Eweni & Thompson Engagement (and Family) Portraits

Amber & Ashton, high school sweethearts, live in the DFW area with their adorable toddler Jace.  They’re both from Tyler, TX so they are getting married in their home town at the Tyler Rose Gardens on August 20th!

All of my wedding clients receive a complementary engagement session and with their wedding FAST approaching we had to coordinate them in the dead heat of summer with 100+ degree temps + 90% humidity.  (Good thing they’re Texas natives 💁)

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Here they are looking cool as a cucumber….

I’m originally from the DFW area and most of my family lives there, so I immediately thought of the Dallas Arboretum but then I was warned about how much more humid it is in the gardens. 😫 Wilted clients are just not cute (or happy). After talking it over with some other photographers Amber and I decided on the Fort Worth water gardens, thinking that it “might” be cooler if we happen to have a breeze. WHEW we lucked out and although it was hot as….well you know those sayings…. we did manage to occasionally catch a breeze.

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Safety is a big concern at the water gardens especially with a toddler in tow for the shoot. There are some deep (but beautiful) fountains with motors that have a lot of suction.  There is no swimming signs posted everywhere.  Jace however was the most well behaved toddler that I have every seen in a public place.  I was sorely tempted to see if Amber & Ashton wanted to trade a toddler for a teenager!

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I loved how Jace’s outfit coordinated with mom and dad. Bringing in elements of both of their wardrobes brought the whole look together without looking too “matchy”.

Their wedding is THIS Sunday (and the temps are supposed to be in the 90s 😬)  So stay tuned for what is sure to be some beautiful wedding portraits at the Rose Gardens!

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My Philosophy : Pictures are our way of capturing a sliver of time, a moment, so that we can tell it back to ourselves later. It’s my job to capture that moment for you in all its intensity and beauty so that you can hold onto it through times both bad and good.  My passion is storytelling, I just use a camera instead of a words.

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Criss can be found floating around on her  Website,   FacebookInstagram, or Twitter accounts when she’s not running around the house in her cape or digging in the dirt in East Texas.

Time & Wedding Timelines

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As I sit here drinking my glass of wine trying to use my time that I think I have to sit and type this, I’m being glared at by two teenagers who seem to think that staring at me will make me use my time to cook them dinner, like I feel like parenting tonight or something! Surely there’s some kind of law that says teenagers should be able to cook their own meals at this age? So they’ll keep staring and I’ll keep typing and making pointed looks at the cabinet that contains the ingredients for a healthy, filling, PB&J sandwich.

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Stay tuned for my Mother of the Year award acceptance speech! – Image via Morguefile

When I think about time (not in philosophical ways, that’s waaaay to deep of a subject for this blog) I think back to one of my first weddings many moons ago. The bride wanted to pay me for 2 hours of services and of course she assured me that we would be able to fit the getting ready, wedding, bride & groom portraits, bride with family portraits, bride with groom and family, bride with bridesmaids, groom with bridesmaids……. etc. etc.. portraits in that two hours. It was only pictures for goodness sake and all I was doing was clicking the shutter. Oh HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA……I was so dumb….. Do you know how long it takes to wrangle drunk uncle Bob into portraits and get him to stop making those stupid faces (or grabbing a bridesmaid’s ass)?

So now, during consultations, brides & grooms and I go over a sample timeline of mine so we can decide which moments they truly need time for and which moments are not important for me to capture for them and I would like to share this with everyone! (Because I’m just super awesome like that.)

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^^^ Important Moment ^^^

1:00 – 3:00 Bridal Party Hair & Makeup – two hours or longer depending on how many in the party and how many professionals you have working on you! I will use this time to also photograph the rings, the dress by itself, and some detail shots of the venue.

3:00 – 4:00 Bride & Groom getting dressed (and everyone else getting dressed) there WILL be a last minute emergency that has to be addressed (such as a bride needing duct tape to get her dress on, or when someone has to run to get the rings out of the groom’s house! )

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In her defense, she became pregnant AFTER the beautiful wedding gown was purchased!

