Photographer: Events, Weddings, Portraits – Austin, Texas

Archive for June, 2011

Bests Months of the Year to Plan a Texas Wedding

Planning a wedding in Texas but not sure when to have the wedding? You’re not alone. Thousands of weddings are held in Austin, Texas alone each year and you are wise to be contemplating what month you should reserve for your wedding.

Unfortunately, the answer to the question of when is a little more complicated than might first be anticipated. First let’s talk about the weather and then we can touch on some other potential issues that may affect what month you host your dream wedding.

As a wedding photojournalist, I’ve covered dozens of weddings in Austin in every month of the year. I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly (weather). I’m here to tell you that in many cases, good planning on the part of the bride and groom can alleviate some problems and lead to a happier, more comfortable wedding.

Generally speaking, the weather in Austin can be relatively mild during many parts of the year. Austin doesn’t generally experience terrible snow storms or prolonged frozen periods like you might find in the Northeastern U.S.; and Austin doesn’t normally get as much rain as many parts of the U.S. either, which can eliminate some obstacles.

bride and groom at Zilker Botanical

On the flipside, however, we have an abundance of sunshine. And Austin temperatures in the Summer time can be downright miserable. In 2009, just 2 years ago, Austin posted 68 days of 100+ degree temperatures – almost 2 ½ months of scorching temperatures! The lesson: avoid peak summer weddings (July & August).

So what months do I recommend for weddings in Austin, Texas? In general I recommend spring and fall months, which normally are the mildest, most beautiful times of year for fair temperature and nice foliage. There are always exceptions, but I think the best times in Austin for weddings are:

Late March

April

May

Late September

October

November

No offense to anyone who plans a summer wedding, but I’ve never understood why summers are so popular for weddings in Texas. I personally love summer, as long as it involves swimming, shorts/flip-flops and something cold to drink. But imagine standing in direct sunlight wearing a full wedding gown or black suit, outdoors, reading your vows to your fiancé’. It can be miserable, and it kind of takes away from a moment that should be meaningful, not miserable.

Other considerations

Keep in mind that venues book events like weddings pretty far in advance, and the desired dates go fast, so it’s in your best interest to book early – otherwise you may end up with a date that you didn’t really want.

I’ve rarely photographed weddings that were interrupted by rain. Central Texas is pretty dry during most of the year, but you should always be prepared. Check with the venue to make sure there is a “bad weather” plan in place.

Depending upon location and time of year, wind can be a minor concern as well. Summer time in Texas tends to be when wind is of the least concern. Other times during the year, especially late fall, winter & early spring, it can be a little windy (in some places). For example, I photographed a wedding at Chapel Dulcinea, a small chapel sitting atop a hill in the hill country, where although late winter temperatures were mild, wind made things feel much, much colder. Be sure to visit your venue around the time of year you’ll be having your event. Good luck!

Austin Weather information provided by KVUE

Austin Weather information provided by KVUE and Austin American Statesman

 


South Congress Photos

black and white engagement austinsouth congress mural photoIn June Austin Americana had the pleasure of photographing one of our engaged austin couples south of Downtown Austin, on South Congress Avenue. Monica and Abel are a couple with a sense of style who asked me to make recommendations where there photographs should be. After some discussion with them we agreed the South Congress area would be a great place to tell their photographic story, and I think you’ll agree.

South Congress has much to offer and is rich with the always-evolving Austin culture. This legendary Austin Street, once known more for shabby housing and prostitution, is now the place to be if you want to get a glimpse of anyone famous that is visiting Austin. South Congress is leading the charge with great food, including Guero’s Restaurant, Amy’s Ice Cream, Jo’s Coffee, Home Slice Pizza, as well as the new food trailer trend which is well represented. There are hot spots like the Continental Club and Ego’s for after hours, and the list goes on.

But the art and music scene are alive and well in the SoCo area (short for South Congress) as well. Many buildings feature murals and yard art is abundant in the area. Regular festivals and outings (such as “1st Thursday”) feature Austin musicians playing live music up and down the avenue.

