A few weeks back, I photographed my 2023 wedding clients Riki and Lee for their Butte, Montana Engagement Photography experience.
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 when they were pursuing their PhDs at Northwestern University. They are now 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. Riki is kind and doesn’t hesitate to help others. “Whether it be her colleagues, students, friends, or their community of loved ones, Riki shows me how to be a better partner.” Lee said. They also admire Riki’s intellect, “She is extremely smart and was the best in her class. I love how she challenges me.”
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. It’s a place they really wanted to showcase in their Butte Montana Engagement Photography experience.
With their excitement growing the closer we got to their photography session date, Lee and Riki elected to book a second hour for their Butte Montana Engagement Photography experience. They wanted to really explore this historic place which means so much to them. I was happy to oblige.
With so much to see in a old industrial town like Butte, Montana, this additional 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. They would operate until their closure in the late 1940’s. Old stone skyscrapers and the steel engineering relects of another time have now perfectly blended with the weathered Montana landscape. The result is a mountain 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, dramatic rock formations, and catch 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
A few weeks back, I traveled to Missoula to photograph the Missoula Engagement Portrait Photography Experience of Eric and Emily.
Eric and Emily met at the River City Roots Festival in Missoula, Montana a year and a half ago. Their shared love of live music has been a foundation of their budding relationship.
When the pandemic was sweeping across the country these two were just moving in with one another.
Despite the uncertainty of this past year, their relationship has continued to flourish and grow into something really special.
Eric loves how Emily is able to find the fun in any situation. He is so grateful for her encouragement that helps him find the joy and boundless potential within himself.
“She loves me through my worst times,” said Eric, who is finishing up a degree in Resource Conservation at The University of Montana. “It’s been game-changing for me. I can show up as I am and that’s okay with her. She accepts me.”
Both of them commented separately on how incredibly grounding each has been for one another in these challenging times.
By the same token, Emily loves Eric’s compassion and his thoughtfulness toward her.
“During our very first argument, rather than get mad, instead he genuinely wanted to understand me. It was so refreshing to be in a healthy relationship with him. Calmly, we worked it out,” said Emily. “He’s an amazing communicator and is so in tune with my feelings. I feel so lucky to have him.”
For their Missoula engagement portrait photography session, these two wanted to celebrate their relationship in one of their favorite places. Years ago,
Happy to oblige, we walked around and explored the fleeting Fall colors within Greenough Park in the Rattlesnake neighborhood. I attended college at the University of Montana and had a good knowledge of places we could check out along Rattlesnake Creek.
Here are a few favorite Missoula Engagement Portrait photographs from our time together.
I could not be more excited for these two lovebirds. -M
I’ve spent the last five weekends photographing fifty-five families from afar for my Bozeman Front Porch Project conclusion to raise money for local not-for-profits. Through the unwavering support of my Bozeman community, the project has been a huge success!
Thinking back on the experiences of the last five weeks of the Bozeman Front Porch Project conclusion, I find myself overcome with absolute gratitude.
Still, there has been so much to process personally and collectively as a member of my community.
Montana COVID-19 stay-in-place directives forced the country and my photography business into a holding pattern. I saw a lot of uncertainty and fear with all the drastic, fast-moving changes that we were experiencing as a community and nation.
As I was figuring out how I would support my photographic livelihood moving forward, I also was dealing with the realization that my grandmother was being admitted into hospice for her end of life care.
An ironic twist to an already surreal time in our world.
In late March, I was at home with my family in Missoula and supporting my grandmother. It was the week before stay-in-place directives kicked in. During that time, I came across some favorite family photos that I had made of my grandmother throughout the years.
As the end of her life neared, those photos had suddenly become priceless to me. Those captured memories brought up so many wonderful emotions of love.
Over the years, how many of us have made excuses to put off making the time to be present with our families?
I think we’ve all be guilty of it.
Yet once those loved ones are gone (or a mandated stay-in-place separates us), we would do anything to be back in their presence. To once more savor their cherished expressions that encapsulates who they are – just one more time. Good storytelling photography can be that bridge to tap into all those emotions we hold dear towards our loved ones.
During this time of uncertainty and social distancing, I wanted to be a remedy.
I was looking for a path to give back and help my community in any way I could.
I realized that while we may be socially distancing from our neighbors, now is a time to experience the precious moments of togetherness with our families, loved ones, and pets during this time of unpredictability.
That was something to celebrate.
