Elements of Light Photography: Blog http://www.elements-of-light-mt.com/blog en-us (C) Elements of Light Photography (Elements of Light Photography) Wed, 13 Jun 2018 21:46:00 GMT Wed, 13 Jun 2018 21:46:00 GMT http://www.elements-of-light-mt.com/img/s/v-5/u275551724-o599528605-50.jpg Elements of Light Photography: Blog http://www.elements-of-light-mt.com/blog 101 120 2019 Bozeman Wedding Photography Give-Away http://www.elements-of-light-mt.com/blog/2018/6/2019-bozeman-wedding-photography-give-away Well, that is a catchy blog post title - anything that says Give-Away is pretty exciting.  And there is a Give-Away - I do not tell lies.  But, I do tell stories, so I want to tell the story behind this Give-Away first, then the details of what I'm giving away, and to whom.



Today, June 13, 2018, marks a significant day for me.  After today I will have lived more days than my mom did.  Yes, I sat down and counted this out when I turned 53, because I'm like that.  So assuming I don't die tonight, I'm going to be older than my mom ever was tomorrow.

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Here's the back story:  In 1997 my mom was diagnosed with Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer, a cancer that at the time had zero (0) documented survivors to 3 years, and an average lifespan from diagnosis of 2-6 months.  It is a devastating disease, and 21 years later the prognosis is not really any better.  She lived 5 months from diagnosis.

Several days before the surgery that resulted in the diagnosis, I got engaged.  When her medical condition and the dire nature of the prognosis became clear to us, Andy and I determined to get married as soon as possible - like 7 weeks from the day of our decision.  We had a wonderful wedding, My mom was able to attend, although a week later and I think she would have been too weak to do it.  She died a little over two months after the wedding.

My mom lived a full and dynamic life.  She had great family, and amazing friends.  She was creative, smart, resourceful, and although there was a toughness to her, she was soft-hearted, particularly to children and those in need.  She was the wife of one man, my dad, who she married when she was just 19, after knowing him for a month. They were married for 33+ years.  She was the mother of four.  She had a positive influence on those around her. I could go on and on about her, but I think that is enough.   All in all, she was a remarkable woman, with an incredible faith.

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So, I've been anticipating this day for actually a couple of years now.  And I'm still working out all of my feelings about it.   There was some of the expected fear of "will I live longer than my mom?"  But mostly I assumed I would, but realized I don't have a role model for how to do life as I move forward.  (Well, really I do, because there is her sister, my Aunt Susan, and I am close to her).  You get the gist, it is weird to be older than my mom ever got to be.  And I count the time as a blessing.

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Now, I want to do something to celebrate that blessing.

As I mentioned above, my wedding was planned rather quickly, and in circumstances that were less than usual.  Basically, her dying process and our marrying process were all jumbled together emotionally. 


Even though I "grew up" to become a wedding photographer, and I had a real value for photography already back then, I did not have a really great photographer at my wedding.  There just wasn't time to get one, and when a friend volunteered her husband to do it, I said yes, checked one more thing off my list, and moved on.  

Andy and I have photos from our wedding.  And we cherish them!  But, the truth of the matter is, they aren't what I wish they were.  I'm not complaining, but I'm being real.  Now that I know what they could be, I wish we'd had the wisdom to make hiring a professional, experienced wedding photographer a priority.  We got married on a private property right at the water's edge of Lake Tahoe, and don't have one epic photo to document that.  Bummer!

All of this, plus my usual practice of doing one wedding a year away for a very discounted price for someone who otherwise would not have the opportunity to have professional photographs, got me thinking.  What if . . . 

What if I gave away an extraordinary photography package - like the full thing - a full day of coverage, including a second shooter.  And I throw in an engagement session, boudoir or bridal session, trash the dress (if wanted), and maybe even more.  But then, what if I made sure to do it a bit over the top - a documentation of the planning process - meeting with vendors, writing out the invites, all of that kind of thing done in a "day in the life" style of photography.  A bit of a photo documentary of the whole wedding planning process.  I think that is pretty cool myself.  So, that is what I'm giving away.  



Yes, this is the part you've been waiting for!  Like anything in life, there are some conditions:  

1.  I'm only giving away one of these.  Not trying to be stingy, but a girl has to make a living too!  And there is no purchase necessary to win.  Just email me and I'll give you the application, and once you turn it in, you are in the contest.

2.  I get to decide who has the need/story that inspires me to do this.  Completely my discretion at what touches my heart, nothing objective about it.  But, I promise, I don't have anyone in mind at this time, so it is not rigged.  I'm an open mind waiting to be inspired.  This is not going to be based strictly on financial need, although that may be a factor.  I want to hear compelling stories of people who are over coming all sorts of issues to get married.  I want to participate in a wedding that the couple fought to make wonderful and a meaningful celebration.

3.  People have to get their application to me by October 1, 2018.  Yes, there is an application process!  Email me through my website to ask for an application starting July 1, 2018.  But I will tell you, the application process is going to be such that I need to know you are familiar with my photography style, and that you like it.  This is designed to make someone very happy, not to allow them to easily check the box on their to do list where it says "get a wedding photographer."  You need to actually want my particular style of photography for your wedding (otherwise it isn't a good thing for you or me). 

4.  The exact photo shoots included in this wedding package are:

     a.  Engagement photo shoot of 1.5 hours;

     b.  Up to 10 hours of wedding planning activities covered in a "day in the life" style - this can be of all sorts of planning and preparation activities.

     c.  A 1.5 hour boudoir photo shoot OR a 1.5 hour bridal wear photo shoot prior to the wedding - either of which can be at my studio, or a location within 75 miles of Bozeman, but if it is not my studio, you are responsible for any fees associated with the site or permits to use the site;

     d  Up to 8 hours of wedding day photography with Susan Beth Breuner as the primary photographer and a second shooter of her choice for as many hours as she determines is appropriate for the schedule; and

     e.  At the discretion of the couple, a 1.5 hour "Trash the Dress" photo shoot within 4 weeks of the wedding date - again, if there are fees associated with the use of the site for this photo shoot, the winner is responsible for paying those fees.

5.  The couple must be willing to let me share the process on my social media and website - basically for all the world to see.  I mean, if you are going to touch my heart with your story, I'm going to want to touch other people's heart too.

6.  The couple must be planning the wedding for 2019.  Winter, spring, summer, or fall, I'm open to it, as long as I'm not already booked for their date.

7.  The couple must not have already engaged another photographer - I will not be interfering with already existing contracts, as I respect my fellow photography community too much for that.

8.  The couple must be getting married within 75 miles of Bozeman, MT.

9.  The winner will be announced on October 5, 2018, and I will post who that is by October 10th, 2018.

10. The value of the package being given away is $4500.

And just because I want to keep us all out of trouble, some information for the compliance with Give-Away Contest Laws:  This contest is sponsored by Susan Beth Breuner, D/B/A Elements of Light Photography, P.O. Box 603, Gallatin Gateway, MT 59730.

If you have questions, leave them in the comment section below, and I will answer them so that everyone gets a chance to learn more.

All of the photos in this post - you guessed it, those are my mom, and that is me with her in the one and my Aunt Susan in another.  

(Elements of Light Photography) bozeman wedding photographer bozeman wedding photography montana wedding photographer montana wedding photography http://www.elements-of-light-mt.com/blog/2018/6/2019-bozeman-wedding-photography-give-away Wed, 13 Jun 2018 21:46:26 GMT
THE URBAN SIDE OF BOZEMAN SENIOR PHOTOS FOR WITH GUYS http://www.elements-of-light-mt.com/blog/2018/5/the-urban-side-of-bozeman-senior-photos-for-with-guys Shooting senior photos based out of Bozeman, Montana, I get to shoot wide variety of themes for boys.  We've got so many different interests that can be pursued here, and the guys represent them all! 

Cowboys - check! 

Athletes - check! 

Outdoor enthusiasts - check! 

But urban in Montana?  Well,  yes actually, put a check by that too! 


