Hidden Gem Photographers in New Mexico

Yes, it’s true — we just said earlier this week that the fickle weather of spring had given way to steady sunshine and…..then it rained. So it goes in this beautiful, mercurial desert state! While we might not be able to rely on the weather for consistency, we can at least know that whatever rain comes to New Mexico won’t last very long. Plus, because temperamental weather is often on the horizon, local creatives have learned how to work with and around it, especially our wedding photographers.

We all know that rain on your wedding day is good luck — what with the symbolism of cleansing, renewal, and fertility and all — but what about the wind? Or the blazing New Mexican sun that occasionally becomes a bright and shining nuisance? Despite how perfectly you may plan your wedding, there are always a few uncontrollable weather variables. So, if you can’t control the weather, you’ll need a team of wedding professionals who aren’t afraid of a little Mother Nature.

Which is why we’ve put together a list of our 5 favorite hidden gem photographers. With years of experience in rain and shine, these local wedding photographers have been put to the test and come out on the other side with gorgeous visual art, a fine-tuned understanding of lighting, and a considerable dedication to their craft. So, if you maybe want someone you can count on to capture your wedding day — take a peak below.

1. Beth Waldron Photography

We’re starting out strong here with the creative known as Beth Waldron Photography. Like an amazingly talented fly on the wall, Beth photographed our Bridal Board + Vendor Mixer just a few weeks ago, and totally captured the essence, fun, and special moments of the event. (Not to mention, the photos were beautiful despite coming from a dimly-lit ballroom.) With an expressive edge that comes through in each shot, her wedding photography should be properly classified as works of art.

 

2. Jared Kellogg Photography

I feel life has a soul and there is nothing more beautiful than capturing it in a smile or in the twinkle in some one’s eye.

We couldn’t have described the creative driving force behind Jared Kellogg‘s photographic art any better than he does himself! With a unique blend of digital and film photography in his portfolio, Jared has come to understand the medium on a personal and artistic level, which shines through in his business. His clean and even approach to each couple makes his work feel comforting and familiar, with a kind of timelessness to last through each and every anniversary.

 

3. Chandelier Studio

It’s hard not to love Shannon, the creative powerhouse behind Chandelier Studio, from the first moment you meet her. All of her photographic work — weddings and boudoir — comes from a deeply artistic, deeply collaborative place, and it shows. The focus of her lens and creative practices is on making sure the women and couples in front of the camera feel beautiful, and know they’re beautiful. It’s no small wonder then, that each shot comes out looking comfortable, crisp, and perfectly balanced.

 

4. Rick Saul Photography

Rick Saul approaches each engaged couple in New Mexico with a keen awareness of the fact that his photos will long outlive the ceremony, reception, and even the honeymoon. It’s this knowledge that motivates his work, and ensures his talents are used to encapsulate all the most important moments of the day, whether they are precious and heartfelt, or silly and fun. His photographs are, essentially, his way of cementing your story in time forever, so that they may remind you of your unique love for decades to come.

 

5. Shutter Force Photography

To finish just as a strong as we started, we’re wrapping up here with Shutter Force Photography. Although we just did a special feature on the husband-and-wife photographer duo, it’s worth reiterating that their fun and loving approach to photography is totally unparalleled. Meagan and James, as they’re also called by, cultivate real, genuine relationships with their couples. It’s with this connection that they are able to express the inexpressible emotions, details, and depth of each love story within their photography.

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Wedding Venue Hotspots in New Mexico {Part Two!}

Yep, it’s back already! If you missed our first round, you’ll definitely want to pop on over to the Wedding Venue Hotspots, Part One post. If you didn’t miss it, then we’re sure you’re on the edge of your seat for this post, just like we are! The variety of venues, vibes, and values available makes the New Mexico wedding-space scene one of our favorite sources of inspiration. From traditional adobe and colorful cathedrals, to modern farmhouses and rugged rail yards, the options are endless here.

