Sunday, December 19, 2010

First Snow...

Like a kid waiting for Christmas morning, I often times don't sleep well the night before a wedding. With all the anticipation & ideas I find myself counting away the hours. Somewhere around 4AM I'm laying in bed in and out of sleep when I hear a noise. My ears perk up...I lean over and pull on my blinds to find one dedicated shoveler (Seriously? 4AM? You're hard core) and more importantly snow!! The very first snow! I seriously, laid back in bed with a huge grin. My bride Amy got her ultimate wish, the first-snow being on her wedding day. For one I was excited for her because I knew that was something she really was hoping for but also I knew she, more than any other bride I've had was ready to battle the elements & off-road it dress and all in full-fledge winter boots.  And that she did. With her cute little red pea coat and hidden boots we walked, slid and skidded our way through the winter-wonderland and had a ball taking some pretty amazing wedding pics. (:

Monday, December 6, 2010

Old World Charm...

Stone archways, lead-glass windows, old chapel doors, breweries from the 1800's, the oldest hotel in Milwaukee and a bride & groom that could care less that it's like five degrees out, I love everything about this wedding! For real...Not every couple is up for the cold and potentially more than any other shoot if I were to walk past these locations and not have been able to stop and just immerse ourselves in it's ridiculous gorgeousness I could have cried. Okay, maybe that's a bit too far but the disappointment would have been just too much! All that to say, I am SO glad that we got to linger from location to location and  get swept up in the beauty of our location and the magnitude of the moment. 
Matt...This one of yours is head-over heels for you! And she is an absolute gem! (Which you already know that.) ( :
And Laura...I think this man would walk from coast to coast if he knew it'd make you happy. 
I couldn't be happier for you both. Thanks for having me on this special day!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Funny Fam

I'll start off by saying I love this family! Seriously....They're top notch all around. After shooting their daughter's wedding and capturing their hilarious dance moves at several since I've just fallen for them. I think in part because they remind me of my family in some ways. A bit more adventurous, goofy, and most of all they like to laugh. A lot. You just want to be around them. Plus, they have a streak of sarcasm in 'em so we always bypass the awkward hello's and pick up where we left off last as friends. 
You guys should probably become wedding crashers because I and my camera need to see you more often. (: 

Got A Spare?

A couple posts back I mentioned "the last of the season" meaning this photo season was wrapping up. Well, that was a month ago and this may have been one of the busiest months of the year. So on this particular weekend I had shoots back, to back, to back and needless to say timing wise the following event couldn't have happened at a more worst-best time. Yep, that's right I made up that word. (:
But here I am at shoot number two pulling out of the drive-way when I realize I have a flat. Are you kidding me!? I'm all about not panicking or stressing out over something as it won't get done, fixed, or accomplished any sooner so I sat in the drivers seat pondering my next move. Funny enough, my husband was out of town, and any guys that I know that would help are well over an hour away. It just wasn't good timing. But in a way, it was perfect timing. I got out of the car and went back up and knocked on the door of Steve & Amy's house. In no time steve is sitting on the pavement and not only putting on my spare but explaining to me step by step how to change a tire. It's been explained to me before but I was a little bit more willing to learn now that I had to fend for myself. (: In no time, I was back on the road. I can only imagine that I'd still be on the side of 355 if I had made it to the high-way. And that just shows what type of kind-hearted generous, self-less people I work with. I'm so grateful for you guys!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cold Day...Warm Heart

The quickest way to get a couple you haven't yet met in person to get immediately comfortable enough to cling to each other without me saying something is... the cold. The desperate need for body heat can do wonders for breaking the ice. No pun intended. (: 
Sure it was a bit chilly but these two have and still currently do live in two different countries on two different continents and to know their time together before the wedding is limited and yet they still wanted to spend some time with me and my camera is really endearing. 
A warming of the heart if you will. (: 

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Down the most unassuming street possible is a little piece of the northwest. Rolling blackened hills with pine trees cascading the horizon. Winding fields of prairie with little islands of sweeping yellow willow trees. Now by northwest I mean a northwest suburb of IL. but this place could have just as easily been oregon. I love surprises like this. I had no idea this place was going to be so beautiful! Now don't let my couple's outfits fool you. It was cold. Like really cold. But without a complaint they embraced each spot we journeyed to. They're hoping for snow on their wedding day and ya know what? So am I. (: 

Friday, November 12, 2010

New Perspective...

