Published Weddings

All of the wedding magazines are coming out with their latest issues and we are so happy to be a part of them! It is part of our workflow to submit weddings to be published, but there is never a guarantee of getting a wedding picked by editors. We are very lucky to have such amazing clients who also plan gorgeous weddings - and go along with our crazy ideas (see Katharine & Ryan's photo in the rain!)

We had not one, not two, not three, but FOUR weddings featured from our companies this year - three being from my clients here at Photogen Inc. and one wedding by Thea Volk of our Rivets and Roses team! Below are some of the spreads, but make sure to check out the following issues on newsstands - they are so gorgeous in print: Minnesota Bride, MPLS / St Paul Weddings, The Knot Minnesota. Congratulations to Anna & Chris, Ali & Willie, Jessica & Elroy and Katharine & Ryan!

LOVEe

Married! // Mr. and Mrs. Umhoefer

 

After meeting them only once, Maddie and Ben are a couple who leave you inspired through their energy and true joy for life. For example, at their wedding, Maddie's sister gave a speech about how Maddie ends up being best friends with everyone she meets. I remember the first time I met Maddie and Ben - I definitely wanted to be friends with them and was SO looking forward to their wedding. I knew it was going to be incredible.

Maddie and Ben are my first 'Tinder Couple' and their story is filled with so many wonderful moments. After going through the photos from the wedding day, that was the theme that I kept thinking; so many great moments everywhere I looked.

The couple had an all-star list of wedding vendors and their event was stunning. Absolutely stunning.

Cheers to the new Mr. and Mrs. Umhoefer! We are so happy for you!

LOVEe

VENDORS//

Photography:

Photogen Inc. 

Venue:

ARIA Mpls.

Full Service Planning and Design: Rachelle from  

Style-Architects Weddings

Bride's Dress:

Posh Bridal Couture

Hair and Makeup:

Julie Swenson Beauty

Video:

Snowshoe Productions

Flowers:

Sadie's Floral

Calligraphy: 

Rosann Konieczny

Vintage Rentals:

Rudy's Event Rentals

Catering:

D'Amico

Desserts:

Cocoa and Fig

Photo Booth:

The Traveling Photo Booth

DJ:

Prime Time DJ with Adam Welz

Band:

Johnny Holm Band

2015 // A Year in Review

Oh wow. 2015, what a year it has been. I started writing this post from my couch the other night - after a 13 hour work day - and though it was a long day, I was so so happy.

I've referred to the last month as the Holiday Hustle and that has held true. Work has been busy, everyone is on deadline and excited to wrap up projects before the end year - or at least enough so we can all take a break. There have been holiday parties and events to go to...and those deadlines. As I was editing that night, I started to think about the last year and I had a realization: 2015 was a DAMN good year.

The Top 10 BEST Moments of 2015 (in no particular order):

1: Celebrated 10 years of business with the #10YearHustle party

2: Launched 3 new websites for our brands: Rivets and Roses, ELIESA and ELIESA Consults.

3: Hired Melissa as our Studio Manager and she has been a miracle in helping all of the businesses run, supporting our team  and allowing me space to grow.

4: Added some of my 'Dream List' clients to my actual client list, the most exciting has been three stories in Food & Wine Magazine and a global feature about Japanese Whiskey in Delta Sky Magazine.

5: Was named one of the best Editorial Food Photographers in the country from PDN's TASTE Food Photography awards.

6: Photographed 20 amazing weddings for Photogen Inc. and proudly had 4 of those gorgeous weddings published.

7: Our Rivets and Roses team has been KILLING IT with their work this year. We have an incredible team of artists and if you haven't seen what they have been up to, check them out: Ryan, Jackson, Thea, Maggie, Melissa and Bryan all inspire me on the daily.

8: Read a few great books, upgraded some equipment, invested in a business consultant who has given me GREAT critique and took the leap to raise my prices for 2016 - yes, I know, it was overdue.

9: Teamed up with the crew at CLReps to show my portfolio on a more consistent basis, collaborate on some amazing projects and expand our client base.

