How to get that pesky bouquet toss...

By Jennifer Marlowe Marvin in for photographers denver wedding photography

As much as I try to just post sneak peeks from my most recent shoots, I also want to give back to the photography community or even just some moms at home who want to take better photos of their kids.  All that to say,  I'll show you pretty pictures in this post along with a few tips.    If you've been to a wedding or event I photograph you'll usually notice that I work with a two speedlight set-up.  It allows me to use lighting in so many more ways than just the average, normal on camera flash.   Here is fun example of what I'll show you in this post, so keep reading.  (Yes I know I drug the shutter so it's a little "blurry", and yes I meant to do it!)


For photog's:  

Invest in good flashes.  I shoot with 2- 580 EX II's.  I've heard the 600 EX-rt's are fabulous, but for now my EX II's work incredibly for me.

Secondly, invest in good battery packs for those flashes.  It is imperative to have a battery pack so that your flash will fire when you want it to every time (or almost every time!).  If you don't have a battery pack on both flashes, you'll find that you'll catch one only good photo instead of 5 or 6.

For the for-fun photogs:  

Find a good flash for about $100 and keep reading the upcoming blog posts about how to use it well!  I promise I'll show you some tips on how to use it with portraits :)

Okay... now back to the actual point behind this post.  When you're in a big dark room (aka a wedding reception) and you have subjects that you want to be evenly lit while being 10-15 feet from each other you have a dilemma.  With an on-camera flash you can only really light the subject closest to you.   That is when that second flash comes in handy!  

I always stand within a few feet of the bride or groom with my Canon 5D Mark II,  Canon 580 EX II and my Gary Fong diffuser and then have my off-camera flash set up about 10 feet to the right or left of where I'm standing.  See the photo above, where at the very right of the picture you can see my flash firing and where it is positioned.   Also notice that I have it on a light stand about 8 ft in the air, pointing straight towards the Bridesmaids.  The flash is far enough away that it wasn't too harsh on the group of ladies :)   

Also a quick tip I'll share that I learned from Melissa Jill (fabulous wedding photog in Phoenix),  you should place the off-camera flash at 1/16 or 1/32 and then adjust your camera settings and on-camera flash settings for the environment you're in.  It will allow you to have more control.

I hope that gives a little insight into a 2 light setup and how to better use it at a wedding!

Katy & Steve {Highlands Ranch Mansion Wedding}

By Jennifer Marlowe Marvin in denver wedding photography denver engagement photography

There is always something magical about photographing a wedding.  I'm not sure if it's the raw, pure love that you see while standing before a crowd or possibly witnessing the joyous family that comes together for the first time in years for a beautiful occasion.  All I do know is that photographing a wedding is an experience that is such an honor to document.   Now,  I must preface that normally I post about 5 or 6 sneak peek photos and for this wedding I just couldn't choose.  So without further adieu...

Katy and Steve are two people who I can physically SEE the love exuding from them.  They are so kind hearted and, by golly gosh, does that boy love her!!!  

They each wrote love letters to each other and both of them had a hard time holding it together while reading it.  How sweet right?!

Katy and Steve met in Vegas and after a year of getting to know each other and being friends they decided to start dating.   Steve knew Katy was the girl for him after a few dates and Katy fell in love with Steve right before he left for Basic Training.  You see, Steve is an active duty military officer and Katy is a financial analyst so while away at basic training their love grew. 

Aren't these flower girls just BEAUTIFUL!!!???

Steve had a very hard time holding back tears throughout the entire ceremony and it was just the most endearing ceremony ever.

Their beautiful wedding was held at the Highlands Ranch Mansion and could you ask for a better venue?!  I couldn't!  Not only was the location a winner, but the staff and management were also wonderful to work it! 

A quick side note,  a huge thanks for my second shooter Katie Bradshaw of KB Digital Designs.  The above photo was taken by her :)  Thanks for being an integral part of the day!

The Perfect Wedding Checklist: 

Adorable couple- check

Mansion- check

A fabulous Rolls Royce- check

Surrounded by fabulous friends and family- check!

This couple made their wedding day exactly what they wanted it to be and it turned out to be stunning! 

Katy & Steve specifically wanted a few artsy landscape photos to document their day and the below image I thought captured their personalities :)

On to the reception with a vintage wine theme, cowboy boots to finish off Keith Urban first dance song, and additionally a photobooth for their friends and family to have fun with!

Such a great party you two!!!  Congratulations and I hope you enjoy your relaxing 2 week honeymoon!!!

The vendors that made it happen:

Wedding Venue:  Highlands Ranch Mansio n, Wedding Planning: Cielle Amundson of      Storytellers Events      ( DJ: Dani Zerbib/ Dress: The Bridal Collection/ Cake: Natalie at the Sugar Bakeshop/ Caterer: Patrick at Rocky Mountain Catering/ Floral Design: Littleton Downtown Floral/ Groom's Clothing: Al's Formal/ Videography: Stephen Veals Officiant: Pastor Cory, Deer Creek Church/ Photo Booth: Center Stage Photo Booth


History Colorado Center | Rocky Mountain MS Center Gala 2012

By Jennifer Marlowe Marvin in denver wedding photography denver event photography

Multiple Sclerosis is a disease that is very close to my heart.   My hope is that tomorrow they find a cure for it and not just a cure, but also a way to restore the damage that was previously done.  I know that's a big bill to ask for, but I completely believe it is possible.  A few years back, my dad was diagnosed with MS and ever since then my family has been participating in numerous MS walks, fundraisers, and throwing our won events to raise money for MS.  To see some fun photos from the MS walk this year, click here.   So, I decided that not only did I want to throw a benefit to help MS research (we raised $2000!)  but I also wanted to donate my time to photograph a few events that are key to the  Rocky Mountain MS Center.  

