Los Portales Styled Wedding Inspiration

Sometimes it is fun to play. To just create. Even though I know that, and have seen how beneficial it is to devote time to make photographs simply for the thrill of creating, it is still a struggle to actually make that happen in real life. You know what I am talking about. When you have your head down and are slogging through #adulting, whatever that looks like for you. Emails, deadlines, the dishes in the sink, yada yada. Whenever I can break free of that, even for a moment, and step out of the routine and make some magic happen, it is a wonderful experience. An experience I want to tell everyone about and sing from the roof tops. Here it is, some magic!

Our wedding photography business has allowed me to meet some other creative entrepreneurs and professionals. Hanging out with these people and their imaginative spirits is an exhilarating experience. After a few phone calls, texts, emails, and many Facebook messages an amazing team of vendors assembled and started the heavy lifting of brainstorming and planning this styled photo shoot. I have said it before and I will continue to say it, when you can find creative, capable people to work with, the best thing you can do is get out of their way and let them do their thing. I think this photo shoot is that mantra come to life. We decided to design the style of the photo shoot based on the enchanting landscape of southern New Mexico. New Mexico is after all the “Land of Enchantment.” A color palette of turquoise, sand, terra cotta, burgundy naturally emerged from this focus. Metallic accents of silver, wrought iron, and antique gold accompanied the desert inspired colors.  

I knew I wanted to photograph at a authentic southwest location, something true to the area. Location plays a large role in my planning and how I envision photographs in my mind. I first heard about Los Portales at the Las Cruces Bridal Showcase and then stumbled across the wedding venue's Instagram account and was captivated by the grand doors that accent the space. I am so glad the team at Los Portales was excited to participate in this wedding inspiration photo shoot. This space is absolutely beautiful; white walls, hardwood floors, unique string lights, red accent pendant lights, an adobe exterior, and of course those big architectural doors. Los Portales was first built in the 1930’s and for many years served the local community as a church. If you are looking for a wedding venue in southern New Mexico, you need to see this place with your own eyes.

The floral concepts and arrangements were designed by Susannah Calhoun of Calhoun Flower Farms. She created a show stopping table piece with air plants, succulents, and cacti. Individual stems also decorated the length of the rectangle table in turquoise and brown glassware. I love how the asymmetrical heights and colors of these individual pieces work together to form depth and create an eclectic feel. For the design pieces of the table setting to shine, they needed a strong foundation. Deanna Greene of Enchanted Occasions Event Rentals used sand, terra cotta, and turquoise colored linens to fuse the colors from our color palette. These bold colors stand out against the calmness of the white walls and hardwood floors of the room.

What would a wedding be without the details? Ariana Salcido of Letters and Such, provided gorgeous calligraphy with a menu card, invitation stationery, and a welcome chalkboard sign. She chose papers specifically thinking of the color palette, wood elements of the venue, and charcoal grey suit of the groom. Nate and I are both jealous of her mad lettering skills. She created the chalkboard lettering on the spot the day of the photo shoot!

Roxanne of Renee’s Bridal selected an Allure Bridals wedding gown that completed the vision of the shoot seamlessly. See what I did there? :) The bridal gown featured lace details over a blush undertone lining. The blush undertone hints to the sand color used throughout the wedding design. The bodice of the dress is adorned with silver and crystal beading. Our model, Elizabeth, looked stunning, as if that dress was made for her! Even though silver is the main metallic color of the details of this dress, who says you can’t mix metals?  I love how the antique gold bracelet and earrings provided by Heather Richman’s Chloe and Isabel boutique mesh together with the silver to accentuate the metallic element of this bridal look. Plus, the subtle burgundy and turquoise hues in the jewelry pair perfectly with the photo shoot color concept.

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Brenda Tarango of Make Up by Brenda gave the bride a natural and cool toned make up look. The soft light shade she selected for the eye shadow balances against the bold colors used in the tablescape and bouquet while the berry lip color brings just a touch of drama to the look.  Brenda spent nearly an hour braiding Elizabeth’s long hair into the most intricate and romantic braid I have ever seen! The soft loops and delicate weave of the braid is highlighted in contrast to the tight and intricate detail work of the living hair piece Susannah created using florals and cacti.

Let’s talk about the bouquet for a moment. Susannah is such an artist. And she is a visionary floral farmer. The florals and greenery featured in this southwest wedding design were locally grown. Bright pops of color and textures grab the eye's attention in this beautifully overflowing bouquet. 

And now for our dapper groom, Dustin. Everyone agreed the charcoal grey Michael Kors suit Roxanne suggested was the perfect choice to give the groom’s style an air of sophistication without sticking to a standard black suit. Continuing with the nontraditional sophistication vibe is the intricate live pocket square Susannah created. Tiny succulents and cacti sit proudly atop the suit’s breast pocket in place of a traditional boutonniere. Look at the detail complexities held in such a small space! Pure magic, I say. The brown shoe in this look helps to break up the grey and pairs nicely with the wood aspects of the venue.

During the photo shoot planning process, a few members took a field trip to visit Los Portales. As soon as we saw the hand carved wooden bar area we knew exactly where the cake should be photographed. Stephanie of Let Them Eat Cake approached the southwest wedding theme with the conviction to portray the desert and New Mexican landscape in a way that was true to her perspective and avoided any trite or kitsch representations. Using the southwest theme’s color palette, she created a collection of elegantly decorated cakes. By using the sand and turquoise hues, the cake’s design hints toward the relationship between expansive earth and big sky that New Mexico is so well know for. The showcase cake also has an attention grabbing metallic pattern that mimics the rising and setting sun with it’s accompanying rays of shine. The varying heights and styles of the cakes create a cohesive style with the eclectic shapes and sizes of the glassware used on the tablescape.

