Emily and Colton's Autumn Engagement Shoot

Pink hair, dogs, brick walls, rivers, forests, the most adorable couple ever; WHAT MORE COULD YOU ASK FOR??? Needless to say, this shoot with Emily and Colton was equal parts chill, fun, and so freakin' cute. It was hard to narrow down my favorites, but here are a few to give you a peek into this cutie Bend-based engagement shoot.

Katie and Darius' Engagement Shoot

When your client picks out the most perfect spots (as if there are any bad spots up the Cascade Lakes Highway) for the dreamiest of dreamy engagement shoots. And, bonus, they brought their dogs! It was hard to narrow down my favorite shots, so enjoy this gallery featuring mountains and rivers and puppies and LOVE.

 

The Hynson's

Drew and Alysha / 7.1.2016

Here are a few of my favorite shots from the Hynson's wedding!

Alysha & Drew

The sun was only out for maybe 30 seconds at the very end of this lovely engagement shoot yesterday. Thank goodness we were walking across that little bridge at that very moment! This couple is too cute and I can't wait to capture their wedding come July!

Elvira & James

I don't think there could have been a more perfect couple to photograph for my first solo wedding venture. The day began with an adorable puppy at James' house (seriously, if your day starts with a puppy you know it's gonna be good) and ended with hugs and a very grateful heart on my end. Elvira and James were a joy to photograph; they were welcoming and friendly and easy to talk to (and it certainly doesn't hurt that they're just a freakin' gorgeous couple!).

I had a wonderful time shooting this small but oh-so-precious "elopement" wedding and I hope you enjoy a few of my favorite photos. :)

Katey in/on the PNW

I know the Pacific Northwest is like, *a thing* now, but after spending the last 10 days or so up in Bellingham, Washington, I fully understand why. It's freaking beautiful. I have never seen so many trees, rivers, lakes, waterfalls, and coffee shops in such a condensed area in my entire life. The crisp, overcast 65 degrees (with actual rain sometimes!!!) of Washington was especially wonderful coming from the dry desolation of 90-degree October in California. As a photographer and person who just generally really enjoys nature and rain and adventures, it was a blissful dream. But I realized something while I was up there...

If you don't really know me, if you haven't talked to me lately, or if you only see my life by what I post on social media (especially Instagram), you probably think my life is pretty incredible. Within the past six months, I have been to Cambodia, India, Canada, New York, Texas, Seattle, San Francisco, LA, Disneyland (quite a few times), and countless other random beautiful places and I, of course, have posted lots of photos from all of them. And yeah, that is pretty darn incredible. But guess what? There are parts of my life that you can't see via my Instagram account, and most of those parts are not very incredible.

I graduated from college in May with a degree in cultural anthropology. I moved home, 8 hours away from my friends, and 167 days after graduation (yeah, I counted), I am still unemployed, I still have no idea what I'm doing, and I still hardly even know what I want to do. This post-grad vortex of constant weirdness and subtle chaos has made for a difficult few months. That's why I went to Washington. I ran away to refocus and rejuvenate my weary, discouraged, uninspired heart. Thankfully, God is good and did just that for me while I was there. But while I was in Washington, attempting to do some physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual recovery, I received countless comments both from close friends and complete strangers about how jealous they were of my trip, how lucky I am to travel so much, etc., etc.

I have two things I want to say about all of this:

1. I am lucky! Well, less lucky, more #blessed (but seriously). I get to do a lot of really crazy (in a good way) things and I am very, very grateful for all of the amazing experiences I've had and all of the cool places I've been able to travel to (shoutout to my dad).
2. Social media is not reality. Just because someone posts pretty pictures does not mean that their whole life is pretty. I promise you, it's not. It sounds obvious, but it's so easy to forget with how often we use social media (again, especially Instagram) that even though I just wrote a blog post for Sincerely, Kindred about this very problem, here we are again. People who see my photos see idyllic lakes, cloudy city skylines, or majestic misty mountains. In other words, they see someplace they would rather be than wherever they currently are. Well, me too. Judging by my Instagram photos, you would have no idea that I am struggling, I am lost, I am confused, and I am and lonely. Just like you are.

Now, I don't say these things for a "poor Katey" response. I say them for a moment of vulnerability and perhaps a reality check for some of us. Even if my Instagram looks pretty, my life is still very messy. And that's okay! It's okay to be messy. In fact, it's pretty impossible not to be. So take heart, because absolutely nobody has their crap together. I think Theodore Roosevelt was on to something when he said that "comparison is the thief of joy." As long as we compare ourselves and our lives to others (like we do constantly on social media), we will be perpetually discontent. True joy and real peace are only found in the presence of God and when we derive our worth from Him instead of from Instagram.

