San Francisco Lifestyle Photographer

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.

Moorea Seal // Seattle Editorial Photographer

Sometimes when I take meetings with new clients, may it be couples or brands, they ask me how I got started in photography.  What was my first inspiration?  The answer is storytelling through fashion meets emotion.  I really think that's the best way to put it?

I always loved dressing up my friends and taking them somewhere in the city and bringing the images in my head onto my camera.  I think that's why I love working with brands so much.  It's an opportunity for me to bring that first love and first instincts to life over and over again.

// Moorea Seal thank you for creating such amazing pieces and consistently bringing together local artists into one place.  Seattle is so lucky to have you.

// THE TEAM \\

Photography >> Elizabeth Zuluaga

Jewelry >> Moorea Seal

HMUA >> Oliver Beauty

Styling >> Claudia Brady

Model >> Emilee West

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.

Matt & Elyse | A Proposal Story

Matt & Elyse_001.jpg This is a (not so short) story of a gem of a man named, Matt.  He has a passion for music, the outdoors, good food and whiskey.  He often graces strangers (and his friends) with his sweet, sweet dance moves and never fails to impress with his skills in the kitchen and from behind the bar (old fashions - oh yeah).  However, amongst his many passions, one surpasses them all.  She is a beautiful goddess named, Elyse.

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Even after two years of dating, falling in love and moving to Oakland to be with her, Matt knew from the beginning that there would never be anyone else.  So, the plan for proposing to Elyse began.  I would fly in from LA to spend the 4th with them and say I had a shoot that Sunday, July 5th, 2015.  This is not uncommon since I stay with them often due to my travel schedule (and also because I miss them so much and can't stay away).

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Sunday came.  The DAY had arrived.  Per usual, Elyse made us breakfast and a couple neighbors stopped by to join us.  I kept glancing over at Matt to see if he looked nervous and miraculously he looked calm just like any other day.  I mean, impressive doesn't even cut it.  After the neighbors left I stayed in my pajamas (because I like to stay in them as long as possible - duh) and Matt and Elyse began packing for a couple days away in Petaluma to celebrate "Elyse's belated birthday."  Since I wouldn't be leaving until 4pm to pick up my rental car for my "shoot,"  I helped Elyse get ready and kept her distracted so Matt could pack for their trip (including hiding the ring).

Elyse jumped in the shower and immediately Matt and I checked in with one another.  He admitted he was getting a little nervous and I assured him it was all going to work out perfectly.  "I got you."

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They left.  I napped.  I packed.  The door rang.  It was 4pm and time to set everything in place.

I opened the door to find Eddie waiting for me.  We smiled at each other excited for what was about to happen. We jumped in the car and the hour long drive began.  We caught up on life and talked about how crazy it was that Matt was about to be engaged.  After a few wrong turns, lost reception and sweaty palms, we arrived.  As we pulled into the driveway, there stood the most magical tree house, including the most ridiculously charming wooden swing you ever did see.

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That's where it would happen.

That swing would be where he would get down on one knee.

That is where he would tell Elyse he knew from their very first kiss she was the one for him.

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Eddie left to hide that oh so familiar Saturn he drives and I hid in the trees with my camera.  I payed no attention to the spiders crawling around me or the beetles staring at me from the rocks below my feet (I totally payed attention).  My heart raced as I waited for Matt and Elyse to arrive.  It was quiet and all I could here was the wind blowing.  Suddenly, there they were.  I watched them get out of the car and start walking towards the house.  I took a deep breath and stood sideways against the tree (sniper style), careful not to give myself away.  When they were far enough in the distance, I exhaled and got into position to capture what would be one of the most special moments in my friend's life.

Just like we had discussed countless times, I saw everything come to fruition and it was incredible to watch.  Matt held Elyse's hand and walked her to the swing.  My heart kept racing, nervous that I was making too much noise with every crunching step.  I could hear her giggle from a distance, but that quickly faded as they got further and further away.  What happened next was over in a second and to be honest, I kind of blacked out so I'm not really sure how these photos exist. Matt & Elyse_025.jpg Matt & Elyse_026.jpg Matt & Elyse_027.jpg Matt & Elyse_028.jpg Matt & Elyse_029.jpg Matt & Elyse_030.jpg Matt & Elyse_031.jpg

Elyse sat down on the swing and pushed herself off the ground.  Matt stood behind her as he took the ring out of his pocket.  He then walked around the swing to face Elyse.  Her feet touched the ground and everything stood still.  He got down on one knee and there was a moment of silence.  Suddenly, there was a scream then laughter then crying.  Success :)

I could see Matt was looking for me so I stepped out of the brush and began walking towards them.  Elyse pretty much went into official shock.  We hugged, we cried, then we hugged some more.  It was the most beautiful day.

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I will never be able to explain what if feels like to watch something so personal and so intimate.  When I was hiding in those trees and everything was still quiet, I kept thinking what an honor it was for Matt to put all his trust in me like that.  What a beautiful thing to do for the person you love.  They will have these images forever and I'm so happy it was me that got to share in that moment with them.  Just the three of us in the middle of a field with the trees, the swing and the wind.

The end.

Sailing Through the 4th

My friends and I thought it would be great to spend the 4th of July sailing in San Francisco and watch the fireworks from the boat.  It all sounded so romantic and fun, but alas, we all found out I don't have sea legs so I spent the day dizzy and extremely nauseous.  Has this ever happened to you??  It's pretty awful and I don't think I'll be sailing again any time soon, ha.  I guess what I want to say is thank God for good friends.  They managed to still have a good time despite constantly checking in on me, bringing me water, avoiding the high current as much as possible and helping me in ways I don't even want to get into...I'll spare you the details ;) Annnnywayyyy...I snapped a few photos when the day started (you know, before my world got fuzzy) so I thought I would share.  I'm also excited to share a fresh new look here very soon so stay with me, k?  Here's to good friends and a better 4th next year.



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