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LANEY+BRIGHAM | the day I stopped shooting at golden hour

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LANEY+BRIGHAM | the day I stopped shooting at golden hour

Photographers and golden hour are like peanut butter and jelly. It's one of the most common tips you hear - "golden hour is the best lighting for portraits" and yes. It typically is. Most portrait photographers who use natural light will begin their shoots 1-2 hours prior to sunset, some even prefer starting just 30 minutes before sunset to start their shoot the minute that bangin' GOLD, streaky, sun-flared-filled, warm, epic, sun-on-the-horizon movie scene light is alive. It is truly enchanting. For a long time, I sought this too.

But I didn't super love golden hour. My nightmares, I mean my literal nightmares that I wake up from in the night, are about shoots starting too late and the sun is gone and it's the middle of the night and I've got my camera and I'm panicking. Golden hour is a (relatively) small window of time unless you live in Iceland where they've got 3 hour sunsets half the year (goalz) and if a client is late, you can miss it. Watching the sun dip below the horizon as I get that text "15 minutes away!" has actually probably taken a few years off of my life.

But here's the story. I really misjudged sunset time for this anniversary shoot with Laney and Brigham. We arrived way too early! The sun was still pretty high in the sky and I was like craaaaaaap. To make things trickier, this was a location with no shade at all! I was squinting as I tried to check that my exposure was balanced and using my hand to shade my eyes the entire time. As I was driving home from the shoot, it still wasn't even sunset yet (typically photographers drive home in the dark!) and the thought running through my head was "OMG these might look terrible". I popped them into the computer later that night
AND
LOVED
THEM.

Cue epiphany.

SO BRIGHT. SO HAPPY. Sunset was SO far away that I wasn't stressed at all about running out of light. In fact, I felt more relaxed to take my time with each shot because I knew I could afford to take things slow. We could talk between shots for as long as we wanted. They told more stories of how they met and what was going on in their lives and I could just put the camera down and really listen rather than interrupt.

The colors were all so vibrant and lively! Laney and Brigham's skin glowed against the golden grasses and the blue sky was so vivid. These images truly reflected the brightness and happiness I strive to capture in every picture. Bright and happy is kind of my THING and this type of light, earlier than golden hour, just CLICKED with my style. 

So, photographers and golden hour may be peanut butter and jelly. But Emily and bright light might just be peanut butter and chocolate.

SEE ALSO
PHOTO TALK | how to work the ugly times when life itself has been sucked from the earth
MARY JANE+MICHAEL | 41 years and a floral wedding dress

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ABBIE+JORDAN | abandoned mansion in the forest, in a good way

ABBIE+JORDAN | abandoned mansion in the forest, in a good way

I took these anniversary pictures of Abbie and Jordan just a few hours before Minnesota's first big snow of the season rolled in (oh, I was out photographing DURING it too! WORTH IT)  but you'd never know the struggle just by looking at the pictures. Omg - why am I talking about the WEATHER when obviously there's something much cooler at hand here. AN ABANDONED MANSION IN THE FOREST.

If you are wondering where the hEcK this amazing place is, it's a private mansion owned by the company Jordan works at! It is currently vacant (it was most recently being used as office space!) and it took all the power within me not to not start our shoot joking, "Hehe - it must be haunted!" because I know my own fear tolerance level and I would convince myself it was actually a scary place. In reality, it's just really really beautiful! 

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PEYTON+JEFF | that empty misty Yellowstone morning that fed my soul
MYUNGHEE+BRIAN | for realsies a red hanbok in a golden dream forest my eyes are exploding it is so beautiful

ESTELLE+JESSE | not a single bit of green

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ESTELLE+JESSE | not a single bit of green

These pictures are some oldies from very early in my career, but for as long as they've been around they have been some of my most popular images. Why? I like to think it's because they are especially beautiful in a scenery we typically see as especially ugly. It was early January after a dry spell of no snow for a while. Every think is a little murky and a little muddy. There's not a single piece of greenery or life on a single tree and the bare branches jut out a weird angles. It is the straight up UGLY part of winter... but it doesn't really feel that way. 

SEE ALSO
LANEY+BRIGHAM | the day I stopped shooting at golden hour
PHOTO TALK | how to work the ugly times when life itself has been sucked from the earth

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