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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Albuquerque Wedding Planner Spotlight: NJR Event Planning

Whether you’ve been carefully crafting a collection of Pinterest boards (plural) dedicated to your upcoming wedding, or you’re hoping to leave the details of the day up to fate — every newlywed-to-be could use a hand with the whole process. Though we are lucky to be living in the digital age, so a healthy portion of your research, planning, and booking can happen from the comfort of your couch, if you so prefer. But that approach only works if you have the gaps of free time in your schedule to whip out your binders, highlighters, and snacks, to truly settle into the grind of planning a wedding all by your lonesome.

And if you’re like basically anyone in the year of 2019, though, you probably don’t have the luxurious option of scheduling a few days a week to calling and meeting DJs, florists, invitation companies, and the like. But you do have other options, and we’re sure you know where we’re going with this. Hire a local wedding planner!

(Specifically, NJR Event Planning.)

For nearly 3 decades, Naomi — the creative powerhouse behind NJR Event Planning — has been taking the inklings of dreams, and turning them into realities for New Mexico engaged couples. Her design expertise has weathered the storm through many a trend: cupcake-ballgowns, burlap + lace, bolero tops (Google it), puffed sleeves, etc…. Classic and modern though, the inherent talent of the NJR Event Planning team continues to evolve, meeting the needs of our generations respective trends like it’s second nature.

Luckily, as always, you don’t just have to take our word for it. It’s true we love NJR Event Planning because we’ve had the opportunity to work with Naomi for years, and can happily vouch for her expertise. But just to instill some additional confidence in our recommendation, come swoon with us over this perfectly articulated wedding shot by Alicia Lucia Photography.

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Pastel Perfection: Real Wedding with Chrisi K Photography

Perhaps we use the adjective perfect a little bit too frequently…But we are the Perfect Wedding Guide, after all! Plus, every wedding that graces our pages, both print and digital, was conceptualized and executed to perfection. But don’t let that fact dilute the word, because Aja + Johnny’s celebration of love was — yes we’re going to use it again — absolutely perfect.

When we say perfect, we don’t necessarily mean without hitch or hiccup as the traditional definition would suggest. Anyone whose been to a wedding, whether attending as a guest or collaborating as a vendor, knows that no celebration so large, so detailed happens without a few little bumps. Especially when a healthy number of family members are gathered in one place, if you know what we mean. What makes weddings like Aja + Johnny’s perfect is their persistence.

Despite the hours of calling, researching, and booking local wedding professionals, despite New Mexican weather that stays finicky all year long, despite all the budgeting, the love persists. Because the love between Aja + Johnny is bigger than any wedding-related trial or triumph — it steadfastly remains the focal point of their celebration, no matter the circumstance. We’re lucky Chrisi K Photography was there to capture this facet of their love, and ensure every detail was solidified in memory for their lifetime. Because, well, their life together as husband and wife began on this glorious and bright summer day, but the love that brought them there had already been existing and persisting all the while.

And, as if this simple truth didn’t make their wedding day perfect enough already, the couple truly slayed the summer wedding palette, and incorporated some of the most darling details we’ve seen to date. From the paper parasols to shade their guests from the New Mexican sun, to the adorable and surprisingly realistic succulent cupcakes, to the buoyantly cheerful bouquets of rose that complimented the bridesmaids donned in ethereal pastel. Aja + Johnny cared for every detail of their wedding day, and Chrisi K Photography cared for every moment.

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2018 Four Seasons Connection Luncheon Recap

Okay, so maybe we’re a bit nostalgic, but is that so wrong? Especially since we’re only a few days into 2019, and here in New Mexico, 2018 was one of Perfect Wedding Guide‘s best years yet. We had wedding shows, luncheons, and parties galore, plus relationship building, contest-throwing, giant giveaways, and more. The only way to rectify our desperate reminiscing is to start look eagerly toward our upcoming events, which we’re definitely doing, don’t get us wrong.

But before we jump ahead, we have to spend at least a moment discussing the experience of our Four Seasons Connection Luncheon that was in December of 2018. Because that’s exactly what it was — an experience. Four Season‘s unparalleled elegance, the crisp, clean air of Santa Fe, and Alena Bard LLC.‘s wisdom all combined to create a truly moving afternoon.

