A Rainy Yet Amazing Wedding

This Saturday I had a wedding – no shocker, I have one every Saturday until the end of time (okay, slight exaggeration but you get the picture). The wedding on Saturday was a little bit different than all the other ones I’ve done because instead of showing up when the bride was getting ready and then heading to the ceremony, Erica and I showed up when the bride was getting ready and then headed to do formal photos!

This meant that we got to do a first look with the bride and groom. Now, this is something that is honestly done regularly in a lot of cities, and in other areas of the country, but I haven’t had the opportunity to experience it yet, so this was definitely a treat for me, and you can see in this little action sequence how fun it was for the bride and groom!

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This was seriously tons of fun for me and seems like it was fun for the couple as well! Honestly it was very fortunate that she had this planned because just when she was ready to walk down the aisle (which was out in the open) it started pouring, and not just raining, but BUCKETS of rain fell down on everybody. The wedding got relocated into the barn and before you know it, the couple was married!

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The rest of the night was a blur of dancing and drinks (pudding shots anyone?) and lots of laughter! Erica and I both had an absolutely blast and we could definitely see not only the love the couple had for each other, but also the love that all their family and friends had for them as well – one even came from Alaska for the ceremony!

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Hailey and Eric, congratulations on your beautiful wedding day and on finding the perfect puzzle piece to fit into your life – you both truly are fun, amazing people and we were honored to be there!

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Being Inspired

So this business I’m in is a bit of a tricky one. For instance everyone always assumes that I’m giving something to my clients – I’m giving them beautiful photos and memories that will last a lifetime. This might be true but what people don’t seem to realize is that I get so much more from my clients than I could ever give back to them.

For instance I had a client who booked for the last Boudoir special. I knew this client would be very nervous, and rightfully so as the majority of people aren’t used to getting naked in front of others, but what I didn’t know was how much this session would affect me.

She came in very nervous, and even after having the fabulous Ann do her hair and makeup, she was still filled with jitters, so we started as I always do – asking her to put on the item she was the most comfortable wearing.

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As with every woman, this client had a few problem areas she was concerned with, but after she realized that I didn’t see those “problem areas” as real problems, she started to loosen up a bit. Ann left at the beginning of the shoot to go run some errands (this was the final shoot of the day) and when she did this client was still very conscientious about covering her body. About 30 minutes later Ann came back and the client was walking around in her bra and underwear and saying that she didn’t feel self-conscious at all!

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And it definitely shows in the photos – you can see the progression through the photos, how she’s nervous at the beginning and then getting really into it by the end of the session!

This woman is seriously amazing – not only is she huge into giving back to the community, and to kids, but she’s gone on a personal journey to change her life in order to transform it into what she wants it to be. In doing so she has gone through a great deal, but she recently told me that she feels like everything is coming together, and that this boudoir session has given her confidence that she hasn’t had in a very long time.

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Not only that, her husband, who loves her unconditionally, has definitely shown an appreciation for the photos!

This client, though, inspired me like crazy. The minute she left I jumped up and down (literally!) when my husband got there to help me clean up the barn saying, “SEE! THAT! That is why I do these sessions!!”. Scott, of course, used to my craziness, simply smiled and said, “yes, dear”. The hours of getting things put together, setting things up, finding a bed (seriously that was a pain in the butt) and all the work that it took to get this session together would have been worth it just to see how it affected this one client.

But I was fortunate, so fortunate, that not only did it affect her positively, it affected all the other clients the same way! They all walked away feeling sexy and having had a ton of fun. Seeing women who are truly sexy, but who look at society’s standards of beauty and see themselves lacking, come away from these sessions realizing that they are far more beautiful than they thought they were inspires me. It fills a space in my heart that I hadn’t known was empty until I started doing photography. That’s why when I get so many praises about how gorgeous the women look from these sessions I feel like I can’t accept the compliment. You see I’m not magically making these women beautiful, I’m just capturing the gorgeousness that is already there – and I get so much back from them that I feel wrong accepting a compliment!

For Those Few Boudoir Holdouts

You – yup, I’m talking to you – the woman sitting there thinking that she’d REALLY love to do a Boudoir special session with me but she’s too nervous to. Want to know a secret?

Almost every single Boudoir client I’ve had has almost been too nervous to come!

Seriously! I’ve had a woman come into the room who was so nervous she was physically shaking! By the time she was done, however, she told me she’d had an absolute blast and she loved it so much she came back for the Boudoir special again the year after!