10: Joined a great gym, saw my friends more and even went on a special Friendsgiving trip to Madeline Island. I spent more time with my family, dogs and even booked a few personal trips for the new year.

Every year I set goals and I usually set lofty goals. Last year, a lot of what I was trying to achieve was a better work/life balance, which is always a work in progress. What I have noticed is that a lot of times the success is not in the lofty, big, glamorous ideas, but rather in the little steps it takes to get us there. (You can check out more of my thoughts on goal setting + doing the work on the ELIESA Consults blog). Oddly enough, 2015 brought the hustle, but it also was filled with happiness and ease. When I look back at this year, we accomplished some seriously big things that I couldn't have ever predicted and that is simply one of the things I love most about being a freelancer. Every year, every month and every day is different. The risk is high and before you know it, the small moments have turned into giant victories!

I am humbled when I think of the amazing people who surround me in life - from my family & friends to our clients & staff. I know I have said this a million times, but it is such a pleasure and it is definitely my purpose to be your photographer. It's my dream to wake up every day and make images to share with you all, so thank you.

Here is to Two Thousand and Sixteen and all of the adventures this next year will bring!

LOVEe

Engaged! // Marcus + Katherine

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Marcus and Katherine met back in 2008 when both were in Sweden! She is American and he is German, so I do love that these two met serendipitously while both were abroad and on a life adventure! After successfully having a long distance relationship for years, Marcus finally made the move to the States about 1 year ago and proposed up on the north shore! For their engagement session, we hiked to some scenic spots and even gave a nod to the groom's German heritage! Congrats to Marcus and Katherine!

LOVEe

Engaged! // Kate + Jake

 
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Kate and Jake got engaged at sunset on 4th of July weekend...after a day full of 'summer olympics' at the lake. These two are fun, competitive and totally perfect for one another! I also must add that at their core, they are also total romantics and simply love to go out and experience the city together. For their engagement session, we ventured out into some gorgeous scenery and topped off the evening with a ferris wheel ride at one of their favorite locations, Betty Danger's Country Club. I had so much fun with these two and am just SO excited for their wedding! Congratulations to Jake + Kate on their engagement!

LOVEe

Engaged! // Samantha and Bryan

 
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Samantha and Bryan are simply SO much fun! These two laugh all of the time, are constantly joking and totally love one another so so so much. For their engagement session, we incorporated really fun elements - you know - adorable dogs, a giant red balloon and a sweeeeeeeeeet moped. Samantha and Bryan have an energy about them that you can't help but love and I love that these props gave us things to play around with during their session, because it suits them perfectly! And not to mention the colors at this time of the year - SO great! Congratulations to Samantha and Bryan on their engagement! Pretty pumped for your wedding!

LOVEe

Married! // Mr. and Mrs. Maas

 
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Adam and Katherine are simply a joy to every single person they meet. I imagine that they make everyone's day - whether that be the person checking them out at the grocery store or their closest friends. Both Adam and Katherine are so positive that it is absolutely contagious. When you leave their presence, the world suddenly seems like a happier place and I think that is a gift. Here's the deal - this couple adores each other. I mean truly, deeply ADORES one another, without hesitation. I think this is also a gift to witness. Adam and Katherine had a lovely, romantic Saint Paul wedding and the day was absolutely perfect for these two.

A major highlight to everyone in attendance was during the ceremony when Adam surprised his bride - and every family member and friend with a song. It. Was. Stunning. I don't know that there was a dry eye in the church after that moment. The entire day was a true celebration of this couple's love and I know I am not along when I say that I am lucky to know this couple and to see how they love one another. Congratulations to Adam and Katherine on making it official!

