The Essence of My Life

Photography is art, right? Of course it is! Well - it can be.

Of the thousands of images I make of my children (my world, my life) only a few a year really blow me away and make me think, I have to put this one up in my home.

And it should be big.

I love doing this for other people too. There's nothing like going into a friend or family members home to see a picture I took displayed on their wall. 

The first time that ever happened, it was a picture of a bunch of plumerias that I took (on film!) and gave to my grandma and aunt. I think I was 18. I even signed it. Even still, 10 years later, when I see it up on my grandma's wall - I smile. It's just an awesome feeling!

I have big plans for our front room... with big pictures... I just haven't created the right image... until this week. I still need a few more, but I am thrilled that I have images that I adore. No, not adore - it's more than that. They are images I can't stop looking at! (vain? sorry.) The technicalities of the images are beautiful - but what takes my breath away is that they are images of my children. They are what my world revolves around (and my husband, too, of course!). 

Anyway. This thought came to my mind and it felt so good I had to write it down. Then I had to type it up. Then I had to design it.

The end. 

Life is Amazing

Yes. Yes it is.

Slow Down!

We drove up into the mountains as a family (yes, we do that often) to enjoy the fall colors and let the boys run around... aaaaaaaand so I could take some pictures... (I admitted before hand that I had ulterior motives.)

It was lovely and cold... but refreshing.

This is my favorite shot of the day. Can you believe he's only 5? Looking at this picture I can already imagine what it will be like to take his High School Senior Portraits...  


Hey! Stop growing up so fast, wouldya?!  Love, Mom.

Ringling Bros, The Greatest Show on Earth

The Circus was incredible!! My husband's uncle travels with the circus as one of the musicians (did you know all their music is live?!) so we all go to see it when he comes to town!

It's absolutely magical.

We ate way too much cotton candy and popcorn, and danced and laughed and cheering and whooped and were anxious then relieved and amazed! After just about every act, my 4 year old would yell that was totally awesome! And it was. Yes, it was!

My husband and I agreed that our favorite acts were the Lions and Tigers (HOLY.SMOKES.), the Shaolin Kung-Fu Masters, and any act with the clowns. The horses made me nervous (A few of them were having an "off" night and one in particular was not cooperating... but it made it all that much more exciting!!!) The Elephants are always fascinating. The Trapeze did not disappoint... nothing did. AH! It was all soooo cool!

The lighting was difficult to work with and mostly I just wanted to absorb it all, but I did get these two images that I am pleased with, so I'll share them.  They are from the pre-show on the floor.

Enjoy! And go do something magical this weekend!!

Okay... and one more just to show how much fun we had =)

Photo or Parenting Blog? =)

I heard/read this poem this morning and felt like sharing it. It has nothing to do with photography, but everything to do with the responsibility of parenting... which obviously has been on mind my a lot.
’Twas a sheep not a lamb
That strayed away in the parable Jesus told,
A grown-up sheep that strayed away
From the ninety and nine in the fold.
And why for the sheep should we seek
And earnestly hope and pray?
Because there is danger when sheep go wrong:
They lead the lambs astray.
Lambs will follow the sheep, you know,
Wherever the sheep may stray.
When sheep go wrong,
It won’t take long till the lambs are as wrong as they.
And so with the sheep we earnestly plead
For the sake of the lambs today,
For when the sheep are lost
What a terrible cost
The lambs will have to pay.

C. C. Miller, “The Echo,” in Best-Loved Poems of the LDS People, ed. Jack M. Lyon and others (1996), 312–13.

Establishing a Christ-Centered Home

I've got nothing...

... the colors are turning... the weather is perfect... and I've got nothing.

Two straight weeks of posts, and I've hit a creative wall.

I plan to remedy that this week.

So thank you for your patience.

You rock.

My Top Online Photography Resources

I have never taken a photography class, though I would love to.

In retrospect, my learning process has been slow and often frustrating. I'm sure at least one class would have saved me months or years of trial and error.

Be that as it may, I have always loved photography. I love seeing something (without a camera) and think, I know how I would want to capture that. Capturing it the way I imagine is the challenge.

Not to say I haven't had help! Years ago, I was able to spend some time with the talented Naomi Masina and it changed my life. Among the invaluable advice she gave, learning to use the functions of my camera (learning to shoot in "M") changed everything about my photography - for the best.

While some of the help I've received is from real people in real life, most of the resources I go to are online.

