Stephanie of Celebration Portraits, Red Rock Canyon, Las Vegas NV {Tacoma Portrait Photographer, Tacoma, WA}

Just over a week ago, I got the opportunity to attend the 2012  WPPI (Wedding and Portrait Photographers International) convention.  There are SO many reason I LOVE that conference, but the main one is that I get to see friends who I connect with and follow from all over the world for one week, non-stop.  We get to eat, fellowship, worship, pray, and just hang together and its generally the only time we get to connect in person. Just over two years ago, Stephanie of Celebration Portraits, participated in a online workshop called "CreativeLive" with the amazing Jasmine Star (one of the most talented, popular and sought after wedding photographers in the business).  At that times, Isaiah and I were just starting out and we were glued to learning.  Every FREE online workshop we could get our hands on we were there.  We watched a 4-week wedding go down online, complete with final wedding day of my now dear friend Laura, who at the time was the bride.  Stephanie participated and through Twitter and Facebook and Laura, we have become great friends.

Stephanie is the kind of friend that you NEVER get tired of.  She is the kind of friend that you can meet once and fall in love with and be life long friends within minutes.  She is the kind of friend, that when I was in Los Angeles in December with no real place to stay, she opened her home to me in the middle of the night.  She loves God.  She loves people and has a wonderful heart!

Prior to WPPI, Stephanie text me to ask if I was coming because she was ready for some new pictures.  Its both a honor and quite intimidating to be asked by another photographer to photograph them. They know what they like, they generally have a preference for hot or cold imagery and you JUST DON'T want to get it wrong.  We booked... met in the desert and below is what we came up with.  Had no idea that it was the FIRST time Steph would be in front of the camera for a portrait session and HONESTLY I have no idea what took her so long.  She absolutely gorgeous.  She knows her angles and sooooo much fun!

You can check out Stephanie's work at: Celebration Portraits  or find her on Facebook. She is out of the Calabasas area and focuses on seniors and families and a few weddings here and there.

You can follow her on twitter here.

Our 2011 Year in Review: Highlights {Tacoma Wedding & Portrait Photographer)

2011 has been a CRAZY year full of really fun and exciting things.  As I worked on this post I was amazed by all the things Isaiah and I had accomplished.  You forget all of the things you can jam into 12 months until you take a few minutes to reflect.  Today as I was going through our pictures, both LHP related and personal- I was so thankful to be in this business.  The business of capturing memories.   You  never realize all that can be lost... I am so grateful that I ALWAYS have a camera next to me, whether a iPhone, point and shoot, Polaroid or my D700- nothing gets missed.  This post some of our favorite things that happen this year.  Most photographers get together and pull their favorite pictures as a recap- BUT I thought it would be more fun to spend some time reflecting on moments, events, people who impacted and taught us throughout the year.  There were so many it was hard to narrow it down- so before we go into the key moments...  a few special mentions: 1.) Our dear friends The BGP made it on America's Got Talent and we got the opportunity to do a pretty funky and hipster-like photo shoot for them as promo.

2.) We hosted our very first mentorship, Justin from Austin.  It was a 2-day intensive session and was so amazing.  It has been a joy watching Justin's business take off and we are so proud of what he's accomplished.

3.) We became PUG (Pictage User Group) Leaders- and been holding it down in the south end.  Its been soooo cool getting together monthly to learn and host photographers new and old.  We love our little community and are honored to be able to lead.

4.) We did two book covers this year, a novel for author Molly Venzke called "Caged" a MUST read and "I Love This Thing Called Parenting," my our amazing pastor Wendy Treat.

5.) We designed and ordered our first wedding album to show to our clients! #winning

6.) We moved into a house.

7.) We shot our first of three destination weddings last season in Virginia!  It was amazing.

8.)  We visited the tulip fields.  (Trust me, this experience was noteworthy).

a mix of mine and Isaiah's FAVORITE highlights-  a few of them below, in no particular order.

Stellar Weekend & The Misfit Tour:

This year started out SOOOOOOOO well as I travelled for the first time to Nashville, TN for Gospel music's Stellar Awards.  While I was there I had the opportunity to shoot and meet some pretty amazing people.  The cool thing about Stellar Weekend is that its jam packed with events and everyone goes- so you get really close to some of your favorite gospel artist and you meet people who later become some of your favorites.  I heard the most amazing music, ministries and saw some pretty amazing performances that weekend.  It was also  inspiring to put my gifting to work and to shoot artists, like the one's below in such a cool way.  Fast forward 10 months and I got the opportunity to try again when the "Misfit Tour" came through Seattle.  One artist in particular, Mali Music, who is one of my favorites was at Stellar Weekend and on the Misfit Tour- it was so cool to see the progress in my shooting from January 2011 to October as I had the opportunity to shoot him at both locations.  I discovered my love for concert photography and hope to go on tour with one of my favorite artists one day.