I knew Mackenzie when as an elementary student he was already pursuing improv theater and dreaming of moving to a big city.  So when we sat down to do his pre-shoot consultation, I was not surprised at all that he didn't want to stand in a field, or have mountains as his backdrop.  In fact, he was at a bit of a loss as to how to do a shoot that expressed his "style."  But it didn't take long for us to figure out some locations and themes that were true to him.  We plotted and planned and realized we needed to ask permission from so local businesses to make his unique vision work.

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Mac went to his school to ask to use their theater.  I went to some businesses in town, including two quintessential Bozeman businesses: Treeline Coffee Roasters and The Country Bookshelf.  Between the two of us, we brought Mac an urban-artsy-hipster look for his senior photo experience, and satisfied his desire to express himself.  A huge thank you to those businesses for allowing this senior photo session to be fantastic!


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For those of you concerned about how intimidating it might be to ask a business if you can do your senior photos in their facilities, let me assure you, the businesses I have approached have always been thrilled.  They sometimes give some guidelines, but no body has ever been upset that I asked.  So, ask away.  The worst that can happen is you get a polite "No." and we move on to another option.  But this is Bozeman people!  The businesses want to help you if they can!


And Mac rocked the shoes!  Yes, my shoe obsession was so satisfied!  


If you are in the Class of 2019 and thinking about doing something that reflects you for your senior photo session, let me know. I can do Bozeman and the surrounding areas, but I also travel all over the West, and am happy to help you no matter where you live.


(Elements of Light Photography) bozeman bozeman portrait photography bozeman senior photographer bozeman senior photos bozeman senior pictures montana montana photographer montana senior photographer montana senior photography montana senior photos montana senior pictures photographer photography photos senior http://www.elements-of-light-mt.com/blog/2018/5/the-urban-side-of-bozeman-senior-photos-for-with-guys Wed, 02 May 2018 22:23:59 GMT
2019 SENIORS - Time to Start Your Planning! http://www.elements-of-light-mt.com/blog/2018/2/2019-seniors---time-to-start-your-planning Hello and welcome to the adventure of Senior Portraits. Yes, Class of 2019 it is time to start your planning!  I've got a free planning guide available for you - leave a comment below that you want one, and be sure to put your email address in when requested (no one but me will see the email address).  But I also want to use this space to help you get excited about the possibilities for your photos. 

Here are half a dozen ideas to get you started on thinking about what you want for your portraits.  


1.  Climb a Mountain or at least look like you did:

Ice Climbing, Rock Climbing, Fishing, Hiking, Camping, ATV fun, and so much more; living in Bozeman means living near the mountains where these activities happen.  And if they are your passion, then we can incorporate them into your photos! 


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2.  Dance your way through life and your Senior Photos

Are you a dancer - hip hop, ballet, swing dancing?  These can all be incorporated into your senior photos - from the way you dress (vintage for the swing dancer, tutus and other wonderful flowing things for the ballet), to showing off your moves for the camera, we can make it happen.  I know for a fact most of our dance studios in Bozeman are willing to let us in for a  senior photo session.  Even some of the local stages are more than willing for you to do your photos there.  If you don't have the connections to those places, don't worry, I have my sources.

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3.  Let your inner artist emerge:

Pottery to painting, singing to story telling, acting, wood working, metal arts, music, jewelry making, all of these artistic activities and many more can be integrated into your Senior Photo Session!  The Gallatin Valley has an art scene that is worth of celebrating, and showing the world, and that it is welcoming to young people.  Embrace your love of art - it is a great way to present unique and expressive Senior Photos.

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4.  Highlight your athletic skills and accomplishments:

Bozeman, Belgrade, Manhattan, Three Forks - they all have fantastic and exciting sports teams and athletic activities.  If your passions run towards sports, we can show the world how wonderful you are!  Basket Ball, Baseball, Football, yoga, tennis, golf, skiing, it is all something that can be expressed in your photos.

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5.  Bring in your favorite pet:

Yes, having your pets around is a wonderful way to express yourself and what is important to you.  Dogs, cats, goats, sheep, horses, lizzards, alpacas or even snakes (yes, I will even find a way to make it work with snakes)!

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6.  Create your dream shoot:

Have you always wanted to do a photo shoot that is special - something that doesn't happen in your every day, but is an absolute perfect expression of yourself?  Lets do it!  Your Senior Photo Session is a great time to let your creativity come out! There are so many ways to make that happen.  

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Whatever the idea you have, whether you live in Bozeman, or somewhere around the West, we can make your Senior Photo session meet your dreams!


(Elements of Light Photography) bozeman senior photographer bozeman senior photography bozeman senior photos bozeman senior pictures bozeman seniors creative senior pictures montana senior photographer montana senior photography montana senior photos montana senior pictures senior photo ideas http://www.elements-of-light-mt.com/blog/2018/2/2019-seniors---time-to-start-your-planning Thu, 08 Feb 2018 23:46:11 GMT
ELEMENTS OF LIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY - Boudoir Sessions in Bozeman http://www.elements-of-light-mt.com/blog/2018/1/elements-of-light-photography---boudoir-sessions-in-bozeman So, let’s talk some more about Boudoir Photography.  If you missed my introduction to this subject a couple weeks back, go here and read up a bit on my “why” for this photography adventure - it is important to know where I come from so you can tell if I'm a match for you.

Today, let’s talk a bit about the process of Boudoir Photography for Elements of Light here in Bozeman (for sessions outside of the greater Bozeman area, I have a plan and will share it in the near future, so hang in there, or message me if you just can't wait and can't come to Bozeman).

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What does it look like for you to get your Boudoir session (in Bozeman) scheduled and executed?  It's actually pretty simple.  It starts with an email (you may use my contact page here) or a phone call to arrange a discussion of your vision and how we can implement it for you.  I will send you information about my packages, a questionnaire that tells me a bit about you and your goals, and some "how to prepare for your session" information.

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At that meeting we schedule, we will discuss everything from your questionnaire responses, to questions you might have about what it is like to do a session, to why you want a Boudoir Session, to what you want to get from the session (both your emotional/personal goals and what you want to do with the photos), to how to make your vision come true.  We can get excited about your wardrobe options, and how you want to do your hair and makeup!  All tons of fun!

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Then, we will find a date that works for all involved - that means your schedule, my schedule, and the hair and makeup artists schedule.  Yes, all of my packages include hair and makeup services (more on that below). 

I find it is usually best to do session in the first half of the day during weekdays, but that is not set in stone.   For privacy and convenience, week days tend to work out best.  You know, kids are at school (yours and mine), significant others are at work (again, yours and mine), and we have a quiet studio to work in.  Also, let’s face it, Bozeman is an active community, and trying to squeeze a photo shoot into a busy weekend is not the best - you want to be out with your family and friends enjoying Bozeman's many activities and opportunities. And on the day of your session you do not want to feel rushed or concerned about time.  Yes, I recognize this means you might be taking time away from your job, but really, it is an investment well worth it. 

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Once we have you scheduled, you will do all you need to get prepared -  Yes, it is kind of like homework, but better.  You know, things like waxing and shaving, shopping for the perfect lingerie items, preparing for the makeup and hair artistry.  Don't worry, it is all easy stuff you already know how to do, and I will give you a checklist so you don't forget anything.

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Depending on your package, your session will be between 1.5 and 3 hours in front of the camera.  But, you need more time for your session because 1.  My studio is south of Bozeman, and takes a bit to get to (usually 25 minutes from downtown Bozeman) and 2.  you will come an hour before your time in front of the camera to get pampered with a hair and makeup session. 

So, once you arrive at the studio, you'll be greeted with a relaxing beverage of your choice, and get right into your hair and makeup.  You'll feel like a queen, and relax while someone else takes care of the beauty details!  And let me tell you, I have the BEST of BOZEMAN for you when it comes to hair and makeup artists - to make sure we can cover your time frame, I have several that I work with, and they are all amazing!

While you’re getting all pampered, we'll talk a little about the outfits you selected, and the order you want to use them.  

