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.  

Andrew & Kirstin // Seattle Engagement Photographer

I sat there with a book in my hands pretending to read on the bench Andrew and I had discussed over Skype.  Every 10 seconds or so I would look around to see if they were coming my way.  The suspense was killing me, as most proposals I shoot do.  It was cold that morning and I had made the mistake of wearing sandals,  ripped jeans and a tank top.  I was freezing.  It didn't matter though.  I was going to make this happen, chattering teeth and all.

Suddenly, I saw them.  Andrew and Kirstin, walking hand in hand looking so happy.  I smiled knowing Kirstin was about to be even happier.  He spotted me and walked up to the water right in front of my bench just like we planned.  I pulled my long lens out from under my bag and let everything unfold naturally. 

We spent about 35 minutes together laughing and taking photos together before they went to meet up with their friends and family.  They told me about their story and how they had only met about 6 months ago.  "When you know, you know, Liz."  Two brave souls who took a risk on each other and let go.  My heros.  I'm so happy I could capture such a specific, special moment in their lives.  Proposals are the best.  Love is the best.  

// I know.  I'm a mushy, sappy, hopeless romantic.  It's fine.  Everything's fine. xo

* Shoot for Flytographer

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 :)

The Coolest Thing I've Ever Done // Kissing at Santa Maria del Fiore

OK.  So. The story I'm about to tell you happened a year ago and honestly, I never intended to post this on the interwebs.  I didn't want it to scream "look at me! look at me! Attention! Attention!"  HOWEVER, after much consideration, I decided it's such a fun story and if it can inspire someone out there to be fearless and live a little, why not?  So, you know what? I'm doing it.  The time I kissed a stranger at Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, Italy.  Here we go.

My friend Jackie and I had been traveling in Italy for about three days.  We had just hopped off a train from Rome to Florence the night before, not the least bit tired from our adventures together.  We pride ourselves on being the perfect travel partners.  We give each other space, we're easy going and zero control freaks about what to see next or what kind of agenda should be had every day (the only priorities are espresso, wine, food, repeat).  We let the wind take us and we easily meet people so it really is a match made in heaven.  Anyway, I digress.

On this particular day we decided that we wanted to see the infamous Duomo and The David.  We also decided that I needed to ask a local Italian man to kiss me.  Yes.  That is correct.  It was decided that I would ask a local Italian man to kiss me.  We would go about our day, enjoying all the wine, all the food and any spontaneous kisses that came my way...

We stopped for espressos and saw the Duomo in all its glory.  We waited in line to see Mr. David and agreed it was worth the wait (It's amazing.  Don't miss it if you're ever in Florence).  We stopped for lunch, a glass of wine and talked to a group of people traveling from Dublin while we we were at it.  We payed the bill and wanted to make our way to a rooftop view so the journey continued.  We turned a corner and found ourselves in the middle of a piazza and realized we needed to ask for directions.  Suddenly, the crowd parted (do you like the dramatic affect I'm building here?) and there he was.  An Italian man straight out of Vogue magazine sitting on his ricksha looking our way.  Jackie and I looked at each other and quickly mumbled, "he's the one."

We walked up to him and asked him for directions.  He wasn't having any of that though and tried to convince us to pay for a tour.  Jackie gave me a look and then backed away slowly, camera ready in hand because she was not about to let this go down without proof.  She's good like that.  Now it was just me and him.  Standing in a VERY public place.  This was it.  I turned to him and said the following, "Listen, I have this goal, which is I need to kiss an Italian guy before the day is over."  His eyebrows went straight up.  "And I was wondering if you would want to be that guy?"

His eyebrows went up even more.  He then lowered his sunglasses and said in a very thick Italian accent, "like...on the lips?" HAHA I'll never forget that. "Yes, is that ok?" I asked.  He adjusts his sunglasses once again while blurting out, "well yeah!" He pulled me in, brought his face close to mine and all of a sudden I hear Jackie yell, "yeah Liiiizzzzz!!!!" and then this happened....

Goooood times.  After what seemed 10 minutes, we came up for air and then just stood there for a minute in silence (not the awkward kind.  The good kind).  Jackie came back to gather my weak in the knees self so I thanked him for his delightful, sexy kisses and disappeared into the crowd of people (not before looking behind me a few times).   It's hands down the coolest thing I've ever done.  I'm laughing as I write this because it's also something straight out of a romantic comedy, which is ridiculous in the best way.

I guess the point of me telling you this story is a) it's my favorite story (ha) and b) to inspire you next time you're somewhere far away from home to do something outside of your comfort zone.  I hope you run faster towards new experiences.  I hope you say yes to things you usually say no to and I hope you walk away from that week or two weeks, or three, with a new fire inside of you.  I hope you return home from your travels not just rested or rejuvenated, but different.  I always look at traveling as a chance to get closer to the person I want to be, but more importantly, I look at travel as a way to KEEP my childish sense of self. I.E the story where I once kissed a stranger in the middle of Florence. 

The last five photos are courtesy of my daring, hilarious, beautiful, free spirited friend, Jackie.  We all need friends who encourage mischievous, wild, fun behavior, such as kissing boys in far away lands.  Jax, You are my own personal little gift in life and I'll cherish you always.

Christy & Jess // Ten years

It blows my mind when I meet people my age who have been together for ten years. I love getting to know them and their story.  Learning about their kids, how they met, how they wanted to do something special to mark this new chapter in their lives.  

// We walked around the neighborhood and did just that.  

