artistic authentic wedding photography

artistic authentic wedding photography

2015 in review

I’m not sure if it's that we become more aware of the world as we get older or we really are in a time when things are much darker and uncertain on a global scale. With all the headline felonies, religious persecution, poverty and injustice in 2015 it’s hard not to grieve over the threatening darkness that covers the peace and freedom we all seek and expect. Yet, as I sit here looking out the window during this still, winter evening I rest as the snow so silently covers all things sitting peacefully. I look through these images of all the love we’ve seen this year and know that despite the darkness, there is nothing that can truly steal joy.

 

 Photographing weddings is quite satiating for curious observers like Matt and myself. We have front row seats to what is one of the most significant days of someone’s life. We’ve taken nearly a hundred thousand photographs in 2015 and have whittled the collection down to 136 moments to feature. It’s interesting to see which images we impulsively share in our year wrap up. We’ve never been the type to spend most of our time helping you remember posed images, trends, details or photos that only show what was happening on the outside. Emotion in its artistic expression has always been one of our favorite things to photograph. This year we've refined those skills and are proud to share a set of artistic, authentic wedding photography that is some of our best.

It's an honor to use all these wonderful people to tell you about happiness and authenticity. I’m featuring over thirty couples, mainly based or rooted in Denver. Most couples are similar in age, demographic and style. Though I can see many of them being friends with each other, every couple is so beautifully unique and their stories reflect their personhood and relationship so accurately.

A very special thank you to everyone we photographed this year for sharing so much of yourselves. The impact that you have on us is great. Despite the headlines and uncertainty, life is good.

Thanks for the significant reminder of that.

devil's thumb ranch wedding

Devil's Thumb Ranch wedding

The dress was her mother's, the location was one of Colorado's best, we photographed the bride as an attendant of this wedding and it was a perfect blue sky winter day in the mountains.

 

 

 

Liz and Rudy. They met in the cafeteria while working at the same hospital. I don't know that they would have said it was love at first bite but the two were intently drawn to each other before they had officially met. They are kind, poised and authentic and those personality traits were knit through every piece of their wedding. The wedding day was outlined like the kind of weddings we believe to be the best. It was filled with classic pieces of the couple's personality, focused on relationships and celebration. It set every guest in an endearing atmosphere and gave them a delightful filling of food and a lasting impression of love. For most couples older than 20, the likelihood of many of your guests having been to many weddings is high. How do you curate the day to make it one of the best days of your life while leaving a lasting impression on all of your loved ones? It sounds complicated, but it can be broken down into steps. We've found several connections to what makes weddings an incredible experience no matter what.

 

  1. Make every step count. Don't do a tradition for the sake of the tradition. Only do things in which you find meaning and purpose. Below are a few undertakings that people opt out of or adjust if it's not something significant to them. -cake cutting - toasts - flowers - something blue - bouquet toss - traditionally matching wedding party wear - wedding favors. Omit the question "what is everyone else doing?" and fill the blank in with your favorite things. Maybe it will be trendy, maybe not. It simply needs to be you.
  2. Decorating and DIY is not for the faint of heart. Does the thought of crafting for a year make you really excited? If you could care less, choose a venue that is beautiful as it is or choose a planner who will create an atmosphere in your style. Your wedding does not need to look like a top Pinterest  pin to be wonderful.
  3. Make your party the priority. The most incredible thing about a wedding is the people. Everyone you love most is in the same room and all their attention directed towards celebrating with you. How can you connect with your guests? Can your wedding day be more than a quick hello or a "it would have been nice to meet you?" Explore elaborating your rehearsal dinner, throwing an after-party or setting up activities preceding the wedding day. Find a way to spend time and enjoy as many of your guests as possible. Weddings are about relationships, don't lose sight of that.

 

4. Remember it well. We say that wedding days are emotionally intoxicating. Months prior you rip the calendar days off one by one awaiting a day that will seem to never arrive. When it comes there is so much going on it's hard to experience. Invest wisely in your photography and documentation but also, think of ways you can remember more than the images. Is there a specially scented flower you can designate as a sensory item you can keep in a wedding box? Can you wear a piece of jewelry you will give to one of your children? Prioritize the documentation but don't lose sight of additional pieces that can help you remember your wedding day. If you're in need of help with any of this, head to the hospital cafeteria and ask Liz and Rudy.

