One of Austin Americana’s latest engagement photo sessions took place at a non-profit educational farm center in Manor, Texas called The Crowe’s Nest Farm. Although I didn’t get an opportunity to experience things first hand (since I was photographing), I can see that it is a great place to bring your children to learn about life on the farm and appreciation of animals. They have many animals, including but not limited to goats, sheep, ostrich, owls and many others. There is a huge red barn, a garden and pumpkin patch (which includes many theme gardens), tractors as far as the eye can see and around 100 acres of space. Here’s what the website says:
“Crowe’s Nest Farm Animal Life Center
is a 501(c)3 private, non-profit educational organization dedicated to fostering public appreciation, knowledge, and wise stewardship of both the agricultural and wildlife resources of Texas.
We strive to cultivate a conservation ethic in students, teachers, and the general public through hands-on interaction with the wildlife and habitats found on our 100-acre working farm.
We are licensed by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
We are located in Manor, just a short country drive east of Austin, Texas (see map)
Tours for the fall season of 2011 are filling up fast and are by appointment only so please be sure to call and make a reservation so you get the date and time you prefer.”
I can’t wait to come back and visit with my family. It is a wonderful place and all for a good cause! Check out a few of the great engagement photos from my session with newly engaged Natalie and Bryan!
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!
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!
So What do you do if you are a newly engaged couple who’s soon to be married, you’re out at the Austin Capitol (downtown Austin) having your wedding photographer shoot your engagement photos and someone approaches you and asks you to snap a picture of them? Well this is the funny situation that occurred recently as I photographed a couple’s engagement session downtown at the Capitol. Both I and the couple that I photographed were caught off-guard as the new visitors to the capitol politely asked to have their photo taken. But to the credit of my engaged clients, they handled it with a laugh and lots of style, obliging the photo op request, even as it interfered with the romantic moments that I was attempting to capture of the two love birds together on the capitol grounds.
After shooting weddings and other events for a number of years, I’ve learned that as a photographer you never stop shooting, even if it seems like things have gone off track or things that are not planned are happening; And this event was no exception. I snapped the photo below of the groom-to-be snapping the photo as his fiance’ looks on. We were positioned at the south entrance to the Texas Capitol. And I have to admit that these unplanned interruptions sometimes make things more spontaneous and exciting!
We frequently field phone calls and emails (especially toward the end of the year during engagement season) about engagement photography sessions for the Austin area. The primary and simple response that I give new couples is “yes, we can definitely photograph your engagement session and have a beautiful engagement print (framed or not) ready for your wedding day!”
Here are some frequently asked questions that Austin couples have asked about how the photo session works and some suggestions as well…
Q. Do you photograph engaged couples for engagement portraits?
A. Yes! We have lots of experience photographing couples in Austin, Round Rock and surrounding Hill Country for a special photography session including just the 2 of you.
Q. Where will you photograph our engagement session?
A. You can choose wherever you’d like to be photographed, preferably in the Austin, Texas or Central Texas area.
Q. I’m new/unfamiliar with Austin, Texas. Can you suggest some nice locations for our engagement portrait session?
A. Sure! We have a list of about 20 popular photography locations in and around Austin that we share with our clients. We can also give you specific suggestions based on what kind of engagement session you want.
Q. How long does the engagement portrait session last?
A. Our Austin engagement session is 60 minutes long, which normally gives the engaged couple time to relax, get into the moment with their partner (we call it “feeling the love”) and get lots of great poses at the location of their choice.
Q. Does the engagement photo session include a separate CD of images I can keep?
A. Yes. Couples receive a CD of edited, re-touched images (usually ranging from 50-150 full-sized, hi-resolution images).
Q. What all is included with my engagement photo session fee?
A. Our engagement session clients receive 60 minutes of shooting time, a CD of hi-resolution, edited images, free consultation to plan your event, expert shoot location suggestions, and quality personal service from a local Austin small business owner/photographer.
