Disney Roots!

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While we loooooooove photographing Epcot weddings and they’re our favorite favorite, we often receive well-meaning inquiries to photograph a family or engagement session inside one of the four Walt Disney World parks, which makes me sort of feel like Dani in the photo below:

Disney Wedding Mickey Minnie Cake Cutting

I’m 99.9% sure Nate and I won’t photograph in-park sessions whether they’re allowed someday or not, and I kinda feel like we should talk about that.

Here’s the thing: I’ve been a Disney nerd since I was born. I mean… I literally took my first steps in Disneyland!

Disneyland and Walt Disney World are my happy places. One of the things I love most about photographing Disney weddings is that even though I miss being a cast member sometimes, I still get to work closely with the company. Working with the familiar faces at Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings is as close as we come to having a “normal” 9-5 job with coworkers!

That being said, I can’t walk into Disney’s Grand Floridian without thinking of the awesome couples we’ve gotten to photograph there. It’s become a work venue for me because we’ve spent so many hours there, cameras in hand. I can’t walk through the lobby without peeking next to the grand staircase and looking for a DFTW wedding planner, or look at “my fountain” by the pool without noticing the sunlight and which angle I’d be shooting from if we were working. The buildings on the ground are no longer grand vacation rooms, but “getting ready rooms” for our brides. I’m not at all saying it’s a bad thing, just… Different.

I hope you can understand why we won’t be booking sessions inside the Magic Kingdom. The other parks someday, maybe– But not the Magic Kingdom. See- When I walk down Main Street, I don’t want to have to have a camera in hand. I don’t want to look around the park for the best light, or hunt for hidden corridors to pose couples. I want to sit at a bench on Main Street and think of all the times I’ve sat there with my Mom during the years “people watching.” I wanna ride Thunder Mountain and remember how I’d “accidentally” bump into Nate on every turn when we first started dating. I want to walk through Fantasyland and remember meeting my best friend Casi for the first time, and how AMAZINGLY efficient Nick and I were at Dumbo “short walk” and “long walk.” I want to walk by the entrance to Philharmagic and remind Nate for the 100th time that’s where A WOMAN SPIT ON ME.

If I’m gonna do a “shoot” in the parks, it’ll be of our nephew Hall getting his hair cut on Main Street. Or my niece Kinley meeting Mickey Mouse for the first time. Or follow the tradition set by my Mom nearly 20 years ago and always be the last guests out of the park on our last night of every Disney vacation. :)

BUT- If you’re getting married in Epcot, we’re allllllll over that! :)

Walt Disney World at Christmas - Uptown Jewelers on Main Street

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After looking back through Carrie and Patrick’s photos, I was inspired to revisit our first ever Disney session, with our pals Nick and Jessie. If you read my wedding blog, Nick and Jessie should be familiar faces- Nate and I met because of Nick, and he and his beautiful wife are the proud parents of our nephew Hallpants!

Just like any new photographer, when Nate and I started our business we were dying for people to photograph. I remember taking to MySpace and begging my friends to let us do a free photo shoot with them- we so needed the practice! Nick has always been the biggest supporter of our business, so it’s no surprise he was the first to step up to the plate. This was just a couple days before the love of his life, his then-girlfriend Jessie, was about to move to the other side of the world for a few months to be best friends with Alice and Wendy at Tokyo Disneyland! Nick was heartbroken but the epitome of a supportive boyfriend, and we were happy to give them some photos to remember their relationship by. We just didn’t know how badly we sucked. ;)

First off, we took soooooooooooo many photos and I’m picking my small handful of favorites. This first one tops them all though and really sets the scene… What’s better than starting a portrait session at say, 1:00 in the afternoon- I mean, the sun is at it’s best and brightest! *cringe*


Ten years and her second baby on the way and Jessie looks the exact same. If it weren’t for Nick’s hair and jeans, I’d swear we took these last month!

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I also love that at the end of our session, Nate snuck some photos of a wedding taking place at Sea Breeze Point. Little did we know what the coming years would bring! And how many times we’d be working with this specific officiant, Kevin Knox? Life’s funny. :)


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*Repost from our Root Photography blog in 2012*

Many of you probably don’t know this, but I was born in southern California and lived there until I was about 4. We lived about 30 minutes from Disneyland, had annual passes, and Mom would take us all. the. time. I’m pretty sure the only thing I cared about up until our move to Memphis was that I ride on Dumbo and It’s a Small World as many times as Mom could stand it. I don’t think it was a coincidence I ended up working in Fantasyland. ;)

I know I’ve said it before, and maybe it’s ’cause the grass is greener on the other side, but I’m madly in love with Disneyland. I think my deep affection stems from the fact that when I walk the park, I have all these muddled childhood memories and emotions pouring in. It’s my favorite ever, and can’t wait to be back in ~102 days. But who’s counting?

Lucky for me, Nate loves it, too. I’m really hoping these yearly trips keep on comin’. Hey Disneyland brides, need a photographer? ;)

Until then, I’ll have to vicariously visit the park through these engagement photos we took of Victoria and Brian last September. Comparing Disneyland and Walt Disney World is like comparing apples and oranges. Disneyland wins, as far as I’m concerned, if just because they allow photographers in to do photo shoots. :)

*Sigh* I could shoot here every day of the week and twice on Sunday! My favorite.

When we met Victoria and Brian for their shoot, it was right around 3:30. On a Sunday. On Main Street, USA. You Disney readers know what that means! We weaved through the parade crowds and did our best to find hidden nooks and crannies not packed with guests. Did I mention it also happened to be the first day season passholders were allowed in the park since their blackout?

New Orleans Square- My favorite place in Disneyland!

My favorite “moment” from their session:

Oh, hello, there! :)

Thank you, 85 1.2, for making this scene so much less chaotic than it was!

Victoria, you’re gorgeous.

Victoria and Brian in front of what I’m convinced inspired my unhealthy fear of whales.


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