What a holly jolly time with the Jolly family (haha, I couldn’t help myself)! But really, it was a great shoot with this sweet family of four. Recent transplants from San Diego, the Jolly family is thoroughly enjoying and embracing their new home in Washington! They’ve done quite a lot of excursions and exploring since moving in July. So much so, Kelly was the one to suggest to me this beautiful location. Not far from many shoots I’ve done before, Dune Peninsula is nestled in Ruston just across the way from Point Defiance Park in Tacoma. With a great view of the Puget Sound and Mt. Rainier (when it’s not clouded over), this is a perfect spot for a driftwood, beachy, natural tall grass kind of vibe! Despite the sun and how calm and collected they all looked, it was pretty darn cold though. Fall blew in with a gusto and I was lucky enough to be bundled up in multiple layers hiding behind my camera! Regardless of the temp, they rocked it. The boys were well behaved and gave me smiles on point. Everyone looked wonderful in their coordinating fall colors and we lucked out with the perfect lighting. The Jolly’s made my job easy and I can’t wait for future shoots with them again!
Such an exciting time for the Kennie family as they prepare for another baby girl, coming this November! With an active 20-month-old already in tow, they’ll definitely have their hands full, but I know they can’t wait to welcome their new little one. I definitely remember the last weeks of waiting with such anticipation. What will her hair look like? What will her laugh sound like? Will she be tall or short, shy or sassy? A whole new person is about to enter the world! It’s exciting and scary, yet so magical all at the same time. Jessica looked radiant in her stylish off-the-shoulder maternity dress and beautiful flower crown. Of course little Adelia had to have a complimentary one as well. She actually kept it on pretty well, unlike my 18-month old daughter would have done! You put something in her hair and her hands are like magnets to it, be it headband, clips or ponytails. But I digress! I’m excited for the Kennie family and look forward to future shoots with their darling family. Hopefully we’ll set up some newborn photos once baby girl arrives this fall!
Such a sweet family! When Corinne contacted me and told me she was trying to schedule a last minute photo shoot before her eldest daughter left for college, I was so glad I had an opening for her! We scheduled the shoot just days before Evie would move cross-country for school. A happy family of 5 now, they definitely have their hands full with two little girls under two, but I could tell they were a happy, loving bunch. Corinne chose Bradley Lake Park in Puyallup since it was a place they frequented as a family many times over the years. It’s quite the hidden gem tucked away not far from the South Hill Mall. Unassuming at first when you pull up, as it just looks like a playground, but take a walk around the lake and you’ll see some beauty!
Lindsay and Florian’s wedding was more beautiful than I ever could have imagined. And not just because they had it at a friend’s house in a gorgeously manicured garden; it was beautiful because it was the most intimate wedding I’ve ever photographed. Surrounded by only 40 family members and friends, they had genuinely wanted each and every person there. In fact, at dinner, they introduced and individually thanked every single guest! It was a wonderful display of their love and gratitude for each friend and family member who attended. Especially those who had travelled from Germany to come to their wedding!
I was also pleasantly surprised to photograph at such a lovely home. The backyard was full of trees, well groomed greenery everywhere and fun accents of red brick. If I didn’t know better, I’d think it was made for hosting weddings! Not to mention, this was seriously some of the BEST food I’ve ever had at a wedding, and I’ve been to a LOT of weddings. Julian, a friend of the couple and also owner of Harry’s Fine Foods in Seattle, did a phenomenal job! Not only was it delicious, it also photographed because it was so pretty! :-)
My time with Lindsay and Florian was just as beautiful. They are such a sweet couple with the most adorable 10-month old son! From every interaction, it was evident how deeply in love they are. After meeting at a conference in New York 4 years ago, they never looked back. Now a family of 3, their vows have sealed the deal. I’m so honored I got to be a part of their celebration. It was a day to remember!
What a great way to get back into engagement sessions again! Natalie and Chris were just so sweet together and couldn’t have been more in love. I always warn my couples that the first 15 minutes or so can feel awkward for them since most people haven’t ever done professional pictures together and to just stick with it. These two nailed it! It took all of two minutes for them to just fall into each other’s eyes and let me slip into the background. And that, my friends, is when the magic can happen. When the organic moments unfold and I just get to snap away. I was really excited to shoot at Chambers Bay in Tacoma since I’d seen some beautiful photos there from other shoots. It did not disappoint! We scheduled our shoot for a golden hour/sunset session and the light was just gorgeous on them. It was a great night chatting and getting to know them better. Here are some of my favorites!
