Artistic Denver Wedding Photography
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Wedding Dress Stories Part II: TBC Martina Liana Sneak Peek – Artistic Denver Wedding Photographer

You guys, I’m kinda addicted to Wedding Dress Stories, as I’ve started thinking of them. As anyone who has binge-watched Say Yes to the Dress knows, finding your wedding dress can be an emotional journey. There’s the second-place gown, the ‘HECK NO.’ And the ‘OMG, I NEVER would have thought I’d like this!’ And of course: “…this is the one.” If you’re me, a diehard romantic and an artistic Denver wedding photographer, that’s when you cue the tears.

the bridal collection photographer

When I watched Say Yes, I always thought, “Ya know, someone should photograph these wedding dress stories.”

I got to do just that several weeks ago during The Bridal Collection’s Sottero and Midgley trunk show, and I definitely fell in love. (You can read all about that event HERE.)

artistic denver wedding photographer

The support, the friendship, the pretty dresses (yes, I’m a total girl at heart). It’s a wonderful day when a bride finds HER gown. And as an artistic Denver wedding photographer, I just LOVE getting different angles and photographing all those emotional moments.

artistic denver wedding photography

So, when TBC invited me back again for their Martina Liana Sneak Peek, I said YES to those dresses. (See what I did there? Only slightly embarrassed by that super cheesy joke!)

When you need to facetime for a second opinion! 

When you need to facetime for a second opinion! 

Have you ever been to a sneak peek before? I never had, even though as an artistic Denver wedding photographer I have photographed a LOT of jaw-dropping gowns.

Here’s how they work:

A designer creates a collection of dresses. They aren’t yet mass produced – before they start production, they want to make sure brides actually like them! So, the release them in a select number of stores. (The awesome ones, like TBC.)

artistic denver wedding photographer

This is so cool for brides, because they get the opportunity to purchase a dress NO ONE in their area could possibly have yet. So unique.

Here’s the thing: the dresses are top secret! No photos allowed. You just had to be there to see them. How cool is that? As an artistic Denver wedding photographer, it was hard to resist, but I did it!

artistic denver wedding photography

What do you think? Would you have your wedding dress story photographed?

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How to Take BETTER Family Photos This Thanksgiving – Artistic Denver Wedding Photographer
Love real smiles like these from fellow photographers Randy + Ashley Studios! Keep reading for my tips about how to get better photos of YOUR family this Thanksgiving!

Love real smiles like these from fellow photographers Randy + Ashley Studios! Keep reading for my tips about how to get better photos of YOUR family this Thanksgiving!

Ohh Thanksgiving. No pressure of gift-giving. No potentially polarizing religious beliefs. Probably no snow yet.

Just sweaters, wine, a feast, and celebrating fall and family. That’s my kinda holiday!

It’s also often a time that families get together from far and wide to enjoy and celebrate the things for which they’re grateful. Which, if you’re an artistic Denver wedding photographer, you KNOW means it’s a prime opportunity for photos.

In honor of this delicious holiday, I’ve put together some tips for taking better family photos this Thanksgiving.

1. Skip the ‘cheese’. I know I know, it’s a steady go-to. Picking another prompt can be cheesy or goofy and maybe you’re not trying to draw that much attention to yourself. With much love and much respect, I suggest you forget about your hang ups and get silly. There are so many creative tips and prompts out there to get more authentic photos. Here are a few you can try:

 Pick someone with no shame in your family (every family has one!) And ask people about the silliest thing they’ve done. When they start laughing, snap away!

 Instead of “CHEESE”, have people guess each other’s favorite Thanksgiving side dish. Promise you’ll get laughs when your family members are WAY off!

Have them point to the person in the family who is most likely to clear their plate or have LOTS of leftovers.

2.  Repeat after me: I will be in as many photos as possible. Whether you hand off the camera or take a quick selfie, please please PLEASE get in those frames.

The #existinphotos movement has gotten BIG online for a reason – it’s too easy to hide behind the camera and not be a part of the day. But you ARE a part of the day, and when it’s over, the photos are all you will have left. Even if you’ve put on a few pounds or don’t like your outfit or need to get your hair done, get in those photos anyway. I know it’s uncomfortable, but I promise you – someone, sometime, will be SO glad to see your smiling face.

3. Avoid overhead lights. OK YOU GUYS. This is how you know I have your back. This is embarrassing, but you need to know it! I’ve taken some questionable photos of myself to demonstrate my point. Hang out by nice natural light. Go outside if you can. I know, it’s kind of annoying, but if you ask nicely, your family members will oblige you!

 
Starting with the well lit photo because I AM SO VAIN! There is a nice big window immediately to my right in this photo.

Starting with the well lit photo because I AM SO VAIN! There is a nice big window immediately to my right in this photo.

This isn't too bad, either! The big window is right in front of me here.

This isn't too bad, either! The big window is right in front of me here.

GOD HELP ME I HOPE YOU ARE VIEWING THIS ON A PHONE AND NOT ON A DESKTOP.  Here I am in my kitchen - the light is directly above me and it is NOT working. THE HORROR.

GOD HELP ME I HOPE YOU ARE VIEWING THIS ON A PHONE AND NOT ON A DESKTOP.  Here I am in my kitchen - the light is directly above me and it is NOT working. THE HORROR.

 

4. Don’t post anything without permission. Honestly, I think one of the reasons people are afraid of getting their photos taken is that they assume they’ll be online in 30 seconds. I’d recommend instead posting the photos in a private place online where people can download the images and post if they’d like to. You can use Dropbox or Pixieset – they both have free options. Just a warning, though, Pixieset is quite a bit more complicated!

5. Don’t always worry about the smiling. Get some authentic moments of people cooking, watching football, and enjoying the day. Sometimes these are the most REAL moments that you end up loving! Channel your inner artistic Denver wedding photographer.

