I was thinking the other day about how families often get together only a few times a year and how hard it is to coordinate to get family portraits. Then I was thinking, what if I offered a special that gave families the opportunity to have some family portraits during one of those few times they are together?  Like for Thanksgiving?  And then I remembered Black Friday.  Perfect for a day of mini sessions!

So, this Black Friday, in the midst of leftover turkey, pumpkin pie, and intermittent naps, take advantage of the precious time and put it into photographs!  This deal applies to EVERY session type!

Book your spot now!  ::  ::  563.299.8228  ::

::Sessions will be in the Iowa City/Muscatine/Wilton area::


It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Looking for some fun and unique Christmas cards?  Did you know that you can create Christmas cards through your photo album on my website?  Check it out, it’s pretty neat!

Want a last minute mini-shoot for Christmas cards?  Give us a call and inquire about our mini-shoots!

An apology, and a promise

Dear friends.

Well, it’s embarrassing to see that my most recent blog post was in March, but on the flip side, it is also a reminder of how blessed I’ve been with work and other wonderful life experiences keeping me busy!

Here are a few examples:

1. I got engaged in April and we set the date for October 9, 2011 [yes, 3 weeks from yesterday : )] (You will notice on the new business cards and email signature my MARRIED name!!)

2. I’ve been busy with weddings, engagements and other various sessions.

3. I hired the wonderful Haleigh Steere to redesign my logo and branding (this will be a bit of an on-going process for a while, so bear with me!)

4. I attended my very first trade show; The Preferred Bridal Show in Tiffin, IA.

And those are just to name a few!  I am incredibly excited to see where Expressions Photography goes and am even more excited to be able to devote more time to keeping up with YOU!

In light of all this, I want to make a promise.  I promise that I will get better at blogging.  It has been necessary that it be on the back burner for a while, but I fully intend to make it a part of my routine as a photographer.  This also means there will be quite a few posts that will be coming in spurts in an effort to catch up!

I appreciate your forgiveness and continued support!

A Word of Advice :: How to Be a Maid of Honor

It’s one thing to be a friend, another thing to be a sister, but fulfilling the expectations of a maid of honor takes the title of kindred spirit to a whole new level.  Every little girl dreams of her wedding day but rarely does she dream of all the time and exhaustion that comes with it.  The following tips will help to minimize stress for both the bride and yourself, while creating positive memories along the way.


The man of her dreams has just proposed to her.  At this point you may or may not know if you are the maid of honor, but you do know that she’s your close friend.  She’s glowing and reveling in her new title of “fiancé.”  This is your opportunity to be by her side and share in her excitement.  Throw her a party, gawk at her ring; bring her magazines to peruse and chick flicks to watch.  Be excited!  No one wants to have a killjoy for a friend, much less for a maid of honor.

Get organized.

One of the most overlooked, yet most important parts of planning a wedding is taking the time to get organized right away.  Buy the bride a binder.  Create an easy-to-use system with sections and labels.  It may not seem that important at first, but you will find it will save you hours of frustration if you just take care of it right off the bat.

Talk Responsibilities.

To save yourself and the bride from awkward moments down the road, ask what her expectations are for you.  It’s possible that she may not need you to be by her side at all times, but you should be prepared to dedicate as much time as she needs.  Some things that the typical maid of honor is responsible for include:

-Organizing Bridal Showers
-Organizing the Bachelorette Party
-Helping shop for the dress
-Helping create, stuff or address Save the Dates and Invitations

Every bride is different, so never assume the answer, always ask.

Be Accessible.

With the way we keep our cell phones close by at all times, this may seem superfluous, but throughout the months before the big day it is essential for the bride to have quick and direct access to you, your support and your opinions at all times.  This is especially important the week and day of the wedding to ensure a relaxed and enjoyable experience.

Honor the Groom and Mother of the Bride.

Despite what the movies depict, not every groom is void of opinions when it comes to the wedding day.  After all, it is his wedding too!  Give the groom the opportunity to be involved and to help make decisions.  If he’s not interested, at least you have respected him by asking.  The same goes for the mother of the bride.  Give her a quick phone call early on to make sure that you don’t overstep any boundaries.  This is her little girl and she will likely want to be involved as well.

Be Selfless: Don’t add the zilla to bride.

