Kauai

The trip that was so much more than just a trip.

October of 2017, I was on the same flight as Julia. I've had my share in flying, and I can say with full confidence that it's not everyday that you meet a life long friend on an airplane. Fun Fact: I didn't even sit next to Julia. My mom did. I sat in front of her. And unlike any other flight I've ever had (sadly) I was actually sleeping the majority of the time. But luckily, my mom and Julia were not. And they got to chatting, my mom realized that we were basically the same person- both being the same age, being wedding photographers, and loved Jesus- and by the end of the flight we were introduced and swapped Instagram accounts. Then we realized we had mutual friends. WHAT.

Now for a million reasons, this whole story was such a God story. Never in a million years could we have planned to meet. But I never could have imagined 5 months ago how that flight to Phenix would really change my coming year. 

Julia was brave enough to invite a stranger she barely met on a plane to her cute little house in Kauai. I was brave enough to go to a strangers house 12 hours of flights away. And there wasn't one single doubt in either of our minds. And when I got there, it was like we had known each other our whole lives. I really hope we can live in a world more like this.

This is such a sweet, unique part of my life I am so lucky to call mine. This trip was so much more than just going to a destination island to vacation. This was about more than just laying on a beach. This trip gave me the opportunity to experience for myself a beautiful way the body of Christ works- in hospitality, in love, in courage, in trust, in genuine connection. Not only did I get to see another BEAUTIFUL sliver of this profoundly big world, but I made a best friend. A true sister. And NONE of it had anything to do with me. This trip spoke volumes to me about how our Father wants GOOD things for us. He likes to bless us. He calls us to co-create with Him- the creator of every rock and waterfall and ocean that terrifies me to fly over. He has planned, plans, and will continue to plan blessings for His children. He is giving, and he is so creative in the way he does it.

Also, can I just take a moment to say HOW MUCH FUN IT WAS TO TRAVEL WITH ANOTHER PHOTOGRAPHER? Usually at some point in every trip I take with people, someone gets annoyed with me for wanting to stop everywhere and take a picture or video. But here, we both had FULL FREEDOM to shoot as much as our little hearts desired and it was so life-giving. We both had several moments where we just had a giddy smile on our faces while we were shooting and said "THIS GIVES ME SO MUCH LIFE". In a way, this trip was so refreshing for me as a photographer- to be in God's pure creation of ocean and rock and cliffs and trees and jungles and photograph new things in a new environment. To get away from the normal things and places of life and shoot something completely different gave me inspiration and made me love photography even more- in a deeper way. Even to be around another young photographer and just feed off each other's creativity and thoughts  was so refreshing. Reason 500 why I am oh so thankful for Julia (Check out her work, she is AMAZING. Go elope in Kauai and hire her. Now.) 

One of my favorite moments I won't ever forget was when Julia looked over at me and said "it makes sense why we would be adventure buddies since we met on an airplane".

I can't wait to tell my kids one day about this trip.

2017 Highlights & A Letter to 2018 Brides

Happy Holidays!

Thanks for stopping by to read and review my 2017 favorites! I wanted to share some of my favorite and most loved photos from this year because it was my favorite year of photographs to date. Both in my personal life and professional, 2017 was the year of unforgettable photographs. If you know me, you know how I am completely fascinated with what a camera can do- how it can capture a moment in time that is otherwise gone. I'm completely humbled that so many individuals have entrusted me to capture such precious moments in their personal history to keep forever. I'm discovering more and more with each year of growth in photography that my job is WAY more than just showing up to a shoot location and taking pictures. It's bigger than me editing photos and then delivering them to people. It's taking apart in individual's biggest, most life altering days- and then photographing the start of their family a year later. It's telling the love story of a couple- from engagement, to wedding, to marriage, to family. It's capturing the growth of a family year to year, and marking all the change through images. It's while living in a world that constantly throws comparison and discontentment in our faces, still being able to make someone feel beautiful. I don't want to just capture bride and grooms on their wedding day and never see them again. I want to photograph their anniversaries and pregnancies and kids. I've grown to love and care for each and every client of mine, and I truly feel so blessed so have had another incredible year of documenting, telling stories, and dancing with my brides at the reception. 2017, you brought some sweet memories. And now, I can not wait to continue to share in the joy of life giving celebrations, moments, and milestones with my 2018 clients!

And a note to 2018 brides,

I just wanted to remind you that your wedding day is something that will be the most beautiful day of your life. Not because of the flowers you chose, or the colors you pick out, or even the dress....though all these things will be wonderful, I'm sure. But this is the day that you enter into a lifetime of marriage with your best friend. I assure you, there will probably be things that don't go as planned on your wedding day. Your timeline won't be perfect. But the thing that will make this day the best is the love that you are celebrating surrounded by the people who love you most. I speak from experience and endless testimonies that this day is well worth investing in good photography. But brides, YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. Don't settle on your pictures for the cheapest option you can find. Don't leave it up your uncle who owns a DSLR camera. You will NOT regret getting someone you completely trust with a camera in hand to not only document the day, but who will help smoothly guide the day along because they know how a wedding day goes. You will NOT regret investing in an album that tangibly lets you hold on to the day you've put so much planning and effort in to. Whether you hand me the privilege of capturing all the big (and small) moments of your wedding day, or whether you decide to go with another photographer, PLEASE remember when photographing shopping what you want to show your kids one day. Remember what kind of prints you'll be framing a year later. Remember that you should go with who you think you'll fully invest in you as much as you invest in them. And to all my already booked 2018 brides- thank you for letting me be apart of this new coming year. I am beyond thankful, humbled, and just itching to tell your story.

