The Galbraith Family

A Wright Park Family Session

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing the Galbraith family ever since Rachel was the maid of honor in the very first wedding I ever photographed. She, and her wonderful husband are the kind of genuine, warm, compassionate people that you can’t help but like. They are gentle souls… and as their family grew with two boys and a gorgeous little girl I ‘ve had the pleasure of seeing them once or twice a year to capture their family photos.

This year we met at Wright Park in Tacoma with their extended family, including Micah’s twin brother! While photographing the family I found out that Micha’s dad - the Senior Mr. Galbraith was the actor who played the original Aqua Velva Man! How amazing is that? I just think that’s so cool!

It was a great time getting to know Micha’s twin brother, and all of his sisters, their spouses and kids. This is one full, charismatic group - you just have to smile when you’re with them!

The fall color at Wright Park in October can’t be beat… it’s really gorgeous, and the mature trees and surrounding architecture make this one of my favorite locations to photograph families. There’s room to roam, and you can take advantage of the gorgeous conservatory as well as a charming metal gazebo, and a small pond area.



An Eatonville Family Session

Tricia and her family met me at the most amazing piece of property in Eatonville. A family friend of Tricia’s generously allowed us to use their acreage for her autumn family photography session. I love the vintage barn, and the warm colors in the outfits that Tricia expertly put together.

The tall grasses, warm autumn colors, vintage quilt and custom bench made this family session unique. I really love being able to incorporate my collection of vintage quilts in your family sessions. There is something homey and comforting about an heirloom quilt.

This bench was a gift from Tricia’s future son in law. The back of the bench is the tailgate of Tricia’s son’s Chevy truck. Sadly Tricia lost her son in an accident, and this incredibly meaningful gift was incorporated into her session to honor him.

Abby's Cake Smash

A Boho Floral Themed Cake Smash

I can’t believe Abby has turned one! Her momma contacted me with dreams of putting together a boho floral cake smash to celebrate this sweet girl’s first birthday. Pulling a few fun accessories from my stash, and adding to that a new princess net tent and some fun floral accents created the perfect bohemian floral backdrop for this cutie’s cask smash session.

We started in her lovely little dress - which matched the decor perfectly. Then it was time to get to that cake! She was hesitant at first, but pretty soon Abby was totally into it, and enjoying all the sweet, sticky goodness!

Cake smash sessions are kind of my favorite thing! I love putting together cute accessories, and getting to enjoy the babies in their adorable outfits. About half of the time babies aren’t too thrilled with the cake… it seems impossible, I know. But they don’t like the texture or taste perhaps, or they’ve just entered the “stranger danger” stage and they don’t want to have anything to do with me, or my scary camera…. but not Abby.

She was all smiles and it was so much fun getting to spend this evening with her and your family while we created these adorable images!

Red Barn Studios Engagement Session

A Red Barn Studios Engagement Session

You know what I adore… like, seriously makes me over-the-top happy?  When I get referrals. Having a couple chose me as their wedding photographer because they love their friend’s or family member’s images means so much to me.  It’s like happiness and validation, and the warm fuzzies all wrapped up together!

I really strive to build a relationship with my couples. I want to know how your wedding planning is going. I want to help support you with vendor recommendations if you need them.  I want to help you develop your timeline, and hear all about your wedding photography wish list. And once the wedding is over - I still want to know when you’re moving to a new place, or taking an epic vacation.  And if, or when you start a family my heart will give a little tug, and I’ll usually pull up your wedding photos and relive that moment for a bit. Because I LOVE this job. I love creating wedding images that mean something special to the couples who trust me to document the beginning of their journey as a married couple.

Makenzi and James met me at the Red Barn Studios in Chehalis for their early morning engagement photos.  We chose an 8 am start time because the sun is less harsh than later in the day. Plus it left the whole rest of the day for these love birds to get some breakfast and enjoy their weekend together. There’s so much to love about this venue - but can we talk about the lighting upstairs in the barn...for just a moment, can you drink it all in?  Check out this romantic dip kiss in that light! Feeling proud of this image, I won’t lie to you. I just love how warm and open the space is.

