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garrett & kelsey got married | minnesota wedding photographer

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I met Garrett and Kelsey last year.  Kelsey (who lives in South Dakota) wanted to connect over coffee while she was in town for a visit and I knew immediately I was going to enjoy being part of their special day.  🙂  We made a date for their engagement session and despite the sticky heat and miles of walking, had a fun time together.  [I recently shared their save-the-date card from that session HERE; the talented designer of both cards is Caitlin Pisha, you can learn more about her work HERE.]

Their wedding took place in Buffalo, Minnesota at the Land of Promise, a lovely lakeside location.  It was filled with friends and family from afar – a gathering of the most important people in their lives.  It seemed that almost everyone had traveled hundreds of miles to take part in their special day… including the bride and groom themselves!


The day began at the mother-of-the-bride’s home.  The girls getting ready (you can see them through the front window in the image below).  Makeup and hair.  Yummy cinnamon rolls.  Caribou and singing.

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Lots of singing.  🙂

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I loved that the girls could barely look at Kelsey without crying.  And that they kept warning one another to NOT look at her.


The “first look” took place by a door the bride and groom had placed near the ceremony site.

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It was so incredibly gorgeous!  Loved the picket fence entrance and chalkboard signs that dotted the location as well.  Water, juice, and paper parasols were on hand for guests to keep them cool and comfortable.

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The ceremony full of emotion and love.


Beautiful words were shared.

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Everyone seemed to have a role in preparing for the day.  It was clear that a lot of planning went into every single BEAUTIFUL detail.  Yet amazingly, it all came together so smoothly.  I swear that as an observer of all things that day, there seemed to be very little in the way of stress.

What I was witness to was a great deal of laughter.  And joy.

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And lots and lots of love.  Garrett and Kelsey clearly have many friends and family members who care deeply about their future together.


I loved the little mason jars filled with bubbles, the books that guests filled with comments and advice for the couple, Kelsey’s take on the bouquet toss, the BBQ inspired menu, the adorable aqua straws and ribbon-adorned mugs the guests were allowed to take home, the crossword puzzles wrapped around the napkins, the GORGEOUS centerpieces, and the lovely seating chart.

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And Kelsey’s photo booth along with handcrafted props!


Guests also enjoyed yard games after lunch.

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And the bride…

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Well, she somehow got her hands on a Nerf gun and all sorts of trouble ensued.  Here are several more of my favorites from the day:

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Congratulations Garrett and Kelsey!!  I pray you will have many beautiful years together as husband and wife.

Tina - July 25, 2012 - 6:52 pm

You’ll find several more pics here on my FB business page as well. 🙂


April - July 25, 2012 - 8:45 pm

This might be the cutest wedding I’ve ever seen. Love EVERYTHING they did! You captured ever detail, Tina. Great pictures!

Tina - July 25, 2012 - 10:31 pm

I know, isn’t it simply ADORABLE?! Truly a heaven-sent wedding. 🙂

Kelsey - July 26, 2012 - 11:47 am

Tina, these turned out so fantastically! I cannot believe how well you captured every piece of our day. Every detail and every moment is here and I appreciate it so much!

Charmaine - July 26, 2012 - 1:01 pm

I was unable to attend the wedding, but thank you so much for a wonderful story through photos! I looked like an amazing day to suit an awesome couple!

Julie Bergan Abraham - July 29, 2012 - 1:11 am

Awesome! Thanks for sharing!!!!! 🙂

Ashley Rieger - August 2, 2012 - 1:21 pm

Tina! These are so unbelievably awesome! You do such great work! Is there any chance that the group/individual pre-wedding photos of the bridal party be available soon?

Tina - August 2, 2012 - 1:36 pm

Hi Ashley – I sent all of the pics to Garrett & Kelsey (they have the digital files and can order prints on their own). You can get the pics thru Kelsey or order them thru me. [I’ll add a couple to my FB business page in the meantime.]

