The Best Christmas Present Ever! Wendi Riggens Photography

I was contacted by Shelby last November about shooting a secret session with her brother and sister.  Why was it secret?  They were doing it as a Christmas present for their parents! We had a great time playing in Crapo, and I had a hard time picking my favorites. These three really show their beautiful personalities!


A Workshop, #2 – Wendi Riggens Photography

Yesterday I posted about the workshop.  Today, I talk about the models.  I didn’t shoot much in the morning session, instead leading the others and talking about lighting and posing. My wonderful clients Annie and Shane modeled for us, and they were so much fun!

I want to dedicate this post, however, to a woman who is more than just my client.  I consider her a friend, and one of the strongest women I know.  I met Heidi back in 2006, and her wedding was one of the first weddings I ever photographed on my own.  She was a beautiful bride, and has such an amazing spirit.  Heidi suffers from fibromyalgia, and is in pain almost constantly.  She has had a rough year physically, and had to close the doors on her fitness studio to take care of herself.  When I started thinking about models for the workshop, I knew I wanted someone that was more than just a pretty face.  I wanted someone that truly deserved something special.  Heidi and her family came to mind almost immediately.  Each photographer, as part of the workshop requirements, must provide 5 images of the models at the end of the weekend, and these images are then given to the models as a thank you for their time.

Here are a few of my images of Heidi and her family.  They had so much fun modeling for us, and we had such a great time “shooting” them!

This is an idea I borrowed from my friend, Bing, an amazing photographer from Memphis. I had them each write one word on their palm that they thought described their family. They were not allowed to look at each others hands until after I took this shot.

Moments like this make me cry!

These kids are so beautiful!

Playing with OCF

We couldn’t resist doing a group shot with them!

Heidi - Thank you Wendi. That day was one of the best days our family has had in a long time. You made me cry. Again I want to thank you for the photo shoot. It means more to us than just a picture. You gave us a day of smiles. I cant remember that last time we had a day of smiles. Thanks again. Everyone was so awesome.

Jeanie - these are great


A Photography Workshop with Wendi Riggens and Devan Whitson

In November, I co-hosted a weekend photography workshop with my friend and photographer Devan Whitson.  It was a fun weekend of teaching and learning, and I met a lot of wonderful people that share my passion for photography!  This is post 1 of 2, tomorrow I will share some of the model shots that I took.  Today, though, I focus on the workshop and the photographers that came.

I talked a lot about my own history in photography that weekend, and my inspiration and “ah ha” moments.  I went to a workshop myself two and a half years ago in Mexico with Jose Villa, Jesh DeRox, and Dennis Orchard.  Those 5 days changed my life, not just as a photographer, but also as a person. I came home and completely changed my business.  I learned that shooting what I love is more important than anything else, and I spent the next year focusing primarily on weddings.  I’ve taken risks and learned a lot of new things, and hope to be able to inspire other photographers to find what they love and make things happen.

On Friday, we all met for the first time, and spent the evening going over the technical side of photography – aperture, shutter speed, exposing, etc.  Saturday was hands-on experience, letting the participants work with models in a stress-free environment, where they didn’t have to worry about clients and paying customers.  We were all able to share and help each other, and everyone could get their questions answered as they shot.  That afternoon, we split into two groups.  Devan led a group on Photoshop, and I led a second shooting session with a family in a loft in downtown Burlington.  We played around with OCF, or off-camera flash, and took some awesome group shots!

On Sunday, we had a wrap-up session, and all of the participants had the opportunity to have professional headshots taken by Devan and me.  We ended the weekend with a delicious lunch at Great River Grille (big thanks to Geno for the wonderful accommodations all weekend for the workshop) and a slideshow of the different iamges taken by the photographers.  It’s always interesting how so many different people can see the same situation so many different ways!

Here are a few shots from the weekend.

Annie being an awesome model!

A few of the photographers in attendance
Stephanie Standard

Tina Starnes, Reflected Memories Photography

Kelly Comstock-Stevens, Forever Photography

Wendy Kayser

Amy Tobias

A huge thank you to all the wonderful people that came and made this weekend so great! I had a great time meeting all of you, and look forward to seeing your work in the future!


Daisy Mae – The Hawkeye Pet Idol 2009 1st Place Winner – Burlington Iowa Dog Photographer, Wendi Riggens

This post was promised a long time ago, when I posted Monte, the second place winner. Well, here she is, The Hawkeye’s Pet Idol first place winner, Daisy Mae! I have a soft spot for bassets, as my parents used to raise them. Those long ears and droopy eyes are just so sweet, and this beautiful little girl was full of love!


Murphy & Smith Headshots – Carthage, Illinois – Wendi Riggens Photography

Just a quick plug for a local business I am working with!  Murphy & Smith of Carthage, Illinois, offer web design and computer repair.  I’ve known these guys for years.  Jared and I graduated high school together, and Andy was a year below us.  You won’t meet nicer or more professional guys to work with!  We did a few headshots for them this fall for their website, and they look great!  Visit their website at!

Meet Jared

And Andy!

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