Silverleaf Photography: Blog https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog en-us (C) Silverleaf Photography (Silverleaf Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:37:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:37:00 GMT https://www.silverleafphoto.com/img/s/v-12/u756569144-o469708079-50.jpg Silverleaf Photography: Blog https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog 80 120 Summer Bliss on a Tire Swing https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2019/8/summer-bliss-on-a-tire-swing This photo was pure serendipity! Usually, I craft art portraits by setting up costumes and props and the perfect setting. This time I was in the right place at the right time while holding my camera. How often does that happen?? I had just finished photographing a group of 3 girls when I turned and saw the little brother just playing on the tire swing. The sun was getting low, and soft golden light was streaming through the branches. I gasped, then raised my camera and quickly took 5 or 6 pictures.

This photo just completely captured the essence of summer in the country! I gave the photo as a gift to his mother, and she was stunned! I love those unexpected bonuses in life. :-)

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(Silverleaf Photography) https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2019/8/summer-bliss-on-a-tire-swing Fri, 30 Aug 2019 23:45:00 GMT
Tom Sawyer Goes Fishing https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2019/8/tom-sawyer-goes-fishing Sometimes when I see a certain location I get really excited! Maybe there's amazing light or the scenery fits perfectly with an idea for a portrait. When I saw the branch that reached across this creek, I knew I had to shoot a Tom Sawyer themed image there! When I create an image purely from my imagination instead of using a painting for inspiration it can be a challenge. On the downside, there are no guidelines for costume or posing. But on the plus side, there are no guidelines for costume or posing! :-) 

All we needed for this image was a boy, a straw hat and a long stick for a fishin' pole. Much editing (to add patches and dirt) later, and I was beyond thrilled with this portrait! His mother was, too. She'll love having this moment in her boy's life on the wall for many years!

The only thing missing from my photo was a little element of magic, so I added a tiny butterfly perched on the fishing pole. It looks like Tom Sawyer caught a fish but doesn't want to disturb the butterfly! And now it's perfect.

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(Silverleaf Photography) https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2019/8/tom-sawyer-goes-fishing Wed, 21 Aug 2019 23:45:00 GMT
In the Flower Garden https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2019/8/in-the-flower-garden Another artist that has graciously left me a treasure-trove of inspiration is Daniel Ridgeway Knight. So many of his works beautifully expressed the light and color of flower gardens, and present me with the kind of challenge I love best! Recreating this one, called "A Field of Flowers" required some extra compositing to make the magic happen. Here's the painting:

This photo session happened on a spur-of-the-moment with my sister, so I didn't have much time to prepare. For the location, we visited the Olmstead Place State Park, one of the loveliest places I've visited in years. There's no lake there though, so we had to leave that part out. And our best efforts on short notice couldn't produce an authentic scythe, so we opted to use flowers instead.

My sister and her husband just happen to own a seed company, and they use old paintings like this one on their seed packets! I took pictures all around the garden of different flowers, and added them to the photo. (The picture was taken with my sister standing under a bower of trees, with not a flower in sight!) Here's the final image:

It reminds me of an old-fashioned postcard! Maybe they'll start using this image on their seed packets. :-)

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(Silverleaf Photography) https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2019/8/in-the-flower-garden Fri, 16 Aug 2019 23:30:00 GMT
The Little Shepherdess https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2019/8/the-little-shepherdess I think my favorite Old Master artist is William Adolphe Bouguereau. I've found so many paintings of his to be the perfect inspiration for art portraits! The one I used most recently was "The Little Shepherdess", painted in 1891. Now 120 years later, it's still just as lovely. Here's the original:

I was drawn to her sweet expression, that tiny smile and her gentle eyes! I knew this image was the perfect fit for my model. 

My clients are always surprised by how short the actual photo session is, making it super easy for even busy families! Since I had found the costume elements ahead of time, we only needed 10 minutes to get the shot I wanted with that same sweet expression.

I had a background image I'd taken earlier, that I knew would be perfect for this image. So after I had edited the photo, I placed the "shepherdess" on the new backdrop. Viola!

I can't express how delighted I was that I managed to capture that same peaceful, gentle expression! I think the highest praise I could receive came from the model herself, who told me "I don't want to stop looking at it!" I have to say I agree. 

A Peek Behind the Scenes: most people don't realize how much of a hodge-podge these costumes are! Most of the elements can be found at thrift stores, since a lot can be done with safety pins and clips! I always have fun thinking up creative ways to use things. For example, the black vest was a tank top that had fringe all around the bottom. I used scissors and cut it short, so part of her blouse would show like in the painting. For the apron, I used a black twin-sized sheet, wrapped around and held in place with a few pins. And her headscarf was a lovely woven lightweight blanket, folded to hide the fringe. Having many elements like this in my "wardrobe" closet makes bringing these paintings to life a lot less complicated!

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(Silverleaf Photography) https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2019/8/the-little-shepherdess Sat, 10 Aug 2019 23:00:00 GMT
Girl In A Field - Recreated https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2019/8/girl-in-a-field---recreated My little 2-year-old niece is the sweetest thing! She was so excited to dress up and have Auntie Rachel take her picture. My inspiration for this image was a darling painting by Ludwig Knaus called Girl in a Field. Since it was August and all the wildflowers in bloom, I knew the timing was perfect! Here's the original painting:

Girl In A Field Isn't it precious??

We found a field carpeted with white bindweed flowers (you know, the ones that look like tiny morning glories) and hopped the irrigation ditch. Little J immediately bent over and began picking the flowers, as if she knew just what I wanted!

I spent hours on my computer adding more flowers to the field, adding darker green shrubs behind her and painting in a blue sky. Once it was finished, it looked exactly the way I had envisioned it, which is always a bonus. :-)  Here's the final image:

We decided to use a sweet vintage apron belonging to my mother, and I love the added pop of color it gives. I know my sister will treasure this image of her baby girl forever!

