It’s one thing to say vows of intention in Washington state (it’s beautiful everywhere), however, it’s a different game when the vows are declared at a venue that overlooks the Salish Sea on the Washington Peninsula. Port Townsend does not disappoint. In this case, Fort Worden State Park showed off in all the best ways. Family members of Mikayla and TJ, the bride and groom, waited in anticipation and prayer as the weather reports forecasted rain for the wedding day. The wedding party, the family, and close friends spent the night beforehand on the park’s quarters (a charming old military base), and all woke with delight to the promise of sunshine.
Mikayla and TJ’s day began with rest. Naturally, the remainder of the day panned out with ease. Loved ones gathered to encourage, affirm, and honor them in this milestone. It’s plain as daylight to see how these two connect, and my hope for them is to return to these photos in the future as if they were reliving the wedding day over, over, and over again.
Mik and TJ, we are rooting for you and we love you! We can’t wait to see how your marriage blesses the socks off of all those who you encounter. Your relationship has already made big dents in bettering this world, and it can only grow in depth from here. And if we haven’t said it enough already, welcome to the family, TJ!
Congratulations Mik and TJ!
Huge shoutout to my second shooter, Sonja, who stepped in big time to take over the ceremony, and also during the reception so that I could participate as a guest.
Photographer: Katie Day Photos
Second Photographer: Sonja Lyon
Videography: Clay Erickson
Venue: Fort Worden
Dress: David’s Bridal
DJ/MC: Cameron Samac
Officiant: Dr. Joshua Ziefle
Rings: Made by bride & groom, with the assistance of Stephanie at With These Rings
In honor of Earth Day this year, we’re taking time to share on Instagram about how Katie Day Photos is a sustainable, ethical, and eco-friendly small business – letting the world in on one piece of ‘insider information’ per day. Many people have no idea of the amount of thought and work that goes into each step of their photography experience, so this short journey takes a peek into what that process looks like. Here are five earth friendly photography business practices that we conduct with every client:
Sequoia National Forest, California.
Earth Friendly Business Practice 1:
When meeting clients for their consultation, if it’s not in the comfort of their own home, it’s likely to happen in a coffee shop that makes an avid attempt to avoid or reduce waste. Thankfully, the Seattle area isn’t short on sustainable coffee shops or eco-conscious baristas. Reusable mugs, dishes, and cutlery are all a part of the solution. These are the same shops that usually source organic coffee beans and tea leaves from properly-paid farmers who avoid synthetic pesticides and non-organic fertilizers. When booking an engagement, an elopement, an anniversary session, or a wedding, there won’t be any talk about this, but you will be reducing your carbon-footprint, perhaps without even realizing it. You champ, you.
Earth Friendly Business Practice 2/5:
1) Recycle old equipment, and 2) Purchase what is used; this is one detail that we focus on to create less waste. Things like SD cards, main camera bodies, heavily used equipment, in addition to hard drives, are NEVER purchased secondhand (waaaay too much at stake). Risks aren’t taken when it comes to equipment – if clients are paying good money, then they should expect great service, backed by great equipment. That said, if a local camera shop has a gently-used lens that I’m on the market for, I’m absolutely going to take advantage of the lens rather than investing in a new one. There’s no need to consume more than what I need or to hold onto what I don’t need; all of my old camera parts and lenses are recycled into a shop that fixes up equipment and resells the bodies and parts. Circular economy, holler at cha girl.
Earth Friendly Business Practice 3/5:
Hahnemühle photography prints. Upon receiving my own hahnemühle prints, I let out an audible gasp. I teared up, too. After testing prints from more than twenty labs over the course of eight months, nothing took my breath away more than these prints from Musea. Hahnemühle is an heirloom-quality paper made out of cotton that has a life expectancy of approximately 100 years over the standard lustre print. This solution is equally sustainable and earth-friendly as it is the most stunning quality on the market. The paper company maintains the following merits. They:
- Hold strict standards on waste water.
- Use recycled raw materials without losing quality.
- Includes only primary fibers, not treated with bound chlorine.
- Utilize renewable raw materials (bamboo and bagasse – a by-product of sugar cane that is usually burned).
- Source electricity from water, wind, and solar energy.
In addition, Hahnemühle prints display the richest tones. The end result is a print that I can’t keep to myself; it’s available to all of my clients (in addition to matte/lustre). Ask to see samples of this paper during your consultation, and judge for yourself the difference of quality and color – there’s absolutely nothing like it.
Photographers: if you want to offer the same experience to your clients, use the code ‘katiedayphotos’ for 10% off your first order.
