West Shore Cafe Wedding

West Shore Cafe Wedding | Morgan + Vittawat

I have loved Morgan and Vittawat from the moment I met them.  They are bright, vibrant and smart. They exude happiness, confidence and love. They make you feel like a better person just being in their presence.  I had looked forward to their West Shore Cafe wedding all year and now that it’s come and gone I wish that I could do it all over again.  To be honest, we (my buddy Tyler came down from Seattle to help out) CRUSHED this wedding.  I’m so proud of the work we did and the final product that we gave to Morgan and Vittawat to celebrate their amazing day.

Morgan is a bit like me: she moves to laughter with ease and particularly in moments of great emotion.  Vittawat is all great emotion.  The results are touching, and, in my opinion, amazingly hilarious. These two are going to do great things in life together and I can’t wait to see what the world has in store for them.

Venue: West Shore Cafe | Planning and Coordination: Atypical Events | Officiant: Jack Cross | Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas | Florist: Thran’s Flowers | Bakery: Lake Tahoe Cakes | DJ: DJ Beau Entertainment | Bride’s Attire: Swoon Bridal | Bridal Party Attire: Azazie | Groom’s and Groomsmen Attire: Marchele’s Bridal Boutique | Second Photographer: Tyler Ray of Gull Photo

 

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Senior Pictures

Reasons You Should Have Senior Pictures Taken

It’s finally the time of year when the sun begins to poke its head out again and we have the types of days that lure you out to the city parks.  In addition to the sun creeping out, the retail store shelves have suddenly become lined with stuffed animals bearing a cap and gown and space for signatures and “Oh the Places You’ll Go” books out front.  Not only does this time of year signal the beginning of spring, it’s also a signal that many people are completing an educational milestone. Its graduation season.  Though people graduate throughout the year, May and June tend to be the biggest months for celebrating these accomplishments, with one of the biggest being high school graduations.

High school graduations have come with their own traditions since just about forever.  Some are ancient and over the top, but a few are worth continuing: one of which is senior pictures. Having senior pictures taken is a good idea for several reasons and most of them are extremely unselfish or vain.  So, before you think about skipping out on them, read ahead for a few reasons that you shouldn’t.

Senior Pictures

Reason # 1: The Family

Your family and close friends like having solid proof that all the love and support they have provided to the graduate over the years has actually matriculated into a finished product and a more well-developed person.  Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and even 2nd cousins have watched you grow up and it’s nice to have comparison photos throughout the years.

Senior Pictures

Reason # 2: For Practical Reasons

If you are a proper person or just someone who likes people to receive gifts for their accomplishments, you will likely send out invitations to the graduation ceremony. A nice addition to any graduation invitation is a picture of who is exactly graduating.  Many of your guests may not have seen you in some years, so including a picture will help them put a name to a now-grown-up face. If you slip and miss sending out the photos with the invitations, they can also be saved and sent with the thank you notes.

Senior Pictures

Reason # 3: To Share and Exchange with Friends

I know you may have heard this before, but it is very likely that you (or the graduate) will never see some of these high school friends again. Everyone grows up and moves to different places and chooses different paths in life, so having the ability to exchange photos makes sure they have something to show when they are telling stories about how much of a blast you guys had in physics class. 

Senior Pictures

Reason # 4: To Capture Who You Are at This Moment

As mentioned in reason number 3, you may end up going down many different roads as you progress into adulthood.  Your habits, interest and friends may change, so senior photos are a good opportunity for you to capture exactly who you are in this moment.  Has playing basketball defined your high school years?  Maybe the debate team or spanish club?  No matter what your interests are at this moment, try to capture them in your photos.  Meet your photographer at an empty basketball court and use that as a setting or bring props that have special meaning to you. Make your photo shoot representative of you.

Senior Pictures

Reason # 5: To Celebrate Your Accomplishment!

I would say the most important reason to get those senior photos done, is that it gives you the opportunity to celebrate your own accomplishment!  Finishing high school is a big deal.  We have all been there and know how crazy those 4 (or maybe 5!) years can be, but you have done it and done it well.  That deserves a celebration.  That deserves photos that you can look back on and smile or share with the future graduates that come after you.

