Friday, September 30, 2011

everyday food: from the earth to the plate

When I was a kid, my Mother and Father taught me how to garden. I didn't dislike it, but I can't say as I enjoyed many of the parts that came along with it. I hated weeding the potato patch, especially if my brother wasn't there to keep me company. Even though he spent half the time pulling huge weeds and throwing them, dirt clods and all, at me until there was seemingly more dirt stuck in my hair and the folds of my clothing than was on the ground, I still adored his company. Gardening is hard work, and as a child I had a hard time putting into perspective the magic of putting a tiny seed in the ground and exercising faith. 

The summer after my freshman year of college, I came home in the summer with a broken heart. I had such a hard time focusing on the positive at first, but then I took solace in the garden. I planted things and relished their beauty as they grew and flourished. I appreciated what I had always taken for granted, because suddenly I was spending most of my life living away from home. 

This past summer is the first summer I've had a garden of my own. I've written about it in this space before, but not necessarily the therapeutic quality of gardening. Quite often this summer, I would get done working in the office at IU and then head home to work all afternoon, and I'd just wish I could get away from it all for a few minutes. On those days, I'd stop at the garden, pick an armful of tomatoes and basil, kale and beets, kohlrabi and sugar-snap peas, and I'd load them into my hot car and revel in the amazing feeling of growing food. I'd drive and appreciate the smell of the garden on my hands; this is a smell that is hard to describe: it is a combination of earth and fragrant herbs, tomato vines and hot summer sun.

A few days ago I stopped at the garden on the way home and decided to make pesto. I didn't have any pine nuts or walnuts, so I used roasted almonds instead. The pesto was amazing.  

And this was the resulting lunch that came post-pesto. I love it when my husband grills extra chicken breast, because that means I get to have it cold on a sandwich. YUM!

I'm so happy it's Friday! :) We get to head off to see our dear friends in Kansas City this weekend! Can't wait! :)

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Just like I always say, I adore photographing awesome musical theater people. They are always relaxed, full of energy, and fun!

My session with Colin was just the way I expected it, fun and awesome. I hope you are doing well Colin! You're a total smolderer on camera.

Watch out for those blue eyes!

Colin, you're awesome at the serious look, but your smile is so fun and approachable!

This is one of my favorite black and white shots ever! This is the smolder I'm talking about. And you have such great energy in your eyes! LOVE!

Colin, I hope you're doing great and having a wonderful semester! Thanks for the fun session last spring! 
Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Kruses

This past year has been a year for big changes in life. I got married, I finished graduate school, started a business, and spent my first summer away from home. It has been full of excitement, possibility, nerves, and even a sort of heartbreak from being so far from family.

At the end of July I had the opportunity to go back to Iowa for my best friend's bachelorette party, and I was lucky enough to get a few extra days off of work so I could go back home and spend some time with family. My sister-in-law, Liz, and I have been talking about doing a family session for a long time. On my last evening at home, I called my sister-in-law and told her the light was gorgeous and to get the kids ready because I was coming over with my camera. 

The next week when I was back in Indiana, filled with the blues because I was back into my routine and far from the place where my heart rests, and I opened up this session and started editing in lightroom and I was filled with such gratitude I can't really find words to express it. When I put together their slideshow and watched it for the first time, I cried. 

This is the kind of family session I envision - the family session of the present and future. No more lining up in matching colored outfits and sitting on the fireplace mantel. This is the kind of family session that shows who you are. No one needs fancy clothes or an hour of fake smiling at the camera. The kids don't have to sit still for long periods of time or quit playing. This is what families are: movement and noise. Love does not stand still. 

Devin & Liz, thanks for giving me the opportunity to photograph you and your beautiful family. I love you guys more than I can ever explain and I miss you with every ounce of myself!

I love shooting backlit shots. Can you tell? There will be a few on this post...
Aurora even came along for the shoot!


This photograph reminds me of my childhood.

Boys, watch out!

That looks so fun! :)

I LOVE this photograph.


