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Marin’s Liquid Intelligence

March 1st, 2015

If you haven’t been to Marin yet, you absolutely should go, it is a fantastic restaurant and bar with great atmosphere!  For those of you foodies that enjoy a little extra, the restaurant has started a series called Liquid Intelligence, which highlights a couple favorite drinks and is a step by step how to.  It really is a fun class for all levels of expertise.  I personally enjoyed the vintage bar utensils that were on display, most were part of the bartender’s personal collection.

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The class had a very easy going atmosphere, and you could ask questions along the way.  We learned why certain drinks are shaken and certain ones are stirred, all about flavor profile, the importance of ice, qualities of a good vermouth, and how to properly stir a drink.  We made the best sidecar I’ve ever tasted and were given a great simple syrup recipe.

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Delicious snacks were served alongside the drinks, and we were all joking and hanging out by the end.  This event would be a fantastic date night, or friends night out.  I can’t wait to go again!

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Posted in: Events
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Jason and Craig

February 7th, 2015

Jason and Craig celebrated their marriage today!  One year ago today, the couple tied the knot in Hawaii, and chose their anniversary to celebrate with friends and family in Minnesota.  Since these men have such a stylish eye it wasn’t surprising that they chose Calhoun Beach Club as their venue.  Our super mild winter didn’t disappoint and the day was warm and sunny (which the guests from Arizona greatly appreciated)!  We started the day with portraits of the grooms around the venue.

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Julie from Fabulous Functions along with Event Lab created a sophisticated lounge space for the reception using a palette of gray and blue, full of textures and a hint of sparkle.  We had to have the guys pose Mad Men style in the space!  We were soon joined by family ready for pictures and excited to celebrate alongside the grooms.

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Big lovers of theater and performance arts, Jason and Craig chose to turn their ceremony into a three act concert.  They treated their loved ones to performances from some of their favorite local talent, and Jason himself sang!  Julie has plenty of experience stage managing musical acts, so she was in her element.  Sarah Elizabeth Artistry kept the men looking dapper and concert ready.  Paper Thick Ink designed all of the printed pieces as playbills and posters, AV for You made sure the concert had professional grade sound, and Reverend Susan acted as the MC as well as led an exchange of vows at the end of the ceremony.

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The talent in this room was very humbling, there was much wiping of tears along with huge smiles as these musicians and singers performed music from a large swath of musicals, all which focused on the theme of the stages of love.

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You may kiss the groom!

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The ceremony ended as the sun started to set, and guests enjoyed passed hors d’oeuvres and gushed about what they had just experienced.  We snuck Jason and Craig out for a few more portraits and then it was time for dinner and dancing!

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The reception looked like it was set up for a photoshoot!  Alice-Lynne Olson tied in the blue accent with her lovely blooms, and there was a nod to Hawaii with her use of orchids.

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The cake topper to this lovely (and delicious!) cake was created in Hawaii.  D’Amico didn’t just wow with their cake, they pulled out all the stops for the food, from darling walleye BLTs for appetizers all the way to a decadent mashed potato bar and a spread of comfort foods that had guests coming back for seconds and thirds.

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And just when we were all about to slip into a food coma, Erin Schwab took the stage and cranked it up!  She is such a fantastic performer and the live band had people up and dancing in no time.  We had the pleasure of working with Blizzard Video Productions, I bet they captured all kinds of great footage of the dancing going on tonight!

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Jason and Craig, it was such a joy capturing your day!  We are so happy for you!  Enjoy your sneak peek!

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Posted in: Weddings
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Wedding Photography Time Management

February 2nd, 2015

Wedding photography is just one cog in the machine that is the wedding day.  At its very base, wedding photography is recording who was there and how everyone looked.  At its best, wedding photography tells a story, captures emotion and ambiance, and preserves the day so generations later can still relive it.  Good photography takes time, it is an investment, it holds purpose, and some couples struggle to balance everything they want from their photography within the constraints of a typical wedding day.

