Photographer: Events, Weddings, Portraits – Austin, Texas

Austin Wedding Photographer

Wedding Photographer Contract And Client Packet

AA Logo Lens Large (2)Over the years I’ve had people ask me about what kind of contract I use for my photography clients. Since the majority of my clients have been brides and grooms, I created a wedding photographer contract. Not every word of my contract is original, I must admit; I borrowed bits and pieces from contracts that I liked which I felt applied to my work and clients. After many years of massaging the contract, I feel like my contract is really thorough (it’s about 3 pages printed) and it seems to strike a balance between stating the obvious and a little legal jargon. I should say that the former – laying out what is expected of you and what the client expects – is one of the most important aspects of the contract. In my experience, when both parties know what is expected of each other, the chance of everyone being happy is extremely high.

When I meet with a bride and groom, I provide them with a packet of printed material to take home. The packet includes these 5 things:

  • Contract
  • Schedule
  • Questionaire (which I keep)
  • Package Pricing List
  • Frequently Asked Questions

These are all documents I spent a great amount of time developing so that my clients would be clear on what I would be providing and at what price. I also felt like providing these documents in a succinct manner would convey professionalism – something that every industry could always use a little more of. Each document is formatted to appear balanced and easily readable, and includes watermarks, contact information and the Austin Americana logo.

When meeting with brides who want a separate bridal portrait session I also provide a list of possible outdoor portrait locations around Austin. As you might guess the list gets longer every year with so many wonderful photo venues in Central Texas.

Therefore, in the spirit of sharing, I’m publishing a copy of the contract, frequently asked questions and schedule example that I’ve been using for years. I’m sharing it for strictly academic purposes and I’m certainly not providing any legal advice. But if you’re new to the business of photography, feel free to print a copy of it if you think it can help you.

Links to documents:

Baby Cake Smash

Austin Americana recently shot this “Cake Smash” with our favorite baby model, Sophia! It was lots of fun photographing her as she discovered that getting messy on her 1st birthday was ok…

Bridal Session at The Oasis on Lake Travis

Austin Americana’s latest photo session was at the Oasis on Lake Travis. The Oasis has gotten a reputation for being one of the best spots in the Austin area to see a sunset over the lake, and it never fails to deliver a fantastic view. The Oasis sits high above Lake Travis, in the rocky outcrops – creating an ideal place for enjoying a cool drink and watching the sun go down. And it’s also a great place to be photographed or to get married…


Short Notice Photographer

Latest Wedding Photos Update:

Later this week I’m going to be posting some beautiful photos of one of the last weddings that I photographed near Dripping Springs, Texas, at a place called Driftwood Winery. More and more wineries and vineyards are springing up every day in Central Texas, and Driftwood Winery is a special place that worth visiting for the Texas wine conesieur and traveler alike. More about that later…

What’s happening now:

Have you ever needed a service on short notice? Frequently we need services on short notice, such as a plumber or auto repair. And in a high demand world where there is more and more demand for services to be done quickly, Austin Americana Photography is stepping forward and offering photography service that is ready on short notice!

Wedding photographers have to be ready on short notice anyway and are required to be mobile in nature. After all, weddings happen quickly and are unfolding at a rapid pace – which can be a challenge for any wedding photographer. But after photographing dozens of weddings, I can tell you that the challenge of photographing a wedding eventually just becomes a standard part of the job – which is handled with good planning, foresight and experience.

wedding flower bouquet

But what if you need a photographer today or tomorrow, on short notice? Most photographers would probably say no, that is, if they answer their phone. In fact, many businesses in general expect to be allowed a certain amount of time between jobs to prepare or gather resources. But as a wedding photographer, I can tell you that Austin Americana Photography, much like emergency service providers, usually has equipment at the ready if we’re called to a job on short notice.

So when a bride who lived outside of Austin called us recently requesting a next day bridal photography session, my answer was of course, “Yes we can provide quick photographic service.” We also provide accelerated turnaround time for editing and printing if requested. And this kind of positive, good customer service has gotten Austin Americana lots of happy clients and more return business. And we’re really happy about making our clients satisfied, return customers. Now if we could just get a few of them to go to Yelp and leave us a review…. 🙂


Infrared Boy (Fun Friday Foto)!