This Devil's Thumb Ranch wedding would not have been as wonderful if Danielle and her team from Entwined had not been involved. A very special thanks to them for orchestrating the day so seamlessly.

urban denver weddings

Urban Denver weddings

Perhaps we have John Denver to blame, but often if you're planning a Colorado wedding, your first thought of vow exchange is in the mountains. Though we at Selah love nature as much as any resident, there is a very special place in our hearts for the urban Denver wedding like Russ and Diana's. There are many Denver city wedding venues to choose from and whether you choose a hotel ballroom or combination of hip church followed by Space Gallery like these guys, the aesthetic majesty holds up compared to those mountain nuptials.

 

It was a modern, unique, sentimental, creative and emotional. Their day started getting ready separately.  Russ was given special notes through the day reminding him of all the pieces of life that have brought the two to where they are. There was something blue sewn into Diana's dress and her borrowed headpiece had been worn in weddings for generations. You could say their wedding was traditional in sorts; the church ceremony was held at Park Church and Russ overflowed with emotion as he saw his veiled bride walk down the aisle with her dad. Though the tradition seemed to be an outline, the couple definitely made a new mold for their wedding, filling it with personal details that made it clear to all the guests that they were attending a party of Russ and Diana.

 

These two are beautiful, many may say photogenic. Even a stranger will be able to easily pick out that trait. At Selah, we talk quite a bit to couples about being photogenic, which is typically referenced to the level at which a person photographs. Most people believe they are not good at taking pictures, however, we believe that all people are photogenic; it depends on the photographer. Let us use Russ and Diana to explain. One of the first things many people will notice about these two is they are quite attractive, which you would think would be the main reason they shoot so well. Though it's helpful, we beg to differ. If the evenness of your smile, your body type or symmetry of your face was the only thing that made these photos beautiful, you wouldn't feel anything when looking at them. The images may be pretty but they wouldn't be compelling or moving.

We believe being genuinely photogenic has to begin with sharing your inner beauty first.

In Russ and Diana's case, it begins with being creative, kind and joyful. These photos show beauty because they have very special relationships with their families and they love each other deeply. Russ and Diana were ready to enjoy their entire wedding day, whether it be cake, microphone, or camera in their face, and the radiance of that joy is what jumps out to the viewer and makes these photos as great as they are. We are so thankful to have been invited. A very special thanks to Space Gallery and Stacy with JA Special Events for making this day run so flawlessly.

colorado natural wedding photographers

 

 

 

Colorado natural wedding photographers

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There were so many adjectives that came to mind when I was trying to put together a focus for this wedding's blog posting. I could talk about the poise of the Air Force, the amazing architecture at the Air Force Chapel, how Grant and Angela were two of the kindest people we've run into or the visible love and support the couples' guests showered on them.  Though all of those elements were substantial, I would have to say that the way the couple allowed us to capture these real, natural wedding photos is what stands out to me most. The term, Colorado natural wedding photographer, can mean many things. It could be a photographer who loves to photograph in nature, a photographer who likes DIY - unprimped weddings or like us, photographers who want to document the existing character, circumstances and surroundings of life as you know it. It's a photo of the father of the groom explaining the medals of honor on his jacket, the bride running up the steps of her wedding venue as the ceremony is minutes away, the groom standing at the door of the chapel greeting his closest as they walk through the door to support one of the biggest decisions of his life. It's friends and family standing at the edge of the dance floor as if it were a starting line for a race awaiting one of the most enjoyed dance parties we've seen this year or the night shot that was made perfect by a spontaneous moment of laughter.