For Monica and Abel’s engagement session, our job was to capture some of the South Congress energy that is so abundant, and I think we did. But I’ll let you be the judge…

san jose hotel south congress

kissing couple austin, txcouple photo mural south congress


Fun Friday Fotos!

I’ve finally decided that black and white is my favorite photography. And what’s great these days is that you don’t have to limit yourself (as a photographer) to just shooting with black and white film. Photographing with a digital camera allows one to shoot in color and then make copies of the image in black and white, sepia tone, and so many other filters that the options are infinite. I love photographing my family in black and white because to me it lends an editorial element to the photos and makes them seem a little more “timeless”. The reality is that I can describe why I like black and white or why I like peach pie or chocolate ice cream, but in reality, I just know that I like it!

This shot was of my son Roman playing with his cat, Apollo, who is always up for an adventure and who is always a good sport, even when Roman is too rough with him. Enjoy!

Apollo and Roman


Mount Bonnell Photography

I’ve photographed a number of couples for their engagement at the highest natural point near Austin: Mount Bonnell. And I wanted to share some of those photos. If you’ve never heard of Mount Bonnell then you’re missing out one of the historic wonders of Austin, right up there with legendary places like Zilker Botanical Garden and Barton Springs.

Mt. Bonnell is located west of Austin, in the Hill Country, west of Mopac (1) near Camp Mabry (Austin’s own small military installation). Mount Bonnell is known for its scenic views overlooking the Colorado River. From Mount Bonnell one can look west and see all the way to the famous 360 Bridge, which crosses the Colorado River upstream and then as the river flows downstream all the way into downtown Austin – hands down one of the best scenic views of the Colorado River in Austin.

Like many other Austin landmarks, people have been coming to Mt Bonnell for a long time to enjoy the outdoors for picnics and leisure time. In fact, once you reach the summit after climbing the stairs on the east side of the facing you’ll find a large stone marker that commemorates the Austin landmark’s history (the corner of which is curiously missing). At this point you can go left or right. To the left is a short trail which follows the apex of the hill. To the right opens a wider, flatter trail along the same apex, offering lots of viewing spots of the spectacular hill country/river view.

Silhouette Couple Kissing

The area is lined with Juniper (Cedar) Trees and scrub brush. Below the tree line on just about all sides are large lots lined with expensive, luxury homes along the Colorado River and along both sides of Mount Bonnell. Enjoy the “free” view of things; many other home owners in the area pay millions of dollars for theirs!

Things you’ll need to bring if you visit Mount Bonnell:

- Water
- Bug/Mosquito repellant
- Sun block
-Comfortable walking shoes (there are lots of stairs to climb to get to the top)
- Patience. If the park is busy, you may have to wait for that perfect shot! :)

Hints/Tips: Mt. Bonnell is somewhat busy on weekends and some week days during the summer. Pick a time when people are less likely to interfere with your photographs, like a weekday morning.

Some other wonderful places for photography in the area include AMOA’s Laguna Gloria and Mayfield Park, both of which are just a stone’s throw away from Mount Bonnell.

couple photo mount bonnell
…………………

mount bonnell engagement
Martin Whitton is a professional wedding photojournalist who lives and works in Austin, Texas. Schedule your own personal photo session at AustinAmericana@Gmail.com.


Laguna Gloria Photographer

Just before the 2011 heat wave arrived this year but still long after the rain had stopped here in Central Texas I photographed another blushing bride at one of my favorite photography locations in Austin: Laguna Gloria. Jesefa, the bride that I would be photographing on this beautiful day at Laguna Gloria, was soon to be married at the Long Center in Austin, and wanted me to capture her in all her glory and beauty as she dawned her mermaid gown. I always tell people that it’s hard to take a bad photo at Laguna Gloria, and here’s another example that I believe supports my claim.

