Monday, December 22, 2008


We usually don't get snow in my neck of the woods, and if we do, it's a couple of inches that melts the next day...but this year's Western Washington snowfall is indeed extraordinary. . .I had a chance to prepare ahead of time with food and good snowboots, so that feels like quite the accomplishment! I'm more of an "idea" girl but when it comes to survival, I get pretty motivated :)
Do you like the snow?
Do you live in a place where this is rare, or a place that gets pummeled with blizzards and subzero temperatures?
What do you DO when you're cooped up at home?

My son talking. . . .

My daughter sledding.

I don't know what's more endearing, that this is a classic shot of dad and daughter, or that dad's beloved '69 Chevy Pickup is in the background! Okay, I agree, it's dad and daughter, but around our house this truck is buffed and polished and admired. A little surface rust, like a few grey hairs, just adds interest and character. . .

And when it's time to inside and thaw out, I ACTUALLY had a craft ready to go! My mom used to make candybar sleighs, each bar individually wrapped up with candycanes taped to the sides as runners. Normally, the bar on the bottom would be a large Hershey's or Nestles Crunch, but I accidentally ate mine. I thought I had bought plenty. Oops. So I wrapped an Odwalla bar instead! Easy and fun.
As cool as it is to be "snowed in", I can't help but notice that any of my "routines" (if you could call them that) were gone. Everybody's sleeping in. We're eating whatever, whenever. And even though I see the benefits of structure and discipline, this has been a fun departure from the norm. I've read a book by the window with cocoa and got through a couple of chapters before anybody needed me. Ahh, the simple pleasures :)
How about you?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Baby Olivia & The Essence of Squish

Olivia. What a cutie! I grabbed this in between shots. . .I love the documentary feel of it.

And Angela's mom had this AWESOME old freaky chair in the middle of her very contemporary and normal colored home. We balanced Olivia with mom sitting on the floor behind the chair (you can see her arm).
A lot of parents think their babies aren't acting "normal" when being photographed. It usually just takes them some time to warm up. Photographers and their cameras are VERY interesting to small children occasionally and they are just too curious to smile in the beginning. . . .

I've never so well captured the essence of "squish" that make babies so irresistable...

Jeez, did I say something wrong Olivia?! lol

Lil baby buns. . . .

Olivia those BLUE EYES! My Goodness! On her head, if you are wondering, are Olivia's superficial hematomas. They are just on the surface, don't hurt or do anything, and will go away eventually....
Can't wait to get to watch you grow up Olivia!

Olivia is the darling offspring of one of my BBB, (brides before I started blogging), Angela and her husband Josh. Let's revisit their April '07 wedding a moment. . . .

Aw yes. Angela's so vintage-y I loved this one in particular.

This dress was handmade by Angela's mother...GOR-Geous....

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Denise & Chris & the Rain

I'm a big fan of Laurel Creek Manor in Sumner, and this past September I shot Denise & Chris' wedding there.

Remember Chris & Denise's Engagement Shoot??

I've been saying lately, "If it DOES rain on your wedding day, Laurel Creek Manor is the place you want to be."

Laurel Creek has lots of covered porch area, but standing on the steps and getting a little sprinkled on was beautiful. I LOVED the fans Denise chose in lieu of bouquets...

The directional light from the steps was to-die-for! Love this one of Chris. Very James

This neutral wall color and awesome window lighting upstairs makes this "spare room" one of my favorite places to shoot a bride, rain OR shine.

The ceremony was on the back patio while the guests were under the tent, very charming and delightful!



Seriously. Fans. Must be considered by all you brides-to-be out there. . . .

Now for a few formals of the new Mr. & Mrs.....

Here, Denise and Chris are standing under a narrow archway and the rain really started to lighten up. . . .

There's nothing I love more when it rains during a "shoot" than the incredibly glossy sheen that pavement takes on when eyes just LOVE it!

Some good partying down got going!

And a moment to cuddle and take in this whole magical thing called a wedding. . . .

Denise & Chris! You both were so easy and it was an exciting day for me to shoot for you! Hugs!!
To see Denise & Chris' slideshow, click Here!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Senior Photoshoot-Danielle!

