Nicole and Gary’s family photo album 2015
Here is my friend, Kerstin O’Shields. I am so proud of her. She is hard working, vivacious, fun-loving and truly devoted to her sweet daughters. She will blush when she reads this post but her photos are too beautiful not to share. I’m sure when/if she reposts this link she will do so to promote my business and not flaunt her own photos because she’s so giving like that. I can also see her posting these in order to encourage other ladies to have professional glamour portraits taken of themselves to honor who they are now and document this time in history for those who love them.
Alicia and Kevin got married at Blue Ribbon Cooking School in Seattle. We took a trip to Freeway Park for some really fun bridal party shots.
Why boredom was my goal
Last year, 2015, was our biggest year yet. What I mean by biggest is, our highest grossing and our most shoots. It was a calm first part of the year full of boating on Lake Sammamish with our kids and enjoying the most incredible weather Seattle has ever had to offer and then August hit and September was the same and there was no slowing down for October through January which is always full of big, involved, expensive and emotionally draining wedding expos then February with the Valentines Day deadlines. It’s a good thing we are parents with 12+ years experience because all of the back-to-school paper work and clothes and school supplies and signing up for clubs and sports and dance lessons and deposits and uniforms and orientations can overwhelms the less experienced parents but we charged through all of that with a gusto. We were still fired up and running strong with out business keeping us energized and on full alert.
The longer we are in business the more referrals we get completely out of the blue and for not just weddings but everything under the sun. It’s fun. We do refer some shoots on but the headshots, family shoots, corporate events, Halloween and New Years parties we keep. I have the best time as the photographer in a photo booth setting getting creative with clients who want to look good in front of my backdrop and with out great lights. People are high fiving me and getting excited about their photos. I get a natural high and know that I’m the luckiest party “guest” because I have a purpose and get to run around the whole party getting candid shots and having an excuse to meet everyone there. My camera is my pass to everywhere. I never know who I’m going to meet with it or what shoot I’ll be running off to next.
Ok, so moving on now to 2016 we have different goals than last year. It’s fun to look back at our business and see what our goals have been throughout the years. I often reflect on these so I can remember them when I teach classes to other photographers. I want to be careful to give the correct advice which is appropriate for the experience level of the photographer asking my advice. For example, I can’t tell a brand new person to do anything they’re not ready for. We all have to go through the steps to get to where we want to be. I can’t say:
Yes, go ahead and charge $5,000 for a wedding, it can be done. Or yes, offer a wide variety of products (which are hard to order, price and deliver), or use off-camera lighting or anything else that overwhelms and takes them out of their comfort zone. Our business is a crazy mix of art and business it’s a bit like mixing business with pleasure. It’s a balancing act of being sensitive and creative and being tough and book smart.
Ok, where was I? So, our year ended in 2015 and started in a whirl wind. Now for 2016 it’s all about the quality of experience and the art. We have taken time off lately and boy does it feel good. For a time I didn’t want to do an-y-thing. I binged on Downton Abbey and Outlander. People would try to encourage me to join fun event that were free and nearby and that was just too much to consider. I’ve been slowly rejuvenating by sleeping, cleaning, walking my dog. Just last week I was walking my dog. We found a new dog park that was empty with not a person in sight. In fact, I searched the horizon often searching for bears to make sure we were safe. That’s how far out and how new this park was surrounded by a forest of tall fir trees. I stood there admiring his shiny coat in the bright sunshine and thought to myself, I am bored. I repeated it to myself ‘I am bored’. Woah, YES! finally! I AM BORED! I was so excited by the though that I raced my sweet Blackie boy out of the park and back up the hill to the car, ruffled his fur and said, “let’s go buddy!”
Being bored meant I had finally recouped and was ready to create again. Brandon and I are lucky to be on the same track. He’s just now starting to feel like creating again and we couldn’t be more excited to see what 2016 has in store.
About this photo: My mom dog sat Blackie this weekend for us while we were in Portland. She has this quirky sense of humor and decided to put the bottom of a cauliflower on his head for this photo. When I asked her what prompted her to put a vegetable on his head she said, “Well, I was making dinner and her was right there.” Lol, how many people are encouraged to do random, creative things for no reason at all, so funny. Her shy dog, Brad, is in the background wondering what is going on. Every time I look at this I crack up. It just shows how easy going Blackie is and how curious Brad is. I titled this “My poor little carnivore” Thank goodness for Blackie for bringing me peace and being with me in moments of adventure and boredom.
my big, sweet dog
Thanks to the magic of Brandon…and Photoshop we have this gorgeous photo before and after to share with you. One of the highlights of our career is to create these one of a kind, incredibly artistic photos from the original photos we capture.
