Estes Park Wedding Photography *Amanda & Tim*

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Estes Park Wedding Photography *Amanda & Tim*

I had the pleasure of photographing Amanda and Tim’s Colorado Rocky Mountain elopement at The Black Canyon Inn a few days ago. It was quite a chilly and windy day, but this didn’t bring down anyone’s spirits! Everyone was so excited for the happy couple and truly joyous for this very special occasion!

Amanda and Tim were so much fun! They were so excited for this day… I remember Amanda telling while she was getting ready that she was so ready for this – that she could have gotten married the day before at the rehearsal if she could. I could hear the excitement in her voice and see it in her eyes – it’s these small things that truly bring so much joy to what I do.

Amanda’s dress was so gorgeous! I love the sparkly details of it… Also, how stunning is her bouquet?? Kim and Company did an amazing job!

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Amanda just couldn’t stop smiling!!

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The grooms expression when seeing his bride for the first time is my all time favorite moment of every wedding! I just love it!

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Black Canyon Inn provides such a stunning view from their pavilion – quite a gorgeous spot to exchange vows!

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I LOVE the joy they shared during their wedding ceremony!!!

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Congratulations to the newlyweds!!!!!!!

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Amanda and Tim celebrated their wedding reception at Twin Owls Steakhouse – one of the most delicious restaurants in all of Estes Park!

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Colorado Rose Cake Company created a gorgeous cake (as usual!) – I’m loving their cake topper! I’m a sucker for anything Disney!

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Amanda and Tim were so amazing and I wish them all the happiness in the world as they start this new adventure!!

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Colorado Rocky Mountain engagement photography *Jacquelyn & Matt*

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Colorado Rocky Mountain Engagement Photography * Jacquelyn & Matt*

It was quite the adventure scheduling Jacquelyn & Matt’s engagement session! We originally had it set up for the beginning of April, but the night before when I checked the weather it said that they predicted 8-10 inches of snow! We decided to reschedule and wait for better weather… The day we chose was looking pretty stormy, but it turned out to be awesome!!

I was already excited for this shoot because it had been awesome chatting with Jacquelyn about their wedding and I was just so stoked to meet them, finally! It was even more amazing than I thought it would be! They were so down to earth and kind hearted! Not to mention – how sweet they were with one another!

We did the shoot at a cabin off Hwy 7 that had been in Jaquelyn’s family for many years – it was rustic and simply amazing! I can only imagine how incredible a getaway would be at such a quaint spot hidden in the Rocky Mountains.

I could barely contain my excitement when they brought out a picnic basket full of goodies – Matt started to draw on a heart shaped chalkboard and Jacquelyn began reading to him. Oh my gosh – it was absolutely precious!

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They just couldn’t stop smiling at one another! I simply can’t get enough of how in love these two are!

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They were such a joy to hang out with and photograph as they interacted in such a genuine way with each other. They just laughed and soaked in the moments they shared.

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It was quite a stunning view from the property! I just cant get enough of how gorgeous Colorado is!

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Thank you Jacquelyn and Matt for letting met capture such beautiful emotion that you share and for inviting me to photograph your upcoming wedding at The Wild Basin Lodge later this summer – it’s going to be simply amazing!

dream job – how I got there

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I have my dream job!!! I wouldn’t trade it for the world and I absolutely love everything about what I do!

I decided to write this post because I have never really told this story in full detail and shared the ups and downs of what I do and how I got here.

Growing up I didn’t really think that I wanted to be a photographer… First, of course I wanted to be a princess, then a drummer in a band, a chef, a CSI.. haha the list goes on and on. Don’t get me wrong, I have always appreciated photography and the joy photos bring. I have many photographers in my family and I have always been around it, but never thought I would become one… BUT boy am I glad I did! It is an incredible creative outlet for me and I love creating images for people to treasure forever.

Not only did I not think I would become a photographer, but I never thought I would be a wedding photographer…

I was 18 years old when I asked my dad if I could work for him (he owned a successful photography business) – little did I know that this would lead to my DREAM JOB!

The first wedding he brought me to I carried his camera equipment. Not super glamorous, but I was thankful for the job and had to start somewhere. After awhile he gave me a camera to shoot with – I was at the entire wedding with him anyways, why not see what I could do??? I guess at some point he liked what I was doing because he offered me the opportunity to become his second shooter!! We were a father-daughter team and for 6 years I learned everything I could from him about the camera, photography, weddings, posing, business and so much more! It was such a blast all the time and a true bonding experience! After awhile I fell in love with everything about weddings and photography- the details, the dress, the venues, flowers, the look on the grooms face when he saw his bride for the first time, the toasts (that I still tear up at), and how much fun everyone had at the receptions! Weddings are days full of so much joy, love, and laughter – it’s truly such an honor and a blessing to be apart of these couples special day!

