November 18, 2020
Every couple has a story, and I love getting to help tell it! This Western Wedding inspired Anniversary Session is a fun chapter in Chip and Emilee’s love story and I am so psyched to let you see this!
10 years ago I was taking pictures of Emilee and Chip…just dating. Not engaged. Just for fun pictures. But Cameron and I knew they wouldn’t keep that status for long. As soon as Emilee started telling us about “this guy” she was dating, we knew she’d found The One.
Last week I got to take their 10th Anniversary Portraits and it was absolutely epic. It was the first time the four of us had been together without kids since, well…since we started having kids. It was fun to ride around the ranch and spend the time visiting and taking pictures.
While we all live in Arizona now, Emilee, Cameron, and I grew up in New Mexico. There’s something about that state that gets in your blood when you live there and I LOVED how Em incorporated that love of the Land of Enchantment into their session with her carefully planned and gathered details.
Speaking of her details…you might just be here from Instagram and are here not only to see their photos but to get some amazing tips from Emilee. Right?
Emilee used four main tools to have an absolutely epic session without breaking the bank, and she is so sweet to share them with all of us!
Step 1: Start Early! I’ve been working on the items for this shoot for about four months. I knew I had some time to find exactly the pieces I was looking for, so I went through clearance racks, and hit up thrift stores and online second hand sites OFTEN for months to find all the right pieces. Poshmark, Mercari, ebay, Facebook marketplace, Thred Up, Etsy (which also has second hand clothing items!) etc are all great spots to check.
I checked them REGULARLY for the items I was looking for, and I wasn’t afraid to barter with people to get prices down. By starting early, I had time to find what I wanted and didn’t feel like I needed to run to a boutique and pay lots of money for a really nice dress because my shoot was in a few days and I didn’t have time to look around more and be picky with price or style.
Step 2: DIY!! I made my bouquet myself (all items were on sale!) which I’ve never done before! Also, I found the conchos for the belt on a second hand clothing site and got them 90% off because the owner cut the belt they belonged to. I got a $8 belt strap on Etsy and put all the hardware and holes in myself and saved big $$$!!
Step 3: Multi-use items. I bought a dress I would wear again for church, my husbands hat (which will be one that I will wear WAY more than he will). His belt buckle?? Also mine. I tried to be somewhat practical in that I wanted the items I bought to be things we would also be able to use in regular life, minus my fabulous big fluffy skirt of course! I’ll be wearing it to the post office now. 😉
Step 4: Pull from what’s available to you. My husbands shirt is his church shirt. My bracelet was a gift from my grandmother that I wore on my wedding day. I used my Grandpa’s beloved dress cowboy hat from the 70’s! Whether it’s borrowing from your BFF, your sister, your parents, cousins etc, ask around. “Does anyone have a black felt hat I could borrow for a day?” Easy question, and it could save you $30!
I loved how they had such different spots picked out around the ranch. Each location was absolutely perfect for different reasons and gave such an amazing variety while all still tying in perfectly to the Western Wedding inspiration.
That sun in her hair?!?! It was amazing!!!
Real ranch. Real couple. Real heirloom hat. Real love.
After the corral we hopped in the truck and booked it over to the Dry Lake Bed for sunset. Doors were flying open as the truck parked so we could run onto the lake bed to literally chase the sun. It was incredible!
Did you know that the Bolo Tie is the official tie of New Mexico? It’s true. In fact, it’s #NewMexicoTrue. 😉 Emilee infused her love of New Mexico into every detail she could and it came together beautifully!
Watching the sandhill cranes fly out for the evening made it feel like home. You can often hear them long before you can see them.
We had just a little bit of fun with her fabulous skirt!
I think this is the first time doing detail pictures that include shoes already being worn! We were racing to use up all the glowing post sunset light and we didn’t want to take the extra time to get the boots off. It worked out beautifully!
The ring is one they had custom made for an earlier anniversary. The diamonds were her grandmother’s!
We stayed out on the lake bed shooting as long as we could, pushing my cameras to their light gathering limits. I loved watching the sky change colors and feel the evening coolness settling in. The setting was magical and it was amazing being out there with our friends!
Em and Chip, thank you for asking me to do this! I’ve loved getting to capture your love story for the last 10 years in Thatcher, on the beaches of San Diego, tubing down muddy rivers, on mountain tops in Utah, chasing floating lanterns, and now this amazing Western Wedding inspired 10th Anniversary Session. It was absolutely exhilarating from start to finish and we can’t wait to get to see you guys again sometime!
Hey there! Welcome to The Blog!
This is the place where I get to share photos from sessions with amazing people, like you, tips for a smooth wedding, our family "Wilderness Mowers" adventures in frugal living and exploring where we live, and plenty of fun and real life. Start scrolling or click a category on the side to dive in!