Melinda Watts & The Dream Girlz Gathering:

Melinda is such a gift to me.  I could not have paid God for a better sister and I am so thankful.  You know those situations when you have no words to describe the impact that someone has on your life?!  Melinda for me is a "no-word-moment." I will forever be thankful to God for the blessing of our relationship.

Its hard for me to put into words how much The Dream Girlz Gathering mean to me, so I will keep it short by saying simply this.  Everything that Dream Girlz Gathering stands for- is everything I believe that God has made me to do.  I am so thankful for Melinda's vision and heart for young girls and women.  She is a visionary and her passion is inspiring.  The work of The Dream Girlz Gathering to build, inspire and teach young girls so blesses me and continually blesses me.  I had the opportunity to direct GLAM (Girls Leadership and Mentoring) Camp late this fall in partnership with Melinda in the Poconos Mountains and that experience alone changed my life.  We spent 3 days with 67 girls and about 15 or so staff just loving on eachother, learning about God and building each other up.  In those three days, I got a greater understanding of the power of God, who He is and what we can do.  The GLAM Camp experience has changed my life and I look forward to an amazing 2012 Tour with the DGG team.

Evening Magazine's King 5 Best of Western Washington: 

When we first started the business, we joked about how we REALLY wanted to make this list.  We know its a popularity contest and does not in any way dictate the strength or skill of your business, but its a list that in this area is kinda cool to be on.  It was VERY cool to after 1 year in official business to rank in the TOP 10.  To King 5, top 10 means nothing as they only promote Top 5, but to us- it meant the world! :)  Here to next year!

The Garner Wedding:

The Garner wedding represented for us what we prayed every wedding in 2012 would be for us.  Fun, exciting, happy, well planned and full of love and friendship.  Annie found us online in late summer 2010.  When she asked us to shoot her wedding in winter of 2010- we had no idea how close we would become and what a HUGE deal it would be.  By the time we got to Annie & Aaron's wedding day, they had become our closest and best friends.  We spent the weekend celebrating as a extension of the family.  It was a thrill and a joy to be a part of their wedding day and we enjoyed watching our dear friends get married.  It meant so much to us to do a good job- and that is the feeling we want to have during and after every wedding!

"Film is Not Dead":

Literally... and its not dead at the Haynes residence. Isaiah took it up, purchased a F100 and went on his way.  He has gotten quite talented and enjoys street shooting when we aren't doing portrait work.  He even got featured on his favorite film site "Film is Not Dead" for a "Alice and Wonderland" inspired senior session we did.  I am uber proud of him for taking photography to the next level.

We got Published:

In addition to Isaiah's features, we found ourselves on a few other REALLY cool blogs.  Its always so humbling to be asked to share your work on someone else's blog|forum|website. I always read those emails over and over trying to figure out if they got the right person.  Its a honored to be featured as a part of someone else's platform and we are SO thankful to those photographers who loved our work enough to invite us to share.

LHP Class of 2012 Street Team:

This year, we did away with senior reps and started our Street Team.  Our group of "reps" who sale the brand to their friends.  They are our business partners, our arms to the community- and these AMAZING 12 kept us VERY busy this fall.  With their help, we photographed more than 50 seniors the latter part of 2011 and we are so thankful for who they are and what they represent.  They are a talented, athletic, giving bunch and we are so excited to see them through to graduation next Spring.

Where in the World is LHP??!:

We were so blessed to shoot all over the country this year traveling to the states below to shoot weddings, concerts, maternity sessions.  God was faithful that even in self-employment He made it so we never sat still.  Seeing this country and meeting people is something that is VERY important to us.  We are so thankful that we had such an adventurous first year in business.

Tasha & Moses:   Our very first photo session of 2011 was with Tasha and Moses.  Tasha had just returned from 1 year in Africa and I knew very little about her except that she was stunning, could sing and was deeply in love with her boyfriend Moses.   While in South Africa, we connected online about photography and talked about doing a fun session when she and Moses returned for Christmas.  Little did Isaiah and I know that we were shooting their engagement session because few months later, Moses asked for her hand.  This moment that started our year, also helped end our year, when two weeks ago, Tasha and Moses asked us to be their wedding photographers.  We are soooo thrilled to be starting our 2012 wedding season with their special day.  They represent every thing we love about photography (as I mentioned above) love, friendship, energy and excitement.   I am personally thrilled to have the honor of capturing and telling their wedding story and am so thankful for the opportunity.  Tasha and Moses are 1 of 6 amazing couples that we get to rock with (as of now) for our 2012 season and EVERY SINGLE one of them is so special to us.  Their love stories are so unique and we are excited to add these couples to our family.

