Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Casa Blanca Wedding

In the brides ready room
Before getting ready for her wedding Tennessee drew a heart in the sand on the bank of the creek and put Joe's name inside. Prior to their elegant creek side ceremony at Casa Blanca on Brushy Creek, Joe sent in gifts to the bridal suite. The packages were labeled L. O. V. E. and corresponded to a wonderful letter he included with the personal gifts ranging from a love key charm from Tiffany's to a box of doughnuts which brought a laugh to all. After the ceremony and family photos Joe & Tennessee shared a private dinner in the bride's suite while the guests enjoyed themselves with plentiful pasta and appetizers. Though the evening was humid and the music rocking' Tennessee danced to nearly every song. Sparklers heralded the end of the evening and the start of their new life together. Congratulations Joe & Tennessee.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Kindred Oaks Ceremony

Kelley At Kindred OaksA rainy evening at Kindred Oaks in Cedar Park, Texas could not dim the joy of the ceremony which joined Gabby and Ash together. Chocolate Brown with tiffany blue accents were their colors and reflected everywhere from the tables with tiffany napkins to the Wedding cake accents and the wedding party attire. Though the rain continued off and on through the evening we were able to get some beautiful family photos under the pavillon with the rain drenched gardens as background. Later, Gabby enthusiasticlly participated in some amazing group and line dancing as the reception progressed. They ended the evening with a fun sparkler exit and well wishes by all.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Xtine & Steven

Xtine (pronounced Christine) and Steven met us for their engagement portraits just a week prior to their wedding. In fact, Steven was to have his bachelor party later that same evening. We had a lot of fun doing their urban portraits though it rushed them to select their choice for printing. Their wedding day dawned a little rainy but then cleared for a beautiful sunny courtyard ceremony at The Mansion at Judges Hill in Austin. With the merging of their 2 cultures there were lots of ceremonial aspects to their reception beyond the formal dances. During the reception Xtine changed from her strapless gown into her Mother’s Vietnamese wedding dress (not many of us are able to wear our Mother’s dress) and visited each table with Steven.She then changed to a short bridal party dress for the toasting and general dancing. Afterwards, Guests gathered at the front of the mansion and cheered them down the stairs and off to start their new life. Ring ExchangeFirst Kiss

Room Toast
Exit Photo

Monday, April 20, 2009

Fast Food Dieting

Lunch at Wendy's

My wife and I started diets February - together we have already together lost more than 30 lbs. I wanted to share this tip as many times our brides and grooms ask if we can photograph them to look thinner. While there are some techniques we use to help the appearance of a "slimming effect" - this blog article is more about how I personally deal with my fast food cravings while I'm running errands around lunch time... It's just so easy to pop into a Wendy's, Jack in the Box etc.. While most fast food restaurants now have a healthier menu, I've found they just don't have the "balance" I've been looking for. Too much sodium in the grilled chicken, too much fat in the dressing etc... My solution is to take a foil packet of water packed tuna in the car when I go. These do not require refrigeration, seem to survive the Texas heat - and are not that expensive. OK, now to the numbers - A Wendy's side salad with a Starkist water packed tuna and the Wendy's light ranch dressing is only 209 calories. This fills me up enough to keep me away from the french fries and is very tasty. The cost w/tax is $1.29 - the packets of tuna are .89 to $1.59. If you drink water instead of sugary soda or tea you're in & out for around $3.00 - not bad for a quick and easy fast food lunch with the right balance of Carbs, Protein and Fat. To add a little zest/kick to the salad - try a jalapeno pepper on the salad. When I know I'm off to Wendy's, I skip the Wendy's dressing and bring my own "Walden's Farms Calorie Free" dressing (I dont know how they do this and make it taste so good, its almost magic) with a little bit of Gorgonzola cheese and Trappey's Sweet jalapeno peppers. This adds about 100 calories, but because I don't use the light ranch - it all works out.. This lunch is also great if you're diabetic as the balance of Carbs/Protein/Fat is friendly to the glycemic index. Anyway - If you looking for an easy way to carry a lunch, toss a few tuna packets into the car, purse, etc to add to your salads at fast food restaurants.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Cora & Cameron

