Out for a Walk in Old Town – Jenna Martin Wedding Photographer

When I first arrived in San Diego, I made my way straight to the place I was staying. I remember passing through Old Town, but in my confused exhaustion I didn’t remember a thing about it. After I arrived at my destination, however, it seemed like I couldn’t stop hearing about it. I overheard a group of people in a sandwich shop talking about a festival of some kind taking place in Old Town over the weekend, then I heard something on the radio, then someone else mentioned it on the beach in La Jolla. It almost seemed like a sign. So when Sabrina and Joe asked if I could meet them in Old Town for their engagement shoot, I was almost relieved; it would save me a trip to explore the place myself!

And it turns out, Old Town was an adorable spot for a shoot, especially when you’ve got an adorable couple as your subject. We wandered through the buildings and shops, and I got to see firsthand how sweet these two were together. They held hands constantly, and as you can tell it’s a rare shot that I got the two of them apart ;). Spending the evening with them was the perfect way to round out my trip to California.

Before I accidentally took a side route Tijuana, that is…but that’s another story ;).

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Lots of Laughs in La Jolla – Jenna Martin Wedding Photographer

My first time in La Jolla was definitely a shock – in as much of relaxed, comfortable way that a “shock” can be. I was staying at a house about 6 miles from La Jolla, and my friend let me use their bicycle for transportation. So I made sure to leave early, and pedaled the 6 miles with my backpack of gear on my back, weaving in and out of neighborhoods looking out over the coast. I arrived in La Jolla a little earlier than expected, and spent some time talking to the swimmers who come to cover every morning to swim to the pier. As an avid swimmer myself (I’ll be heading to the pool just as soon as I finish this blog post), I could easily see myself here every morning if I ever decide to move to California.

Shortly after my new swimmer friend left, I met Denise and Brad, and in all honesty, I was a bit blown away. It only takes about 8 seconds to see why these two are getting married:  they’re perfect for each other. They finish each other’s sentences, they laugh at each other’s jokes before they’re even said out loud and they literally can’t seem to get enough of each other. Shooting their engagement session was a breeze; literally. We spent the morning exploring the beautiful rocky beaches of La Jolla, CA. Brad and Denise I can only imagine how much fun your wedding will be, and I’m sure your marriage will be a long and happy one!

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Beauty and the Beach – Jenna Martin Wedding Photographer

I had only been in San Diego a few minutes before I realized how much I already loved this city. Traffic consisted mostly of people riding bikes and carrying their surfboards under one arm. The restaurants had sand on the floors and most of the patrons wore little more than a swimsuit. Granted the friend I was staying with lived right on the beach, but I didn’t care. I’d already classified San Diego as one of my favorite stops yet.

About an hour after I arrived in town, I met Angel and Bryan on the beach walkway and we headed straight to the water. It soon became apparent just how smitten these two were. They kissed before I ever had to ask, they laughed while I changed angles and settings, and in general they set the bar for photoshoots in San Diego extremely high. Spending an evening at a gorgeous beach photographing two awesome people seemed a little surreal. At one point, I actually remember looking down and staring at my bare feet in the water. I could hear waves hitting the shore and Angel and Bryan laughing in the background. I was standing in the ocean, photographing two people in love. “Holy #$%!,” I thought. “This is my job.” 

Man, I really do love what I do. Angel and Bryan, thanks so much for sharing this experience with me!

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Props and Pumpernickels – Jenna Martin Wedding Photographer

Lora and Danny were my second engagement session I shot in San Francisco. They were also my first awakening to exactly how big San Francisco is. As soon as I realized where they were located, I found myself scrambling to find a ticket to the shoot. Thankfully, public transportation in California is insanely easier than what I thought it would be. So I jumped on a train for the first time in my life and headed down south of San Fran.

Lora and Danny picked me up at the train station and we headed to the first location. Right from the get-go I knew this was going to be the kind of photoshoot I love so much. They were so laid back and so genuinely exciting for engagement photos, I couldn’t wait to get started!