Laguna Gloria, a part of the Austin Museum of Art educational center, is located near Mount Bonnell in West Austin off of Mopac and 35th Street. The AMOA Laguna Gloria web page states that the grounds include a 1920s style flat located on 12 acres of park land with approximately 1 mile of water frontage on the Colorado River. It’s a beautiful place, inside and out including statues, lots of plant life and a feeling of calm just around the corner from the bustling downtown Austin.

More About Laguna Gloria…

“I have placed in what I consider a proper setting a number of really beautiful and graceful statues, which I was fortunate to obtain from one of the finest gardens of Old Italy, this to give an Old World touch to an incomparably beautiful Texas landscape and contribute a little dignity and formality to the riotous caprices of this violet crowned vale. ” – Clara Driscoll

As the Austin Museum of Art’s original home, AMOA-Laguna Gloria Offers a unique experience of history, art and nature. This beloved site has been declared a national treasure and is on city, state and national registries of historic places. Visitors are encourage to tour the restored Driscoll Villa, stroll the lush 12-acre grounds overlooking Lake Austin and view the outdoor sculpture.

Inspired by Clara Driscoll’s Italian travels, her passion for gardening, her love of antiquity and her native state, the grounds of Laguna Gloria have been revived to Driscoll’s landscape plan of 1916. The interest in aesthetics over function in the garden is in keeping with an 18th century notion that landscape gardens be appreciated as three-dimensional, living works of art. In the early 20th century, it was fashionable to organize gardens around a particular concept with poetic references to antiquity meant to stir the intellect and emotions. In this tradition, Driscoll filled her garden with classical references to the passage of time – including the Garden of the Four Seasons, the Sundial Garden, and the Wishing Well, as well as the bas-relief Aurora, which originally hung over the exterior of the Villa above the east doorway.

Driscoll also transformed the site from its rough natural landscape to a carefully designed garden laid out in two distinct manners – the “beautiful” and the “picturesque.”

Read and see other bridal photos that Austin Americana photographed at Laguna Gloria here!

Information on booking and tours:

512.495.9224 X313

email: tours@amoa.org

Public tours occur each Saturday and Sunday at 1pm

Austin Museum of Art – Laguna Gloria

3809 West 35th Street

Austin, TX


Organic Vegetables at Bastrop Gardens (Fun Friday Fotos)

I’m doing the “fun friday fotos” a little early this week so I can get the Father’s day weekend kicked off early. Did you know that in many of the rural areas just outside Austin, Texas there are organic farmers who offer their produce to the public? If you are tired of eating tasteless fruits and vegetables from the supermarket, then it’s time that you took a trip out of town to visit one of Central Texas’ local organic farms. There are many to choose from and I’ve written about Star Farmers Market in Rockdale, as well as Sweet Berry Farms in Marble Falls. But last weekend my wife, my son and I packed into the car and headed east of Austin to Bastrop Gardens, which is much closer than the other two farms I mentioned, and a little different too! Bastrop Gardens is what would happen if organic farmers opened their farm to visitors and sold fruit, vegetables and gardening supplies. They sell live plants, compost by the cubic yard, compost tea, pick-your-own-veggies and much more. My wife made friends with the owners daughter who was full of great gardening solutions, while I chased my son around the gardens.

fresh organic produce texasbastrop gardens sign


Coming Soon: Long Center Wedding

This weekend was Austin Americana’s first time to photograph a wedding at Austin’s newly opened Long Center for the Performing Arts. This world-class event center is host to myriad events, located just south of downtown Austin, next to Palmer Event Center, across from Auditorium Shores. With what is arguably one of the best, unobscured views of downtown Austin and Lady Bird Lake, The Long Center makes a great place for any event, especially weddings. Photographing Jesefa and Jeff’s monumental wedding at the Long Center was an exciting event for Austin Americana Photography and we’ll post more wedding photos and information about the Long Center in an upcoming blog…

Downtown Austin Skyline

View of Downtown Austin from the Long Center


We Have 3 Winners for our Austin Wedding Package Giveaway!

