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.

Coleman + Marshall Wedding — PNW Wedding Photographer

Early Spring of last year, Cameron messaged me on Facebook to ask me if I’d be the photographer for his wedding with Annie scheduled for October. They’re good friends of mine and our kids went to preschool together, so I couldn’t pass it up! “It’s going to be a surprise,” he said. “Annie doesn’t know about it.”

*record scratch* What?!

Cameron planned this gorgeous wedding with the help of his and Annie’s families and she had no idea until 5 minutes before she arrived at the venue. To a farm. By helicopter. He called it “Operation White Wedding” and he successfully pulled off one of the best surprises I’ve ever been a part of.

They had been planning to get married for a while. She even picked out a dress. Two dresses, actually. Sometime later in October, they were going to head to Mexico where they figured — or so Annie thought — that they’d tie the knot. Only that’s not what happened.

Cameron booked the venue at Willapa Hills Farm, the caterer, the photographer (moi), the officiant (a friend), the band (Annie’s sister’s former band), invited the guests, arranged for the flowers. All of it. And it was perfect.

That morning, they drove to Seattle where they hopped in a helicopter for a day date and a tour of the Puget Sound. But when they started flying south and couldn’t see the Sound, she started to wonder. At about 2:00pm, they flew over the Willapa Hills Farm where she saw a bunch of people below and that’s when he asked her:
“Do you want to get married? Now? Today?”
“What?!” she said. “I mean, yes! Wait… what?”

She recognized a few cars in the parking lot and then it hit her. OH, I’M GETTING MARRIED. TODAY!

The pilot landed the helicopter and Cameron helped her out. Their two kids ran to embrace them and they greeted their soon-to-be wedding guests. Everyone knew this for months, except for the bride.

She got ready in a small building off the side of the barn where her dress, shoes, makeup, hair, and Spanx were set for her. Yes, he even remembered the Spanx.

Annie’s brother on guitar and sister on violin played music as they walked down the aisle where Cameron and Annie said their vows in a clearing by the river surrounded by friends and family. The party continued with live music from Annie’s favorite band, dancing, amazing food and beer from a local brewery.

If anyone could have pulled off a surprise this fantastic, it was Cameron. And there’s no other bride who could have acceded with such grace as Annie. They make the perfect match.

 

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!

What to Wear: A Session Clothing Guide – PNW Portrait Photographer

Okay, you’ve sent your photography inquiry. You’ve scheduled your session for 4 weeks out and double checked to made sure your spouse isn’t working that day. You’ve paid your deposit. You’ve checked the weather Almanac SEVERAL times. It’s been raining the past five years, but that’s okay, it was partly sunny in 1967. You’re standing in front of your closet and you STILL don’t know what to wear and your session is next week.

Not only do you have to pick out your own outfit, but your spouse hasn’t bought a new shirt since that one wedding how many summers ago and your kids’ clothes all have raspberry stains from eating all the berries off the plant in the backyard. (It was a fruitful year.)

Don’t worry! A quick (HAH!) trip to Target will provide you with coordinated outfits making you look (and feel) like rock stars.

 

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For a little nudge in the right direction, I’ve put together a few tips to help you choose your outfits. These work for families, engagements, and seniors.

 

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Decide on a palette of 3-4 colors to base your outfit on (including pants and dresses). You want a cohesive feel, but without being too matchy. You want your outfits to compliment each other. Please, no solid white shirts with khaki pants. Don’t even think about black polos with jeans. It’s outdated… like 2002. And try not to put all the males in plaid. It starts to look a like a Magic Eye.

 

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I always suggest that the women to choose outfits she feels confident and beautiful in and then have everyone’s outfit coordinate from there. It’s easier to start with one item or color and build from there.

 

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Long dresses flow elegantly in the wind and look amazing on every body type.

 

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Layer your clothing to add texture and dimension to your outfits. Include a belt or necklace or if its cooler out, don a scarf or sweater cardigan.

 

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First and foremost: be you. For example, I love earrings so I would wear big feather earrings and a few bracelets. Do you love hats? Bring one (but don’t wear it, yet). Does your family love boots? Wear them!