LOVEe

VENDORS//

Getting Ready Location // The Saint Paul Hotel

Ceremony Venue // Unity Christ Church

Reception Venue // Town & Country Club

Band // Power of 10

Engaged! // Kayla and Brian

 
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She was in a sorority and he was in a fraternity when they met in college. It was from that moment that Kayla and Brian decided to date and years later they are now getting married! It's very clear that these two adore each other and at one point, I asked Brian what it was about Kayla that he loves so much and he instantly said, "Look at her! Have you seen this girl? She's gorgeous!" We caught the fall colors and the golden light perfectly for the couple's Nicollet Island engagement session! It was such a magical evening! Congrats to Kayla and Brian on their engagement! I can't wait for the wedding!

LOVEe

Engaged! // Laurie and Tim

 
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I have known Laurie for a good few years now - mostly because she is a badass photographer herself! We also share the experience of 'falling in love with the darkroom' back when we were both in high school. When her and Tim asked me to photograph their wedding, I was SO honored. Being a photographer, Laurie could have literally asked any one of her talented friends to capture this time in their lives and I just feel so special to be the one. Tim and Laurie met almost eight years ago and he proposed on New Years Day with a stunner of a ring! For their engagement session, we wanted to catch the fall colors and golden light, which we most definitely found! This couple laughs so much together and you can't help but have a smile on your face when you're around them! Congratulations to Tim and Laurie on their engagement! I'm so excited for the big day!

LOVEe

Married! // Mr. and Mrs. Davydov

 
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When it came to planning a wedding, Alex and Libby wanted a small ceremony followed by a big party with their closest family and friends. This is definitely a trend we are seeing more and more with couples this season. Libby and Alex chose to have an intimate courthouse wedding on a Friday and celebrated at the American Swedish Institute on Saturday. It was simply the perfect late-summer-night, complete with lawn games, drinks, a fabulous crowd - and one gorgeous couple! The day was relaxed and absolutely perfect for Alex and Libby! Congrats to the new Mr. and Mrs.!

LOVEe

Married! // Mr. and Mrs. Ravich

 
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About 4 years ago, a mutual friend set up Ilyne and Mark on a date. Ever since then these two have been together and a few weeks ago, the couple officially tied the knot! It's easy to see that both Ilyne and Mark are die-hard romantics. Mark proposed on top of a mountain in Aspen and he described having an 'instant connection' with Ilyne when he first met her. One of the things they share in common is their love for Jazz music and when it came time to plan their wedding, they knew they wanted to throw a big party. The couple opted for a private ceremony at Temple of Israel and a full on celebration at the Dakota Jazz Club! I couldn't be happier for these two and their families as they become the new Mr. and Mrs.!

LOVEe

Married! // Mr. and Mrs. Sweeney

 
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For Mary and Nick's engagement session, we went to the Walker Art Museum, which is super modern and clean. The couple kept this trend alive when planning their wedding, which was at the Guthrie Theater, in the Dowling Studio, which is also known as 'The Yellow Room". It has some of the best views of Minneapolis, along with a very modern edge to it. The couple waited to see one another on their wedding day, until the ceremony! Nick's face was priceless when she walked down the aisle and the rest of the night was a true celebration! Rachelle from Style Architects designed a magical reception space for the event and everything was stunning! Congratulations to the new Mr. and Mrs. Sweeney!

LOVEe

VENDORS//

Full Service Planning + Design // Rachelle from Style Architects Weddings

Ceremony + Reception // The Dowling Studio at the Guthrie

Bride's Dress // Posh Bridal Couture

Catering // Culinaire

Custom Cakes // Sweet Retreat

Strings // Terzetto String Trio

Reception Decor // Linen Effects

Flowers // Sadies Floral

Invitations // Katie Murphy Stationary

DJ // Flow Event Group

The 10 Year Hustle // A Celebration!

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Oh friends, can you believe that this year marks our tenth year of business?!?! I barely can. This past week has brought a lot of reflection on the last decade and if you follow me on Instagram, you have probably relived a lot of the highlights! I did want to take a moment to write on the blog, since this is where it all started - with a girl, a camera, a blog and a business name of Photogen Inc.