We Have a Winner for our Wedding Package Giveaway!

I’m happy to announce our 3 winners to our “Zen Bride” Giveaway! Our 3 winners are:

Caroline Witte

Trinity Moreno

Sandy Matas

Our 3 lucky brides will be receiving a “Zen Bride” package (includes a book on reducing stress and lavender products like bath salts/candle, etc.)

Check back in the Fall of 2011 for a new wedding giveaway.

 


Short Notice Photographer

Latest Wedding Photos Update:

Later this week I’m going to be posting some beautiful photos of one of the last weddings that I photographed near Dripping Springs, Texas, at a place called Driftwood Winery. More and more wineries and vineyards are springing up every day in Central Texas, and Driftwood Winery is a special place that worth visiting for the Texas wine conesieur and traveler alike. More about that later…

What’s happening now:

Have you ever needed a service on short notice? Frequently we need services on short notice, such as a plumber or auto repair. And in a high demand world where there is more and more demand for services to be done quickly, Austin Americana Photography is stepping forward and offering photography service that is ready on short notice!

Wedding photographers have to be ready on short notice anyway and are required to be mobile in nature. After all, weddings happen quickly and are unfolding at a rapid pace – which can be a challenge for any wedding photographer. But after photographing dozens of weddings, I can tell you that the challenge of photographing a wedding eventually just becomes a standard part of the job – which is handled with good planning, foresight and experience.

wedding flower bouquet

But what if you need a photographer today or tomorrow, on short notice? Most photographers would probably say no, that is, if they answer their phone. In fact, many businesses in general expect to be allowed a certain amount of time between jobs to prepare or gather resources. But as a wedding photographer, I can tell you that Austin Americana Photography, much like emergency service providers, usually has equipment at the ready if we’re called to a job on short notice.

So when a bride who lived outside of Austin called us recently requesting a next day bridal photography session, my answer was of course, “Yes we can provide quick photographic service.” We also provide accelerated turnaround time for editing and printing if requested. And this kind of positive, good customer service has gotten Austin Americana lots of happy clients and more return business. And we’re really happy about making our clients satisfied, return customers. Now if we could just get a few of them to go to Yelp and leave us a review…. :)

 


Infrared Boy (Fun Friday Foto)!

I was playing around with some photos I took while on an excursion to a berry farm and turned this photo of my son Roman into an infrared-looking image, something that was possible in the old days using infrared film for film cameras. Now we just use photo editing software to apply the effect to a digital image, and voila!  I think it looks pretty cool! But perhaps that is because I like black and white images so much. Go figure…

infrared image boy

The Infrared effect makes the photo look sort of post-apocalyptic!

 


Do It Yourself Wedding Guestbook

If you’re getting married soon or you just got married one of the things you may have considered is a wedding album. Traditionally, wedding albums were expensive, time-consuming and typically left to the photographer. But things have changed…

Today, brides have lots of options and an abundance of quality when it comes to albums. You can 100% control of the design and final outcome of your album. Want it to look like a magazine or high-quality coffee table style display book? No problem. Want a traditional leather-bound album? The options are infinite!

Austin Engagement Album

Engagement Guestbook Created by Bride & Groom

One other nice option that’s available to brides is what Austin Americana calls the engagement guestbook, which is much like the one depicted here.  It’s a book that we can design and print for you with custom images from your engagement session, or you have the option to do it yourself and tell your own story, much like the newlyweds did here at a recent wedding I photographed.

Have questions about what you can do and how much? Email us at AustinAmericana@Gmail.com – It very affordable and requires little effort on your part, and makes a beautiful addition to your wedding day!


Austin Events Calendar June 2011

Michael Bublé Brings “Crazy Love Tour” to the Frank Erwin Center - Jun 1, 2011

Grammy® Award-winner Michael Bublé is coming to the Frank Erwin Center for one night only on June 1!

