Lauren and Richie | Deming, NM Black and Ivory Wedding at Rio Mimbres Country Club

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If there’s something that stands out to me about Lauren and Richie’s wedding at the First United Methodist Church in Deming—and the reception that followed at Rio Mimbres Country Club—it’s how emotionally invested every single friend, family member and guest was in celebrating their union. I don’t think I’ve seen so many tears, smiles, tender embraces, looks of adoration, squeals excitement or death-grip-hugs—nor have I witnessed so much laughter—all in one single event! There is no mistaking the fact that Lauren and Richie have a very special love for one another, and that literally every person who knows them well enough to attend their wedding celebration loves them both in equal measure. 

It had only been three weeks since I’d last had these two in front of my camera, and I was so excited to see them again—this time for the main event!

The day started with the guys and girls in separate wings of the church for prep. When I arrived, the first thing I heard was 50’s music wafting out the door to the prep room—Lauren’s Wedding Prep playlist was so fun and calming!

After Lauren was ready, her sister and Matron of Honor, Haley, helped her into her beautiful delicate wedding dress, carefully zipping at the side and buttoning at the shoulder. Lauren paused for a moment to read a handwritten note from Richie—they’d exchanged cards and gifts to be opened just prior to their First Look. This was the sweetest thing! Just knowing they were doing this almost simultaneously is such a special detail to their story!

Lauren did an amazing job keeping it together, but nerves were high as I moved her into position for the First Look and Haley arranged the tulle layers of her dress. Their last hug sent Lauren over the edge, and while I locked my settings, her tears flowed freely as she waited the last few moments to see her soon-to-be husband.

Being on the other side of the lens from a First Look is such a privilege! I don’t know if there is a span of a few moments anywhere else in a wedding day when a couple is more themselves that they are in that moment—catching sight of each other for the first time, feeling their hearts skip a beat and their breath catch, taking each other in, feeling the waves of emotion and excitement roll over them, and then ultimately, experiencing this sense of peace and and calm. Documenting that moment for my couples is one of my favorite parts of a wedding day—I know those images, maybe more than any others, will bring back a flood of emotions each time they flip through their wedding album! Lauren and Richie are the sweet, attached, emotional and just flat out IN LOVE couple who adore each other, and that connection came straight through in their First Look and the wedding portraits that followed.

The ceremony was such a beautiful experience. The church’s traditional Christmas decor had been utilized, with it’s evergreen, white twinkle lights, and gold accents, which balanced nicely with the sanctuary’s beautiful stained glass windows. That, paired with the classical music and of course Lauren’s radiant beauty, stunning dress and the cathedral length scalloped veil that followed her down  the aisle…so much elegance in one place! It took about three seconds to see the tears spring to Richie’s eyes, and then, to so many others’. So many full hearts!

Richie and Lauren made their getaway in a classic Cadillac Coup De Ville, and arrived at their reception at the Rio Mimbres Country Club just in time to get the party started. This has to most fun reception I’ve ever attended or photographed! The speeches, the music, the MC, the Shoe Game, and the dancing—oh, the DANCING! Old and young, EVERYONE was on the dance floor, tearing it up, singing their hearts out. It. Was. Awesome! Just as the sun started to dip, everyone gathered outside to send the bride and groom off for their Sunset Portraits—which were perfect!—with a bubble exit. Just wait till you see their faces—pure joy!

Lauren and Richie, the biggest joy I have in posting these pictures is knowing that you’ll be sitting down together to look through them with brimming hearts, as you relive your most special day! I love you both! Thank you for allowing me to be part of your story. 

Hugs,

Erin  

Vendors for this Wedding:

Dress:  David's Bridal

Veil: David's Bridal

Headpiece: Etsy

Shoes: Keds, Kate Spade glitter edition

Hair: Lucy Montes

Groom and Groomsmen's Attire: Jim's Formal Wear (Chandler's Flowers, Deming, NM)

Florist: Chandler's Flowers

Ceremony Venue: First United Methodist Church 

Reception Venue: Rio Mimbres Country Club

DJ/Entertainment Services: DJ Nono, Deming, NM

Cakes: Lucy Leyva of Las Cruces, NM

Desserts: The Cookie Jar Deming, NM

Catering: Rio Mimbres Country Club

 

 

Lauren and Richie | Deming, New Mexico Engagement Session

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We may have only met in person moments before this session, but I feel like Lauren and I have been friends for.e.ver. No joke, on the way to meet her, I was trying to play our conversations back in my head to figure out how long ago it was when she first emailed me about her wedding. And then I felt sheepish because the answer is April—which is only seven months ago! So why the familiarity? Simply put—this girl is so genuine it’s darn near impossible NOT to love her the moment you connect!

