Monthly Archives: July 2010

A tour around Venice and a party to beat all parties… Katy & Shaun are working their way towards the alter!

Oh wow, I LOVE Katy and Shaun!

No, not just because their flying us to Hawaii to photograph their wedding… although I do admit that does bias me towards them a bit!;-)

If you’ve ever met Katy and Shaun, you know what I mean when I say that there’s no way to NOT like them!

We first met Katy and Shaun when we went to visit them at their home in Venice, California.

My first impression of Shaun was of someone who threw open the door with his arms spread as wide open as the door, ready to greet us with giant hugs.

And Katy followed suit with the kind of warm hug that you thought only your grandma could give (Katy, when your old enough to actually be a grandma, I think your hugs will probably win world records).

See, I told you it was impossible to not like them!  Who doesn’t want to hang out with someone that warm and friendly?!

That first night, we stayed at their house way past their bedtime (which we’re so bad about doing because we keep pretty ridiculous hours, just check the time stamps on some of our Facebook updates! And by the way, if you’re not a fan of us on Facebook do it now before you miss any more of the good stuff!).  So maybe we’re just rude, but we really felt like we couldn’t leave because we were having such a great time with them!

They showed us all around their house and told stories about practically every item in the place because it all has so much meaning to them.  We got to meet all their friends that will be at the wedding in Hawaii with us via photographs and hear hilarious stories about all of them (that’s right, we know all about you already!) as we toured their life in photos.  Shaun’s an excellent story teller by the way, I could listen to him all night!

The next time we hung out with them went the exact same way… this time we were meeting up to do their engagement session (aka, these photos here).

(I loved watching them interact together!)

When we asked them about their lives and what kinds of things represent them best, they again directed us to their home that is filled with so many sentimental memories.

Shaun spends a ton of time working on and hanging out in his garden, so we decided it only seemed appropriate to start out their session in their home and showcase his pride and joy (it really is a STUNNING garden!).

Next, we headed down towards Venice beach, making a stop along the way at the Spinning class they first met in (Shaun declares to this day that he never would’ve been caught dead in one of those classes, but was forced into it due to physical therapy, or by what some would call “fate”).

Again, we LOVED hearing all their stories about the city history and culture, as well as the parts of their lives that are interwoven into it all.

When they talk about Venice, you can tell they feel like they’re the luckiest people in the world just because they have the privilege of living there.

I can’t say I disagree with that either, I (Breanna) am a little jealous!  Phoenix has it’s perks, but it doesn’t hold a candle to Venice.  If you know people who live in the LA area who are getting married, make sure you tell them about us!  You can help us slowly make our way over to the thrilling life that awaits us there!  We don’t even charge travel fees to shoot weddings in Southern California! (End commercial here).

(Doesn’t this look like such a nice, peaceful ending to a hectic day?)

After the session, Katy and Shaun treated us to one of the best dinners we’ve ever had in our lives!  It was at a cool little place called The Tasting Kitchen and as to be expected, we had such a great time hanging out with them there!

We sat there at the table laughing with them late into the night once again (sorry we always leave you guys so sleep deprived!).  If we weren’t convinced from our first visit to their house that we’d made great new friends, we were beyond certain after hanging out with them this night!

Luckily, we still had one more Katy and Shaun adventure to go during our visit that weekend!

Katy and Shaun are known amongst their friends (and the friends of their friends) for their spectacular annual parties.  They have several regularly occurring theme parties that people are ready and waiting for each year with costumes in hand.

Lucky for us, we happened to be in LA on the very same weekend that one of these parties was sweeping through.  This party was entitled “Bourgie Fashion Prepster Buenos Aires Hollywood Palermo Gringo Polo Summer Solstice Party”.  If it gives you any clue to how lucky we were that we actually got invited to such a trendy shindig… I had to google like every other word in the invitation (the only part I understood was something about the “John Stamos Fashion Mullet”).

Yeah, I can admit that I (Breanna) was definitely not cool enough for this party!  So thanks Katy and Shaun for taking a chance on us Arizona geeks and risking us embarrassing you in front of all your Fashion Prepster Buenos Aires friends! Ha ha!

Even with all the amazingness flowing through the Buenos Aires-esque breeze at this party, one of the best parts was getting to hang out with their friends/ future wedding guests (in real life this time, not via photos).

Of course these perfect little hosts couldn’t just have a one day, amazing and beautiful wedding in Hawaii, they have to make the entire week a fantastic party for all their friends to enjoy!  So we are headed over there in September for 5 days of planned out fun with their guests!  All kinds of tournaments, tours, etc. are happening in Hawaii and we get to be hanging out with many of the same people from the party, just snapping our cameras away at it all!

