Fort Bragg Beach Engagement

This was the engagement shoot that almost didn't happen, and as it so happens it turned out to be one of my favorites I have ever shot! 

engagement sunset

We had this shoot planned for months to coincide with a family trip I was making to celebrate birthdays for myself and my brother's wife. As the weekend approached however we were dealing with constant rain and hail and high winds. We weren't bothered one bit as we were staying in this amazing beach house with plenty to keep us comfortable and busy but it looked like the photo session wasn't going to be able to happen. 


After cancelling, rescheduling, and waiting on pins and needles, Saturday the skies cleared and against all forecasts we had a gorgeous day. So I called Ashley and told her we were on again - only to get the news that she was having to run to an emergency eye doctor appointment and might not be able to make it in time. 



Eventually I got the call that they would be making it to town JUST in the nick of time so I got ready and sat on the porch to await their arrival. Then came the next hiccup - they had stopped to use the restroom and her car died! Seriously I feel like this couple couldn't catch a break. I was a little nervous as I watched the sun dropping lower in the sky and realized we didn't have a  whole lot of daylight left. But they arrived and we ran across the street, dogs in tow, and knocked out on of my most beautiful engagement sessions to date. 

Thankfully Ashley's parents were along to help with the dogs, who had NEVER been to the beach before! They were going bananas! I just love the shots we got with them. Before ending the session I asked if there were any ideas they wanted to capture and Jeff had this one request which ended up being one of my favorite shots. 



Seriously though, check out that ring! 


And this is the sunset as we left the beach to go warm up and eat dinner. Sometimes the things that we have to work hardest for are the things that end up being the most worthwhile. And if you think Ashley and Jeff's engagement session was an adventure, stay tuned for their Yosemite wedding in May. I absolutely can't wait! 



Art Deco Weekday Wedding on the Delta King Riverboat

I was stoked about this wedding from the get go, not just because the bride is a complete sweetheart and also a music gal but because I LOVE weekday weddings and the chance to do something a little different from the standard Saturday wedding venue. 


This was really one of those weddings that just felt RIGHT. Every detail from the bride's look to the decor to the perfect sunset were absoltuely breathtaking. It was a small affair with just family and close friends attending and sometimes I think that is best! 

The theme was art deco and the flowers and plant life were PHENOMENAL. 

When doing such an intimate wedding you always hope that the family will be easygoing and fun to be around - we lucked out with this one! Everyone was a joy to be around and the live music made the evening just perfect. HUGE congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Huntington! 

Scroll through more images from this beautiful wedding here:

The Tribble Family, first day of fall

It's hard to believe that 5 years ago, Tricia and Sean were the very first couple I shot as a professional photographer! 

I've had the joy of photographing their couple's photos, engagement photos, family photos with their first child, Brielle, and maternity and newborn sessions over the years. Nothing is cooler than getting to take their very first family photos together though!

Now the kids are growing so fast and it seems like every time I see them they've doubled in size! I guess that's what kids do though. 

It's such a cool thing to be able to document love and the beginnings of a growing family. I can't wait to see the great things in store for the Tribble family over the years! 


8 Things Every Wedding Photographer Hears Every Weekend

If you're a wedding photographer you know these all too well - just a small sampling of some of the things we hear every single time we shoot a wedding :)

Wedding photographer humor

I have a camera just like that at home. The same one I think. 

Wow, that's a big lens. 

I used to be a photographer too. I was going to do (insert bride and groom's name)'s wedding but they wanted me to just relax and enjoy it. 

Is that picture going to turn out? Your facing the sun, your picture is going to be black. 

You should really take their pictures over here, I don't know why you're not using this spot (points to green bush in direct sunlight). 

I'm not trying to tell you what to do but... (Proceeds to tell us what to do) 

Did you catch that? Take a picture of that, quick! (Points to something happening that we already took 8 pictures of before they even noticed it was happening). 

I found this shot on Pinterest I want to do ... (Poorly describes some unachievable shot taken in a different part of the country at a different time of day and different time of year by another photographer). 


Have any other good ones? I'd love to hear them! 

Sutter Buttes Engagement Session

Last night I had the honor of photographing my friends Juan (better known as Bean) and Sheleen to capture some shots to celebrate their engagement. Sheleen works for the City of YC and Bean is a veteran who was wounded in service (don't kill me for mentioning it but as always, thank you for your service my friend!).  

Sheleen requested the Sutter Buttes as a backdrop which has always been intimidating to me because I've never done it before. A quick email to one of my favorite brides from last year landed us a lead on a great location and the results are fantastic! 

Sutter Buttes engagement shot

Of course being in Northern California's farm country we HAD to get some orchard shots in as well. Right now the peach and walnut trees are lush and gorgeous and attracting plenty of bugs lol. 

Walnut orchard engagement session, Northern Californiaa

As always, it's just a hundred times more fun to work with friends on capturing the special moments in their lives. I can't wait for their wedding next spring! 


A State Fair Engagement Shoot

I. Can't. Get. Enough. Of. These. Photos. GAH! 



Tiffany and Chad have been engaged for awhile but hadn't had their engagement photos done yet and Chris and I were SO excited to do them. The vintage theme was perfect for the fair!

We couldn't have asked for a more perfect night - for Sacramento in the summertime it was a DREAM. We watched the sun set and the full moon come up and it was a breezy 70 degrees at that point. I can't ever remember a time at the State Fair that it wasn't triple digits. 