I was playing around with some photos I took while on an excursion to a berry farm and turned this photo of my son Roman into an infrared-looking image, something that was possible in the old days using infrared film for film cameras. Now we just use photo editing software to apply the effect to a digital image, and voila!  I think it looks pretty cool! But perhaps that is because I like black and white images so much. Go figure…

infrared image boy

The Infrared effect makes the photo look sort of post-apocalyptic!


1st Meeting with a Photographer

So, during your event or wedding planning you’ve collected a few names of photographers that you plan to meet with. Perhaps you talked with friends or performed a Google search to find the Austin photographer that will ultimately be responsible for photographing your big event. It’s time to set up the meeting and you want to be prepared to make the most out of your appointment. How do you prepare?

The primary purpose of meeting, from the viewpoint of the client (you), is to determine if the photographer that you meet with is the right one for your upcoming event. Are they qualified? Are they experienced? Do you like their work? Do they fit into your photography budget? All of these and more are reasonable questions to ask, even if not worded so directly.

20 Questions to Ask a Photographer. As a professional photographer here in Austin, Texas, I’ve met with dozens of brides and heard just about every possible question that a new client might ask. From that experience, I’ve created a Q&A from the viewpoint of a new bride, i.e., what questions a bride asks a wedding photojournalist (link above). Although the questions are geared more towards weddings, many of the questions are universal for any event and can be applied to screening different kinds of events and professionals. The questions were developed by speaking with brides and doing research into what clients are looking for in a photographer. I’ve formulated the answers based on how I would answer the questions myself.

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend asking a vendor every question that I’ve presented; instead, I recommend that clients look at the list of questions and see which ones seem relevant and important to their event. And those will be the questions that you will want to focus on during your photographer meeting.

So what happens when I meet with a bride and what does the typical bride do when meeting with Austin Americana Photography? Most clients I meet with know 2 essential things:

when their event is; and

– have a general idea of what they want.

But brides are frequently so overwhelmed by wedding planning stress that they may be a little unclear about what questions to ask and the details.

driftwood wedding

Bride at Driftwood Winery Wedding, Driftwood, Texas

Austin Americana makes it easy for brides, by providing them with:

-a packet of information, including a copy of my answers to typical questions a bride might ask;

-an example of our wedding day schedule;

pricing/package list; and

-a copy of our contract.

And all of which are discussed in our 15-20 meeting. One thing I don’t like is pressuring people, so my object when meeting with a bride/client is to ask them what they need, present them with some basic information about what Austin Americana Photography does and let them decide. And this kind of transparency in business has been (and I predict will remain) a successful strategy.

Feel free to contact me personally by email if you have questions about this blog:

Martin Whitton is a wedding photojournalist in Austin, Texas. He blogs on the subject of weddings, photographs Austin events and provides business consulting services to small business owners in the greater Austin area, where he resides with his family.

Getting The Shot and Still Making Time for the Family (and other stuff).

I recently attended a training class about managing time and priorities. Essentially it was an organizational class teaching students how to be more efficient by eliminating or speeding up the normal tasks we perform every day. It was a helpful class and I’d recommend it to anyone who needs that kind of training. The reason it comes to mind is that sitting here at 9pm on a Sunday night I’m feeling exhausted and wondering how  (or why) I decided to fit so many things into my calendar this weekend.

In my time management class the instructor told us that we should have no more than three (3) major events or projects going on at one time, either professional or social (combined). For example a person might be juggling their career, their family and be a member of a soccer league. Those three things, according to our instructor, make up a complete schedule of things to do or for which to be responsible. Anything more would mean that your life balance might break down and essentially something would get “short-changed”.

This weekend felt like I exceeded my threshold for things to do, between family time, personal commitments and shooting a wedding and a bridal photography session. Just being on the road caused enough challenges. On Saturday alone, I bounced from Austin to Pflugerville, to Lockhart and Dripping Springs, sometimes in different cars and including wardrobe changes.  But I have to say, other than the weather being hot and humid, I still feel blessed to have the opportunity to participate and be a part of so many people’s lives in so many facets.

