Monthly Archives: July 2010

Jennie and John: a pair that would make even Derek Zoolander jealous!

So I guess you could say that Jennie and John made a liar out of me!

I (Breanna) started our their engagement session by telling them that they’d be uncomfortable in the beginning, but then it would slowly get easier the longer we went on.

The words were hardly out of my mouth before they struck a completely natural pose that made them look like they’d been modeling all their lives.

So much for being uncomfortable!

They looked totally relaxed the entire time and I hardly even had to think about posing them!

I’d start to pose them and then I’d look at them, step back a little, look at them again and surprise myself by saying “never mind, what you’re doing is perfect”.

(The closest we got to posing was here when Scottie told them to look “epic”.  Without even a second of hesitation, they just went into perfect epic mode!  Really?!  Who actually knows how to do that!?)

Now for those of you who have had photo sessions before and are feeling bad because you weren’t 100% comfortable right away… never fear because Jennie and John are apparently freaks of nature who’s coolness overrides any awkwardness that might try to creep through. 

Most of us people with average Joe levels of coolness (or less) couldn’t pull off this modelesque photo shoot if we’d trained for years for it!

It was like style was just seeping out of their pores.

Since a good part of what we do is work with people to help relax them and feel comfortable enough with us that they feel free to be themselves in the photos… we can’t take much credit for most of the good parts in these photos! It was all them!

The pictures are what they are because Jennie and John were just who they are without any level of coercion from us!

(This is them attempting a very dramatic, full on leaping into the air shot. Up next on their agenda… auditions for “So you think you can dance”.  Just kidding).

And lucky for them, who they are happens to be people who are really cool with a large lump of ridiculously good looking (to quote Zoolander) added on top of that!

Perfect candidates for an outstanding photo session I’d say!

(This porch stoop is exactly where they met at a First Fridays years ago! In case you’re confused, First Fridays is a monthly art walk in Phoenix).

I guess what we can all learn from Jennie and John is to just do what you do with confidence because being yourself makes you look your best both on camera and off (I think Tyra Banks just took over my computer… motivational speech ends here).

(More dance practice… I tell ya, there gonna go pro soon!).

Of course looks and style aren’t all that Jennie and John have going for them!  They are a lot of fun to hang out with too!

We went to Carly’s Bistro for a late night snack after their session (despite the fact that they had gone there for dinner before the session) and we stayed there into the even later night because we were having such a good time with them!

So not only are they the perfect people to do a  photo session for, but also the perfect people to work with!

Fun, charming, and kind people… who wouldn’t want to work with them?!

(And they let us take pictures of them in front of giant religious skeletons… like I said, they’re easy to work with!).

So thanks Jennie and John for making our job so easy and so much fun!  We had a great time with you and we’re so glad that we’re the ones you chose to be there alongside you on your big day!  Ciao for now!

Click to see the rest of the photos from Jennie and John’s ridiculously good looking photo session.

Watching true beauty happen at the “Arizona Princess Program”

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!

Alex & David’s beautiful Arizona engagement session!

I know it sounds weird, but I got to know Alex long before I met her.

What I mean is, I (Breanna) knew her parents long before I ever met her and of course parents like to talk about their kids so I got to hear stories about her all the time and I felt like I knew her!

So when we got the call to shoot Alex’s wedding I was very honored to get to work with a family that I already know and love.

And I was looking forward to finally meeting Alex in real life!

Of course the tricky part is that Alex and her fiance David don’t live in Arizona!

So I finally got to have my first face to face meeting with Alex when they made a trip out here to do a little wedding planning (since they are getting married in AZ).

As I mentioned, I was so excited to meet her since I’d been hearing about her for so long and let me just say that we had so much fun at our first meeting that my high expectations were not disappointed!;-)

The next time we hung out with them was when they came out here for more planning and we had the privilege of shooting their engagement session!

The only downside to their session was that they couldn’t make it out here until July so of course that means it’s going to be one sweaty, hot session!

We started out at Alex’s uncles house, which was nice because we could at least take a few pictures and then come inside for an air conditioned break in between shooting. 

(And a good a/c break is exactly what’s needed after trampoline time!).

Once we realized we could survive the heat, we got bold and headed out to do some wide open sky shots out on the Salt River Reservation.

