Friday, May 26, 2017

Casa Ybel Wedidng - Sanibel Island Photographer

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Pinterest - Sanibel Island Photographer

After about a 5 year hiatus, I've updated our pinterst page with several recent weddings. Since I do photograph so many Sanibel and Captiva Island weddings, I often have clients asking me for pictures of past weddings that I've done. From the tent at Casa Ybel to the T-dock at dusk at South Seas Resort, there are so many island wedding stops that I know like the back of my hand. And anyone that knows me knows I LOOOOOVE to share wedding stories and I love to share images and ideas from past weddings with my clients. So after emailing a dozen pictures to a client that is planning her wedding for Sanibel Island, she said, why don't you just put them all on Pinterest. So I did. And I also noticed that since it has been so long since I had logged into my account that there were all sorts of great wedding memories from almost a decade ago! Some things were trends that have become dated and others were timeless but every single one was such a treat to look at again and reminisce about some of the incredible wedding moments I have had the pleasure of photographing.

Stop by my Pinterst page to see what we've added to our Sanibel and Captiva wedding boards and my new Iowa wedding board!

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Turtle Bay Resort Wedding - Destination Wedding Photographer


I'm a bit of an expert on island weddings. Having photographed hundreds of weddings on Sanibel and Captiva Island and traveled to photograph many Caribbean weddings (and got married myself in the Bahamas), when it comes to destination weddings there is definitely a few more things to consider. I know from my own experience finding the perfect wedding venue can be a challenge. There is so much to consider from transportation to accessibility of wedding professionals. So when I came across this gem of a destination I knew I would have to share. Perhaps one of the most celebrated destination locations, the Hawaiian Islands, are definitely top notch when it comes to everything wedding. I visited the islands in March and I was particularly impressed with one amazing wedding location. Turtle Bay Resort, on Oahu was simple perfection. The location is magical. Roaring waves in one direction and a calm inlet in the other. It's a bucket list kind of vacation spot. It's charm lends itself well to weddings too. Turtle Bay has it's very own chapel right on site. This magnificent Hawaii ceremony spot sits high above the water and looks down to amazing views. It's just steps away from the restaurants and lively pool area, however I was impressed with how quiet and peaceful the location was. It is a very private setting for a ceremony, just tucked a few steps away from the resort. The sprawling lawn makes for a perfect outdoor reception area and the spots for wedding pictures are endless. From the rock lined beaches to the many little corners of the resorts unique layout, as a wedding photographer, I could see endless possibilities of places to capture some amazing Hawaiian wedding pictures! The North Shore of Oahu has a beautiful coast line. It is a stunning atmosphere to bring friends and family to and a great spot for a destination wedding. I have seen hundreds of venues and some incredible locations and this one is definitely among the top few I've seen anywhere. Turtle Bay Resort is gorgeous, the service is fabulous and with a private wedding chapel on sight is seriously is a gem!

If you are considering a Hawaii vacation or looking for the perfect wedding destination check them out!
Turtle Bay Resort
57-091 Kamehameha Highway
Kahuku, HI 96731
808-293-6000

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Hawaii Family Portrait - Beach Photographer

A huge coincidence and the best of luck led to this wonderful Hawaii family portrait.

kauai family portrait photography
This is the Winterholler family. Chelsea Winterholler and I met when her family moved to my neighborhood and we became next door neighbors. We instantly hit it off and quickly realized we were both professional photographers. Chelsea, along with her incredibly charming crew (three adorable little guys Dax, Barrett and Meyers and her super husband Cody) were pretty much always a ton of fun to be around. And anyone who knows Chelsea knows you will never meet another person as positive, upbeat and happy as she is. Their family made for the best of neighbors and friends. Unfortunately (for me) Chelsea was only my neighbor for less than a year when her and her family relocated to Montana. Our long distance BFF status has continued and she is still my go-to person to talk everything photography and weddings. 

And then after not seeing each other for over a year, comes the best coincidence ever. At some point a couple of months back Chelsea and I were texting about something random when we pieced together that we would both be on vacation in Hawaii, on the same island, at the same time! Literally just weeks before we were going! What are the chances?! I was there to attend the Hi On Life photography conference in Honolulu, but my husband and I decided to stop in Kauai first just for a little pre-conference vacation. Chelsea and her family had coincidentally planned their vacation at the same place and time! So of course when two photographers randomly meet, many pictures were taken! I've shared a few of my favorites of this very special family on the amazing island of Kauai!

