Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Ice Skating with Cece!

Hey everybody!

It's always a crap shoot when we decide to do something with Cece that she has never done before. Diagnosed with ASD (Autism), Cece loves structure and not being in new situations.  However, I have found a couple little tricks that make it easier for her to adjust to and be prepared for what's coming.

1) verbally discuss what's going to happen. She gets overstimulated and doesn't like surprising sounds or super loud noises (unless she is expecting them). I talk about everything she might see (kids falling, kids crying, music playing over the speakers). I cap it at the things that are for sure going to take place - no need stressing her out saying that a fire truck might drive by, or whatever.

2) show her a video of what we are doing. In this case there is Mickey Mouse Christmas show that has Minnie Mouse ice skating so we prepared her with that. From teaching, we called this our anticipatory set... and I really think it made Cece EXCITED (instead of fearful). So... it worked! She loved it and had a great time! Even when she goes to the park (which she loves) she is always fine to leave without throwing a fit. But it broke my little heart to see her show sadness when it was time to leave.

Oh well... guess we'll have to go back!

Talk to you soon,

Monday, December 17, 2018

Benfield Photography named Best by The Knot!

Hey everybody!

I'm SO honored to be chosen by The Knot as best wedding photographer for Arkansas.  What's great about this is that my clients are the ones who get me the award, as it's based on number of positive reviews! I love my clients, and I am humbled by some of the things they've said about me this year!  Here are a few standout testimonials from 2018...

"We had the best experience working with Dale for our wedding! He traveled to Atlanta for our engagement shoot and used his amazing eye to make sure we have engagement photos that we loved! He is also so fun to be around, so we had a great time exploring Atlanta that day! He and Tyler were also fabulous at our wedding! We are so happy that we had them with us the entire day as they did not miss anything and so beautifully captured all of the special moments. My family kept going on and on about how fun he was to be around and how he and Tyler were seamlessly a PART of our celebration all the while taking the best photos! While on our honeymoon, my now husband actually said--'Man, I wish Dale was here with us to take pics of all the cool stuff we are doing!'" --Joya

"I couldn’t have imagined having a more perfect photographer for our wedding day. Dale was punctual, professional, courteous... but also helpful, calming and funny. He talked me through the celebratory chaos all while capturing the candid moments you never knew were happening. An amazing photographer, and an even better friend. Thank you, Dale!!" --Heba

"We love our wedding photos! They are so unique and capture every moment of our day from every angle. Dale and his brother put our wedding party at ease while taking photos all day and were never invasive or in the way, but somehow they got shots from every view point! We still love our photos and are thankful we can reminisce on the day through them. Dale is thoughtful, professional and most of all FUN. I really appreciate his laid back demeanor while he still is attentive and gets the job done. I had many guests comment on how they felt like Dale was just another guest at the wedding which is pretty impressive as he was on the job. Thank you, Dale!" --Kathleen

I'm currently booking the rest of 2019 so if you're engaged and looking for a photographer, let's talk!

Talk to you soon,

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Alaska Proposal; The Time I Almost Blew It.

Hey everybody!

Did you ever know something 100% in your heart, but you almost screw it up?  So goes the story of my proposal to Tyler.

First off, there was some work that went into this before we ever hopped on the plane... not only in designing the ring, but also discussing my plan with Tyler's family and with my Ellie.

Designing the ring was a fun process. I knew a little bit about what Tyler wanted (ethically sourced diamond, something vintage-inspired), so I worked with Brilliant Earth and loved my experience.  While the original estimate was 2 months, I was able to sweet talk and streamline the process. The update on my ring was that it would be ready the Friday before we were heading to Alaska - the plan was working perfectly!  Except wait... how would I get the ring? I did some more sweet talking and had them ship it straight to my friend in Alaska.

One of my favorite parts of the entire process was talking with Ellie about it.  Since Tyler and I are rarely apart, it was difficult finding a time to share everything with Ellie without Tyler knowing.  But alas... Ellie's busy schedule and mine finally aligned (albeit via facetime), and I was able to sit down with Ellie and let her in on my plan.

We both laughed and talked about life and how things work out and she shared her heart with me about Tyler and how happy she was for me (bless that girl) and while I won't write everything we discussed,  I did take this sweet screenshot of me sharing the news.  How precious, right?

Ok on to the actual trip... with excited hearts, we made it to Alaska! I've been to Alaska once before to photograph a wedding, but I was traveling solo and didn't get to enjoy it with someone I cared about seeing cool stuff with, and Alaska is the ultimate cool stuff.

I asked Tyler if she would do an Alaska photo shoot with me because my phone is filled with selfies and pictures of her, but none that aren't selfies of the two of us. When she agreed (because duh) I knew I had a cool way for it to be captured on camera. Check.

I spent the two days before the proposal hiking and roaming Alaska with Tyler, and while she thought we were sightseeing, I knew it was because I wanted the perfect backdrop for the knee drop. Lighting was important bc the ring was supposed to arrive around noon so I needed later evening for pretty light, but shooting in Alaska is tricky because of the mountain placement.  However, our hiking efforts were not in vain because I found the perfect spot in the perfect light near the Alyeska resort (more on that later).

So here's where the story takes a turn.  I didn't expect to be a ball of nerves.  On Monday, the day before the proposal, we were exploring downtown Anchorage and I was a bit of a wreck in my head.  All of a sudden we were sitting there having a drink, and it was like I wasn't even in my own body but watching from above... I started a ridiculous argument with Tyler.  And then when we made up, I brought it back up.  Sometimes I can be a complete idiot.  Thankfully, Tyler loves me anyway. See?