Danielle. I already knew I would love Danielle because I already had photographed her sister and neice. I didn't know what she looked like though, so when I got to the meeting place, I saw this gal pull in and start to check her makeup in her rearview. "That's probably her" so I walked over and this grown woman rolls down her window and I immediately see that she's not a senior...but I made sure to tell her I thought she might be the senior client I was meeting because how fun is THAT to go home and tell your family, you know?

But back to Danielle.

What a beauty she posesses!

And these colors! I just love.

This is a unique image for me....I thought it was quite adorable and every little detail is necessary, not just the shoes and the hands. The greenery in the back and the rocks and the curb and the pebbles in the forefront are as much of the visual story, I think....

It was great to meet you Danielle and it was a TOTAL pleasure to get to do your senior photoshoot....

Saturday, December 6, 2008

"Hello?" "Julie, This is Travis..You don't know me but..."

"...I think my girlfriend has contacted you about doing a holiday picture shoot, but I had an idea I wanted to run by you. I was thinking about proposing to Christine at the end of the shoot..."

Sweeter words rarely grace a wedding photographer's ears.....

First off, I already knew I loved Christine. I mean, she was the enthusiastic focus of one of my most memorable bridal bouquet toss sequences

It was obvious. This chick wasn't messin' around!!!

So when it came time for the holiday shoot, I just was hoping I wouldn't accidentally slip and call it an engagement shoot! I tried to put that in the back of my mind until it was REALLY time. . .

I actually did pretty well and Travis was very calm throughout the shoot. Wouldn't you LOVE to see the REST and how it all went down, frame by frame?!? Just click Christine & Travis' Surprise Engagement Slideshow!!
Congratulations again you guys!! Can't WAIT for your wedding!!!

Brides Hear This!!!

I was meeting a new fantastic bride of mine (yes, I consider you "my" brides and always will, even when you're a grandma, you'll always a "bride" in my mind) Pamela down at the Sumner Starbucks, when I got to chattin' with Starbucks employee Heidi about wedding photography. "Have you heard of the new site?" she said. "No, what site?" " is an online marketplace where brides come to purchase pre-owned EVERYTHING for your wedding. Because seriously, there are better things to do with 30 fluted crystal vases than use them for coin banks in your garage or give them to your photographer as she leaves at the end of the night! (lol) Post them on Bravo Bride and earn some cash! And brides-t0-be, what a GREAT way to get the most "ooh" and "ahh" for your money!
Thanks Heidi!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Having It All

I just read an article about "Having it All" in life, and I thought it was pretty well said. So I won't try to say it any better, just go check it out and let's reflect together!! Our grandmothers and great aunts back in the day had difficult, busy lives, too.

(That's my dad, sucking his thumb)
The only difference between then and now, is the type of things we are busy with. The author suggests that this need of "Having It All" and the lack of peace we may feel if we aren't "There" yet (I'm of course referring to the magical destination of "Have It All-Land") probably comes from popular culture and advertising. I have to agree, but I have a hard time really deciding where the root of this came from. Grandma (or Great Grandma for you), in a nutshell, were happier with less. Adjusted for inflation, families of decades prior earned less but saved more. Their houses were MUCH smaller. But the pace of modern life now seems so fast! The author of the "Have It All" article did, however, make an interesting point about how grown women of today grew up as the first generation that was told we could Be Anything We Wanted To Be. She thinks that somehow the message we received was We Must Be Everything!
Ever feel like that?
(yep, that's me)
Ever held back just feeling plain GOOD without even realizing you're doing it? Instead, you're just too concerned moment to moment with making sure you are accomplishing as MUCH as you can in as SHORT of time possible? lol

For me, this time of year always gives me an annual gut check. It's almost like our culture tells us we will be frazzled, and that we had better "Do" "Buy" "Go" or else... and it's always been in my nature since I was little to be a little rebellious and think outside the box. So when I feel the Holiday Pressure on the horizon each year, I get in touch with the part of me that stands up and says "No! I WILL decide, thank you very much, what I need or don't need to enjoy my life. And if you've reviewed the things you're thankful for, you probably also came to the same realization that you Have a LOT of things that were luxuries for millions of people that ever set foot on this Earth before us. Like Love. Like a safe neighborhood. Like a closet full of clothes. Like electricity (man do I LOVE electricity).