Location: Olmstead Place State Park, Ellensburg Washington

 

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(Silverleaf Photography) art portrait child portrait outdoor portrait https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2019/8/girl-in-a-field---recreated Tue, 06 Aug 2019 22:29:47 GMT
Old Master Paintings Recreated - With my Girls! https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2018/4/old-master-paintings-recreated---with-my-girls I'm a portrait photographer who likes to take on my own special projects from time to time. If I have a week when I'm not too busy, I'll choose a fun project I've been itching to do, and spend the day enjoying myself very much! Today it was bribing my two daughters with ice cream to get them to dress up and pose for me. :-) I made recreations of the clothing and props from old paintings, and did my best to duplicate them using photography.

First up was my youngest daughter (we call her Muffin) sitting in soft sunlight with a basket of apples. Here's the original painting by Emile Munier, and the final image I created:

Of course, I happen to think my daughter is even cuter than the original painting! ;-) I added hours of work making brushstrokes and manipulating the light to resemble the original as much as possible. I realize the basket was supposed to have plums in it, but all I had were apples so that what we used! Next up was Belle, and she did her pose outside in front of a large rose bush. Here's the inspiration (A William Bougeureau) and my image:

Want to hear a few secrets? When recreating a painting like this, you can use all kinds of crazy hacks to get it done. That red bandana on my daughter's head is actually a pair of tights! I used Photoshop to add more red to her lips, like the vintage style in the painting. I wrapped a brown curtain panel around her waist for her skirt, and made the top out of some white fabric and elastic. It's like a costume, not real clothes, so you can improvise! I had so much fun, I want to do more of these soon!

 

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(Silverleaf Photography) https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2018/4/old-master-paintings-recreated---with-my-girls Sun, 08 Apr 2018 23:29:39 GMT
Family Session at Smith Rock https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2018/4/family-session-at-smith-rock Sometimes the weather is too cold or too cloudy at Smith Rock, and photo sessions there can be difficult. Then there are days like this, when the early Fall temperatures are just right and the light is divine! This sweet couple and their little girl were so patient and happy, and it was a delight to work with them.

I couldn't help myself. I had to add some falling leaves with Photoshop to this one! This little girl was so full of wonder and took joy in everything around her.

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(Silverleaf Photography) https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2018/4/family-session-at-smith-rock Sun, 08 Apr 2018 23:08:36 GMT
Family Session with Two Boys at the Park https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2018/4/family-session-with-two-boys-at-the-park Two darling little boys and their parents met with me at the park for family pictures, and it was a gorgeous day!

These boys were so cheerful and well-behaved, it made my job almost too easy! All I had to do was watch that lovely golden light and press the shutter, to capture smile after sweet smile.

I always make sure to get a picture of just mom and dad during a family session. After all, they started the whole family together and their relationship is always a priority! This time, the grandparents joined our session toward the end with the other cousin, for a picture with all their sweet little grandchildren.

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(Silverleaf Photography) https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2018/4/family-session-with-two-boys-at-the-park Sun, 08 Apr 2018 23:02:44 GMT
Engagement Session at the Park https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2018/4/engagement-session-at-the-park I met with this couple at a local park, in between rain showers. The clouds and sunlight took turns overhead, but the light was always soft and golden. They made of the most of their time together during this session, and their love for each other was evident with every gentle touch and whispered phrase.

The bride-to-be quickly changed into a darling aqua dress for the second half of our session. After hiding for a few minutes under a tree while a brief shower passed, we got the rest of the shots they wanted.

They brought their fur-baby along, so of course we had to get a group picture!

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(Silverleaf Photography) https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2018/4/engagement-session-at-the-park Sun, 08 Apr 2018 22:53:09 GMT
Smith Rock Engagement Session at Sunset https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2018/4/smith-rock-engagement-session-at-sunset Oh. My. Goodness. This stunning golden-hour light on the rocks of Smith Rock State Park was breathtaking. This location is always a favorite for engagement sessions, and it lived up to its expectation this time. Of course, it helps to have such an adorable couple and their sweet dog to photograph. And people pay me to do this! :-)

Do you see what I mean about that amazing light? It was almost sunset, and we took advantage of every angle the park had to offer.

We finished the session with some dramatic shots, just as the light began to fade. 

 Here's the final shot, with the last of that gorgeous color.

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(Silverleaf Photography) https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2018/4/smith-rock-engagement-session-at-sunset Sun, 08 Apr 2018 22:45:13 GMT
Newborn Boy Session with a Moose! https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2018/4/newborn-boy-session-with-a-moose So many new babies this year! I was happy to have a good excuse to add more backdrops and props to my newborn collection! This darling little man got to be the first to use the blue wrap and sheepskin rug, and he was so cozy he fell fast sleep. His parents love the woods, so we also did some pictures with a special moose friend.

Isn't that darling?!? It's like his little woodland friend was watching out while the baby napped. We also took the opportunity to get some sweet, intimate black and white shots.

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(Silverleaf Photography) https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2018/4/newborn-boy-session-with-a-moose Sun, 08 Apr 2018 22:38:14 GMT
Sweet Newborn Adoption Session https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2018/4/sweet-newborn-adoption-session I happened to see a version of this image while browsing Pinterest, and knew right away that I had to use it for my session with these new adoptive parents! With a lot of Photoshop work, I was able to use the picture of this lovely new mother holding her sleeping baby to make a shadow that looks like a pregnant version of her. I was thrilled with the final image, and it was special for the new parents and their family as well.

This darling cherub was such a cuddle bug! I couldn't get over her amazingly soft skin and tight curls, and I savored every moment I got to spend holding her and breathing in her fresh, sweet scent.

 

She looked just like a porcelain doll while she was sleeping! Her lips were little pink rosebuds, and her dark lashes curled softly on her cheek.

