I could write volumes about the highs (trips, time with family, creative pursuits...) and lows (basically any and everything having to do with our ridiculous current presidential administration) of this year, but instead I'll just leave you with these: some of my favorite images from some of my favorite shoots and adventures over the course of 2017.
"Andy is truly one of the most enrapturing people I have ever met - smart, beautiful, confident, and intriguing. She slayed during this Gucci-inspired shoot, which she also envisioned, planned, and orchestrated. Obvs."Read More
"I could tell you Amanda's story with words - how she's the incredible curator, stylist, and vintage guru behind the shop, Tandem Vintage. How she left an unfulfilling day job to pursue her dream and is damn good at it. And how she swore to me that she was awkward on camera, but ended up finding confidence she didn't even know she had and killed it in front of my lens. But those words alone wouldn't do Amanda justice - it's the pictures we took that show her true story of beauty and strength and impeccable style."Read More
There is something quite magical about photographing artists in their element, doing what they love. Documenting their process, seeing their tools, getting a glimpse into the creative forces that drive them - is it mesmerizing and inspiring all at once. My experience with Bailey - a mosaic artist who works at her in-home studio - was no exception. Here are a few of my favorite images from my visit with this talented woman.
That feeling when you have to supress squeals of delight during a photo shoot because you *know* the images you're creating in that moment are going to be some of your all-time faves...
Thanks so much to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum for giving me the creative license and the opportunity to carry out the shoot of my dreams for a takeover of their Instagram account.
Reason #496 I love what I do: sometimes you hit it off with clients so much that you come to consider them friends. Julia is one such client - an extremely inspiring boss babe who works to empower women through yoga and wellness.
You might recognize Julia from an amazing yoga shoot we did last year. This time, she took her yoga skills to the next level, showing off some amazing acro yoga poses with her boyfriend, Nick.
The couple also wanted some more-traditional photos to document this period in their relationship. As Julia said when she first shared these images with her friends and family: "Not engaged, married or pregnant. Just in love."
True story: Beth found me by googling "Minneapolis Yoga Photographer" after her search for "Minneapolis Feminist Photographer" yielded no results. And I've been trying to figure out how to become searchable via the latter ever since.
Beth Berila's resume is impressive - she is an author, Ph.D., professor, the director of the Women's Studies Program at St. Cloud State University, and a yoga teacher and Ayurvedic Yoga specialist. Upon meeting her and collaborating with her for a couple hours, I discovered she is also a delightful human being. It was an honor to make some images with such an inspiring female powerhouse. Here are a few of my faves.
Any shoot that gives me a chance to try new skills - in this case working with a 100mm macro lens - and work with badass women is alright by me.
I was happy to reunite with my gals, hair and makeup artist Jen des Lauriers, and models, Bria Grayer and Katie Roberto, for this up-close and personal beauty shoot. Here are some of my favorites from the session which show off Jen's mad makeup skills and, of course, Bria and Katie's flawlessness.
From pageant queen to a QUEEN who slays at all she puts her mind to. Meet Lizz - a mama, a model, and a gorgeous human inside and out.
As a photographer, there is nothing more thrilling than meeting a muse. When that muse is smart and kind - and confident about her own unique size and shape - telling her story is pure privilege.
This is a story of finding beauty in all body types. Of breaking free from being typecast and channelling your inner Vogue model. Of exhibiting fierceness and girl power. This is Bria's story.
Ali Golden Silk T- Shirt from Parc Boutique.
Achro Slip Dress from Parc Boutique.
Toit Volant Nicole Top from Parc Boutique
The team that worked on this shoot was amazing. To check out David's images and fantastic edits see here.
On January 20th, 2017, Donald J. Trump took the oath of office to become the 45th President of the United States of America. Even now those words are hard to type and until last night, they would have stirred up deep emotions of anger and sadness and resentment within me. But today, well today is different. On this, Mr. Trump’s first full day in office, I was among millions of people nationwide (and even across the world) who responded to this threat to our democracy by taking to the streets and marching. It was inspiring. It was uplifting. Collectively, as a society that has been in mourning, it was a much needed rally cry.
The Womens March Minnesota was held simultaneously with marches across the country today, most notably the HUGE Womens March on Washington. The turnout was 5 times what was expected with nearly 100,000 people in attendance in our capital city of St. Paul, MN. Minnesotans from across the state were clearly looking for that community, that kinship, and that platform to have their voice heard after a dismal past few months and they flocked to this event in droves which provided all of the above. Despite the huge numbers, people found familiar faces among the crowds. Others exchanged knowing and sympathetic smiles with strangers. And everyone seemed to benefit from the catharsis of being able to send the collective message that racism, sexism, homophobia, hatred, intolerance, and environmental degradation will not be tolerated.
We - women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, immigrants, refugees, people with disabilities, survivors of sexual assault, people of all religious faiths - are not going anywhere and our voices will not be silenced.
