Category Archives: Wedding

Wedding Favors

I’m a wedding photographer currently preparing for the process on the other end of the camera. My son and his high school sweetheart are tying the knot this spring.  It’s really a confusing process so instead of thinking about the photography and why it is that I cannot bring MY camera, I’ll just make soap.

As of last spring, I became a soaper. I make soap. It’s relaxing. Mixing toxic poison with oil. Then, after a few days, the soap is set and a new form of pleasure gives rise, the excitement of un-molding and slicing it and marveling at the patterns. Soap-making fulfills my need to do a science project and an art project all in one.

Soap is a mix of Lye and emollient oils like olive and coconut. Like a wedding vow, you might think of, “in sickness and in health.”  Taking the bad and the good. The lye and the oil becomes one new thing, it is no longer lye and oil, it literally becomes soap (from the word, saponification). In the process of creating it, combinations of fragrance and colors are added with intentional blending techniques to give the soap the characteristics that create the final result. It’s visual features and fragrance and texture, create a unique marriage every time.  And, like marriage, it needs curing time. After the cure, it becomes solid, cleansing, useful, long-lasting and even luxurious.

Weird, huh?

Anyway, once I heard the announcement of my son’s pending nuptials, I was anxious to get on the bandwagon in whatever capacity there would be needed – plus something fun that I would love to do (because I’m not the photographer, I’m IN these photographs!). Fortunately, I’ve not had any soap fails, (well, nothing too bad, a few glycerine rivers in a lavender batch but I thought they looked cool, I had no idea it wasn’t supposed to look like that) But no devastating fails that would make me fear doing the job so my idea to create homemade soap favors was a well received by the soon to be wed couple.

I started the process last summer making scented samples for Mike and Sarah, searching for a blend that was something they could agree wasn’t too foo-fee or too “Irish Spring” – We ended up with a fragrance balance of Honey & Leather.

Debbie, the MOB, and myself mixed up the first batch of soap this past Sunday and I un-molded it last night and cut it up this morning. Can’t wait too long or it gets too hard and chips. I had a stamp created, measured how big the soaps need to be to fit the stamp and did a few pressure tests. It looks really great.

My batch yielded about 60 squares of soap, of which 52 are most useable. I’ll be making 3 more batches this week and next.


10 Photography Suggestions for your Wedding

Wedding season is fast approaching. Here are some really good tips for you to make sure your wedding day is going to produce the images you want to keep and show off forever.

  • Stick to your schedule.

It’s a good idea to respect the schedule that you’ve discussed with your photographer prior to your wedding. Stay on time. Don’t assume it only takes “10 minutes” and be certain to have anyone you need in the photograph to be there on time as well.

  • Please, no unofficial Wedding Photogs.

Uncle Joe or Aunt Jane also toting along their SLR to tag along with the photog disguising themselves as the “unofficial family photog” hoping to get some tips but really just getting in the way and holding things up.

  • Explain how you prefer to look in Photographs.

I ask my clients to send me a link to their Pinterest page to show what they’re looking for overall, but also, how will they look in those situations? Look at photos of yourself and show me what you like about how you look and what you don’t like.

  • SMILE! – All the Time.

Tell your party to SMILE, head up, while walking down the aisle. Have fun, don’t pose for every photo, act natural, but keep smiling.

  • Get help organizing your guests.

This is crucial. Designate someone who has the ability to take charge and that knows your family and friends in order to be able to round them up for the portraits. Give them the list ahead of time for who needs to be where and when.

  • The Details.

Again, Pinterest is great for showing these ideas but also, spend some time listing what elements are important to photograph. Did your mom make special decorations? What are the important items you will be integrating into your wedding wardrobe? A special piece of jewelry from a grandmother or aunt? Be sure to have your invitation and special pieces ready to photograph.

  • Keeping it Timeless.

Many brides fall for “trendy” styles. Keep in mind that these images are forever and are to be valued as your history for following generations. A classic shooting style and not too much digital manipulation is key.

  • Hire a professional.

I have heard so many times, “wow, you have a good camera”  Knowing the gear though is key.  Ask about the gear. Will there be lighting or will the photographer only use “available” light? Knowing the lighting style of your photographer is also important, especially if you want indoor or evening images. Overly processed or too many black and white images are usually the result of trying to repair images taken in low lighting situations. Look at the portfolio carefully, what do you like about the style? What do you dislike?

  • Don’t skip the engagement session.

Meeting with a photographer for an engagement session helps build confidence in front of the camera together. It also determines if you connect well with the photographer. Practice having the photos in a fun, low-stress atmosphere. This leads to comfort and trust for wedding day photography.

  • Don’t look at the camera all the time.

