Jay & Holly (married)

We've had the privilege of getting to know Jay's family over the past few years so we were extra excited when Jay and Holly got engaged and wanted us to be their photographers! Their December wedding ceremony took place in the chapel at Hope Lutheran Church in West Des Moines. Thanks to the extremely mild winter this year we were able to photograph most of their portraits outside. Holly's Ivory dress with fur coat and Jay's tan suit looked stunning against the golden browns of winter trees at sunset. It was a treat to witness their joy. Their reception took place at the Foxboro in Johnston. It was immaculately decorated by Jay's parents Sheri & Stan, two wonderful people that have the gift of touching the lives of everyone they come in contact with. They sprinkled the ceiling with snowflakes and filled the room with Christmas trees, lights and decorations that transformed the room into a winter wonderland. It was the perfect end to a wonderful wedding day.

80/35 Portraits for DMS Magazine

Dan recently had the pleasure of creating some artwork for  DSM Magazine featuring Jill and Hillary from On Pitch marketing agency, the beloved Poison Control Center and Justin from the Greater Des Moines Music Coalition, all of whom are heavily involved in this years 80/35 music festival. Dozens of separate images were photographed and collaged with tape and scissors to create whimsical backdrops tied together  by iconic Des Moines architectural elements. The cut-and-paste style is intended to celebrate the way music ties us together and the power it has over influencing our attitudes and perceptions.

The story can be read here :)

2012 Brides Choice Award

Whoohoo! We just received this press release from Wedding Wire:

{Ames,IA} – January 26, 2012 – WeddingWire, the nation's leading wedding Marketplace, is excited to announce McClanahan Studio has been selected to receive the prestigious WeddingWire Bride’s Choice Awards™ 2012 for Photography!

The esteemed annual awards program recognizes the top local wedding vendors from the WeddingWire Network who demonstrate excellence in quality, service, responsiveness and professionalism within the wedding industry. While many industry awards are selected by the organization, McClanahan Studio was selected based on its stellar reviews from past newlywed clients.

McClanahan Studio is recognized as part of the top five percent of wedding professionals in the WeddingWire local vendor community, comprised of over 200,000 wedding professionals throughout the United States and Canada. The Bride’s Choice Award recognizes the best local wedding vendors across 20 service categories, from wedding venues to wedding photographers, based on their overall professional achievements throughout the past year.

“WeddingWire is thrilled to honor the success of the top-rated wedding professionals within the WeddingWire Community,” said Timothy Chi, CEO, WeddingWire. “Since the launch of the Bride’s Choice Awards™ program four years ago, thousands of outstanding wedding professionals have been recognized by the bridal community for their supreme service and dedication to the wedding industry. It is with great pleasure that we congratulate McClanahan Studio for their continued professionalism and commitment to enriching the wedding planning experience for engaged couples.”

We are happy to announce that McClanahan Studio is one of the very best Photographers within the WeddingWire Network, which includes leading wedding planning sites WeddingWire, Project Wedding, Brides.com, Martha Stewart Weddings, and Weddingbee.

We would like to thank our brides for taking the time to review our business on WeddingWire. Your positive feedback made it possible for us to receive this recognition and we absolutely wouldn't be able to do what we do without you! Check out our WeddingWire page here: http://www.weddingwire.com/reviews/mcclanahan-studio-ames/a48c1e1dc2f99dc2.html

-Dan and Alex

Christin & Paul (married)

Christin and Paul's wedding was a blast! The day started with pre–ceremony portraits at St. Francis of Assisi in West Des Moines, including some moody groomsmen photos inspired by the Rat Pack. The church provided a fantastic backdrop for the ceremony with its modern, but still awe–inspiring, art and design. Afterwards we took a quick limo cruise and stopped for a few more portraits on the way to the reception at The Marriott. Christin and Paul's chemistry was wonderful to capture. They savored their day to the fullest and it was a joy to watch them interact. Here are a few of our favorite moments from the day:

Alicia & Ben (married)

Alicia and Ben's knot-tying commenced on a beautiful day in downtown Des Moines, IA. Their evening ceremony was held at the historic Saint Ambrose Cathedral with reception following at The Scottish Rite (one of our favorite venues! currently featured on our web site). We photographed most of our portraits on the streets of Des Moines in-between the two venues (which are walking distance from one another). Alicia and Ben's mutual excitement was infectious and was a joy to behold! Ben's constant affection towards his bride and Alicia's ceaseless smile are definitely indicators that they've got something extraordinary going on. Alicia's little sister was a huge part of the day, helping out in any way she could, and is a clear case of 10 going on 30. Her lack of camera shyness also made her a blast to photograph (see below). Please enjoy a few of our favorite images from their wedding, and if you just can't get enough Alicia & Ben you can see a few of their engagement photos here.

