Welcome to the World - Baby Haven!

Oh, how I adore working with Backing the Blue Line! 

Am I joyful supporting the police and their families?  Yes.  Amjoyful meeting so many new people in this line of work?  Yes!  But, WHY am I most joyful?  Because this week I got to hold and photograph the tiniest and sweetest little newborn!

Miss Haven Joyce Helen came into the world just one week ago weighing 4lbs 15 oz.  (Just ounces larger than my own daughter so many years ago.)  Working with this darling newborn was like working with an angel.  She lay so soft and still, simply allowing us to work.  When we put on her parents beloved Green Bay Packers headband, she even cracked a smile.  Now... how can you complain when this is what you do for a living?

Work?  Yeah... right!

Congratulations to St. Francis Police Officer Stemme and his wife Katie on the latest addition to their family.  Soon we will capture the family together with a proud big brother, but for today, I hope you enjoy some sugar and spice and everything nice!

PS.  This session was another collaboration with my second shooter (and daughter), Caroline!  It was especially sweet as for the first time she got to see how tiny she was when she was born.   Caroline was the principal shooter on this session and did a great job!

And she said YES!

I don't know if anything can ever compare to the moment you are standing with your camera waiting for that moment when one person will stand before another and ask "Will you marry me?"

Last night, Caroline and I had such an honor when two high school sweethearts traveled from Bemidji to enjoy a vacation in the big city.  It was a surprise proposal and a moment when my being there would be a secret and a gift for her.  What Miss Amara did not know was that Nic and I had become old friends by then, talking many times via phone about his love for his girlfriend and the many plans he had for this important night.   Though it was incredibly cold and my camera lenses definitely did not like focusing in the frigid temps, it was a wonderfully clear and crisp night.

When all was said and done, it was a moonlight stroll across Stone Arch Bridge and a surprise performance along the way by the band Timeless of "You Dance' by East Mountain South that brought Nic to his knee with the all important question.  Amara said yes, and it was a perfect evening as the musicians, Caroline and I celebrated with them in their joy.

Congratulations to Nic and Amara! 

PS.  Check out Timeless and their great music on Facebook or their website!

A Visit From One of My Favorite Families

Over the years, I have been blessed to meet and know many families. Some I capture a simply moment in time, others I get the opportunity to work with them time and time again.  Recently, it was one such family who reached for me to capture the next senior in their family.  First, came Katherine... then came Tess.  Now... it is handsome Bill! 

With such a charming wit and Bill's bold blue eyes, it was a definitely a great way to spend the evening and a fun session all the way around!   Enjoy the rest of your senior year and good luck as you move forward in the adventure of your life!

A Glimpse Into Black Pearl

Recently, I was honored with the opportunity to work again with Samantha Rei, one of the Twin Cities most stylish of designers.   Don't know her?  You should!  Check out the latest on this inspiring designer:

I worked with Samantha Rei years ago under her Blasphemina's Closet label on her Second Star line, and was delighted to see those photographs published in her latest book.  When she approached me to work with her again, it was like... ummmm YEAH!  Is that even a question?!

This time, we were celebrating her latest line 'Black Pearl', a collection inspired by 1920's Shanghai.  Beautiful silhouettes, textures and details, this collection captures the most beautiful aspects of vintage style.  With a tag line of Beauty. Strength. Rebellion.,  Samantha strives to help women feel confident, strong and comfortable in their own skin. She believes they can all be beautiful warriors and with this latest series, they can be!

Learn more about Samantha Rei on her website.

Designer: Samantha Rei
Makeup Artist & Hair: Miranda Carlson
Models: Jeweldine McGee, Kiyanna Greene, Kyle Wagner, Faraz Ghassemi
Headpieces: Apatico
Jewelry: Realia by Jen
Shoes: Call It Spring
Location:  Clubhouse Jager

So many more images to come, but for today, enjoy a sneak peak into Black Pearl!

She Said YES!

I have known Caroline for 20 years.  Actually, I have known her since I heard that first heartbeat and felt that first kick.  She is my youngest daughter and most driven child.

