A couple weeks before the move, I met up with Kira in Uptown for a portrait session. She was one of the first people I came into contact with when we moved to Minnesota, and yet through some strange set of circumstances, we had never actually gotten a chance to meet until the day of the photoshoot. Kira is so gorgeous and charismatic and she’s always doing cool stuff with her hair and make up, so I sent her an email to see if she’d do some modeling for me. I really wish I had emailed her sooner. She was so much fun to work with and it wasn’t long before it felt like I was just hanging out with an old friend! We wandered all around Lake Calhoun looking for places to shoot. It was nice and cloudy, but it was also 40 degrees with gusting winds. We had to bundle up and seek shelter every once in a while, which is just ridiculous for mid-April. Five days after that, it snowed. Crazy! Still, we got some photos that I’m pretty happy with, and I am so glad I got a chance to meet Kira.

With her awesome hair, I couldn’t help doing a little bit of crazy editing to highlight it.

I told her to pick a bench, any bench. The one she chose was beyond perfect!

Thanks for hanging with me, Kira, and I hope we can see each other again soon!

See more from this shoot here!

carpe diem.

Hello, everyone!
I do apologize for my absence as of late. As I mentioned recently, life is getting very busy and I am here to tell you why.

For the past 2 1/2 years, we’ve been living in Minnesota. It’s been interesting. An adventure, to be sure, and one I will continue to look back on fondly for many years to come. We have adored the winters. Despite the humidity, the summers have been okay too. I have met some amazing people and found some fantastic opportunities for photography, acting, and life. However, it is time for a change. Time for new opportunities. My dad has resigned and is looking to start something new with an old colleague. We’re not positive yet as to what this new thing will be, but the details will be rolled out slowly. What we do know is that it will be taking us back to our old house in Los Angeles. That’s right. We’re heading out of the Midwest and back to the Golden State. We plan to be packed and on the road by April 27th with an ETA of May 1st. Things are happening pretty fast and I’m a little overwhelmed right now, but I am very excited, too. I am devastated to be leaving the friends I’ve made here and I will miss the snow like you wouldn’t believe, but I am so proud of my dad for making this jump. I can’t wait to see what new things are in store for me and my family. And hey, if you’re in California and interested in photos, drop me an email! I’ll be pretty busy at first, what with unpacking and getting back into the flow with schoolwork, but things should start opening up in early June.

I do have quite a few posts to make, but who knows when they’ll show up. I had my first maternity shoot on Monday and a quick portrait/fashion shoot on Friday, both of which were a total blast. Hopefully those photos will appear soon, so stay tuned. I have also been inspired by the amazing Carlyn to start trying out some levitation stuff. It’s gone pretty poorly so far, but I’m working on it. Plus, we will actually be driving the 2,000 miles to LA, so I’m sure I’ll be taking tons of photos when I’m not the one behind the wheel.

I want to thank everyone in Minnesota for their kindness and assistance in getting me to where I am today. I held my first job, worked on many shows on stage and behind the scenes, got my learner’s permit, shot my first wedding, and many other things that I totally owe to the Twin Cities. I will never forget my time here. I will always love my friends here. Thank you all for making my Midwest life what it has been.

But here is to new beginnings. The first day of the rest of our lives. Look out, LA. We’re coming home, and with a brand new agenda on our hands.

“Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.”
– John Keating (Robin Williams), ‘Dead Poets Society’


Yesterday, I had the fantastic opportunity of taking Renee’s headshots! We met up at Common Roots Cafe in Minneapolis. The cafe staff was super accommodating, giving us access to the private room in back for our initial photos. There was a huge window on one wall, flooding the entire room with light. Somehow, I keep lucking out in terms of weather for my important shoots. Once again, the sky was just overcast enough to give the world the perfect natural diffused light. It was a little windy, but at just over 50 degrees, it was the perfect day.

With portraits, especially headshots, it is extremely important to draw attention to the eyes. That was a snap with Renee. Her blue-green eyes are absolutely magnetic and are complimented perfectly by her big, warm smile. As soon as I got set up, we jumped right in. We utilized every aspect of that room that we could for our first set of shots. From there, we went outside to the vine-covered wall on the side of the Common Roots building. There was also a great alley full of interesting backdrops just a few feet away. As we started working more, we both started to relax and get more into it. It was great to watch her after I suggested she think of a few of her favorite roles she has played to use as inspiration for posing and facial expressions. That seemed to really loosen her up. She started taking moments to internalize, and then she’d come back up with a brand new look on her face. It was such a theatre thing, and something I can totally identify with. There were also just some great lighthearted moments. At one point, Renee was posing in front of a brick fence next to the back of a house. Next thing we know, someone is coming out of the wooden gate right next to the fence. We casually strolled away as if we’d never been there, but started laughing the second we were out of earshot.