A few favorites of Christy and Jesse.  Happy anniversary you two :) 

Shoot for You // Stay Inspired

Sometimes as photographers we tend to fall into a pattern of only producing work we are hired to do.  It's important to step out of that and create work that's just for us.  Bringing to life those images that are floating around in our heads and into the camera.  Bringing together the people you love to work with, or in this case, you've never worked with, and create something you love simply for the sake of staying inspired. 

Always, always, always shoot personal work.  Always, always, always stay inspired.

A big, beautiful thank you to my team who came to my loft and worked their magic with me. 

Model // Marlee Olsen

Hair and Makeup // Karla Alvarez 

Stylist // Claudia Brady

Inspiration on the Streets // Seattle

Oh Nicole.  She came into my life at just the right time.  She pushes me, teaches me and always makes me laugh.  We spent four days together, shooting anything that inspired us and having one adventure after the next.

// Find your people.  Don't let go.

BFFs in Seattle

Best friends, Judianne and Kathleen.  Traveling from Canada and wanting someone to take a moment to let them breath, have a good time and have photos to take with them.  They asked me if I would be that person and I'm not mad about it.  

// Seattle as their backdrop and them as the show.  I'm into it.

Shoot for Flytographer

Seattle a la Liz // Pioneer Square (my new hood)

Hi guys!  It's been a while since this column was showed some love and since spring has officially come to Seattle, I thought it was a perfect time to shoot and show you what my new hood looks like.  Que the alleluias...

Three months ago (Cali peeps, can you believe it's been three months???) I moved to Seattle and settled into the most charming new neighborhood in downtown Seattle, Pioneer Square.  I had shot weddings around these parts over the last couple of years and never in my wildest dreams thought I would ever live here.  But I do...and I LOVE it.  Anyone who knows me and knows Pioneer Square would say it's so me and I couldn't agree more.

One of the first things I loved about my new little nook in the world is how convenient it is.  I can literally walk around the block to the post office.  I can buy the most delicious sandwich I've ever had (Delicatus you are something straight out of my dreams).  I can walk across the street and work at a coffee shop any time I want for a change of scenery (I love Cherry Street Public House). Sometimes my desktop computer and pajamas gets to be a little much - know what I'm sayin? Working until the sun sets and watching the cafe turn from gold to a pretty shade of gray is my favorite.  I can meet someone for happy hour at Good Bar any day of the week just by walking a couple blocks. Above all else, I have a beautiful blank canvas to shoot clients or for my own pleasure whenever my heart desires.  It's fucking magic.

When I first moved here I explored more north of Pioneer Square and deeper into downtown (I'll be posting about that area soon!).  It wasn't until I was here a good month or so that I started exploring my actual neighborhood and let me tell you, I'm obsessed.  I'm right by King Street Station, which is this beautiful train station with white walls, white ceilings (we all know how I feel about that) and beautiful original crown moldings (see wedding portraits I shot a year ago HERE!).  I mean, what?  I can't handle it.  Sometimes when I'm on one of my walks I go there and just sit for a while and marvel in all its beauty.  I like to people watch and wonder where they're going and honestly it's only a matter of time until I plan a trip myself just so I can take a train ride out of there.  Trains make me feel like I'm in Paris and we ALL know how I feel about PARIS.

I love seeing people walking the streets and how much life is going on right outside my front door.  It reminds me of my life in LA and that always puts a smile on my face. I've noticed how different things are when you live in a city that has actual seasons. Yay seasons! Although, I moved here in the winter and man, that was rough.  I'm built for the heat, yo!  People hibernate in the winter and aren't outside as much for obvious reasons (I've never been colder in my life #wuss), but wow, the sun comes out, flowers start to bloom and forget about it.  People scatter immediately outside to enjoy the sun and a beer.  Quality Athletics is a great place to do just that and it's walking distance to the stadium.  You can often find A LOT of pre game festivities happening there. There is also the most amazing little boutique next door (Velouria) that has all the jewelry a girl could ever want.  It's becoming a problem.

My favorite thing about living where I live?  The fact that my building faces the water.  I can see West Seattle in the distance and I'm just a water taxi away. The light reflects off the water onto my street in the most beautiful way and it seriously gives me life.  Taking in all these moments; the way the light hits my window at dusk, the lush green everywhere, the architecture, the way it smells like fresh cut grass on the way to a friend's house.  These are the things that make me happy and remind me I'm doing just fine. xx

// NEXT UP is Capital Hill \\  If you have places you think would be great to feature let me know!  Email me or leave a comment.  Ciao!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alana & Matt // Married at Strands Beach

My beautiful Alana and Matt.  They waited and searched with patience for the right person.  The frustration of dating, the doubt that sets in, the question if it will ever happen.  One day, in the middle of the desert, surrounded by mutual friends, they took one look at each other and suddenly, understood what the wait was all about.  

// Cut to five people on a beach getting married. A couple who can't stop kissing.  Vows that were said with tears in their eyes (meanwhile I was trying to see through my viewfinder through my own tears). It was like watching a movie you get completely lost in and all of a sudden it's over and you're snapped back to reality. 

A wedding heavy on the ceremony (plus a mini ceremony for guests) because that's what Alana and Matt are all about.  They focus on each other and what is important to THEM.  Expressing exactly how they felt about each other that day was the priority, which only made me love them more.  Couples who do what they want and not what is expected.  

No crowds to entertain, just the two of them making each other laugh and when they realized they forgot the rings in the hotel room, it didn't matter.  Enter seaweed found in the sand for a makeshift ring instead. 

A year ago when Alana asked me to shoot her wedding I told her I could see her wedding already in my mind.  I just needed to show up and press the button.  I was right.

Guys.  I love you so much.  Every single little cell.  I'm so happy and honored to have captured your beautiful day for you.  You inspire me, always.