A Saturday with the Sammis Family

People always say to me—“you wouldn’t believe what happened at our house the other day! I wish you could have been there with your camera!” And I wish I could have been there too. Because those un-expected everyday moments are the ones I love to photograph.


I was excited to spend a fun morning with Stephanie and Clay’s family doing just that! With three boys between the ages of 6 and 13, life at the Sammis home is far from boring. Just in the few hours I was hanging out, the kids did homework, jumped on their trampoline, played foosball, fed their pet iguana, and took a bike ride to the skate park in town (among other things)!  This is life everyday at their house (and mine and yours too I suspect.) A beautiful mix of chaos and calm. And these are some of the important moments- the ones we want to remember.


And so, we are introducing the “Story of You”- a lifestyle photography session documenting the ordinary moments in your life. The unscripted, real flashes of life that can slip by unnoticed. It’s your story and I will you help tell it. It can just be you hanging out with your family being you. We can do a lazy morning at home or we can go on a hike or a bike ride. I can photograph you making breakfast, reading books, sledding, nursing, or chasing the chickens. You can be picking carrots in the garden, taking a trip to the grocery store, jumping in puddles or giving the kids a bath.

Whatever it is that fills your day and makes your family glow, let me tag along to capture your story today so that you can look back and remember it tomorrow….”The Story of You.”

Last Weekend’s Naval Academy Wedding in Annapolis!

What fun to photograph a military wedding in Annapolis, Maryland last weekend! The couple met in French class at the academy, and were excited to be back where it all started to tie the knot. It was such a treat to be part of a such a beautifully traditional military wedding.

The groom’s mother was the orchestrator of the most stunning reception at Maria’s Love Point, a bed and breakfast on the Chesapeake Bay.

Thank you to all the great vendors that put together the wedding, including Claire MacCallum of USNA, planner Amy Wales Reilly and delicious catering by Main and Market.  And a huge thank you to Robin Leahy for traveling across the country to help me with the wedding, and for keeping me on track!






Hey Dads Out There…..You Rock!

For Father’s Day, we say thank you to our own dads, husbands, and brothers, and to all of those dad’s out there who are absolutely rockin’ it!  Depending on the day, you know just when to provide the laughter, the discipline, the unconditional love, and the patience that we all need.  Here is a little visual tribute and thank you for all you do to make your family stronger.

“My father didn’t tell me how to live. He lived and let me watch him do it.” – Clarence Budington Kelland


“The heart of a father is the masterpiece of nature.” -Antoine Francois Prevost


“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.”




“You make me laugh, even when I’m not in the mood to smile.”


“A father is someone you look up to, no matter how tall you grow.”

A Quick Trip to Cuba

I have wanted to go to Cuba for as long as I can remember.  So when a friend suggested that we go there for our annual no-kids trip, we jumped at the chance.  Cuba definitely lived up to the hype. I have never been to a communist country, and definitely not one that has been cut off from the rest of the world for so long, as Cuba has. Over the course of the four days that we were there, it was super interesting to piece together and slowly begin to understand the history and culture of Cuba and where it stands today.

The trip was short (when you go on a trip without the kids, you only get so much time!), so we stayed in Havana—making the decision to try to really see the city, instead of rushing to try to see the whole country. We spent our days wandering the streets of Havana, eating (though the food was quite disappointing thanks to communism!), drinking (lots of rum to be sampled!), trying to perfect the art of smoking a cigar (I personally was not super talented in this area!), and of course photographing (such a treat!).  Here are some pictures from our trip—hope you enjoy them!

Choosing a location that’s right for you

People are always asking where I took a certain photograph and are continually surprised by the answer, because it is often someplace really simple—a wall with interesting texture at the back of their property, a little corner by a small window in their bedroom, a pretty tree in the back of a park. When considering the best location for a portrait, there are a few things that are always at the top of my list. You want a place that means something to you and where you and your family will feel comfortable. You want a place with beautiful, simple textures that will enhance your images, rather than be distracting. And of course, perhaps most importantly—since photography is all about light, you want a location with beautiful light.

For me, photography is about storytelling, and I want to help you find a location that will help us tell your story.

A meaningful location…

You can choose a specific location that means something to you. Someplace where you have an emotional connection—a quiet spot in your home, a tree your daughter has been climbing for years, a bridge where your son likes to throw rocks in the river, a spot where you always go fishing when you are on vacation. This can be a way to capture a feeling or freeze little moments in the life of your family.

Sometimes the place is not so specific. Maybe you just love the mountains, or the feeling of your feet in the water and the rocks under your toes. Maybe your daughter just loves to swing (all day!), or you love taking your kids out for ice cream because that’s what you always do on a hot summer day. We want to get to know you, and as we do, we can help you find a specific spot where you will be comfortable and can fully relax.

Nice lighting….

As I said before, photography is all about light. You can have a location with the most dramatic view, but if you have to squint into the sun and your eyes begin to water every time you look at each other, it’s going to be hard to enjoy your session.

When photographing families, I’m usually looking for soft light. Open shade or reflected window light is a nice way to go. I’m not looking for flat, deep shadows, but rather shade that has nice, soft directional light, that gives the eyes some sparkle and creates enough shadow on the face to create depth, without being too harsh.

Of course, dramatic light is fun too, as are lots of locations without much shade. If that’s the case, we can consider scheduling your session in the morning or early evening when the sun isn’t as strong, and is much more directional.

