Taylor and Alex: Joshua Tree Adventure Engagement

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When couples say yes to our crazy ideas, spectacular things happen. We met Taylor and Alex at the Georgetown Bridal Show even though they live in the Bay Area (as in California). Conversations ensued. We road tripped out to meet them at Joshua Tree for a destination adventure engagement.

Joshua Tree National Park is a dream location. It is the sort of place where a photographer can point their camera in any direction and get spectacular photos. We started in the Cholla Garden, hung out at Skull Rock for sunset and then watch moon rise in Hidden Valley.  Needless to say, we had a ton of fun on this one.

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Stephanie and Daniel: Old Town Kyle Engagement

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Central Texas is full of beautiful texture and color. Stephanie and Daniel live in Kyle, a small town that is no exception. We decided to have a little fun with the travel theme and the old railroad depot and caboose and then just enjoy the texture and nice weather.

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Joseph and Sara – Texas Hill Country Engagement

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It’s always a special privilege to work for another professional photographer. When our friend Joseph asked us to be his wedding photographer, we were honored. There is a validation that goes with that, but also special responsibility and pressure. Phase one is the engagement shoot, and it is probably my favorite part of wedding photography. The ideal engagement session isn’t fast. It is relaxed and it is fun. I think relaxed and fun sums up Joseph and Sara’s hill country engagement.

We had a blast and made a ton of fun photos around the hill country. Picking the set for this blog was no easy task. The day began at the Stargazer cabin outside Fredericksburg with clear blue skies, tall brown grass and post oaks. We strolled up and down Main St in Fredericksburg for a bit, seeing the sites and making images. We hung out and chatted over a relaxed lunch at Rothskeller while we all flipped through the photos and talked about growing up in small town Texas.

Our plans hit a slight snag at Enchanted rock… The park was closed due to a managed hunt going on, so we diverted to Inks Lake. Luckily, we had time for the change in plans and spent sunset having some fun (including a cliff diving photobomb) around Devil’s Watering Hole.

Hopefully you like the images as much as we do.

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Julie & Garrett: San Antonio Riverwalk Engagement

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Whirlwind! Julie & Garrett wanted to do an engagement shoot that showed off their rambling, adventuresome side. We met at the Japanese Tea Garden in San Antonio and palled around there for a while in the giant pagoda and near the waterfall until we found these exploding red flowers. Also had to utilize the old concrete kiln that produced the first Portland Cement west of the Mississippi.

From there a quick trip to Alamo Brewing Company and the restored railroad bridge that traverses the train tracks. A needed pint of hefeweizen and off again to the Riverwalk area of downtown.

This was the crazy part of the session. The Riverwalk was packed with tourists making it hard to walk along the historic sidewalks. The river barge operators spotted us every time and cajoled the crowd into cheering for Julie & Garrett. But finally we found the quieter parts of the old river and made the glowy sunset photos we were after.

We love this type of engagement session, where only a rough outline of the day is drawn and we spend our time chasing the light and color we seek to define the mood. Thanks to Julie & Garrett for running around town with us!

–JB

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Shannon & Ryan: Meridian Engagement

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A jeep, a faithful dog, a quiet place on the river. Shannon & Ryan’s engagement session is about as idyllic as can be imagined. We trekked up to the thriving metropolis of Meridian, Texas to photograph the happy couple. The field of tall grass with the lone tree near the center was enough to photograph on it’s own. The sun was coming in low over the horizon and Buck the Dog was happily jumping and pouncing in and out of the camera’s view. The day ended at sunset at a hunter’s retreat a few minutes down the road. We photographed until we could see no more and then talked while the fireflies lit up the lodge. Thanks to Ryan for hosting us, and to Shannon for making sure he dressed well. See yall in July!

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Andrea & Keith: County Line Equestrian Center Engagement

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We always love it when we are able to photograph a couple in a special place. In Andrea and Keith’s case, that was Keith’s family equestrian center, County Line in Pflugerville. He grew up there and it had obvious significance to him. This was one of those shoots that got better and better as it went on. We started with clear skies and had some fun with a few settings around the grounds. As the sun approached the horizon, thunderstorms started to build to the south of us, boiling up into the sunset. Things got a little surreal.

Great couple. Great location. Great weather.

We pride ourselves on making great photos under any conditions (see the Anytime Light Workshop if you want to learn how), but sometimes nature cooperates and we are able to raise the bar in a way that no amount of equipment or skill can match. This was one of those situations.

