Sally Family// Logan Canyon // Utah Family Photographer

I love my gal Sal!  She is strong.  She's been through a lot and she just keeps staying a fighter.  She's been supportive of me as a photographer for years.  She is passionate, and she loves her family.  Those girls there are everything to her.  When she talks to me about them she lights up.  They are her life.  And I love these two girls personalities. Fearlessly proud to be themselves, and incredibly beautiful in every way.  I love seeing them grow and change the world.

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Family Reunion Photoshoot //Tony's Grove // Utah Family Photographer

Spring is here with Summer close to follow and it's the BEST TIME to book your Family Reunion photo shoot.  I just heard from a grand daughter of a family I shot for this past summer.  Her sweet grandma booked me, and she and I had talked a lot this past summer setting up the shoot, talking details of what was important to her, printing out some large gorgeous canvases from their shoot, and I just grew to love her so much.  She was so sweet and I remember after the photo shoot she pulled me into her arms and kissed both my cheeks.  Her grand daughter texted that she just passed away.  Not even a year after we did the photos that meant so much to her.  How this touched my heart.  This life goes so swiftly, and recording these memories for the next generation is so incredibly important!  I know they meant so much to her. Don't put it off another year... you never know what the year will bring.  Now is the time to be sure you preserve what is most important in this world...your family. 

I have had the privilege to photograph this family below for the past couple of years and I love them so much!  Every session with them has been so beautiful and such a fun time with an amazing family. 

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Cyna Harris Family

Syna has been my friend for a lot of years now.  I love her spunk.  She is always so fun to spend time with. She's upbeat and funny.  She keeps things in perspective.  She's a talented hair dresser and does the best Eye Lash Extensions. She's also talented with the camera and does beautiful wedding videography.  Meeting all her family was so much fun.  They are so kind and fun to be around.  We had a great time together on our session. 

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Nikki Montgomery Family//Studio Station //Utah Family Photographer

Studio Station is a great little studio for an indoor session when things are not so warm outside!  It made for the perfect spot for this darling families photos.  And let's just stop for a moment and check out how amazingly beautiful this mama is!!  Tia always slays when it comes to making my moms, brides, and commercial clients look smokin!  This family was so much fun, their outfits were on point, and they were sooooo good!  I loved all the natural smiles and interactions they gave me. That little guy cracked me up and melted my heart all at the same time!  Seriously a perfect session!  Thanks for trusting me with your memories!

xo
Shanda

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Don Grove Funeral 2018 // Providence Ut

Everyone at a funeral knows that the person who died wouldn’t want you to be sad for them. Death only seems sad for the living. That’s what I always hear. But I think there is a spark of sadness on the other side for the person who died too. If you believe in a life after death and that they are waiting for you on the other side. I think even though they can be with you in spirit here, they too feel a little sadness for not being here physically for the big things in your life. The first dance with a daughter on her wedding day, a toast with a son, seeing their children graduate, fall in love and have children of their own, seeing their parents grow old together.

Don “butch” Grove was heralded at his funeral. Everyone who got up to speak praised him for his huge heart, for watching out for the little guys, for defending and lifting others up. His sense of humor came through from every story told. His devotion to his wife and children, and his love for his life beamed from every remembrance shared.

They sang country roads at his funeral. And I imagined him singing right along. The smile on his families and extended families faces as they sang along, sharing in joy with him was perfect. But my favorite smile I saw was from his youngest sons face as he sang along.  Touching. Loving.

His Son shared stories about the lessons his father taught in his daily life. Making everyone laugh at the memories, and showing a beautiful glimpse into the man he was as a husband and father.

His daughter danced a beautiful tribute for him to CINDERELLA

"There's a ball at the castle and I've been invited
And I need to practice my dancin'
Oh please, Daddy, please!"
So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms
'Cause I know something the prince never knew
Oh I will dance with Cinderella , I don't want to miss even one song
'Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight And she'll be gone”

The love you felt in that room was tangible. Among the laughter and smiles and tears was hope. Hope that there is a new chapter. Hope to be reunited again. Hope for the pain of goodbye to lessen with time. 

Outside along each side of the road was a parade of people, all the way down each side a stretch of the whole road, people holding flags with photos of Don on them. Those from his place of work at conservice had shown up to show love and support to a wonderful man. 

His legacy is sure to live on. 