So now that we’ve met their close friends, heard background stories about why they’re all important to Katy and Shaun, we feel like we’re headed over to Oahu to hang out with our own friends (instead of strangers).

Seriously, could there be a more perfect way to go to Hawaii than to get to share in peoples lives, wedding, and relationships like that?!  Not to brag, but sometimes I think we have the best job in the entire world.  How else would we get to meet and work with such beautiful people as them?!

THANK YOU Katy and Shaun for bringing us into your world so early on and letting us get to experience life as you see it so that we can better capture it and reflect back the true stories and emotions behind your wedding day.

Your gracious, honest, and humble attitudes will serve you very well when it comes to your wedding pictures because we really feel like we’ve been set up well to tell the true story of your wedding day with heartfelt honesty.

I mean, look at how intense the story of just your engagement session is!  I might have to write your wedding blog in like 3 parts!  Thanks and we can’t freaking wait to see you there!!

Click to see the rest of the photos from Katy and Shaun’s “Tour of Venice” engagement session!

Shells, karate, and laughs with the Collver family

On our last trip to the LA area we had the privileged of staying with my (Breanna’s) cousin and her BEEautiful family!

Our trip consisted of all kinds of momentous things, but both Scottie and I (Breanna) would agree that one of the best parts about our vacation was the time we spent hanging out with the Collvers!

They were so much fun and such great hosts to us that we insisted on doing a photo session of their kids in an attempt to repay their kindness!

We headed over to one of the kids’ favorite restaurant, Sharkeez, on Newport Beach and had a great dinner (that was cut short by the mass of Laker fans that poured in to see the final game) and then we wandered over to the beach that had emptied as soon as the game started!

Of course when you have a girl and a boy, you’re likely to have different activities going on at the same time.

So Scottie and I split up and took turns covering each of the kids individually.

One of us wandered down the beach picking up shells and discussing them with the oldest of the two kids (Scottie has more patience than I do so he spent the longest doing that)…

…while one of us stayed up on the beach taking pictures of Frisbee tournaments…

…karate kicks…

… a “gun” show…

…and (surprisingly) the splits!

We did get lucky enough that the two of them decided to grace one another with their presence long enough for us to get a few shots of them together.

Of course that only lasted so long (Cooties spread quickly you know).

So they headed their separate ways to continue playing.

Thanks to the Collver family for helping to make our CA trip SOOO much fun and for allowing us to do our little photo session with your amazing kids!

Click to see the rest of the photos from this fun, beach family session!

Seeing the face behind the flowers… and her family!

When we walked around Mike and Emily’s San Diego wedding admiring the unbelievable flower arrangements, we never dreamed we’d to meet an entire beautiful family behind them!

Working with Suzan M Florals was like a dream for a photographer because she gave us such stunning detail shots to capture (seriously, you have to click to see her work on the wedding we did together!).

The bride had more nice things to say about Suzan than any bride has probably ever had to say about her florist in the history of the world!  We could tell she really pours her heart into her work and goes the extra mile.  So because she did such a fantastic job and was so nice to work with (not only for the bride, but also for us) we made sure we stayed in contact with her.

From glancing at the photos on Suzan’s website, you can tell that she works with some great photographers in California.  So we were absolutely floored and beyond flattered when she asked US to do her family photo session!

We were also very excited when the dates for our California trip actually matched up with the dates that her daughter could come down with her kids for the session!

So we headed over to Balboa Park on one beautiful San Diego day (aside from the whole “June gloom” thing that we sadly learned about during our many beach tanning attempts during this trip!).

It’s a coincidence that we went to Balboa because that is the same place we went for Mike and Emily’s Unique Session the day after the wedding (and got our famous “giant tree” picture)!

(The roots on the tree in this picture are actually way smaller than the ones in Mike and Emily’s tree pic!)

Balboa was as beautiful as we remembered, but honestly it wouldn’t have mattered where we went since we had such cute subjects to work with!

I could’ve taken pics of those beautiful girls anywhere!

I love working with kids and getting to capture their individual little personalities through a series of photos.

Their honesty doesn’t let them hide any part of themselves and I love it!

Thanks guys for hanging out and playing with us while we were on vacation.  We had a great time getting to know all of you a little better and we hope you love, LOVE the pictures!:-)

Click to see the rest of the photos from this San Diego family session.

Andrew and Julie’s beautiful, wet, Unique Session!

Creative, fun, adventurous, good looking, hilarious…. those are just a few of the words I could use to describe Andrew and Julie.

