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ashley, corey, & baby ellery ~ the newborn files ~ tulsa oklahoma wedding photographer

I have a confession. 


And to the 5 of you that just reached for the phone to call your lawyers and book your flights to a non-extradition country, have no fear. It’s not that confession. 


I’m not a newborn photographer. Not a baby photographer, not a family photographer, not a kid photographer, not a capturing moments photographer. Heck, according to what’s hip and trendy and cool, I’m probably not even a wedding photographer. 
I think that leaves me in the odd category of just….photographer. The relationship aspect of whomever I’m shooting does it for me. Sure, I know the ins and outs and such of weddings, but the relationship between the two dorks in love is what pulls me in.  I can shoot that. Give me two dorks laughing together and loving on each other, and yep. I’m good. But if you want that anorexic bride in a trendy dress made from the ass-feathers of hummingbirds and the tears of vegans while looking depressed and forlorn staring off into an emo oblivion look, I honestly can’t help you with that. 


Side thought – if that’s how weddings and marriage make you feel, maybe you ought to get that looked at. Just sayin. 

So maybe that makes me a relationship photographer. Who knows. I do know that when Ashley wrote me several months ago and asked if I would shoot a newborn session right after their daughter was born, I remember letting out this weird Spongebob kind of laugh and immediately started looking for newborn photographers in the area to recommend that she call. The last time I saw Ashley and Corey was at the Destin Bay House in Destin, Florida a couple of years ago for their wedding. Absolutely awesome couple, super fun wedding, good times were had by all. But then evidently something happened, I’m not even going to guess what, and now they were about to be new parents. And after a day of staring at her email, I wrote her back. 


“I don’t do newborns.”


But somewhere through the vodka addled annals (hahahaha I said annals) of my mind, it hit me eventually that while I didn’t do newborn sessions, I did do relationships. I can shoot people in crazy stupid love all day long. And these were just people that I knew were in crazy stupid love with each other. Then you just add in another tiny person that they’re in crazy stupid love with, and boom. Hey. I can shoot that. 


And so I did. And this is the result. 


To Ashley and Corey, huge thanks for allowing me in your lives for yet another amazing day. I sincerely hope you guys love these forever. To baby Ellery, holding you for a few moments was all kinds of awesome. Thanks for the unnecessary dose of baby fever.


Well played, kid. Well played. 






shoot what matters ~ deep thoughts for the photographers in the crowd


I had a moment over the weekend. 

And before visions of Barry White singing and me in a Snuggie holding a glass of champagne start dancing in your heads, it was actually a much different kind of a moment. 


I showed up to shoot a wedding and had made it past the initial greetings, the chest bumps, the high fives, and the three mimosas that I usually begin wedding days with and had wandered off to play with the bride’s dress, which sounds way more scandalous than it actually was. It was a gorgeous dress, in a gorgeous bedroom, with gorgeous light. I was happy. I was really happy, actually. And then I noticed a little blue cloth anchor sewn into the fabric of the dress. At that exact moment the bride had walked in, either looking for something or checking to make sure I wasn’t actually trying the dress on, and I asked her about it.


And that’s when everything went all serious and emotional on me.




Her father had passed away two years ago. She was every bit a daddy’s girl, and she’d spent her childhood growing up at the lake they lived on with him. He loved the water, and her something blue was an anchor made from one of his dress shirts so she could have him close her entire day. And as she told me this story, the tears started coming. Now, I have zero problems crying with brides. I do it on a fairly regular occasion, in fact. First looks, father daughter dances, when the booze runs out, any number of reasons. But this time hit me a little harder than most. Call it a combination of my dad not being in the greatest of health mixed with having a daughter and knowing full well how badly I want to be present for her wedding day, and also trying to wrap my head around being a bride and not having your dad present for something like that.

And so for ten minutes I stayed in the room by myself, tears flowing at the rate of thank God for autofocus, and it all started to sink in. This was the one thing she’d asked me specifically to get a photo of. Beyond all of the elaborate flowers and the beautiful décor and everything else that made up an absolutely wonderful wedding, a piece of dad’s shirt was what was important. 15 minutes earlier it was a piece of blue fabric on a dress. 15 minutes later, it was her daddy with his arms wrapped around his daughter on her wedding day. 


If you’re a new photographer, especially a new wedding photographer, you’re going to be inundated with the “shoot to get published” mantra that prances around gleefully in our industry. Thousands of photographers, shooting to hopefully impress the elite few that perch themselves on top of the massive dung heap of vintage, lace, burlap, and faded yellow broken dreams that so many try to climb. 

Always remember this one thing – shoot from your heart. Turn off the background noise, turn off the blogs, the wedding websites, the magazines you want to be in (PS, no one reads those anymore), and remember why you’re a photographer in the first place. If you shoot for you, and create from your heart what it is that you see, not what some intoxicated intern behind a desk at a wedding blog tells you that you should see, you’ll be light years ahead of everyone else trying to get noticed. If you create good, solid work, blogs and websites will contact you and ask for your work. This I promise.

There’s a whole entire industry begging you to be fabulous. Shoot vintage. Shoot flowers. Shoot details. Shoot this. Shoot that. And there’s a place for those things, really. But when a bride calls you around midnight a few days after her wedding crying and asking for any photos you have of a family member that was at the wedding that unexpectedly passed away that day, or you get letters of thanks for the random photo you took of the groom and his dad laughing because that was the last photo they had together, or the crazy reception photos you have of the bride and her sister were some of the last ones they had together, all of the lace, burlap, vintage, and details you took photos of don’t mean jack. 








Those things are why we do what we do. 20 years from now, no one will stare longingly at an artistic sun flare shot of the table setting you took in hopes to impress a wedding blog or magazine. People will look at the laughter, the smiles, the memories of loved ones no longer around. 
I’m not saying don’t take pretty details shots. I’m not even saying don’t submit your work. I’m just saying always remember that grandpa kissing the bride on the cheek, even if it’s a poorly lit, nasty background, no sun flare to be found, no chance in hell of ever being published shot, will be way more important to the bride than that pretty picture you took of the bouquet on the table. 

Shoot for your clients. Happy clients are so much cooler than a happy wedding blog.

  • Erin - Love this so much…crying while I read it (should be getting ready for work). I’m a new photographer and it is so easy to get cought up in everything you think you “should” be doing. This is a great reminder to go back to why I started taking pics in the first place…to stop time and capture a memory.ReplyCancel

happy fourth of july ~ ‘merica ~ birdsong wedding photography



American Flag on Barn

There’s moments in life that stick out in your brain more than others. 


First kiss. First really bad injury. Especially if those two happened at the same time. 


This time last year I was able to spend the evening of July 4th on the side of a mountain in Missoula, Montana. I’ve been on the side of that mountain many times, and I’ve seen fireworks many times, but what I’d never seen before was watching thousands of people set off their fireworks all across a huge valley at one time. It was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen. It almost made the hike up there and the subsequent collapsing and gasping for air while getting passed by entire families of people that were in shape worth it. 


Wherever you find yourself this Independence Day, whatever your plans may be, and whomever you may be with, I wish all of you a safe, wonderful, magical 4th of July filled with great memories. 


And just in case I have to say it, if your Roman Candle doesn’t go off, do yourself a favor and don’t look down the end of it to see what’s wrong.


You’ll thank me. Promise. 


Happy 4th, 



to tani & josh ~ and every other amazing client I’ve ever had ~ poems from yours truly

Here’s to my couples, the guys and the gals
that have enough guts to tip sacred cows. 
That know beyond doubt, at the end of the day
nothing sucks quite as much as ” We did it their way.”

Because ten years from now, when you’re smarter and fatter, 
all those other opinions really aren’t going to matter. 
Being true to yourselves by far will outweigh
Making everyone else happy on your wedding day. 

So hug the doubters, and comfort the criers
If you have to, hand out wedding day pacifiers. 
Do as you will. Go crazy, be bold. 
Because you’ve never been ones to do as you’re told. 

To the rebels, the crazies, the brave, and defiant
You have all my love, you insanely cool clients. 
Go forth, get hitched, bring the mad monkey love
And we’ll graciously tell haters, their opinions to shove. 



To Tani and Josh. The first couple I’ve seen walk each other down the aisle, just because they wanted to. 

Much love.