And two BONUS recommendations:

1.  Hire a pro to get a REAL portrait and don’t even mess with trying to get a photo with everyone. I still have TWO Denver Extended Family Thanksgiving sessions available, and I’d LOVE to photograph your family!

2. Get a selfie stick. It’s kinda basic, but it’s a great way to get a flattering angle AND make sure you’re in those images. (See #2 above!)

OK, that’s all I have for now! What do you think about these tips? Would you try them? Let me know if you do – I’d love to see how they worked for you!

A Day in the Life of an Artistic Denver Wedding Photographer
Thank you Happy Hour Headshot for the photo! And thank you Hudson Hill for having us.

Thank you Happy Hour Headshot for the photo! And thank you Hudson Hill for having us.

I’ve been wanted to write this blog for a little while now, and the other day when someone asked me what my typical day was like, I took it as a sign to sit down and DO IT.

 

This room! So gorgeous. Did NOT think I'd be photographing it when I woke up that morning!

This room! So gorgeous. Did NOT think I'd be photographing it when I woke up that morning!

I think there are a lot of misconceptions out there about what photographers DO. There are so many behind the scenes stories left untold. So today, I will share honestly.

What I’ll say right now is that every day is different. There is no ‘usual’ when you’re an artistic Denver wedding photographer. Some days I’m in meetings and shoots all day. Sometimes I’ll have two days in a row where I don’t have any meetings, shoots to create artistic Denver wedding photography – or any reason at all to leave the house.

Mariachi band set the mood during cocktails.

Mariachi band set the mood during cocktails.

So I won’t call this a typical day, but it was a day.

6:30am

Scout starts squeaking. Every morning she makes a noise like a squeak toy until she gets to go outside. I take her for a walk while Kyle gets ready to go to work.

7:00am

I go back to sleep. This happens about 5% of the time. Most days I just stay up and make my coffee, but on this particular day, I was especially sleep deprived and decided to give myself a break and catch another hour of sleep.

8:30am

Scout begins squeaking again. I feed the dogs, take them for a longer walk. This is where things are about to get BORING, but you know what? It’s real life.

The Squeaker, AKA Scout.

The Squeaker, AKA Scout.

Our kitchen sink had been clogged for three days. THREE DAYS that we couldn’t use the dishwasher or even use the kitchen sink (so hand-washing dishes was out of the question, too.) This is a first world problem for sure, but it was inconvenient.

I go out to get coffee since I can’t really make it at home with the aforementioned sink problem. While I’m out, I decide enough is enough with that sink and go to home depot. I purchase a snake with no real understanding of how to use it. Figure I can watch some YouTube videos and put it together.

The coffee I WISH I'd had! This is from my trip to London at the little breakfast spot, Louie Louie.

The coffee I WISH I'd had! This is from my trip to London at the little breakfast spot, Louie Louie.

While I’m out, my very favorite planner (I'll call her out -Walli Richardson! Amazing planner.) reaches out to me: her client needs an artistic Denver event photographer tonight! It's a photo-mergency :) I’m free and happy to do it!

9:15am

Start charging my batteries and double check my memory cards for the evening. I don’t like formatting until I’ve delivered images from the session, so I always try to quadruple check! In case you didn’t know, this is the GLAMOROUS side of being an artistic Denver wedding photographer ;) 

This centerpiece! Wasn't expecting this gorgeousness when Walli emailed me. Such a fun surprise!

This centerpiece! Wasn't expecting this gorgeousness when Walli emailed me. Such a fun surprise!

10:15am

Watch videos about how to use a snake. Pull out random pieces of pipe. Basically guess where to put the snake. After about 45 minutes, I do it! I unclog the sink! I call Kyle at work and we do a happy dance. Also let him know I’ll be gone when he gets home. Yay, adulting! Run the dishwasher – FINALLY.

11:00am

Put the finishing touches on some book designs I’ve been working on: one for a family photo session, and one for a cake smash for the same lovely family. I love to tell a story with my book designs. This involves a lot of playing around with each spread (design speak for the two pages you see when the book is open), the order of the spreads, and the selection and order of the photos themselves.

3:00pm

Realize I need to start getting ready for the event tonight! Heading the Seawell Ballroom at rush hour means I’ll need plenty of time to get down there, plan to leave by 4:30.

Pick out my outfit, take a shower, do my hair and make up.

Realize I have actually forgotten to eat a meal, make some food.

4:28pm

OMG I GOTTA GO. I pack up my gear and do a quick double check. Camera? Batteries? Memory cards? Flashes? All flash accessories? More batteries? DO NOT forget batteries!

Can't take this photo without memory cards and batteries! 

Can't take this photo without memory cards and batteries! 

4:35pm

Out the door! Listen to Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown on the way - keeps me relaxed during traffic and in the right mindset to capture some artistic Denver event photos!

5:30pm

I arrive at the Seawell Ballroom. I’m set to start shooting at 6pm, so go check out the event – where is everything happening? What time? Whose event is it? Usually I know this stuff ahead of time, but this was a special circumstance!

Just loved this ice sculpture. So fun to photograph.

Just loved this ice sculpture. So fun to photograph.

5:50pm

Before guests arrive, I take a TON of detail photos. The flowers and the room are so so beautiful – I know the client has put a lot of time and planning into this evening, and I want to capture all that. The room was designed by the one and only DesignWorks - always jaw-dropping work. 

6:15pm

Start photographing guests. I love getting a mix of candid and what we call ‘camera-aware’ photos for events like this. Guests are super warm, kind, and gearing up for a great evening.

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7:30pm

Break time! Delicious vegetarian dinner! Intermittently get up to photograph toasts, speeches, performances.

9:30pm

Dancing really gets going. Love getting right in the action on the dance floor!

One of the gracious hosts for the evening! Just love getting these real moments and embracing the fun and crazy party lights! 

One of the gracious hosts for the evening! Just love getting these real moments and embracing the fun and crazy party lights! 