Tuesday was proposal day. Right at noon, my friend sent me a text about pictures, which was code for "the ring has arrived and looks beautiful" so it was GO TIME. I tried to move the proposal up to 12:01 to get it out of my mouth, but Tyler (nor I) was picture ready.  We played around town during the afternoon and then checked in to our new hotel (the Alyeska Hotel, which was near the proposal site. It's a wonderful hotel with mountain-top restaurant) to get ready for our photoshoot.

Our friends who were shooting our pictures met us at our hotel, and Sean and I had to use the restroom at the same time; our little cover-up for passing the ring over to me. I had purchased a box from TheMrsBox which I had already hidden in my pants pocket - hoping it wouldn't cause a ridiculous bulge.  Off we go to the site I had chosen.

The light was beautiful. Warm, near-sunsetty light hit us perfectly. I gave Sidra my camera, which I had set for exposure and let her do her thing.  I kept running back and forth from Tyler to Sidra, working up the nerve to do the thing (but pretending to check images on the back of the camera).  Then I did the thing.  I said a few things I'd been wanting to say to Tyler, and she still had no clue. I mean, c'mon... it must be because I'm always so sweet, haha! After I said what I had wanted to say to her, I dropped to a knee and she was so surprised!  It felt wonderful to give her a surprise because 1) she loves surprises and 2) she's kind of awesome at figuring things out before they happen (which, I think, makes her a very good lawyer). Success!

then of course we high-fived (and kissed) because we're completely awesome.

After our photoshoot/proposal ended, I took her up to the mountain-top restaurant. I had made reservations for us and talked to the chef previously so that we could order a vegan meal (there were zero vegan options on the standard dinner menu, but I REALLY wanted to eat at that location, with that view).  The chef didn't disappoint, nor did the view.

 Our view going up the mountain to dinner (above); my sweet fiancee with her ring (below).

The rest of trip, I felt like I was flying. The coolest, funniest, sexiest, most lovely and talented woman I know has said YES to marrying me.  What is life?  I couldn't be more blessed, more thankful, more undeserving, or more excited to marry Tyler.

P.S. If you want to read Tyler's account of the proposal, head to her blog.

Talk to you soon,

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Engagement Pictures in Alaska: Sidra and Sean

Hey everybody!

Before we hopped on a flight, I did a lot of research about where to shoot engagement pictures in Alaska.  With the help of the bride, and a dear friend of mine (hey Sidra!), we narrowed down a few options for the engagement portraits: Beluga Point, Hatcher Pass, and a couple others. After a fun hike the day before, we decided that Beluga Point was the perfect backdrop for engagement portrait heaven.

Though... not that easy to traverse; our shoes were covered in mud (the kind you pay a lot of money for during a spa day). While I didn't mind the messiness, we had to be careful to not get Sidra's clothes messy (because, duh... photo shoot).

Our efforts were not in vain.  The pictures are one of my all-time favorite engagement sessions (and I've shot half a thousand of them), and the couple is one of the most nearest and dearest to my heart. I definitely had extra motivation to knock it out of the park for them.  I think I did, but you be the judge!

Talk to you soon,

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Wedding at Ravington of Paige and Kolby

Hey everybody!

Let me just say that when I typically encounter a Friday wedding that starts earlier in the day... it doesn't typically end the way this did. The Ravington is a gorgeous wedding venue in Bentonville (ok, so technically it's in Centerton, let me be clear). I remember taking the hardhat tour of this wedding venue about 9 months before it opened and was already so impressed with the space.  Since then, I've photographed weddings at the Ravington (and some fashion stuff too) and they absolutely made their dream wedding venue come to life!

You'll see in the detail collage below that the bridal suite is one of the most beautifully lit bridal suites I've ever photographed (see the image of the dress hanging), and the aesthetic throughout the rest of the wedding venue, with its gorgeous chandeliers and, shiplap, exposed brick, and wood floors make this an Arkansas wedding dream.

Paige had the sweetest brides maids who prayed over her during the day and danced around her during the evening.

I love this moment during the wedding ceremony...

My favorite moment of the day: Kolby showing off his bride

Then we stepped outside for a few portraits - aren't they such a pretty couple?

and a fun couple, hahaha!

They stayed on the dance floor the entire night! 

Okay... this is what I meant by a Friday evening wedding getting LIT.

The best... and look to the right at the kid getting his eyes covered, hahaha!

What a fun wedding reception!

Talk to you soon,

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Teen Birthday Pictures in NWA of Ellie B

Hey everybody!

It pains me, and yet gives me the most pride, to say that Saturday was Ellie's 14th birthday.  And what better way to celebrate her than by shooting birthday pictures!  She picked out some outfits and we've chosen a couple new locations in Bentonville for portraits. Yesterday we also photographed at Uptown in Fayetteville and also shot at Onyx in Bentonville.  This young lady... I tell you what... is something remarkable. I can go on and on about how amazing she is and what she means to me (if you follow me on Instagram, you already know this, because I did this on Saturday). The bottom line is this: she is mature and lovely and everything I wish I could be at her age.  Here are her favorites, which SHE edited and uploaded to this blog. :)

Talk to you soon,

Ice Skating with Cece!

Hey everybody! It's always a crap shoot when we decide to do something with Cece that she has never done before. Diagnosed with ASD...