Purple Lemon Photography


Monday, April 26, 2010
Thoughts on bicycles.

As a kid, I loved to ride my bike. Oh, the freedom! I would ride down the road to the creek and write poetry, take pictures, pray... I have not ridden in a long time.

When we just moved our friend, Drew, who rode over 1000 miles in the last few months, commented that we have the dustiest bikes he's ever seen.

My husband never learned to ride a bike as a kid. He's learned (or rather, is still learning) as an adult. We keep thinking it would be great to add a kid seat to our bikes for Eli. And to add a bike to our reasonable ways to get around in our one-car, crazy scheduled photo-wife, full-time-job-hubby life we lead. He used to ride public transportation to work, and now our new house makes that very silly. Two hour commute. Each way. But... if he could only ride a bike to the station, it would speed that up a lot!

Eli's too little to ride a bike. But one day he will.

When we lived in Holland, the main way to get around is on a bike. They are like feet. But faster. Everyone has them.

I took that picture while in Holland. They are laying on an icy canal. Fun, eh?

Missionaries in Asia could use bikes all the time! But guess what, they can't afford them. Here I am with two great, but ill-used dusty bikes in my garage. There they are, with great need for a bike and no money to buy one.

I had been praying last week about ways that we here at Purple Lemon Photography can increase the money we give to missionaries in the world. That is, you see, why I photograph for money. We have yet to pay ourselves out of our profits (though surely someday we will, I assume), but we have given to missionaries as we said that we would. We want to faithfully continue this trend.

I got a letter today from an organization that we have supported for many years. Gospel for Asia. They are a great organization that is effectively spreading the gospel throughout Asian countries like India and Bangladesh. It was talking about bikes and how the missionaries need them.

Would you help us buy them some bikes? I have a few ways you can do that! And they come complete with catchy, alliterative titles.

1. Bookings for Bikes: Book a session for sometime before October, mention the bikes, and we'll contribute $30 of your session fee to buy a bike

2. Bonuses for Bikes: Add a donation of your choice to an already active order, and we'll add $20 photo credit to your package

3. Brides for Bikes: Book a wedding by the end of May, mention the bikes, and we'll buy a whole bike.

Rules of the game:

You must complete the option by May 30th, 2010. We will round out all the donations to make sure that we buy complete bikes- no unicycles here! Each bike costs $110. How many bikes do you think can we buy?

Grace & Joel

Thursday, April 22, 2010
I am so full of wonderful things to share about this wedding I have no idea where to start. Back during our planning sessions, this delightful couple tried to convince me that they were so simple that they were bordering on boring. Let me just say they were wrong.  They were so full of character, simple yet elegant detail, and genuine expression that I cannot even begin to let the fullness of my spirit come down after such a great wedding.  Days later I still feel such a bursting forth of joy in my heart from being a part of their special day.  No exaggeration. Right now my throat is tight and my heart is racing.  Joel and Grace- your wedding was great!  Grace was absolutely radiant!

This might get long... I feel like I have something to say on almost all of these images.

They asked for a "killer ring shot" and though I shot several throughout the day, this one taken early on is my favorite.  Grace's apartment has all the right colors to compliment their day.  
Do you see these incredible flowers?  She made them. Out of ribbon. Amazing. Simply amazing.
There were so many priceless expressions that I wanted to show from their ceremony that I couldn't choose.  This is my husband's favorite.  It was very unique lighting situation with some rather harsh, direct sunlight on them during the ceremony, which was really fun to edit.  I did some work with deep, deep shadows and some fun highlights right on the edge of their skin.  This is one with more even lighting.

This is my absolute favorite from the whole day. I think I will enlarge it to a grandiose scale and put it in my office.
Here at the Dukes household, we think Grace looks an awful lot like Charlize Theron, especially here.  This one has a very movie-set feel to me.  Not your classic wedding picture.
Grace and Joel have a love for photos that have a vintage feel- hence all the black and white and brown tone images.  It was fun to break away from mostly vibrant pictures and work more in these muted palettes.  I did some work to create a new look that I am calling my "Wonder Years" styling.  Beyond the theme song and intro that delightful classic show, it reminds me of a picture that I restored for my mom's family a few years ago. What do you think?

Cameo.  A photographer at work.
Some fun night shots here.  This first one could have been done in a far less rudimentary fashion, but Chase and I had fun doing some experimentation (and a lot of counting to three) to achieve the lighting on the front of the building.  Perhaps one day (but probably not), I will show you a picture of Chase holding two speedlights in victory after we nailed our timing.
I feel a fitting close to this wedding was one of the last pictures I took at the end of their reception.  Here Grace's grandma embraces her during a goodbye.  It highlights the love of family (so evident that day), the flowers Grace made, and the broach that adorned the back of Grace's dress, which she bought in New York at a flea market on their first vacation together.

I feel as though I only shared a small tidbit of the wonderful stories, details, and overall elegant simplicity that surround these two.  Hopefully I will get to photograph these two again in the future and share more of their love story.  It's a good one.

