Engagement Trip Part II: Kangaroos & Koalas

Day 2: Featherdale Wildlife Park & Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia

Day 2 was quite possibly Christopher's favorite day of our entire trip (because, kangaroos). The day started off with a boat tour of Sydney Harbour. It was absolutely AMAZING. Sadly I left my camera at the hotel for the boat tour, so I don't have any photos of that. It was a few hours and we sailed around the coastline while drinking tea and eating biscuits (some British influence there, I think). I have to be honest- I didn't want to go to Sydney. I was actually a little frustrated that Chris was SO insistent on going because I figured all big cities are basically the same and I'd rather go explore the nature- but boy was I wrong. I fell in LOVE with this place (we both did!). It is THE most beautiful city (probably why it's one of the most expensive in thew world....). I could have spent two weeks just in Sydney. In fact, one thing Chris and I have always talked about is where we want to settle down and raise our kids (England or the States). It's been an ongoing debate, and our minds change all the time about the pros and cons of both. But when we went to Sydney, we both agreed- we could totally live there forever! The city was bizarre- it reminded me of a mix of San Fransisco and Santa Barbara with all the coastline and architecture. But it had tons of British influence (yet significantly more laid back) so Chris felt right at home. It was like a California-meets-London hybrid. I mean, what more could you ask for?!

Later that day we went to go hang out with koalas and kangaroos- this part of the trip was (clearly) mostly Chris' doing :) He's been obsessed with kangaroos for as long as I can remember (I swear it's half the reason he wanted to go!) and so being able to see them up close was his absolute dream come true. It was kind of like watching a kid in a candy store. He named all the kangaroos and was pretty sure they were as excited about him as he was about them :) We ALSO got to see some koalas, which were pretty cute! Apparently they sleep something like 20 hours a day though, so they're not that exciting.... but still, adorable. And holding one was absolutely as adorable as you'd imagine- it's literally like a real life teddy bear! Christopher has been asking me for a pet kangaroo (he wants a small grey one) every day since we got back. And he still sends me photos of kangaroos at LEAST 3 times a week! We heard the Taronga Zoo was amazing and had a view of the Opera House, so we decided to make a stop there in the afternoon (even though we were absolutely exhausted and it was pouring down rain). It was a beautiful zoo, but all he really cared about was the kangaroos.... again. Even after we spent the morning with them :) 

Now for the honest review- if I had to go back, I would not go back to Featherdale. Anyone who knows me knows I'm a HUGE believer in animal rights, and I had the impression that this was a huge wildlife park where the animals roamed free. But I had an INCREDIBLY hard time seeing birds in cages only 7 feet tall by 5 feet wide- they wouldn't even really be able to fly. It felt cruel. I believe there's a difference between animals who can't survive in the wild (or who are endangered) and keeping perfectly healthy animals captive for no reason. I have mixed feelings on zoos, too, for that matter- on one hand they do a lot of good conservation work and the funds help protect endangered species. Sometimes I think the awareness they raise may mitigate some of the issues I have with them. Even so, I try to limit my patronage of these kinds of places. The issue I had at Featherdale was that the cages were tiny and cramped, whereas in a zoo at least there is usually SOME room for the animals to move. Even though the koalas and kangaroos were super adorable, I definitely wouldn't recommend this place if you ever visit the area!

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Rachel's Senior Photos | University of Washington, Seattle

One thing I actually do quite a bit of (and LOVE) are senior photos for students graduating from the University of Washington. Originally when we started this business, I ONLY wanted to shoot weddings- nothing else. But in recent years especially, I've actually been thinking about accepting more portrait sessions, because I think they're so much fun (and a little less pressure!).

I got to meet up with Rachel a few weeks ago to capture some photos of her on campus the week of graduation. Her parents weren't able to make it to graduation, and so she wanted to be able to capture something special that would allow them to feel like they'd been there. So with that, we set out to capture as many gorgeous photos as we could (not too hard when she has Disney princess hair and the campus is basically a castle already). I love shooting college seniors because it's such a monumental shift in their life- up until that point, they've spent their whole lives in school, and they're finally about to completely leave that safety net. It's a scary time (I remember it well) but it's also filled with so much joy and excitement. Rachel is absolutely the SWEETEST and I wasn't even remotely surprised to hear that she had a job lined up before she graduated- she went to visit her parents for a bit and then immediately jumped into work! Rachel, thank you for letting me capture such a monumental moment in your life! I had so much fun getting some gorgeous shots of you and I hope that these photos will serve to bring back fond memories of your time here at UW!

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Engagement Trip Part 1: The Blue Mountains, New South Wales, Australia (Day 1)

Engagement Trip Day 1: The Blue Mountains, New South Wales, Australia

For those of you who don't know, a few months ago, I got engaged! To the sweetest, silliest, most snuggly Brit. It's been a few months- we've been so busy!- but Chris and I are FINALLY excited to share with ya'll the images from our trip. We spent a few weeks in Australia and New Zealand, and I'd say it was the trip of a lifetime- but now that we officially have a lifetime of these trips, I really can't be sure :)

Day 1 of our trip started like everything Chris & I do in our lives- a complete whirlwind. We traveled for something like 24 straight hours to get here, but when we got off the plane, we were just way too excited. We don't like to relax when we go on vacation; we squeeze in anything and EVERYTHING we can. And so, true to our Seattle-dwelling roots, we grabbed giant coffees the minute we stepped off the plane, got our rental car, and- I kid you not- changed in the middle of the parking garage into fresh clothes. 

We drove a few hours to get to the Blue Mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage sight (one of our goals was to fit in as many of these as we could!). We took the steepest passenger railway in the world and hiked down into the valley where we spent hours just walking around and taking it all in. We later took a scenic cableway and caught the whole view from up above! What I found so magnificent about this place was how ancient it is. You could really feel the history and grandeur of the mountains. I've always felt God's presence the most when I'm out in His creation, and never was that more true than here. Every part of these mountains felt overwhelmingly large and significant compared to us.