There are many ways to approach the timeline of a wedding.  Having trusted reputable vendors is a great start (check out the talent at www.independentwedding.com).  An experienced planner and photographer will be able to help you set realistic goals and expectations as well as work out the best timeline options.  Below is a list of some of the basic ways to maximize your photography investment on your wedding day.

First Look

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I love first looks, as do most photographers.  It gives couples that moment of anticipation before they see each other, but it is done much earlier in the day than the tradition of seeing each other at the ceremony.  Believe me, the butterflies are still there at the ceremony, and a first look gives couples the opportunity to spend more of the day together, have a more relaxed timeline for pictures, and in general lets you have more breathing room to your timeline.

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Focus on the Moment

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Some couples choose mostly photojournalistic coverage of their wedding day.  This is usually the best option if the couple isn’t seeing each other before the ceremony, have a less extensive budget but still want good quality images, have some family drama they want to minimize, or have a smaller wedding.  Photojournalistic coverage does not mean the images are less artistic or less beautiful.  On the contrary, images where people are in their natural state are the most emotionally impactful and also harder to get since most people are very camera aware.  Photographers that know what they are doing are paying attention to light, angle, background, moment and exposure no matter if the image is a posed portrait or split second moment.  Though we still think a few family portraits are necessary and carving out ten minutes or so for couple portraits are important, the majority of the time is spent capturing the day as it happens, in all its fantastic glory.

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Just the Two of Us

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More and more of our couples are choosing this option and I love it!  Basically, the couple goes location hopping with their photographers alone.  No wedding party.  This benefits everyone involved.  The wedding party gets more time to get ready (which really helps if little kids are involved) without as much stress, and it can eliminate the frustration of chronically late (or anti camera) friends or family.  Since there are less people, transportation becomes a less expensive issue and time management is much easier.  Couples also tend to be a bit more adventurous with their location choices since they don’t have to ask their wedding party to also hang out in an alley or climb around in a park…or walk on the roofline of a two hundred year old Cathedral…

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Wedding Party Adventure Time

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This is the exact opposite of the couple taking pictures alone.  Wedding party adventure time usually involves a couple hours of pictures in multiple locations.  Renting a trolley or limo is the easiest option, and the most fun since you can pump your favorite tunes and drink (even stop at a drive thru) with your pals.  This option is usually more high intensity and fun, and can be a really great way to show your out-of-town friends the local sites.  It is a great bonding experience though also a bit more unpredictable.

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Day After

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Mostly, this is an option for destination weddings, but is also an interesting way to look at any wedding photography.  Instead of filling your day with picture time running around and getting every image you’ve ever dreamed of, think about doing your portraits another day.  If you are someone that is easily overwhelmed with stress, or who has a specific location in mind that might not be feasible that day, think about how amazing it would be to have your wedding with only minimal posed family and wedding party pictures.  Think of how relaxed that wedding timeline would be, how leisurely you could get ready and how you could enjoy your friends and family at your cocktail hour!  And then a couple days later you have hours dedicated for nothing but pictures.  Your photographer will have more time to work, you won’t have the stress of the wedding day, you have dedicated makeout time…bonus, you get to wear that amazing dress again and do more adventurous things!

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Get Creative

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Creativity in how you plan your day can affect both your bottom line and your images.  Being creative with your wedding day timeline could mean having your first dance before dinner is served (right after the grand march) and then have your photographer’s hours end there, doing minimal posed pictures the day of the wedding and having a styled shoot later in your wedding finery, having a brunch wedding with a more condensed timeline, or choosing a Thursday or Sunday to get married.  All of these creative options can shave a couple hours off a timeline which will help you save money on your photography without compromising on quality.

In no way do wedding pictures have to follow a check list of must haves you found on the internet or look a specific way.  This is YOUR day, you are investing in a quality photographer, make the most of it.  Work with your fiance and photographer to whittle down what it is you want for the day.  Give them words like “quirky” “dramatic” “emotional” “sexy” “hilarious” to describe your style and let your photographer get creative.  Whether it is designing a little photoshoot set to work with or simply giving your photographer permission and time to experiment and have fun, you will naturally end up with images unique to you as a couple.