Q. Do you edit the images?
A. Yes, we individually edit all the images from your engagement photo session with Adobe Lightroom 3.0, the industry leader in photo editing. We can also apply artistic filters to your images, remove blemishes from skin, soften features and lots more.
Q. How long does it take to edit the images?
A. Normal editing of images requires 1-2 weeks.
Q. Do you have wedding photography packages that include an engagement session?
A. Yes we do. We have a number of wedding photography packages for Austin brides-to-be that include engagement sessions. In fact, you can also customize any package to include a engagement photo session so that your package is custom fit for your big day.
Q. Do you print the images from the engagement session or is it up to me?
A. It’s up to you. We have the ability to create and ship high quality, professional and stylish prints to your door, if you choose. You also have the option as a bride to print anywhere you desire.
Q. Do you work with an assistant at engagement sessions?
A. Occasionally we bring along an assistant to help out with engagement photo sessions, depending on the circumstances. You may bring along friends and family if you like.
Q. Are there extra fees associated with certain locations for my upcoming engagement session?
A. In many cases there are no other fees, but occasionally there are places that charge couples a “sitting fee” for using their location. Examples of places that charge fees include Zilker Botanical Gardens, The Driskill Hotel, Dunvegan Keep, and others; However, most engagement locations around Austin (particularly outdoor locations) are free. J
Q. Will I have the opportunity to incorporate some of my engagement photos into my regular wedding album?
A. Yes, we can incorporate as many or as few of your engagement session photographs into your wedding album. We can also create a separate album of only engagement photos if needed. We have a wonderful special album which we call the “Engagement Guestbook”. It’s different in that it’s a stylish album full of your engagement photos but it leaves space for your guests to write. The engagement guestbook gives you something special to show off on wedding day! Just ask about our special sale pricing on this item!
Q. Does Austin Americana Photography provide printing and framing service? Will you deliver a print or framed print of my engagement session on wedding day?
A. Yes, we can do all these things. We provide optional printing and framing services for our wedding clientele. We can deliver a framed print of your engagement session on your wedding day if this is what you desire.
Q. What if the weather is bad. Is there a backup plan for my session?
A. Sure. If you don’t want to re-schedule, then we’ll either have you come into our home studio or choose an alternate indoor location.
Q. When should I schedule my engagement photo session with Austin Americana?
A. We ask that you schedule your engagement photo session a minimum of 2-3 weeks prior to your wedding day to allow for image editing, processing, printing, shipping, etc.
A few weeks ago, just before the holidays, I photographed a mini-engagement session for some new friends at Austin’s French Legation. As I mentioned before in my other blog, the French Legation is significant in many ways; in 1839 France recognized The Republic of Texas as an independent nation and entered into an alliance treaty with the new republic. France soon sent a special envoy to Austin, Texas – Jean Pierre Isador Alphonse Dubois de Saligny with the special title of chargé d’affaires. He wasted no time contracting the building of the French Legation to Texas, which still stands in the hills just above downtown, east of IH-35.
The couple selected the location from my “Recommended Austin Locations” list that I share with clients and they loved the place. It has great views of the city, plenty of greenery (and in this case, colorful fall/winter leaves too), as well as the historic houses which have been standing for 100+ years.
As I mentioned before, the French Legation has a friendly, talkative staff, including Franke and Sarah, who are helpful and eager to discuss Austin’s history. They are always eager to share information, discuss history with you and give tours and the designated hours of operation. I highly recommend stopping by for a tour of the French Legation. You can also become a “Friend of the French Legation”. Austin French Legation Website: http://www.frenchlegationmuseum.org/
Through a promotion that Austin Americana ran a few months back on Localiter, I had the privilege of meeting Angelica and Cesar, a cute couple with a great story and a lot of affection for one another. They met while she visited Chile (he is from Chile, she from Texas) and fell in love. Now they both live in Austin and love the South Congress area (SoCo, as it is lovingly referred to by locals).
