Essential Stuff

Shots and Thoughts from Essential Moments Photography

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Katrina & Jeff – Chateau Rive at the Flour Mill, Spokane

Chateau Rive at the Flour Mill

When I posted a picture from Katrina and Jeff’s wedding on Facebook, I had a friend comment that it was nice to see I was continuing in my role as unofficial Chewelah wedding photograph.  It is true, that I have had an unusual number of weddings of people with ties to Chewelah, which I have documented before.

Spokane Wedding Photography

Katrina’s wedding, by my counting, is now the third from a small but close group of women who, growing up in Chewelah, called themselves the _________.   If I can make some generalizations about the ———, it is they that are incredibly kind, well-grounded, good-natured, fun-loving people.  So it is with Katrina and Jeff.

Just Married!

They were married on a lovely evening, by the river, at the Chateau Rive at the Flour Mill, a venue I hadn’t ever photographed at before.  They were married on the lawn, surrounded by gardens and a basalt wall, then moved indoors for feasting, toasting, and plenty of dancing.

Spokane Wedding Photography

You can click here to see a gallery of photographs from the wedding.

Katrina and Jeff, Spokane


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posted by Larry Brunt at 7:18 pm  

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Allison & Ted – Beacon Hill – Spokane, Washington

Allison and Ted's wedding photos

Allison and Ted are bikers.  Like, hardcore, competitive, racing bikers.  In fact, many of their guests were hardcore, competitive bikers, though I get the idea that Ted and Allison might be the hardcorest, competitivest, racingest bikers of the group.  Which is NOT to say that they come across as competitive and hardcorey.  They don’t.

What they DO come across as is genuine, gracious, kind, and open-hearted.  And fun.  Loads of fun.  I suspect you’ll be able to tell those things from the photographs.

For instance, their wedding included a somewhat competitive, semi-hardcorey but mostly loads of fun gulp-and-gallop race around the pond (twice!).  And the only evidence of competitiveness I detected was overhearing Ted telling people afterwards that he was fine not winning, up until the second guy passed him, when he told himself, “No way.”

There was lots of laughter.  Lots of celebrating.  Lots of stories and dancing and did I mention laughter?  And tons of tenderness, too.  That’s the thing about Allison and Ted–they seem authentic to the bone; they don’t care how others perceive them, they don’t worry about airs and pretenses.  They are just themselves, open to everyone, and each other.

The wedding was extra fun for me, because I was reunited with Melisa Holloman, a very fine photographer who had interned for me several years ago, and who agreed to help me shoot this wedding.  When you look through the photographs from the wedding day, many of the photographs are Melisa’s.  I wish I could credit her for each image (on this page, she took the first, second, and fifth pictures).  Though any image you see taken after dark was thanks to her, as she lugged the lighting equipment around, helping us get shots like this:

So lots of thanks to Melisa, and tons and tons of thanks to Allison and Ted, who gave me the honor of photographing their wedding.  Fortunately, I’m not done with them yet.  They are planning on a Trash-the-Dress shoot later this summer!  With bicycles, of course.



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posted by Larry Brunt at 11:01 pm  

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Tracy & Lisa – Unitarian Universalist Church – Spokane, Washington

I had heard Tracy preach many years ago at the Unitarian Universalist Church and had found her thoughtful and inspiring, though I never really met her.  Then last winter, I took a part-time job in the International Education Office at Spokane Falls Community College, where my boss was Lisa.  I got to know her as a hard-working, no-nonsense woman with a delightfully sardonic wit who was dedicated to her family.  She was a fun boss, too.

So I was especially happy when Lisa asked if I would photograph their  wedding.

Another reason I was especially glad to photograph their wedding is that it was a long time in coming.  Tracy and Lisa had been together nine years, but it was only last December when it became possible for them to be legally married in Washington State.  And there was particular joy in their celebration, coming less than two weeks after the Supreme Court struck down DOMA, meaning that others so committed and dedicated will be able to marry as well.

And a celebration nine years in the waiting, well, it’s not to be missed.  It included a candle ceremony that involved extended families, heart-felt toasts from Tracy’s three boys, dancing, an adorable Ella twirling in a yellow dress, lots of children with hula hoops, family from all over the country, and friends from literally around the world.  You can see a full gallery of photographs from the wedding here.

I am always honored when a couple entrusts me to document their wedding day, but perhaps never more so than at Lisa and Tracy’s wedding.  It was definitely a day to celebrate.

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posted by Larry Brunt at 1:00 am  

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Chelsea & Michael – Camden Ranch, Elk, Washington

Chelsea & Mike's Wedding Photography

Sometimes, before a wedding, when the bride and groom are getting ready, I will give them each a bit of advice.  I tell them to stay connected.  To focus on each other.  That there will be lots and family and friends and things to focus on, but to always remember that it’s about the two of them, together.  If it seems appropriate, I might mention that they should be sure to look at each other often, to touch each other, to not stray far from the other person during the reception.

I do this as a way to remind them to make the day meaningful; but I also do it for selfish reasons–they more connected the couple is, the better the photographs are.

At Chelsea and Mike’s wedding on Saturday, I didn’t have to say a thing.  Not a word.  The whole connection thing?  They already had that down, completely.