I learned by trial and error and I am still learning to this day! It’s incredible to learn something like photography and running a business while actually doing it and watching someone else do it on a daily basis – I don’t think any kind of school could have prepared me in such a way.

A few years into working for my father he started to give me more responsibilities – I wasn’t only second shooting with him. I was also responding to emails, calling clients, corresponding with other vendors, designing albums, and any other work in the studio that he needed. I learned such an incredible amount of information about running a business. It was such a natural transition into starting my own business in 2010… It had been a thought for awhile, but I was content where I was and actually incredibly nervous about starting a business and running it on my own.

However, it turned out to be one of the best things I have ever done! Being my own boss is incredible! It does have it down sides (taxes, accounting, time management…), but I wouldn’t trade it for anything! I took small steps here and there while still working for my father during ’10-’11 to create my business and branch off on my own. That was such a crazy time! My first full wedding season I shot 52 weddings on my own and also second shot for my father’s company. To this day I am surprised that I wanted to continue after such an intense year!! But I am so glad that I did – it has been such an incredible experience and I am so thankful everyday to have what I do! I learned a lot that first year – for example, I don’t shoot more than 30 weddings a year. This allows me to give each couple my very best attention and care… Along with keeping my sanity!

This August I will of had my company for 4 years! I am so excited that I have been able to create, run, and sustain a business! I never dreamed I would be able to do such a thing!

I love everything about love and weddings! There is so much joy packed into this one day that it is just about exploding each time and I love capturing the moments when it does!

I have been so blessed to have worked with incredible vendors and venues over the years and created friendships that will last a lifetime! I have the best clients, EVER! They are all so genuine and kindhearted that I am often taken back by there kindness – I am so grateful to each and every one of them for trusting me to capture their wedding day!

I can say without a doubt that I am living the dream and have MY dream job!

Learning so much about photography has given me such a passion for capturing not only weddings, but also people! I have a desire to travel the world throughout my life and capture other cultures and people. A persons face can tell you so much about their life… I hope to travel often in the future and use my gift to share my experiences with the world!

I am so thankful to my father for teaching me pretty much everything I know about photography and business.. My husband for encouraging me to start my business and being by my side through it all… to God for blessing me with such an amazing life… and to everyone who supports me on a daily basis! I couldn’t do any of this alone.

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Thank you to  my awesome father – Dave Russell – for these shots of me! Check out his awesome humanitarian work HERE

 

never too older for Disney World !!

Disney World is one of my very favorite places on earth!! There is something so magical about it!

I remember the first time I went to Disneyland – I was a young girl… We were on our way home to Colorado from a trip to Hawaii. We had a long layover in California and my dad told us we were going for breakfast. Little did we know he had planned a day trip to Disneyland! To this day I can recall the excitement I felt when I realized where we were going! It’s one of the very best surprises of my life!!!

I loved watching Disney movies growing up… I remember getting sick and watching The Little Mermaid over and over and over – it’s my very favorite!! There is something so amazing about the music and the playful romantic stories. I can just get wrapped up in them all day! Even to this day I love to cuddle up on the couch with a yummy snack and a classic from my collection of Disney movies.

I can barely contain my excitement about our upcoming trip to Disney World!! We will be visiting the parks – along with Universal Studios and perhaps the beach for an afternoon! It will be awesome to get away for a bit before the wedding season really kicks off.

My top five movies: The Little Mermaid, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Lion King… and I have recently became a huge fan of Frozen!!

I am super excited for The Haunted Mansion Ride… It’s silly for sure, but for some reason I love it!

Bring on the fun!! Be sure to follow me on Instagram (@megsvisualpoetry) for daily photos of our adventure!

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estes park wedding *Melissa & Joshua*

Melissa and Joshua had a stunning Estes Park Wedding at a gorgeous wedding venue located on Lake Estes – The Estes Park Resort has beautiful views and is a wonderful choice for celebrating such a special occasion!

I have been looking forward to Melissa & Josh’s wedding for quite some time! I was so excited when Melissa’s mom, Patti contacted me to photographer her daughters wedding. She was so kind and sweet to me during our phone conversations! When I chatted with Melissa for the first time it was no different. She was genuinely kind and so excited to be getting married. I knew I was going to love shooting her wedding.

I asked Melissa the story of how they met. Here is her precious response… “Josh and I were introduced through my sister and her boyfriend (both who are in our wedding party). We were introduced by them and have been inseparable since then. It is a situations where we both feel we have been on a path circling around one another waiting to collide and it finally happened!!

Melissa and Josh were absolutely amazing to work with! They were incredibly laid back and so much fun to photograph! They were a bride and groom that were completely immersed in the love they share for one another.