Both photos are beautiful but how fun is it to create a real “wow factor” photo to use as the album cover and make a big print to enjoy in your home.
Lauren and Wes album cover…gorgeous!!
To really make their album perfect Brandon edited one more photo from Virginia and Steve’s wedding. Yes, there is the horizontal one similar to this and with this vertical one on the same album spread it really looks fantastic!
I cannot wait to see their album printed. It’s sure to be a true family heirloom!
Sonoma Golf Club and Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa Lauren and Wes Wedding.
I was going to make this post small but then I saw more photos I liked then more and more. They’re not in the order of how they unfolded throughout the day. It’s just a blog full of some of my favorite photos from their big day.
I’ll post their full wedding album here soon. It turned out amazing! I can’t wait to see it in print!
Lauren and Wes are the greatest couple. They’re so attentive to each other. All of their guests flew in from different states to their wedding in Sonoma, Ca. Nobody is from there that they knew. It just sounded like a nice place to get married and they were right. Most of their guests live in Texas. Everyone stayed at their wedding until the very end. The dance floor was packed and their DJ played all the right songs. Lauren made an announcement for all the guests to drink their Texas shaped shot glass full of tequila early in the reception. Everyone gathered in groups and cheered, clinked glasses then down the hatch. That’s what really got the dancers out on the floor!
The grounds of the Sonoma Golf Course were/are exquisite with rolling hills and huge trees with twisted branches. Just different enough to remind us that we were no longer home in Seattle. The clubhouse is gorgeous with all the Spanish brickwork, arches, outdoor fountains and outdoor fireplaces. Guests enjoyed cocktail hour in the outdoor courtyard while we rocked out family photos.
Wes and Lauren met at Texas A&M. His grooms cake is representing the pride they share.
We caught a guest smoking a cigar because as photographers at a reception we are always attracted to loud partiers, people yelling “cheers”, anyone wearing a festive hat and anyone smoking a cigar. (wink)
They had a grand exit with guests throwing pink rose petals and everyone cheered and blew kisses to the lovely couple. It was truly a magnificent day!
7 photos our clients are grateful for
1. This is by far one of the most complimented album spreads of all of our albums. We hear everyone say, “Ooh, I love that you got a photo of the whole bridal party and have them in the album!” We also hear, “that’s a stunning color of purple!” Getting an individual photo of each member of the bridal party is on our shot list for every wedding. We don’t ask, we just do. It’s something we can set up very quickly and run through each attendant photo in a flash. Complimentary backgrounds as well as similar lighting is important for the flow of the album spread so we do them all at once time to ensure continuity in the photos.
2. A photo of each grandparent set together. When was the last time your grandparents had a professional photo taken of just the two of them? Was is years ago on their wedding day? The grandparents are always pleasantly surprised when I ask them to step in so we can get a photo of them with our on site professional lights that we bring (Go Profoto!). No purses, jacket buttoned, sitting or standing tall and no hand on his belly please and we are careful to avoid glare from reading glasses or ask them to remove tinted glasses. One formal photo of the two of them looking forward and one of them looking at each other which always brings about sweet smiles from both of your grandparents. We love the result.
3. An individual photo of the bride with each of her bridesmaids and the groom with each of his guys. We do one silly one and one serious one. It’s fun to see what people come up with for the silly one. Sometimes we have to help them come up with ideas on what to do that is silly and other times we can’t get them to stop being silly which always cracks us up. If we are short on time we make this photo optional but then we try to capture this later during the reception. It won’t be with our beautiful Profoto lights but it’ll still be a nice photo.
4. A photo of the bride with each of her parents separately as well as just the 3 of them then we can add the groom and the siblings. Then we do the same set up with the groom and his family. I love my parents equally and appreciate having photos of them with me separately as well as together so I feel it’s equally as important to our clients.
