Tuesday, May 26, 2009

John and Christina's "I Do"

The day started at the Botsford's house. Christopher and I pulled up with our coffee and Hector's burritos and chatted about the plans for the day as we waited for the bridal party to arrive. Christina and her maid of honor Carrie pulled up and I was amused to see Christina in the front seat in her sweats, her veil and a big smile. Thus began the day. As Christina got ready, her bridesmaids enjoyed a morning jump on the trampoline and the moms bustled around busily steaming things and checking on the bride to be. When Christina was finally ready to go, she was a brilliant bride! Her dress was perfect for her... that's all... just perfect.

We made our way over to a friend's house to meet John before the ceremony and when we arrived.... I was in AWE! The place was beeeaautiful! Many thanks to the Gamboa's for letting us use the property for a while! It was such a privilege to be included in their day and I felt such joy and peace as John and Christina saw each other for the first time before the ceremony! It was such an intimate and romantic moment... it made me all misty-eyed. 

There's so much I could say about John and Christina, but I'll save you a week and just say this. It was my honor and such a blessing to be your wedding photographer, I couldn't have asked for better friends or better clients than you. You truly are my poster couple! Enjoy... (ps... the slideshow takes a little while to load... please be patient... )
Just a few shoutouts: Thanks to Diane Reichenbach of Whimsey Florals for Christina's perfect flowers, to Annie Botsford for the very professional looking cake, to I Love Tacos for the delicious food, and to the best 2nd shooter in the entire world.... Christopher!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Cross Training

It used to be that I cross-trained for soccer by swimming... now I cross-train for photography with art.... here's just something I was "doodling" with today and I happen to love it :). Christopher looks pretty cool if you ask me...

That's all.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Latest from the Craft Box

Anyone who knows me well knows that I don't do mediocre. Sooo... once again, I spent waaaay too much time on an art project, but my sore and bloodied fingers say it's worth it. Last time the project was custom-designed napkin holders for my birthday dinner; this time it's Media Cases for client Image Files! Yessssss! 

Now, I've been kind of unhappy with the delivery of image files to clients, but I haven't found a company that makes them how I like them... for a price I can afford. So WHAT did Kate do? Yes sir/ma'am... I made them MYSELF! These beauties are made from faux-ostrich skin, bloodsweat&tears, buttons, and premium hemp cord.... and as you can see... pure awesomeness.

And so... if you're one of the lucky clients who have yet to receive your image files from your Wedding day... I'm proud to say you won't be receiving just an ordinary jewel case in the mail... you'll be getting one of these babies! Hollaaa! If you can't tell... I'm excited... I hope you are too!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Josh and Katie's "Will You"

Katie Jesch (aka "Meadow"), who's best friends with Kate Porath (aka "Kora") was introduced to me, Kate Noelle (aka "Bam Bam") last summer when I spent some time up at Adventure Mountain subbing for Katie Jesch. The funny thing is, my cousin's girlfriend Kate Erickson (no other alias) also grew up with Katie Jesch and Kate Porath in Tustin... and she recognized Katie Jesch in some of the photos I took at camp. It's a good thing Kate/Katie is a good name because we're definitely all wearing it out. 

After summer, I had the chance to meet Josh at a birthday party and I was pleasantly surprised at how PERFECT these two are. Seriously... they're two peas in their own little crazy pod... and it's HILARIOUS to observe.

When Katie Jesch, the brilliant creative behind Katie Jesch Designs, sneakily emailed me through my website contact form about shooting her wedding, I literally almost peed my pants with excitement and I called her on my way home to say YEEEEEESSSSSSS! Since then, we've been able to meet a few times and chat, she showed me her dress and her ring and told me all about the colors and invitations and distressed painted doors and old rusty cars... all the little annoying detail stuff that both she and I live by. And slowly but surely, she's built up crazy anticipation on my end. I have dreams... both the day and night kind.. about how AWESOME her wedding will be May 31st.

