Joel & Amanda | TULSA, OK Engagement

This shoot was amazing in many ways, but the most significant one is that we made this first-ever VIDEO of me in action on a photoshoot. I have always hated having my photo taken, and when I photograph people, I have worked to turn that expectation around. I make it fun, easy, and downright enjoyable. If you're not laughing and having a good time 30 minutes into your session with me, it could only be because you're a humorless person. I also know how to take the most flattering photo of you that's ever existed, and I'll show you, right on the back of my camera. 

If you've ever felt like having your picture taken is awkward, or un-fun, you need to stop what you're doing and watch.

T-town!

T-town!

Another reason why this shoot is so amazing is that it's the first  engagement shoot I've done in my beloved hometown, Tulsa, OK. A Colorado resident since 2006, I do most of my work within 2 hours of the Denver area, but I travel for weddings and other projects as time permits, mainly because I enjoy it. As of 2014,I've photographed weddings and/or engagements now in 12 states and counting. This year I add California and Maine to a list that includes Florida, New Mexico, and Georgia (among others). Why I hadn't booked a wedding in Tulsa in my first 6 years of shooting is beyond me. Now that all changes. I get to come back in October to shoot Joel & Amanda's wedding in Downtown Tulsa and I couldn't be more excited. Most of my family lives in T-town, and I try to make it back several times a year, so I won't be charging my usual travel fees to photograph weddings in Tulsa. If you're a Tulsa bride or groom, drop me a line ASAP. 

Amanda looking posh at 5th and Boston before she knew I had started shooting.

Amanda looking posh at 5th and Boston before she knew I had started shooting.

Tulsa is a city known for its elaborate art-deco architecture experiencing a long-awaited urban renewal. Amanda and Joel picked one of the prettiest and most interesting places in town for their ceremony. They are getting married in the middle of Boston Avenue in Downtown Tulsa. (Apparently the city will block off the street for you for a ceremony. I can't help but think that won't be available as soon as Downtown Tulsa gets a little busier.) Of course we had to put that on our site list for engagement photos. 

We also went to a spot Amanda loved that had a large text mural. The sunlight hit the area perfectly at that time of day. Then we stopped in at a nearby pub.

Joel is my brother. Many photographers wouldn't shoot a wedding for a close family member's wedding for obvious reasons, because they'd rather be more involved in the wedding than it's possible to be as a professional wedding photographer. Joel asked me to photograph his wedding, and I accepted for the same simple reason. I believe I can do the best job, and I don't want anything less for my brother. Another fun fact about us, Joel won awards for his film landscape and abstract photography in high school, I didn't get started as a photographer until a few years after that. As such, Joel has very good taste. Later in our shoot, we visited a spot he had found while taking a downtown landscape photo that he now has framed in his living room. Our goal was to recreate the picture, with some differences (his was shot in black and white during the day...we did a color long exposure at night) both with him and Amanda, and on its own. 

A phone photo of our setup (the tripod was necessary at this point)

A phone photo of our setup (the tripod was necessary at this point)

We visited Zinc park, which is about a half mile from where our parents still live, a place we spent a lot of time as kids that also happens to have a beautiful secluded wooded area. We also got an up-close view of the Arkansas River at a sweet under-bridge spot that Joel scouted for us. Always a keen eye for the abstract composition, Joel naturally picked this spot with all it's repeating angles. I couldn't help but draw the visual metaphor of "forever."

I think it's incredibly important, when taking the time to shoot photos for any occasion, to get a great portrait of each person. A killer portrait has become incredibly necessary in the age of social media and individual branding. One person can need a handful of site appropriate profile images for various types of personal and professional social media. Portraiture that conveys both personality and respectability is my specialty in photography, so I make sure that I get great portraits at every photoshoot. My clients love this and find the images incredibly helpful. Here are my favorites of Joel & Amanda.


One of the things near and dear to my heart as a creative is any time I get to work with a great production team. On this occasion, I got to work with two of my favorite people ever. My youngest sister, Hanna, lived in Denver and shot weddings with me for the first half of 2014. My mother is a professional stage manager and the world's most prepared person for any occasion. The bigger and better the work you're doing sometimes, the more you need a crew who can instantaneously read your mind. Because I was getting video footage of this shoot, I needed them both.The only way this could have been better is if my husband and perennial second shooter, Will, had been there. Since Joel has a photography background, he and I may be teaming up for future projects as well. 

I leave you with this picture of my dream team, headed up a hill after our models. (Cindy, left and Hanna, right)

I leave you with this picture of my dream team, headed up a hill after our models. (Cindy, left and Hanna, right)

There are SO MANY good things on the horizon for Libby Neder Photography. Thank you for being part of it.