Forster Family Session| Phoenix, Arizona

desert family session

To know and be known.

It’s a common saying when referring to community. All of us have a deep desire to live and love life with people who share our passions and beliefs. Our hopes and our dreams. The Forster Family session was one of those beautiful reminders of just how impactful community really is.

Without community, I would never have had the opportunity to meet this beautiful family. Sarah and I met in a photography Facebook group that’s just been one big cheering section.  We share in each other’s successes by seeing who can share the funniest GIF and encourage each other when we just don’t know how to handle certain situations.  The best part is the answers come from servant’s hearts.  They are people whose desire is to love and serve clients (that’s you!)  They’ve made me a better person, a better photographer and a better business owner.  I’ll forever be grateful for all of them!  Sarah is just a few months into her business, and oh MAN is she crazy good. Check out her IG here —> Sarah Forster Photography.

I think the pressure rises when you photograph a fellow photographer.  I’m usually the most nervous right before their sessions!  But Sarah, TJ and that little cutie Fitzgerald (Fitzgerald you guys…as if those eyes weren’t enough to melt your heart) were a dream.  I’m not just talking about their spot on styling and their pretty smiles.  That’s the part you get to see.  What I get to see behind the scenes sends this family session straight into the “dream zone”.

As a parent, and former teacher (that part of me will never go away), I love watching parents parent their children.  Throughout the entire session both Sarah and TJ were so very present with Fitzgerald.  At 20 months old, life can get rough, especially with a crazy lady waving a minion and little snake in front of her camera.  They were both so very patient and gave little Fitzgerald just what he needed, when he needed it.  Whether it was snuggling up with mom or watching Thomas the Train with dad (thank you modern technology), shouting and cheering when he sat down on a stool by himself (be still my  heart), it’s very evident that these are two very involved parents and he is one loved little boy.

Thank you Sarah and TJ for showing the world what it’s like to be loving parents.  For putting your kiddos first.  I know that it probably seems normal to you, but I promise your ordinary is someone else’s extraordinary.



The Fiske Family | Desert Botanical Gardens

Desert Botanical Garden Family Session

There’s more to this photo than our fancy pants and runway make-up.  There’s more to this photo than the Desert Botanical Garden cactus garden glowing at golden hour.


Ten years ago I would never in a million years (let alone, only ten) have pictured myself married to someone so tall, bald and handsome such as Ryan Fiske…because I was married to someone else.

I’ve never felt so compelled to share my story so publicly as I do now.  I’ve always known that it was an experience that was meant to be shared with others in order to bring hope to what feels like a completely empty and hopeless season.  Before I dive into details (which will be shared throughout a few different blog posts) I want to share with you that healing does come.  Joy is restored.  Hope is found.

We’ve had our family photos taken before, this wasn’t the first time by any means, but there was something about this session, that made everything sink in for me.  If I wouldn’t have walked that long broken road of divorce, this photo wouldn’t exist.  No Desert Botanical Garden location.  No Pink Blush dress.  No tall, bald and handsome husband who adores me.  No blonde haired, blue-eyed boys who keep me swimming in Legos and coffee.

As I was going through that season in my life, there was one chapter in Psalm that became my chapter.  I went back to it over and over again, I read, I underlined, I hid the words in my heart.  You know those times where there is a verse or a phrase that speaks to a season of life you’re in and it becomes your motto, your mission statement?  Well this was mine.

The Israelites were heading out of captivity from the Babylonians and were heading towards Zion.  They were in that in between stage where they could still feel the effects of the bondage they had just incurred but at the same time, could look ahead and for the first time they could see their promised land.

Psalm 126:

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
    we were like those who dreamed.
Our mouths were filled with laughter,
    our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
    and we are filled with joy.

Restore our fortunes, Lord,
    like streams in the Negev.
Those who sow with tears
    will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
    carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
    carrying sheaves with them.

I read this over and over again knowing full well that my tears of pain and sorrow would turn into tears of joy.  Slowly, people who watched me go through that time would comment and encourage me reminding me that God has done a mighty work in my life.

And now,

I can no longer just see my promise on the horizon.  I wake up next to him every morning.  I tuck them in bed every night.

No, these aren’t just family photos, they are a promise, fulfilled. 

Thank you Brenna Heater for our beautiful, priceless family session.

Desert Botanical Garden Family Session

Royal Palms Styled Shoot | Phoenix, Arizona

Royal Palms Styled Shoot

Even though the forecast said rain, I was pretty sure that it wouldn’t rain.  But as the vendors started to come, so did the drops of water.  Both the vendors and the staff at the Royal Palms helped us make a run for it and bring everything inside.  All the while, I kept reminding myself that it was going to turn out even better than I had expected.  While I had dreamed about the table in the middle of the Orange Grove, the salon complimented the style of the shoot perfectly.

The photographers who came were champs and produced amazing work despite the turn of events.  There were 16 photographers with 16 different styles.  Some were dark and moody while others were bright and airy but all of them were just perfect.  It’s one of the reasons I love styled shoots so much.  It’s a chance for you to learn from your peers and refine your skill in a controlled (ha, well somewhat controlled) environment.

