Los Angeles Lifestyle Photographer

Zula at the Pali Hotel // Seattle Editorial Photographer

Lately I’ve realized how much I’ve been drawn to slower living and it inspired me to do a shoot that showcased that kind of vibe. A woman in her happy place. Her home, perhaps? Amongst her favorite things, her favorite chair, her favorite dress.I saw her and knew she was the one.

The Pali Hotel was good to me and well, what can I say about this girl. Zula the GREAT, everyone.

Makeup by the lovely Sarah Ren

Changing Focus // Commercial Work // Los Angeles Commercial Photographer

Hello you little lovers. I’m so glad you’re here because it is today that I want to tell you a little story on why next year in 2019 I will be focused primarily in commercial work. I will still be shooting weddings, but in a much smaller capacity (only taking on 10 weddings to be exact) and being extra intentional of the ones I take on. I’m so excited for this new chapter and so, I thought it would be nice to give you a little background on why I came to this decision as well as include some of my favorite editorial images I shot the last couple of years. Thanks for being here :)

When I first started shooting I had all these dreams of being a commercial photographer.  I imagined my work up in galleries, I would be known for my love of series (if you follow me on Instagram, now you know where my love of ongoing stories such as the wig series, walks home, morning bangs, etc. comes from) and I would consistently work with publications and brands who believed in me and I in them. 

Despite these hopes and dreams, I realized early on that the world of commercial photography isn’t as user friendly as the wedding industry and I found myself being drawn to weddings more and more.  I found my inspirations and my idols and learned a lot from them as far as how I could shoot weddings in my own way. 

I didn’t have to be the pinnacle of Pinterest vibes with my images.  I didn’t have to love mason jars.  I didn’t have to love the color pink.  I didn’t have to be the traditional wedding photographer and I could shoot with an editorial edge.  I could embrace shadows and lines and steer clear of what was expected and just be true to who I am as an artist.  How refreshing.  And so, my journey began in the wedding industry and I have LOVED every minute of it.

I really focused my energies into working with clients that fed my soul and my relationships with them has been one of the most amazing things in my business. I’ve gotten to travel as far as Italy and my business has even brought me to a new city I now call home. The past five years have been life changing to say the least.

>> During this time however, there has always been a small ache in my heart for the kind of work I always imagined myself doing full time. Commercial work.

I have slipped editorial projects and conceptualized shoots for brands into my schedule as much as possible in the past few years, but it never feels like enough and I’m always yearning for more.

I’ve put a lot of thought into this, lost sleep over it and ultimately have realized I need to make some changes in my business, focusing more on where my love of photography began and being true to my heart. It’s going to be hard and scary, but I’m currently putting things in place for next year to help me navigate this slightly foreign industry. I just know it’s what I need to do.

Taking only a very limited amount of weddings next year makes me really excited because that just means I can give my 2019 couples even more undivided attention. I won’t need to balance as much and I can really lay the ground work for what’s in store.

// I want my LA roots to come through my images stronger than ever. 

// I want sunshine and palm trees and my love for the ocean and friendly faces on the street back into my images. 

// I want to tell stories through imagery and I want to tell the stories of the brands I work with.

I can’t wait to continue this journey I’m on and keep filling you in on all that is my life and business. I have a really good feeling for 2019 :)

Cheers xo

Brittani Smith // Talent and a Half // Chicago Lifestyle Photographer

// My favorite thing is to plan a trip just for fun and as a result being able to squeeze in a shoot for a past client who not only values you, but believes in what you are about and what you are doing artistically.

The day I met her in my Hollywood neighborhood three years ago I knew that charismatic attitude and insane face was going to be so fun to shoot. Her husband is also A GEM so that was just a ridiculously fun day. Now here we are, in another city, still connected and creating another set of memories.

Walking around Wicker Park, catching up and creating some fresh new images for soon to be website was the cherry on top to my Chicago weekend.

Emily Rehm in New York City // New York Lifestyle Photographer

Instagram has brought me such wonderful people and Emily is no exception. We clicked right away and one day decided to just have a facetime call to finally talk “face to face.” That was it and soon after I happened to be going to New York.