And once you see the pictures from their Unique Session I don’t think I’ll have to try very hard to convince you that those adjectives are true one hundred times over!

So starting with the creative/fun descriptions… Andrew and Julie heard we were going out to California to do some photo sessions (and to celebrate our anniversary) so they immediately asked if we’d do their Unique Session on the beach if they drove all the way from AZ to do it.

So let me get this straight… you live in the same city as us and you’d be willing to drive to another state to meet us there to do your session? If you’re willing to sacrifice like that for us then, yes we’re more than down for that!

They met up with us during the San Diego portion of our trip and we headed over to Torrey Pines State Park for the first part of the session.

Here we got some of the unique nature shots that make California as beautiful as it is.

Then we headed over to a hang gliding take off point that proved to be spectacular.

Which I guess makes sense because if I was going to risk my life for an overhead look… I’d definitely want the view to be worth it!;-)

Before I show you where we went next, I need to back up and explain. Andrew and Julie got married this past January and decided that engagement and wedding pictures weren’t enough… they loved our pictures so much that they wanted an extra session!

You may have heard of Trash the Dress, Day after Sessions, Bridal sessions, etc.  Basically those are all different types of sessions that are done on a day other than your wedding in your wedding attire, so we’ve just lumped all those together and called them Unique Sessions (click to read more about Unique Sessions).

The idea is to allow us to be freed up enough in regards to time, location, and options to get the best of our very best kind of shots!  On a wedding day, we’re restricted by all those things as well as by trying to not get the dress dirty.  So a Unique Session gives us the chance to get “magazine” kind of pictures… shots you just can’t always get on a wedding day.

So did I not say that Julie and Andrew are adventurous?  So how could I expect anything other than for them to choose the Day After/ Trash the Dress version of the Unique Session?

While we don’t try to purposely “Trash” the dress, we do whatever we can to get the best pictures… even if that means putting the dress at risk!

But if you’re considering a Radiant Unique Session, fear not, we do not at all require that you risk your dress.  That’s completely bride’s (and maybe the bride or groom’s parents if they paid for it!) choice!

Julie made her choice! We headed off to La Jolla for her to get ready for the trashing part! Here’s the progression of her preparing to face the bold decision she had made to get into the freezing water!

Julie definitely had a vision for the session (here comes the “creative” adjective I assigned to her!).

She had seen a picture with this beach pose on it and she was daring enough to attempt to create it.

As you can see, it was a very successful attempt!

So once her dress was already that wet, she decided to let us go all the way with it!

I love, LOVE, L-O-V-E this shot that Scottie got.  It looks like she’s floating up in the clouds rather than in the ocean.  It’s just…. wow.

I think I forgot to include one very important descriptive word for these two…. adorable.

They are so cutesy together it’s equal parts ridiculous and awesome. I loved watching them interact and be so sweet to each other.

Amidst the stunning nature we were surrounded by, we had to make sure to stop and get some shots that captured the beautiful intimacy of their relationship.

Julie and Andrew, you are two of the most easy going people I’ve ever met!  I couldn’t believe the things you were willing to do for a good picture!  It was dirty, freezing, wet, and freaking difficult…. and you were smiling through it all.  Thank you!

We are so grateful to you for planning such a fantastic session and then for being brave enough to pull it off!  We couldn’t be happier with the pics we got from it, so I hope you two feel the same!

Click to see the rest of the pics from this amazing California Unique Session!

One of our favorite photos sessions with one of our favorite families!

When some of our best friends moved away from Phoenix to Sierra Vista, we were more than bummed.

But we quickly realized that having friends who live in a town that stays below 100 degrees, has it’s benefits!  Our positive perspective was confirmed when Ryan called us to help him give Molly a surprise family photo session for mothers day.

We headed down for a weekend of intense late night conversations, tasty meals, hilarious kids, and major life revelations (which is what always happens when we hang out with this family!).

Molly and Ryan had a terrific weekend planned for us.  We started out by heading down to the little town of Bisbee, AZ.

We’d never been there before and we found out that this little European-esque place in the middle of the Desert that is Arizona, is a photographers dream!

(They love baseball!)

It was really hard for us to adjust to walking right past places we could only dream of finding to use as photo backgrounds if we were in Phoenix because there were just too many good shots and we would’ve had to be shooting for a week straight to catch it all!

We also headed down to their favorite little hiking area, Ramsey Canyon, to catch them doing one of the many things they enjoy doing together as a family.