Then, as you might imagine, trying to choose only 18 of our top wedding ceremony and reception venues seemed nearly impossible! Luckily, from our little perch here in the local wedding community, we’ve been able to cultivate awesome business friendships with the creative teams who run wedding venues in New Mexico. So it actually turned out to be pretty easy to choose, considering all of our favorites also have staffs who are dedicated to excellence, and stellar reputations to precede them.

Enough with the flattery though, let’s jump back into our curated list!

Hacienda Dona Andrea

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Shayla Edenfield Photography

Hacienda Dona Andrea is nestled in the hills 25 miles outside of Santa Fe and one of the hottest, and most private, spots to get married in New Mexico. The 13,000 square-foot old-world estate offers glowing mountain views, ceremony and reception spaces. Their nine deluxe bedrooms allow for up to 30 of your closest family and friends to stay with you while making lifelong memories during your special weekend. The hacienda is rented exclusively to one party at a time. Couples can plan their wedding their way with chairs, tables, and tableware rentals onsite and free choice of outside vendors. You get your wedding and the whole hacienda, too.

 

Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town

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Blue Rose Photography

Whether it’s a magnificent formal reception or an intimate outdoor event, Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town offers a flexible and elegant array of wedding and reception spaces that can fulfill your vision. The property has more than 62,000 sq. ft. of event space, including two state-of-the-art grand ballrooms and gracefully landscaped gardens with fountains, rose arbors, lawn courts, and a Victorian-style pavilion. The centerpiece of Hotel Albuquerque is the 19th-century style non-denominational chapel, San Isidro de Capilla, which seats 156 guests under a soaring vaulted beam ceiling. Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town’s memorable settings are the perfect backdrop for your dream wedding.

 

Hotel Chaco

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Emily Joanne Wedding Films & Photography 

Albuquerque’s newest luxury hotel, Hotel Chaco, offers spectacular panoramic views of the Sandia Mountains, downtown Albuquerque, and historic Old Town. Designed by the world renowned architectural firm, Gensler, the uniquely contemporary spaces are perfect for intimate and grand events. The Terrace Suite is ideal for a grand outdoor event and the serene courtyard and gardens are perfect for a quaint wedding ceremony, with additional ceremony space available at the adjacent Hotel Albuquerque at Old town. This exciting space is unlike any rooftop ceremony and reception venue in Albuquerque. 

 

Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces

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Lauren’s Photography

Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces has a Spanish and Mexican Colonial ambiance and offers couples sophisticated wedding venues. Up to 500 guests can be accommodated in the tasteful San Andreas Ballroom, while the smaller San Rafael Ballroom can fit up to 200. Weddings can also be held at one of the several beautiful outdoor spaces, with palm trees, fountains, and colorful flowers. The events lawn, adjacent to the elegant pool, the Jardín Sagrado Event Garden, and the stylish Azul Lounge patio are all perfect for receptions and ceremonies. The unique settings at Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces feature old world charm with modern amenities to make your special day perfect and memorable. 

 

Hyatt Regency Downtown Albuquerque

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Briana Nicole Photography

Hyatt Regency downtown Albuquerque is a historically urban venue for your wedding ceremony and reception. Our Whyte Room is a blank canvas to design your dream ceremony or reception. Experience our unique ABQ, city-vibe with a touch of contemporary, and a dash of elegance…all that’s left is your signature. 

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Los Poblanos Weddings Throughout the Seasons

Here in Albuquerque, when you think spring, you think Los Poblanos. It’s a cognitive connection that we simply can’t shake, what with the rows and rows of flowering lavender, the festival for the very plant for which they’re known, fresh and whimsical weddings, and so much more. But actually, as self-proclaimed groupies of the famed New Mexico wedding venue, we know a little secret…

Los Poblanos magically transforms with every equinox and solstice. It’s true! We’ve seen it ourselves — as summer drops into fall, as fall slips into winter, some sort of wizardry overcomes the rugged-glam organic farm. The heavenly scent of lavender in bloom and lush historic gardens is replaced with that of cozy wood-burning fireplaces, delicate candles, and unbelievably crisp air.

