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Alexa’s Story – Joy Through Cancer & Loss

All of this is happening for a reason. I don’t know what that reason is, but I am excited to find out what that reason could be.”

As a little girl, I remember her being the fun, spunky girl with a gusto for life and who wasn’t afraid to do anything. Today, Alexa is still that brave and fearless girl. She is incredibly strong and her outlook on life – her life – through suffering and loss is nothing short of a miracle.

A few weeks ago we met up with Alexa in Denver to hear her story.

It is a story that I so deeply hope will inspire and encourage many others going through similar situations.

Photo by Britney Higgs

Photo by Britney Higgs

Alexa and Kevin’s love story started out pretty normal. Alexa, a small town Colorado girl, was studying nursing school at the University of Arkansas in Fort Smith and looking for something more in life. Alexa decided to verge into the online dating world and soon met Kevin, a true Southern boy from Scranton.

After talking for a few weeks, they decided going on a date was a good idea. Kevin asked Alexa out to Starbucks and although Alexa didn’t have any expectations for the meeting, they instantly hit it off. They ended up talking for hours at Starbucks and continued the date to a local park, where they continued on for another few hours, passing the time in conversation.

As Alexa says, after that first date “the rest is history.” The two started dating and a bunch of failed proposal attempts (because Alexa kept spoiling the surprise) soon led to Kevin FINALLY popping the question and the two were married June 1st, 2013.

Photo by  Kendra Schlachter Photography

Photo by Kendra Schlachter Photography

The next step to their story was supposed to be what every newlywed dreams of, their own “Happily Ever After.” House, babies and growing old with your best friend. But for Alexa and Kevin, dreams of the future were put to a sudden halt.

In December of last year, only seven months after their Wedding Day, Alexa found a lump below her sternum. When antibiotics didn’t make it go away, she developed a fever on Christmas Day and was sent home from work. She went to the clinic the day after Christmas to get checked out. After running labs and some scans, they found out Alexa had a tumor under her sternum. She had the lymph node biopsied January 23rd and received the diagnosis, Stage 2 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.


Cancer is hard enough to deal with when you are the one dealing with it. But when you have a loved one going through the same thing, it’s unimaginable. Alexa’s diagnosis was only the tip of the iceberg. Around the same time as her horrible news, Alexa and her family found out that her older brother, Zane, was starting to lose his own battle.

Photo by  Kendra Schlachter Photography

Photo by Kendra Schlachter Photography

Zane had been battling stage 4 melanoma for 2 years. He was in a clinical study taking immunotherapy, a drug that helps the body find and fight cancer. For about a year and a half  of his battle, it worked well and things were contained. Then tragedy struck again. The immunotherapy had caused the cancer to metastasize to his brain and Zane went under surgery to remove the tumors. Around Christmas after the surgery had been successful, the family had gained the tiniest bit of hope. But the uplifting outcome was short lived. Come January, they got the news that the cancer had spread throughout his whole body.

While the news of Zane had struck Alexa and her family, Alexa was dealing with struggles in her own battle as well. She had a port and cath placed under her skin and during placement, the surgeon accidentally punctured her lung. She was in the hospital for 4-5 days longer than expected needing two chest tubes to help her lung heal. Alexa started her first round of chemo the first week of February, and during that time, amazingly was able to travel to Arkansas one last time before Zane officially went on hospice.

On February 26, 2014, Zane passed away.

Alexa says she will cherish that last trip to see him for the rest of her life. “The hardest part of my journey with cancer was losing my brother. The ironic thing is that our cancers are in no way related! But his cancer will forever be linked with mine. When I think about my cancer, I always think about Zane.” Alexa says she wishes she could have taken his place, “I don’t know why I was given the chance to live when he wasn’t. I wish I could switch places with him so that he could be here for his wife and children.

The loss of her brother. The battle with her own cancer. The physical, emotional and mental suffering that goes with any loss and struggle… All of this is enough to make a person give up. But Alexa has been truly amazing. Since her diagnosis, I have been following her on social media and the optimism and encouragement she has spewed throughout this whole process is completely mind blowing. When I asked her how she can keep so positive at a time like this, she laughed and explained how it isn’t easy. “Oh, I have my moments!! For example, if this would have been yesterday, it wouldn’t have been good. I was very emotional and I cried. A lot.”


Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 10.51.41 AM

Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 10.51.00 AMScreen Shot 2014-09-05 at 10.52.18 AMScreen Shot 2014-09-05 at 10.52.38 AM

Honestly, I think that’s what amazes me about this girl. This isn’t easy. I can’t think of many things more difficult and heart wrenching and yet, somehow Alexa finds a reason to hope, to smile.

“It could be worse. As far as Zane, it could have gone so quickly that I didn’t have a chance to say good bye, it could have happened all of a sudden, it could have been a total shock but we were prepared and I feel blessed we had that time with him. As far as me, I have Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. It’s one of the easiest to treat cancers. Usually you just do your 6 months of chemo and you’re done. That’s what I’m hoping for! So, I feel blessed to have the cancer that I have. And everything else… I just feel like it could have been worse.”

Along with everything she was going through, Alexa was also in her first year of marriage with the love of her life. I remember my first year of marriage and it wasn’t easy, even without something horrible like cancer being added to the mix. I can’t imagine what it was like for her and Kevin. Alexa explained, “It was a lot to swallow, but honestly, I feel like our relationship hasn’t taken a hit from it. If anything, I feel like it’s solidified everything. It’s a lot for anybody to deal with in a lifetime, and for us to deal with it in the first year of marriage sucks, but I can’t imagine going through this with anybody else.” Alexa continued with a giggle,”I’m glad I have him!”

Photo by Britney Higgs

Photo by Britney Higgs

Photo by Britney Higgs

Photo by Britney Higgs

Photo by Britney Higgs

Photo by Britney Higgs

On top of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, Alexa feels like she’s learned so much through this whole experience, something she can share with others. “I’ve dealt with cancer as the caregiver, the family member, and as the fighter. Two of those roles suck! I like being the caregiver! It has more happy moments and I like being able to help make people feel better. Having cancer has helped me connect with patients who have cancer on a different level. I understand their struggles and I have personal tips/tricks to help them through the side effects.”

When I asked her if she had any encouraging words for people going though similar situations, Alexa’s response was real. “It’s okay to be sad and mad and totally just pissed off. It’s okay to keep it all in, but it honestly feels a whole lot better to just let it all out.”

The biggest help for her was having a support system. “Whether it’s a one on one therapy session or a group, I highly recommend going to see and talk to somebody.”

With her parents still down in Arkansas taking care of things after Zane’s death, Alexa was amazed at the support of those around her, one blessing of being a part of a small community. “I’ve had a bunch of families and friends step up and take me to my chemo treatments and appointments. It’s been amazing.”

When asked about her outlook on this entire situation, Alexa left with this statement, “All of this is happening for a reason. I don’t know what that reason is, but I am excited to find out what that reason could be.”

Photo By Britney Higgs

Photo By Britney Higgs

Alexa finds out in two months if she is completely cancer free. Please pray for her. Pray for full recovery from cancer and comfort from all the worry this brings. With all of my heart, I hope this is the end of Alexa’s journey with cancer and she can continue on enjoying all the wonders this life has to offer. I also ask that we pray for her family. They have been through so much this year. To lose a brother, friend, nephew, son and father at the young age of 36 is beyond heartbreaking. Pray for peace and comfort as their family goes through life without Zane in their presence.

Lex, thank you for being you. You are Beautiful. Strong. Inspiring. God is going to use you and your story in amazing ways. Just wait, girl. :)

Photo by Britney Higgs

Photo by Britney Higgs

 For the vision is yet for an appointed time; . . . it will surely come. —Habakkuk 2:3


Sneak Peek Trailer – Stephanie + Timothy

**SNEAK PEEK TRAILER** We are so excited to release the trailer for Stephanie and Timothy’s breathtaking wedding at The Springhill Pavilion. Huge props to the incredible @Katalin Green Events for putting together an amazing production, making our job easy and working with quite the team including Avant Floral, Lauren Brown Photography, Joe’s Mobile DJ Service, @Food For Thought



