Anna Be – bridal shoot – Wild Basin Lodge

I love fall time in Colorado!! It’s such a gorgeous time of year! I love the colors of the trees, boots, scarves, and most of all warm frothy latte’s! YUM!

I know that spring has just begun… but a girl can daydream!

I photographed a bridal shoot two falls ago and it was amazing! I love that we did the shoot at Wild Basin Lodge! Bella Capelli did the stunning updo’s, Floral Design of Europe was kind of enough to supply the floral arrangements, and Anna Bé brought some of their stunning dresses for the gorgeous models to wear. It was a blast! I had never done a styled bridal shoot before and was quite nervous! However, the crew was awesome and the models were so natural and relaxed – it turned out to be an incredible day.

Anna Be is bridal boutique located in downtown Denver – if you’re shopping for a wedding dress you have to check them out!!

I also had the pleasure of my awesome dad shooting with me!

Thanks Rocky Mountain Aperture for these behind the scenes photos!

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I absolutely LOVE Colorado!! It’s so amazing living in Denver and having all of that a metropolitan city has to offer, but then 90 minutes away there are tons of gorgeous mountain towns at the base of the Rocky Mountains – it’s the best of both worlds!!

As a photographer this type of project can seem intimidating!! Especially when there are so many professionals in the industry that have put their time and effort into the shoot… There is a lot of pressure (mostly internal) to get everything perfect because in the end it’s the photos that will count.

Even after working in this industry and photographing weddings and different types of shoots since 2006 I still get nervous – it has calmed a bunch from when I started, but it has never gone away. It used to drive me crazy, but now I think that it forces me to be better. I am nervous because I want to give my clients the absolute best photos I can give them and that is a lot of pressure, but at the same time it pushes me to explore my creative boundaries.

I am going to hopefully do more shoots like this in the coming year and I can’t wait to organize them and work with some of the best vendors Colorado has to offer!

Here are a handful of the photos from the shoot.

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I love this shot of all the ladies sitting at the bar at Wild Basin Lodge!

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I love sharing photography with my dad! He makes it way too much fun!!! I am so honored that he let me carry his camera bag for him all those years ago and then felt confident to let me take photos at some of his weddings and he must have thought I did okay because he let me know work for him 5 years after that!! What an amazing journey it has been! I can say without a doubt that I would not be where I am today in my business or with my art if he had not helped me and taught me everything he did!! I am so grateful!

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thank you! thank you! thank you!

organizing styled photo shoots

I love organizing styled photo shoots! They are so much fun to organize and the creative freedom is amazing. These types of shoots are inspiring and really help me to push myself in my photography.

Styled shoots can be an incredible way for photographers to grow – especially during the off season when there aren’t as many events. They inspire creativity and are an awesome way to network and get to know other wedding vendors in your area

Here are some helpful tips for organizing a styled photo shoot …

1.) Choose a theme – brainstorm ideas, create a Pinterest board with details you love, flip through wedding magazines and check out popular wedding blogs for inspiration- it’s always a great idea to see what blogs/magazines are publishing, especially if you are hoping to submit your session for publication.

2.) Decide what time of year you want to do the shoot.

3.) Take your time to research what vendors you want to work with on the styled photo shoot.

5.) Once you have all of the vendors and details worked out make sure to get everything organized and share all of the details with everyone who is involved so that everyone is on the same page and there is no room for confusion.

6.) MAKE IT HAPPEN!! The sky is the limit – make sure to let your creativity run wild and have fun!

7.) After the shoot make sure to share the images with everyone who was involved. Post the styled shoot to your blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest! Brides who are planning their wedding can’t get enough of this type of inspiration! Make sure your shoot is searchable and easy to find for brides browsing for ideas for their own wedding.

I am lucky enough to have a best friend that looks like a model and loves having her picture taken 🙂 and her husband is awesome enough to humor us! Kasie has been super helpful to me as I have grown in my business and with my photography – when I have a new idea or want to try something – she is game to help out and model for me!

Last fall I put together a styled romantic Colorado photo shoot in Estes Park with Kasie and her hubs, Phil. We headed up to the YMCA, to a location I had scouted out weeks before. However, the entire drive up it was pouring rain. We were stressing out because we had spent a lot of time planning this shoot and wanted it to work out perfectly. Well, after waiting in the car for awhile it finally stopped raining and we were able to get to work. I LOVED the shoot and was so pleased with how it turned out.

