Archive of ‘Other’ category

Events: family session and reunion at game day in appleton

appleton-photographer-birthday-event-wisconsin-family-portrait-children-photographyIt’s not often that we say yes to photographing family events, but when Hillary called from Chicago planning an event in Appleton before she and her family moved to Denver, I got curious. Hillary and Aaron were making plans to move west with their boys at the end of October, but before they departed they wanted to have one big event to say goodbye to their family. An important part of the celebration was that Aaron’s two grandmothers would be there, keeping cozy on the chilly night by patio heaters and endless cups of coffee delivered by loved ones. They knew it would be a special event that the family would want to look back on.

Ben and I divided up to photograph groupings of each of the individual families, and also to capture candid moments throughout the evening. It was an event full of joy, laughter, and people holding each other close.

Portraits: matt & chelsea, northwoods cabin proposal

Crivitz-Engagement-Proposal-Northwoods-Wisconsin-Engagement-Photographer-Wedding-1 Crivitz-Engagement-Proposal-Northwoods-Wisconsin-Engagement-Photographer-Wedding-2Matt and Chelsea knew each other a long time before they got together. They traveled in the same groups of friends, worked side-by-side, and saw the absolute best and worst days. Their relationship was built before one tried to impress the other, before silly “dating games” took hold, and because of that, it came from a place of understanding and honesty. Last year Matt surprised Chelsea with a photography session at her family’s cabin as a gift, but as the session came around this summer, it became more than just a “couples session”. The turn-of-the-century cabin is in the Crivitz area and sits on beautiful Wonder Lake, far into the woods.  As the session ended on a hot July afternoon and the canoe was being pulled ashore, Matt got down on one knee right there in the lake and asked Chelsea to marry him. She said yes, and we couldn’t have been happier to be there to capture such an important milestone at a place they love best. Congratulations, Chelsea and Matt!

Personal Post: two best friends and 30 years of marriage

Southern-Door-County-Country-Anniversary-Photos-Photographer-Wisconsin-30th-LoveFor a few years after graduating, I worked in a portrait studio (one of those ten minute sittings, photo collage, six background options commercial chains). People came in, we pulled forward a matching backdrop, posed them the same as the last group, and sent them home with the coupon deal of the week. No need for names or stories. Working there helped me define what it was I wanted out of photography in a way I don’t think I would have otherwise been able to articulate.

I know how valuable images are. And I know how much more a photograph can mean if it captures who the person is, right then. It isn’t always a portrait, in fact I would argue that more often it’s a snapshot: cousins climbing an old maple tree in the front yard, grandpa in his teens laying in the grass strumming a guitar, mom on her second easter cheesing for the camera in their very first apartment. These are the photos that stick with us because they feel like the person we love.

This September my parents celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary. Their story is a real story of two friends building a home, raising a family, and overcoming struggles. A vinyl backdrop and studio lights couldn’t tell that story. My outdoorsy dad and adventurous mom needed to be photographed in a place that characterized who they are and how they cherish one another.

More than anything the way they show their love it is through sharing their time and interests. The location we chose is not just a field filled with old buildings to make the world of Pinterest swoon; it is the place where together they hunt, and hike, and snowmobile once winter arrives. It is a physical place that symbolizes their love. I know this, and they know this, which means when I look at these images I see mom and dad, jeanie and rick, two best friends who decided to get married, and did, 30 years ago.

Portraits: alexander’s baptism, st. francis xavier cathedral

Green-Bay-Baptism-Saint-Francis-Xavier-Catholic-Family-Photographer-PhotographyOne of the best parts about what we do is that we get to be involved in so many milestone celebrations: birthdays, weddings, engagements, graduations, and in this case, a baptism. Little Alexander was so happy throughout his baptismal ceremony. He was very alert, interested in the ceilings of the cathedral, the lighting of his candle, and the gestures and expressions of the priest. When people smiled at him, he smiled back full of giggles and excitement, absolutely loving all these family members who had traveled from near and far to be a part of this important event.  We were glad to be a part of it as well, documenting something so special. Congratulations, Alexander!

Portraits: missy and her mentor

Green_Bay_Portrait_Mentor_Family_Mother_Studio_Green_Bay_PhotographyWe all need someone by our side to guide us, inspire us, and challenge us to be our best.  We may not use the word mentor, but that is what it means. Missy called me a month or two ago; she was boarding a plane for a family vacation and had been struck with an idea. She had recently heard that her mentor, Lorraine was planning to retire and move to New Orleans to be with her daughter. It was in this life-changing moment, that she realized (as we often do) how few photos she had of the two of them together. She wanted something substantial to hold on to – a symbol of their relationship.

