I had the extreme pleasure of photographing my cousin Julia's wedding this past weekend. She and Trent tied the knot in an adorable, personalized and unique ceremony. They're an incredibly special couple and that was increasingly apparent through the special touches in their ceremony, on the centerpieces, or in the small touches of their personality here and there. It was a terrific outdoor wedding in Brookings, South Dakota, where the two of them went to college. The ceremony and reception were both held in the same place, in the gorgeous and luscious backyard of Trent's grandparent's home.
Throughout the backyard, there were little touches of Trent and Julia everywhere — mason jars filled with flowers from the gardens of friends and family, favorite board games on the reception tables and little hand-drawn signs directing guests to different sections of the celebration. The overall view of the place was breathtaking, but even a closer eye unveiled simple, appreciated touches of the couple.
And of course, in true Julia fashion, she let me let loose on picture-taking, letting my vision guide how I saw the day. It would've been hard to not show the joy, fun and love that everyone was experiencing that day.
It's not really wedding seasons right now in February, and it's definitely not outdoor wedding season. But that didn't stop this couple from having their dream wedding ceremony in the woods on a blistery, windy February afternoon. I spent a couple hours with Jen and Drew Miller for their second wedding ceremony at Eagle Bluffs in Columbia. I say second wedding, because they were actually married before — they have children together — but then got divorced. I thought it was adorable how they were getting married to each other once again.
The February outdoor wedding was definitely unconventional — and it was a shame, because the day before was so nice! But they held the ceremony in a very gorgeous place and the kids braved the wind quite well. It was a joy to spend the afternoon with such a wonderful reunited family, golden hour and all.
I was really pleased when a friend from high school, Dana, asked me to do her engagement pictures! Fun fact — she and I were on yearbook staff together. Her and her fiance, Sam, have been together about as long as my boyfriend and I have — four years — so it was nice to see them beginning to make these preparations.
I have not done an engagement photo session before, and when I do senior pictures (which is not often), I usually do them back in my hometown, where I have spots that I typically go to. Dana asked me to do their session the day I got back to Columbia, so I knew I wouldn't be coming back to the Kansas City area any time soon. But she thankfully agreed to make the drive to Columbia with Sam to have the pictures taken here!
That meant I needed to do some research. A few of my friends, such as Rachel Coward, have taken gorgeous engagement pictures lately, but most of the ones I remembered were taken in September and October, featuring wonderful golden light and lush vegetation. It being a Missouri winter, we were now surrounded by dead and bleary landscapes, meaning I knew I needed to refer to some nice walls around town or indoor locations.
I didn't want to get too complicated, and I knew Dana was looking for the same kind of style I usually go for in portraits, which was comforting — I could go for the stuff I usually gravitate toward! So, I headed down to the North Village Arts district and scoped out the beautiful Roots 'N Blues 'N BBQ mural on the side of The Bridge venue, the garage door at the Root Cellar and some other simple brick walls.
I also remembered a place I personally love — the 63 Diner, which you may have seen in a feature shoot I did for The Missourian a couple months ago. I thought of the 50s atmosphere and milkshakes with two straws and knew it would be a fantastic and fun space. The lighting was awful and the background was obviously busy, and although they're not my favorite shots from the session, I think it's still something fun and unique — and we had some delicious milkshakes, to top it off!
I wish Dana and Sam the best as they continue to plan their wedding and the best of luck in their future years together after they tie the knot in July!
Former MU graduate student Serkan Gurbuz sent out an e-mail to MU's photo-j Listserv the other day asking for a wedding photographer. He requested anyone interested send a portfolio his way. The wedding ceremony was set in Kansas City, and I figured since I'd be home for the summer and needed some money, why not?
Weddings are quite nerve-racking. Of course, all one-time events make me nervous, but this is a wedding — a once-in-a-lifetime event (for the lucky ones). I don't do a lot of weddings — the last one I did was two years ago, I believe — but Serkan wanted me to shoot it documentary style, so I felt it was right up my alley.
Serkan also told me he wanted me to work in flash. I freaked out. I haven't yet taken Advanced Techniques at school, which teaches students how to work with lighting. He mostly wanted them for portraits, so I borrowed a Canon 580 EX from Barry Mathia, Lawson's hometown photographer and worked a couple days in advance to figure out what I needed to do. I mostly concentrated on using fill flash because there would be light for most of the wedding, so it wasn't incredibly hard — I mostly had the worst time figuring out how to shoot high speeds and fix my flash exposure compensation.
