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Engagement Session Giveaway WINRARS!

Just as I finished announcing the New Year’s family photo giveaway, I started a new one over on Wedding Bee classifieds for three free engagement shoots. I love the ‘Bee community because it was SO immensely helpful to me during my wedding planning, and I’m really happy to be able to give back in some way.

I asked people to submit their vision for their ideal engagement shoot in the Seattle/Portland area… and I got so many great responses. It was really very difficult to choose just three from all the emails I got. I was sad to narrow it down, but I eventually had to. I couldn’t just let everyone else send me something for nothing, though! So, while the winners will receive a free engagement shoot (and image files), everyone else who entered will get $50 off an engagement or bridal session and a free disc of print-resolution images (normally $200).

Here are the three winners… Congrats!

Maggie Walker dreamed of an engagement shoot on the ferry between Seattle and Bainbridge Island, where she grew up, and at some of the iconic sites along both waterfronts.

Andrea Jung met her fiance in a Portland ultimate Frisbee league and being a self-described “shy bride,” would love a Frisbee-themed session in one of Portland’s great parks and some of the iconic neighborhoods nearby.

Kate Winne has a very special engagement ring custom-engraved with her and her fiance’s favorite things. She brainstormed a shoot around these things: Books (at the Seattle library), puppies (with a canine friends), pizza (a heart-shaped pie) and hops (with their home-brew equipment).

Other amazing ideas included vintage photos at the Vista House in the gorge and ethereal pictures near and in some of the gorge waterfalls; a session at some of Seattle’s most beautiful, natural spots; shooting at the downtown REI; pictures to commemorate a first date in downtown Portland (including smooching on the MAX!); a snow session during ski season; colorful photos in the Skagit valley tulip fields; and iconic Seattle shoots on the waterfront and beaches, at the Market, near the troll, under the Needle, at Gas Works Park, and more!

Thank you so much to everyone who took the time, energy, and courage to share your stories and ideas. I was so glad to hear from you.

A Sweetheart Sessin in Rainy Edmonds | Audrey + Pete

I could tell when I met them that Audrey and Pete were REAL Seattleites. For one, they love their coffee. And, they have an authentic Pacific-NW vibe… something I can only describe as “laid-back, hip, funky, and crunchy.” But their true puddle-duck badge of honor is that they posed through one of the most disgusting, cold, dark, and rainy days in recent weeks with as much energy and affection as if the sun were shining bright.

Audrey and Pete were married seven months ago, and they’re still so into each other that their shoot resembled an engagement session. Their wedding photographers (Rylee and Kelly of KCB Photography) were members of last week’s Fast Track Photographer Workshop, which is how Audrey and Pete came to be models for our workshop shoot-out. What we hoped would be an exquisite October afternoon was instead dark and drizzly. We started the shoot late, in fading light, and while the first few locations were dry, we were soon caught in sprinkles, then an increasingly heavy downpour.

There were twenty-three of us, twenty students, Dane, and Audrey and Pete. For an hour, we ran around downtown Edmonds, each taking a turn directing Audrey and Pete in a three-minute micro-shoot. It was cold, wet and crazy! I can’t say any of us were happy with the weather. It was a very tough shoot. Between attempts to frame the perfect shot, we were searching for cover, trying to protect very expensive equipment from death-by-moisture, and struggling to get wet lenses to focus as it got darker and darker. If I sound like wet blanket, it’s because I felt like a wet blanket. Maybe I’m not a true Seattlite, because it was hard to keep smiling like Audrey and Pete were!

But! Rather than being a frolic through the flowers, this shoot was a challenge, and I like challenges. While I completely over-shot (500 images in an hour is a little over the top), I caught quite a few fun moments amidst the chaotic motion and water-blurred, light starved Edmonds afternoon. Here are some of my favorites…

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One of the first shots of the day, and already cozy. These guys are naturals!

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David Trotter of 8 Track Photography brought the casing from a vintage camera as a prop. Cheater, I say!

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As the rains started, we found temporary shelter on the porch of an old Victorian-style home. But 20 photographers couldn’t stay put for long…

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So, it was off into the street with us. Braving the rain and sheltering our cameras while they got to use umbrellas. 😉

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Of course, the umbrellas were just props. Real Seattlites (at least it’s rumored) can’t stand the things.

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Isn’t Audrey striking? How she maintained her glow in that weather, I’ll never know… but I can guess Pete is a special guy by the way she looks at him.

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They braved the rain AND the middle of the street. I toldya they’re rock stars! Isn’t that a sweet car in the background? (I wish the drivers had been as sweet… they threw a water bottle at us.)

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I was able to sneak up on them sitting on the steps of the Victorian porch. They really love each other. 🙂

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They’re also the best-looking husband and wife. I can’t get enough of Audrey’s hair! (Side note: This really is two portraits, not one image cropped in half. I was just able to line em up this way.)

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We used porches, we used trees, whatever we could find for a little romantic shelter from the rain.

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I’ll be honest, I’ve never been to Edmonds before (gasp!) but the downtown area is very chic and has really great locations for a shoot like this. I’ll keep it in mind for future shoots!

