Thursday, February 25, 2010


I have been out of the loop.
For a long time.
I mean, for a REALLY long time.

My last post was about my cousin, Dustin, who died quite suddenly when a car hit him after his vehicle slid into a ditch. It was, and actually still is, quite surreal. He is (was) the kind of guy I would love for Josiah to grow up to be like. Totally smart, into music, playing different instruments, singer, really good at sports. And, over all of that, a young Christian man with a loving heart. He is truly missed by every one that knew him.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you all know that I have a couple of things in Jonah's EB auction- they are taking bids for a couple more days, so you need to hurry and check out all the amazing gift cards, services, and items that you can bid on!

The two things I have up for auction are:

1-hour family photo session

Stained glass butterfly window panel

So remember, Hurry, and maybe you'll be fortunate to get one of these amazing things from, from Ebeling Art Studio. Done by me. But I think you got that...

Monday, February 8, 2010


Last night I received a call at church that my cousin, Dustin, was severely injured in an accident. He and a couple of friends were on their way back to school in Fargo when their car slid into a ditch. They were outside the vehicle, trying to dig it out, when another car slid into them. All of them were injured, but Dustin took the brunt of it. His brain was injured, and there were issues with his kidneys. The Lord in His great wisdom took Dustin home to heaven this morning at 3:15am.
I cannot imagine what a blow this is to my aunt and uncle,who are my Godparents, and his younger sister, who is just in high school. They, and we, are a very close-knit family. However, "I know that my Redeemer liveth"- I know he is in heaven, and that assurance moves me through the grief and heartache that I am really feeling right now. I thank God for that faith that I know he had. He was in a praise band singing praises here on earth, and now he is in the ultimate praise band.
Lord, thank you for the love You have for us down below- and grant us understanding of these especially difficult things that have occurred. In Your Holy Name we praise you, along with the angels-

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Dave and Jami get MARRIED!!!

It was a cold and blustery day.
Perfect for a wedding~
Although February weddings in the Midwest are somewhat uncommon, they are quite magical! Especially if you mix in international guests and some good ol' German traditions. Jamie and Dave met while over in Germany, quite the work of God, for sure- Dave was stationed over there for what was supposed to be only a couple of years, but turns out he stayed for 9 years. Good thing, since he met Jami toward the end of those years. Both are extremely fervent Christian people, and SO warm-hearted, that even I stayed toasty all day! They were definitely adventurous, wanting to take pictures outside. I am glad we did, but I know that even the 10-15 minutes we were down by the Art Museum, they were both QUITE chilled. But boy, did those turn out GREAT!
The day, in a nutshell:

Friday, February 5, 2010

Wedding Tips!

Here is a little "tip" list to help your photographer have even more fun (and therefore get even more amazing photos) on your wedding day.
Of course, I DO NOT IN ANY WAY expect you to adhere to these, as there are many, MANY people who have no doubt already started giving you tips. Just keep in mind that I have been to, and shot at, far more weddings than the average person, so experience has taught me much.

these are in no particular order:

1. I love "getting ready shots"- especially of the bride- so please, PLEASE let me come early to get pictures of your dress, before you put it on, so I can get the all-important shot of you putting it on. It just seems like something is missing if I don't get these shots. And try to find a room with attractive features, if possible. Although I have managed to get some pretty great portraits in church basements...

2. Sorry, boys, I won't spend as much time with you "getting ready" cuz there's just not as much going on. But I DO want to get you getting your boutonniere pinned on- that way I have something for the "preparation" portion of your album.

3. HAVE FUN!!! Be as relaxed as possible- I know you've been planning for months, maybe YEARS, and want today to go exactly as planned, but if you are relaxed and happy, it's that much easier to get even more great photos for you to choose from. Have happy people around. And let your attendants know that they should be happy, too. They may not like having their pics taken, but hey, they are in your wedding, and they need to have their pictures taken. If they at least pretend to be happy, then they won't hate their photos nearly as much. In fact, they may like them quite a bit.

4. I like COLOR. No. That's a lie. I LOVE color. As beautiful and elegant as white may be, the white of the flowers rarely matches the white of the dress. That, and the details of the flowers are easily washed out in the photos. Choose colors that have good contrast. Say you have blue dresses- yellow and orange just POP against blue. Looks STUNNING in photos. At the same time, try to keep it simple. Having a rainbow of colors can be hard to look at, and take the focus off of you. If you have questions about colors and your wedding, feel free to email me!(ar_teest(at)yahoo(dot)com)

5. Brides, while you are at the back of the church hangin' with your dad (you know, before you're going to walk down the aisle to your soon to be hubby??), interact with him- talk with him- be happy with him. Stoic poses are tough to make pretty and fun and memorable. Maybe even hug* before you walk down the aisle.
*see number 10

6. For the "traditional" posed shots after the ceremony, try to have a family member in charge of the list of photos that you want, as well as a detailed list for your photographer. As much as I may know your family, I don't know everybody. Find someone who will know everyone, but won't be pushy with the photographer. I just need them to point out the people I need to know for upcoming pictures. (don't put any of the parents in charge of this- they have enough on their plates as it is- they need to enjoy themselves!) This helps the process to stay smooth, and not take too long, cuz I like to get to the fun stuff as soon as I can!