Montana Wedding Videographers

Ben Sherman
Britney Higgs
Sammy Higgs

Britney Higgs

Katalin Green Events

Avant Floral

Springhill Pavillion

Lauren Brown Photography

Food For Thought

And So It Begins

These past couple weeks have been crazy, and I can only expect it to get crazier.  I just got back from Ethiopia doing some media work with Harvest Church.  If you want to see some photos, I will be slowly posting them to my personal website here.  Ever since I have got back, it has been go go go! I have to get all of the video and photos with this done, and also start going on all of our stuff with the business here. Brit and Ashly have been champs, and got a lot done, but I handle a lot of the techie stuff around here, so there is a lot for me to get caught up on. 2 weeks doesn’t seem like a long trip for me, but coming back to 2 weeks off can get to you quick. We are going to be some busy bees around here. We have so many new and exciting opportunities, but with that comes a lot of work. On top of this, Wedding season starts this weekend for us too. We are excited to start getting more work, but we have to be careful in how we manage this. With all the hoopla going on, we have to stay focused, set a schedule every morning, and stick to it.  Obviously, we have to stop for a while, and play some Dr. Mario to refresh us :)

We are about to roll out with some new and exciting features to our business, and I cant wait to start showing everyone this.  It is really fun being able to try and change our market around here in terms of video, and we hope that everyone is as excited as we are.  Its going to be busy for all of us, but its going to be a good summer.


Britney Paige Cinematographers

Just another Wedding Video?

Quick question.  “Wedding video?” What are the first 3 words that you think of when you hear these words?    Let me guess that most of you probably think of boring, lifeless, mundane, long, uninteresting, and monotonous.  You probably think of your Grandma, or your Uncle Bob in the back of their church with their nifty new camcorder from the 80s. Horrible audio, dull picture, half the time, nothing is in focus, or the camera is pointed at something random, like a tree. Or a cat. The video I dont blame you, but IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE THIS WAY!

There are many new options out there that you can choose.  I am not saying that our wedding videography is right for everyone. Heck, there are plenty of other people that you can get your video done from, and I am sure that it will be nice.  With video though, you get what you pay for, because it takes so much work to get the footage, compile it, and then edit it into your true love story. Something that you, your family and friends, can watch forever, and never get bored.  It is one of the most important days of your life.

I wont lie, running a wedding videography business in Montana is hard. (btw, we like to say cinematography or cinema instead of videography, becuase this is no ordinary video. It is a feature film of your day!) The reason it is so hard, is that many people dont completely understand what it is that we do.  They think of everything that I previously mentioned above. A lame and dull version of your day, that no one will ever watch.  We WANT to change this, because we know how special of a day this is for you.  You deserve it! This is just a small snapshot of what your day could be :)

SARA + MIKE – Moonlight Basin (Big Sky Winter Wedding) | Montana Wedding Videographers from Britney Paige Films on Vimeo.

Montana is a great place for a wedding. Filled with gorgeous scenery and some of the best people out there.  It really is one of the best places on earth.  Whether it is a destination wedding, or you are a local, you dont want to miss a beat.  We don’t ever want to replace photography though. Photography is our first love, but we are not just an addition to this. We supply different niches are are both completely different things that you need for your perfect day.

We have invested in some of the best technology available, from our cameras and lenses, to our brand new tool, a mini helicopter, so that we can get the best shots of your day, from 1000 feet in the air!  We have state of the art audio equipment to capture your story the way it happens right away, and a crew of at least 3 people to make sure that we never miss a moment. All of this perfectly edited together with audio from the day, and licensed music that we spend hours finding to match who YOU are! How neat is that?

We are Britney Paige Cinematographers, and we are wedding videographers for the fearless bride!  Please contact us here, so that we can setup a meeting with you. We cant wait to hear how you met :)

Britney Paige Cinematographers


Sometimes it’s a good day to die, and sometimes it’s a good day to have breakfast!

I hope that you all had a happy Easter weekend. I know I sure did.  Its always good to just be mindful, and enjoy what we have been blessed with!

The title of this post is from one of my favorite movies of all time, Smoke Signals.  If you haven’t seen the movie, stop reading this post, and go get it now! Do it. You wont regret it! I’ll wait…Heck, you can watch it here if you want!

smoke signals

smoke signals

Ok, If you have seen it, please keep reading, because this post has nothing to do with that movie at all, except that I made an awesome breakfast this morning, and there is a foodie pic below for your enjoyment and jealousy!

