lubbock wedding photographer

Arren & Luis | The Resplendent Garden | Amarillo Wedding Photography

In the two years since I’ve rebranded and had this wonderful website, I’ve blogged five times per year. It’s embarrassing, I know. Why would I not show off all of my fantastic brides in fantastic blogs on all the fantastic 365 days of the year?

And then, I start a blog as fantastic as this one, and I don’t get off of my couch for two days straight. The photos alone have taken me about ten hours to select, upload, and organize onto this page. I say “about ten hours” because I’ve watched the most current episode of Grey’s AND started and finished all eight episodes of The Act.

I know that most photographers take the best ten photos and throw them onto a page and call it a day because, honestly, who has ten hours to do this? I have learned, though, that I am an overachiever to a fault and possess an intense, unwavering need to tell a story through visuals, as well as text. (My boyfriend asked me a simple question the other day, which probably could have been satiated with a simple answer, but my actual answer ended up including the entire story of me birthing my daughter, which was probably mostly or entirely unrelated to his question.)

By virtually gluing together the tiny details, smiles, and tears of joy, a blog has the power to tell an entire story and allow people who weren’t even there to feel like they were.

While creating this blog, I got to relive all of the moments of Arren and Luis’ wedding day. I remembered how her eyes looked as though they had actual stars in them, how the mist of her perfume sparkled through the air, how her diamond tennis bracelet contrasted sharply against the red velvet in the antique jeweler’s box.

I got to relive my most vivid memory of their wedding day, which is one of the most vivid memories I have of ANY wedding I’ve ever experienced. I cried, just like I cried when I saw firsthand, when I was arranging the photos of Arren and Luis reading handwritten vows to each other. I had never witnessed such a purely heartfelt declaration of love between two people. I remembered them both wiping tears from the other’s cheeks while they took turns reading their words. Their hands trembled and their voices wavered. (Which resulted in my own eyes leaking and my mascara dripping.)

I got to remember how in awe I was of the love they have for each other, which was apparent from the moment I met them and took their engagement photos. They know each other thoroughly, they’re aware and accepting of the strengths and weaknesses they share, and they spend most of their time laughing with each other.

I was then transported back to my breath being immediately sucked from my lungs, upon taking in the sight of their reception area. The personalized place settings glinted with gold, the dessert table was nothing less than majestic, donuts towered beside neatly piled churros, garlands dripped and floral arrangements smoldered in fiery palettes of orange and red, Edison bulbs glowed, and dainty paper garlands draped delicately beneath wooden beams.

If you’ve never told your bride and groom to “Lady and the Tramp” a churro, I recommend that you do.

And, finally, I got to remember feeling so happy for the two of them when they ran through a crowd of sparklers at the end of their night. I remember how thankful I was that I got to experience their wedding at my favorite wedding venue, alongside some of my favorite videographers.

Thank you for the experience, Arren and Luis, and congratulations on your marriage!

As always, I’d love for you to stay up to date with The Cloud Nine Co. on Facebook and Instagram!

Shoutouts

Venue | The Resplendent Garden

Videography | Pacecar Productions

Dress | Bella’s Bridal

Florals & Confections | Market Street

Donuts | Donut Stop

Churros | Pananderia Sanchez

Catering | Joe Taco

DJ | All About Music

Miranda & Ben | Palace Coffee Company | Canyon, TX Wedding

amarillo canyon lubbock texas wedding photography photographer palace coffee company
amarillo canyon lubbock texas wedding photography photographer palace coffee

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

Venue | Palace Coffee Company

Cake & Cupcakes | The Ruffled Cup

Macarons | Scratch Made Bakery

Dress | BHLDN

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. 

amarillo wedding photographer palo duro canyon engagement

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 

Madeline & Dalton-287.jpg
Madeline & Dalton-486.jpg
Madeline & Dalton-97.jpg
Madeline & Dalton-1219.jpg

Jordan & Jace

Jace & Jordan-91.jpg

I've realized, after shooting for seven years, that the best way to begin an adventure is by getting in the car with the windows rolled down and driving for an hour to a new place. There's something nostalgic about driving past miles of farmland while hot, Texas wind rushes past and erratically whips my hair in every direction. Sixty minutes of uninterrupted scream-singing on the highway can heal some of the most deep-rooted ailments and leave me feeling excited, energized, and ready for whatever life throws at me. 