After we were done exploring, we happened to meet the absolute SWEETEST couple ever. They lived in the mountains and took us to this lesser known lookout near where they lived- a place that perfectly overlooks the Jamison Valley at sunset. Those photos you'll see at the end of this section- where the sky is so radiantly orange and pink and red- were all taken there. We still talk about how thankful we were to have met them- they made us feel so welcome with their warmth and kindness and how excited they were to show us a piece of their home. At the end of the day (because 24 hours of travel and 8 hours in the mountains wasn't enough) we stopped by the Sydney Harbor for a drink.... and we fell in love. You'll see one photo of the bridge, but the photos of the Opera House (World Heritage site #2) were taken our last day, so they're at the end!

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Classic Black & White Masquerade Ballet Wedding Shoot | Featured on the Perfect Palette

Ahh!!! I can FINALLY SHARE!!! Friends, it has been KILLING me to not be able to share these images for THREE WHOLE MONTHS! This is probably going to go down as one of my favorite shoots of all time because it pulls from Disney princess AND ballet elements (and if you know me at all you know that's a BIG deal in my life!). My super adorable friend Angela of Love & Lemons Events planned and executed this whole shoot and let me tell you.... I could talk forever about this shoot (and I kind of want to, but I won't). We dreamed up this New Year's Eve Masquerade Ballet shoot, and even though we were shooting in Seattle in the middle of DECEMBER, it was bright and sunny (although absolutely freezing- our poor models were such troopers). I literally could NOT have asked for any more beauty to photograph in this shoot! And we were SO SO SO excited to see this featured on the Perfect Palette!

Enjoy! 

Design/Coordination | Love and Lemons Events

Florals | Umlaut and Ampersand

Cake/Sweets | Eat More Cake by Candice

Calligraphy/Stationary | Kelly Lee Design

HMUA | Pacific Brides

Gown | Theia Couture

Groom Attire | Belle Bridal

Venue | Stoneburner at Hotel Ballard

Decor/Rentals | @cortpartyrental @potterybarn_bellevue

Models | @smgmodels @ryankenconover @emily_seibert

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San Fransisco Trip

Hi, friends! Every once in awhile, we love to bring our cameras along to capture some of our adventures as a couple and when we do, I always love to share some of our favorites!

A few months ago, Chris and I went down to the Bay Area for a little weekend getaway after wedding season- we'd had a rough few months and needed to just unwind and decompress AWAY from everything! So Chris planned the sweetest little getaway (I got a winner!) and we had such a blast. I didn't love San Fransisco the first time I visited, but for some reason, I fell in love with it this time around.

Chris surprised me with a stay at the historic Fairmont- San Fransisco (where Tony Bennett first sang "I Left My Heart in San Fransisco"!) that is also home to the famous Tonga Room. He knows how much I LOVE classic architecture (I should really live in Europe!) and he knew I'd just adore it. He was right!

The first day, we just explored the city a bit. We walked along the water, visited the Golden Gate Bridge (we had to!), caught the sunset, admired the architecture around the city, and ate lots of good food. We also made a stop at the famous Lombard Street that night.... which was completely deserted, because it was a weekday evening and pretty late. I made Chris drive down it over and over again (no less than 8 times) so I could pretend I was on a ride at Disneyland! We also naturally had to make a stop at Alcatraz, and let me tell ya.... it was the creepiest thing I've ever done in my life. I don't know how to explain it, but I felt like you could just FEEL the heaviness and the despair within those walls. It was one of the most eerie experiences of my life, and I have absolutely NO desire to do that again (that said, it was REALLY fascinating!).

We also visited Sausalito, the world's most ADORABLE seaside town- but it was dark, and I'm SO sad we didn't get any photos of it! Thankfully our friends at Joy just moved down to San Fransisco, so next time we visit them, we'll be making a brunch stop there FOR SURE! On the advice of my sweet friend Amy of Gather Design Company (who hails from the Bay Area) we made a day trip out to Port Reyes and spent the day frolicking by the seashore :) We made another day trip out to Half Moon Bay, and it was stunning- even if it was all overcast and cloudy and looked more like what I imagine the Cliffs of Moher to be like than the coast of California!

We ALSO got to make a day trip out to Napa and Sonoma (one of my favorite places, ever.... because wine). Chris didn't even complain when I insisted we just HAD to stop on a mostly deserted road to pull over and get some pictures because "that light, those vineyards!!!"- that guy has the patience of a saint. I also discovered my new FAVORITE wine ever at the gorgeous Jacuzzi Family Vineyards and I keep meaning to get a wine club membership to there! It was some of my favorite wine I've ever had- I could actually taste all the flavors they said were in the wines, and they were all so crisp and refreshing and juicy! The next winery we went to after that cost about 4 times more per bottle and it wasn't nearly as tasty. So if you ever make it out to Napa/Sonoma, you just HAVE to stop by and give it a try :) Bonus: it looked like an Italian villa. Which I'll be honest, is the real reason we went. I believe I googled "castle wineries" in Napa/Sonoma, and picked which ones to go to based on which ones looked the prettiest. Priorities, right?

Enjoy some of the photos from our trip (in no particular order)!

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Julia of Wedding Wise Christmas Cards | Julia & Borce's Snow Session

I know I'm a little (okay, okay, a lot) behind on blogging, but things have been a LITTLE hectic lately! We've been so incredibly busy and that has been such a blessing! But it also means I've been waiting FOREVER to share some images with ya'll.... and one of them happens to be my sweet friend Julia of Wedding Wise!