 

We think a lot about how our couples will interact with their wedding photos - from the first time you hold them in your hands to your great grandchildren flipping the pages of your wedding book.  This natural, story telling, unposed wedding photography combined with artistic, hang-on-the-wall portraits is exactly what we love about making photographs. We believe wedding photography can be so much more than a large collection of files you sit behind your computer and occasionally view on your anniversary. We believe it is more than a portrait on your parents' wall showing what you looked like on your wedding day. We think that natural wedding photos, photographs that show who you are, is the best and most cherish-able way to capture this exceptionally significant time of life. Thanks to Grant, Angela and guests for being beautiful and allowing us to stand by and document it.

wedding at blanc

 

Wedding at Blanc

 

If any couple were ever to ask us to plan their wedding for them, which they never do, but if they did, we would zero in on a few important things like location, food, beautiful clothing, small numbers in the wedding party, good music, originality, and more emphasis on photography than other things. Most people don't consult us on such things, including Jeff and Blair, but amazingly, they didn't have to because they already had it all - and then some.

Starting off with getting-ready photos at the nearby hotel, the boys were showing plenty of East Coast brotherly love as they helped each other tie ties and straighten collars. The Philadelphian wit of the boys while getting ready answered the question I have asked since watching sitcoms all during the 90's of, "Can real people really be that funny?" Turns out they can. The girls finished their elegant, yet natural touches as Blair adorned herself in her (not white) BHLDN dress accessories that complimented Jeff's custom made suit oh so well.

After a short stint of being celebrities in Union Station, the couple headed over to what has become one of our favorite urban wedding locations in Denver, Blanc, for their ceremony and reception. A wedding at blanc can never go wrong. From that point on, not a minute was wasted. Jeff and Blair had an intentional schedule that maximized the music, staggered the dance events, and left no room for dead time. It was perhaps the most relaxed celebration we have ever attended, requiring all the guests to do nothing more than just enjoy the night as they please, occasionally visiting one of the three themed buffets.

As for the toasts, they were among the greatest we have ever seen, but perhaps that is to be expected from people who had so much love and personality. The only interruption of the party was when we pulled the bride and groom out for what became some amazing night shots (see below) and they were happily willing to participate with that as well.

Jeff and Blair's wedding was one of the kind when you are filled with gratitude because your job is to hang out with awesome people. Our only regret was that we didn't get them to sign a contract to hire us again in 20 years when they renew their vows. We were so thankful to be a part of their story. 

River Bend Wedding - Lyons

River Bend Wedding - Lyons

Jess and Nick.  Their experience as wedding guests must have been one of the things that primed them to put together a such great wedding. They were one of the last to get married in their friends’ group, which we discovered has many benefits. The day was designed with only the most enjoyable and meaningful touches.

They planned a River Bend Wedding - Lyons, Colorado, a venue that has a natural elegance surrounded with touches of classiness set for an authentic, sophisticated event.

Some of the day’s highlights were the sweet personalized gifts, the quintessential appearance of the bride and groom and the father of the groom’s toast that didn’t leave a dry eye at the reception. It flowed as every wedding day should; not a beat was missed and every guest was treated to a beautiful celebration of love lit by the rays of the supermoon.

As the wedding photographers, Sarah and I took full advantage of all the inward and outward beauty at this wedding. With ease, we were able to capture the storytelling type of photos we believe matter most: photos of moments that show relationship, personality and happiness. 

A special thanks to Rachael from Decor Design and Production Group for orchestrating this event in a way that allowed everyone to experience the best of the day to its fullest.

telluride colorado wedding

A Telluride Colorado Wedding

Telluride Colorado. It's this little city far enough away that it avoids the feel of too much touristy traffic while making every visitor feel like they should live there. It's a place built for peace and pleasantry. A city obsolete from any chain restaurant or stuffy venue and really, is quite possibly the most perfect place in Colorado. The city is quietly becoming a very popular for destination weddings such as this one though I imagine most destination weddings held in Telluride of them were not quite this great.

Matt and Bubba's wedding was the most wonderful kind of Colorado destination weddings and a treat for a wedding photojournalist to document. It was close enough to home for most of their friends to drive yet far enough away to make it more than a celebration that lasts only a few hours. The wedding was built around having a great time with the people the couple love most in the world.

It's typical to see family and wedding party exuding emotion during the ceremony but not as typical for many of the guests to wiping away tears as the bride walks down the aisle. From the second we arrived at the wedding, we were able to tell how loved these two are by their friends and family. There was a elusive love that was shown by their dog Sally who seemed to appoint herself in hosting the wedding ceremony. She pranced around the open field where the wedding was held welcoming friends and family as they overlooked Wilson Peak, famous for it's feature in Coors advertising.