I got off the phone after our initial consultation just KNOWING I wanted to work with her—and through her, her fiancé Richie. Seriously every email conversation with Lauren since then has brought an ear-to-ear smile to my face! She’s kind, gracious, and so grateful for all those little tips and bits of advice I love to offer my clients (I love putting my experience with weddings to good use to make the planning process easier for my brides!). She bubbles over with love for her guy and excitement for her big day.

Until recently, Lauren and Richie have been living in Colorado, where Lauren was working on her Master’s Degree and Richie was a Hotshot firefighter. They had met and dated at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, but when Lauren was ready to begin her graduate work in Colorado, they decided they’d take a break, knowing that a long distance relationship wasn’t ideal. In reality though, they made it four months before Richie went after her, uprooting his life in New Mexico to pursue the girl he loved. One year later, he was down on one knee in the middle of a bed of rose petals, asking her to always be his—while friends and family witnessed. 

With the great distance between us, we knew getting an engagement session in would be a challenge, but I can’t express how grateful I am that we had the opportunity, just three weeks before the wedding! Getting couples in front of my camera prior to their wedding is THAT important to me that I include it as a complimentary service with a booked package—this is how we get to know each other in real life, I get to see how you interact with and show love to each other, and I can get you comfortable with my method and system of shooting so that on the big day, you can roll through portrait time like seasoned pros.

And Lauren and Richie…they are now seasoned. pros. :) 

We started our session off at The Custom House in Deming, NM. This just happened to be where Lauren’s bridal shower was being held prior to our session, and it made the perfect backdrop for the first half of their engagement session! Looking at the pictures, I wouldn’t guess this is New Mexico—I think the Custom House has 90% of the greenery in our little town, right in it’s back yard!

I’d start getting a shot set up and tell Lauren and Richie to just chill for a minute while I locked in my settings…and then they’d get all cute and adorable with each other, making each other crack up. So naturally, I had a lot of material to shoot!

After we finished up there, and as the light was really starting to soften, we made a wardrobe and location change—this time, heading out to the Mimbres River (which, incidentally, is completely dry), where we had access to probably the only pretty fall leaves in Deming! It was gorgeous, and with sweaters and boots, these two were ready to get cozy. Again, with the crackups, and again with the cuteness—at one point, I just slid myself behind a bush and fired off shot after shot, capturing their candid sweet interactions and laughter. There’s no denying that Lauren and Richie adore each other! 

Hey you two—I can’t wait to see you again in just a few days!! Thanks so much for being such amazing genuine people, for your faith and trust, and for allowing me the pleasure to be the one behind the lens to capture the beginning of your story.  
XO,

Erin

Lauren's hair was done by Lucy Montes in Deming!

Gladis and Ian | Las Cruces Engagement Session at Rio Grande Vineyard and Winery, and New Mexico State University

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I’ve been so excited for this engagement session, ever since first meeting Gladis and Ian back in June. They were only recently engaged at the time, but Gladis contacted me shortly after the proposal, and within a few days we had all talked over the phone, and then met in person to talk over their wedding plans and photography needs.

Right from the start, I was so impressed with these two! They met as students at NMSU in 2011, and have since finished their degrees. Gladis graduated in Civil Engineering, and recently took a job with a firm in Albuquerque. She’s first in her family to graduate or attend college, and it’s clear that she’s worked incredibly hard to get where she is.

Ian graduated with an MBA in Business Administration and, when Gladis’ work required her to move shortly after their engagement, he followed suit and changed jobs in order to avoid that whole long-distance relationship thing. 