Senior Pictures

Landing Resort Winter Wedding

Landing Resort Winter Wedding | Michelle + Rich

Michelle and Rich originally intended to elope, and then it turned into a small wedding, and then it turned into a bigger wedding. The Landing Resort and Spa offered the perfect location: a gorgeous rooftop deck, in house catering, and incredibly comfortable resort style hotel rooms that allow for pets, which was a must since they’ve rescued quite a few dogs over the past year.

Since Michelle and Rich both work at media school that offers courses in film, photography, theater and other visual arts, most of their close friends are all photographers and videographers.  As such, it was important to them to find someone that was relaxed, laid back, and wouldn’t be concerned with other folks taking photos.  Among my loud charm and wit, I am certainly relaxed. Oh, and I can help you find a DJ the night before you wedding.

I’m incredibly thankful that Rich and Michelle found me. I had such an amazing time with their friends and family and I now count them, as well as a few of their friends, among my friends. 

Also, that first look face.  Amiright?

Venue: The Landing Resort and Spa | DJ: Gabe Gavilanes | Florist: Thran’s | Bakery: Icing on the Cupcake | Bride’s Attire: Pronovias from Miosa Bride | Groom’s Attire: R. Douglas Clothier custom suit designed by David Garibaldi

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Fun Family Portrait Photography – Lake Tahoe, NV

The Kallaher family is like my own personal dream come true. They read that I love happy hour on my website and thus decided to start our family portrait session at their vacation rental with wine and cheese. Be still my heart! They also used to live in Belgium and I spent at least an hour after their session picking their brain on the country and the best places to visit. Their kids were energetic, definately not camera shy, and great to work with. The entire family was relaxed and wasn’t afraid to just let their kids be kids and the end result was a fantastic well rounded gallery of really fun family portrait photography to enjoy for years to come.

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Chart House Wedding

Chart House Wedding | Ashley + Tim

Once upon a time, two people named Ashley and Tim hired me to be their Chart House wedding photographer and to do an engagement session with them in my hometown of Dallas, TX but really what’s really important is that we got drunk and ate pizza and they met my mom and we became best friends forever.   

True story.

Tim is from Northern CA and he convinced Ashley that they should get married in Tahoe in August of this past year.  She was very concerned that it was going to rain.  “It never rains in Tahoe in the summer,” Tim assured her over and over.  “It NEVER rains in Tahoe in the summer!” I exclaimed with ultimate authority over and over.

It POURED.

But thankfully it poured seconds AFTER their ceremony and stopped by the first dance so clearly they are going to have the best of luck for the rest of their lives, which is what we tell people so that they feel better when it rains on their wedding day but is actually a lie.

Second true story.

Ashley’s aunts can really break it down on the dancefloor.  

Third true story.

Also, I went home with one of their wedding guests.

True or false?  You decide.

We were also all super pumped to do a post wedding portrait session and we went tromping all over the rocks out at Angora Lakes a few days later so I included some of those gorgeous images at the end of their wedding images.

Venue: The Chart House | Florist: Thran’s | DJ: Cornerstone Entertainment | Bride’s Attire: Allure Bridals from Terry Costa | Bridesmaid Attire: Lulu’s | Groom’s Apparel: J Crew | Groomsmen Attire: The Black Tux | Rentals: Camelot Party Rentals

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Tahoe Winter Engagement | Sand Harbor State Park | Tom + Tori

Tom and Tori had Tahoe on their bucket list for ages.  She was desperate to see the splendor that Tahoe has to offer: epic snow capped mountains, the seemingly endless lake, and fresh mountain air.  They travelled all the way from Atlanta for a getaway and wanted to capture a Tahoe winter engagement session while they were here and I have to say, totally lucked out on weather that day.  Sand Harbor State Park continues to be one of my favorite locations for portrait sessions and this day was no exception.  The lake provided an exceptionally unbelievably special sunset that night with silver strands of wispy light that bathed the beaches in a really special glow. 

Tori told me that she knew I was the photographer for them based on my FAQ not so subtly suggested that alcohol is the solution to shy partners who are hesitant to be photographed.  Their solution: champs on the beach.  

My kind of people indeed.