Then, we'll get started.  This is where we start to have some fun.  It is also where you are most likely to get nervous.  Don't worry, I've got you covered.  I have the poses all worked out, and not only will I tell you what you need to do, I will show you - wpn't ask you to do anything I can't do myself.  The posing makes all the difference in the photos, so I will be specific and careful to make sure all the poses we use are best for you, your body type, and highlight the great things about you (and I will know what those are because we met together before the session).

We'll spend your time wisely in the studio, which will have two or three different background vignettes prepare for you.  You will also have the option to use a small space in the barn prepared for some great dramatic lighting, or even some time outdoors in several private spots on the property

When your boudoir photography session is complete, you'll be on your way looking absolutely stunning - remember, you have your hair and makeup professionally done.  So, give yourself a treat and meet your best girlfriend for lunch or coffee in Bozeman and share all about your experience!  Better yet, have a special date with your love all lined up and make the most of your beautiful look.

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After we have all of your photos in the "can" it is time for you to wait - while I work some more.  In 10-14 days I'll be ready to show you your photos.  We'll meet up at my studio again, and you will have a look at your beautiful work and select the files you want to use and keep!  During that time together, you will pick the photos for your book.  Yes, a book of some sort comes with every session because. . .  well because you are going to want a way to keep these photos presentable and accessible. And we'll also get your print selections made.

After that it is time for another short wait - probably less than 2 weeks - and the next time we meet up it will be to deliver your photography products - books and prints!  The best part of the whole process is always seeing the results of our work together, and I have never had this not be a phenomenal moment of excitement and reward!

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From first contact to delivery of book(s) and prints, you are looking at 6-8 weeks depending on our schedules.  If you need an expedited schedule, that can be arranged.

Whew!  I'm excited just typing all of that out!  It is an amazing process that I absolutely love!  

If you aren't in Bozeman, that doesn't mean we can't make your Boudoir Photography session happen.  It will just involve a few tweaks to the process and we'll get it all done!   I'll tell you more about that in my next blog!  Sorry to make you wait, but this one is already long enough!

(Elements of Light Photography) boudoir bozeman boudoir bozeman photographer bozeman photography bozeman photos montana boudoir montana life photographer montana photographer montana photography montana photos http://www.elements-of-light-mt.com/blog/2018/1/elements-of-light-photography---boudoir-sessions-in-bozeman Thu, 01 Feb 2018 03:23:04 GMT
BLACK AND WHITE FRIDAY - Let's talk photographing tattoo dreams! http://www.elements-of-light-mt.com/blog/2018/1/black-and-white-friday---lets-talk-photographing-tattoo-dreams So, next week my son turns 18, and getting a tattoo is high on his priority list.  He's got a design all picked out that has meaning to him, and he's ready to go for it.  He even has a friend all lined up to go with him.  I'm super excited for him (and secretly plotting my own ink!).  Thank goodness Bozeman actually has some pretty good tattoo artists.

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You see, I love to photograph people with tattoos - couples or individuals, it doesn't matter to me.  It is a weird obsession of sorts, but I just love it!  Especially in black and white photography.

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And brides with tattoos - amazing!  Weddings with tattoos are this photographer's dream!  The juxtaposition of wedding finery with the edgy raw honesty of a tattoo floats my boat!  And they are a whole lot of sexy too!

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Tattoos say so much about people!

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If you have tattoos, I'd love to know the story behind your first one - just leave a comment with the story!  If you live in Bozeman, who is your favorite local tattoo artist?

(Elements of Light Photography) boudoir photography bozeman boudoir bozeman boudoir photographer bozeman photographer bozeman portrait photography montana life photographer montana photographer montana wedding photographer relationship photographer tattooed brides tattoos http://www.elements-of-light-mt.com/blog/2018/1/black-and-white-friday---lets-talk-photographing-tattoo-dreams Fri, 26 Jan 2018 20:43:47 GMT
BOZEMAN PHOTOGRAPHER: A DAY IN THE LIFE OF CYNTHIA OUT WEST SILVERSMITH http://www.elements-of-light-mt.com/blog/2018/1/bozeman-photographer-a-day-in-the-life-of-cynthia-out-west-silversmith It started with a conversation sitting in her converted shipping container studio.  And it ended in shear beauty - the earrings and the photos!

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Bozeman based silversmith, Cynthia Wadley interviewed me in preparation for our day together: What do I like?  What are my usual jewelry wearing habits?  What message does my look send about me?  What was I comfortable wearing - weight, dangle, swing, etc?   Did I have a specific use for the earrings?  And a whole lot of discussion of my personality.  A process of the artist collecting the information and a customer/client dreaming of the perfect creation.

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Then, we both got down to business: Cynthia to the business of silversmithing, me to photographing a day in her work life.  What she does all day is beautiful, and here are the photos to prove it.

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From my words to these earrings - the creative process is such a beautiful thing!  And photographing it was a fantastic experience!  We bounded over camera clicks and hammer strikes, forging a relationship that manifests itself in the only earrings I've worn since she presented them to me that afternoon.

So, what do you do all day that is beautiful and photo worthy?  Don't fool yourself by thinking you don't have anything this fantastic going on in your business:  Your small (or large) business, in Bozeman or anywhere in the US, is photo worthy - what you do all day is beautiful!  And you know, of course, that I would love to be the photographer!

(Elements of Light Photography) bozeman bozeman photographer bozeman photography business photographer cynthia out west montana photographer montana photography silversmith http://www.elements-of-light-mt.com/blog/2018/1/bozeman-photographer-a-day-in-the-life-of-cynthia-out-west-silversmith Thu, 25 Jan 2018 20:34:01 GMT
ELEMENTS OF LIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY -- Couples and Clothes http://www.elements-of-light-mt.com/blog/2018/1/elements-of-light-photography----couples-and-clothes I can hardly stand it!  One dress from a great thrift store + a  fiery redhead with an amazing smile + her handsome, sweet, kind husband + a beautiful morning = the best way in the world to start a beautiful day.

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Leanna and Kyle, married last September, laughing and talking and snuggling in the snow!  How did I get so lucky to photograph them this morning?  Couples photography is my absolute favorite!  I love creating an environment where two people in love can be themselves, interact and express their joy at being in each other's life!   This sneak peek of photos from less than 6 hours ago tickles my heart - and makes me want to do more and more and more couples!  Any volunteers?

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So, for those of you who think you can't do a photo shoot because you don't have something to wear, and don't have the budget for both the shoot and the new clothes, let me tell you a secret:  That dress Leanna is wearing was $3.25 at Twice Treasured Thrift Store here in Bozeman - well, it was $6.50, but I got it when orange tags were 1/2 off, and it was an orange tag.  What does that mean for you?  

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First, it means you can probably find something absolutely killer at a great thrift store like Twice Treasured, so go shopping, think creatively, with an open mind, and see what you might find.

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Second, that dress is part of my studio wardrobe, and there are others, so if you want something special to wear, lets see if we can't do something for you.

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Oh, and that fur shawl?  That's from my studio wardrobe too and also from a thrift store (although I can't remember which one)!  

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The hair is all Leanna's, but her makeup was beautifully chosen and applied by Shayla at Beauty and the Belief.  You guys, Shayla is the best!  And Leanna makes her work look absolutely amazing!

(Elements of Light Photography) bozeman bozeman couples photographer bozeman couples photography bozeman photographer bozeman wedding photographer couples photography montana couples photographer montana couples photography montana photographer montana wedding photographer relationship photographer thrift store finds wedding photographer http://www.elements-of-light-mt.com/blog/2018/1/elements-of-light-photography----couples-and-clothes Wed, 17 Jan 2018 23:46:06 GMT
SOMETHING NEW FOR ELEMENTS OF LIGHT - A Life Adventure and a Why http://www.elements-of-light-mt.com/blog/2018/1/something-new-for-elements-of-light---a-life-adventure-and-a-why As I was perched one leg over the threshold of the chicken coop, the other firmly planted on the bale of straw that serves as a step up into it, leaning deep into the coop to check what level of food was remaining in the feeder, I found my self muttering about my mixed feelings regarding the phrase "Boudior Photography."  That was one moment among many where it dawned on me: everything about this new business endeavor I'm undertaking in photography is complicated.  And, there is no denying, at times it's as awkward as dangling over a flock of chickens, half in and half out of the coop.  Perhaps that is why launching a Boudoir component to my photography business falls into the category of a life adventure.