This was when Allie started directing the photoshoot. She said, "Now kiss, Mommy and Daddy!"

Such a little man. I love it.

I love the way he's looking at her.

To see more of the Kruse family session, have a peek at the slideshow!

Love you guys! Happy Wednesday! :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

sunny afternoon reading

I have always liked to read, but the summer after sixth grade, I became obsessed with escaping reality into the pages of a book. It is infectious. I loved the kind of book that made me stay up through the night to finish, or that I took along with me to soak in a relaxing bath, only to end up turning into a prune in cold water because I was so riveted. I loved all genres, but I especially loved science fiction and fantasy. 

When I entered college, I read less. Maybe it was because I had so much reading to do for school, or maybe it was because suddenly a large, amazing group of people entered my life and I found it more and more rare that I had enough alone time to read. 

My first year of graduate school, I lived far from campus and took the bus to class, spending over an hour on the bus every day. I read so many books that year that it felt like I was a kid again. That is how reading makes me feel: young, vibrant, and filled with the possibility of expanding my worldview, my knowledge, and my experience through words on paper.

I've been trying to read more lately as an escape from stress. My friend Laura bought me Kathryn Stockett's The Help for my birthday this year, and I'm just now getting around to reading it. I avoided seeing the movie in theaters because I wanted to experience the characters for the first time in my mind, with my voice, and in the pages of this book.

This book is so wonderful. I'm sure most of you who are reading this have heard of it and don't need me to tell you it is good. I'm about three quarters of the way through it and I'm already feeling very sad that it has to end.

Last week, after I finished a photo session, I waited around for about 40 minutes for my husband to pick me up on his way home from work. I laid underneath a big maple tree on campus and I read, loving the feeling of the breeze and the warmth of the dappled sunlight coming through the branches. Sometimes I forget that I need to just stop and appreciate the simple moments in life. I get wrapped up in deadlines and obligations and I forget to just pause and live.

I'm going to try and press pause more often. :)

Thanks for the great book, Laura. I miss you and reading it just brings me a little closer to Arizona. :)

Happy Tuesday!

Friday, September 23, 2011


One of my favorite things about being a location shooter are finding new places to shoot promotional photos and headshots. However, my go-to place is a building on IU’s campus that has floor-to-ceiling windows and amazing south & west-facing light. I choose to shoot there because I know that even on the darkest days, I can still capture a person’s beauty with natural light.

The day I met Julia was especially dark. I had to hold my breath when I clicked the shutter because it was so hard to keep the camera steady for the lower shutter speeds I had to use because it was so dark.

Even though the place where I shoot a lot of my headshots looks like it is just another hallway, the day I walked into it for the first time I saw some of the most beautiful, amazing light I have ever seen. And now I just can’t stay away!

Julia, you are sultry and gorgeous! I got to watch Julia perform a couple of years ago at IU in their production of A Little Night Music, and she was fabulous as Desiree. 

Julia, you have the BEST eyebrows...

Hel-lo blue eyes!!!

Julia, how did you get so lucky to have perfect skin AND those blue eyes??? :)

Julia, thanks for the privilege of photographing you! You are gorgeous and one-of-a-kind! I hope you are loving life in NY and I wish you all the best! :)

Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 22, 2011


One of the products I get the most excited to offer my clients are photo guestbooks. These products are great not only for weddings, but also for high school seniors for their open house. They are beautiful and serve not only as an album documenting your engagement (or senior) photographs, but they also offer a space for your guests to leave comments and advice. I have my own engagement guestbook from my wedding, and my husband and I still love to look through it to remember our engagement session and read the wonderful things that our loved ones wrote for us on our wedding day.

I photographed Dina + Grigor's guestbook, which they used at their wedding on August 20.

These books can come with a custom hardcover (shown) or many classy leather and antique leather cover options.

On the front page, we leave a message from the bride and groom inviting guests to sign their book.

I design them with lots of white space so they are clean and simple and leave plenty of room for comments.

