st. kilda beach family session – melbourne family portraits

Jayden + I both have pretty flippin’ amazing families.

Mine lives in Milwaukee, his lives in Melbourne.  It isn’t always easy to have people you love so far away, but taking photos of them sure does help you smile on days that you’re missing them a lot.

Here’s a sesh we did in Melbourne back in January with Jayden’s big brother, Chris, his gorgeous wife, Laura, + their 4 amazing kids; Mary, Patrick, Cate + Liv.  We sure adore these 6, hopefully you’ll be able to get glimpses of why…

PS … we’ll be back in Melbourne next month, and have 2 spots left for shoots!  If you’re interested, email caroline (at) woodnotephotography (dot) com:)

sometimes when you’re 3, eating the sand to get out of a photo shoot sounds like a really good plan…

it also gets the attention of your three older siblings, so,  win/win, right?

xo.

by Caroline

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free people hippie teepee wedding (brooke + klaus are married!) – indiana wedding photographers

It’s been a long while since we blogged a full wedding, but we still have many from 2013 to share, so here come Brooke + Klaus!  (Remember their engagement sesh from last June?)

A flawless day in a friend’s backyard in Indiana, complete with all things boho-perfection… + a teepee, too!  Here are some words + memories from Brooke + Klaus themselves, and then, check out their day!  

So, we like to joke + say we met at ‘a trashy party’…  We met at a kegger at a friends’ house… Klaus first took note of Brooke [...] + struck up conversation. After a Facebook friend request, and asking some mutual friends about her, he pursued her (literally) and went looking for her at a theatre (where he heard she went every Tuesday night). They went on one date and the rest is history.

Our wedding day was FUN! It was the kind of wedding we would want to attend, and the best part is, it was ours!  We wanted it to be a very free spirited in style and atmosphere, but we didn’t want to lose the meaning, which was deeply spiritual. The vow to each other and to God was most important, and that our guests realized we take no responsibility in the miracle of our love. God brought us together, and by keeping Him first, we know our marriage will be till death.

We bought cheap items from thrift/antique stores and tried to tie them all together [to create our dream aesthetic]. We used hay bales for seating and covered them with vintage afghans, and made all the lights in the trees with mason jars, twine, and candles.

Our favorite moments from the day?  Brooke’s: One of the best moments for me was when Klaus and I were taking communion. We were facing away from the crowd and attempting to drink from a native American double spouted vase. We probably should have practiced because Klaus spilled the red juice onto his white pants. We both couldn’t stop laughing, especially realizing when he turned around the crowd would see a red spot on his pants.What was supposed to be a serious part of the ceremony just ended up being a perfect reflection of our personalities, care free. We can’t be serious even when we try.  Klaus’:  Stage diving into the crowd at the reception! We had the band learn some Walk The Moon songs and nothing gets me more pumped up. 

Any advice for future brides/grooms currently planning their wedding?

Make it your own and don’t stress.  We stayed about 98% stress-free during the planning process and when the big day came, we were able to just enjoy it.  I [Brooke] always hear stories about couples that almost broke up planning their wedding, or that they got into huge fights. I guess it’s a difference in personality, but I just don’t see the point in worrying. What matters most is accomplishing your goal, getting married. Don’t worry so much about flowers and matching napkins, the guests wont remember anyways. Make the love between the two of you what is remembered most.

Ahh!  Love it, guys!  And love you guys!  PS: our favorite wedding moments?  Your sprinkles-filled recessional and your face-painting fun at your reception!  C’mon!  You guys know how to throw a great summer party!  Perhaps make it an annual anniversary celebration?  Just a gentle suggestion;) xx

Brooke’s Dress – Free People

Brooke’s Jewellery – borrowed from friends

Bridesmaids Jewellery- Free People

Ceremony/Reception Venue – friends’ private property

Celebrant/Officiant – Nelson Nyman (grooms brother)

Ceremony Music – Nate Hedges and Birgitta Nyman

Reception Music –  Z28 …a cover band from Chicago

Special Songs from the Day -

Processional: Glosoli” by Sigur Ros, this was chosen because of Brooke’s love for the band and this song. The build up to the climax of the song towards the end (3:40-4:30)is beautiful and whenever Brooke heard this song she thought of how beautiful it would be to create the same suspense on her wedding day, and revealing herself when the instruments reach the peak and come crashing down.

Ceremony: Beautiful Things” by Gungor, this was chosen because of it’s message.. how God takes the dust and creates something beautiful, us.  To us, we looked at that as a symbol for marriage as well. God takes two broken ugly people and brings them together and blesses them.  Although our marriage wont be perfect, it is a beautiful thing when God is at the center.

First dance: We found each other in the dark” by City and Colour.  This album came out during a time we had broken up, and this song in particular was unknowingly each of our favorite songs. It  deeply reminded us of each other.  It is a reminder of the hard times in our relationship, but the refinement process that brought us back together.  The song title says it all

Dad-Brooke Dance: Forever Young” by Bob Dylan, sung by Norah Jones.  This song was chosen because of Brooke + her father’s shared love for Bob Dylan, and the message in the song.