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carisa | minnesota high school senior photographer

If you follow my business page on Facebook (or my Tweets) you will recognize Carisa from several other images I’ve already posted.  [Click HERE to view my faaaaaaaavorite one enlarged.]  Carisa’s mom and I go way back, I even shared the story of how we first met on my old blog because it was clear God had His hand in our friendship. I remember Carisa as a young girl attending elementary school with my kids… not the lovely young woman who stood before me this day:

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She was a total natural in front of the camera. So very relaxed and carefree.

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Most of our session took place at a ranch where she spends a great deal of time with her horse, Caliya.

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It was my second time working around horses and I enjoyed it so much!  Simply watching Carisa interact with Caliya ended up producing some of my favorite images of the day.

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It was the perfect sunny morning with a hint of wind.  Love the mix of it and the long hair…

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The location was totally up my alley with old buildings, rusty equipment, and texture EVERYWHERE.

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And did you notice her bracelet?


Details like that make me smile.  🙂  Details like this do, too:


The curve of her face and shoulders, those lashes – simply beautiful.  I spotted the shot above while trying to capture this one on the railroad tracks:


And here’s one last shot (I gotta stop somewhere, right??):

Inver Grove Heights Senior Photo Session by Tina Vega Photography

Thank you, thank you, thank you Carissa [and Sharon] for a wonderful time. Enjoy your senior year!!!

Sharon Brown - July 13, 2012 - 9:22 am

I have never seen such beautiful work Tina!! I really know that God has blessed me with your friendship!! You do not realize how much your Christian example has been an ongoing inspiration to me and to the people I share your wisdom with!! You are a gift!! (To all who have the pleasure and honor of calling you friend!!) I am in awe of these photos. I can’t wait until Carisa sees them!! You have captured her in such a beautiful way. I am so excited!!! I will go to the area to see the one blown up now!! 🙂

Lori - July 13, 2012 - 1:32 pm

Tina, these photos are gorgeous!

Tina - July 13, 2012 - 7:40 pm

Thanks Lori!

Tina - July 13, 2012 - 9:28 pm

Such sweet, sweet words Sharon. I am SO GLAD you like what you’ve seen so far!!!

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fear & risk

We cannot escape fear.  We can only transform it into a companion that accompanies us on all our exciting adventures… Take a risk a day – one small or bold stroke that will make you feel great once you have done it.
– Susan Jeffers

Sometimes we get so caught up in doing things RIGHT, we do nothing at all.  Perfectionism is the root of this evil and Julia Cameron has a great deal to say about it in her book, The Artist’s Way. The following is a paraphrased excerpt:

Perfectionism has nothing to do with getting it right.  It has nothing to do with fixing things.  It has nothing to do with standards.  Perfectionism is a refusal to let yourself move ahead.

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It is a loop – an obsessive, debilitating closed system that causes you to get stuck in the details of whatever you are trying to create.  So much so, you completely lose sight of the whole.  The perfectionist fixes one line of a poem over and over again, until no lines are right.  The perfectionist writes, paints, creates with one eye on her audience.  Instead of enjoying the process, the perfectionist is constantly grading the results.

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Perfectionism is not a quest for the best.  It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us nothing we do will ever be good enough… that we should try again.  An entire redo.  Start the whole thing over from scratch.

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I’ve seen this apply to many areas of women’s lives – scrapbooking, photography, sewing, running… even mommy-ing.  Instead of enjoying the process, we judge ourselves by the harshest light.  We spend too much of our time worrying about what others might think instead of risking authenticity.

Are you willing to take the risk?

Fear kept me from stepping out creatively, from following my gut.  I spent a great deal of time focusing on others’ expectations instead of “enjoying the process”; Me Ra Koh’s photography workshop helped me to refocus.  I’ve since given myself permission to step into the unknown, dream big, and follow my creative urges.

