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Arkansas wedding photographer // destination wedding and portrait photographer

older | 1 | .... | 50 | 51 | (Page 52) | 53 | 54 | .... | 98 | newer

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    Hey everybody!

    What a fun honor I have to share today! We've been published in Bridal Beauty Magazine! I love seeing our work published, and magazines are my favorite!  Congratulations to Sarah and Stephen on the feature, and of course on the dreeeeeamy wedding! XOXO!







    Talk to you soon,
    Dale


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    Hey everybody!

    I just adore these sweet little babies I've been photographing lately! They remind me of when Cece and Ellie were little bitty babes... cute little raspy cries and tiny little fingers and toes!















    Talk to you soon,
    Dale


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    Hey everybody!

    This story was in the latest Benfield Weddings Magazine (get your copy here!):

    I recently discovered yet another talent from Chelsey Casey (Benfield Photography employee turned stay-at-home mom). When she spent her days in our office, we’d find creative tasks for her (drawing things we couldn’t find illustrations of, creating signs for our little events, even painting on Cece’s nursery wall).  In her spare time (not that any of us have much of that, and Chelsey has an amazing little boy that she loves to spend time with, along with her dashing husband, Josh). 

    She has started a hand-lettering business, and has a flourishing etsy shop.  When I came across this, I knew I had to get Meredith one of Chelsey’s latest offerings: hand-lettered vows! 

    Meredith and I wrote our own vows, so this is a pretty special gift. They’re also pretty long, so I felt sorry for Chelsey’s hand by the end of it.  


    Anyway, I love the way they turned out! If you’re looking for a fun gift for your bride or groom, or maybe for your parents’ or grandparents’ anniversary, I’ve just done you a big favor! You can check out Chelsey’s instagram (@chelscasey), email her at chelsey@benfieldphotography.com, or shop at her etsy store!



    Talk to you soon,
    Dale


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    Hey everybody!

    Our talented friends at Truebadour did a great job on Alex and Trevor's wedding and I wanted to give y'all a chance to see it!



    We love that we have a few different recommendations for videographers in NWA that we love to work with, and Truebadours will definitely do a beautiful
     job at capturing your wedding day!

    Talk to you soon,
    Dale





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  • 09/08/14--21:21: Marriage is Difficult
  • Today's post is a bit different from the norm. One of our all-time favorite brides, Kady, shared a great story for our latest Benfield Weddings magazine that was just TOO good (and important) not to share on the blog as well. Take it away, Kady!



    Kady, here - proud Benny Bride circa May 2k13. And I’m writing this lovely little piece for the fabulous Benny mag as a veteran bride. That’s right, a veteran. Because I’ve officially passed the one year mark. And that, my friends, is something worth celebrating.

    “Foggy.” If I could pick one word to describe the first year of marriage, I think that would be most appropriate. Foggy. Fog. Who likes fog? No one, right? Your visibility is diminished, your vision left obscured. You’re usually struggling to see beyond it to get where you’re going. Yep, I’d say this is fairly reflective of the first year of marriage. Coming down from the clouds is majorly hard, people. A slap back to reality that no bride wants or sees coming after months of wedding planning and honeymoon highs. This is when the fog comes in.... as the fog is what lies below the clouds.
    Let’s face it, people. Marriage isn’t easy. But honestly, the toughest part about it for me was how difficult it was to actually admit it. Because NO ONE TALKS ABOUT IT. Well, most people don’t. It’s like there’s this terrible stigma that exists with actually admitting that your life isn’t this perfect facade that is portrayed through your Instagram feed and Pinterest boards. But the bonding and laughter I’ve shared with friends and fellow wives after discussing this ridiculous fact is the very reason I am sharing this with all of you.


    The fog that lies below the clouds equates to the months of adjusting that you do as you truly begin your lives together. There were times early (like way early) in our marriage that we both could have given up, thrown the towel in, and/or walked out. The total pits. And how, as a new bride, could I admit these struggles to anyone? When literally everyone in your life is constantly asking you how the “honeymoon phase” is going. I was totally certain we were the only 2 people who were experiencing this “fog” because (like I mentioned earlier) NO ONE discusses these things. Well, let me clarify... no newlyweds seem to discuss these things. But the truth is, marriage changes things. In a way that’s really hard to put into words or even truly understand yourself. And I’m here to tell you that EVERYONE struggles. Everyone. And it’s completely normal. Healthy. 100%.


