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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Dan & Anna | A Charming Bellevue State Park Wedding

Good afternoon to my wonderful Monday readers!  I’m so excited to finally be able to share the wonderful wedding of Mr. & Mrs. Oswald with you today!  You heard a little bit of their charming story with their engagement session this past Spring and today you get to witness a new milestone in their relationship, the wonderful Summer day when they said “I do.”  :)

Dan and Anna were married in Anna’s hometown of Bellevue, Iowa, which is just so adorable and full of character!  Anna prepared for the day at her parents’ lovely country home and met Dan for their first look where Dan had knelt down on one knee just months before.  It was a beautiful day full of memories, laughter and loving smiles.  Rachel and I loved spending the day together with these two, capturing their love at its best and are thrilled to share those moments with you!

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Joy. Pure joy.Dan & Anna_056 Dan & Anna_059 Dan & Anna_060

One of my favorite aspects of their day? The fact that Dan would tote Anna around over his shoulder.  Definitely his fireman skills coming out! :)Dan & Anna_064Dan & Anna_077 Dan & Anna_070 Dan & Anna_073-2 Dan & Anna_076-2 Dan & Anna_078 Dan & Anna_081 Dan & Anna_083 Dan & Anna_087 Dan & Anna_089 Dan & Anna_097 Dan & Anna_105 Dan & Anna_113 Dan & Anna_120 Dan & Anna_123 Dan & Anna_125 Dan & Anna_138 Dan & Anna_141 Dan & Anna_207

I love this flying ‘V’ that Rachel captured during portraits. So great. :)Dan & Anna_210 Dan & Anna_219 Dan & Anna_220 Dan & Anna_226 Dan & Anna_251 Dan & Anna_259 Dan & Anna_266 Dan & Anna_284 Dan & Anna_291Dan & Anna_278 Dan & Anna_297 Dan & Anna_321 Dan & Anna_326Dan & Anna_396 Dan & Anna_345 Dan & Anna_346 Dan & Anna_351 Dan & Anna_352 Dan & Anna_357

Isn’t she lovely?Dan & Anna_362 Dan & Anna_366

Love this next set of Rachel’s images…beauty. :)Dan & Anna_371 Dan & Anna_375 Dan & Anna_379-2 Dan & Anna_402 Dan & Anna_411

It should be noted that Dan built this cross and Rachel painted that lovely sign! Love it! :)Dan & Anna_413 Dan & Anna_415Dan & Anna_420 Dan & Anna_416 Dan & Anna_436 Dan & Anna_454 Dan & Anna_469 Dan & Anna_473

Their reception had so many fun games and playful elements that Rachel captured beautifully!  How much fun are these!? :)Dan & Anna_493 Dan & Anna_497 Dan & Anna_498Dan & Anna_425 Dan & Anna_510 Dan & Anna_524Dan and Anna- you had a wonderful celebration and Rachel and I couldn’t be more happy for you as you start your life together! Happy and loving wishes are being sent your way! :)


ps…be sure to keep up with Rachel on her shiny new blog! :)

Kevin & Korie | A Relaxing, Post-Elopement Just Married Session

Happy Happy Friday everyone! What a whirlwind of a week it has been! Mark and I sold two vehicles and purchased two new (to us) cars, my wonderful mother visited for a quick dinner, we started connection group up for the semester and I’m going to my first high school football game in years tonight!  And that’s just a few of the highlights! :)  To top it all off, today FEELS LIKE FALL! If you can’t tell….I’m a bit excited! :)  I had a wonderful pumpkin white mocha this morning with a dear friend while sporting my brown boots with a scarf and cardigan.  What a perfect start to my day and the weekend!

But really, I’ll stop ranting about how much I love Fall and get to the good stuff! :)

Meet Kevin and Korie! These two eloped to Spain this summer and after they returned to Iowa, we spent a little bit of time capturing their newly-married status on the homeland.  We started the evening at The Continental, where they had their first date, over a glass of wine, which happens to be their favorite way to wind down and relax together.  We then ventured through the ever-lovely East Village of Des Moines and just had a great time chatting and exploring! :)



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A little waltz to set the mood. :)Kevin & Korie_35 Kevin & Korie_40 Kevin & Korie_41 Kevin & Korie_45 Kevin & Korie_46 Kevin & Korie_49 Kevin & Korie_52 Kevin & Korie_54 Kevin & Korie_55

Korie, you’re gorgeous!!Kevin & Korie_57 Kevin & Korie_65Kevin & Korie_62 Kevin & Korie_66 Kevin & Korie_68

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… 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

Hello gorgeous! :)Scott & Josie_088 Scott & Josie_095

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! :)


Taylor & Ashley | An Inspiring Celebration Farm Wedding

There are those people in everyone’s life who, without even trying, inspire and challenge those around them.  For many, Taylor and Ashley are those people.  They love God and they love people in a way that is radiant and infectious.  Recently, I was able to hear Ashley give a maid-of-honor speech at another wedding and I can almost guarantee that every woman in that room was inspired to deepen and grow their friendships.  From day one, Taylor has been incredibly respectful of Ashley and has lead their relationship with God at the center.  Their commitment to Christ and purity was beautiful and challenging.

