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Looking through these photos and remembering meeting up with Sam and Dustin in Seattle this past October basically makes my heart want to burst with warm, mushy feelings.

If I’m being honest though — the start to the shoot was actually pretty far from perfect. It would be easy to blog these photos and pretend like this day went off without a hitch but the fact of the matter is that sometimes it helps to remember that plans can go out the window and that winging it sometimes ends up better than the original plan and that clients who are okay with all of these things are the bees knees.

I had photographed a wedding in Dallas the day before, got home around midnight and left the house by 6 a.m. to catch my flight to Seattle the day of Sam and Dustin’s engagement shoot. By 11 a.m. I had landed, picked up a coffee and got in my rental car to scout the areas Sam and I had been e-mailing excitedly back and forth about for months — e-mails from Sam are always golden and hilarious and my absolute favorite — which would leave me about four hours to hit all the locations before meeting up with Sam and Dustin to get started. That early afternoon exploring Seattle was absolutely glorious. I spent so much time hiking around the jaw-droppingly gorgeous Discovery Park looking for the perfect spots for our shoot that before I realized it, 2.5 hours of my scouting time had been used up (over-zealous much, Jillian?). This was going to make it tight to scout as thoroughly as I had planned to peruse the other two sites, but it wasn’t going to be impossible. That’s where the not-so-perfect part of the day started. On my way to the second location my GPS decided to take me in a 6-mile loop off course that I was dumb enough to drive twice before I stopped and GAVE THAT GPS A PIECE OF MY MIND. I make it to Volunteer Park and the place is so jam-packed that there isn’t a parking space in sight. I give it as much time as I can possibly allow hoping for a spot to open up before I decide, ain’t no thing, I’ll just scout from my car, thank you very much! Afterwards I have just enough time to make it over to Capitol Hill to explore a bit before heading over to Sam and Dustin’s place when I realize that I won’t have any extra time to stop and pick up lunch before we start. This might not be as big a deal for some people but 1) I’m not a meal-skipper 2) I had basically hiked like 4+ miles that day and hadn’t eaten since before my 8 a.m. flight and 3) I’m just not a meal-skipper. In my predicament, I decide Sam would totally be cool with me asking to commandeer some pb & j from her kitchen so I text to see if I was correct in this assumption. Fresh out of peanut butter, she tells me she just put a pot of water on the stove to make me some macaroni and cheese and that it will be ready for me when I arrive. Now that is love, my friends. I pull up to their neighborhood right in the nick of time, get overly excited about meeting Sam and Dustin in the flesh for the first time (up until the point I had flown across the country and shown up at their front door we had only skyped/e-mailed), inhaled my mac and cheese that Sam had so graciously prepared for me, and then hit the road to get this shoot started! We were a few miles out from their house when I realize I had left my phone on their table (the phone that held all the dropped pins for the locations I had scouted earlier that day) but I convinced myself that I would recognize the locations if we just got close enough to them. YEAH, EXCEPT FOR NOT, I found out a few minutes later as we’re driving around based off of my vague, wishy-washy directions. I really cannot stress enough how gracious and kind and chill Sam and Dustin were in this process as I was quietly biting my nails and stress-sweating in their back seat hoping for something to look familiar. Finally I have us pull over at a spot we were passing that I deemed would be our starting point (although I hadn’t seen it before that moment), and we just went with it. And you know what, the second we got started I felt 8-million times better, I honestly believe that the spots we ended up working with for this portion of the shoot were better than the ones I had chosen beforehand anyway, and I was able to reunite with my phone halfway through for the outfit change to finally feel in control of time again.

See, far from perfect?

But I would honestly do it all over again to spend as wonderful an afternoon with Sam and Dustin in their new city, wingin’ it.

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After an outfit change (and can we just pause and take a second to marvel at how wonderful Sam and Dustin’s outfit choices were?) we decided to skip Volunteer Park altogether because helllloooooooooo Discovery Park is miles and miles of magical wonderland, which I would know because I had accidentally spent almost three hours there that morning. But the light when we arrived that evening was even better than I could have possibly imagined. I like to think such beautiful sunshine was a gift for Sam and Dustin for feeding me lunch and being so kind as to not openly roll their eyes when I was all “I’m pretty sure we’re close to the spot I chose earlier . . .” at the beginning of the shoot.

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Sam and Dustin, getting to photograph a couple as great and lovely and fun as you two in a place like this is basically what my photographer dreams are made of. I will always treasure this day, your graciousness, and getting to document this sweet season of your life. Reuniting for your wedding day this summer has got me all kinds of excited and I promise to make absolutely certain that I eat lunch before I arrive.

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Nothing makes me prioritize posting an engagement blogpost quite like knowing that I’ll be shooting the couple’s wedding the next day!

Katy and Brandon are absolute dears and if I do say so, they make Fort Worth look GOOD. And just you wait until they break out the little red dress and tailored suit and make Fort Worth at night basically stop in her tracks.

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I get to shoot your Le San Michele wedding tomorrow and I CAN BARELY TAKE THE EXCITEMENT!

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Wow. WowowowowoWOWowowow. WOW. Just, wow.

Anita and Michael, I could photograph you two in your wedding attire all day, every day. So MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ME because I’m finally able to share some of their Indian Pithi ceremony portraits now that their wedding has come and gone over the weekend — JZP’s last wedding of 2014. I feel the tears welling up in my eyes as I reflect on how awesome this year has been (I’M A SENSITIVE SOUL AND I LOVE ALL OF YOU A LOT, OKAY??) but I’m also an optimist so here’s to hoping I’m able to pull together an end of 2014 blogpost by the New Year and I’ll let all the tears out then. Deal? Deal.

Now for more Anita and Michael because WOW.

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The fact of the matter is that I honestly cannot think of a single thing I would change to make shooting Marissa and Matt’s engagement portraits more perfect than it was on this day we spent together back in September.  The weather, the couple, THOSE DRESSES, the sunshine, the ducks??? — GOSH. All the things, just coming together.

Marissa and Matt, let’s do this again sometime. Does the second of weekend of May work for y’all? Let’s pencil it in.

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