Julia & I met about a year and a half ago when I was the lucky gal that got to be her date to Weddings in Woodinville because her husband was out of town! We quickly bonded over our mutual dislike of small talk (give us meaningful conversations ANY day!), our love of classic style, and our love for Jesus. It was a match made in heaven! Needless to say, I quickly fell in love with this sweet friend of mine, and when I first met her husband, Borce, awhile back, I fell in love with him, too! You guys. These two. I only WISH I could explain how darn adorable they are together! It doesn't take more than a minute to see that these two are completely made for each other. The way Borce can make Julia laugh and the sweetness they share is truly such a gift that you can't HELP but feel happy when you're around these two! Chris and I just love them and so it was such a joy to be able to take some Christmas card photos for the two of them. Julia and Borce, I wish everyone could have friends like you. We are always so thankful for you two- and we promise to make a trip out to the castle soon :)

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Krisanna Elizabeth's Calligraphy Workshop at Honey Crumb Cake Studio in Seattle | #KElligraphy

Today's post features my lovely friend Krisanna Elizabeth's very FIRST calligraphy workshop ever at the fabulous Honey Crumb Cake Studio in Seattle! Oh, friends, this post is one that's SO near and dear to my heart! Why, you ask? To answer that, I'm going to tell you a little story :)

A few years ago, I found myself unintentionally thrown into the midst of the craziness that IS the wedding industry. I never intended to turn this into a business. I never thought to myself that my dream in life was to be a wedding photographer. In fact, I never thought about it at all... until I became one. I had picked up photography just as a hobby- I wanted something to do for fun, and to be able to take photos of family vacations. But soon enough, I started getting better (little by little) and the inquiries started flowing.... and I found myself with a wedding photography business!

So there I was- a little nervous, shy, and petrified beyond belief. Did I mention how scared I was? That's when Krisanna of Krisanna Elizabeth came into my life. I emailed her one day because I saw a post of hers and thought she didn't seem too scary. A few weeks later, we met for tea. I don't know if we even really covered weddings- from the start, it felt more like friendship than a wedding industry acquaintance. She was kind, funny, warm, and she offered me the kind of encouragement and friendship I didn't know I needed in the industry until I had it. It was because of her that I finally found the confidence to reach out to other women in the industry. It was because of her that I suddenly didn't feel so alone or afraid. And for that reason, it's largely because of her that I am where I am today.

K, I love you, always (if the novel-length texts I send you aren't proof enough). I love your kindness, your obsession with 90s boy bands that shall remain unnamed, and the fact that above all else, you remain the most humble person I know. I could list a million reasons why I love you, K, but I think you already know most of them, anyway. 

And to the sweetest Carla of Honey Crumb Cake Studio: thank you for opening your space to us and for being such an incredibly welcoming host! If you haven't had a chance to meet Carla yet, you should (and not just because she's an amazing baker, though she is) but because she is the sweetest person on the planet with a positively brilliant mind. I MAY have carried around a batch of her brownies in my purse for a week after this little workshop (hey, I had to hide them from Chris somehow!). Enjoy, friends!

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Jeremy & Kayla's Classic Jewish Wedding at The Admiral's House | Featured in Seattle Bride Magazine "A Garden Party Celebration in Magnolia"

Jeremy & Kayla's stunning blush-filled classic wedding was an absolute fairytale in every way. Kayla is a total planner (she brought her notebook full of notes to our first meeting!) and needless to say her planning skills DEFINITELY shone through on their wedding day! Their wedding was the epitome of a classic, elegant, and romantic affair. They had a traditional Jewish ceremony at The Admiral's House, a stunning white mansion in Magnolia overlooking the Seattle skyline, with tons of greenery and cream and blush peonies and roses everywhere (courtesy of the amazing Althauser Design). It made my photographer's heart oh-so-happy! As I'm sure you can imagine, as excited as we were about seeing their gorgeous wedding in Seattle Bride Magazine (online AND in print!)... keeping these images completely under wraps has been so hard!!! I've been waiting for months to share this beautiful wedding and am so thankful I can finally share it!

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Riverside Elopement Shoot | Lake Stevens, WA

This shoot was a fun little collaboration between two of my SUPER sweet friends in the industry/favorite people ever, Angela of Love & Lemons Events and Amy of Gather Design Company. If I could insert two hundred heart emojis here, I would, believe me :) I love these two and getting to work with them is always such a dream! For this shoot we drove WAY north of Seattle to this riverbed that was completely secluded. And oh my word it was SO worth the drive!!! It was still fall when we did this shoot (I know, I know, I'm way behind!!!) so the fall leaves were just absolutely stunning. Amy & Angela dreamed up this shoot as a low-key, elopement style shoot with a picnic, which I loved!!! Taylor and Kyle are an actual couple (and I mean, how adorable are they?!) and Angela actually MADE the gorgeous plaid skirt that Taylor is wearing! And ya'll know I love anything Amy has ever done and ever will do, but I think she may have outdone herself with this bouquet. I mean.... seriously. It was jaw-dropping!!! Enjoy!

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Brad and Mandi's Mount Rainier Elopement

There are a few things I'm not a fan of when it comes to being a wedding photographer in Seattle. Well, one thing, to be exact: rain. I just LOVE those stunning sunset shots and we seem to get a lot of gray cloudy days here! And I won't lie, there have been days where I think about relocating somewhere sunnier (pretty much every day from November-May, actually). But then? Then summer rolls around. And every year, like clockwork, I wonder how in the world I could ever, ever, ever leave this place. Because Seattle in the rain is pretty (if a bit dreary). But Seattle in the summer? I'm not sure if there's anywhere that can beat it. Case in point: Brad and Mandi's STUNNING Mount Rainier elopement that could probably convince anyone in the world Washington State is the most beautiful place on earth.

