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Denver Engagement Photography: Cortney & Michael

Denver Engagement Photography:  I consider it an honor every single time a new couple chooses me to be their wedding photographer.  Looking back over the last ten years, I can honestly say that I have poured my heart and soul into my business and I have genuinely dedicated my energies towards becoming the best photographer that I can possibly be.  I take the responsibility of capturing my clients love stories very seriously, but given how much I love doing what I do and how long I’ve been doing it, I have reached a point where I have the confidence I need to let the creativity and passion just “flow.”  The technical stuff is like second nature.  I love being in this place in my career because instead of worrying about my camera settings, what the light is doing (or not doing), or what kinds of poses I should do,  I can really engage with my clients and just focus on creating images for them that I know they will love!

Most of the brides that hire me come by way of good business (referrals), strong SEO (Google) and a little bit of dumb luck.  Given the enormous number of choices for brides these days, I will admit, I don’t envy the process it must be to find “the one” in an ocean of photographers.

Brides on the inside of the wedding industry have it a little easier.  Mostly because they have experience working with dozens of different photographers, florists, bands, etc.,  I would imagine that it’s much easier for them to narrow down their vendor choices based on their personal and professional experience.  That said, when a wedding coordinator hires me, I take it as MORE than a compliment!  Trust me, they have seen it all… The good, the great, the bad, and the worst.

Cortney is a planner with Cloud 9 Weddings and Papers, and I have only recently gotten to know her in the last couple of years.  I have been photographing weddings with Ann Marlin (the owner of Cloud 9) for the past 10 years and we have a wonderful business relationship, not to mention a fabulous friendship, but when Cortney joined the team, I knew I would still have to prove myself to her and hopefully impress her as well.  I guess I did, because when she first spoke to me about her wedding, I was over the moon that she wanted me!

Cortney and her darling fiance, Michael, met me at Standley Lake for an evening engagement session with their adorable dog and we had a blast!  The weather was perfect, the park was lush and green, and the mountains and lake were literally sparkling in the distance.  I loved getting to know Micheal and I truly can’t wait for their wedding this Sept. in Beaver Creek.

THANK YOU SO MUCH Cortney for choosing me!  Your wedding is going to be flawless and I promise that your photos will be too!

Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch Wedding: Meagan & Brad

Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch Wedding:  I am so grateful for all of the weddings I get to photograph in Beaver Creek!  It’s definitely one of my favorite places in Colorado in both the summer and the winter, and working at the Ritz-Carlton is always such a wonderful experience! This wedding with Meagan and Brad was certainly no exception.  They were both so much fun to be around and their fun-loving personalities shined into my camera all day long.  We had perfect weather, a wonderful group of family and friends, an amazing staff at the Ritz to help with everything we needed, and a fabulous wedding planner (Bella Design and Planning) to make sure the day ran smoothly.

Meagan and Brad were both born and raised in Texas.  Meagan is from Corpus Chrisi and Brad is from Huston.  They both attended the University of Texas, but they actually didn’t meet until after college while both working in downtown Huston through mutual friends.  They got engaged while vacation in Napa.  Brad proposed the first night of their trip while staying at Meadowood in St. Helena.  They had reservations at the restaurant at Meadowood and Brad suggested that they take a walk before dinner to check out the gorgeous grounds,  They walked from their room down to a lake and while standing along under the moonlight, Brad asked Meagan to be his wife.

They wanted a small destination wedding to allow them to spend quality time with their family and friends that were invited to celebrate with them in Beaver Creek.  They also wanted an outdoor ceremony to reflect their personalities so they had a good friend marry them, Brad’s cousin read a bible verse, and Meagan’s aunt read her favorite poem.  We took their engagement photos in Beaver Creek this past February and given that they wanted to take advantage of the beautiful snowy atmosphere, the blizzard that blew through that day gave us the perfect opportunity to do just that!

They both love the food and burgeoning art and music scene in Huston and also that the culture reflects the diverse and genuine people that live there.  They are both into wine and great food and appropriately decided to honeymoon in Tuscany, a part of Italy that neither had visited before.