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Madison & Tom’s Engagement Session in Austin

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“Feet in the Sky, Feet on the Ground” –
When discussing Madsion’s engagement session, she mentioned that she wanted to do something a little different, music to my ears! I have had an idea of photograph where the bride to be was floating through the air while the fiance anchored her down. Madison and Tom were perfect for this because Madison is a dancer and aerialist and had the needed body control to pivot off the unseen ladder. The weather cooperated as well, giving us the soft and gloomy light of a British countryside at the rolling hills of Commons Ford Park. The couples outfits added that last great element of posh, country elegance with a three piece suit and a red dress. I felt like they could have left a formal afternoon tea to take these photographs.

Our second setup of the day was interesting as well. Smores around a fire pit, Madison’s favorite pastime. Sounds easy enough, but I knew the light would be harsh just coming from the flames. To fix the harsh light we used three LED panels gelled orange and red to smooth out the light on Tom and Madison’s face and to give a bit of edge lighting to separate them from the dark background. We cooked marshmellows and burned a few until we got what we needed.

Looking forward to their wedding at the Downton Abby-esque Chateau Bellevue in the spring of 2015.

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Ivy & Dan: Soaked Engagement Session

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Talking with Ivy on the phone she gave me the freedom to shoot whatever I wanted for part of their engagement session, a dangerous proposition for our creative juices. The theme I came back to was my Soaked Series, (view previous editions here | here | and here) I love doing them and the photos seem to come out with a different sheen to them. Our inspiration for this particular sessionn was Justin Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie”. We told Dan to be JT and he responded pretty well to the role, playing that Hollywood look with seriousness and indifference. Ivy had a hard time keeping a straight face, something about playing a female role was difficult for her after acting out so many different/masculine roles for us over the years.

Let’s walk through the photos real quick for those interested in such things. First photo to me could be a movie poster, maybe a Mr. and Mrs. Smith Sequel? The second shows Dan at his indifferent best, which is a hard look when cold water is raining down your shirt and pants. The third might be my favorite of all. A good warm/cool contrast that plays well with their non-soaked photos. The fourth shows Ivy not able to stay in character, come on Hollywood! And the last photo shows the setup before we turned the water on, looks almost normal doesn’t it? Key light as a spot with two edge lights.

We will write another blog post detailing their “normal” around Austin Engagement Portraits soon, but for now let’s get Soaked!
–JB

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Travis & Stacy: Bull Creek Engagements

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Yall are going to be seeing more of this couple as these are just the first installments of their engagement sessions. We have something amazing planned for the second session. Our goal for this engagement session was to showcase Travis & Stacy’s love of the outdoors and their love for each other. We picked Bull Creek for the way the sunlight hits the creek, and because I knew there was a rope swing to utilize.

The rope swing is the first idea we had in doing a Tarzan inspired swinging from the vines chasing his Jane photo. Travis did amazing in the multiple takes it took to get him swinging into the right space. These were the last photos of the shoot. The second to last set included a waterfall and a kiss, and if you follow our work, of course we had to have water involved somehow! We dragged the shutter to 1/15th to get the blurring of water to show motion while Travis and Stacy embraced, Stillness in Motion and all that.

Thanks Stacy and Travis for braving the scorching Austin sun to capture these moments. Looking forward to our next installment already!
–JB

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Emmy & Miguel: Austin Engagements at Hops & Grain

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Our good friends at Hops & Grain Brewery hosted this blue dressed, smile filled engagement session from the weekend. Go visit their tap room and buy their beers! We chose Hops & Grain because Emmy & Miguel are foodies who love the Austin culture of good beer and good food with a lot of quirks in between. We look forward to photographing their wedding in September that will feature more good beer at NXNW brew pub for the reception site. Notice a theme? Our favorite part of this session was teaching Miguel the finer points of dipping Emmy to produce the last shot in a busy road with the sun going down on the East Side of Austin.

–JB

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Zilker Suprise Engagement

Can you keep a secret? Nothing spreads faster in the world than the words that usually follow that phrase. Well, we kept a secret for 2 years! Joe, the groom and I, kept this photo a secret until yesterday when we delivered his bride a super 1 year anniversary present, prints from this surprise.

