Las Vegas Flamingo Wedding Photographer :: Tara & John

This business of mine is something else, you know… it is just so amazing that I get to develop friendships with so many people from around the world.   I know that I have mentioned it before, but I get to spend one of the most intimate days of my couples lives with them.  I get to see the first moments of their marriage with them.  And I get the pleasure of documenting each detail so that they will never forget exactly how that day felt.

And when you get to do this with people who are so genuinely invested in you, and care about you as a person… not just your camera… well, that is what dream jobs are made of…

When I met John for the first time he was definitely a man of business, and he had a vision for his wedding… as I got to know him more, he is also quite possibly the sweetest, and most loving teddy bear of a guy, and I can see just how hard Tara has fallen in love with him.  And Tara, although quiet in the beginning, is so thoughtful, hysterically funny, and I honestly consider the both of them dear friends.

Weeks before the wedding my husband and I had the chance to sit down with both of their families for dinner so that we could discuss all of the details for the wedding day, and when I fell in love with their families just as hard as I had fallen in love with them… I knew that I had really lucked out.  I was lucky that Tara and John had allowed me to find out who they really are, as people, and as friends.  They gave me a chance to be part of the most important day of their lives.  I am –beyond– happy, and beside myself to share these gorgeous photos with you guys.

Personalization to wedding details is not only something that your guests enjoy, but it is also like putting a time stamp right into your wedding images.  Tara purchased John these panda bear cufflinks as his wedding day gift.  Seeing them in this photo will likely bring her right back to the day and time that she bought him this gift, the way that her ‘Panda Bear’ nickname for him originated, and the smile that came to John’s face when she gave them to him.

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So, you remember me saying that John had a vision for his wedding, right?  Well, boy oh boy, did he ever.  Navy tuxedos with black lapels and trim.  Black bowties, and well-groomed details.  I don’t know that I have ever loved the groomsmen attire more.  More importantly, though, was how freaking awesome these guys were.  Popping bottles in the hotel room was just the beginning of a day that was filled with so much fun and laughter.

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I spent way too much time with the guys… I mean, bottles were being popped, so obviously that’s where I stayed… but so I was a bit behind schedule when I met Janelle over at the girls room.  Your Beauty Call was finishing up with the girls’ hair and makeup, and Janelle and I got to work on details!  And, wow did we have details to photograph!   The room was sprawling with gorgeous light, beautiful dresses, and paper goodies from SHEpaperie!!

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All of the beautiful dresses, and gorgeous details are nothing compared to having a couple who you are excited to work with.  Because when you get to work with people who are more beautiful on the inside than they are on the outside, then it isn’t really work at all, is it?  Tara, thank you.   Thank you endlessly for your friendship, for the beautiful gifts you gave Janelle and I on your wedding day, and for even thinking that you needed to give me an additional gift because it was my birthday.  Your soul is beautiful, and your kind heart was felt throughout your entire wedding day, and every day since.

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I don’t have to continue to tell you how much I love to do a first look.  I wish so badly that my wedding photographer had offered a first look on the day of my wedding.  There was never a moment during my wedding day that I got to just stop for a second, and really talk to Fraser.  A wedding day is always so rushed, but the first look takes a small window of time, and allows for you to be alone with your bride or groom, and gives you a moment to breathe together. 

Or in Tara and John’s case… you can be alone with your bride or groom… on a very busy walkway in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip.  ha ha ha!  But, even with all of the on-lookers, I can assure you that the world around these two disappeared for a few moments.  John’s reaction to seeing Tara for the first time was so endearing, and he was truly struck by her beauty.

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We got to have the best of both worlds for Tara and John’s wedding portraits in that we could embrace the chaos and commotion of the Las Vegas strip, and we could also escape to little pockets of beautiful architecture to create some portraits with a timeless feel.

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Tara’s lace veil had Janelle and I swooning all the live long day.

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We embraced some more of the hectic overhead walkway, and we are forever grateful to a handful of pedestrians who allowed us to stop traffic for a couple of minutes to get some fun, party filled bridal party shots!  And they can thank us for the epic photo-bombs that we allowed them to enjoy!

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The amazing thing about working with a wonderful couple is getting to work with their friends and family by proxy.  Good people attract other good people, which means that your day is filled with cooperation, generosity, and incredibly helpful people.  This bridal party was simply amazing.

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Tara and John opted for a ballroom wedding at Flamingo Hotel & Casino which was lit by a single chandelier above their altar.  And who else except for Scheme Events and LED Unplugged to be on hand to create such a magical setting?

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Tara and John were toasted throughout the night, their friends and family danced the night away, and the first day of their marriage together proved to be nothing less than magical.  Thank you again, so much, for allowing me to be a part of your wedding day, Tara and John.  And to your parents and siblings… and your dear friends… I enjoyed every single moment with you.