What an exciting time for Allison as she bids farewell to the UW Tacoma campus and heads onto bigger and better things! After transferring to UW, she set her mind to getting her degree in Criminal Justice. I loved her answer when I asked what led her in that direction. She wasn’t entirely sure, but something about watching a lot of criminal shows like CSI just intrigued her! People think TV rots your brain, but it’s inspiring the next generation apparently, haha! After graduating, she plans on joining the Marine Corps and aspires to be a US Marshall one day. I was so impressed by her ambition! We had a great evening walking the UW campus and then mixed it up by heading across the Chihuly Bridge of Glass and grabbing some urban shots across the way. I loved shooting with the architecture of the Museum of Glass, the red bricks and Union Station in the background. It all really brought a city feel to the shoot and Allison’s smile brought warmth and laughter to all the images. Here are my favorites photos below!
I’m slightly obsessed with this maternity session, FYI! Between the venue, the couple, the light and Ashley’s beautiful dresses, I was just swooning over all the images! It was only my second time shooting at Wild Hearts Farm in Tacoma, but it definitely won’t be my last. It’s such an awesome spot with so much to offer, which is why I’m so glad Ashley decided to book the shoot here! With their rainbow baby just around the corner, I was thrilled to document this special time. Admittedly, I’m still getting used to this Washington weather. You think summer weather is finally here and then BAM, rain is in the forecast! Luckily, our sun shined bright and so did their smiles. We played with the fun vintage truck, the swing in the willow tree and finally the gorgeous white barn for a backdrop. I had so many favorites I had a really hard time narrowing down their final gallery! Better more than not enough, I always tell myself. Wishing the best of luck to these two lovebirds and soon-to-be new parents. The journey is totally worth all the joy your child will bring!
The little bug, Henry, was just too squishy and adorable! Time after time, I get so giddy meeting brand new babies and always feel so honored that their parents have entrusted me to photograph their first few days of life! Chris and Sara were simply smitten with their little guy. How could you not be?! Henry was just barely over a week old when I came for the shoot. Walking into their beautiful home in Seattle, I knew it was going to be a great session. Their nursery was adorable, complete with fun wallpaper and a sheet music print of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”. Very fitting for the child of a musician. In fact, in order to incorporate Chris’s talent as a drummer, he pulled out one of his toms for baby Henry to lay on for a couple shots. It turned out pretty darn cute! It was a lovely morning and I think we captured some very tender moments. Enjoy my favorites below!
Finally getting my groove shooting at Point Defiance over in Tacoma. It’s such a lovely spot for photos, full of lots of gems for backgrounds and variety. Ariana chose this spot for her senior portraits for that very reason. With all the rain we got in April, we were pretty lucky to catch a day with some beautiful sunlight. But sunlight or not, Ariana has a sparkle all her own. She lit up the camera with her smile and wasn’t shy the whole shoot through. In other words, she owned it! I had a hard time narrowing down my favorites because there were so many good ones! We mixed it up with wardrobe, making sure to highlight her letterman jacket for her years of wrestling in high school. How cool is that? And of course took time to get some formals in her cap and gown. Whatever she was wearing though, her smile was the best part. I’ve always enjoyed the senior shoots I’ve done and I hope to do more!
Such a fun session with the Nuno family! I had the pleasure of connecting with them when Marc’s brother reached out to me just before Christmas asking about gifting a photo session. I was excited to set up the Christmas gift for him and thought it was such a great present, especially since they had never had professional family photos before! We had to wait a couple months to get something on the books due to the winter weather, but ended up with a beautiful spring day at Point Defiance Park! Bridget and Marc’s 16-month-old daughter was just a DOLL! Her sweet rosy cheeks, infectious smile and that beautiful red hair stole the show. The best part was when we pulled out the bubbles and her face just lit up! They were such a great family and it was a wonderful afternoon shoot.
Weddings will always hold a very special place in my heart. It’s where I got my start in this photography business and it still brings me joy to capture true love on such a monumental day! But the more I photograph newborn sessions, the more in love I fall with documenting one of the deepest loves that exist: the love of a parent for their child. It’s just so beautiful and those first moments with a newborn are so fleeting! What’s the saying? The “days are long, but the years are short”! This couldn’t be more true in the life of a parent. Those early days are exhausting but they also go by so fast and before you know it, your newborn babe is a talking, waddling toddler! Which is why I’m so honored to photograph those beginning days.
