Category Archives: Picture Life

Colorado Photographer shoots the NASTAR National Championships in Aspen, Colorado

I have been shooting the NASTAR National Championships, for SKI Magazine / NASTAR, for a few years now, and it is always fun to photograph this event.  However, this year was even more exciting, as Olympians, Ted Ligety, Steve Nyman, & Stacey Cook, fresh from the Olympics were racing as Pacesetters.  The race takes place at: Snowmass at the Spider Sabich Race Area.  To see all of our images from the event, visit our online gallery.

NASTAR National Championships

NASTAR National ChampionshipsFor those of you that are not familiar with NASTAR, NASTAR, is the largest recreational ski race program in the world.  NASTAR was developed by SKI Magazine in 1968 to provide recreational racers with an opportunity to compete and to compare their scores to friends and family members regardless of when and where they race. The NASTAR handicap system is a standardized scoring program that provides participants with a tangible number that represents their ability. The NASTAR program has a successful partnership with the U.S. Ski Team as its premier youth racing feeder program.

Ted Ligety
Ted Ligety

Giant Slalom Gold Medalist, Ted Ligety (Ambasador to NASTAR), fresh from the Sochi Olympics, was a Pacesetter at the event, along with some of his current teammates, and former Olympians listed below.  It is always awesome to see these athletes ski in the event!

Steve Nyman

Steve Nyman
Steve Nyman

Erik Fisher

Erik Fisher
Erik Fisher

Stacey Cook

Stacy Cook
Stacy Cook

Kaylin Richardson

Kaylin Richardson
Kaylin Richardson

AJ Kitt

AJ Kitt
AJ Kitt

Casey Puckett

Casey Puckett
Casey Puckett

Check out our website!


Bridesmaids – The Tradition Of Having Bridesmaids In Your Wedding

How many bridesmaids will be in your wedding?  Why do we have bridesmaids?
At one time, a bride had a court of maids and the primary reason was to fool evil spirits, yes that’s right, evil spirits.  Bridesmaids clothed themselves in a similar fashion as the bride;  it was to confuse ill presences hovering around the wedding.  The ill presence could be in spirit form, or the human kind that just might have intentions to kidnap the bride.  Don’t you know it is difficult to nab the correct woman when her maids are dressed in similar attire!  This superstition of dressing the bridal party the same,  also offered protection from an ill-doer wanting to steal her dowry, which is confusing to me, did she have that on her person?
Colorado Wedding Photographers
Colorado Wedding Photographers
The Groomsmen
The Groomsmen
In Rome, law demanded that witnesses come to the wedding to add confusion to the spirits that had evil intent for the bride and groom.  eHow’s “History of Bridesmaids” states that: “female wedding attendants came to a marriage ceremony in garments akin to the bride’s, while male wedding attendants–the forebears of ushers–wore attire that resembled the groom’s own clothing. This supposedly threw off bad luck that could be directed towards an easily identifiable bride and groom.”  Honestly, I never really knew why the wedding party wore the exact same outfit.
We have photographed all varieties of bridal party clothing; men who are required to wear a dark suit of their choice and matching ties, or bridesmaids that wear a dress of their choice all in a similar color, people in casual clothing; parties in all matching dresses, all matching tux’s.  I think bridal parties, at least partially, are breaking from the old tradition.
The tradition of kidnapping brides has pretty much died off, though, I can’t say for sure if evil spirits still hang out weddings.  That is definitely out of my realm.  In the past, no person of social status was unattended, the more the status, the bigger the wedding bridal/grooms party, a nice way to show off the family’s wealth.  So, why do we still have a bridal party in modern times?  From what I can tell, a girl likes to have her friends around her on a special day, and a guy likes hanging with his buddies to celebrate.   And let us not forget the added bonus of the parties that friends often help throw for the bride and groom leading up to the wedding!
On the wedding day; the bridesmaid is kind of like an executive assistant and helps the bride with her needs on her wedding day.  She is someone who the bride can lean on and celebrate with.
Cielo wedding photographer
I am guessing the bridal party exists today for a multitude of reasons.  They definitely are a big help to the bride and groom, fulfilling little tasks, tying loose ends last minute etc.  Tradition certainly plays a role, although, I am convinced that the average bride and groom are probably not familiar with the true beginning of having attendants.  Moral and emotional support given by the party on this important day is definitely a reason to have close friends around.  The end result is a nice support system of friends that always end up having a laugh and a good time!  It seems like a very nice tradition and a way to bond with friends!

