Amy & Jordan

About Amy & Jordan Photography

We fell in love in high school. When there was nothing more important than the homecoming dance. When a driver’s license was a commodity. When passing notes was an art form. We were young little pups ready to take on the world.

Today, we are a husband and wife photography team based in Scottsdale, Arizona. We are passionate about marriage and blessed to do what we love together. If you would like to know more, visit our website using the link above.

9 Tips Before You Board a Cruise Ship

Happy Friday, friends!

As you may know, when we went on our big European adventure this summer, a good chunk of our traveling was on a cruise ship! Before we’d been on a cruise ship, we didn’t really know what to expect, so today, we’re sharing our top 9 tips before you board a cruise ship! If you’re planning a cruise in the near future, we hope these tips will get you the most out of your time (and money) on the high seas!

1. On-Board Credits
Don’t book a cruise without getting some kind of on-board credit to spend. Cruise lines are always advertising specials where booking gets you some kind of cash to spend on board, whether it’s $50 or $250, don’t leave home without it! And if they’re not offering one at the time you book, just ask! It if means filling a cabin with two people, they’ll probably do it!

2. What to Keep in Carry-On Bags
Keep your toiletries, bathing suit, and a change of clothes in the bag you carry on the ship. It takes a few hours for your luggage to get to your room, but if you have those things in your carry-on, you can get right to it when you get on board instead of waiting around for your bags!

3. When to Board the Ship
Plan your arrival time at the cruise terminal for the earliest you’re allowed to board. The cruises we’ve been on had a 12:00 p.m. on-board time and a 7:00 p.m. departure time. That’s seven hours of food and entertainment that we already paid for, so we took advantage of it!

4. Stay Away from Sail Away Parties
On some cruise lines, there’s a sail away party where servers pass out specialty cocktails and flutes of champagne. They don’t make it clear that you have to pay for it until you’ve already taken the glass – and those drinks aren’t cheap!

5. Inside Cabin or Balcony?
If you have to choose, spend your budget on land excursions instead of an upgraded room. We’ve stayed in the cheapest rooms on the ship twice now — inside cabins with no view – and we’ve loved it. To be honest, we only really use our room for sleeping a night and napping during the day, and it’s pitch black when you turn the lights off in an inside cabin room, which is exactly what we want! Plus, it’s thousands of dollars more for a balcony over an inside cabin, so if you have to choose, go with on-shore activities instead! They’re experiences you’ll never forget, and everything else about your experience on the ship is going to be exactly the same whether you pay twice as much for your room or opt for the cheaper one. Of course, if you have the extra wiggle room in your budget, and can swing it all, go for it!

6. Bring Some DVDs
The TV channels on cruise ships are very limited and, of course, there is no internet connection, so streaming your favorite shows from Netflix is out of the questions. In Europe, we only got a few international news outlets and one movie channel that showed the same pictures on a loop. For us, there was just only so much Palestine-Israel coverage and Moneyball re-runs we could handle. Fortunately, we brought all seven season of our favorite TV show, Gilmore Girls, so we had something to fall asleep to every night and something to escape to during the lulls in the day.

7. Bring Laundry Detergent
Sending out your laundry on the ship can get expensive, so we recommend bringing your own detergent, washing your clothes each night in the sink, and then hang drying them the next day in your room or on the deck until they’re dry!

8. Pay Gratuities Ahead of Time
The cruise line will give you the option to pay gratuities at the beginning (for a lower amount) or pay them at the end (for a slightly higher amount), so save some money and do it up front!

9. Research Online
The best way to get a feel for the character of a cruise ship is to visit VacationsToGo.com because they break down every cruise line and each ship on the open sea. They’ll tell you when the ship was built, what’s on it, and, most importantly, they’ll give it a 1-5 star rating to help you decide what level of accommodations you can expect – and they’re pretty darn accurate!

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Looking for more travel tips? We’ve got ‘em here!

