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.

Las Cruces Wedding Photographer 2

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.  

Las Cruces Photographer

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. 

Las Cruces Senior Photographer 2

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.

August 2015 Image Round Up

Here are a few of my favorite photographs from this month's sessions!

Las Cruces Maternity Photographer

I love J.B. and Amy's sweet look of anticipation in this photo from their maternity session. The sun flare adds just a bit of subtle drama to the black and white edit.

Las Cruces Baby Photographer

Besides this baby being adorable, I enjoy the sense of movement this photo conveys with the folds of the blanket and the diagonal position of his body. 

Las Cruces Teen Photographer

In this image the bricks do two things quite well. The lines direct the viewer's eye to Giovana and the colors and tones complement her skin.

White Sands Engagement Photographer

Thank you August skies! Sometimes I find myself distracted as I am driving by how bold and gorgeous the clouds are during the southwest's monsoon season. The dramatic sky in this image is just a bonus to the natural interaction between Dominique and Ben.

Las Cruces Engagement Photographer

Ashley, you are fiercely beautifully. I love how the books on the shelves bring lots of texture and color to this photograph without making it feel too noisy or busy.

Mesilla Engagement Photographer

I played with scale in this image by placing Stephanie and Jon in the lower part of the frame. This over emphasizes the pecan trees to create a sense of grandeur.