Kristi & Nathen by Kaitlyn Luckow

This past September, we had the honor of photographing a wedding that was so full love that it left us in tears at some points (at least it left Kaitlyn in tears).

Kristi and Nathen married in Jefferson, WI amongst their closest friends and family. Their entire day was filled with genuine moments and their wedding was sprinkled with personal touches that made it so incredibly special.

From the notes they wrote to each other to the polka dancing first-dance, to the hilarious speeches and showstopping fireworks, this day was truly special.

But at the core of it all is Nathen and Kristi’s love story.

Kristi fell in love with Nathen and his big heart.

“No matter what we are doing, he will drop whatever it is to make sure that everyone feels loved and cared for,” Kristi said.

Nathen spoke about how he has never felt more like himself than when he is with her. He is happy every day to be able to share his life with Kristi.

“Everything she does is the cutest thing and makes me smile every day,” Nathen said.

A few months before their wedding, I asked both Kristi and Nathen what they were most excited about on their big day.

Kristi said she was most excited to see Nathen’s face as she walked down the aisle and she was wondering if he was going to cry. Spoiler alert, he totally did.

Nathen was excited for the same part: seeing Kristi walk down the aisle, and to own the dance floor with polka. Seriously, this guy has moves.

Kristi and Nathen’s life together is only just beginning.

“We are an amazing team and there is no one else in this world that I would want by my side through life,” Kristi said. “I'm very excited about: traveling, buying a lakehouse, living everyday and cherishing the small things, watching each other grow not only in our jobs but individually and as a team.”

Below are some of our favorite memories and moments that we will not forget.

Congratulations, Kristi & Nathen. We love you!

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Hillary & John by Kaitlyn Luckow

On a brilliantly foggy day on June 9, we celebrated the love of Hillary and John on the rooftop of Hotel Metro. The skyline of Milwaukee was entranced in a whimsical fog and the lights of the hotel shone a blue light down on an intimate party celebrating the wedding of Hillary and John. 

Hillary and John met through mutual friends after they all met up for drinks at Rock Bottom in downtown Milwaukee. After talking for a short while Hillary and John realized that they grew up down the street from each other and the rest is history. 

They started their wedding day off getting married at Villa Terrace, an old Italian estate on Lake Michigan. Their marriage was celebrated with a brunch afterwards and then went on their own way to celebrate a special dinner with each other as husband and wife. Finally, they ended the night partying away with dear friends and family on the roof of Motel Metro. 

Hillary's favorite part of the day was being surrounded by close family and friends. 

"We have friends from a lot of different circles that don't really overlap, so being able to look around at a room full of all the people we love was pretty incredible," Hillary said. 

They are currently planning their future together which will include a big move and job opportunity for John. 

"I think we are both excited about beginning a future together and embarking on a brand new adventure as a married couple," Hillary said. "The thought of John and I being our own ‘family’ is incredibly exciting."

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May Wrap-Up by Kaitlyn Luckow

The weather is finally warm enough to be outside for a photoshoot and not freeze to death! We can't begin to tell you how excited we are for this! We've been busy on a lot of different projects (a really big one is coming soon) this month and are so pleased to share our work with you. 

Here are some highlights from this month: 

  • Alex created a travel guide to Milwaukee with our friend Franky for Wow Air. Check out our guide here. 
  • We celebrated our love of dogs with Katherine for a campaign for Purina. 
  • Continued to work with Pilcrow Coffee on creating online content as well as working on a super secret project that we're so excited about!
  • Our photos were featured on EastWest Bottlers newest site: Moonshine for Men. 
  • Collaborated on a styled shoot featuring great vintage finds from Fresh to Death Vintage. 
  • Most importantly, we've been working on a really cool project which will be the start of something new and exciting for us! We can't wait to share it with you! 
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WOW Air Travel Guide--Milwaukee by Kaitlyn Luckow

Last week, Alex teamed up with our friend Franky to create a travel guide to Milwaukee for WOW Air. They challenged themselves to show the city's highlights in twelve hours with a budget of only $20.

The video was created for as an application for a job opportunity with WOW Air that will involve creating travel guides for cities that WOW Air travels to--essentially our dream job.

See how they did and like/comment on the video below: 

The Art Of Photography by Kaitlyn Luckow

The art of photography lies in the importance of answering: what is art itself? Art is an expression of souls and experiences--essentially, it is storytelling. These stories can be told through words, music, paintings, etc. However, photography provides the viewer a different experience. There is undeniable truth in photography that the creator and viewer cannot escape. Photography holds so much power in its ability to tell the truth and to tell stories that need to be told.

Photography breaks through cultural divides, language divides, and misunderstanding. Our common language is found in being able to view a photo and being able to empathize with the feelings or subject matter. This is something that is unique to this art form. You can read a piece of writing and deem it false, but you cannot deny the truth captured in a photo.

