Uptown vibes :: Andrea + Chris Urban E-session

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Uptown vibes :: Andrea + Chris Urban E-session

Let's see... They were convinced they were awkward and not photogenic. I was shocked!!! I've literally never heard anyone say that before! Like ever! ;) (read, only everyone, every time). I mean, we frolicked. Gimme a couple (seemingly) awkward people that love each other and are up for anything, and I can work with that! I dorked around with my little speaker playin' some fun-inducing tunes, and, well, the chemistry kinda just followed and found it. And the looks we got while hauled away (and then brought back) their garbage cans LOL ;) .... priceless! I think they thought I was not coming back. Wave and smile, wave and smile, that's my rule when doing quirky stuff. ;) Andrea and Chris, you were a blast! Thanks for playing! :) - Ester

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Steamy Splashy at Fort Desoto :: with Hannah and Parker

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Steamy Splashy at Fort Desoto :: with Hannah and Parker

Sarasota is a home away from home for me and David. We go there when we need to get away, relax, and not think. Too hard, anyway. Perhaps read a good book. Don't get me wrong, when we want an adventure Europe and visiting my family are awesome, but sometimes, after a full wedding season, or in prep for one, we just need to clear our minds, and Europe is too much figuring of things out. So, when I need to get some margin back, or create some margin, and sone head space for some hectic times, that's when we go to Florida. I think it has something to do with the fact we spent a 2 week honeymoon in Longboat Key after we got married, and that David's grandma Shirley has a condo there, so things just really seem like a 2nd home, full of good memories. :) 

Fun fact - Hannah was actually a bridesmaid in Emma and Jeremy's NP wedding! And that's how we met first! :) See if you can pick her amazing freakin' braid from the wedding crew crowd! 
Fun fact 2 - We were actually going to do this session in Nokomis, I even drove there to scope things out the day before, but due to a fierce Red Tide (never seen this many dead fish in my life!) and the fact you could't even take one breath without coughing we moved things closer to Clearwater, where these two live. 

They suggested Fort Desoto in St. Pete. Cool. I'm game. Perdy and semi-secluded? Sounds just like what we needed. As you gather - this was my first time at Fort Desoto, and I fell in love! Gorgeous area! Loved the North Beach, I arrived early to scope it out a bit (you see a pattern here ;)), and while driving around getting an idea on the area, David took the wrong turn, putting us in the Fort Desoto Campground. Not exactly the plan. But. Once I saw a few awesome camping sites, complete with birds, baby raccoons (OK, those buggers are adorable when small and less pesky!) I was kinda hooked on people's awesome tents and every variety of hammock! Almost borrowed one of the said hammock for photos... Forgot. Remembered now as I write this. Oh well... Anyway - I made David do a loop so I could see every single campsite, because let me tell you - if camp sites looked like these, I'd be into camping!!!!!
Once we drove by the camp site #36, I was in love! The swooping tree, the picnic table, magically backlit, it was freakin' love at first sight!!!! No matter it was like a 10 minute drive from where we said to meet, I was bringing them back here! So glad we did it!!! And all because of a silly wrong turn ;)

And... might I add it was 100 degrees, 100% humidity, we were all sweating balls, so all this frolicking you see, that's some easy going people right there, and one adventurous photographer! ;) Ending in the water seemed fitting and welcomed by all! I followed them into the waves right in my romper, and man.... it was glorious! 

To Hannah and Parker - you two are fun! I love your easy going spirit, your up for anything fun personalities and... your hair. Thanks for playing lovers!!!! - Ester :) 

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Vows in the Park :: Emily + Phil

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Vows in the Park :: Emily + Phil

Unforgettable. Each couple leaves a trace of a sweet memory behind as I leave a bit of myself as well while I document the evolution of their love. It's something different every time, and it's got nothing to do with a favorite portfolio shot, although that's often how those portfolio shots are born - out of that favorite, unique "thing". Each couple is so different, with different venues (or same venues yet a completely different feel), varying budgets, unique floral and table arrangements and tastes, different priorities, lighting, weather, moods, and attitudes. It all flavors and becomes part of their story.

When it comes to Emily and Phil I'll always remember their sweet and intimate exchange of vows in the park, after their first look. They didn't want an audience, they wanted that first chance to really say and really listed to what the other had to say, an elopement before their wedding, if you will. With wedding days packed and eventful, there isn't always time to squeeze everything that's possible in, so choices are made to see what truly matters to each couple. These two really cared about that alone time, and that little moment will forever be something I think about when I recall their wedding day. And, a good day it was. Truly unforgettable, in fact. Congrats Emily and Phil, you two really are an amazing match! -- with love, Ester 

PS. A huge thank you to my 2nd shooter Ivy, for capturing the guys getting ready, and some other fun angles and moments from the day! 

