Monday, May 20, 2013

Milestone Portraits

newborn twin boys
Milestone Portraits are an important part of your child's younger years. When they are a baby, we typically recommend doing those portraits every 3 months starting with the newborn photos and keeping up with them through 1 year. We also recommend trying to do monthly photos - they can be simple snapshots at home or you can do a mini sitting with us. If you are looking for mini sessions, just contact us and we can let you know what we have coming up or we can arrange one for you.
3 year little girl photosAfter the first year, 18 months (approximately) is a great milestone session and can usually be done with a fun outdoor summer session or around the holidays, spending on your child's birthdate. After the 18 month session, we recommend updating your child's portraits every year. If your child was born in the winter months and you want a spring or summery session, you can always do it on every half year, like 2 and a half, 3 and a half, etc. You will still be documenting the changes they are going through.

Once your child enters the school years, you will be blessed with school photo day, a day which many parents dread, and of course one in which they feel the need to shell out large amounts of money for portraits they won't see until it's too late. You can send your child to school with their hair fixed up, their clothes looking great, and inevitably photos will be after recess or lunch. So, instead of leaving those precious milestone photos to a cattle driver, have them taken by a professional.

Milestone Portraits can also be a great time to get shots of siblings together and family portraits. 

Pick a location based on your outfit choices and your child's personality. You don't want to choose a playground if you want pictures of your child smiling at the camera. They tend to get a bit distracted. We have a huge selection of props from chairs to hats and hair accessories that we are happy to bring to your session. And we are always happy to make suggestions for new and exciting locations.


Photos and Article by Jennifer Duval
Jennifer Duval is the owner and primary photographer at Duval Digital and specializes in wedding and portrait photography. She would love to photograph your family and especially your children. She has a lot of patience for getting that one great shot of your child, no matter how long it takes.
Duval Digital is based out of Colorado Springs, CO and travel all over the state and country. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Colorado's Out of the Way and Lesser-known Venues

I touched on locations a couple months ago, but we have recently been trying to help one of our clients find the perfect location, but it seems that most of the more popular locations are booked up on their date. So, we have been compiling a list of some of the lesser known venues in the state.

Many of these venues are less expensive or have better availability than the more popular venues you will see in all of the Colorado wedding magazines.

Sourdough Valley Ranch - Woodland Park, CO (left)
Although the website is currently malfunctioning, the location is beautiful, there is a lot of property, and it offers many different areas to fit whatever style you are looking for.

Green Mountain Falls Gazebo
A little bit closer than Woodland Park, is the cute little town of Green Mountain Falls. They have an adorable little gazebo next to the lake which can be rented out for your wedding. Just keep in mind that it can snow earlier in the year up there than in the Springs.

Lodge at Cathedral Pines - Black Forest, CO (right)
This is a beautiful, and small, venue with fantastic rates. 

Venue 515 and 7 Minute Spring in Manitou Springs, CO
Inexpensive, urban, outdoorsy, and a reception venue which allows you to make it your own. These two go hand in hand so well together. Plus, the downtown Maniotu area is just up the street to add some unique backgrounds to your wedding photos.

The Penrose House at Turkey Creek (left)
A pretty little venue owned by Fort Carson, but they allow civilians to rent this property, too.

Black Canyon Inn - Estes Park, CO
This is a relatively well known venue in Estes Park, but I think it deserves a mention since it is often upstaged by the Stanley Hotel.

The Lodge at Elk Valley - Divide, CO (right)
This beautiful property is great for outdoor weddings in the summer. The main house is a little too small for an indoor wedding, but it provides a great place to get ready and hideout before the ceremony. You can always set up a big white party tent in the field.

Meadow Creek Bed & breakfast - Pine, CO (left)
A beautiful little venue hidden up in Pine, they have a small indoor pavilion for the reception and a gorgeous field in the back.