5. The first look…but you know how I feel about the first look. I think I can speak for all photographers and vendors (especially the catering company) We are constantly thanked for encouraging our clients to see each other first before the ceremony. If you choose to do family photos and bridal party as a group photos as well as photos of just the two of you after the ceremony then the chef gives us a hard stop time because they want to do their best to serve the food to you hot. That makes us rush the most important photos of the day. It also makes your guests wait. You can skip cocktail hour and go right to dinner if you do the photos before the ceremony which can save you thousands of dollars! You can spend some of the money saved on a photo booth which is way more fun than a cocktail weenie on a fancy napkin!
6. The first dance is one of my most favorite times of the wedding. It’s when I can capture intimate, romantic photos of the two of you naturally being together and moving. The tricky part here is to avoid getting photos of your backs since you’re moving and to be aware of the background. We have had to avoid random guests standing in the background (I don’t mind a big group as a background but one random guest is a bit odd especially if they’re taking photos instead of enjoying the moment, fire extinguishers, glowing green exit signs and large DJ speakers to name a few. Usually a close up photo and the precise moment when you are in front of the distracting item is the best time to get a great shot. For this photo we appreciate a sweet song that brings about a romantic mood. We have had couples do their first dance to a hard rock song and the photos turn out less than romantic which is fun and different but doesn’t give us those romantic, natural shots we love and you do too.
7. Photos of the rings. We take these photos during dinner usually. This is when the guests are all eating so we have a bit of down time. It’s perfect timing to have fun and be creative with ring photos. It’s play time for us. We love challenging ourselves to get crazy with lighting on these shots. If you’re near us during this time you may hear one of us say, “you rock!” or “yes! that’s a sweet shot!” or high fiving if I have an assistant with me since Brandon has decided high fiving is not cool anymore. Maybe he’s right but I still need something to do with my enthusiasm and a thumbs up just doesn’t have the same impact.
Kristi and Matt Seattle Engagement Photos
This post is all about wedding dresses, 20 Wedding dresses to be exact.
I’m collaborating with a new dress shop. I will be printing large prints to decorate her big empty walls. I cannot wait! Her shop is lovely and being full of big, fluffy wedding dresses everywhere you look just fills her shop with wonder! She has spacious dressing rooms with large mirrors so you can really see yourself in these glorious dresses and realize how glamorous you will feel on your wedding day. I’m honored to contribute to the success of her craft. While compiling photos to send to her to choose from I got completely engrossed in all the wedding dress photos we have captured over the many years. I don’t even have access to all of our wedding currently! So, if you don’t see your dress in these photos do not fret. It has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the fact that I had to make myself stop looking at photos and do things like…eat dinner before I completely forgot.
It’s dangerous to start a project like this because I know I’ll have to dig through all of our past weddings and stay FOCUSED! I can very easily get swept away in all the beauty and sweet memories. It’s one of the best parts of my job.
If you love any of these dresses and would like to know where they came from please feel free to contact me!
So, enjoy these photos of dresses. I will post photos of the prints I choose with the dress owner as well as photos of our prints in her lovely shop in the future.
Plus, as soon as I have a chance I feel a cake blog coming on as well as a shoe blog. I’ll be sure to eat dinner BEFORE I start those projects…especially the cake one!
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I Do Bridal
A Princess Bridal
Weddings With Joy
The Wedding Bell
Moments to Treasure Bridal
Suzanne’s Bridal Boutique
Private Label Bridal
Love Couture Bridal
Bellevue Bridal David’s Bridal
Barbara’s Bridal Boutique
Nordstrom Wedding Gowns
Throw back Thursday
Tennessee Farm Wedding
We flew to Tennessee for Ann and Cody’s wedding in 2013. After their first look we drove to a nearby farm full of barns, old trucks, huge oak trees (which carry fond childhood memories for me), open fields, a pond with a dock (see the cover of our magazine for a photo of Ann and Cody on the dock) and many, many horses. Yes, we have farms full of horses her in Western Washington but this farm in Tennessee had more acreage than I can remember and spanned further than we could see. There were fenced areas but the gates were wide open. The horses just wandered all over. I’d never seen anything like that before. You’d feel something near you and turn around to see a large, furry face saying hello. Oh, and the cows, there was a herd of cows who came to say hello en masse when we took the photo up the hill by the tree. Brandon had to call me on the cell phone to tell me where to position the clients for the photo since he was too far away for us to hear. In this photo I am hiding behind the tree, the cows are coming up from the right and the bridal party is partying in the truck in the dirt road just out of shot.