The Rocky Mountain MS Center's Annual Gala was held at the History Colorado Center last Saturday and I was blown away at the amount of money that was raised!!!  I witnessed $75,000 donated in a matter of minutes.  Thank you to everyone who helped reach that goal.   Here are just a few photos from the event.   Also,  for all of you Brides out there...  The History Colorado Center is an AMAZING Colorado wedding venue and could be a stunning location for you big day :)

After attending this event as a photographer,  I am going to tell everyone I know to buy a ticket for the event next year!  Kudos to Katie Mills who planned this event and for everyone else at the MS Center who contributed their time and talents.  It was a stunning event and can't wait until next year.  


How to fake studio light

By Jennifer Marlowe Marvin in for photographers denver wedding photography

Recently,  I find myself reading the blogs of other photographers who are a wealth of information.  When I say read, I mean, I read it, then come back to it a day later and read it again... So,  after reading Sue Bryce's Blog, watching some video tutorials about how she uses light I thought it was about time that I did a styled shoot of my own.  I wanted to share with you how easy it is to create fantastic lighting WITHOUT studio lighting!  (yes I truly mean without ANY lighting at all)  

Sue Bryce,  thank you for the inspiration to try out your lighting techniques!  (  I hope posing gets easier. :)  It's wonderful to play around with new poses and to have a fabulous model who is willing to do anything to help make a shot!  A big shout out to Ely Hemmes,  you are absolutely stunning and could photograph you all day long!!!  And also a huge shout out to Jolene Picone, owner/creator/designer of J. Picone ( who provided us with the lovely head pieces you'll see in the shots!  They make beautiful headpieces, birdcage veils/blushers, and decorative bridal belts.

Ideally, I would have loved to have a studio with tall ceilings, wood floors and a GIANT window, but when that's not possible you have to figure out how to do what you want without.  We set up this shoot in my backyard under our awning.  With the awning you have the side of the house and 3 exposed sides to natural light.  I wanted no more than 2 so I set up my backdrop right next to the house... Because this all sounds confusing I drew a picture...  Just smile at nod and how elementary it it.  I don't claim to be a drawing artist but rather behind the camera :)

Below is a diagram of exactly HOW we shot the images you see here.  Once, again I am no artist but hopefully it will give you an idea of how to create a studio-type feel with just you, a subject and your camera.  Oh and also a reflector.  Now, some of you may think well I don't have a reflector, but here's the thing... you can go to wal-mart and buy a $5 white foam board and use that as a reflector.  It's cheap and easy to use!  When you're using a reflector you want to use it to bounce light onto your models face from the natural light.  It's subtle, but does the job well!


If you have any comments or questions just leave a comment and I'll get back with you!! Happy Saturday!!  

I'm off to go photograph the MS Center's Gala :)  It should be a blast!


How a good florist can complete the day

By Jennifer Marlowe Marvin in denver wedding photography

After photographing and being a guest at quite a few weddings over the years,  I've come to know that a wedding doesn't NEED to have flowers.  I have noticed, however that flowers can add that last little touch of detail to your day without being too extravagant and too expensive. 

Honestly, when I was getting married I was under the mindset that flowers weren't necessary and more of a "splurge" item.  And while yes, flowers can be expensive and can be low on a bride's priority list here are a few reasons why I've changed my mind.

#1: A great florist will be able to capture who you are

Elizabeth from Fleur de Liz Weddings captured one of my brides perfectly through her bouquet.  The bride loved very earthy, organic products and she wanted it to have a calming feel to add to her day.  She also didn't want it to be too traditional so this is what Elizabeth designed.  Beautiful right?!

#2:  That little pop of color in your photos is always stunning

Take these orchids into consideration!  A very simple arrangement, but it just speaks to the excitement and energy this couple exuded together.  It was perfect for them and obviously made their photos pop!

#3: Appeal to your senses :)

I don't know about you, but there are certain smells that always bring me back to a certain memory.  My grandfather was a big hunter and lived in South Carolina.  He'd always show me his Turkey calls that were made out of cedar.  Now that he's passed away I sometimes can go back to those memories when I smell any sort of cedar wood.  Much the same, your wedding bouquet can be one of the senses that will help you remember your wedding day for years to come.

#4 An extension of your day

Working with an expert florist who is interested in your details will have the knowledge and expertise to steer you in the right direction.  They'll have ideas that will make your day different than any other couple out there and they'll compliment the hard work you've already put into the planning. 


So, brides if you're looking for a florist in Colorado I have a few to recommend to you!

Erin at Plum Sage in downtown Denver (  

Elizabeth with Fleur de Liz (


Happy planning!

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