Finding a location with lots of variety…

Because kids are naturally playful, I love locations with lots of variety. That way, we can naturally move from one activity to the other (running across a bridge, jumping off a stump or holding your hand as they walk along a log), so that rather than forcing kids to sit still (and getting posed, uncomfortable looking photos in the process), we can capture, fun, playful images of kids being kids. A wooded spot by the river works well for this, as would a barn in a field with a tractor nearby, or your home—where we can move from the porch to a spot at the foot of a flight of steps in the living room or a long hallway with a big window at the end.

How will you want to display your images?

I love to talk with people before their sessions about what they want to do with their images once they are ready.  Maybe you have a spot in your living room where you want to hang one big framed image of the whole family, or maybe you are looking for a series of small moments that can be printed as individual canvases and hung in a hallway or the dining room.  Whatever your plan is, it’s always nice to consider where the images will ultimately hang so that we can think about the colors and tones of that spot in relation to where we choose to do your portrait session and what the feel of those images will be.  Even if you don’t have a specific spot in the house in mind, just knowing the style of your home and your color preferences can help us decide the right location for you– the woods, an old barn, a field of flowers, or a cozy session with your kids on the sofa or hanging out in bed.

We’ll help you figure this out!

Don’t worry, you are not on your own with this—we’re here to help! As always, before we photograph your session, we want to get to know you—who you are, what you like, what your family’s personality is like—and once we do, if you don’t have somewhere specific in mind, we can help you find a location where you will feel comfortable, a place that can bring out some of those things you like best about your family.

Grasping the joy bubbles: Celebrating motherhood one moment at a time.

Hi all! I’m Dev’s studio manager and I have a confession to make….I’m a mom and often times I am down right tired. Like with all of us, my life is a swirling balancing act between family and work. I spend my days trying to juggle my priorities and always feeling pulled in multiple directions. Running my daughter to and from play dates, school activities, and sports. Staying engaged and present at work in a way that feels meaningful. Trying my best to get a healthy meal on the table each night. Quickly ushering a reluctant kid from dinner to bed so that we can get up and do it all over again tomorrow.

Studio Manager, Jenna and her joy bubble, Brooke.

So it was when I tripped over my husband’s shoes in the middle of the hallway and spilled my coffee in my rush to get out the door that I forgot to say to my daughter on her way out to school “I love you. Have a great day.” In this daily survival mode thing for the past week (ahem, I mean 7 years)….I have moments where I am missing it…the joy of it all! Kids playing in our muddy yard and tracking it through the house-I have been trying to clean it up instead of reveling in the fullness of the moment.

So I re-center.   I remember that mud, and slugs, and forts were once the coolest possible thing in the world and still should be. I remember that what is important in my life is being present for the flashes of the daily thoughts of a 7 year old. Like her solution to the flooding situation this morning… “Mom, let’s just ask the beavers to build a dam up at Galena and then there would be lake to swim in and no one would get flooded.”  I remember that this IS the longest shortest time and I truly do love every second of it.

How lucky am I that I get to come to work and help families capture their golden nuggets. On the days that I need a little reminder on what to focus on, I see it all around me in the beautiful images in Dev’s studio. There it is…the pure beauty of a mother’s love frozen in time.

Celebrating Mother’s Day by sharing some of these beautiful joy bubbles that Dev has captured of moms in our little valley over the past few years. Happy remembering….

Selfies! Because I just couldn’t help myself…

I first went to India when I was 7 years old in 1986. I was in boarding school there for 9 years. At that point, India was closed to most outside companies and development. Things were as most of us have always thought of India– with a traditional culture that was not very influenced by the west (except of course for colonialism). As school children, we spent a ridiculous portion of the little money we had on hard to find, and very coveted American candy. All that time, things really didn’t change all that much. I moved back to the states for college, and because life is crazy, somehow it took me 15 years to get back to India. And boy have things changed! There is now a middle class. In major cities, you can now find McDonalds and Dominos, cars of all makes and models, and cell phones. Cell phones every where. You can live in a hut, or drive a rickshaw, and you will have a cell phone. And what I discovered on this trip, is that Indians love their selfies. And because I love the juxtaposition of the old and the new, the traditional and the modern, I couldn’t help myself.

The Pet Project 2017

“Want a treat? Go for a walk? Squirrel! Cookie! Stay.”  These are just some of the things we found ourselves saying during this year’s Pet Project!  Such personality and such fun with all of these fury friends and their humans.  We love that these photo shoots not only provide fun images for folks, but a portion of the proceeds go directly to the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley.  A huge thank you to all who participated and helped make this a success!

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” ~Roger Caras (photographer and writer) These are just some of our favorites from last week…Rocky, Levi, Kody, the maltese twins, and Toli

Joy and her pack showed us how easy it can be to get 12 eyeballs all looking at the camera at the same time! We just couldn’t get over how well-behaved and photogenic this four-legged crew was.

Our studio manager’s loves….adorable Brooke wrangles her four-legged siblings!

Audrey and Pearl were just way too cute!

Skyler, Lou the parakeet and Rio the Caique were officially our first bird shoot ever. Lou was super content to just hang out with his human sister, but Rio was on the move most of the time.

“What a good boy!” Kyra and Opie have this trick down.