Even though I'm a photographer, I'm super passionate about design and packaging, so creating beautiful packaging for my wonderful clients to house their wedding images is one of my most favorite things. For my 2017 wedding clients I've got these pretty copper and glass boxes which I fill with their custom wood USB for their images, a few of my favorite prints from their big day, and then a vial of Backpacker Cologne from Juniper Ridge, which is my most favorite scent in the whole world. If you're a client of mine and have gotten a package from me, it probably smelled like the woods (you can thank Balsam Fir essential oil for that!), so I love being able to include a little woodsy scent from one of my favorite companies.
Bethany + Tyler got married amongst the sea creatures at Point Defiance's Aquarium back in November, while lil' ol' me was 8 whole months pregnant. If you're wondering why it's taken me so long to get this wedding posted, the whole pregnant/birthing/newborn thing maaaayy have been a contributing factor. I'm so excited to finally get Bethany + Tyler's big day featured here on the blog! I've taken Bethany + Tyler's photos for a few years now. I did a shoot of them before they got engaged, then I did their engagement photos, and now their wedding!
Bethany loves sea creatures, has an amazing jellyfish tattoo, and their wedding/engagement rings are these super-cool tentacle rings from Octopus Me, so having their wedding at PDZA was so perfect! The aquarium was also featuring Jellies at the time, which was even more perfect!
Gown: Needle and Thread from BHLDN
Hair + Makeup: Embellish Multispace Salon
Florals: Succulently Urban
Venue: Point Defiance Zoo + Aquarium
Catering: Lancer Catering
Cupcakes: Miss Moffett's Mystical Cupcakes
Favors: Air Plants
DJ: Music De-Lite
Lauren and Daniel traveled all the way from Mississippi to the Great Northwest to explore and elope! In typical PNW fashion it of course rained on their wedding day, and as we hiked to the top of Rattlesnake Ridge we were completely enveloped in a cloud! With a first look beside a bright green-blue river, mountains shrouded in fog, an adorable tiny honeymoon cabin, and being soaked in cold rain, I'd say they got the full Seattle experience, hands down!
But with all the gloomy weather, we actually ended up with the trail and lookout all to ourselves! If you know anything about Rattlesnake, it's a super popular hike and I've never hiked it that empty! I think we saw 5 other people the whole time we were on the trail. Perfect for an intimate elopement ceremony.
Congratulations, Lauren + Daniel! I hope your Northwest experience was everything you'd hoped for and more!
Last May I did Karisa and Ryan's wedding photos and shortly after, Karisa announced she was pregnant! It was fun because at the time I was newly pregnant as well! It's so cool to be able to capture people's lives, from engagement photos, to wedding photos, pregnancy, and then family photos! These photos were done last month while I was in Washington for Amy + Eric's wedding, and just a couple weeks ago, Karisa and Ryan's little man made his entry into the world!
Last month I had the huge honor of getting to photograph one of my favorite humans' wedding. Amy is a fellow photographer, artist, and all around amazing human, and she married an equally awesome fellow. Eric contacted me a couple years ago to photograph their surprise engagement, which was so fun! It's always exciting when you get to be present at your friend's proposal (and know about it before them! Secret secret!). Amy is a gorgeous person and I loved getting to spend the day with her on her most special of days.
This was my first wedding as a mom, and I was glad it was friend's wedding because my husband and my tiny human got to come to the wedding too! It was so much fun getting to go back to Tacoma and visit our favorite people and places. I loved getting to meet Amy and Eric's families, it's so cool to meet the people who raised your favorite friends.
Since their wedding was in February in Tacoma we were prepared for rain, but it ended up being a gorgeous sunny day! Still, we had planned on doing their first look and portraits in the WW Seymour Conservatory in Wright Park, which was perfect because I'd been wanting to shoot wedding portraits there for ages! It's a tiny little conservatory, but the lush plants (and warm temperature-- compared to outside! brr!) made for the most beautiful backdrop for their first look and portraits.
Amy and Eric, congrats you crazy kids! I'm so thrilled I got to hang out with you guys all day and capture the first day of your marriage!
