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    Welcome to the blog! If the banner doesn't make it obvious enough I'll just spill the beans and let you know that we are a full time husband and wife wedding photography team. We love life, God, weddings, and if you slide over our names to the left you'll note a few other things we love.

    We are based out of Los Angeles, and when I say that, I mean our studio is right in the smack dab center of downtown. However, if you start browsing through the blog history you will soon note that we shoot weddings all over the country and world. We put a lot into making our images so I hope you enjoy checking some of them out!

    If you're up for having a great time at your wedding, and our photos have the look you are going for, then feel free to shoot us a note and we would love to chat some more!

    - Lukas and Suzy VanDyke

Behind the Shepherds’ Conference: An Interview with Brent Small

It’s here! The long awaited 2010 Shepherd’s Conference begins tomorrow! This is one of my favorite events of the year, not only because I get to photograph it, but because of all the old friends I get to see and new relationships I get to develop with men from around the world. I thought some of you out there might be interested in what it takes to put on a conference of this magnitude, so I interviewed my friend Brent Small the conference director. This interview will give a brief summary as to how the conference all comes together. If you see him around the conference be sure to stop him and thank him for all the work!

Q. How long have you been a part of the Shepherds’ Conference?
A. I started training in 2005. My first conference assisting was in 2005 and this will be the fifth conference that I have actually directed.

Q. If there was one big thing you would want the pastors to walk away from the conference with, what would it be?
I want them to walk away with a renewed sense of what they’re doing, and how important it is for the kingdom. A lot of the guys are just out there and they don’t have a lot of other like minded pastors to fellowship with. They can come and hear the word of God preached, be refreshed through the fellowship of all the other men, be encouraged by the seminars and find answers. I just want them to walk away refreshed and equipped for another year of ministry.

Q. There are a lot of other Bible conferences and similar things all over the country. What makes this conference different from other conferences?
Our conference is geared a bit more towards being an equipping conference. We have 30 different seminars offered in all different aspects of ministry, biblical philosophy of ministry, preaching, theology etc. I think one thing that we’ve set ourselves apart with is really just the focus on equipping. Men are able to come and find answers, become better preachers, and become better pastors. Maybe the biggest difference could be that we’re a network, we’re a fellowship of people just like T4G (together for the gospel), and they’re starting to do seminars as well now, but I think that’s been our biggest aspect in the past is just trying to equip pastors with resources they need for ministry.

Q. What does it take to put on the conference? What is involved in the planning process?
The planning falls in three phases..after the conference is over we take a break and do a debrief of what happened last year and discuss things we would like to change. Then the planning year starts with the paid staff developing the schedule, keynote speakers and the basic framework of what the conference will look like. We work on the dates, developing the seminar, choices etc. That takes all summer to put into place, and usually try to have the first phase along with the registration done by September 1st .

Then we move into phase 2 which is our leadership team. They are mix of paid staff and unpaid lay people in the church. We start organizing and planning all different aspects of the conference… trying to go through and do creative thinking, creative planning of different things we could do for the men. That takes place in the fall, from September until Christmas.

When we come back after Christmas, the third phase is the execution- where we’re meeting with the staff and with our leadership team to implement everything that we’ve planned, and prepare for the conference to be here. The registration takes place that whole time, but it’s a three phase planning process with the overall structure of planning, implementing, and then doing the implementation.

Q. Do the registration fees cover the cost of the conference? If so and if there is a surplus, where does that go?
Registration does cover the cost of the conference, so the church doesn’t have to support the conference. Excesses typically help us with scholarships for men to come to the conference or towards things that we can add to our facility to better serve the conference.

Q. How many people are involved in the leadership and staffing of the conference? Full time vs. volunteers?
There are half a dozen paid people which includes people from different departments here at the church. Then there are a dozen lay people that make up the leadership team. They are the coordinators… they actually coordinate different aspects of the conference. These are lay church members that can pull other volunteers together to staff different aspects of the actual conference.

Q. How many hours do you think the volunteer coordinators put into it?
It’s a lot. Depending on what aspect of the conference they oversee..maybe a couple hundred hours. They’re putting in 80-90 hours in the week of the conference, and some of them may put in another 80 in planning. That may be a little high, maybe 120-150 total.

Q. Who decides the topics for the seminars at the conference? There are often fairly controversial subjects selected. How do you select those?
Those are typically what we call contemporary issues, so whatever the contemporary issues are in evangelicalism is usually how those seminars get selected. If there is an issue that’s out there that is being discussed, we typically want someone to address it at the Shepherds’ Conference. We try and give what we feel is the biblical perspective on the issue just to help equip the men to know how to answer those kind of questions in their churches. So that’s how that happens. The seminars are developed in our office. John Rourke, Nathan Busenitz, Rick Holland and myself are involved in the process. As overseers of the conference, we develop what the overall seminar package is going to look like.

Q. They keynote speaker line up is very similar each year. Who decides on the main speakers for the conference?
John MacAurthur and Rick Holland usually discuss it and make those decisions.

Q. Where do you see the conference going in the future? Do you see any big changes?
. Not right now, we don’t see any big changes coming up. I think at this point we have developed what we want the conference to be, so I don’t see any major structural changes to the conference in the near future.