If you’re seriously contemplating coming, but you’re just a bit nervous about it, let me hopefully calm down your fears a bit.

Firstly, you don’t have to be a size 2 in order to do Boudoir photos. In fact at least 50% of my clientele would shop in the “plus size” section of the clothing store!

Take, for instance, this client. She is not what would be considered “skinny” by today’s society. Fortunately I happen to believe that society’s beauty standards are rubbish and showed her how amazing she truly does look!

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She has an amazing body (even though I’m sure she has insecurities like we all do), stunning eyes and a fantastic smile, and you can truly see how gorgeous she is in this pic, and in the next…

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Another problem a lot of people come to me with is that they seriously want to do the shoot, but they don’t know what to wear.

The answer? Anything you want! Seriously! I have some clients wear long men’s shirts or their husband’s favorite sports team jersey, and I have others wear gorgeous lingerie. One of my favorite shots was of a client who wore black underwear and a jean jacket!

Take this client – she just had a pretty bra and underwear set and look how sensual the photo is…

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But she also had a husband who was in the military so we did a little play on that as well…

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Did you ever think knee socks, a cami and underwear could be sexy? Of course it can!

The truth is that anyone who does a Boudoir shoot is stepping outside of their comfort zone, and that’s okay – it’s good, even, to occasionally step outside of your comfort zone, but know that if you do book a Boudoir special with me that you’ll be in the best hands. Ann, the fabulous hair/makeup guru, always does an amazing job with her hair and makeup – so much so that women actually get upset that they have to mess up their hair and makeup before they get home so that their husband isn’t suspicious!

Also please know that it’s an all-woman setup! When you shoot with me it will be just me and you in the room (and anyone that you bring along with you) – no men, no other clients, just us, and trust me when I say that there is NOTHING sexy about a Boudoir shoot except the photos that come out of it! It’s a lot of laughing, a ton of giggling, and more fun than you can imagine!

I have only 3 SPOTS LEFT!! If you’re daring enough to step out of your comfort zone please contact me either at randileephotography@gmail.com, at 802.334.8567, or through private message on my Facebook page! Can’t wait until next weekend!!

Few Boudoir Slots Left!

The Boudoir Session is right around the corner! I can’t tell you how excited I am! Not only is this the first time that I’m doing a Boudoir special in July, it’s also the first time I’m going to be putting a bed in a barn!! Seriously, though, this session is sure to be AMAZING! The fabulous Ann has been remodeling the wedding barn and it looks simply stunning – perfect for some seriously sexy and steamy photos!

The bad news? I only have a few slots left.

The good news? I still have a few slots left!!

The Boudoir special is July 11th & 12th – you can find more information on this previous blog post which will show you prices, what you get, ect.

If you’re interested in booking, please contact me ASAP because I have a feeling those last few slots are going to be snapped up pretty quickly!

Below are a few examples from some previous boudoir specials to give you an idea of the type of photography to expect from this shoot!

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Aiden’s Adoption Story

This story starts as so many wonderful fairy tale stories do…

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Once upon a time I got a phone call to do family portraits at the client’s house. I arrived there to find a half naked little boy running around the yard with the mom trying to get him dressed for his first ever photography session. But unlike so many of the family shoots I do, this one was a little different. The mom informed me that she wasn’t the child’s biological mother, but, rather, was his foster mother. This meant that any photos that I took of Aiden and his family had to be kept private, which was very tricky for me because some of his photos came out absolutely adorable…

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How can you not love this adorable little monster? Always full of energy, Aiden definitely gave me a run for my money and I loved every minute of it! I was fortunate enough to photograph Aiden and his foster family a few more times over the past year and then a week ago I got an email from Aiden’s foster mother.

Off to St. Johnsbury I went to meet them at the court house, which was filled with friends and family and a very, very happy foster mother…

IMG_0138The judge came into the courtroom and asked if the foster parents were sure that they still wanted to go forward. They both emphatically nodded their heads and answered with a strong, “yes”. He brought over some paperwork for them to look over and had them sign their names, at which point everyone burst into applause…

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But we weren’t done yet! The judge then brought over more paperwork and told Aiden that he had a very big job to do. He asked Aiden if he wanted these two amazing people to be his mom and dad for forever and told him if he did he had to sign the paper…

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Aiden signed his name very carefully, with the help of his foster mother, and then watched as every person in the building (this lucky photographer included) got the chance to sign the certificate as well.