Just like I love hearing how my couples got engaged, I’m always excited to hear the story of labor! It’s always so unique to each and every mama. Being that Saxon is a friend and neighbor, I got some live action updates the day of labor! At 4:30 pm on Feb 28th, 11 days past her due date, labor finally started. Not sure if it was the castor oil shake she had earlier in the day or if baby Charlotte just decided it was time, but things got moving…and quite quickly! Having planned a birth center delivery, Saxon wasn’t sure if they should head over or not because she didn’t want to be turned away if it was too early. Little did she know, baby girl was coming faster than she imagined. By the grace of God, she recalled to me that her labor wasn’t super painful, which is why she was so surprised things had progressed so fast. At about 6:30 pm, she realized Charlotte was coming soon and they wouldn’t have time to make it to the birth center. After a 911 call, Saxon ended up delivering at home and Ian “caught’ the baby just before 7:30 pm! One of the most exciting labor stories I’ve heard in awhile!
It was such a treat to come take pictures for the happy family in their new cozy home. I’m looking forward to watching Charlotte grow and having another little girl in the neighborhood for my daughter to eventually play with!
Having just celebrated my daughter’s first birthday, I’ve been reminiscing over all the first days and weeks of her life. They were hormonal, overwhelming, tiring and somehow beautiful all at the same time. I really do cherish that first part of her life. Everything was new and foreign, but so wonderful that she was finally in our arms! So whenever I do a newborn shoot now, I am taken back to those beginning weeks and remember them fondly because they were fleeting!
Jaime and Izzy honestly seemed like naturals. I came in to greet Jaime and she was ever so calmly trying to dry off little Mateo after a bath while he cried profusely. She was not phased and I loved it! She simply continued to dry him and wrap him up and all was well again. Jaime was all smiles from beginning to end. Despite the cries here and there, no one was frantic and everything went smoothly! Izzy and Jaime just looked so in love with Mateo. He was absolutely adorable...all 6 pounds of him! Just a little peanut who was wide awake for the whole session. He was full of life and they were full of love. Very happy for the two of them and hope to have many more family shoots in the future!
I absolutely love capturing these keepsake memories for expecting families! Maternity photos have quickly become one of my favorite types of portraits to shoot. There is just something so exciting about the expectant arrival of a brand new life! I was so honored when Saxon asked me to photograph this special time for her and Ian. I was lucky enough to meet Saxon earlier last year through a mutual friend in the neighborhood. She was one of the first ladies to make me feel welcome and accepted into this new circle of friends. I remember the first time meeting her, I thought she was so warm, friendly and just so sweet. After she invited me to her Bachelorette viewing parties, I knew we were destined to be good friends, haha! We’ve been fostering a great friendship ever since.
After our family photo this fall, she didn’t hesitate to ask me about shooting her maternity and newborn photos. I was super excited and very flattered! Now with just a month away ‘til her due date, I’m anxiously awaiting the arrival of their little girl. I know Grace is going to be a wonderful big sister and both girls are going to get spoiled with love from their parents. Looking forward to our newborn shoot next month!
I’m not one to document my whole life online. I guess you can say, I’m kind of reserved in that way. Yet, I also know being a business owner in this day and age, people really do want to know the person behind the curtain. With the New Year ahead, I decided to do some reflection on the last couple years of my life since so much has changed.
Last year was one of the best years of my life. Going into 2018, I was scared and unsure of the journey ahead. We had just packed up our life of nearly 30 years in California and set off for a new state, with only a month and half before our daughter would arrive. It was nerve wrecking to say the least. Looking back over the year though, I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Whether you read the full scoop or skim through the highlights, here’s a peek into my life and how everything unfolded!
A Reflection on 2017:
In order to understand 2018, you’ll benefit from knowing some backstory from 2017. From the moment my parents decided to move to Bonney Lake, Washington, a city unknown to most, I knew God was already orchestrating a huge plan. Within about 2 months, my parents went from just toying with the idea of finding a cheaper area to live, to my mom and dad putting down a deposit on a brand new house in Washington and selling their Californian home of nearly 26 years. I not only had to come to terms with the fact that I needed to say good bye to my childhood home; I had to say good bye to my parents. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m super close to my parents and the thought of them leaving seemed crazy to me. How would life be without them just 25 minutes from my place?! Then to put an even bigger twist on things, a couple months after they sold their house, I found out I was pregnant! I had a few months with them while their house was being built, but eventually August came and they headed up to Washington.