Anyways... I love these two and I'm super excited to spend some more time with them as their day draws closer. On Monday, I caffeinated myself up to spend some time shooting some engagement shots with the future Mr. and Mrs. Wyper... and we definitely shared a lot of laughs! Katie may say she looks awkward in front of the camera, but I don't believe her... these photos proved her wrong... and it makes me laugh just looking at some of them because we had so much fun!

Just a little Katie humor for you... I say "ready set FIERCE FACE!" and this is what happens...

I have to say... Josh is the ultimate man's man. They met working at REI for goodness sake! I love how they mesh so well... Katie is the beautiful, tiny, and fiery blonde one, and he's the tall, dark, and handsome one. Can you say sweep me off my feet?
Intertwined in their giddy sense of humor, there's tremendous passion that comes out when you least expect it. I love how in love they are.... it shows and it's beautiful!

Here's a great one of Josh instructing Katie on the proper delivery of a "Fierce Face."

This series cracks me up every time because it looks like a proposal... Josh mouthing the words "Will... You...Marry... Me.... PLEASE?" What really happened should probably stay under wraps, but it definitely involved a thorn sticking someone in the butt, and a dramatic removal of the pinnately compound perennial. Never a dull moment!

These last ones are my absolute favorite... 
I'm counting down the days until their much anticipated wedding in Redlands... I'll be sure to keep you posted!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I grew up with the little children's rhymes "Sticks and Stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me", and "I'm rubber, you're glue... whatever you say bounces off me and sticks on you." And for a long time I allowed myself to make these my life's mantras when people didn't agree with me. But as I've gotten older and I've had more of life's experience, I've learned that those mantras have the best of  intentions when it comes to raising strong willed children, but they do little for when those rhymes can't filter the more piercing words spoken into our hearts. It's interesting looking back at the times when people's words have stung worse than a physical slap in the face... they usually happened with regard to things God was speaking into my heart. 

When I was deciding what to do after my DTS was over in Germany, I was contemplating doing something with my photography, but I wasn't sure what. Wedding photography had always been a secret love of mine, but I was still not convinced I could actually pull it off as a career. During this beginning phase of my future pondering, someone I looked up to photographically spoke these words and they pierced straight through my filter and changed how I saw myself and my passions... " Wedding photography is a joke.... it's not even real art. I hate it. Anyone can pick up a digital camera and take good wedding pictures. I've never actually seen a good wedding photographer." This was the beginning of the road to deciding to become a wedding photographer for me, and these words put me back a ways and caused me to reconsider the voice of God in my life, my worth as a person, and my worth as a photographer.

When I came home and continued the search of the next step in my life and photography, I attended a Missional Photography class at Rock Harbor where I experienced the most healing and productive feedback that gave me enough confidence back to believe I had something to offer as a Wedding photographer. One of the instructors, Dane Sanders, chose one of my images as one of his favorites. He talked about what he liked and also what I could have done to make the image better. Just the fact that he thought my images was good enough to talk about and to show to the rest of the class helped heal the damage done to my heart from past experiences. From that night, I praise God for the confirmation and encouragement received from such a small thing... and gathered enough courage to leave everything I knew to pursue a dream.

There have been several instances where people's words have affected my view of myself, both positively and negatively. But both kinds of feedback have been lessons in giving it to God and letting Him be the only source of truth in my life. In the hall of fame of best and worst feedback I've ever gotten from people in regards to my photography are as follows:

Best: "I will never use another photographer as long as I live. Kate Noelle was the best choice I could have made for my wedding day."

Worst: "You have ruined my reputation. I am completely disappointed in your work and my choice to use you as the photographer. And I would like you to hand over every image you took, straight from the camera, so I can give it to another photographer to try and salvage the images."

One thing I've learned is there are productive ways to effect change, and there are negative ways. The positive ones are not always comfortable to hear, but they usually are delivered in a manner that says, " you did something wrong, but I want to see you succeed, so here's my suggestion and I want to be in conversation with you about this." The negative ones are uncomfortable as well, but they're harder to hear because it brings up defense shields and the feelings towards the deliverer are usually disdain and fear.