The binding of the book also gets your names and wedding date.

The pages are hinged and lay totally flat, which is awesome because it allows the guestbookto lay flat when it is on your table and when people are signing it.

I love this product! I can't wait to design more for my future brides & grooms!

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Krista + Ryan

I realized this morning that I still haven't blogged Krista + Ryan, so here goes:

We had the most amazingly ridiculous amount of fun with Krista and Ryan. I already knew Krista - she was a fellow IU student and she's a wonderful mezzo-soprano. She's the kind of person who always has a smile on her face and whose amazing attitude is infectious.

She and her awesome fiance Ryan are getting married in Minnesota this coming fall, and though they had already hired a wedding photographer, they weren't going to get back to Minnesota in time for engagement shots. That's where I came in, and let me tell you, did I feel blessed to have the opportunity! They were ridiculously easy to photograph and their love was so beautiful and they weren't afraid to express it!
We started things off at the Griffy Lake Nature preserve.
How are you guys always SO CUTE?

If you guys ever start an indie duo, this can be your album cover.
Throughout the whole session, Ryan kept on goofing around and Krista's reactions were adorable. I love it when a couple is 100% themselves in front of my lens, and these guys were at 110%!
Ryan wanted to sit in the grass, and I love the result.

I'm pretty sure Ryan was goofing around during this shot too...keep it up Ryan. High fives to Ayron for capturing the moment perfectly.
This one is my favorite. Engagement sessions are the best!

Ryan had all of the good ideas that night...he wanted to get in the water in their clothes, and Krista didn't even bat an eyelash deciding to get into the water with Ryan. A million cool points for Krista! The resulting images are pretty cool, I think:

We met up a couple of days later to finish their session at the farmer's market. You guys WIN for engagement session locations!

Ryan was responsible for those sunglasses, too! Ryan, you also get a million cool points.

I love you guys! Thanks for giving us the priviledge of documenting your gorgeous, honest, amazing love. You guys were such a blast! We wish you the best at your wedding and in your new life together!

To watch more of Krista & Ryan's engagement session, click the slideshow below! :)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Dina bridals

I am trying to get back into the swing of things after a crazy month of August. I am hoping to actually get caught up for once (how long have I been saying that?!) and I'm going to kick off a new round of blog posts with Dina.

Hopefully I will be blogging Dina and Grigor's wedding next week, but just before the wedding, Dina and I snuck out to a private property here in Bloomington to take a few bridal shots in her dress. Sometimes the wedding day can get hectic, and it is nice to be able to take an evening out and get some editorial shots in the gown that are relaxed and fun (and at a location that you might not otherwise get to shoot at on the wedding day).

Sorry in advance for the large amount of photographs. My blog, my rules! I'm bad at narrowing down my favorites...

Dina's amazing gown is an Oleg Cassini (mine was too!) and she looks oh-so-beautiful in it! Dina, it was such an amazing priviledge to capture your bridal beauty! We had some incredible August evening light that night!
Dina, your beauty is effortless...
We came across this totally awesome swing, and I was so excited when Dina was adventurous enough/willing to give it a try! I think it is so beautiful!

As an afterthought, I grabbed a chair out of my living room. We almost didn't use it, but at the very end of our session, we pulled it out for a few shots, and I'm so glad we did! Dina, you're a model. Just saying.

I love wide shots where the subject is small. So beautiful!

Dina, your eyes are so beautiful!
You're a princess.
Helloooooo yummy light!!!

I can't handle your beauty!! Oh, and thank you to the granddaughter of the owner of this property. She had her wedding there a week previous - the rose petals that just happen to be in Dina's wedding color are courtesy of her!
More of your sassiness in the chair...LOVE!
Have I also mentioned that you are FIERCE!?

Dina, I can't say how much I LOVE you! Your engagement, your bridals, and your wedding - you are so easygoing and gorgeous and I can't wait for you to see your wedding pictures. (SOON!)

Happy Friday!!!