Ariza’s Quincenera 2022

I haven’t blogged my sessions in a very long time; this is something I am promising myself and my clients that I will do more often. I pride myself on each event and session having a story that is told through images but I also love to write about them.

Quincenera’s are always full of stories, details, traditions, fun, family and friends. I have had the honor of photographing several over the last few months and I am quickly falling in love with the day and all it entails!

This day had some additional meaning to Ariza and her family. I wouldn’t completely understand until later in the evening but what I did know in the beginning was that adult siblings were planning this big day; I would later know, it’s a very small town, that they had suffered the tragedy of loosing their mother to cancer and this tradition was left to the siblings to plan and make perfect for Ariza.

Ariza’s day started with photos meeting me in Lowell to capture one of the most iconic areas here in Southeast Arizona with its display of vintage buildings and especially the lined street of vintage cars. This was a perfect backdrop to capture her in all her beauty. A dress only a princess could wear, a brother willing to ensure that it was perfect for every image and a 15 year old girl ready to show off the beauty that comes with growing up. We even lucked into an owner who was willing to let us use their personal vehicle to work into our session.

We then drove to meet Ariza’s Quincenera court at the park in Old Town Bisbee. She defied tradition and had 5 males in her court. They were the BEST. They made sure her dress was well taken care of, not letting it drag all over the ground; they did their very best to get the photographs that Ariza wanted and they had a lot of fun. It was obvious that they were there to support their friend and to make her feel special on her big day!

And yet this day was only beginning. As we strolled through Old Town Bisbee we met up with Ariza’s very excited family. I began to watch relationships as they were apparent in the interactions during pictures and in between. Each dressed to perfection and ready to celebrate this amazing day and tradition in honor of Ariza.

Watching Ariza with each of her siblings told a different story; spoke of a different relationship that was very connected and loving. I would later see so much more of this and how this family has come together to support this young lady and show her all the love that is possible.

Mass is often a big part of the day for a Quincenera. Throughout the young ladies life she is taught about Catholicism by her family, church and classes that are required for her to complete in order to receive the blessings of a Quincenera. During the ceremony her family and friends hold their hands upon and above her to ensure that she knows blessings are to come as well as their promise to be with her through out this journey, that they support and love her.

Ariza was not allowed to see any of the decorations for her reception. She was surprised, emotional, happy and grateful for the detail and thought that went into making her day even more special. As you walked in you saw a beautiful display dedicated to her mother who was there in spirit and even in direction. After a rough 4 years of helping their mother fight cancer Ariza’s siblings made the decision that a Quincenera just wasn’t something they could do. Fundraising, financing, the emotions, the ups and downs had them all tired, ready to try to find their new normal but something spiritual happened. As they went through their mother’s things, there was a notebook. The cover read Ariza’s Quincenera. Upon opening the notebook written by their mother were the details of what she would have for Ariza on that day. Special details, specific details and a plan that they felt they could not ignore. That is when the planning for this day began.

Traditions continued. Ariza’s brother Eric changed her shoes signifying the change from a child to a young woman. He danced with her and created cherished memories. Her sister tapped in to support Ariza and to twirl her like no other. Their bond evident in the way they held one another and in their smiles. While dancing with her mother’s image a letter written by her mother, found in the Ariza’s Quincenera notebook was read aloud, professing her love, her pride, her hopes and dreams for her daughter. There was not a dry eye in the house and it was such a beautiful moment added to a day that one little girl expects and needs her mother. It wasn’t long before another aunt was holding, comforting and feeling with Ariza. This family amazed me and while I am sure I do not know the entire story I can tell you that what unfolded that day way something beyond love, beyond amazing and just beautiful. I can only hope I gave their story justice.

And then just like that, they were ready for the celebrations to begin. They danced the night away knowing they had given Ariza a night to remember, one her mother would be proud of and one that they as her family could call a sucess.

She said yes! Rivera Proposal – Sierra Vista Wedding and Event Photographer

I was super excited when Angel asked me to help him capture this moment forever. I haven’t had the opportunity to capture the minute when someone says yes! Everything was planned down to the tee with family in attendance and champaign for toasting. These two have a forever love story as their relationship began long before they were a couple. On December 12th this year they celebrated 5 years together so with a few details left out Angel convinced Juliana that I needed them to model a couples sessions for my portfolio. She was excited and said yes to that too.

These two laughed the entire time so the few somewhat serious or posed images were not the norm but that always makes for a better set of images in this photographer’s opinion. I couldn’t choose which ones I loved more so I am oversharing. The colors, the love and the silliness all captured perfectly with these two!

Southern Arizona Photographer – Questions to Ask? Interviewing a wedding photographer.

Kennedy (2)-110

As a photographer who likes to be an open book about her business and what is provided I often find myself in casual conversations about what photographers provide, what to look for, what to consider when you are hiring a photographer for your wedding day!  Some things I think are important to know when choosing who will capture that days events……

No one photographer is for every client out there and the same goes for clients, not everyone is meant to work together so it is very important to really consider your choices.

