For all you guys who have followed along, you may know how important this trip was to me. I’ve been waiting 16 years to do a fossil dig. Ever since I read about one in Idaho in the in-flight magazine. I’ve been waiting until my kids hit that perfect age of being able to listen, but still having a love for digging and dinosaurs. We finally hit that stage!
As a reward to myself for working hard over the summer and reaching all my goals, I took the family out to Fossil, Oregon for a real fossil dig. It was a fairly short trip and ended up being absolutely perfect.
It started with a long 2.5 hours drive to Fossil, Oregon. When we got to Fossil we headed straight to the visitors center where we took photos with fossils, dinosaurs and got some amazing tips on how to find our own fossils.
We hopped back in the car to our dig site full of excitement! We finally make it to this place that we’ve been planning on going to for years and it’s super sketchy. If you’ve ever been out to Fossil you know that you park at the tiny high school and dig next to the football field – super weird. But that didn’t stop us from having a blast.
After collecting our tools we went in search for the perfect dig area. We spent 2 hours digging up old rocks and breaking them open to find our special fossils inside. It was very special and so much fun! My boys ended up getting tired before I did (I really could have stayed all day). So we went in search of cold lemon-aid in town.
After our lemon-aid break we headed to the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center in John Day. We side tracked a bit and went on random hike to learn more about fossils. Apparently there are a bunch of hikes where you can learn more about the land and they post images and real fossils along the trail. We didn’t get any photos because we had to stop in the middle and hurry back to the bathroom for our little Noah. The museum was fun though!
Our last stop was the painted hills. We’ve seen them before, but how could we not stop there again? My cell phone did a pretty good job this trip to capture our fun! The drive home was filled with old school 80’s and 90’s pop to bug our kids. All in all, an awesome trip that I recommend to anyone!
Elopements are so much fun, filled with joy and just the perfect intimate amount of friends and family!
Chelsea and Scott met when Chelsea joined her mom at a work holiday party. Scott, who normally does not attend work events, happened to attend this one. It must have been fate for the two of them to meet.
They took their relationship slow and steady, taking time to get to know each other and each others family’s. When they started talking about future plans together, they couldn’t see planning life without the other one. One sunny, snowy day on a hike at their family cabin, Scott proposed.
Chelsea dreamed of a wedding that was simple, easy and small. That’s exactly what she created for her big day. Their family had already planned a ski trip in Bend so she thought it would be a great place to get married and a great date to do it with only close family around.
The day of the wedding was a warm winter Bend day. They could not have asked for better weather in February. With the family gathered around, we just had to wait for the judge. There is always 1 thing that goes wrong at a wedding, even in an elopement. This was it. The judge forgot.
It ended up being totally fine, though. Scott’s sister in-law called the judge up and he raced down the road on his bike. He was great and made everyone laugh, but most importantly was there to officiate the wedding.
“Marriage means forever and a united front for future kids” – Chelsea
Chelsea and Scott,
Thank you for letting me be part of your day! You guys are so kind and fun to be around. I hope you have the best marriage ever. I can’t wait to see your future kids!
Chelsea’s gorgeous red wedding dress was found at Lulus.
I’ve never seen a bride pin the boutonniere on the groom before. So modern!
Chelsea had a family member create this gorgeous pin for her hair.
Could you tell what formal book the judge used during the ceremony? It’s the Hitchhiker’s Guide! 42!
I come from a sign making family. My grandfather started a sign business, hand painting wood signs, over 50 years ago. My dad took it over before I was born and still runs it (he’s really hoping me and my sister will take it over). Because of growing up at his sign shop, I do weird things like touch signs to see what they are made of. I also have a huge appreciation for weddings signs.
I love how creative they can be in order to not only fit the theme of the wedding, but also give a sense of who the couple is. Signs can be used throughout the entire wedding to showcase so many different aspects of the day.
A few of my favorites are the introduction sign as guests enter the ceremony space. I also love when kids carry signs down the aisle (as my son, Noah, will be doing for my sister’s wedding soon). That being said, I’ve seen signs used in so many different ways throughout my years as a wedding photographer. There are 10 main categories of signs that I will walk you through. I hope this gives you some inspiration on how to use signs during your wedding day!
Like I mentioned, these are my all time favorites. More attention is poured into these signs than any other because they are the signs that set the mood for your guests as soon as they arrive. When guests arrive at your wedding, the entrance sign assures them they have landed at the right wedding and tells them if it’s a rustic affair, a fun and casual wedding, an elegant evening or something else entirely. Think of these signs as an extension of your wedding invitation.