What began as a styled wedding reception look with the grand tablescape blossomed into a full wedding inspiration shoot with the addition of a lounge area and ceremony site. Three Sisters Wedding Services provided the vintage rentals and unique styling of each of these areas. In the lounge area, wood pedestals and distinctive furniture pieces mingle with burgundy candles on antique gold candlesticks. 

The lush turquoise settee cannot be overemphasized in the luxuriousness it brings to this wedding lounge set up. But it takes a close second to my favorite item Three Sisters included in the photo shoot. Using the outdoor lawn area that faces the impressive doors of the exterior of Los Portales, church pews were used for ceremony seating. These 10 feet long pews were salvaged from the historic Fort Boulevard United Methodist church in El Paso as it was being remodeled. I think this ceremony set up is so spot on for this venue. The church pews match the grand details of Los Portales’ exterior doors with their sturdiness and bring a sense of reverent tradition. Rugs were placed at the aisle’s end to root the ceremony look with southwestern texture and patterns. The rugs also add an element of softness to contrast the strong rustic features of the wood pews and doors.

I am so pleased with how wonderfully everything (and everyone!) came together for this styled wedding photo shoot. I realize how much time and effort every one of these wedding vendors put into this project: from the many planning sessions, the set up and clean up, and simply being away from their everyday business owner tasks. For that my heart is FULL of gratitude. What a superb community of creative professionals we have here blessing New Mexico brides and grooms!

Wedding Vendor credits:

Venue: Los Portales

Photography and Videography: Taylor'd Photography

Floral: Calhoun Flower Farms

Wedding Dress and Suit: Renee's Bridal

Cakes: Let Them Eat Cake

Calligraphy: Letters and Such

Hair and Make Up: Make Up by Brenda

Vintage rentals and styling: Three Sisters Wedding Services

Linens, chairs, flatware: Enchanted Occasions Event Rental

Jewelry: Chloe and Isabel

Models: Dustin Llanez and Elizabeth Reyes

 

My Framed Photographs at Milagro Coffee

A few months ago I looked into selling a limited edition print at a local coffee shop and as of last month, I now have nine of my photographs on display at the Milagro Coffee Shop near NMSU. They are quite a sight, but I am biased, so please go see them for yourself and tell me what you think. They will be taken down at the end of this month (June). I was a teenager when I learned how to compose a decent shot onto film and then enlarge it onto light sensitive paper in the dark. Digital technology fulfilled every photographer’s dream of getting out of the dark. But the process is too sentimental for me; I still develop my own film. Not that I don’t appreciate and utilize digital cameras just that I agree with the film looks better rhetoric. That being said, I take pride in the photographs I have on display, and will continue to make fine art photographs with the best quality museum standard available (which continues to change), and I will sign my photographs with my initials so that you will know it was a photograph taken by me, and held to my level of permanence standard.

The Same Fine Art Prints We Offer Our Clients

All of the photographs are giclée printed with archival pigment inks onto fine art cotton etching paper. These prints are museum quality and will last over a hundred years without fading as long as they are treated properly. Speaking of which, they are displayed in custom handmade spline joinery frames made from some of my favorite hardwoods ranging from purple heart to sapele mahogany. Spline joinery means instead of the wood being held together by V-nails, the staple used on most frames, they are held together by wood splines. This way as the wood contracts and expands throughout the year, it won’t be fighting a metal staple which does not (contract and expand). Half of the frames, except for those made from quarter-sawn oak and one made from Tiger Maple, are finished with pure tung oil, to bring out the natural color and grain of the lumber. All are dust covered with a breathable backing and an attached hanging wire. I know a lot about these, because I made them myself. Which is how I know these frames will last a long time. The quality of these framed prints aren’t unfamiliar to our clients, they have been decorating their own walls with them for years.

If You See a Photograph in Las Cruces Signed NT4

Without having any access to documentation, the easiest way to determine whether an art piece is somewhat rare as opposed to a mass produced reproduction, is the sight of a hand signed signature right on the artwork. So using an archival acid free ink, I signed most of these prints for this show with my initials, NT4. Nate Taylor, but what is the 4 about? The number 4 has been pretty significant to me over my life time. I was born on the fourth, I married a woman who was born on the fourth on the fourth, and there happens to be 4 people in our family. Despite all of that, the first job I had as a teenager that lasted longer than a couple of years was with a nationwide company that had identifier codes for each employee. First initial, last initial, and a number representing the number of employees with those same initials working for the company. I was the fourth person in the company with the initials NT. As I worked longer for the company I got promoted into management, and all paperwork that came my way, I had to sign in my employer identification code. So NT4 stuck. Ever since then I just initialed everything with the 4 at the end. So…I opted for signing my initials opposed to my full signature. I came up with my signature in the third grade and it hasn’t changed much since then so you can imagine it’s not the greatest looking signature. So until I take some calligraphy courses, I will be signing my art with my initials.

Las Cruces Wedding Vendors

We are excited to have our work featured in the Las Cruces Bulletin's 2017/2018 Wedding Guide! This is the third year in a row we have had one of our couples snag the cover! But hey, who's counting?!

We love showing off our amazing couples and the beautiful weddings they have planned. Besides highlighting our New Mexico brides and grooms, the wedding guide also features the talent of other Las Cruces wedding vendors and the many gorgeous photo locations the southwest has to offer. I want to take a moment and give the vendors we work with a shout out because we believe in cultivating our local community. Luckily for us, we get to work with SO many talented people. Somehow, just posting  the hashtag #shoplocal doesn't cut it.

