Like so many people, I grew up spending way too much time watching TV and movies.
My obsession with movies and my passion for photography come from the same place; I believe in the power of storytelling. In fact, I think my life fits into a series of different cinematic devices. Here’s what I mean:
My coming-of-age story began on Christmas morning 1990. That was the year I received my first camera. Because there were no interchangeable lenses, there was no need to worry about f-stops or shutter speeds. The film was 12mm wide, and everything I photographed was out of focus. That camera has long been retired, but my love of light and composition has grown exponentially. Today, I have been shooting professionally for more than two decades, and it never gets old. Each time I look through my viewfinder, I always find a new story to tell.
My romantic comedy years began when I met my husband, Caleb. We were high school seniors who both worked at the local movie theater; he sold tickets, and I served popcorn. I did everything I could think of to get him to notice me. I came in on my days off, spent my breaks sitting on the floor of the box office, and once I even put a garbage can on my head. Despite all of my goofy antics, he agreed to go out with me, and only a few years later, he proposed.
The next decade represents our buddy comedy years. Caleb worked his way through school while I started a portrait studio and gave birth to four kids (That is not a typo – I have always wanted a big family). Life was busy, complicated, and stressful, but we always had each other, and we shared a lot of laughs.
December 2011 could only be categorized as a drama. I was hospitalized after a ruptured spleen, and internal bleeding nearly killed me. The months that followed changed everything. I found myself confronted with the hard reality that my busy lifestyle was physically damaging my body and putting a strain on my family in ways I hadn’t imagined. After a lot of soul searching and prayer, I closed my portrait studio and began focusing on what really mattered. Like all the best dramatic movies, my story has a moral lesson. I learned that I am not defined by what I do for work. I am defined by how my work helps others.
This brings me to the present day. I am healthy again, which is a blessing I didn’t expect. With a newfound perspective, a more balanced lifestyle, and a desire to help those in need, I now embark on what I hope to later refer to as my bio-pic years. With a camera in hand and my family at my side, I’m ready to meet what the future holds.
Today I’m busier than ever as a Seattle wedding photographer, and I’ve crafted a new purpose for my work. Now IJ Photo donates a portion of its wedding proceeds to charity (as reflected in my motto: Photograph + Philanthropy). Since 2012, when I reopened my business, I’ve been able to donate more than $45,000 to A+ rated charities. I’m excited to see this figure grow over the coming years. Most of all, I am grateful for my wonderful clients who trust me with their important moments and help me give back to the community.
If you would like to know more about me, my goals to give back, and how I can capture your story frame by frame, visit my contact page now or text/call 425.232.5263.
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