Updated: Feb 23, 2020

As the hopeless romantic who loves the imagery of the groom seeing his bride for the first time when she’s walking down the aisle toward him, I’d say no. However, we chose this path and looking back, I kind of wish we had done the ‘first look’ pictures and would encourage most couples to do it too. Here’s why…

We went the route of hopeless romantic and while that moment was amazing. He’s my best friend and of anyone I could have seen before we got up in front of EVERYBODY was him. I remember moments before the wedding, I was sitting in my aunt’s van, alone, and panicking. I am an introvert and struggle with a touch of social anxiety so being the center of attention was the ultimate nerve rocking situation. My coordinator came and got me from the van and I felt weak and anxious beyond belief. My dad greeted me at the door and put his arm out, we turned the corner, my eyes locked on Tyler’s and I was fine. While that speaks volumes to his calming effect on me, I think I could have avoided all of that had I seen him beforehand.

This day is a big deal. Ideally it’s the first day of forever for you two. Superstition aside, there is only benefit in coming together before the ceremony to center yourselves as a couple.

Now, let’s talk photos. You’d think that photo would be amazing and he looked spot on but for whatever reason I was mirroring his facial expression like a ding dong, and it didn’t look right.

Image by Margaret Jacobsen

I can’t help but wonder if we had done ‘first look’ picture if we’d have some great photos of the two of us. Not to mention our post ceremony photos got cut short due to some friendly heckling and we ended up rescheduling pictures of the two of us which wasn’t the easiest to schedule and I was way more nervous about having a camera in my face that day.

There are a lot of ways to do a first look, it can have all the wonder and anticipation of seeing each other for the first time walking down the aisle without the added nerves of everyone's eyes on you, and most importantly it can be just you two.

At the end of the day, do what feels right, and take advantage of all picture taking opportunities.

Until next time!

Xx, Bethany

Amber and I use to ride the same bus in high school. We'd spend afternoons talking about music and God and anything else that popped into our adolescent brains. Thinking back to those days my memory of 'high school Amber' is that of a strong and passionate girl who would do anything for her people. She was the person in your corner when the school bully was looking to knock some heads together and settled their sights on you. I don't recall that she was ever in fights but she wielded a fierceness that one ought not mess with. When this proverbial bully targeted you she could take them down with a sideways glace.

The ultimate protector.

Like many of my high school friends we lost touch but stayed connected through social media. I can't remember exactly who reached out first but I do remember we reconnected just before we both found out we were expecting our first babies. We have kept in touch since. We all need support in our lives and for many it's easier to avoid reaching out until it becomes a necessity. Parenthood definitely qualifies. I am so thankful that she and I reconnected when we did. Whether we're just doing a quick check in, comparing notes on fitness, kids or parenting. Having someone who, gets it when you're floating on a cloud parental joy, or can empathize when you're drowning in exhaustion is life giving.

Let's be real for a second, kids are hard. If you've worked with kids in any capacity you can likely relate. Parenting those kids is harder. Stay at home parents are the pillars of our communities who should be revered as saints. Parenthood certainly isn't without its joys but it's exhausting in a way that can only understood through experience. Solo parenting is mindbogglingly more difficult. My husband will be leaving for week at the end of August for his annual hunting trip and I'm already mentally preparing. Every year I have a renewed appreciation for Army wives and Linemen's wives. These lifestyles are not for the faint of heart.

Amber's husband is a lineman, initially I didn't understand the gravity of his job and all that it entailed. It is a vital job, that is dangerous and exhausting. It requires long hours and often takes a person away from their family for weeks to months at a time. All of which add to the inherent difficulties that come with raising a family. Amber approaches this lifestyle with grit and gumption. She is the glue that holds their family together. The ultimate protector of those she holds dear. I have been so impressed with how she prioritizes her marriage and health in the midst of the hard work of raising a family.