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Day Of Coordination: Scheme Events • Venue: Flamingo Las Vegas • Photographer: J.Anne Photography • Hair & Makeup: Your Beauty Call • Florist: Jena Waller • Lighting & Lounge Rentals: LED Unplugged • Ceremony String Quartet: Harmony String Quartet • Reception Entertainment: Lucky Devils Band • Cake: Flamingo Las Vegas • Officiant: Peachy Keen Unions

Las Vegas Springs Preserve Wedding :: Britni & Brandon

Sometimes it is a little bit overwhelming.  Walking into a room full of people.  People that you don’t know.  And you’re expected to blend in like you’re family… like you’ve known them for years.  But that’s not what happened when I walked into Britni & Brandon’s hotel rooms on their wedding day.  In fact, it went a little bit like this:

I started the day at Brandon’s suite.  He hugged me, like I would be expected to be hugged by my brother.  Because Brandon has that ability.  He has the ability to make you love him in a split second.  He can captivate a room with his words, and he can make you feel like you’re the most important person in the room.  Quickly, Janelle and I gathered Brandon’s details and got to work, but never in any of those minutes that we were in his suite did it feel like work.  His groomsmen drank beers and laughed together.  They offered me a beer.  Sadly, I declined.  And then as quickly as we came in, it was time for us to leave to get to the girls room.  I’m skipping ahead a step here, but later in the day… during the first look… Brandon told Britni that he almost changed his tie at the last minute.  But he didn’t because he knew that I had already photographed the paisley ties as part of his details.  So he stayed in the paisley.  To accommodate me.  On **his** wedding day.  And, that didn’t surprise me at all… because that’s the kind of guy Brandon is…

Feeling like we were walking on cloud nine… Janelle and I headed to Britni’s room.  As we entered the room we were met with Britni’s smiling face immediately.  We saw Taylor, her sister, who I had met earlier in the year at the engagement session, and I saw Roxie in the makeup chair.  Roxie is Britni’s endearing mother.  It felt like I was walking into a reunion of dear friends.  So much excitement, and so much love filled the room that I could have just plopped onto the couch and grabbed a glass of champagne to toast such an amazing day… but what was even more exciting was that I got to create images for Britni that she would cherish for her entire life.  Images that her children would laugh at when they were teenagers because Mom and Dad’s hair/dress/clothes were so out of date… and images that those same children will run their fingers over in adoration when they were older.  Giving Britni these photos… after she has showered me with so many gifts through the year… means everything to me.  Err’thing.

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The most important thing that I can feel on a wedding day is trust.  Faith in what I do, and faith in knowing that my couples trust what I do.  Because with this trust comes freedom.  And with freedom comes beautiful imagery.  Imagery that is comfortable, and feels good.  So when I saw Britni standing at the foot of the bed before we started getting her dressed, she didn’t hesitate one minute when I asked her to quickly look down her right shoulder.  She knew the look I wanted, and she didn’t falter for one minute to give it to me.  She trusted me.

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Janelle took these two images of Britni behind her veil.  They are the first moments of Britni seeing herself as a bride, and the emotion that Janelle captures is beautiful!!  Amelia C. & Company did such an amazing job with Britni’s hair and makeup.  There really is a moment each day when the bride truly feels like the gravity of the day is hitting her… it makes it even more amazing when you have an extremely talented glam team!

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The image below is Janelle’s too.  When I’m discussing my second shooter’s job to couples, their first inclination is to think that two photographers equals twice the amount of photos, and two people in different locations.  But that isn’t how I like to do things at all.  In fact, I rarely ever ask Janelle to leave my side.  I joke with her often about the fact that I set them up and she knocks them down.  I am choreographing the day, the  shot, the moments… and I photograph how they unfold from a pulled back perspective… but she documents the details of those moments.  She gets the moments between the moments.

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After we finished up with the detail photographs, and the getting ready process, it was time for us to head to Springs Preserve for Britni and Brandon’s first look!  B&B aren’t too traditional.  They are laid back, and loving.  They are emotional and endearing.  So, it didn’t surprise me at all that they decided to do a first look.  And it didn’t surprise me that Brandon cried, because… well, Brandon got choked up when he was getting dressed earlier in the day.  But what did surprise me was the overwhelming emotion from Britni.  Cool as a cucumber, Britni.  I have about a hundred photographs of how amazing their first look really was, but this one photo below sums it up perfectly.

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Look closely at Britni’s bouquet.  The girls over at Scheme Events meticulously planned and designed a Mexican chic wedding for these two, but there is a genius yet subtle addition to Britni’s bouquet by Catherine at Layers of Lovely… yes, that’s right, there are green chili’s in her bouquet… and they also adorned several of the table arrangements as well!  Catherine is seriously a genius.

