Authentic & Pretty

Authentically writing your love story.

The Mcgrail family. I knew Ashley a bit from High School and always thought she was a beautiful girl. 15 years later, she still is and is just as beautiful inside as she is on the outside. Her son Liam reminds me a lot of my own son. Knows what he wants and loves his mama. Grandpa Pien decided to join and added a special touch to this story. Thank you for having me.


I use the word authentic a lot in my business. Along with authentic spews out words like natural, real & legacy. These words impact me daily. I try live authentically by speaking honestly within reason, staying in the moment and keeping my list of goals near me.  Today we live in a world dominated by social media (to state the obvious). People generally only share the “pretty stuff”. The photographs of their kids hugging, when literally seconds later they are yelling at one another, or the photograph of their living room when all the toys are put away only to find an hour later it’s a mess again. All these “pretty” images are wonderful to look at and have their place. As a photographer, I really want to change the way we think about family portraits, wedding images and other photographs that are meaningful to our legacy.


When I started telling people I was going to start my photography business I had someone ask me, “What will set you apart from the rest”? I was glad to be asked that question, because it was something I had thought about a lot. My answer back was in a form of a question. I asked her, what kind of photograph do you think your kids would value more when handed down? Here are your options, a family portrait under a beautiful sunset, wearing fresh outfits and smiles plastered on your face, or a photograph of the family all in the kitchen making a traditional Sunday morning pancake breakfast? I told her, I am the photographer more interested in that tradition of the pancake breakfast rather than the perfect sunset and pristine clothes with smiles plastered on your face. I am going to be a photographer who is going to specialize in photographing moments to preserve legacies.

The challenge is, how do you make that traditional pancake breakfast “pretty”? The answer is art. Guiding families into the right light, finding the right angles, making families comfortable in your presence so they can be their authentic self is only the beginning of my approach. So much goes in to making “pretty” images that hold a puzzle piece to a legacy.


Few pieces of advice for nitty gritty photographs-

1.) Pick a place that is meaningful to you. Your home, a place you met your wife or husband. An ice cream shop that you take the kids. Being comfortable takes priority over all else. If you are comfortable your photos will reflect that.

2.) Don’t hold back. I know it’s easier said than done, however force yourself to pretend I am not there. Whisper silly things in each other’s ears, tell dirty jokes, tell each other what you love about one another. Don’t be afraid to be yourself in front of me. I genuinely love it.

3.) Worried about being able to loosen up? Grab ONE cocktail before your time with me. It’s okay. Being in front of the camera can be a bit awkward at times. Whatever works for you, do it. I promise it will be worth it.


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