PPI 2011 Print Competiton

We just returned from the winter Professional Photographers of Iowa conference (it lasted from Friday through today) and WOW did we have fun! Great speakers, great friends, great food. We got to teach a lighting class with our good friends from Gehman Photography and had a great turnout. Last night was a formal banquet concluding with an awards ceremony. Dan entered three prints and a wedding album in competition (a person can make up to four total entries) and we're blessed and humbled by the results. To give a little explanation to the process, this year there were over 400 entries all judged anonymously by a panel of nationally acclaimed photographers from other states. Entries are scored on a scale from 0-100. Scores are then tallied and awards are given to the top scoring entries from several categories (wedding, commercial, children, etc). Competition is intense and it's very exciting to see the culmination of everybody's best work from the previous year (the competition concludes with a gallery display of the entries)

Here's a rundown of our results:

–First Place Wedding Album (for the album we designed for Jill and John's wedding) First Place for Commercial Photography (for an image from our shoot with Clarke University) First Place for Illustrative Photography (for a brand new image entitled "Never Trust A Woman," see below) 3 Distinguished Print Awards (for Clarke, the wedding album and "Never Trust A Woman") 1 Honorable Mention (for a personal image of New York City - to be posted soon) Judges Choice Award for best in show ("Never Trust A Woman" was the only entry from the entire competition to score a perfect 100) The Don Knop Memorial Award presented in recognition of excellence in the art of wedding photography (for the wedding album) Fuji Masterpiece Award (for the wedding album) Kodak Gallery Award for Photographic Excellence (for "Never Trust A Woman") Top 10 Photographer Award (given to the 10 photographers with highest 4-score totals)

Here's "Never Trust A Woman" (FYI – Alex came up with the title so don't be mad at Dan!):

We're very thankful to all of our friends, family and clients that helped make 2010 an amazing year for us! We honestly had no expectation of performing this well in competition and we couldn't have done it without you :)

If you're an Iowa Photographer reading this and you're not in PPI, join! Seriously. Right now. It's one the best things you'll ever do.

Christina & Joe

Christina and Joe's elegant wedding day unfolded in Des Moines, IA.  The ceremony took place at Sacred Heart Church with reception following at the Wakonda Club. Christina's style was radiant throughout the day. Everything from her hot pink heels to the playfully modern decor of the reception. One of our personal favorite details from the day was the customized Jones Soda bottles (showcasing an assortment of engagement photos in multiple flavors) placed with each table setting as a keepsake – we have ours on display in the studio! We chose a brightly-colored area of town to photograph portraits to match the bright flowers and fun-loving personalities of the wedding party. The speeches at the reception were among the most hilarious and most moving we've ever heard. There was an awful lot of love on display at the wedding and it's apparent that the couple has a great support network of friends and family. Christina and Joe, thanks for entrusting us with the privilege of capturing your spectacular wedding. We wish you the best and lots of fun on your marital adventure!

Drake University Athletics

We recently teamed up with Drake University to shoot some of their athletics posters for the coming year. This first shot is a limited edition poster handed out at the Iowa State Fair to build hype for the coming Mens and Womens basketball season (Drake has a very strong basketball program). We came up with this fun composition to showcase star players from each team while accommodating the height differences of the male and female players: The second poster is the 2010 schedule for all of Drake's Fall sports. We wanted to convey a sense of team unity and incorporate a strong sense of Des Moines (hence the background). The tricky part was striking the perfect balance between making the athletes look friendly and tough at the same time. We love how it turned out:

We'll be working again with Drake later this season to photograph their official basketball poster and can't wait! P.S. All of the typography on the posters was done by Shelly Mootz, graphic designer for Drake and all around groovy gal!

2010 RAYGUN Summer Catalog

A while back the groovy folks over at RAYGUN (the greatest store in the universe - head on over and start shopping now) drove down to the studio for me to photograph their Summer Catalog. It just dropped over the weekend and it's looking hot! You can pick up copies at our studio or at their store in Des Moines. The only instruction I was given for the shoot was that everything had to be photographed on a white background (RAYGUN's signature style), but they let me get pretty creative within that restraint. Here's a look at the spreads (and you can download the whole thing here): p3 lightbox gal placeholder 2010 RAYGUN Summer Catalog

Check us out on Wedding Wire!

Dear Brides-to-be,Check out our Wedding Wire Page! We just set it up as a place for past brides to post reviews of their experiences. We encourage you to check out what our past brides have to say about us and welcome you to contact us with any questions regarding our wedding services. We still have some 2011 dates available and would love to hear from you! Also, we just posted a brand new Featured Wedding Gallery on our website showcasing Jill and John’s fairytale wedding! We’ve been having a BLAST photographing 2010 weddings (and we’ll be blogging ALL of them in the near future), but this gallery gives you a peek at what a full day’s wedding coverage from McClanahan Studio looks like.

Bella Salon and Spa

We recently partnered with Bella Salon and Spa and collaborated on a sweet photo shoot to showcase their mad hairstyling skills. We spent an afternoon shooting wedding and prom hairstyles in our signature style at Stacey’s Prom in Urbandale. Stacey’s was kind enough to lend us their dresses and jewelry and let us shoot in their store. All the models from the shoot are regular patrons at Bella, so this was a genuine 100% local production. Alex designed an incredible album showcasing the collaboration that will be on display at both Bella locations (Valley West Mall and Johnston), and there will be an album at Stacey’s as well. If you’re looking for a hairstylist, stop by Bella and check it out! We had a blast shooting with the Bella staff and recommend them highly! Here are a few of our favorite images from the shoot: