East Village, San Diego Engagement Session - San Diego, California - Hannah & Kevin

There aren’t enough words to describe how great Kevin and Hannah are - they’re one of those couples that, from the moment you meet them, you see how genuine they are and how much they love and respect each other.

I’ve known Kevin and his family for years (we went to high school together!), and after meeting Hannah a few years ago, we immediately clicked. She’s also an artist, and an extremely talented one at that (www.hannahjaneart.bigcartel.com), so becoming friends with her was a given.

When Hannah reached out to me to shoot their wedding, I was beyond excited - knowing that the day would be filled with their love, people we all love, and Hannah’s artistic vision being a driving force in the decor and look of the day made saying “DUH I’LL BE THERE” one of the easiest decisions I’ve ever made!

For their engagement shoot, we met up in the East Village district of downtown San Diego, had some beers, and walked around chasing the sun until it set!

New York City Engagement Session - New York, New York - Bailey & John

Bailey and John were the winners of a giveaway on Instagram I held for an engagement or anniversary session in New York City, and once we connected I KNEW that we were going to become friends. We spent weeks planning an epic shoot all over Manhattan, and when the day arrived we were completely surprised by SNOW!

Being a native San Diegan, I’ve never seen snow fall before, so seeing it fall for this first time in New York City while doing what I love with an amazing couple was something I’ll never forget. We started at the Top of the Rock, and while we were hoping to get an epic view of the city, the snow caused a white out since we were so high up! Bailey and John still rocked that part of the shoot, going out in the FREEEEZING cold snow to dance and cuddle while I snapped their photos (we only spent about 1 minute out there because it was so cold)!

Next, we went to Grand Central Station! We had a super specific photo in mind that we wanted to capture (the one in Grand Central Station where everyone around them is blurry in motion, and they’re standing still), and we did it! We spent some more time getting some dancing pictures and maneuvering through the crowds, and ended right around the time the station started to get packed with people.

I am so lucky to be able to capture such special moments with the most incredible couples in the most beautiful locations around the world. New York, I’ll be back so soon!

South Lake Tahoe Elopement - South Lake Tahoe, CA - Travis & Allison

Allison and Travis… I can’t say enough good things about these two. There’s really just not enough room on a page to write it all out! So, I decided to switch it up! Normally, I write about wedding days from my perspective, but I thought that interviewing Allison and Travis all about their day would not only be fun, but helpful for couples looking for advice! Enjoy!

Valerie: What were your top 3 moments of the day? 


Allison:

1. Our first look! Valerie suggested from the start that we consider an intimate first look that would allow us quick moment to see each other for the first time alone and get excited for the rest of the day. It is by far one of the best pieces of advice she gave us and some of our favorite photographs of the day are from the first look.

2. The ceremony! We chose to have a small private, ceremony with immediate family and a few close friends. While some were not thrilled with this decision we were happy that we stayed true to what we wanted. It was such a special moment with some of those closest to us that we will always be a treasured memory.

3. All the little moments with everyone who showed up for us. The reception didn’t last nearly long enough but every second was filled with love, laughter and light. From the pizza, beer and speeches all the way to bustin’ moves on the dance floor. It’s truly indescribable to be surrounded by people from so many different phases of your life that all just want to come together and celebrate you. Watching those we love connect with each other, share memories of us over the years and bond was something I’m not sure we will ever experience at this capacity again. Valerie is a serious magician and was able to capture so many of these moments amazingly.


Travis: The top moment of the day would have to be the first look for me. Waiting to see my wife in her dress all done up was nerve racking but so worth it. Second top moment would be the ceremony itself, theres nothing better than getting to share the moment with your closest friends and family. Third top moment would be dinner, because getting to look out from our table and see all of our loved ones sharing a meal together was a special moment that only happens once!


Valerie: What is some advice you have for newly engaged couples planning their wedding? 


Allison: Enjoy the journey! Planning had many moments that could have become overwhelmingly stressful if we had allowed them to. We tried our best to take it day by day and started with booking the vendors we felt were most important to create the celebration of our dreams! I absolutely love planning, am very organized and had a specific vision when it came to decor and overall feel so opted out of hiring a wedding planner. But if planning a wedding isn’t your thing, HIRE SOMEONE! They are worth every penny when it comes to coordinating, details and contacts. But also, remember that less is more and you don’t need every bell and whistle to make your day perfect. It’s more about the people who come to join you and your love on your big day.