Here are some of the fabulous local wedding vendors behind the scenes of our featured photographs. If you are planning a wedding, this is a great list of wedding vendors to reference!

Allison and Justin's October 2016 wedding at Josefina's Gate in Old Mesilla, New Mexico

Ben and Dom's bridal session

Photo location: Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument

Vince and Megan's November 2016 wedding, Photo location: Basilica of San Albino

Cake and cupcakes by Deliciously Creative Cakes

Hotel Encanto ballroom

Tiffany and Zach's September 2016 wedding

Venue: Josefina's Gate in Old Mesilla, NM

Hair and Make Up: Brenda Tarango, Makeup by Brenda

Cake and Cupcakes: Let Them Eat Cake

Dan and David's January 2016 wedding at St. Clair Las Cruces

Linens, Chair, and Tent: Enchanted Occasions Event Rentals 

Cupcakes by Stephanie at Let Them Eat Cake

Catering and reception venue: La Posta de Mesilla

Danny and Alejandra's September 2016 Wedding at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum

Invitation suite by the Funky Olive Design

Music and party shenanigans by Grupo Classe

Photo Location: Mesilla Valley

Derrick and Jackie's October 2016 wedding at Red Hawk Golf Club

Custom invitations and wedding planning and coordinating by Elegant Events

Suits by Renee's Bridal 

Chairs, linens, dance floor and bistro lighting by Enchanted Occasions Event Rentals

Cake by Simply Sweet

Trevor and Annie's June 2016 wedding

Chair and ceremony set up by Enchanted Occasions Event Rental

Dress by Ella Blu

Photo location: the desert at sunset with the big beautiful New Mexico sky :)

To help you plan your wedding, we thought you might be interested to know some of the wedding vendors behind the scenes of our featured photographs.

Wedding Planning Advice from Newlyweds

We thought it might be helpful to ask one of our newly wed couples, Derrick and Jackie, if they had any advice for newly engaged couples. We recorded it live on our Facebook page, so if you prefer watching a video over reading you can skip to the video below. Here's what they had to say.

Do you have any advice for newly engaged couples?

Jackie: Start planning now. Like immediately. Start planning immediately. Put any deposits or down payments as fast as you can.  If you are working on a budget have a long engagement so you can make a bunch of small payments rather than lumps sums.

Derrick: I would say go ahead and make a list of priorities of what you want in your wedding. One thing that we did wrong is we started with all the little things that didn't really matter that we thought did then when the priorities came up we had to create more room in the budget to make sure we got those things. And have fun the whole time instead of getting stressed out.

Do you have any regrets about getting videography, would you recommend videography?

Derrick: Yeah, all day everyday. 

Jackie: No regrets.  Looking back and watching it I know that the first few times we definitely got teary-eyed.  My mom got teary-eyed. His mom, I mean everyone that watched it that loves us really really appreciated that. I think it's something that we are going to hold on to forever. We are excited to have kids and have them watch that and see us young. Because I don't think they are going to believe we were young at any point in time!

Derrick: It really helps with sharing. One of my really close friends was one of my groomsmen and she is bed rest and can't move and she has know me since I was real little. So that was a good way for me to share that day with her so she actually didn't look at any pictures, didn't let anybody tell her about the wedding and then I sent her an email with the link that I got from Nate and she got to relive the whole wedding. So just that alone was worth it for me.

Facebook Live Video

Derrick and Jackie's sneak peek video

Videography Interview for the Las Cruces Bulletin's Perfect Southwest Weddings

Today the Las Cruces Bulletin released their 2017-2018 Perfect Southwest Weddings magazine, and once again I am honored to have been interviewed for one of the many articles found within. I think writer Adam Palomino did a great job curating three interviews, between myself and two other local vendors, into an easy to read article so if you haven’t seen that yet be sure to check it out. It is on page 20, titled “Treasured Moments: Photography, Videography Packages Preserve Precious Memories”. This time, due to scheduling difficulties, I was interviewed via email rather than in person. Fortunately, that means I have a copy of the questions and my answers behind the scenes. So without further ado, here are the questions I was asked accompanied by my full responses.

1. What’s trending in wedding videography?

Wedding videography in Las Cruces is kind of like chalk paint. Chalk paint started trending in other parts of the country about three years before it was even available in Las Cruces. I feel like Las Cruces is finally starting to come around on wedding videography. Brides are really starting to see the value in having a motion picture as opposed to just still photographs. Same day edits, super 8mm film videography, and 4k are trending in other parts of the country right now, but in Las Cruces the value just isn’t there yet. I had one groom ask me “Why don’t you shoot in 4k?” I asked back “Oh, do you have a player that can play 4k video?” To which he bowed his head almost in shame and said “No”. I would love to shoot a wedding with a super 8mm film camera, it would give an organic vintage film look that digital videographers do their best to mimic, but it just never quite looks the same. But convincing a bride to want a 3 minute un-editable highlight video with no audio is a hard sale in Las Cruces. It’s sad really because anything on film will outlive digital data.    

2. What options are offered locally?

Locally, couples are starting to see their friend’s wedding videos on Facebook and Instagram, and that sparks an interest in having a highlight video from their wedding day as well.

Highlight videos, full length edits, and I have even heard that some videographers in town offer the raw video files. The last option is insane to me. I would never hand raw video files over to one of my clients and essentially say “Here you go, good luck!” I don’t expect my clients to have the software or experience I have with color grading, cutting, and audio editing, to make a full video that would be enjoyable to watch as opposed to short video clips they would have to open one at a time to view.