Mom-Klaus Dance: “Love me tender” by Elvis Presley.  This was a tribute to Klaus’ late father, Nathan Nyman, who was a huge Elvis fan.

THink project: wade. los angeles.

Hi, Guys.  Happy Monday, and Happy Last Day of March 2014!  (*where is this year going?)

So, who remembers my personal project?  Y’know, that series where I meet + interview + photograph amazing people with incredible tattoos?  The one I call THink.. the one I haven’t blogged about in an embarrassingly-long time?  Ring any bells?

If so, great!  I’m back.  And I won’t let much time go by again before I post another story.  If you’re new here, welcome!  Check out some the ladies of the previous stories here.

Today marks the very first gent in this project of mine, and quite a dapper one at that!  Everyone, meet Wade.

I actually only met Wade officially on the day of this shoot.  Wade lives in LA + is a part of the Shark Pig entourage [he's crazy-talented], so we had a lot of mutual friends + were even Facebook friends [I know], but it wasn’t until I sent a, “Hey!  Wanna meet + let me photograph you half naked…cuz I guess that’s the only way I can photograph your tattoos?” email that we actually met.  Wade’s story is brilliant + I am so grateful that he allowed me to dream up this shoot, and then ask him so many personal questions!  He’s got gold to share, so check it out.  (And Wade!  Thank you, again!!)

Caroline : So!  The beginning.  When + where did you get your first piece?  Do you still love it?

Wade: My first tattoo was a radiant green four-leaf-clover on my hip which was unspeakably embarrassing. I was seventeen – legally too young – and I wanted something I could hide. I’ve done a number of dumb things in my life. That was one. I had it covered.

 
Are you picky about who you allow to work on you?  Do you go to the same artist(s) a lot?

I return to an artist so long as they don’t overcharge me or give me a scab or something. I’ve had some good artists work on me and I’ve noticed that there’s generally two types of artists – those in it for the gig and those in it for the life. I’m picky. I shop.

 
What’s an estimate of how much you’ve spent on your bod?

Around $10k. 

Which one’s your fave?

One tattoo is very meaningful to me. The Mom and Dad pieces are no-brainers, but the lion on my ribs is a spiritual symbol that I think about often. I got it after a fantastically horrible year – a breakup, super broke, moved to the city, didn’t know who I was…I even came close to death a couple of times. So I got it as a reward to myself for making it through something hard. The following year was one of the best years of my life. The lion is ravaged and has a mandala in his mouth. 

Is there a theme or story you try to follow with your ink, or is each piece individual / random?

It’s always random (except the lion). I don’t usually spend a lot of time thinking about what I want. It’s probably not surprising to hear someone like me say this, but I’m not very forward thinking. I do what I’m inspired to do.

Who designs your tattoos?  Have you designed any of them yourself?

I’ve found that approaching a tattoo artist as a fan and trusting them with your idea gets you a better tattoo. If you explain what you want with explicit detail, their eyes glaze. To them, that’s a job. On the other hand, if you say, “I want a gypsy…so do whatever you think is cool, I trust you,” something different happens. They get excited and make something for their portfolio.

Have you ever gotten matching pieces with anyone?

No. I would though. I’m a sucker for romance. I’d definitely get Shark Pig tattoos with my bros. I think Geoff is the only one that would do it though. The other guys are too responsible.

What’s the most common question people ask you / make comments about?

When I was young and living in the south I was interrogated every day.

I got lucky and scored a job at a well known privately owned restaurant. I made good money for a couple of years. But I didn’t learn to dress well until I came to LA and my day-to-day garments usually consisted of flip flops, baggy jeans and t-shirts. Total strangers would approach me and ask all kinds of facetious things like…Do you feel like your children will understand? The southeast is very different from LA. I had stock replies for people like that, such as, “They’ll be more concerned with the fact that their father kills people for a living.”

These days I get a lot more compliments. People see a well dressed person with a lot of work holding a nice camera and they think they’re an artist. It’s still judgement, but it’s positive. To those people I mention that I’m lucky that I’m able to look however I want, then change the subject. Because to be honest, I don’t like talking about tattoos unless I’m really talking about them, and your next questions allow me to do that.

 Tell me a story about one of your pieces.  (Anything.  You choose.)

I don’t know why I got so many. It started as one thing and became another. I used to just want to look different. I guess that’s a peacock complex. But then it became a weird armor.

I can be way too nice sometimes and I’ve been taken advantage of. I was also bullied a lot in grade school and to this day if I get teased by someone that’s not a close friend I might think about it for days. So tattoos used to be a way for me to create some distance between me and people.

Then it became this way for me to prove something to myself. Tattoos gave me a ton of confidence. To sit still and focus on something so painful and know I did something that a lot of people can’t or won’t…that really grounded me. I got my elbows down my wrists on both arms covered in two days. I wanted to see if I could do it…and I was definitely trying to impress my girlfriend.

So, I didn’t get tattoos because my friends got them, I didn’t get them to rep my hood or even to signify important things in my life. I rushed into every single tattoo. I didn’t care what it was, I just wanted something.