I always create a mosaic of close-up images from each newborn session, it becomes a treasured collection for the family. I can't wait for the next session!

 

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(Silverleaf Photography) https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2018/4/sweet-newborn-adoption-session Sun, 08 Apr 2018 22:31:36 GMT
Enchanting Wedding at Black Butte Ranch https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2018/4/enchanting-wedding-at-black-butte-ranch This wedding was the last one I shot before taking a year off from weddings. I had made the choice to focus on newborns and family portraits, giving myself more time with my kiddos. I don't regret taking the time off, but it's given me fresh energy to take on more weddings this coming season!

Black Butte Ranch west of Sisters, Oregon was a stunning location for this early Fall wedding. The couple and their sweet fur-baby Moo were surrounded by loving friends and family through the entire day, and their love was evident with every glance they shared.

After getting her hair and makeup done (by the always-amazing Lori Tompos of Edge Hair and Makeup) the bride was ready to meet her groom in an aspen grove for their first look. The sunlight filtered through the trees and sparkled on the couple as they caught their first glimpse of each other. For them, there was no one else on earth at that moment.

Wedding DetailsThe Groom's Details

 

The First Look...

Family Photography Session in BendFamily Photography Session in BendFamily photos at Hollinshead Park, Bend Oregon

The Gorgeous Details of the Day...

Family Photography Session in BendFamily Photography Session in BendFamily photos at Hollinshead Park, Bend Oregon

Family Photography Session in BendFamily Photography Session in BendFamily photos at Hollinshead Park, Bend Oregon Family Photography Session in BendFamily Photography Session in BendFamily photos at Hollinshead Park, Bend Oregon Family Photography Session in BendFamily Photography Session in BendFamily photos at Hollinshead Park, Bend Oregon

I was thrilled to end this year's wedding season with one so beautiful! I loved editing these glowing images, and the newlyweds were thrilled with all the memories I captured for them. I'm looking forward to the next wedding with renewed excitement after my break!

Family Photography Session in BendFamily Photography Session in BendFamily photos at Hollinshead Park, Bend Oregon  
 

 

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(Silverleaf Photography) https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2018/4/enchanting-wedding-at-black-butte-ranch Sun, 08 Apr 2018 22:22:56 GMT
Engagement Session at Dillon Falls https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2016/7/engagement-session-at-dillon-falls I must admit, this was my first visit to Dillon Falls, just west of Bend, Oregon. Even though I had influenza at the time, it was worth every kleenex break to shoot this lovely couple there! This gem of a location is now on my list to visit again, and do some more exploring.

We started off along a scenic trail that passes by a large expanse of wetlands, busy with ducks and birds. The river stretched along the other side of the path. Aaron and Amanda brought their adorable dog 'Moo', who trotted along happily and kept trying to steal the show!

 

The weather was perfect, with billows of moody clouds in the sky to add some drama to our pictures! 

This couple shared that they wanted to have this session at Dillon Falls because they love nature. Some of their best memories are of camping and hiking adventures that they've shared.

I love it when my clients choose a location that holds special meaning for them!

Their wedding will be at Black Butte Ranch in September, and I'm already excited about that amazing outdoor location! 

It's been an honor working with Aaron and Amanda so far, and I'm so glad they chose to include me in their next great adventure...

 

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(Silverleaf Photography) Bend Oregon Engagement Engagement Session locations nature https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2016/7/engagement-session-at-dillon-falls Wed, 27 Jul 2016 20:55:59 GMT
Smart Tips for Choosing your Engagement Session Wardrobe https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2016/7/smart-tips-for-choosing-your-engagement-session-wardrobe It's the first question I hear from new clients once their engagement session is on the calendar: “What should we wear?” There's no point in choosing the perfect location and spending an hour or more taking pictures if the outfits they're wearing are wrong, and they won't be happy with the photos no matter how technically perfect they may be.

There are a few pointers to keep in mind, and some simple tips that will make your wardrobe choices much easier, and help you love your engagement pics even more!

First of all, solid colors always look more elegant than prints. If you want your images to have that 'professional look', solids are the way to go. Try to avoid white, however. White clothing tends to draw the eye as the brightest part of the photo, and we want the focus to be on your faces.

It's best to avoid cargo pants, cargo shorts, baggy clothes and sweat pants. And keep in mind that any large areas of skin are going to look bigger in a photo, so ladies should make sure to wear something with sleeves, and nothing shorter than knee-length. You'll be amazed how much more flattering this is!

Try to dress up more than your every-day clothes (unless we're doing a farm, beach or camping themed shoot!) You'll enjoy the final prints on your wall so much more (and love showing them off!) when you look extra glamorous.

It's also a great idea to schedule your Engagement Session for the day of your hair and makeup trial. You'll have to have a trial day anyway, so why not get your pictures taken while you look amazing? Make sure to tell your stylist that you don't need makeup specifically done for photographs. Some makeup artists tend to use too much makeup for photo sessions, and that really isn't necessary. We want you to look like yourself!

I want to mention finger nails here too, since we'll want to get some great shots of your hand with that sparkly ring! Keep your polish to a light neutral color or simply clear. That way your nails won't clash with your clothes, and that will also let the ring have center stage. I think this sounds like a great excuse for a manicure the day before your session!

If you're still feeling uncertain and would like professional help in choosing great clothes for your session, I have a suggestion: a personal stylist! If you're up for a day trip to Portland, you can have your very own (FREE!) stylist help you choose the perfect outfits at Nordstrom. Here's the link to schedule your free style consultation: http://shop.nordstrom.com/c/personal-stylists. You don't have to buy anything either, if you just want help with some great ideas.

With all these suggestions, you're both certain to look your best in your engagement pictures! Now that you've read all of this, look at the pictures above and see if you can find examples of these tips (right or wrong!)

