Indianapolis

Hayley & Zach | Newfields and Holliday Park Engagement Session

I first met Hayley and Zach at a bridal show earlier this year. It wasn’t hard to forget them initially since Zach is so tall and Hayley has the most gorgeous hair and smile, but after meeting them for coffee at Provider to talk about wedding photography, I quickly realized they were one of those couples who are just kind and authentic from the get-go. They make you feel seen when you are talking with them, they are thoughtful, and they are so genuine. When they decided to book me for their October wedding, I was overjoyed and so excited! I love working with people so much, and especially such kind and loving folks like Hayley and Zach.

For their engagement session, we met on a bright and slightly chilly spring day at Newfields, where the blooms were in full beauty and Indiana was showing off. I threw on music as always to help us all relax, and Zach, nervous at first, quickly warmed up and got comfortable getting photos taken, while sweet Hayley laughed and drew him into tight hugs and smiled up at him. Guys, this couple is amazing! We ended our session at Holliday Park, chasing some sunlight and talking about life, what they like to do for dates, and how beer is harder to drink than whiskey sometimes. :)

I’m so incredibly honored that I get to document their wedding this fall. I just know it’s going to be amazing because of these two!

Enjoy some of my favorite shots from their engagement session below.

xo

Emilee & Jeff | Vision Loft Events | Downtown Indianapolis Wedding

Emilee and Jeff got married on a beautiful spring day back in April. They were one of the sweetest couples I got to meet with, and when they asked me to photograph their wedding, I was thrilled! They said their vows in the church they attend, surrounded by their family and friends. Then we headed downtown Indy to the beautiful Vision Loft Events for their photos and reception.

With one of the largest and coolest bridal parties I’ve ever shot - (26 amazing people!), I had a blast taking photos and watching their party celebrate them so well. Just before Emilee and Jeff were announced into their reception, we took a few photos on Mass Ave. and against the lovely backdrops all around their venue.

The party was a PARTY! Their friends and family danced and ate along with them, toasted and celebrated them, and it was obvious how much their guests meant to them, as they intentionally made time to visit with everyone. I was able to sneak them away for a few minutes to catch some golden hour shots of just the two of them, and they ended their night with a beautiful sparkler send-off.

Weddings are so incredibly special, and it’s amazing to watch two people surrounded by so much love and celebration on their big day. Congratulations, Emilee and Jeff!!

Scroll down to see some of my favorite shots from their day.

xo

Vendors

Church: Indy Church of Christ

Venue: Vision Loft Events

Photo Booth: Affordabooth

Catering: Indy Fresh

Lead Coordinator: Jillian Patterson

Florals, Decoration and Design Install/Setup/Consulting: Kassie Dyes

DJ: Jasmine Shirley

Cake: Sarah Tomlinson

Brynn & Spencer | Indianapolis Engagement Session | Newfields

Ok, so let me just start by saying that Instagram can be such a wonderful way to connect. I met Brynn online through an Instagram giveaway I did last year. She won free coffee on me, and after some mishaps getting the dang Starbucks gift certificate to show up in her inbox, we started connecting a bit through my posts and DMs. :)

Late last year, Brynn reached out that she had become engaged to her sweetheart, Spencer, and they wanted to work with me for their wedding! I was so thrilled, especially since I kind of, sort of, a lil’ bit knew her! :) They wanted to have their engagement session in February, and I scouted out a couple spots for us to meet to help them create the session that reflected them.

We met up first at General American Donut Company (one of my favorite local spots for donuts!) and we grabbed coffee and donuts while we chatted about their wedding in August, how they met, and the kinds of things they love to do. (They’re both current students, so basically studying takes up a lot of time for them. But who better to study with than your bae?!) After shooting there for a bit and an outfit change, we headed on over to Newfields for some outdoor photos. This was one day Indiana really came through, and we had a gorgeous mid-50s, sunny day complete with some snow still laying around on the ground. It was perfect!

Brynn and Spencer were SO fun to work with - easygoing, easy to laugh, lots of affection, and so comfortable with one another. I was so honored they chose me to be their wedding photographer, and I cannot wait for their wedding this summer! Enjoy some of my favorite moments from their engagement session below.

xo

A Moody, Relaxed Styled Elopement | The Ripple Retreat, Indianapolis

Today I’m thrilled to finally be sharing the styled elopement shoot I hosted and photographed a couple months ago. I had a vision to create a moody, relaxed, and laid back intimate wedding/elopement styled shoot and found some wildly talented local creatives to partner with for this shoot.