7. Leave plenty of time between your wedding ceremony and the reception to have at least 30 minutes of SHOOTING time (not just 30 minutes- with a drive to and from the location) with just the bride, groom and the wedding party. This is time away from all other guests and family- so the photographer won't have anyone else trying to take her angles. Yes, I am selfish with my angles! I know you don't want your guests to wait very long between the ceremony and when they eat supper, but they can handle it- maybe you can have snacks out for them if it will be an especially long wait.

8. Don't forget to have a seat at the reception for the photographer and the assistant. Most likely we haven't eaten a whole lot all day, and yummy-smelling food is torture if we aren't included in dinner. That, and it is easier to mingle with guests if we are part of the group!

9. Please don't stress out if we are a little behind- this happens more often than I can say, no more than 10 minutes, really, but again, if you are stressed, it will show in your pictures. Also, if you are a little late to the reception, they WILL wait for you. They have to. It's your day!

10. If your photographer asks you to kiss- please hold the kiss for a while. We may want to get a couple of different angles while you are kissing. Also, don't full-on make out (you know- slurpy kisses?) these are not flattering on camera. Or in person.

11. Back to the family photos. Everyone, I mean everyone, is going to want their picture taken with you. try to limit the random people on your photographer's list. Chances are, if they want a picture with you, they will be more than happy to find you at the reception and have their own copy on their own camera (the digital age makes this part so much easier!). This will also limit the amount of time needed for the family shots. The ones I would suggest to be on your "for sure" list after the ceremony?
bride and groom with bride's parents
bride and groom with groom's parents.
Bride and groom with grandparents, from each side.
Bride and groom with immediate families, from each side.
Bride and groom with large extended family, from each side.
The more random pictures added to this list, the more likely it will be that those people will not still be at the church for these photos. Then we waste time looking for them. No fun.
Try to make sure beforehand that anyone on the photo list KNOWS they are on the photo list. Again, that way we don't waste time looking for them.

12. Brides, DON'T be afraid of getting the hem (bottom) of the dress dirty. IT WILL GET DIRTY! no matter what. Dance floors are dirty. Reception floors are dirty. Sidewalks are dirty. Fields are dirty. (fields? What? I've just always wanted to do a photo shoot out in a field with a lone tree up on the hill. It just seems dreamy and oh-so-romantic to me. But I digress....) The dirt on the bottom of your dress will not show on the photos, and if it would by chance, there is this magical tool most photographers use called photoshop. mmm, photoshop. Anyway, just trust that your photographer will get good photos of you and your dress no matter what- and sometimes the places we go can be dirty!

13. Be goofy, but not over the top, with your new spouse. Flirting and snuggling is fun, nuzzling is great. Tickling is wonderful. But keep in mind what the other person is feeling when you do these things- don't annoy your new spouse!

And I cannot stress enough (although this was already mentioned) for you to have fun on your wedding day. The time flies, and all that preparation for a few hours gets captured by your photographer so you can remember those fun, awesome, romantic, whirlwind moments for the rest of your lives!

Any more questions for me? feel free to email me at ar_teest(at)yahoo(dot)com


Monday, February 1, 2010

Ben and Erica are getting MARRIED!!

Erica and I were "suitemates" in college (she was in the neighboring room, and we had a shared bathroom)- and we have kept in contact since college. Her Fiancee, Ben, was in Choir with me at WLC, and now plays piano and trumpet in the productions I sing in with Mike Westendorf. It was really a great time had by all when we got to just hang out, and take pictures at the same time.
We had intended on going to the Mitchell Park Domes, which I have done shoots there SEVERAL times before, but this time the lady at the front wouldn't let us in unless we paid the additional $65 we left.
And instead went to the same spot where Ben asked Erica to marry him. Much more romantic in my book, but also much, MUCH colder. Since it was 15 degrees, with a good chill coming up off of Lake Michigan. How cold was it? The lake was actually quite frozen. That's how cold it was.
But, they managed to snuggle up close, keep warm, and I got some great shots of the two!

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