Creve Coeur Camera Photopalooza {Workshop Recap}

Over the past few years I have been amazed at the way incredible photographers come around others and share their gift and knowledge. I’ve seen this through the Rising Tide Society (2016 Styled Shoot) and recently through Creve Coeur Camera’s Photopalooza. I was honored to sit in on the sessions with Stephanie Cotta and Trent Broglin.

Bridal Posing with Trent Broglin

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Trent’s Tips for posing:

  • When you ask your bride to laugh- laugh with her!
  • You can do every pose without making the bride move her feet.
  • Always elongate your bride. Be mindful of her body and her angles.

Our model was gorgeous (as they always are) and she was a brave woman as it was hot! Did I mention it was 107 degrees this day? She rocked that dress.

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Outdoor Child Photography with Stephanie Cotta

Now this was a session I was looking for, however I’ve mostly seen her name around Newborn Photography. While she might specialize in newborn, but she wowed us in child photography as well. And if I could be BFF with anyone it might be Stephanie. She is super down to earth and answers questions with honesty, humility, and with a laugh.

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Stephanie’s Tips for Child Photography Posing:

  • Bribery always works – bring smarties!
  • Also bring a few key props- something with movement and a seat (bench/chair/etc.).
  • Get in a pose and then add a simple movement to it.
  • Little kids need to be guided on where to put their hands. Pockets are great for boys and girls can hold on to their dress or parents hand.

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If you attended photopalooza this year, tell me your favorite session in the comments. Some suggestions for people who attend it next year:

  • Make sure you sign up for the sessions early!
  • Go with a friend. You will meet a ton of wonderful photographers but it is nice to go with someone you know. I would encourage you to go to different sessions and compare notes during breaks.
  • Plan food options. There are a ton of local restaurants to check out.
  • Take advantage of the great discounts that day. Go in with a list of items you are looking to buy and price things out while you are there. You might get a really great deal.
  • Talk to the vendors there. Want to know what new products Nikon is putting out? More than likely a representative might be there to chat up.
  • Bring a notebook. These sessions are top notch and you will take in so much, so bring something to write down all of the tips they share.
  • Network with your session leaders and other attendees. St. Louis is smaller than you think so go meet your fellow photographers and remember that #communityovercompetition is key!

Kaemmerlen Picnic {Event} . Queeny Park

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What do you get when you have 500 lbs of meat + 2 retirees + a family atmosphere = a Kaemmerlen Family picnic.

We occasionally enjoy taking on event photography, but I don’t think we have ever been offered 2 racks of ribs to go when we were leaving. This example just shows a glimpse into their view on hospitality and customer service.

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Meet the incredible Pit Men. They started grilling at 5 p.m. the day before. So yes, they camped out making sure they had incredible food for the entire company and their families.

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And dang, it was good. Like some of the best BBQ I’ve ever eaten (yes, they forced us to also get a plate. Typically, we politely refuse and continue shooting, but there was no way they would let us do that. Hey when in Rome, and when the food was this good, I’m glad they ‘forced’ us.)

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Each year, Kaemmerlen honors their retirees at the event. This year there were two retirees.

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The event included many festivities, including a face painter and balloon artist.

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We were also asked to offer some family photos while we were there. So we rounded up as many families that we could to snap a few shots for a future company photo book. How cool of a company to want to know not only each employee, but also their family members?

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Thank you Kaemmerlen for inviting us to your amazing family focused event.

Andrew + Elizabeth {Married} . Salem Lutheran Church

There are few things sweeter than two people fiercely in love. This wedding showed that not only are Andrew and Elizabeth devoted to one another, but they are also devoted to their family, church and friends. These two are loved by all and desire nothing else then to love others.

Elizabeth and Andrew grew up at Salem Lutheran Church in Affton, MO, so there was no doubt that friends and family would surround the two with prayers and excitement as they started their life together.

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They chose a beautiful color selection of deep blue and yellow.

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Elizabeth’s dress was absolutely stunning with intricate detail of beading and lace. Her illusion straps were the perfect touch. And her mother, not only made her veil but also made dresses for some of her special attendants.

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Andrew and Elizabeth chose to not see each other before the wedding and so when Andrew saw his bride, you could see the smile come across his face. That smile may or may not have also turned into sweet tears of joy.
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Elizabeth was concerned that her father may not be able to walk her down the aisle. In fact, the decision was made day of and was one of the most emotional parts of the day.

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After the big kiss the guests went down to a cake and punch reception which was followed by family and bridal party photos. And boy, was the bridal party fun!

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At one point Sarah Marie took the girls to take photos and Jonathan separated the guys for photos, however the gentlemen thought it would be a great idea to photo bomb the ladies. This photo was before, and you will have to ask the bride to see the after!

