Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The blog has moved... to my NEW website!

Well friends, this transition has been in the works for the past few months, and finally today I am EXCITED to announce that my blog has officially and permanently moved to my brand new website at muiradams.com! I think you'll find this new format to be much more streamlined and easy to navigate. At the top of the page is my portfolio and information about my services and myself, and at the bottom right you'll find my "blog" posts about some of my more recent work. The top two posts are entirely new, and have not/will not be posted to this blog, so please explore the new site and let me know what you think when you get the chance. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Jhon and Megan's Wedding

Three weeks ago I posted photos from Jhon and Megan's Engagement Session, and now I'm excited to share with you the images I created from their wedding day. They were married at the picturesque Lost Whale Inn in Trinidad, California, under redwood trees, and beside a cliff overlooking the ocean. It was my first wedding at the Lost Whale Inn, and I hope there will be many more to come! Not only is it a beautiful location, but it's the perfect size for small, intimate weddings, which is exactly what Jhon and Megan's was. Anyway, it wasn't the location that made me love this wedding, it was the people who were married there, on that day. Despite the overcast and rainy weather, every moment spent with Jhon and Megan felt warm and joyous. I love observing couples on their big day; their expressions and reactions give subtle hints of the flurry of emotions, thoughts, and dreams that must be going through their head in each moment. There was a certain calm contentment about Jhon, as if he didn't have a worry in the world. He knew that in a short time he would be marrying the one woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with, and he was soaking it all in. Downstairs, Megan's mother helped her put the finishing touches on the beautiful surprise she would be to her groom as her father walked her down the aisle. The significance of those last special moments spent with her parents magnified her feelings of excited anticipation. Her face was glowing.

I am so blessed to work with the couples I do. I seriously wonder how I end up with the most kind and loving couples possible. It's always a little sad for me at the end of the wedding day, knowing that my time with them will soon be over. I delivered Jhon and Megan's photos to them last week, but luckily I'll be seeing the two of them again in just a few months, because Megan is going to be a bridesmaid in Jeff and Leshele's July wedding.

Jhon and Megan, thanks so much for inviting me along to document your day, and for making me feel so welcome at such a beautiful and intimate wedding celebration. You were a joy to work with, and my absolute favorite type of clients. Blessings on your marriage, and I look forward to seeing the two of you again in July!

Megan had her makeup done in Eureka at Glow, before heading up to Trinidad to finish getting ready.

They had some pretty happy moms. Can you tell?

The Lost Whale Inn provided all the beautiful flower arrangements and table decorations. They are truly a full-service venue.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Hair (or the lack of)

I'm just going to be real with you all; hair is not my strong suit. (Big surprise, right? :-) For the last couple years I've had the same photo at the top of my blog, and it finally struck me that I just don't look like that anymore. Well, I look pretty much the same, except that I started shaving my head about a year ago. I guess you could say I've given up on hair, but I like to think that I've embraced simplicity. The good news, folks: I can still grow facial hair that would make even Grizzly Adams proud. Not that I'm going to; I'm just saying :-)

With that out of the way, you may have noticed that I changed up the borders around my photos in my previous blog post. Well, that was just a sign of things to come. I'm currently working on giving my portfolio website a fresh design, and the blog will follow shortly after. Because of that, I decided it was time to take some new portraits that better show off my personality (and my lack of hair).

When my brother, Dillon, was in town a couple weeks ago we decided to meet-up in Old Town, Eureka, for my first ever one-on-one photo session... in front of the camera that is. I have to be honest, it felt pretty weird not being the one taking the photos. I definitely wouldn't say I'm camera shy. In fact, I tend to be a ham when someone's taking my photo, which I think was why I was a little nervous about taking "normal" photos. The funny thing is, once I looked through all the photos, it was those that I was being relaxed and having fun with that I ended up liking the most. Dillon told me to give him my biggest, most goofy smile, and he was right! Anyway, Dillon did an awesome job, and I'm so pleased with these photos. Time to update the blog and website with my new photos...

Out of curiosity, which is your favorite?

I tend to wear a hat when I'm photographing weddings. During the cold months it keeps my head warm, and when it's sunny it keeps my head from getting sunburned.

"Waaa-chaaaa!" (I don't know what that means, but I'm pretty sure that sound goes with this photo :-)

I think this one's my favorite...

I don't love my half-smile in this one, but the black door in the background is pretty cool :-)

And I just had to put this one on, because it's such a goofy laugh.

Friday, January 22, 2010

JB and Kacy's Wedding

It's been a while since I've posted a wedding on here. Unfortunately Northern California is not quite as popular a winter wedding destination as somewhere like Hawaii. Something about the constant rain and freezing-but-not-quite-snowing temperatures seems to turn off most couples thinking of getting married during this half of the year :-) Luckily for us wedding photographer types, there are still a few couples out there who are willing to be the rebels and get married when no one else is. I've actually had three winter weddings recently, and I'm excited to share the first of those with you today.

