is that if you are not a confident person naturally, try to at least fake it on picture day!

Here are some of our other favorites from the day (click to see ALL the photos from Rachel’s Arizona senior photo session).

Thanks Rachel for being comfortable enough to be yourself around us and for not being afraid to express your opinion (mainly about the high importance of color)!  We had a great time with you and we hope you love your pictures!!  Click to see the rest of Rachel’s Tempe, AZ senior photography session!

Shano sister love= SOO much fun!

If I didn’t wish I had a sister even half as bad as I do, after spending just a few minutes with the Shano’s, I still would’ve be back at my parents door double checking to make sure they are absolutely positive I don’t have a missing sister somewhere out there.  These girls have an absolute blast together!

Every time I looked over at them during this session, they were laughing, messing around, picking each other up, or fixing one another’s hair.

After shooting their daughter’s Sweet 16 Party, we’ve spent enough time with the Shanos to know that this wasn’t a fluke…. these sisters genuinely like each other!

It seems like living in the Shano house is 24/7 of clothes swapping, dance parties, Twilight marathons, and cheer leading practice. Even though I know there’s probably the inevitable hair pulling days… I’m SOOO jealous!:-)

Just as I was mustering up the courage to ask if I could join their family, Scottie reminded me that their mom has just as much fun as the girls do so I still have a chance to have daughters as fun as them!

That is very true, Kathy is just one of the girls and I saw her laughing and messing around with them as much as they did with each other.

So there’s still hope for me!  I guess I’m content to keep living at my house for now… but if I end up having all boys I might still give the Shano’s a call to see if they’ll have me! Ha ha.

Not to be out done, the only man in this house has his fun too!

You can tell by this beautiful car that he gets to play with!

He said he’d never really had photos taken of it, so while his daughters were practicing cheers in the yard, he saw his opportunity and grabbed Scottie to go have some fun of their own with their toys (Scottie with his camera and David with his car).

It’s funny to think of the differences between Scottie and I… if he were writing this blog it would be all about the car with a casual mention of sister time fun (sorry David, we’ll have Scottie write one for you next time! Ha ha).

So if you don’t get it by now… this is a FUN family!

They’re fun and to top it off they have a lot of cool ideas too!  If you saw the photos from Morgan’s Sweet 16 party you know what I’m talking about!  And they didn’t disappoint when it came to this session either.  We started at their house and then they gave us the idea to go over to this big grove of trees near them.

What type of trees?  I don’t know, I’m a photographer not a arborist!  I’m not a detective either, but I did pick up on the clue of the pistachios shells all over the ground, so I’m guessing that might solve the case.  Anyways, we were very proud of them for thinking outside the box and having the vision for something that most people would look at and think “ew that’s ugly, why would anyone ever do pictures there”?

And to answer that question, we do pictures there because of something called “juxtoposition”.  That means we put beautiful people in front of ugly trees and the contrast makes the beauty stand out even more!

That’s your vocab word and photography lesson for the day all tied into one!  So anyways, thank you Shano’s for understanding creative perspective and for braving the dead branches cutting your feet and the chance of hidden bugs in the dead leaves.  Your eye for beauty plus your adventure seeking spirits got you the type of pictures that very few people in AZ have (and that very few photographers in Phoenix get to shoot)!:-)

See, by now everyone reading this wishes they were in the Shano family too!

So Shano’s, if you can’t tell… we had SOOO much fun shooting your session!  We love hanging out with your family and we’re so glad we had the opportunity to catch these memories for you.  We always consider ourselves lucky when whenever we get the chance to witness a family who has fun together.  It’s such a great example to us for when we have a family one day.  Thanks for being so transparent and for sharing your fun with us.:-)

Click to see the rest of the Shano’s Fun Family Photo Session in AZ!

Oh and here’s my own personal little P.S. to readers… I’m SOOO doing my hair this color after seeing this pic!

I’ll be happy if mine looks even half as good as hers does.  Thanks for the inspiration, ha ha!!

I would like to thank the academy…

I have to say that as Scottie and I have been thinking about Radiant lately, we’ve been getting more than just a little excited.  We are incredibly happy with where we are and where we think we’re going so we just want to take a moment to bask in that relief/excitement… ahhh.  We also have been so overwhelmed with the sheer volume of people who have been coming out of the wood works to show us a ridiculous amount of love and support.  As overused as this phrase is “we wouldn’t have made it here without them”, it is undeniably the truth.  I think there are plenty of people who have done so much and have no idea how much they’ve changed our lives and then there are others who have done things that may seem very insignificant to them, but have been a big deal to us.  Since we’re never going to give an acceptance speech for a Grammy or design an album cover for a CD, it’s unlikely that we’ll have the opportunity to publicly thank the people who so dearly deserve it.  So we’re taking this opportunity to do just that.  I am so afraid to put individual names in here because it is inevitable I will forget some since I’ve only been planning this blog for a few hours rather than a few years and my memory is not always the best.  But I do want to use names because I do really want to honor the individuals who deserve it.  So forgive me if I forget your name, it’s not because I don’t value you, it’s just because I’m not quite as smart as I wish I was!  I do want to warn you that if we were doing this as an acceptance speech, it’s long enough that they would start playing the music to get us off the stage in the first half of it… so no hard feelings if you just want to scan for your name and move on, we know you have a life to get back to.;-)

