Andy & Amelia | A Cheerful Walk in the Park Ames Engagement

Hey hey! It’s a good day, isn’t it? Not only is it Friday and beautiful outside, but we have lots of pretty and happy here on the blog as well!  Andy and Amelia are just so cheerful that you can feel the happiness exuding from their images.  These two were highschool sweethearts who thrived through several extended periods of long distance and are about to be separated once more before they marry!  I have a lot of respect for such endurant relationships and loved hearing how Andy traveled to visit Amelia in Peru and proposed atop a mountain!  :)

We began the session by exploring some of the less traveled, yet lovely streets of Ames and found such wonderful colors and textures!  We then ventured around to a few different parks and it was so fun to see these two relax and enjoy their time together while I photographed the whole beautiful scene. :)

*It should be noted that I may or may not have made up the word ‘endurant.’ ;)

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Scott & Josie | A Backyard Horseback Engagement

Well hello there! Welcome back to reality after the long holiday weekend.  Hopefully this Tuesday that feels like Monday is treating you well.  It’s actually incredibly beautiful today here in Iowa with a bit of crisper air that almost feels like Fall!  Oh, and Starbucks released their Pumpkin Spice Lattes, which makes life all the better. ;)  I’m even wearing some new brown boots today with anticipation that Fall will come…..it will….despite the 100 degree weather as of late…

So, today, in celebration of the return of PSLs and the oncoming of Fall, I get to introduce you to an adorable couple in the comfort of their backyard, surrounded by their personality-filled animal friends.  Meet Scott and Josie.  A pair in love with their land who plan to make a home for themselves and grow old together right here where we shot their images.

This was an especially fun engagement session also because Rachel and I got to shoot it together!  There were so many giggles shared as we watched the horses nudge at Scott and Josie and their kitten chase along demanding attention.  I have a feeling you all will enjoy the many frames where the little fur ball is popping his head (or tail) in.  We sure did! :)

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I love this moment where Scott and Josie took in the beautiful view of their property and chatted about their future plans and dreams with the land.Scott & Josie_044 Scott & Josie_047 Scott & Josie_048 Scott & Josie_057 Scott & Josie_067 Scott & Josie_070 Scott & Josie_076

Just LOVE this little guy! Such a personality! :)Scott & Josie_078 Scott & Josie_080

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Love these next few images shot by Rachel – the horses interacted so perfectly! You can’t make this stuff up! ;)Scott & Josie_096 Scott & Josie_106

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As Rachel and I drove away from the beautiful evening, the sunset caught our attention and we had to stop to capture the beauty.  What an artist God is!Scott & Josie_153

Scott and Josie- you two have a beautiful home and a wonderful “family” to keep you company!  Here’s to many years of happiness inhabiting your property and growing old together!  So looking forward to your wedding this month! :)

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Dane & Maddie | A Joyful Reunited Ames Engagement

Dane & Maddie are just too much fun.  I think 90% of the images I captured for their engagement include laughter and I absolutely love that about them.  If you read my recent Lens Perspective post with Maddie’s experience, you’ll remember that she was nervous for their shoot.  But let me tell you, these two did amazing and were such a joy to photograph!

When I first sat down with Dane & Maddie and listened to them tell their story, I knew we were going to have a lot of fun together.  Maddie told me how she had noticed Dane from a distance for a while, but as their paths rarely crossed, he seemed “unreachable” and she quickly dismissed the idea from her mind.  Then, some time later, they were both invited to a mutual friend’s house and amongst the crowd of mingling people, Maddie caught Dane’s eye and at that moment knew that she was special and he wanted to get to know her.  There was something drawing him to her and you can imagine Maddie’s surprise and excitement when he first approached her!

I photographed these two at Ada Hayden, a beautiful park where Dane brought Maddie to pop the question.  Through a (now hilarious) loss of breath, nerves and sweet words, he asked her to spend the rest of her life with him and she said YES!

What a love they share, enjoy their images! :)

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Dane & Maddie_0132-2 Dane & Maddie_0155Dane spent this summer in Africa on a mission trip and every day he wrote to Maddie in a journal.  Every day, since his return, she has read an entry and this day, she read another on the bench where Dane proposed!  It was a long summer, but sweet moments like these make it worth it!