Q. Traditionally the conference was as small as a few hundred men. When did it start growing to the current capacity?
In 2001 they changed the structure of the conference so a lot more people could come. I think in the past they used to do it in the gym, so they only took as many people as they could seat around tables in the gym to feed them, but they changed that concept in 2001 and so it’s grown from there.

Q. What is the max attendance that you can get?

Q. Would you ever consider moving the conference to another location?
No, I don’t think so, because having it on the church campus brings in a whole different dynamic because they just see the involvement of the church body, with all the church volunteers, the crew, and bringing it into the church and church life, which could be somewhat what segregates it from going to a conference at a convention center somewhere. It’s on the church campus where the church body actively participates in the conference, and the attendants can see the lives of people that have been changed by the preaching of the word of God. Those changed lives are put into action as they serve the men in a volunteer capacity. So I don’t think we would ever consider changing it because it’s part of the dynamic of the conference.

March 2, 2010 - 5:35 pm

Robert - Great idea for a post, Lukas! See you at the conference! (: (tweet your funny stories or photos with the #voluntwitter hashtag and i’ll put them up on MY blog!)

March 4, 2010 - 9:29 am

bethany - very cool to share this! ever since i started attending the resolved conferences, it’s been really fun to talk about and consider all the logistics/planning that go into conferences. as a planner… these kinds of insider looks into planning are the most fun to read =D

Eric & Kristen: Wedding – Fallbrook, California

The clouds were thick on Saturday, but not thick enough to stop the fun and happiness at Eric and Kristen’s wedding. The wedding was only 3 days ago. But I had so much fun I couldn’t help but go through all the photos.

A few things I liked about the wedding in no particular order.

– The flowers. They were amazing. I always love the work florists can do when you just give them a color and a wide enough budget. I feel like leaving someone to their own creative energy often results in the best work. Marci did such a good job on the flowers, and was a bridesmaid as well! Feel free to check out her blog here.

– The rain. The rain made photos a little more complicated, and we all actually got drenched at one point. But, it offered a clean feel to the day. It brought the sounds of nature into the ceremony and reception, and I think created some fun memories that wouldn’t have been there on a dry day.

– Kristen’s Smiles. She had a lot of them. Her long awaited day was finally here, and it was fun to watch her enjoy it.

– The Venue. The venue offered a little different feel then I often shoot. It was lush, it was green, it was tropical, and I really enjoyed the change. =).

– The matron of honor. Amber was there every moment she was needed and couldn’t have filled the spot better! It was great to see their friendship in action!

– Caroline the Coordinator. She did a great job, was fun, and pulled everything together. This was the first time I met her, but I think I can say I would recommend her for your wedding. You can check her site out here.

– Kristen’s taste. Everything from the venue, to the colors, to the decorations, to the theme wove together beautifully. Good job Kristen!

I put a few detail shots below, but you can also check out the Storybook Slideshow here, or the full set of photos on the proofs page HERE.

March 2, 2010 - 5:43 pm

Entwined Design - You were such a pleasure to work with and you really captured the essence of Eric and Kristen’s personality! These shots are amazing and I know Eric and Kristen will treasure them forever.

March 2, 2010 - 6:13 pm

Chrystyna Johnson - Absolutely stunning! Thank you for capturing such gorgeous shots. I live out of state, so it is wonderful to share in their special day!

March 2, 2010 - 9:23 pm

Bernadette Gonzalez - Good Job guys! Those are some beautiful shots. Kristen and Eric look amazing! The place was so beautiful, even with the rain. Congratulations again. It’s so great that you are now husband and wife :)

March 5, 2010 - 12:08 pm

Claire - I wasn’t able to be there, so this collection of photos provided a wonderful view of the special day. Thank you for sharing.

Josh & Michelle: Engagement Photos – Filmore, California

Josh & Michelle arrived at the Starbucks where we had decided to meet. They were full of smiles, had a car full of clothes, and the foresight to bring some really cool flowers. I love when people think ahead and bring something with some extra color to bring out their personality and enhance the photos. the forecast said there was a chance for rain. But I don’t think we could have had a more perfect day. The cloud cover made for some amazing light, and it was the perfect temperature. Josh and Michelle are good friends with Mark & Jenna who’s engagement photos I did a few weeks ago. They liked the photos so much we decided to head out on the same route and see what else we could find. It’s amazing how we drove all the same roads and made the same stops, but got completely different images! I also love how green the 126 out to Filmore is right now!

It’s fun that I photographed Josh’s twin brothers wedding a few years ago, and will be doing his good friend Mark’s wedding right around the same time as his. All three couples are all close friends, and from past experience I’ve learned they are a really fun group! Just to give you a little insight into Josh’s character. He is a police officer in LAPD and was telling me how many days he is interacting with people on one of the worst days of their life. He was telling me how he try to show them the love of Christ, treat them with respect, and help them through whatever situation is happening. It’s a stark contrast to my job where I get to be with people on one of the best days of their life. I’m thankful for people like you Josh, and I can’t wait for your wedding!

And here are a few shots Suzy got of me, head cold and all creating images lol. =)

You can check out the rest of the photos on the PROOFS page here.

February 24, 2010 - 3:22 pm

Ben - My favorite is the ring reflector! Is that your creation?

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