Travis: My advice to engaged couples planning a wedding is make sure you let your soon to be wife plan it and do whatever she tells or asks you to do!

Valerie: What’s one part of planning the wedding that you didn’t love all that much?


Allison & Travis: Planning from afar! As dreamy as a destination wedding sounded at the start, it was tough to plan such an important life event from so far away. We made as many trips as possible during the year leading up to our big day but life is busy as we all know! Some details were incredibly challenging to finalize from so far away which made for a bit of unnecessary stress. If you are planning a destination wedding, I would highly recommend going with an all inclusive venue that organizes almost everything for you OR hiring a wedding planner (: It’ll be worth the peace of mind!

Valerie: What was your favorite part of planning the wedding? 


Allison & Travis: Choosing all our dream vendors! We had an absolute blast checking out alllllllll the local companies and picking the ones that seemed to best fit with our vibe. From the start when we chose to have a destination wedding in a small mountain town, we knew we wanted to support as many small businesses as possible. The friendships we created and extra love we received with every tiny detail was so incredibly rewarding. Valerie was actually the first vendor we booked and also the one we have become closest to. We had so much fun with her during our amazing Laguna Beach engagement shoot, we instantly knew she had to be a part of our day in Lake Tahoe. She is both professional yet so incredibly genuine that you know she truly cares and will doing everything necessary to capture your essence as a couple. We have friends for life through all the amazing vendors!

Vendor List:

Photography- Valerie Lendvay Photo (you’re on my site!) @valerielendvayphoto

Venue- South of North Brewing https://www.southofnorthbeer.com @southofnorthbrewing

Food- Basecamp Pizza https://basecamppizzaco.com @basecamppizzacompany

Desserts- Crazy Good Bakery https://crazygoodbakery.com @crazygoodbakeryandcafe

Flowers- Fresh Ideas Flower Co. https://freshideasmodesto.com @freshideasflowerco

Bouquets- Enchanted Florist https://southlaketahoeenchantedflorist.com @enchantedfloristlaketahoe

Rentals- Elevated Events https://www.tahoeelevatedevents.com @tahoeelevatedevents

Dress- Grace Loves Lace https://graceloveslace.com @grace_loves_lace

Music- DJ Pastor Ryan IG —> @djpastorryan

San Diego Elopement - San Diego, CA - Phillip & Amanda

Amanda and Phillip’s elopement in Torrey Pines was stunning. Not only was the scenery gorgeous, but the love these two share is what really made this day incredible. We started at the cactus gardens in Balboa Park, and then made our way over to the Torrey Pines Glider Port for their ceremony. Phillip had already picked out a spot (that ended up being perfect and is exactly the spot I would have chosen - his new name is Philltography), so we hiked there and started the ceremony! After they read the vows they wrote for each other (I cried, duh) and had their first kiss, we hiked around some more and explored Torrey Pines while taking photos!

When Amanda first emailed me, she let me know that they were both unsure of the type of wedding they wanted to have. At first, they were thinking of a big, lavish wedding (Phillip even wanted to ride in on a horse), but they eventually changed their minds and as time went on, they realized that they wanted their wedding to be about them and what makes them happy. Their day ended up being so stress free for them both, and they also were able to leave the next day for their honeymoon without a hitch! Check out the photos of the best day ever below!

Vendors:

Photography: Valerie Lendvay Photo @valerielendvayphoto

Hair Colorist: Jezica Lybarger @jezicahdof

Officiant: Ceremonies by Lorraine

Florals: Native Poppy @native_poppy

5 Ways To Deal With A Creative Funk

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Are you feeling uninspired? Bored? Fresh out of ideas, all the time? Anxious about everything you create, and then depressed about the outcome?

Congrats, you’ve caught a Creative Funk. Good news though - it’s curable!

If you’re a creative like me, then you definitely know how crappy it can feel to be in a Creative Funk (or a funk of any kind). Feeling like your brain isn’t working the way you usually depend on it to is pretty unnerving, especially when you depend on your creativity for a livelihood.

