amarillo photographer

Lynsi & Evan | Tri-State Fair

All photographers in the Texas Panhandle have the same, unspoken, gigantic stressor.

This town is a flat, bland, empty, dry nuisance.

The canyon, you say? The sunsets, you say?

Yes, we have all utilized (to the fullest extent) those Amarillo features. I’ve spent weekends hiking through the canyon crevices, hunting for the most picturesque locations. I’ve captured the sunset on dirt roads, streaming between the downtown buildings, in the streets of the fancy neighborhoods.

After years upon years of searching for eye-catching scenery, or even something that’s just alive and green, every local creative comes to the point where they get the text from their client that asks, “So where should we go for photos?”

And every local creative lies down on the floor of their home, anxiety building in their chest, and racks their brain of anywhere they haven’t already shot a million times over.

I’m familiar with this process. It happened just the other day when Lynsi contacted me for maternity photos. I had zero ideas and left her text unanswered for the night (sorry, Lynsi.) When I woke up the next morning, I had the goofy idea to suggest the fair, but I was expecting her to shoot it down and opt for the canyon, instead.

To my surprise (and, soon after, terror) she was thrilled about the idea.

I felt two big emotions at once:

  1. Woo! The fair! What a magical, colorful, exciting place! Cheese on a stick! Yeah!

  2. Oh crap, I’ve never shot at the fair before. I have no idea what I’m doing. Can I pull off something cool? Will I have enough light? What if I mess it all up and have to go work at a fast food place? Should I start applying at Starbucks? Will it matter if other people are in the photos? Should I take a 35mm or 20mm for shots in the ferris wheel?

So we met at the gates at 6:45 and, while Lynsi was looking fair-chic in her hot pink dress and Evan was (as-always) cool as a cucumber, I was thinking,

“WHAT DO I DO WHAT DO I DO."

It’s in those moments that I have to internally slap myself and pretend like I’m a professional. So, I began by having them sit in front of a wall of balloons and stuffed animals. I started shooting, got a handful of shots, and realized I didn’t even have a memory card in my camera. Because I AM A PROFESSIONAL. Like, people actually pay me for this. * facepalm *

I sorted that mess out, had them pose all over again, looked at the back of my camera to make sure the photos were truly recorded onto the memory card, and was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. My confidence began to rise, once again.

So, we moved on to a cute cotton candy stand, then to the fair’s version of the Himalaya, then to buy the yuckiest churro ever made, then over to the ferris wheel, and then actually inside the ferris wheel.

Lynsi, obviously, was the happiest, smiliest person at the fair. (Anyone who knows her won’t be surprised.) Evan was the nicest and most accommodating. (Anyone who knows him won’t be surprised.) They were successful in looking like the most in-love couple in the tri-state area. Which is great for pictures.

I’d like to take a moment to give a shout out to this Guy In A Red Shirt for being the grouchiest booth-runner of all time. I included a photo of him pointing to a sign that reads “SEATS ARE RESERVED FOR PLAYERS ONLY” while yelling at us that seats were reserved for players only, even though there weren’t any players.

It’s fine. I got some cool photos. AAAAND I used my handy dandy prism to grab the reflection of the ferris wheel and sneak it into the frame. Score!

To finish off the night, we took a romantic twilight ferris wheel ride, just the three of us. I’m pretty sure we rotated all the way around about fifteen times at a speed of at least 75mph. (I’ve always been scared of those giant wheels.)

It was daring and adventurous. And we survived. What a feat.

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It took me less than ten seconds to start working on their photos when I got home. I couldn’t wait to see the story unfold and make it look like a grain-tastic, film-like dream.

And, finally, the biggest shoutout of all goes to baby Brantley! (She’s that big bump in Lynsi’s dress, FYI.) Her first night at the fair and all she got was a yucky churro!

Congratulations, Lynsi and Evan. Can’t wait to see that sweet baby. <3

Chirae & Riley | River Falls Bed & Breakfast | Amarillo Wedding Photographer

From what I understand, and what I’ve understood since my first meeting with Chirae, is that she and Riley were destined to be together since the dawn of time. Every little detail that led up to their lives intertwining proves that fate and destiny aren’t just storybook fantasies.

The romance they feel is palpable, the deep emotion is apparent, and there’s no question when it comes to the devotion they share for each other. Their journey together has been nothing short of epic, especially when a tornado hit mere hours before their wedding day, proving that they will be able to literally weather any storm that comes their way.

