Ashley + Brandt | Arizona Engagement Session

arizona engagement session

Well it wasn’t too surprising how fun it would be to photograph these two for their engagement session. Ashley’s parents here in Arizona are some of our very best friends. My husband and her dad are a bundle of non-stop giggles when they are together. Yes. Giggles. Did you know two mature grown men could giggle? If you know Jim and Ryan you know this all to be too true.



Her parents are the ones we call when our fridge breaks. They call us when they need an iron. She calls me when she needs something photographed for her blog, My Plant Based Family.

And on the days where we just need coffee….we have each other’s backs.

The moral of the story, Holly and Jim are life-long friends. 

On our way to our session as Ashley and Brandt were telling me how they met and what life is like in the U.P. of the great state of Michigan, Ashley mentioned her job.  At Starbucks.

Holy cow…did you hear the angels singing?  Me too.

I’m almost 99% sure that Starbucks is the sixth love language.  At least, I know it’s mine.  You’re having a bad day?  I bring you Starbucks.  You want to make my day?  Bring me Starbucks.  I’ll be your best friend forever.  (Currently I drink an iced coffee, extra ice, no cane syrup, with cream and raw sugar…I’m just throwing that out there).

Ashley has worked at Starbucks for a year and a half!  And while Brandt is a coffee connoisseur now, he only stepped foot into Starbucks for the very first time right before they started dating.

And now, he’s hooked on those caramel frappucinos (who isn’t)!  But his addiction did come with time.  When he walked in for the very first time, it was to see her at work.  He said when he walked in, he saw her face light up when she saw him.  At that point, all he could think about was how she looked at him and couldn’t concentrate on ordering anything but black coffee.

That’s it? She said.  Black?  Oh come on.  Really?

Really. That’s how I like it.  (In his defense, he says that the bitterness of black coffee is the only way to wake a man up in the morning…also, he couldn’t think of anything else but her).

I think it was all over at that point.  For both of them.

Thinking about that moment, him walking in, her standing at the counter, all dressed in Starbucks green smiling away, melts me.  Not because I’m a loyal fan of Starbucks, but because I’m a fan of these two.

Brandt and Ashley,

I know since it came up in our conversation, that neither of you will ever forget your Starbucks moment and I hope you don’t!  I hope that you’ll have those moments every single time you see each other.  I hope that when life is hard, for better or worse, that memory will be the forefront of all the rest.

I keep looking at these pictures, seeing the arching trees and the two of you standing underneath them and I can’t help but see God’s banner of love over you.  I pray that no matter where you go or what you do, that the world will see it.  They will see there’s something different about the two of you.  They’ll long to know the kind of love the two of you share and I know that because of it, you will be a blessing to everyone you meet.  Because you were to me.





Wanna see another engagement session? Check out Jodi and Steve’s engagement session!

Salt River Engagement Session

As soon as we scheduled this session at the Salt River I started praying that we would see the wild horses.  If you’ve never been to the Salt River before, I advise you to put your devices down, unplug and go.  What you will find will take your breath away.  This was my first time going “down to the river” (aside from 1 float trip) since I moved to Arizona in 2003.  That’s 12 years I went without having this experience as a part of my life, and it was 12 years too many.  Before Power Road starts gradually winding down, it comes to a peak between two small mountains, right near the dam and my response is the same every single time.  God.  You.  Are.  Good.  To see the rolling dessert, majestic purple mountains and the winding river spread in front of me is a reminder of the goodness of God.  Of His grace and mercy.  That even when we’re in the desert, there is beauty to be found.  And it’s indescribable.

Shane and Jinnae’s session was the very definition of perfect.  We caught the sun at just the right time, the location wasn’t crowded and the horses were right there waiting for us, just as I had prayed!  We hiked up and down the river bank through narrow paths, dodging tree branches, anxiously waiting the time that the sun set gently behind Red Mountain.  And then, as if on cue, the desert lit up.  Purples, pinks, greens.  Even gray sparkles in the desert at dusk.

Shane and Jinnae, I couldn’t be happier for you!  I’m so honored to be a part of your day.  I love your story how you were dancing partners first and your love for each other has since grown into a lifelong friendship and commitment to one another.  I pray that God blesses you two in countless ways.  Cherish these days as you’re counting down to the!