We brought a picnic blanket, old fashion basket, wine and wine glasses and a bunch of mini roses to sprinkle around. It created such a romantic scene!

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 I am hoping to work with some wedding vendors this year to organize a few unique styled shoots! I am still brainstorming on this – if you know of anyone that would be interested, please send them my way!

Check out the blog tomorrow for some behind the scenes at a bridal styled shoot!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my sweet sister!

Today is a special day in my family… It is the day, 24 years ago, that my sweet sister was born!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!

I’m sitting here at 6:30 in the morning (I typically am not functional at this time of day, but was so excited to write this post and I couldn’t sleep) with a large cup of coffee (in my favorite New Orleans mug!) next to me pondering what exactly to write. I have so much I want to say, but I’m not sure exactly how to express it… Welp, here it goes!

Thinking back on the the last 24 years I am filled with joy and laughter – don’t get me wrong there were some rough years in there (my parents would have stories!), but all in all I cannot imagine growing up without a sister. I am so glad that we are only a year and half apart – this allowed us to still be close enough in age to grow up together and be able to relate to one another.

To share a few fun stories…

We would spend summers at our grandparents ranch in Raton, New Mexico and as kids this was the best thing ever! We would get up at 4am just to go with our grandpa to feed the cows!! Ha! It sounds silly, but it was so much fun for us. He would let us sit on his lap and ‘drive’ the truck! We would sit and look out the windows and watch the cows follow the truck as we released the ‘cake’ I guess it was called… They were cylinder shaped pieces of food or treats of some sort. I’m not too sure, but it was fun! We also loved when our grandpa taught us how to drive the lawn mower! They had a huge lawn and one of the mowers that you actually sat on and drove around. We thought we were so cool on the mower driving up and down the lawn as if we were driving to the mall or something! 🙂

My sister and I watched Xena and Hercules when we were younger (I found them on Netflix recently and oh boy – are they corny!) and we loved it! So, when we got to the ranch in the summer it was our own play ground! Our grandpa taught us how to saddle and ride the horses and he even let us ride them alone in the arena! So, of course two little girls that watch too much Xena and are left along with two horses… What else could go on… We pretended that we WERE Xena and Gabrielle (Xena’s best friend). Our imaginations ran wild and we were having our own adventures in that small arena, fighting the bad guys and saving the innocent villagers! hahahaha. We even played on the horse trailer and would take turns locking each other in pretending we had gotten captured and were in prison and the other had to make up a rescue plan!

THEN, on one of our family trips that we took to Hawaii (or maybe Mexico) we spent so much of our time in the huge swimming pool and discovered the Titanic… In the pool!! Well, not really, obviously 🙂 BUT there was a bar in the middle of the pool that had bar stools… So of course we would go under the water swimming in and out of the stools as if we were searching for the lost wreckage of a sunken ship.  We would come up for air to make a plan and then head back down to see what we could find…

Anyways, my point with these silly stories – is that if I didn’t have a sister then none of this would of happened and those are just a few of our many shenanigans! I simply cannot imagine not having my sister – it would have just been super lame growing up alone.

Those are stories of when we were little and weird 🙂 We have both grown up (for the most part) and have our ‘big girl jobs’ and whatnot, but no matter how old we get I will always smile and find joy in remembering how weird and silly our imaginations were.

My sister, Amanda Paige is kind and gentle. She is warm and loving and fun and crazy! She has a heart of gold that I am constantly amazed by. She cares so deeply for people! She’s my favorite person to sing every single song from the Grease soundtrack with (we take turns on who gets to be Sandy and who gets to be Danny!) She is smart and witty and I just love her to death!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my sweet sister!!! I hope to have adventures with you for many many years to come! I love you!

Here are some photos when we were very young and goofy looking 🙂

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and a few from the last few years… My sister was the BEST maid of honor EVER!!

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I love you so much ManDee and can’t image a life where you aren’t my sister!

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Again, HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the best sister a gal could ask for!!!

Photo credit :

Our awesome dad (my fave photographer ever!)

KJ and Rob Photographers (wedding shot!)

