Fall Inspired Mountaintop Elopement - A September Styled Shoot

 

Particularly with this baby on the way, sleep is something of a priority in my book so it’s a rare occasion to find me up at 4:45am on a Saturday! But let me tell you, I would have gladly gotten up far earlier if it meant being able to work with these amazing vendors, being able to capture their artistry and hang out with some amazing people willing to hike a whole table, chairs, table settings, 2 layer cake, desserts, and bouquets up a mountainside. This shoot was a long time in the making. Trying to find the perfect pieces, pick a date, and find the right location wasn’t easy but with the help of amazing vendors and team, it all finally came together and I am so excited to show off the work of so many talented people.

After loading up the van, the team and I arrived at Lake Hodges at 6am. Surrounded by the most spectacular fog, we hiked up the trail and started setting up this beautiful mountaintop elopement. Being San Diego, we knew it wouldn’t be long before the sun would show itself, which fortunately it did because it cleared up the fog for the finale, giving us the incredible lake and mountain view for our last few portraits.

The cake made by Cute Cakes is something out of a dream with amazing desserts to match. The most beautiful florals designed by Rosemary-Duff Florist decorated our table made out of antique shutters from Urban Barn. Elegant stationary designed by Queen B Invites ‘N’ More were just perfect to match our theme and aesthetic. And the most perfect gown from Something Old Something New, with beautiful hair and makeup done by the one and only Natasha Doran completed the picture for our bride, wearing a stunning diamond ring, necklace, and earrings by The Leo Diamond.

I am 100% in love with these amazing vendors! Not only is their work beyond beautiful, but the people behind these businesses are such a joy to work with and I am so excited to share them with all you lovely brides out there, and anyone looking to celebrate in a beautiful way! So without further ado, take a look at our dreamy, fall inspired, mountaintop elopement.

- Vendors -

Cake Designer: Cute Cakes Floral Designer: Rosemary-Duff Florist Stationary: Queen B Invites ‘N’ More Wedding Dress: Something Old Something New Antique Finds - Table and cake tray: Urban Barn Jewelry: The Leo Diamond Hair and Makeup Artist: Natasha Doran Bride Model: Shelby Turner Groom Model: JJ Shindler

- Huge Thanks to -

Yellow Line Studios Emily Snell Elisa Litke Josh Reznicek

 

Janisse & Fidel's Mckinney Falls Engagement Shoot

 

The wonderful thing about being a photographer is having the ability to capture people's stories. I mean, who doesn't love a good love story? Some stories you hear about for the first time when you meet the couple but others, you've been able to watch unfold for years. Janisse and Fidel's engagement session will always have a special place in my heart because of this reason. Janisse was one of my very first roommates in college and so I've had the opportunity to watch her and Fidel's story slowly unfold and am so excited to have had the opportunity to capture their engagement and share their beauty with the world. Because it's a beauty so worth sharing! 
 

Beauty will save the world." Fyodor Dostoevsky

I'll never forget the time Janisse was standing in front of a room full of people, speaking at our school's annual gala and she boldly proclaimed this quote from Fyodor Dostoevsky. Beauty will save the world. Having the privilege of living with her for two years, I know that this isn't just a passing comment but something she lives by. From her amazing sense of style- she once decorated our apartment full of teal polka dots- to her infectious joy, you can't help but be attracted to the beauty of this woman.

But why is it that beauty attracts us? I think that it's so easy to get caught up in the ugly, darkness of the times, so easy to get discouraged by what we hear on the news or just our interactions of the day, that something beautiful makes us stop and just take a breath. It's a reminder that hope trumps despair and life is indeed beautiful and worth living. The truth is that every life is beautiful and every day is a gift. We just need a small reminder, to recognize the extraordinary beauty of the everyday ordinary. So let's strive to be the beauty in someone else's day and to be that small reminder of hope that perhaps gets them through, reminding them that life is oh so beautiful. 

Janisse and Fidel, I am so fortunate to call you friends and to have your beautiful light in my life. Thank you for being that ray of hope in the world and for bringing a real sense of joy to those you meet (I mean, you didn't complain once even though it was a record breaking Texas summer heat wave during our session)! You radiate the joy of Christ and I know that your marriage will continue to be a witness of God's love and beauty in the world. Lots of love and prayers as you prepare for marriage!

 

Jenna & Scott's Desert Canyon Session

 

I used to wish that I could live in an RV and travel the world. But you might be thinking, "You can't go too far in only an RV". Well that's why this wouldn't be just any RV. It would be the recreational vehicle to rule all recreational vehicles. It would transform into a submarine for underwater excavation, sprout wings when I needed a change of scenery, and then of course, be my on-the-road home anywhere I chose, anywhere in the world. The fact of the matter however is that this lifestyle, besides having yet to be invented (email me if you know otherwise), is just not my reality. As exciting as it seems, I definitely do not lead the adventurous wanderlust lifestyle you see on instagram, with my man, a van, and a perfect pup. But you know what? I've found that I lead just as an adventurous lifestyle right at home. 

Why is it that in order to "experience life" you have to be out enjoying exotic foods and experiencing different cultures in foreign countries? Don't get me wrong, I think experiencing new places, traveling to foreign countries, and participating in another culture's way of life are all wonderful, wholesome experiences. Yet, we should never be so busy trying to experience the world that home becomes foreign. It's so natural to see the beauty that is the world and feel a need to experience it in a powerful way - this is one way God draws us closer to Himself, through the desire to search and explore. But let me propose that one of the most powerful ways we can do this is by purposely embracing where we are and who we are with, everyday. I believe it's right at home with the ones we love where the wildest adventures take place.

