Kris & Arie – Tacoma Couples Photographer

In honor of Pride Month! 🏳️‍🌈

You know how you just know you’ve met some super fun people within the first 2 minutes? That’s Kris and Arie. We had our session one gorgeous morning at Wright Park in Tacoma. They told me stories of how they first met each other and how their wedding on the Vashon Ferry went completely wrong and half of the people didn’t make it on the boat including their officiant. Which then inspired to Kris becoming ordained on her phone at a wedding just in case someone’s officiant fails to show at a friend’s wedding.

Sometimes you have these expectations of how things are going to be, but they often don’t go as planned. Kris and Arie shrug and go with the flow. (I had to do that too when a dog peed on my blanket in the middle of our session!)

We strolled through the sun-dappled park and grabbed a cup of coffee at Anthem. It was so chill. I felt like I was hanging out with some new friends!

Happy Pride, Kris and Arie! And Happy Pride to all folks celebrating this month! You are loved!


 

As a reminder: I do not accept or endorse any type of racism, sexism, religious discrimination, homophobia, transphobia, or any other form of discrimination. Also, I am body positive! My business and home is a safe place and I will love and accept you as long as your ideals do not discriminate against others.

Hatcher & Ngauamo Family — Tacoma Family Lifestyle Photographer

Last year, Gina found my post advertising for Modern School Portraits when she was working at a local preschool and looking for a new photographer. I’ve been their Picture Day photographer for two years and the school is now my biggest client. I’m so grateful that we connected!

Then earlier this year I sent out a model call looking for diverse Tacoma families to add to my portfolio and she responded with an exciting request. She and her husband, Moses, wanted to surprise their 6-year-old with some news. They had already told their daughter, Kayden, that they were expecting a baby in September… but what they didn’t tell her is how many babies! See if you can guess…

Gina brought the ultrasound pictures in an envelope and had Kayden open it during our session. Her reaction was priceless! I’m so glad I was there to document it!


She facepalmed when she found out all three are BOYS!

 

 

Piper’s 1st Birthday Cake Smash — Tacoma Children’s Portrait Photographer

Oh, little Piper Ann. I seriously cannot believe it’s been a year since your mommy and daddy brought you home from Arizona.

For Piper’s 1st birthday session, the Mittleiders and I met at Wild Hearts Farm in the gorgeous white studio. Despite it being January, the studio was warm and cozy – perfect for cake smashing! We also got to use their vintage trailer and pop into Iggy, the huge, clear dome with a Papasan chair. The sun was shining which made it feel warm in there too.

It seems like we’ve been planning and waiting for this cake smash for a year… definitely a good thing! First birthdays are HUGE milestones, not just for the babe, but for mom and dad too. You made it! You survived a whole year together! You learned about each other and what it takes to be a family of 3 (or in the Mittleider’s case, 5 with their two Bostons). And you learned how to love each other. So what better way than to celebrate by getting messy in a tutu and stuffing your face with sweet buttercream and yummy cake?!

Kinda makes you want to go out and buy yourself a cake to stuff in your face right now, doesn’t it? If there wasn’t 8″ of snow outside right now, I definitely would!

 

Mittleider Newborn Documentary Session & Adoption Story – Seattle Family Photographer

Families created by adoption have a special place in my heart. I am adopted myself so I feel connected to these stories of children being united with their new parents. I love seeing the joy of families who were meant to be.

However, the steps parents must go through to adopt a child are lengthy onerous, terrifying and confusing. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions, paperwork, money, interviews, more paperwork, background checks, FBI checks, home studies, autobiographies, finding the right match, and traveling. At the end of it all, a new chapter of parenthood begins when the baby or child comes home.

The Mittleiders went through all of that and finally, after a tedious 9 months, they were able to hold their baby in their arms.

Kathleen and Tyler went “live” as approved adoptive parents in April of 2017. Tyler has been a program manager for Microsoft for 10 years. Kathleen started as an Amazon program manager in July of 2017. Their employers were very understanding. They knew that the Mittleiders could get a phone call for a baby at any time and would have to take time off. The Mittleiders expected to wait between 18-24 months to be able to bring their baby home. The call came 9 months later.

“Nothing about adoption is easy,” Kathleen said. “If anyone tells you it is, they’re lying. The paperwork alone to go live is a herculean effort. It’s sort of a hurry up and wait process. You hurry to get all of your paperwork in and then you just…..wait. We had just started the process of renewing our homestudy when we got ‘the call’.”

Kathleen saw her phone ring at 3:30pm on Friday, January 5th but didn’t recognize the number so she let it go to voicemail. It was from the city where their adoption agency was located. She quickly put two and two together but by that time Tyler was getting the same phone call. He also didn’t answer the unknown number. Kathleen called the number back and was told that they were placed with a family wanting to give their child over for adoption and that the baby was due in just 3 days. But the agency told them not to travel until the mother was in labor so they spent that weekend shopping and filling their nursery with all the things they needed for a new baby. They had already decorated the baby’s room and had only a few essentials. Then they waited. One long week after the initial phone call they bought their plane tickets and traveled to Arizona where the birth family was living. They got to meet the birth mother and father and had dinner with them that night. The next day the mother was induced and the Mittleider’s daughter Piper was born.