Sometimes I look at my body in the mirror and feel entirely unable to relate to my reflection. Sometimes it’s unsettling, but I admire myself for being the audacious and wayward young man I was. Having a buttoned-down life was never an option.

What’s next?  Is there one you’re in the middle of / one you have planned?

I’m at my first hiatus. My last tattoo was the big snake on my stomach. Prepping for it, I thought, “I’m heavily tattooed…so a huge piece on my stomach won’t be a big deal.”

It was the most painful tattoo ever. I was just laying there on my back trying to think about work…things I wanted to get done…women…and I remember thinking a lot about marriage and what it means to say you’ll spend forever with someone and how incredibly gutsy that is…and then I suddenly kept thinking, “What am I doing? What am I actually doing right now? What purpose does this have? Who or what is it in me that wants to go through this?” And I didn’t have any answers. So I let the guy finish, told him I’d be back soon and never returned.Until I find an answer I won’t get another one. Except maybe Shark Pig tattoos. Maybe my needs are being fulfilled in other ways, or maybe I’ve lost interest.

Any words of wisdom you’d like to pass on — either related to ink, or totally random?

Sometimes deliberately placing yourself in a risky situation can be one of the most positive and life affirming experiences you’ll ever have. I didn’t know what I was doing when I was doing it, and things are clearer in retrospect. But I was aware that I was doing something hazardous to my future and it made me feel more present and focused.

Sometimes you have to scare yourself out of apathy. Sometimes loving yourself means not accepting your own bullshit. Do you love yourself enough to question yourself? If you’re in a super comfortable situation, that might be a terrible thing.

Not everyone is this way, but I think people who don’t know what they’re doing or why they’re doing it might benefit from putting pressure on themselves by doing something they want to do and not considering the consequences (with utmost integrity). I’m not saying go K.O. your boss if that’s what you’ve been thinking about for the past ten years, but maybe you should have that cosmetic surgery, or maybe you should spend your life savings on a trip to the Antarctic. It should be something that’s hard to explain to people that care about you, and something that puts financial, societal, emotional or SOME kind of pressure on you. You may start solving life mysteries pretty quick. I’m not saying I have, but I know it’s helped me. Necessity is the mother of invention.

- Or it’s terrible and uninvited advice, and you should dismiss as something said by a guy that’s covered in tattoos.

in a PS side note, fitting a blowup swan in car after it has been blown up is nearly impossible.  also, my brother Robert made this time lapse video of us giving life to the one we named Swan Ronson…

Swan Ronsan from Robert Ingraham on Vimeo.

by Caroline

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san francisco city hall engagement shoot at sunrise (liz + kyle are engaged!) – san francisco wedding photographers

If San Francisco ever needed a ‘real-life couple to use as marketing for why to visit/live in that great city’, they should look no further than Liz + Kyle.

Why?  Let me tell you:

  1.  They met at Stanford.  (Liz first wrote to me, “I’m in love. And engaged! To a lovely boy from Lake Oswego.  I grew up as a synchronized swimmer*. Kyle was a basketball player. We met the very first day of freshman year of college in our dorm’s lounge. I spotted him across the room, and he’s been the one every since…”  C’mon!  That’s rom-com material right there!)
  2. She works at Google / he works at Twitter.  Again, total poster couple for SF!  (Please tell me you hovered over the hyperlinks + laughed at me just then…?!)
  3. They live in the Mission … AKA the best part of town … and they invite their previously-stranger photographers to have sleep-overs pre-sunrise shoots!  They even serve these once-strangers [us] cheese + wine, and chat far too late into the night!  (*Read: at one point during the night, the topic of Beyonce’s thighs came up [#HOWCOULDTHEYNOT] when Liz casually mentioned that Beyonce had flown her to the Dominican Republic to swim her synchronized magic for Jay-Z’s 40th birthday.  No lie.  This girl has some killer stories up her sleeve!  I drooled, just a lil bit.)  Seriously, we had such a good time getting to know them a bit.  And that was even before we got them in front of our cameras..!

Liz + Kyle are getting married in Sonoma in August (read: they checked our availability before they booked their venue … #dreamcouple.  I had to hashtag.  For Kyle.  For Twitter.) but they were also in love with the idea of a City Hall wedding, so we had to create that a little bit during their engagement sesh.  (No, they did not elope.  We promise.)

These two make up one gigantic powerhouse of creativity, love + positivity, and we are seriously over-the-moon-thrilled that they found us / chose us to capture this season of their life together.  Let these chirp up your Monday!  xo

san francisco engagement shoot (niki + nick are engaged!) – san francisco wedding photographer

 

We rendezvoused with Niki + Nick in San Francisco a few weeks back for a lil engagement-sessioning at sunset.

They made our jobs easy.  Just look at them!  [Disclosure: we started the sesh with beers + wrapped with champagne.  Sometimes we drink on the job, but our photos are still in focus, OK?]

These two are getting married later this year at the Holman Ranch in beautiful Carmel, California, and we are stoked!  Check out a few of our faves from our time with these two lovebirds, and have a super happy weekend!  xo