Did you know that you don't have to be recently engaged in order to get some portraits taken in a beautiful place? It's true! And Windy & James are here to prove it. They came all the way from a "small-town" in Texas—which just happens to be the same small-town my wife grew up in—to spend some time in Whitefish and wanted to commemorate their vacation with just the two of them. They were an absolute delight to work with as briefly strolled through downtown Whitefish and spoke of our favorite places in the Texas Hill Country.
Take one look at this engagement session and tell me with a straight face that being a photographer in Northwest Montana—particularly one who does weddings and engagements—isn't one of the best jobs you could possibly have if you love the outdoors. I mean, is it really "work" if what I do is hang out with awesome couples, in some truly awe-inspiring settings, and document momentous occasions? Whatever it is, it is truly humbling and I can't thank Lauren's mom enough for contacting me about my availability to venture to the St. Mary Lake area on the east side of Glacier National Park for a quick engagement session after Conary popped the question the day before.
This multi-generation family portrait session was big helping of "it's a small world after all." If only because many of the individuals either grew up or still currently live in Austin, Texas, which is of course where I moved to Montana from. Odd that it would take a cross country move for me to meet people who live less than five miles away from my old address and other parts of Austin I frequented in my youth.
I'm fortunate that Northwest Montana isn't just a destination for weddings, but also family vacations and reunions. And one of the absolute best parts of being a photographer is it provides me the opportunity to meet such awesome people from all over the country.
The Flawn's were staying in Bigfork at Sentinel Pine, a beautiful rental with a neat history on Swan Lake and it was so fun to hang out with them for a couple of hours grabbing family portraits as well as candids as they enjoyed lake activities.
I was contacted by the Fenoglio family to join them out at Finley Point in Polson to capture some family photos as a surprise gift for their mom. And I'm so glad they did! They were predominantly visiting from Colorado, so they were no strangers to how awesome the Rocky Mountains can be, but they got to experience the Northern Rockies and all they have to enjoy. We shared lots of laughs, jokes, and I can't believe I get paid to hang out with amazing families on vacation and document the occasion for them.
The nice thing about engagement sessions is it gives me a chance to meet the couple face-to-face. And after Kelly and Adam's session, I feel like we're old friends, and I can't wait for their intimate wedding at Adam's dad's house next year. We spent a couple of hours exploring the shores of Flathead Lake in and around Somers and Lakeside on the Northern part of the lake. They're such a fun couple, and Adam's dad is really turning his yard into a truly unique and beautiful venue.
Congratulations you guys, we'll pick up this party where we left off next summer.
Kelly's hair and makeup were done by Raj Salon in Kalispell.
This was a fun shoot for Club Bed Tanning Resort here in Whitefish that happens to be a fellow My Montana Wedding Association member. They needed a new ad to run in the My Montana Wedding magazine to promote their spray tan offerings. They lined up the model and borrowed a dress from Mimi's Bridal in downtown Kalispell and we met up at Whitefish City Beach on a cold, 32-degree day. It was probably more fun for me than it was for our model Brooke since I was able to keep my hoodie on the whole time and she had to stand there with bare arms.
This impatient tiger probably enjoys handing out candy as much or more than actually trick-or-treating, but we didn't get too many takers. Probably a combination of damp weather, and the several community-wide events that may have burned out the kiddos—and parents—prior to any neighborhood trick-or-treating.
I was lucky to receive a "last minute" email from Eric days before he and Holly would be venturing into Glacier National Park for several days of hiking, where he was planning on popping the question. Even better, I got the email the day after their final hike proclaiming "She didn't say no!" and the reason he requested she bring a dress on a hiking trip was made clear. We met up early on their final morning in Montana for a quick engagement mini-session and they couldn't have been more sweet, friendly, and fun to work with. Congratulations to you Holly & Eric and thank you so much for letting me document your Glacier engagement.
“I wish we could do what they do in Katroo. They sure know how to say ‘Happy Birthday to You!’
In Katroo, every year, on the day you were born they start the day right in the bright early morn when the Birthday Honk-Honker hikes high up Mt. Zorn and lets loose a big blast on the big Birthday Horn. And the voice of the horn calls out loud as it plays ‘Wake up! for today is your day of all days!’” -Dr. Seuss, Happy Birthday to You!
You never know where a potential client/friend opportunity may present itself. I met Jake while we were waiting to pick up our daughters from kindergarten and I noticed his St. Louis Cardinals hat. I had to say something because it was the first such hat I'd seen in Whitefish. I mentioned I was a photographer, and he mentioned his family had been looking to get some new family portraits done. And the rest, as they say, is history!
The holidays meant I got to spend a little time documenting my new nephew's growth as well as his first Christmas. He was a consummate professional handling multiple clothing changing with aplomb. This was the first of what I'm sure will be many photo sessions... probably for the rest of his life. :D
This family has been a big part of my life for approaching three decades, and it was a honor to finally document this famously—to me anyway—camera shy couple. The weather could've been a little less humid, and a little more sunny, and frankly a little cooler for early November, but that did nothing to deter this endeavor.
This isn't the first time I've had the pleasure of documenting the Lamb family, but it is the first time I've done so since they became a family of five! It was a pleasure to visit them at their new residence and seeing their continue to grow into young ladies and a young gentleman.
It isn't every day you get the opportunity to document an upcoming addition to your extended family. My sister- and brother-in-law are expecting a new addition, and while I've got a step-niece and an adopted nephew, this will be the first time I'm an uncle without any sort of qualifier. It also means my daughter will no longer be the youngest in the family, and she can't wait to boss around her younger cousin.
Halfway through her honeymoon, Michelle decided she wanted to do a bridal portrait session. So I received an email from the other side of the world several days after her wedding to see if I was available to do something about this. "Of course!" I replied, so I joined Michelle and Blake who were only somewhat jet-lagged from their return trip at South Congress Hotel to take advantage of the venues wide variety of shooting locations.
One big plus to doing a bridal portrait session after the wedding is I get to share the photos with everyone right away since the groom has already seen the dress. It also means the groom gets to participate in the fun and act as pack animal by carrying the bride's things, helping with the train of the dress, guarding the door to the women's restroom because we just had to get pictures in front of the awesome tile walls, and of course assisting with getting candid, genuine smiles out of the bride. It was tons of fun, and it was great to spend another evening with Michelle and Blake.
I'm always concerned with making sure my clients are happy. Doubly so when I'm taking photos for another photographer. Some friends recently welcomed a third member to their household, and while they're probably already buried in photos of the little one, its difficult to manage getting a true family photograph (this would also be why my own family basically has one each year, which is taken with Santa :). I was happy to oblige.
I've had the pleasure of knowing the Soisson family for a good while now. Even before these strapping young men were born in fact! And this was my second time joining them for a lighthearted, joke-filled family session just before Thanksgiving around Lady Bird Lake—though it will always be 'town lake' to me—just South of downtown Austin.
In 2015 I was very fortunate to document the wedding of a friend of more than two decades. 2016 is hoping up to be the year of weddings of friends of more than three decades. Ryan's family moved in across the street from mine when I was around five years old. He, his older brother, and I walked to elementary school together, swam competitively together, and played countless games of baseball in our front yards.
During this engagement session I finally had the pleasure of meeting his fiancé Sarah, as we traipsed around McKinney Falls State Park, South Congress Ave., and South First Street.