When JB and Kacy told me they were planning a New Year's Eve wedding, I was admittedly surprised. I mean, most people would agree that planning the ultimate New Year's Eve party for 250 people is a little ambitious. I once tried throwing a sushi party for 15 people in the middle of January, and that was a lot of work :-) What I didn't know at the time was that JB and Kacy are not "most people." I was excited about the idea from the beginning, but as soon as some of my other brides started bringing up that they had heard I was shooting THE New Year's Eve wedding, I started feeling like I was a celebrity wedding photographer ;-)

Though they're not really celebrities, JB and Kacy did an amazing job with their wedding, and I am definitely a fan. I can honestly say that it was the most fabulous wedding I've ever photographed; something you'd expect to see in a magazine. Not only was it beautifully decorated, but it was enormously fun. From the sportscaster wedding party introductions to the champagne fountain; and the off-the-hook dance party (Deejayed by local celebrity Pete Meyer) to the boutique photo booth; JB and Kacy's wedding really was THE New Year's Eve wedding to end the decade. Anyway, it's time I stopped talking about it, and just let you see for yourself...

I'm so glad JB and Kacy opted to see each other before the ceremony! In this case it really made the most sense for their day, because the ceremony was scheduled about an hour after sunset, and having natural light can make all the difference for making beautiful, natural, relaxed portraits. Whenever a couple decides this is the best option for them, I never take their decision lightly, and I do my best to find a private place where they can interact and share a few romantic moments together, away from the craziness of the wedding. In this case, JB waited patiently near the entrance to the Scotia Inn, while we (the photographers) captured Kacy's approach, and JB's first look, from a distance.

One thing is for sure, whether a groom sees his bride for the first time in front of 250 guests, or in the privacy of a beautiful, quiet setting, it's going to be one of the single best moments of his day. What I love about being in the private setting is that not only does the bride get to see his reaction, but that he gets to respond to what he sees and feels without any inhibition. The photos from that time are always the most candid romantic photos of the day.

I owe a big thank you to Carol Niles for assisting me as my second photographer for the day... THANKS CAROL!

I thought it might be fun to share this photo that my assistant, Levi, took of me in action. I realized recently that I always seem to be smiling while taking portraits. It's completely subconscious, but I'm convinced it helps me get more natural smilies from my couples... even if it's just because they're laughing at me :-)

It started getting dark pretty quickly after the photos with JB & Kacy, but my off camera flashes added a nice effect to the portraits. Check out the beautiful bouquets by Sarah Abernathy...

Even though JB had already seen Kacy before the ceremony, I don't think it completely hit him until he saw her walking down the aisle.

Having the ceremony in the foyer was a great idea for a rainy night! It was amazing how many guests they were able to fit in, and there were even people in the balcony, where this photo was taken from.

The amount of detail that went into creating the reception was phenomenal...

Kacy's vision for the day was meticulous, artistic, and unique, and her wedding planner, Shirley Atkins, did an exceptional job seeing every detail through...

The kids' table was complete with cupcakes, and all of the supplies necessary to properly beautify and yummify them. It was a good thing I got this photo before the reception, because the cupcakes were gone within minutes :-)

Dorris & Daughter Catering did an AMAZING job with the food, as always... but really, this time they outdid themselves...

Then there were the desserts by Stephanie Baldwin: she never ceases to amaze me with her creations... every little sugary morsel was a work of art. I probably could have spent half the night taking pictures of them (don't worry, I didn't... but it was tempting).

No New Years wedding is complete without a photo booth...

... and some fun with sparklers.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Jhon and Megan's Engagement

Sometimes I don't realize how great a photo session really went until after I've had a few weeks to process it. It's kind of a strange progression for me, actually. I'm always excited to meet with my couples and get to know them, and I love being creative and fun during the sessions. In fact, taking natural, relaxed portraits with couples is my favorite thing to do (whether during an engagement session, or on the wedding day). I always walk away feeling pumped up and excited, and I know the photos are going to turn out great, but there is always that nervous anticipation before I see the finished product. It's kind of like making a cake: you have the recipe, and you know how much of each ingredient you're going to need; you have fun making a mess while mixing everything together; and you "test" the batter, knowing full well it's going to be delicious. Sometimes you just want to stop there and eat the chocolatey-delicious batter, but then you remember that your goal was to make a cake. So, you put the cake in the oven to bake at 350 degrees, set the timer, and forget about it. In the same way, making a great photo requires mixing the right ingredients: there are the technical aspects of getting the right exposure and finding the best light; the creative aspects, like positioning the background, deciding how to compose the photo, and finding the most flattering angles; and of course the relational aspects, like drawing out the personality of the couple, and creating an environment in which they can naturally interact. The process is fun, and the batter is delicious, but it's not until you enjoy the finished cake with milk and ice cream that you realize what a great idea it was to bake a cake in the first place.

If Jhon and Megan's engagement session was a cake, I'm pretty sure it would be Funfetti. As I was cutting a few slices to share on the blog, I noticed that every photo, no matter how sweet and romantic, has its little bits of fun little sugary surprises. I think you'll agree, just from seeing these photos, that Jhon and Megan are crazy about each other. I love that their relationship is so full of fun and laughter that they decided they just couldn't live without the company of the other. In fact, Jhon and Megan were married just over a week ago in Trinidad, and they were one of the happiest couples I've seen. I documented their wedding day as well, so I'll be sharing those photos with you in just a few weeks. Anyway, I hope these photos are fun for you, and that you share the recipe with your friends...