Ok, so this isn’t part of my normal techy blog posts, but I feel that its good to just sit down and write every once and a while. So I guess its that time right now.  (Who would have ever thought that I would want to sit down and write?  Eww…) Forgive me now if this jumps all over the place

Today is a bit of a weird day for me.  I am feeling a bit overly positive today, which definitely is not my style :)  I will have to make sure that Britney doesn’t find this out!  Fortunately, I have a bit of time before she gets in today.

I went to bed last night at 10pm, which is probably 3 hours earlier than normal.  Then I woke up at 5am. Had a killer workout at 6, and made a bomb Easter leftover breakfast, consisting of ham, eggs, potatoes, and a yummy mixed bean salsa on top.  Such a great way to start out the week and feeling energized.

Eggs, Ham, potatoes, and some Texan caviar!

Eggs, Ham, potatoes, and some Texan caviar!

Like how my only photo on this post, which is on a wedding blog, is of breakfast?  Typical me and my food 😀  But sometimes it is just a good day to have breakfast!

Enough of all of that mumbo jumbo, and on to the topic at hand.  Staying focused, getting energized, and staying in the moment. Being mindful, and really appreciating what we get to do here at BPC, and enjoying what I get do.  Heck, I am 25 and co own a business. How cool is that?

We get to film weddings of amazing couples, shoot commercials, and just have fun doing it. Not many people can say that!  Not at my age.  Who knows where we go from here, but there is potential to do some great things!  We have some cool ideas, and I hope that we get that chance to see them happen.

Lately, I have been spending so much time in the office though, and it is easy to justify, since we are still getting up and running and the weather has been horrible, but now that the weather is getting nice again (I know that i probably just jinxed us for eternity here, but this weekend was so nice), its going to be hard to always sit in an office chair. Nor do I want to spend my life editing away all the time. There is to much in life to be glued to a screen.  The bad news, is that this business also requires me to do so. I love technology, and fiddling with new software and ideas, but I need to take myself out of this sometimes, and just sit down and relax.

Its easy to get lost on the computer, on Facebook and other social media, editing, and forgetting that I can take a moment and enjoy life.  Getting rid of FB was a great start, but now I just focus on finding other things to waste time on.  Its a vicious online circle that is hard to break, but I have seen the results of getting rid of this.  It leads to a more authentic life. One where I feel that I can ask more questions, and stay in a conversation, because I don’t already know the answer.

Our office is conveniently located on one of the best streets in downtown Billings. Its a great place to just go for a stroll, grab my happy hour beer at the Brew Pub, and really see the community in action.   Even if its for 15 minutes, I believe that I am going to need to force myself to get up, and enjoy my surrounding. Go on a photography hunt, and capture the moment.  Really take in what is happening in my life, and be mindful, that we are living a blessed life worth enjoying.

So here is to the beginning of the season with slightly better weather, family, friends, love, peace, music, travel, being mindful, and good beer. Never forget my beer (especially homebrew!)  Oh, and Taylor Swift. Lana Del Rey, and John Mayer!


Britney Paige Cinematographers


Pixifi: Staying Organized

A major challenge every business faces is staying organized. It takes a lot of organization to keep a business running smoothly. One of the tools we use that helps to streamline our business is Pixifi. This is a great tool that allows us to accomplish many tasks in the office in minutes, that could potentially take hours or days otherwise. It is also a great tool to help keep everyone on the team on the same page and organized in our day-to-day events and tasks. Although we have not mastered the entire program by any means, the tools we do use in our day-to-day operations are extremely useful. I would highly recommend getting a subscription to this online program to help organize any studio. It helps us keep all of our important documents safe and in one place. It allows us to send and receive contracts, invoices, payments, and questionnaires. And it helps us keep track of our daily schedule, tasks, and even our finances. All of this, all in one place.