I love capturing those with adventurous hearts, those who love deeply and embrace the extraordinary beauty of the  everyday ordinary. Whether it be a hike with your man, a picnic with the family, time together in your first home. These moments are important and form who we become. So let's stop wishing we were somewhere else or feeling like we can't experience life until we have that RV. Life is happening all around us, and everyday we're being impacted and impacting those we meet. So embrace it fully because the experiences you will have there will form you in a way that no trip around the world ever could.

Jenna and Scott, I loved capturing your adventurous hearts! Thank you for always being so generous with your time and involved in the community, and for your very literal sense of adventure being down to hike to the perfect spot for these shots! I hope you know you are an inspiration to those who meet you. May your life be one wild adventure and may God always lead you to the next destination.

 

Creating Creativity: A Simple May Styled Shoot

 

There's a common misconception that an artist has to be inspired before creating art. Sure, creativity can hit us at just the right moment and influence a piece, but chances are if you sit around your house waiting for that inspiration to hit you, some of your best work will never be created. Like many things in life, creativity is a decision. It's not always an easy one because every decision we make comes with some amount of risk. And for an artist sometimes that risk can seem bigger in our head than it actually is. If we create something and send it out into the world, how will it be received? Will "they" think it's terrible? Will I ever book another client again if I share this? I only got 2 likes, what does that mean? The questions are endless.

Sometimes it's easy to get trapped in this creative funk, seeing everyone else around you create these amazing masterpieces, wondering if creating anything yourself is even worth it because it will never compare. Yep. Comparison is the constant struggle of the artist. But one that needs to be struggled with. If every artist just gave up after they saw another artist create something beautiful then there wouldn't be enough paintings to fill a gallery, there would only be one movie in your Netflix queue, we'd all be listening to the same song on repeat, and the world would be a whole lot less colourful.

Each of us has something totally unique to share with the world. It sounds a little cheesy but it's true. Whether you're an artist in the strictest sense of the word, or not, you have something totally unique and creative to add to this world. Sure, you might not end up being the next Pablo Picasso, Ansel Adams, or Stephen Spielberg. But that doesn't mean your art won't have a profound impact on those who are waiting for it to be created. 

"The rose in its glory, the lily in its whiteness, don't rob the tiny violet of its sweet smell, or the daisy of its charming simplicity. I saw that if all these lesser blooms wanted to be roses instead, nature would lose the gaiety of her springtide dress - there would be no little flowers to make a pattern over the countryside." St. Therese of Lisieux

This styled shoot came out of this thought process and became something of a little exercise for myself. I'm not about to tell you how glamorous this shoot was. I didn't get to work with a ton of vendors, showcase a stunning new dress, or end up getting published. It was the simplest of the simple. I had the joy of working with two creative and talented friends, put together a bouquet at home, used my own wedding dress, and just went out and shot some beautiful photos. This is one step for me. I love to create. I want to grow as an artist and hopefully touch lives one by one with the art I create but that won't happen unless I make the first move. It starts with the decision. Just go create. Keep creating and you'll be surprised to find just how far that one decision will take you. So here you have it. A simple styled shoot, revealing to me and hopefully to you, the extraordinary beauty that is the artistic expression. Now go create something beautiful, because only you can create it!  

 

Model: Viva Valdez

Hair and Makeup: Natasha Doran (instagram @ncmdoran - follow her! You won't be sorry.)

Thanks so much ladies for working with me on this! 

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Natahsa & Shannon's home session

 

I may be Canadian but I’m not about to apologize for how often these two wonderful faces appear in my posts. It’s fitting that they are kicking off the blog because they have been close friends of mine for a long time. From the moment we received our roommate assignments for college, Natasha and I have been attached at the hip. After our "crazy" college times (drinking lots of tea while procrastinating our papers watching the zesty Italian dressing commercials. look it up.), we moved in together, got engaged to our wonderful husbands the same year, and both got married the following year (double bridesmaid duty!) - bringing an end to our roommate life only to move into apartments just down the road from each other. Despite the “distance”, our new husbands to care for and twice the laundry to do, I've found that our friendship has only grown. With every new stage of life, we get to be witnesses to the ever growing journey of love that God has called us to. And what a beautiful journey it has been! I feel so grateful to know these two and to count them as close friends on this crazy adventure of life. Seeing how Shannon lights up Natasha like no other, being around their infectious smiles, and having the privilege of watching their journey to saying "I do" has been incredible and I pray we get to share many more moments to come.

This sweet little home session was a reminder to me of how precious the small moments are. Sometimes we think that only the big ticket items, the really grand adventures, the major success stories are the things that are worth marking the moments of our life. But what about "that one lazy Sunday we spent in our first home", "the time we had a picnic on our porch", or "used boxes as a table because we had no furniture." As time goes on "that one time..." phrase will grow and change just as we do and it will be incredible to see the growth. Suddenly "that one time I successfully made dinner without burning it" turns into "that one time she started to crawl...walk...talk." It's these small moments that make up everyday, and everyday that make up a lifetime. The greatest adventures take place right at home with the ones we love. So here's to lazy Sundays. Here's to time together, making memories. Here's to a lifetime of unexpected, little moments and one beautiful adventure. 

Natasha and Shannon, I hope these serve as lasting memories of your first home together and that one day you can look back on them and be reminded of so many good times. Never forget to embrace the everyday, tiny moments that bring you closer together and never miss an opportunity to make each other laugh. Thank you for being an example of a loving, joyful marriage and for putting up with my crazy antics (all these years) but especially during this session! I always know it’s going to be a good time with you in front of my camera. Know that your friendship means the world to me and that when the time comes when we can no longer just walk down the street to see each other, that I'll always be there for you.