I have always known I wanted to be a photographer from a very young age, but I never knew that I would thrive in being a business owner. That was never something that crossed my mind until a very special person in my life simply said, "Why don't you start a business?" So, I went to the State of MN, took $125 out of a cash machine, thought of a name that wasn't taken on google yet and officially incorporated. I honestly didn't over think this decision, because in my gut it simply seemed like the right thing to do. On the flip side, I had no idea what I was doing, but I dove into being a freelance photographer head strong. I think part of my success early on was that I was a bit ignorant and incredibly determined, which made me fearless. Now, I want to be clear that it took a while for me to actually live off of my income as a freelancer - in the meantime, I kept a 'normal' job to pay the rent and it also meant that I worked double the hours. I know many of you out there do this and I want you to know that it IS okay! In fact, I would argue that all freelancers have had a 'day job' while starting things up! The thing was, I knew my job (which I was incredibly grateful for) was just a job - photography and this business had not only become my passion, but also my purpose.

When the business began, I might have not known much, but I did know a few things:

1// I wanted it to be bigger than myself - This is a little hard to explain, but I knew that I wanted to connect people, build a team and inspire others. I didn't want it to be all about me and now looking back I see all of our assistants, photographers and talent who have come thru our studio and they are all doing things that are WAY bigger than me. It has been my greatest joy to see our team grow and thrive over the years and I am so proud.

2// I wanted to make work and share it with the community - When it comes down to why I am a photographer, it is exactly this. To take images for a purpose and share them. I want my work to inspire people and to be a part of whatever-that-story-may-be-about. I have been lucky enough to share my work on a global level and also very intimately with weddings and no matter the job, this is always my goal.

3// I wanted to live the dream - I believe in living a happy life. And I wanted to wake up every morning and literally live my dream. It doesn't mean that every day is easy, in fact many days are filled with a lot of grit and hard work, but I LOVE IT. I love my job, I love my lifestyle and I love absolutely everything we are doing at our studio. I also believe in the phrase that "it's all about the journey and not the destination." Owning your own business definitely means owning that statement.

Looking back on ten years has been a trip, but an oh-so-awesome moment to celebrate and reflect upon all of the success that we have had. We've been invited to photograph many of your weddings, built 4 brands, expanded our commercial and editorial work, gained national and global clients and created an amazing team of photographers. To say we are #blessed is an understatement. I don't know how I can possibly say enough thank you's, but to all of you who have believed in me, the work and our team all of these years, thank you. It has been a true honor to document your stories and it is because of YOU that we are actually successful!

So, here is to the next ten years! Our work is better than ever and our team is thriving! Onward to amazing moments, fucking rad pictures and a whole lot of adventure!

LOVEe

Engaged! // Lexi + Nick

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I first met Lexi when she was a bridesmaid in Haley + Taylor's wedding and when I first saw this girl, my first thought was that she was stunningly beautiful! When her and Nick asked me to photograph their own wedding, I was beyond excited to be invited back into this amazing group of people! And together, they are an even more gorgeous couple! I've always thought that they have great style, but what I love about them even more is how they are totally true to themselves and free spirits. For their engagement session, we drove around Lake Minnetonka and stopped at some picturesque spots. I am SO happy for Lexi and Nick and even more excited for the big day!

LOVEe

Married! // Billy and Tenzin

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Billy and Tenzin are a very special couple! They met years ago while shopping for a Halloween costume and the rest is history! In some ways, these two couldn't be more opposite as individuals, but they also compliment one another so so well! Billy is the owner of the AMAZING restaurant Sushi Fix and he is the wild and crazy side. Tenzin is a a nurse and fulfills that caring and loving side of their relationship. I really got to know Billy when we traveled, along with our friend Steph, to Japan to photograph a story all about Japanese whisky! I kept  hearing so many lovely stories about Tenzin and when we came back home, it was shortly after that when I had the privilege of meeting her and was invited to photograph their wedding! Billy's family is from Mongolia and Tenzin's family is from Tibet, so the couple chose to combine modern American and traditional ceremonies for their wedding! The event took place at the Wayzata Country Club and the evening was filled with lots of family, friends and of course - sushi! Congratulations to the new Mr. and Mrs!

