Zoe celebrates 11 years with Tina

In adoption time, Zoe turned 11 today. We’ll call it her birthday.

Happy Birthday, Zoe! We love you and your little grumpy puss.

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Engagement shots, surround yourselves with love

Over the weekend Tina and I shot these engagements with the couple above. Their names are Dana and Kate. They were so sweet and fun to work with.

I love to experience the moment when a shoot goes from awkward newness to complete comfort with a subject or subjects. It’s what makes working with Tina and I unique. Between my dumb jokes and goofy direction and Tina’s suggestions and personality — that could set a rabid dog at ease — I feel like people get comfortable faster.

I mean, a sitting is only 45 minutes. If we don’t get past awkward fast, there’s no time to get the great stuff.

The story of this couple is an amazing one. I don’t know all the details, but Dana is about 30, and he battled some cancer over the past couple years. It was very iffy for a while, and now he’s doing well. Kate and Dana are getting married in October, and they share an amazing love with each other. I mean look at that shot. That’s the kind of love a couple dream about.

I only know the story about Dana, because the woman who bought their session wanted me to shoot candids of them last winter. Dana’s health was very uncertain at the time, and this woman absolutely loved a gift I did for her family a few years ago. I did candids of her terminally-ill mom at an event with all of her siblings. The shots are all candid, fun, honest, and They captured an emotion that the family has thanked me for endlessly since. One of the siblings brings up those shots every time I talk to him. It makes me proud to have given something valued that highly.

If I were Dana, I have no idea how hard it would be to go through such a trying ordeal at 30 years old. I only wish and hope that if it should happen to me, I respond like he does. He keeps pushing forward, surrounding himself with love, generous friends, and not dwelling on matters that sadden, but the things that brighten.

Damn, I’m sure he has gone through some rough moments. How could you not? But from the looks of the way he is with Kate, how awesome and important it is to have the love of your life not just standing by your side, but being part of the support that keeps you up through all of life’s moments.