By then, Nick and I had already been praying about a move up north as well. With my parents, Nick’s parents and brother already in Washington, it only seemed logical to be close to family with our first baby on the way. However, the means to get there just weren’t lining up. As I finished up my wedding season in the Bay Area and Nick closed out his baseball season with MLB Network, the biggest thing we needed in order to move was a job! Nick sifted through job sites over and over, but just wasn’t finding anything in his field. Finally, in November we got our first blessing from God. A family friend, who JUST so happened to live in Bonney Lake as well (seriously, very random, but also divinely ordained) got in touch with Nick for a job opportunity. He worked in HR for a school district about 45 minutes away from my parent’s house and encouraged Nick to apply. Nick was apprehensive at first because the job didn’t really have anything to do with his line of work, but desperate and with a baby on the way, he sent in his application.
From the moment he sent that in, I was on pins and needles! Every day I waited with anticipation and anxiety about whether or not this would be the thing to get us to Washington. We hoped and prayed it would be, but had our fair share of waiting. By mid-December it had been a month and Nick made it through the first round of interviews, but was STILL waiting for an offer. Most days I felt like I had a ticking time bomb in my belly instead of a baby during that time. We needed to know, one way or the other so we could plan! It finally took a lot of courage and the realization that the Lord would provide for us if we trusted Him. So we did! The job wasn’t secured, but we had savings to live off of and my parents welcomed us with open arms to their new home. It was just a matter of packing up our apartment, securing a moving truck, tracking down a storage unit, getting new car and health insurance, and finding a new midwife for our delivery! No big deal, haha!
A Reflection on 2018:
With just days before our moving truck would arrive and we’d officially say goodbye to California, Nick was offered the job in Federal Way! It was such an answer to prayer! While we were still set on moving in with my parents for the time being, we were so thankful we wouldn’t have to deplete our savings and could in fact start adding to it. The trip up north went as smooth as could be and we were so grateful to have so many friends come help us pack and send us off. Just days after the move, we had our first appointment with our new midwife (who we LOVED) and Nick started his job the following day. It was a big transition to say the least! I slowly adjusted to the rainy, overcast weather that I feared before the move and realized it wasn’t as bad as I thought! It was sad to leave behind my whole life in California, but I did my best to stay focused on getting through the last month and half of my pregnancy. I filled my time with nesting, traveling to Tacoma for my weekly prenatal appointment, getting my website updated before maternity leave, and going on weekend adventures to explore Washington with Nick before baby girl made her debut.
Before I knew it, on Feb 28th I woke up at 5:15 AM and BAM, my water broke! I really didn’t expect it to go down that way. I truly thought (and read) your water breaking first only happened in the movies! I guess my birth was a bit more rare than others, in more ways than one. I didn’t have to rush off to a hospital, but instead stayed cozy in my pajamas and labored at home. With an amazing support team, including my husband, family and two midwives, I felt confident in delivering at home. After 19 hours of labor (and FIVE hours of pushing), I delivered by water birth and Elise Mercy was finally here! I was exhausted and so relieved. Pushing a baby out is no joke, guys. Praise the Lord she was healthy, strong and I had no complications. In fact, I surprised myself that even though it was hard work and painful, I never once regretted my decision to go without drugs or delivering at a hospital!
Having a baby is a surreal experience. It’s like, one day you’re one person with a big belly and the next day, you’re two people. A whole new life has entered the world and she is completely dependent on you. It’s wonderful, tiring, emotional and crazy all at the same time. That first month was rough. I was dealing with intense hormonal changes, difficulties breastfeeding, Elise wasn’t gaining weight fast enough and had to get her tongue clipped due to tongue tie and I just felt like a mess. I missed our home in California more than ever that month, mainly because I craved something familiar and everything felt so foreign. Thank God we had my parents by our side to help us navigate everything that being new parents entails.
Edging into April, life started to feel a little more settled. Nick and I started to go more regularly to Calvary Community Church; a church that felt very similar to the one we left behind in California. One of the main things I dreaded leaving behind before our move was our church and our amazing community of friends. With family in Washington and a job where I could work anywhere, the hardest thing to leave was our tribe of people who loved and supported us for so many years! But just like in every other area, God showed up. God showed up big time, in fact! Calvary offered us many different ways where we could connect with people and we dove in headfirst. I wanted to meet other moms and luckily our new church offered a group that met regularly with yummy food, friendly moms, and childcare (if needed)! It was a great jumping off point and helped me feel welcomed and loved right away. Then only a week later, Nick and I decided to join a couples Life Group where we formed instant friendships!