They were able to hold their new baby daughter less than an hour after her birth. But the adoption process doesn’t end there. The birth parents have 72 hours to sign over their parental rights or they can keep the baby.

“Between birth and the 72 hours when they signed over their parental rights, they could have changed their minds,” Kathleen said. “And we had Piper at that point, we had her from when she was 40 minutes old. The thought that we could lose her was absolutely terrifying. I don’t think either of us slept. We knew her birth parents were confident in their decision to place Piper, but that didn’t take away our fear.”

Kathleen got the text from Piper’s birth father on the 16th at 7:46pm. It read, “We signed the consent forms, it’s official.”

“Both Tyler and I broke down into ugly tears. We could finally breathe, we could finally tell people. We could share her, and that was huge. We finally slept that night. We were a family.”

Once the birth parents signed the papers, the two states involved – Washington and Arizona – must agree to let the Mittleiders return to home. On January 19th, six days after Piper was born, Arizona approved Piper to go home, but Washington was still not ready for them.

They decided to drive to avoid flying during peak flu season and also to give Washington enough time to approve them crossing the state line. Finally, on January 23rd at 11:00am, they were able to leave Oregon and go home. The next challenge? Introducing this new human to their two Boston Terriers.

George and Winnie have differing opinions on the new baby. George adores his littlest sister with all of his little heart. Winnie is confused that there’s a new baby girl in the house and is frustrated that it isn’t her. The Mittleiders hope the girls will get along when Piper and Winnie are able to play together.

We had our session in their home about two weeks after Piper was born and just a few days after they all came home. Everyone was settling into their new roles and learning what it’s like to be a family of 5.

“As we approach her 1st birthday I think every day what it was like last year. How we told our friends and family – and how we truly believed it would take upwards of two years to become parents. And how different our actual story was,” Kathleen said. “It’s incredible to me. Piper’s birth mom became pregnant in April of 2017; the month we went active with our agency. It was just meant to be.”

 

 

Tree Farm Mini-Sessions Day 2 – PNW Family Photographer

Day 2 of the Tree Farm Mini-Session was just as great as Day 1! These sweet families braved the frosty air and celebrated each other with love. May you all have a joyous holiday season and a wonderful New Year! 💖💖💖

Thank you for spending your day with me and my camera!

Tree Farm Mini-Sessions Day 1 – PNW Family Photographer

This was my third year doing tree farm mini-sessions and for the third year in a row, we had beautiful weather. It was cold, but the sun was shining and everyone was great spirits! (The hot cocoa and cider helped warm them up a bit.) This year we were at the Glenwood Tree Farm in Tacoma, a wedding venue during summer and tree farm for Christmas. The family that owns the farm is so sweet and gracious for letting a bunch of photographers and our clients use their land! 

I had so much fun seeing returning families and meeting new ones. I can’t wait to do this again next year. I do hope to see everyone again. It’s always great to see how much the children have grown!

So to start off this photo blog of Tree Farm Mini-Sessions Day 1, I am sharing my BFF Jessi and her boyfriend Andy in their matching onesie pajamas and their puppers Isla. Don’t they look amazing?!

Thank you to everyone that joined me in the trees this year! YOU are amazing! Happy Holidays!

 

 

Would you be interested in doing Mom & Child Spring Minis in the flowers? E-mail me!

Gustafson Family – University Place Family Photographer

Melissa is a busy mom with two busy girls and a busy husband. She knew her family couldn’t hold on for my full hour session at a park somewhere, so she requested a short, in-home session. I. Love! It. She knows her family’s limits and didn’t want to push it.

I met the Gustafson’s at their beautiful University Place home. They’re near the end of rebuilding the house and Melissa wanted some updated photos to hang on her new walls. We started out on their couch where the family likes to hang out and talk about their day. The girls love their daddy so much. Though he doesn’t wear his heart on his sleeve, Ryan’s affection for the ladies in his life peeked out a little bit during my time with them.

We ended our 20 minute session on the bed with some sweet family snuggles.

Picking a location – PNW Photographer

Locations can be a part of your portrait story, not just a pretty backdrop. I like to give you the option to choose where we have your portrait session for a few reasons:

  • You’re comfortable where you are and it shows in your photographs.
  • You recall and create meaningful memories with each person in your family in a space that you’ve been to before.
  • You know where things are, how to get there and what to do!

But if you don’t have a preference on a location and you’d rather I decide or if you’re from out of town, I’ve complied a brief list of locations around Tacoma with photos and descriptions to help you decide where you want to tell your story. Keep in mind that we are not limited to these locations! I’m willing and able to shoot almost anywhere! The only thing that may limit us is admission, fees or photography permits such as conservatories or private gardens.

Point Defiance Park, Tacoma

Perfect in any season. The changing colors of autumn leaves by the pond make a beautiful backdrop. So many Tacoma families have fond memories of watching the ducks and walking the paths of Point Defiance Park. In the spring and summertime, the blooming roses and arches give an intimate feel. Even in the wintertime, the bare, twisty branches in the rose garden can offer a dark and mysterious vibe.

