I’ve been sorting through our personal photographs over the past week.  It’s something I rarely get to, but I’m trying my best to stay on top of them as best I can now that we have our son.  While I was sorting, I came across some images from our trip to China last fall where we photographed Gladys and Henry’s Engagement/Us session.  Now that I have a little bit of ever-so-very-semi down time, I thought I’d share a handful with all of you. :0)

We often hear how lucky we are to travel the world as wedding photographers, and to be sure – it is an awesome opportunity.  We’ve been able to see amazing places that we never would have gone to on our own and have experiences that we never would have had otherwise.  Still, visiting a place to see it for yourself and traveling there to work are two very different beasts and the latter, while still full of exciting new places and adventures, doesn’t allow for nearly the same amount of sight-seeing and leisurely activities.

Sean and I have walked the streets of Europe, while pulling bags of gear for miles over the cobblestone streets.  We’ve made a mad dash through the Sistine Chapel in the precious little time we had, just so that we could say we’d seen it.  We saw Iceland through car windows and camera lenses, and we’ve discovered the Mexican landscape and ruins, but with looking for photographically pleasing places for couples in mind.  China was no different as we viewed the entire city of Beijing in an afternoon, running through the Emperor’s Palaces and Gardens to see where the most image-worthy locations would be.  It was a whirlwind 5 days!  I say all of this to excuse us, I suppose, for being such poor documenters of our own journey when abroad. ;0)  I like to think that our images are just true to our experiences though — the majority being a test frame that one of us happens to be in, a sample image for a possible location for a future shoot, or a quick grip and grin as we move from place to place.  That’s what travel looks like for us in this season of our life: fast-paced, always moving, never dull. :0)


Seven went with us everywhere for his first year of life.   Here he is scouting the Forbidden City.

We were so fortunate that my best friend was able to come along with us to help with our boy.  She and he spent their days wandering around Beijing together, or chasing after us while scoped out locations.  Below you see Rachel with Seven in his typical sight-seeing stance: asleep!  We’ve taken him to all of these amazing places and he slept through most of them. :0)

We needed a few props for the shoot the next day so we ventured into this crazy little to find them.  This place is tucked away right in the middle of the huge modern metropolis of Beijing’s downtown.  You just turn a corner down a tiny alley and suddenly you’re in a different world.  It’s like discovering Diagon Alley in the middle of London. (Harry Potter geek-revealing reference inserted here.)  Seven is, of course,what?  Asleep.

The history you see around you in so much of the rest of the world is just amazing to me.  You’re surrounded by these structures that have outlasted generations upon generations and I love the way it enriches everyday life in these places.  Age is such a beautiful thing.

Shooting on the Great Wall/ Sean testing lighting for his shot.

Speaking of the Great Wall, Holy Smokes!  The particular portion of the wall that we went to required you to climb The Infinite Staircase to get to it.  Was it actually called The Infinite Staircase?  No.  That’s just what I’ve named it because seriously, those stairs seemed like they would never end.  The view you see below repeated itself about 10 times before we reached the top.  As you can see, Sean was feeling pretty proud of himself for how well he was taking it.  I, on the other hand, was not taking it so well.

Another test shot I was caught in.  I find these regularly as I’m culling our shoots.  They always get tagged and then passed off as personal photos. :0)

You may recognize this as being pretty similar to the image of Gladys and Henry from a previous post.  Again, test shot = personal photo.

Bottom left: our makeshift dressing room on the Great Wall.

The Emperor’s Gardens…

Whenever we get back from a trip to a non-English speaking country, I always find several of these in the photo mix.  Sean can’t help himself.  He just loves a bad English translation or ridiculous admonition…

One of the beautiful scenes on a dreary day at Summer Palace.

Rickshaw ride in the Hutong…

Rachel had been to China before, but never to the Great Wall so on our final day, we made time to get back out with her and Seven.  He may not remember it, but at least we do have actual touristy photos to prove that he’s been there!

We went to a different portion of the Wall this time around.  Easier and more immediate access, but I’m not sure which steps were worse.  I pulled the “better stay with the baby” card for this one and let Sean and Rachel have all the fun.

One from our shoot to show off the amazing views…

And there you have it.  Our trip into the amazing, exotic, ancient world of China-land. :0)  Hope you’ve enjoyed it!  Thanks for looking.


  1. Rachel on April 5, 2011 at 10:28 am

    Wow! What an amazing place! What an opportunity to capture such great shots!

  2. esm on April 5, 2011 at 11:06 am

    Love the personal glimpse behind the scenes. Beautiful! Was he ever that tiny?? Where does the time go?

  3. Melanie Watson on April 5, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Awesome you guys! I love seeing your faces on the blog. Mel my favorite shot is 4th from the bottom and Seven looks happy as all get out. You both do. Such a great trip and thank you for sharing the gorgeous views with us. Love you guys!

  4. Sarah on April 5, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Love the behind the scenes photos! They’re amazing.

  5. Liz ~ elizabeth&jane photography on April 5, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    Awesome stuff. Love the shot of the couple on the wall with the scenery – it’s breathtaking.

  6. Ricki Ford on April 6, 2011 at 7:29 am

    These are awesome!

  7. Sean on April 26, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    Thanks for the comments – we had a wonderful time and really enjoyed being able to experience everything we did!

  8. Kristi on April 28, 2011 at 7:28 am

    Wow and zow! I love your photos. Unique, dynamic and fun. Incredibly inspiring.

  9. Mel McLellan on May 2, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Thank you so much Kristi! :)

  10. OHANA PHOTOGRAPHERS on May 18, 2011 at 9:33 am

    wow wow wow. love the picture of you mel at the bottom of the stairs with that “omg these stairs are ridiculous look” ha ha :D really enjoyed these!

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