Do The Extraordinary:

I have always dreamed of being a part of fashion. I never knew the camera would bring us this route.  Do The Extraordinary is AN AMAZING athletic apparel line with purpose.  When we were asked to shoot this clothing line... the concepts, the ideas, the vision... I was immediately terrified.  It seemed WAY too big, way too much and full of more talent and ability then I thought we were capable of.  Justin, DTE's visionary and genius- convinced me that LHP had what it took- and after 4 months, we finished 9 different shoots for this amazing story.  Below- a few samples, outtakes of our different adventures.  I can't say much about what we did and how we did it.... but when I can talk, trust I'll be singing.  You can check out DTE at their website or visit YouTube to check out their amazing stories... or search this blog by entering "Do The Extraordinary" in the search box on the home page.  You will NOT be disappointed.  P.S.  LHP totally Do(es) The Extraordinary!

Our very first WPPI experience:

WPPI was an experience of a lifetime.  It, much like the Stellar's, had a tremendous impact on our lives and our careers.  We learned so much and continue to apply the things we learned from our workshops, our photography heroes and our colleagues.  Meeting people that you only see on TV or read about in magazines and watching them dominate their craft is inspiring and pushes you to be all that you can be.  I am so thankful for my WPPI experience and we are so excited to send Isaiah back this year.

The Wedding Preview Event:

We participated in our first wedding show this year.  It was so much fun because it had a non- traditional twist.  There were a total of just under 50 vendors and of those 50 were three teams.  We had the opportunity with 400 brides and grooms in the room to put on a mock wedding and show what we could do in real time.  Our team chose to show the toast and cake cutting of the wedding and acted that out with full on bride and groom and everyone (blog coming soon).  After the three teams performed, brides and grooms walked the room getting to know vendors.  Since the event we have booked 2 weddings and gotten tons of recognition. It was fun and a great investment.  We look forward to participating next year.

and last but not least

Pursuit 31: "Candyland Adventures" 

I got to co-host, with Karen Stott, the Seattle Pursuit 31 Retreat.  I had the crazy idea of bringing the board game of Candyland to life for a inspired bridal shoot and to my surprise, Karen thought it was amazing too.  We went to work with ideas and inspiration and on the day of the session rocked it out!  Karen is rocking the Pursuit 31 mission, teaching women how to pursue their dreams and have a family, modeled after Proverbs 31, and is hosting her first ever conference next year in the dirty dirty.  I am so excited for the things she is doing and feel honored to call her my friend.

As I quickly write this blog, as not to bore you with all of our crazy adventures, I am reminded that last year at this moment- I was working my last day of my job. I had no idea what to expect and kept waiting for failure to rear its ugly head.  No plan, no real financial stability, just a hope and a promise that the call that I thought I heard on my life was real- to go after the vision God has put in my heart, to quick my job- and to hope that my plan to apply at Starbucks in March of 2011 would fall through.

As I write this post I am in awe of the things God did.  We stayed busy.  Our needs were met. He never left us.  I would have NEVER guessed that these 12 things would have happened for us. I would not have imagined, but they did.  I have no idea what 2012 holds.... but I am certainly excited.  Happy New Year everyone!  Dream BIG!!  and as my friend Fahren puts it " Go, go go and don't look back"  that's what we'll be doing.  Hab 2:3

Sari + Lucas: Great Northern Resort, West Glacier, Montana {Tacoma Destination Wedding Photographer Tacoma, WA}

It was a Saturday. It was clear as can be with only a few scattered clouds in the sky.  The sun had already started to shown as Annie , my second shooter, and I prepared for Sari + Lucas's big day.  I was thrilled at the idea of shooting a wedding in Montana so when Sari and Lucas approached Isaiah and I a little over a year ago to shoot theirs, we jumped at the opportunity.  Glacier is one of the nation's most beautiful National parks and made the perfect backdrop for Sari + Lucas's day.  The trip to Montana was an adventure itself, you can read a little about it here, but to celebrate with this couple, totally worth it. This wedding represented this couple to a T, completely relaxed, outdoors in the mountains surround by the folks they loved.  When I met Lucas for the first time, a little over a year ago, we were just starting our business and he had just started dating Sari.  A friend and I made the long journey to Montana and had the opportunity to hang out with Lucas and meet his "new" girl.  I loved how perfect, even then, they seemed for eachother.  Sari was completely supportive, completely adored Lucas and a perfect match to his adventurous outdoor spirit.  I remember looking at "Britney," as I often called her on that trip because she looks like Britney Spears, and thinking- these two are totally eachother's match.