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Weddings are expensive.  That is the cold hard truth.  It also isn’t an investment worth making if the entire time you are stressed, frustrated, and hiring vendors based on price over quality.  Think about your day, what you want to get out of your day, and how to plan your wedding timeline to get the most bang for your buck.  Proper time management not only affects your stress levels and the quality of images you will get, but also directly affects your bottom line.  Taking the time with your photographer or planner (or both!) to figure out the best timeline for your wedding day will keep everything running smoothly!

 

Posted in: User Manual
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Cozy Winter Family Session

January 26th, 2015

Today was a gorgeous winter day in Minnesota terms…45 degrees?  Unheard of!  So naturally, for today’s family session we had to head outside and take advantage of the lovely light and downright balmy weather.  Extra bonus?  An impromptu snowball fight and the family all got to see me run up a snow covered hill barefoot (my shoes were too slippery!).

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I just adore these sisters and their relationship with their mama!

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Lots of love in this family!

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Back inside we warmed up and I asked the family to do their favorite quiet activity, and yes, that is a vintage gameboy.

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Enjoy your sneak peek!  Thank you so much for spending the afternoon with me!

Posted in: Family Sessions
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Author Headshots

January 18th, 2015

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Today I photographed Meg, an author from Rochester.  She has a new book coming out and needed images for her marketing materials and her book jacket.  We met at Rudy’s Event Rentals space so we could use her lovely furniture and the pretty natural light in her space.  Brett Dorrian got Meg all dolled up, and feeling like a million bucks.

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We went for a variety of images, from sweet to sultry to smiley so Meg will have plenty of looks to choose from as she markets her new book.  Meg, it was a pleasure working with you today!  Good luck on everything!!!

Posted in: Commercial
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Chris and Lisa

January 1st, 2015

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Chris and Lisa rang in the new year with their wedding yesterday!  Words can’t describe this fantastic, warm, sweet, hilarious, playful, goofy couple or the wonderful people they surround themselves with.  All I can say, is that Saint Paul’s heart grew 100 times when all of these fabulous humans converged at the Hotel 340 to celebrate the long awaited moment when Chris and Lisa would wed.

The day started off with Glam Doll Donuts, ’nuff said.

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The wedding took place at the St Paul Athletic Club, a beautiful historic building in downtown St Paul.  Lisa and her ladies glammed it up…

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…while the guys got in a workout.

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Um, yeah.  No words, these guys were the bomb.

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Wedding pinup?  Why yes, please!

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We all braved the cold (sorry about the potential frostbite, Chris!) for some outdoor portraits.  The new Pedro Park was perfect for this group, bright, colorful and larger than life.

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One more quick stop for a portrait with the Peanuts gang.

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Chris and Lisa used elements from the theater throughout the day.  They named their wedding “Meet Me in St Paul” and their wedding program was a playbill, complete with cast list and a four scene ceremony. They started off the ceremony with a rude guest on a cell phone being escorted out by the groomsmen.  Then the bride entered to the most elegant traditional wedding march, which transitioned into the theme song for The Muppet Show, which immediately told the guests this was no ordinary wedding.

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A friend of the couple did a fantastic job officiating, and even dabbing the bridal tears during the vows.

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A little known German wedding tradition called “Amalden Sagen” was performed.

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After the ceremony, the brave couple ventured outside to take advantage of the gorgeous lights in Rice Park.  WORTH IT!

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A couple more portraits (showing off the lovely flowers designed by Lund and Lange) back at the Hotel 340 and then it was time to party!

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I love the elegant ballroom at the St Paul Athletic Club, and the fact that WA Frost is the in house caterer.  Shimmery metallic decor bathed in candlelight worked perfectly with the space, and a Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy cake topper kept things lighthearted.  The couple chose comfort foods like meatloaf and ravioli to fill their guests’ bellies so they could party hardy all night…there was even a surprise wedding party dance!  DJ Joe kept the tunes spinning and the guests held nothing back when dancing.  No words can express the following pictures, I’ll just let you all enjoy!