Thank you so much to the wonderful staff at the Ritz-Carlton; to Bella Design and Planning for their flawless execution; to Jennifer Winder for being my fantastic second shooter; to Bare Root Flora for the gorgeous decor, and to Starkey Productions for the rocking band!  Last but not least, a huge THANK YOU to Meagan and Brad and all of their family and friends for being so amazing to work with and for inviting me to capture such a special day that undoubtedly they will remember for the rest of their lives.

I always appreciate the feedback I get from my clients and when Meagan sent me this note, it absolutely made my day!  “Frances, you were a dream to work with. We appreciated your laid-back personality and professionalism. You were always punctual, full of great energy and ideas, and made Brad and me feel comfortable and ourselves. The day after the wedding everyone commented on how invested you were in capturing your shots — on chairs, on the floor, jumping around! You did an INCREDIBLE job.  I am so thrilled with the photos and cannot wait to spend several more hours (or days) pouring through them. Thank you SO much for everything!  You are incredibly talented!”~Meagan Glover


Colorado Engagement Photography: Kayley & Ryan

Colorado Engagement Photography:  Colorado is known for it’s amazing weather which I can appreciate to the nth degree on most days.  However, that said, anyone that lives here knows that besides being generally fabulous, our weather is also incredibly unpredictable!  Kayley and Ryan got more than a spoonful of that sugar trying to get their engagement photos done since early this spring.  Our first appointment got rained out.  Our second appointment got snowed out (YES, a full blown blizzard in April), our third appointment was again rained out, and finally, the fourth time was the charm.  We met early on a Monday morning and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky!  It was the beautiful blue sky day that they had imagined for their engagement photos at Standley Lake.  The only part we hadn’t bargained for was the mud that we would all be covered in from the previous evenings downpour.  Ha!  But, even given the mud caked to all of our shoes by the time we were done, it was worth fighting for a beautiful day!  Thank you to Kayley and Ryan for being so patient and flexible and for tromping through the mud with me to get the shots I wanted to get for you!

Kayley and Ryan’s butterfly themed wedding is going to take place on August 2nd of this year and I am so excited to work with them again!  These two love birds have know each other since high school and even though they weren’t really sweethearts back then, they have been friends ever since.  Ryan proposed to Kayley exactly one year prior to their wedding date on a Caribbean Cruise with Kayley’s entire family.  Kayley is an aesthetician and Ryan works in home remodeling and real estate, but their dream is to one day become missionaries and travel where the need may take them.  They both love living in Colorado, going to concerts at Red Rocks, and date nights at the Outback Steakhouse.  They are going to be accompanied by 7 bridesmaids and 7 groomsmen and their three kiddos as wedding attendants.

Given how much fun we had playing in the mud during their engagement session, I know that the wedding day is going to be a blast as well!  August 2nd is just around the corner now.  Stay tuned for more on this couple soon!

Destination Wedding Vail CO: Marisa and Mitch Sklawer

Destination Wedding Vail, CO:  When this gorgeous Miami bride-to-be contacted me nearly a year ago to talk about her wedding that was being planned in the Colorado mountains I was all ears!  There is something really special about working with a couple and their friends and families for several days in a row. First of all, I am the kind of photographer that takes a vested interest in getting to know my couples as much as possible before their big day.  This helps me to understand who they are as individuals, as a couple, and what kinds of images are going to be the most important to them.  Besides that, I believe that I do my best work when I feel connected to my subjects.  And, it’s not always possible given that many of my couples hire me sight unseen from other states, as in this instance.  But even when that is the case, I ask a lot of questions to help me get to know them ahead of time.  When Marisa and I spoke on the phone it was immediately clear to me that she was my ideal bride.  She was sweet and spunky; she knew what she wanted, but was open to suggestions; she loved my work and was trusting of my advice about which parts of the weekend should be documented.  We had an instant rapport on the phone and she hired me after only a couple of conversations.  When I was finally able to meet her in person, along with her darling parents, Ruth and Steve, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that the wedding was going to be off the charts fun!  I LOVED them!  And apparently the feeling was mutual because when I saw them all again the weekend of the wedding, they welcomed me with open arms and treated me like part of the family.  The groom, Mitch, and his family, though we hadn’t met prior to the weekend, were equally warm and inviting.