Whether they've seen it in a magazine, my website, or in this case because it's that unique & beautiful, there's places myself and I presume other photographers end up shooting at all the time. The great part about that is I know that spot inside and out. I know what time the light will hit that window, I know when we should avoid it because that's people's lunch break spot. Knowing the details of my frequented locations is freeing in the sense that you can give me pretty much little to no time and I know we can get the shots. On the other hand, it can be tricky or sometimes tempting to go with what I know. And why wouldn't I? Well...each couple's different...I don't want to just shoot something because it's beautiful I want it to mean something. So here I am at one of my all time favorite spots, a little short on time, and I tried all sorts of new things. And afterwards it leaves me wondering how I had never thought to do that in the first place, it's gorgeous! Thanks to Todd & Valerie for so quickly jumping on board with all my crazy ideas and trusting me. (:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wonderful Two's Can Come in Three...

Terrible Two's.... A phrase that can tire even the best of parents at even just the thought of it but family after family I find myself falling in love with this age more and more. For me, it's the fine balance of a booming personality with an endearing shyness that I and seemingly my camera just love. A close second is the 4-5 year old. They go about their business but are they ever so aware that not too far away my camera is watching them color. Which means there's less chasing and more capturing which what I'm all about. Let your kids be kids. Let them color, get cake on their face, attempt to do a head-stand on your couch. Those are real moments for your family. Those are the memories that are in your head and that's what I want to preserve for a life-time. 
Today I got the best of all worlds. Got to shoot a family with both a 2 and 5 year old as well as their newest little sister Julia. An absolutely adorable family and a true pleasure to be around. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Leaving A Legacy...

Some of the most highlighted times in my life were the days of being a collegiate soccer player for Trinity International University. It was there that some of the most formative lessons were taught, challenged, and put into practice. Our coaches always said:
It's not about wins or loses...
It's not about national championships...
It's not even about soccer...
It's the daily or even momentary decisions where your true character is made and your legacy is left.

Though our competitive playing years are over (Though my old person-co-ed league ain't half bad) (:
The goal was always to develop our character. The things that we as sisters, daughters, wives, co-workers, aspire to do even when no one is watching.

I can honestly accredit much of who I am, the way I run my business, and my strive in life to those lessons that were taught to me while wearing cleats on a field of grass. One of my coaches, Kelvin, was one of the front-runners of this philosophy and he lives it. And his wife, Anne, is someone whose character & wisdom has been something that people that I really admire seek out.

So here I am...In there adorable apartment watching them interact with their son, and their baby girl yet to be and I smile. I smile because these two have had such an impact on who knows how many (hundreds? If not more) people. Not just a "oh I remember when so and so did or said that kind of way." But a real...transforming way. And they are passing that along now to their next generation. Who I'm sure, God willing, will be and do the same as Kelvin & Anne have. May this household and family reap many smiles, memories, and blessings from this little girl who we will meet in December!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Grand Finale...

This was the last shoot of the 2010 Wedding season! Now don't get me wrong We have plenty more weddings, prego pics, and little one's to shoot before the year is up but it just won't be quite as crazy. The old carpel tunnel arm has held out for another season and we've ended on what I think is a great note. People often ask: "When is wedding season?" In a sense the answer is all year but the shooting five days a week won't kick back up till the snow (Which thank God hasn't come yet) has melted. 

Now ironically the last shoot of the "season" was on the beach. Not your normal place to shoot the tip of November engagement pics but I think the off-time is just when you want to take pics at a place like that. I joke that it's in that time of year you won't have old men jelly bellies lingering in the back of your pics. There's only so much I can edit out people! (:
For real though, an almost abandoned beach is surreal. And without the distractions and chaos of thousands of people the city and my couple really pop. 
Lovin' the beach...Lovin' my couple. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

What's "UP"...?