Later this week I hope to blog a little more about a new wedding venue just outside Austin (new to me). It’s a vineyard called Driftwood Winery and it’s a wonderful place to have a wedding. Imagine sitting atop the highest hill you can imagine in the hill country, sipping on local texas wine and looking down upon dozens of acres of grapes. It’s a pretty fulfilling and relaxing experience just enjoying the ambience of such a place, even without all the pomp and excitement of a wedding. More to come on that later…

Driftwood Vineyard Pavillion

Wedding Pavillion at Driftwood Estate Winery

Central Christian Church Austin Wedding Photos

Red Roses at Church

Central Christian Church of Austin, Texas is one of the oldest churches within the City of Austin. It also boasts being one of the most centrally located churches in Austin, located downtown at 1110 Guadalupe Street, just a stone’s throw from the Texas Capitol.

Central Christian Church is built in an architectural style that is meant to pay tribute to a cathedral in Florence, Italy. It was constructed in the early 1900s to meet the needs of a group of Christians who had been meeting and worshipping together since at least the late 1800s in Austin.

I’ve photographed several weddings there and Central Christian Church always makes for spectacular wedding photography, with its high ceilings, post-renaissance Italian architecture, balcony seating and historical significance.

The Texas Historical Commission Plaque which stands outside of Central Christian Church summarizes the history of the church:

“In 1847, eight years after the City of Austin was platted, ten members of the Disciples of Christ Brotherhood met to organize this congregation. Although early records of the church are scarce, it is known that regular worship services were being held in a local school building by 1852. The Christian Church of Christ of Austin, as the congregation originally was known, acquired its first property at Eighth and Colorado Streets and worshipped at that site until moving to this location in 1929. An early dispute over theological and procedural matters split the congregation in 1888. Until 1896, when the Rev. S.D. Dutcher was appointed pastor, leader of the church were selected from among the laity. The fellowship adopted its current name during the early years of the twentieth century. After other disciples of Christ congregations had been organized in Austin. Although much growth has occurred in the outlying sections of the city. Central Christian Church has remained a vital force in the downtown area. Its ministry has included the establishment of several other congregations. As one of the oldest churches in Austin, Central Christian has provided the city with significant service and leadership.”

Find more up to date information on Central Christian Church on their website, which includes info on the recent renovations, a calendar of events and contact information.

Red Roses at Church

Bridal Party at Central Christian Church

Austin Architectural Photographer

Night Photo of Wedding Venue

Mayfield Cottage Home Austin

Home at Mayfield Park

I was just looking back at all the events that i’ve photographed over the past 4-5 years and realized that I have quite a collection of architectural photography. Although being an architectural photographer is not my specialty, like many other photographers, I find myself having experience and expertise in more than one kind of photographic specialization.

Many of the architectural photos that I’ve collected were from wedding events that I’ve shot. And I find that deep down, I really enjoy photographing buildings, campuses and structures – both inside and out. In fact, one of the first photography classes I enrolled in at the University of Texas was a landscaping photography class. Here are some of my favorite photos from my architectural collection…

Renaissance Hotel Austin, TX

View From Inside The Hotel Of The Elevators

Downtown Austin, TX

Downtown Austin, Looking West On 6th Street @ The Driskill Hotel

Green Pastures

Green Pastures Mansion at Night

Inside of Hotel Valencia

Central Christian Church

Architectural Photo of Chateau Bellevue

Chateau Bellevue

Austin Capitol and Downtown Engagement Photos

capitol engagement photoMany times couples ask for suggestions of where to take their engagement photos in Austin. I have a detailed list of about 20 locations in and around Austin that I think make great locations for engagement, bridal and portrait photography. A number of the photo shoot locations in the downtown Austin area are walking distance from one another, and I give my photo clients the option to shoot more than one location during the photo session.

Early in 2011 I was contacted by a young, newly-engaged couple living in Austin to be their engagement photographer both on 6th street and at the capitol in Austin. The couple were from out of state, but while falling in love with each other had also fallen in love with the City of Austin, with its weirdness, busy night life and friendly population. Although their wedding would be held back in their home state, they insisted that their engagement photo session be photographed downtown.

