everyone else

Two People Walk into a Bar... and Then Fall Off a Cliff...

So, two people walk into a bar... classic story, but this one is so much sweeter... Don't believe me? Well, I'll let Nick, (the groom to be) tell his version of it. 

the love story - as told by the groom to be

How we met: *Nick's words* Nick was getting hammered (pre-game was a buttery bottle of Chardonnay) at a bar when his best friend and Emily were walking out of the restaurant across the way and over to the parking lot.  Nick's friend recognized his car and they (friend and Emily) decided to go over to the bar to say hi.  Mind you, Emily and I had met a few times before the bar and had gotten to know each other a little bit, but boy was she in for a surprise.  Nick was at a 6/10 when his buddy and a pretty girl walk in the bar.  At that moment, time stood still. The most beautiful girl had walked into the bar and Nick had to talk to her.  Well after a few pleasantries, Nick was subtly talking Emily's ear off at a bar where the music was too loud and strange men were giving our group free beer (not going to complain about free beer).  At the end of the night, fueled by the most beautiful eyes Nick has ever laid eyes upon (other than Chris Pine's, cause dang he's got some pretty ass eyes), he said goodbye without asking her for her number or if he could see her again.  Feeling horrible and invincible from the alcohol coursing through his veins, Nick hopped on Facebook and instantly reached out to Emily in a drunken stupor.  Some quotes below:

"I know this great little bar on Main Street where they serve Rainbow Slushies..." (sensing a pattern of alcohol here)  

"Don't be a stranger :)" (solid closing effort)

Less than a month later, we were in love. This was almost 6 years ago and it will forever make me smile thinking that a bottle of wine and a few beers led me to my soulmate. 

How he asked:

We were on Emily's favorite hike (the three lakes hike) near Emily's home town at Lassen National Park (Nick: her hometown is a 10 hour drive from Southern California, the entire thing HAD to go right). The trail was partially covered in snow which made it even more fun to find our way through the covered trail just from Emily's memory (Nick: there were bear tracks...fresh freakin' bear tracks) (also has a heart beat of 170 after we hiked up the side of the mountain at like a 20 degree slope we we could get to the proposal spot, which was gorgeous) (P.S.S - Emily's parents were supposed to join us but because we were "late" we ended up just going with our close friends who I was going to marry the following month). After hiking up a really steep hill off of the trail, our friends had us take some photos near one of the lakes. Emily thought we were taking some quick silly photos, and while Nick was out of breath (what Emily thought was from climbing up the steep hill...little did she know that Nick was just nervous and about to propose), Nick got down on one knee and asked! If anyone knows us, it is SO hard to keep secrets and Emily had NO idea it was coming during that moment. 

Nick: keeping this secret from her was almost like having to work for the president and not being able to tell her about my day.  Thankfully she worked on the weekends and I was able to covertly order her ring box as well as go to the jeweler's with my friends to find the ring. I had the ring for easily 2 weeks and the ring box for 6 weeks before the trip in August so it was a surprise to anyone that she didn't find out.  At one point, the jeweler had called me on a Tuesday around 7:20 pm to tell me the ring was in and as I am about to say something, Emily walks right in the door.  I brushed it off like it was me personal banker, and boy did I dodge a bullet there (Emily's note: I knew he was hiding something because I knew FOR SURE he did not have a banker- terrible excuse- I just brushed it off and forgot about it cuz I had the longest day). Thankfully, the surprise was held and it will be a day I never forget. 

the venue, the engagement

So when we were brainstorming about where to do Nick and Emily's engagement photos, I knew it couldn't be done anywhere else, but a bar. FruitCraft is the most amazing bar you'll ever go to. Instead of fermenting grains like most breweries, FruitCraft ferments and distills fruit to create all of their amazingly delicious drinks. Plus, cutest little place to host your next party... or in our case, shoot an engagement. And obviously we had to go to Sunset Cliffs to finish the day off because...duh. Here's just a little taste of perhaps the sweetest love story ever told. Can't wait to shoot their wedding next year. <3

 

SamErica Studios Fruit Craft San Diego Engagement.jpg
SamErica Studios - Sunset Cliffs Engagement.jpg
SamErica Studios Sunset Cliffs San Diego Engagement.jpg

Babymoonin' on the Beach

the setting: Coronado Beach, San Diego

If ever you are in San Diego, one place you have to stop is Coronado Island. We might be a little biased because we got married there, but it's absolutely beautiful. Growing up here, we've spent endless summers at the bonfire pits, eating smores, playing hide and seek at the Hotel Del, falling in love and enjoying every bit of San Diego. Coronado Island has so many cute hidden gems like our favorite creamery (MooTime) and Centennial Park which has the best view of downtown. But our most favorite place of all, is sitting on Coronado beach, and enjoying the sunset. Nothing gets better than that. 

