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adventures in photography and other stuff

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Tampa Bay Wedding Photographers – Seminole Heights Garden Center Wedding: Jessica and James

seminole_heights_wedding_001Jessica and James were married in March at Seminole Heights Garden Center in Tampa, Florida. It was a very overcast spring day, but the rain held off just long enough for a beautiful outdoor ceremony. The Garden Center is a pretty little property in the historic Seminole Heights neighborhood. The style of this wedding was vintage with a “rockhounding” touch – not something you see at every wedding!

One of my favorite ring pictures ever! The absolutely beautiful vintage ring set was chosen by the groom. He did good!

One of my favorite ring pictures ever! The absolutely beautiful vintage ring set was chosen by the groom. He did good!

The brides vintage style was created with a combination of antique pieces and handmade accessories. The birdcage veil and matching belt were both made by the bride!

The brides vintage style was created with a combination of antique pieces and handmade accessories. The birdcage veil and matching belt were both made by the bride!

The couple describes their wedding theme as “Sunday dinner at grandma’s house”. This required many vintage and handmade touches pulled together by creative family and friends. BBQ was served on tableware pieces collected from flea markets and antique malls. Dessert was served out of dishes borrowed from family members, some of which were heirlooms giving the feel of family tradition to the event.

The vintage theme included a variety of antique dishes and tableware, a wedding pie dessert bar, and homemade cookies as favors.

The vintage theme included a variety of antique dishes and tableware, a wedding pie dessert bar, and homemade cookies as favors.

Its not often you see a geology theme added to a wedding, but this event did it very well.

Its not often you see a geology theme added to a wedding, but this event did it very well.

When the bride and groom are both geologists, why not incorporate it into your theme? Each table had live plants in wooden boxes along with a rock and the story behind it. Many geologists have rock samples they feel very sentimental about, and this was a great way to incorporate it into the wedding. Some of the guests even got into the theme by wrapping gifts in old geologic maps and posters. There was even a fake rock in the playground in the garden that of course we had to use for some pictures.

Colorful paper flags marked out the aisle for the outdoor ceremony.

Colorful paper flags marked out the aisle for the outdoor ceremony.


The outdoor ceremony was held on the steps of the Garden center building with simple decorations of a paper flag garland and potted flowers. The nice thing about a venue like this is that elaborate decorations are really not needed. This was a sweet, happy wedding for a couple that could be described the same way 🙂

Congratulations Jessica and James!

Congratulations Jessica and James!


Photography: Steely Joe Studio Photography

Venue: Seminole Heights Garden Center, Tampa Florida

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Erin and Dan’s Country Manor Chapel wedding in Rogers AR

Erin and Dan were married December 28th at Country Manor Chapel in Rogers, Arkansas. It was an intimate celebration with just a few close family and friends. I had never heard of this pretty little wedding venue before (which is actually part of a private residence) and the owners say they intentionally book just a handful of weddings each year. Although it was December, I could tell that the gardens must be really nice in the spring and summer! Erin’s colors were red, white and pink using roses and lilies as the primary flowers. The chapel’s tall windows were left uncovered to let in the late afternoon light, and made the ceremony really beautiful. The reception was held at the Holiday Inn and Suites in Springdale, Arkansas.

Some of the details from Erin and Dan's winter wedding at Country Manor.

The smiling bride moves upstairs before the ceremony. Erin's mom helps a flower girl with finishing touches.

Some beautiful moments from the ceremony.

Detail shot during the ring exchange.

Heading outside for portraits after the ceremony. I love the candid shot of the bride looking over her shoulder through the door. The little girl peering over her chair was just too cute 🙂

The reception was held at the Holiday Inn of Springdale Arkansas. Left image: the happy couple call the groom's grandma. Right image: the first dance.

Best wishes to Erin and Dan!

Wedding Venue: Country Manor Chapel, Rogers AR

Reception Venue: Holiday Inn and Suites, Springdale, AR

Photography main website: Steely Joe Studio


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.

Bogle Park Bridal portraits, Bentonville Wedding Photographer, Northwest Arkansas portrait locations, Lazaro wedding dress feathers, outdoor Bridal session.Can I just say that you don’t often see a bride and a dress this beautiful every day?! We did the bridal portraits in Bogle Park near the Bentonville Square.
Cooper Chapel wedding, bride getting ready, Shirleys Flowers, Lazaro wedding gown, Bella Vista Wedding photographer, purple wedding flowers, northwest arkansas wedding

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.