Naturally, we met up and we had the best time together. Drinks on a rooftop, sweaty walks through the lower east side, bonding over our California roots and creating fun, artistic work together. It was the best and I’ll always time stamp that trip as the beginning of my 2018 summer. One of the best summers of my life.

Emily, you are amazing. Thank you for showing me around your neighborhood and I can’t wait till you come play with me in Seattle!!! Cali girls gotta stick together, ya know? xo


Ethereal Spring // Seattle Editorial Photographer

I was thinking the other day about how much I avoid shooting in nature. 

// I mean, I love nature. 

// It's beautiful. 

// It smells good. 

// I like surrounding myself in it. 

I don't however, shoot in it often, typically enjoy editing images I've shot in it or feel regularly inspired by it.  So, in an effort to constantly be challenging myself and stepping out of my comfort zone, I decided it was time I conceptualized a shoot solely based on Spring, greenery and the way it feels to be laying out under the sun in the middle of the afternoon.  Just you, your love and the smell of April enveloping your senses.

I also wanted this shoot to be a twist on engagement sessions.  All you engaged couples out there, this one's for you.  Always remember that your photos don't have to be the norm.  They don't have to look like engagement photos.  They don't have to stick to the wedding industry standards, which can often feel very formulaic and overdone.  

>> Your photos can be different, they can tell a story, they can be colorful, they can be editorial without you being a professional model (yes, this is possible. Call me.) and they can be anti engagement photo-esque.  They can be whatever the hell you want them to be because the photos you ultimately go home with are about YOU and the art you created with your photographer. <<

These 40 something photos were created with you in mind, my little lovers, but remember that you don't need to be engaged to invest in a shoot like this or be represented by LA Models.  Everyone deserves to have themselves documented by someone who wants to give you images that scream anything but basic, cheezy shit. It's also important to remember that you're going to have the best time, laugh A LOT, and question why you didn't do this sooner.  That's a promise.

Thank you to the team that helped me make this little story come to life.  This industry has introduced me to such talented people who embrace my loud shooting style and childish sense of wonder.  Thank you, thank you :)

Photography > Elizabeth Zuluaga // HUMA > Oliver Villafuerte for Oliver Beauty // Styling > Elise Muetterties // Models > Leslie Carvitto and Josh Gracia

It's Been a Year // Seattle Lifestyle Photographer

Last week on Valentine's Day was my one year anniversary living in Seattle.  One year since I got on a plane with my carry on suitcase filled with camera gear, the one trench coat I owned and my sweet parents who insisted on helping me move to my new loft.  I stayed quiet about it because I wanted to feel it first.  I wanted to privately bask in all the memories 2017 brought me.  I thought about how I would blog about it and decided that instead of showcasing street photography of Seattle, I would share some of my favorite personal photos taken on my iphone last year.  Some are grainy and low quality, but I kind of love that.  It's real and imperfect, just like my life.

 

* The first two photos were taken days before the move.  My best friends came to help me pack and it will always be a time I look back on with a full heart.  

I'll never forget a few days before I left L.A I had a shoot in Santa Monica.  The sun was shining, it was 75 degrees and strangely more beautiful than usual.  It was the kind of day people were talking about.  Even my Uber driver had something to say about it. We drove in silence and enjoyed the breeze coming in from the windows.  I hoped she didn't see the tears rolling down my face as I thought about how these sunny, warm days were soon to be limited.  I teared up again on the way home, but tried to enjoy the ride nonetheless. I memorized how the wind made the palm trees sway and how the sun peeked through the leaves making me squint.

I came home, continued to pack and a few days later it was time.  I said goodbye to all my friends, my beloved apartment, sent a million texts to everyone I care about and just like that, touched down in Seattle. My mom hugged me as tears rolled down my face.  I felt nervous, anxious, worried and yet, excited, free and motivated.  It's surreal feeling so many things at once, but I knew it was where I needed to be. 