Wedding entrance signs come in all different shapes and sizes. The most common wedding entrance sign I’ve seen is the wood sign with hand painted custom lettering. Maybe I love them the most because they remind me of my grandfather. Most often, they are adorned with plants.
Lindsey and Tyler chose to print a poster sign and attached it to wood. This allowed them to add graphics and make sure that the fonts matched their invitation, programs and was carried through the entire wedding.
Rather than hand painting this sign, Megan and Joshua chose to apply vinyl lettering. With the small text I think this was an excellent choice.
The “Choose a Seat Not a Side” sign as become increasingly more popular. Here are 4 creative ways that some of my recent brides have used this type of sign. It’s great when either the bride or groom have more people, if your seating is uneven (more seats on one side of the aisle) or if you just want to keep things casual.
These signs tend to be carried by the cutest of the men at the wedding. It gives the non ring-bearer boy something to carry and a way to be part of the wedding without being a flower boy (although we did suggest this to Noah). Seriously cute stuff happening with these signs!
Here are 3 examples of the Here Comes The Bride sign that I love!
Wedding informational signs are necessary for your guests to feel comfortable and to know what is happening throughout your day. They are used throughout the wedding day to guide your guests seamlessly through spaces and events.
Here a few ways you can use signs to provide information without taking away from your day.
Take One Signs
If you want your guests to do something, like take a blanket if they are cold, take a fan if they are warm or take a thing of bubbles to blow at you as you head back up the aisle after the ceremony, then a simple wedding sign can help make that happen.
Gift and Card Table Signs
These help your guests know where they should leave the gifts.
This wedding program sign told the guests what to expect for the wedding as soon as they arrived.
Guestbook Sign In Sign
Reserved Signs at Tables
If you have open seating these will allow for family members to join the reception after family photos without missing out on the best seats.
Another one I think is worth mentioning is the explantation sign for a totally unique and super meaningful thing you are doing at your wedding. Katie and Tony added this candle sign to explain to their guests why the candle is burning. So sweet!
I can’t move on until I’ve mentioned the game signs. Wedding game signs customize your day and let guests know that you want them to play the game. I can’t help but love the custom wedding corn hole sets!
Lastly in the wedding informational sign section, we have the directional signs. I’ve seen so many variations of these signs, including the last minute cardboard sign taped to a pole for a fancy wedding. Whoops! I think they realized on the wedding day their guests needed more guidance to the location.
My best advice for the directional signs is to drive or walk into the each location (ceremony, reception, and anything else that applies). As you go, think about where the guests could get confused or where you want to make sure they know they are in the right spot. It can be as simple as this wood sign saying “WEDDING” with an arrow. These small signs tell guests where to go and that they have arrived at the right spot.
Next, I would walk through your day like the guests will and add signs telling them where to go. This will take away any confusion for your guests and allow to them relax and have fun.
Most brides know about the Mr. & Mrs. seating signs. The hang off the chairs or tables for the bride and groom. Here are a few examples to give you some creative ideas on how to customize these signs for your wedding.
Of all the categories, this one will have the most variety and creativity. These are just a few of the signs I’ve seen at wedding receptions. I always favor the signs that truly represent who the couple is. I’ve added in a few of my all time favs here.
Kaylin and Robby come from a dentist background and loved clean teeth. With a BBQ wedding, they figured their guests could use some dental floss after the meal.
Bride and Groom initials are easy to place around the event space to customize the wedding.
This sign was made our of 3 bicycles representing the unity of dad, daughter and new mom. It was a bicycle themed wedding and perfectly customized the space for them.
I’ll admit that I didn’t think of doing a menu sign for my wedding. I’m not sure this ever would have crossed my mind. However, I did just create one for my sisters upcoming bridal shower to tell people where the alcohol is 🙂
Here a few classic and rustic menu signs to show you how you can creatively use menu signs on your wedding day.
The cake topper sign had been around for awhile now. It’s an easy cake topper that adds a little height to your cake and something more then flowers. These tend to add a modern touch to a rustic day and a classic look to a modern day, depending on the lettering used. Here a few examples to give inspiration.