4:00 – 4:30 B&G First look – One day I will write a blog post about why I love the first look (when I have time) but ultimately this part is completely up to the bride and groom and their wants.

5:00 – 6:00 Wedding – Yes, you told the minister that you wanted to keep it short and sweet but trust me, some of them think short and sweet equals 45 minutes instead of the 15 minutes you were thinking. Also everyone getting into their places (and the likelihood that you will be running behind) will take longer than you think.

6:00 – 6:30 Hugs and Greetings – Some enthusiastic wedding planner will insist that everyone wait for you two at the reception. There might even be an announcement. Plan for half of the people to think that this will not apply to them.

6:30 – 7:00 Herding – If you hired a planner (even a day of planner will do) then congrats, most likely you and your party will not be doing the herding of people for family portraits!

7:00 – 8:00 (ish) Family & B&G Portraits – Now part of these can be moved to a different time. Such as during the time we allotted for the first look or if there’s time after getting ready. Bride with family and groom with family can be done at the same time if you have purchased a package with two photographers present so the B&G don’t see each other before the wedding. If you do a bunch of separate poses for each family member. Such as Bride with mom/dad/sibling and groom with mom/dad/sibling. These formal images can take much longer. And generally, besides the wedding, these are some of the most cherished images! So allot yourself plenty of time for these images. I say 10 minutes for a single photographer per group and another 30 minutes just for the bride and groom alone if this wasn’t done at the first look (generally everyone else will be asked to make their way to the reception area during this time).

8:00 – 10:00 Reception – Food, cake cutting, bouquet tossing, first dances, speeches, photographs with all the tables, any formal photographs not taken after the wedding, present opening and the exit can be completed in two hours or less. We can even fake the final exit early so there’s absolutely no reason for me to bother you again!

As you can see for your average to large wedding, you will need at least 6 – 8 hours of time.

So when you meet with your planner, photographer, catering company etc. with a guest list 300 people long and you look them dead in the eye and say “This is only going to take 2 hours.” That look on their face, is the look of disbelief from experts in the field who have many weddings under their belt.

Do us all and yourself a favor and pad your schedule with plenty of time so you don’t feel stressed out and rushed to get through one of the most important days in your life.

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“Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” –Jim Rohn

About the Author: Criss is a full time mother, public servant and artist. She has 2 kids, four rescue dogs, a rescue fiance, a rescue horse that she can’t ride, two geese, 8 ducks and 38 and counting chickens.  She has a passion and love for preserving history and storytelling.1acropped-phoenix-rhys-logopinkgreywatermark.png

 

5 Priceless Wedding Keepsakes That will Last a Lifetime

We have talked before (well I rambled, you nodded along reading, agreeing with everything I said because you’re awesome like that) about preserving memories and how on your 50-year anniversary, likely, the ONLY thing that will be left from your wedding will be your photographs. Except the dress that you lovingly have put away or your daughter wore to her wedding.  Below is a list of 5 ways to have something left from your wedding that you and hubs can still see 50 years later when some of the memories have faded.

Bride Digital Painting
Digitally hand painted, printed to museum quality canvas, textured with acrylic, then either wrapped or framed for a finished wall art piece.
  1. Wall Art & Albums – Well HELLO welcome to a photographer/artist’s article. You knew I was going there right? Artists began to use canvas around 1500. Portrait of a Young Man and His Tutor is an oil painting on canvas by Nicolas de Largillierre. It was painted in 1685 and is on display at the National Gallery of Art. 14183914_598771376972320_7037315761255350905_nCan you imagine? This memory of a simple young man and his teacher has lasted 330+ years.  How long do you want your memories to last?  Offset reproduction of artwork began in the early 1900s and continued with the printing of photographs to canvas. Phoenix Rhys Photography offers many museum quality wall art options and even digital painting services to maximize your investment for the next 100 or so years.

