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arizona

Melissa + Dan | Phoenix Wedding Preview

This was the 2nd trip back to Arizona in about 3 weeks for weddings – and just like my last one there (Brenda + Donovan) – this wedding was Awesome.

Ridiculously Awesome.

I’ve known Melissa since she was… twelve – and it was really, really great to see all of her family and basically hangout with everyone – except with the pressure to not f*ck up the wedding photographs. I mean sure – since it’s my job that pressure isalwaysthere but you know – it’s different when it’s your friends or family!

Thankfully – Melissa and Dan, and the Arizona sky made everything ridiculously easy.

Photography: LeahAndMark & Co.

Additional Photography: TriceraTopz

Venue: Whispering Tree Ranch

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Photography: LeahAndMark & Co.

Additional Photography: TriceraTopz

Venue: Whispering Tree Ranch

 

Arizona. Wedding. Photography. Phoenix. Az. LeahAndMark & Co. Whisper Tree Ranch.

Nicci + Greg | Phoenix Wedding Preview by LeahAndMark

Atlanta Photographer | LeahAndMark & Co. | Phoenix Weddings | Desert

We Make Amazing Wedding Photos for You

I met Nicci a loooooooooooooooooooong time ago. We worked at Starbucks together for a while back in… 2003? Who knows. Fortunately, the miracle of the internets let us keep in touch randomly and she remembered that I now photograph weddings. It was a big compliment and an honor that she and Greg flew me out from Atlanta back to Phoenix for their wedding.

Over the past six years I’ve been lucky to have attended so many ceremonies. It’s an amazing thing I get to do for a living.

Thank you Nicci & Greg.

 

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All photography by LeahAndMark & Co.

Venue: Pioneer Living History Village & Museum

 

Nicole + Shane | Arizona Wedding Preview

Arizona Wedding | Photographer | LeahAndMark.com | Phoenix | Star Wars

– Posted by Mark

Once – a long time ago – I was in a production of Footloose. (See photos below)

That’s where I met Nicole (she’s the one on my left in the photo above.)

Amazingly… that production of Footloose was about… 10 years ago – and then last week – we flew back to Arizona to photograph Nicole’s wedding! A lot has changed – but Nicole is still Full. Of. Awesome.

So it was really great to meet her now-husband, Shane – who amazingly, is also pretty Full. Of. Awesome. himself.

Of course – the day was pretty crazy and exciting (as it should be!) and one of the best moments is when Nicole grabbed the mic from the DJ near the end the reception – and thanked nearly every single person in the room – with everyone watching and listening and laughing. You’ll notice in these photos that this wedding was definitely not your average plain vanilla wedding. Star Wars figures as both the center pieces AND theboutonnires! Parasols! Converse sneakers worn by the entire wedding party! Kung Fu Moves (well – I provided those) and a whole side of the family that traveled in from Chattanooga, Tennessee (2 hours from Atlanta!)

Nicole & Shane – in case you need a little reminding, You. Are. Awesome.

Thank you.

Arizona Wedding | Photographer | LeahAndMark.com | Phoenix | Star Wars































Photography | Weddings by LeahAndMark.com
Make up | Bare Escentuals Scottsdale Fashion Square
Venue | Inn Place Hotel
Floral Design | Camelback Florists
Hair Styling | Toni & Guy

Weekend Shooting Spree

That’s my friend Amy. Please note that she is holding coffee, wearing one of my gear bags, and wearing the Intern orange badge. I cannot thank her enough for helping me out all weekend.

I landed in Phoenix, Az. last Friday and basically started shooting the moment the plane touched down. I went to high school in Phoenix (Tolleson!) and my parents still live here so it’s always nice to visit them – of course, if I can knock out a few portrait sessions on the same trip – that’s even better.

Now – Everything I do is probably part of some kind of experiment I’m running – some new idea I’m testing out – and that’s a good thing for the Interns since they eventually benefit from whatever I learn or find out that works (or what I learn doesn’t work).

For this trip in particular, I was really interested in figuring out how to book as many portrait sessions as I could while I was in Phoenix. Of course doing that from Atlanta seemed like an interesting challenge – but hey, I organized and put together a workshop in Montreal, Canada from Atlanta so booking a few portrait sessions shouldn’t be too difficult right? (Other than the ones for our Interns, that Montreal workshop was the first one ever, and now we’re confirmed to teach one in Kathmandu, Nepal next month.)

One thing that I knew for certain was that I would need an assistant. So I asked one of my best friends from high school (Amy!) to help out over the weekend. I had a few other options as far as assistants, but things got really crazy and after partying too hard on the first night with Amy and another friend from high school (Michelle!) – I was pretty delirious and shooting with half of my brain from Saturday through the end of Monday. Luckily, no matter what, I’ll always wake up to start shooting (just ask Leah).

