Ali & Gabriel | Engagement | Austin, TX

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When Ali told me she thought that ALL big life accomplishments should be celebrated with a photo session—not just the ones related to getting married—she was SO RIGHT. She was asking because she landed her dream job and was hoping to incorporate a few photos at her new workplace to celebrate. “SURE!” I said (my engagement sessions are unlimited time, and I love spending time with my couples learning about what they care about) “What’s your dream job?” That’s when Ali hesitated. She seemed to feel like she had to explain herself for getting excited. “well, there’s this grocery store…”

I instantly knew what she was talking about. For those of you not fortunate enough to experience it’s magic, the best grocery store on the planet (sorry Trader Joe’s) is Texas’ local chain, H-E-B. Why is it so amazing? It’s like they’re reading your mind—they have everything you could possibly want, and they do all of it at a high level for a low price. Marinated meat you can throw right on the grill for the best meal of your life? Check. Perfectly ripe produce no matter the season? Check. HOMEMADE TORTILLAS? You have to try these to believe them! I recommend the Mitad Y Mitad corn and flour ones toasted lightly in your oven.

I fell in love with H-E-B 11 years ago when I was shooting a wedding in Lubbock, TX (a town tragically not known for it’s culinary scene) and I wandered into the local H-E-B for some snacks and discovered, not only everything I was looking for and then some, but that they were making FRESH SUSHI right there in the middle of cow country. AND IT WAS GOOD.

Ali works in H-E-B’s research office in San Antonio, and when we photographed her session she had just recently been hired. She picked one of the prettiest H-E-B locations in Austin, which also has the designation of being one of the only LEED certified grocery stores in the country. We checked with the manager to make sure we could shoot inside (he was more than happy) and then had a blast in our favorite sections—tortillas, flowers, and of course, wine.

After our mini celebratory employment session in H-E-B, Ali’s fiancee, Gabriel, and their two pups joined us for an adventure around Austin. We photographed them at Austin’s Famous Hope Gallery Graffiti Park (which is currently relocating and planning to reopen this summer, read all about that HERE) Near some famous street art, at Torchy’s Tacos (another worthy local chain that has now expanded as far North as Denver, CO), and at a favorite bar and outdoor concert venue of the couple’s The Little Darlin’.


Brittany & Donald's Wedding | Seattle WA Photographer

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I had the best time traveling to Seattle to photograph Brittany and Donald’s gorgeous wedding. Brittany’s quiet kindness (and surprisingly adept salsa dancing) go perfectly with Donald’s steady good humor. I also greatly appreciate the plants in Seattle for being so obligingly pretty at every turn, and Kaila Lassey and Jay Loftus for being the best ever video team and letting us borrow the camera on their sweet drone for a minute to get the dock shot.

Libby Neder Photography is based in Denver but available everywhere. Washington is one of 16 states we’ve photographed weddings in recently. Be sure to inquire about your destination wedding. We love to travel so we like to make it easy to bring us along on your adventures.

Venue: Black Diamond Gardens. Planner: Nelliena Events Bomb.com Videographer: KLassey Productions

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What to Wear for your Photoshoot

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“Hey Libby! How should I dress for my photoshoot?”

That’s a very important question! I’m so glad you asked.

The answer is simpler than you might think. There is ONE principle that towers over all of the others:

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You know that one outfit you have that every time you put it on you seem to have a good day and get compliments? The combination you reach for when you know you’re meeting someone new or you have something amazing that you’re working on and are about to present or share. The outfit that makes you want to take selfies even when you’re not a selfie person. The outfit where the fit, color, and texture all work together to create joy? WEAR THAT.

 

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The very simple reason for this is that if you feel amazing—you’ll look amazing in your photographs. I have a bunch of photography tricks up my sleeve to make your images insanely flattering, but the thing one thing I can’t do is put the light in your eyes that says “I look like a million bucks and I know it.” Confidence and comfort are KEY for great authentic and beautiful expressions in your photographs, so let’s set ourselves up for success, shall we?

You have a closet full of those kinds of outfits, you say? How could I possibly narrow it down, you say? But we need to MATCH you say?

Okay—if you insist—there are a few other tips and tricks for choosing the perfect outfit(s):

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1) Coordinate, but don’t match. Think about you and your partner (or your group if you’re taking family photos) as an entire color palette. The old standby of everyone wearing the same color top and bottom looks dated. (Think white polos and jeans on everyone in a 1998 awkward family photo shot at Olan Mills studio in the mall). You may love the combo of Navy, Bright red, and white, but you don’t all have to wear each color in the same way. That’s a sure way to look like your grandma bought you matching fourth of July jumpers. Imagine your outfits the way the camera sees them—all together as a group. Use your bright colors as accents on a couple people in the group but not everyone. 

