Amy Galbraith Photography Blog


Pickering Barn Wedding | Brian & Amanda

Posted in Weddings

pickering barn wedding in the summer

I love when things just come together and I feel like I’m so in tune with my clients. This year in particular, I feel like I’ve had a lineup of seriously stellar couples to work with! Brian and Amanda are certainly no exception. I met Brian a few years ago on a Mt. Rainier backcountry snowboarding trip. It’s been a while since we’ve chatted but he met the love of his life, Amanda. I can see why these two came together. They both love the outdoors, spending their weekends skiing, mountain biking, and soaking up every drop of adventure this life has to offer. Their July Pickering Barn wedding was so fitting to them. They kept their wedding party small, with Amanda’s sister and Brian’s brother standing at their sides. They served AMAZING BBQ food, chose to accent their tables with flowers handpicked from a friend’s garden, and served pie for dessert. I mean, who can argue with pie for a July 3rd wedding? Every detail was dialed with these two, resulting in an absolutely stellar summer wedding. I couldn’t be more honored to have been a part of it!

Venue: Pickering Barn
Catering: Jack’s BBQ
Pies: A la Mode Pies
Hair & Makeup: Pia Imkamp
Dress Shop: I Do Bridal
Groom’s Suit: Brook’s Brothers

Wedding Planning | Tips for Taking Candid Wedding Pictures

Posted in Wedding Planning Tips

twist mountain wedding photos

So you just got engaged, congratulations! Now it’s time to start planning the big day. As most wedding planning goes, you’ll first probably pick your venue and catering, wedding planner, then it’s on to the photographer! While I’m a little bit biased, I must say that hiring a photographer you trust and gel with is super important, for a couple of reasons. In all likelihood, your photographer is the member of your wedding team that you will be in contact with longest — you meet and chat long before the wedding, and you’ll stay in touch even after the wedding when you’re putting together your album and ordering other prints. On the wedding day itself, you will spend more time with your photographer than any other wedding team member too! They will be there with you while getting ready, when you’re spending time with the wedding party, taking couples and family photos, and of course through the reception. It’s so important to find somebody that you connect with and want around on your big day!

father walking bride down the aisle

There are a lot of different styles of wedding photography out there. I prefer a documentary approach — I think it’s the best way to capture real life emotions. Documentary wedding photographers strive to capture candid wedding pictures and tell the story of your wedding day, exactly as it happens. If you’re ordering a wedding album (which you definitely should!), I don’t just want the photos to show what happened, I want them to transport you back to that exact moment. I want it to retell your story exactly as you experienced it, from beginning to end.

This kind of photography isn’t without it’s challenges. We all have seen ourself in pictures and thought, “hmm, that chin though.” Lucky for you, there are a few things you can do to compliment your natural and candid emotions in your wedding pictures.

Ain’t no chin here. Just those beautiful, happy faces.

jackson hole wedding photos at sunset

1. Communication. Your best bet is to communicate early and often with your photographer. Reach out and let them know how the planning process is going. Tell them you’ve found the dress of your dreams, or let them know you have a family heirloom engagement ring that’s been passed down through generations. Keep them up to date on the schedule and ask them for ways that they can maximize their hired time with you. The more details your photographer knows in advance, the more confident they will be in capturing every little moment. I feel most comfortable when I know everything that’s going to happen so that I can just show up on the big day and do what my couples hired me to do – document their day!

ring with green mrs box

2. Shot list shmot list. There are a zillion absolutely beautiful wedding photos on Pinterest. Sometimes, I am lucky enough to have my own photos shared widely! But the best photos evolve naturally from the moment, let your spontaneity and your photographer’s creativity shine! It’s helpful to have the details you want photographed laid out when they arrive, but try not to impose the form of another couple’s wedding on your own photos. Remember, you hired somebody you trust, so let their creative eye shine! If you have a few situations that you’d like to re-create, that’s totally fine. But remember: the only shot list you really need is the one explaining your family tree.