Venue: Foss Waterway Seaport
Gown: Maggie Sotterro via The Wedding Bell
Hair: Dani Phinisey
Makeup: Ceferina Grace
Cake/cupcakes: LaurieAnn's Cakes and Desserts
Catering: Catering by Bette Anne Curry
DJ: Adam Teigs
Florist: Enchanted Florist
A couple Saturdays ago, as the snow was dumping, I was inside a cozy downtown Anchorage cabin with a group of incredible women, listening to Beyoncé, getting hair + makeup done, and sipping on mimosas. Getting to shoot gorgeous ladies all day was incredible, and I won't lie, I've got some lingerie items on my wishlist now. These girls brought some stunning outfits.
I love doing these cozy boudoir sessions. Not so glitzy and glittery, a little more raw and sensual. Natural colors and textures, moody lighting, and lots of curves.
While we were warm inside, rocking out to Queen Bey, hundreds of women were outside walking down the street towards the Park Strip to join the Anchorage Women's March. I was bummed that I (inadvertently) scheduled the Boudoir Bash for the same day as the Women's March, though I felt like we were celebrating women in our own way that day. Still, I wanted to do something to show support for everything that people were marching for that day. So, for all of February, I'll be donating 10% of each boudoir session booked to Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood gave me access to affordable healthcare, from breast exams and pap smears, to birth control, and it's the only place so many women can go to receive care. So even though right now I'm fortunate enough to be able to get my healthcare elsewhere, I want to continue supporting them for those who don't have any other options.
Also, next week I'll be down in Tacoma, and I have 2 spots open for mini boudoir sessions, so if you've been wanting a session and are in the Sea/Tac area, now's your chance! I'll be back in town in May, but until then, this is my only planned trip, so jump on it! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for deets!
Last summer I shot Abby and Ricky's engagement and wedding. This summer I shot Abby's brother's wedding. And this fall I got to shoot Abby + Ricky and their newest addition, little Sophie! It's fun getting to follow my clients beyond just their wedding day, capturing their family as it grows. The fall colors were incredible for our little mini family session, and Sophie even got some giggles in!
Over the years, as both a blogger and wedding/portrait photographer, I've acquired a good collection of camera gear. Lenses, camera bodies, accessories, they're all super valuable necessities for my business, and so finding a perfect bag for carrying them when I need to be on the go is essential. There are tons of awesome companies out there who are making camera bags that not only have amazing functionality, but are gorgeous. Naturally there are many brands I haven't had the pleasure of trying out, (Kelly Moore, Jo Totes, and Peak Design are a few that come to mind) but I wanted to share the ones I do have and had tried hands-on. The ones I'll be sharing today are the Brevite Rucksack Backpack, ONA's Union Street Bag, Black Anchor's Camera Bag, ONA's Bowery Bag, and Everlane's twill backpack with a Lowepro insert.
Brevite Rucksack Backpack:
This bag is the newest to me, so I haven't used it a ton, but I have traveled with it and I'm super happy with it. I really like a backpack style bag because when I travel (especially for weddings) I carry two camera bodies, 3-4 lenses, a flash, my laptop and more. Having an even distribution of weight on my shoulders is essential with that much weight in a bag. Before I got this bag I had the set up below (Everlane backpack w/ camera bag insert), which was fine except that in order to access my gear, I had to take everything in the bag out that was on top of my camera gear (which was in the bottom).
With the front and side access panels in the Brevite bag, I can very easily access my gear. Plus, it has a laptop sleeve and space in the top of the bag for other things. I always use my camera bag as one of my carry-ons when flying, so I almost always have books, snacks, and other necessities in the bag as well, and it's plenty big for all of that, while also fitting under the seat in front of me.
Everlane Twill Backpack w/ insert:
This is sort of a DIY version of a camera bag backpack, but it worked just fine for me for a couple years. I like the Everlane backpack a lot, it's simple, has great capacity, and has a laptop sleeve inside. This bag was my go-to when I would bike to a coffee shop to work (biking with a messenger bag is a huge pain). It also became my go-to for air travel because having weight on two shoulders instead of one, in the case of a messenger), was way more comfortable. I would just take a basic camera bag (like this one) and put it in the very bottom of the backpack. I'd put my camera gear in there, and then have space above the camera bag to put other stuff like books, snacks, etc.