Downtown is one of my favorite places to photograph couples because of the variety and spontaneity that urban Austin provides. There are downtown Austin elements such as historic buildings, painted murals, beautiful landmarks and an energy that you just don’t find anywhere else in Texas – all adding to the mystique and individuality of the photos.

Now more than ever, when I photograph a couple I try to get to know the bride and groom to be. I’m always curious to know the special story that brought two people who are in love together. But I also find that the intimate conversation that I have with my engaged clients allows them to express their feelings about one another, which brings about the wonderful feelings they harbor for one another, something that ultimately gets captured in their photos. They enjoy being the “celebrity” for the day, as their personal photographer follows them around snapping photos. And I get to be there, capturing the passion and the love that they have for one another, documenting it with my camera. Being a photographer is not a bad job; in fact, most days it is a joy and a pleasure! 🙂

Engagement Photo Downtown Austinaustin couple jumping downtown

Coming Soon: Video Tips For Brides From An Austin Photographer

Last night while I was trying to sleep (after doing some online marketing research) I had a flash of genius. I realized that although I frequently blog about helpful topics and provide information for Austin brides, I’m not sharing all of my wedding experience with brides in one of the newest and most popular avenues: video. So I’ve decided to make a series of videos, which I’ll be soon sharing on my blog with brides and grooms about wedding topics I have experience with – and I’m excited to share everything that I know with brides. Some of the information I’ve covered before in past blogs, so I’ll try to condense my wedding tips and suggestions about wedding photography and all things wedding to something small and manageable. I’m looking forward to sharing some of my experience with new brides and I look forward to the information exchange! See you soon (or you’ll be seeing me!) – Martin

Austin Bride with Veil

Austin/San Antonio Bride at Hotel Valencia

Picking Strawberries in Central Texas (Fun Friday Fotos)

Last week my wife, my son and I packed into the car and took a road trip out of Austin to find some strawberries. We’re all really big fans of the strawberry, which we think not only tastes delicious but is also loaded with Vitamin C. My wife had heard that there were a number of pick-your-own fruit farms around Austin, so we selected a farm in Rockdale, Texas (approximately 1 hour from Austin) called Star Farmers Market. We had a great time there picking strawberries, watching the owners make strawberry jam and chatting. The size and quality of the strawberries exceeded our expectations, as did the friendliness of the staff (we met Amy, who was super nice and helpful). We were very glad that we made the trip from Austin to visit Star Farmers Market! And I know Roman had a great time too.

What is Wedding Photojournalism? We Create The Story Of Your Wedding Day.

Usually when I meet with brides prior to their wedding and we discuss their wedding photography needs, I tell them that Austin Americana Photography photographs weddings in a photojournalistic-style. And what that means to me as an Austin wedding photojournalist is that the photographs and images that I capture at their wedding should tell a story.

Another thing that I tell brides is that we photograph the unfolding wedding story as it happens, unrehearsed, throughout the day or night. And when we finish, we take a special selection of these images and put them together into a group of wedding photographs that tell a one-of-a-kind story about your wedding day.

Wikipedia defines photojournalism as,

“A particular form of journalism (the collecting, editing, and presenting of news material for publication or broadcast) that creates images in order to tell a news story. It is now usually understood to refer only to still images, but in some cases the term also refers to video used in broadcast journalism.” –

Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines photojournalism as,

“Journalism in which written copy is subordinate to pictorial usu. photographic presentation of news stories or in which a high proportion of pictorial presentation is used.”

Austin Military Wedding

Names of photographers or images of well known photographs come to mind when thinking of the word “photojournalism”. Nineteenth and twentieth century photojournalists such as Robert Capa (World War II), Henry Cartier-Bresson (international street photography) , Matthew Brady (U.S. Civil War), Margaret Bourke-White (Great Depression), Alfred Eisenstaedt (World War II) and others created iconic images that graced the pages of mainstream magazines and newspapers, inspiring multiple generations of photojournalism students and photographers. These photographers prided themselves on telling an honest, objective story with their photographs.

But as a modern wedding photojournalist, I don’t just stick the strict photojournalism principles that are used for capturing news as it happens in a purely subjective way. Austin Americana Photography attempts to add an additional layer onto telling the story of your day: Magic!