When I arrived Melissa had a big smile on her face and was so welcoming and kind. She later was on the floor playing peek-a-boo with her precious baby girl, Lyla – who was absolutely adorable!!

Throughout the entire wedding and reception they were both so present and calm – it is a truly beautiful thing to witness and I am so grateful I was able to photograph and preserve these memories for them and their families and friends.

Brigitte with Floral Design of Europe created stunning floral arrangements! I absolutely love the colors of these flowers!!

Jay with Standing Room Only is one the best and most amazing DJ’s in the state! He was awesome and had the party going all night long!

Here are some of my favorites from Melissa & Josh’s wedding day…

estes-park-weddingCheers to the newlyweds! I wish them a life full of joy, love, and laughter!!!

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Cake – Shamanes Bakery

Wedding Dress – Modern Trousseau

Jewelry – Heirlooms

family photo shoot *Matt & Alyssa*

I loved this family photo shoot I did a few days ago of  my brother and sister (in-law). I was lucky enough to spend a few days with them in Alamosa, CO this week, it was such a blast taking a few days to get away and spend time with family I don’t get to see as often as I would like!

Matt is my husband’s brother and Alyssa his sweet wife. They are such an incredible couple and I truly admire the love and kindness they continuously show one another. They have such incredible respect for each other and their marriage. They got married in May of 2011 – It was such a gorgeous and exciting wedding! It’s been amazing watching them grow as a couple and as a family! Their baby boy, Jayden is the most adorably joyful baby ever!

Alyssa and I hit it off right away! It’s been amazing getting to know each other and spend time together over the years. She is sweet, compassionate, and amazingly kind! I’m blessed to call her my sister and can’t wait for many years to come of memories being made!

We drove around Alamosa looking for a spot to take some family photos – It was tough, being that it was noon and light is not the greatest. However, we found an awesome portico at the court house that had great light! We even had some onlookers cheering them on during the shoot.. Ha!

I’m loving the joy and laughter between Matt and Alyssa during the shoot – such pure and true joy! They are so much fun!

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Jayden joined in on the fun after awhile!!

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Matt is a state troopers in Alamosa and it was awesome to get a few shots of him in his uniform with Alyssa!

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baby’s first birthday shoot *Jayden*

A baby’s first birthday is such a fun and incredible occasion to celebrate your little one!

I was able to get away for a few days and decided  to visit some family in Alamosa, CO. It was a lovely drive – the views were stunning!

My sweet nephew, Jayden turned one in March and we weren’t able to do his first birthday shoot then – so it was awesome to organize the shoot while I was visiting.

OH MY GOSH! He was adorable the entire time! He is naturally a very happy baby, but this was hilarious and so precious… He was giggling and laughing uncontrollably the entire shoot.

It really is crazy how fast time goes by! It feels like we were just getting the text message that they were headed to the hospital when Alyssa went into labor. It was so exciting and so incredible to meet this little guy for the first time! He is such a smart and giggly baby and it’s been fun to watch him grow the last year!

My first day in town we decided to hang colorful streamers on the walls and blow up a bunch of balloon for the shoot – ha! It was such a blast and Jayden was having so much fun – it was quite difficult to get him to be still, but that didn’t matter with that huge grin on his face the entire time!

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The next day was ‘cake day’ for sweet baby Jayden! Oh boy was he having fun with this! This time we decided to put the balloons up on the wall instead of the streamers – I love both backgrounds!

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My brother and sister (in-law) with their sweet baby boy during his first birthday shoot. Such a precious little family!

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Colorado mountains – i’m so blessed!

I absolutely love the Colorado mountains!

I am a Colorado native and have lived here my entire life and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s awesome to live right near Denver and have all of the amenities of a metropolitan city, but yet also be within 90 minutes of tons of incredible mountains towns at the base of the Rocky Mountains!

Photographing mountain weddings has been such a dream come true! My ‘office’ consists of wild flowers, aspen trees, flowing rivers, vast mountain ranges, and happy people – It doesn’t get much better than that!!! I am so blessed to have the opportunity that I do. I love sharing the joy in the world through my photographs and also truly enjoy capturing the beauty of Gods creation!

Things I love about Colorado…

The weather – it’s so unpredictable! I love it! It’s snowing one day and 70 degrees the next.. It keeps you on your toes!

The Little Man ice cream in Denver – YUM!

The Rocky Mountains and all of the awesome small towns – one of my favorites is Georgetown and Estes Park (obviously!)

The BRONCOS!!!

SNOW SNOW SNOW

Crested Butte – for their wildflowers – it’s so gorgeous!

Red Rocks Amphitheater

All of the active and health-minded people

Howl at the Moon – dueling piano bar in Denver – such a blast!

Kind Coffee in Estes Park – yum!