And folks, they had done their homework! They had three locations in mind, and we ended up hitting all three. Lora brought along the “Save the Date” poster, along with a few sentimental teddy bears and a pair of Groom and Bride baseball hats (which have of the most moving stories EVER behind them, read all about it on my Facebook page).

What was supposed to be an hour session ended up running quite a bit longer, which is always expected when you’re having fun!

Even this little guy wanted to be a part of the action :).

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These two were absolutely so cute for each other and I’m so glad I got the opportunity to photograph them! I have no doubt they will have an amazing wedding along with a long and happy marriage :).

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Retro Love in San Francisco – Jenna Martin Wedding Photographer

This being my first time in San Francisco, I absolutely fell in love with the city. The constant fog, the unbelievable abundance of artwork and the laid back vibe of the people made it obvious how a song titled “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” could become such a huge hit. To make it even better, the couple I was meeting requested some kind of street art background. We had one in mind, but upon driving through the city I found this insane painted wall. It was perfect.

And then I met Ashley and Jesus.

Those of you who know me probably know how obsessed I am with anything vintage or retro, so when Ashley stood before me with flawless skin, perfect cat-eye makeup and an adorable fiance, I was thrilled. Honestly, I couldn’t have planned it better myself. Wandering around San Fran with a couple of Braves fans easily made this one of my favorite shoots yet :).

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IMG_3849Ashley and Jesus thank so, so, SO MUCH for letting me take your engagement pictures! You guys were so much fun to hang out with and I’m so glad I got to meet you guys. Here’s to an amazing wedding and a long and happy marriage :)!

Bubbles at Sunrise – Jenna Martin Wedding Photographer

No matter what the reason, when the alarm goes off at 5:22 in the morning I instantly rethink just what the heck I’m doing. But as soon as I peeked out my bedroom window and saw the soft, dreamy light of morning barely across the landscape, I knew this morning was going to be something special.

I met Rachel and Jake at our location at 6:00, camera and bubble machine in hand. What followed was what any photographer could ask for: a beautiful morning, a couple so obviously in love they could’ve been playing characters in a Nicholas Sparks movie, and even a healthy cluster of baby birds to send us off on our day :).

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Paint fight!! – Jenna Martin Wedding Photographer

The idea of doing a paint fight photoshoot had been floating around in my head for a while, and I was getting tired of waiting on the weather. Even in late April, Montana weather can be bitter cold. So I contacted Karen Grosz of Canvas Creek Team Building here in Billings, MT. Canvas Creek works with groups of people to facilitate effective measures of teamwork through collaborative painting (they work with families, businesses, couples and even travel for their work; you guys should really check them out!). When I asked her about having a paint fight in her studio, she responded with a resounding, YES!! She told me I had to hurry though, as she would be closing her studio in a week and opening a new one in the fall. This was on Friday…I had to move quick!

Katrina and Justin weren’t scheduled for an engagement session until late May, but ever since I had been in contact with them I got the feeling they would be up for anything. Sure enough, they loved the idea! I was beyond thrilled; I didn’t sleep the entire night before! I met them at Karen’s downtown studio on Sunday night, and armed with a white background, various paint colors, a healthy supply of masking tape (and a necessary sense of adventure), I turned them loose. What followed was easily one of my favorite photoshoots yet. Hope you guys enjoy!

The red paint was a great addition, but early in the game it looked a little…well…”murdery”. So it was punished and put it in the corner. Poor, sad little bottle of red paint…

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And then we were back at it!!

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IMG_4531I have to say, I may have had more fun than these two even did. I laughed the entire time and was even a bit sore the next day from crouching and bending into all those awkward positions we photographers find ourselves in. It was all worth it though, and I can’t wait to do something like this again (hopefully sooner than later)!

Fortunately, Karen loved the idea so much she’s even offered her temporary studio at In Good Glazes in case we feel like doing something like this again. Hear that people? You can do this too! I also have to thank Katrina and Justin for being such good sports; I’m so glad they agreed to get a little crazy for a night!

And like I said…Montana can be a bit chilly during late April :).

