“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.”

– Frida Kahlo

I don’t even know how to describe this incredible wedding at Castle Rocks State Park.  Friday afternoon, Jena and I drove down.  GPS was so awesome (insert sarcasm font) and sent us the back way, so an hour after rehearsal finished we showed up in a dust covered car from our 20 miles down a dirt road through the middle of nowhere.  Rehearsal dinner was so much fun as we stuffed ourselves on steaks and met new friends, and got to see past brides and old friends that were attending the wedding.  Then off to the local hot springs for a soak.

The wedding day dawned bright and early… and I discovered I had a flat tire in the middle of nowhere with no cell service.  Ahhhh camping in Idaho!  Luckily, this entire group is amazing and the grooms parents came to our rescue!  A few hours later (and some time getting some fun detail shots that included the hornet you see in the first photo) the car was fixed and we were up and running.  From shooting in full sun on top of some amazing rocks, to the hilarious officiant who had no less than four hat changes during the ceremony (I was so impressed) the wedding was incredibly one of a kind perfect for Brady and Andrea.  The moment they discovered they “surprised” each other with the same song at the end of the ceremony was so moving.

A taco bar dinner topped off the evening (hello, my favorite food!), and then some speeches that left us roaring with laughter and wiping away tears.  The dancing was everything you wanted it to be and nothing you expected it to be.  A song from the wonderfully talented sister of the bride left me trying to pretend my eyes were just “watering from the dust” so I could focus the camera.  And then the party began in earnest!  I’ll let the pictures do the talking for that part ;).  We ended the night in a most romantic way – by taking their portraits as husband and wife under the stars.

The entire weekend felt like a crazy wonderful colorful adventure… that was surrounded by an outpouring of so much love it was at times almost overwhelming.  I’m so honored to have been able to work with so many people in this group, and thrilled they allowed us a glimpse into some of the most touching relationships I’ve ever been able to witness.

Congratulations to the beautiful wonderful Brady and Andrea!

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“There you see her
Sitting there across the way
She don’t got a lot to say
But there’s something about her
And you don’t know why
But you’re dying to try
You wanna kiss the girl.”
– Little Mermaid, Disney “Kiss the Girl”

Thank you so much to Jena Maxwell for second shooting this wedding with me!
All the little details Joel and Taylor put together for their wedding in Hagerman, was just perfect…

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When Bekah from Adorn Bridal and I first chatted, we quickly discovered we had a longtime mutual friend – even though the three of us were living throughout the country in different states.  So when she came up with the idea of meeting in the Portland, Oregon area for a shoot featuring her dresses, I was totally in.  It was a whirlwind trip – we met up on Monday at the Portland airport.  After a quick breakfast, we met up with our models and hair and makeup team downtown at the cutest little apartment I’ve ever been in.  Then off on a two hour excursion to the beach for photos… because when you’re in Oregon, you go to the beach.  It’s a thing.  We drove to Kiwanda beach, indulged in a “snack” of seafood (because again, the beach, Oregon… who passes up clam chowder?!) then walked down to the rocks to shoot.  Bekah’s dresses are stunning by the way, and completely made for the insanely beautiful location we were at.  Jenny was the perfect model for this session, and James complemented her so wonderfully – you would almost thing they were a real couple off on an elopement.

Working with a creative team is always amazing, and having both Jena there, as well as Maggie from Maggie Grace Photography, was so neat.  I had one minor mishap (ok, I fell in the ocean while I was shooting in front of like 30 onlookers… but I saved the camera!), but overall the day was just dreamy.  Beautiful lighting, beautiful people, beautiful dresses, and a spirit of laughter and fun that was the most amazing part of our entire trip.

And let me tell you, if I wasn’t completely “all in” for small intimate weddings and elopements before – I am SO there now.  I love to travel and I love the intimacy that comes with just you and your love, and me there to capture as you say your vows in front of each other and this great wide beautiful world.

Part one of the beach session is featured below!

Wedding Dress by: Bekah Bratton of Adorn Bridal in Atlanta
Hair and Makeup: Helen Park
Models: Jenny Meeker and James Nash

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  • August 3, 2016 - 5:23 pm

    Tonya - WOW! Bekah from Adorn Bridal’s dress is beautiful, I love it :-). The Portland, Oregon beach looks like a lot of fun to shoot on, and I’m glad you saved your camera.ReplyCancel

  • August 3, 2016 - 5:31 pm

    Kristen - Ummmm this is amazing! I love this so much!ReplyCancel

  • August 3, 2016 - 8:48 pm

    Briana Tresko - Looks like such a fun shoot! Nice work!ReplyCancel

  • August 5, 2016 - 5:58 pm

    Alisha Wilkerson - Seriously your work always blows me away but I am totally in love with this session!Just gorgeous <3ReplyCancel

Hair and Makeup by Amanda Woods

When someone from out of state contacts you about a session, and says they are willing to fly to Boise for one day to have the chance to be photographed by you… well, I don’t know quite how to explain the feeling you get. It’s incredibly humbling and mind-blowing to know someone values your work that much.  It’s also insanely nerve wracking knowing that you don’t get to reschedule in case of weather, or if something comes up. So when everything we had planned for J’s session started falling apart the week she was flying in, I was in a bit of a panic mode.  Luckily for me, J calmed me down by telling me she trusted me completely and that whatever we put together was going to be amazing.  And it was.

We split J’s session into two parts. The first part was more of a “traditional” boudoir session at the studio.

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Then came the “tricky” part… we knew we wanted to shoot an outdoor session near water, but finding the right water was proving to be a little trickier.  The place I had originally wanted to shoot fell through, and so at the last minute we loaded a mattress into my truck, grabbed wardrobe, and drove an hour into the mountains to find a private area next to the river.  I was slightly apprehensive – the location wasn’t quite as private as I had originally been picturing (although no one could see us unless they came looking), and it looked different than the conversations J and I had had during the planning stage.  But nonetheless, these photos ended up being some of my favorite outdoor boudoir images I’ve ever taken.  The vintage romance of her outfits, and the light came together so perfectly.  J’s trust in how I could see the situation meant that even when a pose or face felt weird, she did it knowing I was seeing something different than how she was feeling.  Last night I had the honor of sending her the gallery, and I got the most excited message back from J and her husband…. which is the best response I could ask for.  When someone loves their photos I get to just smile for the rest of the day.

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“We become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic.
Different people,
different beliefs,
different yearnings,
different hopes,
different dreams.”
– Jimmy Carter

Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

– Star Spangled Banner, Francis Scott Key
Happy Independence Day Weekend!

Model: Jema Harrilal

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