Spring Hindu Temple Wedding in Des Moines, Iowa

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Spring Hindu Temple Wedding in Des Moines, Iowa

Travel has been part of my life since birth. (Literally!) Most of you know that I’m always down for another adventure— especially a cross-cultural one. One the last Saturday in March, I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Nepal… but not really. :) Although India & Nepal have long been on my bucket list to visit, this wedding was a blend of Nepali and American culture just up the road in Madrid & Johnston, Iowa!

Elizabeth & Paras met in college, on their first day of classes, I believe! It’s always fascinating to meet others around my age who were in school at UNI. Although I was never technically a UNI student, I was on campus enough my first three years of college to confuse a lot of my friends there. Ha! It’s a wonder I never met these two back then. Regardless, we’ve got mutual friends and that’s how I ended up connecting with the couple & photographing this wedding day.

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Tidal Basin Cherry Blossom Festival // Anniversary Photos Preview

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Tidal Basin Cherry Blossom Festival // Anniversary Photos Preview

Cherry trees may be the most gorgeous of all God’s blossoming creations. My ultimate dream would be to visit Japan & see the original trees there, but the right opportunity has not yet come up. Instead, when my friends Shelby & Preston moved to the Washington DC area this winter, I decided to see about a trip there. After all, the Tidal Basin blossoms draw thousands on onlookers each year for the Cherry Blossom Festival!

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Des Moines Farmer's Market Engagement photos

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Des Moines Farmer's Market Engagement photos

Coming up with new ideas for engagement shoots is a dream for me. If you want to do something cool, adventurous, or epic… just ask me about my bucket list of photography ideas! Two years ago, Chris and Elizabeth woke up before sunrise to meet me at the Iowa State Capitol for engagement photos. It not only is a gorgeous space, but boasts a stunning view of downtown Des Moines!

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Des Moines Family Photos

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Des Moines Family Photos

It has taken me a long time to finally get around to blogging some of my sweet fall family mini-session photos! I love meeting the Hornberg fam—the two girls gave me a run for my money, but we had a blast chasing each other around in the grass. There are so many family photographers in the Des Moines and Ames area… it really was a treat to be chosen by mom Katie, to update the family photos! I can’t wait to see these sweet girls grow up over the years.

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Des Moines Newborn and Family Photographer

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Des Moines Newborn and Family Photographer

Cassie and I have been friends since childhood. We were never “best friends” but our lives overlapped a lot in elementary and high school years. She brought the party to any gathering, and never showed up quietly. ;) Wes entered her life in high school… and never left. Ha! They got engaged a few years later, and actually came to me in Ames for their engagement photos. It was cold and wintery, not unlike this day. It didn’t work out for me to do their wedding, sadly. And since they live in Cedar Rapids, and I in Des Moines, we haven’t crossed paths in person since then.

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5 Tips for Your Winter Wedding

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5 Tips for Your Winter Wedding

You won’t find many people planning a snowy destination wedding. All the magazine covers showcase mountains covered with wildflowers, or beaches on exotic islands. And even though I consider myself a part-time destination wedding photographer (hello, Colorado weddings!) the majority of my couples live and marry in the Midwest. Not surprisingly, I primarily photograph weddings in Iowa, Nebraska, and Minnesota. All of which come with a LONG HARD WINTER each year!

Don’t get me wrong. I love snow! It’s gorgeous and reminds of me of ski vacations in the Rocky Mountains. And Christmas & my birthday (shoutout at December). And mulled wine, and sweaters, and silent wintery nights. But when you live in the Midwest, and winter can be anywhere from 3-6 months long, that means a good chunk of couples choose to tie the knot… come hell or high snow drifts. ;)

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Announcing ARP Mentor Sessions!

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Announcing ARP Mentor Sessions!

I am SO excited to be announcing that as of today, I will be officially offering mentoring sessions for other photographers! After five years in business and nearing 70 photographed weddings, I think it’s time for me to pass on some of the things I’ve learned over the years. It is SO important to really know what you’re doing, especially with so many people interested in photography.

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Kristen & Kurt // Usher's Ferry Winter Wedding

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Kristen & Kurt // Usher's Ferry Winter Wedding

Kurt and Kristen are a POWER COUPLE. They build friendships to last, which was so evident by their bridal party (14 friends, plus ushers and personal attendants)! It is also true for the two of them… they were friends for a long time before dating came into the picture, and then they dated long-distance when Kristen lived overseas for a year. After a whirlwind five-month-engagement, March finally rolled around!!!

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The 5 Best Coffee Shops in Des Moines, Iowa

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The 5 Best Coffee Shops in Des Moines, Iowa

Even before I moved to Des Moines in 2018, I knew Des Moines held some of the best coffee shops in the Midwest. I just didn’t know where they all were! But I wanted to find out. After all, cafes are the best places to get your morning caffeine fix, work on your laptop, read a book, or drop by with a visiting out-of-town friend. You’ll find below my top 5 coffee stops in Des Moines, as well as a few bonus cafes!