All that remains the same with each change of the season is the classic New Mexican architecture, sprawling natural landscape, and their dedicated staff. And, because it’s extremely difficult to not be obsessed with her, Maura Jane Photography is also a Los Poblanos staple! Her unparalleled eye for timelessly light and airy wedding photography perfectly complements the delicacies of the inn + farm.

If ever there were a wedding business collab from heaven that happened to occur in New Mexico, these two vendors would be at the helm. 

So we’re sharing our little discovery with you, our Perfect Wedding Guide friends and fam! Because we’re oh so lucky to have Maura Jane Photography weddings and styled shoots from each season to swoon over, and we simply couldn’t keep it to ourselves. Plus, if anyone deserves to take advantage of the New Mexican treasures that are Maura Jane Photography and Los Poblanos Historic Inn + Organic Farm, it’s you.

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1. WINTER

It’s no trick of the light! Though Maura Jane does have a way of making everything look warm + inviting, you real won’t have a problem keeping cozy, even on New Mexico’s chilliest days. Plus, did ya know that if you mention Perfect Wedding Guide, you’ll keep free, super exclusive winter wedding enhancements from Los Poblanos? Pretty neat if you ask us.

 

2. SPRING

This spectacular spring wedding was one of our favorite’s from Maura Jane Photography. We might be biased though, as some of us have a slight affection for anything as dreamy and rosy as these photos! Read more about this particular wedding in a feature here.

 

3. SUMMER

This timeless touches styled shoot was absolutely to die for! Blue, unbelievably underrated as far as wedding colors goes, was captured perfectly and truly popped against the neutral hues of Los Poblanos.

4. FALL

Ah, and finally, our dear autumn. Golden leaves shining through the towering, ancestral trees — there’s not much more that needs to be said here.

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Angie + Audra’s Backyard Wedding with Matt Blasing Photography

Luckily for our little Perfect Wedding Guide team, there are thousands of weddings here in New Mexico every year. Like, literal thousands of them. Which means we have a whole lot of color palettes, decor design, and unique ceremonies to be inspired by, and every single one ends up being very near and dear to our hearts. As a bride or groom or spouse-to-be, though, the thought of being one in thousands can be a little overwhelming, and maybe even a bit disheartening.

But have no fear — because of our slightly higher-than-average marriage rate here, we (you included!) get to watch as the wedding community evolves faster than ever before. Wedding professionals and engaged couples alike are pushing boundaries, thinking outside the box, and changing the way we honor and recognize love in its many forms. By incorporating new, intrinsically personal elements into each wedding, both sides of the equation are coming together to create celebrations of unity that truly are one in a million. (Or at least one in the several thousands here!)

For Angie and Audra, this concept was already second nature. The couple — smiling ear to ear with the dreamy sort of excitement we see ubiquitously when two people are truly in love — entwined their personalities and life’s stories into their wedding seamlessly, making it, at once, a comforting and familiar atmosphere, and a celebration of two souls so personal, we could never experience it the same way again. From the crafted wood arbor, made by Angie’s own hands, that framed the couple as they said their vows, to the tiniest detail of incorporating pine cones into the decor, there was no doubt that this wedding, of all of them, belong to Angie and Audra.

(The pine cones were collected during the couple’s adventures! They traveled all the way from Maine, Oregon, California, the UK, Tennessee, Hawaii, and more, to pay witness to the beginning of Audra and Angie’s new life together.)

Of course, without the unparalleled talent of one of New Mexico’s favorite wedding photography teams, Matt Blasing Photography, we would never be able to bask in the glory that is the heartfelt, totally consuming, and immensely inspiring details of Angie and Audra’s wedding. To book Matt Blasing Photography for your own celebration, you can contact Matt and Amy here

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DJ: Desert Sands Entertainment

New Mexico Wedding Photography with Shutter Force

We were particularly impressed with Megan and James’ infectious enthusiasm, which made the day even more fun and memorable. They are truly adventure photographers and are up for anything to get a great photo. It is obvious that they enjoy their jobs and love spending time with their couples while providing great pictures.

