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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Colorado | Images of our Adventures through the Mountains

Hello and happy Friday!
Derek is back on campus for classes and so I’m sitting in a wing of the science building, dreaming of Colorado.  D and I ventured to Silverton, CO with the ever-lovely Elizabeth – you’ve seen her river portraits and oh, how I would love to go back to that beautiful state!
I would love to show you every single image and could talk for hours about our adventures, the beauty of a hazy morning in the mountains, the hilarious inconveniences of camping, and the amazing individuals that made my heart well up with joy, but instead I’ll give you the three minute overview of our travels.  If you’re still itching to hear more of our adventures, contact me and we’ll go out for chai together.  :)
I traveled without my beautiful ‘big kid’ camera (gasp!), but I always had my Canon EOS M and an old film camera on my hip.  If you’re looking for a small camera that packs a punch, check out the EOS M – it’s a gem!  You can find an incredible and honest review on Dylan & Sara Photography’s blog.
And now, the images!  Get ready for a lot of random bits and pieces – it’s so difficult to compress a ten day trip into a single blogpost!  Here we go….
Every good adventure starts with donuts!
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Derek and Elizabeth were an absolute riot to travel with – every now and then we’d sit all three of us in the front of our trusty Buick.  The Buick was a star until the last bit of our trip where she started to get a bit flustered and overheated.
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2013-08-23_00282013-08-23_00092013-08-23_0024Our first CO stop was in Centennial, where we stayed with my dear friend Dani and tried our first bison burgers.  Proudly American.

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Garden of the Gods was incredible!  I’ve added it to my life dream list to photograph an engagement or wedding here someday. :) It was so fun to explore here with these two cool cats.
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The road to Silverton was looong but oh so beautiful!  We ventured up to Mt. Evans mid-way through our drive and met yellow-bellied marmots, they’re cute little fellows. :)
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Derek and I were photographed in our wedding get-ups by Brumley & Wells – I thought my heart was going to explode I was so happy.  Don’t fret, I’ll be sure to share images when we see them! :) Here’s one of the breathtaking locations we photographed at:
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And here’s our cozy camping space in the San Juan National Forest.
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I was sure I would be taller than at least one tree, but it took some searching to find the little guys!
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We found a really great rock pile by the river so we made our own.  Ours is the dinky little pile on the right – definitely not as cool but it was a lot more challenging than we thought it’d be!
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and a few more images to close out the post.  Colorado was gorgeous and I’d love to go back.  To the CO newly engaged, I left a piece of our hearts in the mountains, and Val and I would love to meet you and photograph your love story! ;)
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Someday I hope to be as well-traveled as these folks.  Adventures like these set my heart aglow. :)
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Stay lovely and go see the world!
Rachel

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.

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Have a read and let me know what you think!

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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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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! :)

Derek & Rachel | Our Double Date, Downtown and Swiss Valley Portraits Part II

If you haven’t already seen Part I of our double date extravaganza, featuring yours truly, you should go have a looksie!  There’s a lot of laughter and love in there. :) My husband is quite hilarious and has a knack for making me wrinkle my nose in giggles which makes for some fun images.

But enough about me, let’s get to the Deutmeyers! ;)  I’ve had the pleasure of photographing these two several times now and each time is such a joy.  This time around was especially fun because they are newly married and just so adorably in love.  The way Rachel looks up into Derek’s eyes and the way he watches her giggle and move is like a breath-taking dance.

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And here the boys are, having some deep theological conversation… :)

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I love this progression of images where Derek picks Rachel a flower – her reaction is too cute. :)

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This is when an airplane flew overhead…it’s the little things in life… :)Quadruple D Day_0345 Quadruple D Day_0355 Quadruple D Day_0365 Quadruple D Day_0372 Quadruple D Day_0376

And now a few images of the four-legged friends we made on our adventures. :)

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This guy apparently needed to scratch an itch…haha!

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And with that, I will bid you adieu!  Until next time! :)

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Mark & Valerie | Our Double Date, Downtown, and Swiss Valley Portraits

Happy Monday!
Today I’m bringing you a brilliant start to the week.  The Deutmeyers (Derek and I) and the Duvicks (Mark and Valerie) got together for an epic double date this past weekend – Val brightly named it the quadruple D!  To sum up the day, we met for lunch downtown, ventured around for some portraits, refreshed from the heat with ice cream and popcorn, played a round of mini-golf, wandered through Swiss Valley Nature Center, had a hilarious encounter with some horses, and ended the night with a late dinner together.  It was all grand. :) Valerie and I kicked butt in mini-golf, and she squeezed by for the win two putts ahead.  I did have a victorious hole-in-one, so I took second place gladly. :)

Photographing these two was a blast – they’re in love for life, and seriously, they’re both just really really good looking!  We have some attractive friends, people. ;) The beauty doesn’t stop at the skin though; Mark and Val both have beautiful hearts for the people around them.

Even though the colors around us were insanely spectacular, I’ve been wanting to do an all black and white post for quite a while, and Mark and Val’s images fit the bill.  Enjoy :)
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These two are darling and D and I had an incredible time meandering around Dubuque with them.  A putt-putt rematch is most definitely in order – if only to give the boys a chance to step up their game!  And now a few images of our new friends to close out the post…
Stay lovely!
Rachel
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Tyler & Alex | A Reminiscent First Anniversary

Happy Friday y’all!  Today is the day that Taylor and Ashley tie the knot and Rachel and I are having such a great time documenting the story of their day! While we’re happily busy creating images, we wanted you all to enjoy a little sweetness of love today as well!  So we bring to you an adorable married couple celebrating their one year anniversary.

Tyler and Alex were not only high school sweethearts, but middle school sweethearts too!  It’s not every day you meet a couple whose relationship started in the midst of the ever-changing, awkward and moody stages of life, but that’s where their story began. :)  There was something about each other that they were attracted to early on and their relationship and admiration of each other only grew over time.  On Sunday, these two will celebrate their first full year of marriage and it is such a sweet thing!

We started their anniversary portraits at their usual cafe where they visit often for these delicious smoothies.  Alex loves to mix her strawberry and banana, while Tyler claims that the banana ruins it.  It’s a light-hearted disagreement that brings playful laughter.  It’s possible that on any given date night you would find these two sitting in a booth, sipping their smoothies and laughing together as they exchange goofy glances.

After enjoying the sweet smoothies, we headed to one of their favorite parks to explore, Moore Memorial Park, where Tyler and Alex spent some time reminiscing the years of their relationship with letters, photos and giggles of how much they’ve changed.

Happy Anniversary you two! :)

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Maggie | An Adventurous Dubuque Senior Session

Hello friends!
Today I get to brag about Maggie and how our session together was an absolute blast! :)  There were multiple moments during the shoot that I’d stop to do a little happy dance, or squeal after pressing the shutter down – the light was incredibly beautiful, all our locations were great, Maggie looked stellar, and man, do the images prove it!  I did my best to compress the blog post…if I’d included ALL my favorites you would be scrolling for miles!  Anyway, enough of my schmoozing – let me introduce you to Maggie!  She’s quirky, fun, and she definitely put my goofy happy dances to shame with her amazing talents. :) Enjoy a peek into our session together! :)
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Maggie’s good friend Emily came with us for part of the shoot – she helped perfect Maggie’s hair and was so sweet as to give her a hand across the rocks.  Awww, now that’s friendship! :)

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These portraits make me want summer to last forever!  Maggie, thanks for having me create your senior images!
Stay lovely,
Rachel

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

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