I know Ashley through the gym and was thrilled when she contacted me for some extended family photos while her in-laws would be in town. Our kids are the same ages (within just a couple of months!) and it was fun to get to photograph kids who reminded me so much of my own. It’s been a typical July here in Iowa with incredibly hot and humid temperatures, which proves extra tricky when photographing kids, but I love how these turned out. My favorite photos are one that are genuine. In no time at all, kids will grow up and be able to stand still and smile without [much] complaint and so shy little smiles on faces that have yet to care about any sort of photo requests truly make me the happiest.
It was so much fun to meet this whole family! I work with Kailee often for weddings (she owns Eden Salon & Spa) and also photographed her family last fall. With some family in town to complete this extended family grouping, they decided to update their photos and we flew through these with just a few meltdowns and promised toys included.
Their original wedding was scheduled for July 18, 2020. As every wedding couple this year has experienced, 2020 threw an enormous curve ball in the size of a worldwide pandemic. After much thought, Bryn and Jonathon decided to move their full, large, everyone-can-come-and-celebrate wedding to next summer, but wanted to go ahead and begin their marriage as planned.
These small micro weddings have become such a joy for me to attend. They strip away the beautiful, wonderful, glorious extra things that we all love about weddings, and truly make the day a focus on commitment, steadfastness, faithfulness, and love. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I adore full day weddings and all the details and beauty they include, but for years, I have told couples who worry about things like rain that, at the end of their wedding day, all that truly matters is that they are husband and wife, committed forever. This year, I have seen that over and over and over again. The layers have been peeled back and what couples end up with is a beautiful, wonderful, glorious day where the only focus is truly their love; a love that has already faced a lot of heartbreak when the reality of what they wanted and dreamed of for their wedding day were taken away from them. I have witnessed several times over now the holiness of marriage in the beauty of nature and not once has the lesser amount of witnesses detracted from that beauty.
Last fall when I shot their engagement session, not once did we think they would end up with two wedding days, a year apart, but it has been a joy to be part of their planning process, working out the logistical kinks, figuring out photography timelines, and celebrating with them. I feel so lucky to be able to do this all again next year. (They joked that if they screwed anything up this year, they always have a chance at a redo!)
Leslie originally scheduled this session because she needed “just one photo of our family.” I assured her there would be more than one, and after I posted one of my favorites on Instagram a few days ago, she was like, “Just stop editing. I don’t need any more. This is perfection.” But, you guys, look at this beautiful family!
I first met Leslie at the gym–she’s a personal trainer–and our kids are similar ages (our youngests are just a few months apart). It was so much fun to be invited out to their brand new house and get to find some awesome spots on their land. This first section with the trees was right back behind their house! And their beach and pond is every kid’s dream of a backyard. (Let’s be real, it’s all of our dreams.)
My goal, especially with smaller children, is to start the session with as many of the “necessary” groupings as possible. I know kids wear out quickly so it’s this clever balancing act of not rushing them (because they have spidey senses about that too), but also moving things along to get as many arrangements as possible before the not-caring comes into play.
Their original wedding plans involved both a wedding in India and a wedding in Wisconsin, but when COVID-19 hit and unraveled all their plans, they made do and decided to have an intimate ceremony here in Iowa City, where they live. Jasleen contacted me less than two weeks before their wedding, wondering if by chance I’d have their day open. I am so glad I did because it was such a delight to meet them and to get to celebrate with them in this perfect-though-not-their-original-dream wedding.
Jasleen & Rob met two years ago at Iowa State in the engineering program. They became study partners and now they joke they’ll be study partners for life, especially this first year of marriage as Jasleen finishes up her last few months of college, however that ends up looking during a pandemic.
While Jasleen’s parents weren’t able to make it from out of the country, her brother was there as well as Rob’s parents, sisters, and best friend. It was a small gathering, and filled with so much love and support for the start of Jasleen & Rob’s life together, officially, as husband and wife.
A few weeks ago, I got to photograph Becky and Chris’ family, and so when Chris’ sister, Laura, and her husband were visiting this past week, we had the perfect reason to get together again for some updated photos of the whole group. Between the first session and this one, Savi turned 3 and, since the two sessions were so close in timing, she remembered me and easily jumped right back into photo mode. Just look at this perfect little smile! The bribes did not have to come out until the last 10 minutes of photos, which is more than I can say for my own kids.
We had the most beautiful evening with gorgeous sun casting long shadows through the trees. It was a typically hot July day and, while the heat doesn’t just magically disappear at night around here, it at least becomes more bearable which made this session perfect.
Also, anyone looking for outfit inspirations for family groupings, take note here. No one matches and everyone coordinates. There are no pattern fights or tone clashes. They get 5/5 stars for wardrobe. 🙂