Engagement Shoot Location #1: Black Bear Crossings

Engagement Shoot Location #2:  Como Park

Engagement Shoot Location #3: Como Golf Course

Photos and Story: James Ramsay

We did several locations around the Como neighborhood of St. Paul for Kathryn and Brett’s engagement shots. I grew up visiting Como Park and it hasn’t changed much over the years. Although many of the large oak trees were lost in a wind storm centered in the neighborhood a few years back, Como is still like a little Lake Calhoun in some ways. Less people, shorter distance around, perfect for running or biking laps if you’re the physical fitness type. There are lost ruins, bridges, the Como Park Zoo, the Conservatory, Black Bear Crossings, a carousel of dancing horses, and of course the lake and Como Golf Course. The lovely couple suggested a possible golf theme for their engagement photos, and we just went with it and never looked back. We got to see a 360 degree panoramic view of the sunset over the course. I liked the couple’s idea of symbolizing their wedding date with a six and seven iron for a possible save the date. And check them out doing the Tiger Woods thing, bouncing their golf balls on their clubs. Total pros I tell you. Since we weren’t technically on the PGA Tour for this shoot, we even did putting redemption as Brett brilliantly sunk the shot.

Photos by Donae Cotton Photography

Born and raised in South Africa, wedding and lifestyle photographer Donae Cotton now calls Minnesota home. Donae points out that having fun during an engagement session is just as important to the couple as the photographer. Jenna and Lucas have a vintage wedding theme and instead of shooting a typical “e-session” they did some brainstorming with the help of pinterest. They settled upon aviation, with its rich history, as subject matter that fit within their vintage theme. Donae hopes this kind of shoot will inspire other couples to think outside the box of a generic photo shoot. Hopefully other couples will embrace their uniqueness and carry their wedding theme throughout the wedding planning process.

Donae Cotton Photography

Follow Donae on Pinterest.

Sometimes a detail shot of the ring can say a lot. Marie and Ehrick had a great idea for a shot of her engagement ring. It felt a little dangerous to put an engagement ring on railroad tracks, but made for a romantic and timeless image. Luckily we had about a mile of visibility in both directions. Some jokes were made about the elegant ring becoming flat as a smashed penny! So with Ehrick on watch and Marie helping make some last minute adjustments to the angle of the ring, we managed to pull it off. Some lyrics come to mind.

Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?

A smile from a veil?

Do you think you can tell? – Pink Floyd

The railroad tracks, which helped build St. Paul, add some historical context to the location of the engagement photography. The texture of the tracks, which hundreds of train cars travel on each day, are a romantic stage for the perfection of Marie's engagement rings.

Photos by James Ramsay

Mary Bumblebee had a rock and roll wedding at First Avenue in Minneapolis, where Prince’s Purple Rain was filmed. Mary set this shot up for her early morning wedding day photographer, James Ramsay, weaving the ring into the laces of her converse. This was a creative, fun way to capture her ring and highlight her awesome shoes. Mary was thrilled with her hair and makeup, done onsite at the hotel by Kira and friends at Muse. Mary is in the wedding industry herself and runs Bumblebee Personal Assistants.

-James Ramsay

Editor, Brides Like Us

Mary Bumblebee knew exactly what she wanted and set this shot up before the photographer arrived!

A closer view of the rings allows the Converse sneaker to fade into the background, but it is still clearly identifiable, highlighting the bride's personal style.

Couldn’t resist getting a photo of Kelley in the alley with her red leather jacket. Sometimes I like to get individual photos of the couple just for fun.

I had Kelley approach Pat as if he was on a break from playing with his band. It didn’t hurt that Pat was actually playing guitar and one memorable highlight from the shoot was when Kelley spontaneously sang the lyrics to one of the songs Pat was playing!!! Then they sang together, I felt lucky to be there.

A natural reaction from Kelley as Pat plays one of her favorite songs.

I told Pat to do his best imitation of a rock star posing for a CD cover, while Kelley played the role of photo assistant.

Kelley did a fabulous job as acting photo assistant for the day!

After we arrived in the St. Anthony Main neighborhood, Kelley changed her outfit and we noticed an industrial loading dock that made an interesting set.

This shot was Kelley’s idea. It’s always great to collaborate with couples during an engagement shoot. Some of my best ideas come from my customers.

“Give me some sass!” I don’t say it often, but when I do it usually works.

Hot shoes! We picked this location in Minneapolis because of the bright colorful background and the amazing natural light.

A horse drawn carriage appeared from across the bridge and immediately Pat and Kelley realized what a great opportunity it was for some cool photos. These fairy tale moments happen sometimes and they are always magical.

It felt a little bit like we were channeling the magic of Cinderella with the horse and carriage spontaneously driving by.

Photos by James Ramsay Photography

Many brides choose a fabulous theme for their wedding. It’s more rare for you to choose a theme for your engagement photography.  Pat and Kelley knew the first step was planning out a theme with their photographer. Since Pat was a musician, we went over a few ideas and settled on a rock and roll theme. Kelley was nice enough to play the role of photo assistant as well, which was a fun idea we came up with on the spot. The couple also brought a change of outfits to be more formal for some of the photo session. This guaranteed them a variety of looks for save the date cards, place settings, guest book material, and prints for the wall of their trendy Lowertown, St. Paul apartment. Sometimes improvising leads to the best photos. For example the horse and cart was a complete coincidence, but we put ourselves in a position to succeed. It was an amazing bonus to an awesome evening of engagement photography. It seems like something out of a fairy tale.

-James Ramsay


Brides Like Us