Still. I think I figured a few things out about getting more photography ‘work’, managing a schedule, and… drinking lots of coffee. Of course, it’s not like I’m completely clueless on the ways of getting paid work – but coming up with new ideas and methods is always a positive. Not only that – but these are ideas I can share with the Interns so that they can use them to get new paying work.

Because the fact is – I think it’s a unique thing that I convinced a family to drive from El Paso, Tx., to Phoenix, Az., for their maternity session, another family to drive the 3+ hours from Northern Arizona, and three friends who I haven’t seen since high school to drag their families out into the windy, cold, and sometimes rainy conditions for a portrait session. Yes – it was raining during one of the sessions and we just waited it out underneath some trees.

Remember, Leah and I like to say that nothing we do is secret, but not everyone knows everything we do.

Leah arrives in Phoenix on Thanksgiving and then we’re here until Tuesday. With all of the photoshoots we’ve been doing lately – there’s quite the backlog of editing. It’s an all out war on editing right now since I’m flying out to Kathmandu, Nepal on December 6th and staying there until the 23rd.

I always tell our Interns not to rely on ‘interesting’ subjects to ‘make’ your photo. Far too many photographers do that – with their TFP model shoots, using makeup artists and hair stylists (TFP = trade for print). Early on, it’s too much of a crutch. It’s a distraction from what you should really be doing as a people photographer – connecting with your subjects.

Except for the family that drove from El Paso, I basically didn’t know any of my clients this weekend. Sure I knew some of them a little bit from high school – but that was over 10 years ago (what?!).

Everything was like herding cats at times – but in the best kind of way. You might notice that we make it a point to get people to look right into our lens. It takes time. Kids aren’t always in the mood. Heck – adults aren’t always in the mood. I do a lot of talking. Imagine how much talking I might do – and then triple that – I talk a lot and I get the clients to talk a lot. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s… less easy.

But you have to be confident in your ‘people’ skills if you’re willing to fly across the country and spend 5-6 hours with a couple you’ve never met before, follow them around like papparazzi and basically have a camera in their face the entire time. Last Monday I did just that – with Emily & Ben. They hired us to photograph their wedding in Ojai, Ca., and this was their engagement session. I flew into Ontario, Ca. Monday morning, hung out with them for 6 hours and then flew back to Phoenix that same night.

There is a big difference between a 2 hour session and a 6 hour session of constant photographing.

No matter what though – your job as a photographer is to get the clients to a point where they’re no longer uncomfortable in front of your lens. Not the lens. Your lens.

I’ll be editing for the next two weeks… and we’ll be posting again soon. Until then, have a great Thanksgiving.

Atlanta. Phoenix. California. Photographers. Weddings. Family. Portraits.

The Weekend, Phoenix, and More

It’s been busy around here lately. This past week was pretty awesome – a good number of new people signed up for our photography newsletter through our mention on Scoutmob!, and we’ve been working with the interns a good bit.

We’ve also received a good number of emails asking for photography/light classes – and it’s always a big compliment when someone wants to learn from you – and believe me, we’re really flattered by the idea. So yeah. One day, when we’re ready, we’ll offer actual photography classes. Until then, we’re just going to focus on working with our interns and polishing up our delivery – because teaching is a totally different skill and just because you do something well, doesn’t mean you can effectively convey that knowledge to others. We respect good teachers and we don’t want to be bad ones. So we’re practicing.

In two week’s we’re actually going to be holding a Photography Business Marketing class for all of our interns. We don’t really know what’s taught at other ‘photography marketing’ classes but what we do is outline what we’ve done over the past year since we started last August, and then some of the principles we follow. I’ve said this before so none of it’s new, but our three main principles are:

1. Be different

2. Do things that matter

3. Show everyone

To give you an idea of how we go about things – this book is actually one of our recommendations for all of our interns. Fundamentals don’t change. Creative advertising that doesn’t sell product is still failed advertising.

I’ve been working with the interns lately and going on some of their photoshoots with them. I’ll usually help out with lighting and some shot ideas – but they’re leading the shoot. They have to find subjects, the location and basically make it happen. I just show up, help out, answer questions, make up ideas, and we’ll work on different shot setups.