Today’s society has a selfish habit of caring about what affects them and it is a luxury to ignore problems that don’t directly affect us. Photography takes away that luxury. It makes it so that others cannot be ignored. Photography captures stories in a way that increases society’s understanding and therefore increases empathy in our global community. Photography can allow us to tell the stories of those whose voices have been restricted or for those who cannot speak for themselves. It can be utilized to bring awareness to corners of the world where some may not have any interest in.

However, you don’t need to go to the opposite ends of the world in order to create a powerful photograph. Photographers also hold the power to make the viewer pause in the everyday happenings and beauty of this world. While we’re all busy running around trying to get everything completed on our to-do lists, it’s certainly easy to take the simple things for granted. It’s easy to pass up the flower blooming out of the concrete. It’s easy to walk right past the homeless man on the street corner who is used to being made to feel invisible. That is easy. It takes guts and silence to appreciate the beauty in these things. Photography allows for this pause and this silence. It assures us to take nothing for granted and to connect with the world in a visceral and genuine way.

Photographs have the power to tell four different stories: the story of the photographer, the story of the subject, the story of the viewer, and the story of our collective humanity. Into each moment of life, everyone brings different experiences and backgrounds which will affect how we view and interpret a piece of work or moment in time. We often hear the phrase that a picture is worth a thousand words. But I believe that a picture is worth one story: the story of humanity.

April Wrap-Up by Kaitlyn Luckow

I feel like we sound like a broken record every month, but we have been busy! We're putting together a lot of exciting new ventures and projects for the future and we simply can't wait to share them all with you!

Here are all of the exciting things we did this month: 

  • Traveled to Portland and stared exploring our FUTURE HOME by eating everything in sight....ooops. 
  • Hosted our first series of workshops! We had so much fun hosting our beginner photographer, intermediate photographer, and blogger workshops this month! Expect some more exciting events in the future. 
  • Did our taxes. Yay adulting. 
  • Participated in a Gallery Night at After Gallery, curated by Ellery Kemner. 
  • Worked with Steep Lab, Life After Denim, Ebbets Field Flannels, and EastWest Bottlers to help them create online content. 
  • Created a free Instagram resources for y'all, which you can get here. 
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Best Photography Books by Kaitlyn Luckow

I am an avid reader and when two of my favorite things are combined: photography and literature, I am all over it. Here is a list of some of my favorite photography books that inspire me and further support my belief that photography is one of the most important modes of storytelling. 

Atlas of Beauty: Mihaela Noroc

Noroc has spent the last five years traveling the world and taking portraits of women in all cultures and countries. She has compiled all of these stunning portraits in this book. This book truly shows that beauty is everywhere no matter how different our lives may be from one another. This collection shows the empathy and understanding that can be created through photography. 

Humans of New York-Stories: Brandon Stanton

I followed Humans of New York since it was on Tumblr (I was totally a Tumblr person) and fell in love with it immediately. It was one of those moments where I asked myself, "why didn't I think about doing this?" 

Brandon Stanton's work of photographing every day people and telling their stories truly represents everything I hope to do in life: create connections through storytelling. Stanton has a few different collections out now, but my personal favorite of his is the story collection. Not only do you get stunning portraits, but also in-depth interviews and stories. 

It's What I Do: Lynsey Addario

After I read this book, Addario became my new idol. This memoir follows Addario through her experiences as a war photojournalist throughout the world. Her bravery and compassion is inspiring and she is a powerful voice in advocating for more female photographers and for equal pay. Throughout the book, she also shares some of her most powerful images that truly show how incredibly important her work is. 

Steal Like An Artist: Austin Kleon

This adorable little pocket book is full of illustrations and realistic practices to implement into your own creative endeavors. It's inspiring, but at its core, it's a refreshing new look at what art is. What I loved about this book was its discussion on how artists steal from one another. Especially in the world of Instagram, it is imperative that people understand the difference of stealing from other artists and from being inspired by other artists. This book explains how you can be inspired by others, while still creating your own unique stories. 

In The Company of Women: Grace Bonney

This gorgeous book is a collection of authentic portraits that capture the spirits of female entrepreneurs around the world. Along with portraits of these inspiring women in their workspaces, the book is also rich with interviews that show their journeys and give advice to other women starting their own business. 

Along with being super inspirational, this also makes the best coffee table book. 

Art Objects: Jeanette Winterson

This was a book I read and immediately highlighted about 50% of it. This book explores art in a new way and makes us question the seriousness of art. Not only does this book focus on the people that create art, but also the people that view that art. Full of philisophy and stories, I adored this book. 

