New signature USB packaging

As technology continually advances and my clients are buying computers without DVD drives, my delivery of image files has to change with the times. I’ve always loved my custom keepsake DVDs that I have provided my clients in the past. I still offer these to clients that prefer a DVD but now you have a choice as to how you’d like your photos delivered.

I am pleased to present to you, the imprinted signature wood box! It holds you USB, print release and 100 4×6 unmounted proof prints. This particular USB box is included in wedding packages and upper senior photo packages. I have a smaller wood USB box available for smaller portrait packages.

The simple and elegant wood signature USB box

Wood burned lid and interior compartments


Bamboo and metal swivel imprinted USB

I strive to bring the highest quality service, product and over-all experience to my clients! I hope you enjoy what I can offer you!

A little Wednesday “About me” post

You may not know but I am a total dog lover. The year my husband and I married, we rescued an 18 month old Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie) that we named Blue. If you read a post from a couple of years ago, you’ll see how we gave him a ton of crazy nicknames. We had no idea what we were getting into when we adopted him! He came with a steamer trunk of baggage and neurosis but he was one of the best dogs I have ever known in my entire life. During the 10 1/2 years we had him, he did virtually everything with us from canoeing, four wheeling, road trips to Arizona, Utah, Washington and Wyoming, camping all over Colorado and his favorite, fishing. I have never met a dog who loved fishing as much as him. I even had to drag him out of the Poudre River a couple times when he got a little too curious about a fish one of us had hooked. He also “snorkled” the water with his nose.

Blue at the Poudre River

Blue concentrating on fishing at the Poudre River

Last June, at the age of 12, Blue was diagnosed with bladder cancer and we were told there truly wasn’t anything we could do but just enjoy the time we had with him. We didn’t have any idea how long that time would be. We made sure he got to go on as many trips as we could take and even though he couldn’t hike with us anymore, he was still just as enthusiastic about fishing as he always had been. Fall rolled around we decided to have our family photos taken while he was still with us. My friend, Emily, did a beautiful job of capturing us all, including the spirit of Blue. I’m so incredibly grateful that we had these images done because two weeks later, Blue lost his battle with cancer.

Blue, two weeks before he passed

It was a blessing and a tragedy when we lost him and it affected us all deeply. He was definitely a beloved member of our family. It makes me smile to think of him and his goofy personality and I will never forget him.

Almost two months later, I couldn’t stand that I no longer had a dog in the house. I often edit photos on the couch and he would always lie on his pillow near my feet and snooze. It was just nice having him there. People told me they thought it was too soon for me to get another dog but I was determined and knew I was ready. I wanted another Sheltie because I just love their personalities, size and general cute-ness.

It took me some time and I didn’t have luck finding any rescue candidates in CO but I found a dog who had been purchased for show but then got too big and then was a breeding dog who had a difficult time delivering so the owner decided to retire her at the ripe old age of 3 and sell her as a pet. Her loss, my gain! So yes, I drove to Minnesota with my mom and picked up my newest member to my family, Gypsy.

Gypsy in her new back yard

She’s so incredibly different than Blue but I know I will love her just as fiercely as I did Blue but for different reasons. She comes from a better, more well adjusted background than Blue did but she comes with a whole other set of issues……she has never seen or experienced anything in her life. She lived in a large kennel with other dogs and had only a few humans to interact with and was never in a house. She is scared of EVERYTHING and I swear is Agoraphobic! She is a diamond in the rough and I know with a little patience and a lot of love, she will come around to be more amazing than she already is. She is the most beautiful Sheltie I have seen!

I know I am in good company with my love for my dogs. My clients often seem to be the ones that include them in their weddings, or at the very least, their engagement photos. If you want to share your dog stories or photos with me, I would welcome them!

Hillside Studios presents: The luxurious Queensberry Duo album!

From my first year as a wedding photographer, I drooled over the Queensberry Duo album. At the time, it didn’t fit within my branding or with the product I was offering so it didn’t make sense for me to invest in a sample or to try and sell it to my clients. Since then, my business has grown and become more of a boutique experience, offering your beautiful images on equally beautiful products. That being said, I have done away with offering albums that are similar to the ones my clients might make themselves. It’s your wedding. It is a once in a lifetime experience and should be treated as such.

So, along with the Leather Craftsmen and Graphistudio albums that I offer, here is the Queensberry Duo out of New Zealand. It is the most unique and luxurious of all the albums that I have found in the industry. From the moment it arrived on my doorstep, I was giddy in anticipation! I was not disappointed. The presentation of this album is stellar.

The Queensberry velvet bag and care instructions.

The beautifully printed ribbon of the velvet bag.


The Queensberry Duo in Blueberry contemporary leather with name imprinting, 10×7 album with 40 pages.

The pages are matted in ivory and are thick and have the texture of watercolor paper. Very weighty and feels amazing in the hand. This book is heavy!

The vellum introduction page.

The Duo is Queensberry’s signature album and its uniqueness lies in the way it is made and its wonderful features. It is a fusion of the modern Flushmount style albums and the classic matted albums that have always been popular. Not only does it combine these two styles but it goes a step further and offers customizations to your pages that you can’t find anywhere else (that I am aware of). You can add “wing” and “flip-out” pages to add drama and interest, as well as to incorporate more images.

Here is a matted page in ivory.

The left side is a Flushmount page and the right is a matted page.

Here is an example of a fly out page. The far right page is hinged to fold out into a full spread.

Here is an example of a closed “flip out” page. The images on the right are on the outside of the flip pages.

Here is that same page with the flip pages opened.

The last page. It’s been printed as a Flushmount but has a matted edge.