So, let's come in from the chicken coop and really talk about this:  What exactly am I doing by launching a "Boudoir Photography" component to Elements of Light Photography?  Today's post serves as an opening to an on-going discussion,  and focuses on my why.

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Everyone knows you need a good "why" for anything you do with your business.  My why for this new component is three fold: 

1.  Women want to be known - they want to be seen, heard and understood because they were created to be in relationships - with other women, with children, and indeed, at various levels, with men.  

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Even as they want to be known, women don't want to have to explain themselves.  We want the people in our lives to "get it" and understand us.  Boudoir photography is a form of photographic communication that allows women to tell our intimate stories, to be seen in a way that brings about a sense of being known. 

On a very personal level, I believe God created women with an innate sense of needing to be known, not because that need is a weakness, but because it is the very characteristic that draws us to Him (the one who knows us completely), and motivates us towards engagement in the relationships we are designed to crave.  Let's face it, we will always do battle with the concept of being known.  But knowing ourselves, expressing our whole selves, and telling our stories is part of the process of wrestling with this desire to be known.

Just because some will question, and I'd rather get it all out there from the get go, let me be clear about boundaries:  a desire to be known in the Biblical sense (i.e. sexual intimacy) is a healthy and integral part of how women are created, but acts of sexual intimacy are not a literal part of what I offer in Boudoir photography.  How is that for setting boundaries? 


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2.  I want to empower women.  In this era of the #metoo movement, there is this desire to fight back from demeaning and damaging behaviors that have been tolerated towards women.  But there is also a deep wound for all women that arises because society tolerated the demeaning in the first place.  There is a feeling that saying "me too" damages our sensuality, our sense of being special because we are women, our value for being different from men.  Somehow there is a hint (or more than a hint) of suggestion that because some have taken advantage our our sexuality, all feminine sensuality is sullied.  It is not! 

We don't need to "reclaim" because our sensuality is so integrated into us that it was never lost.  But, we might need to reframe it.  We can acknowledge that part of what makes us strong, part of what makes us unique, part of what drives our hopes and dreams and our sense of our selves comes from the fact that we have bodies and emotions and an approach to relationships that are uniquely feminine and inherently different from men.  It is neither a weakness nor a weapon.  It is a legitimate, strong and powerful, yet vulnerable, part of who we are as complete human beings.  I want women to be allowed to express this part of themselves for their own private (and sometimes somewhat public) reasons and to feel empowered and unashamed.

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3.  This is the component of my "why boudoir" that is plain and simple:  I want to grow the power of my business to contribute to the financial success of my family, and adding a boudoir component is just good for business.  Sounds crass, but if I'm going to suggest that women might be vulnerable and honest in front of the camera, I need to be fully transparent and honest from behind the camera.  I love taking beautiful photographs, but I do it for a living, not for a hobby.

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This whole "Elements of Light does Boudoir" is new to all of us, so here are a few of the details:

1.  While I'm a Bozeman based photographer, I'm willing, able, and experienced at taking things on the road.  Car, truck, bus, train and plane travel all work for me - with sufficient notice, I can come to you wherever you need.

2.  I've got a new studio in my home if you are here in Southwest Montana, and there is no additional cost for using it - but I'm also willing to come to your home, your favorite VRBO, a hotel, a friends home, or whatever setting is comfortable for you.  Yes, we can even do it outside, as I can tolerate any weather you can.

3.  I've got a fantastic set of resources for hair and makeup artists to pamper you and make this a full experience, so no need to worry about all that.  If I don't know someone in your area, I've got the resources to find someone.

4.  Cost is based on factors like hours of services, print packages (small little black book albums are a great way to present these photos), and travel.  I'll put up another post that includes packages soon, but until then, if you need a quote, use my contact page to inquire and I will answer all of your questions.

5.  Want a quick guide to preparing for a Boudoir photo shoot, again, use my contact page to ask for one, and I'll get it out to you a.s.a.p., no obligation or cost to you.


All hair and makeup for the models featured in this post were provided by Shayla at Beauty and the Belief

Feed back is always welcome - leave a comment!


(Elements of Light Photography) boudoir boudoir photo shoot boudoir photography bozeman boudoir bozeman photographer elements of light empower empower women life adventure me too montana boudoir montana photographer photographic communication strong women unashamed why boudoir women want to be known http://www.elements-of-light-mt.com/blog/2018/1/something-new-for-elements-of-light---a-life-adventure-and-a-why Tue, 16 Jan 2018 19:50:22 GMT
EXCITEMENT EVERYWHERE! http://www.elements-of-light-mt.com/blog/2017/12/excitement-everywhere So much excitement here at Elements of Light Photography!  Working hard on some re-branding and adding some fun new photography services and products to better serve and connect with my clients (and future clients).  I wish it was all done and I could take each of you on a personal tour of everything, but much of it is a work in progress.  I am far enough along that I can begin to reveal the great things that are coming!  Today it is all about the re-branding of Elements of Light Photography - Highlights of the rest of the excitement will come in posts over the next couple of weeks.

The Re-Brand:

My new logo options will be presented to me tomorrow, with a finalizing of the new look for my brand being done by sometime next week - nice Christmas present to myself!  What that means here, in this blog/website space is new colors, maybe new fonts, but the same unique to me photography style.

This is the color palette we are dealing with - see the dots at the bottom of the presentation.  I love these colors and find myself actually wearing them since I first saw this mood board.  Brit over at Brit Alexis Creative my brand designer, says I'm living my brand - I like that!


I can't wait to change my website to reflect these colors.  I think of how beautifully they will go with winter shoots - love me the winter light of Montana:

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And summer photos:

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Obviously, wedding photos:

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But also Senior Portraits and Family photos:


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I hope your imagination is a good as mine at seeing how all these pieces fit together visually.  I'm so excited to bring you the big reveal next week so you can more than just imagine it, but actually see the results!


For those of you who are curious about how I connected with Brit Alexis Creative to work on this project, it came about through The Rising Tide Society, an organization that I love.  She reached out to me after seeing something I posted, and we went forward from there in a way that worked for us.  If you are looking for someone to help you out, I highly recommend Brit.  We have communicated in all sorts of ways.  She has this amazing questionnaire that got us started and put us immediately on the right track - through it she knew me enough to throw down some amazing stuff!  It is largely because of her that I am so excited about this process!

Later this week and all through the rest of the month here on the blog - a look at some of the new services I have coming your way!

(Elements of Light Photography) bozeman portrait photography bozeman senior portraits bozeman wedding photographer bozeman wedding photography montana life photographer montana photographer montana wedding photographer montana wedding photography photography relationship photographer senior portraits southwest montana photographer wedding photographer wedding photography http://www.elements-of-light-mt.com/blog/2017/12/excitement-everywhere Mon, 18 Dec 2017 19:18:49 GMT
DO I HAVE A PROPOSAL FOR YOU! http://www.elements-of-light-mt.com/blog/2017/11/do-i-have-a-proposal-for-you Every wedding photographer dreams of being asked to shoot a marriage proposal.  Last week, I got that dream call from Zech, and I was doing a happy dance all week long, waiting for the big moment.

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Zech planned it out with great care to all the details.  He enlisted the help of his family, and created a scavenger hunt for Sheri.  What you need to know is that Sheri is from Australia, and was coming to visit not knowing anything about his plans for her experience.  All she knew is she it was going to be cold - heck, the poor girl was already cold in the airport before she even left Australia.  

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And believe me, it was cold!  Towards the end there I was not able to click, click, click the way I'm used to because my bare fingers were just not able to move very much.  But never mind, that is not the real story here!

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With the help of his mom, Jennifer, the scavenger hunt ended at the home (well really, in the field) of some folks the family knew.   Jennifer had lights, blankets, candles, chocolates, hot chocolate, and beautiful little details all arranged - including the big giant E for the family's last name.  In that beautifully created setting, Zech got down on one knee and let Sheri know he wanted her to be in his life forever as his wife.