Two weeks ago, Annie Brown of Let It Shine Photography and I got to spend the weekend recording this very special moment in time, around campfires, sleepovers and great cheer and we were so thankful to be a part of it.

You can check out my dear friend, fellow photographer here AND her wedding that was earlier this month here ( yes yes, married for just over a week and leaving her husband to help me shoot a wedding).

and the images of Sari + Lucas's special day below:

Ceremony + Reception Venue: Great Northern Resort, West Glacier, MT

Officiant: Elder Paul Baldwin, Vancouver WA

Caterer: John's Angels Catering, MT

Cake: Cakes by Debi, MT

Florist: Bitteroot Flower Shop, MT

Wedding Dress: Oleg Cassini

Bridal Accessories: jewelry + broach, historic family heirlooms

Bridesmaid apparel + accesories: Liz Field's dresses and accessories of their own

Groom + groomsmen apparel + accesories:  Mr Tux + converses- any local shoe store

Hair: Misty in Kalispell, MT

MU: the bride

Band: Reverand Slanky

Linen + Chairs: venue

all other rentals: Celebrate Rentals

Mobile Monday: Garrett's Popcorn, wide open roads & Glacier National Park {Tacoma Portrait Photographer, Tacoma, WA}

Its a total 2-4-1 today because I am two weeks behind.  Last week I was just way too tired.  Do you ever get like that?  Where your so tired you just can't keep going?!  That was me.  Exhausted. Done. Finished. Not going down- so Monday came and passed without a care in the world from me- but I am back- and for my few faithful Monday followers- I am catching you up on two weeks of goodness.

Last weekend I had the chance to attend my first ever ITM awards.  ITM stands for "Inside the Music" and is a recognition show for local artists and talented here in the PNW.  LHP and my good friend Fahren, who is a singer, were nominated for BEST in their prospective catergories.  Both Fahren + LHP ended up taking home aways and it was SO cool to celebrate with my friend.   Do I really think we are the best photographerss in the PNW??!  Hardly, but we are humbled by all of the people who voted for us and the amazing competitors.  Its always nice to be recognized and we were so thankful to be a part of the show.

We finished that fun evening with a trip to the IMAX to watch Transformers 3- the midnight showing.  Transformers watched me as I slept thru more than half of the movie. FAIL.

if you follow us on Facebook- I am sure you read that we got locked out of our house last week, with camera gear and stool and about $20.  It was a fun 20 minutes as we walked around Tacoma looking somewhat lost with bags of gear and nowhere to go and let me just add, it was raining.  another major FAIL of the week.

ONE THING that isnt a fail??!  We are planning my 30th birthday + our 5 year wedding anniversary + we and a few friends are heading on a cruise next May!  We are so excited!!!!

in prep for a wedding that I had to shoot without my other half this week, we purchased a P + S so that I could capture video.  I love this Sony Cybershot!  Its 16 mp, captures 720 HD video and had amazing settings.  I joked about using this thing to take detail shots at weddings because its so phenomenal.  I am NO Isaiah Haynes, but I think I did a good job being a fusion photog.

before we left from Montana, two very special packages- 1.) a silly Canon 5DMII for my second shooter- the only time you will see a Canon order come thru this house + popcorn from Garrett's in Chicago. Even if you HATE popcorn, you will love this stuff.  Sadly, we got it Thursday and its gone today.  I barely got any of it- but I guess that's for the best!  Shout out to Borrowed Lenses for their amazing customer care and even better delivery times.  Our gear arrived RIGHT on time for the wedding!

In other news... I'm chewing for a cause.  Check the pic below!

1 rental car, 7 bags, 4 cameras, 7 lenses, 2 female photographers, 1 video camera point and shoot, 3 5-hour Energy's, 1 red bull, 55 mix CDs, 1100 miles, 7 stops for gas + bathrooms, 12 meals and 1 wedding later- we are back from our road trip to West Glacier National park to shoot the wedding of two amazing people!!