10:00pm

Time for me to leave. I pack up all my gear and make my way back to my car.

11:00pm

I arrive home. I’m so tired and happy! I have a shoot the next day, so I manage to put my camera battery back in my charger before I crash.

 

And that was my day exactly one week ago! Yes, there’s a lot of beauty and excitement and glamor…but there’s also a lot of normal boring everyday stuff. I try to take one day off every week, but I end up working almost every single day. Sometimes it’s a LOT, but most of the time I love it and wouldn’t trade it for anything.

I've just gotta throw in a THANK YOU to all my amazing clients whose support allows me to do what I LOVE. It's an honor and a pleasure to capture these moments for you. 

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Artistic Denver Wedding Photos - Candid Moments
artistic candid wedding photography denver

Weddings are both emotional and special. Two people are celebrating their love for each other amongst their respective loved ones. From seeing second cousins to friends from middle school, wedding days contain many special moments.

artistic Denver wedding photos

Many of our couples’ favorite artistic Denver wedding photos are those candid moments – a kiss on the dance floor, a hug for grandma after the ceremony, your mom’s reaction to seeing you in your dress for the first time. Things can happen very quickly at a wedding- almost in the blink of an eye.

candid artistic denver wedding photography

How are moments like these artistically captured without invading them? Candid photography. You don’t want your photographer to completely dominate your wedding day. This non-invasive method involves photographically documenting natural interactions instead of limiting clients to traditionally posed pictures.

artistic denver wedding photography

Candid artistic Denver wedding photographs tell a better story than posed ever could. The natural essence of candid photography can be felt through each picture. Smiles are brighter and laughter is cemented into a single moment. Photographers that specialize in candid photography often understand this, step back, and let fun run the day.

artistic denver wedding photos

While posed pictures are very important, especially when ensuring that everyone is able to take photos together, candid photographs more accurately capture one of the most important days of your life. They convey the feeling of your elegant wedding. Having a photographer on-hand that understands your needs is essential for catching those easy-to-miss moments. Looking back, you may see things you missed on the day of the wedding!

artistic denver wedding photos

Prepare ahead for your special day with your photographer. Do your research, ask questions, and find out what would help the photographer best capture the day with artistic Denver wedding photos. Most importantly, be open about what exactly you want and share your ideas. If you know your unique grandfather is going to dance at the reception and you want it memorialized, communicate that to your photographer.

artistic denver wedding photos

Streamlining your shot list and timeline will ensure your photographer will have plenty of time to capture 100% natural moments between you and your loved ones on your wedding day, and it’ll increase your relaxation time.

artistic denver wedding photos

Most importantly, stand back and enjoy the moment. One of the best things about candid artistic Denver wedding photography is the opportunity you get to relish the day and look back at the best moments later on.  

artistic denver wedding photos
Sanctuary Golf Course Wedding - Artistic Colorado Wedding Photography
sanctuary wedding

If you know me at all, you know that I love creating artistic Denver wedding photography, and the beautiful wedding of Molly and Max was perfect for creating these special images just for them! They are such a cute, unique couple, and it was a true joy to create artistic Denver wedding photography from start to finish.

sanctuary golf course wedding

My involvement in the preparations began at Blow Dry Lounge, where the bride was getting ready. Then, we headed to the venue, Sanctuary Golf Club in Sedalia, Colorado. Sanctuary wedding photography of Molly turned out beautifully, and it was all thanks to the lovely scenery (not to mention, of course, the lovely bride!). The wedding gown was a stunning, elegant number from none other than La Belle Elaine’s Bridal Salon, and the bridesmaids’ gowns were all from David’s Bridal.

the sanctuary wedding photos

Everyone was dressed to the nines with artistic flower arrangements provided by Newberry Brothers. Rabbis Rick and Susan Rheins officiated the traditional Jewish ceremony, and wedded the happy couple! After the ceremony, all the guests joined together for a gorgeous meal.

artistic denver wedding photography

I find that nothing unites people quite like food does! The newlywed couple was introduced for the first time to the sounds of “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran. Next, there was music and dancing led by Noble Productions and Elite DJ - perfect for creating artistic Denver wedding photos.

the sanctuary wedding photos
sanctuary wedding photos
the sanctuary wedding denver

 One small detail I really liked was the couple’s choice of song for the bouquet toss. It was “Dear Future Husband” by Meghan Trainor! Isn’t that the perfect tune for the toss? All the guests left feeling full and tired from joy, and what a happy day it truly was! I wish you all the best, Molly and Max, in the years to come. May you always feel like newlyweds when you are together!

the sanctuary wedding

Melissa Hirsch Photography specializes in artistic Denver wedding photography in Colorado and worldwide.

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Paint Mines Wedding Photos
artistic denver wedding photorapher

There’s not much I love more than getting back to my roots and doing a photoshoot just for practice - love setting aside time to learn all the subtleties and nuances of new gear before taking it to someone’s wedding, too. I recently invested in a new camera, and I was very excited to try it out. 

paint mines bride

The camera in question? The Nikon D4. You may not realize this (I certainly didn’t until I became a professional photographer), but cameras die! They only have a certain amount of ‘clicks’ in them, and when they’re done, they’re done. My previous go to camera was nearing that point, so it was officially time to get a new camera – there are worse things, right?!

artistic denver wedding photography

So, I got my D4 and knew a photoshoot was in order. The whole shoot was planned (with help, of course) in about an hour, and shot in only 20 minutes. Joining me was my dear friend and mentor, Travis Broxon. Thanks for tagging along, Travis! Paige at Wilhelmina, our lovely model for the day, was a joy to work with and an absolute pleasure to capture! Isn’t she gorgeous? I love how ethereal she looks in the light. Her flowers came from The Lemon Tree Floral and the elegant dress and styling was done by The Bridal Collection.

paint mines wedding photography

And what better place to shoot dramatic bridal fashion shots than at Paint Mines? I think the colors of the rocks give the shoot almost an other-wordly vibe. Paint Mines are definitely worth checking out at some point for everyone in the Denver area. I definitely can’t wait to do another shoot there when I get the chance.

artistic denver wedding photography

The thing about doing a styled shoot like this is that it gives me an opportunity to have fun and practice making something beautiful and more artistic. This is really what I love about photography: it’s the chance to capture a moment in time that is beautiful, and to be able to share that moment with the world.

artistic denver wedding photography
2017 Holiday Cards

You asked, and it’s happening! You want holiday cards, and I’m so excited to announce they’re finally here 😊

I’ve partnered with an incredible local paper, print, and design company, Lucky Onion, who custom-designed these holiday cards just for you.

