As wedding and elopement photographers, we often strive to capture that one photo at each event; the photo that will not only be stunning to look at but the one that will mean the most to our clients. Today I’m sharing a few of my own award-winning photos and the BTS process of how each one was created and why it was so meaningful, not just to me, but also to my clients.

Caitlyn & Avley

Award: Junebug’s Best Wedding Photos of 2022

Award winning photo of two brides standing on top of a rock at their Southern Oregon Coast elopement

The Story Behind Caitlyn & Avley’s Intentional Elopement on the Southern Oregon Coast

Caitlyn and Avley and I connected over our coming out stories.

With how many struggles the couple had to face when they decided to live their truths, they come to realize that their wedding day should only consist of moments they truly care about, activities they truly love, and sceneries they truly enjoy.

They found my images by the Oregon Coast and wanted to elope here because, with their engagement, they had gotten to touch the Atlantic Ocean water so for this day, they want to be able to feel the Pacific Ocean water. 

Just a short couple of months before their day, I learned that the primary location where they had initially wanted just got closed down due to safety issues. It threw a curveball at us but Caitlyn and Avley never let bother their excitement for their elopement day diminish. They allowed me time and space to do additional research so we can pivot and plan for an even better day. 

On this day, I wanted to preserve everything Caitlyn and Avley experienced and felt: getting ready together, writing vows next to each other, hiking through the redwoods, taking a mid-day break for McDonald’s, exchanging vows in the craziest wind, having a picnic while feeling the ocean breeze, touching the Pacific Ocean water for the first time, and reading letters from family while the stars slowly came out to dance across the sky.

It was one long day but it was one long day full of carefree laughter and loving words that made all of us cry.

How this Award Winning Photo was Created 

You might have noticed from my portfolio that I tend to stay out late with couples. There’s just something about the blue hours and the night hours that just feel so intimate. People often leave these places right around sunset, but we stick around. We get the space to ourselves and we get to linger on our emotions a bit longer.

As the night get dark, I wanted to make sure to capture what we had experienced: ocean, little light, stars, and love.

Caitlyn and Avley navigated through these rocks in the dark using nothing but the lanterns I brought. They opened their hearts and allowed me to share my visions to create this image. In order to have a well-exposed image in the dark, I had to take multiple photos: one to expose for the couple, one to expose for the landscape, and one to expose for the stars.

Images like these take a bit of time. You can’t ever quite get it right on the first try as settings need to be examined after each image. Caitlyn and Avley were patient with me and they truly helped bring this vision to life.

Want to see more from this beautiful couple? Read their full story on the blog!

Cote & David

Award: Junebug’s Best Wedding Photos of 2021

Two grooms kiss during mountain elopement in the North Cascades

The Story Behind Cote & David’s Full-Day Mountain Elopement in the North Cascades

Cote and David were intentional about planning their elopement from day one. They didn’t want a day focused on details, they just wanted a day to celebrate their love and experience nature all around them. 

We chose a trail in the North Cascades for their mountain elopement, but life happened and just days before their elopement we found out that we were no longer able to access the trail. 

In the days leading up to their elopement, I worked to come up with a new plan for the couple. One that still included everything that was important to them. 

Cote and David trusted me completely and we moved forward with Plan B. 

On the morning of their elopement, we woke up early to do their first look in the mountains. With the fog all around us, these two soaked in the first magical moments of their wedding day. 

After their ceremony and reception with loved ones, we took off on another sunset adventure. 

All in all, we spent about 20 hours together for Cote and David’s mountain elopement and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. 

How this Award Winning Photo was Created 

From my background as a cardiac ICU nurse to the experience of being a photographer, I truly believe that there’s beauty all around us and often time, things might not look like what we had hoped for, if we look, we’d still find beauty

Just days before Cote and David’s elopement, part of Washington got burned from wildfires, including the location of where they were going for their elopement.

So within days, I found a new location for the couple but this location also had its quirk. Our Winter was a bit wild and the snow eroded part of the road leading to this location. So instead of a short hike to this beautiful location, we ended up hiking an extra 2 miles with pretty steep elevation gain.

Cote and David did it with all their hearts.

You see, because of all the unknowns and the road erosion, from what seems like one of the most popular places in Washington became absolutely quiet and private. 

We had this whole place to ourselves this morning and saw how the fog rolled in and out and exposed the dramatic mountain in the back.