While the front porch project was not an original idea, the simple concept was a chance to showcase community members in my Montana home.
I wanted to address the mental health impacts of the pandemic. I saw it as a chance to help change the narrative. Changing it from one of fear to one of focused appreciation of our relationships – a strength for so many during this time.
Best of all, I saw it as a conduit to raise money for the non-for-profits assisting the helpers in our community.
From the chaos, the Bozeman Front Porch Project was born.
Created as a little something to uplift the mood of our community while maintaining safety precautions photographing from afar.
An opportunity for families to contribute to a good cause and to create a small keepsake to remind them of the loving individuals that give their life meaning.
After all, family is everything and is worth celebrating right now!
It’s amazing to watch a good idea gain traction and grow into making a difference.
As a result, over the last five weekends I celebratED fifty-five families from afar while raising money for The Bozeman Area Community Foundation and the Greater Gallatin United Way. In total, we raised $2915.00!
Words can not express just how grateful I am to all the families that supported this fundraising project!
This pandemic has uprooted so much in our daily lives. Many have lost loved ones along the way, my grandmother included.
The struggle it seems is far from over.
I believe this time can also be viewed as a gift. It was a chance to show each one of us the healing, supportive power of our relationships.
If we choose to, we can refocus our attention on all the good things that we have to celebrate in our lives at this very moment.
This past Sunday evening, I was photographing my last family portrait of this project. The family happened to be my friends Sky and Tara. These two have spent their quarantine racing against the clock to finish their DIY home remodel. Their goal was to move in before the arrival of their first child due at the beginning of June.
I witnessed the excitement of a young couple on the cusp of starting their new family contrasted with the stressful demo chaos strewn about their front yard. It was a necessary step for the construction rebirth of the home they will raise their family in and it was also a hopeful conclusion to the Bozeman Front Porch Project.
Like Sky and Tara, each family I photographed were juggling a wide variety of emotions and personal challenges during this time.
I think the pandemic has shown all of us that in our shared, sheltered experience, we can foster personal connections and together begin to heal. For many, we’ve discovered a new appreciation for one another. This pandemic has shown us just how important our relationships really are in our lives.
There is great power in our relationships. They give us the space to laugh, to cry, to grieve, to experience our fears in a safe space, to celebrate, heal, and be accepted for who we are.
It’s a reaffirmation to know that we are loved, even when we are apart. To know that our loved ones have our backs.
Together, our relationships, nurtured with the foundations of love, will help each of us get through any trial life throws at us. That knowledge fills me with hope.
It was only fitting that I make one last family portrait for the Bozeman Front Porch Project conclusion – my Bozeman family.
My labrador Tippet has been my traveling companion on this journey with me from the start. Without her, this pandemic would have been a much more difficult and lonely road to navigate.
To my dog, I am grateful.
To my family and friends, I love you and I am grateful.
And for the generosity of the families in our Bozeman community, I am eternally grateful for your support throughout this project.
May all of us cherish this time of togetherness with the ones who matter most. Brighter days are ahead for all of us. When this storm passes, I’ll be here to help you celebrate your loved ones through candid, creative, storytelling photography. Thank you Bozeman! -M
I recently photographed the winter engagement portrait photography of Kate & Dylan at their Bozeman family property overlooking the Bridger Mountains.
Kate knew right from the start after connecting online and on their first lunch date, that Dylan was a man unlike any she had met before.
The immediate comfort in their own skin around each other, matched with good conversation, inspired them to play hooky the rest of the day. They ended up spending the afternoon walking around, riding a carousel, and being complete goofballs.
For someone like Kate, who has dedicated her whole career to how humans learn through play, seeing Dylan’s forthright invitation to make a fool of himself sparked an immediate connection for her.
Dylan was a partner who had a willingness for silly, goofy fun. It’s a character trait that had been missed in Kate’s previous relationships.
As Kate recalled, “Dylan is the most earnest of people she had ever met. He is nerdy in the most wonderful ways.”
As their relationship grew, Dylan’s kind heart and inspiration around creativity solidified her love for him. It was a big deal. He was the first partner she ever invited to her family home for the holidays.
For Dylan, Kate is such a natural fit for him. She complimented him in every way.
“Kate’s smile is so genuine. It has an uncanny capacity to instantly get me excited and always lifts my spirit,” Dylan said, “It’s her ability to always find positivity in the world around them. Her willingness for adventure, good humor, and her sense of morality made him feel seen, recognized, and cared for.”