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Planes, Trains, and Automobiles :: Dani + David Engagement

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Planes, Trains, and Automobiles :: Dani + David Engagement

Planes, trains, and automobiles, and by that I mean Grandpa's vintage Chevy truck, 4-furry paws, a horse, s'mores and firefly lights! We brought it all! I love when couples really bring some uniqueness to their session! Dani and David were full of love, cuddles, and inspiration, and we had A BLAST!!! Thanks for thinking out of the box, and creating right with me! :) Love you guys! Send me all your friends! :) - with love, Ester 

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Romantic Bloom Lake Barn Wedding :: Afton + Jake

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Romantic Bloom Lake Barn Wedding :: Afton + Jake

They were just a bit concerned that it was going to rain, and in their defense it was suppose to storm that day (passing thunderstorms). And so it did rain. Some. At just the perfect moments, as it usually happens. IF they had really stressed out about it, it would have been borrowing trouble, and all kinds of worries for nothing. Instead we had fun! We let the bit of rain be part of the adventure (a welcomed one, since it cooled off by like 15 degrees from the scorching close to 100-degree heat index ;)). We darted for cover inside when needed, and found a perfect spot for all the photos. Honestly, we did not miss out on anything, and the day went way too fast, as they said after. "We hoped we took all the things in a bit more" Afton said. And sure, the dress got a bit dirty, it always does! But, as far as I'm concerned, this couldn't have been more perfect, and the crazy amazing golden hour we got as the sun dipped, was pure magic. 
So, cheers! To going with the flow, being up for anything, and to trusting that your photographer kinda, sorta, maybe just maybe, knows her shit ;) (LOL pardon my French) and will direct you rain or shine. Thanks for having me! Thanks for the vote of confidence. Thanks for being awesome, and... I'd do it all over again!! -- Ester 

PS 1. Check out the absolutely amazingly butt-kickin' arbor the bride's dad made! I mean come on! I want that thing in my house!!! :) 
PS 2. A huge thank you to Bloom Lake Barn owners, they are amazing people, and their love and frankly serving spirit and caring shows in everything they do and every interaction! Love that venue! 
PS 3. A huge thanks for my sidekick Nicole for nailing the guys getting ready shots! :) 

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Maple Ridge Farm Boho Wedding :: Andrea + Ryan

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Maple Ridge Farm Boho Wedding :: Andrea + Ryan

This day was pure magic. Everything from start to finish. Let me tell you a bit about it...

The cat incessantly kept walking through the details I painstakingly tried to arrange to be even. I tried to get him inside and out of my hair. Screaming followed. Apparently that's a barn cat, not an indoor cat. Ooops. ;) Back to the point, though. We couldn't have wished for better weather, views, or moods. Andrea got ready at their house in Taylors Falls, and this place... could have basically made the most fantastic bridal suite. No better spot to do the first looks (both of them, since dad was part of the festivities too!) Everything from table decor to the dessert table setup left me (and everyone around) drooling. And, what a fun touch - the wild flower seeds as favors! If you're looking for some inspiration for a bohemian style wedding (whether it's here in Minnesota or elsewhere), check out some of the fun reel below! 

Thanks for having me guys, it was a pleasure working with you two! Congrats to these Onstads on tying the knot! :) -- with love, Ester
PS. Thanks to my sidekick Taylor for tackling this awesome day with me! The groom getting ready and guys' wedding party photos are by her. 

Wedding Dress - The Wedding Shoppe 
Wedding Coordinator (+setup) - Naomi Anderson Events + Design 
Makeup - Styled by Abbi
Bouquet - Bachman's

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The Depot Hotel and MEC Wedding :: Kayla + Alex

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The Depot Hotel and MEC Wedding :: Kayla + Alex

Man we laughed a lot!!! Even the rain couldn't stop that party! And, I mean the suitcase room at the Depot Renaissance Hotel, stole my freakin' heart!!! When you start the day out with those details - it's hard to not be in a good mood! Or maybe that's just me :)

It was fun. ALL FUN! Loved how these two just let anything roll off of them, easy breezy, "yep, the dress will get dirty" Kayla said and marched on to the first look to see her babe. My kind of gal! And... the groom solo interpretive dance with the clear umbrella - yep - my kind of guy! LOL ;) Seriously, though... they fed me. Lunch. Bawling tears of of happiness here.  

Now I'm going serious, I promise! Hard to do that, though, when all I can think of is burping bridesmaids, umbrella dances, and all those toasts about Kayla having a tendency to play bumper cars with anything stationary and fatherly advice to Alex to up his auto insurance ;) Grinning ear to ear as I recall all those hilarious memories from the day! 

So, as you gather - this was a really good day! They tied the knot, and loved it! Their story started, two best friends walking through life from then on. And, I was there! So happy to be a part of it all! :) Cheers guys! You two are really good together!! :) Loads of love - Ester 

PS. All kinds of love to Tippy for tackling the groom getting ready shots! Nailed it girl! :)