Natural Beauty with the Bakers

This was the first wedding I did for someone I know. Zach and I graduated from college together, both of us with degrees in graphic design. Many long hours were spent in the graphics lab together with our friends, slaving away over huge projects. I met his then fiancé, Taylre, when I helped them move into their soon to be first apartment. We hit it off instantly. We didn't get get to know too much about each other until after the wedding, but once we did, we were fast friends, which made her happiness about how the wedding photos turned out mean even more to me. 

When Zach asked me to be a guest as well as a photographer at their wedding, I was overjoyed! Capturing a friend's most amazing day of his life filled me with such excitement. 

Zach and Taylre met in their small hometown of Montgomery, Missouri. They then continued on to St. Charles Community College together. Their relationship even continued and flourished when Zach went to university and they had to live a little farther apart. Their relationship has always been one of trust, happiness, and good times. I admire how much they support each other and meet each other's needs. They bring out the best in each other. 

They got married at High Hill Christian Camp on a beautiful spring day. The natural light and lakeside setting made the day even more gorgeous. 

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Step to Stepputat

I have been so excited to write this blog post, because this, this right here is where my wedding photography all started. And when I say it all started here, it really did. The groom's sister was in a wedding later that year. I photographed that one. A bridesmaid in that wedding was in another wedding the next year. I photographed that one too. This year that same bridesmaid is getting married, and guess who's capturing the event? A little over two years ago, Lauren & Joe were my first bride and groom, and it all happened by chance.

My friend Felicia is a friend of Lauren's and also a bridesmaid in her wedding. Everything for the big day was pretty much planned: the food, the flowers, the venue, the reception, and yes, even the photographer. A few weeks before the wedding, Felicia texted me asking if I would be interested in doing a wedding. At the last minute, their wedding photographer told them she wouldn't do getting ready photos and would only stay for an hour at the reception, as well as some other very limiting factors. So far all my photography experience included was my best friend's maternity shoot and some Christmas themed baby photos for Felicia, both of which I did for free because I was just starting out. I told her, yea, I don't have any wedding photography experience, but I would do the photos, a wedding sounds like a fun thing to photograph! 

And so the "research" started. I spent a lot of time of Pinterest. Pinning pose ideas and seeing how the pictures were done, in the end I think I only looked at two of the pins on the wedding day and that was only because it was something very specific the bride wanted. I worked for dirt cheap, but I didn't care. It was something new and exciting and extremely rewarding in the end. 

Lauren and Joe had a pretty magical day. Lauren arrived in dazzling fashion as her all white horse drawn carriage pulled her around to the gazebo. To this day, the photo of Joe's face when he saw her coming is the best "here comes my bride" face I've captured. So much love. So much wonder. The day was perfect, lighting, weather, and all. This is wear I learned it all, and two years later looking back, the photos weren't half bad, haha! Obviously, now having learned more, there are some camera settings I would have done differently, but overall, I pulled off my first wedding pretty well. The bridal party was an absolute blast to spend the day with. It was all very comfortable, which definitely reflects in the photos. The more at ease the bridal party is with the photographer, the better the images. 

There were two very rewarding parts of the Stepputat wedding. The first was capturing the very real joy, love, and fun of that day. The bride, groom, bridesmaids, and groomsmen were all just enjoying the day together. They were laughing, having fun, and goofing off. And I got to be included in all the fun! Lauren and Joe looked at each other with such love. This was the first day of the rest of their lives together, and they couldn't be more elated about it. The second most rewarding part was Lauren's reaction when she saw the finished photos. I'm not going to lie, I was pretty nervous. But as soon as she got them, she texted me filled with joy! She absolutely loved what I had done. And these are honestly the things I take from every wedding, the joy of the day and seeing the bride relive that day when she gets her photos. 

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Mother Daughter

I had the wonderful opportunity to take pictures of my sister and niece for them to give to our family members for Christmas. It was so amazing seeing them through the lens of my camera. They almost seemed like completely different people.

My sister, Brittaney, has always been just that to me, my sister. But in these photos, I captured the beautiful mother she is. I also got to see my eleven year old niece Ava grow up before my eyes in one afternoon. I usually just see Brit and Ava amongst other family members. But on that beautiful December afternoon, I saw them interact and have some beautiful mother daughter moments. Another joy of mine was to see my niece unwind in front of the camera. At the beginning of the shoot, she was pretty rigid. However, by the middle, she was having fun and smiling her real smile. 

This shoot really gave the three of us to spend some quality time together. Time to laugh and play and all show off a little bit of ourselves. My sister and niece both showed that fun and goofy part of their mother daughter relationship. My niece showed of her amazing photographic self and her true smile. My sister showed off her beautiful, motherly self, with the loving looks she gives Ava to the laughs and smiles she brings to her face. And of course, I got to show off my photography with two stunning subjects.

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Fleming Females Fabulous in Fall

These four sisters and their mother we so much fun to photograph, especially since they are my cousins and aunt. Photographing family is so much different than working with other clients. There's a higher level of comfort, yet some more nerves because telling your family what to do can be a bit of a challenge. 

Despite these worries, the Fleming ladies killed it in this fabulously fall colored shoot. They had wanted to get some pictures to give to our grandmother for Christmas, and with it being November, the time frame on nature's fall color and bearable temperatures was coming to an end. But luckily, we were able to squeeze in a fall shoot on an only slightly chilly day. 

This she-wolf family pack from St. Charles contains many wonderful similarities and differences. Emily, strong-willed and boisterous mother of four, took center stage amongst her daughters in most of the pictures. Autumn, the oldest of the four, is currently working full time while pursuing her degree in Chemistry. Leslie, second oldest, is going hard in her sophomore year towards a music education career. Morgan, third child and spitting image of her mother, is a junior in high school with dreams of being a scientist. And finally, Shelby, is a sophomore in high school with a passion for softball and horses. 

The style of this shoot could not have come together more perfectly with slight winter undertones of their apparel combined with fall's fading palette. With brilliantly colored scarves, the ladies all coordinated with excellent fashion. Mom Emily's scarf contained teals, maroons, and white, while each of the girls reflected these tones within each of their solid colored scarves. The final days of fall were very kind to us, providing reds, oranges, greens, browns, and brilliant yellows. 

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