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(Silverleaf Photography) clothes engagement session outfits wardrobe https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2016/7/smart-tips-for-choosing-your-engagement-session-wardrobe Fri, 22 Jul 2016 06:16:35 GMT
Are Prints and Albums an Outdated Choice for the Modern Bride? https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2016/4/are-prints-and-albums-an-outdated-choice-for-the-modern-bride We do live in a digital age!  It wasn't that long ago that I was getting married (14 years next month) and our photographer used film.  All our pictures were delivered to us as 4x6 proofs.  Remember scrap-booking?  All those fancy edged scissors, piles of stickers, and expensive acid-free albums.  Some of us spent hours creating albums so we'd have a way to save and share our memories.

My Honeymoon AlbumScrap book album from 2002.

Above is a photo of a scrap book I made after Mark and I got married.  This spread shows some pictures from our honeymoon trip.

 

Then digital cameras came on the scene.  Suddenly you could save all your pictures on your computer, and on your phone.  We have pictures on Facebook and Instagram, and all our friends can see them whenever they want.  So why would a modern bride choose to spend money on prints or albums?

There's a reason that we include an album with all three of our wedding collections.  And there's a very good reason why we encourage our couples to order prints.  Think for a moment of the most important photograph that you have, one that's printed and maybe in a frame.  Think of the prints you have from your childhood, perhaps with a grandparent, or best friend.  Those prints are a physical object that links you with your past.  Some of us have old photos from 100 years ago or more, with unsmiling ancestors in stiff dresses staring out at us in shades of black and white.

I encourage my clients to think of their prints and albums as family heirlooms that they'll be passing on for generations to come. Digital pictures that are burned onto a disc may last anywhere from 50-100 years.  That's assuming that technology doesn't make discs obsolete, and that you're able to continue transferring them to your newest computer.

USB drives may last a little longer, especially if they're not used multiple times and are stored properly.  But we have no gaurantee that future computers will have USB ports.  Remember floppy discs?  (If you don't, they were a type of square plastic disc that was used for all kinds of digital storage.  Now they sit collecting dust because computers have moved past that technology.)

In 100 years, when your grandchildren are sorting through your belongings, will they recognize that stack of photo CDs?  Or will they assume it's a pile of outdated software?  What if they find a stack of printed family photos, or even better, a whole album full of pictures?  Those printed images will have become a treasured family heirloom!

This is the 8x8 boxed album that comes with the least-expensive collection!  No matter what your budget, you'll get a treasure book to pass on to your children.

So what's the best way to preserve your photographs for generations to come? Prints made at home on newer ink jet printers can last a surprisingly long time.  If you use the same brand of ink and paper that are made for your printer, they can last 35 to 100 years.  Unfortunately, cheaper brands of papers and inks will drop that number to 10 years or less.  

The lab that I order all my prints from uses Kodak Professional Endura Premier paper.  It has an archival value of 100 years on display, 200 years in dark storage.  Those are the minimum number of years that they'll last, and most likely it will be much longer!

I feel so strongly about passing down the images of our lives to future generations, that I offer a 50% discount for wedding clients to order their prints from me within the first month after their wedding!  No, I don't make a lot of money.  But I want you to have something precious to pass on to your grandchildren.

Our albums are really amazing.  I did a lot of research and decided to partner with GraphiStudio in Italy for our albums.  They are hand crafted, and the quality is outstanding!  You really should take a minute to look at their full product line here.

So, are prints and albums an outdated choice in this modern, digital age?  I think we could say with certainty that they're not only a wise choice, they're the gift we leave to our future.

 

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(Silverleaf Photography) albums digital photos prints weddings https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2016/4/are-prints-and-albums-an-outdated-choice-for-the-modern-bride Tue, 26 Apr 2016 20:54:31 GMT
Is a First Look Right For You? https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2016/3/is-a-first-look-right-for-you Many of my couples ask me whether or not they should have a first look. If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering the same thing. In my professional opinion, I think they are an excellent idea. I love first looks. I know that they are a tad bit ‘untraditional,’ but let me take a minute to explain the benefits of a first look.

(Before we continue, a "First Look" is a quiet moment when the bride and groom see each other for the first time, before the ceremony.)

1. Your wedding day will be crazy busy. No getting around it. You have so much to do and so little time to do it in. If you have a first look, it helps to calm down the day a bit. Instead of trying to rush around to get everyone together and have pictures taken between the wedding ceremony and reception while your guests are waiting, you’ll have that time to relax and enjoy your guests and not have to worry about being late to your reception. We can do all of the main portraits before the ceremony even begins – at the very least, the bride and groom and bridal party photos. This way, your hair and makeup are still perfect, since they were just finished

 

(Above: The bride is walking up to her groom , to tap him on the shoulder.  Then he'll turn around and see her in her wedding dress for the first time!)

2. A first look also gives you a very special, intimate moment with your soon-to-be-new spouse. If you are nervous or stressed out, this will especially help to relax you, and your spouse can comfort you and let you know it will all be OK. During the ceremony, there are many of people around and you can’t fully take in the moment because everyone is staring at you. With a first look, that moment is just between you and your spouse (and your photographers, of course).

3. Even if you have a first look, your husband will be just as happy to see you walking down the aisle and you’ll still take his breath away. Don’t worry that you’ll be spoiling the moment by seeing him prior to the ceremony.  This seems to be the main reason most brides initially want to skip the first look.  They want that picture of the groom's face when he sees her coming down the aisle.  However, when ever I shoot a wedding where they've opted to wait until the ceremony, the groom is under so much stress (and dealing with so many emotions) that he has nothing more than a blank look on his face!  

(Above: the groom reacts to seeing his bride-to-be)

I really don't want a bride to be disappointed when she sees that picture, and it's not as magical as she hoped.  If what you want is a picture of your groom reacting with joy to seeing you, then having a first look would be a great choice!  