Obviously the downside of that is that there's no easy access. If I wanted to get to my gear I'd have to pull the stuff out that was on top of the camera bag insert. That being said, usually the only time that was the case was when I was flying and I didn't often take my camera out while mid-flight. When I would take this set up on shoots, I wouldn't put a bunch of stuff on the top because I didn't need anything except my gear.
I've had this bag for a few years now and it's held up pretty great, the only thing I've noticed is that it looks like the top handle might rip out eventually if I load the bag too heavy or yank on it too hard.
ONA Bowery Bag:
I have to say, while I only had this bag for a few days, it definitely lived up to my hopes. I had this bag on my wishlist for a long time and a couple years ago I was able to work with ONA to style it for a blog post and then do a giveaway for the bag. This bag is definitely not in the same category as the two set ups above, it's more something I would use while shooting a wedding or during an outdoor portrait session to carry my other lenses, batteries, and memory cards. For that (or I could even see using it while sightseeing as a purse that also carried a camera), it's perfect. It's obviously too small to carry all my gear, and that's not what it's designed for anyway. As a smaller lady, it's a very comfortable size, and it's still on my wishlist after giving it a try!
ONA Union Street Bag:
I've had this bag the longest, and it's a very nice bag. It has a pretty big capacity with three spots for camera bodies and lenses plus a laptop slot and it usually accompanies me to weddings and shoots. It also used to be my main travel bag, but I found that, for me, having it fully loaded and wearing it for long periods of time makes my shoulder feel like it's dying, which is why I now prefer a backpack for carrying my gear for air travel. It feels ever so slightly too big for me, but I'm also a relatively small lady.
I've had this bag since 2013 I think? Maybe 2012. It's held up wonderfully. It's waxed canvas so it was great for rainy PNW weather. It's definitely weathered, but there is no sign of any wear and tear that would be compromising the structural integrity.
Black Anchor Camera Bag:
This bag is also a bit newer to me, so I haven't had a lot of time to see how it stands up to wear, but the materials are super high quality, so that's not something I'm really concerned about. This bag is about the same size as the ONA Bowery bag, so more of a support bag for carrying lenses, etc. on shoots. This bag also is made with waxed canvas so it's great for the PNW's moist weather. It also has a little sleeve inside that fits an Ipad Mini, but which I tended to use for a journal, or for storing my phone or wallet when I didn't want to put them in the more exterior pockets. The one thing that I'm still on the fence about with this bag is the padding. I like the thicker, more dense foam in the other bags, versus the thinner foam in the Black Anchor Bag.
Right now I think my favorites are the Brevite Backpack and ONA Bowery, for different reasons since they are designed for different situations. I like having a larger capacity bag for when I travel and a smaller on for taking on shoots. These bags all have a pretty similar aesthetic, rugged and rustic. I've actually put a camera bag insert into one of my small fancy-looking Fossil purses when I wanted a bag that was more Bowery sized, but fancier looking than the rugged waxed canvas. You can buy camera bag inserts which are great for dropping in bags you already have, which I think is a great option, since having a dedicated camera bag might not be the most practical thing for you.
Back in October I traveled from Anchorage to Des Moines to capture Madie + Jacob's' wedding at Wooly's! I spent the whole day with Madie, Jacob, and their family and friends and it was so much fun. These folks know how to throw a serious party! When Madie first told me about Wooly's I was really excited because it was a different venue than I normally shoot, but still the type of place I love. Being based in the PNW and Alaska means I end up shooting mostly outdoorsy, wilderness type weddings, but Des Moines offered some super cool urban locations throughout the city for portraits, and while their venue, Wooly's, is rad on it's own, Plum Event + Design knocked their event design out of the park! Peacock chairs, sequins, and succulents? Um, yes please and thank you. So incredible.
Madie and Jacob are the absolute sweetest and their families were both so kind and wonderful. Everyone treated me like a welcome friend, and getting to spend the day with everyone and witness such a beautiful and joy-filled ceremony was such a pleasure. I may have shed some tears during Jacob's mother-son dance thinking about someday having that same pleasure with my little one (pregnancy hormones, man).