Umlauf Retrospective Jun 1, 2011 – Jun 30, 2011

Starting June 1, 2011, Russell Collection Fine Art Gallery will showcase Charles Umlauf: A Retrospective.

 

Austin Cool House Tour

When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., June 5  Where: Various venues

What: On the 15th such tour hosted by the Texas Solar Energy Society and Austin Energy Green Building, you can check out 16 local homes that use energy-efficient and environmentally sound construction and design. The projects include a mix of renovation and new construction. Tickets $15 at the homes the day of the tour or at both Austin Central Market stores (though Central Market will add a $2 handling charge).

 

Republic of Texas Biker Rally

When: June 9-12 Where: Travis County Expo Center, 7311 Decker Lane

What: When the second Thursday in June rolls around, bikers roll into Austin for the biggest motorcycle rally in Texas. Organizers estimate that the 2011 rally will draw 50,000 participants and thousands of spectators to downtown Austin for the Friday night parade of motorcycles, recognized as the longest such parade by the Guinness Book of World Records.

Zilker Pops Concerts

When: 8 p.m., June 10-11 Where: Zilker Hillside Theater, 2201 Barton Springs Road

What: Don’t forget to bring a picnic to the Austin Civic Orchestra’s free and family-friendly concert series in the park. The program will include arrangements from Broadway musicals such as “Cats” and “Chicago,” and in honor of the 175th anniversary of Texas independence, the orchestra will perform appropriate music such as “Texas, Our Texas” and the William Tell overture.

Moonlight Margarita Run and Gala -When: 8 p.m., June 16

Where: Run starts at the trailhead under the MoPac Boulevard (Loop 1 bridge) on Lady Bird Lake; the party will be held at the American Legion Hall, 2201 Veterans Drive What: The seventh annual race to benefit the Trail Foundation, sponsored by Maudie’s Tex-Mex, travels along Lady Bird Lake and ends with a gala that includes dinner, margaritas and live music. Race registration and party admission $30-110.

Juneteenth

When: 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., June 18 Where: Various venues What: The Central Texas Juneteeth Celebration, which commemorates the day that Texas slaves learned they’d been freed after the Civil War, includes a 2K Freedom Run/Walk, a parade, a celebration in Rosewood Park and historical program. In addition, the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center (1165 Angelina St.) will host its Juneteenth program at noon.

Hyde Park Homes Tour 2011

Keep Austin Weird Fest and 5K

When: Festival begins at 2 p.m.; 5K starts at 7 p.m., June 25 Where: Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive What: At the festival celebrating Austin’s quirky spirit, you’ll find live music, family activities, local artisans, vendors and plenty of people running the 5K in wacky costumes. Festival tickets $12-15. 5K registration fees $35-55 for adults and $12-15 for children under 12. Proceeds benefit the Austin Parks Foundation.

Ballet Under the Stars
June 3-4, 2011
Zilker Hillside Theater – Zilker Park

Black Arts Movement Austin (BAM)
June 3-18, 2011
Multiple Venues

Blues on the Green
June 8 – August 17, 2011
(Every Other Wednesday)
Zilker Park

Bridal Extravaganza Austin
WINTER: January 15-16, 2011
SUMMER: June 12, 2011
Palmer Events Center
Juneteenth Celebration Austin
June 18, 2011
Rosewood Park

Keep Austin Weird 5K and Festival
June 25, 2011
Long Center

Kerrville Folk Festival
May 26 – June 12, 2011
Kerville, Texas

Luling Watermelon Thump
June 23-26, 2011
Downtown Luling, Texas

Texas Swing
(Project Transitions Fundraiser)
June 3, 2011
Scholz Garten

Unplugged at the Grove
Thursday Nights
April 14 – September 15, 2011
Shady Grove Restaurant

Urban Assault Ride – Austin
June 26, 2011
Fiesta Gardens and Multiple Austin Locations


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