what our wedding photos didn’t capture

Before Kel even got down on his knees (that’s right – he was so nervous, he got down on both of them), we knew that we’d be hiring a photographer for the big day. There was no question about it; it’s a given that there needs to be someone to take pictures at a wedding so that’s what we did.

We love our wedding photos in the “they are our wedding images” kind of way, but that’s about it. Unfortunately, we were so disappointed in how they turned out that they simply sit in a tote with the rest of our wedding memorabilia.

It isn’t easy for us, as photographers who place a lot of emphasis on displaying images, to admit we don’t have a single wedding image up in our own home. Not. A. Single. One. And it has always been our desire to have at least one beautiful, timeless image that showcases our comittment.

To remedy that, a few years ago, we began planning our very own “make-up wedding” photos. The challenge, of course, was that it had been 10 years. Even if we could pull off the task of faking the youthful appearances we boasted on our wedding day, there was little about us that was the same as it had been back then.

When we look back at our wedding images, of course we reminisce about that day. But then something strange happens. We start talking about that incredibly young couple. Young in years, they were. But also in life experience. We recall how they had been through ample ups and downs to know that sticking together through good times and bad wouldn’t always be easy, yet were filled with enough innocence to think that it would always come naturally (especially given how madly in love they were).

More than a decade later, we realized that although we will always be sorry we missed out on the opportunity for beautiful wedding images, there was something that our wedding photographer could never have captured, regardless of how much we loved our images…

The tender way a husband guides his wife
after years of navigating life together.

The type of bond made stronger
each time it’s forged through fire.

The comfortable embrace that’s been perfected
through years of refusing to let go.

kel and mel, marriage photography, anniversary session, celebrate the vow

People tell you that you will want to remember your wedding day. That it will fly by and you’ll long to look back at pictures that will help you recall not only the details and what you looked like, but who you were back then. They warn you that your kids will change every day, and the importance of frequently documenting that growth.

You don’t hear nearly often enough, though, that the same can be said of marriage. We’re in it for a lifetime, and that is easily taken for granted. But the years blur and a decade goes by without a warning. Along the way we face challenges and disappointments, as well as triumphs together. Along the way, we continue to grow and change.

And one day, we’re going to want to remember how young we were and who we were back when…

Kel and Mel


a nice camera for personal use

“What kind of camera should I get?”

It’s a question we receive all the time from friends, family, and clients. We’re always happy to help, and as much as we wish there was a go-to solution that we could suggest as the perfect fit for everyone, there are a variety of needs and several options available to fit each and every one of them. As a result, our answer is more of a general guide for how to select which option is best for you.

While this list isn’t exhaustive by any means, in our experience there are three main considerations to help narrow down the options…What are you hoping to achieve with your new camera? How much are you looking to spend? And finally, what brand do you want?

kel and mel, self-documented

01. The Benefits

The reasons we typically hear for wanting a “nicer camera” include either the desire to take “nicer images” or kids that move too fast [resulting in a lot of blur], or both. Oftentimes, there is a desire to change out lenses as well, which means more than likely you are looking at a DSLR.

I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but there is also something to be said about purchasing a phone with a quality camera built in [ahem – I really love my iPhone]. It certainly can’t replace a DSLR in specific situations, but depending on what you’re looking for, it just might suit your needs. On occasion the iPhone is even my camera of choice for personal photos, and we share more on that [here].

02. The Budget

Camera bodies, as well as lenses, come in all shapes and sizes, and can range from a couple hundred dollars to tens of thousands.

Based on your budget, here’s an easy way to figure out what level you might consider… Consumer=$hundreds  /  Hobbyist=$1-2thousand  /  Professional=$4+thousand

Most folks who ask regarding personal cameras are looking at either the consumer or hobbyist level to start out.

03. The Brand

Be forewarned that this industry is one that is loy-al to their camera manufacturer of choice. Which means that you may hear a different answer depending on who you ask. We have always used strictly Canon gear, and have always had great experiences with it. That being said, we also have photographer friends who swear by Nikon, Sony, and Fuji. Now is a great time to pick your team in order to help ease the transition for future upgrades to your equipment.

A quick side-note, as professional photographers we know our own gear and what works for our needs. However, we aren’t all that familiar with consumer level cameras. Once you have a general direction in mind, we highly suggest talking with a camera salesperson and/or reading online reviews for the equipment you are considering.

If there is anything else that we can help with, feel free to shoot a question our way [camera pun intended].

Kel and Mel

coffee table confessions

If you follow us on Instagram, you may have seen that we recently re-finished a coffee table. What started as a “quick project”, took more steps and time than we anticipated (darn our perfectionist ways) and left us without a necessary component in our living space for several few weeks. (I never realized just how much coffee we actually set on a table that is named for that very purpose.) That table has played a role in our daily lives throughout our entire marriage (and even belonged to Mel’s aunt prior to that), so our intent was to freshen it up and yet retain the character of a piece of furniture that’s been lived on for years.

The scratches from Reece claiming leftover crumbs after a night of take-out, the impressions from that time Kel hammered something on the table when he probably shouldn’t have, and the hundreds of dings and dents that I’m sure I had a hand in creating… all those little imperfections that we fretted over at the time for ruining our perfectly good table, add value to a few boards and bring a smile to our face.

This little project has been a great reminder for us that “wear and tear” builds character. Whether it’s in our business, or in our marriage, we find that oftentimes it is those seasons of difficulty –  when it may not be as easy as we’d hoped, or takes more time and effort than we feel like we have to give – that we truly learn and grow in ways we didn’t even know we needed.

Which by the way, happens to make for really good conversation over coffee.

Kel and Mel

“together with”

Developing an icon to represent our brand was a bit of a lengthy process, and yet it was so rewarding. With a specific concept in mind, our vision was still a little fuzzy as we drafted several versions. When it finally came in to focus, we were thrilled to have not only something that felt like us, but that serves as a reminder of the significance behind what being married is all about.

Look closely, and you’ll notice the hand-drawn lines that make up the “and” sign are slightly less than perfect. The variances and imperfections are what give it character and are evidence of its authenticity. Sound a little like reality? We happen to think so.

Our favorite part wasn’t realized, though, until what was once a sketch on a piece of paper was brought to life. With an appreciation for the heart, soul, and intentionality that goes in to crafting something, we enlisted the help of Mel’s parents to showcase exactly how much thought and care was going in to creating a unique experience for the couples we work with…

We ended up with two individual pieces that are nothing alike. Two unique elements that, when placed side by side for a specific purpose, become complete. The fact that they’re pointing toward something that is the reason for them being paired up in the first place? Well, that’s just [unintentional] symbolism at its best.

Everyone knows the meaning of the word “and”. It’s so commonplace that we say it without really giving any thought to it. When you come across this little icon, however, we hope you’ll take a moment to contemplate the true essence of what it signifies- together with, supplementary to, as well as.

Kel and Mel