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Dane & Maddie – you are such a fun pair to be with and I am so excited to see how God grows you this year!  January will be here before you know it! :)

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The Lens Perspective | The Engagement Session Effect

Well hello there! It’s Monday afternoon, the sun is shining (here in Iowa at least) and Rachel is vacationing in the beautiful state of Colorado! That means you get to hear more from me this week! :)  As photographers and newlyweds ourselves, we have photographed many lovely faces, seen a lot of weddings and experienced the ups and downs of wedding planning and the wedding day.  From these experiences, we have learned a lot and want to share that with you!  So I bring to you our first installment of The Lens Perspective…a series dedicated to sharing our perspective as photographers and brides to help you have a stress-free, enjoyable experience both in front of the lens, as well as behind the scenes when planning a wedding. (Also- huge props to Rachel for snapping this awesome closeup this past weekend during an engagement session!) :)

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One question that I have heard over and over from prospective couples and clients is “Why do I need an engagement session?”  The reasoning behind this question stems from a number of circumstances including:

“A family member or friend is going to take them to save money.”

.“We don’t need engagement photos.”

.“We don’t really enjoy being photographed and would rather not have an engagement session.”

These are all understandable reasons to shy away from the engagement session, but if you’re planning to have a wedding photographer who will take portraits of you on your wedding day, I highly recommend that you also have them take engagement portraits for you.

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Your wedding day is one that will hold hundreds of special moments and emotions unique to that day.  The last emotion you want to feel on the day of is stress or nerves related to having your portrait taken.  You want that time to be sweet and natural, which is often difficult to achieve if you’ve never experienced the feeling of being in front of your photographer’s lens.

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Since I’m a photographer, of course this opinion can be seen as a bias, so I wanted to share with you all what a recent bride-to-be experienced as a result of her engagement session.  :)

“I have to be honest, I am uncomfortable in front of cameras, especially for something as intimate as engagement pictures. Initially, I was not looking forward to the photos because that meant one more encounter with the camera. Now I am so thankful for that extra encounter! Leading up to our engagement photo session, I felt nervous, insecure of my posing abilities :), and awkward. Dane and I listened to some “pump up” music on the way to the park hoping to calm my feelings.
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As soon as we arrived to the park, Valerie instantly started asking questions. It was great! She knew exactly what to ask and instantly gave me confidence. She reminded us to be ourselves and have fun. With that, we got to work. The entire time Dane and I were just laughing and enjoying ourselves. Valerie laughed along with us and we felt like we were hanging out with a friend. Next thing I knew, it was two hours later and I spent those two hours having fun! I was in shock. On the ride home I told Dane about five times that I was in awe of how much fun we had.
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The three of us were able to work together AND have a great time. I grew to be comfortable in front of the camera (as long as Valerie holds it), and I now feel excited for wedding pictures. I would not have described my feeling for wedding photos this way had it not been for the engagement photos. I cannot wait to see the results. The sneak peeks already prove of Valerie’s talent. Thank you for such a great time!”
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Now, let me tell you, Dane and Maddie were an absolute blast to shoot!  Their nerves turned to laughter and the time flew by as we explored the park where Dane proposed.  Here are a few peeks into their images – the full post is coming soon! :)
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See what I mean? They did a great job! :) I hope this has been helpful for those of you who are on the fence about having your photographer do engagement images for you.  Please, if you have any questions or more thoughts on the topic, leave a comment, I’d be happy to chat more about it! :)
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Taylor & Ashley | A Sweet Sunrise Ames Engagement

Goooood morning friends! I’ve missed you!  I took last week off from blogging as wedding season is in full force and sometimes… you just need to take a break. :)  I’m so ready to get back at it though, as we have some gorgeous images we can’t wait to share with you!

Kicking this week off, we have my dear friends Taylor and Ashley, who are getting married THIS FRIDAY! I am beyond excited for them and am just so proud of the beautiful relationship they have.  We woke up early and spent the morning watching the sun rise.  It was so peaceful, so beautiful, and the perfect setting to capture these two and the sweet love they share.

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Taylor and Ashley have founded their relationship on the thing most important, their faith. They brought their Bibles and it was the perfect way to begin our time. :)

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Isn’t she just so beautiful? :)Taylor & Ashley_026 Taylor & Ashley_027 Taylor & Ashley_032 Taylor & Ashley_037 Taylor & Ashley_040 Taylor & Ashley_045 Taylor & Ashley_047

These two love to dance and they do it so well! :)Taylor & Ashley_048 Taylor & Ashley_058 Taylor & Ashley_068

Happiness!Taylor & Ashley_069 Taylor & Ashley_070 Taylor & Ashley_073

This is just so them. :)Taylor & Ashley_077 Taylor & Ashley_081 Taylor & Ashley_084 Taylor & Ashley_093 Taylor & Ashley_095 Taylor & Ashley_097 Taylor & Ashley_105 Taylor & Ashley_107

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Have a great week, friends! Enjoy the cooler days and keep watch for some more lovely from us this week! :)