To them, SoCo represents all that is weird and fun about Austin and it’s a place where they’ve had some special dates together. And what else could a person want? There are resale shops, famous hotels (Hotel San Jose), festivals/First Thursday, pizza (Home Slice), Ice Cream (Amy’s), and so much more. So naturally the couple decided that South Congress should be where they get photographed for their engagement session.
We all met up on a cool, windy December afternoon and strolled down South Congress after meeting up at Guero’s Taco Bar, probably one of the most well known attractions in SoCo. Angelica and Cesar had a few things/spots in mind that they wanted to capture in their engagement photo session. These included Amy’s Ice Cream, Home Slice, The Virgin Mural, and some shots of them crossing the street. I think we were able to capture some great stuff. You be the judge…
There’s a nice little park in Round Rock, just off of IH-35 and 620 called Memorial Park that makes a great location for photos. It has lots of great elements: lots of trees, a small lake, a waterfall, ducks, a wooden/iron pedestrian bridge, big rocks (“the” round rock in the cities name) and more. And it makes a great alternative to driving into Central Austin.
Last week I met a couple at Memorial Park to capture some “newlywed” photos. I call the photos “newlywed” because the couple I photographed have been married for a short time. Normally I photograph lots of couples who are newly engaged and soon to be married, so this was something new. The neat part of this story is Memorial Park, our photo location, is significant to the couple because this is where they originally got engaged!
I met them just before sunset and we were able to capture some beautiful, orange light that can only be experienced before a sunset. The weather this November has been unseasonably warm and I’ve had lots of fantastic weather for outdoor shoots. This was a great one…
This past week I had the pleasure of photographing another wonderful couple at Zilker Botanical Garden: Lindsey and Bryan. As I’ve blogged before, Zilker has to be one of the most popular places for photography of any kind in Austin. Not only is it a huge repository for plant life centered in Travis County (which is why people are drawn to it) but it’s also one of Austin’s little jewels that’s been around for many years. I’m pretty sure that the creators of Zilker never intended it to be one of the foremost popular venues for photography around Austin, but that’s what it’s become.
I met Lindsey and Bryan on a Saturday afternoon at Zilker to take advantage of the warm, orange evening sunlight. We walked to all of my favorite spots throughout Zilker and were able to capture some great photos. We even got some shots of Lindsey and Bryan in their Dallas Cowboys jerseys. All in all, it was a wonderful afternoon.
More on Zilker: ZBG features many different plant species and specific garden areas that are dedicated to a particular theme or cultural plant cultivation, if you will. For example, one of the popular areas of Zilker is the Japanese Garden, which features Koi-filled fish ponds, stone trails leading around bamboo gardens and a structure made of stone and bamboo that only could fit into a Japanese garden . The entire area is shaded by trees and feels like being in another world.
Zilker also features a beautiful rose garden where weddings frequently occur. Colorful roses line the concrete paths that wind down the hill from the main entrance of the park. The Rose Garden area is very open, located at the edge of the tree line bordering the Japanese Garden. It also features a red and white gazebo next to fish ponds and a historic brick structure in the shape of a keyhole that has been apparently transplanted from historic downtown Austin.
Other areas featured at ZBG are the Prehistoric Gardens further down the hill from the main office, which feature “old world” plants, pools and even a beautiful, natural-looking water fall. Toward the front of the park is an area that contains historic Central Texas pioneer homes and work areas made of wood.
Ultimately there are many, many different areas of the Garden that offer photography opportunities for brides or couples. After visiting and photographing friends and family there for years I’ve grown to love and appreciate Zilker for the beautiful part of Austin that it has always been and hopefully will always be!
Martin Whitton is the lead wedding photojournalist for Austin Americana Photography. He lives and works in Austin, Texas. Email: AustinAmericana@Gmail.com.