That’s just to name a few… There are many more reason why this gorgeous state is so incredible.

I was driving home from a wedding last week and couldn’t help but pull over and get out to take a photo of this absolutely stunning view of Longs Peak!

COLORADO IS THE BEST PLACE….. EVER!!!

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choosing your bridemaids – helpful tips

Your bridesmaids are very important to your wedding day! They are the ladies who help you plan your entire wedding and will be there every step of the way on you very special day to make sure everything goes according to plan. Choosing who these special ladies will be can be a hard choice at times, but is a crucial one!

I have seen a variety of wedding parties… Some brides have only a maid of honor and I have photographed a wedding where the bride had 10 bridesmaids! It’s really your preference and who you want to stand with you on your wedding day.

After 7+ years of photographing weddings and witnessing just about everything that can happen at a wedding… My biggest piece of advice in picking your bridesmaids would be to choose ladies who you are very close with and share a special bond. I love the joy and laughter that is shared by a bunch of gals who really care about each other and are just having an awesome time! If you start to choose people for the sake of ‘choosing people’ it can become overwhelming.

Here are a few helpful tips from The Knot to consider when choosing your bridesmaids…

* How many bridesmaids do you want to have?

* More isn’t always merrier

* A bridesmaid doesn’t have to be a woman

* You can have two maids of honor

* It’s okay to have an uneven number of bridesmaids and groomsmen

Martha Stewart Weddings says…

* Being in a wedding comes with a lot of responsibility and expense – make sure everyone knows ahead of time what to expect

This is very important! Your bridesmaids will likely be paying for gifts, bridal shower, bachelorette party, hair and make up appointments, dresses and alterations, shoes, and accessories… I have been in 4 weddings in the past and I LOVED them all, but they cost a pretty penny! Be sure to communicate with your ladies what they have a head of them so that they can prepare.

One other thing I have picked up from brides and wedding planning is that when choosing your bridesmaids dresses be sure to take all of the ladies into consideration – everyone has a different body shape and looks different in each dress. You want your ladies to feel gorgeous on your wedding day – so be sure to choose a dress that everyone loves and feels amazing in!

I have always loved the idea that if your gals don’t know each other very well to plan a ladies brunch once a month leading up to the wedding – you can chat about details and gush about how excited you are!! Plus it’s a nice way to hang out a bunch before the wedding and get to know one another better. (It’s still an awesome idea even if your gals are super close!)

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I love this shot from Alica and Spencer’s wedding! Her bridesmaids were so amazing and helpful to her on her wedding day. They were kind and genuine and a blast once the party started! To see their full gallery click here !!

romantic adventure – estes park

I am so excited my hubby and I were able to take a couples days and have a romantic adventure!! It’s not very easy for us to with both being in school, my business, and his job.  I was stoked when he told me he could get the time off from work (it’s not usually the easiest thing!) – we drove up to my family’s cabin in Estes Park on Sunday afternoon… We stopped at Whole Foods in Boulder on the way up because Ryan said we had to grill steaks and oh my, they were delicious!!

We spent time reading at Kind Coffee – if you have never been there, you have to go! It’s an awesome coffee shop on the main street of Estes Park. They have comfy couches, great coffee, and delicious treats! Plus it’s awesome to support your local small businesses!!

We discovered an awesome new (to us) restaurant in downtown Estes Park – I will blog about it soon!

We also drove through Rocky Mountain National Park – I love living so close to such a gorgeous part of the country! It was freezing, windy, and snowing – so, OF COURSE I broke out the tripod and we spent 20 minutes outside having a spontaneous photo shoot on the one of the pull offs! Ryan was just loving it… HA! He humored me for awhile and then we shivered our way back to car and finished our drive through the park.

I get the same feeling when I am driving at the base of these huge mountains as I do standing at the shore of the ocean… It’s such a humbling feeling – that there is so much out there and we are so small. It really helps me to put things into perspective. I am just in awe of Gods beautiful creation!

We rented some movies from the Redbox, got snacks, and had two movies nights! I love just hanging out with together! I remember years ago when I was on a plane I over heard these two older ladies chatting and one said the other that being married was like having a sleep over every single night! That comment has always stuck with me because in that moment I thought to myself – I can’t wait to get married and have that! Being married to your best friend really does make it like a sleep over every single night. Ryan and I played Mario on the Wii the other night – how fun is that?? I loved it! Being intentional about spending time with the important people in your life is so crucial and should not be overlooked! It’s far too precious to be neglected.

It’s so refreshing and relaxing to just get away – even if it’s only 90 minutes away from home. It does wonders!

Here are a couple shots from our freezing mini photo shoot … We don’t look it, but it was COLD!

I LOVE flare!!!

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My man is a modern day viking! 🙂 His beard is really growing on me!