Our big outdoor adventure was followed by a nice dinner at a cute little 50′s diner…

…and then a night of their normal bedtime routines.  Their bedtime routine is one of my favorite things about being with this family.  First, dad gives them a bath time, complete with special treats that the kids absolutely love like tornado time (watching the water go down the drain fast), airplane time (dad tossing them up in the air to help dry them off), and great conversation about life.

The kids all have their toothbrushes in a row and they each brush their teeth while dad dries their brothers off, then they head into their bedroom to wait for the family to finish gathering in there.

Once they are all in the room, they have Bible story time, followed by question and answers (I couldn’t believe the intelligent questions they kids ask!).  They all do “blessings” on each other which is where they each go up to every family member (and Scottie and I) and run their finger over your face in the shape of a cross saying “in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen.”  Have you ever heard a 3 year old saying something that intense while looking at you straight in the eye?  It’s so cool!  Especially when he says “fodder” instead of father.;-)

Next they all climb into bed, sing a hymn together, and say prayers.  They really do this together every night! Before they moved, Molly and Ryan were in the class we took that helped us get out of debt (read our blog about that here) so we went over to their house once a week around bedtime and got to witness this routine every time.  So awesome.

Despite how neat all of that was to watch, I have to say that my favorite part was when the 4 year old was laying down to sleep and just before we walked out of the room, he innocently decided to ask one last quick question, “how do we get babies?”.

Oh wow, it took us a long time be able to catch our breathes from laughing after we walked out of that room!  Luckily, we caught that one on video!  Which by the way, we plan on releasing for you all to see soon!

The next day we headed over to the superhero wall.

Superhero mom, Molly, had made all the boys capes with their initials on it and masks go with it.

Oh wow, it couldn’t have been more perfect for pictures!

We just sat around for awhile watching the boys fight crime and then play on the playground afterwards.

These are definitely some of my favorite pictures of all time!!!

Let me just say that you have truly never seen 3 little boys who are so well behaved before.

(These are some little hats that I, Breanna, bought at Michaels and have been saving for the perfect kids photo session… this was it, they loved the hats!)


I spent most of the weekend trying to convince Molly and Ryan to start a blog or write a book because they must have something magic up their sleeve!

They are a very exceptional family who permeate one another’s lives with love, grace, acceptance, and humility.  Even the little 3 year old extends these values to his other family members!

It was seriously moving to wake up every morning and get to watch another day of a family loving one another that well! 

I say all of this because the entire weekend was filled with activity and the kids were totally thrown off their normal schedule…

…and still we did not see one time when it was necessary to discipline the children.  They were just good the entire time… exhaustion and excitement weren’t even enough to bring these amazing kids down!

Molly bought bribery candy for our day in Bisbee and by the end of the day, the grown ups ended up eating it because it was not even necessary to bring out even once!  Unbelievable!  We are so proud to be friends with people who can raise such beautiful, wonderful, sweet, and caring children.

We’re also so thankful we got to meet them before we have our own kids so that maybe we can learn a few of their secrets in time to apply them ourselves!

By the way, when we asked them about their kid raising magic tricks they said the main ingredient is that everyone serves one another… parents serving each other included!

Their explanation totally did make sense after we’d been watching them for an entire weekend.  Molly and Ryan weren’t constantly begging each other to take over with the kids, because one would always hop up first without even a second thought, and we didn’t hear any arguments the entire time over “who’s job it is”.

Molly and Ryan really do serve one another better than I think I’ve ever seen any couple do… and the kids have followed suite.

(Spending the afternoon playing baseball with their kids)

(Molly & Ryan love the “Swagger Wagon” song and this is their homage to it!  If you haven’t seen this hilarious video, you’re missing out so click here!)

How many times have you seen a little 6 year old willingly serving his 4 year old rather than fighting for their own individual rights?  Well, we saw it constantly all weekend!

(The littlest one loves helping his mom cook for the family.  While prepping for this same meal, the middle child is asking if he can be our waiter which means setting the table and bringing us our food).

In fact, Scottie and I saw this family serving each other enough all weekend that when we got home,  we looked at each other and realized that if we don’t start learning to serve one another better, then we’re in trouble when we have kids because they’ll definitely learn more than a few bad habits from watching us.  So thanks to this freaking cool family, our new goal in life is to learn to love others better by working on things about ourselves (the main thing having to do with serving others).

Thank you guys so much for being one of the most positive influences in our entire life.  I can’t even begin to communicate how refreshed, hopeful, excited, etc., etc. we felt after spending a weekend being served by you.  We’ve decided to have Ellison weekend at least 3 times a year because it’s one of the best things we could do to help us become better people…and because we have a GREAT time!!

We love you all!

Click to see the rest of the photos from this wonderful family session!