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Free Instagram Engagement Guide by Kaitlyn Luckow

We have created a seven page Instagram Engagement Guide and workbook just for you and we want you to have it for free! All you have to do is sign up for our newsletter here. 

If you need some more convincing, here is an excerpt from our first section of the guide: 

Build Relationships

I mean, why else are we on Instagram? Not only should we be on Instagram to create genuine relationships in order to gain more significance and enjoyment out of our use, but this is also important outside of Instagram.

I always like to wonder, “What would happen if Instagram disappeared tomorrow?” How many of your followers would seek you out to continue your relationship on another platform? If the answer is zero, you need to take more time to build your relationships.

Instead of just liking people’s posts and just writing “nice” underneath them with a heart-eye emoji, take the time to write something more meaningful. Earlier this year, we challenged ourselves to stop and think about each photo we were liking. If we were liking a photo, there was a reason for it. We made it a rule that if you liked a photo, you should also comment telling the creator why you did. That little step goes a long way.

To get the rest of our guide, sign-up for your download here!

Kelly & Michael by Kaitlyn Luckow

On February 14, Kelly and Michael, a couple full of so much light said their "I do"'s at Lakefront Brewery. It was an unseasonably warm winter day on Valentine's Day and the couple could not have shone any brighter. 

The two had an incredibly fun time with their closest family and friends and had an intimate celebration that included free beer and cheese curds (what could be better than that?). 

Kelly's favorite moment of the day was when her and Michael saw each other for the first time: 

"He saw me in my dress for the first time, and it sincerely felt like we were the only ones walking the earth," Kelly said. "When I looked at him, I felt overwhelmed with a feeling of security and utter joy." 

For Michael, his favorite part was simply marrying the love of his life and finally being able to call her his wife.

The day was full of unexpected adventures including exploring snowy parks and even being on the news. Kelly was rushing inside Lakefront so Michael wouldn't see her and she ran right into the news crew who were filming a story that day. 

"'Who doesn't run late on their wedding day, right?'" Kelly exclaimed. She made the evening news. 

Although Kelly and Michael had plans to party the night away, they both ended up passing out before 10 due to the business and excitement of the day. 

"We had so much fun that we couldn't keep our eyes open any longer," Michael said. 

Even though their wedding day was exciting and full of joy, both of them are even more excited for the future. 

Kelly can't wait to see what adventures life has in store for her and Michael:

"I am most excited about figuring out life together. There is no other person I would rather decide which apartment to choose, when we are ready for kids, to eat tacos on a Tuesday...seriously, I’m excited for EVERYTHING." 

Michael is equally as excited: "I love living with Kelly and spending all of my time with her. I'm excited to keep dreaming up new adventures with her." 

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March Wrap-Up by Kaitlyn Luckow

It comes as no surprise to us now that this month has been crazy--all months are crazy now. But we wouldn't have it any other way. 

We've spent this month focusing on moving our business forward through branding partnerships and building our expertise when it comes to creating content for other companies and increasing their social media footprint. 

Right now, we're currently in Portland and partnering with some awesome brands. We can't wait to bring you all of this fresh content!

Here are some of our favorite things we did this March: 

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Five Days in Copenhagen by Kaitlyn Luckow

To be honest, when we went to Europe, we were probably the most excited for Copenhagen. As soon as we booked our trip, we dove deep into learning about Danish culture and the language. We fully embraced the idea of Hygge, which we've talked about before, and couldn't wait to experience the real deal. 

Denmark did not disappoint and exceeded all expectations. 

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Places to See

Rosenborg Castle

This royal castle, originally built as a summerhouse in 1606 is located in the heart of Copenhagen. Although we didn't take a tour inside the actual castle, the outside grounds and gardens were reason enough to visit. I'm sure it's even more magical in the springtime!

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Botanical Gardens 

Located across the street from Rosenborg Castle are Copenhagen's Botanical Gardens. There are so many green spaces and parks in Copenhagen, but this one is probably one of the most stunning. The gardens have outside gardens, outside greenhouses and then a large atrium filled with tropical plants (a much needed break from the cold winter). The space is old and gorgeous filled with spiral staircases and hidden spaces. 

Assistens Cemetery 

This cemetery was the first place we visited when we got into Copenhagen (after getting coffee, of course). The main path is lined with tall, symmetrical trees and the grounds are green and lush. There are tombs dating back to the 1700s and a large amount of the dead buried were victims of a plague in 1711. There are also famous historical figures buried here such as Hans Christen Anderson! This place was absolutely magical and full of endless stories, it's a must-see. 

Nyhavn

Nyhavn is probably the most Instagram-famous place in Copenhagen, and rightfully so. This water front and creative district is full of color and life. Lights decorated the streets and each house was a different, lovely pastel color. It really is just as charming as it looks.  We would also highly recommend eating some street hotdogs here. 