As we moved around the property we talked to the chickens - okay so I talked to the chickens, we hung out with their umm, well fed, Aussie who is sweet as can be, and we took advantage of the apple trees, the dirt road, the pretty barn doors, and the quaint outbuildings (as well as the shade they provided - it’s been hot!).  

We mixed in a few close up shots with traditional lovey-dovey “kiss that girl like you mean it” poses.  There’s always a bit of nervousness and what-do-I-do-with-my-hands moments when you’ve never been professionally photographed before.  And you know what? That’s just fine. We chat, we joke around a bit, I help you with posing and give you some guidance - and before you know it you feel like a pro in front of the camera!  

James and Makenzi came prepared in proper country attire with their boots and plaids. Even when you’re not getting dressed up in formal wear for your session professional hair and makeup makes all the difference, and Makenzi’s gorgeous red hair is just perfection - she’s going to be a seriously beautiful bride at her late summer wedding next year.  When booking your own wedding or engagement session I would be happy to provide contact information for some amazing hair and makeup artists that I love to work with like Dawn from Seattle Bridal Hair. Taking that extra step really helps ensure that you’re feeling gorgeous and fierce for your engagement photo session.

M & J

A Traditional Twist to a Modern Wedding

Megan and Lupe have been sweethearts in the truest sense of the word for years. Their long awaited wedding was a modern, colorful, family affair with a side of traditional glamour.  When I met with Megan she asked me if I was comfortable shooting a large wedding party - little did I know she meant a wedding party of 31!

I knew I was up for the challenge, and I was so excited when I got the call from her that said I was the photographer who best fit their needs and I was hired.  I admit there may have been a little celebratory dance off in my kitchen that night. (okay so the secret is there’s a celebratory dance in my kitchen each time we book a wedding because I freaking LOVE what I do, and when a couple trusts us to photograph their wedding it gives me all the feels!)

Fast forward to the wedding day - I show up at the gorgeous church in Tacoma where they are having their wedding, and I’m thrilled to see such an open, modern space with amazing colored lights and clean lines.  Add in a gorgeous gazebo in the back for portraits and the sweetest first look with her dad, and it was just a winner of a wedding venue all around.

I’m especially fond of the gorgeous bridesmaid dresses that Megan chose - the dresses were flattering on everyone, even her cousin’s sweet baby bump! And can we talk about  the shimmery, fairytale perfect wedding dress she chose for herself? In some kind of magical material voodoo the bottom of her gown shimmered in the light as though there was a fine dusting of glitter all over the bottom half.  I have dress envy to this day! The dusty purple color the couple chose was carried throughout the wedding decor, and the dahlias and florals were a wonderful accent in their darker purple tones.

There were so many wonderful parts of this wedding celebration.  From the touching first look with Megan’s father, to the exchange of letters before they walk down the aisle - there was so much love to love.  It really was a perfect wedding!

After a beautiful Traditional Christian ceremony the couple took off for Pioneer Park Pavilion in Puyallup Washington.  While family was arriving we took some extra time, and got a few more romantic portraits in the park before their grand entrance - with an exuberant and rowdy greeting from all of their family and friends.

The couple included several traditional Samoan dances into their wedding reception, and Lupe - more commonly referred to as Junior - surprised Megan with the most amazing choreographed dance that he and his groomsmen secretly planned, practiced, and performed for her!  
After the traditional dances, the toasting, and cake cutting this large combined family danced the night away and took advantage of the photo booth and fun props we set up for the reception.  Overall this wedding was a wonderful combination of time honored Samoan traditions, a beautiful faith based Christian ceremony, and plain old F-U-N and playfulness. These two high school sweethearts gave everyone a wedding to remember. They combined all of the things that meant the most to them and made a grand exit by taking off into the night after a magical sparkler exit under the stars!