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Discovery Park, Seattle

While quite a trek from Tacoma, Discovery Park in the Magnolia neighborhood of Seattle is one of my favorite locations to shoot. It faces the west, giving us the much desired golden and blue hour dreamy feel. This park has it all: forest, beach, tall grass, buildings painted butter yellow, and even a lighthouse with a trail access. If you don’t mind walking, this is 534 acre park is a gorgeous choice.

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Chambers Bay Park & Beach, University Place

One of the most interesting parks near Tacoma is Chambers Bay. Formerly a sand and gravel quarry, the park’s large skeletal concrete structures separate the park from the golf course and line a trail leading to the bridge and a beach below.

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Swan Creek Park, Tacoma

Hidden where Pioneer Way and Waller Road meet in Tacoma, Swan Creek Park is a quiet little swimming hole surrounded by trees. You might want to bring a towel because shoes are bound to come off. There are trails and little bridges to explore as well.

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Wright Park, Tacoma

Like Point Defiance, Wright Park is gorgeous in all seasons. The yellow leaves of the ginkgo tree brighten up the park even on the darkest days. While photographing inside the Conservatory is a no-go without a permit, there are no restrictions for hanging outside in the gazebo. The 27-acre arboretum has lots of beautiful spots to sit and enjoy being with your family.

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Downtown Tacoma/Urban/City

(Opera Alley, steps of UW, glass bridge & museum, former “Graffiti Garages”)

Tacoma’s downtown area is so unique and interesting. Urban sessions aren’t just for individuals. Documentary sessions or even Lifestyle sessions can take place in the city. If nature is not your thing, let’s explore the town!

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Home & Neighborhood

There’s no place like home. You know your family best and where they would feel most comfortable. I love just sitting on your front porch or hanging out in bed.

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Wild Hearts Farm (+fee)

A local family designed their property specifically for photographers and clients. With options like tire swings and wooden swings, an old truck, a vintage trailer, gardens with ever changing flowers and a natural light, rain free dome, they’ve made endless possibilities.

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Restaurants, Coffee Shops, Stores, Libraries

Do you have a favorite restaurant? Have you ever wanted to document your every day life shopping at Target or Costco? It takes a little more planning and permission from the manager, but these sessions are often so much more relaxed and personal.

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Want to go on an adventure? There are places I’ve always wanted to take my sessions. Do you have ideas?

Ferries

Mountain Trails

Waterfalls

Carnivals/Fairs

Orchards

Central Washington/Columbia River/Vantage

Megan + Thom Engagement Session – Seattle Engagement & Couples Photographer

I’ve known Megan since middle school. We were a few of the odd ones that attended a large-ish private K-12, and though we weren’t bestest friends, we connected with each other because we weren’t like most of the others… rich and rude. I only went to that school for two years and then my parents decided to move and I lost contact from the few friends I made during the strange adolescent years.

THE way to communicate in the late 1990s was AOL IM. Neon Comic Sans font was what everyone used for their “Default Away Message” and it was cool to have No Doubt’s Spiderwebs next to your name. But I got tired of sitting at my computer one summer and decided to pick up pen palling. Megan was the first person I wrote to who actually wrote me back! Through summer and the next school year we exchanged letters about high school trials and our puppers – her Samdog, my Mandy and Lilly – and something named Bugbug (for the life of me I can’t remember what the hell it was). Then eventually we, like all millennials, returned to our computers and kept in touch the way our generation was always meant to… MySpace. Megan has always been in my Top 8.

Through travels and flames, Megan and I have celebrated many birthdays, graduations, my wedding, and next, her wedding. I think we all knew that Thom as The One as soon as we met him. His fantastic sense of humor, style, music, and dog breeds synced perfectly with Megan’s.

She asked me to photograph her wedding and I think I jumped up and down squealing like I did once when we were in middle school. I agreed, but only if they let me do an engagement shoot too. She agreed, but only if we included their dog Grouch. That’s a given.

~*~ SoRrY i’m NoT hOmE rIgHt NoW, i’m tAkInG pIcTuReS oF aN aDoRabLE cOuPLe aNd ThEiR cHaRmInG dOgGo. ~*~

 

 

 

Schmick Family – Olympia Family Photographer

When a car is part of a family, it’s only proper to include it in a family session.

Elisa, her husband Aaron, their 3-year-old daughter Lyla, Aaron’s Shelby Mustang and I met up at West Bay Park in Olympia for a family session. Elisa asked me if I could get some shots of them with Aaron’s new Mustang. I was a little hesitant only because I wish I had a different lens to fully capture the car and all it’s shininess. Despite only having a prime lens, it turned out pretty good! My goal was to photograph the people first. 🙂

 

Elisa is a super talented hair stylist at Glamour Salon in Tumwater, WA. She does AMAZING color work and is so sweet! Check out her website: Hair by Elisa Mae and follow her on Instagram @hairbyelisamae.