Finding Calvary was not only a way to form a new community of friends, it was God’s way of showing us his faithfulness. Having only been at the church for 6 months, Nick got offered a job on staff that fit him to a tee. It couldn’t have been more obvious that God was handing this job over to him, especially since Nick didn’t even seek it out. It was simply a matter of Nick wanting to volunteer to run the soundboard during weekend services and suddenly a friendship blossomed with the worship pastor. Production director was a new position they needed to fill and it was clear that Nick was the man for the job! Nick had previously worked 2.5 years at our old church in a similar position, but it was never in the budget for him to go full time there. So for this full-time job to just land in his lap at Calvary was something only the Lord could orchestrate. He has loved working there and has grown a lot already.
A Reflection on My Business:
It’s been an interesting transition since moving. Unlike other photographers who go on maternity leave, I wasn’t able to book anything before the move because it was such a last minute decision and I hadn’t planted any seeds in Washington yet. It was hard to turn down wedding after wedding in California because I was so unsure of what the future held and the thought of traveling with a new baby to shoot a wedding just wasn’t going to work. So coming to Washington felt like I started at square one in a lot of ways! I felt so established in the Bay Area and then I moved and I felt kind of lost. Luckily, I had a few networking opportunities before Elise was born and was blessed by booking a handful of second shooting gigs here and there for the summer ahead. (Big thank you to Jenny Storment for taking a chance on me!) The rest was up to me to make a name for myself. I did some footwork with my website SEO, blogging, and social media but in reality, once Elise was born, it’s been HARD to keep up with everything like I used to. Being a mom and working is one thing, but being a mom and trying to work from home is a whole other challenge! Juggling emails, social media, editing, blogging, taxes, and contracts between nap times is seriously hard. To all the other stay-at-home-business-owner mamas out there, GOOD JOB! I feel for you and you aren’t alone in the hustle. It’s a struggle to say the least. Doing it all in my own strength isn’t just hard, it’s impossible. Cue another blessing from God!
Remember when I said my parents moving to Bonney Lake was all part of God’s grand plan? Well, moving in with them was the best decision yet. I can’t say enough how thankful I am for the help I get from my wonderful mom everyday with my daughter. It’s been amazing to have the extra set of eyes and hands to help take care of her and also to have the emotional support when parenthood just feels overwhelming! More than that though, moving to this community has been huge in helping grow my business. Just like when God led us to Calvary to find other Christian community, He also placed us right next door to a wonderful family and a mom who has become a dear friend. Right around the end of April, our neighbor Stacie realized our temporary living situation turned into a more long-term stay. Having two kids herself and a handful of mom friends all within walking distance, she began inviting me to play date after play date and introduced me to everyone she knew! It was beyond generous of her. I felt immediately welcomed into this neighborhood and forged friendships I never would have expected. Because of how tight-knit this community is, I was able to book multiple shoots within the neighborhood and then more because of referrals from these dear friends! What I thought would be a huge uphill battle to book anything in Washington turned into another testament to the Lord’s provision over my business. I was so busy in the fall with portrait shoot after portrait shoot; it was incredible!
Now that the busy season has died down and engagement season is upon us, I’m hoping more than ever to book some weddings this year in Washington. In all honestly, I still struggle not knowing what’s ahead for my business going into 2019. It’s been wonderful to see how everything has unfolded so far and I’m excited to see what God has in store for us next year. I’m grateful for each and every blessing and I know God is not done yet. I just need trust and let go of the control because if the last couple years have proven anything, it’s that HE has everything planned out perfectly for us. It’s been a fun ride. Looking forward to more to come this year!
For a long time now, I have loved shooting maternity portraits. A lot of my clients know me as a wedding photographer, but I really enjoy documenting all seasons of life. I have a special place in my heart for maternity and newborn pictures, especially after having been through the experience myself now and can relate to new mamas! I was SO excited when Jaime decided to book me not only for her maternity session, but bundled it with a newborn home session as well. Having just entered her third trimester, we scheduled to shoot at the Redondo Beach Pier over in Des Moines (yes, in Washington)! I was very happy we beat the rain that followed the next day. Izzy and Jaime were so sweet together and I know they are eager to meet their baby boy this February. I’m looking forward to meeting him as well and getting to capture some of his first moments in this big world!