My Hopefully Obtainable 2016 Resolutions

  1. Shop small more often than not. It’s time I practice what I preach. This past year I began making a more conscientious effort to shop in small boutiques instead of malls. I found that walking along on a Main Street was much more satisfying than crowded hallways of malls. Many times the people helping you are the people who own the business themselves and have a passion for what they are selling. They aren’t some disinterested low-wage worker just watching hours pass by. This year, I’d like to buy my clothes, furniture, home decor, etc. almost exclusively from smaller, locally owned stores.
  2. I’m not going to throw the “diet” word out there, but like a lot of people I have many eating habits that could stand to be cleaned up. In order to make it not feel like a “resolution” (since we all know they never stick!) I started cleaning up small things here and there last year. In January, I stopped drinking pop. My goals for this year are to stop eating so much sugar, and work more fruits and vegetables into my diet. When I have success with that, I will find something else to improve on.
  3. Exercise more. In the past I’ve failed in this area because I’ve tried to do too much too fast. I’ve completely changed everything I eat and worked out almost too hard. This year I want to take it slow and hopefully build up sustainable life habits. I don’t want anything fad or anything that promises “fast results”. This is another area I started about a month ago so it wouldn’t feel like just another New Year’s resolution. Yes, I want six pack abs and to be a size 2 like I was in high school. However, feeling more energized and happier is much more important to me. I noticed a huge difference when I started drinking more water and riding my bike for a half hour each day. I plan to keep doing that and slowly working in more lifestyle changes. I will not weigh myself, at least not at first. I want to focus on health, not a number on a scale.
  4. Read my Bible more. I know business owners are supposed to be all PC about religion, and if my talking about this offends you in anyway, just skip over it. Over the past few months I’ve made an effort to pick up my Bible more. I don’t want to get all mushy-gushy on you here, but I can’t believe what it did to my mood. I have a feeling others noticed as well. I stopped dwelling on negative aspects of my life and started taking everything in stride. I was beginning to feel the effects of anxiety setting in and I wanted to change some aspects of my life to see if that helped before being diagnosed or going on medication. (which is absolutely something I support). I was surprised at how much something as simple as starting my day off with a quick Bible study changed the way I approached the rest of my day. Before I would start my day off by checking and responding to my business emails. This got my day started on a rocky note and I ended up tense for the rest of the day. Going to bed tense made me sleep poorly and often wake up panicked. If you aren’t someone who is religious, I highly recommend finding a calming way to start your day. For this year, I want to be better about reading my Bible daily. When things got busy, I had a tendency to put it off and say I would catch up the next day. There’s no such thing as being too busy. If something helps you, make time for it. Mental health is every bit as important as physical.
  5. Not look forward and enjoy the present. Many times I get caught looking ahead to something I am looking forward to and wish time away. Last year, I wanted to get out of winter as soon as possible. Then I counted down until Sweden. Then I wanted Christmas. You see what I’m getting at. I never just relaxed and enjoyed the moment I was in. As I can now officially say I turn 30 this year, I’m ready for time to not move so fast. This may be a hard one for me to keep, because I think it’s human nature to be ready for the next best thing. But, regardless, I’m going to try :).

There you have it! My New Year’s “hopefully obtainable” resolutions. I think it’s going to be a great year.

Mary and Anthony | Stratford Photographer

Mary is a distant cousin (or something) of mine and I’ve known her for a very long time. She and Anthony are high school sweethearts and may be one of the cutest couples you have ever met. They were married at Mary’s family home and it provided a stunning backdrop. I love photographing weddings that are a bit out of the ordinary and this wedding delivered. It was my first wedding that was attended by a cow! The reception was in their barn and they had it decorated awesome. The weather was perfect for an outdoor ceremony and everything went off without a hitch.

Heidi was my second shooter and I loved her take on many of these shots.


Jenisa and Nathan | Keota Photographer

Jenisa and Nathan were married at the Wooden Wheel Vineyards in Keota, IA on September 5, 2015. It was quite the hot day, but everyone tolerated it well and their photos turned out amazing. The location was picture perfect and the couple’s love radiated in every image. I love how natural Jenisa and Nathan are together. There was a slight hitch with the electricity right before the reception so they danced by cell phone light to music from a bluetooth speaker until it was restored.

