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Shannon + Lowell | Destination Elopement at Cottonwood Suites

Prior to flying out to Arizona from Ohio, Lowell contacted me regarding his plans for an intimate elopement with his fiance, Shannon. Just the two of them and a couple of gracious staff members of Cottonwood Suites Scottsdale as witnesses.

Upon agreeing to photograph this special moment in their life, I wouldn’t allow them to get away without having some awesome portraits taken. Nothing like a little destination elopement in the desert!

{Side Note} By evening, I’m a photographer. By sunset, I’m a travel agent ninja. Having never been to Arizona, I offered Shannon + Lowell a bunch of ideas on places to visit, dine, and explore as they celebrate their love together. ~ Hope you two had a great time and I can’t wait to hear the details of your travels!


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Arizona Foothills Golf Club Wedding | Father Of The Bride

A slight breeze rustled Krystal’s veil as we stepped outside for pictures. A few guests and family members tagged along aside of us, out onto the balcony at Foothills Golf Club in Phoenix. The beautifully detailed ruffles on her dress tousled by the wind as she and her bridesmaids made their way to the bright bougenvilla bush that so eloquently matched her wedding colors.

father of the bride

I approached the father of the bride as he peered over the terrace, observing his daughter having her portraits taken. A shy man with a gentle heart and about as humble as one gets, I had sensed his nervousness earlier when introducing myself. “How are you doing?”, I ask as my hand came to his shoulder. ”I’m alright I guess. I had a drink and that seemed to calm me down a bit.” His reply came with a sigh and slight shake to his voice. He looks out again at Krystal enjoying herself with her bridesmaids and then confidingly turns towards me, “I’ll be good walking her down the aisle but what I’m most nervous about is dancing with her. I don’t know how to dance.”

My heart went out to him. Knowing that I had a few minutes to myself while Laura, the lead photographer from Laura Segall Photography, was with Krystal, I set down my camera gear and turned to him. His eyes were watering. “Would you like me to show you how to dance with her?” I took his hand in mine and placed the other at my waist. Slowly, he followed my lead. Giving me the biggest smile. Ever.

Moments like this, in my career as a wedding photographer, are some of the most rewarding to me. Lending a helping hand and opening my heart, I witness one man’s transformation from being shy and nervous, to confident and handsome. In an instant.

After all, that’s what life’s about. The experience of living, helping one another, and caring deeply even for those you don’t know. And at the end of the day, playing a larger role in someone else’s world. I’m not just the wedding photographer. I’m a friend. A confidante. A helping hand. And I couldn’t be more grateful and appreciative that I have the gift of bringing a smile to the eyes of the father-of-the-bride.

“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”
-Mother Teresa-

Congratulations Krystal + James!

bride getting ready

close up of bridesmaids

bride with father walking down aisle

wedding foothills golf club az

bride and groom laughing

wedding ring in hand

white wedding cake with flowers

bride and groom sit reception

happy father dance

I think things turned out pretty well, don’t you?


Laura Segall - July 16, 2012 - 2:41 pm

Hey, I didn’t know that story about you and Krystal’s dad. How sweet. Thank you for helping me with their wedding.

angelarose - July 25, 2012 - 8:00 am

Laura, any time! I vaguely remember mentioning it while we were eating dinner but didn’t really go into detail. It was such a sweet moment that really touched my heart.

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Church Weddings | An Often Overlooked Element

massachusetts mass wedding

It seems to be pretty rare these days but on occasion I have a bride and groom whom opt for a Catholic or Christian church wedding ceremony. Now, one thing I’ve learned over the years of photographing church ceremonies is to talk with the priest beforehand regarding the lighting setup and flash photography. Because often times, the lighting gets over-looked and the church rules blend into the background of all of the activity and excitement. The last thing I want is to be yelled at in church. I’ve seen this happen many times in my hay days as an apprentice but I can say it’s never happened to me. I would be the deer caught in the headlights. And no doubt, completely petrified!

So if you are getting married in a church, here are 4 important things to keep in mind:

  1. Ask the priest or minister about his/her photography policy during the ceremony. If it’s a poorly lit church, make sure flash is allowed. Inform your photographer.
  2. Visit the church around the same time your ceremony will take place. This is what the lighting will look like. If you feel there is cause for concern, inform your photographer.
  3. If your church is dimly lit and there’s not enough natural light coming in, ask about bringing in outside lighting equipment. Never hurts to ask.
  4. Inform your photographer if there’s a no-flash policy so they can come prepared with proper lenses and equipment such as a tripod.

I know I’m totally redundant on the inform your photographer part but I can’t stress this enough. Some church rules are more strict than others and wedding photographers need to know where the boundaries are.

One particular church I’ve been to in Scottsdale will not allow wedding photographers to step past the area where the pews begin. And on top of that, there is a no-flash policy. So a telephoto lens and a tripod were needed for most of the ceremony although I tend to forego the tripod most times and hand-hold my camera.

Here are a few more images from a recent Scottsdale wedding ceremony to give you an idea of how dimly lit the church is and the way I made use of the available spotlight situation. By the way, I absolutely love the negative space in this image.

Catholic Mass ceremony

Catholic mass wedding ceremony

wedding ceremony in church

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