In my public accounting days, I had a co-worker show me videos from her daughter’s Quinceañera. She popped a DVD in her PC and showed me the highlight video. Her face lit up as she remembered the event. After it ended, she said “Then they gave me all the video files too”, with a disgusted smirk on her face. She opened up one so I could see, and yeah it was awful. There is a reason why not all of the videos shot that day didn’t make the highlight video. Videographers include their best video clips in the highlight video. Don’t talk yourself into thinking there is more value in having the files that didn’t make the cut.

3. What are the different types of packages one could get; engagement + photo session only? Photo + Videography? And what are the price ranges for packages, generally?

Taylor’d Photography is a family business, husband and wife photography and videography team. My wife is the lead photographer, and I am the lead videographer, and I use two of my brother-in-laws to second shoot video for me at weddings, who I trained personally. So we do offer both photography and videography to our clients. And we give a discount for booking us for both. Ultimately, we are trying to help our couples tell the story of how and why they decided to start a family together.

Pricing and packages are something we discuss with our clients when we initially meet them.

4. Digital only or prints? What other options, if any?

We deliver wedding videos to our clients on DVDs, Blu-Rays, USBs, and also make them available for digital download and viewing online. We also post sneak peek previews on YouTube at our client’s discretion.

5. What’s the process like? How early would you recommend a couple meet with the videographer? What considerations are there when deciding what’s right for a client? When and how often do the couples meet with the videographer to discuss plans/themes/pricing, etc.?

The first thing couples should do when looking for a videographer is watch videos from different videographers in town and determine which style they can relate to. The one that feels right to them is the one they should book for their wedding.

As far as timing, once you have decided which videographer you like best, book them as soon as you possibly can. We met with a couple that was getting married in 9 months. After meeting us they said they would let us know in a week whether or not they were going to book us. That same week another couple contacted us for the same date. They ended up booking us for their wedding, putting down a retainer to reserve the date. A couple weeks later, the first couple called us and wanted to book us. Sadly, we weren’t available for their wedding date anymore. With that said, if possible, couples should try to book their videographer six to twelve months out. I know for us (Taylor’d Photography), August, September, and October tend to fill up fast.

Since we do charge a nonrefundable retainer fee, it is better to lock in a venue or venues if different locations are going to be used for the ceremony and reception, before locking in a videographer/photographer.

Since we are a family business, we like to meet our clients, and get to know them before we just show up on one of the most memorable days of their lives. So the first we thing we require of our potential clients is to meet us to see what we offer and ultimately to see if we are the right fit. After they have booked us, we hash out more details of their wedding, help them with their timeline for the most photogenic experience possible, and keep in touch up to and after the wedding. We want our clients to feel that we are approachable, and we end up becoming good friends throughout the process.

6. How do couples help the videographer shape the narrative of their wedding video?

When a couple gets married they are really starting a family. Our approach centers on what that family is going to want to see. We tell the story of the wedding day for someone who wasn’t there, but wishes they could have been. And the best way we could tell that story is by knowing the couple. When I edit wedding videos I am thinking about what I would want to see if it were my parents’ wedding. I want to see the younger version of my Dad with the same mannerisms, looking at my Mom the way he still does with that beam of light in his eyes. And I want to see the younger version of my Mom shine like she did at their golden anniversary. I want to capture the bride and groom’s personality for their posterity.   

2017 Las Cruces Bridal Show

Come join us at the Las Cruces Bridal Showcase at the Las Cruces Convention Center on January 29th. It starts at 11am and ends at 4pm. If you haven’t met us (Elise and Nate) yet, visit our booth. We will be showing off our heirloom albums for you to peruse through, our amazing giclée cotton prints framed in custom hardwood frames made by me, and some of the wedding videos we made in 2016. If you haven’t see our products yet, you need to see them, touch them, smell them, seriously though. Bring your fiancé, and come say hello to us as you tour all the wedding vendors that are going to be there. If you are getting married in 2017, you don’t want to miss this event.  

An old motel, vintage dresses, and lots of make up

Life is full of busyness, deadlines, and schedules. Which is why Nate and I both feel it is so important to carve out time to be creative in our own personal projects. I have been failing at this goal! I have actually been quite jealous of how much fun Nate is having with his vintage film projects (check out his Instagram @melodysdad). So when Nicole invited me to collaborate on a photo shoot with her I jumped at the chance.

Nicole is a photographer and one of my 2015 brides. You can check out her fabulous work on her website. Seriously though, go take a look, her concepts and creativity are thriving. Nicole thought up the concept and arranged all the clothing with her local contact, Miss Ruth's Time Bomb vintage shop.

Nicole recruited Abbey, co-owner of the art gallery, Art Obscura to be our model. Abbey, who is also a sustainable farmer (Brazito Farms) never having modeled or had professional hair and makeup done, hesitantly said yes, not really knowing what she was getting into. My kind of adventurous woman! 

Once Nicole and I had decided on the concept and location of a seedy motel, I knew Brenda Tarango was the perfect addition to the creative crew. And she absolutely nailed the 1960's look we were going for with the hair and makeup. I am a firm believer in putting the best people on your team and then getting out of their way to let them work their magic, and everyone agreed that's exactly what Brenda it. 

So here are a few of my favorite photographs I created at the shoot!

Creative Team:

Photographer: Elise Taylor, Taylor'd Photography

Collaborating photographer: Nicole Dube, SheSoPhoto

Model: Abbey Carver, Art Obscura, Brazito Farms

Hair and Makeup: Brenda Tarango, Makeup by Brenda

Dresses: Miss Ruth's Time Bomb

Location: Century 21 Motel, Las Cruces NM

Business Headshots, We Do Those

We may not advertise it, or really talk about it anywhere on our website, but headshots are as important to small business as is a smile to an introduction, so of course, we have been photographing them. Virtually, your headshot is your business’s first impression, so take a second look at yours to make sure it is the business rep you want standing at the front door.

