Friday, December 31, 2010

Last Year's Resolutions: How'd I do???

Hey everybody!

Today completes the 2nd full year of blogging every single day! Yay! That was part of one of my 2010 resolutions, so I thought I'd see how I did on the rest of my resolutions, which I posted in this blog post.

#1: Lose weight. I wanted to get back to weighing 160 (from 185), which I've now done! I currently weigh 158. I hope to share my diet with you soon!

#2: I want to get super great at cooking! Done!! I've been cooking every night and my recipes are getting more and more advanced! I've also prepared TWO cooking blog posts to put on here of some of my favorite things.

#3: Get published in a national magazine. Done!! We were recently published in Eco Beautiful Weddings, a national wedding magazine that tailors to Eco chic brides.
We were also featured in some pretty cool local/regional magazines again in 2010.
Citiscapes double feature

And then the cool double feature in Arkansas Bride:

#4: Put on another workshop for moms. Done!! We sold out TWO more workshops for moms, as well as the Italy workshop for professional photographers. YESSSSS!!!

#5: Blog a few more personal things instead of all work. Done!! From first day of school to birthday party to the letter to my brother, I've definitely been showing my true colors on here.
One of my favorite personal posts
And one about Mere

#6: Start a wedding planning blog for guys. NOT done. I bought the domain, but then I decided I would just put up some things on this blog that could help. I still think it's a good idea, but I lost steam on this project.

#7: Be a better friend to my friends. Done! I've reconnected with my lifelong best friend Tom, made a new best friend (hi Nic!) as well as made lots of new photographer friends.


#8: Go even more above and beyond for my wonderful clients. Done!! In addition to the Benny Awards, we've been doing lots of secret things for our clients. I think they love us! :)


#9: Double the amount of charity I gave this year. Done!! This was one of the hardest to do, because it's not like we doubled our income, and we bought a house. However, we were able to do it! No need to disclose the amount, but I'm happy to say that we succeeded in giving back this year!
Here are a couple of the charities: River To Well, Art Feeds, and f/stop breast cancer.

#10: Blog for 500 straight days. Done! Here's the proof. I'm actually on day 730!!!
I also made it to my 1000th blog post!



So, how'd I do? 9 out of 10!!!! That's an "A" in my book! I've been really blessed and have had a great year. But my secret to keeping resolutions is that I view it more as a promise to myself. I feel like I can't break a promise to myself because then I might break a promise to someone else. I can't be that person!


Here are a couple things I couldn't have even predicted that happened in 2010:
I was on the Morning Show!
I was a featured speaker at WPPI!
I won some cool contests and stuff, this one being one of my faves.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I'm in the process of making my 2011 goals/resolutions, so I'll be posting them soon (along with my wedding diet). :)

What are your resolutions?

Talk to you soon,
Dale

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Top 10 of 2010!

Hey friends!

I did the impossible: I narrowed down 363 blog posts to my favorite 10! I couldn't narrow down the weddings and engagements - that would be impossible with all our fabulous weddings and fun couples (it's like saying you have a favorite child), but I did put a couple of my favorite projects below. Besides, the Benny Awards voting goes live in a couple days and that's what that is for. So, here we go! Here are my top 10 of 2010...

#10... I shot the COOLEST wedding in New York City. Okay, so I know I said this wasn't going to be full of weddings and engagements, but I couldn't not put this in here, so I put it as #10. :) Forgive me.
Here's a blog post about it.


#9... I was IN a wedding! Of course, I still had to photograph the wedding. ;)


#8... Ellie's Anthropologie sessions here and here. How about a sneak peek:


#7... My brother went for a job and didn't get it. Upset, I wrote him this letter.


#6... Meredith and I went to Italy! We had to plan our wedding, so of course we had to take a trip over there. ;) Here's a post about it, and another.


#5... Ellie rocks at photographing her own portrait sessions. Ellie accompanied me to a kiddo portrait session and totally rocked it out.


#4... The infamous RAIN session.




#3... We announced OUR wedding photographer! My good friend Becker from Cali is coming to Italy with us to capture us at the Four Seasons in Florence as we say I do!


#2... Elizabeth started kindergarten! Read all about it!


#1... WE BOUGHT A HOUSE!!! Our favorite realtor Holly Ramage rocked for us and got us a KILLER deal on a FABULOUS house that we ab-so-lute-ly LOOOOOOOVE! I feel so blessed to have such a wonderful place for my family.
Here's another blog post, and another, and another




Meredith and I (and Ellie) would like to thank you fabulous blog readers for all your support and love this year. We've been so encouraged by your comments and feedback. Here's to a really great 2011!

Talk to you soon,
Dale

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Danny and Wendy's Thorncrown Chapel Wedding

Hey everybody!

When Danny decided he wanted to propose to Wendy, he was in Afghanistan. So, he asked her while he had his mother present her with a ring! Isn't that the best?

Danny and Wendy are SUCH a sweet couple that is TOTALLY in love! Meredith and I headed to Eureka Springs to photograph them getting ready at the Crescent Hotel, and then their ceremony at Thorncrown Chapel. It was unseasonably warm so we were able to get lots of great outdoor portraits. Have a look at this sweet intimate wedding...