Fireworks ended their wedding with a great festive bang. The last guests left stayed to play cards outside in the warm summer heat, laugh at jokes and snack on more delicious wedding cake Sweet Thing Bakery. Their wedding was full of adventure, family and romance, truly a day to remember.
To see multiple blog posts about their Tennessee Farm Wedding including a slideshow click on this link http://www.hildebrandphotoblog.com/?s=cody
We are still reeling from the Seattle Wedding Show and the Tulalip Bridal Showcase. We met many terrific couples and are booking many meetings now.
If you like…
feeling relieved that you hired us for your photographer, videographer and photo booth
spending more time talking about your fun wedding details and visions
then reading our faq’s is a good thing to do.
We look forward to meeting with you! And giving big hugs and/or high fives when you book us!
Q: Are you and your husband both photographers?
A: Yes, we are both experienced photographers. We individually bring years of artistic lighting, posing and design to each shoot. We both teach photography classes.
Q: What do you charge?
A: Hildebrand Photography prices start at $2,999. We can create a custom collection to suit your specific needs. This is done in person or via Skype. There’s a lot that goes into wedding photography. We offer more than most photographers. You will receive a complete list of our products, and can tell us what is important to your day so we can put together the best collection for you.
We have 3 collections to choose from. We keep them very simple and easy to understand. We don’t show you lower prices then confuse you with a bunch of add-ons and then have you end up at a price higher than what you expected. We put it all out there for you to see. I remember being a bride and planning our wedding and know that it is a lot to take in. My goal is to keep things as simple and easy for you so you do not have to worry about anything photography related. You know that you are in good hands and can relax and enjoy your day!
The main difference between our 3 collections is the hours of coverage then we add more photography related items that are unique to Hildebrand Photography as you go up from there.
Quite often we hear clients say, “ Wow, you have a lot to offer, things we have never heard of, this is really great!”
Q: Do you charge for travel?
A: No, we do not charge for travel…even to Hawaii! That means we don’t charge for hotel or airfare if you hire us for Hildebrand Photography. We love to do destination weddings. We have been to many states and some countries photographing weddings.
Q: What is Studio H?
A: We have two photography companies. Studio H is our more basic packages. One of the owners, either Dawn or Brandon, will shoot your wedding unless we are both booked on your day then one of our highly skilled associate (not assistant but Associate) photographers would photograph your wedding. We will do everything else including editing, album design, correspondence, etc. For more information on this please see page number four on what the difference is between Hildebrand Photography and Studio H.
Q: Do I get a DVD?
A: Yes, you will receive a DVD of your wedding photos.
Q: How do you describe your style of wedding photography?
A: We pride ourselves in creating highly artistic photos. When a friend comes to your home and sees your wall print and says, “Wow, where did you get that, is that a painting?!” and then…”Oh my gosh, that’s YOU TWO, that’s beautiful!” That’s the ultimate compliment to us. That’s what we are going for. We create art for you to hand down through the generations. We are passionate about capturing candid moments as they unfold during your day.
Q: What if there’s harsh/direct sun outdoor light or dark indoor light during family photos?
A: We have professional lighting that we bring to weddings for the family photos. You don’t want strange shadows on faces from harsh sunlight. Our lights give you and your family flattering lighting for the highest quality photos.
Q: Do you have back up photographers?
A: Yes, we have highly qualified photographers who shoot weddings with us. They know how we work, how we dress, our photography style and they have similar, professional, friendly personalities like ours.
Q: Do you have insurance?
A: Yes, we have liability insurance.
Q: I heard you have your own magazine. Is that true?
A: Yes, Emerald City Bride. Our first issue is on our blog and can be found in the link below. An abundance of information about us and how we work can be found there. Plus, it’s filled with beautiful photos which is always fun!
Q: Can you create prints for us?
A: We love prints, especially big wall portraits! Our albums and prints have a lifetime warranty. We have worked with our vendors for many years now. We have the utmost faith in the quality of their workmanship. We are offering the lifetime warranty to you because we trust their work.
Q: How long do I have to make my album?
A: One year from your wedding date.
Q: How soon can I have my pictures edited and ready for me after the wedding?
A: We shoot about 1,000 photos per photographer then we edit those down to about 800 total depending on how many hours and how many events your wedding has. We make sure they are perfectly ready for you. This all takes about a month.
Q: How long does it take to get my wedding video?
A: Videography is much more involved when it comes to editing. The video takes three months to edit. Yes, you will receive a DVD of your wedding video.
