Sandra + Chris -- Vasquez Rocks Engagement Photography

In exactly one month, these two will be tying the knot in a gorgeous wedding ceremony under a 1,000 year old oak tree (kid. you. not.) and I can hardly wait! Both incredibly talented actors (on the stage and on the screen), plus voices to DIE for, it's no shocker that these two were up for some DRAMA in their images. Scroll through for more romantic gorgeousness! 

Do you see why I'm so excited!?!? I have a handful of 2017 dates left for weddings and I'm already taking bookings for 2018 too! So much pretty headed to the blog soon. The 2017 wedding season has officially begun! 

Where Has This Been All My Life?

Anyone who has followed my blog for a while (or been around me for very long in person) knows I've been the on the never-ending search for the *perfect* nude(ish) lip color. I've searched high and low for literally years. I thought I'd found it in this lovely MAC lip color called "plink". Or at least as close as I thought I could get to it. But it wasn't 100%. The lip color was a bit shiny/glossy for my tastes (I'm a matte kind of girl, personally) and it lasted like 0.724 seconds before it started to rub off. Not to mention that if I had coffee (which is, like, always) or wine (which is also, like, always...) or wanted to kiss my husband or kids, it was a big disappearing-all-over-them problem. But hey! The color was great! 

.... eye roll ....

Apple Cider!!!

Apple Cider!!!

So fast-forward several years. Because I thought that was as good as it got. And then I kept seeing another local photographer friend posting about her favorite lip product, Lipsense. Now before you start thinking OH GREAT, here comes a sponsored post, I promise you this is 100% NOT sponsored or paid for in any way. I don't sell Lipsense or anything. I just shelled out the moola for 2 colors (so far, cuz let's be honest, mama needs more...) and had my world changed. 

Ok, so stay with me here. Here's the thing, not only does it stay through eeerrrrrrr-vrything, (seriously, like it doesn't smudge or come off at all), they had THE. PERFECT. NUDE(ish). COLOR. Seriously you guys, "apple cider" is my jaaaaaaam. It's the actual color I've been hoping for all these years, it's matte, and it stays all day. So clearly I had to try more. So I tried "dusty rose" which pulled to a lovely berry-ish reddish color on me and I adore it. I have about 8 others on my list that I want to try too. But I haven't even told you want really was the kicker for me on these things:

Dusty Rose!!!

Dusty Rose!!!

They are 100% cruetly-free, GMO free, Gluten Free, lead-free, wax-free, and vegan (plus smudge + kiss proof)! How incredible is that? If you're anything like me, you want your dollars going to the sustainable, ethical, and world-changing organizations out there. I was always kind of bummed about buying MAC because, ahem, they aren't those things. I finally stopped buying the lipstick from them about 2 years ago because I just couldn't justify it when I started digging into what my makeup brands really are. But Lipsense? That's a guilt-free obsession right there. PS - it's absolutely perfect for a photoshoot, engagement session, and especially weddings! If you're looking to try it out, I can hook you up with the lovely woman I get mine from. But if you know someone selling it, seriously try it out! 

Ok, that's all for now. Make sure you're signed up for the newsletter to get your FREE download of my top ten posing tips!! 

Baby Shower for my Sister!

I'm so excited that I am finally going to be an auntie!!! My kids have been the only kids on BOTH sides of the family their whole lives so finally getting a first cousin is a pretty big deal for them and being an aunt for the first time is definitely a big deal to me! I can't wait for sweet baby Ellie to arrive next month! Here's a peek into the small family shower that my mom and my sister's mother-in-law through for their soon to arrive granddaughter! 

*florals by Wildflowers at the Lake
*diaper cake by Anne Davis

3 Reasons Why You Should Consider a NON-Traditional Wedding Dress

Not that long ago, it was nearly unheard of (or at least totally taboo) to have anything other than an all white wedding dress (well, at least in western culture...). The very idea of a non-white dress was, at best, mildly horrifying. Something to whisper about behind raised hands and in reception hall corners. At worst, it was downright scandalous, akin to sewing a giant scarlet "A" to the bodice of your gown. Can I just say, from a photographer's perspective at least, thank the stars above that is no longer true! 

Now, if you're all about the all-white gown, more power to you (hey, I got married in one!). But if you're a little more on the adventurous side, here are a few reasons why you should consider shedding the tradition (along with some inspiration images from a recent publication shoot I did!): 

1. Like the rest of your wedding, your choice of gown should be a reflection of you. Wedding celebrations should be infused with the best parts of your personalities, both as a couple and individually. Letting personality dictate your decisions will help make your planning decisions simpler, and allow for so much more creativity. Your dress should be as much a part of that as any other piece of your wedding day design. And besides, who doesn't want to knock your partner's socks off while feeling very much like yourself at the same time? 

