Category Businesses

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

Tina’s Traveling Nails | Environmental Portrait Session | Tacoma, Washington

On the last day of January, I photographed the first of what I hope will be many more, environmental portrait sessions. Have you heard about the Nail Fairy?

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I was so inspired by Tina’s actions, and when she responded to my instagram post, I was thrilled! What an awesome idea to bring a bit of pampering and normalcy to these kids. Martina is a Tacoma creative who spends a portion of her month as the Nail Fairy, but she can also be found working at the downtown Tacoma salon, Harlequin Hair Designs. As her business name suggests, she can also be found all over Tacoma doing in-home manicure and pedicure visits, hence her business name, Tina’s Traveling Nails.

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This is Tina’s faithful sidekick, Charm. She adds a little extra love and lap warming during your pedi-mani experience.

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The salon is bright and fun, but most of all, comfortable. This was something that both Tina and her business partner, Heather both really wanted to make sure of. The space is located on the second floor, so you feel like you are up in the trees and have a great view of the sound from the big windows. While I was there, the conversation drifted from what people were making for their Superbowl parties, to pet jelly fish! WebReady_FIP (55 of 76)WebReady_FIP (16 of 76)WebReady_FIP (39 of 76)WebReady_FIP (1 of 76) WebReady_FIP (35 of 76)WebReady_FIP (52 of 76)

Tina often gets asked, “what does it look like when you travel? Can you really set up anywhere?” Nothing a little suitcase on wheels can’t handle, and we were off to her last client of the day. What a treat to get to visit her client Laura’s beautiful home!WebReady_FIP (57 of 76)WebReady_FIP (69 of 76)WebReady_FIP (59 of 76)Tina, thank you so much for having me along for the afternoon. You have amazing clients and mad skills with that tiny paint brush of yours! I can’t wait to come in for a little nail love soon.


What a great response I have had so far to my call for Pacific Northwest creatives, this project has me so excited. I have one more of these promo- sessions available. Do you know a Tacoma creative or small business who would love to participate? I would love to hear from them.

Keep chasing that light,


Environmental Portraiture | Tacoma, Washington – It’s a Giveaway!

12pmAs I sit with my photography and identify the type of work that moves me to create, I find there is a common thread and theme to so many of my images. No matter what I am photographing (a wedding, a family) I see details and storis.

I love the details.

horse fenceIt is the parts that make up the whole of a scene.  The letters that combine to be words, and words that join to be sentences, only in the photographic form. It might be little things that are everyday, and perhaps non-traditionally beautiful, but I see them and how they make up the puzzle of a story. You may have read my goal list for 2015 a few weeks ago and read my final goal of “Photograph 5 creatives and their spaces”. I asked around in a few of the photographer communities I am a part of and came to learn that most often this type of work is called, Environmental Portraiture.  A big fancy name for the photos I love to take, who knew?

HiRes_FIP_Ebay (5 of 214)My word for 2015 is “immersion”. I have decided to sink myself deep into the kind of work I want to be doing more of. To surround myself with other creatives and people in my community. I will have lived in Tacoma, WA for a year in March and although I have met some incredible friends, I know there are so many more of you out there doing amazing things. Environmental Portraiture will allow me to meet, and become a part of this city and the local community.

OffTractOneYear_FIP (14 of 160)You might be scratching your head and asking,

That’s all fine and dandy, but what does this term mean?

I take self portraits, can’t I set up my tripod and take these photos of myself? 

Why would I hire Vanessa to do these for me and what the heck would I used a set of Environmental Portraits for? 

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I will photograph the details that bring the artist to life. I will see and capture the things we don’t see when we admire a piece of art hanging in a gallery, read a poem in a book, or savor an amazing bite of food. I will capture the environment that the ceramic mug you are drinking your tea from was hand thrown on a spinning wheel, and the bits and pieces that inspire a painter to paint that hang on her wall. I will tell the story of the artist as well as the tools that are the breath and heartbeat of what made the work come to life. I will photograph you in your studio, your hands at work, your feet at rest. And I will help you tell the story of where it all comes from. This is a chance for you to build an incredible “about” page and give yourself a much more meaningful head shot.


Environmental Portrait (or EP for short) Sessions are 2-3hours long and take place where the creativity happens. I will join you in your studio, home, kitchen, or favorite coffee shop and see how the magic unfolds around you as you work.  The beautiful details of creating, this is what I want to photograph for you.

When we are done, I will get to work culling and editing the best images and set up an online gallery for you to choose 10-20 photos. I will deliver these images to you in high resolution and web ready form for use on  your website/blog/social media or tangible media such as business cards or brochures.

molly painting If you are one of the first 5 people to booked by April 1st, the shoot and 10-20 images will be FREE to you. (This package is of an $800 value, so get hopping!).
If you are an artist/a creator of any kind, contact me. This is the work I love to do and feel I was meant to do.

Know someone who might be interested? Share this post on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with friends who might be interested.

*The giveaway is limited to a creative living in the Tacoma/Seattle, WA area (I am willing to travel to Portland, OR as well), unless someone is going to pay my plane ticket to blow this PNW Popsicle stand so I can come and visit you, which I would not turn down…

Leave me a comment or drop me a note via the contact page and let’s talk.