What If, I mean WHAT IF you were living in "Have-It-All-Land" all this time and just didn't realize it? What would that feel like to be there? And not just for a few minutes until the cares of the world sweep you back up, but really, truly, releasing from whatever negative ingrained beliefs you have about what you SHOULD be doing or SHOULD be feeling. Sometimes you've heard it so much you don't even recognize what it's doing to you. . .

The really AWESOME part about this, is that the moment you recognize and wrestle a bit with those Shoulds in your life that you kinda just let slip in there, you can let them go. That doesn't mean they won't try to squeak back in your life (especially when you are too busy to notice), but a little introspection at the holidays can lead to a season that you end up truly soaking up and enjoying more than ever before. . . .

I have several exciting posts to post, including a slideshow to a "holiday" portrait shoot that turned into a "surprise" marriage proposal right before my very camera!! Stay tuned because I'm going to be doing some massive blogging next week!! Weddings, seniors, babies, families, & one exquisite belly dancer!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Senior Photoshoot--Shelby!!

This is Shelby. Shelby is a senior.

Shelby and I created some beautiful photos of her. . . .

But Shelby also has horses and wanted some images with them. I've photographed seniors with animals before, and I love animals, but I'd never shot a horse before. I did a little research on the internet, looking at different images and reading some advice. Horses may spook at flash, I was warned. That took me back to 4th grade and riding on my friend Keri's horses. We'd ride down the road and one of her horses was freaked out by mailboxes. Horses are so powerful! I certainly didn't want to spook it! I also pretty much nixed using a reflector, as those wiggle and wobble and reflect and their unpredictibility also may spook.

So I had a few ideas in mind when I arrived for the shoot, but sometimes as much as you plan, as a photographer you have to be ready for anything. Shelby's horses, beautiful and majestic, were no ordinary horses. They were ex-race horses. 17'2 hands tall horses. So big most people probably have never seen one close in their life. Keri in 4th grade had a horse that was 12 hands tall. That was a tall horse, I thought. But SEVENTEEN HANDS?!?!? That's GIGANTIC!

Does this look like a huge horse?

Well, you need more information to really tell. Shelby is around 5'8''. Notice that her horse's head goes from pretty much waist level to her forehead-ish area. Look down at your waist. Look at your forehead (lol). That's a huge head. And horses look kinda mad or distracted when their ears aren't pointing forward in images. We had a heck of a time getting Shelby's horse to have that desired alert-happy-horse look, especially when there was so much DELICIOUS grass around...and noisy cows that she wasn't used to hearing. . .I am going to take this moment to thank everyone who helped with the horse-aspect of the shoot!!

Okay. Enough about that. There was another prominent challenge to overcome. Full Sun. Or, Full Sun & Dark Horse & Blonde Subject. Sounds like a movie title! If I exposed the shot for Shelby, the horse would be underexposed. If I exposed for the horse, Shelby would be overexposed. Flash would have helped counter the effect of the sun, but I didn't want to spook the horse!


We worked hard and I was able to capture a handful of shots where everything "lined" up--exposure, pose, expression, position, and EARS all RIGHT! I hear "hallelujah" when I see this shot above! lol

Now, I've been reading Annie Leibovitz' new book, At Work. She was in town last week Lecturing at Benaroya Hall and I was lucky enough to get a ticket to the sold out show and early enough to get a signed copy AND sit in the very front (more on this later). Her book includes behind the scenes stories about how a handful of her 40-years-of photoshoots came to be. I couldn't help but feel in good company when it comes to banging out a successful no matter what. In fact, I enjoy and even look forward to the unpredictability. Bring it on...
Oh but lastly, I have to mention the realization I had driving on the way home from this shoot. Race horses are the one type that are probably the MOST used to camera flashes. I had thought about giving it a try and seeing what would happen, but I made a judgment call and decided against it. But knowing what I know now about race horses, it would have been safe enough to give it a try. In the end, this was a shoot to remember and will retell anytime I'm around photographers and we're dishing out our best photoshoot stories.... :) Thanks Shelby!!!