The judge then told Aiden he had one more job to do in order to make everything official, and that was to bang the gavel three times.

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And with three bangs of the gavel it was official…

Aiden has a new forever mom and dad.

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For 841 days this beautiful, sweet, silly, smart little boy was in foster care, but now he belongs to mom and dad for forever, and they belong to him.

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Congratulations Shaun, Erica and especially Aiden on the adoption!! I am so, so grateful that I was asked to photograph this amazing experience and I can’t wait to watch your family as it grows.

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Sibling Love

One of my favorite things about being a photograph in a small area is that I get to see families as they grow and change. Being called back for a repeat client is seriously one of the most amazing things for me and I always feel like having a Sally Field moment…”They like me! They really like me!” and trust me, I NEVER take for granted that I’ll be called back by previous clients. What if they didn’t like the work I did? What if they didn’t like my turn-around time or my personality? That’s why when I got the call to head back to this amazing family I was stoked!

I originally photographed their son’s senior portraits and, at the time, they said I was the first photographer to get him to smile. It wasn’t hard – I’m a big goofball and apparently he responded! Then, a year later, I was back to photograph their daughter’s senior photos and some family photos for them as well! A short time ago I got a call to head up to their house to photograph some sibling pics, as the oldest sibling was visiting from Texas in honor of the younger daughter graduating, and, of course, I said yes!

This family reminds me what I love about photography. I love capturing little moments like these:
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Now the funny thing about this for me is that I know exactly what they’re laughing about, but the casual observer, or their family and friends, has no idea what they’re laughing about and, honestly, likely don’t care! They just love seeing three siblings connecting and laughing together!

And, of course, we had to get some more “classical” portraiture as well!

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What I adore is that both of these were taken only a few minutes apart, but even though one is more journalistic, and the other is a little more classic, you can still see the love and connection between all three of them.

Sometimes I get bogged down in the daily grind of owning this type of business. Sometimes tricky clients or difficult situations get me frustrated and leaves me wondering why I’m doing what I’m doing. Then I get clients like these and suddenly the magic come back.

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I am forever grateful for clients like this because they help me to remember that it’s okay to have fun during a shoot – that fun photos and things that are a little “different” is the main reason why I still have my business!

And, of course, it helps to have so many clients that are gorgeous inside and out!

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How I Use Photoshop

There has been a lot of discussion online lately about how photoshop shouldn’t be used to edit photos. While I completely agree with the sentiment behind this, as it’s common knowledge now that not even supermodels look like supermodels, I do disagree with the thought that photoshop should never be used.

I try to use photoshop ┬áto correct issues, not perfect them. Therein, I believe, lies the difference. Perfection is not only a myth, it’s unrealistic and it gives people false expectations that can be seriously damaging to the psyche. There are, however, always things that can be corrected in a photo, from small little lighting tweaks to larger distractions that just need to be eliminated from the photo.

Take, for instance, this picture:

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This was from a recent wedding. What I saw was how the bride and groom’s hands were entwined and how I thought it was really sweet. I loved that you could see her wedding and engagement rings, I loved the contrast between the dress and the black tux pants with the grass there as well. I don’t love, however, the people walking behind them.

When you’re photographing a wedding about 90% of the day things are completely not staged and you have to do your best to capture the day as beautifully as you can. There was no way I was going to walk to the bride and groom and say, “so hey, um, can you walk back down the aisle again, the same way you did, this time without the best man and maid of honor behind you just so I can get this one shot?” Nope – especially since they went straight into a receiving line where they greeted their family and friends.

So I took the photo and vowed I wouldn’t obsess over a missed opportunity and would see what I could do in photoshop. So the task, when I started editing it, was to edit it in such a way that it captured what *I* saw when I took the photo. I had to get rid of the tux pants and the dress and the bride’s face, while very lovely, I found to be another distraction from the photo. About 30 minutes of photoshop later and I got this:

IMG_5447The tux is gone, the dress is gone, and the focus is on the entwined hands, exactly where I wanted it to be. My daughter saw me working on this and remarked that I’d been editing this specific photo for quite awhile. I explained to her that while some photos are quick edits, others take quite a bit longer to edit because I know that they’re photos that are worth taking the time to edit.

I will never use photoshop to make someone look like someone they’re not, but instead take a vow here and now:

I, Randi, vow to use Photoshop to correct, not perfect.

If only more photographers would take this same vow!