Do they know they’re being photographed? No!

candid wedding photo of bride and groom dancing

3. PSA: you might be having your photo taken, right now. One of my top tips for couples who want more candid wedding pictures is to make them aware that I may always be taking their photo. During cocktail hour when you’re chatting with your guests, your photographer will be hanging out in the shadows trying to get real candid wedding pictures of you interacting with all of your favorite people. If you notice me, don’t worry — I’m not going to make you look into the camera and smile unless you want me to. Better yet, carry on with your conversation. These people are at your wedding because they’re the coolest people you know!

pickering barn wedding photos

4. Just be yourself. Clichéd? Sure. But is it true? Absolutely. What I mean is: during your couples portraits, interact with each other. Adjust your groom’s tie. Brush your partner’s hair out of their eyes. Steal kisses, say inappropriate things, laugh together. Sure, a camera is pointed at you pretty much most of the day, but you’ll stop noticing it once you focus on the person in front of you. Try to soak in the fact that this is the day you’ve been dreaming of and be excited! Little moments like this, while somewhat staged at times, make for some really beautiful candid wedding pictures.

– I’m pretty glad we have a wedding planner
– Yea I think mom would have forgotten the champagne

bride and groom sipping champagne at carnation farms

5. A little bubbly helps… That’s right, I said it. Treat yourself to a glass of champagne (or poison of your choice) before your photo session. A little liquid courage always seems to calm the nerves! 😉

bride and groom at sunset at des moines beach park wedding

Do you have any other thoughts on how to get the best candid wedding pictures? Feel free to share, we are always looking for new ideas and advice for our couples!

Discovery Park Senior Photos | Kayla

Posted in Seniors

tall grass senior photos at discovery park in seattle

Earlier this year, we did a giveaway for a senior mini-session during our Senior Week promotion. A mini-session is just what it sounds like – a more compact version of our usual portrait session offering. The winner received a 20 minute session at the location of their choice and 10 digital files. This year’s winner was Kayla of Mercer Island High School! Kayla runs track and cross country and studies hard for her honors classes. I’m sure all of her hard work will pay off when she’s applying to colleges this fall. Discovery Park is an amazing location for senior photos – the tall grass, variety of backdrops, views of Puget Sound and beautiful sunset light make for a great session. Kayla’s Discovery Park senior photos turned out amazing and we wish her the best as she continues with her senior year!

Turpin Meadow Ranch Wedding | Nick & Stephanie

Posted in Weddings

turpin meadow ranch wedding

I always feel so lucky when I get the chance to head back to Jackson Hole to photograph a wedding. Living there for four years gave me such a strong connection to those mountains and that place. In June I took my first trip away from baby Banks and photographed Nick and Stephanie’s Turpin Meadow Ranch wedding. These two are locals to the area and had so many details for their wedding that were personalized to them. From the cairns to mark the way of their first walk as husband and wife to Stephanie’s wildflower bouquet, they took all of their favorite aspects of living in the Tetons and incorporated them into their special day. Nick even hand-dyed ties for all of his groomsmen. This couple loves the river so Turpin Meadow Ranch was the perfect setting – a beautiful field, river running through, cabins for friends and family to stay, and of course stunning views of the beautiful Tetons. The feel of their day is everything I love about mountain weddings – a sense of community and a strong love for nature and everything this world has to offer. I can’t think of a more perfect day for Nick and Stephanie and was honored to be a part of their wedding.

Venue: Turpin Meadow Ranch
Coordinator: Lizzy Clark
Catering: Turpin Meadow Ranch
Floral Design: Cottage Creations
Band: Screen Door Porch
Officiant: Tom Jordan

Seniors | Best Seattle Senior Portrait Locations

Posted in Seniors

I’ve been photographing high school seniors in Seattle for four years now and have had the opportunity to scout out and explore some really awesome Seattle senior portrait locations. I figured it was due time to put a list together of some of my favorites to make it easy for incoming seniors to choose a location for their session. Here are some of what I consider to be the best senior portrait locations in the greater Seattle area!

