Mandie and Chris | — Vesta Irene —

Mandie and Chris

Mandie & Chris Square

We met Mandie and Chris at Rancho San Rafael Park, in Northern Reno, near UNR. Vesta calls it the best park in Reno and thinks it’s also one of the best parks in the world. I don’t know about that, but it is an awful nice park. At one time we thought we might walk the Camino, which is a five hundred mile long walking pilgrimage in Spain, and we trained for it at San Rafael, walking the two mile parimater several times a day.

So we know the park well. Plus, we’ve done thirty or forty engagement shoots there and several family photo sessions. We do like San Rafael, but we’re not the only ones.

Mandie and Chris Engagement Photograph 001

When Vesta and I go to the park on our own time, just to take photos, which is pretty often actually, we walk the parimater till we get to one of the two lakes, or ponds as the park calls them, and shoot the waterfowl. But when we’re doing an engagement shoot, we cut through the park and go straight to Herman’s Pond, because it’s a very photogenic area.

Mandie and Chris Engagement Photograph 002

Mandie and Chris Engagement Photograph 003

There is a play area for children just before you get to the pond and occasionally we’ll do a few shots there, especially if we’re shooting someone who is pregnant. Mandie wasn’t with child, but the light was perfect, so I took a shot there.


I like holding the camera high and shooting down for some of the shots, because, I guess, I don’t want every picture to look the same, also I kind of like the smile on Chris’ face in it.

Mandie and Chris Engagement Photograph 007

Mandie and Chris Engagement Photograph 008

We did several photos with the future bride and groom with the lake behind them and I processed them several different ways. There’s a sort of faded sepia look I like to try with some couple with a large white vignette around the couple, which give the photo the look of those vintage post cards you used to be able to buy at those tourist stores in Honolulu.

Mandie and Chris Engagement Photograph 004

I also like to experiment with color, mostly again I think because I just don’t like to give a couple fifty or sixty photos that all look the same. And if you check out the gallery below, you’ll see what I mean. Looking back at them, maybe I pushed the saturation up a bit too much on number 005, but it doesn’t look like any of the other shots.

Mandie and Chris Engagement Photograph 005

We think water in the background—pond, lake, river or ocean—really makes a couple pop out of the photo. It’s not distracting, not busy. Of course, sometimes a busy background makes a good photo two, it all depends on the background. I think the brown desert foliage background in photos 008 thru 014 makes for a nice textured background which doesn’t distract from Mandie and Chris.

Mandie & Chris 102

But all the great backgrounds that the park offers don’t amount to a hill of beens in an engagement shoot if the couple aren’t obviously in love. The playful way they interact with each other and the camera is what makes engagement photos really shine and these do, not so much because Vesta and I are good photographers, there are a lot of those in Reno, but because this couple, Mandie and Chris, really only had eyes for each other.

Mandie & Chris 100

A couple days after we delivered the photos, Mandie and Chris called. The wanted us to shoot their wedding. But sadly, we had to tell them we couldn’t, because we were booked.

She asked us if we could recommend someone and we could. We told her we like Belinda Grant’s work a whole lot and her prices were about the same as ours. I cry a little inside every time we have to tell people we like that we can’t shoot their wedding. Unfortunately, it seems like we have to turn one wedding away for every one we shoot. I just wish there were more Saturdays in a year that people could get married on.

Mandie & Chris 077

A couple days, later Mandie called and thanked us for recommending Belinda. Her wedding is past now and I’ve seen the photos Belinda shot and they are excellent.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again here. The wedding photographers in Reno, the ones you’ll meet at the wedding faires, are all excellent and we all get along and if we’re booked and can’t do your wedding, we’ll be glad to point you in the direction of someone just as good, who can.

Vesta Irene Wedding and Portrait Photography, 1250 Ralston Street, Reno, NV 89503 
Phone: 775 393-9529