the couple

I (Erica) actually went to college with Brittney + Keith back in the day (man I'm getting old). And thank God for social media keeping us together, otherwise I don't know how I'd keep track of everyone. Brit + Keith reached out to us after seeing our maternity session in the meadow and just wanted a relaxed celebration of their first baby. Of course I'm a sucker for pregnant mamas and these two gave me super pregnant fever. During maternity sessions, I really like to focus on the parents. I know these sessions are one of the few times they are going to have that are shared just between the two of them. Lots of cuddles and kisses. Keith made a statement that was so funny but also important to how I shoot maternity. When I told them to kiss he said "Man, it's like our first kiss in forever". Brit had been pretty sick the past few months (babies apparently do that) so they didn't get to share those moments. I'm glad I got to be the one to prompt a much needed, reassuring, loving, kiss. 

More couples maternity please. 


Couples Session in Mission Bay San Diego

Scooting around San Diego, eating tacos, paddle boarding in the Bay... this is the life. When Dan + Bri agreed to model for one of our mentor sessions, I thought I was going to teach on chemistry, but these two already had it! So many smiles, and laughs, and playful jokes, gah! These two are perfect. California looks pretty dang good on these East-coasters. Don't believe me? Check em ouuuuuut.

 

 

 

Anniversary Session in San Diego


If ever we were going to talk about #marriagegoals , it would be these two. Jeff + Erin have been married eighteen years, yes, you read that right EIGHTEEN FREAKING YEARS, and haven't taken photos of just the two of them taken since their wedding. Like, excuse me, WUT. First off, they look amazing for having two teenagers at home, and second... freaking MARRIAGE GOALS. They are everything we hope to be - kind, gentle, spontaneous, fun, sincere, and fashionable lol. Their secret to obtain these #goals - do everything together. 

Guys, anniversary sessions might be our new favorite thing. I love how sweet of a reminder it is to just to love your person <3 

Maternity in the Meadows | San Diego

Daniel + Desirei

Ohhhh my heart. Maybe it's just the baby fever talking, but every shot from this San Diego maternity session had us BALLING. Daniel + Des are the most perfect couple, and instantly became our date-night adventure partners. So when they spilled the frijoles a few months ago about their pregnancy, (you can see their adorable in-home announcement here) we were over the moon and completely honored to document their gender reveal. GAH, Aiden Daniel, we can't wait to meet you!

Dress : Fillyboo

Honeymooning in La Jolla Cove

When a friend of mine from Oklahoma asked where she and her fiance should take their honeymoon after their December wedding, I had a bit of bias answer - SAN DIEGO, DUH. This was our first post-bridal session and we loved it! There is something so sweetly blissful about a newly wed couple. No stress, no worries, just love - wild, adventurous, completely joyful love. More honeymoon sessions please <3

For the love of togetherness | San Diego Family Session

Ohhhh this FAMILY!!! Love this little family with my whole heart. When Jenn (jennandjulesdesign) said she wanted a family shoot that she'd cherish, I couldn't let her down. I love her heart. She and her husband are so intentional, so caring, so thoughtful, and so freaking cute!!

They have their own little routines and sentiments for good mornings and goodbyes, and I adore that Jenn memorialized their moments into the cutest gift possible. I definitely held back a few tears during this session. This is love. This is what family is all about. <3

San Diego In Home Snuggle Engagement

I love that these two are completely untraditional. I feel like couples who don't care to succumb to social norms or society's standards are the best kind of people to be around. Vanessa and Jaime just got engaged but didn't want the cliche engagement photos at the beach (which is 100% okay with me because I'm burnt out on San Diego beach photos right now lol). 

Jaime doesn't really like having his photo taken, so Vanessa proposed an in home engagement session... GENIUS. That way, they are in their own element, comfortable in their own home, and I'm just documenting love. No curation, no styled shoots, no over glorifiied clothing - just them, wrapped up on a Sunday afternoon watching football. 

This is what love is about. 

 

La Push Beach Engagement

It's La Push baby, La Pushhhhhh.