To capture these photos I got to live out the life of papparazzi photographer for one afternoon. Joe and I scouted an open area at Zilker Park where he would walk with Kara. I was perched up on the rock outcropping in the middle of Zilker Park with a 600mm lens. I was there about 30 minutes ahead of Joe on the day of the engagement. While waiting I don’t think I have ever shook with excitement more in any shoot I have done. I was really having a hard time holding the camera steady plus the length of the lens made every movement amplified. So I am setup, ready to shoot and spot them driving in once Joe sends a surreptitious text to let me know they were here.

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I start tracking them with my sniper lens as they start walking to the pre-determined point. While waiting for them to walk two thing have happened. One, I have a small crowd gathering around me asking what I am shooting with such a monstrous camera setup. Second, just before Kara and Joe get to the meeting point, they start walking back to the car. My mind is racing! Did Joe get Cold Feet? Is Kara onto us? Turns out Kara just wanted to get something from the car. Gah! I am shaking with anticipation at this point. Joe corrals Kara again and they start taking the long way back to the picture spot. My trigger finger has been on the shutter button for 15 minutes at least and I really want to start taking the photos..

They finally get to the spot, Joe drops to one knee and Kara is floored! My shutter starts ripping off frames and the crowd around me, now about 20 people start cheering!

We have the photos, now I have to hide in case Kara looks up to see the crowd 200 yards away. And then for the next two years I have to keep quiet! Couldn’t say anything as we took enagement photos at Zilker Park (wink, wink Joe), or while we photographed their wedding or anything. I am so happy to share them now.

Joe, you get major brownie points for planning, devising and executing this plan. What a great guy so in love with his wife!

–JB

Kelly & Brian – French Quarter Day Before

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For our destination weddings we like to schedule time when we can get the couple together on their own, whether it be the evening before or the morning after the big day. I especially like the day before because we get a chance to meet the couple and get comfortable around the camera. This always leads to better photos on the wedding day. For Kelly and Brian, this meant a photowalk/engagement session leaving from the hotel in the French Quarter and looking for a place to utilize texture, lines and colors. We had about an hour in the rehearsal schedule allotted and we made the most of it!

A looping circuit that took us to Chatres Street and a few alleyways, then around to the mirrored monument on the Mississippi, and finishing on the banks with the sparkling bridge in the background. Thanks to Andrew for manning the light on the stick.

More from the wedding to come soon

Kara & Joe – Engaged in Austin

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I know what you are thinking, haven’t we seen this couples engagement photos. Yes and No, we have posted the first part when they went underwater for me. These are the “official” versions sure to please the happy couple and their families.

Our general plan was to take a mini-tour of Austin to show off the city for their families which both live out of state. We started at Lou Neff Point on the trail to get some skyline in our photos. And then spun around to photograph in Zilker Park proper which has special meaning because that is where Joe proposed to Kara!

Skyline and Springs, just watch out for attacking Geese!

We proceeded to cruise around town looking for a more “urban” scene trying to capture a different feel. We saw this alleyway and just had to shoot there. Joe is saying that a fight scene in Machete happened here and that somehow led to a discussion on Jessica Alba’s acting skills. Kara’s sister Laura helped me with a snooted light on a stick to really highlight the romance in the alley.

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We finished off with a little time spent in front of the Capitol. We only had to wait a few minutes before the lights came on to shine onto the building and a perfect gust of wind gives us the Superman-tie curl that you see below. Also, Kara has some calves, just saying. I guess that is what happens when you train as hard as this couple does. You look awesome all the time!

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Stay tuned, we have a special side project from this shoot that I think yall will dig.

–JB

Kevin & Alyssa – Cold Comal, Warm Hearts

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Way number one to break the ice on an engagement shoot? Fall down the moss covered stairs of the Comal River while warning of the impending danger. Twice. Yep, even before our intrepid couple got in the water, yours truly had fallen into the water twice. Everything was downhill from there. ba dah bing!

Noel and Denise – Save The Date Video

From our not-engagement shoot from a few weeks ago with Noel and Denise. I knew in my head that I wanted to surprise the couple with a little something different. I have been experimenting more and more in the Still+Video hybrid shoots. For this shoot, I knew that I wouldn’t have access to my video function (that camera was elsewhere), but I did have access to my high speed burst mode 🙂

We went with a cinema theme because the happy couple loves movies! There will also be an appearance of the PropBooth at the Reception.

AzulOx Photography will be covering this wedding on 12/11/10.

Noel and Denise – Save The Date from Josh Baker on Vimeo.

Noel and Denise, I am so excited for you guys!

To get your super-awesome Engagements-Save The-Date video, please contact Josh at josh@azulox.com