As some of you know, I’ve been wanting to offer holiday cards for quite some time. But, for one reason or another, it never quite worked out…until now!

MH-FramedStrokesRose.jpg

 

THE DESIGN PROCESS

Cristy at Lucky Onion is truly an artist! We sat down together to discuss the logistics, offerings, and designs. We discussed what you, my lovely clients would LOVE, what you would NOT love, which options you MIGHT like, and more.

Then she put together some beautiful, unique designs and color options.

(Lucky Onion also creates wedding suites, corporate and social invitations, and so much more – and Cristy is so sweet and professional and just wonderful to work with.)

MH-ShimmeringJoyGold.jpg

 

THE CARDS

Metallic-like details, simple, timeless designs, and beautiful options from neutrals to bright pops of color, with your own family photo included.

MH-SimpleSaidRed.jpg

The paper:

Included: 130lb Satin white vellum stock

Add on: Pearlized shimmer white paper

Designs:

Can’t wait for you to see these gorgeous designs Cristy put together. Shiny, neutral, customizable words, color variations, and so much more.

MH-TenderWreathIceBlue.jpg

One side of printing with up to four photos with Cristy’s one of a kind designs. Wordy or want extra photos? No problem, add a second side! 

MH-TranquilSnowRed.jpg

 

ORDERING

Shoot me an email, give me a call (303.520.1674), or order online right now!

 

 

These holiday cards are perfect for personal use with your family OR wedding photos, but you can also order holiday cards for your business! Great way to use any of your artistic Denver wedding photos, artistic Denver family photos, or Denver event photography from this year.

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Unique Downtown Denver Family Photos

Day TWO of Mini Sessions!

I know, I know – with such amazing views in Colorado, it’s TOUGH to leave nature behind and get into the city. But honestly? I LOVE shooting downtown.

There’s something so classic about those big white columns. And the light in there is so soft and pretty!

artistic denver family photos

ARTISTIC DENVER FAMILY PHOTOS

Mini sessions were such a big success this year – thank you so much to all the families who came out! We had two dates available, one downtown and one in a park. It was so cool to get such different looks within a few minutes of each other – one of my favorite things about Denver family sessions. 😊

unique denver family photos

The short shooting times and lower price points made Denver mini sessions the PERFECT solution to updating those family portraits for holiday cards, or just to have a more recent photo of your family for your walls!

classic downtown denver photography

I have to say, I recently did a mini session with my little family, and it was awesome. I have a puppy who is pretty psycho (but very cute!), and whenever I wasn’t holding her, she squeaked VERY loudly. This situation wouldn’t have worked very well with a FULL session, so our mini session with Randy and Ashley Studios was the perfect solution for us and our adorable terror.

artistic denver family photography

By the way, did you get a chance to see the blog post from Day ONE of mini sessions on 10/8? Can I just tell you how lucky we were? The 8th was sunny and beautiful, the 9th was the first snow of the year. Yeah, that’s lucky!

family photography denver
artistic denver family photography

THANKSGIVING FAMILY SESSIONS

If you still want to book your family session, it’s not too late! I have TWO spots available especially for extended family portraits over the Thanksgiving holiday. I’m going to warn you though, the sun is setting EARLY, so we have to start shooting at 3pm.

Wednesday November 22nd

Saturday November 25th

All hi-res images: 750.00

Check out the blog post, and book instantly here!

melissa hirschComment
Denver Wedding Gowns

You guys. I had the most incredible day on Saturday! I spent the whole day at The Bridal Collection. This beautiful store had a Sottero-Midgley Trunk Show, and the dresses were just amazing. I have to say though, they paled in comparison to the wedding dress stories I was able to witness and photograph.

Don't worry - that's not her dress!

Don't worry - that's not her dress!

 

What are wedding dress stories? They’re the stories of how brides find their dresses. Every story I saw was different – some brides brought a huge group with chalk boards and champagne, some brides brought just their mama, and some brides came to find their dress solo.

artistic denver wedding photos

 

Here’s the thing – I can’t really share some of the BEST photos.

artistic colorado wedding photographer

 

These brides were purchasing their WEDDING DRESSES! And there’s no WAY I’m posting those.

 

colorado artistic wedding photography

But I hope you can still get a sense of the day – the emotions, the excitement – it’s kind of the moment that you BECOME a bride.

authentic denver wedding photography

 

One thing that caught me off guard was just how emotional the day was. I saw so many moms, sisters, future mother-in-laws, and brides tear up, it really got to me, too! I kept it together, but it was just barely at times.

denver wedding photography

 

The other thing that blew me away was how wonderful the stylists there are! They were so knowledgeable about the designs, materials, silhouettes, price points – unreal. But moreso than just that, they were so kind and didn’t make any brides feel pressured into a purchasing a dress.

 

authentic denver wedding photographer
artistic colorado wedding photography

As an artistic Denver wedding photographer, I loved capturing these moments, and it gave me a renewed respect for the work that goes into finding the perfect dress. It’s been a minute since I got married, and I honestly forgot so much about the wedding planning process – including finding my wedding gown.

Cupcakes provided by the Makery!

