I know that family photos in June, July, and August are not as popular as some of the other milder months. And that's totally understandable. I don't really want a gallery full of photos where I'm sweating my makeup off and have sweat stains on my outfit and everyone is red-faced. But sometimes, summer is the best time to book photos because your family's schedule might be a little more flexible, a little more open. When that's the case, you can absolutely make family photos work and still end up with a beautiful gallery. Just make sure you're working with a photographer who knows how to navigate a hot session.

First off, I always remind my clients about an hour/hour and a half before our session that they should bring cold water bottles for everyone who's in the photos. Depending on the location, we can bring them along or head back to the car for sporadic A/C and water breaks.

Next, I make sure (as the photographer) I get to our location early and get my camera out of the A/C of the car before my clients arrive. Why? If you go straight from the cool of your car to the heat of nature for a session, your lens will fog up and you will have to wait around while your clients stand there sweating. Just make sure your camera acclimates to the heat/humidity before your client is there so that you can start shooting right away.

Lastly, I shoot fast. I have a work flow for any session, whether it's engagement, family, milestone, senior, whatever. When it's particularly hot out, I go through that work flow at a faster rate. I know my choice spots for every location. We get there, we go through our poses, then we move. Then we go through other poses, other combinations of people, then move. We stay in the shade, we take breaks when we need, and we move as quickly as we can. In this particular session, they booked an 'up to an hour' session. I word it that way because I know there are times when we won't go a full hour, but we'll get all the photos we need.

In a typical hour-long session, I deliver between 75-150 images. It all depends on the setting, the number of people, the temperature, the participants' attitudes, etc. This session was booked for an hour. We shot for 30 minutes before everyone got too hot to continue. I delivered 123 images after 30 minutes of shooting. It's not about the length of time. If you have willing participants, a great location, and the motivation to mov quickly, you can get a full gallery in less time.

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Courthouse weddings can take all kinds of forms, and they're all great. If you end your day married to your person, then your day was a success. That will always be my belief. So here's one wedding that took place on a hot Tuesday afternoon, in the middle of Olathe, KS, between photos at a theater and the courthouse and a neighbor's house. It didn't matter that it was a Tuesday afternoon. It didn't matter that the ceremony was at the courthouse. It didn't matter that it wasn't a traditional wedding. All weddings are weddings. All marriages are marriages. All love deserves to be celebrated. And this celebration was no different.

So we had a first look at the theatre across the street from the courthouse because the parents of the groom are friends with the owner of the theatre. The bride and groom were able to see each other for the first time all day in a significant moment together. Then we did couple portraits under the shade of the porch. We then moved to the shade of the courthouse for some more couple portraits photos and family photos. We shot a ton and then got ready to go through security to go in.

We all put our things in the bins at security to go through. We weren't able to take photos of this area, but we took our equipment through so we could photograph everything else. We made our way upstairs (with a quick snap of the happy couple getting on the elevator) to wait for the judge to summon everyone to his quarters. Once we were in, the wonderful judge told us we could take photos wherever we wanted to, so I took full advantage and even went up in the judge's bench for a few shots.

Moral of the story: Courthouse. Church. Event Venue. Park. Beach. Community Center. Are you going to end your day married? That's a wedding day to be celebrated. I don't care what traditions you follow or you don't.

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As a photographer, it is always my goal to tell a story with photos, to capture emotion, to put love into a frame. And I feel fairly confident that I do this well. I'm proud of that. But when a couple shows up in front of my camera and they are SO ready to love, SO ready to show affection, SO ready to tell their love story, SO ready to be authentically themselves, I cannot take credit for it at all. I stand back, I set my camera settings, I click click click, and I watch while love happens in front of my camera. This was one of those sessions. In the East Village, Des Moines, a place I'd never shot before, two beautiful women showed up, completely in love, and they made my job super easy. Here are just a handful of my favorites.