Jenisa went to Hawkeye Community College with Heidi and I so I got to know her pretty well during that time, especially on our trip to Ireland we took in spring of 2008.

Heidi made the trek with me and took gorgeous photos once again.


Emily and Brian | Cedar Falls Photographer

As soon as I met Emily and Brian I knew I wanted to photograph their wedding. Emily has one of those super easy-to-get-along-with personalities that I knew would make her a fun bride to work with. After their engagement session I was super excited for their big day. The day before their wedding there was a crazy rain storm that flooded several areas throughout the state. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect for their day, however! It was beautiful.

Heidi was my second shooter and again had wonderful images!


Danielle and Devan | Webster City Photographer

Danielle and Devan were married in Webster City on August 15, 2015 on a beautiful day. I had the privilege of photographing Devan’s sister’s wedding a couple of years ago. I’ve loved getting to know their family over the years. The wedding party all drove classic cars from the ceremony to the reception, so naturally we stopped at Briggs Woods for some photos with them! My favorite was definitely the one Devan and Danielle drove :).

Heidi was my awesome second shooter for this wedding.


Brandi, Class of 2016

Awhile back on Facebook, I posted this photo:


With it, I explained that Brandi is holding a photo I took of her when she was two years old. Until that point, the images I entered for 4-H in the Hamilton County Fair consisted only of cats and inanimate objects. It wasn’t until I was babysitting Brandi one day that it occurred to me I could also photograph people. I had fun posing her around my family’s farm, with and without kittens. At one point she was struggling to get a grip on one of the kittens (holding it upside down) and said to me, “Here. You hold the face” and tried to hand me the kittens face. It was quite comical.

What is even more fun is that her mom has memories of babysitting me when I was that same age and some inappropriate language I used to use (and NEVER do anymore 🙂 ). Our families go way back and it was such an honor to get to photograph Brandi’s senior images some 16 years later. Here are some of my initial favorites from her session in Jewell, her grandpa and grandma’s barn, and Briggs Woods.


Keeping it Neutral

No, not like Switzerland. I’m talking about clothing choices for your upcoming family session. Yes, it may seem old fashioned. Yes, it may seem boring. But, if you’re interested in a family portrait that will look great on your walls and stand the test of time, think neutral. Here are some reasons why I love keeping a low-key color pallet:

  1. Flattering. Neutrals look good on everybody because you have a wide variety of shades. If someones doesn’t look good in off-white, put them in a nice tan or brown.
  2. Neutrals are so easy to match that you can’t go wrong. If you’re stressing about finding the right shade of red for your scarf to match your husbands tie, and your kids’ shirts, ditch the colors. Make life easy on yourself.
  3. Patterns are easier to work with in neutrals because it’s harder for them to be “loud”. You throw on an orange chevron shirt and you draw all attention to yourself. However, when you make that chevron shirt a light tan and white, it’s subtle enough to add interest without being over the top.
  4. If you’re having indoor portraits made, your photographer may not have the perfect backdrop to go with your neon green attire. However, they’ll have hoards of options to match your neutrals.
  5. It’s an “all-season” type of color scheme. Seriously. Winter, spring, summer and fall neutrals look great in them all (see what I did there?).
  6. It will match your home decor. Unless you have a very eclectic taste for your home, dressing your family in colors that don’t match will not result in an image you want to hang on the wall. The best part is, it will survive change ups in your decorating; even if you finally get brave enough to try the deep red in your living room.

Here are some tips for keeping it neutral without being transported back to the 90’s look of all white with khaki pants:

  1. Stay away from matching everyone if you want to avoid an outdated look.
  2. Light denim and dusty pink are great ways in incorporate color without being too bold.
  3. Dark jeans will take away from your neutral feel. Instead, consider white or khaki pants.

Finally, here’s a session from a family who rocked the neutral scheme this past spring.