Discovery Park

Why we love it: Think never ending fields of tall golden grass at sunset, expansive views of Puget Sound and you’ve got Discovery Park. I love shooting here not only for the views but because it’s also quiet. Come here on a weeknight and you’ll wonder how this place even exists right in the middle of Seattle. Some woodsy trails and a few historic buildings add even more to the seemingly unlimited number of backdrops.

Downsides: This park is massive and requires a lot of walking. If you plan on wearing high heels, bring a comfy pair of shoes for walking in between locations. The bathroom also isn’t very central and you need to walk back and forth if you have a few outfit changes.

Luther Burbank Park

Why we love it: I can’t say enough good things about Luther Burbank Park. The variety of backdrops is so diverse, the lighting is great at almost any time of day, and it doesn’t require as much walking to get between locations. A brick building, dock on the water, beachfront views of Lake Washington and a woodsy path make for the perfect senior session!

Downsides: As we all know, traffic can be awful on I-90 sometimes and getting here can be rough at the sunset hour. That being said, it’s always worth it once you get there!

Golden Gardens

Why we love it: The place really is aptly named. The sunsets on the beach are absolutely stunning! Beach grass and a stand of tall skinny trees adds some interest. The rocks and logs along the shore are great to sit on for posing variety and who doesn’t love the look of the salty wind blowing through your hair as the waves crash over your toes?

Downsides: Any sunny day in Seattle seems to bring out half the city and the parking lot here is tiny. Plan on shooting on an unpopular weeknight if you choose this as your location!

Pioneer Square

Why we love it: Seattle shows off its history in this area in the form of beautiful brick buildings, towering trees and slim little alleys. Cute storefronts and coffee shops make for some unique backdrops, along with a big beautiful brick wall covered in ivy. This is a great spot for anyone wanting an urban senior session.

Downsides: Any city location has its challenges. Parking is tough downtown, as is the traffic getting there. There is also a fairly large homeless population in this area so being comfortable around strangers is a must. No public restrooms are available so plan on making a stop to purchase a tasty coffee from Cafe Umbria so you can have a place to change clothes!

Olympic Sculpture Park and Seattle Waterfront

Why we love it: This urban location packs a ton of variety for portrait sessions. The sculptures make for unique backgrounds and the metal wall on the museum building looks great with almost any wardrobe choice! Start at the waterfront near the aquarium and get some shots with the ferris wheel. Finish up on the tiny beach park along the waterfront and maybe even catch a glimpse of some sea lions!

Downsides: The waterfront has been under construction for some time now and our shooting locations can change from month to month because of it. There also isn’t a public restroom or convenient place to change clothes so changing in the car is your best option.

So there you have it! Our top five Seattle senior portrait locations. If you’re interested in getting on our calendar for a senior session, please email [email protected] for pricing and availability. We have a couple of openings left for August and September is starting to fill up!

Also, have you downloaded our FREE Senior Styling Guide yet? Find out how to look your best during your senior session. Get your copy HERE.

Seattle Senior Portraits | Free Senior Styling Guide

Posted in Seniors

I get a lot of questions from my seniors about what they should wear for their session. We get it! It’s a tough decision. Most of our sessions include at least two outfits and it can be difficult to nail down exactly what you think you will want to look back on in your photos years down the road. Hair and makeup is also important and I’ve come up with some great ideas on how to make the best of your time in front of the camera. Check out this FREE senior styling guide, listing our top tips to help you look your best for your senior session!