Lucky for us, Keara Lloyd Photography was there to capture every moment, too, from the first course to the last lingering conversation. The former being, if you can believe it, warm quail on a bed of roasted fennel salad, decorated with a complimentary beet puree, roasted almonds, and white balsamic glazed blueberries. Then came the duel entrees: slow braised short ribs with green chile mashed potato, and chorizo and macadamia roasted Chilean sea bass.

Accompanying every bite was a light and refreshing sparkling wine that prepared the palette for our team’s personal favorite, the dessert: strawberry trifle with sponge cake, vanilla and Chantilly cream. The only thing that rivaled the dessert’s sweetness was the absolute treat of hearing local wedding planner Alena Bard LLC. share her knowledge to the group of local business owners. She talked finding your purpose, holding onto it, and weaving passion and self-compassion into your business practices. We walked away feeling filled to the brim with inspiration and delectable cuisine.

The best part of being positioned between local engaged couples and the businesses who serve them is being able to spoil both parties. For our engaged couples, it’s through our giveaways, wedding shows, online tools, print guide, etc., etc., etc. And for the local wedding professionals, who work so hard to elevate and evolve Albuquerque + Santa Fe’s market, it’s through indulgent, invigorating, innovative days like this.

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Real Wedding at The Event Center at Sandia Golf Club

The venue had everything we were hoping for: gorgeous scenery (the best we saw and we looked at more than seven venues), a diverse menu to choose from, the perfect amount of privacy for our intimate evening, and the staff was untouchable when it came to accommodations and service. While searching for our venue we didn’t have any “must haves,” but the second we stepped foot inside The Event Center we both knew “this was the place!!” One of the most memorable parts of the evening was when the doors opened for me to walk down the aisle, seeing my soon-to-be husband’s face light up against the most breathtaking backdrop of the Sandia Mountains. It was a moment I had always dreamt of. Words cannot describe the feeling I had.

-Shelbi, Bride

We, as Perfect Wedding Guide, have a unique position in the wedding community here in Albuquerque + Santa Fe. Forging the bridge between local engaged couples and the small businesses who diligently serve them, we truly have the best of both worlds. We get to see the elbow grease and unparalleled passion of the wedding professionals, and the perpetually inspiring love stories from couples — how could we ask for anymore?!

So it’s easy to stay inspired in what we do, but hearing such happy, happy words from Shelbi, a New Mexican bride, truly makes our hearts soar. Because, well, we know The Event Center at Sandia Club is one of the best venues in our gorgeous states, but seeing its breathtaking landscape become the backdrop for a real, local couple’s love story? It doesn’t get much better than that.

Not to mention, this wedding in particular was perfectly paired with the couple’s venue choice. Punctuated by deep maroons, the delightfully rich vibes of Shelbi + Michael’s special day mirrored the mountainous view, with its red-tinted glow from which the Sandias are named. Plus, the happy couple’s faces are so aglow, they shine through the photos and rival the shimmering gold details of their decor.

Scroll on to get lost in their love story, just as we did, and read what Lauren, The Event Center at Sandia Golf Club‘s Director of Catering, had to say about Shelbi + Michael’s fun-filled, spectacular wedding day.

{Or get a free copy of our printed magazine to see the love in three dimensions!}

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It’s always such an honor to share in a couple’s wedding day and we were especially grateful when Shelbi and Michael selected The Event Center at Sandia Golf Club for their big day! When describing Shelbi and Michael’s wedding, the first word that comes to mind is fun! Shelbi and Michael are such a fun couple and you could see that in everything they were planning. If nothing else, they wanted to ensure their guests had a blast! Not only did they have all the typical elements to make for a fun wedding, but they added their own touch of an ice luge for shots, photo booth and yard games to really make it a unique and fun experience for their guests! There are definitely a lot of favorite moments from their wedding, but I have to say my favorite was seeing their love come full circle on that day with their sweet little boy standing by their side.

-Lauren, Director of Catering at The Event Center at Sandia Golf Club

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Venue| The Event Center at Sandia Golf Club

Photographer| Taken by Tamara

Officiant| Geoff Romero

Cake| Simply Sweet by Darci

Decor| Occasion Services and Events

Makeup| Katlin Green

One Last Sweet Summer Wedding from Kayla Kitts Photography

Happy Fall, wedding-lovers! Are you ready for crisp mornings, warm wedding colors, and the changing of leaves? We definitely thought we were. Seems like we’ve been waiting all summer for the temperatures to finally drop, and now that the solstice is just behind us, we’re already missing the long, sunny days!

