Friday, May 29, 2009

Fun Fact Friday - You can still have beautiful photos in rain

Fact: I shoot outside when the weather is wet.
Now, if there is a tornado warning or a monsoon downpour I will find another location that is both safe and beautiful...

Andy and I got married 8 years ago this very weekend - the weekend after Memorial Day. And it rained. Outdoor photos were extremely important to me and I had to beg, beg, beg my photographer to go to a park. Back then, my photographer was shooting with a medium format film camera that wasn't weather proof, and of course he didn't bring any rain gear. Not even an umbrella.

I sure am glad that I forced him to shoot outside during our rainy day. Those are the photos I love the most... especially the ones of Andy and I kissing under the umbrella.

This is why I am sooooo determined to shoot in any weather. It is as important to me that you have outdoor wedding photos as much as it was to me on my wedding day 8 years ago. In order to shoot in the rain I bring 8 black golf size umbrellas for you and your wedding party. I bring rain gear for myself and my cameras. If I know it is going to rain really hard I will scout the area for overhangs so you will stay dry while I shoot out into the openness.

Last weekend I shot an outdoor ceremony at the Paine Art Center in Oshkosh. Of course, minutes before the processional started heavy drizzle. The show went on. Luckily, guests brought umbrellas and the Michelle at the Paine distributed even more. The ceremony was beautiful despite the rain... and I was able to capture some great moments.

The great thing about a light drizzle is that there is no blinding sun and no harsh light that can create ugly shadows. Actually, I'd rather shoot on a dreary day over any other day! The colors from last weekend's wedding are so bright and vivid - an amazing contrast to the wet surroundings.

Full blog post coming soon on Jessica and Jerrod's May 23, 2009 wedding at the Paine Art Center and Gardens - Oshkosh, Wisconsin

Are you worried about rain on your wedding day? Tell me about your wedding day weather worries or true life stories!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Meet Nellie

Meet Nellie. My mom and dad's newest little puppy. She is a King Cavalier Spaniel. As Tyra Banks would say... she has a bit of "ugly" to offset her "cute".

They named her Patronella after my great-grandmother. So Nellie for short. Such a perfect name.

The chair is a Northwoods roadside find... as Andy and I were driving up north, about 10min away from the cottage I spotted this Ardent blue chair. The sign said free. It is just perfect!!! Expect to see some upcoming sessions with this chair.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Behind the scenes - destination Punta Cana

Last week I returned from an amazing destination wedding in Punta Cana. My clients Robin and Justin from Kaukauna decided to say their vows on the beautiful, private and (most of all) warm beach-side rotunda in the Caribbean.

I was accompanied by Miranda Zynda-Kneeland of Reminisce Photography and Design and we worked well as a team creating an abundance of beautiful shots for the couple.

Contrary to what most people may think, a destination wedding is not a vacation for the photographers. We actually do a lot of work prepping, packing, traveling, getting through customs, scouting, shooting, archiving and more! Oh, but don't get me wrong... I love shooting weddings and to shoot a wedding in a tropical location was definitely top on my list. We did have a ton of fun and got some drop dead gorgeous images... but we also did a lot of work.

Here is a quick look behind scenes...

Miranda carefully arranging the straps on the dress.

Shooting in the resort's spa...

Shooting on the ground of the Bavaro Princes... we had 90+ acres to work with!

Trying out my new fisheye lens... Miranda and I had a blast with the Ever After Session on the beach

The color of the water was the most beautiful I've ever seen!

Full blog post coming soon!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Fun Fact Friday - Bride Wars and other Wedding Related Shows

Fun Fact: I am addicted to wedding shows!
I recently saw the movie Bride Wars on the plane ride back from Punta Cana. It was a fitting time and place to watch the movie as we were returning from a destination wedding. Watching a girlie movie about weddings with another wedding photographer was super fun - we laughed at all the same things. One of my favorite lines is "if I were your wedding, I'd be sleeping with one eye open".

The Bride Wars website is super cute... you can play a "bridal beatdown" where you can select your character for a wedding dress boxing match complete with sound effects.