LOVEe

Married! // Mr. and Mrs. Pitzl

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From the moment that Andrea and Dan walked into my studio we had an instant connection! However, when I heard the story of how they met, I was so intrigued by their relationship! I wrote a little bit about this in their engagement session post, but Dan and Andrea had known one another their entire lives thru school (she was the hot-girl-in-the-upperclass) and it wasn't until their sibling's wedding that sparks flew. Yes, that's correct - Dan and Andrea's siblings are married, so officially, sisters have married brothers! There were a lot of familiar moments between the Shamp / Pitzl families, but it was especially cool to see the connection and camaraderie that has developed between these families over the years. Dan and Andrea are a solid, fun couple who are always up for an adventure. I just adore these two and know that they will live a very full life. LOVEe

VENDORS//

Ceremony // Church of St Charles Borromeo

Reception // Crowne Plaza, Riverfront St Paul

Bride's Dress // Macys

Florist // Colleen's Flower Cellar

Married! // Mr. and Mrs. Stieglbauer

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Sue and Kevin are a powerhouse couple. Their energy is contagious and their adoration for one another is inspiring! To say that we had a blast photographing their wedding is an understatement, because I think everyone who was in attendance left feeling excited about all that life has to offer! The two wed on the Majestic Star along the St. Croix River and the day was a true celebration of love.  Friends and family boarded the boat and there was an afternoon full of dancing, lovely moments and all of the fist pumps. I loved everything about this day - it was serious, and sweet, casual and formal. But most of all, it was totally perfect for Sue and Kevin! Congratulations to the new Mr. and Mrs!

LOVEe

Venue // The Majestic Star

Day of Planning // Amy Zaroff Events

Married! // Mr. and Mrs. Zisko

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I am not even sure where to begin with Ashley and Patrick's wedding, because there are so many wonderful things I could say. The couple was married a couple of weeks ago at the Minneapolis Event Center and the entire event was absolutely stunning! Ashley knew exactly what she wanted for her wedding day and I must say, I left the day feeling like, "That was perfect for them." One of my favorite observations of the day was just how truly excited Patrick was to marry Ashley and JUST how excited Ashley was to marry Patrick. Their energy for the day was a match and even despite rain clouds threatening in the skies all morning, the sunshine came out and stayed out for the Zisko ceremony! Everything from the details to the couple to their incredible families - and one AMAZING wedding band - made for an incredible day! We are so so so happy for Ashley and Patrick! LOVEe

Venue // Minneapolis Event Center

Design + Planning // Rachelle from Style Architects Weddings

Printed Pieces + Stationary // Spark Letterpress

Hair + Makeup // Haus Salon

Early Morning Food // Patisserie 46

Florals // Martha's Gardens

Linens // Linen Effects

Band // Pete Saunders Band / Hank Lane Music

Strings // Lake Minnetonka String Quartet

Videographer // Sky Focus Films

Dessert Bar // Cocoa and Fig

Married! // Mr. and Mrs. Holthaus

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Brittney and Pete's wedding was a day filled with family, tradition and a hell of a lot of fun! The bride wore a soft blush wedding dress that fit in perfectly with her romantic backyard wedding! The couple chose to have a traditional church ceremony and then brought everyone back home to the property where Brittney grew up for the reception! Now, this backyard is nothing small - the property is stunning! Rolling hills, landscaped areas with ponds and forests - it was a gorgeous backdrop for the occasion! Brittney and Pete brought the party with custom cocktails, a kettle corn station, bonfires and even a confetti blast on the dance floor! I couldn't be happier for these two and I absolutely adored their day!

LOVEe

Reception: Private Property

Bride's Dress: Posh Bridal Couture

Wedding Coordination: Ambiente

Tent Rental: Apres Party

Catering: Three Sons

Florals: Arts & Flowers

Cake: Cakes by Jan

DJ: Flow Event Group