In honor of the bountiful summer months — or as wedding experts know it as, wedding season — we’re swooning over this shimmering gold wedding from Kayla Kitts Photography. Monica + Andrew’s beautiful day is the perfect testament to New Mexican summers: baked in the celebration of love, laughter shining through the air, and a rich history of friendship and triumph that paved the way to this union.

Andrew and Monica are high school sweethearts, and a couple who are filled to the brim with fun, laughter, and a whole lotta awesomeness. Something about them makes you feel so comfortable, so happy – like you could chit-chat and hang with them all day.

Kayla, Kayla Kitts Photography

An array of pinks and peaches, ranging from dusty to delicate, adorned Monica’s bridesmaids, framing her in the familiar hues of an early desert sunrise. Eucalyptus, fresh as always and reminiscent of summer nights, sprouted out from their bouquets offering little slivers of greenery between the roses.

No metaphor truly encapsulates the jovial vitality of Monica + Andrew’s June wedding, though. Luckily, not many are needed as Kayla Kitts Photography‘s dedicated documentation of the day transcends your typical photographs. We can practically smell the ephemeral summer rain, which graced their Albuquerque venue briefly, and feel the love between the couple.

To book Kayla Kitts Photography + her keen creative eye for your wedding, you can contact her here. Book the local wedding professionals who manifested Monica + Andrew’s dream wedding in to a reality below.

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Their special day was full of excitement, support…and, a little bit of a road bump; the forecast predicted rain throughout the entire day. But, as I knew they would – Andrew and Monica rolled with it. They took deep breaths, crossed fingers hard, and hoped for the best. And the best is what we got! The clouds parted at just the right moment – and gave us the most perfect portrait time until it started sprinkling and A + M snuggled under the umbrella, and all was absolutely dreamy.

Kayla, Kayla Kitts Photography

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This wedding’s magic-makers:

Photographer: Kayla Kitts Photography 

Ceremony: San Felipe de Neri 

Reception: Hyatt Regency Downtown Albuquerque

Dress: Bridal Elegance by Darlene 

Hair & Makeup: Lucy Garcia with Honeycomb 

Florist: Enchanted Garden 

Invitations: Pennysmiths 

Shoes: Dillards 

Jewelry & Rings: Enchanted Jewelers 

Men’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse 

Officiant: Andy Pavlak 

Cake: Bizzy B Cakes 

DJ: Cutmaster Music

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Splendid Spring: Real Wedding at Los Poblanos

Perfect in every way.

That’s how Lauren, of Lauren Cherie Photography, describes Valeria + Brian’s wedding day. Looking at these incredible moments Lauren captured too, it’s easy to see why perfect is the adjective she choose! From Valeria’s lace-covered gown, to Brian’s bespoke gray suit, and all the tiny gold and purple details, this day truly was as effortlessly stunning and inspiring as the couple themselves.

Los Poblanos, famed lavender farm and historic inn here in Albuquerque, has been known for it’s world-class weddings for quite some time now. The venue stands so regal and beautiful, that inherently, little decor is needed. Adding delicate details that complimented the antique farmhouse vibe of the venue though… Well, Valeria + Brian took the space to a whole new level by doing so! Brush copper bottles lined the tables for their guests and held delicate sprigs of fresh floral arrangements, bringing beauty and life to the indoors.

Matching the coppery-gold belt Valeria paired with her gown too, the metallic motif carried on throughout the whole day, reflecting the light and love all around. Lauren Cherie Photography, a detail-oriented yet exceedingly creative team, encapsulated the tenderness and vibrance of the spring celebration through their dedicated craft.

The husband and wife duo, Lauren and Chris,  somehow manage to bring devotion to life for every one of their couples. How do you do it, y’all?! Actually, don’t reveal your secrets — we’re happy to just be admirers, and are so grateful to have your talent here in New Mexico.

Congratulations to Valeria + Brian — may your married life together be as splendid and bright as your wedding day!

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Photography + Videography | Lauren Cherie Photography, LLC
Venue | Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm
Officiant | A Grand Beginning
Hair + Makeup | Genica Lee, Makeup Artist
DJ | Too Hot to Stop Dj
Bridal Gown | @jbridalboutique
Bridesmaids dresses |  Dillards + Amazon
Groom/Groomsmen Suits |  Men’s Wearhouse