Places to Eat 

The Coffee Collective 

Copenhagen is a haven for coffee lovers, and The Coffee Collective was one of our favorites. There are several locations of The Coffee Collective in Copenhagen and each other them provide a different atmosphere and signature drinks. 

Meyers Bageri

During our European trip, we had at least twelve cinnamon buns each. At least. Meyers Bageri had the best cinnamon buns. They were twisted in a way to that every piece of the dough tasted like the middle part of a cinnamon roll--full of gooey, cinnamon goodness. If I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life, it would be Meyers Bageri's cinnamon rolls. 

Trovehallerne

Copenhagen is becoming more and more famous for their culinary scene and Trovehallerne has a lot to do with that. Comprising of two large halls and an outdoor market, Trovehallerne features food and products from over 60 vendors. If you're looking to try a variety of food, especially a traditional Smorrebrod (open-faced sandwiches). 

Grød

Porridge is super popular in Copenhagen and as a lover of all things breakfast (including oatmeal), we were all for it. We were literally just talking last night about how we were craving the porridge from here. Although they have a menu, you can put basically anything you want on your porridge. For example, Kaitlyn put hazelnuts and homemade caramel on hers. Highly recommend. 

Tips

  • Watch out for bikes! Bikes are more popular in Copenhagen than cars, it's not just a stereotype. Therefore, when you're crossing the street, make sure you're not just looking both ways for cars. You don't want to get run over by a bike. 
  • Don't be afraid to use public transportation. Copenhagen has so many options for getting around: taking the bus, train, bikes, or walking. All of them are fabulous options and the city is super accessable to any kind of traveler. 
  • Come with an open stomach. There is so much good food in Copenhagen that you're going to want to eat it all, trust us. And we highly suggest that you do eat it all. You can't go wrong here. 

 

Tips for Travel Photography by Kaitlyn Luckow

It's no secret that some of our biggest passions in life include photography and travel. So when we can combine them together, we're living our dream lives. Travel photography has become such an important part for us exploring the world and to be able to share those explorations with our audience. We've traveled quite a few places while placing a large emphasis on travel photography and we've learned quite a bit. Here are some tips that could help make your travel photography easier and more effective: 

Batteries

Whenever you’re traveling, you might spend all day or even days without an opportunity to charge your devices or batteries. That’s why it’s always important to make sure your batteries are fully charged. Even if you've charged your batteries before heading out, It’s always a good idea to buy one or two back-up batteries that are always fully charged so if your battery does run out, you have something else to fall back on. This is especially important if you’re also taking video, as that eats up the battery more quickly.

Accessibility

While traveling, having your camera on you at all times can become a chore, even though it's very crucial, especially if you want to capture candid and unexpected moments. 

If you’re using a full-body camera, invest in a good camera strap that wraps around your neck or torso, so you just have to lift the camera to snap the pick instead of having to dig through your bag to find it. We use a strap from Peak Design that allows for the camera to pivot easily around your body, which really helps with comfort and eases accessibility. 

Shooting Landscapes and Cities

Whenever you’re shooting landscapes, use a wide-angle lens to capture as much of the scene as possible and the scale as well. Having an object in the forefront of the frame and create a strong depth-of-field and provide the viewer a sense of scale.

Photographing People

If you’re trying to capture a person in a place, make sure you have a good balance in the photo between the person and the scene. If you’re taking a portrait, make sure the photo isn’t just focused closely in on their face. If that's the case then the background might not be seen and it could take away the feel that this portrait was captured while traveling as opposed to your own backyard. 

If you want to photograph strangers, ask their permission, especially if you want to shoot them up close. Be kind,  respectful, and conscious of the culture everywhere you go
 

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Get To Know the Place

In order to create the most authentic travel photos, it’s important to spend time really getting to know the place you’re visiting and the people and culture of that area. If you want to take your travel photography above and beyond just capturing you standing in front of touristy places, truly take the time to get to know the culture beyond the tourist attractions. This might mean researching the place extensively beforehand or it may mean spending an extended period of time in that place. To be honest, this is something we could work on because we haven't always had the luxury of having this time. 

It may take a while, maybe even more than one trip, to truly understand, connect with, and be able to effectively tell the story of the place. Take the time to talk to people instead of just asking to take their photo. Get to know them first and have genuine conversations before even asking for their photo.

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How To Use Ello by Kaitlyn Luckow

What is Ello

To be honest, we didn't know the answer to that question until about a month ago when Instagram changed its algorithm and left us searching for other platforms. 

We discovered Ello and started posting our work and was immediately rewarded with high-resolution photos and engagement. 

Your page on Ello kind of looks like a hybrid between Pinterest and Tumblr, but with an emphasis on visual appeal and accessibility.

