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! :)

Dane & Maddie_0056

Dane & Maddie_0042 Dane & Maddie_0043 Dane & Maddie_0049-2 Dane & Maddie_0054 Dane & Maddie_0055 Dane & Maddie_0079

Dane & Maddie_0082Dane & Maddie_0081  Dane & Maddie_0094 Dane & Maddie_0121 Dane & Maddie_0135

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!

Dane & Maddie_0269 Dane & Maddie_0242 Dane & Maddie_0307 Dane & Maddie_0329 Dane & Maddie_0334

Dane & Maddie_0287-2 Dane & Maddie_0278 Dane & Maddie_0362 Dane & Maddie_0385 Dane & Maddie_0434 Dane & Maddie_0452 Dane & Maddie_0475 Dane & Maddie_0480

Dane & Maddie_0510 Dane & Maddie_0482 Dane & Maddie_0528 Dane & Maddie_0530 Dane & Maddie_0548 Dane & Maddie_0584

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! :)



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!
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.
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.

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.
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. :)
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:
And here’s our cozy camping space in the San Juan National Forest.
I was sure I would be taller than at least one tree, but it took some searching to find the little guys!
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!
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! ;)
Someday I hope to be as well-traveled as these folks.  Adventures like these set my heart aglow. :)
Stay lovely and go see the world!

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!) :)

the lens perspective graphic valerie

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.

Adam & Kjirsten_071

Adam & Kjirsten_272

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.

Kyle & Johanna_0469

Kyle & Johanna Wedding_095

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! :)
Dane & Maddie_0113
Dane & Maddie_0056 Dane & Maddie_0043 Dane & Maddie_0510 Dane & Maddie_0434
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! :)


Zach & Katie_002 Zach & Katie_004 Zach & Katie_008 Zach & Katie_011 Zach & Katie_012 Zach & Katie_013 Zach & Katie_016 Zach & Katie_018 Zach & Katie_023 Zach & Katie_028 Zach & Katie_031 Zach & Katie_034

Zach & Katie_043 Zach & Katie_039 Zach & Katie_041 Zach & Katie_052 Zach & Katie_053 Zach & Katie_057 Zach & Katie_063 Zach & Katie_065 Zach & Katie_071 Zach & Katie_077 Zach & Katie_092 Zach & Katie_093 Zach & Katie_094 Zach & Katie_099 Zach & Katie_102 Zach & Katie_105 Zach & Katie_109 Zach & Katie_110 Zach & Katie_113 Zach & Katie_114 Zach & Katie_120 Zach & Katie_123 Zach & Katie_127 Zach & Katie_129 Zach & Katie_138 Zach & Katie_145 Zach & Katie_150 Zach & Katie_153 Zach & Katie_156 Zach & Katie_161 Zach & Katie_162 Zach & Katie_164 Zach & Katie_171 Zach & Katie_176 Zach & Katie_180 Zach & Katie_182 Zach & Katie_189

Zach & Katie_181 Zach & Katie_199 Zach & Katie_217 Zach & Katie_232 Zach & Katie_238 Zach & Katie_242 Zach & Katie_261 Zach & Katie_315 Zach & Katie_316 Zach & Katie_319 Zach & Katie_321 Zach & Katie_326 Zach & Katie_328

Zach & Katie_001 Zach & Katie_350 Zach & Katie_375 Zach & Katie_383 Zach & Katie_401 Zach & Katie_404 Zach & Katie_412 Zach & Katie_418 Zach & Katie_420 Zach & Katie_426 Zach & Katie_428 Zach & Katie_436 Zach & Katie_437 Zach & Katie_458 Zach & Katie_478 Zach & Katie_482 Zach & Katie_488 Zach & Katie_503 Zach & Katie_505 Zach & Katie_516 Zach & Katie_517 Zach & Katie_523 Zach & Katie_532 Zach & Katie_543 Zach & Katie_552 Zach & Katie_559



Zach & Katie_560

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.

Quadruple D Day_0037 Quadruple D Day_0062 Quadruple D Day_0072 Quadruple D Day_0007 Quadruple D Day_0171 Quadruple D Day_0191 Quadruple D Day_0136 Quadruple D Day_0180

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

Quadruple D Day_0175

Quadruple D Day_0206 Quadruple D Day_0216 Quadruple D Day_0221 Quadruple D Day_0220Derek actually works here at Swiss Valley and has some pretty impressive knowledge of the different plant types around!

Quadruple D Day_0223 Quadruple D Day_0241 Quadruple D Day_0261 Quadruple D Day_0275

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

Quadruple D Day_0282 Quadruple D Day_0292 Quadruple D Day_0307 Quadruple D Day_0298 Quadruple D Day_0310 Quadruple D Day_0321 Quadruple D Day_0336

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. :)

Quadruple D Day_0377 Quadruple D Day_0419 Quadruple D Day_0434 Quadruple D Day_0428These horses had such personality, it was hilarious!

Quadruple D Day_0447 Quadruple D Day_0449

This guy apparently needed to scratch an itch…haha!

Quadruple D Day_0478Quadruple D Day_0469 Quadruple D Day_0467

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


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 :)

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!

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! :)


Tyler & Alex_003 Tyler & Alex_005 Tyler & Alex_007 Tyler & Alex_011 Tyler & Alex_012

Tyler & Alex_001 Tyler & Alex_018

Tyler & Alex_021 Tyler & Alex_023 Tyler & Alex_028 Tyler & Alex_033 Tyler & Alex_035 Tyler & Alex_044 Tyler & Alex_050 Tyler & Alex_051 Tyler & Alex_057 Tyler & Alex_059 Tyler & Alex_065 Tyler & Alex_071 Tyler & Alex_074 Tyler & Alex_085 Tyler & Alex_086 Tyler & Alex_092 Tyler & Alex_094 Tyler & Alex_098 Tyler & Alex_102 Tyler & Alex_103 Tyler & Alex_105 Tyler & Alex_109 Tyler & Alex_110 Tyler & Alex_121 Tyler & Alex_126 Tyler & Alex_127 Tyler & Alex_132 Tyler & Alex_140 Tyler & Alex_154 Tyler & Alex_156 Tyler & Alex_161 Tyler & Alex_173 Tyler & Alex_176

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! :)
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! :)

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

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.


Taylor & Ashley_016

Taylor & Ashley_003 Taylor & Ashley_006

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. :)

Taylor & Ashley_014Taylor & Ashley_010 Taylor & Ashley_017

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

Taylor & Ashley_109

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