Earth Friendly Business Practice 4/5:
I am proud to support four small business across the U.S.. It feels good to partner with other business owners, as opposed to big companies, knowing that all of my products are ethically sourced – each carefully hand printed, hand stretched, hand designed, and handmade. Four of our main products: albums; prints; canvases; and hand-crafted heirloom boxes, come from the best labs in the nation. When I transitioned my business to serving my clients fully (as opposed to handing over digitals), I went through an eight-month process of investing, communicating, testing, reviewing, and hardcore scrutiny of every piece of art that returned to my doorstep.
The process helped us narrow down the four essentials of completing a clients’ photography experience: their choice of album, print, canvas, and / or heirloom box(es). Each business that I work with is ethical and sustainable. In addition, Musea gives a portion of money from every print order to build wells throughout impoverished countries.
Supporting businesses like these makes me proud of people like you who believe in what I do and choose to fill your home with beautiful memories. Finishing off every clients’ experience with something to take home and hold onto forever is so, so satisfying.
Thanks for the soap box, stick with me and I’ll return it at the end of this post.
Earth Friendly Business Post 6/5 (BONUS):
As a wrap, before I start telling you about the benefits of tooth powder and homemade deodorant (please don’t run), I understand that this environmental stuff might throw you off – believe me, the words ‘ethical,’ ‘sustainable,’ and ‘eco-friendly’ catch me off guard, too. Know that these business practices are not set in place due to any trend. Running an ethical, sustainable, and eco-friendly business has been something of an ongoing process; one that I’m learning to be more conscious of as a business owner.
In short, we’ve been given an amazing planet and resources to work with, so this is one attempt to steward it well. This approach has been an opportunity to invite others to look ‘behind-the-scenes’ – covering a series of topics that I haven’t shared openly before, so thank you for paying attention and following along. For those who have questions or who would like to know more, I’m always open to conversation. Call or email anytime.
As a ‘Thank you’, I’m running an ‘Earth Day Special’ exclusive to today (4/22/17). For every person who emails or calls about booking a session (engagement, anniversary, elopement, wedding, or truth session) by the end of the night (4/22/17 at 11:59 PST), they will receive a $50 gift certificate to go toward professional [ethically made] photography products. That’s a gift of fifty green US dollars, people! Email (email@example.com) // use the contact form above // or call 425-399-3438, to book today. Can’t wait to hear from you!
“Wash your lips before you kiss .. because of the germs. Or after, because of the lipstick.” This advice, given by an eight-year-old boy, is basically what this post is all about.
Just kidding. It’s not about washing one’s lips, per say, but advice will definitely be on the table. Regardless of whether it’s swallowed or not, it’s here, it exists. The beauty about planning a wedding is that brides and grooms can choose to take the advice offered by others and apply it, or shrug it off if it’s not the right fit and move on. Feel free to pocket the ‘two-cents’ from this post (I guarantee it’s worth more), or carry on the planning process without it (although it’d be a shame). Here we go:
Don’t throw a wedding to please others.
The truth is, a marriage is more of an investment than a wedding. When it comes to planning, stick to what you love, remain true to your own style, and don’t feel the pressure of checking everything off of a list. If you’d rather elope, do it. If you want to hold a celebration for your nearest and dearest, what’s holding you back? After high school, most people can get over not being invited to an event. Naysayers will give their opinions — when it happens, drop their advice like a bad habit and move forward.
Keep your wedding party tight.
Bridesmaids and groomsmen have an incredible honor that speaks “I’m here to keep you accountable to the vows that you make and support you in the highs and lows of life.” If those family and friends aren’t willing to fight for your marriage when the going gets tough, what are they standing with you for? If you’ve accepted the invitation as a bridesmaid or groomsman in the past, have you called up those friends recently to see how they’re doing? The role as a bridesmaid and as a groomsman extends well beyond the wedding date. Put a lot of thought into who’s going to stand with you for the long haul.
Traditions: Not everyone loves them.
That’s okay. Even if an idea hasn’t ever been executed at a wedding, it doesn’t mean that it’s not possible. If straying from tradition means taking a sunrise hike in your wedding attire with the people that love you most following close behind, then talk about it. If that includes a pancake breakfast after the ceremony at the top of a mountain, then work out the details and make it happen. Discuss what matters to you as a couple, talk about what you want, and then move forward with that vision in mind.
Hire a coordinator.
