As I sit here on the carpet next to Chloe's crib while she sleeps, there is a wave of emotions that are rushing through me. Part of it is probably still from pregnancy hormones regulating out,and the other part is because I can't believe it's already been a month since this little lady entered our world! As I work to pick the photos and upload the ones to share, I smile at the different memories and feel sad that these first few days are already gone. Then,there's the feeling of fear and guilt. Fear that people will look at these photos and think, "they didn't do this or that" and guilt that I didn't do "more" photos during her first few weeks. Silly? Absolutely! Will people actually think this? I highly doubt it, but isn't it interesting how instead of just joy there is a regret to do more? If you're a fellow mama, I bet you totally get this,and if I can say anything to you it's to be present over perfect. So move aside guilt and fear because we chose not to take so many photos.
Hey everyone! We’re excited to announce our second year of mini sessions! I know, you’re like it’s APRIL! But here us out, the holiday season will be here before you know it! Get your Christmas card photos done in the beautiful fall colors, capture those growing kiddos in the warmth of summer, or celebrate an anniversary with your sweetheart. In fact, why not book more than one? ;) This is perfect for major milestone moments, so join us as we capture some memories of your family, your children, or grab great sweetheart or even maternity images. If you’re not into the Christmas card thing, no worries! This is also a very affordable way to capture great lifelong memories of your current everyday family life.
It's not everyday that your friend texts out of the blue and asks if you're available to come and photograph a special event a few months out, but that is certainly what happened when Alyssa texted me! I immediately called over to Mark and said, "Honey! Brady and Alyssa are pregnant again! They want us to photograph a special event!" I texted back saying it would work, and Alyssa teasingly said back that I could ask what it was for -- I didn't want to pry, but since she gave permission, I did! She shared they were having a gender reveal that day! At this point, it wasn't even public that they were pregnant, so we were super excited!
I’ll never forget the moment we decided to have another child. We were on a family vacation, sitting on the couch in a friend’s beautiful family cabin in the Black Hills of South Dakota. We were talking about our future as we listened to the rain ting off the tin roof above our heads. I had brought up the subject and Mark was as gracious as ever about timing for the third child as he knew my hesitation of wanting to have my “own body” for a while.
Whenever I get the opportunity to drive to a client’s home and be invited into their everyday life by doing a lifestyle portrait session, I can’t wait to soon be heading back to my home and importing the photos, so I can relive the specialness of relationships and moments of daily life. This was definitely the case in getting to capture little Eliza’s newborn portraits in her family’s Cottage Grove, MN home.
Lindsey & Travis // Dreamy Winter Engagement Portraits at Interstate Park in Taylors Falls // Cottage Grove Photographers
Would you believe it if we shared that the first thing these two said during their dreamy winter engagement photos once we had slipped and slid our way through the ice and climbed the rocks at Taylors Falls Interstate Park to this spot was, “We have no idea how to pose for photos.” Yup. I promise, it’s what they said! We quickly assured them that that’snormal and that’s why we’re here! In fact, it’s so normal that we’ve worked hard to create simple posing that by the end of the session and even after the session, they can pose themselves and even probably describe them to someone else.
Wow, oh wow, oh wow. As I sit here and have a chance to look back at every wedding day, engagement session, family portraits, anniversary photos, mini sessions, maternity portraits, lifestyle sessions, newborn portraits, senior portraits, and more, all I can say is wow. 2018 was such a blessing. You blessed us! So many special announcements, new steps and chapters in life, and stopping to document life are seen below. You trusted us and invited us to walk alongside of you in these precious moments -- allowing us to live vicariously through you and celebrate the best parts of life with you. So below, you'll find some of our favorite photos as wedding and portrait photographers that highlight many more photos and moments not shown, each freezing memories to be looked back on for a lifetime.
The first time I thought about how we should actually document some of our own funny behind the scene moments was after so many people asked us what it was like to hang out with llamas at Peter & Hannah's wedding day but I wasn't re-reminded until Matt & Laura's wedding day when Mark graciously attempted to hold all 8 opened umbrellas in his arms. I missed the funny moment as I was more focused on him not flying away but from that point on we made an agreement to try to stop and snap a photo of the silly moment before moving on. There are so many things that happen behind the camera or when it's down that you never see, so this year we stopped to capture some of the funniest and truest wedding photography behind the scene moments that we could find. Being a husband and wife photography team in the Twin Cities has been a dream come true because we get to work with our best friend and relive our wedding day all over again as we live vicariously through our amazing brides and grooms.
