Seattle Lifestyle Photographer

Kimberlee Dray - A Violinist in the City // Seattle Branding Photographer

An amazing violinist who sucks you in the second she starts playing. She has an abundance of followers and a reputation for being the charismatic green case girl who is silly, incredibly talented and so smart. For so long she relied on her iPhone to showcase all the things happening in her world, but she felt it was finally time to invest and take things a step further.

// I’m so happy she found me and wanted to play in the city. Specific in her needs (no cheesy violin pics on a beach somewhere - dear Lord no.) she envisioned elegant, emotional images, full of interesting light and shadows.

Welllll I think we accomplished all of that and more. It thrills me to help not only other small businesses, but ARTISTS who come to me to help elevate their brand. I just want to keep that going.

Enjoy some of my favorites of Kimberlee Dray in the city.

Makeup and hair by Rachel Ramsey

Old Hollywood Engagement // Taylor & Matt in a Clock Tower

Once upon a time,

There lived a warm, kind, ambitious, creative couple who did things a little differently than others. They owned two business, including an art gallery downtown and lived to make their dreams come true. They had a vision for their life and worked hard to keep it alive. Together since their youth, they’ve built an exciting, adventurous life full of artistic expression and love.

It was only a matter of time before a ring materialized and a new chapter began. They came to me with gusto and hope that I would be willing to make yet another vision of theirs come to life. A conceptualized engagement session that encapsulated their essence and all the things they enjoy. Fashion, romance, vintage elements, the city. They were meant for each other and they were meant for me. My artist heart exploded and gave them everything I had that day.

Taylor & Matt. Celebrating their engagement in a clock tower.

The End.

With love,

Liz

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

Intimate Elopement at Volunteer Park Conservatory // Agnes & Rob

// The more I shoot weddings, the more I want them to be small, off the beaten path, driven by sentimentality.

When the guest list is small enough to fit in my bedroom I get really excited. It’s not to say that large weddings aren’t as special. There is just something really incredible about there only being 10 faces in a room, on the beach, or in this case, a conservatory in north Capital Hill.

Agnes and I met when I first moved here to Seattle at a networking event and we connected right away. She taught me about SEO (ugh - bless you Agnes) and I made her laugh. We didn’t see each other for months after that (maybe even a year?) and then one day I got an email from her, a fellow photographer herself, that she wanted me to shoot her elopement in late summer.

UMMMM What? OK. You got it girl. And so, one beautiful afternoon (after stressing out in traffic because South Lake Union is seriously trying to be the end to us all), I captured her and Rob saying their vows to each other in front of their close family and friends. It was quiet, yet full of laughter, it was tender, it was everything.

Agnes and Rob // Married at Volunteer Park Conservatory. Enjoy :)

Another Year Younger // Seattle Lifestyle Photographer

To celebrate all the ups and downs this year has brought me (yes, the downs should be celebrated too) here are some of my favorite personal photos I keep close to my heart. Sharing my work is one of my joys in life, but sharing my life with you also give me such happiness. So, here is my imperfect, crazy, weird, zesty life in photos as well as some thoughts :)

Wow, it’s my second birthday I’m celebrating here in Seattle and omg how things have changed since last year. I think of my life in months (freelancers, do you do the same?) so when I look back to the first six months of this year I remember how difficult they were for me.

// Stressful, uncertain, unbalanced.

It’s a strange experience entering your second year in a new city, which was surprising to me considering how all of 2017 was so exciting and wonderful. However, the beginning of the year brought me so many questions and I felt the all too familiar feeling of, “why isn’t everything going exactly the way I want it to?” It’s ok though. Such is life and starting at the end of June I found the clarity I was seeking and then some.

When I say my year began with a lot of questions and uncertainty, I mean it. Maybe it’s my ambitious nature, but I have really high expectations for myself and when I am not meeting my goals at the exact time I want them to be met I am really hard on myself. I have so many dreams and so many things I want to do with my life and often times I overwhelm myself with this insane list. I’m sure some of you can relate. I’m getting better though and have come a long way on giving myself grace.

When I was young (I’m still young. I’m so young. I’m the youngest) I had trouble making quality friends. I would befriend anyone who was friendly. As I got older I realized that should not be the only criteria for friendship and that I needed to be MUCH more selective on who I chose to include in my life.

Friendship is a privilege and should be treated as such. Respect it.

I realized friends should be an escape from life. They should lift you up, make you forget your troubles (not create it), celebrate you and ACCEPT you for exactly who you are. That’s probably been the biggest gift (aside from one other thing…more of that in a minute). I thought moving away from the life I had built in L.A was going to be SO lonely at first, but it wasn’t. I found the most wonderful people to call my own, but most of all, they brought ME in so effortlessly, so willingly, so lovingly. I never take them for granted and realize that they are the most important part of my journey here.