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How To: 

Once you create an account on Ello (which is an intuitive process), there are three ways that you can interact with other creative's works. You can look at a feed of those you follow, check out a discover page with recommended pages, and check out the Artist Invite pages. 

Artist Invites

One of our favorite features of Ello is the Artist Invite page. Here, different publications and organizations will post competitions for submissions for publications. Some of these options are for specific publications, where others have a specific theme with varying amount of prizes. These "prizes" can range from publication, to payment, to exposure. 

It's so easy to enter any of the Artist Invites. All you have to do is upload a photo that you usually would and tag the Artist Invite itself. Some ask for more information, but this feature on Ello has made submitting your work to publications so easy and seamless. 

To add onto this, you can also view what the other submissions have been so far for that publication or contest. 

Selling Art: 

There is also a feature on Ello to sell your art, whether that be print or digital items. This is a really awesome feature that no other social media platform seems to have built into it yet. 

Artists can sell their work for a price on their post and you can add that to your cart for purchase. The art can be sold in prints or in its original form and shipped to the buyer.  This all done through Affirm. 

The Good: 

The physical layout of Ello, especially on a computer or desktop is very user friendly and super visually appealing. We love how different profile pages look and how it keeps track of your views on your profile itself as well your individual photos. 

All of the features listed above are also very unique and provide more opportunities for artists and seems to be geared to help artists, especially small and upcoming artist. Other social media platforms only seem to be designed to help already established artists and influencers. This provides a different option. 

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The Bad: 

If you want to start using Ello, we would highly recommend that you do most of your posting on your computer or laptop. The app for smartphones is clunky and can be hard to use/navigate. Navigating on a larger screen makes more sense and the set up is more user-friendly. '

 

Verdict: 

We're personally super excited about about the platform of Ello and we think that it holds a lot of promise. A couple of weeks ago, Vero also started taking off as a platform replacement for Instagram, however, we were troubled by the news surrounding the company of Vero itself. The founder of Vero had to shut down his family construction firm after not paying 30,000 of his employees. Due to this scrutiny and lack of worker's rights practiced by Vero, we will definitely be sticking to Ello. 

 

February Wrap-Up by Kaitlyn Luckow

February was a month of growth for us and we are so excited for everything we've been able to accomplish this month. We've had time to collaborate and work with many different creatives and are planning some really exciting projects and events in the upcoming months. 

Here are some of our biggest accomplishments and favorite images from February: 

  • We are hosting THREE workshops in April! If you're a photographer or blogger, sign on up before 3/23 to get $50 off!
  • Started our new newsletter where members will get free content and resources every single month! This month we gave out a free Lightroom preset and free templates for artist releases. To be a part of this, sign up here!
  • Started a new Instagram specifically for our wedding/couple photos. 
  • Photographed the adorable Kelly & Michael on their wedding day (Valentine's Day!) We can't wait to share their whole story soon. 
  • Started to create online content for Pilcrow Coffee, including photography and video. 
  • Collaborated with Ellery and Aria on an artistic body-paint shoot. 
  • Hung out with the absolutely adorable Daniel and Jennifer and shot for their blog, Everyday Urban
  • Traveled to Minneapolis and met many fellow photographers and were inspired by their genuine welcoming and work. 
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Using Natural Light by Kaitlyn Luckow

If you’re starting out in the photography world and can’t afford all of the fancy lighting equipment, natural lighting can be your best friend. Not only that, but it is also important for advanced and professional photographers to understand how to best work with the sun in order to create stunning photos with just using natural light. Here are some things to keep in mind in order to use natural light in a way that will help you get the photos you want:

Time of Day

The most important thing to understand when using natural light is to be aware of the time of day you’re shooting. The sun’s temperature and intensity is different depending on the time of day, which can influence your photos.

If you are looking for a soft and flattering light that highlights the colors of landscapes or subjects, the best time to shoot would be at sunrise or sunset. Usually these times are considered the best times to shoot because the sun is lower in the sky, which can create for dramatic and effective lighting.

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If you’re looking for strong and harsh lighting, the middle of the day is the best time to shoot. However, this light may be too intense for some photographers, depending on the tones you’re looking for.

A third option to shoot at is during “blue hour”, which is the time right after the sun has set or right before it rises. During this time of day, the sun is right below the horizon and is still providing light to scene, though it is much softer. These soft color tones can provide a new perspective on a landscape.

Where to Shoot

When you’re working with the sun as your only source of lighting, it’s important to decide whether or not you want to shoot straight into the sun or to use the sun to highlight your subject.

You can have the sun shine straight into your subject which can create a bright and warm look (especially during sunrise and sunset hours).