The details, all the beautiful details. We were shooting details in the Rush Creek Golf Club entryway when in walked Nathan's mother and their adorable niece -- the flower girl. She was the cutest little flower girl we've seen and had the most precious of details to match. Getting to watch her spin around like Cinderella in a gown throughout the day always brought a smile to our faces. These beautiful details continued out throughout the entire day, but their day wasn't defined by the details: it was emphasized by them. These two cared so much for creating the best experience for their friends and family, so they went to any means necessary to encourage their closest loved ones to relax and enjoy the day. They had the coolest wedding ceremony program we've seen -- sharing not only unique details about their relationships but where their love ones were traveling from. Thankfully, Nathan and Cali weren't the only ones to put their guests first as Rush Creek Golf Club graciously decorated their beautiful grounds for Christmas a little early, enabling them to have the romantic winter wedding day they were hoping for.
I had the huge pleasure of dropping by this fun Cottage Grove household on Black Friday to do a family portrait session! In our family, it's a rare occassion when all of the adult kids are able to be home together so I bet that's the same for Shelley & Dan's household. Being invited to document the preciousness of all of these relationships is always a huge honor and lots of fun!
Mark hadn't been wrong with our first two and he was insistent that this baby was also a baby boy, so insistent that even though I had thought at first baby was a girl, he had me convinced that we were going into the realm of three boys. I love being a boy mom, so I was totally game for our third little one being a boy. After all, my pregnancies were all so similar, so according to almost everyone we talked with, that had to mean baby was a boy just like the big brothers.
Okay how cute is little Miss Evelyn? I told her mom and dad that I would be expecting a PDF from her explaining to other future newborns how she prepped for her session because she was the perfect little peanut! It was such an honor to meet her and her amazing parents, Heidi and Bilal, for their lifestyle newborn portrait session at their home in Hastings, MN.
Meet the Hood Family! This amazing family of four just moved to Cottage Grove from Wisconsin. As you can see they have two adorable little kiddos that made it quite an exciting in-home lifestyle portrait session. I always love family portraits at home and a lifestyle session that includes playing with Christmas lights? Count me in!
Samrica & Joerica // Indoor Christmas Mini Portrait Session, Hope Community Church // Cottage Grove, MN
When Samrica reached out desiring a portrait session so that she could send photos back to her hubby in Africa for their anniversary, my heart melted and I was absolutely for it and promptly squeezed them in to a busy Thanksgiving week. Then, when she requested to take their mini portrait session photos at our church, I was at first a bit nervous, but excited when I walked in the doors and saw the amazing volunteers decorating for Christmas. We moved some items around and had ourselves a very Merry Christmas mini shoot!
Meet Case Branum, a Park High School senior. When his mom reached out for his senior portraits, she mentioned that he loves nature so we definitely went to Lake Rebecca Park and Old MIll Park in Hastings, MN for his senior photos. Case is a natural in front of the camera and we had a great time hanging out, even though it was rather chilly -- but not as quite as chilly as it had been the few days before his senior shoot.
Meet Noah Kirsch, a Park High School senior and active student within our church's youth group. Noah is awesome and we so appreciate all the help he is with our boys -- they both ask for him by name and excitedly squeal when they see him coming! He's one of the regular people Ethan prays for at bedtime even, so when Noah reached out to ask if we could take his senior photos, we definitely were going to find a spot for him! His senior portrait session was a bit chilly but you wouldn't notice by the smile on this guy's face and his can-do attitude. He even at one point, switched shirts outside the vehicle and I seriously shivered in my winter coat just thinking about the idea.
