Posts Tagged couples

Veronica & Tram – A Jamaican Destination Wedding

When the little sister of one of your best friends sends you a note asking if you would be willing to travel to Jamaica and photographer her wedding, you say yes. Who am I kidding, when ANYONE asks you if you would be willing to fly to Jamaica and photograph their wedding, you say YES. I was so thrilled to have the date (and week) open to be able to make this trip happen.  Jamaica is a place I had thought about many times over the years, but never really dreamed I would get to visit. So when the opportunity was offered, I was totally in. My family and I applied for our passports, booked our flights, and then waited the several months until the big travel day. We had already spent a week in San Diego, California for another work engagement and caught a red-eye headed to Miami from there. We landed in Kingston a little exhausted and starving, but our driver stopped at Burger King in downtown Kingston so we could eat.  We sipped our grape soda (“Mom! It’s like drinking pop rocks!”) and gobbled our fries and Whopper as we traveled north to Ochos Rios.
An hour and a half later and we were at the resort settling in to our room, navigating the grounds to the nearest pool and the soft sand of  the Caribbean.  We didn’t meet up with our group until the next morning at breakfast when I spotted a huge table with a few faces I recognized from the on going What’s App conversation prior to the trip. But, we kept zigging and zagging with the bride and groom and still hadn’t seen them yet.   We hung out at on the beach, had our first jerk chicken (zomg, so good), and a few cocktails from the swim up bar(yeah mon!), and then, finally spotted the couple and their family bobbing along in the blue waters where I got to talk details and plans with the bride.We had one more day to settle in, and then, on Monday it was the big day. The wedding day went something like this.

Lead the family in a little bit of beach  yoga, (BONUS! I teach yoga too).  Then, I head to the spa to catch the ladies getting their nails done and relaxing before the day picks up speed. I make my  way down the hall and find the room where the bride is going to get ready. I snag a few detail shots and start getting used to the light in the room.  I catch the mother and sister of the bride hauling mimosa fixings, and let them in as we all “oooh and ahhh” over the details of the wedding gown and a maybe get teary over the words I hear the my best friend and sister of the bride rehearsing for the ceremony.
The bride arrives and the prepping and primping begin. I love this part of the wedding day. The excitement and the love towards the bride that happen the hour or two before the ceremony is so special. The rituals and the care that go into hair and makeup are like a rite of passage in many way.  I sneak away for a few minutes and make my way up stairs to see how the guys are getting along in their prep. When I got there I found the groom helping the boys with their vests, tucking in dress shirts and rolling up sleeves. The music is loud and the smiles louder. The joy and the anticipation is tangible as I snap a few more shots, and then get out of their way to finish up. I get back to the bride’s room just in time to see the flower girls arrive. And then it’s time for the bride to slide into her dress. This is another detail of the day that I adore. Watching all the hands carefully help and assist to make everything perfect gets me every single time.
A few final touches and everyone heads outside. The moment is finally here, and everyone takes their respective place.
The ceremony is short in length, but definitely not short in meaning. Not only do Veronica and Tram exchange rings with one another, but they each share a ring with the other’s son. (The boys are 6 months apart in age and some of the nicest teenagers I have come across yet). You may kiss your bride!
Bartender! Drinks for EVERYONE!!! Here’s the entire party, look at that beautiful gang of family and friendship. Seriously, this group was so much fun!! The grandsons and the grandmothers and great-grandmother. Mom of the bride with her two gorgeous daughters. The matriarch of the family – isn’t she beautiful? I had a really great conversation with her later in the week about family,traditions, and respect in the Vietnamese culture. I also got invited to dinner any time I am in Sacramento. um that’s another one you say YES to when you are asked.The new families!Cousin chaos doesn’t stop just because you grow up…. A sweet moment between the baby and grandmother, I think Lemon was challenging her grandmother to a race, don’t you??! You guys, this pink wall… I was all heart eyes over it. Sorta like these two are with each other.
The wind wasn’t cooperating, with our portraits. Good thing these two have such great senses of humor. And then, we headed to the party!!! I don’t know what is happening here, but it seems serious… hard to believe with this gang, so maybe they were just plotting the play list (or trying to figure out where Tam left his passport?)Speeches to make you laugh, speeches to make you cry – champagne to help you celebrate!Is it hot in here or is the cake about to go up in flames? !! Don’t worry, we caught it as soon as it started, it was out. Then we were all schooled in the Jamaican cake cutting traditions. And then, the steel drum band started and the bonfire was lit (and then, it truly was HOT IN HERE!)- the party was on!!Veronica and Tram, your wedding day (and week) was one of the most amazing and heartfelt times I have had the pleasure to document. Your families are so much fun, and the love they have for you and your boys is tangible. Thank you for including me (and my family) in this incredible adventure!