Swiftwater Cellars Wedding | Nafees & Lindsay

Posted in Weddings

In a stroke of fate one autumn night, my husband and I met Nafees and Lindsay while playing shuffleboard at The Brick in Roslyn, Washington. They were in the area checking out wedding venues and we struck up conversation with them. It just so happened that we were on a random trip over there, looking for something to do in the fall and it was Lindsay’s 30th birthday. A friendly bar game turned into wedding talk and the rest is history! I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know these two throughout their engagement. We traveled to Bainbridge Island together for their engagement session which was a total blast. They really do make a great pair. A nurse and a lawyer, they love to cook together and spend time in the city with their sweet puppy. On their wedding day, it was clear that these two are loved and admired by so many people. Seeing the two cultures come together was incredible and Lindsay’s taste in decor was absolutely on point. To top off the evening, Nafees surprised Lindsay with the keys to a new car! Instead of continuing to gush on about how amazing their Swiftwater Cellars wedding was, I’m going to let the photos speak for themselves. Congratulations Nafees and Lindsay – you two are just the best! Also many thanks to my amazing husband for being my second shooter at this wedding. Not only is he a talented web developer, his photographic eye results in some spectacular images!

Venue: Swiftwater Cellars
Wedding Planner: Bretlyn Shea Events
Floral Design: Carol Allmand
Catering: Swiftwater Cellars
Pakistani Desserts: Punjab Sweets
Makeup: Emily Oliver Beauty
Hair: Chromatique Salon
DJ: Kryspin
Bride’s Gown: Catherine Deane from BHLDN
Accessories: Nordstrom
Groom’s Suit: Mario’s
Bride’s Shoes: Ted Baker
Signs: Rich Design Co
Tables: Puget Sound Farm Tables
Calligraphy: Rainy City Calligraphy

We are now booking weddings for 2018! Please inquire about our winter special for weddings January – April. Email [email protected] for pricing and availability!

Wedding Planning | 3 Reasons Why You Should Do a First Look

Posted in Wedding Planning Tips

A first look. What is it? While there are many variations of it, basically it is the chance to see your significant other in a chosen location, BEFORE you walk down the aisle. Typically it would take place a couple of hours before the ceremony when your makeup is at its freshest and the guests haven’t arrived yet. There are some serious advantages to doing a first look from a photography standpoint but there are also some advantages for you as a couple!

1. Alone time TOGETHER. Your wedding day is going to fly by. Once the ceremony is over, you will practically have no time together, alone, as a couple to soak it all in. Having a first look in private gives you a chance to relish in the moment and sit back and enjoy the fact that “this is all really happening.”

2. You can react how you really want to. I’ve heard before from past grooms that they say they feel like they had the chance to react how they really wanted to while seeing their bride for the first time in private rather than in front of 150 people. If the audience knows that the bride and groom haven’t seen each other until walking down the aisle, all eyes will be on the groom and that adds a lot of pressure! Doing a first look in private gives both parties the opportunity to really let those emotions flow.

3. You won’t miss your cocktail hour. If photographers are not given the opportunity to do some photos before the ceremony, all of the photos will happen during cocktail hour and will also be a bit more rushed. Doing a first look gives you much more time to spend socializing with all of the wonderful people that you personally handpicked to be there!

Have I sold you on this yet? Here are a few more tips for making the most of your time during the first look:

– Choose a location with great lighting. While the scenery may seem important, good lighting is better so that you can actually see each other’s faces and reactions in the photos. Shady spots are great and something out of direct sun is helpful. Your photographer will also be able to choose a spot if you’re not totally sure.

– Decide on whether you want your friends and family to be there to see the first look ahead of time. I personally prefer the first look to be in private, but some couples want to have their loved ones present. Be sure to decide on this before walking out the door to avoid any awkwardness.

– Think about how you want to do your first look. Will you walk down a path? Tap your groom on the shoulder? Step out from behind a curtain? All of these are things to consider and definitely work with your photographer on!

Want more timeline advice? Check out my post on how to create the perfect wedding day timeline!

Rattlesnake Lake | Engagement Session

Posted in Engagement

rattlesnake lake engagement photos

I was so excited when Brian and Amanda reached out to me to photograph their wedding. It was years ago, but I met Brian during a splitboarding trip near Mt. Rainier. It’s been years, but I was so thrilled to hear that he had met an adventurous woman to accompany him on all of his outdoor adventures. Amanda is an amazing lady and the two of them compliment each other so well. They love spending their weekends skiing, mountain biking, and exploring everything the great Pacific Northwest has to offer.

