Category Archives: Unique Session

A burned forest, a tool shed, and a leap into the pond… Christen and Jay’s Unique Session

After a wedding day full of phrases like “OK, we’re going to run out in the rain to get exactly 2 photos, ready? One… two… three… GO!” We were crossing our fingers for sunshine and clear skies for Christen and Jay’s Unique Session the next day.

No such luck.

Well, I take that back, because we actually DID have quite a bit of luck.  We had just enough time to get the main outdoor shots we needed in the places we wanted to go, while running for brief interludes of rain cover in between the few moments of dryness.

(literally… running).

Luckily, there was one covered area that provided us with some sick pictures and that was the barn/tool shed on the property!

Who knew, right?!

(Good thing Christen is an athlete because some of the positions and poses she had to hold to get these were pretty complex and required plenty of muscle!).

One of the outdoor spots we found allowed us to get some of the most dramatic shots EVER!

I do feel a little guilty capitalizing on the misfortunes of a burned forest… but look at these pictures, wouldn’t you do it?!

While they had joked about doing it on the wedding day, I wasn’t sure it would actually happen… but boy was I wrong! I’m talking about what you’re about to see in the following pics…

Yep!  They jumped into the water together!

So adorable right?!

There couldn’t be a better end to a mountain top Unique Session than a quick swim in the pond in your wedding dress!

But what happened after we took those pictures was even better!!!  We had the opportunity to go back into the dream cabin that they got married in (click here to read about their wedding and the place it was at) and sit at a long family style table eating wedding food leftovers with Jay and Christen, Josh and Kelley (our associate photographers), and Christen’s parents.

We had THE best time sitting around laughing, settling down for some more serious moments, and listening to stories about their lives in South Africa and their complicated process of immigration to the U.S.  It was one of those rare moments that you wish you could just freeze in time.

There we were… sitting around in a gorgeous home in the woods, eating amazing food, getting to know some of the kindest people I’ve ever met, listening to the sort of incredible stories that really make you think and feel like you’ve learned something… all while knowing we were there to celebrate a wedding between two perfectly matched individuals that we’ve grown to care deeply about.  Now that is what I call an unforgettable night.

Which was a great end to a great session!

Thanks to you all for treating us like family and for being such a wonderful example of the kind of family we aspire to have ourselves one day.  Congratulations and we hope we get to see you again one day in the very near future!

Click to see the rest of the photos from the wedding and from Christen and Jay’s Forrest Unique Session.

(This picture looks like it was taken in a dreamland doesn’t it?!)


Tonia and Jay’s Unique Session… Jerome style!

Red rocks are totally and utterly amazing and all, but when you have 2 sets of photos in front of them that have both been taken within the past 6 months, you hardly need a third set.

This is the reason that the day after Tonia and Jay’s Sedona wedding, we took them to Jerome, AZ for their Unique Session.

We thought it would be cool to get something different since we did both their engagement session and their wedding in Sedona.

Jerome is an old ghost town that’s been turned into a sort of haven for artists and very “eclectic” people, for lack of a better term.  Which means, this town is incredibly interesting looking!

(We call this our “Where’s Waldo” picture).

Not only does it have all the history and character, but it’s also sliding down the side of a mountain, which I’m sure is very problematic from a logistical standpoint…

…but it does look really cool!

Jerome has all kinds of crazy characters in it. The lady who owned the candy shop said that we could take photos in there as long as we didn’t take pictures of a certain section of art on the wall… which happened to be cartoons drawn by a 14 year old with a magic marker… very valuable I’m sure.

We also had a homeless guy giving us direction.  The picture below was his best idea, I actually like it!

Then their was the lady who pulled up right next to us while we were shooting who had a giant sticker covering the back of her car that read, “Best Photography in Arizona”… um, awkward!

So amidst the tumbling buildings and the friends we met along the way, we fully enjoyed all the culture that Jerome, AZ has to offer.

We got some great shots and were happy to send Tonia and Jay back to Indiana knowing we’d given them a true Arizona ghost town experience!

Thanks for being willing to go on an adventure with us you guys!  Maybe we’ll come visit you someday and you can show us around in all the odd ball places that exist in your neck of the woods!

Click to see the rest of Tonia and Jay’s Jerome, AZ Unique Session.

A 1st anniversary to remember… Chris and Linzie’s California Unique Session

Raise your hand if you put your wedding dress back on for your anniversary…

Keep your hand up if your dress still fits!!  Well Linzie is one of those lucky ones with her hand still up.