Keep chasing the light,


Betsy and Shye – A Snohomish Wedding

When I talk with new wedding clients, I instantly want to know their story. I am genuinely intrigued in the how-why-when-what that brought them together. There are over 7 billion people in this world, and to find one that fits you like a puzzle piece? I want to dig into that story. Scratch that, I want to help TELL that story. Because why? Because it gives me hope, it gives me peace, it melts my heart, and makes my mind go “boom” in the most beautiful way.

After almost 9 months of phone calls and emailing, I finally met Shye and Betsy in Seattle’s Capitol Hill District over a cup of coffee. The minute I saw the pair, I was so excited to get them in front of my lens. These two are gorgeous and the chemistry between them is amazing.

20160724-img_9634As we tried to eat beignets politely (darn it, how do you eat those those things without ending up covered in powdered sugar?), we chatted about the wedding day venue (Stocker Farms in Snohomish, Washington) and the plans for the big day.

I told them I will probably cry at their wedding- they asked me, “Really? don’t you get sick of the same thing over and over? “

No, no I don’t. Because it is NEVER the same “thing”. Sure, the dress is usually white and the flowers are beautiful. There is a first dance and a first kiss. But the love, the love is never the same… and that’s what keeps me coming back for more when it comes to photographing a wedding day.


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“I like geography best, (s)he said, because your mountains & rivers know the secret. Pay no attention to boundaries.”

-Brian Andreas


Betsy and Shye, I absolutely loved being a part of your day. Thank you again a for trusting me to capture your beautiful faces and your stunning love. I wish you all the best as you walk forward in this adventure of wife and wife!

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Holly and Colin – A Portland, Oregon Wedding

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The anticipation and nerves. The sweet and silly moments between friends and the transformation that unfolds right in front of my lens…HollyColin071616_0006HollyColin071616_0008HollyColin071616_0005The first look. The smiles and the giggles. The bond between Holly & Colin glows and fills my heart as well as my camera card.HollyCollin071616_web (189 of 609)HollyCollin071616_web (192 of 609)HollyCollin071616_web (270 of 609)FisherFamily_SeattleArborteum_0014FisherFamily_SeattleArborteum_0015FisherFamily_SeattleArborteum_0018FisherFamily_SeattleArborteum_0017FisherFamily_SeattleArborteum_0016The ceremony. We walk through the trees of Hoyt Arboretum, and up to the World Forestry Center. Laughter, tears, all the emotions. The kiss and the second kiss. The WHOOOOO! as they walk together, hand in hand, between family and friends.
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HollyCollin071616_web (210 of 609)Colin and Holly,
Happy one month anniversary!! Your day was beautiful and full of so much love and laughter. Thank you for having me along to document it all. Wishing you all the best in the days, months, and years to come.
Keep chasing that light,




Location: Hoyt Arboretum and World Forestry Center in beautiful Portland, Oregon

Flowers: Kathryn, Heirbloom Floral

Makeup: Lisette, Lisette Studio 

Vashon Island Maternity Session

It was a rainy Saturday, and three high desert natives piled into a car and drove, er, floated onto Vashon Island. Don’t worry, this isn’t the beginning of a B horror movie, quite the opposite, it’s the beginning of one of my favorite family sessions to date. I have known Steph for several years via the magic of the internet. She and Travis recently moved to the area earlier this year from Utah, I was thrilled to have a new friend in real life- and even more thrilled that she asked me to capture this milestone for their family.  Steph and Travis are expecting their first baby next month. I loved getting to document them together, pre-baby, and I am so excited about getting to meet the new member of the family (on the outside) sometime next month!

