January 24, 2014

Wedding photography tips for 2014 brides…



Because I am largely a wedding photographer and have been for 14 years now, my business cycle follows the wedding season. Let’s face it, January is not as busy for me as say, June. What does happen this time of year is planning. Brides are activley planning right now for their upcoming spring, summer and fall weddings. So far, I have booked weddings in every month coming up all the way to October. That is some serious thinking ahead!

Here are some things to think about when you are planning photography for your wedding. I am speaking from the experience of many hundreds of weddings so pay attention.

1. Plan in the margin: It is the rule, not the exception that people (family) are late, typically to the reception. I normally do some formal photos prior to the reception and someone in the family is always late almost without exception. Plan to have them there 30 minutes prior to the photographer showing up and you will have a better chance of being on time and you will get some nice pictures without rushing too!

2. Choose a photographer that suits your style. Occasionally, I will get a bride who books me and then says something like, “Can you photoshop the heck out of these pictures for me?” I wonder if they have seen my work. This rarely happens because most of the brides that book me know that I am very minimal with my photoshopping and that I love a more natural feel. Photographers are very different so make sure you research.

3. Do a little leg work: Generally, I like to have control over locations but I really like input of the “types” of places, like fields, forests, water, etc… The more you know about what you want, the clothing you want to wear (engagements) the more likely you will be super happy with your images. It helps me when I have a discussion and people can give me a little guidance. On the other hand, many couples simply don’t know how to describe what they want and just trust me. That is fine too. Just know that communication goes a long way. Also, be realistic when emailing ideas from pinterest. I often get images sent that show a lot of fall leaves or flowers and the wedding is in the dead of winter. I am good, but I can’t make flowers grow in January 🙂

4. Be on time to engagement and formal sessions: I plan my weddings for when the sun is going down which means we have a closing window. I can’t tell you how many brides eat up 30, 40, 60 minutes of that window because they are still getting their hair and makeup done. It does two things: 1. I have to change my plans sometimes to accommodate and improvise. 2. I can get a lot done in 30 minutes. Imagine the images that the bride will never have because she isn’t in front of the camera. It pains me!

5. Plan your wedding for YOU. Some of the funnest weddings I photograph are of second marriages. They realize that a lot of what they did in their first marriage was unnecessary and boring and they approach their second wedding with the idea that “this time we are going to do it right. We are going to ENJOY every minute of it.” Personally, I wished I would have had a dance at my reception and cut the line early, way early. Many receptions I photograph, the couple (and the family) can’t wait for it to end. What kind of a day is that? Be bold and make it fun! For the record fun weddings make fun pictures! HAVE FUN!!

For the sake of simplicity I will leave you with those five things to ponder.


December 12, 2012

Corey Christiansen

Corey Christiansen

Many of you in the wedding biz know Corey’s super talented wife, Nikkol who runs the blog peterlovesjane.com . I met Nikkol first and then Corey later when I took their family pictures a couple years ago. He later spoke at an event which I attended that was super helpful for the artist who wants to make a living creating things. I can’t pretend that I know any of the intricacies of Jazz music but I am learning to enjoy it. He has an excellent reputation world wide and is an expert in the field of jazz guitar. This is worth taking a look or a listen at.

I took a screen shot of his site to show off an image I took during a photo session I did with Corey last year.

Visit Corey Christiansen’s new site or purchase an album at http://coreychristiansen.com/

Screen shot 2012-12-12 at 2.47.53 PM

February 22, 2012

What to wear on a photo session….


Hmmmmm..Now here is a question that is difficult for me to answer but often asked. I hope to help a little with some resources that I have painstakingly researched. Please take time to prepare for your photo session. A little preparation goes a long way. In fact most compelling, timeless images are a result of great clothing.
Ok, so looks don’t hurt either but you get the point.

#1 Put some thought into it.
#2 Coordinate locations with color if possible.(keep an eye out for locations that may work with your clothing and consult photographer)
#3 Be yourself
#4 Nothing happens by accident in Hollywood
#5 Contrast- (for example in winter reds, yellows, purples, blacks, etc.. can contrast against the snow or earthy colors and look awesome!)
#6 Compliment- Blend with an environment by acting like a chamoleon. A green grass hill with blue sky can look great with earth tones for example.
#7 Timeless is best- suits on guys, dresses, ties, etc..
#8 Go with the seasons. Wear a coat in the winter, just make it a cool coat. Short sleeves in winter are out of place. Add color in the winter when there is none.
#9 Bring extra clothing because photographers often improvise according to what is available.
#10 Some things call for less color- Black or browns can look good in a forest of Quaking Aspen for example or contrasted in a wheat field.
Sources for ideas for women are Polyvore , Lindsey’s Photography: Shows great layout of clothing color schemes , Color Palettes, Fashion 101: How to combine colors, Men’s clothing: Real Men, Real Style
Polyvore will let you create your own color scheme with drag and drop clothing so you can see what things will look like and even coordinate clothing for an upcoming family session. (Always fun!)

