canon 50L

Madeline & Dalton

For about a month, I have been wondering exactly how I could express the pure magic that was this wedding. And then I realized that my entire job was to document it. (You'd think I would know that, after seven years of doing it.) So I spent three hours arranging 5000 photos to show off just how amazingly detailed and gorgeous the day turned out to be. 

There were floral installations, tables dripping with delicately bound rosemary and hops, glittering champagne glasses, jewels intricately sewn into tulle, white candles accenting white cake tiers against white wooden walls, gigantic diamonds set in gold and nestled in glass boxes, custom handkerchiefs, blue suede heels, and dazzling sparklers. 

But what stood out as the most beautiful thing of all, to me, was a thin little college ruled notebook that probably cost one dollar. It most likely came in a pack of three from the office aisle at Target. What was inside it was absolutely priceless. 

Never before had I seen a wedding gift quite like this notebook. It was filled with daily love notes, funny memories, and little scribbles of stick figures holding hands and even a crude sketch of an avocado. I watched a beautiful woman with rosy cheeks and red lips flip through those pages, the jewels on her dress sparkling with the same sheen as the tears in her eyes.

I silently partook in that intimate moment, as she read pieces of a man's heart. A man who truly, deeply, and genuinely loved her. Even now, as I type these words at 1:30 AM an entire five weeks later, I remember how I felt when I saw the words, "She makes it easy to love her." 

I felt true joy for her. Because that is what every woman wants from a man. I felt joy, but I also felt my hope become reignited. I saw, firsthand, that a love like that does exist. It was reiterated throughout the day with tiny smiles, shoulder kisses, and the happiest of laughter. 

The joining of these two people showed me that fairytales can happen. And that magic exists between lines on paper. 

Thank you so much for an unforgettable experience. 

Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Brooks. <3 

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The Griffins

Soooo.... Welcome to my very first blog post on my new website! YAY! In order to test this thing out, I volunteered my newest favorite family during their most recent photo outing with me.



They're super cute, right? 

I wish all of you could have been there to witness what was most certainly the craziest family session. Of all time. 

This session had been a long time coming, I'll tell you that. How many times did we have to reschedule due to rain/wind/sickness/overall bad timing? A lot. As in, the rescheduling count is up there in the World Records for "Most Times a Session Has Been Rescheduled."

Rescheduled day #576 finally came along. It was a clear, sunny, blue skies kind of day. Minimal wind. Lots of happiness. I couldn't believe that the day had finally come, without anything getting in the way. That was when the Northwest decided to brew up a bunch of craziness and send it a-floating our way. The radar was a giant splotch of blues, greens, yellows, reds, and the dreaded pinks.

I immediately messaged Tonya, "This is laughable." But it was actually, like, the dumbest thing ever because why. Just why. 

Of all the other days we had rescheduled, this one was the worst weather-wise. I was so sure that we would have to reschedule again when I got the little Facebook Messenger DING. 

"Let's just do it."

I'm fairly certain my eyes almost fell out of my head. And my brain considered making me call Canon to ask, "just how weather resistant is a Mark III and a 50L in torrential rains and volleyball sized hail?"

Instead, I grabbed my cameras, scarfed three slices of pizza in five minutes flat, headed out the door, and gazed up at an ominous grayish-black sky that was moving in the direction I was heading. Wee! 

Once we arrived at the location, we all got out of the car and the adults just kind of stared at each other while our hair was blown in mini-tornados around our heads. The children ran around and screamed at each other in kid-language that nobody understands. We were all confused, but we proceeded with family photos. 

Luckily, Tonya is also a photographer. So that meant I pretty much got to sit on the ground while she plopped each family member down and positioned them how she saw fit. This gave me time to observe the gigantic wall of tornado-ish storm that was the backdrop of their photos. 

One. Two. Three. Four. And Two Feet.&nbsp;

One. Two. Three. Four. And Two Feet. 

Have you guys ever worked with four children? And I'm not talking about older kids. I'm talking LEGIT children. I have a single child. Sometimes, I don't know how people handle two children. It's unfathomable to me. But FOUR. The amount of respect and admiration I have for this fellow photographer doubled, tripled, quadrupled in the 45 minutes we spent together. 

When two were laughing, one was crying, and the last one was running toward the lake. When three were crying, one was laughing. When three were running toward the lake, one was running toward the street. Everyone was screaming. Half of them were acting like dinosaurs. One was putting his finger in a hole that he said a gopher lived in. 

To this day, you guys, I have no idea what these kids' names are. I'm pretty sure one of them starts with an "S." Tonya, if you ever call me to do photos again, I swear I will learn your kids' names. I may need a glass of wine beforehand, but I WILL learn their names. 

*Insert dinosaur noise here for the full experience.*

*Insert dinosaur noise here for the full experience.*

Amazingly enough, the shoot was successful. I was nervous the entire ride home and couldn't wait to sift through to photos to make sure at least ONE turned out. To my surprise, most of them are gorgeous. They may not be perfectly posed with everyone smiling and looking at the camera, but they are full of raw emotion and true-to-life. I got a photo of every kid happily screaming in Dinosaur. I got kisses and laughs and silliness. 

I captured moments that show this family in their truest form and, to me, there's nothing more authentic and beautiful than that. 

Thank you to the Griffin family for trusting me with their photos and memories. I can't wait to finish editing their photos and deliver their action-packed gallery. 

And for those of you who enjoy the more technical side of things: 


  • Canon 5D Mark III
  • Canon 50L f/1.2
  • Sigma 35mm Art
  • Edited in Lightroom

Before & After (rollover):

As always, thank you for reading! If you liked this post, head over and give a like to The Cloud Nine Co. on Facebook and follow us on Instagram!

You can also find Tonya's photography at 374 Photography. She does amazing studio portraits of kids!