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Aspen Grove Wedding | Incline Village, NV | Brianna + Aaron

There was a bit of a hint that Brianna and Aaron’s Aspen Grove wedding in Incline Village this summer was going to be a special one.  They were so at ease and loving during their winter Tahoe engagement shoot that they never stopped laughing the entire time.  The only time they weren’t laughing on their wedding day, they were crying tears of happiness and joy.  Mind you, so was literally everyone else, including the photographers.  Aaron’s vows were so incredibly tender and poignant, they left all of us in awe.

Their intimate daytime wedding was a DIY affair and all their friends and family stepped in to make it special.  Photos from their engagement session with me filled the tables and friends and family stepped up to fill all the vendor roles other than venue and catering. 

At the end of the day, their wedding was an incredibly joyful reminder of how a wedding is exactly what you make of it, and what you want it to be, and that it’s uniqueness and memorability lies solely in the couple.  Brianna and Aaron did an incredible job ensuring that their wedding was simple and really quite a beautiful celebration of  their commitment to each other.

Venue and Catering: Aspen Grove |  Bride’s Attire: David’s Bridal | Groom’s Attire: Men’s Warehouse | Second Shooter: the breakfast of champions, Nicky Lockman

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Lakeside Beach Elopement

Lakeside Beach Elopement | Lili + David

Lili and David met while working at a summer camp years ago.  He’s from Ireland and what ensued was a global romance, that involved trips to Australia, transAtlantic long distance love and finally, a pledge to wed.  It took sometime to secure David’s visa and Lili and David were adamant that I be the one to photograph their elopement, which is the ultimate compliment.  I got to pick the time (sunset of course!) and we started off with a portrait session at nearby Kahle Community Center and Rabe Meadows.

I’m so excited for these two to not only be in the same continent, but to have shared their experience with me.  They were nothing but laughter and smiles the entire evening.  It was an incredibly special Tahoe sunset Lakeside Beach elopement and I feel pretty lucky to have been the one to capture their ceremony.

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Tahoe Family Portraits

Tahoe Family Portraits | Valhalla Estate | Crandall Family

Although our spring temps are lingering in the realm of brisk this week, summer is on the horizon and that means summer vacationers will fill our beaches, campgrounds, rental houses and bike paths.  The welcome change in temperatures will surely pave the way for more outdoor adventures.  I’m personally ready to get on my bike!  Summer vacation is also the perfect time to take your Tahoe family portraits.

The Crandall family hailed from Texas so I felt right at home with this large loving laughing crew.  We did some large and small group shots, as we always do, but then the family trusted me enough to let their kids play and enjoy themselves in some outdoor exploration, which made for great candid photo opportunities, which I love.  Valhalla Estate is always a fantastic choice for your South Lake Tahoe Family portraits session because it offers such a wonderful mix of forest, meadow, lawn, pier and beach.

If you’re looking for Tahoe family portraits for your summer Tahoe vacation, get in touch!

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what to wear in your family portrait

Tahoe Family Photos | LTCC Demonstration Garden | Poth Family

Last fall, shortly before their second daughter was set to be born, my friends the Poth family hired me to celebrate their growing family with some Tahoe family photos.  We met early in the morning at the LTCC Demonstration Garden, when their spitfire of a child Zada would feel extra sparky and accommodating.

Since then, their family has grown to include their new daughter Ayah, but not without quite the journey.  Baby Ayah was born premature, blind, and with holes in her heart.  She is a little fighter and this family has been air-evaced back and forth across the Western US for more surgeries, hospital stays and emergencies than any one family should endure.  They are doing well and trying to be as normal as a family can be under the circumstances they are in.

If you are interested, you can donate to Ayah’s Go Fund Me.  In addition, the Poth family urges you to donate blood.  Donated blood is one of the only reasons Ayah is still here today.  Get information on donating blood in your area here.  If you are a Lake Tahoe resident, there is a blood drive in our area on May 23rd and you can register to donate here.

If you are not a member of a medical flight network, especially if you participate in any sort of sport, then both myself and the Poth family urge you to join one.  Our local networks for the Reno Tahoe area is AirMedCare.

The Poth family also requests that you contribute to medical and scientific research.  It saves lives.

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