    We all need to do ourselves a favor and help end this ridiculous newlywed stigma. I hope reading this helps you in some way or another - whether it helps your adjustment from the clouds to the fog a little easier - or whether it gives you the courage to get rid of the pressure to portray perfection. Put on your comfy, baggy, let’s-be-real clothes and don’t be afraid to admit when things aren’t going so great.
    There were many times I wondered if we would fail. But we didn’t. We haven’t. And we won’t. Marriage isn’t all rainbows and butterflies. It’s work. It’s hard work. But it’s also beautiful. The beauty of our relationship and how it has grown through marriage is unlike anything I’ve ever known. We work on things together. We work on ourselves together. Because beyond the fog that comes after the clouds lies the clear open road on which you’ll take your life journey together.


    *I majorly have to thank my husband for supporting me and our marriage - in the good times & the bad. Tyler, as I sit here and look back on this year we’ve officially survived, I am wholly confident of one thing: I was made for you - made for you to love, protect, forgive, encourage and lead. I am proud of you. Proud to be your wife. And even more proud of us. Happy one year to you - a year majorly worth celebrating. Here’s to another sixty, love.

    **And I definitely should brag on Dale & Mere because they’re the most amazingly talented, kind-hearted and beautiful photographers, friends & couples around. And they helped us celebrate our first year with some pretty spectacular portraits.




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    Hey everybody!
    Today I've got a great Q&A for you with one of our very favorite NWA vendors, Retrotender. If you're looking for a great way to amp up your wedding reception (or party), read on!



    Q: What goes into creating custom drinks for your bride and grooms?
    A: In creating a signature drink for a bride, we send her a taste-profile questionnaire to get an idea of her go-to drinks. Does she like drinks that are sweet? Savory? Tart? Does she prefer the alcohol to announce its presence, or does she prefer the alcohol to be understated? The bride’s taste is key in crafting her wedding cocktail.

    Q: What do you love about being a bartender?
    A: I love being a bartender! The bartender is everyone’s friend (as long as the bar is open!). Weddings are magical. If I can help bring the fun and make it memorable, all the better. On the geeky side, I love the art of mixology and creating quality drinks. I also admit that I have a slight obsession with collecting vintage barware. But I digress . . .

    Q: Tell me about your passion for this craft.
    A: I have a love for the history of the cocktail, and I enjoy re-introducing old drinks to new palettes. I care about every ingredient (some might say I’m OCD about i!) that goes into crafting a cocktail.

    Q: What’s with that beautiful mustache?
    A: Everyone should have a ‘stache! What started off as a dare has become my calling card. Seriously, my mustache is a commitment. I never thought I’d know this much about men’s grooming products.

    Q: Why should Benny Brides hire Retrotender for their event?
    A: When you hire me for your wedding celebration, you know that you are getting quality drinks that are memorable. Your guests are going to be talking about them! Also, when you choose Retrotender, I ensure that you have a blast from start to finish. When you order a custom cocktail (or two or three!) you will have a private cocktail hour where you taste many options and choose your favorites for your wedding. So it’s a mini-party before your big party!

    Q: What is your favorite drink?
    A: A perfectly prepared Manhattan makes me happy. I make a mean Old Fashioned with Apple Jack, muddled peaches, orange peel, and mint. I think I need one now!

    Q: What is a favorite drink of your clients?
    A: At my latest wedding, the Blushing Mule, my take on the Moscow Mule, was the biggest crowd pleaser. Guests definitely made more than one trip to the bar for this drink!

    Q: When you’re not behind the bar, what might we find you doing?
    A: You can find me restoring my mid-century modern home, reading vintage bar books, or enjoying NW Arkansas with my wife and daughter.

    Q: Tell me a bit about fresh ingredients. Do they make a big difference?
    A: Death to sour mix! Fresh ingredients absolutely make the drink.