What's "Up?" Well, for one, it's the Disney movie that has deep meaning for today's couple David & Maggie; but it also was our inspiration for our photoshoot. Considering I can't remember what I had for lunch yesterday I knew I had to brush up on our movie inspiration. After hours of research, many post-it notes of ideas, and prop hunting we were ready. Well...So I thought. I don't think I could have every prepared for how crazy-awesome this shoot turned out to be. I dream of days like these.  Pretty sure my couple is hiding their secret modeling career because there really wasn't a bad shot in the bunch. Even more beautiful than the weather that day, or even my couple, was and is Dave & Maggie's hearts. After my first few pictures Maggie started to tear up. She told me that David was telling her scripture of how he knows he loves her. This couple is obviously captivated with one another but even more so with the Lord. Which in the end, is both this couple and my inspiration. 
So I've have had this idea/vision in my head for what type of retro/vintage look I've been wanting to capture for probably a year now and I finally just sat down with photoshop to figure it out. Granted it took me 6 hours to finally get what I was after but it was worth every second because I think it made our pics all the more fun. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

After The Fact...

Let me start off by saying I love taking pictures...But even more than that I love the process afterwards. As I begin to work on the thousands of images from the greatest day in someone's life I notice so many things that I hadn't the day of the wedding, probably because I was so immersed in the moment. And if that's happening to me, I know it's happening to my bride and groom. So as I work on the pictures after the wedding I get excited. For one, I just know there's going to be moments that the bride & groom couldn't have fully grasped and I'm in a very real sense bringing that time back to life. This may sound funny, but I didn't realize the bride Angela teared up coming down the aisle until I was editing. That moment took on a whole new meaning for me. And I'm just the photographer! (: Just imagine all the little moments of the wedding that they might not have fully gotten to see or participate in that will have new meaning upon seeing the pictures. Very cool thought. The other reason I get so excited after the wedding is I often times don't realize till after the fact is just how much I care for my bride & groom. I have spent hours and hours both in the little and in the big moments with Jay & Angela and I genuinely care for them. I can only hope that these little tangible reminders we call pictures will bring them great joy. 
They deserve it. 
Congrats guys. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Have a Roll in The Hay.

I first met the future bride Lindsay just steps from this very spot. I was her youth group leader ever since she was what? 13 or 14? at a church that literally bumps up ironically to my favorite photo spot.  So considering I've spent years trying to keep the boys away from her (Not too successfully she's cute as a button) it was a bit weird at first for me to encourage her to be Lindsay. Linds has always been super affectionate, bubbly, and boy-crazy if you will,  buuuuuuuuut I got over it pretty quick because those things were finally with the right guy. It still was a bit weird to ask for them to go have a roll in the hay. (: 
And by hay I mean the sharpest, most painful spot ever. And what do they do? Curl up...act adorable...laugh...and rock out pictures like this. Truly though, because I have such a history with the bride I could feel comfortable saying: "Now don't hate me buutttt I have an idea." It also helps that the future groom, Mike, is an absolute sweet-heart and got into the pics just as much as us girls did. 
This wedding is going to be a piece of cake! (:
 Ha, sorry I had to! But for real, it's going to be sweet!! Okay, I'm done with puns.
 Thankfully, I'm not done with the wedding yet because it gives me something to look forward to for the next year.  So happy for you Linds! 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Yesterday Europe Today Brazil...

I love how yesterday I felt like I was in europe with ivy covered walls and today I felt like I was in Brazil. Okay...Maybe not quite brazil but at least Tennessee. (: 
I shot at this location just a couple months ago but it didn't capture me till this second time around. Though gorgeous, I think...actually...I know it had everything to do with my couple. From lounging under trees kissed with red & yellow leaves to literally jumping the safety fences to sit inches away from waterfalls. I got more and more excited to shoot.  For those who've shot with me before you know I have bazaar lingo and I talk to myself quite a lot; but with a huge waterfall you wouldn't have been able to hear what I was saying anyhow (Even if it was just to myself). So to enlighten you on what you missed here it is. "This is sick...Ridiculous....I am not in Illinois right now... So freaking glad they jumped that fence...and I'm so stinkin' stoked to look at this set...This is awesome!" 
Now you're informed of my crazy ways. (: 
Can't wait for the wedding.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Black & Blue...

When I dream about the day I finally get to shoot a wedding in Europe I always envision hidden nooks with colorful doors or stone walls covered in ivy. I haven't had the opportunity to shoot an event in europe yet but a close second for me is the Botanic Garden. With the english walled garden, the rose garden, shoot they even have a japanese garden it's hard to not feel like you were transported to a different place. So though it was not much more than an hour I felt even for a moment an eternity away from reality. Who wouldn't want to capture that? Isn't that why we take pictures on vacation? 
Tim & Michelle- Thanks for whisking me away on our european tour of Illinois. (: 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Little Blessings Big God...

