I got to spend some time with this beauty and an amazing team including Rebecca Rose Events to create an editorial shoot recently, and though we can’t share much until it’s published – I thought I’d include a little teaser and let you know it was worth the hike.
There are times when I find myself in deep caverns, on the edge of cliffs, the top of mountains shooting models or brides, tight embraces of lovers as wind blows and romance fills the air. Those times are thrilling and fulfilling as an artist to be sure, but I see just as much beauty, intimacy and significance in images like this:
Getting the honor of photographing day 6 of little Ada Pearl’s first week in this world was so inspiring. Her amazing parents AJ and Kyle (the fabulously duo behind AJ Dunlap Photography) were in their element as new parents – such a beautiful thing to see! Getting to capture their sweet family during this precious time was an absolute joy and ohhhhh does it only add to my baby fever. I mean, look at how positively stunning their new daughter is!
I can’t say what a wonderful privilege it is when I’m asked to photograph other photographers, especially one as amazing as this gal. Michelle Lyerly and I met years ago when I had just shot my very first wedding. From that day to now, we’ve both grown so much, but I can truly say she was as sincere and lovely every step of the way as she was when she first said “Hello.”
When I showed up to Michelle’s house to head to the shoot it was in a beautiful state of chaos that I can only hope to attain as my husband and I welcome our baby girl this Winter. We planned the shoot for Michelle and her husband Christopher to get some images together, and take a few quiet moments as husband and wife (instead of just Mom and Dad) on a summer Sunday evening. As I walked in her home, her precious family was bustling about a house filled to the absolute brim with love and passion and finger paintings and wild flowers. I don’t quite know yet what was the bigger privilege – getting to shoot this lovely lady and her husband (and little girls!) or getting a glimpse into their amazing, beautiful lives as a family that evening.
Once we got in time with Michelle and Christopher together, we could not resist bringing in their sweet (and patient) little girls Daisy and June for some shots. I could have spent all day with this inspiring little crew!
…and as a a 5.5 month pregnant momma-to-be, I just could not RESIST how adorable my sweet hubby Shawn was holding little June during this shoot (and loading film simultaneously, mind you!) while I photographed Michelle and Christopher on their own. I mean …. THIS made my heart melt in every way. Can’t wait to see him with our little girl some day soon!!!
Samantha and Ben were so open and warm in how they embraced not only each other, but their families and friends who gathered on a beautiful mountaintop town in Virginia for their wedding day. The weather had forecasted for rain, but those clouds held off and gave us one of the prettiest days I’ve seen, a light breeze and sense of pure joy glided down the hills for this Virginia Mountain wedding. Wedding days like this are what they’re meant to be.
You only come across people like Brittany and Jared rarely in life; those individuals who decide to change things, decide to pack up a life they know and go on a real, honest to God, adventure. When they first told me their story, it hit my in the heart. It’s a hard thing to do to change things up, to quit something, to go for something new and choosing to actually go for it, is possibly the hardest step. After deciding to break free from the life they were living in Virginia, “making just enough money to pay for food to eat and gas to get to work” they quit their jobs, packed up Brittany’s car and the next day, drove away into the distance headed West.
These two set out to explore and experience, heading as far West as they could with just under $1000 between them. After Jared asked Brittany to elope, they tied the knot along the way in Santa Fe at the magistrate and Brittany explains “it was like we were finally free to make whatever life we wanted. We didn’t have to go back. It felt crazy, but at the same time it made more sense to me than anything else. We were finally free.”
After a long and beautiful story, they finally made it to the Oregon Coast together settling in Bandon where they found jobs working at the Lake Bradley Christian Camp. Shortly after, I was put into contact with these two via Jared’s brother Josh when I was looking for couples in the Pacific Northwest, and after realizing they didn’t have much as far as actually wedding photographs went, we put plans into motion to provide an experience that might compliment their wedding day at the magistrate. Along with an absolutely amazing team of creatives (A & B Creative styling, Twigss Floral and Nikol Elaine with hair and make-up) we all traveled to Northern California near the heart of the redwoods to capture and create that sense of adventure that these two seemed to live and breathe.
To help give this inspiring couple an even further emotional connection to their California elopement session, they wrote personal letters (which were then beautifully hand-written by Mon Voir) to each other and on the edge of a cliff, and with the Pacific Ocean below, in the whirling wind they exchanged vows and promises to each other that they’ll keep for the next 80 years. There’s something so real and powerful about that, and being able to stand with them and capture it was surely one of the highlights of my experiences as a photographer thus far.
Beyond their cliffside vows, we also headed deep into the ancient redwood forest nearby, and the setting along with this sweet couple took my breath away. The truly beautiful wedding gown by Sarah Seven and vintage motorcycle owned by Stefan and Becky Fisher added a sense of whimsey to the entire experience – I was half tempted to hop on and ride off with them!
More to come from our time with Brittany and Jared on the foggy black sand beaches of the Lost Coast!
An undeniably huge thank you to the phenomenal team that came together to make this California elopement session possible:
Styling/Design: Rebekah at A&B Creative
Floral: Addison at Twigss Floral Design
Hair & Makeup: Nikol Elaine
Dress: Sarah Seven
Calligraphy: Jenna at Mon Voir
Motorcycle: Stefan and Becky Fisher
Couple: Brittany & Jared Etheridge
Photography: Perry Vaile Photography
Redwood elopement, redwood portraits, California elopement session, Perry Vaile Photography, A&B Creative design and styling, Twigss Floral Design, Nikol Elaine makeup, Nikol Elaine hair, Sarah Seven dress, Mon Voir calligraphy,