Brad and Mandi's elopement was absolutely everything a photographer could dream of and more.  We hiked to a small little secluded spot where the view of the mountain was jaw-droppingly beautiful, and I fell in love. Their ceremony convinced me that elopements are probably my new favorite thing in the world. Seriously. I think I've decided I want to shoot these all the time. Because their wedding day was absolutely perfect in every way. They had originally been planning a "traditional" ceremony in their hometown, but soon after decided to go with something that felt perfectly them. And here's why:

Exactly one year to the day before they said "I do", Brad summited Mount Rainier. Having grown up in the stunning Pacific Northwest with Rainier just in his backyard, it was a longtime goal of his to reach the summit. Little did Mandi know, however, that he had purchased her ring before he began the trek. And he took it with him- all the way to the top. When he returned, he proposed- with a ring that had been to the top of the mountain that is such a beloved hallmark of our lovely PNW. 

It seemed only fitting, then, for two adventurers like them, to have a ceremony that reflected so beautifully who they are together. When Mandi told me they had decided to elope to the mountain, I can’t say I was surprised- but I was absolutely thrilled! They had selected this perfect spot to say their vows a few weeks prior on a hike, so it was a bit of a trek to get to this secluded spot that was off the beaten path- and it was oh so worth the view!! And so, surrounded by only a few people in the world, they were married in a beautifully intimate ceremony on top of the mountain that means so much to them. And then in true Brad and Mandi fashion, we all stopped for burgers and beer at the base of the mountain on our way home! I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect wedding day for these two, because it so beautifully represented who they are- adventurous, non-traditional, joyful, spontaneous, free-spirited. It seemed only fitting that the stunningly raw, rugged, jaw-dropping beauty of the Pacific Northwest would serve as the backdrop for the union of two truly beautiful people. Brad and Mandi, thank you for welcoming Chris and I into your lives with arms wide open, just like you do to everyone who meets you. It's impossible not to feel joyous and loved around the two of you, and for that, we are so grateful. You, and your wedding, day will forever be incredibly special to us.

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David + Madi's Stevens Pass Engagement Session

This sweet engagement session was a little extra close to our hearts and I am SO excited to finally share it!!! David and Madi are two of mine and Chris' good friends and we just absolutely adore them!!! I've been trying to think about exactly how to put everything into words for these two, and everything I can think of just seems to fall short. For some reason, even though it should feel easy, deciding what to write about these lovely friends of ours feels close to impossible. You just can't help but fall in love with these two high-school sweethearts, though. They are kind and loving and generous and funny and, most importantly (in Chris' world) they came to our last Halloween party with Madi dressed as a devil and David as an egg. Deviled egg, get it? Well, Chris STILL talks about that costume. Something about British people and their puns, I suppose? :) In all seriousness, though, these two are actually some of our only "couple" friends, so being with them is always incredibly special because it's one of the only times where we can BOTH hang out with our friends together. Having that has been such a blessing to us! And the most exciting part for us is that we'll get to be the ones to hang out with them their whole wedding day!

Madi is a wedding planner herself, with the amazing Taylor'd Events, so this wedding will be a little extra fun because it's not ONLY for one of my super sweet friends but ALSO for another industry pro! We ventured all the way up to Stevens Pass for these snowy shots, and it was basically like being in a snow globe. Seriously, snow photos have stolen my heart. They've won me over. I could shoot in a snow globe like this ALL DAY EVERY DAY. And next time, I'll even remember to dress properly so I don't wind up with snow down my ankles and wet socks :) So you can imagine how EXTRA thankful I was for these two bringing us hot cocoa for the ride back! See how sweet they are?! Oh and also.... wait until you see their sweet pup, Taz. He's the cutest!

And one more. Because.... well, because I just love it. This candid was one of the last photos we caught, when David decided to jump-sit in a pile of snow, and I love how adorable they look!!! Can you see why we love them so much?!

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Reid + Brittany's University of Washington Couple Session

This sweet session has SO many things I love. The most adorable couple ever (who got engaged shortly after these were taken!!!), our GORGEOUS alma matter (seriously, all three of us! And it's basically a castle, am I right?!?), one stunning pink gown (that Brittany wore when she competed in Miss Washington), and my absolutely amazing friend Amy of Gather Design Company's florals. I mean... what's NOT to love?!

Brittany is a Purre Barre instructor and is a former Sea Gal for the Seattle Seahawks.... and you can totally see why when you meet her. She's sweet and funny and passionate and one of the first things I thought when we met up was how I could TOTALLY picture her up in front of a class being just as bubbly and encouraging as could be. (Side note: one day I'd like to take her class, but I'm a little scared it might kill me because let's be real I spend significantly more of my free time Netflix-binging than working out...). Reid is an attorney and is seriously BRILLIANT. I got to spend a few minutes talking with him before Brittany arrived and I kept wondering if there was anything he didn't know something about. Plus, they love country music (!!!) which is a pretty rare find in Seattle proper.... which is pretty much all I need for a killer session like this one. Enjoy!!!

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Bo + Krystal's Fall Anniversary Session | As featured on Joy Wed

Wow ya'll, we have some SERIOUS blogging to catch up on. Like, most of our work isn't even up on the website yet catching up... but I'm SO excited to finally get started sharing some of our latest work!!! Starting with this GORGEOUS anniversary session in Discovery Park (because let's be real, there's absolutely nowhere in the world as perfect as Seattle in the fall....).

Bo & Krystal celebrated their one year anniversary (and are soon to-be-parents to what will inevitably be the world's most adorable baby!), and so their session was an absolute blast! Krystal was an ACTUAL Disney Princess when she was living in California, where she met Bo (trust me, as soon as you see the photos, you'll see why she was clearly THE most picture-perfect Disney princess ever!). Not long after that, she relocated to Seattle, became a Seagal for the Seattle Seahawks, they got married, and the rest was history. Add in their two picture-perfect pups (Diego the Doodle and Sandwich, named for Krystal's favorite food...), and you have the sweetest real-life fairytale ever. Their adorable story is only made better by the fact that they're also two of the sweetest people ever!