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Andrew and Elizabeth enjoyed a few moments alone, before it was time for their reception.

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The real fun was to be had at The Christy, and the venue was absolutely perfect to celebrate your first few hours as husband and wife.

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See, I told you that the wedding party knew how to have a good time! Now an entrance really isn’t an entrance with out glow sticks!

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While the first dance was beautiful and elegant, the father-daughter dance had every eye filled with tears. Tears of joy, tears of thanksgiving and tears of a beautiful happily ever after.

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The guest enjoyed a wonderful meal and incredible cake, but the best part was the dancing! My favorite part of dancing is during the slow dances in which you can see the love of marriage young and old.

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We are so excited to see two amazing people love and support each other in the good times and bad. Hold each other close in the good times and closer in the not so good times. Thank you for including us on your special day.

The Amazing Vendors:

Brides Attire: David’s Bridal | Groomsmen’s Attire: Mens Warehouse | Hair and Makeup : Capricorn for Hair | Transportation : St. Louis Limousine Inc. | Cake : Wedding Wonderland Cake Shop | Rings : Shane Company | Ceremony Venue : Salem Lutheran Church| Reception Venue : The Christy

GirlTrek {Event} . Forest Park, St. Louis

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Vibrant. If I could pick one word to describe this strong group of women it would be vibrant.

Last year we also were given the opportunity to photograph the St. Louis Chapter of Girl Trek’s Mamathon event. This event is in celebration of the trekker’s mothers and they pledge to walk/run/bike 52.4 miles during the month of May in honor of them. The best part is that the end of the month a few cities host mom and daughter photoshoots. Hence where I come in!

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One of these ladies favorite move is their “joy jump.”

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These ladies made great use of their time and got some steps in while they were waiting.



Keeping on racking up those miles girls and promoting health in the African-American community.

Garden Party Styled Shoot {Behind the Scenes} . Rising Tide Society

“A rising tide lifts all boats.”

I’ve never met a group of people who were so fiercely devoted to their craft in which their main desire was to create and bring joy to people. Their crafts vary from event coordination, floral design, videography, graphic design, sugar art, etc. Each person wows the next, and that is what I loved about this styled shoot. This event was not about intense competition (and there was at least 7 other creatives from one specialized niche), but instead about collaboration and camaraderie.

I really could go on and on about how incredible these creative entrepreneurs are, but instead I will show you… Enjoy a behind the scenes look of our Garden Party Styled Shoot. And check the bottom to show these great creatives some love!

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As I look through these photos, I don’t see a kick butt gorgeous group of ladies (and they are), but instead I see a stunningly strong group of women whom I can now call friends. These friends understand ‘busy season’, a frustrated client, and struggling with work/life balance. They are kind, passionate and devoted to their talent. If these attributes resonate with you and you are in the creative field, reach out and learn more about The Rising Tide Society, specifically the St. Louis group on Facebook.

White Traditions Bridal House- long sleeve lace dress
Instagram: whitetraditions
Facebook: White Traditions Bridal House

Mia Grace Bridal- Everything else
Instagram: Miagracebridal
Facebook: Mia Grace Bridal

VSM Creations
FB: VSM Event Creations
Instagram: vsm_event_creations

Absolutely IN! Events
Instagram: Absolutelyin
Facebook: Absolutely In Event Planning

The Aries Company
Instagram: ariesrentalco
Facebook: The Aries Company

Grand Vintage Rentals
Instagram: grandvintagerentals
Facebook: Grand Vintage Rentals

La Tavola Fine Linens
instagram: latavolalinen
FB: La Tavola Fine Linen

Piper Palm House
Facebook: Piper Palm House
Instagram: towergrovepark

Hair and Makeup :
Lindsey Hedge
Facebook: Lindsey Hedge Hair & Make Up

Jennifer Karrasch
Facebook: Flawless Makeup and Hairstyling
instagram: flawless_makeup_hair

Heather Biernbaum
Instagram: b_beautiful_mua_

Watercolor Painting:
Instagram: marcellecalder
Facebook: Marcelle Calder Photography

Accents Floral Design
Instagram: accentsfloraldesign

Alex Waldbart Florist
Instagram: Alexwaldbartflorist
Facebook: Alex Waldbart Florist

Ophelia Floral
Instagram: opheliafloral
Facebook: Ophelia Floral Design

Betsy N Co. Creative
Instagram: betsynco
Facebook: Betsy N Co. Creative

The Lace Cake
Facebook: The Lace Cake
instagram: caker_mom

Wardrobe Styling:
Elizabeth Anne Styling
Instagram: Elizabethannestyling
Facebook: Elizabeth Anne Styling