Q: Have you shot at our venue before?
A: There are hundreds of venues in the Seattle area. We shoot weddings world wide. Although we have shot at many venues haven’t been to all of them. A good photographer doesn’t need to have seen a place first. We know the lighting will be different in different times of the day and year so even if we have shot there it will be different on your day. Plus we like to keep it fresh, to have your photos be different than anyone else’s. We can create amazing images in just a 3’ space. It all has to do with the lighting and the photographer.
Q: Are you natural light photographers?
A: We can shoot with just the daylight but we also have all the gear to be able to shoot in low light or to combat harsh sunlight. Most wedding receptions are low light so we are ready for this. We actually teach classes on how to shoot in all light settings so you are in good hands.
Q: What is the 90-day web gallery?
A: This is our gift to you. This gallery allows for easy viewing, sharing and ordering of your wedding images without having to call you. Your personal gallery is online for 90 days. You may want to purchase Event Cards from us. I make enough 4×6 cards for all of your guests which has a photo of you two from your engagement session so it’s a nice memento but then I include the link to your 90-day web gallery so all of your guests know where to go to see the photos. This way they’re not calling you asking what the link is. The event cards are very popular, guests love them!
Q: Do you offer an engagement photo session?
A: Yes, we love engagement sessions! This is our chance for us get to know each other better and for you to feel more comfortable in front of the camera. It’s also a way to spend time having fun with your fiancé. We highly recommend an engagement shoot.
Q: What is an engagement session?
A: The two of you dress up and meet us somewhere fun for a 1-2 hour photo session. This is a good time for you to have your hair and make-up trial done before your wedding. These are great photos to use for your save the date cards, guest book and decorations at your reception.
Q: Do you offer guest sign-in books?
A: Yes, our guest book is beautiful! Everyone who sees it raves about how soft the leather cover is and how it has thick pages that lay flat and don’t flop closed like other books. It will have photos from your engagement session as well as pages where guests are encouraged to sign-in and write words of congratulations to you.
Q: What about save the date and thank you cards?
A: We are researching the best company to use for these and will be offering them soon!
Q: Can I give you a list of photos for you to take?
A: We can use a list of names for the family photos to make sure we don’t miss anyone. Make sure not to make this list too long as you and your guests will want to enjoy your day rather than go through a series of posed photos. Other than the posed family photos we would prefer to not have a list. We recommend limiting your list to close family. It is important to get back to the wedding fun as soon as possible. If you like our work, our art, then you will like what we create for you. We create your photos based on the lighting, atmosphere, architecture and nature that we see in the places where you are getting married to tell the story of your day.
Q: Do you have back-up cameras?
A: Yes, we have multiple cameras (all Nikon, go Nikon!), multiple flashes, tripods, batteries, memory cards, lenses, you name it we have many of each.
Q: What if I need extra hours on the day of my wedding?
A: We know every wedding day takes on a life of its own. If your day starts to run over and we are scheduled to leave soon but there are still some events that you would like photographed we will ask you or someone you authorize if you would like us to stay an hour or two longer and bill you later. Our main goal always is to make sure your day is happy, stress-free and fun!
Q: How do we save our date with you?
A: Our deposit is $1,000, this will save your date with Hildebrand Photography. This is first come, first serve. We can-not hold dates until a deposit is made. We prefer check or cash for the deposit. The remaining amount can be paid off monthly with the last payment paid 30 days before your wedding. Our software system will automatically email you each month with a link to your payment that you can easily pay online with a credit card. You can even email payment link(s) in any amount to anyone who wants to contribute to your photography!
Q: Who runs the photo booth?
A: We have an assistant who works the photo booth.
Q: Do you stay for the dinner?
A: We would prefer to stay on-site during the dinner so that we can be close enough to keep track of what is going on in case anything unscheduled happens. We don’t need to eat what your guests eat. We are fine with a vendor meal which some venues offer. We do request that we eat when you eat and will be ready for more photos once you are done eating.
Discovery Park Seattle
Into the woods for an outdoor glamour session with the lovely Werona
Brandon and I found this magical place with trails, leaves, trees and a pond. We brought our antique red office chair into the woods and set the trap. Out from the trees this lovely lady was lured by the magical red chair and we caught her just lounging away and smiling happily while sitting in the magical chair…or something like that. Isn’t it just magnificent that we were so lucky to be in the right place at the right time?