I’ve put together a few of my favorite tips and tricks to help get you out of that spiral of self doubt, insecurity, and just plain old depression that the mysterious and frustrating Creative Funk brings along for the ride. Here’s what’s worked best for me:

1. Experiment with Different Mediums

This one has proven to be really helpful for me. As a photographer, I tend to stick to pretty close to my computer when it comes to being artistic. For months I had been focused on refining and perfecting my editing skills, but found myself constantly unhappy with the results. One day while in the middle of one of these editing dilemmas, I decided to shut my computer, pick up a sketchpad and some markers, and draw. I spent an entire weekend focused on a medium that, while comfortable with it (I was a drawing and painting major before switching to photography), was a needed change of pace. Experimenting with different colors, styles, etc., gave me a fresh set of eyes to look at my photography with, and gave my creativity the boost it didn’t know it needed.

2. Find New Surroundings

I am NOT good at going outside of my comfort zones. There’s nothing I love more than staying in, pouring a glass of Sauv Blanc (New Zealand ONLY), and watching a show I’ve already seen 40 times over. But does this fuel my creativity? No, not at all. There’s nothing new about this stimuli, so why would my brain react in a new way to something it’s been exposed to multiple times before?

Whenever I start to feel a little TOO comfortable in my routine, I make a point to switch it up. Going on a walk in an unfamiliar neighborhood, finding a new coffee shop to work in, going to an art show or a museum - the possibilities for this one are endless. The more new things you surround yourself with, the more opportunities you give your brain to blossom with fresh creativity and new ideas.

3. Don’t Stop Creating, Even If It Sucks

This one is one of the most important tips on this list, but also the one I have the most trouble following.

Think of your brain like any other muscle in your body. You rely on it to perform certain tasks, and after performing the same task over and over, it gets exhausted. If this were a muscle in your leg, would you keep performing that same task at the same intensity that caused the exhaustion? Of course you wouldn’t! You’d start with smaller exercises, slowly building up the strength again until you felt confident and strong enough to get back into your usual groove - give your brain that same courtesy.

My favorite way to go about this exercise is to look online or through my old notes from my college photography classes and find assignments to do. They can be as simple or complicated as you want, but the only goal is to create. You never know what fresh ideas will spark while you’re outside of your creative comfort zone!

4. Find A Workshop or Take A Class

Creative workshops and classes are never in short supply, especially with social media as a tool to connect so many creatives that would otherwise never know about each other. Not only will they help you meet new people in your area (or outside, depending on what kind of class/workshop you’re interested in!), but you never know what you’ll learn from just chatting with people.

My favorite way to find out about workshops is through Instagram (my feed is mainly photography workshops, of course, but there is no shortage of workshops for any creative field you can think of), and finding classes through Facebook events has been successful for me as well!

Extra tip: If you get nervous meeting new people/are shy, bring a friend along!

5. Let Yourself Rest

The creative industry is non-stop. No matter what kind of creator you are, we’ve all felt that overwhelming pressure to constantly create and produce original and captivating content almost daily. Sometimes, this is no problem at all - your brain is full of ideas and your hands seem to glide across the page or keyboard. Other times, though, no matter how hard you try, you’re a blank slate.

And that’s OK.

We aren’t robots! If you need a few days off from doing anything creative, take those days off. Sometimes this is impossible to do because of looming deadlines, but even just an hour a day of zoning out and watching a dumb TV show, reading a good book, or playing a video game can help recharge a tired creative mind.

I hope these tips helped you! Let me know if you have any other tips that work for you in the comments!

Sam & Chad // Cuddly In-Home Anniversary Session

I LOVEEE in home sessions. They’re so much fun, so much more intimate, and always let couples truly be themselves when I’m taking photos!

Sam and Chad were absolutely no exception to this! I’ve been friends with Sam for years, so when she contacted me and told me what kind of shoot she wanted, I was so excited. Once I arrived at their house, they had the cutest cheese plate out for us to take pictures with (and snack on!), a bottle of wine to share, and music playing!

The rest of the afternoon was a blast. Between dancing around their living room and getting a little tipsy from the wine, to getting cuddly in the bedroom, it couldn’t have gone better!

Sophia & Brady // Wild & Adventurous Desert Couples Session // Florence Sand Dunes, Florence, Oregon

I've known Sophia & Brady for a while now, (they found me through a hashtag!), and we have truly become good friends. On my trip up to the PNW this past June, they hosted me for a few nights and we had the BEST time hanging out, driving to amazing places, and eating tons of pretzels!

These photos were taken in Florence, Oregon, and we were SO excited to be able to do something super fun and creative like this! We dodged tons of dune buggies and dirt bikers, but we made it out alive ;)