Amber and Thomas | Portland Engagement Photos

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Amber and Thomas started dating in high school. They have been together for 6 years.

That’s a realllllllly long time, folks.

In fact, it’s so long that Amber’s reaction to Thomas’s proposal was… get this… Laughter.

She just laughed at him. That’s it.

“It seemed so cheesy and funny!” she told me. Of course they were going to get married. The fact that he had to actually propose just seemed ridiculous.

So obviously she said yes. Duh.

But anywayyy, we started this engagement session at their apartment so we could get a few shots with their pet bunnies! Yes, I said pet bunnies. Totally awesome. Please refrain from dying from the adorableness that is to follow. Seriously. So much cute. I almost can’t handle it. Almost!

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Then we ran off to the Hoyt Arboretum, the Rose Garden, Ankeny Plaza and finally Cathedral Park. It was quite the busy evening!

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Tracy Curtis and Family | Inspira(shown)

As you may know, I started a project called Inspira(shown) a few months ago! You can read about it here – but basically it’s an opportunity for everyone to nominate inspirational people in their lives for a free photoshoot! At the end of each month I select one winner and take pictures telling their story!

Tracy Curtis was my winning nominee for April.

Her story begins over a decade ago with an unexpected divorce and a decision to move her two middle-school aged daughters to Sisters, Oregon – 7-hours away from their previous home. She had been a stay-at-home mom for the past 15 years. Now, in a new town, she had no choice but to start work as a house-cleaner in order to support her family.

Tracy worked tirelessly, but after several years she was able to save enough to purchase her own home.

But it was no ordinary home. It was a home to be shared.

You see, as her daughters grew older and went to college, Tracy opened her doors to the small community and took anyone in who needed a place to stay; a newlywed couple, a family friend attending college, anyone who just needed a little extra help. Even as the economy stressed Tracy’s modest income, she always pushed to support the people around her before herself.

These days, when Tracy isn’t spending time with her family or cleaning houses, you can usually find her tucked away in her studio, cutting burlap or beading jewlery into beautiful pieces of wearable art. Her passions for her community and the planet have led her to start her own small sustainable business, known as Ballokai. She creates gorgeous hand-crafted bags and accessories from recycled and reclaimed materials, working with nearby businesses and people to give back to the local economy.

So basically, if you are following all of this… Tracy is amazing.

But I think that Tracy’s oldest daughter Jenna describes her best with these words:

“Tracy Curtis is truly unique, from selflessly opening up her home, to maintaining ethical business practices in a culture of corporate greed, to giving everything of herself to anyone who asks and expecting nothing in return, her life story is inspiring. This story is representative of women everywhere and the strength, courage and creativity they can find in the face of life altering experience. I consider myself truly honored to call her my mother and cannot express what an impact she has had on my life. She inspires me to be a better person, to selflessly care for others, to give back to my community, and not only can I make it through tough times but that I can rise above them.”

Reading all this, seeing how incredibly selfless this woman is, made me 100% know in my heart that I had to drive to Sisters to photograph her family and her business. To finally give back to her.

Tracy, it’s your turn now.

And of course, I had Tracy give me a thorough tour of her little studio where all the magic happens!

Thank you Tracy, Jenna and Laura for sharing your story with me! I had sooooo much fun spending two days with you in Sisters! I love you guys!

 

 

 

 

 

Jackie and Brian | Roseville, California Wedding Photography

I don’t even know where to start with this one.

Three weeks ago I flew to Sacramento, California and had one of the best weekends of my life.

I got in on a Thursday evening and Jackie, Brian and their families welcomed me with open arms. Jackie, Brian and I went to college together and I’ve shot with them several times before, but we weren’t best friends or anything like that. And yet, by the time I left on Sunday afternoon, I felt like they were my family.

On Thursday night I was shyly editing a few photos on my laptop in Jackie’s parents guest room. She walks in and tells me that she’s having a second bachelorette party. And that I’m coming with her. And then she proceeds to lend me a dress. AND a bag. And hands me a cold beer. So begins my weekend. Salsa dancing and hot tubbing and doing donuts in a minivan filled with 6 girls who act like we’ve all known each other for years.

I love my job. I love these people.

Jackie and Brian met in the dorms. In the same dorm that I lived in my freshman year at OSU actually. In fact, Jackie, her maid of honor Stephanie, and I all lived ON THE SAME FLOOR for an entire year and shared a communal bathroom and somehow we never talked or became friends until this wedding. Crazy. The world is crazy.

Crazy beautiful, that is.

You see, this could just be a fun wedding and a fun weekend and yadda yadda yadda. But what made it so much more than just a fun weekend was the deep, crazy love behind it all. I have never seen so many tears of joy at a wedding. I got to see Brian joking with his good friends on the night of the rehearsal. I got to hear Jackie’s innermost thoughts about life while hot tubbing at like 4am. I got to see the stress behind the scenes and the drama and all the crazy that goes into weddings. But through all these moments it was so so so clear how deeply these two love each other. How they are so incredibly perfect for one another.

It was in the way they cried while holding hands with their eyes closed, just 20 minutes before the ceremony. Allowed to touch, but not to see each other.

And the way they cried when they saw each other for the first time while she was walking down the aisle.

And the way they cried when they were saying their beautiful vows they wrote themselves.

And of course, the way they cried when Jackie surprised Brian with his wedding gift – a quote from his favorite childhood movie inscribed into his wedding band…

“To infinity and beyond.”

This is why I am a wedding photographer. This. Is. Why.

I caught Jackie writing her vows with her dog the night before the wedding. So sweet.

All those little last minute preparations… like bicep curls for the bride and booze for the bridesmaids, hehe.

We were definitely low on time and so everyone piled into the limo as fast as they could once Jackie was dressed.

And then they did the cutest thing ever – took a picture with each other without being able to see each other. Everyone was bawling.

I love this series. Brian sees Jackie for the first time with her dad. I get this picture:

Then a photo of Jackie:

And I look back at Brian. This is a real man right here.

This is when Jackie told Brian she wanted to give him his present. She asked him to take off his ring and read what it said on the inside.

Everyone had to work to dry their eyes before we took formal portraits.

Their reception indoors was just beautiffulllllll

Their guestbook was a dictionary! Such a cool idea!

Their parents called their grandparents who couldn’t come to the wedding and recorded what they wanted to say to the married couple. I almost started crying myself.

Once the entire house was in tears, we moved on to lighter moments.

Awwwww.

But wait, there is MORE!

The next morning I showed up at their beautiful hotel bright and early and we did a day-after session there and at the state capitol of California! Yay!

Vendors:

Venue: Whitney Oaks Golf Club

Event Manager: Lindsey Qualley

Cake: Shelton’s Wedding Cake Designs

DJ/Emcee: Premier Entertainment

Flowers: Ambience Floral Design

Photography: Katy Weaver Photography

Hair: The Salon @ Ulta

Makeup: Sabrina Dent

Reception Decorator/Coordinator: Brenda Barnes

Ivana | Portland Senior Pictures

Ivana is one of my beautiful senior reps this year! She goes to Sunset and her older brother is actually really good friends with my younger sisters! We had a great time shooting last month at the Hoyt Arboretum and downtown in the industrial district near OMSI along the waterfront.

Feel free to contact her if you are interested in getting senior pictures taken with me later this summer! She might be able to help you get a little discount!