Part 1: 5 Gear Essentials for the Traveling Photographer
Part 2: 5 Tips for Photographing your Vacation
Part 3: 8 Things to Consider When Packing for Europe
Part 4: 4 Tips for Eating Well in Europe (Without Breaking the Bank)
Part 5: 5 Money Must-Knows When Traveling Abroad

Missed our European Adventure? It’s all here!

Part 1: Ireland
Part 2: England
Part 3: France
Part 4: Spain
Part 5: Italy
Part 6: Greece & Turkey
Part 7: Our Anniversary Photos in Venice

For those who asked, we photographed our trip with the Canon 5D Mark III camera and Canon 50mm 1.2 L-Series lens. In hindsight, a wider lens would’ve been helpful! The European streets are tight, the buildings are tall, and the tourists are plentiful! If you need gear recommendations, you can view what’s in our bag by clicking here.

5 Tips for Shooting in Crowded Places

A How-To Guide for Photographers

Okay, photographers, we’ve got a post for you today that, up until we shot in Central Park earlier this week, we would’ve never even thought of: how to shoot in crowded and congested places and still make it look like you and your subjects are the only people there. Ever since we posted Haley and Tom’s Central Park engagement, we’ve been getting loads of questions on this, and we’re happy to answer them today! The good thing about photographing in high-traffic areas is that there are some epic locations to shoot. That’s why they’re highly trafficked! The bad thing about it is this: there are so many people coming from so many directions all at the time (they never seem to stop!) that it’s almost impossible to get big, wide, pulled back images that showcase the landscape and landmarks of an area without having a bunch of people in the background. After some trouble-shooting and patience, we figured it out, though, and today we’ve got a few tips for you on how to make the most of it the next time you’re in crowded a place.

1. Start with Close-Ups
We shoot tighter than a lot of photographers nationally (it seems) because, in the Arizona desert, there’s little, if any, thick foliage in our backgrounds to diffuse light – and we’d rather not have the upper half of every frame as blown out sky. So, because we shoot tighter, we’re used to interacting with our couples from a close, comfortable distance without competing with hundreds of pedestrians getting between our couples and our cameras. In other words, we can keep a very consistent shooting rhythm, because there aren’t any other distractions or interruptions. In big cities, this isn’t the case.

So, we started with close-ups in a less congested area to get everyone comfortable, and get some good frames under our belt, before moving into busier areas. That really seemed to get everyone on the same page and we avoided any kind of awkward start that could’ve (potentially) hurt our confidence or affected our clients’ confidence in us. Remember, trust is one of the most important factors in getting clients to open up. Haley and Tom were total troopers during this entire shoot, and were so patient with us. Lastly, we tried to grab close-ups when we anticipated that the foot traffic was going to last a while. Amy would do those, and then Jordan would be waiting way behind, watching the people. As soon as it was clear, he’d yell to Amy, she’d jump out, and he’d grab the shot. We tried to be as efficient as possible with this system so we didn’t waste any time!

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2. Be Patient
There are some spots that are worth waiting for, and others that aren’t. When we found ones that weren’t, we moved on quickly, but when we find ones that were, we tried to be patient enough to wait it out. We kept reminding ourselves that we were in an epic place and had a few iconic shots in mind that we just had to get, because we would’ve kicked ourselves later for not waiting a few extra minutes until the coast was clear to get an image that we might not have ever gotten again – or at least not for a very long time.

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3. Communicate Clearly to Clients
It’s already hard enough for our clients to hear us when we’re behind the camera, but when we factor in city traffic, wind, people on foot, bicycles, carriages, and street musicians, it’s tough to hear. Really tough! So, we made sure to, when we could, give posing instructions at close distance, then we’d back up to shoot. We’d even use hand signals (like a thumbs up) when our clients were supposed to pose, or an open hand up (like a stop sign) when we wanted them to stop and wait a minute for people to pass. Also, and we learned this trick from our friend, Matt Kennedy: we made sure to drop the camera when we were giving instructions instead of muffling our voices from behind the lens. It helps so much when our clients can see our lips when we’re talking. That might sound basic, but it’s true and really makes a difference.