Cupcakes provided by the Makery!

 

Melissa Hirsch Photography is a Denver-based wedding photographer specializing in artistic, unique wedding photos in Colorado and worldwide.

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Thanksgiving Extended Family Sessions in Denver

It’s crazy, but every year I become more and more aware of the importance of family photos. I know printing is out of fashion as digital images become more and more prevalent, but oh my goodness, I have such fond memories of looking through old photo albums.

extended family photos denver

 

And you know how often you come across portraits of an entire family? I’ll be honest, it’s not very often. In my family, there are maybe a handful.

 

This is why, even though formal photos take time away from Denver weddings and holiday festivities, I really believe in their importance. Life goes SO quickly, and you have to honor the family you have!

 

How often is your WHOLE family together? Every month? Every week? Or less often – is it more like a few times a year?

 

With families living far and wide, and travel never being more accessible, for many families, holidays are the one time of year everyone is under one roof.

 

And as far as holidays go, isn’t Thanksgiving the best? Having a big meal with everyone you love? Can’t beat that!

thanksgiving family photos denver

 

This year, I’ll be away for Christmas and New Year to spend time with my own family, but I am so excited to share that over Thanksgiving, I’ll be in Denver and accepting a (VERY) small number of extended family photo sessions to commemorate those times where everyone is together.

 

Here are all the details:

 

On-Location Extended Family Sessions

-          Up to 45 minutes shooting

-          Mix of posed and candid photos

-          ANY number of family members

-          All hi-res images

750.00

 

Only TWO sessions available!

 

November 22nd, 3pm

November 25th, 3pm

 

It would be SUCH an honor to photograph your family! I can come to your home, or we can find a lovely park nearby.

 

Melissa Hirsch Photography is a wedding photography studio that specialized in authentic, unique, artistic wedding photographs in Denver and worldwide.

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Samsung Galaxy S8 Photos - My Only Camera in London

Samsung Galaxy S8 Phone Photos – My No-Camera Vacation to London

My (awesome) husband surprised me by purchasing tickets to London, where we went mid-October for a week on Fall Break. Oh man, is that an awesome city! I guess it’s a stereotype that Americans love London, but whatever, it’s true in my case.

A few of my favorite things about London:

1.       The accents. I just find them so charming! We’d walk into a pub, and eventually just stop talking to each other so we could listen to the people around us. I know that sounds kind of creepy, and maybe it is, but it was truly about appreciating the accents and not about eavesdropping!

The Porcupine, where I had some delish fish and chips, and may or may not have heard some amazing accents.

The Porcupine, where I had some delish fish and chips, and may or may not have heard some amazing accents.

2.       The sense of history. Dang, the US is a baby! The country of the USA (not to be mistaken for the amount of time people have been here) has existed for 1/10th of the time London has. And you can tell when you’re there! The architecture and the tradition is just striking, despite how modern and cutting edge London is in some ways.

View from the South Bank. 

View from the South Bank. 

3.       The double decker buses. We took these guys everywhere, and it was still fun at the end of the week. I always tried to sit in the front row up top – awesome views of the logic-defying maneuvers these buses took through the traffic.

Our preferred mode of transportation.

Our preferred mode of transportation.

4.       The cider. We found some delicious cider that wasn’t too sweet, wasn’t too dry. We got some pints to go, and sipped on it all day, like a couple of hoodlums. But it was a blast.

A park where we may or may not have consumed said cider.

A park where we may or may not have consumed said cider.

5.       The markets. Honestly visiting markets is one of my favorite things to do on vacation. You just get such a real sense of a place! We loved the Borough Market and Camden Market.

Just a little bit of seafood paella at the Borough Market.

Just a little bit of seafood paella at the Borough Market.

Camden Market/Cranes In The Sky. Yes, that was a Solange reference. 

Camden Market/Cranes In The Sky. Yes, that was a Solange reference. 

 

To tell you the truth, I could go on and on, but I’ll just share the photos. Speaking of…

Flat white at Louie Louie in Southwalk. AMAZING. They know how to do coffee in the UK, and I was SO glad. 

Flat white at Louie Louie in Southwalk. AMAZING. They know how to do coffee in the UK, and I was SO glad. 

I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard this, but London can be a little rainy, and pickpocketing can be an issue. Luckily, we didn’t run into issues associated with either of these risks, but they contributed to a very weird thing. A thing I’ve never done before.

Street art in Camden.

Street art in Camden.

I didn’t bring my camera out of our AirBnb. NOT EVEN ONCE.

That’s right, all these photos were taken with my phone. Amazing, right? Let me just say, it was SO liberating.

Dock on the South Bank.

Dock on the South Bank.

Even though I love photography so much, and there’s nothing like my very favorite gear (you can read about my favorite gear HERE), even photographers sometimes need a break. It’s important to take time away to refresh and see things in a new way, and vacationing camera-free was just what I needed.

Inside the King Cross tube station.

Inside the King Cross tube station.

Chinatown at night in London. We ate some amazing dumplings there that night!

Chinatown at night in London. We ate some amazing dumplings there that night!

Dutch pancakes at the Camden Market. So good!

Dutch pancakes at the Camden Market. So good!

London Eye. You have to!

London Eye. You have to!

My very last meal in London, and it FINALLY lived up to its reputation of having gross food. This carrot cake with custard was truly awful. But you know, if that's the only unappetizing meal in a week, that's doing pretty darn good!

My very last meal in London, and it FINALLY lived up to its reputation of having gross food. This carrot cake with custard was truly awful. But you know, if that's the only unappetizing meal in a week, that's doing pretty darn good!

Well, I guess it wasn’t totally camera free 😉

 

Melissa Hirsch Photography is a wedding photographer specializing in unique, artistc wedding photos in Denver and worldwide. 

My First Denver Photo Job

Maybe you don’t know how I came to be a professional Denver wedding photographer.