2. Choosing a color that coordinates with the entirety of your wedding day design elevates your entire event. When you work with your wedding coordinator to plan out the details of your day, a color scheme is usually one of the first elements that you'll address. Opening up the opportunity to introduce alternate neutrals than white/cream, or ditch a neutral dress all together and make a statement with your gown opens up possibilities for everything from your floral design, to your linen choices, and even to the choice of venue. The dress sets the tone for your atmosphere and, done well, it can take everything to the next level (ESPECIALLY in your photos!). 

3. A unique wedding dress makes a memorable statement, while opening up the possibilities for what you purchase at the same time. I don't know if you've been there, but I remember being sort of scared when I went to try on wedding gowns for the first time. I knew I didn't want a few things, and it seemed like literally every single wedding dress was what I did NOT want. Being relegated to basic wedding gown shops left me feeling limited and worried I might have to "settle". When you open up your option to include color, texture, pattern, and shine (hellooooooo gorgeous gold sequin Badgely Mishka dress....), you give yourself the opportunity to find something you truly love from wherever you opt to look. It makes finding the right dress about you instead of about the shop(s) you feel stuck with. 

Check out a little more inspiration from this Art Deco styled wedding shoot I did for Deco Weddings Magazine a few months back, featuring 2 non-traditional (and completely eco-friendly) gowns! They really show off what I mean by #2 especially! 

artdecoblog_0016.jpg

Photography: Brienne Michelle, Floral Design: Delightful By Rochelle, Eco-Couture Gowns and Vintage Sari Veil: Deborah Lindquist, Jewelry: Julieri, Hair: Cassi Young Paxton, Makeup: Paula Scarpino Makeup, Vegan Shoes: Mink Shoes, Invitation Design: McManus & Morgan 

See the full feature here!

Tommy + Amanda : Pasadena Engagement Photography

One of the most flattering things that can happen as a wedding photographer is to have a vendor relationship turn into a booking for that vendor. And possibly one of the other most flattering things that can happen is when wedding party members of previous weddings contact you for their own wedding down the line. But when it happens in the SAME event? That's an incredible feeling. 
 

I've had the pleasure of photographing the floral design amazingness for Kelly Clark for years. Now, having the opportunity to capture her own daughter's wedding, I'm beyond excited. Add to that Amanda was a bridesmaid in a previous wedding I captured several years ago, and you can just tickle me pink right now (don't worry, my Oklahoma-raised grandmother insists that "tickled pink" is a thing....). 

 

I met up with Tommy and Amanda last week for their awesome engagement session in downtown Pasadena and we somehow ended up with the perfect weather. After nearly 5 straight days of rain, and followed with another 6 days of rain after the session, we really lucked out. Take a peek at their engagement story! Can't wait for the wedding in September! 

Happy New Year! (aka 2016 is FINALLY OVER!)

happynewyearbrienne

So, how 'bout that 2016, eh? Yeah. Me too. Let's just all agree to not talk about THAT for a while. If you're feeling like me, while you may have had some great moments in 2016, you're definitely ready for 2017 to take over. 

Every year, rather than set specific "resolutions", I spend time deciding what the "theme" will be for the coming new year. Last year, my focus was "balance". Well, while I mostly feel like I spent the year floundering on what that actually means for my work/life/routine/home, I am proud that I feel like by the end of the year, we had actually started to implement systems that are helping to create more and more of that in our lives as a family. It took most of the year, but we are hitting our stride on that and have a direction to continue moving. The year before that was "discipline" as I changed focus as a business and had to, in many ways, re-learn the 'hustle' of this industry in new arenas. 

But this year, the theme word we've settled on is SIMPLIFY. I'll be honest, I am simultaneously dreading and looking forward to implementing this in our household and lives. We are in desperate need of minimizing, simplifying, re-thinking, and in general removing the stress that comes from excess, whether that's insane amounts of clothing, too many toys, or too many steps in the business processes. All around, simplifying our lives is a continuing step in the balance and peace we have begun to foster in our home since moving up to our little modern mountain homestead.

What about you? Do you have resolutions or have you set your intention for 2017 in a word, phrase, or verse? I am seriously fascinated by the refresh of intentions that comes with the new year, so leave yours in the comments!!