Like I said, we have by no means mastered this program at Britney Paige Cinematography, but there are many tools that we have discovered and use every day. One of my favorites is the contact section. We categorize individuals from submitted contact sheets into leads and clients. You can also convert a lead into a committed client with just a click of a button. This keeps all of the information for all of clients and lead clients in one place ready to go. You can add any information you have from the client and even send them an email link to their own client portal account to update. The client portal then allows them to make any changes to their information and saves it for you on your Pixifi page. No more missing information, lost addresses, phone numbers, emails, misspelled names, EVER! Great right! This client portal system is also great for clients too. They are able to access any of the information you have sent them, from contracts to invoices, all in one place.

This brings me to another favorite tool, contacting clients. Once you have a client inputted, you have the option to send contracts, invoices, email reminders about events or payments, and even questionnaires to get more information. There are many more contact options, but these are the few we love to use. It only takes a few moments to create a contract or invoice to send. These are made using templates, and can even be made to automatically add names, and invoice totals into the contract. Clients can view these easily on their personal client portal. They can also sign contracts electronically, or make payments to invoices with a click of a button. This is a great tool and we can easily see who have made payments and see if anyone is past due.You can also see upcoming or past due payments on the built in calendar, another great tool to help organize your life. Pixifi will alert you of any other events on a new submission when adding a new client or event. You will never double book a day when using this tool.

Although we have started to use Pixifi on a daily basis, it has taken us a while to get to that point. It can seem like a pretty complex system, and has taken us a few days of messing around with it to discover some new features and truly understand its tools. And we continue to learn new things all the time. I think this is a great program however, so I would highly recommend it. If you aren’t super tech savvy, it has a great online support system and step-by-step demonstrations for many tools on the site. As I come across some new and exciting tools to use, I will post it on the blog and keep your updated!


Destination Weddings

Montana can be an amazing place to get married. There is a wide array of venues for brides to choose from that all offer a unique experience at each destination. Whether you want a wedding with a big city feel or a laid back country wedding, Montana has a venue to fit almost anyone’s dream. From high end resorts, to country cottages, Montana offers many venues to suite many needs. Gleaming mountains, towering forests, and vast valleys, can offer amazing backdrops to any wedding. But some brides want to get away and are turning to destination weddings that offer an even more unique experience than a more traditional Montana wedding venue.

Destination weddings are becoming more and more popular with brides today. Stepping outside the borders of small Montana towns, and traveling to destination resorts can be rather exhilarating. Your wedding is a great excuse to travel and get away from your everyday lives. Traveling is one of the most amazing experiences to me. I love to see what new places have to offer, learn about the history, and even stop by a few tourist destinations while I am there. Although costs, such as plane tickets and hotel rooms, can get pricey, there are many ways to cut costs and have the wedding of your dreams in an amazing destination. If you are still undecided on whether or not you want to have a destination wedding, my advice would be to try to make your dream come true. Do your research first. Decide on your budget and try to find a way to make it happen. This will be the most memorable day of your life, and if you can make it happen, go for it!!

On another note, Britney Paige Cinematography loves to travel too! And we love to film destination weddings! Whether the destination is on a beach in Hawaii, in the Big Apple, or on the Amalfi Coast of Italy, we want to film your wedding! Check out our Pinterest page to see some of the destinations we want to film.

Micro Adjust your lenses

So I know that I was supped to write about our backup process this week.  I figured that I should write about how to micro adjust your lenses this week though, because I just spent the whole weekend doing this to our 4 camera bodies and 7 lenses.

If you have not heard of micro adjustmentment, the basic premise to it, is that all lenses and bodies, are relatively the same, but there is a very small margin of error for they connect to your camera. They may be front or back focusing more than you would want, which can throw off your photos. They should all be very close, but if your camera has the capability to micro adjust, you can really fine tune these to your camera.  This allows you to make sure that your lenses are as sharp as possible.

Note:  If you dont know what you are doing, I really recommend either buying a program, such as FoCal, which is made for doing this. Otherwise, there is a chance that your camera and lens combinations may be less sharp than you want.

This is really the best for photographers, as us filmmakers, normally use manual focus for everything that we do.  I cheat sometimes though, and turn on my autofocus, have the camera get me in focus, and then override that and go back to shooting manual.  I find this lets me get my scene in focus quickly in run and gun situations.

Ok, so on to micro adjusting your cameras. This is not a tutorial in any way, but a guide on what products that you can use.  I hope to just spread the light on the subject.  If you want to learn a lot more in detail, there are plenty of blogs that cover this subject.

