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March 8, 2019

Of all the family sessions I shot last fall, I’m perhaps most proud of this one. It was my last one and the forecast was looking bad. Like, really bad. It was really cold and getting colder and rain started to move in. I happened to have a slot open up at the very last minute so I asked the Johnsons if they could come early, even while knowing myself how difficult it is to move your photos up at the last minute like that. Maybe they weren’t ready? Maybe their son was taking a nap? Or needed a snack? Or 20 other things. All in all, I very well know when getting ready for our own family photos how everything, including getting ready, is timed out to make sure we all get out the door on time. So moving things up at the last minute isn’t the easiest thing. But they completely rolled with it and were like, “Sure! We’ll come right now!”

So first of all, you can probably guess from that background that they were really easy going and fun to work with, but here’s the other part to the story: it did start to rain. Misting rain and so so so cold. Because of the rain, I couldn’t shoot in the open field where I had been doing other family sessions that weekend. So I told them to warm up in their car while I figured something out. And there, right behind us, was an overhang of a tree that was big enough to block some of the rain and, strangely, provided a much brighter fall look. (It was truly the dreariest, gray, cold rainy day.) So we used this little patch of grass between the road and the parking lot and it was perfect. And that’s how it happened that the most weather-challenging session became the one I’m most proud of.



March 7, 2019

I photographed the Hoeper family years ago, when I first really figuring out what my style of photography was, and I’ll never forget the one image of the kids that I took that day. They were holding hands and walking away from me so it was a shot from behind them. The lighting was perfect and their sweet little walking was so cute and I remember shooting that whole session and thinking, “This is how I want my photos to feel. Real. And beautiful. And full of love.”

And now, 7 years later, I got to photograph them again and, good grief, look at how much the kids have grown!! Flipping between this post and their previous family photo post gives me all the feelings because I know this will happen with my own kids too. This feeling of “where did the years go??”

Stephanie recently wrote a post called “Finding Significance in the Insignificant” and as a mama “in the trenches” so to speak with young children, it resonated so much with me. She talks about being a stay-at-home mom for 15 years and now being “in the process of pulling my resume together to return to the realm of full-time employment, I’ve struggled to assign significance to this period of my life. Having spent the 30 years before it earning a master’s degree and working at a variety of jobs, often more than one at once, this new period felt decidedly unremarkable. While it’s not quantifiable on a resume, I learned many lessons at home that make me a much better teacher, coach, and leader outside of it.” So just jump right on over there and read it because it’s really so good!



March 6, 2019

Look at this cute little family! I remember running into them at a wedding when Amanda was pregnant and they had just found out they were having a boy! And now they have adorable little Henry, who is just a few months older than our daughter.

Henry was really shy, but when he did smile, it was the sweetest little smile.



March 5, 2019

The first time I met Vanessa was at the gym. She started teaching a class I taking aptly titled “burn out”–where you work one muscle group until it, quite literally, burns out–and that first day, as we were all giving each other eye rolls and exasperated facial expressions and our muscles were giving out, she was chipper and smiling and acting as if she was just having the loveliest time. Not much has changed, now that I think about it. The class keeps changing, but we all still roll our eyes at her, give each other disbelieving looks, and have and running joke about Vanessa trying to kill us. She just laughs and says, “Squat lower! You can jump higher than that. Get that pace down.” And as much as we all love to hate her, we actually just love her. Even when she is actually trying to kill us.

In all seriousness, Vanessa is an amazing athlete in her own right. She was a cheerleader at Iowa and later a cheerleading coach there. She can still do all kinds of tricks and makes handstand walking look so easy. She’s also really close to getting her 5K run under 21 minutes (which is insane to me)! It’s been so fun getting to know her family and I love that I got to photograph them last fall!


Landon is Henry’s age and I just want to squeeze him to pieces. He’s got Vanessa’s non-stop energy and the happiest personality.


March 4, 2019

I had so much fun photographing Sara & Corey’s summer wedding back in 2016 and now they have grown their little family to include their darling daughter, Charlotte. (Side bar: but in my calculations, there are just over 100 babies total from all of my past wedding couples! Can you believe that?! One hundred babies!) One of the most fun things about doing these family sessions, especially when it comes to photographing my own wedding couples again, is seeing their journey. From witnessing first hand their love during their engagement session and their anticipation for their wedding day to then celebrating their wedding day with them, with all the joy that comes along with it, meeting their families and seeing their support system, and witnessing their vows. As much as I love weddings, there is something especially sweet about the aftermath of the weddings when I get to meet their child(ren) and see how their love for each other, however flourishing it was before, overflow now into a brand new human. It is truly one of the sweetest of life’s cherry-on-top moments.


Look at this adorable little nugget!!!


March 1, 2019

Greta and I first met in prenatal yoga when we were pregnant with our sons. She gave birth exactly a month before I did and we ran into each other at the hospital during those joyous newborn days of desperately needing lactation advice and constantly worrying that our children weren’t going to grow because they possibly might not be eating enough. (We were the epitome of first time moms, but, hey, we were indeed first time moms!) We quickly bonded over not just our shared life experiences in the newborn trenches, but the fact that we both like to be outside, work out, stretch our artistic muscles (her and her husband are both amazing artists!!), and are constantly trying to balance work life with parenting. We also happen to live less than a mile from each other and frequent the same park so, needless to say, we spent many, many days pushing strollers while doing laps and talking. (It should also be noted that since we both have brown wavy hair and bangs, our boys used to often get us confused and would hug the wrong pair of legs.)

I got to photograph this family two years ago and one of the things that constantly sticks out to me when I photograph them is how laid back they are. Their interactions are genuine and fun, and neither John nor Greta have ever tried to stick their son in a box (figuratively, of course) and force him to hold still and smile for the camera. And while, as a parent, we all want “just one good photo” of our family, my personal favorites, especially of the Martinek family, are the ones where they are just playing and letting their then-3 year old son BE a 3 year old boy.



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