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So, what went into making this proposal a success (besides a great relationship between two people who feel the same about each other and are ready for marriage of course)?  One factor that was really important is that a couple of days before the big event Zech, his mom, and I met out at the proposal site to review how things would go, where I would stand, the fact that Zech would blind fold her to be sure she didn't see me or the family as she was getting out of the car.  We went through what the light would be like, how long we would have before we were out of light, where I would stand, and what kind of shots he wanted once she knew I was there.  That kind of planning ahead was a bit of effort on everyone's part, but it made all the difference in the world.

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Then on the BIG day, things went pretty much as planned.  I photographed, one of his sisters had it on a face time for a member of her family, and another of his sisters was taking video on her phone.  And most importantly, Zech did his part by getting down on one knee and she said yes (cue the pictures of the big moment again!)

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The reality is I couldn't hear a word they were saying.  I knew she said yes because Sheri's head started bobbing up and down in a "yes" answer - before he had finished talking.  To be sure I got all the moments, I shot through, and gave them a few moments to come to grips with the reality of what had happened - that they were engaged, and all of the sudden a wedding was in the works.

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I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this whole process - from keeping the secret to hiding behind the barn when they drove in, to sneaking up on the scene while it was happening, to being among the first to congratulate them and introducing myself to the newly engaged bride-to-be and seeing her pure joy.  

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If you need someone to shoot your proposal, call me.  Please!  I loved this and want to do more - can you be addicted to something after just doing it once?  If so, I'm addicted!

(Elements of Light Photography) belgrade proposal belgrade proposal photographer belgrade wedding photographer bozeman wedding photographer destination wedding photographer montana life photographer montana proposal montana proposal photographer montana wedding photographer proposal proposal photographer relationship photographer traveling wedding photographer wedding photographer http://www.elements-of-light-mt.com/blog/2017/11/do-i-have-a-proposal-for-you Sun, 19 Nov 2017 20:50:58 GMT
SHE WANTED SIMPLE - SHE GOT SIMPLY BEAUTIFUL! http://www.elements-of-light-mt.com/blog/2017/10/she-wanted-simple---she-got-simply-beautiful Elements of Light Photography-7548Elements of Light Photography-7548

I go to coffee with most of my senior portrait clients before we hit the field to do their photos.  Its a time to get on the same page about what message they want to send with their senior photos.  Usually we do it a week or two before the photoshoot, and this was no exception.  

I hadn't met her before, but was so impressed.  She was a tad worried her "wild hair" would be hard to manage - I promised it was an asset more than a challenge!  She made it clear she wasn't into a lot of make up - well you can see below, that was not an issue at all!  Her skin is stunning!  She wanted to reflect her quirky outdoor personality - I think we did that!  And, by the way, she's super smart!

I told her about my shoe thing, and she wore the best shoes - same shoes for each outfit, and it was perfect!  I suggested Hyalite Canyon and several locations I know there - she agreed.  I promised a flower crown, and she was thrilled!  We laughed as we planned, and laughed as we implemented!  Such a fun experience for both of us!

Look out world this girl is part of the Class of 2018, and she is going to get things done for you and be beautiful while doing it!

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More Class of 2018 blogs to come in the next weeks!  These kids from Bozeman High School, Petra Academy, Manhattan Christian School and homeschooling, plus a couple from California have just made me so happy this year!

(Elements of Light Photography) 2018 bozeman high bozeman high school bozeman photographer bozeman senior photographer bozeman senior photos class of 2018 hyalite canyon montana photographer montana senior photographer montana senior photos montana senior pictures senior photos senior pictures senior portraits shoe photos http://www.elements-of-light-mt.com/blog/2017/10/she-wanted-simple---she-got-simply-beautiful Fri, 20 Oct 2017 20:25:53 GMT
PHOTO WARDROBE TIP: Go with the flow! http://www.elements-of-light-mt.com/blog/2017/10/photo-wardrobe-tip-go-with-the-flow Elements of Light Photography-4695Elements of Light Photography-4695

I'm interrupting an editing session to bring you this section of photos from the very gallery I was editing!  As I was looking at these photos all I could think was how great this wardrobe is for photographing.   These are from Addi's Senior Portrait session in Truckee, CA, and I'm in love with this outfit.  So Boho Fashion, so cute, so her - and also so perfect for photos!

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So, what make's Addi's outfit so perfect for her photo session?  Several things - 1.  It reflects her personality; 2. Look at all that texture (an element that is such a great match for my photographic style) and 3. It has flow and movement! 

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It is the flow I want to highlight today - the way the fringe moves with her and how the length of the sweater implies movement even when it is just draped down from her shoulders!  It suggests action!  It makes the photo so much more interesting, without distracting from Addi herself.  For me, and my photography style, that is perfection!

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When selecting your wardrobe for senior photos, family photos, engagment photos, or just a session for fun, remember to try to include one wardrobe element that will have a little action to it.  I promise it will pay off.

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So, what makes a good choice to incorporate movement into your wardrobe?  It can be so many things - a full skirt - short or long.  A poncho is great too.  Anything with fringe - even a tight well fitted jacket that happens to have a fringe element in it will do the trick.  A pair of extra long earrings can be great for this too.   If when you spin around it moves, you've got what you need!

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I hope this is helpful to you.  Also, remember, I'm a Montana Photographer, but I'm also a destination photographer - I will go all over the West to capture something beautiful for you!  This happens to be from the top of the Sierras in California.  I'm always up for a new location, a bit of an adventure and an experience that leads to fantastic photos!

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(Elements of Light Photography) bozeman photographer bozeman portrait photography bozeman senior photos bozeman senior pics bozeman senior portraits fashion advise fashion for photos montana life photographer montana photographer montana senior photos montana senior pics montana senior portraits senior photos senior pics senior portraits southwest montana photographer wardrobe tip what to wear for photos what to wear for portraits http://www.elements-of-light-mt.com/blog/2017/10/photo-wardrobe-tip-go-with-the-flow Fri, 13 Oct 2017 17:33:53 GMT
DEAR BRIDE - Let's Talk Color Palettes http://www.elements-of-light-mt.com/blog/2017/5/dear-bride-color Dear Bride,

Let's talk about something basic - selecting colors for your wedding.  It sounds so simple, but has such an influence on every aspect of your wedding - oh, now I've gone and put the pressure on.  But, this is important, and that is the truth of it.

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I will start with two facts about me:  Fact #1:  I am not generally a pink kind of girl, unless it is Pink singing Janis Joplin, and then I'm all over it!  So, what was my wedding color way back in 1997?  You guessed it:  pink.  Why?  Because it was simple, readily available, looked good on my Maid of Honor, and with only 6 weeks to plan a wedding, I just went with it.  I don't regret my choice, but if I was to do it again, I would not choose pink.  What would I pick?

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Well, that brings me to fact #2 about me:  I would select some neutral colors if I was choosing wedding colors for my own wedding.  Again, you ask Why?  Because for me texture is everything, and neutral colors allow textures to shine!

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With those two facts in mind, let me assure you that I do not in any way think all brides who hire me should select neutral colors, nor am I in any way against choosing pink as your main wedding color.  In fact, what I encourage is that you choose wedding colors that express something about you and your interests and the way you want to be perceived.  

Since I'm not in any way advocating a particular color palette for weddings, what I really want to talk about is the process of choosing your colors.

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Lets start with the definition of the term palette:  Palette can refer to a range of colors used in a visual medium, in a picture, or by artist.  In the case of a wedding, your event is the visual medium.

So, you are looking for a range of colors, preferably that have some sort of theme and aesthetic harmony.  Where do you look for such a thing?

You can start with the internet, but please, I beg you, do not exclusively use Pinterest.  It is a great resource for visual stimulus and inspiration, but it lacks some depth in the practicalities of knowing why you are selecting certain colors - besides the fact that someone else already did it and you like it.