I seek to serve laid back couples who are looking for authentic and meaningful images to capture their unique day, so when I was putting this session together, I purposely looked for ways to make it feel simple, down to earth, and with lots of meaningful touches.

I found the perfect venue and contacted the owners of The Ripple Retreat, a local Sobro Airbnb which is darling. Rebecca, the host, lives nearby and was quick to help and easy to communicate with for our time at her space. The house felt so calm, simple, and inviting, with beautiful touches of color and natural design elements throughout. (I’m trying to block a time off for my husband and I to stay there sometime for a stay-cation!)

My models are some good friends of ours, who were so down for getting some styled wedding shots, and the bride wore her original dress and the rings were the ones they gave each other on their wedding day. How sweet is that! I wanted to work with a couple so that I could get some real connection between them. Eva and Jeffrey were so wonderful to work with! Fun fact: they run a screen printing business called The Wandering Press, and do live event printing!

The bride’s makeup was done so beautifully by Diana of Simply Blue, who is so kind and is incredibly talented at what she does. Hair, the gorgeous hair, was done by Martha of Vow Artistry, who worked alongside Diana and created exactly the look I was hoping for.

Ok the earrings. You guys, these earrings are some of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. Designed custom for the shoot and hand-crafted by Sarah of Chival Jewelry, these pieces stood out so beautifully. Sarah spends hours on each of her creations, and also makes them with love for each person who wears them.

I knew I wanted something unique for the florals, and luckily I was able to find Shila of Wild Clover Floral, who has a passion for creating one-of-a-kind florals. She took my general ideas and ran with them in the most amazing way, creating an installation for the shoot, along with gorgeous bridal florals. She also styled the florals for the table, complete with beautiful candle holders done with greens and water - something I have not seen and am obsessed with now!

I reached out to Kaitlyn DeSpain, a local artist who created not only the stunning invitation suite with a unique design and a piece of art in and of itself, but also supplied a hand-carved stamped tapestry she created with inspired floral prints. The colors fit so well with my vision, and her work is seriously so unique and amazing.

The cake - you guys this cake was everything I’d hoped it would be. Bri Haarer, who bakes as a side hustle was kind enough to make a naked cake for the session, with lemon and berry touches. It brought in such a simple, yet elegant touch to the table as our centerpiece.

The most beautiful thing about this session is all the amazing folks who came together with their creative passions to make this thing happen. I’m all about #communityovercompetition and one of the coolest things is seeing others live out the things that make their hearts light up. The vision I had for this shoot fell together so perfectly, and I feel so fortunate I was able to capture the beauty manifested from the minds of wildly talented humans.

Enjoy the images below, and please go check out all of the artists and makers who participated!! xo

Makeup: Diana, Simply Blue

Hair: Martha, Vow Artistry

Earrings: Sarah, Chival Jewelry

Venue: The Ripple Retreat, Sobro

Invitation Suite and Table linen: Kaitlyn DeSpain

Florals: Shila, Wild Clover Floral

Cake: Bri Haarer

Photography: Leah Rife Photo

Motherhood Series Wrap Up

When I decided to work on a personal project at the beginning of this year, I knew I wanted to work with mothers. I wanted to hear their unique stories, take photos of them in their own spaces, and share their beautiful stories with others.

This project has been nothing short of amazing to be a part of. It has changed my perspective, and I hope it's helped change the perspective of my readers as well. Motherhood looks as different as each mother, and the stories are endlessly unique and beautiful. I believe that sharing different perspectives can help tear down assumptions, judgements, and break down molds of "shoulds" and "normal" because every person is different and every story of motherhood is different. I also believe listening to another perspective can help foster empathy, draw lines of connection, and help one realize that we are all humans and all in this together. The more we are present and connect with others who are not like us, I think the more beautiful this world will be.

I reached out and asked for a few mamas to interview, and I was blown away with the response I got. Ten beautiful mamas participated in this project, and I have had ten amazing experiences. I can't thank them enough for opening their homes and lives for an hour so I could peek in and listen. Friends, this sort of work is so beautiful and sacred to me. The "everyday" and the "ordinary" are so incredibly beautiful.

I couldn't think of a better way to wrap up this series than picking some of my favorite answers to the questions I asked each woman. So with that, I'll share some of the answers that stood out to me from each mama. Thank you for following along with this series and this journey. I hope it's touched you in one way or another.

xo

Hannah

 

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Tell me one thing you love about yourself as a mother?