The custom wedding sign that will be hung in the home after the wedding is a really unique item that will last a lifetime. I didn’t think of doing this, although my dad has gifted us a few JORDAN signs since our wedding day. The Millers actually had 2 custom signs at their wedding.
Another custom wedding sign is one that your guests can create for you. I’ve seen the custom signature sign at a few weddings. It’s a great rustic way to add some love into your home with messages from your guests.
Lastly is the Thank You Sign. At the end of the day this a great sign to have and to hold for a photo. It makes a great image to print on custom wedding thank you cards for your guests.
I absolutely love these old wood cabinet doors that Morgan and Ethan are holding. It adds an extra rustic touch to their cowboy wedding.
I hope these sign ideas help you get creative and come up with ideas that work for your wedding! I’d love to know what your favorite sign idea is. Leave me a note in the comments.
I just love our new gift cards! They are so perfect for Mother’s Day, Birthdays and Christmas gifts. Gift Cards don’t expire either. Check out the special touch I added for Christmas Gifts this year…
Contact me to purchase your gift card gift!
Meet the AdvenChair.
What an amazing wheelchair for off-roading adventures! There is no reason to be held back anymore! No longer do people need to miss out on adventures in this beautiful area we live in. This chair is the solution. It’s easy to use and opens up new opportunities like never before.
I got see first hand how this chair works during a family photography session. We took it off roading for photos. We couldn’t have gone to these beautiful places without it!
You can read the fully story behind the AdvenChair here: https://www.advenchair.com/
What a fun family! When your whole family comes to visit and you know it won’t happen again for a long time, that is when you book a photo session. Callie knew that when her niece and nephew came to town that she just had to get adorable photos with the little ones (and of course her parents, brother and sister in law), but we all know the kids steal the show 🙂
These kiddos are so cute! I wish they lived closer so I could photograph those beautiful little faces every year.
Callie and her brother grew up in Bend and even ran into some friends from high school in the middle of our shoot. They are really a great family. With Callie’s dad getting more unable to move around, these family photos are more valuable than ever before. What was so great was that Callie was able to borrow an amazing off-road wheel chair for the session to get dad around. Click here to learn more about the AdvenChair.
If you haven’t been out to Dillon Falls in Bend, Oregon, I’d highly suggest heading out and checking out the trail along the river. It goes right by the falls. My favorite spot for photos is the field. It’s only accessibly for part of the year, and you can’t go too far into it, but it sure is pretty!
We had perfect fall weather for this Dillon Falls family photography session. I love the fall colors they chose for their session too! It screams fall, and yet still can work all year long when they hang these photos in their homes.
Moms always ask, what if my kid cries the whole time? I do have a ton of tips I give to families on how to prepare your kiddo for a session so this doesn’t happen. It includes keeping your schedule the same as always and making sure they get a lot of rest. So, when you drive into town at midnight the night before your session and truly have no control over emotions of your kids, what do we do at the shoot? We shoot anyway. We play, we bribe (yes, bring the candy), we say yes, we make them happy and we shoot a little longer if we need to.
Sweet little Barrett had a rough go at this session, but he totally rallied at the end. Even throughout the session you can’t totally tell that he was crying. The rest of the family helped with him and kept the atmosphere joyful, which can be the key to success. I’m so happy with their family photos and extra glad that Barrett loves M&Ms 🙂
To the Pfister Family,
Thank you for trusting me to take these amazing family photos of your crew. I hope you love them as much as I do! I know you will cherish these for years to come.
When Jenny contacted me, she said she was looking for a simple family session with a lot of candids. She did’t want to to go too far from home with little ones, but was hoping for something beautiful. As soon as she mentioned that they live in Tumalo, I knew the perfect spot for their family session!
The Tumalo Reservoir is an amazing spot to hang out at. My kids love to ride their bikes through the dirt and just take in the beautiful sites. They even came with me and went riding with Josh during the photo session.
In fall, the beach hides as the water drains away. Rather than diminishing the environment, it simply changes to something stunning in a different way. We were able to walk down into the reservoir for big meadow photos.
We started their photos on the beach under the huge Juniper tree. I love how the light filters through the tree branches to give just a kiss of sun to the Bottorff family. After that, we ventured out into the big meadow, and then back into the trails for the more traditional Central Oregon landscape. One of my favorite things about full family sessions is the number of different backgrounds we can play in to make sure we have a ton of variety in the photos. We only photographed for 45 minutes and still got all these fun shots and more!