I learned on a film camera – the same camera my husband used when he was in high school, taking a photography class.

I loved it. I bought film with every dollar I had to spare. Kyle and I were just married, and he was in school, so spending money on film was perhaps not the most practical option. But still, somehow I managed to shoot and develop several rolls before I saved up to buy my first digital camera.

Many people entrusted me to take their photos as I was just starting and only charging enough to cover my gas to the location – and I’m so grateful for that! But I consider my FIRST gig to be a hair show put on by my amazing hair stylist and friend, Misty.

I pulled these photos DEEP from the archives - so please be nice! Truth be told, I'm a little self-conscious about sharing them!

denver event photographer

Misty is now at Indulgence A Salon in downtown Littleton, but at the time she was working at a salon in Cherry Creek called Asteria. They organized a fashion and hair show to benefit Transitions Global – an organization committed to empowering young women transitioning out of a life of sex slavery, aged 13-18. You can learn more about Transitions here.

unique denver event photographer
artistic event photography denver
artistic denver event photographer

I was so touched that Misty invited me to come along to photograph the event. I was nervous and excited to document the show, and I thought all my photos were so unique and artistic.

It’s funny – I’m still so proud of that work, but I’ve learned and grown SO MUCH. About lighting, about composition, about creating unique, artistic, authentic photos in Denver and worldwide, about creating interaction.

But, man, was it an incredible learning opportunity. The energy and excitement of the day – being around all the artists and models working together to bring a vision to life – it was intoxicating and exciting.

unique denver event photography

What’s changed in your work since your first job? What are the most important lessons you’ve learned?

Melissa Hirsch Photograph is a Denver-based wedding photographer available worldwide, specializing in artistic unique wedding photos.

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Why Engagement Photos?

What’s the purpose of engagement photos? Do you really need them?

These questions are often posed by potential clients and the truth is that your engagement is a special time in your life. It’s different from dating, and it’s different from marriage. It’s not just the time-before-you-get-married, either. It is a distinct and unique time in both of your lives.

denver engagement photos

That being said, engagement photos are meant to document this time and preserve the memory of this stage of your relationship. It is the engagement photographer’s job to capture both the fun and elegance of this time in your lives. It is also the perfect way to preserve your relationship intimately.

Engagement photos are also perfect for your wedding announcements or save-the-date. Whether you want something that is artistic or more low-key, engagement photos can cater to the style of your personal relationship. Your loved ones will also cherish your special photos.

unique engagement photos denver

There is no need to fret about the details as engagement photo shoots are more relaxed. You can choose to simply tell your photographer a bit about your relationship and allow them to take the lead, or plan it all out yourself. Sessions are typically shorter and more laid-back with an emphasis on the love between you and your partner.

We recommend picking a special place or activity for your engagement photos – something you love and at least in part shapes who you are as a couple. These places can include a location where you fell in love, proposed, or even kissed for the first time.

artistic engagement photos denver

The prospect of engagement photos may seem daunting, but luckily no preparation is needed. All you need to do is come to a session with the person you adore. Love between two individuals is so sacred and special that it is easy to capture that affection organically. The main goal of engagement photos is to capture the genuine love and happiness between you and the person you love and are choosing to spend your life with.

The time of your engagement is so special because your love is heightened. Everything is brand new and it’s an exciting time in your relationship. You may find yourself regretting the fact that you never documented that stage of your relationship in the future.

south mesa boulder

Melissa Hirsch Photography specializes in creating unique, artistic, photojournalistic Denver wedding photos, both in Colorado and worldwide.

 

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Denver Mini Sessions - Day One In the Books!

The first day of mini sessions has come and gone – and oh my goodness was it fun and tiring! I got to photograph five lovely families in one of my favorite little location gems in Denver. I’m going to keep this one a secret for now 😊

denver familiy mini sessions

 

All but one of my clients were people and families I’ve photographed before, which was such a treat for me. It was too cool seeing how families had grown and changed over the years. I couple clients I hadn’t seen in years! Their kids went from being toddlers to ‘big kids’ and ‘big kids’ to ‘young adults.’ I don’t have kids of my own, so it was kind of a stark reminder that, yes, kids do that! They grow up! :D

denver family photos

 

So fun meeting a new client, too. One of my longtime clients recommended her family to me, which I just take as the biggest compliment! Referrals are a big part of my business, and I am SO grateful when my name gets passed along.

 

denver mini session

These artistic Denver family sessions were honestly such a blast, and the perfect amount of time – 20 minutes, which is especially perfect for families with little kids who would quite understandably have NO interest in an hour long session!

Some families booked for their holiday cards, some booked just for fun, and we even did a mini senior shoot.

denver family photos

This just may have been the last weekend to see fall colors in Denver because, as we know, even though the weather was 75 degrees and sunny on the 8th, the next day I was digging my car out of the snow. But still, incredibly, there were no other families getting photos done in the area!

holiday card photos denver

I have one more day of Mini Sessions left! Leaves won’t matter for this one, since it’ll be downtown among the epic white columns of the Byron White Courthouse. There’s one spot left at 5:00pm – don’t wait to snag it!

Click here to book the very last spot!

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Favorite Denver Wedding Photography Gear

OK, I’m a little nervous to share this one for a few reasons.

I really believe to most people this is super boring. I like to think of myself as a closet nerd (I met my husband in a graduate program for PHILOSOPHY. That’s some high-level nerdery.), but maybe I’m not so great at hiding my nerdiness. At least here, it’s coming out!

Secondly, I’m not sure if other photographers feel this way, but I think gear choice is really personal. Gear is expensive, and each piece of equipment is like another piece of the puzzle in creating your art. Without seeing the whole vision, individual pieces can look…weird. And then you’re in the weird position of defending your tools.