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A pensive Audrey and Pete wait for their instructions from the next photog to direct…

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We did some sneaking around in side yards. (Shh! Don’t tell!) Well, as much sneaking as 20 people can do… These two were being cute under someone’s rose trellis. I love those shots… they make me squee. 🙂

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I swear that the rain was pouring down. I have NO idea how Audrey and Pete managed to look so dry!

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Some smart photog put them up on this great fire escape with our yellow umbrella. Whoever you are, kudos for this setup. It made for great pictures!

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Audrey and Pete weren’t just good sports, they were also ideal models. They could go from sexy and serious (above) to cute and cuddly (below) at the drop of a hat. They were so comfortable, it’s hard to believe they aren’t pros.

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I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anyone look so serene on a fire escape in the rain. It’s poetic…

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Audrey’s laughing because she just was told to grab Pete’s butt…

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So, of course, she did! I feel like we were seriously, seriously lucky to have such awesome, spirited models give the yucky weather.

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As luck would have it, the rain slowed down and stopped just as we were finishing up. We took to the streets to disrupt the downtown Edmonds traffic (roughly six cars) with our pack of paparazzi. Note to self: do not kneel in wet street with clean jeans.

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These two were soaked to the bone, but they gave us this last wonderful, intimate picture. You two were so great… thank you so much! All of us were truly blessed to have such resilient models. I can’t believe how much fun we had despite the cold and the rain. I will admit that I did have to soak in the tub to raise my core temperature, but I wouldn’t give up the experience of shooting with Audrey & Pete, or the Fast Track crew for anything. It was a night to remember.

Wedding Anniversary Portraits | Steve & Kathi

Steve and Kathi recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary with a trip to Michigan’s lovely Mackinac Island. A few weeks before the trip, they decided to commemorate the occasion with a portrait shoot together. (See? It isn’t just for young, engaged couples!) We went to one of their favorite places, Empire Beach, on the northern tip of the Michigan, right on the lakeshore. We were going to hit the shoot and book it to dinner, but I wanted to wait for the light to cool down a bit. It was worth it! There was an ethereal haze on the horizon that, as the sun set, made the lake appear to blend seamlessly into the sky. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Steve and Kathi, were positively glowing, and absolutely inspiring. Take note, all my bride-to-be readers, you too can be this happy years into your marriage. 😉

For you, Steve and Kathi, I hope to have provided a record of a wonderful anniversary you’ll always remember. Congratulations!

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I told you they were cute!

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And look at that amazing evening light…

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The beach grass was a wonderful backdrop, but I went barefoot and ended up taking a few pieces home with me that I had to dig out a few weeks later. That stuff is sharp!

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Steve and Kathi’s seventeen-year-old daughter, Melissa, also joined us on Empire Beach. I took a series of senior portraits that I’ll share with you later this week… But right now I just can’t get over how adorable these two are.

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Here are a few more of my favorites. Enjoy!

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A Lake Union Engagement | Tom + Amy

We met Tom & Amy in a remarkable place, on a remarkable day. It was 2006, and Justin and I were on the first leg of a three-day backpacking trip in the Glacier National Park wilderness. We had stopped at our camp site an hour earlier and decided to cool our feet in the lake. One second we were admiring the view, and the next I had on my hand a shiny, new engagement ring. After six-and-a-half years of dating, he asked, and I said yes on the shores of Gunsight Lake. Really, though, this story isn’t just about us…

We planned to celebrate privately at camp with two of our friends from Eugene, Oregon,  but part of the backcountry policy dictated that we consume all of our foodstuffs in the campground’s dedicated “food” area with the rest of the campers. Though there’s a good reason for this policy (it keeps the neighborhood Grizzlies out of the tent areas) we were, needless to say, less-than-thrilled. We wanted to blow off steam, goof off, and generally act like ourselves when no one is watching. Instead, we were stuck eating dehydrated dinner with strangers.

Typically enamored with my new bling, I was examining my ring when one of the other campers approached me with a compliment about it. I thanked her, and elaborated that we’d just gotten engaged, right then, right there. That was how we met Amy. Soon we’d been introduced to Tom, her boyfriend, and were all talking together. We discovered that they’d come to Glacier from Seattle only the night before on a whim. That morning, they had gone to the Park Service and requested any available campsites. By chance, we ended up in the same place, at the same time.

The next day, we crossed paths on the trail over and over again, stopping to talk and laugh. The following night, we happily shared camp food and commiserated about nosy mountain goats. By the end of the trip, we’d invited them to stay at our cabin and made plans to visit once we were back in Seattle.

Over the following months, Tom & Amy became our closest local friends. We watched as their relationship deepened, and they stood by at our Glacier nuptials. Last summer, they were engaged in California’s Redwoods Park, and this summer they were married!

To commemorate the anniversary of their engagement on the summer solstice, we took a few photos around our neighborhood of Seattle and together enjoyed the (in)famous Fremont Solstice Parade. I can’t wait to show you more photos from their July 4th wedding in Virginia. Enjoy!

Tom and Amy pose for an engagement photograph in front of the Seattle skyline

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