**As of 1/22/2014, Only 3 more free session slots are available.

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Emerald City Trapeze Arts | Places and Spaces of Seattle

At the beginning of the month I made my way to Seattle to visit, explore, and photograph the very unique space that is Emerald City Trapeze Arts.    Emerald City is available for all sorts of events, not just flying through the air.  They host everything from birthday and corporate events to weddings and bachelorette parties. The space is huge, and there is so much visually to take in, that I am  pretty sure it would blow away your guests in an instant. Don’t let the name fool you, they are a trapeze “studio”, but they are so much more. They have silks, trampoline, and even pole dancing classes.  I tried to explain the place to my husband after my visit that night, but couldn’t do it justice. I wound up just showing him the photos. I think I will do the same thing here! So sit back and scroll on through.

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Om Is Where the Heart Is

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TacomaYoga (19 of 149)I have been looking for words to go along with this post for a few days now. When we moved to Tacoma, I knew I was going to have to adjust.  It’s a big change to move away from the area you have called home for so long. Not would the climate be incredibly different, or the to the fact that our immediate family wouldn’t be in the same city any more, but I was also leaving my beloved yoga studio behind. I was going to have to finding a place to practice yoga.

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I tried out one studio, and really liked it. But it was difficult to find the time to go without having childcare readily available. My husband then suggested we sign up at the YMCA. I was hesitant. Yoga at a gym isn’t usually up my alley. But, when we stepped into the facility, we were blown away. The YMCA is a fabulous resource for the Tacoma community.

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Then I took a yoga class (I could go mid-day while my son is at school and my daughter at the on site daycare).  The class was fantastic. So I went to another, and another, and another. Each teacher exceeded my expectations of what a typical gym yoga class usually was. This is how I met Rebeca. She is the director of the Yoga and Wellness program at the Y, and is a passionate yogini. We instantly clicked and started visiting after a class one day.

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She asked me the usual questions, what brought us to the PNW, what do you do for a I did for a living?  When I told her I was a photographer and a certified yoga instructor we started to brainstorm.  About two weeks later, she gathered a room full of beautiful women to practice. While they moved and breathed as one, I photographed. These images are the results. I am full of gratitude for moments and connections like this in my life. Being surrounded by this sort of energy is amazing.  I think it shows up in the photographs that I am sharing here with you today.

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A huge thank you to Rebecca and the other women for sharing their practice with me last week. I hope to not only to sun salute with all of you very soon, but make new friendships as well.

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Namaste and keep chasing that light, Vanessa

PS If you are in the area and have Thursday mornings open, I will be teaching a regularly at the Y starting on the 10th. I would love to have your smiling faces in the room with me. If you would like a private lesson or a small group practice, contact me- the space photographed here is available for use.

Film Friday – The Coffee House

Happy Film Friday!

Today I am exploring the similarities and differences between film vs digital. I take the same photo with different cameras quite often, I have been asked how do I know which camera I want to shoot with when I pull out all my different babies. The process of double (or triple shooting) is part of how I learn to answer that question.  At first, capturing the same setting more than once may seem redundant, but I have learned a few things as I go.  In the digital image of the coffee cups, I love how the light is hitting the cups and the focus is right where I want it to be. Not to mention that it isn’t off kilter like the film shot.When using my film cameras, I sometimes forget to slow down enough to line everything up before hitting the shutter button. This is a habit that is forgivable with digital, since readjusting in post is fairly simple, but not so much with film. In the analog image of the cups, I love that little bit of bokeh in the background and the subtle reflections of each cup.  I can definitely tell I was shooting with 100 speed film, but 400 iso within my digital.  The grain and the dark of the film shot really show through in both and are a good reminder for me of why we utilize different film speeds for different light situations.

That said, each of the photos hold a different mood and appeal. They tell the same, but altered version of the story.  Shooting this way helps me to better understand the limitations and strengths of film, and allows me to learn my craft each time I hit the shutter button.

MortalMuse (29 of 95)Cups | Minolta SRT | Color film, asa 100

20140406-20140406-IMG_5517Cups | Canon 5D ii | ƒ/2.8 | 1/1250 |400

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Keep chasing that light, Vanessa

Following the Flowers

As we walked through the market last Friday,  I followed the flowers.  I watched them being prepped and trimmed and carefully selected by the vendors. The ends clipped and the stems adjusted, sorted and arranged just so.  I saw people carrying arms full of color throughout the day.  As they headed back to their cars or to a bus. As they played tourist down alley ways, or as they waited on the street corners patiently watching the flashing red hand to signal and change to the blinking white shape of person, giving the okay to step from the sidewalk’s corner.

I wondered if the bright bundles would decorate an Easter brunch table? Or perhaps be delivered to a hostess who was lovingly preparing ham, scalloped potatoes, and green beans for dinner.  Perhaps the flowers would brighten a corner in their home, or be passed along to friend who needed cheering up. Where ever these flowers were heading, I am sure they are sitting beautifully, and making someone smile.

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Keep chasing the light, Vanessa