Ceremony at Cooper Chapel, Bella Vista Wedding photographer, processional, wedding music string quartet northwest arkansas.

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!

Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel wedding, unity candle, happy bride and groom recessional, kiss the bride, Bella Vista wedding photographer

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

Cooper Chapel wedding portraits, inside cooper chapel, Bella Vista wedding photographer, kids in bridal party, Northwest Arkansas wedding locations

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 🙂

Wedding bouquet purple flowers, wedding ring picture, Cooper Chapel Bella Vista, Northwest arkansas Wedding photographer, bride and groom hands

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.

Mildred B. Cooper Chapel Bella Vista, bride and groom portrait outside chapel, romatic wedding portrait, Northwest Arkansas wedding photographers, bride and groom kissing, purple wedding flowers

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.

Bella Vista wedding reception venue, purple brown and yellow wedding, Kingsdale golf course, Papa Mikes, handmade wedding banner, burlap wedding decorations, Eat drink and be married, tree branch wedding cake Rick Bakery, arkansas spring summer wedding reception, northwest arkansas wedding

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.

 tree branch wedding cake Ricks Bakery, wedding rings on white gerber daisy, sweet wedding bouquet give-away, Bella Vista Wedding receptions, Northwest Arkansas wedding photographers

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.

Bella Vista AR wedding reception, bubble send off, wedding bubbles, Arkansas summer wedding, Northwest arkansas wedding photographers

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


Sanchez and Bobby’s Little Rock Wedding

Sanchez and Bobby were married June 25, 2011 at Holy Temple Church of God in Christ in Little Rock. It was a big wedding (7 flower girls!) full of family, friends, and celebration. The reception was held at the Bess Chisum Stephens Community Center Ballroom. A “Cinderella” theme was used for the style with red and white as the wedding colors. The centerpiece of the reception was a huge multi-layered wedding cake done in a classic style with columns and staircases connecting the layers. After a full dinner was served, the cake cut and the toasts made, the party got started on the  dance floor. It’s always fun to shoot a reception where people are having so much fun. I also really love to take pictures of kids at weddings, and I think there were almost as many kids at this wedding as there were adults!

Little Rock arkansas wedding, bride getting ready, cute flower girls

The hustle and bustle before the ceremony as Sanchez and her bridal party prepare.

Little Rock wedding photography, junior bride, cute flower girls, Holy Temple Church of God

The shy little junior bride led the procession of 7 beautiful flower girls.

Little Rock wedding photography, large wedding party, Holy Temple Church of God in Christ

I had to get up in the balcony to get the whole bridal party in one shot!

Little Rock wedding, jumping the broom, classic car bridal portraits

The image on the left was taken just after the couple "jumped the broom". I love the big smile and tears on the brides face! We had fun getting some portraits outside on the classic car that was used as the "going away" vehicle.

First Dance, Little Rock wedding reception venue, Bess Chisum Stephens Community center, arkanas wedding photographer

The first dance at the reception.

Little Rock wedding reception, arkansas wedding photographers, big wedding cake, Bess Chisom Stephens Community Center ballroom

Look at that huge cake! Fit for a princess and her prince, it even had a Cinderella wedding carriage on top.

Arkansas wedding photographer, fun wedding reception, Catching the wedding bouquet, fight for the wedding bouquet

Now that is what I call enthusiasm! These girls were serious about catching the wedding bouquet (which as you can see from the picture, didn't survive the encounter).

Little Rock wedding reception, wedding guests having fun, dancing at wedding reception, Arkansas wedding photographers

There was a big crowd on the dance floor as the celebration went on into the evening. This was a really fun reception to photograph 🙂

Congratulations to Sanchez and Bobby, and best wishes for you and your fabulous family!



Abby and Adam’s wedding at Fellowship Bible Church

Abby and Adam were married on May 28, 2011 at Fellowship Bible Church in Lowell, Arkansas. The ceremony and reception were both held in a pretty little building behind the main church. The grounds are beautifully landscaped, which gave us some really nice options for portrait locations. The couple chose to have a traditional ceremony, and included communion and the lighting of a unity candle.  The decorations for the ceremony were kept almost entirely free of color with white candles and a little greenery to decorate the large stone fireplace. This clean look for the ceremony decor allowed the vibrant flowers of the bridal party to really stand out.  The reception was decorated with bright Gerber daisies on the guest tables and the cake. The food was also very colorful with large trays of sushi taking center stage. The wedding cake was four different flavors, and actually made by the groom! I guess that’s one of the perks of marrying a chef 🙂

The bride and groom decided to "see" each other before the ceremony. Despite tradition, I have found this really helps both people to relax, and getting some of the group pictures done before hand really helps streamline things later on.