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4. Give Couples a Count Down
When our NYC couple was on a bridge or in the middle of a busy intersection, we only had a few seconds to nail the ideal shot before foot or car traffic picked back up, but we also needed them to stay in one pose long enough for us to compose the shot multiple ways. If they fell out of the pose, we didn’t have time to correct them and pick back up before traffic got going, so we’d all have to wait again for the next opportunity, which would’ve meant wasted time. So, instead, we gave them countdowns to make sure they’d be able to hold the pose long enough without us having to say anything. For example: we’d say, “Okay, count to ten in your head while you kiss,” or “Hold each other close and count to five in your heads.” That kind of specificity got us exactly what we needed from them, so that we could get moments like this (top) to look like moments like this (bottom). Check out that legit photo bomb in the parade of foot traffic! But it was SO worth it for the final product.

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5. Show Clients Why It’s Worth It
It can be frustrating for clients to stand around in the same place for a long time – especially when it’s really hot or really cold! We totally understand that, which is why it was imperative for us to show our clients what we were seeing through the lens so they’d be on board for waiting a little longer until just the right time. So, when we had an idea for a pulled back shot of our couple but couldn’t quite get it until everyone cleared, we showed them the back of our camera so they could see what we were seeing (and why we were waiting). That created buy-in from our clients and gave them an incentive to shiver in the cold for a bit longer – which they were so awesome for doing! AJ Brides are hard core!

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Bonus:

We had a lot of questions specifically about the shot of our couple in the street. We promise, no humans were harmed in the making of these photographs! We had several people ask us if we literally ran out into the middle of the street and stopped traffic! The quick answer is no! We would never advise risking the lives of our clients for a shot. No matter how cool it might look! And we’re pretty sure the native New Yorkers wouldn’t have stopped for us anyhow!

The trick to this shot was finding two parallel crosswalks that were relatively close to each other. One for us, and one for them. When the pedestrian walk sign would turn on, we would wait and see if a taxi was at the front of the intersection at the red light or if it was just a regular car. We really wanted that “New York” look, which meant it was worth it to us to wait for a yellow taxi cab. If the light turned red, and just a regular car was at the front of the intersection, we would wait it out, and try again, until the red light stopped a taxi cab right in front of the intersection. Haley and Tom would run into the center of the crosswalk in the front crosswalk, while we would run into the parallel crosswalk that was directly behind this one. We instructed them on posing ahead of time, so that they knew exactly what to do when the time was right. Then, Jordan would shoot while Amy would audibly count down the number of remaining seconds left on crosswalk timer, so everyone knew how many seconds we had left before traffic would resume. We got about fifteen seconds per traffic light. So for as much as we’d like to pretend we stopped traffic for these shots, it was a little less glamorous than that! Hopefully this helps de-mystify our favorite shot from this session. The moral of the story? Patience, our friends! Patience! It makes all the difference in the world!

Free Resource for You!
If you found this post helpful, and want more FREE photography and business tips and tricks that you can’t find on our blog delivered straight to your inbox every week? We’ve gotcha covered! Click here to sign up for The Monday Minute, our weekly resource for photographers. Never have a “Case of the Mondays” again!

More Free Content
If you’re looking for most posts to improve your photography and business, check out our Dear A&J series where we answer questions from blog readers, or our natural light series where we break down the basics of all things natural light!

Haley & Tom

New York City | Engagement Session | Part 2

Happy Wednesday, friends! Ooooh, do we have a good one for you today!!

Yesterday, we shared the cozy and colorful half of Haley and Tom’s engagement session in Central Park. As promised, today we’ve got the city and chic second half, and we just absolutely loved every second of this set. Haley and Tom are such a classic pair. This city was made for them. Our little photographer hearts could barely handle the incredible beauty all around us, and even though we were all freezing cold, we could’ve stayed out there all day. Haley and Tom were such troopers. We had to be super patient to nail a lot of these shots (which we’ll talk about more tomorrow!) but they handled the session like pros, and even when Haley was involuntarily shivering from the pure cold, she still had that sweet smile on her face. This will definitely go down in the books as one of our all-time favorite engagement sessions. Here’s a little look at part two of our time in the Big Apple!

