The Youngrens Two Day Workshop

Last week I had the incredible opportunity to attend a two day workshop put on by the lovely Jeff and Erin Youngren. I’m still extremely excited about the whole thing… When I first heard about it, I had some scheduling issues and other conflicts that wouldn’t allow me to go. Not gonna lie, I was pretty bummed because I knew this workshop was going to be amazing. Then literally a few days before, things changed for the better, and I was able to attend. Let’s just say I was pretty stoked!!

So, did it live up to my expectations? Absolutely and positively YES. If you are a wedding photographer, seriously consider going to this workshop. No matter what stage you are at in your business, we can all learn how to better serve our couples. And that was only smidgen of what I took away. I don’t want to spoil anything, but seriously, you want to go to this workshop. If for nothing else, they certainly feed you well!! (Jeff even made a gluten-free breakfast casserole for me! This made for one happy Carissa.) Honestly though, it was a fantastic experience and I felt so blessed to attend. I walked away with a ton of insight, a plethora of knowledge, and (possibly best of all) wonderful new friends. Oh, and a full stomach ;)

And because every post is better with pictures, here are some of the wonderful couple who modeled for us, Brittani and Tre! Oh yes, they were fab.

And did I mention adorable? Yeah. UH-dorable.

Jeff and Erin and Amy (our lovely host!) doin’ their thang.

LOVE the right image… that is so Jeff and Erin. They are seriously wonderful people.

Oh Brittani and Tre… your love is so sweet.

This = hot.


Thanks to Brittani and Tre for giving up their morning and being awesome models for us!

Jeff and Erin, I just want to say thank you SOOO much for everything you did. You poured your hearts and your energy into the workshop, and I am so grateful for your generosity, kindness, and genuine interest in my business. I’m blessed to now call you my friends :) THANK YOU!!!!!!

amy lashelle - June 30, 2012 - 1:29 pm

gorgeous!! I love the black & white ones especially :)

Wedding Wednesday: The Importance of a Timeline

As you plan your wedding day timeline, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration. When you want your ceremony to start, how early you need to begin hair and make-up, time for family photos, when dinner is going to be served, how long you want the reception to last and making sure your guests have an awesome time… You want to make it perfect, for everything to flow smoothly. Not to mention you also want fabulous photos. So how can you make sure your timeline is just right? The answer is really quite simple: work with your photographer (and planner if you have one) when you create your timeline. 

Your photographer has the same goal as you. We want you to have a lovely schedule and stellar photos. And since we have done this a few times before, we know what works, and what doesn’t! Which is why it is so important to work closely with or at least take into consideration what your photographer has to say about your timeline.

For my own wedding, I created the timeline by myself and thought I was good to go. Looking back, it all worked out just fine, but there are definitely a few things I would have changed. It took me longer to get ready than I had anticipated, which cut into our First Look photos, and I hadn’t allotted time for any more photos of us the rest of the day. That might not be an issue for every bride, but getting plenty of pictures of Jake and I was a priority for me, and I didn’t give my photographer enough time to get all the photos I wanted. We also missed basically all of our cocktail hour because of family pictures. (I definitely made it a point to grab a few coconut shrimp in between families, though!) That being said, I really did have an amazing day and beautiful pictures to show for it, but if I had worked more closely with my photographer, it could have been that much better.

So, here a few things to take into account when making your timeline! Do you want a lot of photos of the two of you? Definitely consider doing a First Look!! When you do a First Look, not only can you get plenty of pictures together, but it will also give you more time  to celebrate with your guests after the ceremony! You can get the majority of them done before all your guests arrive, and then you can sneak off for just 15-20 minutes during sunset to get a few more in prime light, without the pressure of squeezing in a ton of photos in a short amount of time. I view what I do as an art, and when I don’t have the pressure of hurrying and I can really evaluate the light and location, it is so much easier to let my creativity out and make beautiful imagery. Now, don’t get me wrong, if there is a time crunch, I can make (and have made) it work! But I think any artist will agree that when we aren’t rushed we can create better work. (In case you’ve never a heard a First Look, it’s when the bride and groom see each other privately before the ceremony and then take portraits. I’ll be doing another Wedding Wednesday post soon in more detail about it and how much I LOVE when couples choose to do this!)

Another thing to think about… there is real time, and then there is “wedding time.” Wedding time is slower than real time. Meaning, everything always takes longer than you think it will! I have yet to shoot a wedding that stayed on track with the timeline in every aspect. The thing is, this is NORMAL. Which is why I always suggest having ample amounts of cushion time in your schedule! You can never give yourself too much time for photos. (Ok, maybe I shouldn’t say never… but, I have yet to see too much time. Ha.) The most common time when things fall behind is the beginning of the day, getting ready. (I am proof of this!) Giving yourself an extra thirty minutes for that portion of the day is a great thing to do. After all, if you do end up finishing early, you have that much more time to enjoy being in your dress and soaking in the moment :)

The last thing to think about is getting detail shots. I mention detail shots because it’s not something a bride normally remembers when it comes to planning on the timeline. And it’s not something you necessarily should! It’s your photographer’s job to know when to get the detail shots. But you spend so much time planning out all the pretty things you want people to see and how you are personalizing your wedding, we do need a few minutes to photograph all of it before any of your guests arrive! If you are having both the ceremony and the reception at the same venue and everything is set up, normally we can grab those shots before the ceremony starts, while you are freshening up and hiding from guests. If they are in different places, though, or if things can’t be set up early enough, ideally we love getting about 10 minutes (any longer than that is a sweet bonus!) before guests arrive at the reception site to photograph all of your stunning details. Just something to keep in mind :)

To give you an idea, here is a sample of what a great timeline can look like. Obviously your timeline is totally dependent on ceremony and reception times, different venues, time of year, etc., and this is by no means a schedule that you should feel the need to follow to a T. It’s simply an example of a timeline for summer wedding (sunset times) that I have found usually works beautifully and gives me enough time to get fabulous photos!