I had looked forward to Chirae’s big day for a very, very, VERRRRY long time, especially after seeing how absolutely stunning she was in her dress during her bridal session. I knew the wedding would be amazingly beautiful, but I had no idea the sheer number of incredible and meticulously planned details that awaited me.

One of my absolute favorite parts of a wedding day is capturing all of the tiny details. There’s something deeply cathartic about carrying a thirty pound dress through an empty venue, drying off the stems of bouquets fresh out of vases, arranging dainty heels, and whispering, “Now just stay….. right… there….,” to a pair of diamond rings balanced atop a drooping petal.

There’s a sort of peaceful solitude that comes with standing in front of an empty altar, surrounded by perfectly arranged rows of chairs, open blue sky, and faint hints of fresh cut flowers riding on the breeze. The water in the pond rippled and glistened. Everything was still and quiet.

Another favorite part of the day, personally, is the time I spend with the bride and groom after the ceremony. It’s a moment in time containing emotions that will never be able to be replicated. Emotions are vibrant and buzzing, love overflows, and excitement and happiness burst at the seams.

I have the privilege of watching the beautiful transition of two people realizing that they aren’t just engaged anymore and sinking into the comfortable thought of finally being married.

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I had anticipated a party.

And they did not disappoint.

There wasn’t a single space in that venue that wasn’t alive with celebration. As the sky darkened, the party livened and the string bulbs seemed to glow brighter and brighter. Donuts disappeared, beer bubbled, and dancers dizzied themselves around the floor.

The night ended with sparkly sparklers and a classic car, which is always a wonderful way for a wedding to end.

Congratulations, Chirae and Riley!

SHOUTOUTS

VENUE | RIVER FALLS BED AND BREAKFAST

VIDEOGRAPHY | PETRICHOR COMPANY

FLORALS | FLOWERS ETC.

CAKE | THE CAKE COMPANY

DONUTS | THE DONUT STOP

MACAROONS | SCRATCH MADE BAKERY

DRESS | RUTHETTE’S | WTOO

HAIR | MUZE STUDIO | RASHAWN FLOWERS

DJ | ALL ABOUT MUSIC

RENTALS | AMARILLO CLASSIC EVENTS

Chelsey & Leroy | Palo Duro Canyon | Engagement Photography

This will be the easiest blog post I've ever written. 

Chelsey and Leroy met me in Palo Duro Canyon last week and everything was as dreamy as dreamy gets. 

The end. 

Just kidding. This wouldn't be my blog, if it wasn't laden with millions of adjectives. 

In the early afternoon of last Friday, I neurotically checked my weather app for the twentieth time (of many). A severe weather notification had popped up on my phone and I watched as green, blue, yellow, and red blotches slowly moved toward Amarillo. Throughout the day, those little blotches morphed into massive blotches that covered the majority of Texas, it seemed. 

I could see the impending doom. I knew it probably meant certain death and pictured massive flooding through the deep valleys of the canyon that would instantly wash my car away and leave me dog paddling for my life. 

Chelsey wanted to just go ahead and meet up for photos. It was cool. Cooooooooooooool. I wasn't scared. Psssh. 

So I started driving to the canyon. Five minutes into my 25 minute drive, heavy rain splish-splashed all over my windshield and I tried to figure out how in the heck I was going to pull off taking engagement photos in a massive puddle of mud. 

By some crazy miracle, it wasn't raining when we drove through the entrance of PDC. So we just kept on driving and found THE MOST AWESOME location with the most picturesque backdrop of orangey-red dirt littered with families of cacti and a ginormous canyon wall that jutted up into the stormy sky. 

I don't think I've ever seen the canyon look that intense. It felt like such a rare privilege to experience all of that at once. Miles of lightning-filled storm clouds billowed around us, thunder boomed, tiny sprinkles splattered in the dirt, and the wind blew the trees. It was magical and scary. It was freaky and colorful. The air had that sunset-in-the-rain glow. 

I couldn't have asked for a more perfect night. 

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By the time we drove all the way back up to head home, the sun was just touching the horizon. We parted ways and, almost immediately, the clouds burst and the rain let loose. I turned up my music and settled in for the drive, enjoying the view around me. When I reached the top of the canyon, I could see sheets of rain pouring down in the distance. 

I thought that was pretty badass. 

So I pulled over, ran like a psycho through pokey plants, and snagged a shot of the storm. 

It was extremely neato. 