Denver Wedding Photographers – Denver wedding Sample Slideshow

Check out our new website!

I was putting together a sample slideshow for a corporate client recently, and decided to test out the software on a recent wedding we shot in Denver, at Artwork Network (see the blog post below for the pics).  What do you think?

The Money Dance

Check out our new website!

Ahhhh the money dance.  I have always know it to be a dance that the male guests dance with the bride and the female guests dance with the groom.  Traditionally a dollar was pinned to the bride by every partner, but in more recent times, I have seen the best man collect the dollars…so no pins.  I come from an area of strong Italian decent and these are the weddings where I would see the dollar dance.  Also, New York weddings seem to strongly favor the dance.

After witnessing more weddings as I go along; I don’t think the money dance is reserved for Italian descent, the Spanish, Greek and Polish seem to use this tradition as well!  The dance does offer the bride and groom a chance to have a personal visit with all of their guests.  So, instead of roaming around visiting your guests whilst they are eating, you can turn to the money dance.  The best man and maid of honor will limit the time of the individual dances to a couple spins around the floor so that you, the bridal couple, have and opportunity to dance and visit with everyone.  If the money dance feels awkward or tacky to you, how about the money collected goes to your favorite charity?  Win, win, you get to visit all the guests and the money goes to a good cause.  Or, if you are on a strict budget, then embrace the dance and keep the money for your honeymoon! …it is just a buck after all!

It turns out that the money dance seems to have originated in Poland in the early 1900’s.  So, as customs and traditions go, it is a relatively new tradition.  Many cultures employ the dance as it turns out and  in the United States, there are areas where the dance is very popular, as well as areas that it is unheard of.  Basically, in all the cultures, it is just a way to give and extra dollar to the bride and groom which represents a wish of good luck and prosperity, and, of course offers an opportunity for a personal visit.

I am going to go ahead and show you what is on wikepedia since there is such variety, and I would not want you to miss out on all of the potential origins!  Here it is:


The money dance may have originated in Poland around the beginning of the 20th century. The dance takes place some time after the First dance, often once guests have had a chance to have a few drinks. The best man or MC or the disc jockey announces the event. Customarily, the best man begins dancing with the bride, pinning money onto her wedding gown or putting it into a purse, which she carries especially for the purpose, or into the pockets of an apron she dons over her gown especially for this dance. In a more contemporary version of this custom, the dance includes bridesmaids and other ladies who dance .


At Ukrainian weddings, the father of the bride usually begins pinning money on her dress. He is followed by the best man and groomsmen, and, finally, by the remainder of the male guests. Another variation is where the bride’s veil is removed and given to the maid of honor and an apron is placed on the bride. Money is then placed into her apron during the dance.


At Yugoslavian weddings, instead of pinning the money on the bride’s gown, the male guests give the money to the best man for safe keeping.


At Hungarian and Portuguese weddings[citation needed], the bride takes off her shoes and puts them in the middle of the dance floor. Then the shoes are passed around from guests to guest and each deposits a contribution.

North America


Relatives take turns dancing up to the bride and groom and pinning money on their clothes, which allows the couple to spend a few moments with each of their guests. After the money dance, the groom is ridiculed by his friends, tossed in the air while being covered with the veil, and given an apron and broom.

United States

In America, practice of a money dance varies by geographic region and ethnic background of the families involved. It typically involves guests giving small sums of cash to the bride or pinning cash to her gown or veil. Even cultures that accept this may balk at paying the groom for his time and attention, so alternatives have developed, such as “paying” the groom with play money or a stick ofchewing gum. Some consider this a way for the bride and groom to have face time with their guests. Many, including traditional North American etiquette experts, consider the practice incorrect.[1]

This has led to some couples calling it the honeymoon dance instead of a dollar dance or money dance. Some couples have even called it the dime dance and have put dimes under each person’s plate or in a small bowl on each table so that guests won’t feel obligated to ‘pay’ for a short dance with the bride or groom, while still giving them the opportunity to spend 30–60 seconds chatting and dancing with them.

