Ryan's Newborn Portraits


Meet little miss ryan: An actual Christmas miracle

Ryan (sidebar: I LOVE it when names break gender stereotypes and Ryan is such a cute girls' name!) was born on Christmas day to two of the sweetest humans, Sunaina + Kyle. (You might remember them from such adventures as this one here and also here.)

I got to meet Ryan just under 2 weeks after she was born, and got to catch up with her unsurprisingly sleep-deprived parents for a bit before we settled into photos. Let me say that I have never photographed a newborn who was so wide awake (sorry parents!) and expressive during their photo shoot! Normally we're lucky if we get even a handful of shots with eyes open, but Ryan was not to be outdone, and made the cutest most adorable faces for her photos! 

I think some of my favorite photos from the session (and it was super hard to choose!) are the ones of Sunaina + Kyle getting her dressed together. It reminded me of how I felt when Rob and I first brought Ben home, and the constant feeling of "We have no idea what we're doing, but, here goes!" that accompanied most of that first year with him. 

I feel pretty strongly that being a parent is one of the hardest, most joyful, most exhausting, and most magical jobs you can take on. For that reason, I think it's so important that new parents in particular extend themselves the grace to have hard days (no, you don't have to love every second of being a parent to be a good one - I happen to really dislike getting pooped on and I think I'm still a pretty decent mom). Sleepless nights and projectile poop aside, one of the greatest things about being a parent is seeing your child grow and learn and generally just turn into the person they'll become, and we wish Sunaina + Kyle all of the happiness possible at the start of that journey. I have no doubt Ryan is to do great things! 

Welcome to earth, Ryan! We're glad to have you. :) 



Winter Mix Tape: 2017-2018 Edition


A little mix to get you through the winter...

  1. Guided by Voices: Things I will Keep
  2. Rogue Wave: Bird on a Wire
  3. Joni Mitchell: Come in From the Cold
  4. Jagwar Ma: Uncertainty
  5. Stereo MC's: Connected
  6. Wolf Parade: Shine a Light
  7. Laura Veirs: Secret Someones
  8. Iron & Wine: Cinder and Smoke
  9. Sea Wolf: Whirlpool
  10. Broken Social Scene: Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl
  11. OK Go: I Want You So Bad I Can't Breathe
  12. Say Hi: November Was White, December Was Grey
  13. Lord Huron: Meet Me in the Woods
  14. The Black Keys: Everlasting Light
  15. Wintersleep: Laser Beams
  16. Pete Yorn: Strange Condition
  17. The National: Anyone's Ghost
  18. Fleet Foxes: White Winter Hymnal
  19. Nada Surf: Icebox

Play Time: 1 hour, 17 minutes 


MMoCA Family Portraits


Celebrating a holiday family reunion and an elopement

Kristin (a.k.a. 'KB', one of my very first friends when Rob and I moved to Madison, WI in 2006) and her husband, Brian (a.k.a. 'BK' - you can't make this stuff up) eloped a few months ago, and got to celebrate with her parents and brothers, who traveled from Alabama and braved the Wisconsin weather to see KB and BK over the holidays. 

As a Christmas gift, KB coordinated a mini portrait session at MMoCA, an iconic downtown Madison staple, and her family now has not only some great memories of Madison, but photos of all of them together for the first time in a while, along with their newest family member, BK. 

Enjoy the photos!



Winter Family Portraits at Epic


These extended family photos happened in the perfect setting at epic! 

Epic is one of those places that you can photograph and have a different kind of setting for every occasion. Carolyn's husband's extended family were all together for the holidays, and decided they'd love to have family photos taken while everyone was in the same state (a rare occasion for some families!). They braved the cold for some shots next to a gorgeous outdoor area, walked around the huge campus for more photos, and recreated an old family photo pose from back in the day! Since kids will be kids, we did have one little one who was not particularly happy about having her photo taken, but that's par for the course with family photos. I hope she can look back on that photo and smile later! 



Wedding Traditions You Can Skip - The Receiving Line


Why the Receiving Line is Optional

Okay, I'll admit it... I'm not a fan of receiving lines. Generally I'm a very live and let live kind of person when it comes to wedding day planning and preferences, but receiving lines are one thing I think of as being not only optional, but in most cases, better off being skipped! 

Here are a few reasons why receiving lines and I do not get along: 

  • They take forever. Seriously, like forever. And if you're on a tight wedding day timeline, a receiving line could take up to 45 minutes of your post-ceremony picture time (or more), and cut into you enjoying your cocktail hour with your guests! 
  • Receiving lines have very little visual variety, from a photography standpoint. After about the first half dozen pictures of hugging, all the photos look the same because the couple (the subject of the photo) isn't moving, so there's no visual variety to shake things up! 
  • Receiving lines don't just take forever for the couple, but also for their family and friends. Do you know what kids dislike just as much as needing to be quiet for the entire duration of a wedding ceremony? Long lines filled with grown-ups. You know what grown-ups dislike? Also lines. 

I know what you're thinking... "Don't hold back, tell us how you really feel!" But, I'm not all doom and gloom! Here are some nice alternatives to the traditional receiving line that are more comfortable for your guests, and provide more visual variety for your photos, while still ensuring you get to greet everyone and that every aunt in attendance gets to pinch your cheek and give you a hug! 

  • Couples can dismiss guests from their seats. This allows guests to remain seated, rather than awkwardly half-standing/half-sitting like you do when you're trying to get in a traditional receiving line. Dismissing guests from their seats also ends up going a little more quickly than traditional receiving lines, so that's a bonus!
  • Couples can skip both the traditional receiving line and dismissing guests and go straight to any after-ceremony photos so that they can meet back up with guests during the cocktail hour! This plan has a lot of bonuses! For one, you get nicer interactions with your guests after they've had a bathroom break and have drinks and snacks. For two, you get way more visual variety in your photos, and more relaxed, casual and fun interactions with your guests. Win/win!

Regardless of what you decide to do, planning is key, so make sure to build plenty of time into your wedding day schedule for whatever method of guest-greeting you plan on doing, enjoy the day, and feel free to skip the receiving line! 


p.s. If you'd like to read more on planning a wedding day schedule, click here! 


Wedding Traditions You Can Skip - The Wedding Party


Why the wedding party is optional 

Now don't get me wrong, I think the world of wedding parties! Whether it's bridesmaids, groomsmen, bridesmen, groomsmaids, or non-binary wedding party pals, the friends who stand up with you at your wedding are a very special group of people. 

In large part, wedding parties are there to help you plan, set up and tear down, and celebrate! In short, they're your wedding support network, helping ease wedding planning stress, helping with random errands, and helping to keep you sane in the months leading up to the wedding.

So why am I saying this tradition is optional? 

Because your friends love you, and will help you anyway if you ask. It's as simple as that!

Here are a few other perks of skipping this particular wedding tradition: 

  • You won't have to pay for occasion-specific dresses or suit rentals and your friends won't have to pay for them either! 
  • You instantly lower your wedding floral budget by cutting down the number of people who will need bouquets and/or boutonnieres!
  •  Avoid the stress of feeling like you're either leaving someone out or that your wedding party is getting too big because you didn't want to leave anyone out
  • No need to worry about between Ceremony & Reception transportation for the entire wedding party (party buses or limousines can get expensive!)
  • Less people to plan for equals less wedding planning stress overall for you!  


With all that said, if the thought of a wedding party is kind of stressing you out, or there are logistical issues, feel free to skip this one, safe in the knowledge that your friends will love and support you with or without the title!