The truth is that much of what happens in our daily lives is often trivial and boring. Our lives are frequently habitual and routine, and unfortunately this can occur even at the most important events of our lives, including weddings. That’s why it’s up to the story teller (me, the photojournalist) to add some magic and excitement to what is happening, so that the images captured on wedding day have some pizzazz and intrigue.

As an Austin Wedding Photojournalist and Photographer, I want to create an air of energy and excitement to the “getting ready” photos of a bride prior to the ceremony. There should be some emotion and intensity that can be felt when viewing photos of a wedding ceremony. And hopefully a level of celebration and joy can be felt in images from the reception. Creating some emotion and stirring feelings in the viewer of a photograph is what Austin Americana Photography does and what makes the wedding special.

Round Rock Wedding

Austin Engagement Photos at a Dog Park!

Coming soon I’ll be blogging about a recent engagement session that I photographed at an Austin dog park. One thing that I’ve learned from living in Austin for the past 10 years or so is that many people in Austin love their animals, which usually happen to be either dogs or cats. And why not? Well known, published studies have shown that having an animal companion can improve one’s quality of life and even extend one’s life. But many people in Austin, and perhaps elsewhere in the world, think of their pet as more than just a pet; pets can become your best friend and a dependable companion; even when human relationships come and go, a pet will never leave you!

As a wedding photographer, I try to be flexible with the needs of my Austin brides and grooms. After all, it’s my job to make my brides happy and provide my Austin wedding clients with quality photographs. So when I was asked if we could shoot my bride and groom’s engagement session at a dog park with their two dogs, I of course, said yes! It was a fun session and I was able to check off one more places in Austin that I’ve photographed.

Redu Bud Isle Engagement Couple

Austin couple looking on as their dogs play in the water

Say Cheese! Austin Downtown Wedding

Here’s a fun photo, and a potentially fun idea for brides looking to add some pizazz to the wedding celebration. There are a few photo booth companies in the Austin, Texas area that offer the mobile service of providing a photo booth with props for you and your guests to get crazy with. Say Cheese is one of those companies. These guys were having a great time with the portable photo booth!

Say Cheese!

Austin Wedding Photographer – “Best of Vol. 3”

I’ve posted some of my favorite wedding photos from the last 12-24 months in a series of blogs, Volumes 1 -3. The work I’m including is a collection of mostly wedding photographs that Austin Americana Photography captured at various weddings in the Austin, Texas area. Some of the Venues include places like Casa Blanca on Brushy Creek, Green Pastures, Canyon of the Eagles, Avery Ranch Resort, Laguna Gloria, Zilker Botanical Garden, as well as a few not-so-familiar other venues. There will be a 2nd volume of wedding photos to follow this one in the next day or so. Enjoy!

View more of my favorite Austin Wedding Photos: Volume 1 & Volume 2

Austin Wedding Photographer ZilkerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding Photographer

Austin Wedding Photographer – “Best of Vol. 2”

I’ve posted some of my favorite wedding photos from the last 12-24 months in a series of blogs, Volumes 1 -3. The work I’m including is a collection of mostly wedding photographs that Austin Americana Photography captured at various weddings in the Austin, Texas area. Some of the Venues include places like Casa Blanca on Brushy Creek, Green Pastures, Canyon of the Eagles, Avery Ranch Resort, Laguna Gloria, Zilker Botanical Garden, as well as a few not-so-familiar other venues. There will be a 2nd volume of wedding photos to follow this one in the next day or so. Enjoy!

View more of my favorite Austin Wedding Photos: Volume 1 & Volume 3

Austin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerCentral Christian ChurchAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding Photographer

Austin Wedding Photographer – “Best of Vol. 1”

Yesterday I photographed a fun wedding at Central Christian Church and Allan House near 12th Street and Guadalupe in Downtown Austin and on the way home it occurred to me that I haven’t been posting enough photographs of the weddings that I shoot. I think many times photographers get caught up in the job that they do, which is to take great photographs of the wedding at hand for their clients and then provide those images in some form directly to the client. Working for my clients is something I’ve been able to do well, but sometimes I forget to let the rest of the world know what I’ve been up to and to share my photographic work with my fellow Austinites.