The vendors we worked with were out of this world.

I love how Tara from The Confetti Studio started out just by simply collecting cake stands.  And now you can find her at the finest venues in Phoenix displaying her collection!
The girls from Prim have a selection of furniture that creates endless possibilities!  I can’t wait to use their pieces in my next shoot!
Heather from Sugar Lane Bakery is one talented little lady.  When she’s not making, baking and doing dishes, she teaches workshops and supports small shops!
Geri Pearson is extremely reliable and is so easy to work with.  I can’t tell you what a huge blessing it was having such gorgeous pieces from Chloe + Isabel!
Celebrity Tux and Tails made it all the way from Glendale to fit our groom.  Measurements over the phone just wouldn’t do.  The tux they provided for Jonathan was first class.
Brilliant Bridal treated us like we were brides ourselves.  They had dresses picked out upon our arrival and even had a play area for my boys to play in.  Kelsey was there the whole time during the shoot making sure the dress stayed in pristine condition!
Dortha from Set the Mood Floral  I don’t think there’s another way to describe it.  The lush florals were spot on.
And can we talk about Jenna Davis for a minute?  That Welcome sign?  One of my favorites!!  With the florals on top, I just about died.
Kaydee from Smoregasboard is probably the sweetest.  And no pun intended.  She and I met beforehand and she custom tailored her smores bar to fit the style of our shoot.  Who would have thought a smores bar could be so high end!
Stephanie from Decadent Macaron seriously makes some decadent macarons!  I may have even seen some cookie dough macarons coming up soon…but if you can’t wait until your next event to have her goods, then go get some at Sweetz Cold Brew in Gilbert.
Cristina Diaz did Janelle’s hair and make-up and she nailed the light and delicate look on her!  While she met us on site, she has her own salon in Gilbert!
Jonathan and Janelle were AMAZING models.  Their love and cuteness just radiated through the whole afternoon.
And Sari?  Well Sari is amazing.  No really.  I was probably crazy a few times.  But she let me be.  And then she’d ever so gently, bring me back around to reality.  When she’s not working on styled shoots, you can find her at the Elegant Barn.
Ashley Haxby was a great sounding board.  She gave ideas and opinions like nobodies business.  She’s a great decision maker and I was happy to have her in my corner the day of the shoot!

This list wouldn’t be complete without a huge cudos to the Royal Palms.  It’s by far one of my new favorite places.  Nestled at the base of Camelback Mountain in the heart of Arcadia, the hallways, venues and fountains create a little world all of it’s own that you’ll never want to leave.  I worked with Emily on this shoot and was absolutely amazing.  Because of the rain, she helped us secure a last minute venue in which the entire staff was extremely patient and accommodating.  The next time I go back, it will be to stay in one of their luxurious rooms and to dine at T. Cook’s.  If you’ve never been to the Royal Palms, add it to the top of your list.

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for making this shoot such a beautiful success!

This shoot was featured on Wedding Colors in March and will be on Borrowed and Blue in May!


Burgundy Styled Shoot – Phoenix, Arizona

Burgundy Styled Shoot

Happy New Year!

I don’t think that I can quite describe the butterflies I feel right now! I’m excited for what 2017 holds but man alive I’m nervous!  I spent all of 2016 focusing on laying a foundation to my business and this year I am continuing to build on it. Later this month, I’ll be launching a whole new Senior Collection designed around Senior Girls…which is giving me more butterflies than anything!

At the beginning of 2016, and even into the summer, I was too intimidated to attend a styled shoot. I remember having the conversation with Katrina Amburgey at my first Tuesday’s Together and of course she, the queen of styled shoots, asked me, “why?” At that point I was so intimidated to be around other photographers. One sniff and they’d know I was an imposter. She, of course, encouraged me to attend one, and even after I walked away, called after me to talk more about them. We stood there for another 20 minutes and she let me pick her brain about styled shoots and wedding day procedures. Katrina, you may not remember, but I won’t ever forget our conversation. It was a huge confidence booster and the first time I started to feel a part of a community.

I think it’s fitting that my first post for 2017 is this styled shoot that I attended at the end of 2016. It’s a reminder to me where I’ve been, where I’ve come and that it can only get better from here. You can’t expect to pick up a camera and get it right the first time. It takes investing in time, education, community and yes, even gear.  What was amazing was that I was surrounded by 15 other photographers and we all saw the shot differently. Everyone positioned the models differently, used different lenses and stood at different angles. The same couple, the same background yet the outcome was endless.

If you’re just starting out in photography or feeling a little discouraged, my one piece of advice to you would be to remember that you have a God given talent that is yours and no one else’s. You have your own set of eyes, your own set of ears. Your pictures will not look like theirs, they will look like yours.



Event Coordinator- Samantha Turman

Wedding dress- Ivory Row Bridal

Table- Scottsdale Farm Tables

Floral- Karen’s Kouture

Stationaries- Lolalee Invitations

Cake- Suzy B’z homemade goodies

Hair- Carissa Mott

Makeup- Rosie Reed

Jewelry- Geri’s Gems – A Chloe + Isabel Boutique

Tux- Celebrity Tux & Tails