And be sure to stop by Chelsea's photography website and check out her beautiful work! She's the best photographer in Montana if you ask me!!! www.winterhollerphotography.com


chelsea winterholler kauai family portrait

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

How to Create The Best Wedding Day Photo List


bride and groom with flower girl in front of brick wall des moines

Happy Friday! Thought I would end the day with a little Friday wedding tip! I'm going to share some input on how to make a great "must have" photo list for your photographer. I've been photographing weddings for well over a decade now and I've seen lists that work really well and I've seen lists that have made my team feel like we are on a photo scavenger hunt. Making an effective list is important so that you are guaranteed to get the most out of your wedding day pictures. With that, I have compiled a list of my thoughts on what makes the best wedding day photo list.

1. Hire a photographer you trust will capture the obvious. If you do that, you don't need to put things on the list like: Bride and groom together. Dad walking bride down the isle. The Cake. The first dance. If you hand your photographer a four page list that includes obvious items they are left to sift through it to find the things that aren't obvious and possibly even apt to miss something if it is mixed in with a large list of unnecessary items.

2. Keep it simple. If you have creative ideas that you would like to see done, that is something to have a discussion about with your photographer before the wedding day and see how that fits with the photographers creativity and vision. I'm always happy to do that quirky shot that my client always wanted, on a bicycle or running on the beach. However a list that includes 20 "creative suggestions" doesn't leave much room for the photographer to offer their expertise to your day.

3. There is a right way and a wrong way to make a family photo list. If you are that person (like me) who has a huge family that includes mom's side and dad's side and the step family and 50 cousins and the neighbors who are like family, you'll want to list all of that out for your photographer so that you don't have to worry about one of those important groups being missed (and you don't have to think about it at the wedding!). However, there is definitely a way to make that list simple and easy for your photographer to understand. Start by identifying each group by who they are "The Neighbors", "The Entire Smith Family","The Smith Cousins" etc. Then list the approximate quantity of people in the group. It doesn't need to be an exact count but I have had clients say "it's a large group" meaning 17 people while other have said "it's a large group" meaning 250 people. As for the wrong way to make a list, writing out everyone's first name is probably the most difficult for you, but it's also more challenging for the photographer. I always say I'll know within a few minutes who your grandparents are, but I may leave at the end of the night and still not know who Joan and Bob are. So as an addition if you choose to add that information that is fine, however just knowing that we will be gathering the Smith Cousins is all the information that I need to get that group together quickly.

4. Put your list in a logical order. Try to put your family list in order from the largest group of people to the smallest group in each family. I always go through the list myself before the wedding day and also make sure that they are in the most efficient order, however it's definitely helpful when my client has already put a little thought into that.

5. Give your list to your photographer before the wedding day. This is helpful if there are any concerns with the timeline the photographer can address that ahead of time.


So there's my list of tips for making a list! It's important to note that about half of my clients don't provide a list at all. I always try to talk with my clients and chat about what pictures we are getting and if there isn't a complex extended family or unusual events throughout the day, often a list isn't even necessary. However when it is, it is important to make a strong must have photo list so that your photographer is able to best utilize their time. If your photographer is wasting time organizing a complex list or trying to find list of people that are poorly identified, that is time that they could have spent capturing more creative moments of your day.

le mars wedding party photograph

le mars bar stop at wedding

vineyard wedding family photo

A few group pictures that we've captured lately! Salisbury House in Des Moines (a personal favorite for weddings!), The vineyard at Calico Skies Winery (another great location!). A crazy bar stop where we were able to get some fun and casual friend pictures. As well as a stop in Le Mars for wedding day photographs.

salisbury house des moines wedding party



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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Engagement Pictures - Sioux City Photographer

romantic engagment pictures in sioux city iowa

 How adorable can two people be?! Lindsey and Adam pretty much max out at sweet, kind, adorable and so obviously in love! My lovely assistant photographer (and February Impressions bride) Katie, and I met up with the couple at Stone Park in Sioux City to capture a few moments from their engagement. The couple is planning their Iowa wedding for this fall and we were just waiting for some nice May weather to capture their pictures. Lindsey is a graduate student at the University of South Dakota and had a short break from school as well, so we scheduled their pictures just before her classes resumed. We made a fun game plan for pictures, starting at Stone Park and then heading to downtown Sioux City at dusk where we got some beautiful late day light for their pictures. Perfect weather, great locations and of course this super adorable couple made this photographers night!!! Loved capturing their engagement pictures and very much looking forward to their fall wedding!