Convenient

The way we do business portraits is different, we don’t ask you to come to our space, we go to yours. This is really convenient for an entire staff that could use consistent looking headshots. Rather than everyone in the office having to schedule a time to visit a studio and waste an hour, an employee can walk down the hallway and be done in less than 5 minutes.

Modern

So if you have been seeing some business headshots with white backgrounds around Las Cruces, and have been wondering how to go about getting one yourself, contact us. Modernize your profile pictures, update your staff’s photographs so they look consistent, and refresh your business’s virtual first impression. 

A Daily Dose of Self Esteem

As a mom, I often reflect on how I am influencing and shaping my daughters’ self-worth and confidence.  Or as Melody would say, “Filling their buckets!”. Besides telling my children how awesome they are, what can I do to show them?

El Paso Family Photographer

Here’s where my bias kicks in. Nate and I have made an effort to have family portraits in our home, on the wall. Creating photographs is the fun part. Hanging the photographs on our wall and then watching our kids’ eyes light up when they realize, “That’s me!” is the rewarding part. I want my girls to never have any doubt of their individual importance in our family. If I can help them feel strong and valuable here at home, they can carry that strength and light into the world. So for Nate and I, making sure family portraits and individual portraits are hanging in our home is kind of a big deal.

Recently, I learned science can back me up on this. Judy Weiser is a psychologist, art therapist and author who is considered to be an expert in the treatment process of Photo Therapy. She explains the importance of family portraits. “It lets children learn who they are and where they fit. They learn their genealogy and the uniqueness of their own family and its story. When a child sees a family portrait with them included in the photograph they say to themselves, ‘These people have me as part of what they are, that’s why I belong here. This is where I come from.’”

David Krauss is a licensed psychologist and co-author of the book “Photo Therapy and Mental Health”. Here’s what he has said about family portraits. “My bias is very simple. I think they (family photographs) should be on the wall. I am very conservative about self-esteem and I think placing a family photo someplace in the home where the child can see it every day without having to turn on a device or click around on a computer to find it really hits home for that child this sense of reassurance and comfort. They have a certainty about them and a protecting quality that nurtures a child. It says we love you and care about you. You’re important.”

Fine Art Photographer Las Cruces

I could not agree more. So what do you have hanging on your walls? 

You can read more about this topic in this article: How Family Portraits Boost Your Child’s Self Estee

https://phototherapy-centre.com/

The Only Thing You Will Regret After Your Wedding

The Bulletin of Las Cruces puts out a great Wedding Guide annually, and this year I was interviewed in regards to videography. If you haven’t read the article, Memories in Motion, by Bonnie Shranz, here is the link. The article was well written and I have a few quotes in there so I just want to take the opportunity to elaborate on the thoughts I shared, and give you a complete view of how the only thing you will regret after your wedding, is not having any wedding videos.

You will only remember saying “I do”

It takes months sometimes years of planning to get one day just the way you always imagined it. You have laughed, cried, sometimes even fought with your spouse over every little detail from the guest list to the bridal party, the colors, the DJ, the cake, the flowers, the place, the cost. There are ups and there are downs, but it’s behind you. The planning is done. It cost more than you wanted. Definitely more than anyone who said you could do it cheaply said. And you have learned the hard way that your DIY friends betrayed you with their farfetched ideas that it would be worth it to do one aspect yourself to save some money. It would have been worth the cost, you will say. But that’s ok. All stress aside the day finally comes. It’s going to be all about the two of us today. Then the day ends, and all you can remember is saying “I do”. The vows, made me realize how committed I am to love this person forever. The speeches were so heart felt they made me cry. And the way Grandma danced to that one song…But I can’t remember what my vows are, or what was said during that speech, and wouldn’t it be great if we could watch Grandma bust a move again. Photographs don’t capture that.

This is a significant lifetime event

I am surprised how many movies are made just to tell the story of falling in love. They all end the same, with that warm feeling, and they live happily ever after. Sometimes I wonder if people realize that the happily ever after is the meat of a relationship. Until marriage, there was never a real commitment. There was never a deep growth and acceptance of another person being there every day in your happy place that used to be a solo domain. Love on the surface, gets you to marriage. But true love as they say, is something much deeper. It takes great sacrifice of pride. It’s honor and respect in words and actions. It’s forgiveness, it’s forgetful, it’s patient. It’s keeping quiet at times so you can listen. It’s understanding someone to the point people confuse your empathy for telepathy. It’s communication beyond constraint. It’s deep like the roots of a giant redwood tree, and it takes years to cultivate. I know too many people that see this love between their parents and are looking for the right person to feel that same love with. You can’t experience that love with the roots of a sapling! This is what is around the corner. This is why you are celebrating with the largest party ever thrown in your honor. Your love has taken root and the next few decades are going to fly by so fast, but the whole time your love will grow. Happily ever after is the best part, it’s remembering how you got there that tends to fade away.    

At one point in my life I thought I knew everything, and that my parents were horrible. Then one day as I was learning more than I ever could imagine, I realized I knew nothing in comparison to all the knowledge out there. One day I realized how great my parents were. And now I try my best to be as good of parents as they were to me, to my kids. I sit and watch family videos with my girls all the time. They ask to watch them. “Can we watch the kite video”? And we will sit down and watch one after another. They love it. When a couple comes to us for a video, I am not thinking about how high tech can I go with this production, instead I am focused on telling their story to their children. What their children are going to want to see and hear is my approach to telling their story. 