Brook Turns Five

A Frontier Park Session

I have a special place in my heart for this little girl. Brook was my very first cake smash client! I’ve photographed her on or near her birthday each year since then, her baby brother’s newborn session, and his first birthday as well!

For this years session we decided on the Frontier Park in Graham Washington. This location was not only colorful and convenient, it gave us a great backdrop to incorporate lots of feminine floral accents.

As usual, Brook was a natural in front of the camera and we had a wonderful time! I just love her smile!

Cassidy

Eatonville High School Senior Session

Cassidy is truly a ray of sunshine. Her smile is infectious, and beyond being beautiful, her personality and wit are warm and genuine. She makes everyone who spends time with her feel welcomed and valued. Next up for Cassidy is Whitworth University in Spokane Washington. As a member of their cheerleading squad - along side her older sister - Cassidy is excited to live on campus and explore all that this small, private University has to offer. this girl is SMART too… don’t you go thinking she’s just a pretty face. She’s going places fast, and she is unstoppable!

Cassidy’s family lives near a wonderful little lake, and we took advantage of the warm weather, and clear sunny day to take some casual senior portraits with and without her cap and gown. The soft rose color in her first outfit is beautiful against her olive complexion and dark hair. The classically feminine white dress she chose for her second outfit was great against the flowering bushes that were growing around the lake.

Cassidy was voted Prom Queen, and it’s not hard to see why! We made sure to get a couple keepsake shots of her in her sash and crown. It’s so important to memorialize those important moments in your seniors life - these things are a big deal and should be celebrated. Having a professional portrait taken is so much better than only having a few cell phone shots to look back on!

We finished up Cassidy’s session with a few images in her cap and gown. It’s hard to make a polyester sack look good, but some how Cassidy managed to make it work!

Nick & Nikki

An Eatonville Wedding on Horseback

When Nikki first contacted me asking if I was available to photograph her wedding, I had no idea what kind of surprise she had in store for me. I am beyond thrilled to have accepted the challenge of photographing her beautiful intimate wedding - on horseback!

To say that Nikki’s horses are important to her would be a huge understatement. They play an important roll in the couple’s life, and it was natural that they wanted to include their equine family members in their special day!
Not only were the couple on horseback. So was their officiant. The ring barer was their new colt (and he’s very handsome!) and the ceremony was held on a friend’s property, a short distance from their home. With a bubbly creek nearby and blue skies above it was a perfect day.

One of my favorite features of this unique wedding are NIkki’s amazing boots and her beautiful choice of jewelry and cream lace dress.

After the ceremony we all gathered at their home for a sweet, simple front porch reception to celebrate the newlyweds.

First Look

The First Look - from a Photographer’s Perspective.

What exactly is a “first look” you may be asking.  A first look is when a couple chooses to privately (or occasionally publicly)  see each other in the moments before the wedding ceremony. These couples chose to buck the wedding tradition that states they will not see each other before the ceremony, and instead spend a few intimate moments seeing each other for the first time in a more controlled and often private moment.  

As a photographer I ADORE capturing this event.  Ideally we shoo away all spectators and allow the couple to spend a few moments taking each other in, embracing, connecting and sharing a few minutes of calm before the storm.  This is the perfect time to capture those heartfelt intimate photos of the couple together - before the often hectic family and group portraits that take place later.

There are a few key benefits to incorporating a first look into your wedding timeline.  First, it allows us to choose a location that is not only private, but has ideal lighting.  This allows me, as your photographer, to control one of the key elements of your day and ensure you get those meaningful couple’s portraits that are so desirable.  These are the photos that most people will consider “wall art” worthy - they are the ones that will pull at the heartstrings of the couple and their family whenever they see them hanging on their walls.


Second, it shortens the time that family and friends must wait or entertain themselves after the ceremony while we do formal portraits.  With so many portraits to complete, it’s wonderful to be able to streamline that process a bit by doing the intimate couple photos ahead of the ceremony before family and friends have arrived.  


