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Ruby Beach

My boyfriend and I decided to take a day road trip around the highway 101 loop. Something both of us have been wanting to do, but never taken the time. It’s quite the trip to make in one day, but nice to catch a glimpse of some places that we might want to plan a full-length trip to at a later time.

My favorite stop along the route that day was Ruby Beach. We stopped in on a whim, thinking it looked like a cool place on the map. Yes, we had to use a REAL paper map due to the lack of cell reception on that highway. You know, the kind that you have to unfold and then figure out how to look at it without blinding the driver? Yeah, one of those. It was great, and I was pleased to find that I still knew how to use one properly. We didn’t even get lost!

So, back to Ruby Beach. It was beyond beautiful. We pulled in just before sunset, so there were not many people, and the tide was out. We practically had the beach all to ourselves, so we took our time strolling along and taking pictures. I would love to come back and enjoy this beautiful piece of Pacific Ocean beach.

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Family on the Lake

It turned out to be a beautiful evening for this family portrait session! A few clouds rolled in just as we started and worked to my favor as a jumbo-sized soft box! (That’s the big thing they put over the light/flash so the light isn’t so harsh)

We started out on the deck of their home, overlooking the lake. The view was amazing, but I was having more fun watching their two boys having fun with the shoot. They were not camera shy at all, and both boys had lots of fun ideas to share.

After a “formal” shoot, they decided to change into some more casual outfits. We went back down to the dock for a little fun.

The boys wanted to show off on their bikes a bit, so we walked up to the driveway and did a few tricks!

Then I decided to ask the boys who could jump higher… we went back to the dock to for a little more fun before ending our session.


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The Perfect Gift

I often find myself browsing through Craigslist looking at ads people post looking for photographers. Usually the ad reads something to the effect of “I don’t have money, so if you would like to add to your portfolio, this would be a great opportunity!” Well here’s a newsflash: I don’t have to work for free to add to my portfolio. People often don’t understand the true amount of time and effort that goes into a photo shoot. It’s not just walking around taking snapshots and then handing over a disk of images. It’s work. Hard work. And the work isn’t over when you’re done taking pictures. You have to weed through hundreds of images and make the choice of what is good and what isn’t. Then there’s the editing, and time to upload, etc etc…

But I digress….

Last week I was browsing Craigslist adds just for fun, and I came across one that caught my eye. Someone wanted to hire a photographer to document a very special surprise evening they had planned for their mother. He offered a fair payment for two hours of shooting time, and stated he would want to buy prints at a later time. The gig was all the way up in Woodinville, which is about an hour and a half from my home in Olympia. Normally it wouldn’t have been worth my drive, but  I liked the add so much I responded anyways. I just loved the idea that this man had come up with, and I felt it would be an honor to be able to be a part of their evening.

To my surprise, he called me the next day, saying that with all of the responses he received from the ad he placed he liked my work the best. Now that made my day!

The event was a Chris Isaac concert, being held at the Chateau Ste Michelle winery. That in itself was enough to get a photographer excited! The grounds are meticulously maintained and the buildings are beautiful.

Mother and son arrived in a town car at the VIP entrance. As the mother stepped out of the car, I was snapping pictures like paparazzi. She walked towards her son saying “I think that lady thinks I am someone else!” Her son then told her that he had hired me for the evening to document their time during the VIP reception. (photographers weren’t allowed into the concert)

They walked through the grounds, tasted some wine, and enjoyed the amazing feast that was provided for all VIP guests.

Then it was portrait time. The mother said she hadn’t had a photo taken of her in years… it was my pleasure with her beautiful smile! She still seemed in disbelief when it was my time to leave. I have a feeling her evening was just getting started…

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Boredom = Fun

What does a photographer do when business is a little slow and the photographer is bored? What’s the best way to market you photography business? Get out and take pictures! That’s the answer to both questions!

My goal on this sunny afternoon was actually to try and find a couple to photograph on the street, free of charge, just for fun. I went to a few parks but just couldn’t muster up the courage to break in on a conversation or stop them in their tracks to ask if I could photograph them. This is something I need to work on… another time…

I decided to take a different approach to street photography. I went to a local skate park with my big 70-200 canon lens, parked myself on a bike rack (rather uncomfortable!), and waited until I had a bit of attention from the teenage boys showing off their tricks. At one point there was about six of them all standing together, so I made my move. I walked up and asked if they would mind if I took their pictures. Let me tell you, a group of teenage boys gets giddy when a lady in heels carrying a huge camera asks them to take their picture! I handed out my card after one asked if I did modeling pics (he was wanting to become a model and wanted to start his portfolio), and then started shooting away.

It was lots of fun, and next time I’ll be bringing a wider angled lens. I was still able to get some fun shots, though! I think some teens were happy to get some new facebook pictures!

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True Love: Wife, Mom, Dad, and Ukulele

I think having a past client call you up and ask if you are available for another photo shoot is the best compliment a photographer can get. I had the opportunity to photograph not only a past client (David) again, but also his extended family. David’s wife’s parents were in town unexpectedly, so he thought this was the perfect opportunity to get some family portraits, as well as a few more shots for his upcoming album release.

Here’s the coolest part: The parents hadn’t had their photo taken together in over two decades! Now that is a special event to be remembered!

We started off with a few family portraits, but soon I had “Mom and Dad” sitting side by side laughing while watching me snap away. They were so stinking cute! I could have stayed and photographed them all day long without a care in the world.

David’s wife was not home for our first photo shoot, so I had the pleasure of meeting her during this one. And by pleasure, I mean complete joy! She and David were so great together… their love for each other just shined through and through. She was so excited to have photos taken, and had many ideas for us to work with. I love it when clients have ideas and suggestions for a photograph! And I love it even more when they get to see those ideas come to life.