Or you may decide that you want to shoot straight into the light. This may saturate your subject, or cause harsh shadows to create a silhouette of your subject. However, this technique may also create softer lines on your subject and provide a cool lens flare effect in the frame.

A third option is a combination of two in side-lighting. Here, you can sometimes get the best of both worlds, getting dramatic shadows and colors along with clear details.

Creating Shadows

Objects in your landscape with interesting and unique shapes can make for powerful shadows. Utilize nearby objects to create shadows or to frame your landscape shot. This can be particularly powerful when shooting black and white landscape photography. The contrast the shadows provide give the scene depth and interest. If you want the most dramatic shadows in your shot, the best time of day to shoot is mid-day where the contrast between light and shadows is the highest.

Shoot in All Weather

Some photographers may be hesitant to shoot landscapes when it’s rainy or overcast, but these can make for the most dramatic photos. Although the sun is not fully out on display to help with your lighting, the darker lighting that it still provides can be very effective to create moody or mystical tones.

Use fog, shadows, and clouds to your advantage to create interesting layers and depth of field in an otherwise plain landscape. Clouds can also act as a natural soft box to help diffuse the lighting in an otherwise harsh-lighting situation. Although the colors of the landscape may be different in full sunlight, colors are still just as vibrant and effective in overcast lighting.

Tips for Black and White Photography by Kaitlyn Luckow

Black and white photography can be intimidating and if we're being honest, misused. It's important to know not only when the right time to shoot black and white photography is, but how to shoot it as well.  Here are some ways that you can add black and white photography to your portfolio: 

Adding Emotions

Shooting black and white photographs can be an extremely effective way to convey emotions and to bring attention to details.  Black and white photographs can be a way to create an intimate and timeless frame due to its nostalgic nature. 

Due to the effect that it creates, it is important that you plan on when to use black and white. You should not just shoot color photography and hope that one of your photos may look good in black and white while you’re editing in post. Your photos will be far more authentic if you plan on using black and white while you’re composing the shot.

Speaking of composing the shot, it’s important to imagine the scene in front of you without the colors. Instead of looking at how the colors interact with each other in the photo, you need to look at how the hues and tones work together in the photo.

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Creating Drama

The most interesting black and white photos can be taken when the contrast between highlights and shadows is extreme. Contrast can also be found in colors (light and dark) and with lines (architectural and otherwise).

Another thing you can do to add drama to a photo is to use shadows to create a contrast. If you’re not able to shoot in a location that provides natural shadows, you can always create your own. You can do this in a studio space or in any location if you have an external flash or man-made light source.

Here are some ways you can create your own shadows:

  • Use hands to create shadows. Use your own hands or the model’s hands to create shadows over wanted areas. For example, you can create interesting lines over a model’s face, using just fingers (theirs or someone’s off-frame).

  • Use a piece of lace or fabric. Place a piece of fabric strategically over your light source to create an intricate shadow pattern over your subject.

  • Some other common objects that can create dramatic shadows include: window blinds, fences, glasses, forks, whisks, etc.

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Don't Over-do It

As we said earlier, black and white photography can be used a little too often. Due to this, it can greatly lose its effect, especially when you're trying to tell a story or convey emotions.

Another place where you shooting over-do it is in post when you're editing.  A feature of shooting in black and white is that it brings out details automatically and they are more noticeable. While this is usually a positive, it can be a negative when it comes to close-up portraits. You don’t want the skin on someone’s face to look rubbery or fake. To avoid this, be cautious with detail and luminance while you’re editing your photos.

Lastly, avoid using black and white photography as a way to try to make photos redeemable. Some people tend to use a black and white filter on photos that didn’t turn out like they wanted them to in color. You may think that a black and white photo will hide your mistakes, but in reality, it usually only highlights those imperfections more.

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Two Days in Stockholm by Kaitlyn Luckow

Our second stop on our honeymoon was Stockholm, Sweden. It wasn't originally on our list of places to go, but it was so perfectly placed in between our destinations that we thought, why not check it out? 

Stockholm was a large, modern city with interesting architecture and countless opportunities for shopping. There, we were charmed with old streets mixed with new buildings and even saw the world's largest Christmas tree! We didn't actually take too many photos in Stockholm and didn't even pull out our Sony, so just beware that these photos were taken on our iPhones. Sometimes, you just have to stop and enjoy the city around you without documenting everything, you know?

We'd love to travel back to see more of what Sweden has to offer, but for now, here is our travel guide for Stockholm!

Places to See

Stockholm Public Library

As an avid book nerd, I always try to see the most literary spot in a city. In Stockholm, this happened to be their public library that held a gorgeous rotunda of books. I could have stayed their for hours just staring at the books around me. 