Once out there, we found that the heat wasn’t the only thing we had to battle against.  We discovered that the giant red ants, millions of gnats, and mean mosquitos were much less friendly foes.

(See, they had a good attitude the whole time!  They were having fun messing around throughout it all… unless he really is trying to strangle her for making him do this!! Ha ha.)

Well I think that facing the nature challenges was well worth it because we were blessed with a perfect sky that day and were able to capture it amidst all of the obstacles surrounding us!

Thanks to Alex and David for being excited enough about your engagement session that you were willing to come to Phoenix in July to do it!  We appreciate that kind of commitment!;-)

Good luck with the rest of the wedding planning… we can’t wait until the next time we get to see you when you’ll be all dressed up and ready to head down the aisle!

Click to see the rest of the photos from Alex and David’s Phoenix Engagement session.

From New York to the wild, wild west!

When you move to Phoenix from New York, as Melissa and Josh did…

…you’re in for quite a few changes!  Not the least of which is the landscape!

Going from green to brown, from fall leaves to brown, and from snow to brown… is not always easy!

Fortunately, Melissa and Josh see past the brown to the real beauty of Arizona!

The mountains, the cactus, the baby quails and rabbits… all of it makes up the desert out in the wild, wild west and Melissa and Josh are happy to have the opportunity to witness it all first hand!

When they first moved out here, one of the first places they went to visit was Saguaro Lake… which is why it was on their minds when we started asking about places they go together that we could incorporate into their engagement session.

With their water bottle in hand, Melissa and Josh headed out with us for a photo session in the heat of July.

They turned out to be real troopers as they didn’t even complain about the heat once!

I (Breanna) am an Arizona native and even I still whine about the heat on a regular basis!  Lucky for us, the day we planned for their session turned out to be not nearly as hot as it could’ve been as we went treading through the desert landscape to find some of the real gems of the Southwest!

And find them we did… the lake was as stunning as the mountains were astounding, as we placed Melissa and Josh strategically in front of them in hopes of capturing that “perfect shot”.

I think they turned out pretty perfect and I hope Melissa and Josh would agree!

Thanks you two for being so bold and for sweating so much for the sake of your pictures!  We appreciate you dedication and we can’t wait to see what kinds of photos we get when we shoot your wedding during the cool of October!

Click to see the rest of Melissa and Josh’s beautiful AZ photo session!

The Coopers rocking it in Southern California

Ever since we shot her sister’s wedding a couple of years ago, we’ve been trying to schedule a family session with Lisa.

Things get complicated fast when you’re planning to get together and you live in different states!  But alas, the time came for Lisa and Jeff’s family photo session!

We met up in the LA area (Lisa and Jeff drove from Northern CA and Scottie and I came from Phoenix) at Griffith park for a day o’ picture time fun!

Once we finally found each other (Griffith Park is REALLY big), we first got re-introduced to their 3 boys…

…and their little stuffed animal friend “Puppy Breath” who kept trying to sneak his way into pictures…

… then we picked up our cameras and began shooting away!

We had bouts of family playtime…

…intermixed with a few moments where we were the bossy photographers and made them look at the camera and smile…

…and then we’d go back to playtime!

We had some wrestling adventures…

… some karate time….

… and then back to the “sit and smile for the camera” shots!

Aside from trying to sneak Puppy breath into our shots in a”Where’s Waldo” fashion, the boys had another prop they were itching to use, and that was their very cool hats!

They were so excited about their hats, so we made sure to try to get a bunch of pictures with them on!

Griffith Park has some huge beautiful trees so we took full advantage of them and made them a prop/background for these pictures.

It’s always more fun for kids when they get to play on the “furniture” we use for pictures!

After the tree time, we headed over to the playground to get a few shots of the kids just being kids.

(I, Breanna, told him that he could design/pose one picture on his own and the one on the right is his creation!  ha ha I love it!)

Of course as it goes when you arrive at a playground, the kids were off in the blink of an eye and Scottie and I were left with our old people legs trying to catch up to them!

We caught them a few times… at least just enough to get the shots we wanted!

Thanks to the Cooper family so SO much for traveling down to meet us for your family session! We loved getting to hang out with you once again! I really hope you guys enjoyed your little vacay and that you enjoy the pictures that resulted from it even more!

Click here to see the rest of the photos from this fun California family photo session!