  • 12:30- Bride begins hair and make up
  • 2:45- Bride gets dressed and ready for First Look
  • 3:00- First Look
  • 4:00- Bridal party photos
  • 4:30- Finish photos, bride hides from guests and freshens up, photographer gets detail photos
  • 5:00- Ceremony
  • 5:30-6:30- Cocktail hour, and family photos taken immediately following ceremony
  • 6:30- Guests seated for dinner
  • 6:35- Grand entrance, blessing of food, begin dinner
  • 7:00- Toasts
  • 7:30- Sneak bride and groom away for sunset photos while guests finish dinner
  • 7:45- Cake cutting, first dance, Father/Daughter and Mother/Son dance
  • 8:00- Reception and dancing
  • 10:30- Grand exit


Again, that is not to say that you need to make this your exact wedding timeline, it’s just something to refer to when thinking about how much time you need for your day.

Well, this post got entirely too long. Apparently I ramble when I talk AND when I type… Wow. But hopefully it will be helpful to some of you planning your perfect wedding day :) Happy Wednesday!



Mountain, Beach, and Bowling Engagements: Marissa + Zac (Part 2)

For the next part of their engagements, Zac and Marissa wanted to go to the place where it all began… Fat Cats! And I was more than happy to oblige. It was SO fun bowling with these guys! Plus, Zac helped me work on my bowling game a bit, and, I don’t mean to brag or anything, buuut I totally beat him. Haha. Enjoy the rest of Marissa and Zac’s adorable photos!

Soooo, Marissa and Zac might hate me for posting these next two, but they were too funny not to share ;) 

After we finished up at the bowling alley, we made our way to the Great Salt Lake to end the evening. 

LOVED Marissa’s beach hat.

Marissa, you are SO gorgeous.

This would be the part when the sky got crazy amazing and became one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen. 

And I’m so glad I had this lovely couple to photograph in it!

This seems like a good one to end on…

 Zac and Missy, thank you for taking me on one of the most fun engagements sessions I’ve ever done! You guys are so wonderful. I can’t WAIT for your wedding in August :)

Emily - July 1, 2012 - 12:59 am

What a fun shoot that must have been! Love the photos!

Mountain, Beach and Bowling Engagements: Marissa + Zac (Part 1)

They met over the sound of balls rolling, pins flying, music, laughter, and greasy bowling food. Zac had simply been expecting a fun evening at a bowling alley with friends, but when he saw Marissa, sparks flew. He made it a point to talk to her, and they flirted their way through a few games. By the time the last ball was thrown, they were both pretty smitten. And like a scene right out of your favorite chick flick, as they went their separate ways that night, they both paused to look back at each other. Smiling to herself, Marissa knew she had just met someone special.

But it almost ended there. Almost.

Zac didn’t get Marissa’s number. When a few days had passed, though, Marissa realized she couldn’t stop thinking about him, and she decided to take things into her own hands. She went through a few friends until she finally got his number. And when Zac saw a message from the cute girl at the bowling alley, some might say that was the end for him. Or rather, the beginning. The beginning of the rest of their lives. Together.

These guys came up to Park City earrrrrly in the morning to start off their engagements. Despite what it looks like in these pictures, it was actually quite cold to begin! But they totally rocked it out, as you can see :) 


Zac is hilarious. I’m pretty sure I was laughing as hard as Marissa in this shot…

Seriously guys?! You are so beautiful together. 

SO cute.

These next ones. Love ‘em all.

Stay tuned for an epic Part 2 post tomorrow!


Kelly - June 25, 2012 - 11:27 am

GORGEOUS light!!! :) These are all really beautiful.

Mike Holtkamp - June 25, 2012 - 3:30 pm

Damn,that Zac sure is a handsome guy. He obviously takes after his good looking Dad!

Debra Joyce-Gomez - June 25, 2012 - 7:27 pm

Having a man in your life who can make you laugh, is SO important. I cannot wait to meet Zach and see Missy, since it has been so long. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these pictures. <3

Couch Days and Encouragement

Last night as Jake and I exhaustedly crawled into bed, he looked over at me and said, “We need a couch day.” I nodded vigorously in agreement.

Yeah, you know what a couch day is. A day where all you do is, well, nothing. Except sit on the couch. Maybe read a little and watch some TV. Bathroom and food breaks are also acceptable. Couch days are the perfect way to re-energize and take a break from responsibilities. At least, they are for this girl.

Unfortunately, the to-do list says a couch day is not allowed. Fortunately, I’m going to stick it to the man and have one anyways. Oh yes. I’m even going to put it on the calendar. So TAKE THAT.

(I really need a couch day.)

Anyways. Here are a few encouraging things I found this week, and I thought I’d share!

Last but not least, a little video on the creative process called “Ira Glass on Storytelling“ (from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo). I first saw this in college, but the Youngrens played it a few days ago at their workshop (more on that next week!), and it’s an excellent reminder that no one starts at the top, and we all have to take our own journey to get where we’re going. Not to mention the typography is pretty great…


Happy Weekend everyone : )

P.S. I want to say an extremely heartfelt thank you to those of you who reached out and sent their support for my mom. I was honestly blown away by the amount of messages, comments, and texts from all you kind and wonderful people. I appreciate every single sweet word. Thank you!!

Samantha - June 24, 2012 - 2:43 pm

Love you so much! We’re praying for all of you.