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Savannah & Harrison // Winter Engagement Photos in Ames

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Savannah & Harrison // Winter Engagement Photos in Ames

Savannah and Harrison met through Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. Both of them are students there, and involved in the military and ministry. They both value leadership, faith, and fun! I’d known Savannah for a few years (as acquaintances) and although I hadn’t met Harrison until the day we took their engagement photos, we got along great. Both of us are NEEDTOBREATHE fans, so really, what else is there to know!? #immediatefriends

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Announcing the 2020 Senior Model Team!

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Announcing the 2020 Senior Model Team!

Back when I started photographing seniors (when I was an itty-bitty-baby-photogapher myself!) I did a Senior Model Team. Like any beginner, I had noooo idea what I was doing… but it was fun! When I transferred schools to Iowa State in Ames, I didn’t shoot as many senior portraits due to time constraints with homework and not knowing many high schoolers in the area.

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Happy Gal/Valentine's Day!

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Happy Gal/Valentine's Day!

From Leslie Knope and me… to you. I’m always down for a celebration with waffles (see example A from last year’s Galentine’s Party).

Of course, we will start it off with this…

Indeed it is. Galentine’s is the best day because it’s about celebrating other ladies! And valentine’s is about celebrating love (sacrificial love, if you know the history).

Ok. I’mma be real. I’m just here because Parks and Rec is the greatest sitcom ever created…and I wanted to share lots of gifs. The following gif applies to you if you happen to disagree.

Last year’s party was pretty great…

And this year was very chill. No party, just a normal day and evening. But! Cupcakes from Little Blackbird Bakery.

Anyway, just wanted to leave you all a little love note on this internet corner. With lots of Leslie Knope enthusiasm and hugs!

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Budgeting For Your Wedding // Part Two

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Budgeting For Your Wedding // Part Two

Recently, I wrote this blog post with some tips for new bride-to-be’s on budgeting for your wedding. As a wedding photographer, I thought I’d continue the series— focusing on, of course, photography. But before you can pick a wedding photographer, there are some basics to learn about the artistic side. (Don’t worry, I’m not going to make you sit down with me and learn how to sketch or anything!) Part Two here will share some insight into the various styles of photography you may encounter on your search for the perfect wedding photographer. Of course, your budget largely may influence who you can pick from to hire. Hopefully, this post will serve as an educational tool for brides!

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Morganne + Bobby // Winter Greenhouse Engagement Photos in Des Moines

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Morganne + Bobby // Winter Greenhouse Engagement Photos in Des Moines

It’s hard to describe the emotions that you feel when your best friends fall in love and get married. Morganne is my 3rd “super close” friend to get engaged and (almost!) married. It’s been a whirlwind year but, as they say, “when you know, you know.” And aint that the truth!!! Bobby and Morganne met through church just over a year ago or so. They went through the whole awkward dance of talking/not talking. Finally, in May, they had their first date. Now, a year later that same month, they’ll walk down the aisle as husband and wife. And I’ll be bawling my eyes out behind my camera so don’t mind me. ;)

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Traveling to Seattle on A Budget

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Traveling to Seattle on A Budget

Kicking off 2019 with a trip to Seattle was definitely a move in the right direction. Not only did one of my Instagram photos get the most likes ever, but I had a BLAST unplugging from work and normal life for a week! Seattle and the PNW has been on my bucket list to visit for about 10 years (!!!) and y’all bet your coffee addictions I’ll be back soon! There are so many incredible spots to visit, and next time I’ll be packing my REAL camera and some hiking gear to explore the PNW outdoors. (You can see more about our trip here.)

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Newborn Photographer

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Newborn Photographer

It was a joy to get to visit my sweet friends Dan & Danae, just 5 days after their newest member arrived. Little Brezlin has completely stolen their hearts! I always consider it an honor when my past couples let me continue to photograph their lives. This chance was no exception. Click the blog title to see more of my photos (practice makes perfect!) of this sweet little one.

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2018 Year in Review // Personal

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2018 Year in Review // Personal

2018 has been a wild ride. Tumultuous emotionally, in many ways, but also such a year of sweet moments. Isn’t that just normal life?! Perhaps I’m just adjusting to life as an adult. I believe that reflecting on the past, planning for the future, and living in the present can add such insight for wise living. With that, this is my Personal post on 2018! Mainly for my processing, but you’re welcome to join me. ;)

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Winter Wanderings

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Winter Wanderings

I’m sitting here, emotionally bursting with quiet joy, as snow falls quietly outside. It’s the perfect storm— a January weekend in Des Moines, as Friday evening traffic moves hesitantly down the interstate just blocks from where I sit. A mug of mostly-drunk chamomile tea sits next to me on the warm, black radiator. I’m curled up on it, my seat warm and my back cool against the attic windows. In-between sentences in my new library book, I watch the snow accumulate and my neighbor back his car off the street and on to his lawn. The city will go into snow ordinance mode, something I’ve never had to learn about until this winter.

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Kristen + Kurt // Cedar Rapids Wedding Photographer

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Kristen + Kurt // Cedar Rapids Wedding Photographer

I adore these two humans! I met Kurt long before Kristen was in the picture. He’s always been a solid man of God, serving those around him with humble strength. I can’t even remember meeting Kristen, but I do remember her senior year, we just “clicked” and I decided that this girl was one that I wanted to keep up with after college. Not that we’re best friends, but I have a fond place in my heart for this girl! She and Kurt started dating that year, and it just made sense.

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