After we finished up at Common Roots, we drove over to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. There was tons to work with there. Staircases, windows, brightly colored walls, and more. This was my favorite shot, taken just outside the lobby. There were tons of these great red twig plants and they were just the right amount of texture and color to make the perfect backdrop.

We wandered all over the grounds of the MIA, plus went across the street to Washburn Fair Oaks. The park was totally muddy and gross (yay spring?) and we got a lot of weird people walking by, but we still managed to get some shots I’m proud of. I got over 700 photos total in the two hours we spent shooting, 400 of which made the grade to be sent off to Renee for approval. All in all, a very successful session.

I used my L series 50mm for the entire shoot. I played with my aperture and shutter speed a lot, but my ISO was hardly ever above 200. I used a reflector for a few shots, but for the most part, we didn’t really need it. The natural light was just so good. I do wish I had remembered to bring my ladder. While cumbersome, it is so useful for getting a variety of different angles. Live and learn, I suppose.

Thanks to the fine people at Common Roots Cafe for being so helpful, and for making tasty food. I tried a coconut lime tea cake and it was awesome. And of course, thank you, Renee! I had a blast working with you and I hope you like your photos!

slippers and feathers.

My dear friend Emily recently started taking ballet classes. So of course, when we found out she would be visiting me for my birthday, we started planning a quick shoot. I used my new L series 50mm and set up some crappy lighting in the basement. It was very simple, just taking shots of her feet in a few basic positions. However, I am extremely pleased with the results. Take a look and tell me what you think!

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alycia & jeff.

Jordan Ewert was a fellow employee at my job this summer. We started talking about my interest in photography and one day, he asked me if I wanted to assist him in shooting a wedding. Having an opportunity like that just fall in my lap is not something I’m used to, but I pounced on it. Next thing I knew, I had all of my equipment packed into the Prius and my parents and I were on our way to Wisconsin.

Like with Adrienne and Ian’s engagement photos, wedding photography was very new to me. I had been the flower girl for a good friend’s wedding, the ring bearer for my uncle’s, and a guest at another friend’s, but that was all the wedding experience I had. To be completely honest, the wedding was just as nerve-wracking as I thought it was going to be. However, it was also one of the most exciting days of my life.

There were two locations for the pre-ceremony photos, so we rounded everyone up and made our way for a shoot at each. At first, I simply observed, taking a few shots of Jordan and the other assistant. Then as we realized we were getting more pressed for time, I started taking back-up shots of all of the poses Jordan was setting up. The wedding party was so easy going with all of it and looked like they were having a blast, which made the whole thing even more fun. I started taking photos of the stuff going on behind the camera. At one point, one of the groomsmen was put in charge of holding all the bouquets while the girls posed, so of course I had to get a few photos of that. He didn’t seem to think it was as funny as the rest of us did. Jeff got hold of a water gun and I got a shot of him smiling mischievously at the camera while Alycia stood nearby.

From there, we took Alycia and Jeff to the second location for some quick photos of just the two of them. It was an amazing spot. There was this stunning willow tree in one spot and an old ivy-covered chicken coop. I would love to go back there with a model someday. Not only was it a beautiful area, but it is where I began shooting in RAW for the first time (thanks for the introduction, Jordan!). By the time we wrapped up there, we were totally running late to the ceremony. So, we hopped back in the car and started zipping back to Alycia’s parents’ house, where the reception was to be held. I was thrilled to find out that the bridesmaid driving was a police officer as we sped along ridiculously over the limit around tight corners. While we waited for transportation to get up the hill to the ceremony location, we took some detail shots of the reception area, along with the rings. They were by far the coolest pieces I’ve ever seen. The groom’s ring was handmade by a friend of his. The bride’s was her mom’s promise ring melded with her (former police officer) father’s first wedding band, which had gotten a hole worn into it from gripping the steering wheel too tightly.

To get to the ceremony spot, we sat on haystacks on a trailer hitched to a tractor. As bizarre as it was, I found it to be a very comfortable way to ride. We made our way up a steep, muddy hill to a small clearing at the top. It could not have been a more perfect spot for a wedding. The woods surrounding the clearing were so green and full of life. Just before the ceremony began, it rained just enough for everything to have that natural, fresh smell. The ceremony started just as the clouds began to part, which gave us the kind of lighting that most photographers only dream about.

Back at the reception area, Jordan and I went over the photos we had gotten before going out to join the party. While we were inside, it rained again and that time, it left behind an absolutely stunning rainbow. I got one photo of Alycia and Jeff together with the rainbow behind them, but it did not turn out nearly as well as I would’ve liked. It was still a magical moment and I’m happy to have any photo-evidence of it at all. After that, I wandered around getting more detail shots until my parents picked me up and we made the drive back to Minnesota.

I learned so much that day and I am so grateful to Jordan for his help. It meant so much to me to be a part of that experience. Congratulations, Alycia and Jeff!

Take a look at all of the photos here, then leave a comment and tell me what you think!