Sometimes people just need a little push to do more. Sometimes we need a big shove. In order to attend our marketing class, interns are required to schedule a photoshoot on their own so that I can come along and work with them. Sure they work with me on my shoots, but it’s something different when it’s your own clients. There is also a quota of deliverables and effort. Just because our internship is free, doesn’t mean that everyone finishes. Sometimes life gets in the way of plans, sometimes it’s just not a good fit – but no matter what, the set deliverables are required (kind of like when you have clients!) and basically everyone has to work hard or they won’t be an intern anymore – and I do mean that in the nicest way possible 🙂

This weekend is the halfway point for our 3 month internship. That means six weeks have gone by, photos have been made and blog posts have been written. Check them out here.

I’ll be in Phoenix for a bit of time in November and I’m booking portrait sessions, but I’m also looking for a few assistants to work with me out there. If you know anyone interested in a portrait session, or helping out – let me know. That would be awesome. Just email us at email@LeahAndMark.com or hey, you can drop a line at my facebook page.

Oh yeah, and I suppose I could also mention that we do portrait sessions here in Atlanta too. All the time. Just ask for one 🙂

This weekend, me and the Intern Army are going to be at Anime Weekend Atlanta (anime convention!). We’ve acquired some staff badges so we have better access and hopefully we’ll make photos that are completely different from your average ‘con’ photo.

These are the test shots we did at Dragon*Con – oh and these too.

Now we’re going to really start shooting. Along with our staff badges we’ll have these super bright orange LeahAndMark Intern Badges. Because you know – we don’t want to be confused with any Counterfeit Interns.

Oh – we’re also going to be competing with each other. We’ll be in teams of two and we’ll be covering the convention however we see fit. The main requirement is that we do not make standard convention photos. Basically – we’re going to be working in a way you couldn’t work if you were shooting alone. Off-camera flash and human light stands.

And then we’ll all get together and photograph the Lolita Fashion show.

I photographed it last year and made these photos. It was really exciting because all of the other photographers never showed up – so I had free reign (and lots of time) to do whatever I wanted. Sure I was naive and I didn’t really know what the heck I was doing (remember, at that point I had only been shooting for about a month). Still – this year I’m going to try some brand new things because why would we try the same old stuff?

Check back on Monday. All of the interns are required to have some new posts up – or they’re cut. Yeah, we’re going all out now.

Atlanta. Photographer. Interns. Internship. Phoenix. Portraits.

Traveling to Phoenix

In about an hour we’re leaving for Phoenix, Arizona. We’ll be there for a week and we planned way too many things into the schedule. You can blame me for planning a very busy ‘vacation’. Leah’s on spring break this week so we’re visiting my family and all of our friends (as many as we can see!) + we’re shooting all day on Tuesday.

It’s changing by the hour – but right now there’s only a 30% chance of rain and really it takes 100% chance of rain for me to cancel – and even then… I don’t think I’d cancel this time. Too much work has gone into coordinating these sessions and as long as the models are willing to be out in the rain – I’m willing to shoot.

We had a packed weekend (when don’t we?) – with a newborn session, an engagement session, and then an exhibit event at Young Blood gallery! New stuff is on the works including our email newsletter where we tell everyone how we make photographs. Seriously. 🙂

See you this week and if you need anything, let us know.

Back in the ATL

I’m back in Atlanta after a whirlwind trip to Phoenix, which for the most part was great. It was wonderful to reconnect with so many of my Phoenix friends, even though I still didn’t get to see everyone I wanted to! But lots of excitement indeed at seeing Brandy’s new house, feeling Skye’s first contractions, seeing the new and improved HomeBase (where I used to work), and marveling at Melanie’s adorable, entertaining genius of a daughter. Oh! And dinner and Wii with Mark’s familia was awesome. Great food, thanks to Myra and Mark’s mom. Ryan is a rockstar at the Wii games. And Mark’s BFF Amy always cracks me up. I love all y’all!! Can’t wait to see you in December, this time with Mark in tow.

I had the video camera, not the digital one, so you’ll have to wait for a Video Spectacular later!

Last night we went to a party! Cuz we are fancy party people. That pic up there is the view of the city from our new friends’, Ramit and Madhura’s, balcony. Pretty cool, huh? It was a little scary at first, but then we got used to it. Well, sort of. Mark didn’t really get totally used to being up on the 28th Floor…

Wheee. We’re high in the sky. We got to spy on all the pretentious folks at the W strutting around and trying to feel cool. Oh, if you were at the W Midtown last night, that doesn’t apply to you. Just everyone else.

It was a fun night. Lots of good food, too! Homemade hummus, delicious Indian nibbles that made me miss wandering around Delhi and Varanasi, and lots of nice new people to converse with. I even found another White American Person that can speak Chinese! Really well! We like how people think we’re all cool for speaking Chinese when in actuality it’s a way easier language than French or Spanish. Hah. But go ahead and think we’re totally awesome. We don’t mind.

Alright- time to get ready for a day at the lake. Ciao!