Errin Hiltbrand Photography » Madison Wedding Photographer

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It’s an odd feeling. I met them one night at a café in Madison and on my ride home, I smiled. A lot. These two do that to you. I knew how I was going to finally re-organize and clean my closet and I had the urge to buy them a strainer or measuring cups just for kicks as a gift. I REALLY loved them. They were honest and open–didn’t need to fill out paperwork or have a contract–trusted me to show up and take photos and that was that. It felt good. So often in my line of work, contracts are necessary and things in life can get more complicated than they need to be. Met them as strangers, will always hold a spot in my heart for them as friends. Just wonderful people. I feel so honored that I got to shoot their Madison party. Wish I could have been in Mexico for the real deal—fantastic group of friends and family that followed them there and celebrated with them here. Thank you both SO much for everything. I’ll think of you often and know you’ll be celebrating a fantastic marriage.

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I’ve had quite a few people ask “how’d that happen?” How did Amanda and I ever find each other on a trip together to take a class? Amanda, the brilliant physician and self-taught amazing photographer, and myself. I remember running around Amanda’s house when we were little, though I was in her sister’s class and always there to hang out with Krista–Amanda was always the big sister. But the older you get, the more age becomes irrelevant. Over the years, Amanda and I have talked back and forth about photography and in passing, I mentioned to her she should check out Jinky Art. And though I don’t quite remember the exact words. It went something along the lines of me telling her if she ever wanted to go to a Jinky Art class… I would go too. You know those things we say but never actually intend to happen. I meant it–just never in my wildest dreams saw it happening. Wildest dreams happen.

When she first messaged me, I thought it was some sort of joke. But the plans began to brew and I became nervous–not only at my chance to meet Barb, the amazingly brilliant photographer behind Jinky Art, but a trip with Amanda–someone I had seen as a client a few times and with whom I chatted occasionally on facebook about photos. The more we talked, the more things just sort of fell into place. She had found a hotel online that I’d booked and cancelled twice before… always a dream of mine to stay in Half Moon Bay at the Ritz but never seemed practical. And I learned Amanda turns dreams into reality. She is a thinker and very organized and very smart and I found myself to be a bit of a go-with-the-flow more than I thought I was–which was very relaxing. Less planning and thinking like a mom, more enjoying the ride as it came.

It was my third trip to San Fran in 1 year. Two hours after we landed, I shot an engagement session (here) for a couple I’m so excited to work with next year!!!! They showed us a spot I’ve always wanted to see and so much more–very hospitable and we loved spending the evening with them! I’d also never seen Alcatraz—Amanda was up for it on day 2. It was amazing. She has a love of trees like I do–Muir Woods was beautiful even without the beams of sun peaking through. Stumbled upon a gorgeous beach on our way out of town, too. And then we made it to Half Moon Bay for a night. By then, I was so comfortable with Amanda–felt like we had been best friends for years–my nerves shifted towards meeting a whole new crowd of brilliant photographers from all over the world. And the photo shoots and the panoramic views and the wine–all fabulous. It’s such a strange feeling to travel to a new place with new people and spend most waking moments for 2.5 days together and just leave. I always feel so much closer and yet, we may never see one another again. I would love to, though.

Photographers are tricky things. Very competitive locally and a good support group exists. But some things you just can’t talk with “the competition” about and I’m so fortunate to have so many brilliant photographers in my life around the world to bounce ideas off of and learn from.

And I gained a dear friend. I’m certain Amanda will be one of those that I don’t talk too often but can pick up where we left off. We’ll always have California:)

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