The bride has asked you to bring your relationship to a new level.  She has hundreds of details to keep track of and hundreds of decisions to make.  Your job is to make her day as stress-free and smooth as possible.  This is her wedding; so as you help her plan, remember that it doesn’t matter if you don’t like her colors or if the bridesmaid dress makes you look fat.  What matters is that she looks beautiful and that she has the experience of a lifetime.  It will almost certainly drive her crazy if you make everything about you and disregard her desires and feelings.  She is honoring your friendship by including you in this way, so honor her by forgetting yourself and focusing on her.

Learn Her Style.

It’s likely that as the bride’s close friend you already know her wardrobe and her stylistic choices and this is your chance to utilize that information.  Keep her past decisions and preferences in mind as you help look for dresses, decorations, etc.  As you do this try not to take it personally when she rejects ideas.  It’s not worth your time to let your feelings get hurt.  It can’t be said enough: It is, after all, her wedding.

Be Honest.

The bride has asked you to follow closely with her as she plans one of the most important days of her life.  There are some times when a woman just needs to know the truth about how a dress makes her look.  You, as her friend are the only one in that moment who can tell her the truth in love.  So as painful as it may be, it’s your responsibility to tactfully do so.

Save Up.

Surprise! The title maid of honor costs money!  Rarely does one anticipate emptying their savings to be a maid of honor, but if you’re not careful, you might.  As with everything, there are great ways to be frugal and still create a great party, but you also don’t want to skimp on your friend.
Some costs you can expect:

-Bridal Shower/Bachelorette Party invitations
-Bridal Shower/Bachelorette Party decorations
-Bridal Shower/Bachelorette Party favors
-Bridal Shower/Bachelorette Party gift for the Bride
-Bridal Shower refreshments
-Bridesmaid dress, shoes, and accessories

Don’t be afraid to ask for help from the other bridesmaids and friends.  Often times everyone will pay for her own meal/drinks if you go out for the bachelorette party.  Chances are you’ll find plenty of people who would love to pitch in for additional costs and it doesn’t hurt to ask!


Even though responsibilities are delegated to you from the bride, there may be so many that you, too, have to delegate to the other bridesmaids or family members.  As was stated above, there are often plenty of friends and family members who would love to help out.  Part of eliminating stress for the bride involves eliminating stress for yourself.  It’s not selfish; it’s just plain smart.

Pay Attention to Detail.

Possibly the most intimidating factor of planning a wedding is the tremendous amount of details to cover.  Keep track of everything.  Utilize the organization you set in place at the beginning throughout the entire process.  Think Santa Claus; keep your list and check it twice.

Be Considerate.

It is your duty as maid of honor to plan the bride’s bachelorette party.  This topic could be its own “how-to article,” but for now following these general guidelines will give you a great start!  The bachelorette party could either be a fantastic success or an epic disaster.  Whatever you do, don’t overwhelm her with embarrassment.  As with everything, every bride is different but you know her limits and you should keep to them.  Don’t add to the hundreds of horror stories marked by disastrous embarrassment, but at the same time make sure it’s a good time!  Once you have decided how crazy or conservative the bride is, browse the Internet, talk to experienced friends and get creative with your ideas!  Here are just a few unique bachelorette party ideas: Paint your own pottery, Pick apples in an orchard and make caramel apples, Pick and carve pumpkins, Take the bride shopping for lingerie, or have a scavenger hunt.  Not every bachelorette party has to have a male stripper or the lame game where you dress the bride up in a toilet paper wedding gown.  The alternative options are endless.

Have Fun.

You may be feeling slightly overwhelmed at this point, but be encouraged!  If you stay organized and follow these guidelines you are much more likely to have fun along the way.  Remind yourself (and the bride!) to take a deep breath every once in a while.  Remember, there’s a reason she picked you; you are the only one she could imagine sharing this experience with, so take it all in and have a good time!

Calling all Seniors!