Thank you for the experience, Chelsey and Leroy! <3

Kourtney & Noah

When I was first contacted by Kourtney, I knew immediately that I needed *NEEDED* to work with her. I could tell from her text messages that she was spunky and the really cool kind of mysterious that everyone wants to be. I convinced her to meet me for coffee and planned on further convincing her to hire me by showering her with compliments, bringing out all of my insanely weird charm, and giving her gifts. 

When I walked in and saw her, I liked her even more. Possibly loved her. She is pretty much the cutest, tiniest person with the biggest smile. Also the best hair. And brightest eyes. Over the next few months, she amazed me with all of her different looks. I saw versions of Kourtney that most people only dream of pulling off. 

There was: 

  • Beautiful Nerd Kourtney - Complete with very large glasses and a shy expression.
  • Giant Sweatshirt & Messy Hair Kourtney - But like... still beautiful. How. 
  • Bridal Photos in 60 MPH Wind Kourtney - She blew me away. Get it. Yeah. 
  • Wedding Day Kourtney - Which, obviously, you can see here. Stunning.

This girl showed me time and time again that she was gorgeous inside and out, no matter the circumstance. I thought she had hit the Awesome Ceiling, but that was before I saw her with Noah. 

There are Kourtney Smiles. 

And then there are Kourtney Smiles With Noah. 

Kourtney Laughs. 

And Kourtney Laughs With Noah. 

All of her beautiful attributes instantly leveled up when Noah set his eyes on her during their first look. The two of them together were like fireworks and sparklers exploding over a magical kingdom with white horses galloping and harps and flutes and stuff. It was obvious that they were the inspiration for the 2005 Jack Johnson hit "Better Together." And probably the inspiration for the idea of love, in general. 

I had a total blasty blast capturing their wedding and shooting for the first time at The Bowery. All of the details were so cozy and wintry, which went perfectly with the freakishly freezing and windy weather we experienced that day. I think their reception will always be included in my List of Favorite Receptions and I will forever remember the airborne beer, booty dancing, and the legit fearing for my life when multiple men's legs came crazy-dancing toward me while I took photos from a crouched position. 

And, finally, that glorious Funfetti cake. Oh sweet boxed cake, I will never forget you. I tried to replicate you several days after the wedding. But, alas, it was just not the same. Please find your way back to me, Funfetti Cake. I love you. 

Finally #2, I'd like to send out a massive congratulations to Kourtney & Noah! I wish you the happiest marriage and the ability to forever keep smiles on your faces when people inevitably misspell and mispronounce your last name. 

<3 

XOXO

As always, be sure to head over and give The Cloud Nine Co. a like on Facebook and Instagram! If you're feeling extra awesome, scroll down to leave a congratulatory message for the newlyweds in the comment box!

Shoutouts:

Madeline & Dalton

For about a month, I have been wondering exactly how I could express the pure magic that was this wedding. And then I realized that my entire job was to document it. (You'd think I would know that, after seven years of doing it.) So I spent three hours arranging 5000 photos to show off just how amazingly detailed and gorgeous the day turned out to be. 

There were floral installations, tables dripping with delicately bound rosemary and hops, glittering champagne glasses, jewels intricately sewn into tulle, white candles accenting white cake tiers against white wooden walls, gigantic diamonds set in gold and nestled in glass boxes, custom handkerchiefs, blue suede heels, and dazzling sparklers. 

But what stood out as the most beautiful thing of all, to me, was a thin little college ruled notebook that probably cost one dollar. It most likely came in a pack of three from the office aisle at Target. What was inside it was absolutely priceless. 

Never before had I seen a wedding gift quite like this notebook. It was filled with daily love notes, funny memories, and little scribbles of stick figures holding hands and even a crude sketch of an avocado. I watched a beautiful woman with rosy cheeks and red lips flip through those pages, the jewels on her dress sparkling with the same sheen as the tears in her eyes.

I silently partook in that intimate moment, as she read pieces of a man's heart. A man who truly, deeply, and genuinely loved her. Even now, as I type these words at 1:30 AM an entire five weeks later, I remember how I felt when I saw the words, "She makes it easy to love her." 

I felt true joy for her. Because that is what every woman wants from a man. I felt joy, but I also felt my hope become reignited. I saw, firsthand, that a love like that does exist. It was reiterated throughout the day with tiny smiles, shoulder kisses, and the happiest of laughter. 

The joining of these two people showed me that fairytales can happen. And that magic exists between lines on paper. 

Thank you so much for an unforgettable experience. 

Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Brooks. <3 

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