Ten Frames: Steph & Leah

I’m so glad Steph & Leah reached out to me about photographing their wedding, and I’m especially thrilled their coordinator convinced them to do engagement photos. This session was…easy. More like spending time with a couple of new friends than anything else. Sometimes I had to remind myself I was there to take pictures. I feel very lucky that they chose me, that I’ll get to be a part of their super personal and unapologetically queer wedding day in just a few weeks.

We did this session at Coralville Lake in Iowa City, Iowa. The lake was gorgeous, the dogs were cute and so well behaved, and the breeze was just right— enough for us to feel cool without our hair going every which direction. My goal for this session was to capture who Steph & Leah & Sydney & Artemis are without forcing them into any uncomfortable poses or awkward prompts, and I’m really happy with how the photos turned out. Props too to my friend Aaron Brummer, who gave me the invaluable tip to brighten and warm up the photos. I think this was the right move as it really emphasizes the love in this little family.

Ten Frames: Baby Charlie

I don’t really post (or often get to do) newborn shoots, but while I was visiting the Twin Cities, I got to hang out with my friends Jay and Sarah and their two week old baby boy, Charlie. I’m not good at the posed newborn photos, like the froggy pose, so we did this session more lifestyle. I didn’t give them much prompting— hardly any— and instead focused on catching little details and their interactions together as a family.

My favorite part about photographing newborns is the way their parents dote on them— watching the love for such a new little being be expressed through gentle touches and careful movements.

I also love to photograph crying babies. That probably means I have problems, doesn’t it?

Ten Frames: Aiden & Dillon

I’ve known Aiden for four years— four years during which he experienced a lot of major life changes. Some of those were really good changes. Some, I know, were painful. I haven’t actually seen Aiden in a long time, but during our family/couples session in his home, I got to see him laughing and smiling more than ever before. It was incredible to see, and the session was so laid back and comfortable as I learned about his relationship with his partner, Dillon. I chose ten of my favorite frames to share, but honestly, I loved them all. Dillon and Aiden are both smart, funny, and passionate people. May we all find ourselves as happy as them.

Ten Frames: Candice & Zack

Just about everything that could go wrong with Candice and Zack’s wedding, did. A missing wedding dress, an inch of rain, a ceremony reschedule, some significant losses and illnesses in the family and among friends…and yet, when the day finally came, the rain stopped pouring much earlier than anticipated and the sun came out and everything went off without a hitch. Minus our perpetual tardiness, but when you have to get the shot, you have to get the shot.

I felt so honored to capture Candice and Zack’s day. There were so many sweet, exciting moments between these two made-for-each other partners. Zack has an effervescent personality and a love for Candice which refuses to be contained, and Candice has a big, emotional heart and dedicates herself fully to every project she undertakes. She goes for what she wants— including Jurassic Park jeeps. I felt very lucky to get to know these two and their funny, endearing, real love throughout the day.

Anyway, I won’t gush anymore. Here’s 10 of my favorite frames from our time together.


Ten Frames: Isabella Barberena

I think I met Isabella at a Pure Romance party where I got excessively drunk and she stayed sober and peaced out early (understandably). We’ve been Facebook friends ever since, which is cool because she has a similar sense of humor to me.

Isabella Barberena is a model, actress, and singer in Minnesota. I knew this before we got together, but I was still really surprised by how effortlessly she moved into different poses. I barely even directed her, because she seemed to know throughout the shoot the most interesting ways to position her body. Considering we’ve barely spoken outside of Facebook & Instagram, I think I was expected a bit more awkwardness? Slowly easing into things? But instead, she effortlessly worked my camera TIL IT WAS DEAD.

If you’re around the Twin Cities, I highly recommend working with Isabella. I mean, hell, the pictures I took of her on the weird stool— some of my favorite ever— happened after she saw the stool and said she had an idea. She knows what she’s doing.

Ten Frames: Cierra Taylor

My friend Cierra is a content creator in beauty & fashion, according to her Instagram. Which is a really freaking beautiful Instagram feed, one I often scroll through with jealous eyes. Cierra is an exceptionally talented product photographer. She’s also an exceptionally sweet person, and I’m so lucky she had time to stop by for a little bit before we left Minneapolis.

I was feeling a little empty-headed this morning, but Cierra worked with me and we ended up with some really lovely portraits. I brought out my new Kate Backdrop for my trip to Minneapolis, so I may have used it a little more than I meant to, but I absolutely love it! Especially with Cierra’s outfit and coat. Dang!