Wild Basin Lodge advertisments

I am super excited that Wild Basin Lodge used two of my photos in their recent promotional ads! I could not be more honored and humbled!

Wild Basin Lodge is one of the most amazing wedding venues in Colorado.. and probably the entire the world! 🙂 The owners, Denice and Nils are two of the most kindhearted and incredibly genuine people I have ever met! They do not simply run a business – they take joy in what they do and serve each of their clients to the fullest! I remember when I met Denice (years ago) and in our first conversation (after she gave me a big hug) she told me if I got married at the Lodge, she would take care of me! Well… A few years later I got married there and I never imagined how incredible it would be! The first time I took my hubs there to tour the venue I was so excited because I wanted him to love it as much as I did! When we walked in the door and Denice offered him a beer – he was sold! My wedding was a dream come true and I owe that in large part to the lovely and amazing people who run this incredible venue!

I have had the unique experience of interacting with Denice and Nils and their staff in a professional setting, as I photograph a lot of weddings there and also in the personal setting since I had my own wedding at the lodge. In both of these scenarios I am treated exactly the same! They show me the exact same kindness when I show up to photograph a wedding as they did on my own special day. I am truly touched and blessed by their kindness.

Dianna McGhinnis is one the lovely ladies that works at Wild Basin Lodge and she has been incredible to get to know and work with at weddings and on these promotional advertisements!

THANK YOU to Wild Basin Lodge!!!

The below photo on the left is an online advertisement for My Wedding – an online planning resource for couples and the photo on the right is an ad for The Knot !!

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wedding shoes

Choosing wedding shoes can be one of the most fun parts of wedding planning! There are so many different options – high heels, flats, Toms, sparkles, white, bright colors… the options go on and on!

Here are some helpful tips when searching for your perfect wedding shoes…

*Look in bridal magazines, on wedding blogs, and Pinterest for inspiration!

*Use your wedding gown and color scheme for ideas… Is you favorite color hot pink? Well, have your girls wear pink dresses and pick out matching shoes for your self. The complimenting details are amazing and add a unique touch!

*Take your girlfriends and try on shoes until you drop! Have fun with it! Try on all kinds of styles and colors… You never know what you will fall in love with!

*Make sure to break them in before your big day! There’s nothing worse than annoying blisters.

*If you have to have that sexy pair of stilettos, but can’t imagine wearing them during your dance party – buy a second pair of more comfortable shoes for once the reception starts!

I stumbled on this amazing company called Milk & Honey when I was planning my own wedding… It’s incredible!! They have fun and unique shoes! Best of all… You can design your own wedding shoes from scratch! Check it out if your having troubles finding that perfect pair!

wedding-shoes-wedding-planning-destination-weddingWhen I was little I would watch Cinderella over and over daydreaming what it would be like to be her and have my own prince charming that would search for me with my lost glass slipper… It was a lovely dream!

When I found my own prince charming and he asked me to be his queen, I was over the moon with excitement and every aspect of planning our dream wedding was magical! Picking out my shoes was so exciting – the options were endless!

Have fun with it! Be true to yourself and pick out your dream shoes!!

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wildflowers at your wedding

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love wedding flowers! They are colorful, gorgeous, and smell incredible! I am always amazed at the arrangements that florists create… It is a true art form!

Today I will be wrapping up my wedding flower inspiration posts… and to finish I asked on my amazing brides from last year, Rachel Penn how she chose her wedding flowers and what they meant to her.

1.) Did you know exactly what kind of flowers you wanted for your wedding OR did it take some time to narrow it down? Going into the wedding planning, I didn’t necessarily know exactly what kind of flowers I wanted, but I had a pretty good idea of the type of vision and feeling that I wanted them to create. I did know what kinds of flowers and arrangements I didn’t want, which helped narrow things down quite a bit. I have always loved sunflowers so I knew that they had to be incorporated in some way.