 

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2) Match your level of formality instead—DO make sure it looks like you are all dressed for the same occasion—much more than colors, a single pair of sneakers in a lineup of dress shoes, or one person in formal wear while everyone else wears jeans—can make a photo look “off.” If it’s hard to tell if something fits the occasion, get dressed in your proposed ensemble, stand in front of the mirror, and decide what kind of event your clothes would get you into. Black tie dinner? Backyard BBQ? There is no need to look like you shopped at the same store or to match cummerbunds with exact dress satin a-la choosing bridesmaid and groomsmen attire, just make sure you’re all going to the same party. 

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3) When in doubt, go more formal. Most of the time, formal clothing in portraits lends a classic feel and a sense of importance. I’ve never had anyone regret dressing up a little more for their portraits, but I have heard regrets about going too casual. The only possible exception to this is when couples wear super impractical shoes for their rustic outdoor photos. If your photo spot requires a hike, a field of snow, dodging mud puddles, or soft golf course grass, heels can make for a miserable time AND look out of place. (PS if you love them, bring the heels—just have another option)

4) Think Big Picture: Imagine these portraits on your facebook wall next week AND on your actual wall in 20 years. Is what you’re wearing overly trendy? Don’t worry about your hairstyle and jeans because styles will always change—but are you taking an especially daring and “right now” fashion choice? Looking back, do you feel like it might be the style equivalent of puffy sleeves and teased hair on your favorite aunt’s wedding dress in 1989? It’s fine if it is, I just want you to be prepared. Photos are forever. 

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5) Bring options. If you’ve stood in front of the mirror and agonized and you’re still not sure, I am more than happy to help you narrow it down. Throw a few extra shirts in the car and I’ll help you think through it when I see you and your partner or group in the setting. Scarves, cardigans, extra shoes, and changes of jewelry can all add a pop of color or dress up or dress down an outfit in the moment without even finding a changing room. 

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6) Think about the photos as a whole—are we shooting downtown against colorful murals, in a field on a bright sunny day, against natural red rock formations,  or in the winter in the mountains against a snowy field with evergreens or stick trees?  You don’t want your outfit to clash with the backdrop, but even more importantly, you want to think about whether you should aim to stand out or blend in. In most cases, I vote for stand out! These portraits are about you, the shoot location is about making YOU look good.  I find that Neutrals are good for brightly colored urban mural shoot. Bright colors are good for natural outdoors locations, and that darker, richer colors are amazing on snow—but it’s really up to you. Just imagine yourself in context when making your selection

EXTRA CREDIT: Vary your textures. Pairing a tweed jacket with a silk shirt or a chunky knit scarf with a fitted top is a great way to make your photos look rich and alive. 

PRO TIP: If one person has a strong opinion about their own outfit (Usually the bride or mom) everyone else should follow that person’s lead for colors and style. Usually when coordinating, someone has to compromise—just make sure it’s the right person. 

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Ready to book your portrait session? CLICK HERE to get started. 

Engagement photos are included with ALL my wedding packages

Family, Maternity, and Headshots check out here: www.libbyneder.com

Shooting in Colorado is ALWAYS a great idea, and I am available in the Denver area most weeks. Looking for a shoot where you live? 

I’ll be in Houston, Austin, Boston, Seattle, and Tulsa this summer. Get in touch!

—Libby

Ali & Asaf | Wedding | Crooked Willow Farms, Larkspur, CO

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I love weddings because I love being married. That's why my favorite weddings aren't so much set apart by their flowers, food, and finery, but rather by the kindness and delight the couple shows one another. When a couple can be both gorgeous and gregarious, stylish and sweet, lovely to look at and lovely to each other--those are the days I feel the most fortunate in my job.  Ali and Asaf were just such a couple. The photos here capture their style, sophistication, and well executed good taste. What you don't see is the way they talked about each other glowing with enthusiasm, and how their families simply did not have enough time to cram in all the good things they wanted to say during their toasts. This kind of love and luck in life is rare and I'm grateful and humbled to have been their photographer. 

                                                                                                  --Libby 

Dream Team: Planner: The Incredible Sarah at Ever so Chic Events | Photographers: Myself and my partner in all things Will Neder | Venue: Crooked Willow Farms | Catering: Epicurean | Officiant: Uncle Fabian | Reception Music: DJ Connection |