The third reason is something photographers don’t talk about much – as the field has become more saturated and competitive, secrets have become more closely guarded. The gear is better, the learning curve isn’t as steep (this is the conventional wisdom – I disagree!), and as a result, many Denver wedding photographers hold their cards close. I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a tiny part of me worried about sharing my gear. But that part is tiny, and I firmly believe someone with my exact same gear would not produce the same unique, artistic images. So, despite the worries, here we go! Photo desert island:

If you could only bring three pieces of equipment to a Denver or destination wedding, what would they be?

1.       Nikon D4: This camera is huge and a beast for a reason. The image quality is amazing. You commonly hear as a photographer to not get too caught up in the gear: the photographer is more important than the camera, or so the saying goes. I definitely agree – but only up to a point. When I first started shooting with this bad boy, I immediately noticed a HUGE upgrade in the quality of my images. It was instant and undeniable. And while I may be a few seasons away from carpal tunnel syndrome, for now, it’s worth it to create those artistic wedding photos. And also it has a memory card in it. I can stipulate that, right?!

artistic denver wedding photography

2.       Nikon 70-200 f/2.8: This lens. It’s like a magical portal to another world. It’s SO heavy and big, but it’s the best. I wanted this lens for so long, but waited forever to save up and buy it responsibly. It’s just a dream. And also it has a graduated filter on it. I can do that, right?

unique denver wedding photography

3.       Nikon SB 910: If I’ve ever photographed you, you’ve seen me lugging around my light stand and flash. This flash has been my favorite lately – so compact and versatile. So light – not a pain to drag around at all! It also is on a light stand and has a magmod modifier on it – that’s part if it, isn’t it?

unique denver centerpieces

So, that’s it! Those are my three. I could make a lot of situations work with those magical pieces of equipment.

What do you think? Any questions? You can tell me in the comments!

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Three Tips (and One Extra Fancy Tip) for Photographing Food with your Phone

Instagram is all about those food pics, but dang are they tough to take!

denver bakery croissant

1.       Move to natural light: If you’re in a place with bad light, there’s just no way you’ll be able to take artistic photos. The only solution is to move! Get close to a big open window or outside in the shade for foolproof light. Don’t want to be the weirdo moving around with your lunch? Sit in a spot with good light to start with! You don’t have to tell anyone you want to sit by the window because you want to take a better food pic 😊

2.       Get rid of the distracting stuff: Salt and pepper shakers, empty appetizer plates, half-drank water glasses, and any other distracting elements should be removed. You might feel a little funny pushing all the ugly stuff to the other side of the table, but it’s the only way to get the shot!

3.       Try different arrangements and angles: Sometimes it takes trying different arrangements to create the perfect unique food photo! Move stuff around, try a lay flat, try a close up, try a food selfie – just experiment!

4.       Wanna get fancy? Try a Macro lens! A macro lens is designed for ultra close ups, and can capture all the texture in your dessert! There are macro lens accessories for your smart phone of varying price points and quality. I just use one I got for free at a photo conference. :D

You might feel a little funny taking all these steps in public, and might just decide to stick with a quick snap. That’s totally OK too! But if you want to take your food photo game to the next level and give these tips a try, I’d love to hear what you think!

Black Pug Puppy

Not going to lie, I’ve spent some time in my life Googling ‘black pug puppy.’ (You’ll notice I left the amount of time vague – that was intentional :D)

After all the happiness I’ve derived from that Google image page, I thought it was time to give back. So here you go, Google, and the world!

Black pug puppy:

black pug puppy
black pug profile
pug puppy

 

And now you can learn about this goofball.

Scout is a black pug puppy. She is insane. In fits of excitement, she will stand on her hind legs and literally fall over. She is also teething, so she chews everything. A list of random objects I have found Scout chewing: AA battery, pencil, countless phone chargers, a rug, Quine’s ears, shoes/socks, HDMI cable, pillow, countless scraps of paper, string.

She’s also extremely snuggly and undoubtedly a Velcro dog – wherever you are, there she is. Her daily routine is as follows: wake up, walk, play/attack old man Quine, chew on a bone, sleep. Repeat. All day. The last two steps are on my lap, which is very cute.

black pug

 

Here's an amazing quote from the AKC's website about pugs:

Personality: Even-tempered, charming, mischievous and loving
Energy Level: Somewhat Active; Pugs are not exactly natural athletes, but they do have strong legs and endless curiosity—exercise both regularly

SO. STINKING. ACCURATE. 

Also, just because I think our older dog would be insulted if he stumbled upon this blog and didn't see any photos of himself...

black pug

Quine is named after my favorite philosopher - yes, I have nerd tendencies. He is nine years old and has no cares left to give. He rests and snuggles and sleeps all day. He's the old man of the house. He is insanely  patient with Scout, and only claps back when she tries to take his food!

Do you have dogs? Have you ever had a puppy? Tell me about it in the comments!

Denver to Tokyo Trip

Trip to Tokyo

Travelling is one of my very favorite things to do. Any time we get a chance, we’re looking up flights, Airbnb’s, and strategizing about when we can take some time off work to go see the world.

Many not know this about me, but I’m the oldest of five kids. Full siblings, my parents are still married five kids. Wild, right?! Anyway, my youngest brother was born when I was fourteen, so there was basically always a baby or toddler in the house while I was growing up. This meant that travelling was difficult – logistically, of course, but can you imagine buying SEVEN plane tickets? Yikes!

Even though we managed some wonderful domestic trips all across the country, my heart was set on the whole world. I would fantasize about seeing the Eiffel Tower (still on my list, BTW), visiting European beaches, going to Africa and India, and soaking up all the different ways to live.

When I finally got the age where this was even a remote possibility (for me this was after I got married at age 24), I was a nanny and my husband was in school. We had NO money, and I was SO impatient. I had already waited my whole life for this. When would it happen?

Finally, after getting on our feet financially and saving up enough for a trip, we did it. And we haven’t stopped.