Just for the sake of being unconventional and keeping you on your toes, we’re NOT going to start by thanking God, our family, or our best friends.  We want to start with thanking some very specific couples who chose Radiant Photography to shoot their wedding in the past and then have been some of our biggest supporters, referrers, encouragers, Facebook commenters, and are at this point our good friends.  These are the people who have made us realize that we really are doing something valuable with our time and our lives when we invest in the memories they have from the most significant points in their lives.    They value and cherish every single second we’ve spent pouring over their wedding photos and they deem our creative touch as worthy enough to want all their friends to have the same experience they’ve had with us!  These are the people who have gone way out of their way to say more than just “thank you”, but who have told us (though maybe not in these exact words) “we want to devote our time and energy into helping and supporting you because we love who you are and what you do for people”.  So thank you with all our hearts to:

Tracy & Paul

Wes & Moriah (and the rest of their family)

Krystal & Dave

Julie & Andrew

Emily & Mike

Katie & Lawrence

We would’ve quit a long time ago if all of you weren’t in our lives.

So since all of those people I just listed are our friends now, I guess I’ll move on to friends!  We have such amazing friends that I have the same things to say about them as I do about family so I’ll combine the two! These are the people who listen to all the complaints, work around our over busy schedules, suffer through our short fuses that come with too much stress, and most of all… celebrate our success with us.  We try to focus on the good whenever we get the chance and thankfully, we have an amazing family who really does care to hear about that.  Every once in awhile we get really really excited about the things going on with Radiant and we get the urge to share.  Luckily our family gets excited with us and lets us be honest about our successes without thinking we’re just full of ourselves!  I call my mom on a regular basis and say “OK I’m going to brag for a bit, because I know you and dad are probably the only people who brag about me more than I do about myself so I’ll give you some material”.  So thank you from the bottom of our little photographer hearts for listening to both the bad and good, reading our success story emails, proof reading boring stuff for us, lending us things, storing things (props to my mom and dad for letting us fill up their garage), and taking the time to look through the many links to photos we send you. Thank you for choosing to care about the things we care about because you love us.  Our relationships to all of you guys are the highlight of our lives.  In fact, we should probably be sending success stories about our relationships with you all to everyone else, instead of sending success stories about our business to you! :-)  Thank you to both sets of our parents and grandparents… we could never even begin say enough to thank you… there truly are not enough words in the world to explain (so we’ll spare our readers their time and leave it at that!).  Thanks to the rest of our family: aunts, uncles, siblings, and cousins (especially to Jeff, Amy, Bethany, and Kelly for your excitement about Radiant).  Thanks to our friends: Erik & Chelsea, Amanda, Sharon & Pat, Jay & Chelsea, Sandy, Mark & Meg, Chuck & Toni, Molly & Ryan, and Tim & Liz.  You guys are all UNBELIEVABLE and we hope to learn how to be as good of friends to all of you as you have been to us!

Here are some pics of our family playing around in our photobooth at Christmas…

(My cousin Bethany and me!)

(Bethany’s husband Brandon, Scottie, and my cousin Jeff)

(Cousin Jeff, Brandon, Cousin Ashley, my brother Ross, and Scottie)

(My cousin Amy and her daughter Tatum… I love any pics of the two of them playing together like this!)

(Best pic of my aunt Gaylene ever!)

(My mom Kathy, my nephew Jimmy, and me)

