Las Vegas Engagement Photographer :: Tara & John

It isn’t a secret that I enjoy writing.  It is fun for me to lay out my thoughts, banter with the internet, and throw out my version of events through my words.  Usually when I meet a couple, we will chat about how they met, how their relationship unfolded, and how the proposal happened.  I can then take that information and create a blog post using their information and my words.  So you know that it is rare that I just copy and paste an email to share with you all.  But that is exactly what I am going to do, because John’s story of how he met Tara is both endearing and beautifully written.

So here’s the story, written by John:

Tara and I met while attending Albion College in Albion, Michigan. While it might have been easier for me if it had been “love at first sight”, it really wasn’t. But that makes for a better story. (By the way, this is John doing the story telling, so forgive me if some details are embellished or skewed.)

Our relationship started off with less of a bang and more of an implosion. I had loosely known Tara since freshman year but didn’t work up the courage to ask her out until near the end of our sophomore year. That didn’t go so well. In fact, it went so poorly that I refused to talk to her for the rest of the semester and did all I could to avoid running into her for the next several months.

It wasn’t until the next fall that some of Tara’s sorority sisters (the same ones, in fact, who had encouraged her to rebuff my prior attempts to take her on a date) decided to play matchmaker, gave her my phone number, and coerced her into contacting me.

Tara and I got to talking thanks to these girls and it wasn’t long before we had our first real date. I picked the restaurant (Outback Steakhouse — cut me some slack, we went to school in the middle of nowhere) and Tara picked the flick (Quentin Tarantino’s latest at the time with an uncouth name and a barbaric premise — I should have known she was a keeper on the spot).

We made our relationship official a few weeks later but didn’t realize we had something special brewing until I met Tara and her family in San Antonio to watch Sparty play in the Alamo Bowl. We celebrated New Year’s Eve together in Austin that weekend and agreed that it would be the first of many.

The summer after our junior year at Albion we both worked as interns in the metro Detroit area and became each other’s support system while adapting to a new environment with our families far away. That fall, Tara was named Sweetheart of the Alpha Pi Chapter of the Sigma Chi Fraternity claiming the hearts of all of my brothers as well as my own. After graduation, we made a long distance relationship work while I was living back in metro Detroit and Tara was back home in Spring Lake until she set out to move closer by me and continue her education.

I decided that it was time to “put a ring on it” late in the summer of 2013. I told my parents my plans, asked for her father’s blessing, found a ring, and made a plan to propose in just over a month. I popped the question on our four year dating anniversary and she said yes!

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When Tara and I first started to plan her engagement photos we were planning a trip out to Red Rock Canyon. But then she shared her Pinterest board with me for her wedding and everything was very glam with soft blush pinks, gold glitter accents, and beautiful soft elements. Immediately I knew that we had to throw Red Rock out the window in order to really create something that represents Tara and John. A rooftop champagne party is **much** more representative their relationship and personalities. Thank you for trusting me to steer us into this direction, Tara!!

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A girl with an affinity for gold bows… is a girl going right after my heart.

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A little night time Vegas photo was definitely in order for this glam of a couple.  The photo below is one of my all time favorites!!

Tara and John are getting married really soon… October 4th to be exact.  My birthday.  I joke that they are throwing me a really expensive birthday party, but in all honesty, I am so so so excited to spend my birthday celebrating the first day of their marriage!!Las Vegas Wedding Photographer_0023

Shooting What I Love

I recently fielded an email from a colleague about getting burned out.  Burned out of photography, and the constant hustle of being a small business owner.  As I struggled to make sure that I was responding correctly to this fellow photographer, I started to think… and what I thought wasn’t all that pretty.

Sometimes, I get really sick of it all.  The constant onslaught of wedding blogs that feature the best of the best, pinterest, photography forums… all of it.  Sometimes I hit a wall where I feel like I’m creating the same thing over and over again.  My brain feels like it is constantly on hyperdrive.  No matter if it is Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or any other form of social media… I basically look at photographs all day.  And then add that on top of the magazines, books, and other forms of inspiration I devour… it gets to be a lot.  Have I ever been burned out?  No, not yet.  I don’t think.  But I can definitely see how it happens.

So my response to my friend, was to shoot more.  But to shoot for herself.  To shoot what she loves, with no pressure of ever doing anything with the images.  Even though she mentioned that she was sick of photography… I didn’t actually believe that to be true.  We photographers are kind of like addicts.  We’re never sick of the photography, but more so, the business behind the photography.

So, last week, on a whim… I threw my little brood into the car for a 12-hour drive to New Mexico to visit my family.  Somehow I convinced my sister and her family to meet me there, and it turned out to be a wonderful weekend.  I shot a lot of what I loved while I was there, and it ended up looking a whole lot like this…


Precariously Wrapped Polaroids

Throw back Thursday’s don’t get thrown back much better than this.  Technically speaking though, it isn’t my moment to throw back.  It is my parent’s moment.  The moment they became husband and wife.

I sat in my Grandmother’s front yard this last weekend that I was home in New Mexico.  She is 87 years old, and I wanted to capture some photographs of her and my Dad together while I was home.  They both obliged, as they always do.  So, we sat in her front yard, and I listened to them banter with one another.  They reminisced on my parent’s wedding day because earlier in the weekend I had almost begged Grunner, which is what we call her, to delve into her massive box of photographs in order to find the photos she took that day.  They are the only photos that exist from that day, and it has taken all of my 32 years to finally ask to see them.   And now, here they laid.  On the table in front of me, wrapped in nothing but a double twisted rubber band.  The stack is small, but yet so huge.  It represents the beginning of me.  My siblings.  My family.  That stack is the beginning of the legacy that I am trying to carry forward into my own children.  And I couldn’t help but stare at the precariously wrapped stack of photos, and the rubber band that held it all together.

My parents have been married for 38 years.  And that rubber band has more than likely been double wrapped around those photos for the same amount of time.  Had they been in anyone else’s care but Grunner’s, they would have been lost, damaged, and forever erased.  Why in the hell would she trust me to have them?  Because she knows.

She knows that this stack of thirty-eight year old polaroids mean the world to me, and there isn’t a better person she could have trusted in order to make sure that they are preserved for lifetimes to come.

Thank you for trusting me, Grunner.  I love you.  And to my parents… you guys were hot!



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