Third, it tends to calm the nerves.  The wedding day jitters are no joke! Seeing each other a little before the ceremony allows you to shed those tears, cheer in excitement, take a few deep breaths together and work out a bit of that nervous energy before walking down the aisle in full view of your guests and family.  


Lastly, a first look allows you to truly appreciate each other.  So much love and energy went into planning your wedding day - and it can all go by in a blur.  Taking time alone, early in your day allows you to really look and appreciate each other, and all that preparation.  The shoes, the hair...the perfect accent pieces. Before the day takes its toll you get to appreciate how your loved one looks - you may never see them dressed this lavishly again!  Take a few moments to soak that in and appreciate each other’s efforts.


The best way to plan your first look is to contact your wedding photographer (psst...I love it when that’s me!) and work together to incorporate this event into your wedding timeline.  I am happy to help you choose the perfect location and time your first look appropriately to ensure that we have enough time to soak in this special, intimate moment before we get to the craziness that will be the rest of your wedding day!


A Few Fun Ideas for Your First Look
Okay, so you’ve decided to have a First Look.  AWESOME! I’m such a huge believer in the benefits of a First Look.  Not only is the is an intimate moment between the two of you, but it can be a moment full of fun and whimsy as well.

The first thing to do is decide where you want your First Look to take place?  Touring your venue during the time of day that you will be having your wedding is key.  As a photographer I look for ideal lighting situations to achieve the very best images for you.  Seeing the location at the time we’ll be shooting your photos is so very valuable. It will allow us to help you chose the perfect location - one that is attractive, private, and has lovely soft lighting.

Next you’ll want to discuss whether you want your First Look to be a private moment between the two of you - or if you prefer to have your wedding party and parents participate as well.  It’s natural that the people who love you are excited to share this moment, which can be fun. However it can also be a big interruption in what is ideally an intimate moment. Personally I feel as though a private First Look better achieves the romantic and intimate portraits that most of my couples are hoping for.

Once you’ve decided on the Where and the When for your First Look you’ll want to discuss the How.  There are several ways you can go about seeing each other for the first time. One of you can stand in a private area with their back turned, and the other will approach quietly and surprise them.  This is the most common option, since it doesn’t take any special preparation and can be accomplished just about anywhere that is private.

Another option is to use a blindfold.  Or hide one person behind a screen / hedge / jumbo balloon bouquet perhaps? You are only limited by your own imagination!

A fun and easy option is for both parties to be blindfolded and take off them off simultaneously!

If you don’t mind getting friends or family involved you can have a little treasure hunt, leave a trail of rose petals to a private location, plan a little “pin the veil on the bride” or a silly little game of Marco Polo until you find each other!  Have fun with this moment if that’s your personality. Or keep it serious and solemn if that’s your speed - there is no right or wrong way to have a First Look.

However you decide to do it - this is such a sweet, intimate moment.  You won’t regret spending a few moments enjoying each other before the rush of the wedding day takes over and you are swept up in the celebration of your marriage.

Celeste

Highline High School, Senior Session

This girl has my heart! This is my very own niece. My oldest niece, the very first child that made me an Auntie…a role I really enjoy! We live about an hour and a half apart - so I don’t get to see her as much as I would like to, but the time we do get to spend together is always special. We got together at one of my favorite locations - The Des Moines Waterfront Marina and Park for a quick senior session.

Celeste is off to the University of Hawaii to study marine biology….so taking photos near the beach was a no brainer. We had fun - we always have fun together, and my older girls tagged along to give their cousin a little emotional support and a lot of teasing. Having her photos taken is not her favorite thing, but she was a good sport and let Auntie get a nice variety of shots to celebrate the ending of her high school career.

I just could not be any more proud of this girl than I am. Excellent grades, sweet disposition, hard working, family oriented, and she’s a kid with goals and good priorities. She’s kind of one of my favorite people!