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One of my favorite places to go for color palette inspiration is FabMood.com  I've linked to their 2016 winter wedding paletts because it is a great example of what I mean about understanding the Why of your color choices.  Not only does this site show you great, interesting and harmonious palettes, but they take each palette and highlight what it does for you.  I strongly encourage you to use a resource like this as you select your wedding palette.  Here is the example of a palette I used from them to get me started on a winter wedding styled shoot, and also an photo collage of where we ended up based on that initial palette selection:


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Once you have your color palette, what do you do with it?  Well, if you have a wedding planner, take it to her (unless of course she already helped you to generate the palette so she already has it).  She will use it to build everything from grooms tie choices to floral choices to the color of linens for your tables.

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If you don't have a wedding planner, take that palette with you everywhere!  Show it to the florist, the caterer, the venue representative, the dress shop and the invitation maker.  Even show it to your makeup artist and hair person!  Provide a copy to everyone - it is easy enough to email or text a photo of exactly what you have in mind to all your vendors and helpers!  This will help you achieve a cohesive and visually pleasing (and visually peaceful) look to all of the things that surround you on your most important day!

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So, what does my advise boiled down to in a nutshell?  Start with a cohesive color palette and stick to it.  It will enhance the aesthetic of your wedding day as well as help to make your photos more enjoyable in the lifetime to come!


Time to give some credit where credit is due:  

The winter shoot collage has the following vendors:                                                The Dancers and Horses shoot has the following vendors

Stylist and florals:  Katalin Green Events                                                                 Stylists:  Reed & Lee and History In The Making

Venue:  Three Forks Mt, including The Sacajawea Hotel                                           Venue:  The Big Yellow Barn

Make-up Artist:  Alexa Mae                                                                                     Make-up Artist:  Fumi

Hair:  Brooklynn Studio                                                                                          Hair by:  Brooklynn Studio

Jewelry:  The Gem Gallery                                                                                      Florals by:  Wild Blume

Gown:  Jaclyn Jordan of New York


(Elements of Light Photography) Bozeman wedding Photographer Bozeman wedding photography Montana Wedding photographer Montana Wedding photography Wedding Photographer Wedding Photography Wedding day color Palette wedding color palette wedding colors http://www.elements-of-light-mt.com/blog/2017/5/dear-bride-color Wed, 31 May 2017 19:14:47 GMT
BIG SKY SMALL WEDDING! http://www.elements-of-light-mt.com/blog/2017/5/big-sky-small-wedding This beautiful destination wedding to the Rainbow Ranch Lodge in Big Sky Montana was such a joy!  Corey and Kiersten were filled with love and laughter throughout their wedding weekend.  They had the resort all to themselves (with their closest family and a couple of friends), which made for such an intimate feel to their big day!  So many stories!  I can't tell them all, but I want to share some of the highlights!

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These two met at a bar where Corey was celebrating a milestone in his life - his divorce was final!  Somehow the two ended up at the same bar 3 days in a row, and from that point on, there was a "thing" with them.  Kiersten told me with a bit of a giggle "he wasn't single very long!"  If you saw the ease of interaction, the joy in being with each other, and the focus on love, family, and fun with these two, you would agree, this wedding was meant to be!

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Along the way in their relationship, Corey and Kiersten picked up a vintage house to restore, and a super cute and friendly puppy, Penny.  What could be better than a couple with a dog like Penny?  She was so cute, so sweet, and she and I hit it off right away!  There is no better wedding attendant than Penny!  The only thing - she was clearly afraid of the wedding bouquet!  Try as I might to get her to pose by the flowers, she didn't want that at all!  Best I could do was try to sneak it into the background with her because if she noticed it, she was out of there!  And honestly, a chew toy was a great distraction!

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Speaking of the bouquet, in the interest of an eco-friendly wedding, this bouquet and all of the table flowers came from Eco Flower Weddings - you've got to read about these flowers and how they are made - or really, what they are made from!  Forever flowers that are biodegradable, non-toxic and beautiful.  And, knowing this frugal bride (yes, she was teased about this, and she teased others about her frugality!), they were a good value!

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Oh, and forget about frugality, lets talk about Kiersten's wedding shoes!  A friend impressed on her how important it was to have special shoes for her wedding day, and Kiersten bought into that wholeheartedly!  And to all you future brides out there, let me tell you, Kiersten raved about her shoes!  Betsey Johnson wedding shoes are the type that give wedding Photographers butterflies of excitement in their stomach's when they see them in a brides' details.  There is just something exciting about great wedding shoes!

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Corey and Kiersten were the first to get to use Rainbow Ranch Lodge's newest tent - an expansion and upgrade from the tent of the past - and a perfect venue for a wedding, with lots of room for parties small and large!  Rainbow Ranch Lodge also did their catering (think Montana Wagyu Cattle Co beef and you'll understand just how good it was!) and provided their beautiful wedding cake exactly to Kiesten's specifications!  I heard it was delicious!

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And, my favorite story of the day happened at the first look:  Kiersten and Corey decided they would exchange cards at this point.  It's actually a great tradition to exchange gifts and/or cards during the first look if you are doing one.  So, you need to know that Corey wears a brown uniform at work, and works for a company you will recognize.  As already stated, Kiersten is a frugal person, and prides herself on helping Corey to see the value in such a lifestyle (I think he kind of likes that frugal stuff too, but Kiersten is the champion of making a game of it).  So, Corey one-upped her on this front, with his wedding card for her.  The pictures tell you all you need to know!

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See, I told you they were a joyful and fun couple!

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Photographer:  Elements of Light Photography

Venue:  Rainbow Ranch Lodge

Catering and Cake:  Rainbow Ranch Lodge

Dress:  Morilee purchased at Bridal and More in Bismarch ND

Shoes:  Betsey Johnson

Flowers:  Eco Flowers





(Elements of Light Photography) Big Sky Wedding Big Sky Wedding Photographer Bozeman Wedding Photographer Bridal Shoes Bride and Groom Destination Wedding Destination Wedding Photographer Montana Wedding Montana Wedding Photographer Mountain Wedding Rainbow Ranch Wedding Rustic Wedding Small Wedding wedding photographer wedding photography http://www.elements-of-light-mt.com/blog/2017/5/big-sky-small-wedding Mon, 29 May 2017 15:54:03 GMT
DEAR BRIDE . . . http://www.elements-of-light-mt.com/blog/2017/5/dear-bride Dear Bride,

I've been on a kick lately to help brides have a more relaxed pre-wedding and wedding day experience.  If you follow me on Instagram (@elements_of_light_photo) you will have seen a lot of little tips about this very thing with the goal of taking the scary out of the photography end of things.  My motivation is clear - a relaxed peaceful and joyful bride makes for far better photographs than a bride who is stressed out and overwhelmed.  A few little tips go a long way to promoting the best possible photographs - and that is my job!

Today I launch a weekly series of blog posts to focus on that very thing.  In the next few months every week I will give you some ideas to make things easier for you during the months and weeks prior to your wedding, as well as your wedding day.  For this first post, let's focus on the big picture:

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What attitude do you take into your preparations?

The attitude you take into putting together your wedding day really makes a difference.  This wedding preparation is a big deal, no doubt about it.  It is the most important day in your life so far, and maybe for many years to come.  You want it to be beautiful and enjoyable. The attitude you bring to your wedding preparations and to the wedding itself is a big factor in allowing you to have beautiful and enjoyable combine!

Many brides are positive and upbeat and generally relaxed about putting their plans together.  They have some check lists to work through, with priorities marked, and ideas they want to implement well.  But they aren't in a panic about every little tiny detail.  They have set aside reasonable amounts of time for the tasks ahead of them, but they are not allowing the wedding planning to so invade their lives that all other aspects of who they are fall by the wayside.  They are not laid back to the point of being irresponsible, but they have a peaceful relaxed sense about them as they work on the plans they've made - and they are joyful because of how excited they are to see everything implemented.

