A few weeks back, I photographed my 2023 wedding clients Riki and Lee for their couples portrait photography experience in Butte, Montana.

It’s been wonderful to get to know these two this year.

Right from the start, the shared, rich intellect and loving kindness of Riki and Lee were a clear, magnetic force.

Lee and Riki met four year ago back while pursuing their PhDs at Northwestern University and now they are both budding powerhouse chemists on the East Coast.

In our first conversations, Lee shared what they admire most about Riki. They love how Riki is so good at truly seeing people. She is kind and doesn’t hesitate to help others–whether it be Riki’s colleagues, students, or friends, or their community of loved ones. “Riki shows me how to be a better partner.” Lee also admires Riki’s intellect– “She is extremely smart and was the best in her class.”

Riki feels the same–she loves Lee’s mind. This couple’s roots began first as friends. Riki immediately felt that she could be herself around Lee and with their first conversations, they dove deep. Riki, who describes herself as straight-edged, admires the diversity of Lee’s rich life experiences. Lee’s adventurous approach to life makes it easy for Riki to walk outside her comfort zone in all the best ways. 

Visiting Lee’s hometown in Butte, Montana has quickly become a favorite annual destination for them and a place they really wanted to showcase in their couples portraits.

With their excitement growing the we got closer to their photography session date, Lee and Riki elected to book a second hour to explore this historic place which means so much to them.

With so much to see in a old industrial town like Butte, this extra hour gave us more creative freedom to take our time and investigate our curiosities. 

If you know Butte, you know that its heritage and history runs a mile high and a mile deep. By the end of the 19th century, The Butte copper mines had become the largest copper producers in the world until they closed entirely in the late 1940’s. The steel engineering relects of another time have now perfectly blended with the weathered Montana landscape to create a town with a lot of soul. We all agreed it would be a perfect, rustic Montana landscape for us to play in. We began at the Original Mine and explored the industrial bones of the headframe and the character of the surrounding buildings. 

Next, we shifted from the playground of the Copper Kings and went off trail to Lee’s beautiful family home. Tucked back in the Butte foothills, their family property offered a more intimate landscape to explore thick aspens groves, rock formations, and the sunset views of the Pintler Mountains.

In all, this couple’s warmth, adventurousness, kindness, and focus on each other created such an incredible energy to be around. In their photos, smiles came naturally. Their excitement for each other was uncontainable. I love the photos we created together and I can not wait to photograph their wedding day June 2023! -M

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