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Mandy Grove Senior Photos

When I saw on facebook that this sweet girls dad's fight with cancer had come to an end, my heart just broke for her and her family.  I have been photographing this gorgeous dancer for years now, and I have grown to just love her and her mama.  They are good people.  Losing a loved one is hard.  Really hard.  Losing a father or mother or husband is harder.  Especially when you are still so young.  It's really REALLY hard when the week your father dies, you have to put a smile on your face and get on stage and dance, because you have commitments, and you are in a performance.  Watching this girl dance on stage at dress rehearsal last night for Sleeping Beauty made my eyes tear up.  Her strength, elegance, and passion in such a difficult time is amazing.  It takes a strength no one can understand who hasn't lost a parent to get up and get back to "normal" even months after.  To do it within the same week, takes more then you can even imagine. Stay strong pretty lady.  Sending you so much love and peace as you dance on that stage this weekend!  You make your daddy proud.  

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Utah Family Photographer//Sherice Family// Family Photos

Sherice found me on Instagram.  She is an incredible writer and an incredible story teller.  I always enjoy reading what she writes on her blog.  Check it out here: http://smalltownsquirrel.blogspot.com/ She is honest, open, candid, and funny.  She is definitely the kind of person I love to be around. And here is a post she wrote about our shoot together: http://smalltownsquirrel.blogspot.com/2017/07/the-importance-of-family-pictures.html

She asked me to take her families photos because they hadn't had one together in years. She said they had never been photographed professionally!  We met up the canyon in Salt Lake at Storm mountain and had a little hike around.  They kept me laughing.  They are such a hilarious family full of life and fun.  The love and care they have for each other showed in every moment they were together.  I know there are imperfect moments in every family too, but flaws in family is what makes it FAMILY!

Every time I do photos for a family it feels like they become my family for a moment.  And being a part of this family would be so much fun and full of laughs.  Thank you for trusting me with such special parts of your life and memories together. 

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Logan Utah Temple// Rigby Wedding

There is nothing quite as beautiful as a light snow on a wedding day.  I know for most it means cold, and wet hair, but to me it creates magic.  There is something so dreamy about little snow flakes coming down as you exit the Temple as Husband and Wife.  These two weren't phased by it at all.  They smiled, and laughed, and hugged and kissed.  The cold didn't seem to reach them much at all.  To be cliche...they had their love to keep them warm. :)

Emily was absolutely a perfect bride.  Beautiful and sweet as could be.  And he couldn't take his eyes off of her.  They were both surrounded by such wonderful supportive family, and it was a happy occasion.  I am so excited for their journey together. 

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The secret behind Valentines Day

So every Valentine’s Day growing up I would receive flowers and a treat or stuffed animal from a “secret admirer” delivered to me during class from as young as I can remember. This always made my Valentines super special because I was always so worried I wouldn’t receive anything because I was afraid no one liked me.  It made the day so much better for me and I’d spend the rest of the day looking around wondering who my secret admirer was. Was it the cute boy that sat behind me? Or the blonde boy who never looked at me as we passed in the hall? Or the boy everyone considered a dork but I knew he was sweet? It was exciting to try to guess.

Fast forward to my first year of college. (Yes, I received flowers every year even through my Senior Year of high school) and I didn’t get any Valentines. It was a sad year for me. I was talking to my mom about it and about how much it meant to me that someone liked me enough every year to send me a Valentine.

Pause....

The look on her face was so sheepish I about died. “IT WAS YOU!!!!” All those years you let me believe a boy liked me enough to send me a Valentine?? At first I was a little upset, only pacified by the fact that at least some of the years It was someone other then just my moms valentine I was receiving haha. But then... I got to thinking how much it had always meant to me, and how much trouble my mom must have gone through every year to make sure I had a secret valentine. And then I realized how much she must have really cared about me and making sure I felt loved and cared about growing up, because as adults we all know that our parents are the last ones who’s love means much when we are teens and think we know everything.

So there’s my Valentines story haha. Now I have a Valentine who brings me Black tie mousse cake every year and doesn’t judge me when I shove the whole thing in my face. 😁🤓

I know Valentines is not a happy time for everyone, and some people feel really sad about it. I hope you get a Valentine today, but if you don’t, be like my mom and find someone else to give a secret Valentine to, and make their day. You never know who's life is made better by even a small Valentine letting them know they are thought about.  Let them know they matter and they are loved.

No matter how Valentines Day May look for you....

