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adventures in photography and other stuff


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Tampa Bay Destination Wedding Photographers | Adriana and Bradley’s Garvan Woodland Gardens Celebration in Hot Springs, Arkansas

Garvan Woodland Gardens in the spring - you couldn't ask for a more beautiful wedding venue!

Garvan Woodland Gardens in the spring – you couldn’t ask for a more beautiful wedding venue!

Back when we lived in Arkansas, we had the opportunity to photograph a destination wedding in Florida. So it’s kind of funny that our first destination wedding after moving to Florida was in Arkansas! We had the honor of photographing Adriana and Brad’s beautiful spring wedding at the amazing Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs, Arkansas on May 25, 2013. The Gardens are one of the premier wedding locations in central Arkansas and truly unique venue.

The bride and her lovely bridesmaids. The fuscha and green color scheme worked perfectly for a garden wedding.

The bride and her lovely bridesmaids. The fuschia and green color scheme worked perfectly for a garden wedding.

The DIY bride is a huge trend right now. It allows the bride (and usually some helpful friends and family) to put a very personal touch on the day’s festivities. In this case, all the flowers were designed and executed by Adriana and friends. They did a great job!

The bride and groom mentally prepare before the ceremony. Although they didn't see each other before hand, they did do a quick prayer around the corner from each other. This can go a long way towards easing pre-wedding anxiety!

The bride and groom mentally prepare before the ceremony. Although they didn’t see each other before hand, they did do a quick prayer around the corner from each other. This can go a long way towards easing pre-wedding anxiety!

While it is now very common for the bride and groom to see each other before the ceremony, there are still those who choose to hold to the old tradition of keeping the bride and groom separated. In these cases, I highly recommend devising a creative way to make contact with your sweetie. You can use a corner, door, or even a blindfold to make sure the groom doesn’t peek. It is amazing how much this relaxes both parties before the ceremony.

The processional at Anthony Chapel. The tiny flower girl and ring bearer were quite the scene stealers!

The processional at Anthony Chapel. The tiny flower girl and ring bearer were quite the scene stealers!

The wedding ceremony at Anthony Chapel. This is a venue that needs no decoration!

The wedding ceremony at Anthony Chapel. This is a venue that needs no decoration!

For the folks who think this venue looks familiar, Anthony Chapel is another stunning work by E. Fay Jones, the mind behind Mildred B. Cooper Chapel in Bella Vista and Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs. Each is unique, but have a similar feel.

The new Mr. and Mrs. Holst

The new Mr. and Mrs. Holst

Anthony Chapel is located in the Celebration Garden, which provides many great portrait locations.

Anthony Chapel is located in the Celebration Garden, which provides many great portrait locations.

The first dance and reception details.

The first dance and reception details.

The wedding reception was held at the Quapaw Community Center in Hot Springs, a vintage building near the historic downtown area. The pink and green theme continued with a custom cake and a candy bar for guests to make their own favors. The groom’s cake celebrated the bride and groom’s favorite college teams – half Razorback and half Red Wolves. When it comes to feeding wedding cake to each other, the choice of naughty or nice always presents itself. You can see from the pictures which one this couple chose 😉

Time to cut the cake then time to party! DJ Xavier did a great job of getting everyone out on the dance floor.

Time to cut the cake then party! DJ Xavier from central Arkansas Entertainment did a great job of getting everyone out on the dance floor.

I love this image from the last dance of the bride and groom.

I love this image from the last dance of the bride and groom.

The bubble send off was the perfect way to end the day.

The bubble send off was the perfect way to end the day.

The lovely bride is my cousin, and I am very honored that I had the privledge to travel all the way from Florida to photograph this special day. It also gave me and Ed a chance to spend some time with relatives that we just don’t get to see often enough. In fact, they convinced us to go play mini golf after we finished shooting an all day wedding, which shows how much we like to spend time with them, because we would usually go back to the hotel and collapse!

A stroll through the Celebration Garden.

A stroll through the Celebration Garden.

Congratulations to Adriana and Brad! May you continue to be an example of God’s Love to everyone you meet.

