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!
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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!
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!
Wild Hearts Farm is a photographer’s wonderland! It’s a tucked away gem in Tacoma and I’m so glad I found it. When Jami was looking to do a one year shoot for her baby girl, she had visions of a pumpkin patch session since Ellia was born just before Halloween. In our search for just the right spot, Jami found Wild Hearts Farm and suggested we book the shoot there. It was the perfect spot! Not only was there a mini pumpkin patch, but a cute garden area, a sweet little truck bed set up and crispy fall leaves! It was just right for the fall vibe we were going for and we had fantastic weather also! Ellia looked adorable in her one-year-old onesie and tutu. Then a quick outfit change, and we fit in some great family photos as well, all in only 30 minutes!
It was such a beautiful day in October when I did this shoot! I wasn’t sure what kind of weather to expect this fall, but there were surprisingly many more sunny days that I thought. I had a great time working with Jeyyonce and got to learn a little more about her ambitions and dreams for the future. While she’s finishing her last year in high school, she’s already getting a jump start on college courses! After she gets her AA, she plans on pursuing a Bachelor’s in social work and then a career in it, just like her mom. She was such a sweetheart and I can tell she’s gonna go far! Best of luck in your senior year Jeyyonce!
In another round of mini sessions, I had the privilege to photograph Rachel and her sweet family of four! Earlier in the day, it was chilly and overcast, but after 3 sessions in, the sun decided to peek through at the perfect time. We got some pretty filtered rim light through the beautiful forest and I’d say got some adorable shots! Hoping to get some more shoots in before the weather is chronically overcast!
God has shown up in so many ways this year, I just feel so grateful all the time! One big blessing has been this neighborhood that we moved to. Growing up in California, I lived in the same house for over 23 years and sadly, hardly knew my neighbors. Something I definitely made an effort to change once I moved out on my own, yet it felt so forced. No friendships ever blossomed beyond the friendly hellos passing to the laundry room! Moving up to Tehaleh in Washington has been such a different experience. It’s not an exaggeration when I say meeting Stacie Wallace changed everything and has meant more to me than she probably knows! My next door neighborhood turned amazing friend! She’s extended more invites than I can count to many playdates, walks and girls hang outs all within the neighborhood. There are so many young families and wonderful moms who live here who have welcomed me with open arms. Stacie has been the ring leader and kind soul who always thinks of me when there’s a get-together. It’s been a unique experience to actually have neighbors as friends and I’m so glad it came at a time when I really needed it. Stacie’s family is SO sweet as well and we had a great mini session just minutes from our house. Here are some of my favorites below!
When we decided to move to Washington while I was seven months pregnant, I really had no idea what my photography business had in store. I didn’t think I’d be shooting much of anything this year, let alone book a wedding, but God had some other plans for me! I remember the week before I was due, I got an unexpected call from a guy in California looking to book a wedding photographer. My head was in a completely different world preparing for a baby, but I figured I’d call back and talk out the details. I’m so glad I did! Justin and Veronica had heard about me through one of my favorite venues, Willow Heights Mansion, and they were bummed to hear I had moved away. At first I was sure they’d want to find a local photographer and would say their thank you and move on, but they pursued me and I was beyond flattered! With a baby on the way and wedding booked for October, I was feeling really excited.
Fast-forward a few months and the day had arrived. It was a beautiful, sunny day in California and it couldn’t have been any better. It felt so good to be back at Willow Heights and work with an amazing team, as always! Justin looked dapper in his suit and Veronica was stunning in her Allure wedding dress. Being a firefighter, Justin had pulled some strings (after 3 months of phone calls!) and got an awesome vintage firetruck from the 20s to come to the mansion. It was so fun to use as a prop for some photos! The whole day went by so fast and before I knew it, it was time to pack up! It was a wonderful trip back home and now I have some more awesome photos from Willow Heights Mansion to share!
What a JOY it is to capture memories for those closest to me! My sister Marissa is expecting her first child this November and I’m not sure I could be any happier for her! I first found out she was pregnant literally just days before I gave birth to my own baby. So technically I can say we were pregnant together (for at least a couple weeks)! This has been a wonderful season of life for me as I’ve entered motherhood and I’m so excited that we get to do it together now. Not to mention how great it’ll be for our babies to be close in age. Now she just needs to move to Washington so they can grow up together!
On my recent visit to New Jersey for the baby shower, we had not just one, but two shoots planned. I was happy to venture out with her and Tony for both! Our first session we stuck with the natural, wooded feel and despite the overcast day, Marissa was still glowing. The next day, we woke up early for a sunrise beach shoot and even though the sun was tucked away behind a layer of clouds, she was still radiant! It was a fun morning and she wasn’t afraid to end the shoot in the waves. Made for some beautiful shots! I’m counting the weeks until their baby boy is here. Stay tuned for those newborn shots!
Oh, new baby bliss! Being that this is my first newborn shoot since giving birth to my own little one in March, I can relate to the new parent feelings so much more! The sleep deprivation mixed with the adrenaline of visitors. The awe and wonder of all your baby's tiny features. And of course the overwhelming amount of love you have for a human that you literally just met! Janna and Liam are feeling these things and more with little two-week-old Juniper Nelle. It was such a joy to see my friends and meet their new addition. I was all too eager to take some newborn photos for them and capture this short period of time where Juniper is this tiny! Because as a mom myself now, I know the cliche, "They grow so fast," is so TRUE! Babies really do change so quickly in their first year, which is why I think it's so important to document each stage as they develop. I know without a doubt Janna and Liam are going to be amazing, loving and supportive parents. Juniper is a lucky girl!