The Philippines

At some Filipino weddings, the money dance is usually announced; males line up in front of the bride, pinning money on her dress or veil, then dance with her. Same with the male, only females line up instead. Money is pinned or taped onto the new married couple’s garments, representing the wish that good fortune is “rained” upon them, while also helping the couple financially as they begin their life together.

Tradition Of The Wedding Ring

Check out our new website!
Did you ever wonder about your wedding ring?  Why do you wear it on your third finger?  Did we always wear wedding rings; cavewomen too? Why do we wear wedding rings?
Wedding rings are not worn on the third finger in all cultures, In parts of India, the wedding ring is worn on the thumb.  In 3rd century Greece, the index finger was for your wedding ring.  Romans OR Greeks, it is not clear whom, believed the vein in the “ring” finger, third finger, runs directly to the heart, and therefore should be worn there.  Furthermore on the wedding day, the wedding band is put on first so that it is closest to the heart.  Symbolically it is done so because the marriage is a bigger commitment than the engagement.
It was the ancient Egyptian who established the custom of placing a ring on the finger of his wife, as a sign that he had confidence in her ability to care for his house. The Greek and Roman bridegroom often gave a ring to the bride’s father-a practice that was probably a survival of primitive bride purchase.

It was not until about 860 that the Christians used the ring in marriage ceremonies; even then, it was not the simple plain band as we know it. It usually was highly decorated with engraved doves, lyres, or two linked hands. The Church discouraged such rings as ‘heathenish’ and, around the 13th century, wedding and betrothal rings were considerably simplified, and given a more spiritual look. The spiritual aspect was conveyed by Bishop Durant when he declared that wedding bands were a “symbol of the union of hearts.” In the U.K., the people believed so strongly in the necessity for a ring that if a groom were too poor to buy one, he rented one for the occasion.

 A little more about the ring:  The circle was the symbol of eternity, with no beginning or end, not only to the Egyptians, but many other ancient cultures. The hole in the center of the ring also had significance. It wasn’t just considered a space, but rather a gateway, or door; leading to things and events both known and unknown. To give a woman a ring signifies never-ending and immortal love.

These rings were made of materials such as reeds, grasses, plants etc. and didn’t last very long and soon were substituted with rings made of leather, bone or ivory. The more expensive the material, the more love shown to the receiver; the value of the ring also  demonstrated the wealth of the giver.

The Roman’s also eventually adopted this tradition but with their own twist. Rather than offering a ring to a woman as a symbol of love, they awarded them as a symbol of ownership. Roman men would “claim” their woman with the giving of a ring.  It is also said that the Romans were the first to engrave their rings.

This research seems a little dry and uninteresting.  But over and over, the same themes came up.

The Following Is A Brief History Of Engagement Rings According To Readers Digest:

Pre-History: The caveman tied cords made of braided grass around his chosen mate’s wrists, ankles, and waist, to bring her spirit under his control.

Circa 2800 BC: Egyptians are buried wearing rings made of a single silver or gold wire on the third finger of their left hands, believed to be connected directly to the heart by the vena amoris.

2nd Century BC: According to Pliny the Elder, the groom gives the bride first a gold ring to wear during the ceremony and at special events, then an iron ring to wear at home, signifying her binding legal agreement to his ownership of her.

1st Century BC: Puzzle rings first appear in Asia, where sultans and sheiks use them to tag each of their wives.

1477: In one of the first recorded uses of a diamond engagement ring, Archduke Maximilian of Austria proposes to Mary of Burgundy with a ring that is set with thin, flat pieces of diamonds in the shape of an “M.”

1800s: The highly sentimental Victorians make jewelry from human hair, and use gemstones to spell out names or endearments, such as a D-E-A-R-E-S-T ring set with a sequence of diamond, emerald, amethyst, ruby, emerald, etc.

1867: Diamonds are discovered in the Cape Colony (now a province in South Africa), the beginning of a huge increase in the diamond supply.

1880: Cecil Rhodes, who arrived in South Africa in 1873, founds the DeBeers Mining Company with other investors. Within the decade, they will control 90 percent of the world’s diamond production.

1886: Tiffany & Co. introduces the “Tiffany setting,” a six-prong ring designed to maximize a diamond’s brilliance by raising it up from the band.

1890s: Affordable wedding rings and diamond engagement rings appear in mail-order catalogs, such as Sears & Roebuck.