Congrats, Madie + Jacob!
Florist: Plum Event + Design
Wedding Planner: Plum Event + Design
Wedding Gown: Lazaro via Schaffers
Cake: The Cake Confectionery
Catering: Taste! To Go
Groomsmen + Groom Attire: The Backroom
Invitations: By Invitation Only
Earlier this week I got to spend my morning with this cute collection of humans for a cozy in-home family session! Grace is a fellow photographer and actually shot some maternity photos of me and my main squeeze earlier this year, so it was lovely getting to return the favor by doing some family (and maternity) photos for her family too! Grace is pregnant with their second bebe, so we grabbed a couple wintery shots of her little growing bump too.
I love me an epic shot with crazy scenery, but even if we're just hanging out in a living room, or tromping through snow in a nearby park, the most important thing I get to capture is real emotion, real moments, real memories. To be honest, my least favorite part of shooting a wedding is doing family formal portraits mostly because these photos are the ones with the least authentic emotion of the whole day. You, stand here, ok smile, next! I know that family formals are important and that oftentimes a wedding is the only time when all those family members are actually in the same physical place sometimes for years, but on a day when I get to capture so much emotion and so many memorable moments, family formals are a bit of a downer.
Family portraits like this, though? I'm into that. They aren't perfect, there's no "CHEESE!" smiles, but it's real and it's what life looks like on that day, during that time of life, and I get to make images that capture that forever. My parents have albums of photos that are almost all candid shots from the 70s and 80s and I love seeing those moments of them living life, being young, and seeing who they were before me and my brothers came along. We don't flip through photo albums loving the posed, stiff portraits (this isn't 1850, people, we can move and giggle and squirm!), we love the ones where we see our mom's genuine grin, or our brother's smirk, our dog being goofy.
I want more of that. More real. More home. More love.
Helen and Travis got married on a gorgeous September day here in Anchorage at the Alaska Native Heritage Center. Helen and I have known each other since, oh high school? Maybe even junior high. We rode horses at the same barn and showed at horse shows together for years, so when I had the opportunity to shoot her wedding I was so thrilled! Helen's two sisters also rode at the same barn, but when I was riding (well over 10 years ago, oof! I'm getting old!) they were just little kids! Now both her sisters are grown women and were bridesmaids, so it was amazing getting to see them all grown up too!
Their day was so fun and lovely, and make sure to scroll all the way down to see Helen + Travis' bride and groom session too! We had to take full advantage of the incredible fall colors here in Anchorage, and they certainly did not disappoint!
Venue: Alaska Native Heritage Center
Florist: Bloomsbury Blooms
Coordinator: Char McClelland, Alaska Destinations
Gown: Stella York via The White Dress
Bridesmaids dresses: Monique Lhuillier via Vow to be Chic
DJ: DJ Spencer Lee
Videographer: Hybrid Color Films
Earlier this month when I was back in Tacoma for, oh, a little over 24 hours, I took full advantage of getting to be back "home" by spending a whole day shooting. My first session of the day was a morning in-home engagement session with these two amazing people who I also get to shoot in a few months at their wedding! Amy and Eric are the best and it was so much fun getting to spend a relaxed morning hanging out with them and their pup, Marty, laughing and having a grand old time making some magic in the camera.
One of my favorite things about in-home sessions is that it not only captures the people, but the place. Back when my husband and I were engaged we had just rented our first home together and we didn't even have the keys yet when we did our engagement photos, but we drove over there anyway and got a few shots of us hanging on the front porch. That house was tiny and freezing cold and after living there for a year I was so thrilled to move, but I love that we have photos of us at that house, our very first place together. Amy and Eric are making a wonderful home together in this lovely little Tacoma bungalow, so it was super special to be able to create images for them that they can look back on for the rest of their lives, remembering this time in their lives as they're beginning the journey of building a life, and a home, together.
These two celebrated their 1 year anniversary today, which seems like the perfect excuse to post their cozy, sexy in-home love session from earlier this month! I love how relaxed in-home sessions are, and it's so special being able to capture people in their element, commemorating a specific time and place in their lives. Last November my husband and I did an in-home photo session and those photos are some of my all time favorites. In the year since we did that session we got pregnant and moved out of our Tacoma home up to Alaska, so having those photos to look back on and remember that time in our lives before things changed, in our very first owned home, in the city we got married in, is super special. While I love taking photos in grand places with epic vistas, some times the most important places are those most familiar and comfortable.