Gamla Stan

This is the old city in Stockholm and you simply must go there when you're in Stockholm. There you will find cobblestoned streets, old buildings and the palace. We visited Gamla Stan at night and it was beautifully quiet and we managed to avoid all the tourists there. Definitely check this place out for a quintessential old-European experience. 

Places to Eat

Bröd & Salt 

This quaint little bakery in Gamla Stan was our favorite bakery in Stockholm. Their buns, cinnamon and cardamon were absolutely declicious. Although it was only 40 degrees Fahrenehit outside, we sat on their tiny patio outside and had so much fun watching the people around us. I wish I could eat one of their buns every day of my life. 

Drop Coffee

This coffee shop had such a clean and modern design that we totally loved, and not to mention, the coffee was fantastic. We also had our first cardomom bun here, so there are only good memories. 

 

Tips

  • Figure out your transportation options before-hand. Stockholm is a city that is spread out through various islands, making it a fairly spread-out city. We weren't prepared for this and decided that we should just walk everywhere. While it was okay for us, walking twenty miles every day may not be for everyone. Check out the public transit system beforehand to plan. Uber is also available in Stockholm if you would rather use that option instead. 
  • Get a table before you order coffee! Everywhere we went in Stockholm, the coffee shops were packed and we made the mistake every time of ordering drinks and then having no where to sit once we got them. Do some quality lurking and get a table before you order drinks so you're not uncomfortably trying to balance your espresso in your hands. 

Creating Mood in Your Photography by Kaitlyn Luckow

Creating Mood in Your Photography

February 12, 2018

As photographers, the comment we get the most on our work is that it is moody and as a result what we're asked the most is how to create an appropriate mood in your work. As photographers, mood is definitely something that we spend a lot of time working on and perfecting because we think mood is so important when telling a story, no matter what kind of photography you're taking. Here are some main things we focus on in order to create the mood in our photos: 

Building relationships

Building relationships is the most important thing you need to do as a photographer in general, but it becomes increasingly important when you're trying to tell a very specific story. Through building a strong relationship with your clients and subjects, you can not only know what look they want from their photos, but you also can get to know them personally and create photographs that reflect them and their own story. Or if you are working with models or collaborating with other creatives, it's important to sit down before you start shooting so everyone has the same vision before going into the actual shoot. 

Once you know what your client wants or how you're going to collaborate with other creatives, you can start creating the mood that you want to convey.   Possible moods you may want to create could be romantic (which would incorporate soft light and tones), classic (which would incorporate strong light and color), elegant (which would incorporate more clean lines and black and white photos), and our personal favorite, introspective (harsh shadows and highlights of details). 

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Lighting

Lighting and aperture can really affect and play into the mood you are trying to shoot.

When working with lighting during a photoshoot, you should be aware of the light you are capturing in your lens. The aperture you are using can determine how much light is exposed to the photo. The more light, the more exposure will occur in your photos. The smaller the number of aperture, the wider the lens opening, which means you are letting more light into the camera. Depending on the mood you're looking for, the amount of light you're using can make a huge difference. If you're looking for a more ethereal mood, you should use a smaller aperture. If you're looking for a darker look, the number of aperture should be higher to make the lens opening smaller. 

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Editing

When creating a mood for your photoshoot, it is important that you are consistent with your editing. In order to create this consistency, it’s helpful to create your own presets or filters depending on what photo editing software you’re using.

If you are using Adobe Lightroom, you can create your own preset to use throughout your photos to reflect the mood you wish to convey. You can even use the same presets beyond just one photoshoot in order to create a more cohesive set of work and portfolio. 

Creating presets or using filters will help make sure that all of your photos are consistently edited and are working together to tell the story. 

Shameless plug, stay tuned for a change to download a free preset from us in the near future!

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Black & White Photography

Shooting black and white photographs can be extremely powerful when you're looking to create an intimate and timeless feel. Although the color is taken out of the frame, it is still important to maintain a desired and consistent mood with the rest of your shoot.  

While taking black and white photos, it’s important to imagine the photo without the color. Instead of looking at how the colors interact with each other in the photo, you need to look at how the hues and tones work together in the photo.

The lack of color in a photograph can be powerful because it can help the viewer focus more on the actual subjects of the photo, and therefore the emotions can come across more powerfully.

Four Days in Iceland by Kaitlyn Luckow

At the end of 2017, we took our honeymoon and finally took a dream trip to Iceland. And we must say, the second we were there we immediately knew we wanted to go back. Although the country seemed to be made up of about 90% tourists, it still held its charm flawlessly. Although Reykjavik provided a feel of a quaint city life, you could travel ten minutes out of the city and feel like you were on a completely separate planet all by yourself. Iceland has been hyped on social media the past few year and if you're worried that it won't meet your expectations, fear not. It will meet all of your expectations and raise over them. 