Getaways from the Girl Scouts of Colorado
The girl scouts have some beautiful properties all over the state which can be rented for all kinds of events. You may have difficulty getting rentals in the middle of summer since they are used for girl scout camps, but once the kiddos go back to school, the availability should open up.

Colorado Springs Parks & Rec Weddings (GotG right)
Want a nice local, low-scale wedding? Most of Colorado Springs Public Parks can be used for weddings. But, keep in mind, since many cannot be "reserved," you may have to fight other parties, picnics, or random people crashing your wedding. There are a few that can be reserved, like the Garden of the Gods wedding pavilion, and the Mother's Chapel. 

Please, if you have any other ideas for lesser know venues, please post them in the comments below to help out other brides or people looking event venues.


Duval Digital specializes in outdoor weddings. We are based out of Colorado Springs, CO and travel all over the state and country. We have photographed weddings at most of the locations in this article in case you need tips on set up.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Makeup Ideas for the Big Day

Hair and Makeup typically go hand in hand, however, makeup is seldom considered and hair gets all the attention. So, my big tip for you? Hire a makeup artist! 

Yes, it seems like an expense you can skip out on, but truthfully, your face is going to be in every photo! Makeup artists have the techniques and experience to make your face truly "shine" on your big day. A makeup artist will be able to make you naturally beautiful by enhancing what your face already has, which is also a big plus for the groom since men seldom enjoy the look of makeup and prefer our natural skin (no idea why). 

Definitely get together with your chosen artist a month or so before the big day and do a trial run, just like your hair. Hopefully you will be able to schedule these on the same day so you get the big picture. And, hey, when you get home, go ahead and try on your wedding dress. Fun! 

Make sure your makeup artist specializes in wedding makeup. The last thing you want is for a prom makeup artist to fix up your face for your big day. Sparkles are great for high schoolers, but on older faces, not so much.

Also, plan at least 50% more time for your hair and makeup than what the hair and makeup professionals ask for. If anything goes awry and they need to restart, you will be much more relaxed knowing you won't be late.

The bride to the right had a very talented makeup artist on her big day. Although she was already a naturally beautiful woman, her makeup made her look outstanding. You can see that while she does have a very natural look, it is also a perfectly polished look. It just enhanced her natural beauty.

Now, if you absolutely do not have any wiggle room in your budget for a makeup artist, here are some tips for do-it-yourselfers. And be sure to test out all products on your face before the big day. You don't want to have a reaction to something on your big day.

- The week before your wedding day, sleep on a clean pillowcase every night. I flip my pillow to get two uses out of it. There is no substitution for taking care of your skin from the inside, so drink a ton of water... like camel amounts. I'm not going to tell you to eat healthy, but it will help... I would rather enjoy myself the week before my wedding, anyways.

- Urban Decay Cosmetics creates a long lasting makeup spray, called All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray. Essentially, it is hairspray for your face! Apply a coat or two and dance the night away without worry. You can find it locally at Ulta or online through retailers like Amazon.

- Primers also help to prolong the wear of your makeups and can also help smooth out your skin to minimize flaws.

- If you need to minimize fine lines or wrinkles, use a good facial moisturizer before your primer and foundation. And use very little powder on those areas.

- If you have that pesky acne that always seems to flare up on a wedding day, use a green-tinted concealer to counteract the redness before using your foundation.

- Now lets say you didn't get a nice long night of beauty rest... nerves, partying, chatting, so many reasons. Anyways, your eyes will pay the price. If they are red, visine will do the trick. If they have dark circles under them, try a yellow-tinted concealer before applying powder. If they are puffy you can try the teaspoon trick, but it won't last all day. There are eye creams with caffeine in them that are getting great reviews out there. 

- As for eyeshadow, avoid insanely bright colors. This is not where you bring in your wedding color. Stick with neutral tones for a more natural look. Iridescent or off-white shadows will make your eyes pop.

- Waterproof Mascara... and you do need to curl your lashes. However, if your lashes don't hold a curl for a long time, you may need to consider getting falsies. Get a good brand and you won't have to worry about them falling off.