So, I’m posting some of favorite wedding photos from the last 1-2 years. The work I’m including is a collection of mostly wedding photographs that Austin Americana Photography captured at various weddings in the Austin, Texas area. Some of the Venues include places like Casa Blanca on Brushy Creek, Green Pastures, Canyon of the Eagles, Avery Ranch Resort, Laguna Gloria, Zilker Botanical Garden, as well as a few not-so-familiar other venues. There will be a 2nd volume of wedding photos to follow this one in the next day or so. Enjoy!

View more of my favorite Austin Wedding Photos: Volume 2 & Volume 3Austin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding Photographer

Austin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding Photographer

Coming Soon: What is Wedding Photojournalism?

In the next week or so I’ll be creating a blog about photojournalism. I want to define what photojournalism is and how it applies to different events and in particular, weddings. Lots of photographers consider themselves wedding photojournalists or photojournalistic-style photographers here in Austin, but I want to delve a little deeper into the topic of what exactly photojournalism is and what it means for wedding clients.

I plan to talk about the importance and emotion that photojournalism style photography can bring to a seemingly ordinary event. And at its core, photojournalism is all about telling the story of a bride’s wedding, which is something Austin Americana Photography tries to do for our Austin brides. It should be fun and interesting so stay tuned.

Read more about Austin Wedding Photojournalism from Austin Wedding Photojournalist Martin Whitton HERE.

austin bride dressing with bridesmaids

Burst Blogging, Twitter & Photography

In the future (which starts now, and now…and now), I’m going to try to make more frequent, less detailed blog posts. I think that the future of business and of photography begins with better communication and connectedness, so I’m going to do my part as a photographer to stay connected with my photo clients and friends.

I’ll still have my standard lengthy, detailed blogs (usually 1-2 per week) that tell a story about a subject, like a wedding venue/couple that I photographed or about a particular topic; but I want to close the gap of going days without blogging, if possible, by making smaller “burst” blogs. My “burst” blogs will be short blogs or long if you compare them to Tweets.

This will be my first “burst” blog. I am also making photography Tweets more regularly. Check out Austin Americana Photography on Twitter:


A 1930’s Style Austin Wedding at Mayfield Park

In March I had the pleasure of being selected as the official wedding photographer for a 1930’s wedding that occurred here in Austin at Mayfield Park. Having photographed many weddings which can become a bit “cookie cutter” in nature, this wedding definitely changed the typical look and feel of an Austin wedding and what an Austin wedding photographer shoots into something classic and fun.

It’s not that often that I get the opportunity to photograph a wedding or event that doubles as a costume party like this event did, which is pretty exciting. Obviously, the bride, groom and wedding party were all donning 1930’s wedding/dress attire. But what was great and what made the event all the more fun was that many of the guests also went to the trouble of dressing in the clothing styles of the early 1900’s.

And no detail of the wedding was left to chance. The theme of the wedding was 1930’s and not only was clothing of the utmost importance, but décor at the wedding was also in the turn-of-the-century style, along with the cake, flowers, etc. Mayfield Park Cottage also lent some genuineness and credibility to the event, given that Mayfield Park and Cottage was constructed around the turn of the century (around 1900?) and gives the feel of being on a rural homestead during the given period of time.

1930s black and white shoes

According to the Mayfield Park Community Project Website, Mayfield Park and Preserve is a suburban park that has been a relatively lengthy part of Austin’s history. The Mayfield Park Estate was handed over to the city of  Austin in 1971 by Mary Mayfield Gutsch for the purpose of creating public use parkland. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, it encompasses approximately two acres of lush, green gardens, mature palm trees, peacocks and ponds containing water lillies, as well as 21 acres of nature preserve, walking trails and wildlife habitat.

Geographically speaking, Mayfield Park is located West-Central of Downtown. It’s just a stone’s throw away from some very well known Austin Landmarks, including Camp Mabry, Laguna Gloria and Mount Bonnell, all names that are synonymous with the history of Austin as a city. In fact, Laguna Gloria and Mount Bonnell are two of my favorite engagement and bridal photography locations here in Austin!