As a couple, they have been through all the ups and downs life could throw at them. (Heck, they’ve even survived the fact that they support different NFL teams!😉 ). But their love, connection and best-friend-ship have kept them together through it all, and they’re SO excited to become Mr. and Mrs. Robles next year. 

We started planning Gladis and Ian’s engagement session months ago, completely around the hope that we’d be able to shoot in Fall leaves…and then the season didn’t cooperate with us AT ALL. So sad! But despite the fact that we didn’t see those golden shades on even a single tree, we did have a great session, and I had such a great time working with these two!

We started at Rio Grande Vineyard and Winery in Las Cruces, where we strolled through the vineyard and rosebushes. Gladis and Ian looked so sharp! Their outfits were on point—Ladies, a cocktail dress looks great in pictures! And men, seriously, dark rinse jeans, cognac shoes/belt and a blazer…follow Ian’s example, it’s such a classy look!  

The sun was sinking fast, so we headed to our second location—Gladis and Ian asked if we could take pictures on campus at NMSU, since that’s where their story began. I had scouted for nice spots prior to our session that day, and found a really great angle of Goddard Hall, which, coincidentally, happens to be the hub for the College of Engineering. (I’d like to say I did that on purpose, but really, it’s a coincidence—it’s a really beautiful building!). As the sun sank, we caught some beautiful sun flares and late evening light--which are always some of my favorite shots from a session! 

Gladis and Ian, thanks for coming to hang out with me for the evening!  I have enjoyed so much getting to know the two of you, and I can’t wait to see you again next year for that perfect wedding day!!

All My Best,

Erin

*If you love Gladis' gorgeous look, make sure to check out Laura Juarez for makeup in Las Cruces!

What to Wear For Family Portraits

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Hi Friends! I did something today that I’ve never done before, and I’m so excited to share! As a portrait photographer, probably the question I get asked the most is “What should we wear for our pictures?” I get it —it’s really hard to know what will look good together, and also what will look nice on camera!

I don’t have any formal training in this area, but I have learned a LOT over the years—both as a photographer who aims to make my clients look their absolute best on camera, and as a wife and mother who wants her family’s pictures to turn out beautifully! 

Today, I’m going to share with you my best tips for coordinating outfits, and share some examples of past client sessions where clothing choices added to the overall effect and outcome. But here’s the surprise—I’m ALSO going to share with you my own process! I created a video that I’m linking at the bottom of this post to show you my thought process as I go through the exact same experience that you do every year—selecting clothing for my own family pictures. I hope you’ll learn something from it, and that it’ll make things a little easier for you the next time you’re choosing clothes for a session!

10 Tips for Dressing Your Family For Portraits

1. You don’t HAVE to buy new clothing for everyone! Last year, I pulled clothing together for our pictures almost entirely with things we already had—I only bought myself a sweater and my husband a button-up shirt. If you’re not in a position to shop for new outfits for the whole family, that’s totally fine! You can still pull together great combinations if you first raid everyone’s closets and look for common colors/styles.

2. DO NOT start with your kids. I know, I know, we all want our kids to look cute! But I promise, they’ll be adorable in anything you put them in. Instead, start with either yourself or your spouse. If your husband doesn’t have strong opinions about what he wears, then start with your own outfit! Sometimes, though, it’s easier to start with the guy, especially if he has specific styles or colors he prefers. In my video below, I explain that I’ve learned to start with my husband’s ‘look’ first—that’s what works best for us.

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3. Along those same lines, make sure you LOVE what you’re wearing, and that you feel GREAT in it. If there’s anywhere it’s worth investing in a new outfit, it’s for you! “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”—and it’s true in pictures, too. If you feel great in what you’re wearing, you’re going to be THAT MUCH happier with your pictures.

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5. Solids and simple patterns photograph best. Unless it’s a really important part of your personality, I suggest staying away from super-busy patterns. Also, really thin stripes/tiny checks can play tricks on the camera’s ‘eye’. And you CAN mix patterns—you just have to be smart about it! It’s really difficult to explain this, but I show you an example in my video!

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6. Accessorize! Add layers, jewelry, scarves, jackets, belts, hats, etc. These add visual interest and depth/texture to photos, and help tie everyone together! (P.s.They also give you something to do with your hands while shooting, helping you look more natural on camera).