Excuse me while I go stuff my face with chocolate!! And I hope you are doing the same! Happy Valentines Day!

And while we are at it...Book a couples session with me this month for 20% off :)

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Celina Sevilla Senior Photos // Utah Senior Photographer // Class of 2018

It makes me super sad when my dancers I've been photographing for years finally reach senior status and graduate and move away!  Makes me tear up a little everytime. It's crazy to watch these pretty dancers grow up and move on while I'm still here in this little valley.  But it's fun to see what they do with their lives and where they go and the adventures that life takes them on.  It's especially fun when they come back and I get a chance to photograph their weddings, so I usually get to see them again and keep contact, which makes me super happy!  Because each of these dancers definitely hold a special place in my heart. 

Go spread those wings you gorgeous girl! Keep dancing, and live a million dreams!

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KLC Family // Logan Utah Family Photographer

Andrew is a fellow photo friend.  I met him when he was teaching a photo class at USU.  He is funny to be around and keeps things nice and light.  I like that we swap family photo sessions sometimes.  It's always great to have a talented friend in the industry, and when he has a smokin hot wife and adorable children with dimples it's an even bigger plus!  Thanks Andrew for always trusting me with your memories!

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If you can't let it out....

It’s three in the morning and my soul fills stirred, like there is a fire bubbling up inside of me. I take a deep breath and a sob escapes my lips, I put my hand over my mouth and silently cry into my sheets, my body shakes with each silent sob. I pray that my angel dad will wrap his arms around us all and cocoon us in peace. A song he use to sing comes into my mind. I come to the Garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses. And the voice I hear falling on my ear, the son of God discloses, and he walks with me and he talks with me and tells me I am his own, and the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.

I hate seeing those I love suffer. I used to see this as a sign of weakness. Crying. A lack of faith. A giving in that the thing I’m sad about can’t be made better. That It wasn’t ok to feel sad and pain because then I’m showing a lack of faith in God’s plan, but I don’t feel that way anymore. In the Bible it says And Jesus wept. He knew all that would transpire, he had an absolute belief in God, he knew those he would bring back to life or create miracles for and still he took the time to mourn with those who mourned and comfort those who needed comfort. Its taken me a long time to know that it’s ok to cry. It’s not a lack of faith that things won’t just be what they are to be. It’s loving, and caring, and standing in a space of caring with those you love. The feeling of sad doesn’t last forever. It makes way for feelings of joy, or anger or a variety of other feelings, but allowing sad is ok too. Allowing yourself to feel, process, and release all emotions is ok.  Difficult emotions are not our enemy, they are a practice in releasing, letting go. When you express these feelings to others for some reason they are uncomfortable with those feelings you express, as I myself have always been. We want to tell them to have more faith or toughen up when others are experiencing feelings of sad or anger or empty. We see it as weak and self pity. We try to fix it.  Rather then just allow it. 

Jennifer Chrisman says “When we fight against emotional pain, we get trapped in it. Difficult emotions become destructive and break down the mind, body, and spirit. Feelings get stuck, frozen in time, and we get stuck in them.

It’s ok to feel those feelings and get them out. Western culture is uncomfortable with this idea of letting emotions out. Let them be uncomfortable. It’s not weakness or a loss of faith that miracles can occur or that all things have order and a plan. It’s standing in a space to say to another... I feel your pain, and I’m here with arms wide open to walk through it with you.

So if you are hurting, in pain, anger, joy, whatever you are feeling, I will stand in that space with you!  I will respect where you are, and support you in going on your journey. You deserve the space to feel what you need to feel.  I support you.

Engagements// Shanda Call Photography // Wedding Photographer

Its been a year since we took this sweet couples engagement photos!!  I wanna go back again!  They had me smiling from ear to ear.  They were so tender and sweet together and made every moment of their session so much fun.  They are so full of life and so full of absolute love for one another.  It was freezing cold outside and they still wanted to wade out into the water for photos.  They both have a love for Alaska and rain boots.  

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Thanks to my amazing associate Dycie Leishman for assisting on this shoot!

Decaria Family Photos

I really love photographing this family each year!  They are about the most shy family I ever get in front of my lens, and I just love it.  Each year these boys get a little more and a little more comfortable with me, and these adorable parents get more and more use to me making them get all snuggly in front of the camera.  It always makes my heart full to see the changes from year to year as I get to make friends and photograph families over and over.  And I will take cute shy smiles like these any day!  It was freezing cold out and we were all shivering but they were all troopers!