For their shoot, I teamed up with my absolutely AMAZING/crazy talented friend Amy of Gather Design Company for this autumn-themed anniversary session. Amy being as talented as she is, I told her the dress was cream, and then told her to just go for it.... and she made the most STUNNING bouquet of yellows & golds that just screams "it's fall, ya'll" in the most elegant way! Amy has been such a dear friend to me in the industry and working with her is always such a dream! Seriously, I'd shoot her work every.single.day. You can also find their session featured on Joy Wed here!!!

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Why We Always Include Two Photographers

Happy Wednesday, friends! We've loved sharing a little bit about the heart behind our business here on our blog and are so thankful you all take the time to read along! Today's post is one I've been wanting to write for a VERY long time. We include two photographers in EVERY PACKAGE. We know we don't have to. We know we could make a lot more money if we didn't. We know it's not exactly common, in Seattle or elsewhere. But we choose to shoot as a team, and here's why:

Okay, we'll start with the obvious here. Having two of us enables us to be in two places at once, capturing each day from two perspectives. And that's what we're all about. We want to preserve these moments. We want our couples to have something to hold onto. Because we believe that this world can be a dark, stormy place. And that love is all that's worth holding onto in the end, anyway. That's our WHY. It's what drives our business. It's why we desire to SERVE our couples well. And we believe we that giving them two perspectives enables us to serve them better, and to preserve those precious moments better. So what does this MEAN for each part of the day?

Getting Ready: Usually I'll go with the bride and bridesmaids and Chris will go with the groom and groomsmen. This allows us to capture BOTH parts of the getting ready, instead of me having to run in and out of each room hoping I don't miss something! Chris will also usually cover candids while I'm busy snapping detail shots (the dress, shoes, etc.)

First Look: Traditionally, first looks are only photographed from one angle- the groom seeing his bride. But having two of us means I can capture her as she walks down to meet him, and his expression when he first sees her! But at the same time, Chris is able to capture him while he waits for his bride, and he captures her expression when she first sees her groom! This way we get to capture BOTH of their expressions! 

Group Shots: Usually during group shots, Chris will capture some of the detail shots of the group- all their bouquets lined up, or their socks, for example. While I'm shooting the traditional portraits, he'll be snapping candids of the moments in between and all the little details!

Ceremony: I always shoot the processional, so I'm at the head of the aisle catching everyone as they walk down. Chris hangs back and waits- that way when the bride walks down the aisle, he's able to capture her from behind! This always makes for some amazing shots because we get her walking down the aisle from the front AND back- which is always a great chance to really showcase the dress and that walk towards her groom! Then Chris typically will shoot from the wings while I stay back and get the classic straight-on ceremony shots.

Couple Portraits: Like with group shots, I usually take the lead here, and do all of the posing and directing. Chris will hang out slightly to my side, and he tends to shoot either A) really wide shots, or B) really up close shots. Since I'm getting the more traditional focal lengths, Chris has the opportunity to really nail down some other focal lengths we probably wouldn't get otherwise! Because he's also shooting from a different angle, it usually gives us more images in a short amount of time, too!

Reception: The reception is the easy part, since we kind of just get to hang back and snap candids as they happen!! But I actually think Chris' candids tend to be better than mine sometimes! I trained him too well! :) During this part of the day, we don't have a specific way we divide the labor- we both just kind of mill around and snap images, and since we usually have plenty of room, we don't need to worry about getting in each others' way! 

If there is one thing I believe, it's that EVERY wedding deserves a second shooter. Not only does it give you an extra layer of protection (like we wrote about before), but it allows FULL coverage of your entire day. One person can do it all, sure. But one person is just that.... one person. They CAN'T be in more than one place. They can't be directing everyone and snapping candids at the same time. There's just limits to what any one human can do! But having two photographers allows for that great mix of candid and posed photos, because you have one person who can direct and another who can continue shooting. It gives you more angles, more coverage, and more images. It's why we include two photographers in every single package. Because we want to SERVE our couples. And we believe the best way we can serve them is to give them our very best. And two photographers? We believe it's always better than one :) 

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Coming Soon to SEATTLE BRIDE MAGAZINE | Jeremy + Kayla's Classic Wedding at the Admiral's House

Happy Thursday, friends! We just have the BEST news ever!!! We're so excited to share that Jeremy and Kayla's beautiful wedding will be featured in the next issue of Seattle Bride Magazine!!! Can you BELIEVE it?! I certainly can't!!! (I mean, I definitely can because their wedding was INSANELY beautiful, but it's still just so surreal and hard to believe that my work will be featured in a MAGAZINE!). That means I have to keep their photos under wraps for the time being, but I did just have to share one quick sneak peek of all the prettiness that will inevitably come in their magazine feature and blog post, once I'm able to share it! Jeremy and Kayla, thank you for allowing us to capture your special day. We loved every minute of your wedding and are SO excited to relive your special day when the next issue of Seattle Bride comes out!!!

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Brian + Amanda | MARRIED | The Fields at Willie Green's

Today's wedding is a hard one for me. If I'm being honest, I've pushed it off a little. Not because I didn't want to write it, though. In fact, the exact opposite. But because I've been racking my brain for weeks trying to figure out how I could possibly even begin to put into words how much this sweet wedding meant to me, and yet every time I fall short. I don't know if I could truly express what this wedding meant to me. Because this special day was for one of my dear friends who I love so very much! And so being able to be there with Amanda on her wedding day was truly such a gift. We've had many friends- Amanda included- express to us that while they'd love for us to shoot their wedding, they feel a little weird about asking us to work.

And every time, we have the same response. Weddings don't feel like work to us. But when they're for our loved ones? Even less so. And Amanda and Brian's wedding day is exactly why. We got to spend all day with two of the sweetest people in the whole world and it was such a JOY. Because I got to spend all day just spending time with this sweet friend of mine on the most important day of her life. And that feeling is not something I could ever put into words, except that it's the greatest blessing. Amanda.... thank you for being one of the kindest, most generous, giving, selfless people I have ever known. You spend your days taking care of others as a nurse because that's who you are... the one who cares for people. You light up every room you walk into with that infectious smile that always makes your eyes sparkle- the one that radiates so much joy and love. It's that smile that makes everyone fall in love with you, because we're all drawn to your warmth, your compassion, and your sweet spirit in a world too often filled with darkness. Thank you for being who you are. Thank you for making my life brighter because you're in it.