I was telling my husband when I saw this album that if I didn’t already have a wedding album, this would be the one I would want! Truly, it is unique and beautiful and everything about it screams fine art to me and that appeals to my artist side. I know it’s probably not the album for everyone, nor does it fit every budget, but if you truly love the unique and hard to find, this album is it for you.

I am offering this album included within my Diamond package as it is above, with your own customizations of colors and printing. There are other customizations, such as different cover types, inset photos and page styles available as well and I’d be happy to show you what they are. Other sizes are also available for an additional cost.

For more information, contact

Kristi Hill
Hillside Studios, LLC


To Receive Or Not to Receive?

Receiving lines are an old tradition. They are a great way for the bride and groom, as well as their parents, to personally thank each guest for coming and sharing in the big day. But they also take up a large amount of time out of your day and can throw your schedule off track. Now I know that it is your day and you don’t have to have the entire thing scheduled to a tee but there usually is a timeline in place after a ceremony for photos, cocktail hour, introductions and all of the reception activities. This means you have vendors, specifically the photographer, D.J. and caterers, who have a timeline they are working with in order to be sure your day moves as smoothly as possible. When a schedule gets off track, it means each of these vendors has to make up for that time somewhere and it often means everything being pushed later or, in the case of the photographer, less opportunity to complete their specific task they are scheduled for….and, lose the available light, in a lot of evening situations.

In my experience, less than half of my clients do a receiving line. I’m not sure if the tradition just isn’t as important anymore or just that the bride and groom is eager to start their party. I think often times, the bride and groom decide to make their rounds to each of the guest’s tables after they eat their dinner to say hello and thank their guests. It is a nice alternative to everyone standing in line waiting to congratulate the couple and say hello. Alternatively, couples that do a receiving line often find it takes almost twice as long as they expect, mostly because their well-wishers are eager to talk to them and congratulate them. In some cases, relatives haven’t seen each other in years and so having a conversation is completely natural. No one wants to rush people out because they have a schedule to keep.

If you must do a receiving line, be sure to pad your schedule enough to allow for it. I would say you need at least 30 minutes of time. Consider that if you do not see your bride/groom before the ceremony that you usually need about an hour to capture all the necessary photos after and try not to let the receiving line overlap it too much. Overlapping means your photographer has less time and light to work with and often has to make the other vendors wait on them. Caterers have meals to serve and D.J.’s have introductions and activities to M.C. It’s always best to allow too much time than too little. Things can always be moved up in the schedule if things are finished early. This allows for a more relaxed day for everyone, including yourselves.

Just some things to think about!

What’s in a bridal suite?

I was sitting here editing some getting ready photos from a recent wedding and some thoughts occurred to me about the room you’re getting ready in on your wedding day. Oft times, the bride is given one of the most lavish and airy rooms in the venue but this is not always the case. When touring your venue, be sure to ask about the room you’ll be spending several hours getting ready in. I have seen what really is a glorified closet with no windows and five bridesmaids, myself and a bride and her mother, all crammed in while the bride is getting into her dress, all the while I’m trying to get a good shot as mom and maid of honor lace up the beautiful gown. There was no way could I get a full length shot of that dress while standing in that room. And get this, the groom had this large, airy wall of windows room across the way! As a bride, you should be happy with your surroundings and what is available to you on your big day. Those little, windowless rooms can get really stuffy and hot, let me tell you. Not to mention, they become chaotic, loud and messy very quickly. Another thing to consider is; will it photograph well? Do you like the decor? (You can always bring in your own furnishings and stuff).  Are there windows to allow natural light? Is it really dark? Is the wallpaper super busy and loud? Or, in the case of a recent wedding, are there weird painted portraits of people who remind you of Colonel Sanders?

Check out that portrait! Creepy. And truly, that carpet and wallpaper are seriously busy.

I’m sure that most places might have second option available to you. Country clubs often have a bridal room but they also have really nice locker rooms with lovely wood and comfy furniture and huge mirrors. They’re also large. So if you have a large bridal party and need lots of room, this would probably serve you better. I’m not saying you can’t get ready in a smaller, darker room, sure you can. And I can still take photos in that room. It just might be more comfortable for everyone involved if you have more space and light.

This is a beautiful and well lit space. Blackstone Country Club women’s locker room.

The other thing to consider about your bridal suite is containing the chaos! Ha. I mean this in the best possible way but you get a large group of girls getting ready in the same room and BAM! Bras, shoes, purses, makeup, hair spray, underwear, plastic bags, the list goes on and on, get thrown all over the room. Try to contain the clutter and keep it possibly in one area so it’s not being photographed at every turn or I’m having to move your stuff around, which means something might get misplaced by mistake. And yes, I can Photoshop some things out but not an entire counter-top of clutter!

Look at all that stuff on the table!! There was no where else to put it all. I didn’t even try.

Considering windows and such….I know a lot of mothers of brides especially, are concerned about the bride being seen before the wedding if there are windows and such. You can always draw curtains or blinds and still allow light in. If you feel you have to block the view, please don’t use black opaque fabric to cover the windows and doors! They don’t let any light in and look weird in the background of the photos. If at all possible, use actual drapes or curtains. Most of the time, you don’t need to do this anyway. Windows to bridal suites don’t always face a main traffic area or are higher than street level and often times, french doors have frosted windows.

Here is a mashup of two photos from two different angles in the same room. A black screen on a tripod on one side at a door and hung black fabric over another set of doors on the other side. Not only does it eliminate any natural light but they don’t do anything to enhance photos.

Alright! There is my two cents on the topic. Ha ha. I’m sorry if I rambled on. I just want you to have the best possible images and the best wedding day experience you can have. It’s just something to think about that maybe you hadn’t realized made a difference!