More from “Allison Mayfield purchased the board and batten, twin-gabled cottage and 23 acres for his family as a summer and weekend retreat in 1909. A prominent Austin political figure, Mr. Mayfield was Chairman of the Railroad Commission and former Texas Secretary of State. He and his wife had one child, Mary Frances, who married Milton Gutsch in 1918. Dr. Gutsch was Chairman of the History Department at the University of Texas for many years. As a young couple, Mary and Milton moved into the cottage in 1922 and added porches to three sides of the house, reflecting the Bungalow style of the early 20th century.

Mary Mayfield Gutsch designed the gardens while Milton directed the building of the stone walls, ponds, and garden features with the help of Steve Arredondo, resident gardener for many years. The peacocks were gifts from friends in 1935 and their descendants are here today. The Mayfield-Gutsch family developed this site over a 62 year period. Dr. Gutsch died in 1967. Mary Mayfield Gutsch died in 1971 and left the home and acreage to the City of Austin to be used as a park.

An interesting feature of the park and preserve is the Sabal Mexicana Palms. These palms were introduced in the thirties and now are one of the predominant species growing throughout the preserve. Originally from the Rio Grande they have survived Austin’s climate and are naturalizing to the area.”

More history about Mayfield Park, including old photos can be found at the City of Austin PARD Mayfield Park website.

See ALL the photos from this 1930s wedding in Austin Here:

1930s Bride in 2011

Happy Bride and Groom

Zoot Suit

Home at Mayfield Park

Flowers on Table at Mayfield Park

Bride at Mayfield Park

To reserve the cottage and/or grounds, you can call (512) 974-6797 or visit: City of Austin PARD Mayfield Website – reservations. Maximum attendees for events: 200

Information for Photographers: Mayfield cottage and gardens provide a beautiful setting for pictures. Although there is no fee for taking professional pictures at Mayfield, a tax deductible donation in support of these historic gardens is encouraged and would be greatly appreciated. Send to: Austin Parks and Recreation Department – Mayfield Park/Community Project 200 S. Lamar, Austin, Texas 78704 –

My Favorite Austin Photographers

It seems like I do more than enough self promotion on my blog, specifically about the kinds of photography that Austin Americana does and the kind of clients we work with. But what about other photographers here in Austin, Texas? Austin is full of fantastic and wonderful photographers who specialize in all kinds of photography, from weddings to landscapes. Central Texas has an enormous pool of talented artists who regularly display their work in galleries and on websites for public viewing and enjoyment. So in the spirit of sharing and promoting others work and talent, I’d like to tell my readers about some of the talented photographers I’ve worked with or admired here in Austin. Eight of the nine artists listed below are people I’ve been taught by, worked with and/or consider a good friend.

Peter Tsai, Austin Photographer:

I met Peter while taking a photography class through the University of Texas Informal Classes. He is a very talented and soft spoken individual who never ceases to amaze me with his creativity and ideas. A particular favorite of mine is his “b-boy” photography, capturing break dancing in a beautiful way.

Joseph Pettyjohn, Austin Photographer:

Joe has to be one of the most relaxed, laid back photographers I know. I learned about landscape photography from him years ago during a UT Class. He specializes in landscape photography and is rarely without one of his trademark hats.

Tim Babiak, Austin Photographer:

Tim is an amazing portrait photographer who is overflowing with knowledge and information about portraiture. His photos are truly exquisite (like his business name) and his enthusiasm for photography is second to none. I have attended several of his Photography MeetUp groups which he graciously hosts and teaches at his home in Austin.

Carlos Austin, Austin Photographer:

I probably know more about wedding photography because of Carlos than any other single source. Carlos is a 3rd generation Texas photographer who photographs portraits and weddings. He is a true professional and he is a very experienced photographer and planner.

John Langford, Austin Photographer:

John is a master portrait photographer who tells stories through a single photograph, which is an amazing talent. He has a magnetic personality that provokes brilliant responses from his clients who are photographed in his studio. He also brings a level of eccentricity to his work that is creative and has led him on a world-wide journey recently.

