Make it right

Friends, the official news broke last night. I got a message first thing in the morning, asking if I had seen the preview on Monday morning. Of course I did. I had been warning about Bella Rose Photography for over 2 years. Unfortunately, too many people were snowed and taken advantage of by this company. Wedding days. Newborn moments. Last days in high school. Family gatherings. It’s horrible. To me, unthinkable. (Not to mention how upset I was that they were the “Official photographers” of my favorite hometown team, the St. Cloud Rox) while balking their contracted duties. Those are moments you can’t get back. And they were CHEAP, as far as professional photography goes. $1000 for a whole day wedding, with prints and album. SHIT. I can’t feed my family on that! Think about it, you saw the best of the best they had. They hired out photographers, ones with openings still on their books, at ridiculously low wages. The outsourced photographers are pissed. In forums. In messages. They are enraged that the work that they were hired to do, work they put their hearts into, got gobbled up by greed and no bride or groom saw their images. OR, they were handed RAWs (you should never ask for those, trust me) and the couples were sitting there with a dud, no editing, no culling…nothing to show for their investment. I couldn’t compete with Bella Rose Photography if I had wanted to. I’m not a networking person. I’m not a sales person. I’m an honest person who just can’t make idle small talk and false promises. I cry... read more

not a weed

Spring has FINALLY arrived! After what has seemed like an unending dance in the 40s, then a 90 degree day, then 60s, the weatherman assures us that spring is finally here. Green grass. and so are my violets. weeds Johnny Jump-ups. weeds Creeping charlie. weeds and ankle deep green splotchy patches of green, so green, grass. Now, I was raised to take pride in a carefully kept lawn. Yes, I lived in the country and yes, it took around 3 hours to mow EV-ERy-THING, and yes, I was am terrified of that gas powered trimmer, the one that needed a harness and had actual plastic BLADES instead of string. So, of course, my younger brother and sister did the trimming, I chose the push mower on the “steep side” of the house as my chore, and we divyied up who got to ride mow the orchard/backyard/drainfield. Two nights ago, I dreamt I was mowing the woods. The woods where we’d build lean-to forts, lie in the decomposing bark and twigs and pretend we were living in our own kingdom. I can still smell that slightly sweet, earthy musk that made summer days so magical. I felt like this WAS my home and I didn’t give a rats’ ass what anyone else thought. And it was bliss.   Flash forward 20 or so years; today, I looked out my front window and realized that I have a MN jungle on my hands. Horsehair and purple flowers dot the outer banks, announcing the woods that surround us. Some ducks wandered in and must’ve found a feast of something since they hung out for quite... read more

Sartell Senior Session Erik

Senior sessions. You’re thinking, “gah. another varsity-jacket, sports star, hands in pockets lame photography post” right? NOPE. Not the Emmazing experience. We ask key questions to really get to know our seniors from what they like to do to favorite colors to silliest guilty pleasure. I got to photograph TRIPLETS this year and each one was a completely different experience and a ton of fun. Today, I’m featuring Erik, an Eagle Scout, introverted dude with some serious modeling skills. {Even his sisters said he should look into it as a side job so you know it’s true} We treked in some woods, (ahem, got scolded at for tresspassing by a nosy neighbor) found a huge granite boulder, got dusty in some cornfields and found some good brick. And his mom, Madonna, was the best assistant with hair and lights since the wind was feisty. Thanks Madonna! Cheers to all your accomplishments and best wishes for your new journey, Erik. You’ll kick ass, I guarantee it. So, enough words right? Let’s let Erik have his spot in the sun. Leave some love! To book your senior session, email me via my website or directly:... read more

When all you see is grey

It’s been a really rough week. Liam has decided that it’s time to start our day between 330AM and 5AM everyday, testing the limits of my patience and lack of sleep makes me more emotionally vulnerable. So, since it was ass-crack-of-dawn early, I scrolled through Facebook, checking in on a friend I hadn’t heard from in awhile. the post from her brother says she has died It’s not real. No. I refuse it. I’ll take a minute and reach out to her mom. I google for updates. Nothing. I am telling myself that it’s not true. the post gets updated with the murderer…DEPRESSION But I knew. In my heart of hearts, not wanting it to be true, I somehow intrinsically KNEW. I’m raw. I compartmentalize and get through my days, always thinking “If only…” If only I had reached out that day she posted the knitting groundhog meme on my wall. If only I had sent a “Hey! Thinking of you today” when I was thinking of her. If only I could have given her more strength to fight off that ugly, life-stealing asshole that Depression really is. Angela, know I love you. Know I will forever miss you. And I will fight Depression even harder to honor you. I wish I could have fought that battle for you, rather than just WITH you. This is going to be a really fucking hard month for the rest of my life. The life that was enriched and emboldened by having you in it. Shine bright, beautiful soul. And I’ll always think of you on my “good boob” days oh how you laughed... read more