Kyle & Andrea | A High School Sweethearts’ Engagement

Good morning and happy Friday!  Such a wonderful day, isn’t it?  I remember so many wonderful Friday nights in high school, especially in the fall.  The air was often cool and crisp (which seems so foreign after this week’s hot and sticky weather!), and the little towns around West Dubuque High School came alive with students and families prepping for the big game that night.  I remember hiking up the hill to the field so many times – my hair tied up with a red and black ribbon and proudly sporting a Deutmeyer jersey… ;) Derek and I certainly weren’t the only highschool sweethearts meant to last, and today I’m excited to introduce you to Kyle, Andrea, and the best school around, WDHS.
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I have so many hilarious memories I could share about Kyle and Andrea…like the time that Andrea and I went to guitar camp in Maryville, Tennessee, the many softball games we played in together, or the birthday parties and adventures around Farley.  Or I could tell you about the absolute goofball that Kyle was in high school and the time he bit me during a band concert.  OR I could tell you that Kyle and Andrea are perfect for each other.  Kyle loves and cherishes Andrea and she brings such a huge grin to his face.  Needless to say, I’m super dooper excited to photograph their wedding in May!
Now back to K & A…
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Enjoy the weekend and stay lovely!
Rachel

Seth & Rachel | A Willow on the Lake Hickory Grove Engagement

Happy (almost) Independence Day everyone!  I hope you all have the same beautiful weather that we have forecasted for the fourth as you enjoy your grill outs, friends, family and patriotic attire!  Mark and I are so looking forward to having the day off to ourselves with no plans!  Iowa has had some beautiful weather the past few days and I especially can’t wait to have the day open to whatever we decide to do… or not do! :)

Speaking of  beautiful Iowa, I recently got to spend one of those perfectly calm evenings on a lake with a couple that makes me smile.  I had the privilege of meeting Seth and Rachel my freshman year of college and even got to live on the same dorm floor as Rachel for a year.  Rachel is such a godly and joyful woman who is an encouragement to be around and Seth really is her perfect complement.  These two were high school sweethearts and although they’ve been together for years, the excitement and beauty of their relationship is still very alive and thriving!  They love the outdoors and often come to Hickory Grove to canoe together.  Through their explorations of the area, they came across one of Rachel’s favorites, a willow tree.  :)  It only felt right to return again to this lovely location to capture their relationship in its true element.  And what a lovely time it was! Enjoy :)

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When Seth proposed, he had made a series of boxes with notes leading up to the moment he asked the big question.  This is one of Seth & Rachel_125 those boxes.  Isn’t he a great craftsman? :) Seth & Rachel_132 Seth & Rachel_134 Seth & Rachel_136 Seth & Rachel_137 Seth & Rachel_144 Seth & Rachel_145 Seth & Rachel_149 Seth & Rachel_151 Seth & Rachel_154

The sun was setting as we canoed back to the dock and made for the perfect end to the evening!  Congratulations you two, so looking forward to the wedding in August! :)

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Jordan & Bree | A Twinkle-Lit Ames Proposal

Oh, do I have a sweet treat for you all today!  Last night as dusk settled into a breezy dark, Jordan took Bree for an evening walk.  As they held hands and strolled a usual path, the fireflies danced around them, almost as if in preparation for the beautiful moment about to unfold.  It really was perfect. :) As they approached the path that would light as soon as they arrived, Jordan diverted Bree’s attention to the fireflies and they chased after them while he waited for the perfect light.  Then, finally, heart racing, Jordan took Bree by the hand and led her toward the gazebo.  A path of lights lit their way and as they stepped into the gazebo, an array of lights surrounded them.  Her eyes lit up with excitement as her best friend got down on his knee and asked her to spend the rest of her life with him.  Jordan's Proposal_0009-2

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Congratulations you two! Loved being there to witness such a joyful and beautiful thing! :)

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Steve & Melissa | A Dubuque Mines of Spain Engagement

Good morning!!  I hope y’all are enjoying the summer sunshine!  Derek and I are starting to figure out our newlywed routine – he works 7-3:30 every day and I work here, there, and everywhere!  I so love working from home, but it takes a lot of discipline.  Thankfully it provides a fair amount of freedom as well…for example, I’m writing this post OUTSIDE!  It’s a gorgeous day and I’m soaking in the rays. :)

Today you’re in for a treat!  You’re going to get a peek into the beauty that was Steve and Melissa’s engagement.  These two have such sweet, genuine hearts, and I loved exploring the Mines of Spain with them!  Derek and I visit the Mines of Spain often and it’s a new adventure every time.  The adventure with Steve and Melissa was full of laughter, eskimo kisses, and yes–even a bit of ‘frolicking’ through the open fields!  It was a blast and I hope you enjoy their images!
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Thanks for stopping by, now go enjoy the sunshiney day! :)

Stay lovely,
Rachel