Detroit Wedding : Victoria and Travis

Hello friends,

As always I'm so thrilled to be sharing one of our weddings with you. You met Victoria and Travis with the Detroit Engagement blog post.  And just a couple days later I photographed their wedding.  It was so cool to meet their family and friends.  A few people came up to me and told me which of their engagement photos were their favorite and I loved the midwestern hospitality.  There were so many beautiful moments I don't even know where to start.  Victoria and Travis are both so loved by their friends and family that it was just moment after moment.  Since Detroit is so far north the sun stayed out while everyone was on the dance floor.  I wasn't expecting the golden hour to last so long.  My awesome local 2nd shooter Amanda Junae was so awesome to work with and sported a 7 month baby bump and is such a girl boss.  She was my hero that day.  I'm just sitting here smiling and trying to think of what to say but I'll just have to say it in images.  There aren't words for how Victoria lights up when she sees Travis or how hope and beauty floated around the room.  I love that these two found each other.

The Lodge at Torrey Pines : Juli and Dave

I am all smiles posting these.  Juli and Dave know how to laugh and make everyone feel at ease.  These two brewers came up with some magical ways to celebrate their day and had an incredible team to help them.  They even brewed their own beer as a gift to their guests to take home.

Congratulations!!!

xoxo Suzanne

Luxe Events : Designer 

Native Poppy : Florals

Audra Rene : Hair

Elizabeth Root : Make up

Tara and Jason : A family estate wedding Part 1

I love Donna Urban Events and I'm so thankful that she introduced me to her family friends - Tara and Jason.  It's been a great year getting to know them both, spending time on their ranch and hearing their story and what is important to them.  I loved the way Tara's voice would light up when she spoke about her little Godson or how she always managed to ask how I was doing with the IVF whenever we spoke.  Her generosity of spirit and love for life was mentioned again and again in the speeches.  You know that song, Wake Me Up Before You Go Go, where he says, "I don't want to miss it when you hit that high"? That's what I thought of while watching Tara on the dance floor. It was amazing - like a concert - she let her hair down and let loose and was pure magic. The Wayne Foster band certainly matched Tara's vibration.  No one could take their eyes off of her pure joy abandon.

I love how Jason is always there for her.  He is like a rock.  He's someone who will stand by you.  So smart and kind.

xoxo Suzanne

Rentals: Classic Party Rental Mark Sedan

Photographer: SheWanders Photograhpy

Videographer: Braven Carver Films

Florist: French Buckets

Make Up: Sara Zeller

Catering: 24 Carrots

Band: Wayne Foster

String Quartet: Del Lago Trio

Sound Engineer: Audio Tek Sound

Cake: Sweet and Saucy Cortney

Photo Booth: Focus Photo Suites

Transportation: Cedars Parking 

The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe Wedding : Laura and Andrew

Laura and Andrew decided against an extravagant guest list, and instead kept their wedding small and shared the day with only their closest friends and family. Laura dreamt up the most beautiful day and floated through it from start to finish. I felt so lucky to be able to share in their celebration and document this intimate day full of love. Laura's brother officiated which was so special. The harpist played throughout the whole evening and all of the decor was imprinted with hand drawn calligraphy. So many amazing details!

xoxo

Suzanne

Inspiration La Valencia

Sometimes our lives are like a lovely little dream.  I adore La Valencia and wanted to tell a story here.  Mike and I asked our friends at Before I Do Events to make some magic with us.  We were also so happy to work again with the paper artist Karina Puente.  She crafts the most beautiful handmade pieces and she created the backdrop for the day.  We met so many new friends this day and ended the evening celebrating with cocktails and maybe a little karaoke.  What started as a very rainy day ended up being sheer perfection and on the cover of Exquisite Weddings Magazine.  xoxo Suzanne and Mike 

Our collaborators.  Before I Do : La Valencia : Ashley Elizabeth Florals : Elle Bridal Boutique : Curl and Revel : Make me up Summer : Karina Puente : Farm Tables and More