The mixture of sunlight and fog as well as the mountain and its reflection created such a beautiful composition that draws your eyes in right away.

I love that Cote and David organically went in for a kiss at the most beautiful moment because compositions alone don’t create a meaningful image, it’s the intimacy and the love of the couple mixed in with all these elements that made this moment unique and meaningful.

Want to see more from this beautiful couple? Read their full story on the blog!

Jessica & Vanesa

Award: Junebug’s Best Wedding Photos of 2020

Two brides looking out at Mt Rainier during their hiking elopement

The Story Behind Jessica & Vanesa’s Hiking Adventure Elopement at Mount Rainier National Park

If you know me, you know that Mount Rainier holds a very special place in my heart so when Jessica and Vanesa decided to plan their hiking adventure elopement here I was so damn excited. But I’m getting a little ahead of myself.

Jess and Vanesa initially inquired for an engagement photo session. After a little back and forth and learning more about what the couple was envisioning, they decided that they actually wanted to elope instead. 

We changed directions and immediately started planning their Mount Rainier National Park elopement. We picked a beautiful mountain trail and it just so happened that this trail was the first trail the couple hiked together when they moved to Washington. It was also the first trail I hiked when I started my photography career and I learned how to photograph in manual mode for the first time. 

This location meant so much to each of us individually and getting to experience it with these brides on such an important day was such an incredible honor! 

How this Award Winning Photo was Created 

After a long day of hiking and all the activities of an adventure elopement, the night got dark and we were about to pack up in order to hike back down.

However, I wanted to make sure I can tell the full story, the complete story of this day.

Jessica, Vanesa, and I saw how Mt. Rainier was glowing in the dark from the little light source we had left. We saw how the stars slowly coming out. We saw the little reflection of the lake from far away. And I really wanted to make sure I get at least one last image although I barely had light left.

So to create this image, I had to take 12 different photos to stitch together. I couldn’t really show the back of my camera to the couple in that moment because they were all 12 individual images of different parts of this full image. It didn’t make sense looking at them individually.

I loved that I was able to surprise them with the final product. I love that I was able to capture the contrast between darkness and brightness and highlighted how the couple embraced each other in the cold night in front of the mountain that witnessed their wedding ceremony.

Want to see more from this beautiful couple? Read their full story on the blog!

Cydney & Jordan

Award: Junebug’s Best Wedding Photos of 2019

Two brides sitting in a bathtub during their Snoqualmie Falls wedding

The Story Behind Cydney & Jordan’s Snoqualmie Falls Wedding at Salish Lodge & Spa

When they first inquired with me, Cydney and Jordan thought they wanted to have a courthouse wedding. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a courthouse wedding, in fact, my husband and I got married at a courthouse before planning our intimate elopement with loved ones. When I hopped on the phone with the couple and heard the dreams they had for their wedding, I knew that an intimate wedding was more in line with what they wanted. After we talked the couple decided to plan a small elopement at Salish Lodge and Spa instead so their family and loved ones could celebrate with them. 

When their day finally arrived it flew by! We had talked about incorporating a little adventure into their day. After enjoying the morning with family we headed out for a short hike to Snoqualmie Falls. 

By the time we got down to the river, we looked up and were all blown away by the beautiful view in front of us. Snoqualmie Falls was roaring in front of us and it was such a magnificent view. 

We spent the evening together, taking in the views, and photographing some quiet and intimate moments together. By slowing things down, my beautiful brides were able to truly immerse themselves into their wedding day and enjoy each other’s company. 

How this Award Winning Photo was Created 

Documentary is one of my ways to approach a wedding day. Documentary moments are the ones that capture the subjects in their elements.

However, with the nature of a wedding day where gears and things can lay around and everything just seems chaotic, often time, I put “a little touch” onto these documentary moments and I call them “directed documentary”

I noticed how Cydney and Jordan were helping each other putting on makeup but everything around us took all the space to create a beautiful image. I couldn’t eliminate the distractions in the background. I wanted to highlight this moment, this very moment where it happened for real, where the couple get to be together and helped each other, it’s a moment of the wedding day many might overlook.

So I found a clean corner with minimal distractions, which happened to be this bathroom. I asked Cydney and Jordan to move their work station there to continue with their makeup. 