The best place to start is do you love their work.  We are artists and we have all heard that art is subjective; the same is true for our photographic art, our images.  While one photographer may shoot from a very candid view, another may appreciate posed images more.  Which do you prefer?  There are many that are very talented at providing a good mixture of both.  Do appreciate the art that they post?  Check their social media platforms and their website, a common misconception is that a hired photographer will provide the exact editing style that you are looking for.  This is not accurate some are light and airy with their editing style while others have a more moody feel; make sure you like what you see and that is how you want your story to visually look when it is being told.Bride & Groom 1st Look-20

Ok so you love what you see.  Now it is time to start the conversation.  But where do you begin?  If you have a budget that you want to stick with that is a very important place to start the conversation.  There is no reason to spend your time or that business owners if there is no intention or ability to book them.  Many of us live on a budget, weddings are expensive and most weddings live on a budget too ;).  When looking at pricing it is important to understand what that includes.   Do you want a second shooter, two photographers capturing your day?  Know what events of the day are included in your coverage, is it based solely on hours or are they staying all day?  What do you get when the day is over?  There are photographers who only include prints, some include all images as digital files that you can download, many include both prints and digitals – sometimes only their time to photograph the event is included.   It is important that both you and your photographer are on the same page when it comes to coverage and the final product.  There are no do overs when capturing this day.  You never want yourself or your photographer to be unclear as to what everyone’s expectations are day of or when receiving the final images.

Ok so you have agreed on a budget, what is included and you are ready to hire this photographer – well I have a few more things you should be thinking about to make your day’s final images everything you could imagine.

Bridal Party Getting Ready00026

Your photographs on your wedding day are intimate peeks at everything that happens.  From getting ready and dressed, to romantic moments with you and your new spouse, to catching the moments that are happening all along the way you want to make sure there is a comfortability with the one person that is going to follow around through all of those experiences.  Compatibility is so important.  Meet with your photographer candidates, do you connect, can you relate?  How will you feel if this person is literally following you around for this big moment in your life?  Remember that part where I said everyone isn’t for everyone, blah blah blah well this can be a BIG mistake.  If you or your soon to be spouse are uncomfortable with this person’s personality it WILL affect your day.  Schedule an engagement session if you are on the fence.  You may find that you are a really good fit or maybe you can’t imagine listening to that person’s jokes all day.  You never know but your wedding day is too important to not be sure!


This is an important conversation to have and I would love your feedback or questions!

A year just flies by – Southern Arizona Photographer

We met over a year ago to announce that the Okkema’s were growing from two to three!  We planned the maternity session and newborn session, I couldn’t have been more excited when you asked me to continue to commemorate this time indoor family’s life!  From announcements to being a one year old ready to conquer the park, that cake but not the balloon machine ;).

This girl did a number on that cake.  She really didn’t eat much of it but she made sure it knew who the boss was and that she made a good mess for me to photograph!  Her excited smile had us cracking up the entire session and made me smile while editing these gorgeous images.

Can’t wait to continue to capture your journey as the Marine Corps takes you across the country.  How lucky am I that they are sending you somewhere I already have a place to stay!  Continue to enjoy every moment that this time has to offer and I look forward to see you all soon!



Twentynine Palms Photographer {Before and After}


There is so much that happens behind the scenes for a photographer after the session is over.  The desired affect is to get the image s close to perfect within your camera but there are some magical things that are done right here on my computer.  Above is my nephew – who of course I feel is perfect in every way – as I think about his parents hanging these images on their wall I want there to be a simplicity in looking at his details at the tiny things that are so precious while he is this itty bitty.  Through editing I simply want to remove distractions and create a cohesive image.


If you watched my work and the direction of it over the years I hope you have continued to see what truly matters, connection.  I want there to be a connection in every image I deliver so that is what I strive for.  When I bring the images home and look at them on my computer screen I want to feel the connection between the subjects or with me and the camera.  Once I have that I already have a beautiful image through editing I just hope to enhance what is already there.

Editing is as much of the art form as the time behind my camera.  It takes time and passion to create the final photograph that I deliver but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Twentynine Palms Family Photographer {Jenkins Family 2017}

I say it every year, I am going to be better about blogging these sessions, these moments in time that I am so lucky to be trusted to capture.  This family and I have been capturing moments together since the beginning of my business and I can’t express how awesome it is to have watched them through the years.  I have grown to have an amazing friendship with the momma of this family and continue to be proud of what they stand for.  Thank you for once again letting me into your lives Jenkins family!TwentyninePalmsFamilyPhotographer - Jenkins

Twentynine Palms Military Event Photographer { Wilson Family Homecoming }

Military Homecomings.  The infamous white buses that bring so much sadness as they leave and so much joy when they return.  There isn’t a homecoming that doesn’t tug at my heart strings this one was no different.

As the Wilson family waited for their Marine to return momma was running after 3 kiddos all in different stages of excitement.  They just wanted their daddy home.  As I edited this session I fell in love all over again with the moments I get to capture.  From anticipation to pure delight you can see each of these kiddos glow when they are finally able to tell stories face to face and to hug, well actually jump all over, dad.  Mom waited patiently in the wings to greet her husband.  I love the image with dad and mom, kids hanging off of him, a quick moment to sneak in their very own hello!

Working on catching up on all things photography and couldn’t think of a better peek to post today than this Military Homecoming.  There are always so many emotions in the night when you are waiting for your Marine to come home.  This was a particularly cold night in our desert as we waited but you could feel the anticipation for the Combs.

Most of the time I have not met the Marine coming home before they arrive so I have to find them in the crowd, their smile as they see their family tells it all.  This night was no different so I was excited to capture a shot of dad as he laid eyes on his girls for the first time in a while.