[b]ecker's blog http://blog.thebecker.com/ the becker photography blog en-us Wedding at Washington University http://blog.thebecker.com/index.cfm/postID/1135/Wedding-at-Washington-University http://blog.thebecker.com/index.cfm/postID/1135/Wedding-at-Washington-University Tue, 20 Oct 2015 12:51:00 GMT Graham Chapel on the grounds of Washington University. It was an intimate affair for a very sweet couple. It was also my first fall wedding in St. Louis and I loved shooting in Forest Park with all of the colorful trees.

Here are a few of my favorite relaxed portraits, amazing details and real moments:

The bride got ready at the Ritz Carlton.

The first look:

We headed off to Forest Park for some portraits amongst the Fall foliage:

The groom actually works for the university so maybe he can use this on his ID badge?:

I loved the look her dad was giving her as he gave her away.

The reception took place at the Whittemore House, also on the campus of Wash U.

St. Louis Engagement Photos http://blog.thebecker.com/index.cfm/postID/1134/St-Louis-Engagement-Photos http://blog.thebecker.com/index.cfm/postID/1134/St-Louis-Engagement-Photos Tue, 29 Sep 2015 16:03:00 GMT
These two are getting married in St. Louis next Summer and were the first ones to officially book me for a 2016 wedding (my 20th season as a wedding photographer).

We shot their engagement photos in Lafayette Square park on Sunday. They were absolutely adorable together! They even brought their little yellow umbrella as an homage to "How I Met Your Mother" (I love that show!).

Here are just a few of my favorites, although it was so hard to choose!

St. Louis Wedding http://blog.thebecker.com/index.cfm/postID/1132/St-Louis-Wedding http://blog.thebecker.com/index.cfm/postID/1132/St-Louis-Wedding Thu, 10 Sep 2015 18:00:00 GMT St. Ambrose Catholic Church on the Hill, and the reception was at the newly renamed Clayton Plaza Hotel. We had some time to kill between the ceremony and the reception, so we took portraits in Forest Park, across the river looking back at the Arch, and at Washington University.

Here are a few of my favorite relaxed portraits, amazing details and real moments:

I love this shot of the bride and her sisters a.k.a. future clients in their parents bed! ;-)

Lazy Man's Challenge http://blog.thebecker.com/index.cfm/postID/1131/Lazy-Mans-Challenge http://blog.thebecker.com/index.cfm/postID/1131/Lazy-Mans-Challenge Sun, 23 Aug 2015 00:48:00 GMT Nutrition is a controversial topic.

Like politics and religion... it's based on our own personal belief system and it's up to everyone to decide for themselves what is right & wrong.

Also, the "science" of nutrition seems to change every couple of years and no one can seem to agree on the best course of action to lose weight, get fit, stay healthy, prevent disease, etc...

Whether it's political agendas, government subsidies, large corporations funding studies, an activist groups producing documentaries...

There is a shit-ton of conflicting information out there and it's very confusing!

Here's what I know to be true:

  • I grew up as a fat kid, and I struggled with my weight most of my adult life.

  • Diets suck. I've tried so many of them over the years with various levels of success, but no matter what... the pounds always returned.

  • To make a true and lasting change... YOU REALLY HAVE TO WANT IT!

  • To make a true and lasting change... You need to change your lifestyle, not just your diet.

So... a few years back, I was almost 300 pounds and I knew it was time to make a change. I dropped 70 pounds in a year, and kept most of it off for the next couple of years. I truly did change my lifestyle and I felt so much better.

Over the last year or so, I got a little lazy and started slipping back into some old habits and ended up gaining more than half of the weight back!! :-(

But this past Easter, I rededicated myself to leading a fit and healthy lifestyle and I am now down 75 pounds from my original weight (down 41 pounds since Easter)

Here's what I now also know:

  • Living the "Keto Lifestyle" is the easiest way to lose weight.

  • You don't have to workout for an hour or more every day to get in shape.

  • In order to stick with any diet or fitness plan, it must be sustainable long term, otherwise you'll give up.

  • You don't have to eat gross food, juice anything, or starve yourself to lose weight.

  • Cutting sugar, grains & bad carbs out of your diet might be hard at first, but once you become Keto-adapted... it's not a big deal at all.

  • Nothing tastes as good as being fit feels!

My goal is to ultimately lose 100 pounds, and get six pack abs that I never thought would be possible...

So starting September 10, 2015 (just over two weeks from now), I am going to be starting my:

I call it an "experimental challenge" because I am not 100% convinced it will work. I am 98.7% convinced it will, and I like those odds so I am going to go for it!

Also, I am doing this challenge for ME!

I am doing to it prove to myself, that I can do anything I set my mind to.

The thought of losing 100 pounds when I looked like this seemed impossible:

I am also going to do this challenge whether anyone joins me or not, but if you'd also like to get into the best shape of your life... I invite you to join me!