A good book for men is Sharp Suits


If you know of any other good sources please share!

April 13, 2010

Tribute to Wilbur Braithwaite


I just got an email from my friend Bob Andersen who lives in St. George. Almost a year ago Bob called me to help him on a project regarding someone that had been a hero of his for over 25 years. So I got my gear hopped in our Honda Odyssey with the family and we headed down to Manti, UT. I have a friend who lives in the area so I dropped the family off at their house for a visit and headed to meet Bob at Wilbur Braithwaite’s house just blocks from the Manti temple. Wilbur got out of his chair to greet me with a huge, warm smile on his face. He was the epitimomy of a “good ol boy” bred straight out of the greatest generation. While in a trench in France during World War 2 he vowed that he would work with youth for the rest of his life and he did just that. He coached basketball at Manti High for 37 years and tennis for 51 years.
He received the National Award of Merit(among many other awards) which is a very prestigious award that Gerald Ford had received as well (just to show the caliber).

Above all he was known for not once getting a technical foul in all of his years of coaching. He was a true sportsman. He wanted people to know and understand what sports were really meant to be, which is building character in youth. As I talked to him last year he was very vocal about his feelings that the majority of sports stars do not represent people of character and good values.
Wilbur used sports as a tool and he used it effectively. Win or lose he simply wanted boys and girls to be better people, better citizens, better friends.
Anytime one of these great men dies I feel personally responsible for not doing more to carry on their legacy. I feel a void, like a large tree in its prime has just fallen and left a spot of earth without shade. Why had I not spent more time with a video camera and a microphone? Who will fill their shoes? Do we have the heart? the character? Can I fill those shoes? If not us then who will?

Read this article about Wilbur from today’s Salt Lake Tribune: http://www.sltrib.com/ci_14872215?source=most_viewed

April 3, 2010



Two nights ago one of my oldest buddies stayed at our house for the night. We have been friends since we were 16 but our parents have been friends for more than 30 years. We actually lived in Arizona in the same ward together as babies but I officially met Rich when my dad volunteered me to go work for a summer in Las Vegas doing concrete for his uncle Clint. That was the summer of 1994 and it was one of the greatest, most memorable summers I have ever had. I left for Las Vegas with 7 dollars in my wallet. I thank my parents for allowing me to make my own way at such an early age. I had to scheme how to make 7 dollars last for two weeks in Las Vegas. Lessons like that have made me a very resourceful photographer.
In Vegas twelve men lived in a three bedroom apartment for three months. In my bedroom we had three teenagers on the bed like sardines and two on the floor all summer long. Richie’s dad Larry would wake me up every morning around 3:30 a.m.by grabbing my big toe and raising my foot and letting it fall. I had three seconds to get out of bed before a deep sleep overtook me again so I would pop up like a piece of toast.
We worked usually till about 5:30 p.m. or so but there were times when we went from 4:30 a.m. till 10:30 at night. The labor was not like anything I have experienced before or since. We worked right on a golf course on the strip at the Desert Inn Casino and the average temperature was around 112 degrees but got as high as 121.
In those conditions you make friends for life. Without them you don’t survive.
In 1999 we did it again in Indio, California, Las Vegas and Phoenix on three different golf courses. I gave Rich the nickname of “Sweetness” and he calls me the same. It may sound fruity but we proved our manhood long ago on the concrete paths so we can call each other anything we want and it still sounds manly.
Anyway, we have had hundreds of experiences since 1994 and many more to come. I took a few pictures of Rich the other night so I could test out a new piece of equipment.
One thing I have always wanted to do is take portraits of the most influential people in my life and make a nice leather album out of it with a page dedicated to each friend explaining why they have influenced me. Richie would definitely be a key player in that album.

P.S. If you are a mother reading this I want to add an endorsement for sending your kid off to work somewhere. When I came back home at age 16 I cried and kissed the ground. When I left for a mission getting up at 6:30 a.m. was a cake walk compared to what I had been doing. You can guarantee I will be intentionally seeking opportunity for Jackboy to go work his butt off somewhere. I did a photoshoot in Ireland with a couple, Megan and Andrew in 2008 and Andrew’s mom had a great attitude about this. She has sent some of her boys abroad so they can come home with new appreciation. At the wedding breakfast she leaned to me and said in her sweet little Irish accent, “Every boy needs to be sent away for a while so they can appreciate the things they already have at home.” I am forever grateful for my parents sending me off to Las Vegas and trusting me enough that I would be the better for it.