“I feel like I’m very passionate and I have a lot of compassion.  I feel like, for the most part, I’m not quick to anger. I try and work through things many, many times with my boys just trying to take the moment and really help them learn from it, and not yell and send them to their room. Although that happens too some days. But just trying to really, maybe the better word is have empathy, and just kind of get in their shoes and try and see things from their perspective and take that step back. And be the all-giving mother - to step back and not yell.”

 

Lindsey

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What’s something you wish all mothers would truly take to heart?

“When I make a new friend, I want them to come over when my house is messy. If we’re going to be good friends, then my house is going to messy. We always think that every mom is judging us for everything we do or say, but in all reality, they’re not. I mean, our kids are alive, and they’re happy, like I said before.”

 

Katie

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What is the best piece of advice you have ever gotten about being a mother?

“So I consider Glennon Doyle to be my spiritual mentor. I just love everything about her and what she has to say. She is just it in life. And one of the things she talks about is her response when she found out that her husband had been cheating on her their entire marriage. She was obviously devastated initially, and then her next thought was to worry about her kids. Ultimately, she said she viewed that as an opportunity to help her children walk through the fire, and how in life, they’re going to go through fire-like situations, and that will continue happening for the rest of their existence on this earth. She said that any time her children feel like they need to step out, she’s tells them to get their asses in the fire and that she’s going to step in there with them and help them get to the other side. She said that if we don’t teach our kids how to go through tough stuff, we’re going to help them grow up to be incomplete people.

Her words helped me to invite my child into the fire with me and to teach him that we don’t shy away from life’s problems. I’m trying to teach him that we hit problems head on, together.”

 

Kristin

 

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What's something you wish all mothers would truly take to heart?

“I’m a big fan Brené Brown. I found out she is a Texan too, so that made my heart a little bit happier. So I was a reading one of her books and she said we’re just all trying to do the best we can. And I feel like that should be the motherhood anthem: don’t judge and everybody is just trying to do the best that they can. Every time I find myself judging myself, I think of that. Just try to do the best that you can because you’re a hot mess too.” 

 

Erma

 

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How do you describe #thisismotherhood in your own words?

“It’s a beautiful, beautiful life. It’s all-consuming. It’s heart-wrenching. It’s exhausting, and it’s challenging. And yet, at the end of the day, I wouldn’t want to do anything else.”

 

Colleen

 

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What’s something you wish all mothers would truly take to heart?

“I think that it’s ok to take a break, and to have a messy house. Something I struggled with when I first started staying at home was thinking that it’s ok to still have a weekend. I felt like I needed to be doing something all the time. It’s important still to stop and be ok with not doing anything, and trying not to feel guilty about that. I think slowing down and knowing things only last for a certain amount of time, both the good and the challenging.”

 

Erin

 

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What makes motherhood beautiful to you?

“I love being the center of their world. Being needed is nice. Like when they fall and they come running to you to make it better - there’s no greater feeling than that. And as they get older, watching them master things they’ve worked really hard for, just the pride that rises in you is so unexplainable. But they’re my world.”

Pris

 

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What’s something you wish all mothers would truly take to heart?

“ I think maybe self-love as a mom after kids. I think that’s kind of a topic that gets brushed under the rug based on expectations of how we expect to be perfect and bounce right back after having kids. And I was never real thin to begin with so for me it’s not as big of a deal, but I think just loving your body afterwards is so important. Because you’re going to teach your kids that. I’m big on that. I’m big on ‘It’s ok that mommy has cellulite and stretch marks, and it’s ok. This is your wonderful mama, and hopefully one day you’ll love a woman and you’ll love her for whatever shape she is.’ I’m not going to engrain in my kids that women shouldn’t look this way.” 

 

Cynthia

 

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How do you describe #thisismotherhood in your own words?

"The good, the bad, and the ugly. I’m not sure those are my own words, but it’s relevant. It’s not just those picture perfect moments, but it’s also not just the bad stuff. It’s the messes, it’s the tired, it’s the beautiful, it’s the when things go right, it’s when you’re kid has been having an attitude all day and that night tells you he loves you. It’s all of that."

 

Sharon

 

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What is one of the things you love most about being a mother?

“I love seeing the world through my daughter’s eyes. I love seeing the wonder in her eyes and seeing how she sees things at face value. She doesn’t have the background or hate of anything bad in the world. She sees everything for good, and I love that about her. And I love that seeing that in her reminds me that there is so much good in the world.”

 

Thank you so much to all these amazing women! If you would like to check out their stories, you can find them each here.

HannahLindseyKatieKristin  ErmaColleenErinPrisCynthia, & Sharon.