So in regards to recent comments about photographs, I apologize if I've offended anyone; it's not my intent or my heart's desire to see anyone negatively affected by my work. However, I've learned it's impossible to please everyone. I do my best to uphold my beliefs and morals in my work and my images, but know that I am human. I do make mistakes and I do fall short of perfection. Feedback is pivotal to my growth as a person and as a photographer and I want you all to know that I welcome feedback both positive and negative. I still am amazed when I get comments from blog readers that talk about how much they love my images, how my words inspire them, and how much they value me as a photographer... it never gets old and it always makes me feel like a million dollars. On the flip side, when I get negative feedback from readers or clients, it affects me even more. I struggle with taking things personally and it's a struggle to see the silver lining when I fall short of perfection. Anyone who talks with me often knows I'm the kind of person who wants to be the best and perfect RIGHT NOW and it's frustrating to me when I can't do it on my timeframe. I'm learning, and hopefully growing... and your feedback is a big part of that. So keep your comments coming. I love hearing what you all have to say. 

On a lighter note, here's some shots I took during Veritas this past Sunday. Christopher's cousin Michael is in town and they led worship together. I've loved observing their relationship for the few days I've been back and their music blended perfectly together on Sunday... like they've been playing and singing together their whole lives. Here they are... because I definitely think a blog post is better with pictures.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Joel and Carrie's "I Do"

The Sun's rising over the North Carolina horizon. Brilliant pink and orange illuminate the purple storm clouds and give shape to the silhouettes of the surrounding forestry. All's quiet on this end of the terminal at Greensboro International Airport and as I sit here in the stillness, I find myself thinking back on yesterday... how this has probably been the most emotional wedding I've ever shot.

This trip has given me the chance to catch a glimpse of His face... to catch a glimpse of His glory here...I crave it. I got the chance to spend the past few days celebrating with two extraordinary people. Carrie and Joel are AMAZING, and through their love for each other and how they live their lives, they have given their family and friends... and me... a glimpse of Heaven on our earth. It's not like we haven't seen two lovers before and this isn't the first wedding we've been to. But love like theirs is as rare as a beautiful sunrise. Few people rise early enough to see one, but when you do, it takes your breath away knowing that something that beautiful can happen. It stops people in their paths, even in airports where everyone is going somewhere and and there are agendas and time clocks to mind.... people stop and stare because there's something that happens when we witness true beauty.... we're moved to be still.

Something happened in me at the rehearsal. Something in me released the floodgates and I couldn't figure out, for the life of me, why I was so moved by the REHEARSAL of the ceremony that would take place the next day. Both Carrie and Joel want nothing other than to see the face of God everyday of their lives. They have a fiery boldness to them that's often mistaken for meekness. This is what it's supposed to be like.... a wedding, that is; a stark reflection of True Love and True Beauty coming together to make the vow to never leave or forsake each other... like it means something. It's three cords are entwined with Love's first kiss as Man and Wife with God, Bridegroom and Bride with the Father. And then it's celebrated with food and dance with happy hearts and reckless abandon. The tension, the introduction, the invitation, the vow, the celebration. 

Carrie and Joel are not just clients, they're deep friends of mine and I am completely humbled by their request for my photographic eye at their wedding. The hospitality shown and the intimacy shared amongst those present on their special day renders me without words to describe the joy I have in my heart. I leave today with a renewed sense of purpose and a deeper burning in my heart for more glimpses of His face. I hope this slideshow does the day and Carrie and Joel justice... make sure to grab some tissues....

Friday, May 8, 2009

Joel and Carrie's "Will You" and such...