Photo Credit: Marquette Laree Photography

Photo Credit: Marquette Laree Photography

7. Casual or Dressy? Both have their place, but if you always lean more towards casual, I 100% suggest going outside your comfort zone for a more sophisticated, put-together look. Blazers, suits and ties, cocktail dresses, heels…speaking from experience, it’s FUN, and you’ll feel like a million bucks! My guess is, your spouse and kids will, too! 

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8. Don’t forget shoes! I really suggest you pay close attention that everyone’s shoes ‘belong’ together. That doesn’t mean you have to buy new shoes for everyone, but they should all be similar in style. If one person is wearing dress shoes, and the rest aren’t, it sticks out! If someone is wearing running shoes, and everyone else is wearing boots or neutral-colored lace up shoes, that draws attention, too. If possible, I always recommend steering clear of everyday running or walking shoes, or children’s shoes with characters on them.
 

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9. Clothing with recognizable brands, or writing of any kind, tend to draw attention away from the subject’s face and relationships, so I always recommend avoiding these items for pictures!

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10. Everyone’s clothes should fit really well. I can’t over-emphasize this! A trim-cut suit or dress pants and shirt flatter a male figure SO MUCH BETTER than one that’s a little too big, wide or long. The same is absolutely true for women’s clothing and children’s, as well! Clothing that is not too big, nor too tight, flatter the figure and make subjects appear thinner on camera!

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In Real Life

Want to see all these tips in practice? I spent some time today planning my own family portraits--here's what I'm pulling together for our session in a couple weeks! I think we'll go with the first combination, but I'm really glad to know I've got a second option that I would love as well!

I recorded my thought process while making my choices--If you can look past the first-time-recording mistakes, I'd love for you to watch this little video to see what goes through my mind, what I still plan to add, and how I chose colors and patterns! 

That's it! Now, you'll look Ah-MAZE-ing at your next portrait session.

Have a great day, Friends!

Erin :) 

Amanda and Scotti | Deming, NM Engagement Session at Katfish Kove

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I walked into McDonald’s and didn’t even have time to scan the tables before I saw them—this cute couple with big smiles and sparkling eyes. I’m sure my face immediately lit up, too—How could it not? As soon as we sat down to make introductions, I felt like we were old friends! After a minute, I asked if they’d tell me a bit about themselves.

Amanda shifted in her seat and stammered for a second, then looked at her husband. “You tell her, I’m too nervous!”

I chuckled. “Nothing to be nervous about, I promise!” I liked them already.

We spent the next hour getting to know each other a bit—totally forgetting to order something to eat! Amanda and Scotti told me a little about how they met (in high school Spanish class), how long they’ve been together (two years), and about their wedding plans for this summer.

“We’re actually already married,” Amanda said. “I was raised by my grandparents, and my grandpa is on Hospice—we’re not sure how much longer he’ll be with us, so we decide to do a courthouse ceremony so that we could have him present for our wedding.”

They’ll be celebrating their marriage in style this June at The Lodge in Cloudcroft, NM. “Our wedding colors include baby blue,” Amanda bubbled, “—so Scotti can wear baby blue Jordan’s.” I had to smile, because come on—a wedding planned around shoes. :)

I love meeting with potential clients for consultations—I think it’s such a great way to tell if we’ll be a good fit! In Amanda and Scotti’s case, I felt an instant connection to this young, hopelessly-in-love couple. “We are literally best friends and spend most of our time together!… We love each other in a weird Can’t-Be-Without-You kind of way.”

Weird? Nope. Just adorable.

Amanda and Scotti opted for an Engagement Session at Katfish Kove between Silver City and Deming, NM. We were hunting for some color on trees—and although it’s still early in the season, we were lucky enough to get some fall yellows. Plus, that beautiful October late evening glow!

These two are so cute together! I love the way they look at each other—with so much love and tenderness. They are fun and silly, but tender, too. Above all, they are connected. They have shared so much of life in the two short years they’ve been together, and are committed to staying side by side through all the ups and downs life brings them.

Scotti and Amanda, I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed getting to know you in these past few weeks! Thank you so much for your trust and enthusiasm—and for taking me into your hearts so effortlessly. I can’t wait for June!!

XO,
Erin