Madison Barczewski
Anastasia Lindgren (IG: anastasialindgren
Amber Bardol (IG: A_bardol)
Lexi Werkmann
Courtney Casteel (IG: Court_Casteel)
Mary Elizabeth

Brew in the Lou {Event}

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Beer . Lutheran Schools . Laughter

How on earth do these all go together? Well annually Lutheran Elementary School Association (LESA) holds the Brew in the Lou event. You can see past events here and here.
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The event is typically held at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis and the beautiful campus is a great location to spend some time on the sprawling lawn drinking your favorite brew.
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Each vendor is incredibly knowledgeable and wants to see you savor their amazing food and drink.
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As you enjoy the afternoon, the atmosphere is alive with sounds of bluegrass and polka.
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And you never know when dancing may ensue.
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So raise your glass to a great event  that raises money for students who attend Lutheran schools in the St. Louis area.
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Ellen’s 70 Birthday {Event} . Webster Groves, MO

Ellen could be expressed in many words some of them including, vivacious, humble, and kind. She has taught hundreds of students as both an elementary and middle school teacher, and gracefully accepted her role as a military wife.

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Ellen’s wonderful family and friends planned a surprise party. People traveled hundreds of miles to celebrate with her. Every area of her life was represented in this beautiful party. When I asked how many states were represented in the room, I believe we got up to eight!
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It was interesting to watch around 35 excited people crammed into a kitchen waiting to yell surprise when Ellen entered, but she was incredibly surprised!

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The sneaky party planner convinced Ellen to show up under a ruse, as she thought she was going to give a speech about Kiva. Ellen even had a speech all prepared.
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Each special person had a part to play in this surprise, they even had special shirts prepared!
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It was such an honor to watch so many people celebrate a much deserving woman.

Sugg 50th Anniversary {Event}

“I remember” Lucy said, “that in this very church 50 years ago.”
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“The windows were open on our wedding day. And the neighborhood kids were very curious about what was going on in the church. They lifted a little girl up to peer in the windows and then left her hanging there. All of a sudden we heard a little voice yelling help! Well we stopped the wedding to figure out what was going on.”
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All while she reminisced she smiled at how much the church and the community meant to her. It was evident at the anniversary party that Lucy and Clark have made a huge impact in their community and church. Not only do these two talk about loving others, their actions speak louder.
Friends, family members and the community all shared beautiful memories that they could recall about Lucy and Clark.
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A person once told me that marriage is far better if you don’t take yourself too seriously. Laughter has to be a part of your relationship as it makes hard times easier and great times more memorable. And that same person must have told that to Lucy and Clark too! When they went to cut their cake they purposely cut out their face from the photo on the cake and fed each other!
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Before we left, I asked Lucy what advice she could share to make a marriage last 50 years. She responded, “Don’t keep a list of wrongs. He will make many mistakes, but I encourage you to focus on the things he does right. Forgive each other and love no matter what.”

Thank you Lucy and Clark for being an example to those around you, both in how you love each other and your community!

Ascension Day {Event}

The concept of a church family is a beautiful thing. People of different races, backgrounds, and socio-economic status coming together with the same purpose – to worship. This month Ascension Lutheran Church decided to show the community what their corporate worship actually looked like. They celebrated Ascension Day (39 days after Easter Sunday) outside on their front lawn.
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One thing that I love about this church is that they have a large number of Nepalese members. Many of the members just went through confirmation classes and desired to go through baptism as well. As is their custom in Nepal, they requested immersion baptism, which is not the typical way Ascension Lutheran Church baptizes, however Pastor Clark embraced this request and performed his first immersion baptisms on about 12 Nepalese believers.
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As someone who holds their faith close to their heart, there may have been a few tears as I saw my brothers and sisters making a beautiful proclamation that they are made new!
The service ended as any true service should end (please take note Pastor Clark-we could really incorporate this practice into our Sunday Worship) with Ted Drewes Frozen Custard!
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If you are ever in the South City area on Saturday night or Sunday, stop on by as you will be greeted by some of the sweetest people ever.
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LESA Auction {Event}

“It’s all for the kids” is a phrase that can often be heard spoken around the Lutheran Elementary School Association (LESA) office. This phrase isn’t just said, but lived out by each one of those who work at LESA along with those who support their cause.

LESA is an organization we have come to love, as seen by how much we enjoy photographing their worthwhile events, like Brew in the Lou 2014 and 2013.

But really it is all for the kids. Kids like these:
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This years event honored Dr. Eugene Lehr and was emceed by Mark Reardon, a KMOX radio host.
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Tori Stuart, the 2015 Heritage Award Recipient, inspired us all as she was honored for starting a volleyball camp for children with disabilities.
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Thank you Dr. Lehr for your contribution to the community, and thank you for all of those who support Lutheran Education.
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