The day of the wedding, I woke up to pouring rain. And yes, the wedding was outdoors. I was panicked and worried — what if I had to shoot the ceremony in the small space of the reception? The rain came and went the entire day, but cleared up for the evening of the wedding, which began at 5:30 p.m.
I headed down near the Plaza in Kansas City around 2:30 to be extra early to photograph the bride, C.J., as she got ready, just in case. When she arrived, we went to the dressing room with her mother and sister (the maid of honor) and I took some (mostly) candid photos of her getting ready and them interacting.
The wedding was at the Simpson House, a former residence that is over 100 years old. The place was gorgeous — amazing wood crafting, a huge staircase, big windows letting in natural light, beveled glass, grand chandeliers and a big, flourishing garden. It was not going to be hard to work the scene into the scenario.
Another interesting factor of the wedding was Serkan's Turkish background. There were not many Turkish traditions in the ceremony, but they did have a Turkish band, served Mediterranean food and performed a gold ceremony during the reception. His intermediate family was also present and oh my goodness, were they sweet. His mother, who spoke little English, kept praising me and thanking me. She also blessed my "working hands," a blessing in Turkish to those who use their hands to serve others, such as food handlers.
By the time C.J. and her wedding party were finished getting ready, we did not have much time for portraits. I think Serkan mostly wanted me to focus on candid photography, however, so I think this was OK — we mostly did the standard group portraits and not anything too crazy. The wedding party was very small, with only a maid of honor, best man, ring bearer and flower girl.
The ceremony was not long, which made me nervous that I would not be able to make really good pictures. I feel like I did alright, but unfortunately, it felt like more of a warm-up for me even though I had practiced at the dress rehearsal the night before. The reception was definitely better photo-wise, but it was also a lot longer.
All in all, I feel comfortable with how I did. I know my color was off sometimes and noticed a lot of out-of-focus pictures throughout my take, but am proud of many of the pictures I did make. I would love some feedback and hope to shoot another wedding or two before I graduate. I do have some advice to all novice wedding photographers, though: make sure you take a break during the reception! It's exhausting taking pictures for a good 7 hours, so make sure you get some food (especially if the couple invites you to eat) and maybe even some cake if you have time — just make sure you're readily available and willing to leave your plate if needing.
All photographs copyright © Katie Currid and may not be used or reproduced without permission.
Summer is here and that means the weddings are too. Although everyone is getting married around me, a very special person in my life got married last weekend — my best friend from high school, Samantha Goode, and her long-time boyfriend and Westpoint graduate, JD Moore.
Although I would've loved to photograph Sam and JD's wedding, I was, not-so unfortunately, in it. Samantha made her sister Stephanie, her cousin Shelby, her other best friend Jessica and me bridesmaids! We wore adorable watermelon-colored dresses and had Gerber daises for our bouquets.
Of course, we were not as beautiful as the bride! And Samantha may have slapped a wedding together in four months, but there's no way anyone could have known — everything was planned and decorated, from the pews to the guestbook, down to the gift table at the reception.
Because JD is now a second lieutenant in the army (he branched armor), the wedding had some military traditions in it. Some of the groomsmen were Westpoint graduates, and there was also a 6-man saber arch, which is my favorite military wedding tradition. The bride and groom walk through the saber arch at the end of the wedding, but before they can get through it, the last two saber bearers cross their swords and tell the newly married couple that they cannot pass without a kiss. The new couple kisses, and typically, one of the saber bearers smacks the butt of the bride with his sword. This took some practicing during rehearsal, but it was perfectly executed at the wedding.
The reception was also very fun. The 8 Westpoint boys who were there acted as if they hadn't had a drop of liquor or seen a cute girl in months (they hadn't). We danced and drank and just had an excellent time. I tried to snap some pictures of the more Sam-esque moments, such as her signing Miley Cyrus' Party in the U.S.A., and when Jessica, Stephanie and I had to help her go to the bathroom in her bridal gown.
Now Sam and JD are off to Fort Knox in Kentucky in a month for JD to train for his new officer position. After that, they will be headed to Fort Carson in Colorado (near Colorado Springs). Sam's a new army wife, and I will miss her so very much. I've known her and JD as a couple almost as long as I've been friends with her, however, so I know they will have a beautiful and happy life together. I can only wish them the best!
Photographs are copyright © Katie Currid, 2010, and may not be distributed or reproduced without permission.