Here are my ten favorite shots from our last-minute studio session. I hope y’all enjoy them as much as me!

Figuring out pricing (out of date :))

I’ve blogged about why photography is expensive before, but the truth is I have no idea what I should be charging. Several months ago, I set January 31st as the end of my Folio Pricing— meaning, come January 31st, I would begin charging the actual rates I need to in order to keep myself in photography.

I’ve heard like thirty ways you can determine pricing, but the one that makes the most sense to me is by calculating my desired take-home salary + my cost of doing business (CODB) and dividing it by the number of shoots I’m doing a year.

I’ll start by figuring out my cost of doing business with NPPA’s CODB calculator.


  • Cost of my studio/office in a year? If I calculate an 8th of our rent and consider that my workspace, it’s $100 a month, or $1,200 a year.

  • Phone? Let’s say I don’t really use it for business purposes except $100 worth a year (phone calls and occasional data).

  • Photography equipment and accessories becomes a little scary…I’ve spent approximately $4,000 this year.

  • Equipment service and repairs, however? I’ll spend, ideally, less than $500 a year.

  • Computers? My laptop, which I use almost exclusively for work, was $1,400. Software? I have Adobe Creative Suite for $20 a month, or $240 a year.

  • Internet I would have regardless, so I put $0 there.

  • For my website & “portal hosting”, I’ll include my domain ($20 a year), my website ($20 a month), and my client management system ($380 a year). That’s a total of $640 a year.

  • Vehicle expenses related to work are minimal. Just gas here and there— maybe $200 a year.

  • Office supplies and furniture— minimal. $100 a year.

  • Postage and shipping, around $350 (albums are heavy!)

  • Professional development: about $1,000, if I’m taking courses or doing workshops, which I hope I’m doing.

  • Advertising & promotion: currently I spend nothing on this, but I’d like to hit $3500 in an ideal world. That’s about what it costs to make the front of your area’s Wedding Wire page. Wild, huh?

  • Subscriptions & dues should be tied in with the next one, insurance, as I get my insurance through my membership to PPA, which is $336 a year.

  • Health insurance: Luckily, I’m covered by my husband! But my copay for my medications is $1000 a year!

  • Legal and accounting services: $1500 at least. I’m not getting in trouble NOPE.

  • Taxes: I have no idea…this calculator suggested $6,000 so I’ll stick with that. I know I need to reserve at least a third of my income for it tho.

  • Office assistant: um nope

  • $600 for utilities a year, nothing for travel & entertainment (shouldn’t that be what the salary is for?)

OKAY! My annual expenses, or my cost of doing business, is $26,966. Not as bad as I was expecting, but this isn’t including ANYTHING for salary. And y’all, I don’t mind having a lower salary if it means I get to work with rad people who can afford me, but I have to make at least $35-40k a year.

My CODB + my salary come out to a very reasonable $66,966.00.

How many billable sessions do I divide this by? In an ideal world, I’d get to photograph 25 weddings year at an average of $2,000 a wedding. Which leaves me $16,966 to make up with portrait sessions. If I could do 60 portrait sessions in a year, they should each cost around $282.75!









Ten Frames: Ashley & Joe

I have a tendency to both overshoot and overshare. I think it’s because I’m still pretty new to this and consistently amazed by the power of photography. Like lately, I’ve been implementing prompts into my photography and really loving the result. For sessions like this one, it helped to capture some of the genuine heart of Ashley and Joe’s relationship without forcing anything. And not only that, some of the prompts led to memorable moments on their own.

Ashley and Joe have known each other forever. They work together now— Ashley manages and Joe runs the kitchen at a popular downtown bar and grill— and it’s clear as you watch them that their relationship is solid, built on a foundation of mutual respect and joy from being near each other. Just look at these pictures! The second in this collection, despite its weak composition, is one of my absolute favorites thanks to the unfiltered love beaming out of Joe’s eyeballs.

I took 370 pictures during this session. A lot of them were just multiple frames of the same prompt, but even so, it was really hard to narrow this album down to about 70. So you can imagine the pain I felt in reducing it even further to my favorite ten for this post! But I hope these ten frames give you a sense for A & J’s personality, and how special they are together! I can’t wait to capture their special day! Ahh! So many exclamation points!