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Alexis Senior Photos

I'm a huge fan of my beautiful seniors I get the opportunity to photograph!  In the past I have limited how many seniors I take, and because of getting so many requests for this year, I've opened up more senior photo spots.  Now is the time to get yours booked!  Especially if you are graduating in 2019 and want Spring of Fall photos.  It's always a good idea to get them out of the way and done.  You won't regret it when you are filling out all those college papers and finishing up all your classes to graduate.  Let me help take that stress off of you!

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Emma Neilsen Family

These guys are so adorable!  Having three girls myself, I have a special place in my heart for other moms and dads with three little girls, and look at sweet these three are!  We had a lot of fun playing together on this shoot and playing games for giggles.  I love this sweet mama too!  She is always so kind, and I love her cute French accent!  Thanks for coming to play with me every year!  I love my repeat customers, which is why when I raise prices, I still give my families who have been with me year after year a great deal.  I love them, and I appreciate them.  YOU are who make this dream possible for me...to be able to record family memories for generations to come. 

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That shaking feeling you get in your chest before it bursts wide open and tears apart.

I went to post my blog posts today and I just couldn't get it done.  This morning on my family text thread we received a text from Jack my brother in law.  "Met with my oncologist this morning.  Besides the blood clot (in his lung), the CT scan showed growth in the abdominal wall cancer.  Also, new small cancer growth in the lungs and nearby lymph nodes.  I will start chemo next week.  I will also stay on blood thinners indefinitely." Jack has had stage 4 liver cancer he has been fighting for 2 years.   And more bloody noses then I'm sure he ever wanted to deal with in his life. The 5 year life expectancy for Stage 4 liver cancer once it spreads to other areas of the body is not good.  3%

We had thought it had been getting a little better.  We were of course hopeful.  There is no real cure for stage 4 liver cancer.  And the survival rate is not good.  But we tend to be a hopeful people and we believe in miracles.  Even after losing our precious Charlie to cancer a year ago, we are still hopeful and believers in miracles.  Some may call us crazy.  That's ok.  We have seen miracles happen before. Just not always the ones we expect or hope for.

Jack has been in my life - my whole life. He married my sister before I was even born.  He has always been a second father to me.  Someone I could go to with the hard questions, and someone who  always had amazing advice and a huge patient heart.  Oh man could he deal with grace during hard conversations.  I went to him in tears more times then I can count growing up, and always left uplifted and with direction.  He is just a part of me, just like my siblings, just like my mom, just like my dad.  I've known them all the same amount of time, fully immersed in my beginning. 

And I can't start crying because I know once it starts it's just not going to stop.  I feel that shaking in my chest.  The tight constriction, the shakiness that begins...right before it opens wide and everything comes out of you in one loud ground shaking sob.  Watching those you love suffer, and hurt, and go through day after day in pain, is so difficult.  

Look.  Jack is not one to act depressed in the open eye, or show much difficulty.  He lives on a lot of Faith and he works hard on staying upbeat.  But I'm pretty sure all this is taking it's toll on him.  He has constant bloody noses and a lot of pain that keeps him up some nights.  I can't even imagine all he goes through.  His life has been a devotion to his family.  He has worked, and even continued when his health is allowing him, to work to support his family.  It's a struggle most days.  Here is a little more about what he is going through and a way to help this wonderful family if you can.  Every little bit helps.  Cancer is expensive.  It takes it's toll in more then one way. https://www.youcaring.com/jack-mason-523566

Love you Jack.  Hang in there.

Utah Senior Photographer // Cameron Senior Photos // Salt Lake City

It's never too soon to book your Senior Photography Session!  I only take a limited number of seniors each year, so be sure to contact me to get on my calendar!  I love getting the chance to run around with my seniors and see the world through their eyes and capture what matters to them.

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Seth + Kylee Engagements// Logan Utah Engagements // Utah Weddings

These two love to laugh.  Their whole session was laughing and fun with little sweet moments in the middle of all that laughter.  They find so much joy being with one another....

Utah Birth Story//Brielle Birth Story// Brigham City

Her face went white as a sheet and she looked as if she was going to pass out.  The placenta was having a hard time coming out.  They laid her back, put oxygen on her and the room filled up with doctors and nurses everywhere...