Kate gives him hope for a better future.
It has been a true pleasure getting to know this engaged couple over the last few months.
For their winter engagement portrait photography session, we wanted to celebrate all of those playful, creative traits that each one brought into their relationship.
We decided the perfect place to meet up for their photo session was at her parent’s house outside of Bozeman.
We had such a fun time exploring the Montana property of Kate’s youth. With the man of her dreams, we created fun portraits that reflect all that they cherish about one another.
Here are a few favorite photographs I made during their couples portrait session.
I am so looking forward to photographing these two on their wedding day later this year. Congrats on your engagement Kate & Dylan! July can’t come soon enough! -M
I’m proud to share my Best of 2019 Portrait Photography!
I’ve been looking back on this past year and the photos from my Best of 2019 Portrait Photography with so much gratitude for the couples, families, and business professionals I had the privilege to photograph and build relationships with.
As a destination family photographer, I was lucky enough to travel to Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, many parts of New England, and all over Montana this past year for my portrait photography clients.
Everyone had so much to celebrate in their lives.
I harbored so much fulfillment in helping each one of my photography clients rediscover what they valued most in each other and their relationships – in turn helping to bring out the best versions of themselves.
This year I chose the photos for my Best of 2019 Portrait Photography that showcased the photographs that meant so much to my clients.
For me, 2020 is shaping up to be another great year of celebrating the best in life.
Thanks for the continued support everyone! Happy New Year! -M
Matt and Allison’s Couples Portrait Photography Session at Rat Lake in Gallatin National Forest was quite the adventure.
When this newly engaged Bozeman couple, hired me to photograph their 2020 wedding celebration we got to talking about all the things they treasured in their lives and their relationship.
They met through a friend of a friend and while quiet at first, he had all of those amazing attributes like her father – a hard work ethic, compassionate and always willing to stick up for others.
As Allison reflected back on the things she really cherished about Matt, what stood out was his loving patience and his uncanny ability to liven up the mood by just being so much fun to be around.
Laughing as she thought back on it she said, “After dating just 10 months, I knew he was going to be the one.
Ever since they have built their lives together here in Bozeman.
Along the way, they have fostered a shared love of the Montana outdoors often opting to go fishing, off-roading in their 4 x 4 and spending time camping outside with their two dogs
After five years of dating and endless, fun adventures, Matt proposed.
For their Couples Portrait Photography Session, we decided to visit one of their favorite places – Rat Lake tucked up in the Gallatin National Forest outside of Bozeman.
It was the perfect setting to showcase through photography all of the things they love about each other and their relationship.
Here are a few favorite photographs from our time together. I can not wait for their wedding celebration coming up in July 2020. -M
Back in August, I photographed the Seattle Washington couples portrait session of my wedding clients Allie and Chris.
This past year I’ve had the pleasure of traveling to make Seattle Washington Couples Portraits of my wedding clients. As a destination wedding and portrait photographer, it’s always such a joy to take photos of my clients in the places that matter most to them.
These two love their city life together in Seattle.
Allie is coming down the final stretch of obtaining her law degree from Seattle University and Chris works as an aircraft engineer. These two are passionate and driven in what they do. Above all else, they really value the time they have with one another in their relationship.
For their Seattle Washington Couples Portraits, they wanted to explore some of their favorite places in Seattle where they love to spend their free time with one another.
We walked through some of their favorite neighborhoods, explored parks near their home and checked out some of their favorite places for a good drink.
I can not wait to photograph their wedding day celebration in 2020. Congrats on your engagement Allie and Chris!
For Belle and Angel’s West Yellowstone Couples Portraits experience, we decided to drive back to their hometown of West Yellowstone, Montana to explore and photograph the place that fostered the roots of their relationship.
These two have been dating since high school – over seven years ago – where they first cultivated their relationship through their shared love of basketball.
While a lot has changed since high school, their relationship has never been stronger.
In Belle’s opinion regardless of where they are, Angel’s presence in her life is an immediate sense of home.
They now live and work in Bozeman, Montana – him as a chef and her as a caregiver.
Time together has helped them discover not only their love for each other but their shared passion for exploring the outdoors.
Now, as they work to finalize their wedding plans for Summer 2020, they wanted to celebrate this time in their lives by giving a nod to their shared love of camping and hiking in their old Yellowstone National Park area stomping ground.
