Meriel & Joe - Palatine, Illinois Engagement Photos



Happy New Year! From the bottom of my heart, thank you to my clients for trusting me and to my family and friends for encouraging and loving me in 2015. You are literally making my dreams come true.

I was thrilled to get a message earlier this year from Meriel asking about engagement photos. I've known her since the days when our moms had to drive us to the mall, but hadn't seen her in years so it was a treat to reconnect and meet her fiancé, Joe. They originally crossed paths while studying food science -- which sounds delicious AND educational. And apparently is also a recipe for love. ;)

For their photos, we rendezvoused at Meriel's parents' gorgeous historic home (in my hometown...Holla!). The house was built in 1907 -- a fact that I appreciate much more as a photographer/adult than I ever did as a youngster. Just look at how charming it is! And this sweet couple...I am always honored to be asked to photograph anyone, but it was an even more heartwarming experience to see an old friend aglow with happiness. :) 


Folks are usually about as happy as they make up their minds to be.
— Abraham Lincoln

Melissa & Daniel - Santa Monica Engagement Photos

It was a pleasure hanging out with Melissa and Daniel for a few hours in this stupendous afternoon light. I happened to find out that they went to my alma mater (Biola!) The older I get, the smaller the world gets. It seemed especially small on this particular Saturday because I'm pretty sure that 98% of Southern California's residents were crowding the 3rd Street Promenade and Santa Monica Pier - leading us to escape to some creepy/cool back alleys for a few shots - (and by "shots" I mean, photographs. Not alcohol. Just to clarify.) But the colors of Santa Monica never fail to inspire, even in the in between spaces. And really, when photographing such happiness, the backdrop is pretty secondary. 

Love always,

Ceci & Felipe - San Pedro Engagement Photos

One of my favorite things about taking engagement photos is hearing about how couples originally met. Ceci and Felipe's meeting story is so sweet. And I mean like, it's actually sweet. Literally. Sweet. What I'm trying to say is....they met in a bakery. Ceci was standing in line at Porto's Bakery when she caught Felipe's eye. After casually striking up small-talk with her, he eventually asked her if she'd ever been ice skating before. She hadn't. They went. And now they're skating off into the sunset together. 

Now, my next question was, how long was the line that day? And how exactly did this go down? I mean, I think I'd probably have to talk to a complete stranger for at least ten minutes before agreeing to go out with them. But then I remembered they were at Porto's and it's entirely feasible that the line actually took several fortnights to get through. (Have you been to Porto's? It's phenomenal. The Disneyland-esque line TOTALLY redeems itself.) Porto's also happens to be where I met Ceci and Felipe for the first time, so there's that. (Okay so our meeting was planned and not serendipitous...but wouldn't that have been a bizarre story?) 

Fun fact: Ceci happens to be a baker herself! I asked her if she was planning on baking anything for the wedding because I'm obsessed with food and because I thought that would be cool if she were going to do that. She insinuated that she might have some things in the works. Welp-- Can't wait for the wedding! 

Another one of my favorite things about engagement photos (or any type of photos, really) is when inexpressibly adorable little dogs get involved. As you can see, Pucca and Sushi are anything but camera-shy. I asked Ceci how she chose the name Sushi for the chihuahua puppy and she said it was just because she loves sushi....BEST. REASON. EVER. So simple yet so practical. I could just eat Sushi right up. (That is not literal. In case there are any PETA peeps reading this.)

All in all, it was a lovely day with these four. And we got to shoot at so many places! We started off at the Korean Friendship Bell in San Pedro, went down the street to Point Fermin Park, popped over to White Point Royal Palms Beach, and ended the day at Junipero Beach in Long Beach. 

Stay sweet, my friends.

Katie & Scott - Laguna Beach Proposal

When I found out last week that Scott wanted his engagement shoot to double as a proposal shoot, I was thrilled and honored to be a part of it. I was equally thrilled that he had chosen Heisler Park in Laguna Beach as the spot where this would go down. Being a firefighter in the Riverside area, Scott wasn't going to be able to make it to the park to check out the area before the day of the proposal, which meant the arduous and grueling task of "location scouting" (aka walking around one of my favorite beaches) fell solely on me. Oh, the horror!

Although I didn't meet Katie until she became Scott's fiancée, I did stalk the two of them around the park (my camera hidden, of course) until Scott had led her to the spot where he would get down on one knee. Katie was under the impression that they were just taking a stroll before dinner (and she probably thought I was just some weird, friendless girl with an oversized bag, wandering around without any purpose or direction. Which may or may not be the case in real life. The jury's still out.)

Right before I started clicking away, the lifeguard, perched in his tower, warned me that I might get wet where I was standing. I nodded agreeably and hoped he hadn't drawn any attention to me but luckily, Katie and Scott seemed pretty into each other at that point. With flawless execution, poise, and probably some really smooth words, Scott effortlessly took a knee and presented her with one of the more gorgeous rings I've seen. This lovely moment was complete with applause from the lifeguard, who by this point had realized what we were all doing down there.

It might have been that dazzling golden-hour sunlight, but I think these two humans were absolutely beaming. They originally met when they were eight and ten years old, and even though they didn't reunite until many years later - and didn't start dating until three years ago - there is definitely still a child-like happiness that radiates from their connection. This made even more sense after I learned that Katie spends her working hours making kids smile at Disneyland while preparing to become a teacher. Happiness abounds!


Katie and Scott, thanks for being in love. And thanks for entrusting me to preserve the memory of this special moment.

Love always.

Do you know somebody who would like their proposal photographed? Have them email me for a custom quote!

Liz & Brett - Oceanside Engagement Photos

I drove down to Oceanside to meet Liz and Brett on what was probably the dreariest day of the week which made for some pretty cool fogginess for their beach-side engagement photos. Plus, (all aboard the dad-joke train...) their personalities shone right through and brightened up the day anyway. ;) Southern California's "June Gloom" ain't got nothing on these two. Okay, that's enough of that. I promise.

After being stationed in Japan for two years, Brett proposed to Liz at the airport as soon as he landed back in the States this past March. He enlisted the help of family and friends who each wore a t-shirt with a different word spelling out the question and apparently she said yes. :) They'll be husband and wife next May. 

For now, though, the long-distance relationship continues, albeit a much shorter distance than before. This weekend, Liz flew out from Pennsylvania to visit Brett at Camp Pendleton and I am SO glad they took time out of their short visit with each other to be photographed. I can't imagine what it would be like to be in a long-term/long-distance relationship, but I'm sure when you DO see each other, hanging out with a complete stranger (ME!) for an hour isn't at the top of the to-do list. So I very much appreciate people who are willing to do whatever it takes to let me record a part of their personal history. It's my hope that photographs like these will stand out among a sea of selfies when it comes time for couples to sit down with their grandchildren and flip through the family photo album someday.

All that to say, thanks again, you two. You're lovely.


Are you recently engaged? I'd be honored to take your photos. I can be contacted via email at: phone at 630-977-9453.... or by clicking here


Love always.