And now Brian.... I always knew that whoever managed to snag your wife would be one lucky guy. I also knew he'd have to be one pretty incredible one to ever deserve someone like her. And from the moment I heard her talk about you, I just knew. I don't know why, but something in my gut told me that this was it. Because of the way her eyes- which already sparkle so beautifully- seemed to shine a little brighter. Because that smile she always has would change, just a little, whenever she talked about you. She would get this sweet smile whenever she told me about you. Because from the moment you two started dating, you treated her the way she deserved. It didn't take long for it to sink in that you'd be the one, and I couldn't have asked for anyone better for my sweet friend. Thank you for loving her so well. Brian and Amanda, thank you for letting Chris and I be a part of your wedding day. Thank you for the love you share with each other and the people around you. This world (and my life) is a better place because of you two in it. I love you so much!!! XOXO

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How Do We Protect Your Wedding and Engagement Photos? | Seattle Wedding Photographer

Hello again, friends!!! Today we're addressing a REALLY important question that comes up in almost every consultation, so we thought we'd write a little about it to hopefully answer questions for our couples, as well as for our other photog friends :)

When I first started shooting weddings, I was terrified. Not of doing a good job (although that, too).... but of LOSING the images. It didn't matter that it was statistically extremely rare... even that tiny chance was too much for me. I'm a worrier, ya'll. That did NOT help! :) And so one of the most important things in our business are the systems we've developed to make sure your images are protected and safe. Is is still possible that we could somehow end up with memory card corruption, or lost images? Sure. It could happen to anyone. But no matter what, Chris and I feel strongly that we need to be able to sleep at night. And to us, that means knowing that we are doing anything and everything we can to make sure it DOESN'T happen to us or to our clients. That's why we take every precaution we can think of. Here are the major precautions we take (along with other basic ones, like properly reformatting our cards and properly upkeeping and cleaning our gear):

  1. Multiple external hard drives. This one is super important. We keep all photos on two external hard drives at any given time (we get huge ones, so they're several terabytes). That way, if we somehow lost an external hard drive due to technology failure, we'd still have the other one with all your images on it! We think it's incredibly important to make sure the images are stored in more than one place, at least until we've finished and released them! For our fellow photography friends, this is an incredibly easy step to make sure you're taken care of and your clients images are safe. We always try to keep photos even after each wedding on both hard drives, which means we can collect quite a number of them! But at the VERY least, you should keep the photos in more than one place until you deliver them to your client! It's a simple solution to making sure you can breathe a little easier knowing your photos (and their memories) are safe :)
  2. Two photographers + backup gear. Chris shoots every wedding with me. Every. Single. One. We're a photography team, and we LOVE it that way!!! We have a blast shooting weddings together :) The reasons why I love shooting with another photographer deserve their own post entirely (coming up!) but for now, suffice to say one reason is that it provides an extra layer of protection. If we somehow lost all of my images, we'd still have his. Plus, we have a third backup camera, and a bunch of lenses, so even if our gear stopped working somehow (it's never happened, but I'm sure it's possible?), we could still keep shooting! This is more of a preventative measure if something were to go wrong, but I still consider it protecting your images.... because if something failed on the wedding day and we didn't have backups, we wouldn't be able to deliver any images at all! That's why we believe it's so important to make sure our backup gear is prepped and ready to go before every wedding. In fact, Chris even carries it on his person in case something were to happen during a moment like the ceremony or reception that we can't get back! During portraits, we could run inside and grab it if we needed to, but during those candid moments, that's not an option. So we just keep it with us! For our fellow photographers, these are two easy steps you can take, too! If you can't afford to buy backups quite yet (we couldn't when we were just starting out, either... it took three years of weddings before we could afford to buy them!) you can usually rent gear for a pretty good price! Here in Seattle my favorite is Glazers Rentals, which I still use sometimes when I'm trying to decide if I want a new lens or if I like it, or if I want to test it out and see how much use I would get out of it! The small fee is definitely worth the peace of mind :)
  3. Dual memory card slots. I shoot with the Canon 5D Mark III (AKA my baby!!!) and I just ADORE it!!! This feature right here is actually the WHOLE reason I bought this camera, too! Other than that, there's no noticeable difference between my Mark III and the 6D Chris shoots with. I've used both of them, and I love them both. The only reason the Mark III won out for my permanent camera was this one feature! This means everything I take is being recorded on two cards. So even if one memory card somehow became corrupted, I would have the other card :) Memory card corruption is incredibly rare, and we buy top of the line cards to make sure it doesn't happen, but hey- this world is a crazy place, right?!? That'w why we love this camera! Even the chance of ONE card being corrupted is small, but two? Highly unlikely. For our photographer friends, we recommend San Disk Extreme Pro cards.
  4. Cloud storage galleries. Once we deliver our clients images, we give them a link to their gallery. Their high-resolution, edited images are stored in the cloud for 10 years. That means once they get their wedding photos back, if all my hard drives and computers were to fail, they wouldn't lose their photos! Basically, we keep the photos in multiple locations until we deliver them, and then they're stored in the cloud! Super easy, right? :) We love Pass for this. Bonus: since we deliver less than 100 photos, all our engagement sessions are free, and we only pay for wedding galleries! And it's not expensive, either. I'll pay $30 ANY DAY to make sure my clients images are protected for a decade! For our fellow photogs, if you're not already using PASS, check it out! It's so simple and amazing.... our clients love it! The fact that it's so affordable makes it a great option for professionals and new photographers alike! 