We headed over to Black Sand Spring, a small spring creek west of town where we explored the area making photographs of them. Here are some favorites from their experience. Congrats on your engagement Belle and Angel! -M
A few weeks back I had the pleasure of photographing the Washoe Theatre Couples Portraits of Amanda and Harley in Anaconda Montana.
Amanda and Harley met ten years ago and were high school sweethearts.
I had an amazing time discovering all that they cherished in each other and their relationship.
It has been such a fun time getting to know these two high school sweethearts over the past year.
They met at the age of 16-year-old. From the get-go, they shared an easy-going sense of humor and appreciation of the little things in one another.
Harley, usually a shy kid, recalled how profound it was that she could always bring him out of his shell and how to completely be himself around others.
Thinking back on what was a difficult childhood, Amanda loved that meeting Harley showed her the possibility of a better life and how to be a kid again.
More often than not, this usually takes the form of dancing and singing to music while cooking together.
Over the next ten years, Amanda and Harley’s relationship flourished.
“We were able to develop around each other and made up for each other’s perceived “faults”, Amanda said.
It was a wonderful, mutual balance of support, love, and acceptance. Each knew they had found their person
For them, it was those times growing up together around Butte and Anaconda, Montana where the foundations of their relationship and support for one another really solidified.
As their relationship grew, some of their fondest memories were going on dates to the historic Washoe Theatre in downtown Anaconda and then dining at one of their favorite restaurants in Butte, the Pekin Noodle Parlor – the oldest Chinese restaurant in the country and housed in a formal brothel.
We wanted to highlight these two places that held a lot of wonderful memories for them.
We decided to recreate an ultimate date night for them!
Here are some favorites photographs from their Washoe Theatre Couples Portraits photographic experience.
This January, they will be getting married here in Bozeman and the Gallatin River Lodge. I can’t wait to celebrate with them. Congrats on your engagement you two! -M
A few weeks back I had the pleasure of photographing the Morel Mushroom Hunting Couple Portraits of Brianna and Kyle.
Brianna and Kyle are two foodies who are planning their September wedding celebration later this summer.
This engaged couple has made a life together fostering their shared love of the outdoors and wild foods. They work hard for that lifestyle. Both are on the talented staff at the Gallatin River Lodge. Kyle works as a sous chef and Brianna is the kitchen, garden, and reservations manager for events.
Working in the service industry often requires long hours, especially in the summer. It can make personal time challenging to harness especially when your partner might not have the same schedule as you.
Through our numerous conversations leading up to our photo session, we discovered that it’s the little things that they shared together that help make their relationship so strong and satisfying.
For their couples portrait photographic experience, our conversations focused on all the things they love about each other, their relationship together, and their 8-year-old English Pointer dog named Speck.
For this engaged couple, life doesn’t get much better than when they walk the banks of the Gallatin River near with their dog and find wild morel mushrooms to turn into fancy meals.
The more we talked, the clearer our theme became. Their Morel Mushroom Hunting Couple Portraits would be the perfect recipe for their couple portrait theme – highlighting their passion for the outdoors and cooking good food.
I traveled out to their home west of Bozeman where we explored the Gallatin River banks together. Within an hour, we found a heaping bowl full of blond morel mushrooms and made some really fun, personal photos of Brianna and Kyle in their happy place with their pup.
Being an aficionado of foraging and cooking wild game meat myself, I joined them for a riverside campfire dinner. I loved photographing them creating together in their outdoor, fireside kitchen with uncontrollable smiles on their faces. These two were in their creative culinary zone. Kyle sautéed our prized morel mushrooms with garlic, spices, and asparagus then artistically dished them onto a perfectly grilled moose backstrap (donated by yours truly) prepared by Kyle.
We ate like kings and queens that night.
With our bellies full of delicious food and a couple of microbrews, we savored the moment. To close out our time together, I had these two snuggle up into their hammock. Kyle is also a musician and he played blues riffs on his guitar for us as the sun set over the mountains. It was a perfect way to enjoy a relaxing Montana summer evening.
I love the energy and the life these two have created together. I think their bond really shines through these photographs.
Congrats again on your engagement Brianna and Kyle. Wishing you two a lifetime of happiness! -M
The other day I drove from Bozeman to photograph the Ousel Falls Engagement Portraits of Taylor and Josh in Big Sky, Montana. I love a couple that is game to get outside even in early Spring weather.