And she also had a great reason to put her dress back on (unlike the rest of you with your hands still in the air who only did it to feel like you got your money’s worth!).

Linzie put her dress back on and Chris got all decked out in a rented tux for their Unique Session on Laguna Beach in California…

…which all happened exactly a year to the day after we shot their wedding at Ocotillo Golf Club in Phoenix!

Such a great idea for an anniversary isn’t it?!  A little trip combined with a reminiscent photo session showing how happy you still are a year after the big day… I totally loved it!

All of us totally loved it actually because we had so much fun hanging out in California together.  During the trip, I (Breanna) had another one of those moments where I remembered to appreciate how awesome our job is.  We get to go on vacation with so many cool people!

I mean, we consider it an honor to hang out with them once in awhile before their wedding and then again on the actual day… but to go on vacation with our couples is just awesome!  We got to know Linzie and Chris so much better as we enjoyed great meals in cute local restaurants and as we bonded over the challenges that are inevitable to a good Unique Session.

To start with, we found quick sand (OK it wasn’t really quick sand but enough “Princess Bride” views as a child had my imagination going crazy!), very large holes that housed some kind of animal that was too big for my comfort, and a dastardly lady bug who you could just tell had evil thoughts running a muck (just kidding, she was the perfect little lady of course and very cute).

Aside from all these made up trials, we definitely had the real struggle arrive when Linzie had to get herself in the freezing cold January ocean!

(Yep, she just joined that elite group of brides who decide to “trash the dress” for the sake of the photos!).

The water was so cold that Chris backed out (that’s right Chris, I’m totally gonna shame you!).

(But he just looks so tough here doesn’t he?  Yeah that’s because this was taken before the water factor came into play!).

(I will at least give him credit for doing his best to help warm her up after it was all over!).

Linzie pushed through the freezing pain (which was later relieved by the oh so welcomed numbness that set in) because she had been dreaming and talking about this moment non-stop for the past year.  She was not about to miss her chance!

I was so proud of you Linzie… as I stood by in my 2 layers of dry sweaters and watched you try to not let your face reflect your true body temperature as the icy waves crashed up on you!  It was all I could do not to just drag you out of the water, grab you squarely by the shoulders, and say “you don’t have to do this!”.  But I’m glad I resisted and let you continue on in your bravery, not only because there’s no way I could’ve drug you in that dress that gained an extra 50 lbs as the water soaked in, but also because I freaking love the pictures we got and I hope you think it was all so very worth it!

(I love this one that Scottie took of the dress and the water that dripped off it down the slanted road.  The little footprints let you know there’s a story behind this photo!).

Thank you guys so much for putting in the energy to plan such a great session and trip!

We had a blast and we can’t wait to see where year number 2 takes you!  Happy Anniversary!

Click to see the rest of the photos from Chris and Linzie’s memorable California Unique Session!

(I title this picture… “After She Tamed the Sea”).

The Top 25 Radiant Photos of 2010: Weddings/ Unique Sessions

All of you Radiant fans have spoken… and you have been heard! The results of our “Best of 2010: Weddings and Unique Sessions” contest are in!

Out of 118 photos in the album on Facebook, these are the photos that received the most votes (click here if you want to see all the runners up). The winners are divided into categories so you can see which ones had the most votes, but within each category they are listed in a random order.

So please sit back and enjoy….

“The Top 25 Radiant Photos of 2010: Weddings/Unique Sessions”

40 – 60 votes

Best wedding photography contest

This photo got 2 votes for her being a mermaid.

(See more from this session in the Cenotes of Playa Del Carmen, Mexico here).

“Captured exactly how I was feeling.” – The Bride.

Best photography 2010 Southern California winner

This photo got 3 votes for her being a mermaid… I guess you can tell what my (Breanna’s) favorite movie was growing up!

One voter began the rumor that he was playing chopsticks here… the truth is a secret between the two of them (mostly because I don’t remember).

Winning Mexico wedding photographer

Described as “epic, dramatic, exceptional, dream-like, phenomenal, gorgeous, and breath taking”… I’d say this one is a winner for sure.  Read all the comments (and add your own) here.

21- 39 votes

Winning Hawaii wedding photographer

“I loved everything about this wedding! It was definitely one of your best works EVER!” – Molly Ellison

Click to see the rest of this Hawaii wedding here…. Molly vouches for it!