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For the relaxed bride, the measure of success is simply being married to the man they love, whether the precise shade of "champagne beige" to match the bride's maid's dresses is available in the ring bearer's pillow or not.  If the flower girl falls down and gets a grass stain on her dress before she walked down the aisle this bride is not thrown off kilter.  This bride has a grace and beauty in her countenance because she is not burdened by fear that some ribbon or napkin will be out of place.  She is not careless with her plans, but she keeps it all in perspective.  Fortunately, I believe all brides can be this kind of bride with a little effort.

How to cultivate the attitude you need to be a happy bride?

I'm realistic enough to know that not every bride is going to be naturally laid back about all of her details.  So, what do you do if you find yourself stressed out and maybe even taking your stress out on your team of family, friends and vendors?  First, start by forgiving yourself!  If you are hard on yourself, you will probably be hard on others and vise-a-versa.  Time for a little grace all the way around!  

Then, begin to communicate some of your fears and anxiety to your team - let them know what is stressing you out.  Have the conversation from your heart about the fear and anxiety you are having.  Talking about your anxiety often diffuses it more than you would expect. It will also go a long way to keeping your team unified in the goal of having a joyful wedding day if they know where you are struggling so they can gather around that issue and support you.

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Once you've made peace with your tribe and yourself, time to take steps to relieve some of your stress.  If you have the budget, hire a wedding planner - both for pre-wedding and for day of.  These people can take the burden from you!  They know how to take your vision and get it implemented - it is what they do for a living!  If you already have a planner, have a visit with her and talk about how to manage some of the items that are stressing you out.  Again, just the talking can do a lot to relieve stress, and every planner I've ever known has ideas for getting the work done without increasing your stress level.

Don't have the budget for a planner?  Then make this a team effort - delegate where you can, and be generous about what you are willing to let others do for you.  Select a team of friends and family that can really help you, and with whom you enjoy working.  Ask your mom, sister, maid of honor, grandmother even, if they can help you by over seeing one of the things that you don't have time for - seating charts, snacks for the wedding party as they prepare, getting the flowers from the florist to the venue (if you don't have delivery), communicating with the groom's men about where and when to pick up their attire.  Let people step up and do some of the phone calling, sorting through options, and researching costs.  Then they can bring you the results of their efforts to you with a recommendation.  You remain the decision maker, but you didn't have to filter through all the information, it is streamlined for you.  This frees you up for things that really have to have your special touch.

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Remind yourself that this is a celebration of your love for your groom, not a contest to see who has the best decor at their wedding.  Don't compare yourself to the top Pinterest wedding pins or the slick magazine photos.  In fact, there comes a point where you need to turn off the Pinterest - you've made your decisions, don't fill your brain with images that are not what you are doing.  Pinterest was meant to inspire creativity, not to strike fear in your heart about not being good enough!  Realize that from a big picture point of view, a wedding that reflects who you are is far better than a wedding that reflects hottest trends in the wedding industry.  

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Wrapping it all up:

So, to state the obvious, I really encourage you to try to keep a positive outlook.  Let's face it, when it comes right down to it, getting married is supposed to be a fun celebration of your love, not a stressed out time of self-doubt and fear.  Breath in, breath out, and love on yourself so that you can love your groom and enjoy your tribe as they celebrate with you!

The photos from this post are from a styled shoot meant to inspire!  All of the floral elements and the tablescape styling were provided by Katalin Green.  The rings were provided by The Gem Gallery of Bozeman.

(Elements of Light Photography) Bozeman Photographer Bozeman Wedding Photographer Bozeman wedding Bozeman wedding photos Montana Wedding Photographer Montana wedding Montana wedding photos Relationship photographer Wedding day Wedding place setting Wedding tablescape Wedding tablescapes tablescapes wedding wedding details wedding photographer wedding table winter tablescape winter tablescapes http://www.elements-of-light-mt.com/blog/2017/5/dear-bride Tue, 16 May 2017 17:08:06 GMT
APPRECIATION FOR WHAT I HAVE http://www.elements-of-light-mt.com/blog/2017/3/Appreciation Earlier this week I put  a couple of messages on Facebook and Instagram that I had some free organic eggs because with it being spring time my chickens are laying like crazy and I got behind in using and giving them away.  A wonderful group of people got a couple dozen eggs each.  But one of them was someone I only knew through her Instagram page which showcases her paintings. 

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You see, I follow as many local artists as I can because I want to take their photos - portraits, sure, but what I'm really interested in is taking photos of them while they create art.  I love that, and I think it is beneficial to them to have photos that shows the work and talent and care that goes into their work.  Photos like that can help people to appreciate art even more, in my opinion.

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Anyway, this beautiful petite little artist turns out to live within a few minutes of my home, so she came by to pick up her eggs.  And she gave me a whole new appreciation for my home and property.  

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She flat out told me that she has "always wanted to paint" my barn.  In fact, she asked a neighbor about it some time ago because she thought it was on his property.  And as we walked around my property talking about how I would love to have her paint here, she pointed out so many things that she thought were worthy of quick studies and full paintings.

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Now, I look out the window and see a whole new perspective on my property - a new appreciation for its beauty!

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And yes, she is going to come and do some plein air painting over the next few months, and I am going to take photos of her doing so!  

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Even Maple and Frannie like the idea.  Life is good!

(Elements of Light Photography) http://www.elements-of-light-mt.com/blog/2017/3/Appreciation Fri, 31 Mar 2017 17:34:13 GMT
A WALK IN THE RAIN - A Fun Couple's Session http://www.elements-of-light-mt.com/blog/2017/3/a-walk-in-the-rain---a-fun-couples-session This is my favorite kind of couple’s photo session – a walk around a beautiful place, stopping here and there to take advantage of the surroundings. 

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In this particular case, we did it at the Sanborn County Park in Saratoga California, which thrilled me because I love the Redwoods above the oaks – went to college among them, and will forever have an affinity with that eco system!

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The other thing that thrilled me was the rain – much needed last fall in California, which was many years into a severe drought.  The umbrella made a perfect prop, and the rain was worthy of celebrating.  Each raindrop was a symbol of hope!

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Rain, snow, even wind aren’t necessarily reasons to cancel a shoot.  Sometimes those weather conditions actually make it a better shoot, so consult with your photographer before you assume the session needs to be cancelled because of weather!

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As with most guys, this probably would not have been something initiated by Jacob, but he was willing.  As it turned out he had a pretty darn good time.  That’s the thing, I work hard to allow things to develop naturally instead of running around posing couples in a stiff manner.  I believe that made all the difference here.  Since Jacob is my brother-in-law, I know him well enough to know he wasn’t going to be comfortable with “now tilt your head to the right and move your foot two inches left” kind of stuff.

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That’s the thing, each couple has their own way of being with each other and that needs to be reflected in their photos.  In order to do that, I photograph them interacting as they naturally would and that makes for the best couple photos, in my opinion!   Elements of Light MT2-3986_Elements of Light instaElements of Light MT2-3986_Elements of Light insta

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DEAR BRIDE - Make up for your big day http://www.elements-of-light-mt.com/blog/2017/3/dear-bride---make-up-for-your-big-day Dear Bride,


Here comes the biggest day of your life!  You’ve waited a long time for your wedding day, and now, it is time to prepare.  One of the issues brides talk to me about is makeup – how to do it perfectly for your wedding day, how to shoot photos of it getting done.  I’m a wedding photographer, not a makeup artist, but in my experience at weddings I’ve observed a few things that I think are helpful to pass along.

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Tip #1 – Keep it in your theme:  When planning your makeup for your wedding day, remember, you want the makeup to be a reflection of your beauty and consistent with your whole wedding look – if you are having an outdoor wedding on a mountain top, with a light and airy simple lace dress, with all your flowers reflecting a casual relaxed air, you probably don’t want intense cover of Vogue Magazine dark dramatic makeup because they don’t send the same message.  Keep your theme in mind and make sure you make choices about your make up that keep that vibe going.  Makeup for a Game of Thrones themed wedding is going to be very different than makeup for a courthouse elopement or a wedding at the riverside with a reception that includes fly fishing.

That means you have to do some planning!