We played some games and got ice cream but I think the best part was that Styx happened to be the concert last night so we got to enjoy some killer music as the soundtrack to our photo session ;) 

Aren't these two the cutest?! 

Congratulations on the engagement Tiffany and Chad!





The REAL wedding day photos

When you need to calm those nerves but you still need to get shit done.

(BTW this photo is 100% candid and unposed - a true moment in the chaos right before the ceremony as the bride and her ladies were running late)

Candid wedding shots

Vanessa + Mandy - an urban engagement session

I get really nervous stepping outside of my usual comfort zone with photography but lately I've been trying to push myself to do just that. I don't want to be that photographer that finds a comfortable place and then just sits there for the rest of their career. The location, colors, angles, everything was new for me in last night's shoot but I can honestly say that I can't pick a favorite image. This is definitely in the running though! 


For Mandy and Vanessa's shoot we went for an urban look, utilizing city streets, park benches, and the existing backdrops in place in Old Folsom. I think the key for me in learning to get comfortable with the urban setting was figuring out that I wasn't meant to work AROUND the cars, light poles, etc. but that all of that is part of the actual shoot and what makes it worth using. 

I also went for a slight film look with these, using some matte techniques that I'm not all that comfortable with. They say that you have to step outside of your comfort zone to find your best work so that's what I'm challenging myself with. I have to say, I LOVE the results lately. 


The best part of these photos is the women in them. I have known Mandy for about 6 years, and watched this wonderful woman go through ups, downs, love and heartbreak. I always KNEW it was because somewhere out there her perfect match was looking for her too and that when they met it would just be like 'ahhhhhhh there you are'. The more you go through as individuals the stronger you can be as a couple, especially if you always focus on the things that brought you together. 

We have done a handful of photos of this beautiful couple with their son Aiden but it was really nice to sneak away for an evening and focus on their love and what brought them together.  

Vanessa and Mandy are getting married next April and I CANNOT WAIT to shoot their beautiful estate wedding with the best planner in the business Christina Petanovich of Obsessed Events. Stay tuned for their gorgeous spring wedding!

Here are some more sneak peeks from this session:


I am so honored that The Dating Divas chose one of my maternity photos to feature in a recent article on ideas for gender reveal photos. Amber and I basically broke the internet somehow when we did this session an this same photo has gone viral many times over. We still love it and Amber says that the crown featured is still hanging in Payton's room! Check out the article for my photo and tons of super cute ideas for announcing the gender of your little one! 



Find the article HERE



Why most photographers hate mini sessions (and why I love them).

Okay, I'm going to be honest here. There's nothing more annoying than when a new client contacts a photographer and asks for a "mini session." This term is confusing, misleading, and overused, especially by new photographers. There are a LOT of problems with offering mini sessions - one of the biggest is that you get deal-seekers instead of legitimate clients looking for a family photographer. Deal-seekers are those who don't value photography or a quality photographer, aren't looking to establish a long-term relationship, support a local business or even ever come back to you again. They just want the cheapest pictures they can get. These are usually the same folks that will bring printouts of OTHER photographer's work and expect you to recreate it. No, no, no, no, no, no no, and no. 

Another problem with mini sessions is they don't allow sufficient time for the family to warm up to the shoot or the kids to establish a relationship and trust with the photographer. I cannot walk up to a family I've never met and get emotion, laughter, love, and happiness in a 10 minute session. It just takes longer. 

And for all you photogs out there starting out, ANOTHER problem with mini sessions is that you are basically still spending almost the same time on them as a full session but for a fraction of the pay. You still have to pack up your very expensive equipment, drive to the location, take the photos (with that same very expensive equipment), drive back, upload the photos to your computer, process the photos and deliver the photos in whichever manner you do. If you are willing to do that for a very low price then clients will always expect you to do that. Which leads to not profiting at all, burning out, and potentially giving up photography because you think it isn't profitable and the clients suck. 

NOW having said all that, here is why I still offer mini sessions, usually twice a year. The main reason is that my clients harass me to no end if I don't. I'm being funny but also, it's true. They harass me sure, but these are my regular, wonderful, supportive clients and I truly want to make them happy. Mini sessions in my business offer a chance for the clients who have supported my business throughout the year to get a cheaper, easier session in between full sessions. Because lets face it, your kids are changing CONSTANTLY and their school photos suck. 

The solution I've come up with has worked really well for us the past couple of years and that is to do the mini sessions at my home studio. In the past I have lost money on them (boo.) In the past I have broke even (still boo). But I seem to have finally found some fun and cute sets that don't break the bank and allow us to make a little money for our effort while keeping our clients thrilled and seeing our favorite kids mid-year. And... they're so fun! We always have a really good time and so do the kids. And I don't know about you but I personally love to have themed artwork around my house to go with the different seasons. Nobody wants ALL Christmas photos in their house all the time (do they?) As long as we can make the time we will continue to do these mini sessions as a thank you to our favorite clients, friends, and family and for fun! As a matter of fact I already have been hit with inspiration for the next one and it is totally summer themed so someone please stop me before I go crazy! 


New year, new website!

Building and maintaining a website is the bane of many photographer's existences. We know it is a powerful tool and many times the first "face" that a client sees of ours. But for those of us who aren't properly trained it can be a long process. I have been meaning to update my website for so long and finally just bit the bullet and took a couple of days off to add to it. I hope you like it! Please feel free to contact me if you see anything that you think could be changed or improved. I will continue to add new material here as often as I can. Happy spring!