I woke to the familiar sound of my "Viva la Vida" alarm, but to a different place than I expected.... then I remembered I'm in North Carolina with Carrie. I blinked and stretched the jet-lag out of my body enough to make myself get up just in time to see Carrie bolt across the room with her hair in a towel and mumble "morgen...". There was no music this morning, but I attributed that to the late night everyone had talking and laughing. I got up and brushed my teeth, excited to start the day. This morning was the morning I got to spend some time with Carrie and Joel, just the three of us, and shoot some last minute engagement shots before their big day tomorrow. With Joel behind the wheel and us girls packed into the car, we headed into downtown Kernersville in search of character, antiquity, and weather damaged architecture... and we found it. Unlike shooting in Orange County, it wasn't a hard thing to find old buildings with character and history behind them... I've absolutely loved the "colonial meets country house" feel to all the old homes in Kernersville! Here's some of the shots as promised for ya'all (I'm determined to come home with an accent!)

Getting some dance practice in before they get hitched...

And then... much to my delight we found an old caboose abandoned on some tracks. For those of you who know me... I'm sure you can feel my joy cross country :D

Carrie is the closest thing I know to a Southern Belle... sweeter than most I'm sure! Joel's one lucky guy to have such a beautiful and very photogenic lady as his future wife... 

I love this shot because I think it totally captures Carrie. Gentle, peaceful, beautiful, dainty... and Joel looks so content to gaze at his beautiful lady...

This is my famous "ready set I'M GETTING MARRIED face in 3...2...1" pose... pretty much sums it up right?
On another note, tonight was the rehearsal dinner and wedding run through with everyone. It was the real deal. My camera, family, music, walking down the aisle... all in her small country family-style white church with a steeple. I lost it. I was a complete basket case of a wedding photographer... so much so I couldn't take pictures because I was sniffling and my eyes were pouring too much liquid to focus. This is bad. I blame God. Yup... I'm blaming Him. You see, I'm not just the wedding photographer at this wedding, I'm a friend who's seen it all. I'm the friend with whom Carrie cried with the first week in Germany because we were both ridiculously homesick. Carrie and I were bunk mates, prayer partners, secret keepers, dream co-pilots, and soul mates. And she's found her prince charming... for real. Joel is perfect for her. He's everything she needs and has dreamed of... and they're getting married tomorrow.

I'm not entirely sure why this is such a teary thing for me. I'm not sad. I'm not scared. I'm happy, but it's more than just happy. In talking with Christopher (yes I called him in tears and sobbed unintelligibly for a while until I calmed down) I came to realize it's more than giving her away to her groom. It's witnessing what it's supposed to be like. Family and friends are surrounding them and all coming together to help them out and send them off in prayer and celebration. Friends came from all different distances to be here... with them. Nothing special has happened except conversations, catching up, singing, and laughing. Tomorrow, we'll all gather in that white church in the country, watch Carrie walk down the aisle in her white dress to the song recorded by Joel and Her while we were still in Germany a year and a half ago.... we'll get to see a glimpse of Him. We'll get to see a glimpse of true beauty and His glory in a wedding... a living example of when Christ comes for his bride. Visions of true love strike untouched depths of my soul through my senses and it brings me to my knees. I've come to the conclusion.... that experiencing love like theirs is payment enough for the many hours of work I've put in and will put into giving them the best wedding images I can. Renewing the source of my heart for wedding photography and reminding me why I'm here.... to prepare His bride for her glorious reuniting with her Groom.... radiant with love, gushing with anticipation, and beaming with beauty perfected by relationship with the Almighty. Stay tuned in the next few days for their Wedding blog and tell all your friends... this will be one for everyone to celebrate!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Group Hugs and Cute Babies

It's been a little over a year since I last saw Carrie and Joel and our friends from YWAM. Yesterday I flew across the country to come and celebrate and shoot their wedding, and to spend some quality time with old friends from around the continent. Jenn flew from Vancouver, Rebecca and Lauren flew from Kansas, I flew from California, and Joel's friend's and family flew from Seattle.... and Milly will be joining us soon! It was wierd when we all first arrived at the castle in Germany and it was surreal seeing people from literally every continent coming together to learn, love, and serve Jesus together. I feel so honored to be able to spend time with these people and to be a part of this "something sacred" we have. This morning I woke up (late and jet lagged a bit) to the sounds of everyone in the living room worshipping with guitars and song.... where else does this happen? Love it...