sweet engagment picture sioux city photographercouple on bridge for engagment pictures in sioux city


romantic engagement in sioux city streetengagement picture with ivy sioux city

engagement picture with brick sioux city

black and white of couple walking in field in sioux city

engagment ring sioux city
If you are looking for a photographer for your engagement pictures contact Impressions Photography (239) 437-1838 or check out our website for more information www.impress-photo.com. Discounted rates available for clients also reserving their wedding with Impressions Photography.
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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Sanibel Haroubr Marriott Resort Wedding - Sanibel Island Photographer

wedding at sanibel harbour marriott
Chelsea and Nathan were married at the Sanibel Harbour Marriott

bride at sanibel harbour marriott

groomsmen at sanibel harbour marriott

champagne toast at sanibel wedding
A champagne toast right after their beach wedding ceremony

sanibel harbour marriott weddingsanibel harbour marriott wedding

sanibel harbour marriott wedding


sanibel harbour marriott wedding
view from sanibel harbour marriott
Stunning views from the Sanibel Harbour Marriott

sunset from sanibel harbour marriott wedding
Sunset from their Island Room reception

steve farst wedding at sanibel harbour
Steve Farst playing for cocktail hour on the terrace of the Island Room
dock at wedding sanibel harbour marriott


island room at sanibel harbour marriott
The Island Room at Sanibel Harbour during their wedding reception (their first dance was timed perfectly with sunset!)

The first wedding I ever photographed at the Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort was well over a decade ago. Since then I've photographed dozens of weddings and engagements at this special wedding venue. One thing I absolutely love about the Sanibel Harbour property is that there is such a variety of wedding picture locations without having to leave the resort. From the quaint beach to the docks and of course the stunning architecture (as well as a few hidden nooks that I love!), there are endless opportunities for great photography backdrops. It also offers some very elegant wedding reception areas. The Island Room is one of the most beautiful banquet rooms in Southwest Florida. The panoramic views of Sanibel and Pine Island are amazing. There is a perfect view of the sunset and an occasional dolphin from the iconic Island Room, something very few wedding venues have to offer. As a Florida wedding photographer I've been a part of hundreds of destination weddings at some amazing venues and Sanibel Harbour Marriott is definitely one of the finest. If you are searching for the best destination wedding venue, be sure and check it out!!












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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

South Seas Resort Wedding - Captiva Island Photographer

Captiva Island wedding at sunset
Sunset Beach at South Seas Resort

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Sunday, May 7, 2017

Sanibel Island Wedding - The Dunes Photographer

sanibel island wedding pink bridesmaids


Happy anniversary to Brittney and James! Exactly one year ago we were celebrating their wedding day on Sanibel Island. Their wedding ceremony and reception was held at The Dunes Country Club. The setting is a little different than other Sanibel Island wedding locations because The Dunes is not right on the water. However, the nice thing about Sanibel is that nothing is more than a 5 minute drive to the beach. We began their day with some pictures of just the bridesmaids right on the water in front of Brittney's hotel, The Sanibel Inn. Which is a quick ride to the Dunes. Following a beautiful ceremony right on the golf course, Brittney and James hopped in the car with us and we went to the closest beach spot just down the road from the country club. There we were able to capture some quintessential Sanibel Island Beach portraits of the couple with the water as their background. Afterwards we returned to a fun party under the pavilion. Their guests definitely enjoyed the sunset over the golf course and a fun night of dancing under the open air poolside reception venue.

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Friday, May 5, 2017

Travel Destinations - Captiva Island Photographer

south seas resort captiva wedding on the beach

south seas resort bride and groom on the t-dock
 For those of you that follow me on Twitter you have probably seen that I've been gone more over the past two months than home. I actually counted that the most I spent in one location from the end of February until May 1st was four nights! And anyone that knows me knows, I love to travel, I love to be on the go, and I have a really hard time saying "no" when an adventure presents itself! For the past couple months that has meant weddings in Iowa and Florida, a photography conference in Hawaii, a romantic weekend with my husband in San Francisco, a conference with The Knot and some of my favorite wedding people in Chicago, a trip to see my best friend in Los Angeles, a birthday weekend for my niece at Disney World, the UNICEF student summit and annual convention in Washington D.C. and one fun night in Omaha, Nebraska!

With that, I have tons of posts in mind that I would love to share with all of the amazing shoots I've had in all of the different locations I've been to. I am definitely excited to be back at my desk for a few weeks and getting together previews from several amazing weddings and also a few adventures that my camera was in tow for. So be sure and check back, I have some beautiful weddings from Sanibel and also Iowa and I took more pictures than I can count in Hawaii.