If you’re stopping what you’re doing to look up at the camera and posing a smile, that is what loses the moment the photographer was trying to capture. If you want candids documenting the day, let it happen. Be hopelessly in love with each other because that is what you will want to be looking at when you go through your album in 15 years.

Farm Wedding June 2014 at Pomeroy Farm in Yacolt, WA


Buck and Doe

I met this couple a few months ago to discuss their wedding, they were sweet and shy. Then we met again in July, they were much more comfortable to discuss things by then.

Their wedding was this weekend. The venue was the Lazy River Ranch at the Sidetrack Distillery in Kent.  The area is all flat, no hills. The barn is the main attraction and the cottages are efficient and cozy. There are power lines and trains to contend with, but I will not do train track pictures. I will not.

There are no ponds, there is a river but it must be a good walk away because you don’t see it from the immediate area of the property. There is no winding path, no vanishing points, no mountains, no big shade trees.  There was no wedding party, no maid of honor and no best man. And no wedding planner there for the day’s events. Don’t get me wrong, the barn is great, it’s fantastic. The chandeliers, the slide wide open sides, the mirrors and the barrels. I wasn’t sure how it could be filled to the expectations that I know so many brides have for their wedding day.

Are you picturing the wedding jitters I had trying to plan my shots? The only thing that I KNEW I could count on was that there would be a gorgeous bride in a beautiful white dress and a handsome groom in a tailored suit.

The couple getting married turns out have an incredible talent for creating the atmosphere that they intended to have surrounding them on their wedding day. There love is equally matched by their limitless imaginations. In addition, they communicated very well to the friends that were setting up the decor for them just how and where to put things.  The venue was transformed into a woodland wonderland.  Antlers, pine cones, flower, fauna, really unusual choices for decorating but worked beautifully. Plus, some of the best candy I ever tasted. (rum filled malted milk balls? Who thought to make such a thing?) The theme dovetailed well with the venue and to my surprise it wasn’t at all “underdone”

Pinterest is kind of to blame for weddings these days. I discussed this a little with other gals there whom had weddings for their daughters long before Pinterest and Facebook showed up to torment all of us mothers and brides and photographers and planners – not that it isn’t beautiful, not that they’re not great ideas but what’s tough is now it seems they’re the social norm. The social media has put pressure – actually MORE pressure, on brides-to-be to want to show their wedding online, the details, to be pinned and pinned again. Let’s face it, pictures have evolved us.

But about this wedding…as a bonus for all involved at this past Saturday’s wedding, God provided spectacular weather, a clear night sky over the area and, you may have heard, a full moon, too! There were special opportunities for some rare shots with the moon high in the sky behind them.

In a way I had not planned on, not having to deal with a wedding party was creatively liberating. There were no personalities slowing things down or interrupting shots.  Their’s was a most unique and actually quite visually stimulating event, I was proud and honored to be a part of it.

Congratulations Buck & Doe, Jeff & Patience Melton.  I have a feeling that anyone would be inspired to detail their wedding this way and may end up using YOUR images on their pinterest boards for reference.

Show Stoppers

I really love the drama that the Capitol Theatre offered for this wedding.  Although the theatre is in rough shape, it is very old and everything is mismatched, the walls were peeling, the lighting was a huge task but although finding lighting for a bride was challenging here, I was in love with the contrasting shadows, the stage lighting, the soft filtered light from the old dirty windows with worn out curtains, it was really much more interesting than flat room light. Upstairs of the theatre was a labyrinth of rooms that I had no idea were there, a green room and a couple of dressing rooms now turned storage areas. I had to draw upon memories of old movies and feel what magical history these old rooms hold and try to visualize what sort of things may have gone on inside those walls during the theatre’s heydays of the 30’s and 40’s.

After the wedding, the reception was just a few blocks away at the Heritage Room. Catered by Occasions Catering.

© Just out of the dressing room.
© Just out of the dressing room.
© Opening Night Jitters
Opening Night Jitters
Back stage light controls ©
Back stage light controls

liz jon noir

© The lounge area over looking the street, above the marquee, provided interesting noir lighting.
© The lounge area over looking the street, above the marquee, provided interesting noir lighting.

liz oil

Heritage Hall, Wedding, Olympia, Washington
Woods Wedding at the Heritage Room in Olympia Washington

David and Brianna Wedding Album

This is a link to the preliminary setup for a wedding album, there are more more more photos and probably better ones, but the files are buried in my hard drives so I have to get to them –  that you may want to add or change out, but here is a preview of how I have it setup. It’s 20 pages and setup to be a 12×12 square lay flat album, open laying flat would be 24w x 12h.

The wedding pictured in this album took place in 2012 at the Antheia Ballroom in Snohomish

Click here to be directed to the Link to Album