    Q: How can brides book you for their event?
    A: To book Retrotender for your wedding, email me at retrotender@gmail.com You can also find me on Instagram and Facebook. For more details on my services, check out my website: retrotender.com


    Bonus: Retrotender is not just a private bartending service! I also offer bourbon tastings for bachelor/bachelorette parties, and I will be offering “mini” cocktail classes soon!



    Talk to you soon,
    Dale


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    Hey everybody!

    Absolutely, one of my favorite parts of being a photographer is that it allows me to travel all over the world, which enables me to eat at some of the coolest (and sometimes, worst) restaurants. Alinea in Chicago is, without surprise to anyone who's heard of it, one of the most unique dining experiences of my life. It wasn't all good, as you'll read below; however, it stands out above all others as the craziest, coolest restaurant I've experienced.

    First off, I have a talent-crush on the chef. Chef Grant Achatz was one of Food and Wine's best new chefs in recent years, and I've even recreated (with some success) his Hot Potato-Cold Potato, which you'll see below. He questions everything about the dining experience and about food in general, which is one of the reasons his food is so creative.

    We went with our best friends Wiley and Adrienne, who were up for the road trip (and who we photographed in the Windy City... that shoot coming soon!).  We of course had to take a quick selfie before dinner.



    Let's dive in to the courses, shall we?
    Course #1: Osetra caviar. I've had this before at the French Laundry with a sabayon and it was delicious. At Alinea they also pair it with "traditional flavors" but in an anything-but-tradition way. The foam here BLEW ME AWAY, as it tasted exactly like toasted brioche.  How you make a foam taste like that, I don't know, but I wish I could take a bubble bath in it.  The clear gel in the image below tasted like red onions.  Again, HOW?  The chef recommended "2-3 bites to get the palette ready" and as a good little student, Meredith obeyed.  Better for me... I gobbled up all my and then the rest of hers. No regrets.


    Course #2: Salsify. The second course arrived in a wood wreath. Not unlike you'd get at Hobby Lobby (as Mere pointed out to get a good laugh), the wreath contained our food hidden within. Our server said that the chef would like for us to forage for our food.  It was really fun, a tad difficult, and enhanced the experience of dinner.

    Success!  We all found our salsify (the root veg), which had been cooked sous vide (my favorite way to cook pretty much anything, particularly veggies and meats). It was tender and yummy.  Though, I think it was too little to actually count as course.  Regardless, it was fun. We decided we should toast with our finds since we weren't drinking anything (except water).

    Course #3: Skate. The fish was paired with brown butter, lemon, and herb stems (and an edible flower). I scooped everything up in one bite and let it sing in my mouth.  The brown butter crumbs tasted a lot like graham cracker crust and was a great textural contrast to the fish. This course, again small, was a winner.


    Course #4: Tomato.  You won't see the heirloom tomatoes in the image below. The presentation was great, bringing the course out on "authentic Chicago concrete" and even decorating it with "black licorice graffiti." What you do see is the concrete, graffiti, and ashed goat cheese.  I was a huge fan of this dish and ate mine completely, then finishing off Meredith's and Adrienne's.

    Course #5: Corn. Another great presentation, this dish looked much like a grilled corn on the cob, but we were once again tricked.  Under the perfectly roasted corn was corn grits, polenta, manchego cheese, black truffle, and ham. The smokiness from the husk and the smell from the black truffle make this dish ridiculously good.

    Hanging above our table when we arrived was a "floating" piece of rhubarb. A baby hook and fishing line made it look like it was just hovering above our table, and we all commented before dinner at how cool the ambiance was where we were sitting.
    Course #6: Rhubarb. Little did we know that the hanging rhubarb would later be sliced with a truffle slicer over our rhubarb dish. You'll also see below that it contained celery root and leaves.  This dish, although was conceptually cool (to use the hanging rhubarb), it wasn't one of my favorites. It I dropped mega moolah on a dinner, I don't want much rhubarb or celery. Don't worry... the next course makes up for it.