In fact, it was their love of games and hiking in the outdoors that brought them together. This engaged couple met playing an intense game of parchesi at a friend’s place where Josh won on the last roll. As the Denver Bronco football season went on, they cheered and bonded over their shared passions and growing connection. He made her laugh and always knew how to cheer her up. She was loving and helped him open up and out of his introverted tendencies.
In Taylor’s words, “Our weirdness meshed well.”
These two have been dating for five and a half years and they were engaged in early March.
For their Ousel Falls Engagement Portraits session, we decided to check out Ousel Falls which is one of their favorite places to hike in Southwest Montana. The contrast of the light snowfall and ice intermingled with the lush green of the coming Spring made for the perfect backdrop to their couples portrait session. Here are some of their favorites from our adventure in Big Sky. Congrats on your engagement you two! -M
During my recent trip to Alaska, I had the pleasure of photographing the Alaska Maternity Portrait Experience of Jessie and Brendan in Hope, Alaska.
These two expecting parents are dear friends to my brother and his family in Anchorage. Over the last five years, I’ve really enjoyed getting to know these two wonderful people.
Jessie and Brendan have been married since 2010. They love to travel together both throughout Alaska and abroad. Their passion for a full life in Alaska lead them to purchase land outside of Hope, Alaska where they have been building their own home together since 2011.
As that passion project comes to a conclusion, a new journey is about to begin for them. In two weeks, these two are expecting the arrival of their first child.
To commemorate this special time, Jessie and Brendan reached out to me about making some maternity photographs for them. For our Alaska Maternity Portrait Experience, we decided to explore their favorite walking trail near their home that looks out over the Turnagain Arm and the Chugach State Park landscape.
Here are some of their favorites from our photo experience. I can not wait to meet the new addition to their family! Congrats you two! -M
I photographed the Hyalite stargazing engagement portraits of Aysha and Brad on the eve before the springtime road closure to Hyalite Canyon.
For Aysha, her love of Brad’s spontaneity and ability to make her laugh won her affection over quickly. Their relationship grew closer through their LDS faith, love of soccer and live music, and being together stargazing with each other in their Montana backyard. This couple is dedicated to their craft. Aysha helps run the family plumbing business and Brad is also working there as an electrician apprentice.
Brad summed up Aysha as nothing short of amazing and kept commenting on how much he cherished how every day, she gives everything her all.
After dating for seven months, they were engaged a few weeks back while next to a campfire.
For their Hyalite stargazing engagement portraits, we decided to highlight some of their favorite activities they love to experience together. We made a plan to meet up at the Hyalite Reservoir just outside of Bozeman for their nighttime, stargazing engagement portrait experience.
Upon our arrival at the snow-covered Hyalite parking lot, we were greeted with clear skies and a setting sun. We started by exploring the quiet, cold winter landscape with antique oil lanterns that lighted our path. As the stars came out over the frozen mountain scene, I made some long exposure photographs to make the sky really shine. Afterward, Brad made us a warm campfire to sit around. This couple came prepared with plenty of s’mores, cups of hot chocolate, and the arms of each other. We had found a perfect mountain atmosphere to showcase Aysha and Brad’s relationship.
It made for a really fun night.
Here are some of my favorite photographs I made during our evening together.
I’m so excited for these two and the good fortune that lies ahead for them. Congrats to Aysha and Brad! -M
Even a Bozeman Montana winter snowstorm couldn’t dampen the spirits of Ali and Josh during their recent Bogert Park Snowstorm Portraits session.
Ali and Josh are seniors at Montana State University and besides finishing up school and internships, they have continued to grow their relationship. After meeting them at this year’s Montana Wedding Event, we got to talking about things they love about each other and the activities they enjoy doing together.
Hearing their story and learning about their relationship, they have found a shared interest in playing ice hockey together. We decided to incorporate that shared passion for their recent Bogert Park Snowstorm portraits photography experience.
The last few weeks in Bozeman have had frigid temperatures and lots of snow. This meant most of the outdoor ice rinks around town were buried under a few feet of snow. We headed over to Bogert Park in downtown Bozeman, Montana to take advantage of its covered, outdoor ice rink.
After a fun hockey-themed photo session, we noticed a snowstorm coming in. We shifted gears, took off the ice skates and went for a tromp around the park in the deep snow. These two had a great attitude throughout and their playful love for each other really comes through in their photographs.
Here are some of my favorite photographs from my time with them. Big things are on the horizon for these two and I couldn’t be more happy for them. -M
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