Next we took some fun shots for David’s upcoming Ukulele CD release. I think I’m as excited about getting a copy of the CD as he was about getting the copies of his images! I certainly hope that David keeps pumping out the albums, because I can’t wait to work with him again!

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Destination: Ocean Shores

I had the honor of being asked spur-of-the-moment to photograph Jenna and Derryck’s wedding at Ocean Shores, WA. I’m not sure if that qualifies me as a destination wedding photographer now, but either way it was lots of fun and a beautiful 2 hour drive to the coast.

The ceremony was held at the Ramada, and our formal portraits were taken about 10 minutes down the road on the beach. It was 4:30pm and the light was so harsh, glaring right off the ocean water and making it very difficult to have everyone lighted properly without squinting from the bright light. There also was the wind factor, which made things a little difficult for the ladies. I decided that instead of having the ocean behind everyone, we would use the huge wall of boulders that lined one side of the shore.

Lucky for me, I had some very willing and able ladies that hiked up on the boulders in their heels so I could capture some amazing images of them! I’m in heaven when I have people to photograph that are open-minded and love to try fun things for a great photo!

I am glad that the lighting posed to be a challenge, because I don’t think that I would have tried these shots without it! It was a beautiful wedding with fun people to photograph. That in itself made it an amazing day for me!

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Cuties in the Park

I had a friend (much like my second mother) visiting this side of the mountains from Eastern Washington to help out her son’s family, as his wife had just had their fifth child. As any good grandma would do, she spent the majority of her time caring for the other four children so mother and baby could just enjoy each other for a while.

I wasn’t about to not see my “other mom” while she was visiting just because she was being the devoted grandma she is. We decided to pack up three of the kids (the oldest was in school) and head to the park so we could get some visiting in, but still entertain the kiddos. Of course I had my camera with me, and I had to take advantage of these little cuties!

Here are a few of my favorite shots from the day. They were quite used to their mom snapping photos of them, and had no problems giving me big grins all day long!

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New Studio

Slowly but surely, I have been piecing together a portable studio for some time now. I specialize in outdoor portraiture because I feel that being outdoors allows my clients to be more themselves. It allows for movement, fresh air natural lighting, and a more relaxed atmosphere. Studio portraiture always seems to be stuffier, more forced, and not as comfortable for the client. But, there is always a need for a studio setting. Weather may rain out as session that can’t be rescheduled, or you may need more privacy than a park setting can give you.

I now have a fully functional portable studio for any client’s needs. When my final items came in the mail, I think my boyfriend was even more excited than I! He said “Set it up!” and ran upstairs to change. A few minutes later he sat down in front of my backdrop and proceeded to be my model. Lucky for me he is quite photogenic, as well as patient. He had no qualms about holding his poses while I adjusted lighting and fixed backdrops.

This was my favorite shot of the evening. Nothing fancy. Just him, looking like the amazing man he is! 🙂

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Soul of a Musician

I recently was referred by a past client to do a shoot for a gentleman that wanted a photo for the cover of his upcoming album release. He was hoping to get some vintage looking shots, much like the “Old West” photos you see of people sitting rigidly in their chairs not smiling. After a few phone conversations, I was a bit surprised by the style of photos he was wanting. Let’s just say that this musician is a little quirky, and seemed to have much more personality than an old-school vintage photo would give him credit for.

Upon arrival to his property I pulled up in front of a beautiful old red barn that made for a perfect photo op and a fun prop. To the left of the barn was a beautiful field filled with yellow flowers, and a perimeter of evergreens to make the perfect backdrop. This was a photographer’s heaven.

We started the session inside the old barn, searching for that vintage look he was wanting.

I asked him to start playing one of his instruments so he would feel more in his element. As soon as his fingers started strumming the strings and his soft, melodious voice started filling the barn, the session really came alive. I felt like I should be paying him! I was so taken by his music… I could see HIM starting to come through.

Soon we were in the field; me snapping pictures and him singing to the neighbor’s dogs.

It was a beautiful sight, and I know I was enjoying myself even more than he was! After some fun shots showing off his beautiful guitar and a bit of his quirkiness, I had one finally shot I wanted to try out. It involved some arm manipulation and probably feeling a little lop-sided for a bit, but the end result was well worth it. This was my favorite image of the day… it just screams music, art, and beauty.

I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to work with this incredible musician! I also made a deal so I get to purchase the first copy of his cd! I can’t wait!

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What is in your backyard?

What I love most about photography is that it opens people’s eyes to the beauty around them, and even to the beauty within themselves. Photography makes you take a step back, slow down, and look at things, people, places in a different light. Often something that hundreds of people walk by every day without a second glance, if captured in an image in a different view than the “everyday” view, will capture people’s attention once transformed into the medium of a photograph. So many times someone has seen one of my photographs, gasped, and asked me where it was taken. I would then point out a window or day “On the corner of 4th and Capital” and they would be amazed. “I never noticed that there!” they might say, or “I had no idea something like that could be so beautiful!”

A while back I had been sick and housebound for a while, and I was going a bit stir crazy. I was desperately wanting to take photos of something…. Anything…. So I stepped out in the backyard with hopes of finding something to fancy my interest. At first glance there wasn’t much… lawn, bushes, rocks, moss, fence… but then I slowed down and really looked. Walking the perimeter of the little suburban yard, I found some amazingly beautiful things, that I hadn’t even realized were there…

Beauty is everywhere. It is around us, and within us… we just have to slow down, open our eyes, and look.

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