-Amanda, local + engaged

One of the many things that makes New Mexico oh so special — besides the green chile, intoxicating desert landscapes, and mañana mentality, of course — is the variety of people, cultures, and communities coexisting here together. There’s no one, dominant kind of person here, but rather a collection of different experiences of the world, values, stories, and lives.

When it comes to choosing the wedding professionals you’ll work with to make your dream day come true, then, the options are endless. Taking a look at even just the range of skill we have from local photographers, and those who have come from all over the world to be ceaselessly inspired by New Mexico, your choices are definitely not limited. Which means you have the opportunity here to spend time with your decision, and choose the photographer or photography team that matches your aesthetic preferences and personality. How lucky is that?!

Every photographer in New Mexico is talented in their own unique ways, too, so there really is no wrong decision when it comes to choosing someone in-state. But there are a few who we can say, from personal experience, go above and beyond to capture your celebration of love in all its grandness — and all the important, tiny moments too — with collaborative hearts and full dedication. You see where we’re going here?

Meagan and James are the husband and wife duo behind the respected name, Shutter Force Photography, and when we say dedicated, we mean dedicated. Now, of course the couple had their own wedding photographed, so they’ve been on both sides of the lens and know how to move and operate within the bustling business of a wedding day without being obtrusive or missing a special moment. This, paired with their adventurous and fun-loving personalities, makes Shutter Force Photography feel more like a couple of your close friends, Meagan and James, who happen to be supremely skilled behind the camera. Which you can see, through the candid smiles, comfortable postures, and wide open hearts of everyone who collaborates with them.

We could talk endlessly about Shutter Force Photography‘s particular strengths and aesthetic style, but no matter how heavily we lean on the thesaurus, nothing comes close to describing their ability to capture sweeping landscapes and delicate details like, well, their photos of sweeping landscapes and delicate details. So we’ll let them take it from here.

To book Shutter Force Photography for your wedding, you can contact Meagan and James here.

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Outstanding, caring and enthusiastic photographers, who do an amazing job of catching the big and little details that make up a special day!

-Mark, local + newlywed

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Royal Wedding, New Mexican Style

If you’ve picked up on anything from reading our little New Mexico Perfect Wedding Guide blog here, then you know a couple things. First, we love love. Like, a lot. Second, we’re obsessed with high-quality, jaw-dropping weddings and styled shoots that prove our state is on par with coastal trends, despite being oh so landlocked. And third, we have a special affinity for weddings with super strong New Mexican vibes, for obvious reasons.

So when a photo comes across our desks that combines all three of those elements…well, let’s just say we do a lot of happy dancing in our office. And happy dance we did, the moment we saw this collab between a few of our very favorite local wedding businesses. Housed by the undeniably southwestern, yet luxuriously curated Hacienda Dona Andrea, Shayla Edenfield Photography came together with some incredible local vendors like Mr. Tux and The Flower Company to create a shoot that rivals royal weddings, with an added New Mexican flair.

Hacienda Dona Andrea, a traditional adobe structure, began as a 9-bedroom home to the Contreras in the 16th century. The home, which is actually more castle than townhome, is imposingly venerable in the best possible way, and now generously hosts weddings for New Mexican natives, and those otherwise enchanted from far-off places. With impeccably carved furniture around every bend, and of course debuting within the shoot itself, and hand-crafted fixtures hanging from above, the hacienda made the perfect venue for this dignified and colorful styled shoot.

