Essential Stuff

Shots and Thoughts from Essential Moments Photography

Monday, March 14, 2011

Contest Time! Best Bride & Groom Portrait, 2010


Update:  Voting is over. The polls have closed. And we have a winner. Congratulations to Joelle and Brad!

March isn’t the busiest month for weddings, so how about a contest?

I’ve chosen 10 bride and groom portraits from last year, completely subjectively; they are my favorites (at the moment) and not necessarily the best or the couples’ favorites.  But I like them.  Now, your task is easy; just vote on your favorite (just one). Awesome!  (And if you haven’t seen all the pictures from the wedding, just click on the picture to go to their wedding galleries.)

And here’s the cool thing: the couple whose image gets the most votes gets a free Standout Print of the winning image for their wall.  So you vote, it’s fun, and you’re spreading the love at the same time.  Then go tell your friends and have them vote too.  And while you’re at it, I’d love it if you liked my facebook page.  Awesome.

Voting ends on Friday the 18th at 7:00 pm PDST.  7:01 votes won’t count.

And please, just vote once.  It’s the kind and friendly and fair thing to do.  I can track IP addresses, so I’ll see any suspicious voting patterns, but I doubt I’ll need it.  After all, I did say please. (And if you got married last year and there is no picture up, don’t fret, because more contests are a-comin’).

So here are the ten photos, in alphabetical order by the bride’s name.  Let the voting commence.


[photosmash id=5]

My wedding photography is driven by the personality of the couples, so the sometimes images by themselves are missing context. Here, then, are little descriptions about these people, as I know them (which is sometimes in very limited ways), and some of the reasons I like these pictures.  In several cases, I also provide links directly to their portrait sessions galleries, so you can check out the rest, if you’re interested.

Beth & Ben are as comfortable in their own skin as just about any couple I’ve worked with. They were both very authentic and natural and relaxed, not the sort of people to get upset by things they couldn’t control. And I think all that comes through in this image. This portrait sessions was between the wedding and reception, but they were in no rush. Nothing could bother them. I think people who are really self-possessed have a calmness and openness about them, and this image seems to capture some of that: comfortable, natural, elegant, and in-the-moment.

Danielle and Ryan are creative, bright, whimsical people. Their attention to fun details (like creating the sign) was evident everywhere. Like many bright, creative people, they weren’t necessarily in their element being the center of attention, but it was clear that they delighted in each other’s company, all the time.  This image from a sequence of pictures that really captured their delight in each other, and I absolutely love Ryan’s boyish smile here.  : )

Put beautiful people in a beautiful setting, and it’s hard to take a bad picture. Debby really wanted to sneak away from the reception to get some portraits done in this garden. Justin liked the idea, but was a bit worried about time, and the portrait session did probably take 45 minutes in all.  But in the end, we were all glad we did it. The gardens were spectacular, Debby and Justin were relaxed as we just walked around, and then the sun started to set. And to luck out on those clouds and colors?  Perfect.

I’ve had second thoughts about Heather & John’s portrait. I’m not sure I picked the best one. We did several out in the street, and some were more fun (him dipping her, or them kissing, or one where they spontaneously threw their arms up in victorious celebration). I like this one because of the clarity of lines–how the low angle lets them (both very tall) soar above the tree-line and Spokane arena in the back. But check out their other portraits. The whole session was great.

Joelle and Brad scheduled lots of time for their portraits. LOTS.  When I arrived at the church, I noticed this abandoned greenhouse. I totally would have understood if they hadn’t wanted to shoot at the greenhouse.  It was hazardous with old boards and nails and weedy with thistles, and they might have worried about getting dirty (this was pre-wedding). They were not only willing, but joyful, excited, and leisurely (as were their wedding party).  If I recall, the dancing was their idea.

Kalen and Jameson are really, really nice people. I don’t mean that in a trite way, but as a high complement. They are very kind and open and generous. We took this picture as they were getting ready to leave, the wedding and reception over. They indulged me putting a giant light in their car (you can see the diffuser above the dashboard) and let me try several shots. If I had thought it out more carefully, I might have used a smaller diffuser, but as it is, the light caught the Spokane Falls Community College parking pass, and I really like that detail. I think you can see their kindness in their faces. : )

I’ve also had second thoughts about Kayla and Corey’s portrait selection. It was a rainy day on Priest Lake, and Kayla had the foresight to bring along these awesome matching umbrellas. And they didn’t mind traipsing out on the wet grass and out on the dock for pictures.  We got a lot of fun shots, and some might be more dramatic with more breath-taking views. I included this one over the others because there is something so striking about those giant umbrellas.