Except for jumping into a lake. 

Murky, slimy lake water is one of my biggest fears. Keep this in mind, people. 

After following Jordan to our destination, I felt like I had downed 18 Red Bulls. That girl drives about 120 MPH in a 75 and cuts across 10 lanes of traffic in one fell swoop. Luckily, she only ran two semi trucks off the road and just one of those caught fire. 

It was all worth it, though, because when I exited my Jeep, I was in a completely magical place. The sun was low in the sky, the grass was lush and green, and a lake sparkled across the lawn. Looming trees exploded into the sky and turkey tracks sprawled across the dirt road. Why did the turkey cross the road, you ask? He literally went to the other side. I followed the tracks. I know this. 

Another thing I've realized after seven years is that it really doesn't matter where I shoot because the beauty in photos stems directly from the subjects. Jordan and Jace are so beautiful together that we could have shot in the Walmart parking lot and gotten similar results. From Jordan's tousled, braided mermaid hair to Jace's straw hat with the yellow trim, everything just worked. But the love they shared was the best part. There were so many smiles shared between them and bursts of laughter resulting from fingers playfully poking ribs. 

After wandering around dry land for a while, we made our way to the dock just as the sun was setting. It cast a pink, rippling hue on the calm water and little speedboats full of lake lovers floated past us. 

We sat on the edge of the dock as it rocked back and forth with each tiny wave. Water lapped against metal and bolts creaked. Toes dipped down into the green abyss and flicked tiny droplets into the air. 

This is where things got real. 

If you live in Amarillo, you're aware that there isn't water. Anywhere. Unless you want to take nice dip in the manmade lake at Medi Park. (You don't.) It had been a goal of mine for quite a while to get some romantic, cuddly, water shots. So I suggested we all get in the lake. 

Remember how I told you earlier that my biggest fear is scary, dark, murky, slimy, bottomless pit, open water? The fact that I even suggested putting any part of my body inside of that water was a huge step for me. Add holding $4000 worth of camera equipment above it just made it scarier. 

In case I haven't made this clear enough, here is a handy bar graph that will allow you to understand me on a deeper level. 

McKay's Top Fears

It took a little while for me to work up the courage. I dipped my toes in first and audibly screamed as my blood turned to liquid anxiety. After donning the tiniest, borrowed, red exercise shorts and pretending to drink several shots of tequila, I forced myself to slide my pale body down into my deepest and darkest fear. There was a lot of screaming. And a lot of cursing. I may have cried a little. 

Jordan and Jace totally showed me up big time. They had stripped down to their skivvies right in front of me. (Warning: You're about to see some seriously toned butt.)

Jace & Jordan-120.jpg

Told you. 

These two proceeded to run, jump straight into the air, and cannonball directly into that freaky green water. 

Jace & Jordan-146.jpg

They happily swam over to me and I was just trying not to die. There were slimy plants between my toes and I was ankle deep in whatever kind of evil mud is at the bottom of lakes. I probably screamed no less than 45 times in a span of 3 minutes. So it was really just one continuous, agonizing scream. 

I told them how I wanted them to pose and then lowered my body down, down, and allllllll the way down until I was chest-deep in horribleness. My camera was just inches above the surface as I started snapping away. 

It was 100% worth it. 

Even when I drove home for an hour in the dark, underwear-less and in a soaking wet tank top, it was worth it. 

Thanks for the amazing adventure, Jordan and Jace! I can't wait to see what fear you make me face at your wedding!