This next group are the people who might be the most surprised to be included because many of them have no idea what a great impact they’ve had on our work and on our spirits as we’ve pushed through day to day struggles with our company.  These people are other photographers who have in one way or another encouraged us, helped us, lent us things, taught us things… and done so many other things for us both big and small that have helped us get to where we are.  Since these people may unsure as to exactly what they’ve done to help us, I’m going to explain a little bit about each one.  Chelsea Hudson… you have become such an amazing, wonderful friend to us and it is SO good to have someone we know and trust to talk business with or just to relate to on normal life issues.  Thank you for your immediate acceptance of us as friends and for teaching us how to have great relationships without the sting of competition!  Jefferson Todd (the photographer who shot OUR wedding)… thank you for spending time with us and helping us figure out the ropes when we were newbies.  You saved us so much pain and work (and tax penalties!) by allowing us to learn from your experience instead of having to learn the hard way.  Thanks for caring enough to get involved.  Becca Knight (from Studio 222)…. I know you may not think you’ve done much for us, but we want to assure you that you have!  You were the first photography that we truly admired who began commenting on our blog.  You made us feel “big time” even if it was just an illusion ;-)  and we would get so excited every time you sat down to read our blog and comment.  It was a big encouragement that someone who is as talented and cool as you are, really liked our work and our blog!  Thanks for taking the time, we hope we’ll make it down to Florida and get to meet you one of these days!  While I’m at it… thank you to ALL the photographers who comment on our blog.  It’s a huge compliment to hear from others in the industry who are fans of our work.  And as I’m sure you know well, we all have days where we just need that ego boost!!  I feel weird thanking a messaging board, and maybe it’s lame but I don’t care because it’s absolutely necessary if this list is to be complete because really, we learned most of what we know about photography and the business from Open Source Photo.  So thanks to David Jay and all those great working minds behind it that have brought us to where we are.  Without OSP, we’d just be 2 people who liked looking at pictures a lot during our rare spare time between our 9 to 5 jobs that we hated.  And most of all, we want to thank Tim and Shauna (from Visionyard Studios)… all of this started with them.  Thank you guys for all the time spent working with us, helping us, critiquing us, and pushing us to be our best.  And also thank you a million times over for all the laughs and the unforgettable moments.  We never would’ve considered photography as a career and we never would have succeeded in making it one if it wasn’t for the fact that we got to start it all off with people we love so much.

(This is us with Jefferson Todd at our wedding!)

(This is Tim and Shauna with Visionyard. You have to just imagine Tim smiling… because he usually is! Ha ha).

And I’m not done yet!!  We have a lot of other vendors who refer us to brides and who encourage us regularly as well (can you tell yet, that we REALLY value encouragement?!).  Some of these people have worked with literally hundreds of photographers and have decided that we are one of their favorites.  These people put their neck on the line every time they tell a bride to give us a call because it is a huge step of faith to recommend another company.  If we mess up in any way… the reputation of the person who refers us gets damaged.  So THANK YOU to all of our vendors who trust enough to put their reputations and the work they do on weddings into our hands to take care of.  We are forever mindful that you are such a major part of our success and as a result, we are forever grateful to you for that.  Thank you to:

Carrie (at Stonecreek Golf Clubsee her on our blog)

Dawn (at Ancala Country Clubsee her on our blog)

Nic and Gina (at Eagle Mountain Golf Clubsee them on our blog)

April (at Arizona Golf Resortsee her on our blog)

Sue (with Suzan M. Flowerssee her on our blog)

Molly (with A Simple Touch Wedding Decorsee her on our blog)

And also Margie (with Party Presentations) as well as Sandy (with In Awe Weddings and Events).  Thank you all for your badge of approval… we wear it proudly!

The people who put the most confidence in us are the actually couples who choose us for this oh so important task! I definitely have to thank all our brides who have put faith in us and trusted us with something that is so unbelievably valuable to them. Our couples have worked with us through all sorts of circumstances and they see us go through a gamete of emotions on the wedding day… and they still love us through it all!  Thank you… all of you… for being so fantastic to work with.  We really have yet to have a couple that we haven’t felt some sort of connection with.  We’ve definitely been blessed beyond belief that you all have treated us so kindly and have always had nothing but grace, compassion, and encouragement to extend to us.  You are ALL wonderful and we truly mean that with everything in us (from the top of our heads to the bottom of our tippy toes).

There’s no way to thank God without it being cheesy enough that everyone reading will roll their eyes (definitely overdone) but let me just say that I wrote a list in my journal when we first started Radiant of 50 HUGE things that worked out just perfectly, at the exact right time, fitting together in the most opportune way, that can’t be explained, that affected the functioning of the universe… all that made Radiant possible.  Radiant is nothing short of a miracle, so thanks God.

And as any good award acceptance speech would say… “I’d like to thank our fans”.  But to break the mold just a little bit I’ll say, “I’d like to thank our FACEBOOK fans” as well as our loyal blog readers. Your comments make our world go round.  And in true Facebook fashion, I’ll keep my comments about you short and sweet… but very deeply meant.

I also want to thank Bearhug for letting us use their SWEEEEET music on our website.  We looked the whole wide world over for the perfect sound for our site and we were positively elated when we found it (especially since they’re right here in good ‘ole AZ), but even more so when they actually said we could use it!!!!  Help us repay the favor and fan them on Facebook!

If you made it all the way to the bottom, be sure to put a little smiley face as a comment before you leave just as a badge of honor that shows you made it all the way through our long-windedness, that way we can be sure to thank YOU for your patience next time!:-)

Much Love,

Scottie & Breanna Chanson

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!