Best vintage wedding photos 2010

This one had some great comments. Here are a few…

“I love these crybabies.” – Stephanie Kafton (sister of the groom)

“One of the only moments I remember clearly from that day!” – The Bride

“I wish I had a picture of my parents or grandparents like this.” – Inez Moreno

“If this doesn’t win, I am moving to Canada.” – Sari Beliak (looks like you get to stay, Sari).

“I love this shot! So Indie and so cute.” – Kirsten Leah Bitzer

See more of the comments here.

” Her love awaits, just outside those doors…” – Janae Tyars (of Tyars Media)

The general agreement is that this kid rocks.

One word votes: “Romance”.

“Beautiful beautiful beautiful. I want light like this to follow me around all day.” – Molly Ellison (what an excellent commenter you are, Molly!)

Many agreed that this looks like a scene in a movie. But if this is a movie, it’s definitely based on a true story because one of their friends let us know that they really are that in love!

16- 20 votes

Ek, I’m so sick of hearing about how beautiful Julie is!  Just kidding… Julie you are freaking stunning!

” My absolute favorite! Looks like a movie! Perhaps a Pride & Prejudice moment.” – The Bride.

“This cave and water shoot just stirs something in me. love it.” – Gabrielle Dailey Bass

See more from this session in the Cenotes of Playa Del Carmen, Mexico here.

“Earthy and elegant!” – Janae Tyars (Tyars Media). I thought that was the perfect description of this photo.  Also, my pride insists that I inform you that another commenter said this belongs in a bridal magazine! 🙂

This one is meant to remind everyone that there is more than just cactus in Arizona!

15 – 10 votes

Looks like you just happened to capture a tender moment…” – Jennifer Gabrielson Anderson

It’s unanimous… this is one of the coolest bouquets of all time (and I agree… I totally wished I had thought of that for my wedding)!

“WOW!!!” – Andrea Sholer

… several comments later…

“I’ve already commented, but I just can’t get over this one!!!” – Andrea Sholer

Best Phoenix wedding photographer 2010

” Best day of my life!!” – The Bride.

To answer the questions, this is at the Tre Bella wedding venue in Downtown Mesa.  See more from this wedding here.

Many people have told us since we first posted this photo that it is their all time favorite because of the symbolism of a dad working hard to be there for his beautiful little girl.

“Working hands for a beautiful daughter!!” – Kimberly Brown (mother of the bride)

” Beautiful shot…i can still ‘hear’ Breanna’s words explaining the incredible symbolism behind this one on the Radiant Blog!” – Chelsea Nelsen (The blog post she’s talking about is here).

Winning Mexico wedding photos

“Scottie-you’re a lighting wizard!” – Lucinda Green

I (Breanna) agree.  Watch the “Making of Video” for this session to see what we’re talking about!

Best vintage wedding photographer phoenix

One word comments: “Vintage”.  This wedding did have a super cool vintage feel.  See more from it here.

Julie and Andrew, I think your Unique Session is a big winner in the contest… people love it!

Congratulations to all of the couples in our winning photos.  Your win is a testament to you putting a lot of hard work, thought, and time into your photos and to you planning amazing weddings and Unique Sessions… thanks for making our portfolio amazing!  We can honestly say we love you all and we feel so blessed that we get some of the best couples around.   We regularly get comments on our Facebook page and blog telling us how cool our couples are… and we SO agree!

And thanks so much to everyone who voted.  We had so much fun reading all the comments and you were all a major encouragement to us.  Thanks to all your kind words we’re all refreshed and psyched out of our minds to blow it up in 2011! Here’s to a fantastic 2011!

P.S. Our winners in the high school senior/family photo session category will be going up later this week!


Best Radiant Photos of 2010… vote now!

We’ve been over and over and over it and we just can’t decide… so now we’re asking you to do our dirty work!  We have narrowed down our favorite photos of 2010 and broken them into 2 different categories.  One is Weddings & Unique Sessions and the other is Seniors Sessions & Families Portraits.  So now we need you to go through each album and pick your faves!

Each comment you make on a photo in the Facebook albums counts as a vote for that photo (make sure you have liked our page so you are able to comment). You can comment on/vote for as many different photos as you want… if you like one, just say so!

Once we tally up the votes, we’ll choose the photos with the most comments to be featured in a blog post highlighting the best Radiant photos of 2010!  Oh and by the way, you are totally allowed to vote for your own photo… we know you’re dying for another opportunity to show off your pics again, so this is your chance!

Go now and vote to your little hearts’ content!

Wedding & Unique Session finalist photos

stunning wedding photo

Senior Sessions & Family Portrait finalist photos

Unique Senior photos AZ