Lorraine was one of Missy’s instructors in the masters program at UWO. She began every class reading from a novel marked with paperclip bookmarks. Her approach was slow and concentrated, and it tested Missy’s patience. The way Lorraine taught was a lesson in itself, something beyond the subject matter. Lorraine discussed reinventing herself, and creating the life she led with a purpose and Missy was inspired. She describes Lorraine as “a woman grounded in her faith, her marriage, her family.” When Missy came to turning points and moments of great decision, she turned to Lorraine. Through Lorraine Missy could see her ideas as concrete goals with steps that made her feel capable and sure of her decisions. Future life events brought them even closer together.

It’s funny how easy it can be to forget the value of a photograph. All day long we are Instagramming our food and Snapchatting our pedicures (guilty on both counts) and that can make us blind to how much an image can really matter. Earlier this week I stopped in at my grandparents’ house, and casual conversation led to an evening looking through photographs from the mid 1800s forward – portraits of our family. In one image I saw my great-great-great-grandma surrounded by her children, baby on her knee, and all I could think was wow.  Someone so long ago made the decision to gather the family together and have this beautiful image made so that I could hold it in my hands 150 years later. This was done for me. Kind of a powerful thing.

It was my pleasure to be a part of creating an image that would tell the story of Lorraine and Missy, an image that signifies the life-changing events that brought them together, strengthened their bond, and leads them on to what comes next.

Three Reasons to Love Small Wedding Parties

Wedding_Green_Bay_Wisconsin_Small_Wedding_Party_Intimate_ReasonsMany of us can think back to what wedding parties were like when we were kids – 9 hot pink dresses with puffy sleeves and lace hats alongside 9 black tuxes with shiny matching cumberbunds – anyone? If your face is twisted in revulsion at the thought of this, then you are right there with most modern brides.  Beyond dismissing the fashion of it in favor of a simpler more tasteful style, I am also loving the trend of smaller bridal parties.  Your wedding is about you and your husband, and each choice you make should be a reflection of who you are and what you like. Time to toss out those “wedding obligations” (send them away with the puffy-sleeved dresses!)

In case you’re on the fence about how to choose your bridal party, or unsure where “really amazing best friends” turn into “kind of good friends” turn into “I probably should”, here’s a few reasons to keep it small.

1. Less is More

If you’re a person who loves the chaos of it all, you might enjoy the buzz of a 12 person wedding party around you at all times.  But for those who like simplicity, a smaller wedding party means less stress and less obligations.  The fewer bridesmaids and groomsmen you have, the fewer schedules you have to coordinate for wedding events and the less people you have to keep track of on your wedding day.  When it comes to picture time and bridesmaid 1 is refreshing her drink, bridesmaid 2 has wandered off in search of a bathroom, bridesmaid 3 is checking on her children, bridesmaid 4 thinks she left her purse in the dressing room… well you get the idea.  Smaller wedding parties will save you time, money, stress, and valuable bits of your sanity when “I-do” rolls around.

2. Your Wedding is Your Wedding

I cannot stress this enough: your wedding is about you and your future husband deciding to make a commitment.  It is not about a friend you were close with in high school who you rarely see nowadays and it is not about a cousin who asked you to stand up in her wedding three years ago.  Each choice you make as you plan your wedding is a reflection of who you are as a couple.  Wedding parties no longer need to follow the old Southern tradition of having your future sisters-in-law stand up (frankly, if you weren’t friends before the engagement, they can rest easy in the second row).  The same goes for having kiddos stand up in the wedding.  It is incredibly valuable to have your own children involved in your wedding, or little ones you are very close to, but all to often couples are tracing out their family tree to find children simply because they think they should.  Each time you decide on someone for your wedding party, ask yourself if it is really what you want.  The people who care most for you will honor your choices and be glad for you, and anyone who would cause drama over your decisions, well… be glad they aren’t in the wedding party.

3. The Best of the Best

The absolute best thing about small wedding parties, is that the people you choose are going to be the friends-forever-and-no-matter-what type.  And that means when your wedding day arrives and you are stressed and nervous, they will be there to calm you down and fix problems before they even happen (instead of that ex-roomate who is just admiring herself in the mirror, and worrying about how she looks in her dress).  Extra people doesn’t always mean extra help; the right people means extra help.  These special bridesmaids who made the cut will be the ones crying through the ceremony right alongside you and pulling bobbypins from their own hair to make sure that yours look perfect.  That’s who you want standing up with you.

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Worried about offending those who don’t stand up?  There are still many ways to honor people you care for who might not be the right fit for your bridal party.  You could ask them to be ushers or personal attendants, or to perform a reading during the ceremony. Are they family you aren’t sure you want in the party? Consider giving them a corsage or boutonniere to honor your relationship.  Many times they will be glad to skip the expense and enjoy the view from the crowd.