Bright florals enhanced the already-bursting colors of the venue, from the traditional Spanish art and hand painted tiles, to the oriental rugs. It would all have been for naught, of course, if there weren’t any turquoise jewelry; luckily the darling bride wore the traditional stone across her neck. And thank goodness for Shayla Edenfield‘s light and bright style — as sunshine-y and heartwarming as the personality behind the lens — which captured it all in its shining, regal glory.

To book Hacienda Dona Andrea for your wedding, you can contact their team of dedicated creatives here.

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Photographer: Shayla Edenfield Photography

Floral: The Flower Company

Tux: Mr. Tux Formalwear

Dress:  Borrowing Magnolia

Makeup: Betty Rose by Alanna

Cake: Cake Fetish

Turquoise Jewelry: Turquoise Direct

Furniture: Hacienda Dona Andrea

Stationery: Cordially Invited Events LLC

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Wedding Venue Hotspots in New Mexico {Part One!}

When you stop and consider the New Mexico landscape for a moment, it really comes as no surprise that visual industries are on the rise in our home state. Film, design, fine art, architecture — every medium has an inspiration because, well, we have everything! Mountains and mesas, high and low desert, urban cityscapes, lush forests, and small towns are all in abundance, which makes for varied and personal experiences with the state for all who visit or reside.

Finding a wedding venue, then, is at once the easiest and most difficult decision you’ll have to make while planning your wedding in New Mexico. Easier than ever before because, as wide a range of landscapes to choose from, is the type of venue within those places. From traditional New Mexican adobe and Spanish-inspired cathedrals, to crisp modern art spaces and whimsical woodland cabins, there’s a venue for pretty much every vibe. So whatever dream wedding fantasy you’ve got tucked away on your Pinterest or even just your subconscious, New Mexico has you covered.

With such an incredible variety to choose from though, and every option is gorgeous in its own exceptional way, the decision-making can become a bit overwhelming. So we, from our unique vantage point between engaged couples and local wedding businesses, compiled 18 of New Mexico’s hottest spots for ceremonies and receptions. Starting with the just the first three in the series, these venues have been vetted and are certified beautiful, with incredible teams of dedicated wedding pros behind the curtains. Keep an eye out for the rest of our absolute favorite venues as part of the hotspots feature!

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Shutterfreek Photography

1. Eldorado Hotel & Spa

Eldorado Hotel & Spa offers unique and elegant venue spaces for the perfect Santa Fe wedding. La Capilla de Oro, the stunning non-denominational chapel, features natural and customizable lighting with an artisan-crafted gold leaf alter as the backdrop.

The rooftop presidential suite has gorgeous views of the city as well as the surrounding Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Historic Casa España, the stylish and antique filled club, is available for unforgettable receptions as well as the 7,000sq. ft. Eldorado Grand Ballroom (the largest in Santa Fe).

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Emily Joanne Wedding Films and Photography

2. El Monte Sagrado Spa and Resort

With unparalleled amenities, mountain views, lush landscapes, and 7,000 square feet of event space, El Monte Sagrado Spa and Resort is the perfect destination for an unforgettable Taos wedding. Couples can say “I do” in the Sacred Circle, an intimate outdoor space encircled by mature willows and cottonwoods. 

Ceremonies and receptions in the elegant Rio Grande Ballroom can accommodate up to 400 guests. There is a wide variety of rooms and settings from which to choose, from the intimacy of the Library to the Grand Bohemian Gallery overlooking aspen trees and waterfalls.

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Talitha A. Tarro Photography

3. Event Center at Sandia Golf Club

From jaw-dropping views to high-end finishes, the Event Center at Sandia Golf Club provides a one-of-a-kind venue to say “I Do.” With expansive glass windows bringing in gorgeous natural-light, views of the pristine golf course and dramatic views of the Sandia Mountains, you won’t have much need for additional décor!

The Event Center at Sandia Golf Club is the perfect spot for an intimate, casual wedding, but if high-end is your dream, pulling off a sophisticated soiree is easily done! For a unique, gorgeous place like no other in New Mexico, we promise you won’t be able to get enough of this gorgeous venue!

 

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