One creative itch I am now attempting to scratch is a fascination I have with self-portraits (“selfies”).  When I take pictures of myself:

    • I am stepping out of my comfort zone
    • I am expressing something about myself artistically
    • I gain a new perspective by paying attention to the world around me
    • I gain insight about myself through the images
    • I am capturing moments of my everyday life
    • I am leaving a fingerprint for my children

About a week ago, I began a daily photo project with all of this mind.  I even created a new blog for it on Tumblr (a free microblogging website which is very easy to use).  I chose a template for it which looks like a photo mosaic wall (when viewing from a mobile device, click on “standard view” at the bottom otherwise the images will be posted differently).  You can also share quotes, links, words – pretty much anything you want on Tumblr.  I decided to keep things simple by posting one photo a day along with a blurb that includes specs for the camera (or app) used.  It’s called 40 Days of Selfies and can be viewed by clicking HERE.

If you end up starting your own photo project on Tumblr, let me know; I’d love to follow along!

Kelli Anderson - July 11, 2012 - 8:17 pm

Tina, I find so much inspiration from you. I think I’ll check out this book. I’m struggling right now with taking my online biz to the next level and I’m looking for inspiration/motivation to help me move past the fears.

I love the “selfie” blog. My life is so chaotic right now that I think it would be a blast to do something like this. (check out my version at http://qt1pix.blogspot.com/)

Thanks again for being so wonderful Tina! 🙂

PS. I barely had finished reading this post before I was off running to the storage room to look for my tripod. Amazingly, I found it right away!

Tina - July 12, 2012 - 12:09 am

I love it, Kelli!!!! Especially, the fact that life is crazy busy and you’re stealing moments to capture it. (I tried to comment on your blog but can’t remember my Google log-in!!) The book is AWESOME – you will LOVE IT.

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drive-in movie

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Tony and I have gone to three movies this week. Not the usual way we roll but it was so darn hot, two were excuses to escape the great outdoors.

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The third one WAS outdoors! We went to a drive-in movie with friends. And even ran into other friends while we were there.  🙂

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I love the car shot above… if you look out the back window, you will see our friends driving behind us.

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It was loads of fun. If you live in Minnesota and want to take in a drive-in movie yourself, click HERE to find a handful of drive-in movie locations still in operation.

Kelli Anderson - July 11, 2012 - 1:09 am

We went to the drive in movies while briefly living in Phoenix last year. It was great because we didn’t have a babysitter for baby (11 months then), but still NEEDED a date night. We had so much fun! What a great family memory for you guys. I still remember a family trip to the drive-in in Blaine on Hwy 65. (early 80’s) ah memories…


Tina - July 11, 2012 - 7:26 pm

I read your comment last night before heading to bed & ended up having a dream about you and your husband! Too funny. 🙂 It seems that so many of the drive-ins are closing for business… I sure hope it’s a tradition we can continue!! I wonder if they are more popular in non-snowy states?? Thanks for sharing your story, Kelli!

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everyday family session | apple valley, minnesota

I know I’ve said it before but I love repeat sessions.  Watching family members grow and change from year-to-year.  It’s a teeny bit sad for me as well – when little ones are now talking and older ones are doing Big Kid things like getting dressed ALL BY THEMSELVES.

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This sweet family has a tender spot in my heart.  Kristen and I are scrapbooking friends (though it’s been ages since we’ve had one of our crop nights :(). Her boys remind me so much of my own at that age; I get a huge kick being around them. But this session was different from others we’ve had; the boys were both noticeably different.

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Acting older.  Both growing up SO FAST… and that makes me a little bit sad.


I’m reminded once again that time is passing by much faster than I’d like.

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Which is exactly why these types of sessions mean so much to me.

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I loved how the little guy followed his big brother everywhere, copying pretty much everything he did.  I loved our time at the playground, doing my very best to chase the older one down:

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And simply watching them interact as a family.

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Playing.  Wrestling.  Kisses and hugs.

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Lots of kisses and hugs.

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The perfect summer morning.

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Thank you SO MUCH, John and Kristen, for letting me be part of it!

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