Some people recommend setting up objects in a row or using a tape measure, and manually taking photos and adjusting your camera.  If you are confident with this technique, here is a little tutorial.  Personally, I have tried this myself, and was not confident in the results. I feel that there is to much margin of error setting up something like this.

There is a free piece of software out there called DotTune, which allows your camera to do this itself. I have not used this myself, but I have read good reviews on it.  If you dont mind installing 3rd party software on your camera, you can find this in the Magic Lantern build. There are some other really cool features in these programs too!  Check it out if you are looking for some exciting and free features!

If you have the time and patience to sit down and really take your time doing this, you can always go with products such as the Lens Align or a cheaper alternative like the Focus Pyramid.

These are great alternatives to the diy options above, but do take a lot of time, and they rely completely on you.  I dont always trust my own eye, so Im not completely comfortable allowing myself to make any errors. If you are very careful, and take your time though, these might help you come up with some of the best results that you can find. There is a very good article on how to use the Lens Align system here.

Last, but not least, is the program which I use, called FoCal.  This works by having you connect your camera to your computer, mac or windows, and it does the work for you!  You tape a target on a wall, and it goes through many different focus points, and micro adjusts your camera for you!  I found that this works best with our cheaper lenses, but it worked well for our expensive L series lenses too!  Here is an example of how out of focus some of our lenses were. You can see the before and after images that this program shows you, to make sure that its settings are correct:

micro adjust

micro adjust

micro adjust

micro adjust

These are just a couple of the more drastic results that I was able to get out of doing this. I have yet to do any real image testing, but if all goes well, our images should be even more tack sharp!

I hope that this gives you some insight on how to micro adjust your lenses. If you need any help going in the right direction, please dont hesitate to ask.


Britney Paige Cinematographers

Happy Friday

It should be illegal to get up before sunrise.

I can count on my hands how many times I have been up that early.Today was one of them. There are only a couple things worth getting up that early for… Fellowship and coffee. Both of which I had planned for this morning. So, I drug myself out of bed and headed down to the local City Brew to meet a friend at 6:15 this morning. Torture, yes, but well worth it. After our meeting and being completely hyped up on caffeine, I decided instead of heading home to crawl back in bed for a couple of hours before work, I would just head straight to the office and get a few things done. I cleaned, organized, did a little editing all by 8:15. Come to find out, it’s actually quite boring at the office early in the morning.. All by myself. So, obviously.. I had to keep myself entertained… Check it.

Happy Friday Everyone.


Montana Wedding Venues

There are some amazing Montana wedding venues and brides are taking notice. Whether you want a wedding with a big city feel or a laid back country wedding, Montana has you covered. With a wide array of venues, brides can find the exact venue that fits their vision. From high end resorts to country cottages, everyone can a find a venue in Montana that suites their dreams.

We are getting excited for this upcoming wedding season and want to highlight a few of the awesome venues we will be shooting. These weddings will be very fun and we cant wait to capture our clients’ big day!

320 Guest Ranch is located in beautiful Big Sky, Montana in the Rocky Mountains. If you want a venue with breathtaking views, this is a great venue to choose. Historic ranch settings and luxury log cabin accommodations make this venue unique.

Springhill Pavilion is located just outside Bozeman, MT, and is known for its breathtaking views. Nestled at the base of Ross Peak and the Bridger Mountain Range, you can only imagine the stunning backdrop that awaits every wedding. With sweeping views of the Gallatin Valley and gorgeous mountain peaks, this is an amazing place to say “I do”.

Rock Creek Resort is a great mountain wedding destination. The Beartooth Mountains set an amazing backdrop to this destination and as the name entails, is nestled along Rock Creek. With many outdoor and indoor location options, and space for up to 300 guests, this can be an amazing venue to invite the whole family.

Montana Bride is a great resource to help you find even more venues. There is a great list that has been created on the site that will link you directly to those venues websites. It is also a great resource for any other wedding question you may have.

If you know of any other amazing venues, whether they are in Montana or not, we would love to hear about it! We love discovering new places to capture memories and love traveling to great destination venues. Future brides, where is your dream venue? Photographers and cinematographers, what are your most memorable wedding venues?