Category Environmental Portraiture

Find the Light | From The Archives

More often than not when traveling,  I am the one in the passenger seat. It’s not that I don’t like to drive, it’s just that the people I travel with tend to like to be behind the wheel more then I do.  This is a good thing since I would rather be soaking in the sights as the world slips past my window. I can take photos and not have to manage my camera and the steering wheel while on a road trip.  These images were taken on the way home from my Portland adventure.

I knew I wanted to share this set of photos here, but wasn’t sure what  I was going to talk about. I looked up a few books in search of quotes, but nothing was fitting with my mood. I realize all of the images are a little dark, but each has a glimmer of light shinning in the distance or flare bursting through the edges.  As I know many of my fellow American readers might be heading out on the road today to meet up with family and friends for Thanksgiving tomorrow I thought I would use the dark and light as a metaphor.
I know that this holiday (and the season in general) can either be extremely exciting or extremely stressful.  As you help in the kitchen with parents, siblings or dear friends, watch football with rowdy cousins, nieces and nephews, and then once you finally sit down around the table together; I would like to encourage you to use your photographic skills of finding the light in the everyday to find the bright spot in each of the people you are surrounded by.  Sometimes our personal and internal roads are dark, but we all have a spot in us that glows from within, or right out of our edges.  Some share the glow inside easily with those around them, while others find it much more difficult. So go on, find the light and have a wonderful and THANKfilled day tomorrow.
This post was originally written and photographed by me for the Mortal Muses photography blog, and part of a new series called, From the Archives. You can find the original post here: Find the Light | Mortal Muses

Five on Five – February 2017

On the fifth day of each month, I get together with a group of talented female photographers. We each share our five favorite images from the previous month. It’s a blog circle! Make sure to follow the link and head over to Adriana’s blog when you are done seeing what February was like over here.I did two really fun sessions last month. One was a family session with an adorable family. We traveled out to the summer camp where they met as camp counselors. It was really fun to have them take me around camp and photograph them with there little dude. I love when clients pick locations with such special meaning.The other session I did is for a new blog article I am writing for Experience Tacoma. The article is called, Take Five. This is such a fun chance for me to get to know more people and places in the community and a great excuse to pull out my camera.I had the great honor of sitting for the amazing Catherine Just and her “Breathing Camera” (that’s what I call this 4×5 beauty). Catherine has been traveling all over the world for her Capturing Breath on Film project, if you have a chance to participate it is an incredible experience. One I am still processing and watching unfold in my own life. It is part portrait session, part prayer, part magic. And finally, a little film photography of my own… I have been continuing on with my 365 Rectangles project, I love this black and white shot I took of my husband and his birthday cake.

Keep chasing that light my friends!


Hello Cupcake | Tacoma, Washington

A couple of weeks ago, I was having a rough day. I tossed my camera was in my purse and tossed told my coworker to get in the car- We were going to get cupcakes. When you are the intern, you do what you are told. When you are an intern and there are cupcakes involved, you most definitely do what you are told. Thank you to Alexa for being my hand model, a listening ear, and for taking me to the juice bar down the street for the much healthier lunch option of kale-cucumber-apple- ginger juice so we could wash down our salted caramel chocolate cupcake with some sanity. It’s all a balancing act, don’t judge me. And besides, life is uncertain, you should probably eat dessert first..2015-11-19_0003FIP_HelloCupcake (12 of 37)2015-11-19_00022015-11-19_0001FIP_HelloCupcake (4 of 37)Oh, and if you keep an eye out on the new site, Tacoma Local’s Guide, you might just see some familiar work… check it out!

Keep chasing that light, Vanessa

Lolo + Bear | Seattle Portrait Photography

LoloBear_WebReady_FIP (200 of 200)Remember this spring when I put out a call for small businesses and creatives in the Pacific Northwest? I asked, and you all are amazing and set me off with some really fantastic leads for Environmental Portrait (EP) candidates. If I could do EP sessions every day, I would be thrilled. I love the photographic mix of portraits and the details of the “making” (and in this particular case, the eating of the end product). Plus, I get to make some amazing new friends in the process.  When my dear friend connected me with the lovely crew of Lolo & Bear, I was thrilled. I mean these four are darn good looking, hysterical, and they make a mean snack. LoloBear_WebReady_FIP (19 of 200)Lolo & Bear rolls out some amazing goodies. To quote directly from their website,

“In our family, we’re big fans of snack breaks. We love second breakfast, happy hour, and all the other in-between times. But we wanted a snack we could feel good about eating, one without weird ingredients. That’s why our clusters are made with heritage grains, authentic flavors, and only whole real stuff.”

They set the goal to create a unique, specialty snack and they are winning. I really liked all four flavors of their clusters, but my favorite has to be the Blueberry, Vanilla, Thyme.
LoloBear_WebReady_FIP (38 of 200)Meet Rosie. She doesn’t help in the kitchen, but she did try to herd me while I was photographing her humans. It was almost as endearing as her Elvis impersonation.
LoloBear_WebReady_FIP (42 of 200) LoloBear_WebReady_FIP (55 of 200) LoloBear_WebReady_FIP (70 of 200)
LoloBear_WebReady_FIP (119 of 200)LoloBear_WebReady_FIP (125 of 200)And now, a little bit of the editable goodness that goes into Lolo & Bear…
LoloBear_WebReady_FIP (153 of 200) LoloBear_WebReady_FIP (155 of 200) LoloBear_WebReady_FIP (157 of 200) LoloBear_WebReady_FIP (179 of 200) LoloBear_WebReady_FIP (185 of 200)Before I close this post, I need to give a huge thank you to not only the L&B crew for spending an afternoon with me, but to the beautiful and generous Deb Achak (go see her work, it’s stunning) for welcoming us ALL into her amazing West Seattle home for these photos. Words can’t express how grateful I am for new friendships and solidifying existing ones via my photography.