1920s: Manufacturers and retail jewelers try to launch the concept of men’s engagement rings, which sinks like a lead balloon.

Early 1940′s: Engagement rings become the leading line of jewelry in most department stores.

2000: Amid growing concern over human rights violations associated with their trade, the diamond industry creates the World Diamond Council to develop and oversee a tracking system that will “prevent the exploitation of diamonds for illicit purposes such as war and inhumane acts.”

2002: According to a Fairchild Bridal Group Study, more than a third of couples buying diamond engagement rings spend at least two months’ salary.

This research seems a little dry and uninteresting.  But over and over, the same themes came up.  I think that the origin and tradition seems a little blurry to me….or maybe it just changed a lot from what it means now in 2012.  I think that we (I will speak for us here in the U.S. only) wear wedding rings as symbols.  They symbolize ever lasting, never-ending love and commitment, just like the ring has no beginning or end.  The ring expresses something about our tastes in jewelry, for some it expresses status.  For sure it is an outward symbol that demonstrates commitment and fidelity.  And privately, the rings signify a symbol of love, promises and dreams that the couple will share for the rest of their lives

Denver Engagement Session in Lodo








Check out our new website!

I was just going through and editing my blog when I noticed this blog post didn’t have any text.  We photographed this engagement session in downtown Denver, in Lodo.  You could not have asked for a more beautiful day!

Allow me to go off on a tangent here…  we do a lot of our “urban” photo shoots in Lodo.  It has so many locations to shoot at in a very small radius, making it very productive for the time we spend with our clients.  It also has architectural elements that match our style of photography, from rusty metal textures & brick, to  not so pretty alleys.  We love to utilize these gritty elements to contrast our pretty, good looking clients.  Again, check out our website to see more images that display what I’m trying to describe.

The Cake, And The Smashing Of The Cake On To Your Betrothed’s Face

Are you going to smash that piece of cake onto your love’s face?


According to Mental Floss Magazine  what may have been the predecessor to the very first cake smashing was: the breaking of bread over the bride’s head (circa Roman Empire).  Back in the day, the groom would help himself to a bite of barley bread and then the remainder of the loaf was held above the brides head and then broken.  She enjoyed a shower of crumbs and a soul-crushing message of her husband’s male dominance; as it symbolized the breaking of the bride’s virginal state and the subsequent dominance of the groom over her.  If you were such a lucky guest, you could pick up a wayward crumb and your reward would be, more luck. Was there a lottery back then?  The tradition evolved as cake emerged onto the scene as the preferred confection for a wedding celebration.  Lucky for the bride, a cake doesn’t behave like a loaf of bread and so it was sliced on a table instead.  Rather than scrounge on the floor for a crumb, guests would stand in line whilst the bride passed tiny, fortune-blessed morsels of cake through, yes this is correct, through her own wedding ring into the hands of the waiting guests.  This tradition evolved (very quickly I would hope!) and thus began the tradition of slicing the cake and giving it to each guest.  But wait, there is more, the guest did not eat the cake because it was to be place under their pillow for good luck.  The ladies were to have sweet dreams of their future husbands.  Who knew flour could produce so much luck!

The custom of tiered cakes emerged from a game where the bride and groom attempted to kiss over an ever-higher cake without knocking it over.  Something about the higher the layer, the greater the fertility?!

So, in the U.S. we have typically a white cake, sometimes a grooms cake of color.  And according to the smashing of cake in the face has gone by the wayside; apparently, ‘in the past’, the cake cutting was anticlimactic and the bride and groom took this boring moment and  livened  up the place by acting out some aggression and smashing the cake onto the others face.  Now a days it is all lovey dovey and a romantic moment, right?  But, traditionally the cake cutting and eating, I did not say smashing, was a symbolic first meal as husband and wife.

I did not know this but states that in the past the cake cutting is used to signal the end of the wedding, the bride and groom would change and be off.  Modern day, the  cake cutting is a segue after which people who want to leave may do so.  As a side note, Dummies adds that the band/DJ should be ready to begin as soon as the cake cutting ends, “— if the music ebbs now, your party is over.”  I think that is some valuable advice!

If you would like to read more details about wedding cake traditions, I thought that Hudson Valley Weddings was very informative!  Check it out if you have a minute.