Weddings: kara & andy at st. lawrence church and devils river campground, denmark, and the ravine, green bay

Kara and Andy tied the knot last month at their home church in Denmark surrounded by friends and family. The day was beautiful and springlike, accented even further by Kara’s choice of hydrangeas and mint blue dresses.

The couple met in the same town nearly four years ago at a nearby bar, Basil’s, where Andy was attending a bachelor party and Kara was enjoying a night out with friends. Their relationship grew from there with similar interests in music, sports, and drinks. On May 21st, 2016 Andy proposed near Lambeau Field and they started planning their special day.

We loved their intimate catholic church in Denmark, and their choice of the rustic cabin location at Devils River Campground. The bridal party was in good spirits, and their little mascot, Reed, was there to celebrate just as much as the “big guys”. Congratulations to the happy couple, and cheers to many years together!

Portraits: door county orchard blossom family session

When Tiffany contacted us to set up their Limited Edition Orchard Blossom session, she let me know that she wanted a special way to celebrate mother’s day with the important women in her life. We did just that with a four generation photo with Vicent, mom, grandma, and great-grandma.

The afternoon was cloudy, but the cherry trees were at peak bloom and everything was beautiful. Vincent enjoyed snuggles with family and exploring the orchard at the top speed of an 18 month old (although he did stop in his tracks to check out the old truck!) We love lifestyle sessions like these. There is so much play and personality in the images and I think that makes them even more special!

Portraits: tori’s one year session, green bay botanical gardens

Tori is full of personality! Just a moment with her and you’ll realize how closely she watches everything around her. She learns quickly how things work, how they go together, how they come apart (and, when possible, how to get inside). Tori makes people work for her sweet smiles, but the moment she brightens up, we all smile along with her.

We had the most beautiful evening to document Tori’s first Birthday at Green Bay Botanical Gardens. It was mid-May so the fruit blossoms were still on the trees and the fields were filled with tulips. Spring is such a gorgeous time for family sessions like these! Happy First Birthday, Tori!

Portraits: summer family session on the green bay citydeck

As a kid growing up in Door County summertime was all about being near the water – bay, lake, or river – by boat, beach, or bridge, it didn’t matter, as long as there was water. When we started planning the {D} Family’s session, we imagined waterfront and planned outfits around cool, summer tones. Isaac and Deacon were in good spirits enjoying the beautiful weather, and fun interactions with mom and dad. Some days our work feels more like play, and this was one of those days.

Happy Birthday to little brother Deacon who just celebrated his one year milestone with a cake smash (with bow-tie and birthday hat) on the Green Bay Citydeck!

Portraits: limited edition orchard blossom session, egg harbor, door county

This spring we hosted our first limited edition orchard blossom sessions. We paired up with a Door County orchard to offer special sessions for the short week when the cherry trees hit their peak bloom.

We have been photographing the {P} Family since before little brother, Everett, was born and it was so fun to see how much they changed in the last year. In between family photos, the boys ran, played, and even danced through the orchard. Everett was loving the freedom, David was loving the games of catch we were playing, and we were loving those natural smiles. It’s tough to beat Door County in the spring!

Personal Post: turning 30 and celebrating with confetti

Maybe I’ve watched too much Sex and the City but turning 30 never scared me. I didn’t associate it with growing old, or needing to achieve some unreachable level of wisdom. Instead, my milestone aligns with goals as frivolous as thinking I might figure out how to dress better and cook actual meals (like meat that roasts in the oven – can you imagine?) It’s not as though “growing up” gives us some free pass to no longer think critically and use our actions to make a difference, it’s more that our experience shows us that there is no age when all our questions are answered. As it turns out, divine wisdom doesn’t come down on our birthdays to provide the certainty to feel like we “know what we’re doing” (or if it does, I haven’t hit that birthday yet).

Keeping our eyes high above daily life would mean overlooking our small achievements and disregarding little moments of feeling at peace with where we are at. That’s not how I want to live my life – pretending I’m too [smart, serious, high-minded] to enjoy whatever silly goal I have set or accomplished. Each, deserves recognition.

For me 30 means setting intentions (big and little) but also allowing myself the freedom and forgiveness to quit things that don’t work. It means taking chances that scare me, owning up to what I want, and making time to sit quietly with myself. Big ideas begin with small actions, and sometimes that’s as simple as better sharing the love you have for the people in your life or taking a break when your mind/body says you need it.

So I might not “know what I’m doing” but I can find bliss in the questions, and triumph in the tiny fractions of answers I stumble upon. In the meantime, I will break out the confetti and champagne for the littlest of achievements and I encourage you to do the same. Cheers!


Photos above ^^ taken with Jackie and Ashley, my elementary school buds and closest friends, by Riverland Studios in Charleston, SC. If you liked this post and want to read something similar, please check out Three Years of Marriage and I Still Do and Why We Need to Stop Comparing Ourselves.