Elevators and MirrorsRecently we photographed a wedding in the atrium of the downtown Austin Omni Hotel. We’ve been to numerous Omni’s in many cities doing weddings in various ballrooms but last Saturday’s wedding was a fun intimate event...in the atrium. Cora and Cameron met in the US Navy while stationed in Hawaii (I know…we had really hoped the wedding would be held on the beach in Hawaii. Maybe a future possibility with a friend of Cora’s.) first walk and first dancePrior to the ceremony we had an opportunity for a fun and unusual photo as Ray staged Cameron and the groomsmen in one elevator and I staged Cora in the next elevator. There they were in full view of the atrium and lobby areas right next to each other but unable to see the other. Reflections played a big part of the evening with vertical mirrors in the groom’s room for the groomsmen, the polished floors of the Omni for Cora & Cameron’s first walk as man and wife. ToastingTheir little daughter Maddie was the flower girl and lived up to the title with flowers in her dress and by tossing rose petals all throughout the reception at least till bedtime. Lights from the DJ danced up and down the walls as the families and guests danced and laughed and celebrated into the night. Petal Exit

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Value of family photos

Family PhotoThe Value of a Family Photograph-

As I look at this picture-just one of hundreds that I have of my young self with either my mom, dad, brother or just dad, mom, etc, I am reminded of how valuable family photos really are.

Family photos preserve moments and memories for years and generations to come. I look at these pictures and see my dad, my young self, and my baby brother. Now I can share these pictures with my young son and he sees Mommy, Uncle Brian and Pe-Pa.

Family pictures don’t have to be the tradition posed picture of what one might consider a family. A family photo can be a wedding picture, a picture of your animals or even a group of close friends that are considered family.

What matters is having them. Having those moments to be able to look at them 25 years later and remember what you were doing and feeling. In this particular picture of my dad, brother and I, we are getting ready to move and my little brother was about 6 weeks old. It was probably one of the last pictures taken in front of the house that I had lived in for almost my entire life. I gave this picture to my dad for Christmas this year- he hadn’t seen it in ages. He loved it.

The value of the family photo is really priceless. For our family, my husband and I are looking forward to working with Austin and Round Rock photographers to help capture some great moments that 25 years from now, my children will love sharing with their families.
~ Kim de Araujo

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Bluegrass Wedding

Happily MarriedCraig & Amy had a casual good time of a wedding at Star Hill Ranch in South Austin this past weekend. Craig was in a linen suit with suspenders and Amy wore boots with her relaxed, antique style wedding gown and flowers in her hair. The ceremony was performed by a family friend who also happened to be a talented singer and harmonica player as we found out later during the reception. Bridal PartyFolk music and poetry gave their ceremony a down home atmosphere Their vows were self written and a chuckle was had by all as Amy declared in her vows to Craig “I don’t know why I love you, I just do. I Love You, I love You.” The small town family wedding atmosphere was enhanced by a cupcake tower and when the wonderful bluegrass band was joined by various wedding guest singers and musicians and they even convinced Craig to join for one song. Congrats Craig & Amy! Hopefully we’ll see you at the next Austin music festival.Swing to the music

Friday, April 3, 2009

Tyler Sings

Tyler McLaughlin SingLast night we had the great pleasure of listening to Tyler McLaughlin at Cianfranni Coffee Company in Georgetown Texas. A crowd of family & friends lingered to listen to the "from the heart" vocals & acoustic guitar as he sang about personal experiences & Austin Texas. We had photographed Tyler's wedding years back, it was great to see Jennifer & the kids as well. We are looking forward to the new CD! This photo was an example of side/rim lighting. A technique of exposing for the highlights only. Post processing added contrast, darkened shadows.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Black Swan

Black SwanLast weekend Debra and I stayed at the Omni Houston Hotel. In the morning we took a walk after breakfast and noticed the 3 large red wall/fountains that are part of the Omni's pool and landscape design. Our first thought was that this might make a nice place to photograph a "modern bridal portrait" - the juxtaposed red walls and fountains could lend high-fashion style to a session. As we walked we saw in the pond adjacent to the pool 2 black swans and their 4 babies. The red in the beaks of the adult swans caught my attention as they were almost the same shade as the red wall that was the background for the pond they were swimming in. As Debra walked along the edge of the pond - the male paddled right behind her ready to defend his family. I quickly ran back to our room to grab a camera and one of our long lens. I picked the Canon 70-200 mm f/ 2.8 zoom as I knew I wanted a shallow depth of field. Debra acted as bait walking up and down the edge of the pond to get the male swans attention. Laying on my belly to have the bright green grass as forground - I waited until the male popped his head over the edge of the pond as a security check. The red wall reflected in the water giving me some additional color... this was the shot I was looking for. Post processing in Adobe Photoshop CS4 I added a vingnette around the edges of the image to make the swan and colors "pop".