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If you missed Part 1 of Haley and Tom’s engagement session, you can catch up here!

Also, if you liked Haley and Tom’s New York City engagement session, you might also like some of our other destination engagement sessions, like Kathleen and Aaron’s Limerick, Ireland engagement, along with Laura and Dave’s Nashville engagement and Nikki and Paul’s Florida beach session!

the GEAR USED for this SESSION…

Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 50 1.2
Canon 70-200 2.8
Entire Gear List

Haley & Tom

New York City | Engagement Session | Part 1

Oh, friends, do we have something special to share with you today! Our first engagement session in Central Park! A few months ago, we made plans to visit our friends in New Haven, Connecticut. Around the same time, we Skyped with an amazing bride and groom who live in New York City but are getting married in Phoenix, and as soon as we realized that New Haven is only about a two-hour train ride to The Big Apple, we added one more stop to our northeast adventure!

We left New Haven in the morning and arrived at Grand Central Station just before noon. In less than two hours, we walked about 50 blocks and saw as many sights as we could – Rockefeller Center, NBC Studios, Radio City Music Hall, Times Square – ending up smack-dab in the middle of Central Park, where we met the sweetest, most adorable couple: Haley and Tom. We spent the next few hours exploring the nooks and crannies of America’s favorite park, the bridges and benches, the tunnels and staircases, and the fall foliage that hung on just long enough for our cameras to make its acquaintance. Despite the freezing cold temperatures, occasional gusts of cutting wind, and parts of the park that were packed with people, these two couldn’t have been better sports, the session couldn’t have gone any better, and we couldn’t have had more fun.

Since this session has two distinct NYC flavors – the first half is cozy and colorful, and the second half is city and chic – we’re breaking it up and sharing it in two separate parts this week, starting with cozy and colorful half today, and city and chic half tomorrow. Haley and Tom, thank you for showing us your beautiful neighborhood and trusting us with documenting this big city chapter of your life together. We love you both and can’t wait for your wedding next fall! Here are some of the highlights from the first half of our time together.

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See Part Two of Haley & Tom’s NYC Engagement here!

If you liked Haley and Tom’s New York City engagement session, you might also like some of our other destination engagement sessions, like Kathleen and Aaron’s Ireland castle engagement, along with Laura and Dave’s Nashville engagement and Nikki and Paul’s Florida beach session!

the GEAR USED for this SESSION…

Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 50 1.2
Canon 70-200 2.8
Entire Gear List

A Cozy Weekend in New England

Crackling Fires, Hot Apple Cider & the Real Stars Hollow

Happy Monday, friends!

We’re on a plane en route from drizzly New England back home to sunny Phoenix right now, but we just had to share some of the highlights from this weekend with our sweet friends Justin and Mary at their home in Connecticut, and our day trip together to Rhode Island and New York, right away! When we very first met Justin and Mary, we connected on more levels than we could count, but perhaps, most notably, was our mutual love and affection for the greatest television show to never get nominated for an Emmy: Gilmore Girls.

That led to Justin and Mary revealing that they lived within an hour of the town that inspired one of our favorite shows of all time. Thus, we knew what we had to do. The path was oh-so clear and totally spontaneous in the best kind of way. We had to make a pilgrimage to the northeast to see the town that inspired our favorite show and pack all the Gilmore things we could into one weekend. So, we all checked our calendars and found the one weekend of the year when we were all available on a Saturday and Yale had a home football game (another critical part of the complete Gilmore experience).