This image consists of the contrast between light and dark which highlighted the couple so well and at the same time, I get to help preserve their experience of this moment by taking them away from all the distractions in the room.

Want to see more from this beautiful couple? Read their full story on the blog!

Katherine & Krystal

Award: Junebug’s Best Engagement Photos of 2019

Two women hug at Snoqualmie Pass during their engagement photo session

The Story Behind Katherine & Krystal’s Moody Snoqualmie Pass Engagement Photos

Katherine and Krystal are the types of people when you meet them you can’t help but feel like you’re about to have a good time. 

The couple, originally from southern California, inquired with me about taking their engagement photos here in Seattle so when the time finally came, they flew up here to meet me. 

We chose to have their engagement photos in Snoqualmie Pass and despite the freezing cold weather, these two gave me their all.

How this Award Winning Photo was Created 

One of my personal favorite things about photography is by utilizing the knowledge about exposures, an image can be so much more than what the eyes can see.

This is where my love for double exposures came in.

Although double exposures are done differently now due to digital technology, double exposures are rooted in how film cameras work. 

Double exposures mean using the same exposure (same film) and expose it to light twice (taking 2  different photos on the same film)

And with the knowledge on black and white, bright and darkness, that’s how images can blend together and this is what I did for Katherine and Krystal on this day.

Want to see more from this beautiful couple? Read their full story on the blog!


Award: Junebug’s Best Destination Photos of 2018

Two grooms at their Gold Creek Pond elopement in Washington

The Story Behind DT & OT’s Gold Creek Pond Elopement

DT has been a friend of mine since high school so when he reached out to me to photograph his and OT’s elopement I was so damn excited! 

The couple, who was doing long distance at the time, flew in from different countries halfway around the world to meet up with me for their Gold Creek Pond elopement in Snoqualmie, Washington. 

We met up in the morning for Thai food and reconnected for a few hours. Later in the afternoon, we drove to Gold Creek Pond and I witnessed as these two exchanged their vows and promised their lives to each other.

After their elopement, we just sat by the pond and watched the sunset together. It was the most beautiful way to end their beautiful, intimate wedding day. 

How this Award Winning Photo was Created 

On this day, and just like any other elopement day, I didn’t go in with a photo in mind. I didn’t plan for the birds to fly over at the exact moment. I never knew they would.

One thing I’ve learned over the years of photographing is that organic moments can’t be planned, you have to be ready for them.

As we were in the middle of re-adjusting and fixing up the grooms’ outfits, I was also getting my lens ready for the next part of the day. Out of nowhere, I looked over there were exactly 2 birds flying across the pond. Trying to preserve the moment for exactly what it is, I snapped away. At that moment, I didn’t know for sure what I would get but then, among the 10 photos I took, there was one with the perfect composition where everything in the frame was symmetrical. The mountains, the couple, the birds, the shadows of the trees in the back: individually, they are stand-alone elements, but together, they created a captivating visual. 

Want to see more from this beautiful couple? Read their full story on the blog!

Rangefinder Magazine

Award: Rangefinder’s 2020 30 Rising Stars of Wedding Photography

Back in 2020, I received the incredible honor of being named one of the 30 Rising Stars of Wedding Photography by Rangefinder Magazine.

“Rangefinder’s 30 Rising Stars of Wedding Photography is an annual coveted list of promising wedding photographers from around the globe—nominated by industry tastemakers in the early days of summer, judged and chosen by members of Rangefinder’s staff in early autumn, and then announced in early December.”

To learn more about this prestigious award, check out my blog post below.

Rangefinder’s 30 Stars of Wedding Photography 2020

Sometimes getting the “perfect” photo takes some thought and planning and other times, it’s simply just being ready to capture the moment that’s in front of you. Sometimes, the beauty of the unknown is one of the most exciting things about an intimate wedding or elopement day. It is poetic in the beauty of how we can navigate these changes and these unknowns because, just like life, your wedding day can still face surprises you didn’t anticipate. How you and your partner face these surprises together really sets the tone for how you can be there for one another years and years later on. And maybe, in the midst of that, your photographer (hopefully that’s us – Henry, or Sergio 🥰) can be there to assist you through it all so that they not only see that beauty but also make art out of that beauty. And whether your wedding photos win an award or not, every image matters because they are images to tell your story.

So, are you ready to create some magic? If so, head over to our contact page and send us a message. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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