2011 Platinum Photographer of the Year

This is pretty wild, but after double checking to verify that the judges didn't confuse me for somebody else named Dan I'm excited to share the news with you! If you're a regular on the blog, you might remember that back in February my entries in the Professional Photographers of Iowa print competition won every category that was submitted. After the state competition I sent my prints on to a regional competition, and then onto the Professional Photographer's of America's International Photographic Competition where my images competed against the best work from 22,000 photographers in 54 countries.  I'm very shocked (and a little giddy) to find out that I did rather well...I was named a 2011 Platinum Photographer of the Year. What the heck does that mean? Here's part of the press release from PPA: The level of the award is determined by how many of the photographer's four entries receive the highest possible honor: acceptance into the PPA Loan Collection, which is displayed at photographic exhibitions, conventions and other photography events. McClanahan was named a Platinum Medalist, meaning that three of his four merited images entered the PPA Loan Collection. In 2011 he was one of only 32 Platinum Medalists worldwide.

"These photographers have reached a prestigious achievement," states Dennis Craft, PPA's Photographic Exhibition Committee Chairman. 'The consistent quality required to earn the title of Platinum Medalist in one of the world's most celebrated photography competitions certainly bodes well for their clients, too!"

I must give a HUGE thanks to our clients and our friends that put up with our craziness and allow us to create images like these. What we do wouldn't be possible with out you and you truly are the reason we love our job!   My winning entries were as follows:

"Never Trust A Woman"- This image is a top 10 finisher and will duke it out for a 1st place Grand Imaging Award at Imaging USA in February. This print is also nominated for a Kodak Gallery Elite Award, which will also be announced at Imaging USA.

"Heidi & Neal" - engagement album selected for the Loan Collection. Here's one spread from the album:

"Jill& John" - wedding album selected for the Loan Collection. Here's one spread from the album:

"All American Slam" - merited image:   (GO STATE!)



Lissy & Daniel (married)

Lissy and Daniel's wedding day unfolded at First Baptist Church, a beautiful venue with great architecture in Ames, IA. The DIY decor was bursting with bright colors and charm, very much an extension of Lissy and Daniel's fun-loving personalities. Everything from the flowers to their post-ceremony balloon exit (brilliant, see below) was playfully vibrant. The reception (held in the basement following the ceremony) even had centerpieces with live goldfish swimming around in them! Their pastor's message was very personal, filled with both great Godly insight and loads of laughter - during the vows he accidentally said "Do you Lissy take Daniel to be your wife?" It was an occasion that you couldn't witness without smiling from ear to ear. We had a ton of fun being a part of this occasion and we wish Lissy and Daniel enormous joy in their new life together.

Heidi & Neal (married)

Heidi and Neal's pastor summed it up perfectly when he said "the wetter the rope, the tighter the knot" during their wedding ceremony at Swedesburg Evangelical Lutheran Church in Swedesburg, IA. Their day rained without ceasing from dawn till dusk, but nobody let it ruin the fun. Special thanks to Heidi, Neal and the entire wedding party for braving the drizzle and letting us take photos outdoors – it was a blast! To add sentiment to the occasion, Swedesburg Lutheran is the church Heidi grew up in and the church where both her sisters and her parents were married! Pink isn't a color many guys can pull off, but the Neal and his dudes made pink bow ties look downright debonair. The bridesmaids held their own with pink umbrellas that made playing in the rain look like more fun than a bucket of kittens. After the ceremony the wedding party rode a party bus into Mt. Pleasant for a reception at Iowa Wesleyan College Social Hall, making a stop for some group photos along the way. The selection of favorite images below convey the emotions of the day better than our words. Heidi and Neal were a fantastic couple to work with and we wish them many blessings in their marriage!

Lauren & Aaron

Lauren & Aaron are a high school sweetheart success story. We had the pleasure of attending their rehearsal dinner and loved hearing their whole story from all sides. It's a clear cut case of being made for one another. They'll be the first to admit that they make one another stronger people, which is a fact clearly visible to anybody that spends even a short amount of time with the couple.  It should also be noted that Lauren loves to laugh more than anybody we've ever met! Their ceremony was held at St. John Vianney in Bettendorf, IA. After the ceremony we joined the wedding party for a cruise around the Quad Cities in a giant RV, making stops at various locations for photographs. The QC is bursting with rustic charm that juxtaposed beautifully with the bridal party. The reception was at the Waterfront Convention Center. The decoré was exquisitely designed by Tamara Wendt Design and set the mood for the evening's events. As a special treat, Lauren and Aaron had Whitey's Ice Cream (if you're not familiar, it's the world's best ice cream) hand scooped by real Whitey's employees to give dessert a personal touch.

Lauren and Aaron: You guys are a blast. Thanks for letting us hang out with you on your wedding day and we wish you all the best in your marriage!

Danielle & Travis

Danielle & Travis's wedding plan was brilliant. Their intimate wedding included guests from all over the world (many guests were military friends stationed as far away as Europe) and the couple's underlying goal was to spend as much time as possible enjoying their loved ones. Danielle & Travis rented a huge, beautiful house on Panorama Lake in Panora, IA where many of their friends and family stayed for an entire week (leading up to their Saturday ceremony). The rental house served as home base the day of the wedding, providing a gorgeous location for the wedding party to get ready and for the reception. The couple's ceremony took place a few blocks away in a park right on the lake. The entire wedding party (including parents) were decked out in Converse sneakers (sparkly silver for the girls and black for the guys), enabling them to partake in some physical activity during portraits (see below) and stay comfortable enough to party all night without wanting to disown their feet. Danielle & Travis were adventurous during couple portraits and let us get creative at several scenic locations we found during our pre–wedding scout around Panora. They traversed run–down farmland and even climbed giant hay bails, resulting in some awesome images. Their reception was a blast and the closeness of everyone in attendance was apparent through the quality of the speeches and the amount of fun taking place. We were able to sneak Danielle and Travis outside for a few "goodnight" portraits before we had to drive back to Ames. We feel fortunate to have experienced such a fun day with such a great group of people and wish Danielle and Travis the very best in their married future.

Josie & Tyler

We knew it was going to be a great day when upon making our first portrait suggestion, elevating Josie and her bridesmaids into dusty wall-squares, everybody's eyes lit up and they immediately started hoisting each other into place. This wedding party was potentially the most fun wedding party ever (as you can see below), maybe even in the history of the world! Tyler had the brilliant idea of playing dodgeball in the park, so of course we obliged. Despite scorching heat and otherwise unpleasant conditions, everybody was determined to make the most of the day and it made our job as image-makers a true joy. Josie & Tyler's wedding was in Rock Island, IL at Broadway Presbyterian Church with reception immediately following at the Moline Club. It was apparent that the couple brings out the best in one another (a trait noted many times by friends and family throughout the day). It was also apparent that the specialness of their wedding was founded first and foremost on their deep-seeded mutual faith, which gave their wedding a supernatural level of intimacy. We have no doubts that their marriage will be great and we're thankful for the time we got to spend with them on their wedding day!