Portraits: welcome baby landon, newborn photos

Two years ago in spring Ashley and Jesse were celebrating their engagement surrounded my an orchard of blooming apple trees. Little did they know, just two years later, they would be spending their spring holding onto their brand new baby boy. One of the greatest joys of being a photographer is getting to watch love stories grow like this, from proposals and weddings to bellies and babies. Congratulations on your new arrival, Ashley and Jesse! And happy day of birth, Landon Daniel!

Personal Post: girls’ weekend in charleston, south carolina

Birthdays are a big deal in my family. It doesn’t matter whether you’re 3 or 30, it will be celebrated with multiple events, fancy desserts, and lots of family and friends. (Check out The Family of Over-Celebrators blog post after this!) When I thought about how I wanted to spend my 30th, a big party or gift didn’t feel right, and around fall I began thinking about a girls’ trip. I contacted my friends and we started brainstorming places that were warm and historic. When I imagined our trip, I saw long brunches, pretty views, and a little time to draw… all of which I got in our four days in Charleston.

My friends, Jackie, Ashley, and I flew to Charlotte, NC and made the drive south, stopping for high tea at Laura’s Tea Room halfway there. We stayed in a little bed and breakfast rental with a beautiful garden courtyard and felt absolutely spoiled. After an afternoon wandering the historic neighborhood, we made a picnic from goodies gathered at the local farmers market and checked out White Point Gardens. The next day was Magnolia Plantation (where we got a little sketching in) and Folly Beach where I watched my friends dive into waves with exactly the same enthusiasm we would have had in middle school.

Ashley described the trip as a “mental reset” and I think she’s exactly right. With friendships as old as ours and distances so great in between, four days together was a luxury. The more candles on my cake, the more blessed I feel to have a life that allows me to see new places, try new things, and reconnect with my favorite people.

Engagements: chris & carly, proposal at st. norbert college

Back in March Chris contacted us to photograph his surprise proposal to Carly. After chatting with him, we realized how much of a surprise it was! The couple lives in the Chicago area, but Chris was planning a girls’ weekend with Carly’s friends to get her up to Green Bay without being aware of his secret plans.

Chris and Carly began dating at the beginning of their freshman year at St. Norbert College in De Pere, so even though they now live out of state, proposing to her in the place where it all began was important to him. The date fast approached and Chris was able to coordinate all the many people who were to be a part of the surprise. As Carly and her friend walked along the Fox River, they turned the corner by the St. Norbert docks to see Chris waiting waiting at the bench where the two of them started dating. In his arms he held three dozen roses, and as she approached, he knelt down and asked her to marry him.

As Ben and I hid behind buildings capturing the moment, both their families came from across campus, running down the hill to greet them and spend the weekend in celebration. Even with the chilly, cloudy weather, Carly slipped out of her jacket for a little mini engagement session on the beautiful campus where it all began. Congratulations, Chris and Carly!

Personal Post: what do you bring to the viewfinder?

People who are makers are makers their whole lives. It doesn’t matter if they are artists or musicians, gardeners or pipefitters; those who were born to make will keep their hands busy and minds wandering.

When I went to art school, I imagined myself as a painter or ceramicist, covered in clay and acrylic. My goals changed when I had my first photography class with Sarah Detweiler. I didn’t love those messy mediums any less, but images took on new meaning. I was amazed at how the simplest objects and scenes were open to interpretation. Sarah explained that each of us comes to the viewfinder with our own voice, whether we know it or not. This photographic voice is built of our past experiences, our opinions and political views, our taste in clothing, our relationship with our families, and so much more. Everything that we are, and everything we surround ourselves with affects what we choose to make.

People often reject photography as a passive medium – unartistic because of how “easy” it can be to take a snapshot and how little we alter our environment before photographing. But I will argue (alongside every photography theorist) that the decision to take the image, is, in itself, and alteration of the environment. As viewers, we are not seeing a hotel or a sign or a person as a whole experience; we are seeing exactly what the photographer has chosen for us to see. Their inflection and bias is added to the image by what they cropped out, what they left in, what perspective they chose, and a thousand other micro-decisions that make up the artwork.

In my “Developing a Creative Vision” class at Peninsula Art School in Fish Creek, we talk about these natural attractions that appear in our work with repetition. As see-ers, we are moved by certain colors, textures, angles, objects, etc and they call us to take a photograph. You can see my attractions simply by looking at two rolls of film from my personal work (above: from September and October 2016). I am attracted to vintage ephemera (hand painted signs, neon, roadside oddities, vernacular architecture). I get pulled in by natural light and faded colors (especially blues and reds). Nearly all of my photographs are “straight-on” – deadpan with no dramatic angles and little action, and it is rare to see a person, especially one who addresses the camera.

When we know what we are attracted to, we better understand the images we are making and how they will function as a body of work. This awareness makes us better see-ers and better photographers. Details on my upcoming class below.

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Above images taken in Wisconsin and Michigan on 35 mm film.
To sign up for “Developing a Creative Vision Class” at Peninsula School of Art in Fish Creek on July 13, 2017, please visit PSA .
For more blog posts about thinking creatively, check out: Liking What you Like and Honoring Your Thoughts .

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