I am honored that Amber invited me into their home to capture these moments. Amber, you are gold. You lead a life that most people will never be able to grasp. The sacrifices you and Craig make are immense and do not go unseen.

I can't wait to take more photos for your beautiful family.

Xx, Bethany

Updated: Feb 1, 2020

When I graduated from high school I had completed every photography course offered and a few independent studies. My plan was to pursue photography. Like many young minds I approached my passion with all the knowledge and hormones of your average teenager. I was going to be a "real" photographer (insert eye roll from older and wiser self). I started the daunting task of looking at art schools. They were EXPENSIVE.

I come from a long line of hard working farmers and tradesmen. There's no way my family could afford to help me with this, and there was no way I was asking. I knew if I wanted this degree, paying for it would be on me. My dreams were deflated. I decided to take a year off from school to work and reassess. That year, turned into three years. After spending that time at a dead end job, I realized I needed to make a change. FAST. I went back to school. As money was still an issue, I enrolled at the school my mom worked at and in doing so was afforded a full ride. The drawback, at this particular institution, degrees in art weren't offered... But who in their right mind walks away from a full ride? No one.

I pursued a degree in Business Management. I assumed this was my ticket to the photography business bus I was longing to ride. After knocking out my undergrad credits I dug into what it would take to finish with a BA in Business Management. This was about the time I learned about the senior project. For anyone else getting this degree, this project was the ultimate opportunity. This was your chance to prove yourself in front of not only your class and professor but the ENTIRE business class and faculty, a group of community members and anyone else interested in popping by for the hell of it... I imagine if you rock this, you can literally conquer anything. This was the project they had been building up to. This was my, "hell no", moment.

This project forced me to reckon with what I wanted. Ultimately, this was not the track for me. This wasn't my mountain to climb. I explored other degree options. Whether it took weeks or months, I landed on, Industrial and Organizational Psychology. All my favorite parts of business without the numbers (which I hated anyhow) and the senior project from hell. This degree shifted my focus to people which turned out to be the best decision ever. As I dug deeper into something I could be passionate about, I started building my photography business. I was FINALLY headed in the right direction. I was studying something I loved and building my brand.

After I graduated, my boyfriend of six years proposed. We were married four short months later and moved to Philomath, Oregon. If you don't know much about photography, or really any service industry, success is heavily reliant on building trusting relationships with clients... without thinking much about it I had just moved away from what I built. I was starting at ground zero and I was exhausted. The pressures that come with navigating being newly married and trying to make ends meet took more time and energy than expected and once again I put my photography on hold... I lost my momentum and settled on the path of least resistance. I found a job nearby and began the soul deadening life path of coasting. Ok... that's a tad dramatic but you know what I mean.

Image by Margaret Jacobsen

A few years and two children later, I finally noticed the goals and dreams that had drifted away like a couple of lost buoys at sea were still there. I don't know if this realization was born through the achievement of some mystically milestone, or maybe having babies, or maybe the pressures of motherhood forced me to analyze what I am doing with my life and what kind of example I am being to my children. Regardless of what shifted, I knew I was not living my best life or being the best example for my kids. Things needed to change, but this time not just for me. I needed to make a change in my life to help all the boats in my harbor rise. So here I am, celebrating the incremental forward motion and pushing through until I make it.

If you can relate to this, I want to take a moment to ask you, what are the things in your life holding you back from doing what you love? What lies are you allowing to poison your mind? What fears do you give power over your life? What doubts keep the gifts you have hidden in the shadows? I know I'm not the only one who has allowed a conga line of doubt, lies, and fears to dance through my mind. I want to encourage you to take back your power and chase your dreams. This is hard, painful work, but this is the work that breaks down the barriers holding you back so that you can build a fortress.

Someday will be here faster than you think. This is your life. Go all in.



I'm Bethany!

A mom, artist, and photographer.

I am a born and raised Oregonian

dedicated to capturing real authentic moments that celebrate the beauty of your story.

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