Nobody likes hiccups; the real ones or the ones that disrupt a day from running smooth. Not investing in a day-of coordinator or a full-service coordinator is one of the main regrets that I hear most often from past brides. Learn from those women; invest in someone who knows the flow of the day, who can think on their toes in case anything goes array. A family member is not the ideal person to fill this role. They want to enjoy the wedding, too, so find someone that has the experience and will be looking at everything with an objective eye.
Start the planning process early.
Book your vendors right away. This is key to gathering a team that you work well with; reach out immediately rather than putting it off. Once you’ve hired your vendors, communicate, communicate, communicate, communicate. Make sure that everything is on paper and that all expectations are discussed.
If you’re declaring your own vows, start writing weeks or months in advanced.
Here’s a story: A bride once began writing her vows the night before the wedding and wrapped up everything before walking down the aisle. It was nothing like how she thought they’d be. Her husband, on the other hand, left her speechless with his words. That bride’s name is Katie Day. She later went on to study and major in English; she of all people should have known better. When it comes to vows, don’t be like Katie; be like her husband and know that those words carry great significance.
You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.
Unless you have an unlimited budget (in which case, ignore this), pick a detail, a theme, a color, a place, or an emotion, and focus everything on that. Keep in mind that whatever you decide, always ask for help. This is another reason that your wedding party exists: prepare them and expect them to help you; delegate with enough time in advance, and feed them on occasion (that is important).
Work your schedule around pre-marital counseling.
If you don’t, it won’t happen. There are not enough words in the world to stress the importance of pre-marital counseling; clearing the air before two people step into a marriage is vital for trust and communication. Even if trust isn’t an issue, the act of counseling walks through expectations, it builds healthy communication, it approaches topics that would otherwise not have come up before the wedding, and it leads to discussion around values, priorities, and needs. The benefits of pre-marital counseling exist to better the couple as individuals, and as a team, while championing them forward to set a strong foundation for years and years ahead.
Include your significant other.
Talk about a first look with your fiancé.
Three things: no stress, no guarded emotions, and no inhibitions. What do these have in common? A first look. Every groom (and bride) that has chosen this route can’t sing the praises of a first look enough. Not to mention, this is a total plus for you and your guests. You get better photos (in better light, when you look the most fresh), and your guests won’t have to wait to congratulate you after the ceremony. Bonus: You can now enjoy cocktail hour.
When creating the timeline, allow buffer time for everything.
E-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. Hair, makeup, travel, first look, wedding party, family photos, touchups, a prayer or a toast (or both) before the ceremony – buffer time is essential (at least fifteen minutes for each time that you step into a car, at least ten to twenty minutes during other parts of the day). With all of that extra time, you could practically read a book. But don’t. Enjoy the down time and observe everything as it’s happening. You will thank yourself later, these are the moments that you’ll remember.
Consider an unplugged ceremony.
Strongly encourage your guests by notifying them in advanced to leave cellphones, cameras, and iPads (there’s always one) in the car, in pockets, or in purses during the ceremony. This prevents guests from jumping in the middle of the aisle during the kiss. When this happens (more often than you’d think), the photographer gets a very romantic photo of … the back of your cousins’ head.
Try not to price shop for your photographer.
After the wedding ends, the photos outlast every other detail. Find the photographer that’s right for you, and don’t give up until you do. Some photographers offer payments plans, so if budget is a concern, keep that conversation open. Like most vendors, you get what you pay for.
Create a plan for the guest book table.
The guest book table is kind of like the middle child: Important, but sometimes overlooked. Adorn your guest book area to stand proud; it has one job, and it’d be a pity if people missed it. If this means extra flowers, talk to your florist about it; make that table SHINE.
Whatever doesn’t meet a deadline on time, is okay. Remind yourself that as long as you’re married by the end of the day, the wedding was a complete success.
No matter how the wedding pans out, as long as what’s important stays important, then everything will run smooth (fingers crossed). Prepare for it now as best as possible, and all will align as it should. May your day be surrounded by people that you love, may it brim with laughter, and may your marriage reflect all the joy and hard work that goes into it. Have fun, include others, and walk humbly as you move forward. Marriage is amazing, treat it as something sacred and welcome the work that it takes to make it succeed.
To see more photos from this wedding, check out Dylan and Julie’s wedding here.
Anniversary sessions are my favorite. I don’t normally photograph families, but when it comes to couples and their adorable, cuddly, perfectly created babies, there are exceptions (a few). And there are exceptions when the people in front of your camera are ones that you’ve known since high school and of whom you stood next to on each others’ wedding days (hey girl), and last, there are exceptions if the location is beyond immaculate, too perfect for words. Meet our dear friends, Cody and Andee, and their handsome baby boy, Beckham.