Ten Frames: Hannah & Jon

I’ve been feeling a bit down about photography, but this June and July have really revived me. It helps to work with kind people who are ready and willing to laugh at themselves, for sure, but it also helps that I’ve been challenging myself every time I pick up my camera to feel confident and capable. In my second year, I’m refusing to be the really awkward photographer who has to explain a prompt three times for it to make sense! I’m believing in myself, and respecting the trust given to me by the people I’m photographing!

I met Hannah when my husband was touring PhD programs two and a half years ago. She was one of the first people to acknowledge or speak to me, and she has always made sure I felt comfortable and happy. She’s welcoming, incisive, and funny. Her partner, Jon, I met at a department barbecue where we both talked about beers and he let me have some of his with silly high ABV! He’s a perfect match for Hannah, darkly funny and thoughtfully conscious of everyone (and every pup) around him.

Hannah & Jon hired me before I really knew what I was doing. They were so generous to give me this opportunity, and I’m really happy with the engagement photos we managed to pull off this weekend— even as the heat and the mosquitoes at the UW-Madison Arboretum were trying to annihilate us. I’m looking forward to the wedding in less in two months, and to capturing it confidently and competently! Haha.

Anyway, here’s 10 of my favorite frames from this weekend’s engagement session.

Steph & Leah's Wedding

Steph and Leah were married on June 8, 2019. They were married in a beautiful meadow where Steph spent a lot of their childhood, in front of a floral, upside down pink triangle to acknowledge, celebrate, and remember the enduring struggle of the queer community. The ceremony was full of personal touches— Steph’s parents read Dante, a friend led us in a sing-along of “Only Fools Rush In”, and the flower boys draped themselves across their mother and the green grass as they listened to the community and personal vows.

After the ceremony, guests drove or rode the bus to Goosetown Cafe where, among other dishes, we were fed the most incredible avocado salad with citrus dressing. I’m still thinking about it. At Goosetown, Steph and Leah listened to a number of touching and funny toasts. They mingled through the overwhelming and loud dining room, the space nearly bursting at the seams with conversation and laughter and children racing around our legs.

It’s been a few days now and I’m still so touched by this special day. In part because I’m invisibly queer and the whole day seemed to open its arms to people like me…but also, I’m touched by the sincerity, and by the honesty Steph & Leah brought to their day. By the love. And by the kindness shown to me throughout our photographic adventures. Even though I missed Sydney and Artemis (their dogs who were boarded for their wedding day) dearly!

Ceremony venue: private location
Reception venue: Goosetown Cafe
Wedding Planner: Cherish the Day
Cake: Sugar Flower Cake Design
Hair: Honeybee Hair Parlor

Thank you to Steph and Leah for trusting me to capture their day!

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: 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.

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Michelle & Faris

If you know me, you know I am (and I always describe myself as) a connoisseur of love stories. Jane Austen is my favorite author, “Notting Hill” is my favorite romantic comedy, my inner monologue usually sounds like Bridget Jones, and I read books like “Fangirl” by Rainbow Rowell until I’ve practically memorized the text.

So then, I shouldn’t be surprised by how much I love wedding photography. My first paid gig was as a second shooter for Luna Photographie at a September wedding, and I was stunned by how at-home I felt. It’s difficult for me to feel upset or sad during a wedding, one of the few events which is (at least for me) all-consuming, distracting to the point that I can’t keep up with current events on Twitter or wallow in my own existential angst. Weddings are a time for celebration, laughing, supporting, loving.

So, of course, when Michelle asked me to photograph her elopement to Faris I immediately answered YES! Or, to be accurate, “OH MY GOD LETS (sic) DO IT!”

What a special time it was, and I felt my luck in being granted access to such an intimate ceremony. I met Faris just a few minutes before the first look and was so touched by his excitement, and by his desperation to see Michelle (who is so clearly his favorite person.) I won’t bore you with my read of Faris & Michelle’s relationship, except to say I’ve never met two people who loved each other so eagerly. The trust they granted me as they held each other before the ceremony was truly a gift— hell, I’m tearing up now remembering it. And I knew then, after the first look and before the officiant arrived, that I was right where I wanted and needed to be. That wedding photography has to be a part of my life moving forward. Love stories are my happy place, and this was a good one.

Anyway, here are some images of the beautiful couple & their ceremony. (And, just an FYI, the officiant rocked. She began the ceremony by talking about feminism and the complexity of marriage, and I was immediately on board.) Thank you to Michelle & Faris for letting me in on your beautiful day, and for helping me to find my place in the giant terrifying world of niche photography!