My parents and I spent the first week getting me settled and walking around downtown together.  We put up shelves, I made them dinner and I thought how very soon I would be making dinner for just myself.  I only knew a few people and had no idea if I would see them often or if I would meet new friends soon (I would and I did).  I started counting down the days until my friends in L.A would come visit me because I already missed them terribly.  I giggle looking back at those early days because almost all of them have now come up to visit.  

As I think about all the things I accomplished last year with my business, I feel such pride.  It's my baby and I protect it with everything I have.  I'm also happy to report that my time here has allowed me to come back to myself without distractions.  I was lost and searching for something and I finally figured some things out.  I've relished in the little things like seeing the leaves change for the first time in my life.  I moved into a workspace/livespace environment like I always wanted.  It's a place I hold shoots, study light, host friends and where I hide from the world when I need to recharge.  It's funny how an extrovert like me still needs a lot of alone time.

There have been really stressful days full of questions and uncertainty, but I pushed through all that and embraced everything that came my way.  I've worked harder than I ever have in my life, I've met some amazing friends and explored a new city that I'm still getting to know.  I've learned that I'm stronger and more resilient than ever before.  Most of all, I'm braver than I ever gave myself credit for and that's something I want to bestow upon everyone I love.

// Be brave, learn to trust yourself and go with your gut.  Things still scare me and I still worry about a lot of things, but the difference is now I do the things that scare me despite the fear.  I feel free and I'll always work hard to keep that sense of peace within myself. 

So, what's next?  I have some ideas, but I think I'll let them marinate for a little while.  For now, I'm going to enjoy where I am at this very moment and stop fighting the urge to eat the pint of ice cream that's in my freezer.

I also just want to say thank you.  There are so many of you that have been following along on this crazy journey.  So much has happened and I'm thankful to have had you with me.  To my people in Seattle, I don't even know what to say to you.  You are my lifeline here and there is NO way I could have had the year I had without you.  You made it fun, you made is safe, you made it special, you made it home.  I'll cherish you always.

Alex // Seattle Lifestyle Photographer

Once upon a time,

Two ladies met on Instagram.  They exchanged messages and comments about their love of music, dancing and photography.  They fancied the idea of hanging out in Seattle together and sharing stores over whiskey.  

One day, many days later, those messages and comments turned into in-person conversations.  They shared whiskey at the beach and giggled about how it seemed they had known each other for years.  They began to share playlists and help each other in business and well, in life.  They found themselves dancing on a hill that begins with the word Capital and to this day are known to work out of a bar until its well past happy hour.

They are a safe space for one another and work hard on protecting that space.  This so called space is filled with encouragement, inspiration and laughter.  

Oh, Alex.  I often tell her it's like she is a piece of my soul manifested into a human.  I mean, that sounds so dramatic, but it's also just so true.  She made the last year of my life so special and I'm so thankful I found her.  Find your people, don't let go.

Rachel & Gregory Engaged // Seattle Lifestyle Photographer

Gregory.  What a gem.  He found me and told me his whole plan on proposing to Rachel.  From his very first email I knew we were going to have the best time together.

Fly in from Nashville >> Propose on the Ferris Wheel >> Surprise her with an engagement session >> Have the best weekend ever.

I saw them walking towards me with open arms, so excited for their shoot.  They were fully equipped with a bottle of bourbon to celebrate and calm their nerves.  My people.  We laughed our butts off, took bourbon breaks, had numerous dance parties and got to know each other.  It was seriously so freaking fun.  The best people find me.

** Shout out to Gregory who made it a point to tell me why he chose me.  Usually it's the ladies who do this so I was blown away by him and his kindness.  He not only loved my work, but also my about page.  He could tell who I was right away - goofy, funny and sarcastic.  All his favorite things. **

Gregory and Rachel, I'm so grateful the stars aligned and brought us together.  You guys are the absolute best.  

The Beautiful Mundane // Seattle Lifestyle Photographer

I’ve always been in love with love.  My friends and family find it to be my most endearing quality and probably my most annoying quality.  Haha, I’m ok with that.  It’s who I am and I’m proud to be such a lover.  Don’t get it twisted though.  I may be a romantic, but I’m realistic too.  I guess that’s what this post is all about.  Running towards love, but staying realistic and knowing the difference.