To our brides, we hope that helps! We want you to know that your images and your memories are so important to us, and capturing them is an incredible honor. And as much as we love what we do and have a lot of fun with it, it's also not a responsibility we take lightly. And to our photographer friends, we hope this gives you some affordable and simple options to making sure your clients memories are protected... all while letting you sleep a little better at night knowing your work is safe, too :)

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My Favorite Pre and Post-Wedding Remedies | Seattle Wedding Photographer

Happy Wednesday, friends!! I've only recently started really using Instagram the way it's supposed to be used (fun fact: did you know for the first year I had my IG account I thought it was ONLY a photo editing app? I had NO idea people could see what I posted!!! Talk about living under a rock! And seriously, thank goodness I never posted anything embarrassing... and that I only had a personal account at the time. Haha!!!). Anyway, in the past week alone we've had nearly 200 new followers on IG- all fellow photographers, which is always such an honor! And we've noticed lots of you are reading our blog! You, dear friends, are the BEST. Seriously. 

Today's post is something that I hope will be helpful to all our friends in the industry! For those of you who've read my story- which by this point is literally thousands and thousands of you- you know that my journey to photography was a painful one. But here's something most people still don't know, and it's not something I've shared openly until now: as a result of my illness, I still suffer from systemic chronic pain that affects every part of my body. Not going to lie- it can get pretty rough, especially with a job that means being on my feet constantly. The disease also left me with arthritis in my early twenties, meaning my joints can get especially stiff, especially in the fall and winter. But believe it or not, that's not my point here: my point is that when I first started weddings, because of my pain levels, they were extraordinarily hard on my body. One wedding would leave me essentially bedridden for almost a week after as my body recovered. But this year, with lots of systems in place and the care of one pretty awesome doctor, we were able to start taking TWO weddings in one weekend- something I never would have believed possible, even last year! We still don't do it often, because it's a lot of work for anyone (can I get an amen?!). But knowing I CAN do it has been extraordinarily empowering! So here's my whole reason for writing this whole blog post: for all you fellow photographers out there who spend way too many hours on your feet, here are some of the things I've found to be helpful (and by that I mean things I couldn't live without!!!). Keep in mind I'm not a medical doctor so this can't be considered advice, but these are things that have worked for me, even with chronic pain! Hopefully that means they would be even MORE effective if someone didn't have that?! Make sure you check with your doctor before starting anything new, of course, because this is just my anecdotal experience about what's helped me go from being unable to get out of bed for days at a time to doing two weddings in a row! Here they are:

  • Epsom Salts: I probably take 3-4 epsom salt baths a week. Occasionally, if it's extra bad, I'll go do a "Float"- which is essentially a small pool as concentrated as the dead sea. They're not super common right now, but there are a few (your city may have one!). My favorite is Float Seattle. That gets expensive though, so I like to do one at home several times a week and save those for when it's really a rough week! It works WONDERS for sore muscles! Most days, I pour 4lbs of epsom salt in the tub, but after a wedding- especially if I have another one the next day- I'll sometimes do 8-12lbs (2-3 bags). Or even better- buy it in bulk from Amazon and save lots of money :)
  • Yoga: One of my favorite FREE resources is Do Yoga With Me! You can sign up for free and they have a TON of online classes that you can take completely free!!! The best part is you can search by class length, type of yoga, and more. My favorite is Hatha Yoga, which is a gentle, stretching based yoga. It's not a meditative or religious yoga like some, and it's not a workout like others. It's basically just linking stretches in a flow with your breath, and it's amazing! When I have a trouble area, I'll do Yin yoga, which is essentially the same thing but with really long holds for stretches.... that will take all the tension away for sure :) I try to do this a few times a week, too. PS- I don't know why exactly, but actually doing these yoga classes is FAR more effective than just stretching alone, so it's worth considering! And it's free! So there's nothing to lose :) Although yoga can be a bit strange to get used to at first, so make sure you give it a solid few weeks if you decide to try it.
  • Chiropractic: Okay, I'm convinced chiropractors work wonders. CONVINCED. If you've never tried one, all I can say is it's literally been a Godsend for me. I don't know WHERE I would be without my chiropractor!!! He keeps my back, neck, and ribs in place. Before I saw him, I never realized how tense or tight my muscles were because I thought it was so normal. But now I see him several times a month and he keeps my pain levels and tension way more manageable. I can't recommend this highly enough to ANYONE, but especially other photogs with all the time we spend hunched over our computers or on our feet! Plus he keeps headaches at bay, too- which I'm sure ya'll can relate to with the insane amount of time we stare at our screens :) Because of my illness, I've had a lot of fractures (I lost count, but we're upwards of a dozen now!). During those times where I was recovering- including once with 3 broken vertebrae and two broken ankles at the same time- my chiropractor was the ONLY thing keeping me functional. At all. It is hands down the most INCREDIBLE thing in the world (in my humble opinion).
  • Massage: Did you know most insurances will cover massage therapy? How cool is that!!! My massage therapist is a miracle worker, so I try to schedule massages around weddings and then regular ones as maintenance, too. Note these aren't relaxing, nice, soothing massages. They're deep, painful, and actually a little uncomfortable. If I'm being honest, they're not super fun. But she helps with the pain in my neck and shoulders from being at a desk too much and carrying all my heavy gear! Plus she's given me back a significant range of motion that I lost due to nerve damage. It's definitely worth a look to see if it's something your insurance might cover, too :)
  • Melatonin: I just started this a few weeks ago, but I don't even remember the last time I slept through the night. It's been so many years I can't even recall!!! For me, that's been an unfortunate side effect of chronic pain, but it's one I've become used to, and so it never occurred to me that there might be a way to fix it! On a whim, I decided to try melatonin (I'm very pro-natural-remedies whenever possible). I was not expecting it to work. At all. Literally. I just was in a curious mood and wanted to buy something natural and organic and thought "Eh! Why not?" But YA'LL. This stuff WORKS. So for all of you who have trouble sleeping the night before a wedding like I do, or who just don't seep well in general, this might be worth looking into! My productivity and energy levels have gone through the roof. It's so bizarre because it just makes me feel slightly sleepy without feeling drugged- then all of a sudden it's morning and I've slept through the whole night! It's a miracle! But it's NOTHING like the sleep medications they've given me in the past, which I would try but then feel so loopy and weird I was a non-functional human for a solid 24 hours :) This is really important because when we work such long hours it's important to get quality sleep!!!
  • Guided Meditation: Again, this is something I tried on a whim, and I haven't experimented with it a lot! I just got bored one day, started googling random things, and this popped into my head! I found a video on Youtube that I LOVE and it's really helped me relax! Seriously, this puts me to sleep every time, so when I need a midday power nap or a nice long sleep, I turn this on and it makes me feel like I'm melting into a cloud :) 