    Course #7: Lobster. By this time I was really ready for something meaty. Chef read my mind as we got our heartiest dish thus far, and we agreed after... tastiest thus far.  Butter poached lobster with curry, earl grey, and grapefruit (see those little pink balls? THAT's the grapefruit!).  I forget what was in the thing that looks popcorn... all I remember is that the server said the kitchen called it "crack rock" and I know why! If I would have had just course after course of crack rock, I'd have been happy! It was insane.

    Course #8: Sweetbreads. I had planned on not telling the girls at the table what sweetbreads were but then they started guessing WORSE things, so I put their minds at ease when I said it was just the thymus gland of a calf. When you cook sweetbreads you typically poach them in milk and then remove the outer membrane and then fry it. As much as I could tell, that's what was done here, but what set these apart from others I've had is how tender and how flavorful these were.  Instead of using traditional chopsticks with our "chinese takeout" presentation, we received cinnamon chop sticks that were burning on the don't-put-in-your-mouth ends, which gave some nice aromatics to the dish.

    My dude Wiley above to dig in with his cinnamon burning chopsticks...

    During the next course we received two items, seen below. When was asked about the fire, they said, "oh don't worry about that right now."  So we were left there with Course #9: Matsutake. I'm a fan of mushrooms, but many people aren't. Of these many people, Meredith is one.  I'm pretty sure she didn't even try this course.  If I'm being honest, she wasn't missing much. This was my least favorite course. While it looked pretty (even dessert like), it was mushroom on mushroom on mushroom. I like Mushrooms as an accompaniment - not a course.

    Course #10: Lily bulb. This dish was absolutely beautiful. Paired with rambutan and distillation of caviar lime, the dish was light and delicious. Mere pointed out that this was probably like a palate cleanser before our next course (kind of like sorbet would be), and we all agreed.

    Course #11: Pork Belly. What went down as my favorite dish had actually been on our table for about 20 minutes before it was revealed to us.  I like to point out that I made the guess to our table after the fire had been there that "maybe our course is inside there!" but then said that there probably was no way since it didn't look like there was room for food for all four of us. Well, it was. As our fire died out, our server came over and carved the most melt-in-your-mouth pork belly table side for our viewing pleasure. He also carved up the charred parsnip on top (which looked like it was part of the fire... just staring us in the face!). It was served with black trumpet and kombu.

    After it had been plated and presented to us.  Beautiful.

    Course #11: Hot Potato-Cold Potato. Well, here it is! The dish that I did a decent job recreating a few weeks ago to get us ready for our restaurant experience was in front of us.  When I made it, everybody loved it.  But then, I don't have access (or money) to get real fresh black truffle. This little thing made a huge difference, taking something that was already extraordinary to well... extra-extraordinary.  To have something that is both hot (the potato ball) and cold (the soup) in your mouth at the same time was pretty genius. Why does food have to be hot or cold? Why can't it be both at the same time? Well, Chef figured out a way.

    Course #12: Duck. I'm a huge duck fan. From confit to breast to foie gras. I was quite happy to see that the duck course at Alinea included foie gras, breast, and heart. Presented with "dragon's breath" for aromatics, the course was rockin. This was a great way to end our savory courses.

    Course #13: Blueberry. By this time I was ready to get some sweetness. I joke that this dish was like "blueberry 13 ways." From the bubble gum (that even felt like bubble gum in your mouth for about 2 seconds before it melted into nothingness) to the lemon puree to the dish was perfectly balanced and had multiple textures to play off each other.  Quite the treat.  But read on, it gets better.

    Course #14: Baloon. I had mentioned a few minutes before that I didn't think we were going to get the famous Alinea balloon. I hadn't seen them anywhere else in the dining room and we were nearly finished with dinner.  To my surprise, they brought them out and we were all so happy I was wrong!

    Here's a little video of Mere and Adrienne eating their helium-filled candy apple balloon.  So fun!



    Course #15: Tropical Fruit. Our final course almost pained me to eat. After we finished our balloon silliness, our serving team came over to lay down a table cloth... well, not cloth, but more like rubber. Yeah sure, our table rubber.  Then they brought over bowls filled with all sorts of unknown objects and said our chef will be out in a minute.  When the chef came out we were given a show as he (and another chef) created a piece of art on our table.