Some of my favorite wedding related shows and movies include: Say Yes to the Dress, Bridezillas, Platinum Weddings, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Wedding Crashers, The Wedding Singer and Son in Law.

There are always new shows and movies coming out... For a complete listing of wedding related entertainment visit

What are your favorite wedding related TV shows or movies?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ardent Photography takes 4 international wedding photography awards

I am excited to announce that I placed 9th overall in the Spring 2009 International Society of Professional Wedding Photographers' quarterly contest by having 4 of my images place in their categories. The ISPWP is a group of world class photographers that embody experience, talent, integrity and professionalism. It is an honor to be part of this group and even more so to be recognized in the top 20...

My winning images include:





View all the categories and winning photos.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

9-27-06 a very special day

On September 27, 2006 I became a mother. It is a special feeling to grow another human being and then to raise him into a smart and funny two and a half year old. Luckily, Drew is the best kid. I don't know if it genetics, environmental or just pure luck that he sleeps well, eats well and is over all very well-mannered. I feel very blessed to have him as my child.
Image of Drew from our first Mothers Day together

This Mother's Day I'm spending in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic shooting a destination wedding. I am missing my son and of course my mother and mother-in-law on this special day.

Happy Mother's Day to all the expecting, new and long time mothers!
Also a very special Mother's Day wish to my best friends who are mommies!!!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Fun Fact Friday - Ardent Photography Celebrates it's 4th Anniversary

Fact: I officially started Ardent Photography LLC in May of 2005.
I have been officially in business for four full years and I've loved every minute of it!

I unofficially started shooting weddings in 2002... shooting candids and details at weddings of friends with 35mm camera and black and white film. It was such a joy of mine to take artistic images at events back when traditional wedding photographers didn't pay much attention to those details.

My initial love of photography truly blossomed when I worked as a camera assistant in high school. It has been 14 years since I got my first behind the scenes glance at professional photography.

Since starting my business I have grown so much as a photographer, business owner and person. I am truly proud of the work I do and the direction I'm heading. I am continuously taking workshops, attending seminars and reading books to further my knowledge of business and photography.

Image from Angela and Paul Bellmore's August 13, 2005 wedding at the Apple Creek Inn, De Pere, Wisconsin - the first official wedding of Ardent Photography.

My background in Art Direction, Graphic Design and teaching dance has helped me tremendously in my business. My commercial art background has given me advanced knowledge of image editing software and classic design as well as a refined artistic eye. My experience of being a dance teacher has helped me to be able to explain body positions during portrait sessions and it has also trained me to have an aesthetic eye for body position.

I am filled with joy to know that I am currently booking weddings for 2010 which will be my 6th season of shooting weddings.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Destination wedding Punta Cana!

Today I'm traveling to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic for the destination wedding of Robin and Justin... The wedding will be held at the beautiful Bavaro Princess resort. The fabulous Miranda of Reminisce Photography and Design will accompany me on the trip and help shoot the festivities.

I will be away from internet access for a short while and will return all inquires when I return to the US on Tuesday, May 12.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Fun Fact Friday - Always be Prepared

I started Fun Fact Friday last week... I am excited to bring you fun little tidbits of information.

I have my own version of an emergency bridal kit

Most brides will put together a little kit containing a needle and thread, hairspray, pain reliever, bobby pins, antacid, shout wipes... I'm sure every bride customizes their kit with many sorts of items.

For my emergency kit I carry a slew of items...

For the bride and groom:
• 8 golf size umbrellas in case of rain
• Towel to dry or clean an area the bride may want to sit
• Water bottles for the couple
• Nice smelling bug spray for shooting with mosquitoes!

For my photography:
• Duplicate cameras, lenses, flashes, media cards and batteries - I have back up equipment for everything!
• Plastic bags so I can shoot in wet weather
• Contact information of other photography professionals in case of emergency

For myself:
• Advil
• Water
• Granola bar/snacks
• Extra socks in case I get my feet wet during the perfect shot
• Printed maps - just in case GPS isn't right
• Extra contacts, solution and glasses

You can never be to prepared. Every wedding I am confident that I am fully prepared for anything.

What is in your wedding day emergency kit?