Getting weird in Joshua Tree


While I was in Joshua Tree a couple months ago, I wanted to create some images that were just for fun.  No portfolio building, no shooting clients, just something creative and weird.  I didn't have any concept going into it, I'd just found a cool old dress at the thrift store that had a frothy feel to it and I thought it'd make for some interesting images.

I want to do more creating for the sake of creating.  A lot of times, those of us who create to pay the bills end up draining our creativity by never investing in making art for ourselves. It's hard because you feel like you're wasting time, in a way, shooting something that isn't going to add to your portfolio or attract more clients.  But being able to feed your creative soul is really the lifeblood of a creative business.  Constantly infusing your brain with new ideas and pushing the boundaries will always make you a better artist, and being a better artist makes you better at creating great work for your clients.  It can be hard for me to remember that.  You can't pour from an empty cup, they say.  

Brooke | Joshua Tree Wedding Photographer

Joshua Tree Wedding Photographer-4.jpg

This wedding dress in Joshua Tree is a match made in heaven.  When I was living in Portland, I connected with the incredible Elizabeth Dye to style up one of her gowns while I was down in Joshua Tree back in September.  The bohemian vibes were perfectly laid back and desert-hippie inspired.  Brooke and I had a blast playing in the evening light, climbing on rocks, and spinning in the middle of the road!

Gown: Elizabeth Dye
Hat: Urban X Change

Jamie + Jacob | Joshua Tree Couples' Session

Joshua Tree Engagement Session-6.jpg

It's no secret Joshua Tree is one of my favorite places on the planet.  Last month I went down to visit my in-laws for a week and give them some time to hang out with their only grandchild, and while I was in the area I decided to see if I could rustle up a couple who would want to model for a session so I could get some new images for my portfolio, and Jamie and Jacob popped into my inbox!  

We met up for a drink at Joshua Tree saloon and then headed into the park to romp around on rocks at Sunset. I'm so glad I got the chance to connect with these two, I had so much fun shooting with them and I'm jonesin' for more desert shoots now!

Jake + Rochelle | Crockett Farm Whidbey Island Wedding

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Jake + Rochelle's Crockett Farm wedding on Whidbey Island was so. much. fun.  I met Jake and Rochelle while shooting Amy + Eric's wedding back in February where Jake was a groomsman.  I remember seeing Rochelle and thinking that she was gorgeous and her smile lit up my camera while I was snapping dancing photos at the end of the night.  When she contacted me asking if I was available to shoot her wedding I was thrilled, to say the least.  

These two were such a blast, and shooting their wedding was like drinking a tall glass of joy all day.  I was hella joy-hydrated by the end of the night (do people still say hella anymore?  Just us kids who went to high school in 2001? K cool).  Rochelle is as cool as they come, and she rocked an amazing white jumpsuit, which was covered up with a flowy skirt made from her mom's wedding dress until the big reveal at the reception!  Amazing.

Congratulations, Jake + Rochelle!  It was such a pleasure capturing your big day!!

Venue: Crockett Farm, Whidbey Island
Jumpsuit: Jill Stuart via BHLDN
Skirt: Handmade from Rochelle's Mom's wedding dress by Chelsia Berry
Catering + Desserts: Serendipity 
DJ: Lisa Halstead
Band: Hot Club of Troy
Violinists: D n' A Violinists


Kaeli + James | Snoqualmie Falls Elopement

snoqualmie falls elopement

Last month I had the pleasure of hiking down to Snoqualmie Falls for Kaeli + James' elopement!  I think this might be one of my all times favorite shoots, and Kaeli + James were so laid back and up for climbing up on "just one more" rock for photos.  Kaeli's dress was simple and stunning, and she even rocked some gold sequined chucks to match her gold dress!  Sneakers were a brilliant choice since we were clambering around through rocks and driftwood all evening.  Their ceremony was lovely and intimate, with beautiful violin played by James' sister-in-law who is a world class violinist, and Snoqualmie falls thundering in the distance.

Thanks for letting me capture your beautiful day, Kaeli + James!  Congratulations!

Gown: Rachel Zoe, Emerson Maxi Dress
Venue: Snoqualmie Falls Forest Theater

Allie Jo + Brian | Pickering Barn Wedding

Pickering Barn Wedding

Allie Jo + Brian's wedding at Pickering Barn in Issaquah was so lovely.  I met Allie Jo many years ago and worked with her at a summer camp, so it was cool to be able to reconnect with her and create her wedding images!  She just got her masters in geology and is, obviously, obsessed with rocks, but also with dinosaurs, which laid the foundation for her wedding decor!  Each table had a herd of silver dinosaurs and quartz crystals for a centerpiece, and the bridesmaids all had a mini silver dinosaur bobby pin in her hair.  Everything was put together by friends and family, and in addition to doing photos, I got to create Allie Jo's floral crown!  I love making flower crowns but it's not something I actively advertise, so when a mutual friend, one of Allie Jo's bridesmaids, asked if I'd be up for making her crown I was thrilled!  