Kim and Colin married way out on the Olympic Peninsula, near the northwestern-most point of the continental US. The ceremony was on the beach, with the ocean expanse behind them. All day, a wind blew these small wispy clouds through the sky. We did just a few pictures as the sun was going down, and the sky was all ablaze with color and the dynamic little clouds. They both did a great job of pretending not to be freezing.  : )

I didn’t meet Maryam nor Alex in person until they walked into the ceremony together. I only shot for only two hours. Then I didn’t get the chance to say more than a few words to them in person before I left.  But here’s what I saw: Maryam is elegance and grace. Her dancing was absolutely fluid, and she carried herself with great poise. They were finishing graduate degrees (doctorate degrees, if I remember correctly), and they were just about to move. They are both well-traveled, bright, sophisticated. Given all that, I thought it would be cool to get some pictures that had as much sophistication and big-city feel as the first block of West Main in Spokane has to offer. You know, bright lights, small city. You can see there was heaps of snow around, and it was cold. I appreciated that they were willing to step out into the cold for a few quick shots.

I talk a lot about these leisurely portrait sessions, but sometimes they are quick and painless. With a roomful of guests waiting just upstairs, Rochelle and Jeffrey wanted fast, easy portraits. But the Masonic Temple affords a lot of great settings within a very small area, so we dashed from here to there and tried out different spots. I really liked this chair at the back of the Blue Room ballroom. It looked very regal. With Rochelle’s sparkling, sassy personality (and herprincess-dress and spacious pose) and Jeffrey’s confident, strong demeanor, I think they look like royalty.  I call this The King and Queen  Portrait (and I like the way the lights to the side cast a shadow on the wall).

All the photographs here, I hope, can stand alone on their own merits. But for me, what really makes them special are knowing the people within the frame, and getting the opportunity to capture a bit of their personalities that make each image unique. So thank-you, thank–you and thank-you again to all “my” brides and grooms. You are the ones that make my job so much fun, and infuse my photography with meaning.


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posted by Larry Brunt at 10:15 am  


  1. What a fantastic idea! And they’re all amazing – so it’s hard to choose. Good luck to all these great-looking couples!

    Comment by Alicia — March 14, 2011 @ 11:56 pm

  2. Larry, I just had to stop and comment after voting: You rock, dude. You are gifted with the camera. I love looking at your work, and can only imagine how many happy clients you’ve had over the years. Keep it up and we’ll have you shoot Seth’s wedding… one day… long time from now, of course!

    Comment by sherilee — March 15, 2011 @ 2:16 pm

  3. Larry, I voted and voted and voted and voted. OK, I love them all, but I *did* choose one. You have an amazing talent. Thanks for sharing it.

    Comment by Jen — March 15, 2011 @ 8:54 pm

  4. Es difícil elegir… BUEN TRABAJO!!!

    Comment by Diego — March 16, 2011 @ 2:28 am

  5. Larry, you must have so much fun working! Thanks for involving us!

    Comment by Kris — March 16, 2011 @ 9:23 pm

  6. Thank YOU for participating! And yes, Kris, it’s big-time fun.

    Comment by Larry — March 16, 2011 @ 10:13 pm

  7. Thank you so much, Sherilee. I appreciate the kind and generous words.

    Comment by Larry — March 16, 2011 @ 10:14 pm

  8. Hey Larry! I just wanted to stop and say that I think this contest is an awesome idea! And just like others have said you have AMAZING talent and it was hard to choose which one to vote for! I can’t wait to see other contests from you. :) Any chance you’ll be using pics from 2007 Weddings by any chance? LOL!

    Comment by Amanda — March 16, 2011 @ 11:23 pm

  9. What a great idea, and thanks for the opportunity to participate.
    Very hard to choose. All a elegantly done. As usual.
    I love the setting for 40
    There is something really special going on in 24. The abandon. Lost in a kiss regardless of rain.
    Spectacular backdrop in 2.
    Pure magic in 11. The connection between them, the way he is holding her–Increadable.
    I think my vote has to go to 43, the King and Queen. She looks like so much fun. I hope he really appreciates her.
    Great Job Larry !!!

    Comment by Don — March 17, 2011 @ 12:08 am

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