All of the wonderful details of their relationship played out like a beautiful symphony on their wedding day as the joy, commitment and love exuded through their every moment.  Every detail was personal and carefully planned to provide their guests with a meaningful, beautiful and enjoyable experience!  I was so blessed to document their day and I’m beyond excited to finally share it with you!

Taylor and Ashley decided to start their wedding day with time in the Word and prayer.  Similar to their engagement session, what a beautiful testament it is to what matters most!

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What a good lookin’ group! :)Taylor & Ashley_297 Taylor & Ashley_304 Taylor & Ashley_305 Taylor & Ashley_314 Taylor & Ashley_359 Taylor & Ashley_362 Taylor & Ashley_371

Ashley, you are just beyond gorgeous.Taylor & Ashley_377 Taylor & Ashley_380

Lookin’ good yourself, Mr. Miles!Taylor & Ashley_382 Taylor & Ashley_387 Taylor & Ashley_391

Love the moments of prayer throughout the day.  Especially this one.  Right before the ceremony. :)Taylor & Ashley_397 Taylor & Ashley_403 Taylor & Ashley_407 Taylor & Ashley_408 Taylor & Ashley_426 Taylor & Ashley_458 Taylor & Ashley_477 Taylor & Ashley_486 Taylor & Ashley_499

So. Much. Joy.

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The Celebration Farm is just beautiful and smells of fresh cut wood…it’s pretty amazing. :)Taylor & Ashley_521 Taylor & Ashley_528Taylor & Ashley_046 Taylor & Ashley_532 Taylor & Ashley_538 Taylor & Ashley_552 Taylor & Ashley_553 Taylor & Ashley_554 Taylor & Ashley_567Taylor & Ashley_610Taylor and Ashley had a ring toss competition for their guests – so fun and such a genius idea! :)Taylor & Ashley_601 Taylor & Ashley_606

Their first dance was That Girl by Justin Timberlake, which by the way, might be the best first dance song I’ve heard.  Every time I hear it, it just makes me smile and want to groove.  Listen to it, I promise you won’t regret it. ;)Taylor & Ashley_640 Taylor & Ashley_644 Taylor & Ashley_654 Taylor & Ashley_667 Taylor & Ashley_689 Taylor & Ashley_700 Taylor & Ashley_720 Taylor & Ashley_722 Taylor & Ashley_737 Taylor & Ashley_738 Taylor & Ashley_760Taylor & Ashley_774 Taylor & Ashley_775 Taylor & Ashley_782

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Miles – You’re wonderful and such an inspiration! Thank you for the blessing of photographing your story!


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! :)


The Lens Perspective | Pinterest & Your Photographer

the lens perspective graphic valerieI stumbled across a really wonderful blog post yesterday titled, “A Photographer’s Perspective on Pinterest.”  I couldn’t say it any better and instantly wanted to share it with all of you!  Aimee wrote this post from a heart that cares about her clients, their story and their images so much that she has chosen to speak truth.  Pinterest is such a great tool for Brides, but it is also one that should be approached with care when working with your wedding photographer.


Have a read and let me know what you think!


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.
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.
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!”
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! :)

Zach & Katie | A Bright & Joyful Sylvan Theater, Des Moines Wedding

Good afternoon, Friends!  Today, I get to share Zach and Katie’s beautiful day with you all!  It was such a happy, love-filled day.  These two have such kind and beautiful spirits, which set the tone for the entire day.  They both have incredible families who were there smiling alongside them every step of the way.  From the moment I walked into the salon until I stepped out of the reception, I was surrounded by such great amounts of joy.  And that is what makes a wedding.  I love the details, the colors, the flowers, but what matters most are the dear friends and family surrounding you on this most important day in your life.

Zach and Katie – you are so blessed and I was honored to be a part of your day.  Welcome to this beautiful journey called marriage! :)


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Did you get your photo taken in Zach & Katie’s Photobooth?
View and Purchase the images here! :)