Again, please note that this cannot be construed as medical advice, and check with your doctor before starting anything new. These are just the things I've personally found to be helpful, and I wanted to share in case it may help anyone else get some ideas about various therapies to look into! 

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The Best New Wedding Resource That's Completely FREE!!! | Seattle Wedding Photographer

Happy Monday, friends!! 

I hope ya'll had a wonderful Labor Day weekend! Today I'm introducing you to one of the best revolutions the wedding industry has seen in a LONG time. Brides, if you want a simple, easy wedding planning app that's FREE and takes just a few minutes to create, this is for you. And wedding pros, here are all the reasons why this resource is a life-saver for you and your couples!! PS- disclaimer: I happen to know the team behind this amazing app, but they have no idea I'm writing this. They won't know until it's posted, and I'm not being paid for this! I just know how amazing it is and wanted to share a helpful and free resource for our couples and other wedding pros! This is a long post, but it's worth the read, because ya'll, I PROMISE this is one of the most amazing new wedding resources out there!

Introducing you to JOY. The amazing new wedding planning and website app that's completely free to couples!!! They are currently down at Y Combinator in Silicon Valley, and for those of you who are familiar with startup world, you know that's the NUMBER ONE startup incubator in the NATION!!! It's INSANELY hard to get selected by YC and so this alone should tell you how amazing their product is! One of my good friends got married a few months ago, and they used one of the traditional wedding websites. But she told me it took her and her now-husband an entire WEEKEND to create it!! It was a nightmare! Let me tell ya, friends.... I tested Joy for the team before it was even released, and it took me less than ten minutes to create. It's basically the Apple of wedding websites. If it tells you how amazing they are, they've been referenced by Wedding Chicks, Product Hunt, Harpers Bazaar, and Vogue, just to name a few in the past month!!! Anyway, enough rambling... here are some of the features, and why this free resource is the best thing you can do to simplify the wedding process for you and your guests!!!:

  • Website + App: It's primarily an app that brides/grooms and guests can use, but it conveniently doubles as a wedding website! It can also serve as just one or the other if they prefer, so they don't have to use both- basically it's just the easiest wedding website creator ever!
  • Collect Photos: Guests can collectively upload all iPhone photos from the day so the bride/groom and other guests can collect all the candids from their day in one place! A great way to avoid having to figure out who has what photo, where it is, and then texting or sending it back and forth! All the guests can upload all their candids, and then the bride and groom, and other guests, can have all the photos! So easy! PLUS, the bride and groom can upload all their engagement and professional wedding photos, too, so guests can see them as well!!!
  • Security: The bride and groom can customize the features as well as the security of their website, so you can make it private if you'd like! They can also control if guests can share the photos on Instagram or Facebook.
  • Guest List/RSVPs: You can track guest lists in Joy as well as RSVP- super easy since we all know not every guest always remembers to send back their RSVP card! PLUS, you can actually import spreadsheets into Joy, and then still use Joy for the online RSVP feature! This is really important because not many wedding websites have a guest management feature, and NO wedding website has done it as smoothly as the team at Joy.
  • Bridal Party/Guest List: You can introduce the bridal party to the guests, and guests can also see a list of all the other people who are attending through the interactive guest list! This is especially great when people are traveling and might want to coordinate plans, but has no idea who is going to the wedding! This is one of my personal favorite features because last time we had an out of town wedding for a college friend of Chris, we had no idea who would be there and so we couldn't plan what to do or who to do it with- we wished we could have known so we could have reached out to plan things, since everyone was going to be there for a whole weekend! But we couldn't very well text all his old college friends and ask who'd be there, because A) that would take forever, and B) we had no idea who was even invited.
  • Vendors: All guests will have access to the vendor list, so they'll be able to see who everyone was that worked the wedding! Great free publicity for you vendors out there :)
  • Multiple Admins: They can have as many admins as needed to manage and control the site! Great option to allow planners to send specific messages to people! So for all you planners out there, this feature is great! 
  • Schedule/Travel/Dates: Right within the app, you can have all the necessary addresses, directions, travel accommodations and activities for out of town guests, and any other schedule related items so guests can access it all in one place and don't need to try to track all that information down or remember it. Again, we love this feature, because it's so much easier than trying to remember the invitation or wedding website. It's all right within the app!
  • Guest notifications: Joy can deliver custom notifications and messages- either through email or notifications in-app so the bride and groom can send any messages or reminders to their guests! This is great because the bride and groom can have reminders go out to tell guests important tidbits- for example, not to wear heels, to remind them to turn off their cell phone before the ceremony, that it's an unplugged ceremony, etc.

So for all you wedding pros out there, start recommending this FREE and EASY resource for your couples!!! They'll thank you for it!! But first, try it for yourself and see how easy it is. I've done it, and I LOVE it!!! I seriously love the team at Joy and the product they've created, and I promise it's basically the best idea to hit the wedding industry in a long time. I'm absolutely going to use it for my own wedding, and I tell all my friends in the industry about it. Do yourselves a favor and go spend some time learning about this amazing app!

 

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