Videography is expensive but priceless

It seems in every wedding budget the one negotiable option is wedding videography. I get it, it was ours too. I mean it would be nice to have wedding videos, but they are just so expensive, right? But this isn’t a Hollywood production costing millions of dollars. This is your wedding, all the blood, sweat, and tears you put into planning this day, and now you are going to leave it up to a few random cell-phonographers to hopefully get some footage where you can make out someone’s face. I have news for you, they are never close enough to get good footage. And with a cell phone you need to be right there in someone’s face, with good light, and no noise, to get the kind of video worth showing your future children. Well it’s better than nothing someone would say. Yeah I guess so, someone with real wedding videos would reply with eyes wide open. If you are getting married, the chances are that someday you will have kids. And one day in every child’s life, they want to know where they came from, how their parents came to be. Their family’s history. Now you could tell them with your memory’s best recollection, or you could show them, how young and in love you were when you got married. Eager to live happily ever after.

 

Floriography and Calhoun Flower Farms

We have been quoted many times for saying how important photography is in a wedding, but there are some wedding details that can really make wedding photos pop. Flowers tend to be the most influential wedding décor. From centerpieces to the bridal bouquet, your florist can make or break the look of your wedding. Which is why we recommend Floriography. Not only are they a family owned business, but their flowers are grown locally, and their flower arrangements are out of this world. I interviewed Susannah Calhoun from Floriography to give you the low down on who they are, what they do and how they do it that separates them from other florists.

Floriography’s Story

Floriography started when Emily Calhoun traveled to Ecuador. She worked on a flower farm and visited several other flower farms noticing a common thread. It turns out, women and children under poor working and pay conditions are the source of our flowers. I say our flowers, because the chances are that if you have purchased flowers in the USA, they probably came from Ecuador. “About 80% of America’s flowers are grown in Ecuador” Susannah stated glumly, “we want to flip the percentage to have 80% grown in America”. Which is why Emily started a flower farm on the side of her Grandma’s house when she returned to the U.S.

Grown in New Mexico

Since then, Floriography has grown so much that they broke it up into two businesses: Floriography specializes on design and arrangements, and Calhoun Flower Farms focuses on farming and growing flowers. “New Mexico is already recognized for having a great farming community, but we just wanted to create another avenue to get recognized of this great state that we all live in. We have created the flower farming movement in New Mexico to really help the economy and grow a local community that appreciates flowers along with all of the other things that New Mexico can bring to the country.”

Providing guilt free locally grown flowers may be the largest difference between Floriography and other florists, but the blooms they offer are far more beautiful than you would expect. “We're trying to emphasize natural beauty and appreciation of our surroundings instead of making this artificial view of what we're supposed to like. For example, I have brides that will ask “Why are your tulips floppy?” A lot of people don't know that tulips are naturally floppy and gracefully going in different directions. A lot of the time you'll get flowers in the store that are actually wired to be straight.”

If you appreciate natural beauty and prefer to support the shop local movement, we recommend Floriography for your wedding flower needs. Help them flip the flower import export percentage by supporting their business. 

  

Check out Floriography for your wedding flower arrangements at http://www.floriographyflowers.com/

And check out their family farm, Calhoun Flower Farms, where they grow their flowers at http://www.calhounflowerfarms.com/

A Time for Slow - Personal Photo Project

I have been stumped on which direction I should take with my next personal photo project. I loved working on the Project 52. Some of my favorite portraits of Skye and Melody were created during that project. 

When I saw this print from Merely Modern the message hit a nerve. I tend to get caught up in the addictiveness of crossing things off my to-do list, even when it may come at the expense of the simple pleasures of life. I am working on finding ways to slow down in my life. Slowing my mind, slowing my schedule, and slowing my need to hurry so that I can find the simple pleasures of life. 

After thinking of this idea of slowing down, I finally figured out what my next personal photo project should be. I am going to apply a process of slowness to my photographic eye by working with film. Because of the immediateness of digital photography it can be easy to fall into a routine of rush or hurry through the creative process of composing the frame. I am hoping working with film will encourage me to slow down and listen closer to emotions as I work towards creating thoughtful images. It has been awhile since I last worked with film in art school but I am excited to stretch outside of my routine and comfort zone.

I am going to be using a Holga camera and the old Canon A-1 my dad gave me. I am looking forward to sharing my scans with you. I hope you will take a moment to think about ways you may be able to slow down and enjoy the simple pleasures of life. I would love to hear what you come up with, please tell me about it in the comments!

*I am happy to be a brand ambassador for the lovely home decor shop Merely Modern.* :)

Celebrating Love Since 2009

Some people really hate Valentine’s Day. For me it holds a tender place in my thoughts. Valentine’s Day was the first “legit” date I had with Nate. We can just say his Chicken Alfredo won me over. But that’s not the only reason I don’t cringe when this holiday rolls around. On February 14th in 2009 I photographed my very first wedding. 

I was reflecting back on that time in our lives recently. So much has changed, we have grown so much and in so many ways. I was still in school and had very recently changed my degree from Journalism to Art so I could have the opportunity to take more photography classes. I really had no interest in wedding photography but was willing to give it a try once.

Since that eventful day six years ago I have fallen in love with creating portraits, especially weddings. I have also fallen in love with two munchkins. I guess it is not surprising that my two daughters changed the way I look at life, and love for that matter. Photography isn’t simply about selfishly creating beautiful scenes. It is a tool in our battle, and eventual failure, of remembering. I am deeply humbled to help families and lovers remember moments that would otherwise fade to gray. 

So cheers, to all of my clients, past and present. Thank you so much for choosing me to photograph your grandest and simplest moments. The future is full of adventure and I eagerly welcome continual growth and change. 