A few of my favorites are:

Digital Photography School
I get weekly emails from DPS that I look forward to. There are tutorials for days on technique, post editing, and the business side of photography. There are weekly assignments and contests which can be fun. This is the site I go to most often.

Another great site is
Improve Photography

and I regularly keep up with all the information that is readily shared on

The Utah Photographers Group on Facebook.

You can organize and find so many tutorials and ideas from many different sources on Pinterest as well. Whether you're the DIY (Do It Yourself) kind of person or want to invest in a photographer you can gather inspiration and take your images to the next level.

These are only a few of the thousands out there. Because of all the talent and resources out there, it can be downright intimidating. I try not to let myself get caught up in the idea of competing with other photographers, and instead try to share what little I've learned with those who can benefit from it. 

Photography isn't my life, it is my passion. My family is my number one priority and anytime photography needs to, it can take a back seat (for a long while if needs be).

I think (hope!) there will be a season in my life where I will be able to take those classes I never did and pursuit my dream of running a successful, "full-time" photography business! 

In the mean time, I will just keep doin' what I'm doin'!


I'm not alone in this journey.

When I finished editing this picture, I fell in love with it. 
Let me tell you why.

The face could be any woman, it just happens to be mine, which allows me to connect with it in a way I haven't with other maternity images.

A hand on the belly suggests tender feelings about the child within her and the pregnancy itself. 
The hand on the hip suggests confidence and strength. 
Her face turned upwards towards the heavens gives me the impression she is looking towards her Father in Heaven to help her in her role as a mother. She knows this child is not her own, but also a literal child of God, and needs divine help if she will be successful.

That is how I feel about my pregnancies and this picture speaks to me, reminds me. 

Maybe it's just me - and that's OK if no one else feels that way about this image. I want it up in my home to remind me that not only do I need my Heavenly Father's help, but I am entitled to it if I live the way He has asked me to. 

Sometimes I forget.
I don't want to forget.
So I will make a better effort to remember.

Parenting is not just about my husband and I. 

We are not alone in this journey.

Think. Think. Think.

I wonder what he thought about that airplane flying overhead.

Did he even know what it was? Did he know it was the source of the loud rumbling sound we were hearing? Did he even remember being on an airplane? Did he think about the toy airplane he has downstairs?

I can imagine his brain working when he observes what goes on around him. He surprised me all the time with the things he knows how to do! He's a smart cookie that one.

Post Editing. Some Maternity Shots & Photography Tips

I was proud to tell people "I don't even use Photoshop". I felt confident about getting the images I wanted in-camera with slight post-editing (in any program but Photoshop).

Well, I now use Photoshop and I have never looked back!

I still only do slight editing but I have also unlocked previously unimaginable possibilities!

And then, I finally took the leap and started shooting in "RAW".

Holy smokes, it pretty much rocks my photography world.

I can do the slight editing I have previously been unable to do even with my limited Photoshop knowledge. It's so cool!

Here are a few samples of my mad editing skills (jk jk, I'm still a super-novice when it comes to shooting RAW and any kind of impressive post editing has yet to become a strength). But I will say that I am pleased with the results.

My husband took these for me (yes, he's the bomb dot com). I set up the camera settings in Manual and let him shoot away (in RAW) where I was able to make them look the way I wanted).

You may or may not care much about post editing, but I am excited about these and wanted to share!

My humble suggestion to aspiring photographers: First, SHOOT MANUAL. Develop your relationship with your camera so you can get as close to perfection as possible IN CAMERA. Don't rely solely on post-editing. When you feel good about what you see in the camera - then start shooting RAW. It will blow your mind. :-)

It's All About Boys

Being the mother of three young boys is mostly chaotic... and when I say chaotic I mean borderline insanity. Sometimes I feel like I'm running a crazy house.

Don't get me wrong, I dare say my boys are good boys. At least, in public they usually behave (although the primary presidency may tell you otherwise). 

It's all about jumping, and climbing and building and destroying and bugging each other and potty talk and running and yelling and laughing and trying to scare each other and jumping (did I say that already) and whining and making loud noises, and making loud rude noises, and teasing and testing and chasing and wrestling... 

But they love each other.

I know, it's still weird to me how boys relate to one another. They don't hold a grudge no matter how many times one bugs or physically (usually accidentally) hurts the other - 5 minutes later, once they've cooled off, they're best friends again.


But they sure love their momma.