Watch this 7 minute video, listen to my story, and see why I am confident that I will hit my goals over this 100 day challenge:

(so far, about 9 people are in with many more that have said they'd be joining, but just haven't signed up yet

You can read more about the actual challenge and learn how to sign up at BeckerGetsFit.com/100

FYI, don't wait until the last minute because you'll want to get into the Facebook Groups so you can get the grocery list and meal plans in advance so you're ready to go on September 10th.

The photo on the left was taken in August of 2009, the one on the right, August 1st of this year:

They say the definition of insanity is to try the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

So if you aren't happy with were you are weight wise, perhaps its time to take control and do something about it! Join me!

Wedding at The Peninsula Chicago http://blog.thebecker.com/index.cfm/postID/1130/Wedding-at-The-Peninsula-Chicago http://blog.thebecker.com/index.cfm/postID/1130/Wedding-at-The-Peninsula-Chicago Tue, 21 Jul 2015 15:13:00 GMT
When the bride originally contacted me, she warned me that this wasn't going to be one of my typical weddings. They've both been married before, they each had 3 grown children of their own, and they just wanted someone to document the coming together of these two families. It truly was a celebration and I was honored to be a part of it.

The ceremony took place at Saint James Chapel and the reception was held at The Peninsula Chicago.

Here are a few of my favorite relaxed portraits, amazing details and real moments:

These gorgeous bridesmaids bracelets were from Left Bank Jewelry:

It's about time!:

The ceremony took place at Quigley Chapel at St. James:

Her son walked her down the aisle.

One big happy family:

The church was only a few blocks from the hotel, so we just walked along Michigan Avenue and took some photos along the way.

One of the bride's sons is serving in Afghanistan and was unable to make it, so they flew the flag in his honor:

Silver Creek Valley Country Club Wedding http://blog.thebecker.com/index.cfm/postID/1129/Silver-Creek-Valley-Country-Club-Wedding http://blog.thebecker.com/index.cfm/postID/1129/Silver-Creek-Valley-Country-Club-Wedding Wed, 15 Jul 2015 15:10:00 GMT Silver Creek Valley Country Club. It was coordinated by Nicole Audrey Events and everything was perfect. Wonderful weather, gorgeous couple, fun wedding party, great location and a fabulous time!

Here are a few of my favorite relaxed portraits, amazing details and real moments:

The bride could be in a Colgate commercials. One of the prettiest smiles I have ever seen!:

The first look:

Sometimes you just have to take matters into your own hands to get a better view:

After 16 years together... I just want to say... "It's about time Chris!!!!!"

worth every penny http://blog.thebecker.com/index.cfm/postID/1128/worth-every-penny http://blog.thebecker.com/index.cfm/postID/1128/worth-every-penny Wed, 08 Jul 2015 12:56:00 GMT
You don't have to settle for average, boring wedding photography.

You deserve wedding photographs that you'll absolutely love.

You deserve photos that will make your friends jealous.

You deserve a photographer that actually cares about capturing real moments and creating gorgeous portraits.

You want to be able to relax at your wedding, and not worry if the photos are going to turn out.

If you want someone who will show up and shoot your wedding in a relaxed, unobtrusive manner, and make you look absolutely amazing in your portraits... I'm your guy!

Please take a few moments to browse through my portfolio, check out some Real Weddings and if you like what you see...

I encourage you to get in touch asap so can chat about your day.

Photo by Ashley Douthit

Forest Park Engagement Session http://blog.thebecker.com/index.cfm/postID/1127/Forest-Park-Engagement-Session http://blog.thebecker.com/index.cfm/postID/1127/Forest-Park-Engagement-Session Wed, 01 Jul 2015 13:23:00 GMT

St. Louis Wedding photos http://blog.thebecker.com/index.cfm/postID/1125/St-Louis-Wedding-photos http://blog.thebecker.com/index.cfm/postID/1125/St-Louis-Wedding-photos Tue, 09 Jun 2015 16:18:00 GMT
I can see why she was bummed though... it was such a wonderful day. The couple was absolutely gorgeous! They we also so sweet to each other, and it was one of the nicest, coolest weddings parties I've ever encountered.

The ceremony took place at the Shrine of St. Joseph in downtown St. Louis as the reception was at the Top of the Met at Kemoll's. We also had some time to kill between the ceremony and the reception, so we went to Forest Park, and the across the river in Illinois to get some shots with the Arch in the background.

I want to thank the bridal party, and especially the bride, for trusting me and taking a nature hike into a remote area of Forest Park for the photos. Thanks for putting up with the bugs and the heat. I hope you'll agree that the results were worth it!