    And here is their creation. How's that for plating?!

    It was obviously delicious. These kids couldn't get enough.


    Alinea was a total trip.  While I think it ate more like a 8-9 course tasting menu, and there were a couple course I'd pass on a second time around, it was inventive and definitely delicious. The atmosphere (and serving staff) was better than most restaurants I've been to (more FUN and less stuffy).  While it was definitely in my top three all-time restaurants, it is my #1 in terms of ambiance, and creativity. Definitely a bucket list restaurant, go there if you get the chance!


    Talk to you soon,
    Dale


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    Hey y'all!

    Rachel here - first time writer, long time reader ;) You may have seen me out and about with Dale and Mere these past few months! I am absolutely LOVING being apart of this team!

    So a little backstory: My baby brother (okay, he's 25 -- YIKES!) and my sweet sis-in-law, Brit, are having their first child, Elijah William, in early November. The thing is... they live in Amman, Jordan! They were back in Fayetteville this summer to visit with friends and family, but they left yesterday morning - SO SAD! Before they left, I got to shoot a few photos of this brand-new little fam in my parents' backyard. I love them so much and cannot wait to meet (and squeeze) my first little neph!



    Cannot WAIT to be Auntie Ray Ray and share photos of the little man with you guys!

    XOXO,
    Rachel


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    Hey everybody!

    We first shot Gabby yeeeeeears ago with her bro and sis, and we've loved watching her grow into an amazing talent and business woman, photographing her along the way. Today's post is our most recent shoot of Gabby, where we ran around town and caught some really amazing light!
















    Talk to you soon,
    Dale


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    Hey everybody!

    Cece recently went shopping at the Rhea Lana's event and found some killer sales! :) We decided that we needed to do a shoot this morning to show off what she found before we head off to Ft. Smith for today's wedding.  There's a baby yellow flower field right by our house that screamed "shoot me" so we pulled over, hopped out, and smiled at the camera. (I love it when that happens!)
    Fyi... the burberry coat (which still had the 450 dollar price tag) was only 20 bucks.  Seriously.








    Talk to you soon,
    Dale


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    Hey everybody!

    More gorgeous Gabby today! Meredith went a little more creative with the edits on Gabby's shoot, and I just love it! Have a peek!















    Talk to you soon,
    Dale


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  • 09/15/14--11:11: Slone Ranger Birthday Party!


  • Hey everybody!

    I have the CUUUUUTEST 1st birthday party to share today! One of my favorite little boys on the planet, Slone, has turned one and his super creative parents came up with a "Slone Ranger" birthday party! Isn't that the BEST?! We of course had to be there to photograph the wild west extravaganza.


    The details here are just PERFECT!

    And here's the adorable birthday boy all decked out as Slone Ranger.

    This kid is already turning heads! Oh, and LOOOOVE the shoes!

    Does he not just have the prettiest eyes you've ever seen?















    Haha... love this after shot.


    Wasn't that so fun? I just love the creativity and all the perfect details!


    Talk to you soon,
    Dale


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    Hey everybody!

    I absolutely LOVE photographing seniors! If you've followed the blog for awhile, you know I stopped shooting seniors about 8 years ago when I moved the business here (to NWA) to focus on weddings, which took up tons of time. The truth was, I totally missed it - which is easy to realize if you happen to know the model I photographed this weekend, Meredith! Benfield seniors have super style (how do I get so lucky?), are super sweet (again, lucky), and super pretty. Meredith fits all three perfectly!  Though we just met in person at the shoot, I quickly got to know her and saw that she has such a big heart! Plus, she was a natural in front of the camera (even though she admitted to being a little nervous in the beginning). Take a peek at some of my favorites from her senior session...

    I love the flowers off-setting her in this first one. OH, and I forgot to talk about how adorable her dimples are. Amiright???

    She could also pull of a great no-smile, which isn't easy, y'all!














    Talk to you soon,
    Dale


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    Hey everybody!