2.) What kind of resources did you use to pick you flowers? Pinterest, pinterest, pinterest! How did people plan weddings before Pinterest?! For those that are unfamiliar with the site, pinterest.com is a great resource for finding inspiration and saving it all in one nifty easy to find place. I created a Pinterest board solely dedicated to flowers and would pin anything that appealed to me and matched the vision for my wedding. Once it got closer to the wedding and the initial meeting with my florist, I copied all of the photos into a word document, printed them out in color, and brought them with me to my appointment with Brigitte at Floral Designs of Europe. Having seen Brigitte’s incredible work and knowing she was one of the top florists in the area, I trusted her to take the photos and run with it, keeping in mind the few things I told her that I did and didn’t want. She was able to come up with arrangements that I would have never been able to imagine and incorporate beautiful and unique flowers I had never seen. This is truly a time when it is in your benefit to “leave it to the experts” if you don’t have a very specific idea of what you want. I also found the Wild Basin Lodge blog to be very helpful for floral inspiration because many of the previous WBL brides had similar styles and visions.

3.) Any helpful tips for future bride when picking their wedding flowers? Come up with a few words that describe your wedding and how you want it to feel. Sharing these words with your florist and other vendors will help them to know what you are striving for and steer you in the right direction. Ask your florist if they would be willing to do a “mock up” of a bouquet and/or centerpiece so that you can see everything live before the wedding and tweak a few things if necessary. Think about what colors would complement and clash with the other colors in your wedding and communicate that to your florist. Don’t forget about the accessories – the containers that hold your flowers and what you choose to wrap the bouquets with will accent your flowers and help bring your vision to life.

4.) What made you choose wildflowers? My husband, my brother, and I went on a hike in Rocky Mountain National Park one summer and I was blown away by the beauty and wide variety of wildflowers in the area. We had to stop every 5 minutes so I could snap a photo of a new wildflower along our hike. One of the main reasons why we chose to get married at the Wild Basin Lodge in August was because of the sheer beauty of the area and we knew that the wildflowers would be in full bloom that time of year. We wanted our flowers to complement and highlight the natural beauty of the area, which is why we decided on wildflowers for our wedding. The wildflowers also fit in nicely with the rustic and mountain feel of our wedding.

Thank you Rachel for these awesome and helpful tips!! To check out Rachel’s stunning wedding photos – CLICK HERE!

I love wildflowers!!

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Have you considered having wildflowers at your wedding??

Gorgeous venue – Wild Basin Lodge

Floral arrangements created by Brigitte with Floral Design of Europe.

grooms reaction to seeing his bride for the first time…

Taking a break form wedding flower inspiration for one day…

I love every aspect of a wedding, but there a few moments that always stand out to me… One of these precious moments is when the groom sees his bride for the first time on their special day.

Months and months of planning have gone into each and every detail of their wedding and the bride has spent hours upon hours flipping through magazines, Pinning on Pinterest, meeting with vendors, tasting cake, trying on dresses, picking out flowers… all of this time and work and the wedding day has finally arrived. If you’re anything like me, you were planning your wedding day way before your groom popped the question! I remember watching Disney movies as a young girl and day dreaming of my own prince charming. My best friend and I both met our husbands in high school and a few years before either of us were even engaged we would go to the bookstore, grab all of the wedding magazines, sit down at the coffee shop and flip through them for hours! Crazy, I know – but it was so much fun for us to dream of what our wedding day would be like! Plus being a wedding photographer for 6 years before getting married often helped my internal planning process 🙂

Anyways, with all of this planning and heart felt energy that is spent to make this one day so magical… It’s finally here!!!!

Most couples will spend the morning of their wedding separate and get ready with their wedding party and families. Some are more strict with this than others, but for the most part there a sense of anticipation for that moment of the grooms reaction to seeing his bride for the first time!

If you’re going to catch the groom tearing up at any point during the wedding day.. this is it!! When the bride starts to walk down the aisle and everyone turns to face her – it is my favorite moment to turn around and catch a glimpse of the groom. It never fails to be a heartwarming expression!

Here is an emotionally beautiful shot from Mari & Andy’s wedding at Wild Basin Lodge.

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More wedding flower inspiration tomorrow!

have you picked your wedding flowers??