Congrats Brian and Allie Jo!

Venue: Pickering Barn
Gown: Eddy K from BHLDN
Bridesmaid dresses: Weddington Way
Florals: Family Friends
Flower Crown: Liz Morrow Studios
Catering: First Class Catering
Cake: Made by bridesmaid Anna Pfohl
Wedding Planner/Coordinator: Kathleen Carpenter


Kyle + Matt | Titlow Lodge Tacoma Wedding

Titlow Lodge Wedding

Kyle + Matt's Titlow Lodge Wedding in Tacoma, WA.  This one was one for the books.  Not only is Kyle a friend, but this was my first time shooting a wedding at the venue where I got married.  Talk about all the feels.  Kyle and Matt had the most beautiful celebration, from her stunning gown to their hand-done florals, their cute pup and ring bearer, and hands down the best best-man speech I've ever heard (he rewrote the president's speech from Independence Day, background music, and all.  Mind: blown).  They are both teachers, so they sprinkled in a little bit of teacher-y flavor here and there in their decor, which was adorable.  And speaking of sprinkles, their wedding cake was so cute and looked just right next to all the sprinkle donuts!  Kyle is a gorgeous lady, inside and out, so it was super special getting to capture her day.  These two are the actual cutest and serious bride + groom goals.  Congrats, Kyle + Matt!  

Venue: Titlow Lodge, Tacoma WA
Gown: Maggie Sottero from The Wedding Bell
Groom's Outfit: Express, Scotch + Soda, Mrs. Bowtie
Catering: Jonz Catering
Coordination: Sarah Jeffers
Floral: Darryn DeMarce
DJ: Kristine Lockrem - K2K Productions
Photobooth: The Snap Bar
Desserts: Donuts from Le Donut, Cake from Corina Bakery

David + Nicole | Oregon Beach Elopement

Oregon Coast Elopement

Talk about 4th of July Wedding Goals.  These two eloped on an Oregon Beach in the most adorable, festive ceremony!  They included a unique, vintage flag, a hand-made altar, cute white mismatched chairs for their few attendees, and a candle-lined mini aisle for the most simple and gorgeous wedding celebration.  I absolutely love a flowy gown on a breezy day, and Nicole's beautiful Catherine Deane gown was the perfect gown for a beachy wedding, and her gorgeous braided floral hairstyle caught the wind beautifully.  These two are the cutest!  Congrats, David + Nicole!  I hope you have endless PNW adventures in your lives together!

Venue: Camp Rilea Beach, Astoria Oregon
Gown: Catherine Deane via BHLDN
Florals: Erika's Fresh Flowers

Nicole + Tyler | Seabrook, WA Elopement

Washington coast elopement

Nikki and Tyler stole away to the Washington coast to the cutest little town of Seabrook, WA to tie the knot on the longest day of the year.  Nikki went to high school with my husband, so it was fun to be able to capture her big day!  One of the fun things about some Washington coast beaches is that you can drive on the beach in your car, so we drove all our cars out on to the beach where their ceremony location was set up.  It was a blustery afternoon, but I do love a windy day paired with a flowing gown.  After the ceremony we all sauntered around the town and explored, including heading over to the barn for a few photos!  I definitely have it in my head to visit Seabrook for a getaway sometime in the future.  Such a cute little town!

Congrats, Nikki + Tyler!  

Gown: Seraphine
Venue: Seabrook, WA

New Wedding Packaging!

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 | Tacoma Point Defiance Wedding Photographer

Tacoma Wedding Photographer

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 + Daniel | Rattlesnake Ridge Elopement Photographer

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!

Gown: Modcloth
Hair + Makeup: Hannah Bush at Urbanista Weddings
Florals: Down to Earth Flowers
Location: Rattlesnake Ridge

Karisa | Tacoma Maternity Photographer

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!  

Amy + Eric | Tacoma Foss Waterway Seaport Wedding

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

The Bash! | Seattle Boudoir Photographer

Anchorage Boudoir Photographer

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 for deets!

The Dollar Family | Seattle Tacoma Lifestyle Family Photographer

Anchorage Lifestyle Family Photographer

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!

My Camera Bag Reviews

Rugged Camera Bag Review Roundup

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 MooreJo 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 BackpackONA's Union Street BagBlack Anchor's Camera BagONA'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.