Okay, this was really long, but I think that this is important to talk about. It’s the kind of thing that exists in our lives so constantly that we don’t even notice or acknowledge it until it does real damage to our spirits, which I, for one, would like to avoid at all costs. And like I said before, I actually wrote a whole post about this very topic for Sincerely, Kindred, so if you'd like to read it, just click here!

If you just came here for pretty pictures, I did put together a little gallery of some of my favorite shots from my adventure in Washington/Canada because, well, I am a photographer, after all. :)

India 2015

I went to India again. If you didn't know, I have been to India with LINC Ministries for the past four summers. It's kind of like a second home to me now, and on top of the ministry I have been able to participate in, it has been a fun and unique experience to challenge myself in my photography each year. Even though I am currently in a weird post-grad/pre-career/confused-millennial-limbo stage of life, one thing is for sure: I love visual artistry and storytelling.

So here is a collection of photographs I made while I was in India.

Cambodia 2015

So I went to Cambodia for a week, mostly to hang out with my dad while he scouted opportunities for his ministry and to play with my new camera (I graduated from the Nikon D3100 to the D750, if anyone wants to know). It was great to meet some Khmer people and learn about their lives and experience their culture as well as meet some missionaries who are doing really cool stuff here. I love being reminded that God is literally everywhere and doing incredible things all over the world. Also, shoutout to Jarel for facilitating our mini-Instameet (aka walking around the market with our cameras). Anyways, I had a good time and took some photos, so here are few of my favorite shots:

Sam the Donut Man

The electronic “ding dong” of the automated doorbell chimes a greeting as you enter the tiny, fluorescently lit establishment. From the back room emerges a tall, slight Asian man, wiping grease on his apron, a huge grin across his face.

“Hello!” he says with an excited, familiar laugh, his thick Korean accent blanketing his words and transforming them from a generic salutation into the warm, welcoming embrace of an old friend. If you have been to American Donuts even once before, Sam Song, the owner and operator of the shop, will remember you. Sit at one of the three sunny yellow tables for any length of time and you will witness an astounding number of people walk through the door and greet Song by name. Song, of course, waves excitedly and offers his usual laugh and “hello!” in return.

When you place your order, you can always expect at least one or two extra donuts. Song is especially fond of the college crowd that typically appears throughout the wee hours of the night. While the late-night donut excursions are likely due to the generally backwards sleep schedules of college students, it would not be much of a stretch to assume that the hot, fresh donuts that emerge nightly during those same hours entice the students even further. Each night, Song bakes every donut, muffin, bagel, or other pastry, often by himself, but occasionally with the help of one other employee.

Originating from South Korea, Song and his wife, Tina, immigrated to the United States 35 years ago. They have two children, a son and a daughter, who are a teacher and a dentist, respectively. Three years after arriving in the United States, Song learned to make donuts from a friend and has been in the business ever since.

The work is difficult and tiresome, especially considering Song’s lengthy 32-year career in donut making. The back room contains two vats of boiling oil, two worktables, several shelves full of sugar, flour, yeast and other donut ingredients, a large sink, two ovens and several haphazardly placed racks of cooling donuts. There is hardly room for Sam alone and when his assistant is there to help him bake, the two navigate the kitchen as two dancers making their way around a donut-infested dance floor.

When they need to, they communicate mainly with gestures and one or two English words, as English is neither of the two’s first language. Their expert donut dance is completed when the oil is no longer boiling, the tables are cleaned, the ovens are off and final trays of fresh glazed donuts are loaded into the front display.

Song takes great pride in the care he takes to he prepare his donuts. He explained that making the donuts too crumbly or too soft is detrimental to retaining customers. If the people do not like what they taste in the very first bite, they will not come back, he says. He lets them rise for the perfect amount of time and has perfected the frying and frosting system throughout the decades of his craft.

Song is a beloved member of the Riverside community, as made obvious by the countless people who enter the shop with a “hi Sam!” and often a handshake or a short conversation, limited by Sam’s endearingly broken English. Regardless of who enters Song’s place of business, he never fails to make it feel more like a home than a donut shop.

About You Music - A Day in San Francisco

I've never written a blog before, but I figure now is as good a time as any to start! About a month ago, I was asked to do a band photoshoot for my cousin's fiancé, Kyle, and his band About You Music. I was not about to pass up an opportunity to spend the day in San Francisco with some pals and shoot in the city.

I was honestly a little nervous for this shoot, considering my lack of experience in the specific area of "band photos," and also considering that "band photos" can very easily turn out awkward. Once we got into the city and started shooting, however, my confidence grew and I'm very happy with how the photos turned out.

We probably made about a hundred wrong turns and generally just went where the city took us, but it worked out. It's always a good time when I get to shoot people who are fun and also happen to be related (or who will soon be related) to me. Thanks for a great day of getting lost and good music.

I also made a video! My first attempt at something like this, for no reason other than I just wanted to try it.