If you haven’t chosen a florist who will create your wedding flowers for your big day then you have to check out Brigitte with Floral Design of Europe! Her arrangements are absolutely gorgeous and smell divine! Brigitte is extremely committed and puts a lot of heart into her work! Plus her European accent is the best!  She has the cutest little cabin floral shop in Estes Park that you can’t help but fall in love with!Set up a meeting with her ASAP… You wont regret it! 🙂

Here are some tips when choosing your wedding flowers:

1.) Have in mind what type of style you want, but be open to creative input from your florist

2.) Bring color swatches, inspiration photos, and/or a photo of your dress when meeting with your florist

3.) Personalize your bouquet with a photo or charm around the stems

4.) Come prepared with how many people will be in your wedding party, how many family members will have boutonnieres and/or corsages, how many table arrangements you will need for your reception and if you will want flowers at your ceremony location.

5.) Always remember the sky’s the limit and this your special day – so make the flowers you own

Here are some samples of Brigitte’s incredible work…

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winter wedding photography

There is something truly magical about a winter wedding! The quiet of the mountain air as the crystals of snow fall to the ground… There is nothing quite like it.

I couldn’t help but share one more photo from Mari & Andy’s winter wedding at Wild Basin Lodge. It was was one of my most favorite weddings of all time! They were an amazingly kind-hearted couple that was consumed with love for one another and the outpouring of joy and laughter was truly incredible to witness and be apart of! Their wedding was wonderful! Even though it was snowing and the ceremony was inside at Wild Basin Lodge, that didn’t stop Mari and Andy from wanting to head outside for photos. I loved it!  CLICK HERE to see their full gallery. Brigitte at Floral Design of Europe created a beautiful arrangement for Mari… As she always does!! If you’re looking for a florist for your wedding be sure to check out Brigitte’s work!! Winter wedding photography is one my favorites… there is something so magical about the still quietness while the snow falls. It’s so romantic!

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Be sure to check out these helpful articles on planning a winter wedding!

What to Consider Before Planning a Winter Wedding

Winter Wedding Planning

Winter Wedding Tips

i’m a blessed gal

I have spent the last 10 days road tripping to WPPI in Las Vegas, driving to Laughlin, Nevada to visit my cousin, to the Grand Canyon (WOW!), to Moab, and everything in between! It was an amazing road trip with my favorite photographer – Dave Russell aka the best father ever!

I learned so much at WPPI and met some incredible people. I’m already excited for next year!

The biggest thing I learned from the speakers and many people I spoke with is that as a professional photographer I am not simply offering my clients coverage and images… I am offering them an experience! An experience that is unique to me. I desire to give my clients an incredible experience, not just beautiful photographs. While the images are very important.. They are not the only thing that matters. This experience starts with the first interaction I have with them and it is my goal this year to provide the BEST experience I can for my clients!

Anyways, on the drive home (when we weren’t pulled over taking photos every 20 miles) 🙂 I thought a lot about my business, the way I want to run it and my priorities. I plan to do some soul searching and reorganizing, but I can say I am super STOKED for this season to kick off!

Another thing I kept thinking about is how truly blessed I am… I have a business that I absolutely love and a passion for what I am doing. I have an incredible and supportive husband, and the best family ever! Life is short and precious and I too often forget that in the craziness of everyday life. I really want to work on cherishing every moment and living a life full of true joy!

Speaking of blessings… When I got home today I found a special gift that my sweet sister (in-law) had left for me… “Just because” 🙂 I love presents.. They are just so much fun! I was so touched by the thoughtfulness of this gift. It ties in my love for photography with a side of classy! I am so honored and joyful to have the family that I do!!

What are YOU thankful for today?? Take the time to really enjoy each moment… They are fleeting.

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Vegas to Denver – road trip – the long way!

Vegas to DenverVegas to Denver – Road Trip

I love road tripping! It’s so peaceful to me being able to just think and ponder the many things that seem to be placed on the back burner during the hustle and bustle of everyday life. I have been really thinking and praying the last few days and I  want to intentionally live in the moment and enjoy each day to the fullest… This life is far too short and fleeting and we really have no idea when it will end! I don’t want to waste any time that I have to spend with my friends and family, travel the world, and have as many adventures as I possibly can!!!

For this current adventure I am road tripping form Vegas to Denver with my dad as we return from a week long photography conference. I have learned so much about business and the industry the past few days and it’s nice to be driving through wide open space to really let it all sink in and think of ways to put what I have learned into practice in my own business and to push myself creatively.

Above are some shots from just a few of the many times we pulled off to the side of the road during our drive today through Arizona and Utah! 🙂

The sky was rocking!!