Places To See

Gullfoss

Gullfoss Waterfall is one of the most popular natural beauties that attract tourists in Iceland. You can get there by bus or car (we recommend car). The waterfall is located in a canyon in Southeast Iceland. It's size is awe-inspiring and the colors were simply glorious. 

Geysir 

This is probably the place where we encountered the most tourists. Although it is crowded, it is definitely worth it to see the first geyser ever known. In the Southwestern part of Iceland, it's also surrounded by sulfuric rocks and hot springs. 

Thingvellir National Park 

This national park is a mere half an hour ride out of Reykjavik and is full of the most beautiful sights we have ever seen. The park is full of mountain peaks, frozen tundra, and sprawling lakes. Along the way, and throughout the park, there are small villages and Icelandic horses lining the roads. It's the most beautiful drive we've ever taken. 

The Northern Lights 

Although it's not guaranteed that you'll see the Northern Lights while you're in Iceland, it is highly likely, especially if you're traveling in the winter months. The further you are away from city lights, the higher the chance you have of witnessing vibrant Northern Lights. We used the app My Aurora to see our chances of seeing the Northern Lights each night and where the best locations were. 

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Places To Eat

Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur

We waited about a half an hour in line to eat at one of the most famous hot dog stands in the world. And it was so worth it--it was seriously the best hot dogs we've ever had in our life. They dressed their hotdogs in ketchup, mustard, remoulade, fried onion, and raw onions. And now we can't eat any hot dogs without fried onions. Truly genius. 

Braud & Co 

This little and eclectically decorated bakery in the heart of Reykjavik was adorable and served fresh bread and pastries. One of these pastries, their cinnamon buns, were some of the best cinnamon buns we've ever had---and we've had a lot. 

Tips

  • RENT A CAR! When researching our trip, we read so many travel blogs that said renting a car in Iceland was expensive. However, we found this not to be the case whatsoever. We rented through Sixt and ended up paying about $150 total to rent a car for four days. We found renting a car to be so important to us because we were able to do the things we wanted to do on our own timeline. Some of the best moments of our trip happened when we just pulled over on the side of the road to look at something beautiful. If we were on a bus tour, we would not have been able to do that. 
  • No matter what time of year you're traveling to Iceland, definitely bring all of your layers. Although the temperatures are not the most extreme (we live in Wisconsin, we're used to it), the wind is intense. Iceland is one of the windiest places in the world that people actually inhabit, so the windchill was often 20-30 degrees colder than the actual air temperature. Scarves and layers are your best friends here. 
  • Budget for food. Due to the fact that Iceland has to important nearly all of its food, food is quite expensive here. Expect to pay 2-3 more times for a meal than you would back home. You can cook your own meals to save money, but in the end, it will still be expensive. 
  • Be prepared to have a lot or a little sunlight. In the winter months, Iceland gets about 4 hours of sunlight a day and in the summer, Iceland gets about 4 hours of dark in a day. This can be an extreme adjustment, especially for your sleep schedule. Just be prepared to be a little confused about what time it is. 

January Wrap-Up by Kaitlyn Luckow

January has been an absolutely crazy month for us and all we can say is that 2018 has started off  so strong! 

This month, we had 38 photoshoots including editorial shoots, models, and freelance work. We also started making progress on our long-term Vulnerability Project. This project is focused on photographing individuals at their most vulnerable and showing the power of vulnerability through photos and interviews. If you'd like to be a part of this project, let us know. 

We also were able to meet so many creatives as well as future couples getting married this year as we have started planning to photograph their dream day. 

This month has been insane and sometimes hard to wrap our head around, but here are some of our largest celebrations this month, along with some of our favorite shots: 

  • FINALLY launched our photography site and online portfolio. 
  • We rang in the New Year in Copenhagen, Denmark! WHAT IS LIFE?!?
  • Did an Instagram takeover for a week for What MKE Wore
  • Collaborated with local clothing designer Amu Cherian for a funky editorial shoot. 
  • Joined the social media platform of Ello and became an official "Featured Artist" with over 25K+ views. 
  • Traveled to Chicago multiple times to shoot with blogger, Outer Muse and met up with models and fellow photographers from our awesome community. 
  • Started planning our 2018 weddings with future brides and grooms from around the country. 
  • Converted our bedroom into an official office space complete with all the perfect Ikea furniture one may need. 
  • Froze our butts off because that's just what you have to do when you want to shoot crazy winter scenes with Kara Jean and Ulviye. 
  • Climbed a rock ledge and set up an elaborate lighting set-up to capture some spooky photos of Taty and Bryce. 
  • Worked with so many models and creatives who weren't afraid to try new things. 

A huge thanks to everyone who made this month amazing! Here's to a great start to 2018!

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