April 1, 2010

No more candy for me for a while.


I just signed a pact with my buddy Rich to not eat sweets. We have done this 3 or 4 times in the past with much success. In anticipation of signing I had to fill my canteen. I came home from this wedding with bags of candy in addition to the large amounts I ate at the reception. The food was great too. I love when there are both sweets and real food cause it balances out.
I have never been ashamed of helping myself to the goods. In fact if you ask my wife she will tell you that in daily life I test people regularly to see if they are “true” friends by simply going and opening their fridge and helping myself. The way I figure I would want someone to do the same at my house and so the awkwardness of being afraid to ask is over quickly. I think it is more awkward having to ask then it is to just do it. Try it on a new friend sometime, you might be surprised.

If you would like to participate in our pact then it reads like this:
Under Penalty of Death, I hereby declare that beginning March 28, 2010 I will not eat sweets with the exception of major holidays (easter) and birthdays. Signed_____________.
Pretty basic but our word is our bond. If you do sign then you will be on your honor.
We actually wrote this on the back of a vendor advertisement from the Wedding Showcase (because of lack of a clean sheet of paper), during the wedding showcase last Saturday. The bond is no less though. Email me at sageworld@gmail.com if you want to participate. I tell everyone so I can keep in check.

Favorite Relative Award: Warren wins my favorite uncle award. He is Shawn’s uncle and just a down to earth farmer from Winder, Idaho. He was so surprised that I wanted to take his picture and just laughed anytime I came around. Great guy!

February 25, 2010

I smell spring…

Well, variety is the spice of life they say. A few years ago I coined the term “varietist” to explain to someone that I have a hard time doing the same thing over and over. I love new things, new adventures, new places, new people. Not to take away from old people, old places, etc. I still love those things but I am more like a stream than a pond. I don’t like stagnancy. I love photographing all sorts of different things. Anyway, last week I had the opportunity to shoot Steven Covey and Jon Huntsman down at the Huntsman headquarters. One of the side benefits of being in situations like this is that I get to learn from great people. My favorite quote from Covey was that “retirement is a sick concept”. He has 10 books in the works and has just become a tenured professor at the Jon M Huntsman school of business at Utah State. I love his principle based thought process. I think that some things will always be relevant. I highly recommend reading The 7 habits of Highly Effective People. Life changer! This picture was these two getting interviewed by Fox 13 Neil Cavuto.

You might not know this but a few years ago I worked briefly for a company in Salt Lake. While I did not enjoy it and I missed photography greatly I did have one or two highlights. One was that the night I saw Jason Hewlitt perform I was awarded a new car, a nice new car. I was awarded a Mini Cooper which as you know is built by BMW in their Mini Cooper factory in England. It was very exciting choosing everything and finally getting it a few months later. Anyway I had the opportunity to shoot pictures at a birthday party at the Salt Lake Country Club on the 12th and Jason was the main act. He is a phenomenal performer. Check him out at: jasonhewlett.com/

Meanwhile, I had the privilege of going up to Beaver Ski Resort with Dakota and Heather. We were able to get an entire ski lift to ourselves because of Heather’s connections. It was snowy on the way up by died down. Going out to these trees was more of a chore than it looks. I was soaked all the way up my thighs when we got done. Snowshoes would’ve been nice. This is a stark contrast to their wedding location, Hawaii!! Two extremes.

July 14, 2009

Mission time


A couple weeks ago I photographed Evan’s brothers wedding. Evan is heading out to Brazil soon. The shot on the bench reading is a mimic of a photograph I have of my grandfather sitting on a bench reading. I never met my grandfather but he served a three year mission in Argentina for the LDS church. He started the first primary in Argentina and the first foreign exchange program at Utah State University and I believe U of U. What is amazing is that prior to serving in Argentina he was 4 years in World War 2 and aftermath. He has some amazing black and white images that he took from all over the world. He died when my mother was 6 but from what I read we have a lot in common. Evan will have a great experience in Brazil. I wish him luck.

July 13, 2009

America’s Next Top Model


I have been crazy busy this week and I was in Salt Lake shooting a wedding and other things from Wednesday till Friday night. I got some heat stroke at the wedding on Friday. I was not feeling well. My temperature gauges have been all messed up since the times when I worked on a concrete crew in Vegas, Pheonix and near Death Valley in the summer times. I live in Cache Valley because it is just right. Anyway, I was able to squeeze a shoot in with Keisha on Saturday. She was accompanied by her boyfriend Rich who is one of my all time best friends. It was great times. Good luck Keisha!