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Speaking of genius brains.  Rissa from Scheme worked for so long to nail down each and every detail of this wedding.  One of my favorite elements was the Mexican papel picado.  Janelle and I had a field day shooting through this lacey paper throughout the entire night!

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So, when the entire day had gone so beautifully, and I had been showing the newlyweds photographs of the day… further instilling trust in them that their wedding had been documented meticulously… I was able to make a quick decision about the lighting of their reception.  Kevin from LED Unplugged had done an amazing job of hanging bistro lights along with the papel picado over the reception dance floor.  There was also marquee letters above the heads of the head table which gave off a bit of light as well.  I went to Britni and Brandon right after their grand entrance and asked them if they’d be okay with me shooting without a flash.  I didn’t even have to explain my thought process.  They simply hugged me, and said… “do what you do.”   And with that, my heart almost exploded.  Their reception photos are very true to exactly the way the night looked… beautiful, softly lit and romantic.  A summer night under the stars and twinkling lights.

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Mr. & Mrs. Hart.  There seriously aren’t words.  You have spoiled me, and you have set the bar for my future couples so incredibly high.  The trust you gave me in photographing your wedding day felt both liberating and suffocating at times.  You trusted me fully, which scared me to death that I wouldn’t produce beautiful photos, and I wouldn’t have anyone to blame…. but it also allowed me to, in your words, ‘just do what I do’.  And I did.  And I can’t thank you enough for giving me that freedom.  The friendship that we have created over the last year or so is near and dear to my heart.  The words you offered your guests during your reception exemplified exactly the type of people you are… you expected a handful of guests, and yet… you filled an entire courtyard with people who love and adore you.  People who traveled hundred and hundreds of miles to witness the most important day of your lives.  You truly are amazing.  Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your lives.

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Wedding Design & Coordination:  Scheme Events
Photography:  J. Anne Photography
Florals:  Layers of Lovely
Linens and Rentals:  RSVP Party Rentals and Creative Coverings
Lighting:  LED Unplugged
Hair and Makeup:  Amelia C. & Company
Invitations:  Minted
DJ: Harry O. Productions
Officiant: Casual Elegance

Family By J. Anne Photography

If there ever was a day that I thought that I wouldn’t see, it would be today.  Even from the first moment that I started really getting interested in photography I knew that it was weddings that I wanted to shoot.  But, I started with families.  I practiced on families.  I learned my gear with families.  And when I felt like I was good enough to chase a two year old around and still get crisp images; I felt like I was prepared to shoot a wedding.  Boy, was I ever wrong, but that is a whole other topic for a completely different post.

But here’s the thing.  I hated shooting families.  Despised it.  But what I didn’t realize then was that I was going about it all wrong.  I let it be stressful.  I let the Mom’s be puppeteers.  I let the Dad’s be cranky.  I forced smiles, and I bribed kids with candy.  I yearned for that perfect photo with everyone smiling for the holiday card, because… quite frankly… I was scared of the Mom.

While doing wedding photography for a few years now, I have learned so so so much about shooting… about myself… about the type of photography I like to create, and most importantly… how to create it.

So, why am I surprised?  Why am I surprised that I’m getting the itch to go back to where I started?

Let me be straight to all of my hyperventilating brides.  I am NOT leaving wedding photography.  Wedding photography fulfills my soul.  It is part of me.

But, I do what to dive back into family photography.  But I want to do it my way.  The fun way.  The… let’s-just-hang-out-and-take-pretty-photos… way.  The… let’s-take-photos-of-memories-being-made-not-smiles… way.  I want to capture the essence of a family.  The way they cling to one another.  The way they knew each other’s inside jokes.  The romance of a family.

So, I have created a sister-website… if you can handle the appropriateness of that pun… to the j. anne photography brand.

AND BECAUSE WE’RE ABOUT TO BE IN THE HEAT OF THE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY FRENZY THAT IS KNOWN AS THE HOLIDAYS…. I AM OFFERING FULL SESSIONS OF FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY FOR THE REDUCED PRICE OF $500 FROM OCTOBER 15, 2014 THROUGH NOVEMBER 15, 2014. (click to view website)

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No, it is not a mini session.  It is a full one-to-two hour session with the rights to the digital images for $500, which is an $850 value.  This deal will only be valid from October 15, 2014 through November 15, 2014.

But wait… there’s more… (ha ha ha… totally an “AS SEEN ON TV” line right there)…

I’m going to give away one free session.  Here’s what you have to do… INSTAGRAM THE PHOTO ABOVE.  In your caption, you must tag three of your local Las Vegas friends who might enjoy this offer, type in the comment “I want a free family session!!” AND hashtag (#j_annefamily).  A drawing will be held one week from today for the free session!!

Happy hashtagging!!!

xo.

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