4 Things // Changes

Dreaming of : A couple of average days. This week has been a ton of change. Mostly good and a little bad. Even good change is change and for some reason all of the change has me spinning. I would love a couple of average days strung together. - Suzanne

Photographing : Tara and Jason's San Juan Capistrano rehearsal dinner at the Mission and wedding on their family's property. I'm so excited to see her dreams come to life with the amazing Donna Urban. - Suzanne

Reading : I just started reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. More on that to come! - Mike

Watching : The Lego Movie. I'm also looking forward to seeing my mom next month. She comes out a couple times of year from New York and it's always great to have her in town. 

xoxo

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Inside Out :: Second Shooters

“Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” - John Lennon

Life has so many unexpected moments. Over the years, I have learned the importance of always having a backup plan. While planning for wedding season, one thing at the top of my checklist is making sure that I have a roster of great photographers with a mutual trust and shared commitment. Our wedding day “dream team” is in place to ensure that we’re offering a smooth and positive experience for our clients.

There is always the possibility of something happening to Mike or I. While we do everything (and I mean everything) in our power to be at every event we commit to, we want our clients to know that if we are very sick, injured, etc. that our team of second shooters are just as strong as any first shooters.

It's sort of like when the flight attendants talk about the unlikely event of a water landing, but give have an action plan just in case. 

I've been violently ill at a three day shoot in Del Mar, and called in my second shooter (Hanna). I was still able to art direct all day and no one was the wiser. 

With a trusted group of photographers, we go into every wedding day feeling confident and excited. I’m grateful to compensate these artists for their craft and give them an opportunity to improve at every wedding.  It also makes the event more fun because we can challenge and cheer each other on.

Whatever the universe has in store, it will be a magical day for our brides and grooms.

Here are a few awesome shots from the super talented Hanna at a recent wedding at The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe. 

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Creativity Tell All // Pow Wow Design Studio

The women behind Pow Wow Design Studio always light a creative fire in our hearts. We feel lucky to have a glimpse into their beautiful world. Enjoy!

How do you continually stay inspired and creative?

Honestly, I feel that inspiration comes from the most unexpected places, people, and things. It could be anything, such as an out-of-date piece of clothing at a thrift store that has a really unique color combination. Also, always keeping an open mind.

Is there anything special or unique about your morning routine?

I meditate every morning.

If someone wanted to break into your industry, what advice would you give them?

As with any profession, make sure it's your passion. If you don't go to bed excited for another day of work, then you need to find what that is, and do it.

Did you always know this career path was ‘the one’?

I never really thought about a career in the traditional sense.  I've been an artist my whole life; it's just how I came out of the oven. I'm super grateful that I found a way to pay the bills while doing what I love. 

What season inspires you most?

All seasons are inspiring, but I love it when you can feel the change of seasons in the air. The shadows get longer, the hues of the sky change, and the type of birds you see out the window change. It's all a reminder that nothing ever stays the same and that we are in a continuous, evolving state.

Do you have any funny short stories or embarrassing moments from when you first got started?

Funny and embarrassing things happen on a regular basis. It's impossible to name just one. Seriously.

What is the best advice you have been given?

You can't hold on to anything; not feelings, not things, not people, and not even your own breath. You must allow everything to flow through you, and in turn, flow with everything.

What is your dream project?

My dream project happens when we meet an open minded, creative client who allows us to do our thing, and wants us to create an event that transports their guests. We get dream projects often these days and I'm super grateful.

If there was a song that played every time you worked on your craft, what would it be?

I love working to "Ceremony" by New Order.

Is there anything in particular you are obsessed with these days?

I've always been obsessed with the set design of old James Bond movies and Fantasy Island.

What would you do if you had $40,900 for a vacation?

I would take a road trip across a country with my husband and daughter. Not sure which country, but definitely a road trip. 

xoxo

Suzanne, Mike and the Wanderers

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15 Years Because of YOU

All of us at Shewanders Photography are dancing in confetti of love and gratitude for celebrating 15 years behind the lens.