Considering I could probably count the Saturdays (per year)  I don't shoot an event on one hand, to have a day without the camera was, well...Refreshing. Don't get me wrong, I love my job, but most people work during the week and get the weekend off. I work during the week...The weekend...And most nights. So to have one complete day without a lingering To-Do list was not only unheard of in my typical routine but is something that I needed. I was actually supposed to shoot that day but God knew better for me. From the very beginning of my day till the very end little blessings of friendship, gifts, naps(!), and laughter filled me with joy. 

The day started off with a beautiful fall walk around an adorable town with a dear friend. We then both got to attend another friend's baby shower which was so creative & Chill. Just what I needed. I hadn't been to the host's house before but from the moment I walked in I thought to myself: "She could just open a shop right here in her house because everything is so dang cute!" It wasn't until later that I found out she does sell things...Wonderful...Gorgeous...Hand-made things. She has a whole shop down-stairs and it was their that I spotted the holy-grail of what is my obsession. I could and probably will wear this item everyday. So what is it!? Well...Most girls have a shoe or hand-bag fetish. Not me...Mine is a bit more random than that. I have bins and bins of scarves. I wear them year round. She had a whole shop downstairs of all the hand-made goodness she does. I saw a hat rack full of cowl scarves and I knew I just had to have one. Seriously...Out of the ridiculous amount of scarves I have this one tops them all. It's super unique, really well-made, and well... it's just awesome! So as I go to buy it from her  she decides to gift it to me. It may seem like an insignificant thing but really it meant a lot. I could just be overly tired and sensitive but I really think it was more than that. At the end of the day she's trying to start/run a business and I've been and am there myself. It's not easy to balance all of life's agendas and I know this gift was a true act of generosity. I don't usually "promote" businesses and I for sure typically don't post pictures of myself  but for real this item is sweeet and it's maker is just as great.  You should check out her work at: (There's lots more styles & colors just contact her)

(It's funny how I take thousands of pics a week but am so stinkin' awkward in a picture so don't judge me but it helps to see one on)
So I was already feeling super blessed and decide to continue the fall perfect day with a Pumpkin Spice Latte with my dear friend and again out of the blue the cashier goes: "Don't worry about it, it's on my today." ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? Again, I know it's a little thing but for how hard I've been working I just feel like God is just blessing me with the little things that bring me such joy. 
I then got some time to hang out with the Hub (Which we don't really get to do since I work weekends), took a glorious nap, grilled some bacon wrapped Filets, and went to get a treat with Barto. Funny story about that...Everytime we go to get a treat our true colors shine through. Bart grabbed a peach & avacado for his dessert. (Weird, I know) I tell him to get an organic peach b/c it doesn't have pesticides on it. He then reminds me that I'm holding 6 cupcakes. Don't judge me. (: 

Sigh...I have been so refreshed and blessed by this day. Thank you God.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

So... How cute are they?? Yeah...I thought so too. (: 

They have pretty fantastic personalities to match. Before we really got started I asked them in a nut-shell describe who they were and now having spent a lovely fall evening with them I think I could easily add to the list: Matt & Laura are down-to-earth, joyful, and genuine people who share so much laugher and love. Considering I only got about an hour with them before the sun went down I still feel like I got to know them pretty well. They just have that infectious personality. 
 We even discovered we both have the same new show concept for the Food Network based on using food you already have in your pantry. Give it a catchy title like "Out of the Pantry" or "From Pantry to Pan" and you gots yourself a show. I mean you give me some tortillas and I can tell you at least 5 different meal ideas from it.  Buuut I'm shy in front of the camera (Ironic...I know) so the show should probably hire Laura. (: The evening went too fast and I look forward to their big day where I get the privilege of spending some more time with these two behind the lens. 

Friday, October 1, 2010

Home is Where The Heart Is...

I've taken planes, trains, automobiles, tractors, four-wheelers, golf-carts pretty much any and every mode of transportation to get to engagement shoots but today...I parked my car where I do every Sunday. (Just outside of my favorite Thai place) and walked around a little neighborhood we both call home. I don't know if it's nostalgia walking the familiar streets or that I love to see couples finally just let go during a shoot but there was and is something about being here...walking these roads...with this awesome couple that is just great. 
What a refreshing day behind the lens.