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A celebration full of joy and humor!  Chris and Lisa, thank you so much for letting us tag along for the ride!  Enjoy your sneak peek!!!!

Posted in: Weddings
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Winter Family Portraits

December 30th, 2014

I truly love working with this family, and seeing their children grow and more being added to the brood.  With subzero temperatures, and part of the family acclimated to California weather, an indoor lifestyle session was definitely the way to go.  We started off with the kiddos and their grandparents, and worked our way through the different family groups with promises of cinnamon buns and chocolate if everyone smiled.  The best part of photographing little ones is listening to the parents sing goofy songs and say silly words to encourage smiles.

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Goofy cousins!

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The final result…

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…how everyone really felt.

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What a fun bunch of people!!!

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And of course the heads of the household get a portrait, too!  It was only -11 windchill, no biggie!

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I had a ton of fun with all of you today!  Thank you for opening up your home!  Enjoy your sneak peek!

Posted in: Family Sessions
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Di and Tracie

December 13th, 2014

Tracie and Di were married today!  Actually, they have been married for 15 years, but tonight they made it legal in the state of Minnesota!

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These two wanted to just have a simple pot luck get together, but their family and friends wouldn’t have it.  The couple was flooded with requests to help decorate, design flowers, play music, and contribute in every way they could.  Tracie and Di are both very giving loving people, and their tribe wanted to love on them right back.  The brides planned this entire wedding in under a month.  It was stressful and crazy, with so many things to consider and decisions to make quickly.  Fortunately, they hired Gretchen from Rocket Science Weddings and Events to help guide the process.

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The wedding took place at Sokol Hall, a true part of St Paul history.  It is a lovely theater, and has a variety of antique backdrops to choose from.  Di and Tracie chose a woodland scene, and Avant Decor hung cafe lights across the front of the stage to give it even more charm.  As it got dark outside, guests arrived for the wedding, all bringing a favorite dish to share, made with love.  Beloved nieces and nephews started the processional and then the brides were escorted in by their parents to live bagpipe music.

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Music was a huge part of the evening.  With various friends and family performing.

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The vows and ring ceremonies were full of laughter and love, shared respect and appreciation.  Pride in their state for being brave and standing up for equality.  I truly lost it when the officiant asked for all the LGBT couples in the hall to stand that had been together for 15 or more years…and to see so many stand!  Such loving relationships, it was so moving.

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After the recessional, Tracie and Di were completely surprised when all of their guests flash mobbed them with a performance of Glory of Love.

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Then, it was time to eat!  The smorgasbord of food was quite impressive!  Guests enjoyed eating at long tables, sharing stories, drinking wine, and celebrating.

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After heart felt speeches, there were two performances to kick off the dance!

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Tracie and Di, it has been so fun getting to know you in this whirlwind time!  I hope you had a magical evening and I’m so thankful to have been a part of it!!!

Posted in: Weddings
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Home for the Holidays

December 1st, 2014

The other day I photographed a fabulous family!  I love the warmth and joy this group had, and it was such a blast running all over Rudy’s Event Rentals photographing the little kids.

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Posted in: Family Sessions
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Dani Tietjen at the Southern Theater

November 25th, 2014

Dani Tietjen travels throughout the United States encouraging her audiences to learn the language of expectations.  She uses humor and raw honesty to help speak truth into her participants’ relationships.  So when she decided to create a promo video, I jumped at the chance to work with her again and get to listen to her new talk about living in North Minneapolis and keeping hope alive. 

Chad Amour and Motion 117 Productions worked with Dani to produce the concept of the video and they agreed that the Southern Theater was the perfect locale.  Oh, and of course Brett Dorrian Artistry Studios was brought in because she knows her stuff when it comes to commercial hair and makeup for studio lighting.  Dani asked the oh so fabulous Rachel Kurtz (seriously, she sings to your SOUL.  Go check her out at Icehouse) to warm up the crowd with a couple songs.

Thanks to everyone who came out, here are a few images from the evening, including some rare behind the scenes footage ;)

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Posted in: Events