 

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Arrange your outfits ahead of time. Lay all of them out on a big bed in natural window light including accessories . Make sure all clothes are clean, pressed, and ready to go on hangers a few days before your session.

 

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Avoid: T-shirts with large graphics, neon colors, tube socks, overly formal clothes, and dirty shoes (unless they’re boots, in which that’s okay). I don’t recommend high heels either. We’re likely going to be outside walking or playing.

 

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Ladies: Pamper yourself by getting your hair styled and makeup done before the session. Makeup should be natural but slightly heavier than normal. I recommend hiring a Make Up Artist. I work with a few MUAs that also do basic hair (curls/waves). For make up and hairstylist recommendations, contact me!

 

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Men: Plan a haircut for a week or so before. Shave the night before or in the morning and put on aftershave to reduce redness and irritation. Cut and clean your fingernails.

 

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Large groups have a little bit of a challenge, but as long as you stick with the above tips, you’ll all look amazing!

 

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If you are needing ideas, I suggest looking at Pinterest to find inspiration. Find my Pinterest page @foxandwagon and click on Session Wardrobe Ideas. I’ve also created an outfit shopping list on Amazon so you can buy online right away.

 

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You can always text me with pictures of your outfits if you’re concerned!

 

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It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to decide what to wear for your portrait session. It does take a little bit of planning, but as long as you wear something that you feel good in, you’ll look good.

Still have no idea what to wear? I have a few dresses and a top in my Client Closet to choose from. I will update as soon as I get someone to model them!

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. ~*~

 

 

 

DuCharme Birth & Newborn (new baby package, pt 2) – Tacoma Birth & Newborn Photographer

 

With Mother’s Day nearing, I’d love to share an amazing experience I had last year photographing a birth and the beginning of motherhood for a fierce and beautiful woman.


WARNING!
The images below show a woman in labor and giving birth via cesarean section. The images show a bit of nudity and may be too graphic for those sensitive to blood and the realness of birth.


 

My friend Megan had planned her annual girls weekend at Moses Lake mid-July 2017. It also happened to be when Katie and Keith’s baby was due. That whole week leading up to Sunshine Trip 2017 and the DuCharme’s baby’s birth I had been checking in with Katie to see how she was doing. No baby. Braxton Hicks contractions. Crap!

So when it was the day before I was supposed to leave for Moses Lake, I was sitting by my phone like a girl in an 80’s movie. Only I was waiting for a pregnant lady to call. Around 5pm I got a text from Katie. She’s heading to the hospital. I call Joey to ask if he can come home early to take care of our girls and then I make my way to St. Joseph’s in Tacoma.

When I got there, Katie was in the bathroom with Keith and her nurse. She was having a contraction. The contraction slowed and we greeted each other. Katie was cheerful but focused. Another contraction. Breathe. Moan. Breathe.

She had the best support system with Keith, her mom, her doula, and her nurses. They helped her onto the birthing ball and then to the bed.

An hour or so went by and her body was getting tired. Katie requested an epidural to get some relief and rest. Contractions continue, but the mother can get a little more comfortable. She was so strong and serene and understanding.

Another 45 minutes passed. Katie, who is a midwife herself, studied her own CTG (cardiotocograph). The surgeon came in the room and Katie looked at Keith. It meant only one thing. Tears flooded their eyes. Katie took a deep breath in, “Okay, I’m ready.” She knew what needed to happen.

Keith and I suited up in super flattering surgical coveralls and caps while Katie was prepped for her cesarean.

Katie requested a clear sheet so she could see the baby as she gave birth – another testament to her courage to be able to watch what was happening to her body. The surgeons worked quickly and we welcomed Roman Scott Thomas to Earth at 10:15pm on July 14th, 2017.

Katie reminded me just how spectacular our mom bodies are with her endless strength and unfaltering spirit. Happy Mother’s Day, my dears!

Blessings to the DuCharmes!

 

Oh, and I made it to Moses Lake for my girls weekend!

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