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Including Pets in Your Wedding

Ask anyone about their pets and you will find one very common thread; they’re family. Many of us have just as many pictures of our pets stored in our phones as we do of our children. The term “family photo” is by no means limited to the human beings in the family.

And your wedding is no different. Many people want their entire family to be there, meaning of course Fido needs a spot in the ceremony. However, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.  I’ve witnessed a beautiful moment with a pet; the groom’s dog gently putting his paw on the groom’s leg after trotting down the aisle with the ring, almost as if to say, “Here’s your ring, buddy. Now go get her.” And I’ve witnessed pure chaos; the bride’s small (albeit adorable) puppy howling, squealing, and peeing throughout the ceremony. It’s not hard to decide which of these scenarios you rather have at your wedding.

So here are a few things to keep in mind when giving your furry friend a central part in the ceremony:

Know what your pet is capable of: How well trained is your pet? Will your dog walk down the aisle and be able to sit and stay on the sidelines, or does he have absolutely no idea what the word, “come” even means? The last thing you want to do is attach your ring to the neck of an animal that can’t wait to roll in the first disgustingly smelly thing it finds. You’ll find your big day much less stressful if your dog (or cat, or pig, or hawk, etc) can at least follow basic commands.

Understand that allergies may be a deal breaker: As much as you’d love to have your (impeccably behaved)  four cats sitting front row at your wedding, keep in mind that people may have allergies. While your guests probably aren’t going to fight you in your wedding preferences, some of them won’t be able to keep themselves from looking red-eyed in family photos and sniffling and sneezing throughout the entire ceremony. In this case, consider adding your pet’s paw print to the guest book, some photos of them in the invitations, a tribute to them as a bit of the cake-topper, or even a small charm in your bracelet or bouquet.

Know if other pets will be there: Besides the problem of allergies, keep in mind what your guests may bring. I once went to a wedding where the bride’s normally extremely well behaved dog was meant to carry the rings. However, when her groom’s uncle arrived with his seeing eye dog, the bride’s dog spent the entire night trying to, ahem, “woo” the other dog. It was a near disaster.

Be ready to cater to your pets: Always keep in mind that your pet needs to be cared for. If your wedding is an all day event (ceremony and reception in the same location, party goes till the wee hours of the morning) there needs to be food and water for your pet. Even if the ceremony and reception is but a mere 2 hours, if it’s in 90 degree heat there still needs to be a source of water. And of course, there needs to be someone willing to take your special family member out for potty breaks, and it’s probably not going to be you.

But through it all, the important thing is that your entire family is able to be there with you. Even allowing your pet to be there for the ceremony and then asking your mother or the bridesmaid to take them home before the reception is perfectly acceptable.

50 Shoots in 50 States – Jenna Martin Wedding Photographer

It is my absolute dream to travel the world, so why not do it by taking pictures? This year, I’m making it a goal to shoot 50 photoshoots in 50 states. And since I’m going to need your help, I’m offering you a deal: along with my current referral program on my website ($250 credit for each successful wedding referral, $50 credit for each successful senior, family or pet referral) if you make a referral that leads to me booking a wedding (or something of equal or more value) in one of the states I haven’t worked in yet, I’ll give you your own photoshoot for absolutely free. And if you don’t need a photoshoot? Well, I’m sure we can work something out ;).

Here is a map of the country with the pink states representing states I have already worked in. Let the games begin!

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Free Engagement Photoshoot Summer – Jenna Martin Wedding Photographer

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In my effort to travel the country I’m offering FREE engagement photoshoots to anyone in the following states during the following months:

May: Montana/Wyoming/Idaho
June: California
July: Washington/Oregon
August: Utah
September: Colorado

If you live in any of these states and have not yet hired a wedding photographer, email me at jennamartinphoto@gmail.com to set up an appointment. If you live in a neighboring state I haven’t mentioned (like Nevada or South Dakota) and would still like a photoshoot, feel free to message me anyway, we might be able to work something out 🙂

The entire shoot is free and includes a CD of all edited and retouched images!

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Check out my portfolio to make sure you’re not working with an amateur photographer!

Email me soon, the free slots always fill up very, very early!