Choosing your wedding party is a decision you and your fiancé will need to make together, and going with a small party may not be the best fit for your personalities or wedding theme.  No matter what you plan or what route you go, think about what you want as a couple, and toss those “miss manners obligations” on the pile with lace parasols and permed hair.  Do your wedding your way and enjoy every minute!

Getting Organized! my custom photography planner

Portrait_Wedding_Photographers_Photography_Planner_Calendar_OrganizationBeing a wedding photographer means I have my life planned out two years in advance (well, at least the summer weekends!)  Being a list-maker and visual person means I crave having a place for all this information to exist together – reserved dates, editing deadlines, upcoming payments, etc.  And of course… it had to be pretty. 😉  I spent a lot of time searching for a photography planner that fit the bill (a place to make goals, plan promotions, track quarterly and yearly progress) and I came up with nothing.  I’ve always been one for “if you can’t find it, make it” so here we are!  74 pages of monthly spreads with social media and blogging deadlines, monthly goals, quarterly goals, and a way to track progress specific to how our photography business works.  I’m in the process of filling in deadlines and upcoming payments as well as writing my goals and promotions for February and March – but before my scribblings took over, I thought I would share it on the blog.  Such fun designing something new, and even better when it solves a problem. Cheers to the new year!

Albums, the new old way to share your photos

Green_Bay_Family_Newborn_Photographer_Album_ArtNothing makes me happier than seeing our work printed.  I truly cannot describe the joy when pristine photographs and albums arrive at our door ready to be packaged and delivered.  Photographing a session is the start of a story – we get to learn about your family and capture precious memories – but the story is never completely told until there are tangible photographs in your hands.  People connect to physical images in a completely different way than seeing something on screen; images are more beautiful and intimate when they can be touched and handled.  Rather than being stored away on a hard drive or a disc growing dusty in your office drawer, physical images become timepieces for you to pass on.

We have been so trained by social media to imagine discs and digital storage to be the “safe” method, the way of keeping our images that will last. In reality, cds/dvds are predicted to have a 5-10 year life, hard-drives 3-5, and USBs 8-10.  An archival album is expected to have a life of over 100 years.  These are the items passed down for generations  and handed around kitchen tables at family events.  When we got married, our wedding package came with an album, and until I had it in my hands, I had no idea how much I would treasure it.  Only a couple of times have I gone back to look through our wedding photos on the computer, but I am constantly pulling that album from the shelf and reliving my favorite moments.

Since I clearly love albums, I wanted to share a few samples of the two we offer for portrait sessions.  So many people have been asking about what our printing options are for people who are not big fans of wall art, and albums are the perfect choice.  Featured above are our Small Album which is 5×7, 10 pages with a premium leather cover (holds about 10-20 images) and our Premium Album which is 8×8, 20 pages with a premium leather and matte image combo cover.  Both albums are archival, lay-flat albums, with thick satin-luster pages, and no gutter (so images can run across the spread).  Our Premium Album holds about 20-40 images, and comes with a keepsake storage box.

If you are interested in seeing samples in person, or if you have questions about our sessions or albums, feel free to email us at kaseyandben@yahoo.com or head over to our “Connect” page.

Summer Classes at Peninsula School of Art

Throughout the year I offer Private Mentoring Sessons to help aspiring photogs learn more about their gear, work toward artistic and photographic goals, and clear up any questions they have along the way.  During the summer I also teach at a few local art schools including classes for both youth and adults.

My first class this summer is at Peninsula School of Art in Fish Creek, WI.  For those of you unfamiliar with PSA, it is a gorgeous studio and gallery, and an amazing place to teach.  I am starting off the year with a class on the Basics of Your DSLR Camera which is running from June 23rd-25th.  This class is all about getting your beautiful digital single-lens-reflex camera off of auto mode and learning to be in complete control.  We will learn the fundamentals of how to capture light and choose the correct shutter speed, aperture, white balance and ISO settings. Whether you are looking to get serious with photography or planning for better images of travel or family, this comprehensive class will get rid of the confusion and send you home with your camera settings as second nature.  You will have the skill and confidence to create stunning images without the guesswork!

The great thing about this class being early in the summer, is that it offers the opportunity to take a follow up class that will take it one step further in July: Adapting to Outdoor Lighting in Portraiture .

There are many other classes to check out, including one I am very excited for on the historical, ethical and theoretical implications of photographs.  You can check them all out here:  https://www.peninsulaschoolofart.org/photography—digital-arts-workshops.html

Now is the time to take risks and build toward what you are dreaming of.  See you this summer!

 

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