When my husband and I got married 14 years ago, we had a first look so that we could save time and do photographs before the ceremony.  My husband has told me many times how incredible it was when he saw me walking toward him down the aisle.  The fact that he'd already seen me in my wedding dress didn't take anything away from that amazing moment for him!

Of course, your wedding is Your Day!  My job is give you the information I've learned through my experience, and then leave the decision up to you.  If you still want to skip the first look, I'll do my best to make everything as perfect as I can!  My hope is that you now have all the information you need to make the choice that's best for you!

 

 

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(Silverleaf Photography) Bride and Groom First Look Pre-Ceremony Pictures Wedding https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2016/3/is-a-first-look-right-for-you Tue, 01 Mar 2016 22:18:51 GMT
Still Life in the Kitchen - Part One https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2016/1/still-life-in-the-kitchen---part-one It's the start of a new year, and one of my resolutions is to make more time for my personal photography projects.  If it's anything like my many other resolutions through the years, it may not last much longer than the final traces of glitter and tinsel in the house, but I'm going to try! ;-)

I started with a simple set up on my kitchen counter, to the left of the sink.  There's a nice big window above the sink, and I removed the curtain to let in plenty of afternoon light.

For a backdrop I used thumbtacks and hung a sheer curtain on the wall and draped it over the counter.  A simple wooden bowl heaped with tangerines (left over from Christmas!) was set out, and I started taking pictures.  

I liked the simplicity of this arrangement.  The sunlight hits the oranges just right, setting off their texture.  The dark wooden bowl contrasts with the soft billowing drape and adds more texture.  That's a good tip when setting up any kind of still life: use a variety of textures!

Also I wanted to keep moving, changing my angle and distance from my subject.  Here's another version that shows more of the background:

I loved the way the folds of the drapes draw the viewer's eye to the oranges.  Even though the wrinkles and folds in the drape may look random, I actually took time in between shots to carefully adjust them to achieve the look I wanted.

Whenever I shoot still life, I have a process.  I start with something as my focal point, then slowly add elements to alter the scene.  This gives me a greater variety of images to choose from when editing.  So next in this session I added a small white pitcher with some dried sage.  This added more textural interest without changing the neutral & orange color scheme.

 The way the dried sage leaves reflected that soft light was perfect!  I made sure the shape of the dried branch was like an arrow, guiding the viewer's eye to the oranges.  There's quite a bit of science behind a simple still life!  I decided to keep going, and this time added a second color element: turquoise.

When composing a still life, I use the color wheel all the time.  I know that turquoise and orange are complementary colors, and will work well together in an arrangement.  So I start off any still life session by pulling a lot of items from my hutch and cabinets that fit the color scheme I'm wanting to use.  I keep them on a small table near me, so I can quickly add and remove items from the scene as I work.  This time I had gathered brown, white, orange and turquoise.  So I added an antique teapot to the scene.

You can see I also added more of the dried sage to the arrangement, around the bowl and the teapot.  I liked the way these colors worked together, but now it felt like there was an empty space in the center of the image.  So I added a small shiny silver plate shaped like a leaf.

This gave me something to fill in that blank spot, balance the image, and add another type of texture.

I love using lots of different textures!  Now we have the rough wooden bowl, the dimpled oranges, the dried curling leaves, glossy teapot and shiny metal plate. Each of them catches and reflects light in a unique way, giving the eye a lot of interest.

After this, I decided to remove the added color and go back to neutral and orange.  So I replaced the turquoise teapot with a creamy white one, and added two white teacups stacked together.

That was more like it!  I LOVE the softness of all the white, letting the oranges have center stage without competing with another vivid color.  But I didn't like the orange partly hidden by the teapot, and I wanted to change the tilt of the teacup on top to show less of the inside.  So I made a few small changes and got this:

Now we're almost there!  For the final image I slightly rearranged the sage in the pitcher to bring it closer to the oranges, and flipped the teapot so the spout was pointing toward the bowl.  That kept the teapot from blocking the bowl, and now it's not competing for attention with the oranges.  I'm very happy with the final result, even though I'll keep all the others as well!  There are things about each of them that I like.  The process always involves lots of trial and error, and experimenting.  I took over 300 images during this session!  But I'm thrilled with the results.  Which one is your favorite?

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(Silverleaf Photography) composing a shot fine art photography still life textures using color https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2016/1/still-life-in-the-kitchen---part-one Sat, 02 Jan 2016 22:28:30 GMT
Wedding at the High Desert Museum-Seth & Kelly https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2015/9/balcer-hobson-wedding-at-the-high-desert-museum Sunday, September 6th dawned with the most perfect early-Fall weather a bride could hope for!  Seth and Kelly chose the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon for their ceremony and reception, and the location provided a photographer's dream of amazing backdrops and soft golden sunlight.  My second shooter for the day was Erica Swantek of Erica Swantek Photography, and she did an amazing job!  We started off in one of the large classrooms at the museum that had been transformed into a dressing room for the bride and her bride's maids.  I began photographing the details, which were a combination of silver, white and rustic wood.  The flower girl's basket was adorned with a pale coral rose.

The girls all had their hair, makeup and nails mostly done when we arrived, and they looked amazing!  Bonnie Davee did a wonderful job making these ladies picture-perfect!  Megan, Joclyn, Ali and Emily were bride's maids, and Kelly's sister Lauren was maid of honor.  The girls all had personalized tank tops and robes as well.  Aren't they lovely?

We decided to get some photos of the beautiful wedding gown outside, and I found the arbor that would later be used for the couple to stand under during the ceremony.  It made the perfect place to hang the dress!  The coral color that Kelly chose for her wedding was so pretty, and the bride's maid dresses and her bouquet were like sparkling jewels in the sunshine.

Kelly's friends, sister and mother helped her into the dress, then tied on the sash and adjusted her veil.