Their engagement session at Rattlesnake Lake was the perfect way to spend an evening this spring. All of our April rain paid off resulting in some of the most vibrant greenery I’ve seen here in Washington. Geese trotted across the grass, taking their little ones for their first swim. Brian and Amanda’s dog, Stella, wagged her tail with sheer joy as they rode their mountain bikes down the trail. We chose Rattlesnake Lake for it’s variety of backdrops and also to showcase Brian and Amanda’s love of the outdoors. I feel like it was the perfect compliment to their love and passions. I can’t wait to photograph their wedding in just a few short weeks. With pies, a barn, and maybe even a bluegrass group, it’s sure to be a great time!

Class of 2018 | Spring Senior Ambassadors

Posted in Seniors

I’ve done a lot of work over the last few months revamping our Senior Ambassadors program. It’s not that I didn’t like it before, I am just really excited to have a fresh new program with a more unique experience. In the past, each senior had the opportunity for a free session with me and once they reached three referrals, they got a print collection for free. Now, I am doing three “styled” shoots where the six Senior Ambassadors will have the opportunity to get some really incredible photos to share on social media and work towards getting credit towards their full senior session later in the summer. The first of our shoots was our spring shoot, shot in-studio in downtown Seattle. We had some top hair and makeup artists on set, making each girl look her best. Each girl had a 20-minute mini-session in the studio and then we finished with some fun shots of the whole group. My amazing mother-in-law and hostess with the most, Catherine, provided an amazing spread of food and drinks for everyone to enjoy. We also invited the girls’ parents to the session and I think they really enjoyed getting to watch their daughters be models for the day. This shoot is not typical of the type of shooting I do (I’m typically an outdoorsy, wide open fields and woodsy kinda gal), but it was so refreshing to push my creativity a bit and do something different. My goal with the new Senior Ambassadors program is to give each girl a unique experience that they won’t be able to get anywhere else. We will also be holding a fall and winter session to keep our images fresh and keep working with the girls throughout the school year! It was so much fun to work with these inspiring young ladies. I can’t wait to see what they accomplish!

All hair and makeup by Yessie Libby Makeup Artistry and Arianna Scott

Time to meet our Senior Ambassadors! First up is Catryce from Kentwood High School. She participates in track and cross country at her school and aspires to attend the University of Oregon or Western Washington University. Her dream job is to be a personal trainer, and one day, a stay at home mom.

Next we have Sydney, from Bothell High School. Sydney participates in soccer and track. Sydney is looking forward to filling out college applications and seeing where she ends up. Her dream job would be to work in public relations or advertising for a non-profit.

Introducing Melissa, from Kentlake High School. Melissa is excited to spend her senior year making memories with her friends before everyone goes off to college and we can’t blame her! Her dream job is to work with animals, specifically cats.

Next up is Isha from Skyline High School. She has a few goals before she graduates, one being to intern at some large pharmaceutical or biological lab in the area. She loves biology and her dream job one day would be to be a pediatric surgeon.

Introducing Isabella of Inglemoor High School! Isabella is hoping to travel to Europe with her family again so she can practice her foreign languages. Her goal is to be trilingual before she graduates. So impressive! Bella’s dream job is to be a biology teacher so she can share her love of science with others.

Finally we have Vivian! Vivian was Miss Washington’s Outstanding Teen 2016 and has accomplished a lot so far in her life. She participated in running start and was accepted at the age of 16 to the University of Washington! She has a lot of hopes and dreams but a few are to skydive and surf, along with someday maybe starting her own technology startup company!

Check out a few of our shots from behind the scenes at the event. Many thanks to all who helped make this dream of mine a reality!

We are currently offering a special for senior portraits! Book your session by June 12 and receive 25% off. No need to complete your session by then, it’s a buy now, use later type of deal. Email [email protected] for pricing and availability!