Here is a behind the scenes video Nate put together to celebrate the sixth anniversary of our business. :)


Why Print Photos?

Sometimes…I worry that most people think we are just trying to sell them something when we talk about why it is so important to print photographs, rather than just store them digitally. The crazy looks some people give us is what gives it away. When you hear things from people like Vint Cerf, Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist of Google, say things like he fears our century will be a “digital dark age” in history for our descendants, it grabs my attention.

 “We have various formats for digital photographs and movies and those formats need software to correctly render those objects. Sometimes the standards we use to produce those objects fade away and are replaced by other alternatives and then software that is supposed to render images can’t render older formats, so the images are no longer visible.

This is starting to happen to people who are saving a lot of their digital photographs because they are just files of bits. The file system doesn’t know how to interpret them, you need software to do that. Now you’ve lost the photograph in effect.

If there are pictures that you really really care about then creating a physical instance is probably a good idea. Print them out, literally.”

So you might say I buy into Vint Cerf’s concept of “Digital Vellum”, but every DIY archivist out there can admit, that despite limiting the probability of data loss, the larger problem for our generation now is curating the massive amounts of digital garbage we are storing thinking it may be valuable to someone (or ourselves at least) in the future. “Individuals rarely view their own stuff as requiring curation: curation is for objects in museums.” Wrote Catherine C. Marshall, Senior Researcher at Microsoft Corporation, in her article titled “Rethinking Personal Digital Archiving”. “Most people prefer to treat their personal artifacts casually; they are aware that some of the things they save will be valuable to them or their families in the future, but they don't have the time or the patience to invest the upstream effort, nor do they have the prescience to know which things they will eventually care about”.

So that wedding album your photographer won't shut up about, is not just a physical photo archive with a long shelf life, it is a full curating service for one of life's most important milestones. All of us have tons of digital photographs and we are backing them up so someday we can hand our kids a monster capacity of the future usb or external hard drive of some sort. So is a photo album really a family’s first heirloom? As cool as it sounds to be handed a hard drive with all of your parent’s photos for the past however many decades, ponder this: If you aren’t willing to curate the photographs of your own fond memories, will your children?

Las Cruces Bulletin's 2016 Wedding Guide

We are so thrilled to have our work featured in the Las Cruces Bulletin’s 2016/2017 Wedding Guide!

Seeing our couples grace the pages of a magazine is quite the treat.

Throughout the Bulletin’s wedding guide, our photographs not only highlight our beautiful brides and grooms but also the wonderful vendors they have selected to work with. I want to take a moment and give them a shout out because they are such a crucial piece to any beautiful wedding.

Here are the local vendors featured in our photographs that appear in the wedding guide.

Venue: Meson de Mesilla

Flowers and decor: Floriography

Make Up:     Allison Shrum Makeup Artistry

Hair: Brittany Evans, hair stylist at Cheeky Chicks

Dress: BHLDN

Officiant: Rev Emma

 

Photo location: EPIC Railyard Event Center

 

Photo location: White Sands National Monument

Make Up: Allison Shrum Makeup Artistry

Hair: The Spa, Alamogordo

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Photo location: New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum Courtyard

Cake: Let them Eat Cake

 

If you are planning a wedding, these are a few of the great vendors Las Cruces has to offer!

            

2015 in the Rear View Mirror

"Don't let the process drain you. Don't let rules or money or the will of others push you so far down that you forget what you are here for. Remember why you started what you started all those years ago. You love what you love for a reason because it drives you. It makes you feel alive and that spirit is contagious, it's electrifying, it's the realest thing there is and the closest you're ever going to get to channeling angels or capturing the essence of a universe beyond it's lightning, it's fire, it's passion and truth. It's a kiss between two strangers that changes everything forever. Now go out and sing it from the rooftops my friend, my brother, my sister, my child. Light the sky with your words so loud and powerful that every last everyone joins hands and weeps tears of joy right along with you." - Dallas Clayton
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This was a momentous year for our family and business. This was the year we jumped. Nate left the corporate world on his 34th birthday and we let go of 60 hour work weeks, commuting in rush hour traffic, weekends apart, and nearly single parenting.

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We learned again why we are each other’s best partner. We are still learning that unique and somewhat mystifying balance of working like a crazy person and finding time to renew.

My heart swells with gratitude when I think of how many wonderful people we have been able to work with this year. You (yes, I am talking about you!) are our success. From those of you who have been with us from the start to all the new members of the Taylor’d Photography family, we say thank you. You have given us so much and we are humbled and honored to work with you.

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I have a feeling that 2016 is going to be another great year, but 2015 will always remind me that some risks are worth taking.


You Might Want to Tell Your Wedding Guests "We Already Hired Photographers"

This is actually a trendy movement right now, they call it unplugged weddings. The bride and groom explicitly ask for wedding guests to sit in their seats, keep their cell phones off, and just be in the moment with them. Some photographers even require this and it’s included in their contract. So what’s the big hype? What problems does it solve? And how could anyone ask guests to do this without crossing into the bridezilla territory?

Why Would You Unplug Your Wedding?

In your mind you already have the perfect picture of your wedding day, pause your favorite moment, and imagine the back of your uncle bob’s head behind an Ipad taking up half the frame. Unfortunately, we get this picture a lot. Not just Ipads, phones, and point and shoot cameras, but the entire person using these devices essentially photobombs the bride and groom’s moment for a picture we know is going to include us in the background as well. This hiccup is all too common to the point where you can find stories like this on the news, in numerous photography blogs, and just about every website dedicated to the wedding industry. Recently a photographer from Australia, Thomas Stewart, posted this picture along with a corresponding message of frustration:

Photograph created by Thomas Stewart, from Thomas Stewart Photography (http://www.thomasstewart.com.au/)

Photograph created by Thomas Stewart, from Thomas Stewart Photography (http://www.thomasstewart.com.au/)

“Look at this photo. This groom had to lean out past the aisle just to see his bride approaching. Why? Because guests with their phones were in the aisle and in his way.”