And just for a little something pretty, here is what is up on my screen today! A few images from a gorgeous South Seas Resort wedding on Captiva Island. The beach there is a dream for weddings and if you've ever been you'll also recognize the T-dock, an iconic stop for all South Seas wedding photographs. Enjoy!!!
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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

South Seas Resort Wedding - Captiva Island Photographer

Captiva Island, South Seas Resort tent wedding


I'm a huge fan of tent weddings and Captiva Island is home to some of the most amazing events hosted under a tent. When Helene and Mike tied the knot at South Seas Resort on Captiva Island they got the help of Kelly McWilliams Events to help bring their vision to life. A tented wedding on the golf course (and just steps from the beach) was where they celebrated after their beach ceremony. There the couple and all of their guests enjoyed the lush tropical setting while being tucked under an elegantly draped tent.

Both Sanibel and Captiva island have hosted many tent weddings in they years that I've been a part of island weddings. Casa Ybel on Sanibel Island is another popular location for capturing the Old Florida charm without moving into a banquet room.

I've included a few more images from Mike and Helene's elegant island wedding at South Seas Resort.



South Seas, Captiva Island Florida tented wedding with uplighting
south seas resort, captiva island wedding, tent
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Ritz Carlton Wedding - Naples Photographer


bridal portrait ritz carlton naples wedding photographer



I've been the lucky photographer to capture tons of amazing Naples, Florida destination weddings, so I've seen so many beautiful things I couldn't even count. One thing I do like a lot about the Ritz Carlton Beach Resort in Naples is that it has a beautiful combination of Ritz Carlton elegance in the architecture and the landscape, but also the most pristine stretch of natural beach you can find.  This particular night we watched the sunset and took pictures until just after dusk, which gave us the unique honor of watching sea turtles that had just hatched making their way to the water. It was a magical way to end an evening of photographs on the beach.

I've included a few other special moments from the day including the ceremony location in the courtyard just off the hotel lobby. The beautiful tropical flowers framed their wedding ceremony while guests surrounded the fountain to look on. I'm never disappointed when I find myself at the Ritz Carlton. So much amazing in one place, it's definitely worth a stop if you are considering a Florida destination wedding.


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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

First Dance Photograph Tips - Destination Wedding Photographer

I have to admit, I have a favorite moment when it comes to wedding receptions. The first dance is pretty much the point where if you look closely I'm smiling from ear to ear behind my camera. I try not to be goofy about it, but really who can help but to smile as they witness such a tender, sometimes fun or playful and often very romantic moment between a bride and groom! Typically as I look around the room at all of the wedding guests, they also have grins on their face as they look on as the couple share their first special dance as husband and wife.

As the photographer tasked with the job of capturing that special dance, I do have a few suggestions for couples to get the most out of their first dance photographs. First, tell your photographer if you have a choreographed dance planned. I always say it's great to have a few fun surprises planned for your guests, but never for your photographer! And that definitely goes for the first dance. Knowing what to expect, your photographer will be able to get the best perspective of the two of you on the dance floor and be prepared for capturing it. Second, ignore the photographer when you are on the dance floor! Be in the moment and enjoy yourself as if nobody else is in the room. Your undivided attention for your new spouse will show in the images. And my last bit of first dance advice is to work with a good DJ and select a song that is fun and easy to dance to. Some special songs might not translate into a special dance so well, be sure to work with a great wedding team and have a song that is comfortable for the two of you to dance to and enjoy.





The very top image, La Playa Resort in Naples, Florida was the setting. The couple was in front of a few hundred guests in the ballroom but you would never know! They really enjoyed every moment of the dance! The second image is at the Marina Inn in South Sioux City, Nebraska. They had a lot of fun with an upbeat tempo and a fun evening event. The lower two images are both from South Seas Resort on Captiva Island in Florida. Both couples had a dance planned out that was easily captured because we knew exactly what to expect. The first was outside on the Kings Crown Lawn, under the cafe lights and palm trees. The next was inside the Kings Crown Ballroom.


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Engagement Photography - Sioux City Photographer


Spring is finally here and that means it's engagement portrait season! I am loving all of the amazing flowers and blooming trees that I keep running across. It really is a photographers dream to have so much natural beauty to work with! In Iowa I like to encourage all of my couples to wait until late April or May to capture their pictures. I found this year in Sioux City it wasn't until the last week in April that we really got enough of the green grass, leaves on the tress and of course the amazing flowers to make for a good backdrop. Pictured above is Kayla and Cody among some cherry blossoms downtown. I love that this has a feel of an orchard when it's actually just a few tress alongside a busy street in Sioux City! We found several spots just like this one that really said spring is here and made their romantic engagement pictures unique and special!

This is a great time of year, if you are thinking about getting engagement pictures definitely let me know! I still have a few spots open for May and June and would love to talk about how to make your engagement (and wedding too!) extra special!


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