There are vacations and then there are trips. To me, the former conjures up images of lounging, reading, and drinking cocktails with umbrellas in them. The latter usually involves sight-seeing, activities, and being constantly on the go. I've done plenty of both and have grown to love each. I’m quickly learning that traveling with kids is all about finding the perfect balance between “vacation” and “trip” - keeping them entertained and happy and sneaking those brief moments of relaxation whenever possible.
Paradisus - La Esmeralda grasps this concept fully. They know just how to cater to families trying to strike a balance. The mini bars are stocked with both liquor and chocolate milk. The turndown service at the end of the day includes champagne for the adults and cookies for the kids. And while Andrew and I didn’t go so far as to drop our kids off at the in-house day care and peace-out to the spa, we did decide - after our action-packed second day - to spend our third day hanging around Paradisus and taking advantage of its many amenities. We slept in, watched the sunrise from our balcony, and ordered room service for breakfast. The kids played with Lego sets my mom had sneaked into their luggage and Andrew and I actually got to savor our morning coffee.
One of my favorite moments from the trip came that day when Nora discovered there were kid-sized slippers and a bathrobe in the closet to match the ones I’d been wearing. She donned them and we were “twinsies” most of the morning. It was such a sweet moment and a beautiful reminder that the most meaningful memories can be created even when you’re not actively seeking them out.
When we decided we were ready for an excursion, we didn't need to venture far; the pool and the beach at the resort were all the entertainment we needed. My little water babies loved swimming the ocean - meaning they clung to us for dear life as Andrew and I jumped up to ride each cresting wave. We built castles on the beach and let the waves wash up on our feet and cover our toes with sand. When we needed a break, we headed for the pool where we lounged in cabanas, ordered food and drinks, and relaxed while the kids splashed in the water.
Upon the recommendation from our fabulous butler (did I mention there was a butler?!), Paulina, we dined that night at the resort’s teppanyaki restaurant. Not exactly authentic Mexico, but delicious and highly entertaining for the kids.
When we returned to our room at the end of the day, Paulina had a surprise waiting for the kids: a bubble bath in the huge tub with balloon swords and animals in it. (This was on the heels of a treasure hunt she had staged for them in the room the night before.) They were delighted and it was the perfect ending to the perfect day - one where we had just the right amount of activity and relaxation, the perfect mix of vacation and trip.
There's nothing quite like a mid-week road trip. To the North Shore. With a dear friend who is also a photographer. One who is totally down to spontaneously pull over to the side of the road for those "hey look!" moments.
Eric and I had a fabulous time soaking up the fall colors along Lake Superior, chasing light, and standing in as each other's models. We explored places we'd never been before and hit up some old favorites. My heart and my camera roll are both full after our 36-hour adventure.
I knew I wanted to explore themes of LIFE and LOVE and DEATH.
I knew they were to be dressed in black & white - almost as if for a wedding - and we needed red roses.
And that day, when we stumbled upon a majestic, old willow tree, the final piece fell into place: I knew that Shakespeare's words - the ultimate commentary on life and love and death - would weave it all together.
I could talk about how I've known the Kieners for more than 15 years. How we've been college roommates, travel companions, bridesmaids, poker opponents, drinking buddies, and neighbors during that time. And how our daughters were born a little over a month apart and have become besties. But all of that would still seem inadequate. So instead I'll just leave you with a set of images - a mixture of candid at-home family moments and posed maternity portraits - that I took of this beautiful family of three very shortly before they became a family of four.
Meet Copper Street Brass: a cool group of humans who also happen to be super talented musicians. They recently stopped by NECO for some head-shots, group photos, and close-ups of their beautiful instruments. When we were done, they let me get creative and take one of my favorite #thingsorganizedneatly shots to date - involving an 8-ft ladder and thousands of dollars worth of brass.
Dedicated to improving the lives of members of her community, Julia Starr left her corporate day job and founded her own yoga and wellness brand: Starr Health Co. She teaches yoga - something she has practiced almost her entire life - and is pursuing a masters in the U of M's Integrative Health and Wellbeing Coaching program.
We recently met for some in-studio head-shots (and yoga poses, of course!) and then ventured out to a nearby park for more photos. Check out my favorites below and be sure to visit one of Julia's classes in the Twin Cities.
Last week, Sony Alpha invited a group of local photographers and Instagrammers to the Minnesota State Fair to try out their a7R II camera - a full-frame, mirrorless powerhouse. I chose to use their 24-240 f/3.5-6.3 lens which offered up awesome chances to capture candid people pics. The camera worked great in low light and was easy to use. I'm not saying I'm ready to trade in my full Nikon kit just yet, but damn, this was fun to play with.
Thanks so much to Sony Alpha and photographer, Marc Coleman, for organizing this event, #SonyattheFair!