This is just one photograph, imagine what a video would look like. The Knot helped put the situation in context: “One faux pas we've been hearing about a lot lately is guests getting in the way of professional photography and videography. Considering that photography is often one of the biggest expenses couples will spend on, it's an issue that's harder to ignore than ditched seating assignments.”

Stewart went on to express that guests taking photographs is not only the photographer’s problem, but “these same guests will get in YOUR way. You will miss moments of your own wedding day because there’ll be an iPad in the way”. Put simply, do you want to see your wedding guests’ faces at your wedding or their favorite tablet/mobile device/camera?

It may seem advantageous to get as many pictures as possible from your wedding, I know, those guest candid photos right? For our wedding, we thought it would be cool to have disposable cameras on all the reception tables. We thought everyone and anyone could be a photographer and take great pictures of everyone having fun to get those candid moments that our photographers weren’t getting. Out of all those cameras, we got one decent picture, that’s it. And it is nowhere near as good as our hired photographers’ photos. Obviously we hadn’t read Cracked’s article naming Photography as one of four deceptively difficult jobs that everyone thinks they can do.

How to Have an Unplugged Wedding

Asking your guests to unplug for the entire wedding is a little much (we do love our selfies after all). Simply ask that during the ceremony all photography and video be left to the wonderful professionals you have hired. Use a combination of these tips from the Huffington Post article, 4 Ways to Get Your Wedding Guests to Put Away Their Freakin' Phones, to send your guests the right message so that they understand you want them to enjoy your wedding, and not be a vendor at it.

  • Put a note in your wedding program
  • Ask your officiant to make an announcement
  • Ask your DJ or band leader to make an announcement
  • Put a sign on the reception tables

Finally, for close family members that insist they must get pictures on their new camera, assure them they will have access to the photos created by the photographers you hired.

In Conclusion…

We aren’t trying to pick on you, or your guests. We just know setting the right atmosphere with the right tone at your wedding will allow you to focus on being in the moment you spent 6 to 12 months planning. Now it’s time to sit back and enjoy it, without getting photobombed. 

October 2015 Image Round Up

Here are some of my favorite images from October!

Las Cruces Senior Photographer

It rained the entire day of Efren's senior session. All except for the actual hour of his session. Luckily, the heavy rains stayed away and we were able to carry on. As we were driving to our next location it started to sprinkle. I pulled over to the side of the road and signaled for Efren to jump out of his car and join me. I love how the rain drops are lit up from the sun in this image. I am super happy I was able to create a photograph for Efren's senior year that cannot be easily repeated. In that way it is just like all the memories he will make this year.

White Sands Photographer

Every family has its own spunk and charm. Which is why I tend to love a less traditional family portrait. Is anyone looking at the camera? Nope. Would I hang this photograph as a 30x40 canvas in my living room? In a second. I love how this image illustrates what this stage of life is like for the Hamm family: on the move.

Las Cruces Wedding Photographer 1

Brides tend to get all the attention on the wedding day (I mean look at Nicole's killing me softly expression!) but I think it is important to not neglect the groom. I love how Matt is totally owning this photo.

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Weddings are by far my favorite to photograph. Within all the chaos and madness my heart sings when I can capture a couple at their happiest moments. This photo of Justine and Adrian is making my heart sing. Just look at those two big old grins. I am also enjoying how the movement in this photo reminds me of the genre of street photography.  

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Jorge was gracious enough to play for me at sunset. I wanted to emphasize the shape of his posture as he was playing so I chose to turn those lines into a silhouette. The big New Mexico sky is a pretty good partner. 

Receptions challenge me to come up with more creative celebrating photos. I noticed Patrick and Lenisa literally kicking up their heels so I jumped in front the dancing pack, got low to the ground and was able to create this image. 

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This photo of Eylin pretty much sums up most of my childhood dreams: to be pretty and to have a horse. I used a wide angle lens so that I could include the action (Eylin leading her horse towards the camera) and the scene (the gorgeous desert and Organ mountains) into one frame. 

Las Cruces Wedding Photographer 4

It seems movement was a theme for October. And weddings! Besides the movement and expressions, I am also liking the play between highlight and shadow in this image. Ben is just stepping out of the shadow and into that bright highlight which creates some dynamic tension.

September 2015 Image Round Up

Here is a few of my favorite images from this month's sessions!

Las Cruces Newborn Photographer

This photo from Neriah's newborn session is my favorite because of the way she fills up the frame. Her little squishy features demanded a closer more intimate place in the photograph's composition.

Las Cruces Maternity Photographer

I am really enjoying my new wide angle lens, can you tell? I used the wide lens to emphasize the angle of the trees. By placing Brianna within the trees' lines, her body and precious baby bump repeat the pattern.  

Las Cruces Senior Photographer

The sky was slightly overcast during Haley's senior session which gave us soft diffused light to work with. I love how the softness of this kind of light lays on a subject's features. The sharp lines and texture of the corn could have given this photograph a dramatic and tough feel if the sun had been shining its brightest. Instead the diffused light softens the texture of the corn and the overall image has a very quiet and peaceful vibe.

Las Cruces Wedding Photographer

Melissa and Ryan got married this month!! I am really drawn to the negative space in this image and how the shapes of the shadow and stucco wall play off each other. I chose a Black and White edit for this photo to accenutate the relationship between negative and positive space in this image.