I remember the first day she showed me a picture of Johnathan, telling me he would be a perfect model for one of my shoots.  She didn't know him, but in an army uniform he easily stood out in high school.  (Facebook is wonderful for stalking, isn't it?!)   Of course nothing became of it and life went on.  Then one afternoon a year later, she burst through my door bouncing so excitedly like a puppy about to piddle on the carpet when you return home.  She could barely contain her excitement but the smile across her face said it all.  She had met Johnathan and he was wonderful.

Two and a half years later, he is down on one knee and she said yes.

I wish their story was a simple as that, but the truth is, Johnathan is also my son.  Okay, I never carried him and I have only known him for a couple years.  But, together we have journeyed through a lot and he has become an integral member of our family and my life.  Sitting here, all I can say is how proud and excited I am that... My son is getting married!  My daughter is getting married!  Better yet, they are marrying each other and I couldn't be more happy.

Thought life will be full of challenges as he continues his military life at Fort Riley Kansas and Caroline completes her college education here at home, I know they will be happy.  They want the best for each other and somehow find a way to balance that with what they need for their own lives.  This next year will be a rollercoaster of activity, but in the end, I simply want to say thank you Lord for blessing them both with the perfect person for them.  May you continue to guide them through life and bless them as you have always done.

These formal images are part of the 'rouse' John and I planned for the engagement.  What started with a formal photoshoot in downtown Saint Paul, became an intimate proposal in Mearse Park before moving to dinner at the St. Paul Grille and an evening at Radisson Blu Minneapolis.  The next day?  A surprise going away party for John in Minneapolis with all of our family and friends.  (Talk about an adventure of secrets and lies!  I have never told as many as I have while planning this weekend!)

These casual photos are from the next day, when Caroline was finally 'in the know' and we had a ring to photograph!  :)



Check out other sessions featuring this fun couple!

Congratulations, Alissa and Michael!

This weekend, Caroline and I had the honor and privilege of photographing the wedding of two dear friends in Iowa.

I have been blessed to know Alissa for many years, and to have photographed her many, many times in that duration.  From headshots and theatre performances, to modeling and family photos, and even multiple photos with her beautiful Michael, it has been a long relationship that I have enjoyed and held dear.

Standing in the darkness watching her dance with her father and Michael with his mother, I felt a twang in my heart and the tears well up in my eyes.  For somehow they felt like my own children and seeing them grow and blossom together presented a moment I knew I would never forget.

Soon, I will post a comprehensive gallery of this charming country wedding and all the amazing family that shared in this day.  (Including some hilarious photobooth shots!)  But, for now, please join me in celebrating this couple as they begin a marriage blessed by love, laughter and many grand adventures! 


Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Furry!

Seeing things like this after a wedding or session are always so humbling and sweet.  If only my clients realized how much I adore getting to know them and being a part of the story of their lives. 

Boys and Their Toys!

I love photographing seniors.  So many unique personalities, styles and characters.  And, if you are lucky, you catch a glimpse of the life that waits to unfold before them.

When I met Benjamin, I was delighted to see the car he brought with him for the day.  Like most teen boys, he loved his car, the character of it and the freedom it gave him.  (As a photographer, I loved that he took the time to show me his favorite angle in which to photograph them together and whenever we had a break, I would catch him polishing it.)  It was a fun prop to shoot, and Benjamin was a kind and charming lad with a lot of endearing personality.

Over the course of the session, it was no surprise to hear that Benjamin would be pursuing a career in Aerospace Engineering.  As I said, boys and their toys!  I have no doubt that he will go on to pursue an exciting career with some pretty impressive new creations.  Speed, design and flight.... what an exciting life!

Beyond the Yellow Ribbon - The Stolp Family

Over the past several years, I have become more and more ingrained in the culture of military life - both the pride of being a soldier's family, but also the pain of worrying about what it is they are called to do.  With that in mind, I have aligned my work with many noteworthy programs aimed at helping military families.   Beyond the Yellow Ribbon and Operation Love Reunited are just two, and the great organizations that brought the Stolp Family in front of my camera.

Army Specialist Stolp and his family soon ready for his second deployment, this time in support of Operation Spartan Shield in Kuwait. While they have navigated the difficulty of separation before, this time it was especially hard as he and his wife, Kimberly, were enjoying time with their very young 18 month old twin boys.