Schedule your senior portrait session now for the summer!  And just to help you out, for every referral that follows through by your recommendation, you’ll get $10 off your senior portrait package!  So tell your friends! : )

:: To schedule your session :: email :: call 563.299.8228 ::

Spring Break Sweetness :: Preview

Travis & Sarah :: Wedding

Michael & Lissa :: Engagement

Valentine’s Day :: Iowa City Photography



My Story :: Iowa City Photographer

The following essay describes my journey to becoming a photographer in fast motion.  There are plenty of happenings and details that didn’t fit for the 500 words I was allowed for this assignment, but I wanted to share it with you regardless. Also, here is a photo from my early years, just to get us in the reminiscent mood. : )

Take a step back with me to the summer after 5th grade.  It was one of those days when moms tell their children they have to go outside, either because they truly feel their children shouldn’t waste a beautiful day, or because they need a break from the destruction of the house.  My friend, Kate, was over to “play.”  The term “play” always intrigued me at that age.  I remember feeling like I was too old to do such childish things as “play,” so we found something better to do.  What could be better than putting on our coolest outfits, which are laughable now, and taking photos of each other in cheesy poses, typically involving trees?

Now step forward a bit to a high school track meet.  Can you smell the greasy hot dogs and hear the cheers of high school girls hoping for the glance of that cute boy?  I’m on the yearbook and newspaper staff as a photographer, so I carry the camera around with feelings of responsibility and hopes for that photo.  The boys are running shuttle hurdles, and I take my position, ready to capture the sweat, the strain, and most importantly…the muscle.  As I pan alongside the runners, my insides squeal with excitement and I know I got it.  I got the photo composing the class stud in mid air with blurring lines surrounding his body.  Feelings of accomplishment ensue and I love the feeling.

Step forward another year to the noisy newsroom of a college student newspaper.  Students are holding cameras bigger than my face, discussing proper AP style and quite frankly, intimidating every inch of my being.  I walk up to the photo desk where I am to meet the editor who will train me, on the spot, how to use a digital camera on manual.  He draws some diagrams and talks gibberish about things like aperture and depth of field and my head spins while I try to follow.  All I know at this point is it sounds great to get paid to take photos.

One year later I am holding a Canon Professional Series camera of my own, sitting in the same chair that editor sat in, giving some tips to a new photographer who is likely as lost as I was one year prior.  I am one of two photo editors on the staff, wondering where the past year encompassing thousands of photos went while finding my way through the world of Photoshop.

A couple months later I am all of a sudden booking portrait sessions and creating a website and blog to get my new business, Expressions Photography off the ground.  I shoot several weddings, families and seniors, all the while making money, making mistakes and learning more about small businesses than I’d ever imagined.

Jumping forward to the present day, I am now a junior in college, looking on with wide eyes at a future filled with photography.  How surreal it is, yet also a privilege to be pursuing, at full-speed, a career doing something that brings me, and those I work with such joy.

It’s like it was meant to be.

Tony & Danielle :: Iowa City Engagement Photography

Danielle is a friend of mine from high school.  We were choir buddies, we complained about homework in seminar together and gave each other nicknames such as “Dandelion” and “Valamo.”  Needless to say, we have plenty of memories (probably most of them embarrassing), so when I learned that she was engaged I was at first, excited for her, second, having a “wow we’re growing up” moment, and third, excited to get them in front of my camera.

Tony, although seemingly shy at first, quickly became an endearing subject.  He was willing to do anything and it brought me great joy to see him look at my friend with the kind of affection that makes your heart smile.

Danielle was the perfect model.  I kept exclaiming how I didn’t need to tell her what to do, she just stood there and would look natural and beautiful.  The perfect subject. : )

See what I mean about natural and beautiful?

I love that Danielle is smiling in this…so wonderful : )

This photo instantly became my favorite from the day, and one of my favorites ever.  There’s just something about it…


Tony and Danielle- It was a joy to reunite with an old friend and to get a glimpse into the life of love you have ahead!

Andrew & Katelynn :: Ames Wedding Photography

Oh how I have been looking forward to sharing this wedding with you!  So much beauty, so much sunshine, and so much love!  It was a perfect way to finish the season and a perfect day for Andrew and Katelynn to start their life together.

I absolutely love how the light grazes the dress here.

The lovely bride.

I love this.  Happiness and Romance.

So stinkin’ cute.


Such a beautiful first dance basking in the delicious sunlight.

Simply succulent.

The pathway to the dance floor was quite a sight.

Andrew & Katelynn- it was a joy to capture your beautifully romantic day.  I pray that your marriage is blessed with the same romance and bliss forever!