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Tip #2 – Pick a look that matches your face:  I know this seems so obvious, but really, how often do we get a particular look in mind that seems so beautiful in the photos we’ve looked at, but when applied to our face just doesn’t seem to work.  You can spend hours watching YouTube videos on how to do a particular look, but it turns out your eye shape is not the same as the models, or your lips aren’t full in the way the look is designed to highlight, the whole thing just falls flat.  And I don’t know about you, but when that happens to me I feel so inadequate and discouraged – not feelings you want on your wedding day, for sure.  But a look that matches your bone structure, skin type, eye shape and lip fullness encourages, uplifts, and instills a sense of confidence!  That is what we are going for with your wedding makeup.

Elements of Light Montana_6442Elements of Light Montana_6442      Tip #3 Plan ahead:  Whether you are having a professional come in and do your make up on your wedding day, letting your best friend share her awesome skills with you, or sticking to a DIY process on makeup, I can’t encourage you enough to plan ahead.  Plan your colors, your general style, make a list of what you need to have with you and then gather every one of those items before your big day.  All these things will give you a more relaxed wedding prep, and the value of more relaxed on your wedding day cannot be over stated! 

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Tip #4 – Practice:  Yes, even if you are having a professional makeup artist come in for your day, do a trial look before your big day.  It will be so worth your time.  Not only will it allow you to make adjustments to what you want, it will also give you a better idea of how much time to allow for makeup to be done on your day.  Both absolutely key to maintaining that relaxed feel.

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Tip #5 – Go all out:  I have two things in mind with this tip.  First, go all out in using primers (eye, lip and face), concealer, and all of those “extras” that might not be part of your daily routine, but will help your makeup to last throughout your day.  They really do make a difference!  If you are having a professional come in and do your makeup, they will include these in their services.  If not hit the makeup counter of your choice, and ask a consultant for some help making sure you get it right.  And, going back to Tip #3, try it on!  The last thing you want is to get a new eye primer only to find halfway through your wedding ceremony that it makes your eyes sting and itch. Elements of Light MT2-2221_Elements of LightElements of Light MT2-2221_Elements of Light


The other part of going all out is to remember that you can apply make up with a bit more drama on your big day.  It may feel odd because you aren’t used to that much make up, but in your wedding photos, it will look so beautiful, and not at all over the top.  And as your guests (and your groom) look at you, it will be part of the complete picture and not at all out of place.  Remember you are wearing the dress of your life on this day, not jeans and a t’shirt, so the makeup needs to be the makeup of your life as well.

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WHAT SHOULD I WEAR FOR MY PHOTOS - Yeah, it is me asking that question. http://www.elements-of-light-mt.com/blog/2017/3/A I'm getting my portrait taken one week from today!  Really, it is long over due, and I'm kind of excited about it.

Yes, me on the other side of the camera is a change and I'm a bit nervous about it.  There are two questions that hit me like a ton of bricks:  What do I wear?  and How should I do my makeup?  Yep, the same questions my clients usually have for me for engagement and portrait sessions.  So, time for me to put my money where my mouth is and follow my own advice. 

This all leads to the subject of today's post:  What should I wear?

I have two main words to describe what I think is a great portrait wardrobe:  comfort and texture.

I know, you are saying in your most sarcastic voice "Oh, yeah, that's a lot of help."  So, let me explain.

I put comfort first, not because I want you to wear your favorite old sweat pants and faded hoodie, but because I don't want you to pick out something that is either physically uncomfortable, or just doesn't look like you.  You need to feel comfortable in your outfit.  Not too tight, not an itchy material that give you hives, not something that your mom or sister would wear, and certainly not shoes that you can barely walk in because the six inch heels are completely foreign to your feet.  In all likelihood, these items would not be a reflection of your own personal style.  

If you are into Bozeman sleek (black from head to toe) go for it.  If you are more a Montana rancher type, let your photos reflect that through your wardrobe choices.  There is no right or wrong answer here.

As for texture, I come from my own photography style, and it always includes texture.  It is a bit harder to express this point in words, so I'm going to show you with a couple photos - after all, as a photographer, sometimes that is my most effective form of communication!

This is Ava, who did a photo session with me last spring.  She brought several outfits, all of which were amazing and full of texture.  She started with the jeans and cute little shirt you see in these photos below. Elements of Light MT-8360_Elements of LightElements of Light MT-8360_Elements of Light

The jeans are standard issue denim, which gives a hardy texture and color to any outfit.  The shirt is delicate and soft, with the bit of a pattern in the over shirt, and the muted color beneath it.  Layering like that almost automatically creates texture.  And she added the beads.  Three different textures.  Then the tie in of the beads in her necklace with the beads of her adorable sandals (and the leather is yet another texture). Notice that even the hem stitching on her jeans, and the underside of the denim material as she rolled up the jeans cuff add a bit more texture.  Each of these things by themselves are small, and might not be all that noticeable, but when put all together, the whole look is adorable and full of texture for her photo shoot.

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Next, Ava had this cute lacy dress, with the lace creating it's own new texture for her gallery.  The boots, add a contrasting but perfect texture, and she kept those same beads to help tie the whole thing together.  And we made beautiful photos with this simple yet textured outfit.

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For her final outfit, this print dress was full of visual texture, if not a super textured to the touch.  The pleats at the waist, and the curve at the bodice top all bring more visual texture to her outfit.  With the sleek sunglasses the look was amazing, visually interesting, and a perfect rounding out of her whole photo gallery.

So that is why I suggest comfort and texture for your photo shoot wardrobe

All this brings us back to what am I going to wear for my photo session next week.  Well, I'm not 100% certain just yet, but here is a little sneak peek at some of the textures and comfortable clothes that I have gathered.   Elements of Light MTwedding-4707_Elements of LightElements of Light MTwedding-4707_Elements of Light

 I can't wait to show you the results!  

If you have any questions about comfortable and textured photo session wardrobes, leave a comment below or email me, I'm always excited to help you plan for success!


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ELOPEMENT: Not What You Think These Days http://www.elements-of-light-mt.com/blog/2017/2/elopement-not-what-you-think-these-days I have a confession: I had to do some research on just what an elopement is.  It actually was the subject of an argument with my husband, who thought of it strictly in the sneaking away from disapproving family to marry someone who was forbidden to you.  I thought of it in a much more positive light - people so excited to get married that they just can't wait, and the fact that they don't have the funds to do the average American wedding cost of $20,000+ is not going to stand in there way of having a perfect day.  

My husband and I we made up (we always do), but in the meantime I confirmed that I was right about an elopement being a term of art that means more than just two people absconding to some distant place to be married in secret as my husband was so certain.

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What my research revealed is that "elope" and "elopement" has come to mean so many things.  If you run away to get married, yes, that is still thought of as an elopement.  But it is also an elopement to have a tiny little wedding, where you check out of most of the big spending, whoop-la and long waiting to quietly get married with just a handful of your most important people with you, usually on relatively short notice.  That is what happened here, and oh my was it beautiful!

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This beautiful bride and her handsome groom were going to hit the courthouse (another form of elopement in many people's book), but her mom said "Why don't you get married here at the house?"  And, it just so happens they know my husband, a judge, and me a photographer, so they had all the outside pieces they needed to make a wedding, photos and all! 

Parents, toddler daughter, sisters, four friends who've been there for the most important things in life, always - that is a pretty powerful group of witnesses.  That is enough!  So in front of a crowd of 10, Judge Breuner married these two in the upstairs den of a life long home.  It was perfect!

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In some ways, elopement weddings are smaller than the modern "traditional wedding" - fewer guests, smaller budget (or not) - but the emotions packed into the smaller package are still just as big!

And you still get to do the romantic couples photos - in this case augmented with the 2 year old daughter!  And wedding photos in the back yard are amazing on a snowy New Year's Day in Montana!

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Bring the two together and look at the beautiful family!

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Whatever form elopements take, they are beautiful weddings, and I love to photograph them!

(Elements of Light Photography) Bozeman Wedding Elope Elopement Montana Wedding Relationship Photography Wedding Wedding Photographer Wedding Photography http://www.elements-of-light-mt.com/blog/2017/2/elopement-not-what-you-think-these-days Thu, 09 Feb 2017 22:45:38 GMT