It started at the First Sight. I started to prep Chelsea to be connected when she tapped Mike on the shoulder, but she was waaaay past me already, looking over my shoulder in anticipation of seeing Mike for the first time. And when he saw her . . . well . . . those are the kinds of moments that make my job so much fun.

Spokane Photography

One thing I noticed was their hands.  When you go and look at the full gallery of photographs of their wedding day, notice their hands.  They are almost always touching.  And sometimes the one-hand-hold isn’t enough; sometimes they are holding their hands holding hands.  (There was so much tenderness between them that sometimes it was startling to remember that they are soldiers who have gone through boot camp and that Chelsea is a wrestler!  I was hoping these tough soldiers didn’t notice how much their middle-aged photographer struggled to run across a field with his heavy bag of photographic gear.)

First Dance

I always tell people that I have a pretty great job.  I get to share one of the most important day’s in people’s lives, and I get to watch it all from the front row.  When the couple is as connected (and photogenic!) as Chelsea and Mike, and when the kindness of their family and friends is so immediately extended to me, one of the few strangers at the scene, and when the first look has lots of love and emotion, and the ceremony is personally crafted, and when the first dance is tender, and the later dancing is crazy and festive, and when even the clouds, which threaten to rain all day, but never do, provide a dramatic background for pictures, well, mine’s pretty close to the best job in the world.

You can see a full gallery of photographs from the wedding day here.

Creative Wedding Portraits

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posted by Larry Brunt at 6:17 pm  

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Julie & Rory – EJ Roberts Mansion, Spokane, WA

This is Julie and Rory, and this is one of my favorite moments from their wedding.  Guests were arriving, the ceremony was to start in a few minutes, things were (as they usually are) running a bit behind schedule, and Julie and Rory hadn’t had their first look yet.  Behind the EJ Roberts Mansion, over a wall from where the ceremony would be taking place, is an aptly named “Secret Garden”, and it was there that Julie and Rory saw each other for the first time on their wedding day.  And as soon as they saw each other, all the stress and worry and hurry-up-and-waiting disappeared, and they interlocked their hands and just looked at each other, smiling.  And nothing else mattered.  I loved that.

Besides the Secret Garden, the Roberts Mansion is cool because there are lots of cool places for portraits, both indoors and out.  Julie, who is a photographer herself, was particularly interested that we take advantage of those locations.  (And one nice parenthetical bonus about working with couples who are in the military [Navy, in this case], is that their posture is outstanding.)

Another cool moment.  While Julie was walking down the aisle with her dad, one of the grandmothers, who was sitting right next to me, said, in almost a gasp, “Oh, what a beautiful bride!”  When I looked over at her, she had her hand over her mouth and her eyes closed.  You can look for that image in this gallery of photographs from Julie and Rory’s wedding, located at this link.  Those are the little moments I love.  As I’ve said many times, I consider myself very privileged at the weddings I shoot.  I got to see one of the most important days in Julie and Rory’s lives, and I got to see it from the front row.

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posted by Larry Brunt at 4:37 pm  

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Kristin & Sam – Elks Point, Coeur d’Alene

Kristin and Sam had their wedding at Elks Point, up on top of a hill overlooking Lake Coeur d’Alene, and it could not have been more scenic.  Add to that a photogenic couple, and it made for a fantastic day of shooting.

I think you can tell a lot about a couple from their family and friends; based on their friends, you can tell they are loyal, caring, generous, passionate, fun-loving, unpretentious, grounded people.  After watching Kristin and Sam on their wedding day, I am pretty sure these are accurate adjectives.

Besides having a spectacular venue and fantastic friends, Kristin and Sam’s wedding day included dancing.  All kinds of dance.  Tender slow dancing, and wild, crazy, limbs everywhere dancing.  Did I mention crazy?  (I’m looking at you, Jesse).

And then, in case that wasn’t all enough, Kristin and Sam managed to have their wedding day coincide with some fireworks over the lake.  It was a spectacular close to a spectacular day.  Click here to see photographs from the wedding day.

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posted by Larry Brunt at 5:08 pm  

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Anna & Tom – Spokesman Review Pavilion – Spokane

This is Anna and Tom.  I’ve been friends with Anna for a number of years, though for a long while our interaction has been limited too facebook.  After shooting her wedding this weekend, I realized what a shame that is, because Anna and Tom (whom I met for the first time) are delightful, smart, funny, and kind people.  And I think all those qualities were reflected in their wedding.

Their official color was “Rainbow.”  They and their attendants were decked out in multi-colored Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars.  Their cake featured cats (and a mouse, apparently a family tradition), and there were lollipops and candy aplenty.  Tom wrote the ceremony, and Anna did all the decorations.  And they got married at what seemed like the top of the world; the top of the Spokesman-Review building, with spectacular views all around.

Actually, a line from their ceremony described them better than I can:  “Their energy is infectious, free-spirited, and unshakeable. They live to the greatest expressions of joy. They want to live their lives together, to support, encourage, and enjoy each other.”  You can see a gallery of photography from their wedding day here; when you go through the wedding photographs, you’ll notice that there are lots of “detail” shots, because every little detail expressed who Anna and Tom are.  It was great fun photographing their day together.


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posted by Larry Brunt at 3:48 pm  
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