I also love having special moments with each parent and each child. At this young age, the bond between parent and child is so strong and a just love documenting that sweet silliness!
These kiddos loved being outside and being able to explore. we could barely keep them still! It was so much fun to capture their pure joy.
To the Bottorff family,
I just love your photos! I hope these precious memories always remind you of this time in your life. Kids grow up so fast. I hope you always enjoy these photos! Thank you for letting me capture these special images for your family. I can’t wait to photograph your family again in the years to come!
The Waters’s family connected with me for a family mini session at the field near by. I’m so glad they were referred by neighbors and friends because they were truly a delight to work with! They hadn’t had family photos taken in over 3 years, so it was the perfect time to capture new memories for their crew. We wandered around the field, got chased down by a cat, and relaxed and had fun. I just love these family photos and I know they are going to look amazing in their home!
To the Waters Family,
Thank you so much for letting me capture these memories for you! You guys feel like family and I had so much fun with you guys. I hope you can cherish these special moments for a life time! Thank you!
Are these girls not just the cutest? I seriously can’t handle how adorable these girls are! I’m so happy we made this shoot happen. It was almost scrapped due to unforeseen events but mom, Karla, rallied last minute and came with 15 minutes of sunlight left in the day. We totally made it happen and captured an awesome session of these sweet kiddos and mom!
I just love their white outfits with the white winter Aspen trees at Shevlin Park in Bend, Oregon. Karla asked for a white look and that’s what we created for her! It almost has a spring vibe with the darling strawberry dusted summer dresses.
I’m so glad you made it out the park for this darling mini session! I think it was totally worth it and I know you are going to love these photos for many years. Thanks for letting me capture these memories for you!
Alycia loves being outside with her family so when it came to their family photos she asked if they could be outside near water. Water is always tough in the fall because the river’s stop rushing and most roads to the lakes are closed. Even the stream at Shevlin Park can be hard to photograph at when it isn’t surrounded by greenery. Luckily I knew of this tiny little beach at Shevlin Park that I knew would be perfect for those fall water photos. (Don’t worry, in their final prints the road bridge will be edited out). I think this was the perfect setting for these first few photos.
Their two little girls have big personalities which I think is always fun! Not only do I want to show off those personalities, but I also have to find a way to calm them down for the family portraits that mom wants. Alycia and Andy let me deal with the girls for the majority of the time and did a great job smiling through the chaos.
The real challenge came when it was time for sibling photos. Every mom wants a photo of the kiddos together so I was determined to get it. Unfortunately their littlest was determined to explore and not sit with her big sis. In the 2 minutes we able to get her to sit, we captured some fun photos of them.
Shevlin Park is always a favorite place for photographers. Right across from the beach is a grove of Aspen trees, a trail to the pond and a small fishing pond surrounded by beauty. Yes, we did take advantage of all the sweet little spots for photos.
Normally I only shoot for 45 minutes with little ones, but because of all the fun locations at Shelvin Park, we kept on shooting for the full hour. I’m so impressed that the girls kept on smiling. We only had one short break down the whole shoot. Good job ladies! (and mom and dad)
To the Herriott Family,
You guys are always a joy to photograph. I love these photos of your family and the joy that capture. I hope you guys will be able to look back at these photos for years to come and hold on to this precious time. Thank you for letting me capture these for you!
These kids are so much fun to be around! They are filled with energy and get along so well! Twins can be a lot and you can see these two have big personalities. It was so much fun to play in the cold fall air and capture these memories for their holiday cards.
Thanks for playing Lilly and Tommy! I always love hanging with you guys and your family!
I had so much fun getting to know the Cramer family at Shelvin Park in Bend, Oregon as we walked around, enjoying the fall weather. The park went so well with their outfits! I absolutely love these photos and this family. Their awesome outfits are filled with the same neutral and earthy tones along with a little fall inspiration. Each outfit has a little bit of blue, siena and forest green, allowing them to seamlessly blend together no matter how they are posed. I love the grandma got to join in the fun too!
The Cramer family just moved up from Southern California and were so excited to take part in our fall mini session event this year! I captured a ton of beautiful images of their family to use as new address announcements/holiday cards. I know these images are going to look amazing on their walls and on their holiday cards.
To the Cramer Family,
I can’t wait to capture more stunning images of your family so I can get to know you more and create stunning wall art for you to enjoy for years! Thank you so much for letting me capture these memories for you. You guys are the best!