“Just wait,” Alex said after Ariel asked if they would get going soon. They were sitting on a bench at Afton State Park and Alex was working up the courage to propose to Ariel. She had remarked about how peaceful of a spot it was so he knew this was the perfect moment as they loved to hike together. He had finally worked up the courage, popped down on one knee and was about to put on the ring when an older woman walked by and took her sweet time enjoying all the flowers so once they were alone again, he put the ring on Ariel’s finger and made it official. We laughed that during a candid portrait set in their engagement session at Afton State Park, a gentleman walked right through their photo instead of walking around them – interrupting the moment like the older lady had all over again. Speaking of their engagement session, we laughed so hard and had so much fun with these two! We can’t wait for their wedding next year!
The guests were hanging on every word. The bride’s dad held the microphone loosely as he shared story after story and detail after detail about the lovely couple before him – you would think that he was mostly sharing his pride for his beautiful daughter but at the end of his speech, he took a sudden turn and talked about the family the bride, Andrea, was marrying into. “They’re such a perfect match family-wise and we are so blessed,” he said and soon, the groom, Charles, was in tears, his mother was on tips of tears smiling in the direction of her son, and the bridesmaids were asking each other for tissues. We are always up for destination weddings and the chance to enjoy a road trip or travel so when Charles and Andrea reached out to us about being their wedding photographers, we were all in! Heading to photograph their beautiful wedding day at Usher's Ferry in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was amazing -- and what was even better is that it was about 20 degrees warmer there then in our hometown of Cottage Grove, Minnesota.
Meet Ethan, a Park High School senior! We met up at Woodbridge Park in Cottage Grove for his senior portrait sessions and he showed me the trails above the coolest kid park I know -- definitely have to go exploring there again!
Talk about #TransformationTuesday! Say hello again to the Ogren Family! I've had the privilege of documenting this amazing family the past few years (here's a link to last years'). This past year, Bethany decided to change some things in her family's diet and you can see the difference! Way to go! It was so great to get to hang out with the Ogren's for their family portraits this year on our mini session evening. We spent our time hanging out at The Old Mill Park in Hastings -- super close to Vermillion Falls, but a hidden gem in terms of how many people drop by!
When Jim & Michele pulled into the parking lot, there was a very sleepy child in the backseat, so we walked a few steps away to capture a few photos of just the two (well, three) of them before pulling Austin out from his sleepy slumber! Austin definitely was having a hard time waking up and was pretty straight faced at first -- that was until I said the magic word: "ninja." He instantly lit up and smiled at me. Ninja? Yup! Austin loves this word and is always wanting to show our oldest how to be a ninja and teach him some ninja moves.
Josh is probably one of Deacon's favorite people. Even this last week when we pulled up to church, when Josh stepped out of the car, Deacon made undetectable squeals of joy and pointed in his direction. We first met Josh five years ago when we started at Hope Community Church -- he was much shorter then. It's been a pleasure to watch him grow both physically and maturely these past few years and even more of a pleasure to get to hang out for his senior portraits in Hastings!
We're currently on the road traveling in rainy weather to tomorrow's wedding but couldn't hold this fun engagement session to ourselves any longer! Meet Rachael and Andrew. These two showed us one of their summer date night traditions by taking us to Vino in the Valley for their engagement session. We can see why they love it -- especially in all of the gorgeous fall weather and colors!
We always say that we work hard to make our bride and grooms as comfortable as possible on their wedding day and we work hard specifically in the wedding portrait posing to make it feel natural and full of laughter. Mark reached a new level of making this happen when he accidentally touched a live electric fence during Jolene and David’s bride and groom portraits at Terra Nue Farm a few weeks ago. We immediately all burst out into laughter (sorry, Mark) and it was the running joke the rest of the day about how Mark’s hand was still numb. Needless to say, even with all the excitement, the horse in the background at this point still didn’t acknowledge our existence – another funny moment of us making any and every animal sound and movement to try to get its attention but it stubbornly looked in the other direction!
Any session that involves a pause to play with two adorable eight-week-old puppies is a plus in my book. Getting to hang out with Sanna and her mom at Highlands Park in Cottage Grove for her senior portraits? Even better. This girl is so sweet! She definitely seems like the type of girl you'd want to have as a lifelong friend -- confident in who she is, compassionate to the people and things around her, easy to talk to, enjoys playing or watching sports, and all about animals (especially cats and llamas). We spent most of the shoot walking, talking, and joking about how we were also getting our step count in!
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