 

After vows were exchanged and all the guests emblazoned instagram with their selfies  we headed downtown to the Telluride Opera house for a 1920's accessoried and 1950's musiced party. Again, a celebration that had every guest on the edge of their seat invested in the last words of toasts and hours of jovial dancing. It was a party that everyone should get to have not once, but more than once in your lifetime. A celebration that reminds you that life's goodness is far greater than the most beautiful mountain scenes, perfect towns and well planned parities. It's in the people that you love the most.

Emotional Wedding Photography

emotional wedding photos
emotional wedding photos

emotional wedding photography

 Their love story was like what you would expect out of a modern day blockbuster. The adventurous girl follows her heart to a foreign country to study and comes across a friend who soon becomes much more. They experience that fairy tale beginning, where nothing in the world could go wrong followed by genuine trials that test and prove their love for one another. During their vows they mentioned sitting on their bathroom floor together holding hands, braving moments of war as sirens went off in the distance. They’ve walked through many challenges most couples don’t confront in a lifetime; challenges that build deep connections and clearly show what makes the two value their relationship and their families so intently.

 

 How do you plan a Colorado wedding from overseas? That might be the natural follow-up question upon learning that this couple resides in Tel Aviv. In Emily and Yaron’s case, they had a team of family on site in Colorado making decisions while the trusting couple went on with their engagement at home in Israel. The wedding was intimate. Guests included Yaron’s immediate family from Israel and Emily’s family and closest friends from the States. Its simplicity so appropriately highlighted the real reason all weddings should happen: because love, family, and commitment are of the best things life has to offer. Having everyone you care about most gathered in one space to sign off on the importance of the day is exactly what this wedding looked like. 

Every image of this couple is a great representation of what raw, emotional wedding photography is like. It’s a photojournalistic style that shares much more than what a person looks like on their wedding day. After all, how many times in your life will you have every person most special to you in the same room? These aren't just anybody. Love and connection with family and friends happens because of vulnerability, trials, triumphs and other rich experiences that make us who we are. We want wedding photography to reflect the little pieces of the personalities that have made you who you are. Here is a glimpse into what makes these two, our thanks to them for sharing so much.

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Blanc Wedding

blanc wedding in denver
blanc wedding in denver
breitling wedding gift
breitling wedding gift
modern wedding photographers
modern wedding photographers

The day started off with some getting-ready photos in the local Denver venue, Blanc. This Blanc wedding features this new modern wedding venue in Denver. Small enough for intimacy and genuineness, yet large enough to make a groom feel like Keith Moon and bride to feel like...the belle of the ball, as Kristen certainly was. We believe it is absolutely one of the best wedding venue's in Denver. 

artistic denver wedding photograhy
artistic denver wedding photograhy

Nothing says "always and forever" like a surprise, 15 minute drum show suddenly during the reception. Chris, who hammed up the part perfectly with his officiant, Ryan, was somehow able to crank out a crescendo on the cymbals, give the finger to official city noise ordinance, and flash the "I love you" sign to his bride, Kristen in the front row, all at the same time. Between the two of them, there were more toms displayed than in the small Central American village who has received all those canvas shoe charities in recent years. Lucky for us at Selah, we were granted a backstage pass as well as some earplugs. This event, however, was the most original part of a wedding night we have ever seen, but it was not the beginning. 

As professional wedding photographers we don't believe in the idea of being photogenic or not being photogenic. Smiling for a camera is not the same as smiling because your soon-to-be spouse looks more beautiful than you have ever seen. A posed photo at the mention of "cheese" is not the same as an authentic heartwarming laugh at the surfacing of an inside joke that only you and your other get. A good photographer shoots those moments; the unrehearsed, authentic, emotional, and beautiful moments that make it all worth it to begin with. The trick is, sometimes you have to wait for those moments to happen or try to encourage them with playful questioning. In the case of Chris and Kristen however, there was no coaxing on our part. Our trigger fingers were near burning out from over use while these two couldn't stop looking at each other and smiling and laughing. Just being around them for a small portion of time we could tell that these are the types of people you wished lived next door to you, or bought the seat next to yours on a trans-continental flight with the TVs broken.