 

 

young love photo shoot – Arizona/Nevada – destination photographer

After leaving WPPI feeling all inspired and day dreaming of different ways of making my dream of becoming a destination photographer come true… I road tripped south a bit to the visit my cousin who is a senior in high school and about to graduate and go to college in Phoenix!  I am so very proud of her!!! Anyways, we had planned on doing a photo shoot for her graduation announcements while I was in town and I begged her to let me also photograph her and her boyfriend (who I would be meeting for the first time!) 🙂

Here are some shots of Caty in Oatman, Arizona – a super fun old wild west town she took me to – there were donkeys wandering around the streets!   Gez… She has gotten so beautiful!!

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About an hour before sunset we met Cody (her boyfriend) at a park by the river and had a mini photo shoot! All I can say is I was completely blown away by how genuine and kind Cody was! He was funny and sweet and a complete gentleman to my sweet cousin. It was a joy witnessing their love for one another!

couples photo shoot destination photographerThey were both so expressive and in the moment! I was loving it!

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Then came this gorgeous sunset!

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roadtrip adventure in Nevada and Arizona

It was awesome driving to WPPI in Las Vegas because now we can take our time and drive home with an adventurous mindset and stop at all the coolest spots! Today we stopped at the Hoover Dam (WOW, it is ginormous!), then drove to Chloride, AZ and saw an awesome mural that was painted in the 60’s on the side of a HUGE rock wall! What a talented and creative artist!! Then we drove to Grapevine Canyon in Nevada and hiked a ways in and I was finding the best little treasures along the way! We climbed this STEEP giant rock to get to the top of the canyon and watched the sunset.. OH MY, what a stunning one it was (pictures to come later of the sunset!). Here are some shots of my adventures today…

010205 03 Here is a shot of my awesome photographer father!!!!

dadCHECK OUT THE BLOG TOMORROW FOR SOME MORE PHOTOS FROM MY ADVENTURE!!

day dreaming and being inspired to shoot a destination wedding

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I had the pleasure of attending WPPI in Las Vegas the last few days and it has been awesome! There are so many amazingly talented photographers in one place and I am just soaking up the information!

The highlight of my time was attending Laura Grier’s class on branding yourself as a destination photographer!! When I was searching which classes I wanted to attend I came across Laura’s and was super excited that WPPI was offering something like this! Since returning from my first Euro-adventure last summer I have been in the mindset that I HAVE to shoot weddings all over the world! We visited 8 countries during our 5 week trip and I could not have dreamed of a better experience! I have been researching and reaching out to people the last few months to figure out to even break into something like this and I haven’t had the best luck… AND THEN I found Laura’s bio in her classes description and thought, “I have to meet this amazing woman!” So, I emailed her right away and wasn’t sure what to expect. I had reached out to others and hadn’t gotten much feedback. However, I was over the moon with excitement when the NEXT morning I had a voice mail, not an email, but a voice mail from Laura responding to my message. After emailing back and forth I was getting more and more excited for her class!

I could hardly sleep last night because I was just so excited to learn more about this dream I have been wanting to make a reality and I felt like I had finally found someone that could give me a push in the right direction…

I learned more than I thought I could in 90 minutes from this amazing woman and when I thought it couldn’t possibly get any better. Laura invited me to brunch! So, of course I went and asked her a million questions.

I am just so humbled by her willingness to answer my questions and the kindness she showed me by sharing so much of her experiences and knowledge with me.

The biggest piece of advice I have been receiving from people is that when you have the desire to follow a certain dream then you need to shout it out for the world to hear! How can we expect our dreams to come true if we never share them with anyone or do anything to make them possible??? So here it goes…

A FEW OF MY DREAMS…

I want to shoot a destination wedding in Paris!!

I would also love to do shoots in Hawaii, Isla Mujeres, Ireland, London, Switzerland.. (to name a few)

I want to do an engagement shoot in Seattle, on the Oregon coast, or San Fransisco.

I want to shoot humanitarian work for missionaries.

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Those are just a few of my current dreams that I hope become a reality!!

What are your dreams? Write them down.. Share them with people.. See what happens!

one of my favorite photos of my husband and I in Cinque Terre, Italy last year.

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