Vendors

Photography: Steely Joe Studio Photography

Videography: Nick Burt

Music/DJ: Xavier Riley, Central Arkansas Entertainment

Wedding Venue: Garvan Woodland Gardens

Reception Venue: Quapaw Community Center


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Favorite images you didn’t see from 2011

Can you believe 2011 is gone? I was thinking about what I wanted to do for my last blog post of the year, and it brought to mind  the “last shot” page at the end of National Geographic magazine where they showcase an image that wasn’t published but was still a cool picture. So I decided to share some of my favorite images that didn’t make the blog. It’s always hard for me to pick which pictures best sum up a wedding or photo shoot best, without making the post too long. Some of these did end up in Facebook galleries, some of them I never got the chance to share at all. (BTW – one of my resolutions for 2012 is to get back to timely blogging since I was not so good at that this year). So enjoy  this 2011 Steely Joe version of the “Last Shot” gallery, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Alizabeth won a free bridal session at one of the spring Bridal shows. She had already made arrangements for wedding day photography, but it was still lots of fun doing some studio bridals with her.

I never did a blog post with her Bridal portraits, but you can see more images from her session in the Facebook gallery Alizabeth’s Bridal Session.

Continuing with the bridal portrait theme, Kathryn’s bridal portraits in Bentonville were fun to shoot even if it was literally 110 degrees out! (Ok, I exaggerate – it had dropped to a cool 106 by the time we started the session) You can see more images from this shoot in the Facebook gallery Kathryn’s Bridal Portraits.

Kathryn was such an easy bride to work with, and this great little series of images was taken as test shots while she talked to her mom off-camera.

Ok, so this takes a little explaining. The bride and groom each had a teenage daughter as a bridesmaid in the wedding. The bride's daughter was in charge of the groom's wedding ring, which she pretended to lose. So she starts looking for it in her dress and pulls out a variety of items (including lip gloss which she pauses the search to apply) until producing a snuff can. With the help of her partner in crime, they get the stubborn can open, and hand over the ring! Good thing their parent have a good sense of humor 🙂

Th images below come from (in order from left) Curtis and Marcia’s Huntsville wedding, Thomas and Kathryn’s Cooper Chapel wedding, and Sanchez and Bobby’s Little Rock wedding:

From left: The groomsmen in this wedding were real characters, and when I told them to act casual, four of them all looked off in the exact same direction, but one guy in the back did the complete opposite, which of course cracked everyone up. Center: one of Ed's fun kiddie pictures. These kids spotted Ed near the entrance to the chapel and decided to mug for the camera. Right: This picture makes me smile every time I see it. While we were setting up for portraits, the bride is trying to wrangle all the kids, the bridesmaids are totally hamming it up behind her, and in the middle of the chaos the groom has his "please let this be over so we can go to the reception" face on 😉

The next two images comes from two fun weddings this summer, Abby and Adam’s wedding in Lowell, and one more from Sanchez and Bobby’s wedding in Little Rock.

Right: Abby and Adam cheese it up. Left: Sanchez gives herself one last check in the mirror before the ceremony.

In the first image below, Lensa and Lee dance alone surrounded by family and friends. Although I was just a guest at this wedding, I couldn’t help taking a few pictures from the balcony. The second image is from Nancy and Tony’s wedding at Lake Wedington.

Left: A beautiful moment on the dance floor at Lensa and Lee's reception. Right: The bride reaches up to wipe a tear from the groom's face during Nancy and Tony's ceremony.

This year I decided I would love to do senior portraits as well as wedding photography. I couldn’t have asked for more fun ambassadors. They all had great ideas and a unique style that was so great to work with. In the collage below, Katie rocks her class ring, Jordan proves you can never have too many flowers in your portraits, Aaron takes aim with his bow, Jessie shows off her lime-green laces.

My awesome senior portrait ambassadors for the class of 2012: Katie, Jordan, Jessie, and Aaron.

I would like to take a moment and thank all the super-cool clients I had the privilege to work with this year. You constantly re-affirm why I love to do what I do, and I can’t wait to see what next year has in store!