Life is weird.  You grow up thinking that when the time is right you will meet that special person with little to no effort. You think you’ll just be buying your morning coffee one day and you’ll drop a quarter on the ground and as you bend down to pick it up, there he (or she) is helping you pick up that quarter. You’ll look into each other’s eyes and feel “the spark” and suddenly all your plans for the day are cancelled.  You’ll end up sitting down to sip your coffees and get to know each other and at the end of the day he’ll walk you home and kiss you good night. Fast forward 5 years later, you’re blissfully married living the American dream.

You know what that is?  That's some bullshit.  

I mean, who made up this story???  Where does this come from???? It’s ridiculous and that’s saying a lot coming from a hopeless romantic. I was walking home one day and was thinking about this whole concept and how exhausting dating can be.  It dawned on me that maybe that’s why it’s so exhausting.  Maybe we are just so conditioned to think that everything needs to be exciting and adventurous and sexy and new for it to be good.  Again I ask, who decided this???  Where does this idea come from??  That isn’t real life and to be honest, I find that whole concept boring. 

// Yes, I want passion. 

// Yes, I want the kind of love that I can’t get enough of and yes I want adventure.

// But I want love to evolve too. 

I think that’s what society has forgotten to mention and I feel like it’s time we wake up and talk about it.  We need to stop thinking that it’s a negative thing the minute a relationship slows down a bit because you know what?  That’s when things get really good if we would just let it.

I was telling a friend the other day how grateful I am for these past four years of single hood.  I’ve learned a thing or two; things I would have never learned if I would have stayed in my last serious relationship.  I’ve met such beautiful, smart, creative, gentle, caring guys, but there is always something holding them back.  Women are no acceptation.  They are equally held back by moving forward with someone.  I know there are a lot of reasons why people stay guarded and stunted in fearI’ve had my share of putting up walls, but I want to break free of that. 

I want us to let go.  I want us to let someone into our hearts so deeply it hurts I want us to look forward to the adventure that happens after the honeymoon stage.  I want things like simply waking up next to someone every day, sitting in silence together, doing laundry together and knowing each other so well it’s almost annoying, to be good things. 

I want us to run towards the beautiful mundane in relationships and steer clear of the fear that prevents us from even getting there. Let’s give ourselves the chance to experience how beautiful that can be rather than thinking it will be a time to feel trapped, bored and time to move on.

Quite frankly, I find it exhausting holding back all the time.  I rather get my heart broken again and again than run away from possibilities.  A friend once asked me how I do it.  How do I keep going after one heartbreak after another.  I told her because it’s always worth it and that’s just the truth.  I preach a lot about being fearless, but what is fearlessness anyway?  It’s having the ability to fight through the fear.  It’s about being smarter than your fear and not staying stagnant because it’s just easier that way.  Getting what you want out of life isn’t just having a positive attitude.  It’s about doing something with that positivity. 

// What if things do work out? 

// What if you gave this relationship a chance instead of running away from it because you want to be “free.” 

// What if you accepted the fact that when you’re with the right person, you never feel trapped?  You only feel a new sense of freedom. So yeah, please believe I’m going to go on that first date.  

Pain is something we shy away from because who the hell wants to be in pain anyway?  I understand, but I challenge this notion because what the hell are we doing then?  Yes, we can just go in and out of casual flings/relationships never getting hurt, but again, I find this to be so boring.  You want exciting?  You want an adventure?  You want newness?  Let go.  Let someone in and dive into the unknown.  Yes, you run the risk of things being amazing one minute and the next you realize this person isn’t for you or worse yet, they realize that about you and you’re left destroyed for months (been there so many times).  But you know what?  It's always worth it because the alternative means never trying and what a waste that would be.

Let's look forward to the quiet, simple moments in life just as much as the loud and bold times.  Let’s be strong and brave together.   

Photography + Art Direction + Styling // That would be me.

Models // Michael Leach & Angelene Little.  They brought their Vogue faces and killed it.  I'm obsessed.  

Hair & Makeup // The wonderful and beautiful Alanda Kay - Thank you for being so awesome girl!  Loved everything you did :)