Do you have a creative business? Do you need images for your social media campaign or real stock images of you, your work, and your workspace? That is what Environmental Portraiture is all about.  Drop me a note and let’s get you and your business photographed!

Keep chasing that light, Vanessa

I’d a Baked Cake | Tacoma Food Photography

One of the things I really enjoy about my work as a photographer is that I get to meet other creatives. They might be photographers, or they might be an artist in a totally different medium, like Emily. She is an amazing baker. Mixing flour, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and butter to make the most delicious edible work of art. What a treat! I had so much fun with this lifestyle session. If you are one of my Environmental Portrait clients, this is another example of how I can help tell your story. By the way, I have one more of these sessions up for grabs, hurry though, you have to schedule your session by Wednesday, April 1st! For my brides out there, Emily makes amazing treats and also has a few gluten free recipes up her sleeve, the smaller of these two cakes was GF and DELISH! To find out more about Emily’s business and treats, go to

For my brides and event clients, Emily makes amazing treats and also has a few gluten free recipes up her sleeve, the smaller of these two cakes was GF and DELISH! To find out more about her business and offerings, go to Sweet Things by EH.

Ready to get a sugar rush? Okay, go!

2015-03-28_0009FIP_SweetThings (5 of 65)FIP_SweetThings (8 of 65)2015-03-28_0005

If I knew you were comin’ I’d’ve baked a cake
baked a cake, baked a cake
If I knew you were comin’ I’d’ve baked a cake
Howd-ya do, howd-ya do, howd-ya do FIP_SweetThings (18 of 65)FIP_SweetThings (30 of 65)FIP_SweetThings (20 of 65)FIP_SweetThings (22 of 65)2015-03-28_0004

Had you dropped me a letter
I’d a-hired a band
Grandest band in the land
Had you dropped me a letter
I’d a-hired a band
Spread the welcome mat for youFIP_SweetThings (14 of 65)FIP_SweetThings (28 of 65)2015-03-28_0010FIP_SweetThings (29 of 65)Oh, I don’t know where you came from
‘Cause I don’t know where you’ve been
But it really doesn’t matter
Grab a chair and fill your platter
And dig, dig, dig right in
2015-03-28_0003FIP_SweetThings (41 of 65)2015-03-28_0002If I knew you were comin’ I’d’ve baked a cake
Hired a band, goodness sake

2015-03-28_0007If I knew you were comin’ I’d’ve baked a cake
Howd-ya do, howd-ya do, howd-ya do2015-03-28_0006

Howd-ya do, howd-ya do, howd-ya do
Howd-ya do-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-oohFIP_SweetThings (55 of 65)2015-03-28_0008Emily, let’s get together again soon, you bake & I can shoot!

Keep chasing that light, Vanessa

Artists at Work || Tacoma Lifestyle Photography

If you have been following along for a little while, you know how much I love photographing artists at work. (see my post about Tina, and What is shoot Environmental Portraiture).  When a creative is ‘in it’ you can see the energy and feel it in the room. I love witnessing that process.  These images were taken while we were setting up for our session where I created the photos from my last post. These are a few of the behind the scenes of what else was happening in the room while 15 photographers collaborated and learned while shooting Lifestyle photography.

2015-03-19_0002FIP (10 of 10)2015-03-19_0001Here Candice is doing her thing, adding some whimsy and magic by adding sprigs of ivy to our model Danielle’s milkmaid braid.

FIP (8 of 10)


FIP (9 of 10)Here, photographer Mark French sets up the shot and captures Danielle with is Hasselblad. Mark, if you are reading this, I can’t wait to see what you got from the weekend! Please make sure to share with us.


Thank you again for all the fun and learning, Made to Create PNW
You can find more of Candice’s work here Ivy & Tweed and Mark’s work here.

Keep chasing that light, Vanessa

Five on Five – My January Favorites

January has come and gone. As we dip our toes into February, I am taking a minute to look back at the first 31 days of 2015 and pick my favorite 5 photos. This year I have set a goal to take more family photographs using my canon dslr, and not just the iphone. I am shooting a family based 365 (a photo a day) and it’s been such a wonderful practice and I feel myself growing and falling more deeply in love with not only the Pacific Northwest, but the art of capturing whole stories in a single frame.

Point Defiance trail A walk through Point Defiance Park. it was wet and muddy, but  most of all a grand adventure that left us all refreshed.

FIP (3 of 3)-2I have begun a new to me focus in my photography.  I will be adding Environmental Portraiture to my list of things I absolutely love to capture to my list. Here is a post to explain more. This photo was created for my sweet friend and Tacoma creative, Liz Lamoreux.

PatienceWe adopted a cat from Tacoma Humane Society. Ruben has been the most amazing fella. He is sweet, calm and puts up with all sorts of antics from his biggest fan, Fifi.

7 I have loved capturing individual moments of the kids, but some of my favorites are actually the times they are together in my view finder. Seeing them love each other is incredible. Seattle_CSA (3 of 6)

And finally, in an effort to keep my head clear in the foggy days- I have been getting down to one of the many parks and waterfronts on a regular basis. This is Titlow Park, the sun was breaking through the soupy fog. Five minutes after I took this photo, you could actually see the Narrows Bridge out there beyond the trees.


Thanks for stopping by today. I love sharing my personal work with all of you. This post is part of a group, so make sure to click over to see what January looked like for Adriana of Smallroots.

Keep Chasing that light,