Wishing you all the best in the New Year,

Anita


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Thomas and Kathryn’s Cooper Chapel Wedding

Thomas and Kathryn were married on July 23, 2011 at Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel in Bella Vista. Luckily this was a morning wedding, as it landed right in the middle of a record-breaking heat wave here in  Northwest Arkansas. I thought it was kind of ironic that the couple who currently holds my personal record of coldest engagement session is now also the hottest wedding day I have shot on! We did the bridal session at Bogle Park in Bentonville to showcase Kathryn’s amazing Lazaro wedding dress a week before the big day (you can see more of the bridal portraits on my FB page). The wedding itself was really beautiful, with a color scheme of purple, ivory, brown and yellow. The decorations for the chapel (which doesn’t need much since it is so pretty on its own) were kept simple with sprays of white hydrangea and orchids. The reception was held nearby inside Papa Mike’s at the Kingsdale Golf Course. Papa Mike (aka the brides father) closed the cafe for the day to convert it into an intimate reception hall for his daughter. The decor was a cheerful mix of burlap, simple flower arrangements in mason jars, and paper lanterns hung from the ceiling to match the color scheme. Each place setting also got custom paper bibs in order to fully enjoy the delicious barbecue served by Papa Mike’s catering. Rick’s bakery made the beautiful wedding cake that perfectly fit the simple yet elegant style of the event.

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Getting ready in the office at Cooper Chapel. I like how many layers of helpers you can see in the pic on the right. This dress wasn't exactly easy to get on 😉 Shirley's Flowers did the purple bridal bouquet.

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Beautiful chapel filled to capacity - check. Adorable flower girls and ring bearer - check. Live string quartet playing - check. And just outside the door you can see the bride arrive on her father's arm. Perfect! BTW - the cool shot on the left is one of Ed's. I can't pass up a chance to brag on him!

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A beautiful ceremony for a couple who have been planning this day for a long time. Congrats!

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Thomas and Kathryn had no adult attendants in the wedding - just kids. So the shot on the right is actually the full bridal party! So cute 🙂

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They say most human communication is body language. It was very sweet to watch the bride and groom's hands while they watched the minister sign the marriage licence. Look how tight Thomas is holding her hand! And I love the really romantic vibe of the image on the right.

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I love how this image turned out! Middle of the day portraits can be tough but having a great assistant (Ed) and an easy to work with couple really helps.

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Some of the details from the reception. Kathryn made the banner that hung over the head table herself! Each place setting included a paper bib for keeping the excellent bbq sauce off good clothes and a glass to toast and take as a favor.

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The beautiful tree branch wedding cake from Ricks Bakery, and a cool picture of the wedding rings on a Gerber daisy in one of the table arrangements. Thomas and Kathryn had a wonderful idea instead of a bouquet and garter toss. They gave them to the couple who had set the best example for them by being married the longest! 65 years later, he still carries a picture from their wedding day.

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There was hardly any breeze at all when it came time for the send off, which is exactly what you need for a good bubble send off! And with lots of kids in attendance, you are sure to get lots of bubbles. In fact, they were having so much fun, we did an impromptu to fashion shoot 🙂

Thomas and Kathryn, you have been a pleasure to work with and I wish you guys all the best!

Vendors Links:

Photography: Steely Joe Studio, Ceremony venue: Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel, Reception and catering: Papa Mikes, Kingsdale G.C., Flowers: Shirley’s Flowers, Cake: Ricks Bakery


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Samantha’s Bridal Session

Samantha’s Bridal portraits were done about a month ago at Magnolia Gardens Inn in Springdale. Since the wedding was yesterday, I can finally share some of my favorites. You can see more on my Facebook page (see the link on the right). My usually reflector holder/train fixer (a.k.a my hubby Ed) was not available, but the brides mom did a great job filling in! There were so many blooming trees and bushes on site that it was easy to find really nice settings.

We did a few shots inside the beautiful historic Inn and this shot was done using the very polished bar wooden bar top.

I like this picture because is has a sort of fairy tale look to it.

When I saw this gorgeous tree along the side of the house, I knew we had to use it in a shot. I had to do a little photo stitching to get the whole curve of the tree branch, but it turned out nice!


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Book before the Bridal fair for 2009 rates!

Happy New Year, everyone! If you are planning a wedding and are looking for a photographer, I would love to meet you at my booth on January 16th at the Springdale convention center. The increasing cost of supplies has made some changes to my pricing necessary and the new pricing will go into effect on January 16, 2010. So call me now and save yourself some money! And don’t forget to check out my website for details on how you can “test drive” your wedding photographer.

Portrait rates will be increasing slightly as well, so for those of you thinking about booking spring portraits, don’t put it off any longer!