Note to Grace and Joel: I think that God wants me to be your photographer for life because I, like Grace, have the same cabinet that began your relationship sitting right here next to me in my office, purchased from your store. *wink*

Kate & Mike

Friday, April 16, 2010

Kate and Mike had their engagement session for their fall wedding this past weekend.  They have chosen one of my packages that allows for a lot of personalization so that their pictures reflect them and their relationship.  We started at one of their favorite areas, which we'll revisit on their wedding day.
I like to ask couples about their relationship- the first date, the proposal, all the gushy stuff and see how we might be able to incorporate it.  They have a unique first date story in which they got in a car accident on their way to eat at Acero in Maplewood.  Next thing you know they are at a different restaurant altogether- which apparently burnt down not too long after that.  And for their 2nd anniversary, they finally made it back to Acero- and loved it.  We went there and enjoyed the very accommodating staff who let us take over the patio (and I got to sample their first dish...Yumm!).  Our timing was perfect as they didn't have many customers at the time so they got to enjoy some private outdoor dining. Cheers!

Our final destination was the amazing rooftop of their loft downtown.  There was a perfect view of the St. Louis skyline, Arch, City Museum, and the sunset. Let me just say WOW!  Here they brought out their dogs, Brody & Baxter who are (no joke) as big as I am, but super friendly. That sunset was a great way to round out the afternoon.


Thursday, April 15, 2010
Last week I almost peed my pants. Yes, I know, how professional of me! I was on my way to meet some wedding clients, but the rain was coming down so fast, I knew that if I drove two hours in that I'd be a wreck by the time I got to Cape Girardeau.  A wreck with wet pants.  So I canceled.  Something I hate doing.

It was so worth it!  Today was a gorgeous day and I got to take that rescheduled trip in the sunshine with big puffy white clouds and a gentle breeze.  My planning session ended up being on the front porch of an old house next to a has-been chicken coop during the peak of afternoon glory.  Sunshine. Breezes.  Clients who say "Sounds great!" to my wild wedding photography ideas. My son happily playing with sidewalk chalk back home with a friend.  Couldn't be better.

It was an honor to get to take a handful of pictures today.  These are really special to me, and I hope they are far more to Alyssa and Justin.  These were taken at Alyssa's grandparent's property, something we'd planned all along to do on her wedding day.  But her grandfather passed away recently, and as a way to honor her grandparents and add something beautiful to a hard situation, we stopped by today and took some pictures of the two of them there.  Assuming they still have the property in June, we'll go back on their wedding day and again celebrate the childhood and family background that made Alyssa into the charming young woman she is today.

Labor & Delivery, Island Fairy Style

Tuesday, April 13, 2010
For weeks I'd been on call, 24/7.  About 10 days past her due date, I got a call from a friend of a friend that I'd never met.  It was time. She was about to have her baby.  And I was going to document the whole experience.
 I hung around for a few hours, capturing sweet moments of the first few hours of labor, slowing becoming friends with the soon to be first-time mom and dad.  The hospital staff assumed we'd been life-long friends, but really we'd only met a few hours before.
We were waiting for a little girl to be born. A little girl who was about to receive a name that means "Island Fairy."  (Though I love names, for privacy of the family, her name can be revealed by them alone).
Things were progressing slowly, so I took a break to see my family and run a few errands.  But I returned at nightfall, expecting something wonderful.  It was an honor for me to be a part of such an intimate part of their new family's life.  I am thrilled to be able to provide pictures of the beautiful moments that led to the birth of a little baby.
God led me through that night, filling me with a spirit of prayer and worship of the maker of all things.  I got to see him clearly and dramatically answer my very specific prayers for the delivery of this baby.  Though normally chatty, and one to quickly share my experiences, I felt hushed as God put a humbleness on me.  When needed, I was asked for my opinion and experience, and I was gladly able to offer it.  It was so amazing to just sit back and pray and take photographs.  I could offer encouragement when needed, hold a weary hand, share great news of new life, and be bold in my requests, ensuring great medical care for this new family.  My favorite things all in one glorious evening. 
Isn't she beautiful?

As I went to leave the hospital at precisely 3:00 am, thankful for such a great experience (including a laboring woman who always said please and thank you- and even offered to talk to me on the phone on my way home so I didn't fall asleep), I was met by a woman just outside the parking garage.
Though quickly growing weary myself, knowing I had three clients to meet the next day, I stayed and talked with her.  She really needed a listening ear. Though convinced I was barely out of high school and still in college, she instantly felt comfortable sharing her life with me.  You know most anyone you meet a hospital has some sort of story to share.  At the end I got to pray with her and encourage her spirit.  I hope she got some sleep that night.

Congratulations, A & W, on the birth of your little Island Fairy!


Wednesday, April 7, 2010
UPDATE: this sale is no longer available.

This senior had a super session- made even more super by the fact that it was free.  Yes, you read right, free!  I am still giving away a couple of senior sessions, so if you want in on this sour sweet deal, be sure to schedule a time to eat a whole lemon!

We utilized two areas to make a look like she went to a ton of different locations.  Not only did get a lot of variety and unique pictures, but she and I both had a blast!

Kristen, thanks for making my job easy!

Watch out for her eyes, folks, they'll draw you in and not let you out...