When everyone was dressed and ready, Seth and Kelly had their 'first look'.  A special moment for just the two of them, before taking pictures with the bridal party.  Seth stood with his back turned on the patio, as Kelly approached from the museum entrance.  Erica and I stayed as far away as we could to take photos, while they enjoyed this time alone.

The bridal party gathered for group pictures, along with the adorable flower girl and ring bearer.  The lovely flower bouquets were created by Sandie Lichtenhahn of La Pine Florist & Gifts.

The ceremony stared at 6pm, and with beautiful golden light streaming over them, Seth and Kelly were married!  With some couples it's a challenge to get a good picture of the first kiss, it's over in a flash!  (More like a "first peck"!)  But Seth and Kelly thoughtfully gave us plenty of time to get all the pictures we needed.  :-)

Right after the ceremony, the family went to the patio behind the museum for pictures.  Seth and Kelly both have wonderful families, and everyone was so happy to have a new "son" or "daughter" to welcome into the family!

Dinner came next, with a wonderful buffet by Tate and Tate catering!  Guests had a choice of salmon or chicken (or both!), and both of the photographers were happy to be able to enjoy this delicious meal as well!

The reception kicked off with toasts, a serenade from Seth and his fraternity buddies to Kelly, cutting the cake, and of course the first dances!  The music and lighting for the reception was provided by Matt Shea, who did an amazing job as always!

The entire evening was wonderful, and we wish this happy couple a lifetime of joy together!

 

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(Silverleaf Photography) outdoors weddings https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2015/9/balcer-hobson-wedding-at-the-high-desert-museum Sat, 19 Sep 2015 19:14:43 GMT
Crooked River Ranch Wedding https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2015/8/crooked-river-ranch-wedding August 8th was a magical day here in Central Oregon!  On the day of Jeff & Anna's wedding, the summer weather was perfect, with a light breeze to keep the guests cool.  The old ranch house in Crooked River Ranch was transformed with lovely DIY decorations.  I loved the color scheme of purple and navy blue, the photos are so full of color!  I'll start by sharing some of Anna getting dressed.  The rooms upstairs at the ranch had some amazing old mirrors!

Those cute sparkly shoes are the ones the bride was wearing when her groom proposed to her!  So of course they had to be included.  For the wedding day she wore white Converse, to match the groom's black ones. :-)

Her bouquet was studded with vintage brooches, and she added a touch of Superman just under the ribbon!  Her favorite super hero also showed up in her custom garter.  The pearl and diamond necklace and earrings were a gift from Anna's mother-in-law.  

The rings!  Anna ring was gorgeous, with a square diamond setting surrounded by smaller diamonds.  Lavender was everywhere at this wedding, and the smell was heavenly!

The outdoor ceremony had a breathtaking backdrop, as the guests all faced the red rock cliffs of the canyon.  The bride and groom said their vows under a wisteria-draped arbor.

The grand finale to this event was the stunning sunset!  The couple posed for this amazing shot just as the sun went down.

We're sure this sweet couple will have many wonderful years together!  Congratulations, Anna and Jeff!

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(Silverleaf Photography) weddings https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2015/8/crooked-river-ranch-wedding Tue, 18 Aug 2015 00:51:12 GMT
Baby Delight! https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2015/6/baby-heaven I got my baby fix a few days ago, and it was heavenly!  This darling little baby girl was wide awake, and even though I hadn't done a newborn session where the subject never fell asleep, it was perfect!  Not only did she smile and coo at me the whole time, but (and I'm not exaggerating) her head smelled like cotton candy.  Literally.  

I wanted to take her home!  Look at this face!

This has got to be my favorite baby photo of all time.  

The light was just natural light from the window over the couch, (no flashes going off in baby's face please!) so for the next picture I decided to position her so the light was falling on her face.  It wasn't very bright, but with a few tweaks in Photo Shop I was able to create this:

Isn't that precious?!  Her innocent face looking up at the soft light, and you just want to kiss that cheek!  

Also, I kind of fell in love with a soft sepia tone while editing these.  It just fit the softness of her skin so beautifully!  

See how happy she was?  Just heart-melting.  This last photo that I'll share, I must admit I had some doubts about it.  I'd found the idea on Pinterest, and I'm always hesitant to try to copy a certain pose from that website.  Either it won't live up to my (or the client's) expectations, or it might just be  a complete flop.  But my wonderful client thought it would be fun to try, and I agreed.  I'm so glad I gave it a shot, because (tooting my own horn just a bit here) It's awesome!!  One of those rare times when something turns out even better than the Pinterest version.

 Isn't that sweet?  Of course, it helps that their wedding rings are gorgeous!  I enjoyed this session so much, and I was able to get that baby craving out of my system.  Too bad that doesn't last long, so please somebody else get in touch so I can book another newborn session!  (I miss that cotton candy smell already.)

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(Silverleaf Photography) https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2015/6/baby-heaven Tue, 23 Jun 2015 00:34:48 GMT
Fairies in our House https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2015/5/fairies-in-our-house I finally found a dress for B that had enough tulle to look 'fairy-like'!  She was so excited to do a session for this series of fairy pictures, and she did a great job posing.  If you've ever seen the Disney Tinker Bell movies, you know there are different kinds of fairies.  So for the first one I made her an Animal Fairy, with lots of friendly butterflies coming to visit:

For the second one, I decided to have her sitting on a lily pad, using Pixie Dust to make a water lily bloom!  I also changed the color of her dress for each picture, to keep these from looking too similar.  I'm not sure if this one would be a water fairy, or a garden fairy, so take your pick!

For the next one, I wanted to include a dreamy forest and a friendly unicorn!  (More mythical creatures?  Why not!?)  I decided to call this one "Unicorns Only Eat Magic Apples."  Those magic apples must be picked by fairies, of course!  I decided to make this one Autumn themed too, and added a wreath of leaves around her head.  I loved the golden wings, too!