Happy New Year!

Bridal Styled Shoot 2017

One of my biggest goals for this year was to coordinate a bridal styled shoot. I'm going to be honest with you, the main purpose of a styled shoot is usually to have your final gallery published somewhere- like on a blog or in a magazine. But regardless the outcome, I told our team that at the end of the day, we all would get GREAT content out of this shoot for our own portfolios no matter what- published or not. 

To the gorgeous bridal gowns, to the lofty city-vibe studio, to the hair and makeup, to the gorgeous decor and floral arrangements, to the perfect models for the job, to the fun atmosphere that was created by having so many creative and talented personalities in one room for the day, working hard to create something new... this session was definitely something I fell in love with at every stage. From planning out every little detail, countless coffee meeting hours, and tons of communication over this shoot, I couldn't be more proud of the team we had for this! 

Creating this shoot alone was such a fun process that also helped me achieve a goal of mine for this year. But then we all took the intimidating risk of sending it off to some 

I love photography because it is a way to create. Capture, yes. But every once in a while, you get the chance to actually CREATE something from simple tools in front of you, or even sometimes, out of nothing. This part of my job only makes me fall more in love with our Creator, who is very definition of creativity. 

This Bridal Styled Shoot was perfectly fit to the ideal style of every vendor involved; industrial, timeless, romantic, and clean. I hope this creates some wedding inspiration to all the bride-to-be's viewing this shoot :)

Another BIG goal of mine for this year was to have photos of mine published. My heart JUMPS FOR JOY to share that The Bridal Theory's wedding blog has published some highlights from this shoot! Click Here to see The Bridal Theory's blog post on this session.

For all the lovely lady vendors involved in this shoot- let's keep creating together. So proud of you!

Photography: Toni Valentini Photography ; Instagram: @Tonivalentiniphotography

Video Editing: Taylor Volkens ; Instagram: @Taylorvolkens

Hair & Make Up: Instagram: Rebeca Maisonet 

Stationary: Instagram: Taylor Anderson

Cake: Lauren Grant ; Instagram: @Sweetlavender14

Florals: Miranda Wiesser; Instagram: @thesweetsunflower

Models: Amanda Hahn, Christina Greeley, & Deana Savchenko

Birthday 2016

Can I just talk about my friends for a second? 

I have THE most thoughtful and beautiful friends in the world! (And of course, not all of them are pictured... There were so many amazing friends and family that live too far away from me to just drive to their houses and hug them on my birthday, or whenever I want for that matter...but they too found creative and unforgettable ways to make me feel loved from miles away!) This group of girls right here planned the most special day for me so I could feel loved and celebrated going into a new year! Each and every one of them hold a special place in my heart. I've known each of them for years....some I've been close with all along and some I've be blessed to grow closer to over the last few years. I feel so blessed to call each of them my sisters.

I've been told that my love language is acts of service and quality time.

Acts of service not really meaning "I want you to do nice things for me" (not that I don't enjoy that aspect of it), but for me, acts of service makes me feel loved because it means someone took the time out of their day to carefully and intentionally show you that they were thinking about you, and that you're important to them. 

Quality time- I've always loved spending QUALITY time with the people I love and want to be around. Over the last year, I've realized how important it is to cherish relationships where both sides love intentionally and boldly. For me, this is done by making sure you spend quality time with a person you are trying to be close with. You can't be close with those you hardly communicate with! I've learned that with all the craziness and hustle of life, it's often time hard to keep the relationships you want to maintain in your life. Everyone has busy schedules and everyone always has an endless list of things that need to get done.....that's why I believe we must live with intention in order to keep us grounded and focused on what really matters: relationships. Goals and check lists aren't a bad thing, but when you don't make time for the people you love and care about, those things can be an idol that's not so rewarding in the end. At this point in my life, I realize that life isn't really going to slow down, but rather the opposite. I don't have time for relationships that aren't intentional. I want to only surround myself with those who will pour into me and ones that will let me pour into them, and with people who want to be intentional in loving me and I want to intentionally love them. I also have learned to embrace being vulnerability, and to embrace the ones you can be vulnerable with. 

I say this all to encourage those who question what friends should look like, and to thank my friends for being the friends that define what that is and for pushing me to better honor the Lord. To me, these girls couldn't have learned to love me any better than how they did/do. They took time to intentionally love me specifically to how I love to celebrate life. They found this day worthy of spending quality time with me and with each other. I told a handful of them afterwards that I wanted to journal and blog about this day so I will never forget it! 

Taking pictures is something I LOVE to do (no surprise there) because it's an art of capturing LIFE. How cool is our God to have created such a beautiful earth with beautiful people to capture beautiful moments with & in. I am beyond blessed by everyone who celebrated my 20th year by my side, and I look forward to all the adventures that are to come!