Jason Wang, Austin Photographer:

Jason is a very good friend of mine who also happens to be a talented and up-and-coming photographer. He is capable of shooting a studio portrait one day, sports action shots the next and then following up with beautiful macro-photos of insects. He photographed my family portrait and has shot next to me on several important photographic assignments.

Jamie Kovach, Austin Photographer:

Jamie is a true art photographer at heart. She photographed weddings with me and eventually photographed my wedding. She has a knack for capturing images in a surreal, yet simple way. She has now taken on a new challenge, pursuing a master’s degree in fine arts photography – something that I have a sneaking suspicion she’ll be very successful with.

Kirk Tuck, Austin Photographer:

Although I must admit I’ve never met Kirk, I thoroughly enjoy reading his Austin Photography Blog, where he frequently discusses new photographic products, lighting and puts a personal spin on all things photography. He is inspiring and talented and perhaps one day I’ll have the opportunity to meet him.

Heather Wise, Austin Photographer:

Heather is a talented up-and-coming wedding photographer. She has worked with me on a number of weddings and bridal sessions. She is devoted to the trade of photography and has wonderful insight into her work and telling a wedding story.

Austin Backyard Gardening

This weekend my family spent some time developing our green thumb (to what degree we can) and getting in sync with Mother Nature. We built a wooden garden box, dug around in the old flower beds and planted some flowers. Having grown up in rural Texas, these activities were things that I’ve always taken for granted; but now I’m starting to realize all over again and perhaps in a new way the importance that experiencing our natural world can have.

One of the most exciting things that we did was discovering that our flower bed, which is rich in plant detritus, fertile black soils and covered in mulch is also home to lots of skinny, brown worms. My son Roman is extremely curious about bugs and we try to quench his thirst for bug experiences every time we get the chance. He was amazed by the squirming, squiggly little worms that we found and he wasn’t afraid to touch them. He immediately identified the worms as snakes (everything that resembles the letter “S” is a snake) and he poked a little stick at the worm.  My wife and I did our best to explain to our 2 year old boy that worms live in the soil and they like a cool, wet, soil-covered home. We’re never sure how he interprets our explanations, but hopefully he got it.

Earlier in the back yard, another important lesson occurred. We learned about the importance of plants and how they have feelings too. I was in the middle of constructing our wooden garden box, hammering nails and the like when I noticed that Roman was toting around a small green tomato plant that my wife had just picked up at the store, which will presumably be a part of the garden box. He carried it around in the yard for a while. When I went over to talk to him about the plant, he looked at it, considering what I’d said, and then proceeded to toss it on the ground. Now you have to realize that when a 2-year old boy tosses things, they’re not making any sort of statement. They frequently throw anything they can get their hands on, and the only interpretation that I make is that he’s done with whatever he just pitched onto the ground.

But I want my son to fully understand the importance and value of all life. I realize that in life “bad” things happen and not all of the things that exist or the events that occur are considered desirable. But on some level there is a deeper sense of perfection and divinity in everything. So when Roman threw the plant down I immediately picked it up and told him that tossing the plant down on the ground wasn’t good for it and harmed it, especially when some of its soil came loose and fell out of the cardboard pot.

Some people might think that this is silly to even discuss and that it makes no difference. And perhaps they are right – but I can’t believe that. I keep thinking that every small lesson like this one needs to be met head on with a great amount of thought, consideration, empathy and understanding. I need to believe that all these little lessons that my son and I will experience together will add up to him having some character and humanity that seems to be lacking more and more every day in our world.

At any rate, we try to have fun and learn something too! We also did some other fun activities outdoors. My wife painted a bird house with really bright colors. It will probably be more for decoration though. The finch family that has made our back porch their home for 2+ years have returned, but they prefer building their own nest of sticks and other debris in the corner of the porch near the ceiling.

And a few days ago we also added a plum tree near our backyard peach tree. I’m hoping we have as much luck with the plum tree as we’ve had with the peach tree. Trees can be finicky about where they live or if they are going to live at all, and to me, they are a test of one’s gardening skills. They require a lot of attention when they’re young, but are really rewarding once they’re bigger. So here’s to peaches, plums and whatever else grows in our not-yet-planted garden…