Here are a few of my favorite relaxed portraits, amazing details and real moments:

She was having a hard time believing the day had finally arrived:

Just working on a letter for her groom that he'd get to read right before the ceremony:

The only thing better than one Guaranteed Gorgeous bride is two of them!:

These two exchanged letters on opposite sides of a door right before the ceremony.

The church was absolutely incredible:

Look how excited everyone was right before they were pronounced man and wife:

Ashley's sister Alicea shot with me and caught this great moment (can you see me in this shot?):

Her bouquet was beautiful! (Nice job Marry Me!)

We made a stop in Forest Park for some relaxed portraits after the ceremony.

While the girls took a couple of minutes for some selfies...

... the guys were watching American Pharaoh race into the record books by winning the Triple Crown:

In between the salad and the main course, we snuck down stairs for a couple more portraits:

The Top of the Met has some pretty incredible views:

You're supposed to twirl her bro!

I have no idea?!?!?

Congrats to Sarah & Steve... I wish you all the very best! #Egarteverafter

Audrey Taylor has arrived! http://blog.thebecker.com/index.cfm/postID/1124/Audrey-Taylor-has-arrived http://blog.thebecker.com/index.cfm/postID/1124/Audrey-Taylor-has-arrived Mon, 01 Jun 2015 15:28:00 GMT
Today is her actual due date, but she was born this past Wednesday, May 27th at 10:58am.

She weighed 7 pounds, 8 ounces and was 20.75 inches long. Those are the stats, and now I'd love to tell you our story!

I was playing poker last Tuesday in my weekly poker league as I always do, when Ashley called me saying that her water broke while shopping at Whole Foods around 8pm. I immediately jumped in my car and raced home.

After showering and relaxing for an hour or so, we headed up to the hospital to get checked in. It was around 10:30 by the time we got to our room and she was only dilated to 1cm, so I knew we were in for a long night.

I'll spare you all of the details about labor, but all I can say is I sure am glad that women are responsible for delivering babies. I don't think I could have made it.

Ashley was so strong and did so good. She made it about 11 hours before she had to call for the epidural. Labor really got to be unbearable. I was encouraging her to get it hours before, but she wanted to tough it out. I know she was the one going through labor, but it was actually one of the worst nights of my life. It was so hard to see someone I love so much experiencing so much pain, and there was nothing I could do about it.

By the time they gave her the epidural and then checked her, she was already at 10cm and it was just about time to start pushing.

That part went fairly quickly and Ashley did great. We are so thankful for our happy and healthy baby girl and glad mom is doing great as well. Truly an answer to our prayers.

Here's our girl, Audrey Taylor:

An hour or so after the epidural kicked in, she was actually in good spirits and wanted to photograph her own birth with a selfie stick:

It's crazy... everyone says that the second your child is born, everything changes. I guess I just had no idea how much and how fast it actually happens! The cliches are true... at 10:58 last Wednesday my life changed forever. I cannot express in words the overwhelming pride and joy I felt seeing Ashley reach down, and pull our baby girl onto her chest. It was a beautiful moment that I will never forget (thanks to Aunt Alicea for capturing this special time in our lives).

And of course, we are in love with Miss Audrey... but I also have a deeper love and a lot more respect for Ashley. Motherhood suits her! It's only been 5 days, but to see how she takes such good care of Audrey is really a wonderful site to see.

Her first selfie!

After Audrey was born, she actually got to spend about 15 minutes on her moms chest before they cleaned her up and cut the cord. Even though I wasn't planning on doing it because I am very squeamish when it comes to blood and bodily fluids... I actually did man up and cut the umbilical cord. Yay me!

Once the weighed her and cleaned her up a bit, I finally got a change to play with her and hold her. I just love her so much!

My family!

She's always sticking her tongue out in pictures just like her dad!

Here's our birth team. On the left is Doctor Christi Menges. She has been incredible from he moment we told her we were expecting. Ashley and her have been friends for years as Ashley shot the birth stories for both of her little boys. We just adore her.

Kourtney is the doula Ashley hired to help her through the laboring and birth process. She was wonderful and I am so thankful she was there. I did my best to provide Ashley with comfort and support during the entire labor process, but Kourtney really helped out with counter-pressure during the contractions and massage throughout.

Ashley caught me loving on my girl!

My loves!

There's nothing better than spooning with this little nugget!

I find myself staring at her all of the time:

We left the hospital Friday around lunch time. I can't believe they let us take her home. What do we know about raising a child?

I finally changed the first diaper of my life after 41 and a half years. It was pretty bad, but there's nothing I wouldn't do for my baby:

Baby girl loves going to the milk bar!

I don't want to be one of those people who posts millions of photos of their kids on Facebook (although I really do want to), so Audrey has her own blog for those of you who would like to keep up with her daily adventures.

She's also on Twitter & Instagram @theaudreytaylor (I just wanted to claim her username... we'll only be approving people we actually know to follow her... the blog is open to everyone).