I've been looking forward to Jay + Kyle's Alaskan Crow Creek Mine wedding for almost a year. We chatted on the phone last summer and as soon as Jay mentioned that they might be looking into getting a helicopter to land on a glacier for their bride + groom portraits, my eyes turned into giant hearts. Fast forward to their big day and not only did we get to fly out to a glacier for their bride + groom portraits, but we also got to take the tram up to the top of Alyeska Resort for wedding party photos (and, of course, a few more shots of just the two of them, because how can you not with that view?).
Their day was so beautiful and perfect. Even the weather, which had been rainy and gross all week, played along and was sunny and warm. As Jay was getting ready I learned that her mom was in the other room putting the finishing touches on the wedding gown that she'd made. Yeah, her mom MADE that dress. Incredible. The ceremony was both rustic and elegant, and the whole evening was relaxed and joyful. It was such a pleasure to capture their wedding. If anyone else wants to hop in a Helicopter, floatplane, ski plane, or any other type of flying-mobile to get to their portrait location, count me in, because it was seriously the most fun thing ever.
Dress + Veil: Made by Bride's Mom
Bridal bouquet: Made by the bride
Ceremony/ Reception Venue: Crow Creek Mine
Day of Coordinator: Laura Wilson with La Boum Events
Cake: Fire Island Bakery
Catering: Wes Masters Catering
Bridesmaids Dresses: Monique Lhuillier, Bella Bridesmaids
Groom Attire: Charles Tyrwhitt Morning Suit
Groomsmen Attire: Michael Kors, rented from menguin.com
Favors: Alderwood smoked sea salt made by the groom's father, Mike
Second Photographer: Grace Adams Photography
Jake + Aimée tied the knot just across the bay from Homer, AK at an adorable little lodge. Guests water taxied across Kachemak Bay and sat just feet from the beach as Jake + Aimée exchanged vows. The evening was so casual and cozy, there were only about 30 guests total, so it was intimate and sweet. Across the Bay Tent + Breakfast, the venue, put together a delicious salmon dinner. Salmon wedding dinners are my favorite thing about Alaskan weddings. Almost every Alaskan wedding I've photographed has had Salmon. And, I mean, if you've got salmon that good at your fingertips, why not?
One of the most incredible parts of this wedding was actually afterwards. I was on the water taxi back to Homer with some of the wedding guests and two groups of humpback whales were feeding and breaching, so we stopped to watch them for about 20 minutes! The beauty of the Alaskan wilderness will never get old. So awe inspiring.
Congratulations, Jake + Aimée! Thank you for inviting me into your beautiful day!
Venue + Catering: Across the Bay Tent + Breakfast
Dress: Morilee via I Do Bridal
Floral: Wildflower bouquets made by friends + family
Last month I had the huge pleasure of being able to shoot my own brother's wedding down in Salem at Deepwood Estate! These two have been together since high school so it was so fun being able to watch them finally tie the knot. Everything was so beautiful and Lauren hand-folded 1,000 paper cranes as decoration for the wedding, incredible! The venue was an historic estate with lush gardens, and even a greenhouse, on site, and we took full advantage of all the natural beauty it provided.
I also did the floral for their wedding, which was super fun. While I'm don't advertise my services as a professional florist, getting to work with my hands and make beautiful bouquets and flower crowns is something I love. They featured lavender and wheat in their floral, which I thought was very unique and pretty.
The best moment was watching my brother as his bride walked down the aisle and he struggled (unsuccessfully) to keep it together. I think quite a few people in the audience shed a few tears as well watching his, and her, reaction to seeing each other as she walked down the aisle.
I can't wait to share their photos with them and our two families! Congrats Lauren + Matt!
Venue: Deepwood Estate
Floral: Liz Morrow Studios
Dress: Brides For A Cause
Catering: Elegant Catering
Cake: Dream Cakes
Videography: Kel Ward Photography