StephTravis_FIP (16 of 98)StephTravis_FIP (98 of 98)StephTravis_FIP (9 of 98)Once we landed on the other side of the water, we drove a bit until we found a dead end road off the main drag. I think I am going to start to bring Steph with me on all my shoots; she has an amazing eye for locations! With her navigating, and her sweetheart at the wheel, we found this amazing little spot to take these photos. (How have I NOT been to Vashon yet?!) StephTravis_FIP (77 of 98)StephTravis_FIP (43 of 98)StephTravis_FIP (2 of 2)StephTravis_FIP (1 of 4)StephTravis_FIP (67 of 98)StephTravis_FIP (31 of 98)A huge thank you again to Steph and “Stink-Eye”-Travis for getting out in the rain, for riding the ferry, and for allowing me to photograph you together during this really special time.  I can’t wait to see the THREE of you soon!StephTravis_FIP (2 of 98)StephTravis_FIP (82 of 98)

xo, Vanessa

Troy and Jessica | Seattle Engagement Session

Oh wow, I have had the pleasure of photographing in some pretty amazing places. Last weekend I was able to add a new and pretty fantastic spot to my list. Originally, Jessica contacted me and mentioned cherry blossoms. Now, don’t get me wrong- those blossoms are incredible and they are everywhere this time of year. But then, she sent me a text saying, “What about Safeco Field?”. I probably squealed and did a happy dance of some sort or another, probably. Um, YES!JandT_Engage_Web (3 of 130)Saturday was warm and beautiful in Seattle, hardly a cloud could be found. It was 10:30am and the streets around the baseball stadium already buzzing with fans. I met Helen, our lovely tour guide and then in walked Jessica and Troy. The two of them a tad frazzled from the Seattle traffic (guys, what is UP with the traffic in this city?). We took a few deep breathes and the elevator up to the stadium.
JandT_Engage_Web (18 of 130)One thing I absolutely love about my job is I get to see couples in love. These two are SO in love. we toured around and then were let onto the field. We were allowed to get down in the dugout and play in the stands. What a beautiful day for an engagement session.
JandT_Engage_Web (90 of 130)Fun fact: Did you know they have radiant heated soil in the stadium? I don’t know if they really call it that or not but there are pipes running warm water to keep the green at an even and warm temperature all year long.
Yes_JandT_Engage_Web (39 of 130) Yes_JandT_Engage_Web (85 of 130)Jessica and Troy, thank you again for business, for your trust, and for being so darn adorable in your love for each other! Congratulations on your engagement, I can’t wait to see where your adventure leads you together.
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Keep chasing that light, Vanessa

Happy Valentine’s Day

Love is everywhere. It has no boundaries, it shows up all around us – secret messages hoping to be read.

Love is beautiful and sweet.

When you see it, it will make you smile from deep down inside.

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Today, I challenge you to share YOUR love.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Oh, and, by the way,

talk to the hand

Kurt and Chris | A Session in Love

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KandC_webready (77 of 142)This session was about 4 months in the making. Kurt and I started to brain storm ideas about a portrait photo session in May.  He knew he wanted an urban-gritty feel and I knew just the place to take him. When my visit in early July didn’t allow for time to get to our location, we rescheduled for early August.  Soon after our plans were solidified, Kurt started dating Chris.

KandC_webready (142 of 142)I called dibs on a photo shoot with them, and made sure it was going to happen by asking if they wanted to do the photos together when I was back in Reno. I got a resounding, “Heck YES”! I couldn’t be more thrilled with the results.

KandC_webready (10 of 142)KandC_webready (16 of 142)KandC_webready (98 of 142)I met up with the boys in down town Virginia City, Nevada and we carpooled, a bumpy and slightly scary road, to our location of American Flats.  We explored the remains.  I was on the hunt for some art that I hoped would still be there from my last visit back in January, and found some new gems along the way.

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There are so many hidden treasures in this place and around every turn we found   light  and shapes that we loved.

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KandC_webready (109 of 142)A huge thank you to Chris and Kurt. I had so much fun with you guys, and to see the smile on your faces filled my heart.

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These two were seriously gorgeous in front of my lens, but they weren’t afraid to have a little fun along the way.

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Keep chasing the light, Vanessa

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