Talk to you soon,
Dale

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Kimberly's Bridal Portraits

Hey everybody!

Today is a fun example of using off-camera lighting to make portraits go WOWZA. :) Kimberly, our fashion-forward bride from earlier this year, wanted something a little unique and different for her bridals. No problem!

Here are a few of my favorites...

Talk to you soon,
Dale

Monday, December 27, 2010

Katy and Jose's Arkansas wedding

Hey everybody!

Here are we are... another edition of "catch up" :)  Today is a long-awaited post of Katy and Jose Valdez, who were married this summer in Rogers, AR.  I wanna share both the details and some of their super gorgeous portraits.
I'm kind of impressed with these...
NFL player + Summer heat = HOT pictures, but they don't look overheated.  We work fast (especially when it's really hot or really cold) and still get some really great portraits.

Katy and Jose were married at Chapel on the Creeks in Rogers, which is where we did their portraits (it's really a great spot for shooting!)

I hope you enjoy, and sorry my lovely blog readers for making you wait so long to see these images. :D

Talk to you soon,
Dale









- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Dallas Secret Sessions: Two Spots Left!

Hey everybody!

Don't worry, today's post is safe to view if you're at work. :)

Meredith has a two-day secret session (boudoir) marathon in Dallas January 7th and 8th and she has two open spots left! Email her asap if you're wanting a spot. meredithmmclary@gmail.com

For more on her boudoir, check out her website: arkansasboudoir.com

Talk to you soon,
Dale

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Best Present I'll Ever Give

Hey everybody!

I pumped Ellie up for her Christmas present by telling her, "This Christmas I'm going to give you the best present that I'll ever give you."

To a six-year-old girl, that's true. Sure, I give her safety, security, unconditional love, tools to be successful, etc. But that's going to go unnoticed for about 20 or 30 years.

So, today, I gave Elizabeth a trip to Paris.

France.

Ellie loves all things fancy, loves the Eiffel Tower (it was probably her third spoken word), and Paris. To symbolize my gift (since I can't give her an airplane), I found these PERFECT "walking adventure cards"
at my FAVORITE store, Anthropologie.

We're going while we're already in Europe, the day after the wedding. I thought, "hey, we're already most of the way here... we might as well do it now!"

Ellie agreed.

Merry Christmas!
Dale

P.S. Every year, Meredith and I sing at her parents' church. This year, a friend video'd the performance! So, I thought I'd post it here (thanks to Kelly for the video) - sorry it's super hard to hear my guitar in the video...

First_Noel from Dale Benfield on Vimeo.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Help Us Pick Our Honeymoon!

Hey friends - and family - and fellow photogs - and stalkers! :)

We need some help! Our friends Sarah and Tracee at
Destinations showed us some places that fit our criteria (all-inclusive, not too far away, has a beach, and no kids) and we're having a TOUGH time deciding! We thought we'd let YOU help us!

Here are the four choices, followed by a poll to cast your vote:

El Dorado Casita Suites




Excellence Playa Murjeres
http://www.excellence-resorts.com/caribbean-and-mexico-destinations/excellence-playa-mujeres

Secrets Punta Cana
http://www.secretsresorts.com/sanctuary/index.asp

Zoetry Punta Cana
http://www.zoetryresorts.com/Agua/index.html




Thanks for your help! We'll probably let it go for a few days, but we need to get this puppy booked!

Talk to you soon,
Dale

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Playing Catch-up: Stacey's Pratt Place Bridals

Hey everybody!

The year is ending and I still have shoot from the year to blog! Yikes! I was going through the year, and I have two weddings and two bridals that I wanted to blog and haven't! So, I'll be playing catch up in the midst of my Christmas posts.

Today's post is of Stacey's bridals at Pratt Place Inn and Barn in Fayetteville. Stacey is one of those girls that just radiate fun and sweetness. Photographing her bridals was easy and fun. Here we go with a couple of my favorites.
Talk to you soon,
Dale

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Arkansas Bride Double Featured Our Wedding!

Hey everybody!

It's kind of like feature week! Everyday I wake up with more good news in my inbox!

For the 2nd year in a row, Arkansas Bride has selected one of our weddings for their Spring/Summer lead feature - the feature that gets FOUR pages of yummy pics! Yay!!


I was so honored when they mentioned they wanted to run Luke and Lauren's fabulous wedding as the feature in their upcoming issue (it was hard to keep my lips zipped). One of the things I love the most about this is it was only a few short years ago that I had to pay lots of moolah for an ad in the magazine and now I get to show off some of the fabulous weddings we shoot, for free! Yaya!!!

In addition, they also used some of our images for their "favorite things" spreads:

Pick up the latest copy of Arkansas Bride to hold a copy in your hands. Magazines are more fun in your hands, aren't they?

Talk to you soon,
Dale

Stone Chapel at Matt Lane Farm wedding: Anna and Shelton

Hey everybody! Wonderful wonderful. That's how I want to describe Anna and Shelton's wedding day at the Stone Chapel at Matt La...