 

  1. Save your bouquet. Shoot girl, that thing cost HUNDREDS of dollars (if you’re lucky)! Sure you could dry your bouquet, but that memory will probably only be around for your 2nd or 3rd anniversary before it deteriorates. Enter pressed & framed flowers. Everlastings Flowers based in Hampton, New Hampshire can take your bouquet, professionally press it between glass, and frame it creating a lasting keepsake from your wedding!  They have some beautiful design options. Be sure to contact them BEFORE your wedding for instructions on how to preserve and ship your bouquet to them.   Contact them to find out more information if you have had a recent wedding.brideandgroomgilmertxphotography

 

  1. Consider creating a living keepsake by adding succulents to your bouquet or hair piece. Besides the fact that these bouquets are GORGEOUS, succulents can be planted in the couple’s first garden (or indoor/outdoor flower pot) and can live (or be propagated from the original plant) for years to come. Urban Succulents has some beautiful succulent bouquets.
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    Photograph & Bouquet by Urban Succulents

    The price averages about $150 and it can be shipped to you.  Remember here in East Texas, we likely get TOO much rain and a little too much frost for most succulents to survive outside of a pot.  Be sure to talk with your floral designer about the type of succulents you would like to have in your bouquet to create a living keepsake. Also, learn how to preserve your succulents with Succulents & Sunshine HERE.

 

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This bride made her bouquet from her mother’s wedding dress!

4. Use your wedding décor as home décor. This one is an oldy, but a goody.  Unfortunately for me (or maybe fortunately because we are now divorced) my 17-year-old engaged self could not afford a Hawaii wedding.  So I brought Hawaii to us with a Hawaiian themed wedding!  That’s right I had it all.  Grass skirts, coconut bras for the bridesmaids, tiki torches etc. It was very gaudy and FUN!  All in all, I think there was about 2K dollars’ worth of wedding décor that was mostly junk.  Nothing we had could be used in our home.  I encourage you, when you’re planning your wedding to stop looking at Pinterest and look inside your home.  That Pinterest perfect wedding you’re planning, is any of that ACTUALLY your style?

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Signs & Image by Paper and Pine Co.

 

5. You worked so hard on your wedding vows. That DVD you ordered from your cinematographer  will probably be obsolete in the next 10 or so years.  So how do you preserve those precious words your husband poured out of his heart that one time (that you may never hear again…because…men…).  Hand lettered and framed wedding vows! Have your vows professionally hand lettered and framed for many years of enjoyment.  Make sure to use museum quality glass in your frame and to keep it out of direct sunlight to keep your vows in pristine condition.

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Photograph, Artwork & Frame by Elle Luck Artistry

 

In year 2066, you and your love will be sitting on your couch in your home holding hands.  There will be a flowerpot sitting on the coffee table overflowing with succulents from the original succulent from your bouquet, reminding you of the expanding love from that day. Tyler TX photographer Your children grew up walking by and reading every day, your hand-lettered vows currently hanging on the wall in the hallway. Children, grandchildren, and even possibly great grandchildren will be seated around you both in celebration of this everlasting love.  You’ll be perusing your wedding album with a grandchild pointing and asking “Who’s that gamma?” And you will begin to tell them all of the beginning of your love story as a portrait of you and your love looks down from the wall smiling upon you both.

 

My Philosophy : Pictures are our way of capturing a sliver of time, a moment, so that we can tell it back to ourselves later. It’s my job to capture that moment for you in all its intensity and beauty so that you can hold onto it through times both bad and good.  My passion is storytelling, I just use a camera instead of a words.
Criss can be found floating around on her  Website,   FacebookInstagram, or Twitter accounts when she’s not running around the house in her cape or digging in the dirt in East Texas.

 

 

 

Mr. & Mrs. Aubrey’s wedding video, Mrs.

Mr. & Mrs. Aubrey’s wedding video, Mrs. Aubrey was a dream to work with! #naturaltalent http://ow.ly/OqgT7