15 years of gratitude. 15 years of love. 15 years because of YOU.

We’d love to take you on a little vacation down memory lane to where it all began.

In 2002, a friend asked me to shoot her big day. I very reluctantly said yes. I had never shot a wedding before and it wasn’t something I wanted to do. By the end of the day, sparks were flying, adrenaline was pumping; I was in love. A couple months later, I got laid off of my job in advertising and started Shewanders Photography.

Mike started with Shewanders in 2008 and has blown my mind with his raw talent.  He took some photo classes when he was younger, but really claimed his voice at Shewanders.  He started as a third shooter and within a couple of years was shooting his own weddings.  I admire his voice and the sense of immediacy that he captures.  I often look at his work and wonder how he puts people at enough ease for them to be so natural in front of him.

There are a few things over the last 15 years that we couldn’t have lived without.

Suzanne says....

I write in my morning pages every day. It’s how I let go of all the chatter so that I can stay focused and understand what I want. The gems are hidden amidst the words of my everyday writing. It takes putting in the work day after day; that’s where the magic happens.

I ask what if it’s magical? Instead of, what if it’s too hard or expensive? Shewanders by nature has allowed me to live an untraditional lifestyle where I get to travel and work. Work to travel, work while traveling, the whole shebang. When I travel, I know who I am. It allows me to learn, grow, challenge myself, and respond to my environment. While exploring a new place, I want to fill each day to the brim with adventures.

I listen to music to make sense of my thoughts. Sometimes an idea or a problem will be floating around in my mind. It takes the emotional quality of a song or the lyrics to help me understand what I’ve been feeling or thinking.

I always allow myself time to daydream and listen to my inner voice (even when she sounds like a drill sergeant). This gives me the freedom to dream up new concepts and ideas from within, rather than what I see on Pinterest or Instagram.

Mike says...

I believe that love and a celebration solves any problem. Regardless of the stress of a wedding day or the never-ending tasks, when I live in the moment of a beautiful celebration, everything else disappears.

I always stand true to who I am. I never try to stand out, I just try to be myself. I do what inspires me and my clients so that we have a journey together.

I find peace and recharge in fitness and nature. Outside of photography, I do martial arts, running, and bodyweight training. I love the outdoors. Hiking and survival type training is a passion and hobby of mine.

I couldn’t survive without listening to my inner voice. This is driven by reading, film, and new experiences.

Both of us say...

We have constantly been inspiring ourselves so that we can create inspired work. We go to workshops, take classes, have art adventures with friends, and always experiment with new techniques.

We attribute our success to the most amazing friends in the industry and rising together. CAKE Bakery was my first industry friend. We love those ladies like no one else. Our companies grew up together.  We had our growing pains together and all of our successes.  Did you see them win Cake Wars?

We also couldn't have done it without finding our ideal clients.  Oh my gosh we love our clients. Seriously! So many people complain about their brides and grooms and we are head over heels for ours.  Our clients tend to be warm people who are grateful to have wonderful people in their lives.

A thousand thank you’s to all of our friends, at home in San Diego, and everywhere around the globe. Because of you, we have been able to create a life we love.

Cheers to 15 more years of art making and dream chasing!

4 Things // Wedding + Travel Euphoria

Happy Friday friends =)

Photographing : Morgan and Adam's wedding. Morgan and Adam are a kick.  I loved their surfing engagement session and how at ease they are with each other. I knew their wedding day would be as cool as they are.  The energy on the dance floor was euphoric and everyone danced under the stars. 

Brainstorming : With Aly from @lunawild. This wandering creature is so much fun and I can't wait to dream up our next adventure.

Writing : My friends and I had a postcard writing party at Pardon My French crafting some witty replies to our representatives and letting them know what causes are close to our hearts. 

Dreaming of : I booked a ticket to Iceland on my way to Europe next month to catch the Northern Lights dance. 

xoxo

Suzanne, Mike and the Wanderers

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