This post is long over due. These two are married now haha, better late then never, right? So, here we go. Fun fact, I hated Twilight as a teenager. My best friend drug me into every freaking Twilight movie that came out. She was a hopeless romantic, and chick flicks were her jam. Not mine. But I 100% started to geek out when I set foot in the PNW for an engagement session at none other than La Push Beach. The perfect overcast, the glorious light, the lush green trees, ah, I was obsessed. I get it now, this place is magical, even in twilight. 

 

Minimalist In Home Session

Oh my heart for clean lines and minimalism. So, I've known Daniel since like kindergarten, and when I met his wife Desirei, Sam and I instantly gained two new best friends. You may have seen them in a few of our California Dreamin adventures because 1) they're freaking adorable and 2) they are just good people. 

So when I was stalking Desirei's insta stories and saw that we had a shared love for cozy minimalism, I had to come shoot. *cue cozy in home snuggle session*

Their house is the most perfectly curated, Pinterest inspired house I've ever seen. I'm a little obsessed. My photographer heart, and minimalist OCD self was in heaven. Little did I know, they had an ever bigger surprise for me than just their adorable selves and modern cozy home. 

Experimentation Fosters Growth

"It's not an experiment if you know it's going to work" 

Attempting to push myself out of a creative rut, I decided to grab some friends and do a little experimenting. We have the same strategy for the majority of our shoots, but it was time to change it up. 

Side bar, I think it's funny when photographers say, "oh I'm awkward in front of the camera, I'm better behind it"... LIES!!! Sara of Pink Feather Photography is the most adorable thing on this planet which made my experiment so much easier lol. 

 

I did a lot on this shoot that I wouldn't normally do...

  • I shot at a new location
  • I shot during golden AND blue hour
  • I used my Canon 35 vs my Sigma 35
  • I used a smoke bomb (probably shouldn't have now that I think about it) Oops.
  • Used a whole different set of posing prompts trying to foster playful intimacy

It was amazing, it was fun, and this little experiment got my creative juices going again. So I encourage you, if you're in a rut, try something new. You won't be sorry. 

Let me know what you think of my little experiment <3

Modern Maternity Session - Downtown San Diego

So, we typically don't do family / maternity shoots, but when one of your old high school pals gets pregnant with the cutest baby bump ever, we'll make exceptions lol 

I'll admit, I was a bit nervous about this shoot. Our style is a bit more fun / modern / edgy and in my mind, maternity just didn't fit into the scope of that. SO WRONG. 

Aja hit me up and said "hey, let's do an edgy maternity shoot downtown". She mind as well have said, "here, let me make all your dreams come true".

UGH. Aja + Jason, you two are freaking adorable, I loved capturing your love and the soon to be product of that. Thank you for allowing me to be your photographer, I can't wait to meet this little peanut <3

 

 

Kayla + Julian | Sassy In Home Session

You ever just meet somebody and instantly become best friends? For me, that was Kayla. I randomly found her in a creative group I was in, and like the creeper I am, asked her to model for me. I said something to the effect of "ummm, you're perfect, and I need that #blackgirlmagic in my life, let's be best friends".

Had zero anticipation that we'd actually be just that. She brought out the creative in me, might I even say made me a better person, so believe and trust I was utterly peeved when she announced her and hubs were moving (I hate you military people, always taking my friends away). 

So I had to get one last shoot in, one last memory, before the final farewell. They did not disappoint, and both of you will be missed dearly. Thanks for the adventures friends, until next time <3

 

4th of July Surprise Proposal - Spanish Landing

Okay so, let's talk about the cutest, most well thought out proposal ever! Chris hit me up a few days before the 4th, saying he was going to propose to his then girlfriend Kylie on the 4th of July, on a boat, near Spanish Landing.  And I'm just thinking, "Are you crazy?! You want to propose on the busiest day of the year in DOWNTOWN SAN DIEGO?! Alright, I'm in. lol "

But when I say Chris planned this out to the T, I mean HE PLANNED. He had already asked for her dads permission, rented the same boat that he asked Kylie to be his girlfriend on 2 years earlier, hired a photographer (best part lol), got dinner reservations at the swankiest, most impossible restaurant ever, AND got a captain to sail them out on the water for the fireworks show. 

Oh, and did I mentioned the gorgeous rock he picked from Tiffany's?! Ugh. It was so perfect. And Kylie had no idea. She was so cute, her only reaction all night, was, "What?! No one wake me up!"

Haha, nope, this isn't a dream love, it's real life and it's absolutely perfect. We've got pictures to prove it. <3

And MAD shout out to my girl Debra for tag teaming this cuteness with me!

 

BOAT: SLIPAWAY

VENUE: SHELTER COVE MARINA

RING: Tiffany & Co