I arrived on Friday afternoon to get checked into my room and had a welcome bag full of goodies waiting for me in a very plush king-deluxe room at the Vail Lodge only a minutes walk away from the center of the village. Sa-weet! The first event was the welcome party at the Shakedown bar that night.  Everyone was SO excited about being in Colorado and for the weekend ahead.  There was a live band, the drinks flowed liberally, and there wasn’t a single face without a smile on it.  It was so much fun to meet everyone and to get charged with amazing energy that was consistent among friends and family alike.  The next morning I met the ladies on the lawn next to the Eagle Bahn gondola for a sunny group yoga class.  It was a gorgeous blue-sky day and I felt the love and support for Marisa literally vibrating like waves of light around the group.  I didn’t even need to participate in the yoga work to be enveloped by the serenity that was emanating in all directions from this gorgeous group of women.  With every photo I snapped I felt myself sinking deeper and deeper into the Zen.  Mmmmmm.  Afterwards, I hoped in my car and drove over to the Eagle golf course about 20 minutes away to meet up with the groom and his posse of golfers.  He had a golf cart waiting for me and I zoomed around the gorgeous course to capture each of the six teams getting their game on.  I don’t personally play golf, but I can appreciate a gorgeous course when I see one, and gorgeous it was!

Saturday night I met the group once again at the Blue Moose Pizza joint just around the corner from the Arabelle Hotel where more drinks, more food, and more fun was had by all!  Again, I was invited to eat and drink like one of the guests and I loved the easy going vibe as many of the guests gathered around the bar TV’s to watch the Miami Heat game and root for their home-town basketball heroes!

When I woke up on Sunday morning, the day of the wedding, the skies looked ominous, the temperature had dropped, and the rain was already coming down.  I knew that Marisa had her heart set on having their wedding ceremony outside, so I started my visualization process immediately.  The rain will pass, the rain will pass, the rain will pass…  Ohm.  :-)  And miraculously, right about the time we had scheduled for the first look, the clouds lifted, the rain stopped, and Marisa and Mitch had a magical first look outside!  I’m a BIG fan of the first look, and this one didn’t disappoint in the slightest.  As the wedding party looked on through the windows of the hotel, the smiles on Marisa and Mitch’s faces said it all.  And not only that, but the rain actually held off long enough for us to take wedding party photos outside next to the river AND to have the ceremony outside at the Donovan Pavilion, as planned!  What luck!!

The reception was flawless too.  Between the hilarious speeches, the delicious meal, and the rocking band, a fantastic time was had by all.  I honestly didn’t want to go home!  It’s amazing how quickly you can get to know a couple just by spending time with them on their wedding day, much less spending three days with them though various wedding festivities!  I got lots of hugs goodbye and even took a selfie with Marisa’s dad!  Ha!

Thank you SO MUCH to the Marcus family, to all of the Sklawlers, and to everyone involved in this deliciously fab weekend.  It was one of the most fun weekends I have had in a while, and what was supposed to be “work,” sure felt like play-time. Lucky me!  Thank you also to Sarah Fischer, my wonderful second shooter for the wedding day.  You killed it as usual and I appreciate your talent and energy more than you know!

And finally…. The emails I got from Marisa and her mom after I released her photos just made my day. Marisa said: “OMG!!!!! I LOVE THEM SO MUCH!!!! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!”  And from her mother, Ruth: ” Hi Frances, I absolutely  love the pictures!! You captured the emotion, fun and the events in such a fantastic way!!!  WOW!  I just start to cry when I see how happy Marisa and Mitch were that week-end. Marisa was absolutely beautiful and your pictures really emphasized it.  THANK YOU so much!”

It’s probably pretty easy to see why I love what I do….