So, with orders on the table, it meant we were working quickly to get in a session to not only give Stolp photographs of his beautiful family to take with him, but also for his young children to have here at home to keep his presence with them.

So, as I sit in my home tonight, safe and sound, I will think of Stolp and what his wife, Colleen, and their children Mackinzee, Kylee, Zakary and Carter are sacrificing for others.  The next seven months will not be easy, but we will excitedly look forward to the turn of the year when we can enjoy a homecoming session to welcome him home!

Finding Nature's Beauty

Working on the Wanderlust Traveler series, I find myself spending more and more time looking through the 50mm lens for macro details and the perspective of the world through small eyes.  Today, I was out seeking new images for my next chapter of Wanderlust and found myself delighting in so many wonderful and beautiful details, colors and textures.

Yes, I am a portrait photographer.  But, sometimes, you just gotta let Mother Nature's beauty shine first!

Wanderlust Traveler

And the travels continue, this time with Eleri's journey with her beloved giraffe.

There is a sparkle in her eyes as she speaks lovingly of him, knowing that he is magic and holds all her imaginations of childhood and a world beyond tomorrow.

Special photographer's credit goes out to Kayosa Trahana ShadowWing for use of the giraffe's image.

Family is all that matters.

This weekend, I had a marathon run of photography sessions.  Engagements, seniors and families.  Every single one was a delight and every single one was a lot of work.

At the end of the day, when my head hits the pillow, I pray that the images I take have meaning to those for which they are intended.  Sure, we all as photographers want to take beautiful portraits.  But, for me, it is so much more important to take pictures of relationships and interactions, moments and experiences.  I want them to look back at these pictures years down the road and not think of how they looked - young or old, small or big.  But rather, smile in that way that brings their heart to a fuller place as they think of how those people gave meaning to their life.

This world moves so very fast.  It doesn't matter how many pretty pictures you take.  it only matters whose heart your connect to and those in whom your life finds meaning.

Today, I am posting the last of my work with the Longaneckers.  This family took a long journey to build their family with adoption of three siblings.  This session marked the final step in that journey and first premiered online the day their adoption was made final and they announced their new forever home and family.  I think of you guys often and pray every day that your heart knows the love and joy I have found in my own and finds many wonderfully grand adventures!

The Magical World of a Wanderlust Traveler

In the past few weeks, I have found tremendous joy is discovering the beauty of the world and details that are so often overlooked in the rush of a life and a busy day.  As I began to enjoy the macro details of photography, my thoughts began to wander and I again felt like a child seeing the world for the first time.

Thus a new series is born and one that I hope will carry over the coming years with new eyes of a child and the realization of so many adventures that lie in this wonderland to which we are born.

Thank you to Elise for her adventurous spirit and willingness to undertake this campaign in her recent photography session.  While it was tremendously cold, thanks to the help of her amazing mom and lots of blankets - we had a wonderful kickoff to something new. 

I cannot wait to see how future imaginations unfold.

This series was inspired by the work of Zev Hoover.  He is a young photographer who began at the age of 9 with wonderful images and stories of miniatures.  He is well worth a Google!

Alyssa & Cole, plus one!

Is there anything more exciting than the pending birth of your first child?  Pregnancy is a wonderful time in life and deserves to be celebrated.

Photographing families as part of the  Cormican adoption campaign has brought so many great family experiences.  I have been fortunate to hear many great stories of family adoptions and observe how families adapt and grow with each new member.  Working with Alyssa & Cole, I was delighted to hear about their coming little one and the journey that brought them to the Twin Cities.  (Imagine my surprise hearing that Cole also works for an architecture firm, just like me!)

We were blessed with such a beautiful day and I enjoy sharing in this chapter as they unfold the story of their family.

Mother Nature is Beautiful!

This week was all about scouting - looking for beautiful, creative and engaging spaces that will reflect the unique character and style of my upcoming clients and families.

As I wandered through the open air, I was enchanted by all the beautiful color and textures.  While I rarely shoot nature, this day, I found it wonderfully renewing.  I think another day of shooting is in order.  No people.... Just Mother Nature!