We met Lindsay of L.M. Giberson Photography and her SWEET daughter Claire during our pit stop  in Richland, WA

we ate the most amazing food at the most unique places.....

we literally watched for rattlesnakes... and deer and bears, while we spent 9 of our 20 hours of driving, in the dark, between the hours of 8p and 4a.

we got mood rings like 6th graders and made new friends, pictured above, Amanda from Ah! How Sweet Photography and we watched two people who LOVE eachother dearly become husband and wife!

It was an incredibly FULL four days with one of my most beautiful brides- you can check her out here, one of my favorite colleagues, you can check our her work here and one of my dearest friends.  Annie and I had a blast and can't wait for our next adventure together!

Annie+Aaron {Sneak Peek Preview}: Vintage, Shabby Chic DIY Destination Wedding; Lac De' Fleur Gardens, Washougal, WA, {Tacoma Wedding Photographer}

Annie and Aaron are such a special couple, their love, one, that is passionate for eachother, but also passionate for others.  I have been thinking for days what I could say about these two that would even begin to put into words who they are and what they mean to so many, especially me and still at this moment I am at a loss for words.
Annie and Aaron are so special to me.  So genuine and have been truer friends to Ike and I then people we have known so long.  If there were a 3rd or 4th member of our LHP team, it would be these two, as Annie and I spend the majority of our days in front of computers, using eachother via skype to entertain ourselves.  Over a little less than a year, Annie has gone from being a friend to being a sister to me.  Someone who I can cry with, someone I can trust, someone who helps put me back together.
When Annie and I met, her relationship with Aaron was more than strong.  They were in the process of planning their wedding and had just recently a few months earlier gotten engaged.  At that time, Aaron was away playing basketball overseas and Annie, like me, was getting the hang of full-time photography.  Our common frusturation is what brought us together, along with our significant others being away during the day, and in her case the night too.  As we worked thru the perils of self-employment, we realized that there were so many things we had in common and that maybe even God might have something to do with bringing us together and our whirlwind crash into sisterhood.
In late December, when Annie asked us to shoot her wedding, I thought she was joking.  Being a photographer herself, I knew there had to have been a million other people who would have done a better job... but she said she wanted us, that she wanted this to be OUR wedding.  Well, Annie, this was OUR wedding!  Its 6:46a and I haven't been to sleep since I saw you yesterday afternoon, because OUR wedding has excited me so much and given me the adrenaline and passion to fall in love with wedding photography all over again. When Aaron came home, and confirmed that he was ok with Annie's decision to hire us we moved forward with the planning.  Shooting another photographer's headshots are nervewracking enough, needless to say a wedding...  well, just picture butterflies and major stomach aches, but nonetheless we got it done.
Annie + Aaron's day was absolutely perfect, full of laughter, tears, fun stories about their lives both together and apart and what their life is going to be in the future, and very uncommon for WA state, but not one single cloud in the sky.  They chose the beautiful venue "Lac de' Fleur Gardens" out of Washougal and focused on bringing old fashion America to the present time.  Annie's attention to detail was spectacular-pulling nostalgic pieces and sentimental items into every part of her ceremony, down to the hankerchiefs that wrapped around the bouquets to the bird seed to homemade jams and breads available to every guest to the mason jars that served strawberry lemonade.  This wedding was full of incredible DIY fixtures that made it absolutely perfect.
Its hard to believe that the images below represent a sampling of the overall day, but its true.  There were so many things that happened that I could barely keep myself from wanting to share all of them, but alas, a sneak peek.
Annie + Aaron- we love you SO and thank you for the opportunity to be a part of such a special day of yours.  We hope you cherish these visual images forever!
Note: Make sure to scroll to the bottom for a special fusion video experience!!
Event Coordinator: Kelly Sarich
Ceremony + Reception Venue: Lac de' Fleur Gardens, Washougal WA

Officiant: Bill Pubols
Caterer: Simply Thyme, Vancouver, WA
Cake: Just Cakes by Viki, Vancouver, WA
Bridal Bouquet & Boutonniere: Flowers Washougal, Washougal WA
Bridesmaids Bouquets: Vancouver Saturday Market (DIY)
Wedding Dress: Allure Bridals, Sweetheart Manor, Boise, ID
Bridal accessories: Givenchy, Macy's
Bridal Fascinator: A Vintage Vibe
Brides and Bridesmaids apparel + Accessories from: belong to bridesmaids
Groom and Groomsmen accessories: Men’s Wearhouse
Hair: Julie Jerome, Las Vegas, NV
MUA: Pauline Lozano, Washougal, WA
Centerpieces & Details: Bride and bridal party/DIY

Check out the slideshow!