I am well looked after. When I'm sad, my second born is usually the first to notice and will tell me it's okay and sing me a song that will "make [me] feel better". Hugs and kisses never really stop (at least they haven't yet!). My first born is incredibly helpful when he wants to be and when he's having a hard day all he usually needs is a hug from mom or a man-to-man pep talk from dad - then he's right back to his awesome self. And my 15 month old is as precious as they come... what's not to love about giggles and smiles and happiness. Oh yeah, and did I mention we're expecting baby boy #4 in November? (Quite possibly the reason for all the pondering about the inner working of little boys). 

More often than not, though, life is pure, unadulterated lawlessness.

I can't speak from experience, but I imagine girls are a little different. (I was a teenage girl and so far I count my lucky stars that that won't be coming full circle - at least it's not in the cards yet!)

So in all honesty, I love the chaos. 

They are my little guys that are creating memories, learning and growing from their "hands-on" experiences. 

Of course, there are moments of peace (yes, usually when they are sleeping). There are countless tender moments of sweet conversation and story telling. There are moments of relaxing and cloud watching. There are endless moments of quiet learning and teaching. 

There really are moments when I can take deep breaths and thoroughly enjoy them...

...but usually they are running around with underwear on their heads.

A Boy's World

What is better for the soul of a boy than wide open spaces in the outdoors?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Give them a place to climb; a place to throw rocks and jump around. A place to get dirty and wet. A place to create memories with dad and brothers.

Yes, I believe this is good for the soul of little boys... no matter what their age =)

Progress... it feels so good.

It's fun (and a little embarrassing) to look back at my photos from years ago.

I remember what I was thinking and where I was at photographically... and it makes me happy that I have learned so much since then. I'm pleased that my skills have improved and that my images are better than they were.

I'm nowhere (nowhere) near where I want to be, but knowing if I keep doing what I'm doing, I will continue to progress keeps me excited about the possibilities!  I hope there will always be a higher mountain to climb. I don't believe there is an "Everest" in photography. I will never be able to say "I've done it! That's the hardest thing I will ever have to do." Nope. Never. But that's part of the appeal.

Progress... steady (even slow) progress.. that's the goal.

I can't stand it!

I can't stand his cuteness. 
15 months old is such a precious age! 
Can I just keep him like this forever?!?
Okay, maybe not forever, but just a little longer? These little stinkers grow up!!

Fallon Family, Utah Family Photography


What a fun family! It was so refreshing to have a session with a family that was so easy to work with (mind you, I'm used to chasing 3 little boys around all day so anytime I get a break from that, I enjoy it while I can!).

What made it so easy?

Well, they were making each other laugh the whole time! I won't go into detail but it was per-i-tty funny (just trust me)! Plus they've got the bluest eyes and really great smiles!! Not to mention the natural way they interact... it was easy to get great shots.

I am super pleased with the images we got, and feel honored that I was able to be their photographer!

Hot Hot HOT Springs...

Like, these springs would boil you alive! (Too graphic? Sorry.)

But dang are they stunning! The colors were absolutely breathtaking (and not just because of the muggy steam the springs were producing... which was kind of nasty sometimes.)

A lot of the springs at Yellowstone National Park were intimidating, actually. It made me nervous to think of all the damage it would cause if someone got careless (maybe that's just the paranoid mama side of me).

However, I'm so glad we took the detour to see them! Wow. Wow. Wow!

Big Choices & Beautiful Children

Remember back in December when I did the giveaway for a a free photo shoot?! Well, the Orr Family won it and here you see their darling children. They decided not to do family photos and instead wanted pictures of their Emily & Kieten! Totally worked for me!

Sweet Emily has decided to be baptized in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and by the time this posts, she will have been! Her mom wanted some pictures of Emily for her baptism announcements and she even made that dress! (If you could actually see me, you would notice I'm a little green with envy... both because I wish I had that talent and I wish I had that DRESS!!! It's amazing!)

What a beautiful young girl she is growing into! It was so much fun to watch her twirl and giggle and get her perfectly styled hair a little messy (mostly it was wind blown, it happened to be one of those days, of course), but her faithful example shined in every one of her pictures! She is a doll.

And I think Kieten's images say it all. What. A. Stud! That momma has her hands full with such gorgeous kids!

Precious Eternity

My aunt was sealed in the LDS Temple to her husband and their son in July and wanted some pictures for the very special occasion.

It was a fun, easy going photo shoot at a beautiful park and what a beautiful time of year! Everything was so green and they are so happy it just radiates throughout all of their images!

AAAHHH I just love this family!

Can I PLEASE....

Can I PLEASE just go back and dive into that water and soak up the sun and watch my boys have the time of their lives?!?! Just for a day at least... (but preferably much, much longer!)