So, on Thursday, we were off, leaving the warm comforts of Arizona for the cold and cozy ones of northeast in the fall, and we packed more in one weekend than we think we’ve ever done! In the mornings and evenings, we sat by the crackling fire in our pajamas, drank hot apple cider, roasted marshmallows for s’mores (the mint chocolate ones were our favorite!), and had talks, good ones, about things that matter and things that don’t, trading off between inquisitive questions and thoughtful responses, silly stories and deep belly laughs. Both were the perfect ways to start and end our days, without a care in the world yet caring so much about these two people in it. It was a retreat and a refuge. Refreshing and revitalizing. We feel immensely blessed to have friends like them.

We went on adventures, too. We wandered around historic Yale University, ate grilled cheese from a phantom food truck that’s in one place one day and a new place the next, drove to Rhode Island and had drinks at a hotel next door to Taylor Swift’s waterfront house all while trying to restrain the fan girls deep inside all of us and keep our inner Taylor demons from taking over and us having a rush-theWhite-House-lawn moment at her mansion, paid a visit to the Branford House, Justin and Mary’s gorgeous wedding venue, and, of course, strolled around the real Stars Hollow, which for Gilmore Girls die-hards is a sort of television Mecca. Some of the most fun we had all weekend, though, was at the Yale football game, where we tailgated with hot chocolate and, the biggest highlight of all: we met Handsome Dan, Yale’s famous bull dog mascot! We didn’t stay legalistically true to Emily Gilmore’s famous Yale tailgate. No Bloody Mary’s, Fig Newtons, or fun flasks, but we made plenty of Pennilyn Lott references and countless chants of Bull dogs, bull dogs, bow wow wow!

Yes, we drank our weight in holiday-themed Starbucks drinks this weekend. We stopped to take photos at every opportunity. We ate delicious dinners from the best neighborhood joints, tasted unbelievable pastries from locally famous bakeries, and paired glasses of seasonal wines with good conversation whenever we could. And it was in those moments when we got the clearest glimpse of who our friends really are: two people who, despite having the softest voices in the room, speak louder than anyone else by their thoughtful words and caring deeds. They’re, at their core, kindness laced with loyalty and integrity wrapped up in love. We’ve heard it said before that we’re all the average of the five people we spend the most time with. If that’s the case, we need to plan weekly trips to New Haven, because Justin and Mary, are exactly the kind of people we want to be.

Here are the highlights of our time in New England! First, up Yale!

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It’s been a lifelong dream of ours to get to see the real Stars Hollow, and this quaint little Connecticut town was the epitome of all things Gilmore. Yep, we can die happy now.

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We were so enthralled with the fall colors that we actually asked Justin and Mary to stop the car just so we could take a photo with a tree!

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We even got to see The Branford House, the gorgeous venue where these two lovebirds tied the knot seven years ago! So special!

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We took a quick detour into Rhode Island and had drinks at the prettiest hotel we’ve ever seen. Gah! This view!!

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Gilmore Girl tailgating at the Yale game!!
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In true Paris Gellar fashion. WE WON! WE LOST.

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The game was FREEZING, but it was worth every shiver! We found lots of creative ways to stay warm!

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We met the REAL Handsome Dan!! A Gilmore dream come true!  Amy and Jordan in New Haven_0021

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The two of us even snuck in a quick trip to NYC to see the sights and shoot an engagement session in Central Park! It was our first time shooting professionally in New York, and we are so excited to share those images soon! Here are a few little highlights from our sight-seeing adventures!

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Even with all the amazing things we saw and all the incredible things we did, THIS, this was the best part of all. Crackling fires, s’mores, movie nights and great conversations with friends we love with all our hearts were our very favorite moments from this amazing weekend.

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It’s been an amazing year of travel for us, but we’re grounded for the rest of 2014 and so happy about it! If you wanna check out where this year’s adventures took us, you can catch up here!

International
Ireland
England
France
Spain
Italy
Greece & Turkey

Domestic

Nashville
Denver
Phoenix
Vancouver
Seattle
Vegas
Atlanta
Santa Barbara
Florida
Virginia

 

All Text and Photographs © 2014 Amy & Jordan Photography | Blog Managed By Inspire Business Concepts
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