This last one is probably B's favorite, since it looks like she's really flying!  The trick here is to take two photos, one of her standing and the other laying over a table with her legs up.  Then I replaced the normal legs with the ones that were off the ground, to give the look of her floating.  I think she's making this flower bloom, so I guess she's a Garden Fairy!

I did a fifth one that looks like she's putting a rainbow across the sky.  That was one she asked for specifically, she said she wanted to be a Light Fairy!  So I gave it a try, but I just didn't like it as well as these first 4.  I'll let you decide if you think I should include it in the series:

I think I prefer the warmer look of the others, but B is thrilled with it!  By the way, did you notice her ears are pointy in all these?  :-)

Wouldn't any girl love to have pictures of herself like this??  I know I would have when I was little!  It is a bit time consuming, but so much fun to create these!  If you know a little girl who'd like a Fairy Photo Session, let me know!

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(Silverleaf Photography) Composite Fairy Fairy Photo Shoot https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2015/5/fairies-in-our-house Wed, 20 May 2015 05:03:37 GMT
A Rustic Maternity Session & A Few Editing Tips https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2015/4/a-rustic-maternity-session-a-few-editing-tips There's just something beautiful and amazing about maternity photos.  Not only is it a picture of the mother-to-be, but that growing "belly bump" holds a tiny growing person as well!  I had the delight of shooting this Spring's first maternity session a few days ago, and thankfully the weather cooperated with a nice warm temperature for us to be outdoors.  Since it was too early for flowers, we opted on a rustic setting: an old abandoned farmhouse with fields and hills in the distance.  Working with the harsh morning light from a cloudless sky was a challenge, especially since I try to keep a soft, warm and romantic feel to my portraits.  But with some editing, I ended up very pleased with the results!  Here's one of the first shots I took:

I gave a soft blur to the edges to keep the viewer focused on the faces, and added a warm glow to the upper part of the image.  The little boy wasn't happy about being photographed that morning, but I think his personality is cute!

Another challenge of shooting in bright light was the need to keep my subjects back-lit (facing away from the sun)  or standing in shade.  To properly expose on a subject in shade, the background ends up washed out and too bright.  There are several ways to "fix" that in editing.  First, I used the lighting to my advantage, by giving some of the images a vintage feel:

The other option is to add a sky overlay.  In the example above, the sky was completely white from being overexposed.  So before making it into black & white, I added a cloud overlay to add some interest.  

The third option is to add a layer in Photoshop, lower your exposure until the background is properly exposed, then add a mask and brush that off your subjects to keep them bright, which is what I did here:

The next one was a fun one to edit!  I used a wide-angle lens and added a sun flare to give it a bright, glowing feel:

When adding flares, make sure they're coming from the same direction as the light in the photo!  

I hope this gives you some ideas for shooting in direct sunlight, and ways to edit your photos to bring out their best!  I get new ideas for the next shoot each time I do a session, and I can't wait for the next one!  :-)  

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(Silverleaf Photography) editing tips family maternity maternity session outdoors shooting in bright sunlight https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2015/4/a-rustic-maternity-session-a-few-editing-tips Sun, 19 Apr 2015 18:08:15 GMT
Fairy Land https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2015/3/fairy-land I had some time on my hands this week.  My hubby is out of state on business, so I decided to work on some fun projects!  First up was pulling out the 2-inch-think Photoshop book, and learning some new editing techniques.  I decided to try my hand at a few composites, combining pictures I'd taken of brides with fairy-tale backgrounds to get a whole new look.  Here's the first one I did:

That was fun, but then I wanted to try something a little "spookier" so I did The Ghost Bride:

The last one is my favorite!  I used an image of a bride leaving the building for her reception, and created a Cinderella story!

So now I've had my fun with Photoshop, back to laundry and dishes! :-)

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(Silverleaf Photography) Brides Fairy tale Photoshop composites https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2015/3/fairy-land Fri, 20 Mar 2015 20:07:01 GMT
Before the Sun Sets https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2015/2/before-the-sun-sets Last night I glanced out my kitchen window just as the sun was setting.  The ruby red hummingbird feeder hanging from the porch roof was in just the right spot to catch the last rays of sunlight, making it glow.  It was so pretty, I grabbed my camera and hurried outside to see if I could capture that shot.  While I was outside, I wandered around the yard a bit, looking for any new signs of early Spring.  I found some perennials in the flower garden with new growth, glowing with fuzzy green halos from the setting sun.

As I walked back to the house, I noticed the twisting grape vines made a pretty pattern against the sky.  I took several shots of their silhouettes until I got this one:

I can't wait until those vines are covered with green leaves!  Spring is so close I can almost smell it, and all the little green things popping up from the earth aren't helping me be patient. :-)

But what about the hummingbird feeder?  I wanted to save to that one for the final image.  It was hard to get, since my kitchen window is pretty high off the ground, and when I stand outside I have to hold the camera up as high as I can to get the same angle.  But I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out, and that last drop of light captured in the red feeder is the perfect way to end a sunset.

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(Silverleaf Photography) grape vines herbs hummingbird feeder light plants silhouette sunset https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2015/2/before-the-sun-sets Sat, 14 Feb 2015 00:51:16 GMT
Best Intentions https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2015/2/best-intentions You may recall my New Year's Resolution to blog more often.  Well, I did try!  But the best laid plans of mice and men (and busy moms) may go astray.  It's a bit ironic that after that last blog post my internet went on the fritz.  It was off for 2 weeks until we got it fixed, then it was so slow I could eat lunch while a web page opened!  So all I could was wait, and say "Oh well!" to my good intentions. :-)

But we're all up and running again, so here's to second chances!  

Another of my resolutions was to work on my pile of UFO's (unfinished objects!), so I finally got one of my many quilt tops in the frame and started working on the lengthy hand-quilting process.  There's just something relaxing for me about sitting down and making beautiful patterns with thread.  