It’s been over 2 weeks since my last post. I could tell you it was because I was too busy, but that would be a lie. Ok, well, a half-truth. It HAS been crazy around here with bookings and meetings and interviews as well as my side hobby taking off like wildfire (the whole knitting and crocheting thing), but the truth is I’ve been uninspired. Maybe it’s because it’s the winter doldrums, maybe it’s the fact that I’ve been binge watching Dr. Who on Netflix before it disappears February 1st, but I haven’t done anything to really get my mojo fired up and explode out of my head. I saw a friend of a friend’s post on Facebook that they’re in “hibernation mode” and maybe the writer part of me is curled up in a den on a pile of moss taking a rest. Let’s go with that one, it sounds smart and inspired. *insert winky emoticon here* More likely it’s that I haven’t nourished that part of my creative being lately and that’s totally on me. I haven’t read a novel in, well, let’s just say awhile, and just resorted to quotes delivered to my inbox from Thoughtful Mind (that I haven’t read) because I haven’t MADE TIME for it. See, the things that grow, that are important to US, our core being, we make time for. The fact that I loathe the time suck that is a shower means I don’t MAKE TIME for them. And as an entrepreneur, wife, mom, and all the other hats I (we) wear, it becomes easier and easier not to MAKE... read more

Warm Fuzzies

I had a teacher in 8th grade, Mr. Amdahl, who would often talk about Warm Fuzzies. It was his way of saying  Say something nice. Something that gives you warm fuzzies. It could be something as simple as “I like your outfit” or “Good job” or more meaningful (but let’s be real, 8th graders play it close to the chest and rarely say something beyond those two). Take my hobby, knitting (and sometimes crocheting) and pair it up with the typical Minnesota winter (COLD folks. It was -20 here last week) and I decided  I can do Warm Fuzzies!  Something tangible that will make someone warm both inside and out. And my #warmfuzzies started. Simple enough, I had a yarn stash with some super-bulky yarn that I had no projects for and a free hat pattern. With that, my first posts were to Facebook, offering them as a way to inspire others to perform their own random act of kindness. I shipped out some, dropped off others, hand delivered some more, and left a few throughout the St. Cloud area with a single halo clementine and a note. Simply enough, it read: I am not lost. If you need me, please take me. You Are Loved. Simple. Nameless. Just a way I could give something that came from my heart. With each stitch, I imagined love going into those hats. I posted on instagram. I ran out of yarn. And money to keep it going. I made a fundraiser version with some woolly scraps I had left and it sold. That scrap hat made 5 more hats, which I dropped... read more

Being fired and how it was awesome

Failure sucks. Period. We all know that. But with failure comes resolve and experience that really form us. (Preachy, I know. Hang in there with me.) I’ve always been an overachiever. And a rebel. I learn life lessons better “the hard way”. I was the National Honor Society/Captains and Leaders/All-State/Student Council/Prom Committee kid in high school. I joined the military and kicked ass. Serious ass, but more on that another day. And I’ve been fired twice in my life. Once from a now non-existent upscale wine bar and restaurant for taking a bowl of soup before the chef said to run it, and the one that hurt: a couple after their engagement sessions. That one stung for a long time. But, I am publicly thanking them today. The anxiety. The self doubt. The “i really suck so why do i even bother” mantra kept running through my head over and over and over again. I sent the gallery to friends without context. I sought advice in photography forums.  I had a reshoot with the couple. They were still not happy and left me THE VOICEMAIL. I had my lawyer draw up a termination agreement. I. Was. Fired. My photography is personal. It’s art. But I couldn’t let my art be just all the Pinterest pins they had envisioned. I have a personality. I’m quirky and witty. That was not what they REALLY wanted. It was winter. Sessions were cold. Sorry dudes, it’s Minnesota and that’s how the cookie crumbles. It was ME. All me, that they didn’t like. And that stung. But out of that, the images I shared... read more

Tidwell Family | Remer, MN Family Photographer

The first time we got an email from L, I thought it was a hoax. Someone from Australia wants to hire US to do their family lifestyle session? Yeah, right. We’re good, but not well-known in central MN, let alone on the other side of the world. So, I Googled and no hoax was going around the photographer community. I hit that ‘reply’ button with trepidation, not knowing what to expect. L and her family are so REAL it’s amazing. I got to road trip up to Remer and spend a weekend in Walker. And the best part? I get to see them every year when they come back for their vacation. This year they got relocated to Malaysia which means slowly but surely, our international fame is spreading 🙂 Flash to when it was a warm summer day, perfect for a boat ride on the lake and a jump on the trampoline. See what a Lifestyle session is really like with us. They’re fun and we’re not afraid of anything. Stay toasty!... read more

Friday? Give me Monday.

You know, Friday gets all the glory. Everyone looks forward to Friday and the “relaxing” weekend. Not me. Fridays here mean that my work is just starting. Saturdays I’m still up at 5 or 6am to attack my to-do list before sessions or full days shooting weddings. Which means MY weekend is Monday. Oh glorious Monday; when Gwen goes back to school – but not this next Monday-they’re off all week. If you don’t hear from me SEND TEQUILA. Or coffee. Because I’m either a) completely overwhelmed with the crazy that is a two year old and a 7 year old who both love and fight simultaneously all day; or b) fallen asleep on the couch after playdates/bounce houses/craft adventures/nature walks So, while you may love your Friday, give me Monday. Monday means a new start to the “work” week and the gym is open early (still trying to get my ass out of bed at 4am. Not working, FYI) and I *usually* get to binge watch last season of “Supernatural” and drink my oh-so-fancy home brewed coffee, complete with half and half out of the milk frother. Because at home, I don’t have to put on pants. And any day I can chill in running capris or just my scrundlewear is an A+ day in my book. Peace my peeps,... read more