- Lipstains instead of lipstick. You don't want a giant red stain on your groom's shirt. They typically come with a gloss to apply over them to make it look like a lipstick.

- Blush. It is an unfortunate cruelty. You want a little color on your cheeks. Pick a peachy-pink color and it won't be that bad. (I'm not a big fan of blush.)

Keep in mind, most professional photographers have the ability to fix any problem areas. If you do have a problem and the makeup isn't quite covering it, I am sure your photographer will help you out. 


These tips are a concoction of ideas I have been gathering in a document through the years, as well as chatting with makeup artists at various weddings. Thanks to all of the makeup pros out there for their wisdom.


Jennifer Duval is the owner of Duval Digital, a Colorado Springs based wedding and portrait photography studio. She loves outdoor weddings and homemade wedding favors, preferably food based. However, her primary love has always been photography. You can see more of our wedding photography work here: so much 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Why can't I have my cake and eat it, too?

One of my favorite things about weddings is the cake. I love cake. I love frosting. I love to eat. (My waistline agrees... unfortunately.) With that said, brides seem to be split down the middle on whether or not the cake is an important part of the wedding plans. On the one hand, you may think it is a centerpiece for your wedding reception, on the other, you may think it is a great place to trim the budget  since no one will remember how the cake tasted. Well, I think both brides are wrong on this one.

Yes, the cake is a monumental piece of your reception. After all, there is an entire "ceremony" just for cake cutting. It can also help bring the theme of your wedding into the reception. However, consider that maybe the bride and groom should be the focus of the reception. You do not want a cake that upstages a bride. The cake is still important, but it doesn't need to chew up the entire reception budget.

So, to start planning your cake budget, you need to decide how much cake and how elaborate you want it to be. Cake shops can help you determine the amount of cake needed based on how many guests you expect. If your venue offers cakes, they may add a plate charge for cake ordered from another vendor. I have seen the plate charge cost up to $3/person and I know it can be much higher. This is the cost of having your venue cut the cake. Yes, it seems silly, but that's how it goes. Likewise, the more intricate the detail work on your cake, the higher your price will go. Multiple flavors may cost more, etc., etc.

Make sure you know exactly who will be cutting the cake. Is this something the bakery offers? Your venue? Is your aunt or cousin or someone else cutting the cake? Also, make sure your venue or caterer knows you need extra plates for the cake. I have had to cut wedding cakes on 3 occasions. I'm the first to admit that I am not very good at it. Yes, there is a science to cutting a wedding cake without making a mess of it.

Go modern or fun! Have you considered having cupcakes, cakes at each table, or even pies at your reception? You don't have to pick a cake because it is traditional. My all time favorite wedding "cake" was actually a bunt cake. It was the best tasting cake I have ever had and I still have dreams about it.  Not to mention, the table was overflowing with mini bunt cakes which eliminated the need to cut slices of cake for all the guests (a process that can take up to 30 minutes.) This can also help you save plating charges if your venue has those.

Sampling is fun, but generally, sample cakes are made with flavor in mind while a wedding cake is generally made with design in mind. I have had some terrible cake at receptions where a high-priced, well-known baker was hired. (That's not to say it wasn't an insanely beautiful cake.) Likewise, I have had some amazingly tasty cakes from King Soopers, of all places. Do not base everything on a taste test.

Unfortunately it doesn't seem that taste and design go hand in hand at every bakery. This is typically because bakers with better designs are hired by multiple brides for the same date. This generally means they are baking cakes and freezing them for long periods of time. This can also happen at a bakery that hires multiple people to keep up with their demand. I highly recommend deciding upfront which is more important and asking for referrals. It is the wedding guests that remember the taste of the cake, the bride usually remembers how beautiful it was.

Ask your baker how their batters are made. The better bakers make their batters from scratch. Not to mention, I have overheard a guest at a reception commenting on how the cake tastes like a box mix. Personally, I love box mix cakes, but if you are going for a classy affair, that may not be the remark you want to hear.