    Chicago is easily in my top five favorite cities in the world. It has great food, my favorite baseball team, and a million spots to shoot photos. During our recent trip to Chicago, we photographed two of our best friends in the world, Wiley and Adrienne. Adrienne got a dress from Tesori (It's to-die-for!) and we ran around the city shooting.

    Um, HELLO! How gorgeous is this girl?!





    I absolutely love this one - it's so Adrienne!











    Talk to you soon,
    Dale


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    Hey everybody!

    So I couldn't narrow down the pics from this shoot to just one blog....so here's day 2 of Wiley and Adrienne in Chicago! And while we're talking about Wiley, check out his rockin' band for your wedding or event! Boom Kinetic is our favorite local band and they're known for keeping the party going ALL NIGHT! We've been lucky enough to get to know Wiley and his adorable wife, Adrienne over the last year and we had a blast with them in Chicago!
















    Talk to you soon,
    Dale


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    Hey everybody!

    Gold gold gold... I'm all about gold wedding details, y'all! I absolute love the elegance and class it brings! Brooke and Jaffet incorporated a lot of gold details into their wedding and reception, right down to gold rimmed champagne gelatin shots (how fun!).



    Even the cake had a gorgeous gold shimmer!

    This reception is a perfect use of gold - not overly done, but beautifully done!

    I'm going to share their story tomorrow; I promise you'll wanna see that!

    Talk to you soon,
    Dale


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    Hey everybody!

    The story of Brooke and Jaffet's Fort Smith wedding is full of sweetness and beauty. The wedding was beautiful, and took place at one of the most beautiful sanctuaries in all of Arkansas. Then, the party (at Hardscrabble) was a blast with a live band and top tier food! Here are some of my favorite moments we captured throughout the day.  First off, Brooke with her DARLING mother (I got to know her well over the engagement and I just adore them both!).

    Gah! I always get the most gorgeous brides! It's almost unfair!



    Little secret about me: I love to look at people's faces as they adore the bride walking down the aisle with her dad. Also... shoutout to Kelly at Crown Beauty Bar for that rockin' hair of the bride!

    Every time I'm in this sanctuary (Immaculate Conception in Fort Smith), I'm just amazed by its beauty. Incredible detail!

    Don't you just love the way Jaffet is looking at his bride here? I do!

    I thought this moment was great. After the wedding, in the party bus, just before the night got crazy, these two took a moment to kiss. LOVE that.

    I loved Brooke and Jaffet's lighting scheme at Hardscrabble. It really added to the ambiance! (and made for a pretty fab first dance shot!)

    Their faces. So precious. And that CAKE!

    They had the cutest little getaway car, y'all! I'll show you another shot tomorrow with this car, but isn't this just perfect? A great way to end the night!



    I'm sure you know what's coming tomorrow! Portraits!!

    Talk to you soon,
    Dale


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    Hey everybody!

    It's time to show off how beautiful this bride is! And her handsome groom! The weather and lighting was immaculate in Fort Smith for Brooke and Jaffet's wedding day, so the portraits were a breeze!

    At the end of the night we did a few with the getaway car. Oh how I love that car!



    The layers of leaves framing our couple really made this shot. I feel like in every little situation there is a perfect shot somewhere, and here we definitely found it!

    Maybe my fave. No, I take it back... definitely my favorite.





    Congratulations to our beautiful Ft. Smith couple! XOXO!


    Talk to you soon,
    Dale


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    Hey everybody!

    When we photographed Jamie and Ben's engagement portraits in a field of yellow flowers years ago, little did we know we'd be out romping around in another yellow field a couple years later with sweet little Millie! The shoot was so easy and so fun!

















    Talk to you soon,
    Dale


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    Hey everybody!

    This next wedding I'm showing you is going to be a doozy! Lots of amazing moments, and about the most beautiful people you've ever seen! But wait! I can't get into Haven's wedding without first showing you her beautiful (and I mean BEATIFUL!) bridal portraits we shot in Houston. She is totally to die for, and so is her dress!









    Talk to you soon,
    Dale


older | 1 | .... | 50 | 51 | (Page 52) | 53 | 54 | .... | 98 | newer