I also like to crawl underneath the frame and look up at the back of the quilt.  The white backing fabric becomes translucent with the light shining through, and the colors of the quilt appear frosted and far away.  It brings back memories of playing in blanket forts as a little girl!  I'm not too dignified to crawl under a quilt frame for a few minutes with my camera.  :-)

I was also thrilled  to receive two seed orders in the mail last week, and I'm already making plans for an amazing garden this year!  We've been in our new home for a little over 2 months now, with all the landscaping brown and dead or sleeping underground.  I can't wait for spring, and seeing all the bulbs I planted pushing up through the moist earth.  There's already a wonderful herb and flower garden that I have plans to add on to, and so many wonderful patio planters that I hope to fill with fun new miniature veggie varieties!

Until then I'll keep making plans on paper, and finding colorful things to photograph while the world outside is still brown and grey.  Keep looking for moments of beauty in your own life!

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(Silverleaf Photography) Garden Planning Quilting Resolutions https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2015/2/best-intentions Mon, 02 Feb 2015 19:46:48 GMT
Christmas Memories https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2015/1/christmas-memories I went through the pictures I'd downloaded of our holiday decorations, and decided a couple of them were worth sharing!  I love to go all through the house with my camera right around Christmas, in the evening when the house is lit mostly from the lights on the tree, and capture some special details to remember.  One of my favorites from this year was the Christmas village:

I love getting down and peering into the imaginary lives of the villagers!  My second favorite this year was my homemade glass ornaments.  I bought plain glass ones and filled them with tinsel.

The lights on the tree made them really sparkle!  I hope your holidays were every bit as magical as ours!

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(Silverleaf Photography) Christmas Christmas tree Holiday Lights Miniature https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2015/1/christmas-memories Thu, 08 Jan 2015 23:34:21 GMT
Revisiting Summer https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2015/1/revisiting-summer I have been so negligent of this poor blog!  One of my New Year's resolutions is to do a better job keeping it (and you!) updated on what's new.  So today I decided to go back and look at some pictures I took of an engagement session in Bend, Oregon last summer.  I loved these pictures, but I knew my editing skills had grown quite a bit over the last 5 months of practice!  I re-opened all 20 files, and went back over each one, the way I would edit them if I'd taken them today.  I couldn't believe the difference!  Here's a before and after of one of them (before on top):

 

Not a huge difference, but you can see the 'after' image has more detail, and the color is more accurate.  It also has a softer overall look, which I love for a romantic image like this!  I'm so glad I had the opportunity to re-edit this album before this client ordered her prints.  I want to always offer the best of my work!  

So, in the continuing effort to blog more often, I'm resolving to write a new post at least twice a week!  Wish me luck! :-)

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(Silverleaf Photography) Editing Editing Style Engagement Session Forest Outdoor Session https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2015/1/revisiting-summer Sun, 04 Jan 2015 04:21:43 GMT
An Old-West Adventure https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2014/3/an-old-west-adventure  

Yesterday was an interesting combination of fun (visiting an Old-West style town in Oregon) and not so fun (car sick kiddos!).  In fact, the only reason we stopped at this picturesque place was so the poor kids could get some fresh air!  But it was a cloud with a silver lining, since we discovered a place we definitely want to revisit in the future. 

This old wood stove was inside a jail house!  The building was from the mid 1800's, and had three small cells.  It wasn't well lit, but the afternoon sun was coming through the door and lit up this pretty antique just enough for a photo.  I was drawn to it because of the delicate pattern and curving shape.

This weather-beaten piano was standing on the porch of an abandoned saloon.  I wonder how many years of music and fun it brought to the lives of the long-ago town?

This entire town was full of false fronts, boardwalks, old signs and charm!  I think it would be a fun place for an engagement shoot, or family photos.  My kids had fun climbing up into the old jail wagon, and having their picture taken as a 'criminal' holding the bars! :) 

If you're considering a trip through Oregon, you should consider a stop in Shaniko!  The town is 'open' April through September. 

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(Silverleaf Photography) Ghost Town Old West Oregon Shaniko Western Town https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2014/3/an-old-west-adventure Mon, 17 Mar 2014 20:07:41 GMT
Wedding Rings and Blooming Things https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2014/3/practicing-wedding-details It's been my dream to do wedding photography for a long time!  I'm working through a 30-day course right now, (only 1 week left!) and have been doing some practice shots.  I used my and my husband's wedding bands, and did some photos with them in different locations. 

I liked some of the results, and put them in the NEW "Weddings" gallery on my website!  I hope to find some friends who'll volunteer to get dressed up in a wedding gown and be the guinea pigs for some bride photos. :-)  Here's the one that's my favorite, just because I love tea cups:

Wedding Rings in a Teacup by Silverleaf Photography Bend, OregonWedding Rings in a Teacup by Silverleaf Photography Bend, OregonA set of wedding rings inside a white tea cup, by Silverleaf Photography Bend, Oregon

 

I wish the photographer at our wedding 12 years ago had done some detail shots like this!  We hired the cheapest one we could find.  (I know.  Don't EVER do that!) She was a lovely person, and got some okay pictures.  But I've wished so many times that I had a wedding photo I really loved.  That's been the drive behind my new goal: to give every bride I work with the photos I wish I could have had! 

Yesterday was so beautiful, it really felt like Spring.  The kids and I spent a lovely afternoon outside, soaking up sunshine.  Of course I followed them around with the camera, but they're used to that by now!  We were excited to find a few clusters of miniature iris blooming.  Our first flowers of Spring!

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(Silverleaf Photography) Spring diamonds iris roses teacup wedding details wedding rings https://www.silverleafphoto.com/blog/2014/3/practicing-wedding-details Sat, 08 Mar 2014 23:49:14 GMT