Our ‘pie in the sky’ trip was always Tokyo. It was SO different. SO unique. SO far way. And we just wanted to go. It’s amazing, when you want something and work towards it, sometimes it happens 😊 Just like that, we found some amazing ticket prices, an awesome AirBnB, and we were off.

The trip from Denver to Tokyo was long. Like, 22 hours long on the way home. Rough.

I’ll be frank with you – I had some culture shock when we first arrived. I knew Japanese culture was different from American culture, but I didn’t really understand how different.

Here are a couple of examples:

The first restaurant we went to had no English speakers or English menus. It was also cafeteria style in the sense that you just grabbed what you wanted to eat. I had NO idea what I was grabbing, and ended up with an egg that I thought was cooked, but was actually not cooked at all. I was so hungry after our long trip, and I had purchased a raw egg. I almost started crying.

The other element that threw me was how extremely quiet Tokyo is. Everyone is quiet in public spaces, and no one makes eye contact. Not American at all. I never realized how loud we are.

In fact, I had a very physical reaction to the silence. We were on a train, packed full, and it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. It was so surreal to me, being pushed up against all these strangers in a foreign country with the train itself making the only sound. I knew if I made eye contact with Kyle, I would start laughing with no sign of stopping. I just looked at my feet until we got off the train and hoped he didn’t try to get my attention.

Eventually I came to really like this aspect of Japanese culture, but at first I was absolutely disoriented.

We loved taking the train – once we started to figure it out 😊 So efficient and easy to get around. We also came to love the food – fresh raw fish and rice and ramen all day every day!

Usually a fan of the road less traveled, we try to avoid the tourist traps. But we gladly jumped in to one: The Robot Restaurant.

Another highlight? Visiting Kamakara. That’s where the Giant Buddah is! And there was a lovely main street with little shops and restaurants we loved.

What we learned: Get out of Tokyo and into the country if you can! Stay as long as you can – there’s a learning curve for Tokyo, and by the time we really fell in love, it was time to leave. And don’t expect anyone to speak English! While many restaurants have English menus, the two languages are SO different that many people don’t speak a word of it.

We can’t wait to go back, honestly. We just have to knock a few more places off the list, first 😉

Melissa Hirsch Photography is a Denver wedding photographer specializing in unique, artistic wedding photos in Colorado and Worldwide.

Glam, Rock & Roll Denver Urban Wedding

If you’re looking for unique, artistic Denver wedding inspo, you’re in the right place. Sheannette and Paul’s wedding was awesome.

These two have such a cool story. They were married on the one year anniversary of meeting each other through Craigslist. Yes, Craigslist! But not the Craigslist page you’re thinking of 😊

Paul posted about a vintage desk he was selling that just so happened to be the exact dimensions of a desk Sheannette needed. Unreal, right?

So exactly one year later, in a self-officiating ceremony, Paul and Sheannette were married. They wanted some urban, one-of-a kind photos, which was basically a dream come true for me. Colorado obviously has awell-deserved reputation for its natural beauty (gross understatement), but the gorgeous urban landscape is maybe my favorite.

The couple got ready at their home before exchanging rings. They got to know each other at the Oxford, so we got a few shots there before heading to the Brown Palace – an amazing Denver wedding venue with history, charm, and glamor.

There we ran into Steven Tyler. Yes, Steven Tyler. Amazing.

Paul and Sheannette’s son and daughter were unsurprisingly also awesome. We had time to do a few portraits about the Brown Palace of just these two.

We ended the night back at Paul and Sheannette’s place to sign the marriage license and make it official. Fun fact: in Denver, you don’t have to have an officiant. You and your partner can sign your license – just the two of you – to be legally married. Something sweet and romantic about that – isn’t there?

If you’re considering a Denver elopement, you really don’t have to go to the mountains for amazing views and backdrops. There are unique artistic wedding photos to be made all over this city.

 

Melissa Hirsch Photography specializes in creating unique, artistic, photojournalistic Denver wedding photos, both in Colorado and worldwide.

 

 

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Artistic, Last Minute Denver Family Mini Sessions

Ok so somehow we’re at mid-September. Honestly, I hate to be that person, but pretty soon it’s going to be Halloween, and then Thanksgiving, and then Hanukah and Christmas, and then 2017 is going to be over before we know it.

City location of 2017 mini sessions!

City location of 2017 mini sessions!

The holidays are some of my favorite times of the year. I love the scarves and fires and seasonal Starbucks drinks. But with all the joy, excitement, and happiness that comes with the holidays, there also comes pressure. Our to-do lists also swell. Family photos and holidays can be one of those sources of holiday stress, but I promise it doesn’t have to be that bad!

Hence…Melissa Hirsch Photography Mini Sessions.

Fall Mini sessions denver 2017

Two dates, three collections, one to-do list item crossed off – and NO fuss.

When + Where: TWO dates!
10/8 at Hutchinson Park (for the nature folks)
10/22 at Byron White Courthouse (for the city people)

Pricing: THREE collections!

500.00
20 minutes shooting
All edited images

300.00
20 minutes shooting
10 edited images

200.00
20 minutes shooting
5 edited images

Times: 30 minute increments from 3:00-5:30.

There’s a total of 10 spots over two dates for these last minute easy Denver family photos – and some have already been booked. So definitely get in touch today if you’re thinking of booking!

In fact, if you’re flexible on your time slot, you can book INSTANTLY online.

Another bonus? Unique, artistic Denver family photos make impactful, loving holiday gifts for your friends and family. Prints, books, and other products are gifts that are SO easy for you, but by definition one of a kind and so loving and generous for your loved ones. With the hi-res images and print release, you can create these gifts on your own, or order easily through Melissa Hirsch Photography via your online gallery!

denver mini sessions 2017

 

Melissa Hirsch Photography specializes in beautiful, artistic photography for families, couples getting married, and people throwing parties or events in Denver, CO and worldwide.