If you have any special considerations like dietary restrictions or certain flavors you want, you might want to look for a baker who specializes in that. Speaking of flavors, the largest layer of cake should be the flavor that will be most popular. (9 times out of 10 the chocolate cake is most popular.) You don't necessarily want to base this on your favorite cake flavor, or you could end up taking home 20 pounds of banana flavored cake.

If you are having an outdoor wedding in the summer, make sure your baker is prepared to deal with a melting cake. You may need to revamp your cake dreams on this one. Smaller/shorter cakes are less likely to cause a massive cake slide.

How far away is your baker from your venue? If they are driving your cake 45 miles to your venue, it will be 44 times more likely that your cake will slide or have an accident than a baker who only travels 1 mile to your venue. Accidents happen, but you can minimize that chance.

I once had a baker tell me that if you freeze your top cake for a year, you will be disappointed. They told me to freeze it and eat it on my one week anniversary instead. Apparently, the quality of a cake, even in the freezer, does degrade over time. I think a one week anniversary cake sounds scrumptious!

Fondant is not the enemy. Fondant is that gorgeous, yet typically disgusting stuff bakers put over a cake to make it nice and smooth. I will agree that "canned" fondant is nasty, however, homemade fondant can taste like marshmallows. So, ask your baker if they make their own fondant.

You can save some money by making the groom's cake yourself. Generally the groom's cake is not as important as the main cake. The point of it is to be a tasty confection that shows off your hubby's inner geek, whether it be about sports teams, hobbies, or an inside joke...

Finally, make sure you take time to eat a piece of cake. Not just the piece that was shoved up your nose. I always grab a plate of each flavor of cake for our brides and grooms as they can easily be overlooked due to the fact that they are dancing, entertaining guests, or wishing farewells. Have someone close to you plan to do this for you. Otherwise, you might really end up having a cake but not eating it, too.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Need some wedding planning help?

For those in the Colorado Springs area, there is a wedding planning workshop series by BellaRose Event Planning starting at the end of April. The first workshop will be about Wedding Timing (helping you figure out what to do after getting engaged.)

Cost: $25/person
Date: Tuesday, April 30th
Time: 7-8:30pm
Location: 1755 Telstar Drive, Suite 300

You can sign up through the contact form on their website: or by calling (719) 622-6262.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

An Adoring Engagement Session

I cannot wait for Nic and Nichole's wedding this fall. They are so much fun to be around. Not to mention, these adorable kids (saying that makes me feel unbelievably old...) were friends first and fell into love over the years. I can't imagine a more beautiful love story. Plus, they will always have that friendship at the base of their relationship. Perfection....

They met in high school so we took a trip to their alma mater for a few fun photos in front of the T-bird.   
We then went over to Rock Ledge ranch for the rest of their photos.
Their favorite sodas are Root Beer and Dr. Pepper so I could't resist making up some cute vintage labels. And check out the size of that diamond! Yeah, it's real. :-)
Nic has a wonderful appreciation for photography and has some pretty cool cameras - TLR in photo below. He even let me play with his "toy" camera. No chance of those photos coming out, sorry Nic!
Although it was a chilly day, we ended up with some pretty cute shots. 
You can see how much Nic truly adores his future wife as he brushes the hair from her face.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Epic Family Battle Portrait Session

We have had a supremely bad month... starting with our truck break-in while in St. Louis followed barely a week later by my car break-in from the following session. So, I have decided it's time to turn things around. The following session was a blast. We were hoping to have an epic snowball fight but, alas, the snow dried up, so this insanely creative family brought swords instead. Talk about a great time! So, I hope these photos make you smile as much as they did for me.

Some cute shots of the family together.

Some shots of the perfect kids. I have never seen kids who get along as well as these four.

And here is the epic battle you've been waiting for. I love how much fun they had with this. No person was harmed in the making of these images.