Decoration Details. The groom baked and decorated the wedding cake himself! What a renaissance man!

The ceremony was held in a lodge style building with a beautiful stone fireplace on the back side of the Fellowship campus. I loved watching the flower girl sitting in the front row, who was so intently watching the ceremony.

The new Mr. and Mrs. Price.

This is a fun bridal party shot we did on the side porch of the lodge.

The reception featured beautiful sushi platters from the chefs at the Embassy Suites Hotel, and the favor boxes contained handmade fudge from the Amish Cheese house in Chouteau, Oklahoma.

The grounds at Fellowship Bible Church are really nice. It was like having a park all to ourselves for portraits!

Congratulations to Abby and Adam! Ed and I wish you all the best in your new life together.


Venue – Fellowship Bible Church, Lowell, AR

Catering – Embassy Suites Hotel, Rogers, AR

Favors – Amish Cheese House, Chouteau, OK.

My website – Steely Joe Studio Photography

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Cherokee Casino Bridal Fair

This past weekend, I participated in the annual bridal fair at Cherokee Casino in West Siloam Springs. Bridal fairs are a fun environment for brides to meet vendors in person and get inspiration for their weddings. I met lots of great brides to be, and many of the vendors at this show are friends of mine, and it’s always nice catching up with them, too. Here are some pictures from a quick trip around the room:


A beautiful dress on display from the White Dress Boutique.

The White Dress Boutique

The food that the Cherokee Casino catering group put out was so beautiful! The food sculptures were so detailed and the table was set to wow!

Cherokee Casino West Siloam Springs

I love to see the tulips make an appearance in floral arrangements because it means spring is almost here. These beauties are from Rose of Sharon Event Florist .

Rose of Sharon Event Florist

A fun decorating idea from the ladies at PlanIt Chic - they flipped over glasses and hurricane vases and put flowers underneath. Then the bases can be used to hold trays or candles. Neat!

PlanIt Chic Events

My next door booth neighbors were live doves from White Wing loft. I thought they were fake till one turned its head to look at me!

As the weather warms up, I am doing more and more consultations for summer/fall weddings. If you are engaged, I would love to talk to you. Stop by my website, then contact me to schedule a visit to the studio to talk about capturing the details of your special day!


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Jillian’s Bridal Portraits

Bridal portraits are so hard on me! I want to show them off so bad, but have to wait until the wedding is over before anyone other than a select few can see them. But now that Jillian and Kevin tied the knot, I can post a few of my favorites. There are more on my Facebook page because I had a hard time picking out my favorites. These were done at my studio as well as on campus at the University of Arkansas. We used Old Main and the Alpha Delta Pi house as our outdoor locations.

Bridal Portrait in the studio

I love Jillian's smile so didn't take many "no smile" pictures, but I like this one.

This one was taken on the back side of Old Main near the Peace Fountain.

This one was taken at the Alpha Delta Pi house. She is reacting to the wave well-wishing sisters pouring out of the house when they spotted her through a window!

A more casual portrait taken through the trees outside the sorority house.

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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!

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Rachel’s Bridal Portraits

What a stroke of good luck we had on the weather! Due to her work schedule, we had to pick a date and time for her portraits 3 weeks in advance. It rained all day the day before and most of the day of the shoot. We really wanted to use the beautiful apple orchard at Battlefield park in Prairie Grove – so the rain needed to stop! It cleared off about an hour before our 6:00 shoot and stayed clear until about 10 minutes after we were done. She wore the cutest rain boots under her wedding dress for tromping around in the wet grass and was such a good sport about it. I would love to post some of the images, but since her wedding is not until May 30th, we have to keep them away from prying eyes!

Update: Since it is now after May 30, here are a few of my favorites from the bridal portrait session:


The antique chair was Rachel's idea (I borrowed it from my aunt), and it looks great in the orchard setting.

This was my take on an image Rachel showed me in a magazine. Mine came out pretty different, but I like the result.

This was my take on an image Rachel showed me in a magazine. Mine came out pretty different, but I like the result.

on the porch of one of the old homesteads at the park

on the porch of one of the old homesteads at the park

showing off her rainboots

showing off her rainboots