This is a shot I got of Carrie and Joel at the airport as we were waiting for Justin's flight to come in...

The group thought it would be fun to make and hold up signs for Justin with his name on it... this is what we came up with.... such a creative bunch! Justin loved it...

We sat in rocking chairs... and sang old inspirationals and country songs as we waited for Justin's delayed flight.... what airport has rocking chairs? Loved it!...

This is Carrie's niece Lilly... she's probably the cutest thing since the Kumquat was made. And this is a shot I got of her inhaling her mandarin oranges! So cute!

Well... we're off to Walmart and to do some last minute shopping for Carrie's Partaaaay today! I'll keep you posted on events of the weekend!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Tom and Monica's " I Do"

I know that a photographer's goal is to book and shoot their own client's weddings, but I think part of the fun of learning and "becoming" is spending time shooting with other photographers. Yesterday I had the privilege of shooting with the esteemed Justin Lee  and the super fun Gabrielle Fox from San Diego. Justin was so fun to work with and I'm so grateful for the opportunity to learn and have fun with him at his client's wedding! Danielle and I had a blast helping him out for the day. So although this wasn't my wedding, I thoroughly enjoyed playing and experimenting and capturing all the details of the day!

The day started at the ritzy La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla. You know it's a nice place when the name's written in gold on pavement.

An elevator as old as my grandfather took us to the correct floor and as we walked through the hotel to join the girls as they got ready for the day, I noted the glamourous vintage chandeliers, the antique finished furniture and ginormous (which, by the way is a word now... it's in the dictionary!) mirrors that decorated the hallways. As we walked through the door of the room, we were greeted with big smiles and this view through the room's european style windows.

Can you say Gorgeous? ...Yeah! Here are my favorite shots from the day... 

It wouldn't be a Kate Noelle blog without some shoes!

This shot makes me want to jump up and down I love it so much... as we were walking through the hotel taking some quick shots before the ceremony, I saw this balcony and the lighting was fantabulous... we couldn't resist! And Monica's dress was just amazing... 
Wanna know what she was looking at through that picturesque doorway? This scenic view of downtown La Jolla... blue waters... palm trees... warm weather... a perfect Socal day if you ask me!

Grandma was precious with her Swarovsky Crystals... just so happy to be at the wedding!

Monica's mom was probably the best dressed MOTB (mother of the bride) I've ever seen! She just looked simply stunning in her sequined charcoal boat-necked knee-length dress and that chic Vogue style coat to match. She was just so happy to be taking part in her daughter's big day! Man... when I'm a mom her age, I want to look like her... and I hope I have her fashion sense too!

There were two precious flower girls by the names of Macy and Nina. Macy was super cute, but was all over the place! That girl could move... as you can see. But it was always  a pleasure to see her little curls blowing in her wake...

This is Macy's sister Nina. Nina loved two things that day.... being photographed and Monica. Nina was just plain stoked on life to be a part of Monica's wedding and you could catch her gazing admiringly at Monica's beautiful dress and bouquet. 

One of the highlights of the reception was Tom's song he wrote for Monica. It was a total surprise and I think everyone was very impressed and touched by his attention to lyrical and musical detail... brought some to tears while others just listened in agreement with his words. He was quite the talented guitarist strutting his stuff with a "Weezer meets OMC" style acoustic piece... epic Tom!
And, just to be clear.... just in case  you were wondering.... this is NOT my 50mm lens. Nikon all the way baby! And even though I was the odd man out between Justin, Gabi, and I.... Nikon sure can deliver! Holla!
Sum = Great day+Beautiful weather+Beautiful bride+Fun party+Great Wedding.

"Welcome and thanks for stopping by my blog! I've discovered recently that, in addition to photography, writing is a passion of mine and I've loved including you all in my personal journey this past year. So please feel free to read about my adventures, comment often, and enjoy my photos!"     - Kate Noelle | International Wedding & Portrait Photographer |