Speaking of finding important people. Let’s talk about finding love for a minute (heeeeyyy). For the sake of keeping some things private in my life, I won’t go into TOO many details, but one of the most wonderful things that has happened to me this year is finding the guy of my dreams. I know, that’s bold. It actually feels a little strange saying that out loud. Man of my dreams? What? I don’t know. It still feels surreal. I have been on my own for a really long time and while a lot of that time was spent growing, learning, having fun, traveling, moving to a new city, making dinner for friends, building a business, it was also difficult. Let’s not pretend single life is all rainbows and sunshine, k? It’s an amazing part of life and I will always look back on those years so fondly, but I will also never forget the hard days. Each time I watched my friends fall in love, get married, start their families a little piece of me hurt. I often wondered if I would ever find someone.

Despite that pain, I always focused on being the best version of myself I could be. To be the best friend I could be, to learn as much about running a business as possible and most importantly, never settling for anything less than I deserved no matter how hard things became. Remember this blog post?

I’m proud for having stayed true to who I am and never compromising what I wanted in someone. I always knew I would find him when the time was right so I just kept pushing forward. What I didn’t realize was that he was also looking for me and that he would find ME.

Friends used to tell me that one day someone would love me for exactly who I am. He would find my boisterous personality refreshing and my weird obsession for earlobes cute and strangely charming. He would think my outlook on life is inspiring and would only want to get closer. I used to close my eyes tightly and squeeze their hands with appreciation for seeing all those things in me. Now I close my eyes tightly with a smile because they were right.

After taking care of myself for so long it’s a bit odd having someone else take care of me for a change, but I love it. I’m learning how to receive all this love and it’s a process I’m enjoying so much.

// I don’t want to say I feel lucky because I don’t really believe in luck. Luck implies you had nothing to do with it and that’s just not the case. I believe in creating opportunities for yourself. I believe in making things happen and that’s what this past year has been. A year of scratching things off my travel bucket list, growing as an artist, becoming even more comfortable with who I am and finding love in the most beautiful human.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for sticking around. So many of you have been along for this journey over the past five years and I appreciate it so very much. Some of you have even become clients, which is incredible and just proves to me that I’m doing something right.

Cheers :)











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.

The Bungalow Seattle // Seattle Brand Photographer

Picture a couple in love, wanting to be free from all their obligations and responsibilities for just one weekend. The do their research and stumble upon a bungalow tucked away in the heart of Wallingford, Washington.

>> A rare gem designed to take you in, shelter you from the outside world and wrap you in comfort.

Christine Sanders owns this amazing home and dedicates so much of her time to creating a space of beauty for perfect strangers. The story behind why she does it is powerful so when we came together for this project I knew I had to get it right. Scroll down to see the video my very talented friend Alayna created!

// When I look through these images I feel really proud. This shoot solidified for me how much I love working with brands, small businesses, entrepreneurs. I want to keep it going and continue to take on brands that I believe in and who are trying to do things to change the world.

The Team

Brand >> Brand >> The Bungalow Seattle

Photography >> Yours Truly

Video >> Alayna Erhart

Models >> Andria Liann and Marcus Fontenot

Tiarra Sorte // Sayulita Editorial Photographer

Tiarra Sorte.  I could sit here and write out bullet points on all the things I love about her, but we could be here until next month....or longer.  Instead, I give you a brief description of why she is so important to me and photos that showcase her radiant beauty.  

She came into my life when I needed her the most.  Good ol' Instagram brought us together (yes, that actually does happen) and our long distance friendship began.  Our text chain goes back two years now and it's still going strong.  We talk almost every day, counseling each other on the ways of the photography industry, ingredients for salads (she makes amazing salads fyi) and new things that are inspiring us.  

// When our friendship was new I thought how interesting it was that someone who is a bit quiet, shy and introverted is also so outspoken, laughs loudly (I'm obsessed with her laugh) and so goofy.  She tells me being around people who are extroverted brings those qualities out in her and I've always loved that.  I realized we balance each other out; a recipe for a beautiful dynamic.

Surrounding yourself with people who challenge you, inspire you and make you pause for admiration is everything and that's what Tiarra is for me.  Her effortless way of managing her business, her family of six and her relationships astound me.  I want be just like her when I grow up and honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if every single person she knows feels the same way.

// Love you, girl.  Thank you for allowing me to photograph you the way I always imagined. \\ 

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.