Say you, say me say it together : Detroit

I went to the Motown Museum in Detroit on what turned out to be Juneteenth.  How serendipitous. Detroit plays an important role in our country coming together.  I was overwhelmed to learn what an impact a record company could have. During a time of great racial tension, Motown’s positive message and new sound gave blacks and whites a way to come together.  I love that in a time of political strife they used music that was aspirational to build common ground.

They showed us concert footage of the 60’s and explained how concert halls used to be segregated.  Even when they weren’t often at the start of the concert there would be whites on one side and blacks on the other. Then once the concert got going the crowd would mix, dance together and come together.  It felt like a tale of musical revolution. Believe it or not Martha of Martha and the Vandellas joined our tour! How epic is that! We heard Martha sing a few songs on the documentary. She also let us know the ones she sang back up on too.  She’s just as gorgeous now as she was in the 60’s.

(Love Is Like A) Heat Wave (1963)

Dancing In The Street (1964)

Along with the Vandella’s - the Supremes, the Temptations, the Four Tops, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder released more than 180 No. 1 hits worldwide.

Also in 1963 Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. led more than 125,000 people down Woodward ave in Detroit for a civil rights march.  This is where he first delivered the “I have a dream” speech. Which was recorded on the Gordy label of Motown records.  

Abdul Fakir of the Four Tops, known as “Duke,” said in a 2009 interview “We looked at Martin Luther King and we thought, he’s doing the same thing on foot that we’re doing on the radio,” “I like to think that we were softening the blow for him a little bit.”

There are so many ways for our country to come together and in 2018 we need to.  I love voting and marching but this trip made me wonder what are some ways we never even thought of?  What beautiful artistic ways can help us to come together?

I love the song Say you, Say me by Lionel Richie

Say you, say me say it for always

That's the way it should be

Say you, say me say it together


When I hear this song I think

Say yes to you, Say yes to me

We are one.  We are each other.  When I say you, I’m saying me.  

So let’s see that we are all Americans from a great country of immigrants.  Let’s see ourselves in people seeking political asylum. Let’s know that we would never want to have our children taken from us.  Let’s know that our families came from other countries to seek better opportunities. My family came from Norway and Ireland on the boat.  I see myself in these brave people trying to make a better life for themselves. Just like I see myself in our amazing clients who are brave enough to stand in front of their friends and family and pledge their love and hope to each other in a message of peace.  

With love and peace,

Suzanne, Mike, Morgan and the Wanderers

Balboa Park Engagement for Drew and Johanna

I love these images!  These pictures happened while I was in the Hampton's photographing a wedding.  My awesome partner in crime Mike Ofeldt pinch hit for me and photographed my clients engagement when they were visiting San Diego from Chicago.  I was so happy we could make it work for Drew and Johanna.  Although I do have to admit I was crazy jealous not to be the one to capture these love birds.  As always, I'm a little jealous of Mike.  I just love his point of view and even though there was a ton of Friday traffic and the shoot was a little shorter I think these images came out so dreamy!  Total perfection.  My husband has skills and Drew and Johanna are naturals.  They exude happiness and fit each other with such ease.  I can't wait to get my hands on them later this summer at the Del with Luxe Events.  I love love love that the beautiful Johanna had her hair and make up trial with Audra Rene right before.  It's so fun to get dolled up before a shoot =)

Montauk Yacht Club for Stephanie and Ryan

You never have to ask me twice to go to New York.  I jump at any opportunity but this was extra special.  I love when past clients recommend us and I was especially honored when Ashley recommended us to her cousin Stephanie.  I love the Anton's and was so stoked to get to photograph this wedding.  Stephanie and Ryan were so laid back and cool from the get go.  I knew we were a great fit.  We hung out while they were visiting family in San Diego and went over all the details which were mostly how awesome, in love, relaxed they are and that Ryan is a heck of a fisherman.  It was a breezy year and then finally I was in Montauk at the rehearsal dinner and it was a flurry of hugs.  Lauren - Stephanie's amazing friend gave me the low down of who everyone was and then gave the world's best speech.  I love you Lauren.  I also wanted to share one of my instagram posts right after the wedding.  It's impossible to explain how wonderful being a part of Stephanie and Ryans weekend was but I gave it a shot in my usual round a bout way.  

Behind those eyes is a firecracker. 
It's easy to fall in love with photography. 
It's harder to run a business. 
I know so many people who fall in love with the craft of photography and the beauty of weddings. 
But what happens next?
How do you find clients?
How do you find the right clients?
These are questions every photographer must find an answer too.
Some how for the last 15 years we have managed to find the right clients. 
We've tried dozens of ways and had our share of successes and failures. 
I imagine most of our success comes down to loving our clients and being wildly grateful for them.
If you love someone it's so easy to see their inner beauty. It's so simple to have compassion for them and anticipate what they might need during the day. If you love someone you cheer them on and wish them every happiness. If you love someone you are on their team and feel grateful to be a part of it all. 
I loved getting to travel into Stephanie's life. I love how open she was and how loving her friends and family are. You might look at this image and think what a beautiful woman. But I look at it and think -She is so loved and cherished. She means the world to everyone in the reception and some that couldn't be there. I know what it's like to love someone and I could feel everyone pouring their love in Stephanie. She is so worthy of it. 
That's the story I was trying to tell. If you were there you would have laughed and cried and been a little in awe of this firecracker . You wouldn't have just seen a beautiful woman you would have seen so much more behind those eyes. 
I'm so grateful to her cousin Ashley for referring me and letting me get to know her family more. 
I'm always so aware that not everyone has a career that is so full of moments that break their hearts open and allow them to live an artist life.
I look at this image and all I see is love. #stephanieisababe 

Detroit engagement with Victoria and Travis

Victoria and I met in an online class Flow With Intention Online.  Shout out to #fwio2018 When she reached out to me looking for a wedding photographer I nearly lost my mind.  I was so stoked to get to meet this high vibe lady and get to share in her wedding day yay!  She and Travis met less than 7 months ago and tomorrow is their wedding day.  I would have married Mike month 4.  So I know what it’s like to have a knowing about someone.  It’s beautiful and these two are beautiful.  They also practiced their first dance during our session.  It was the first time they had danced together.  I can’t believe I was able to capture their first dance.  The air felt electric.  Victoria has an amazing smile that draws you in - in an incredible way but then her face softens when she looks and Travis and I can tell she’s feeling how extraordinary he is and somehow she looks even more beautiful.  Being a portrait photographer is a powerful way to get to know someone.  I can look, I have full permission to observe and watch the play of emotions on their face and know a little bit of what it is for them to love each other.   And to top it off they showed Detroit to me for the first time.  Believe me - Detroit is for photographers!

standing up straight

Since the last round of negative pregnancy tests, I've been doing pretty well.  No ptsd so far.  My life has been coming together in the most beautiful ways.  I spent a week in Maui with friends and photographing Taylor and Mike's epic day.  I spent a week in Nyc and the Hamptons again with friends and museums and photographing Stephanie and Ryan's wedding.  I just kept filling up my cup.  The last 10 days my nephew was in town.  Heart explosion.  

And now... I'm good most of the day but suddenly there is a shadow.  A little sadness is sneaking in.  I was listening to a podcast with Jenna Kucher and Melissa Ambrosini and Melissa said she is really good and calling things in.  Calling in what she wants from the universe.  

I used to be that girl.

Now I guess I'd have to say that I'm good in some areas - especially love.  But somehow not good at calling in a kid.  I'm not sure what's next but I hope it's me figuring it out because today I noticed it's hard to sit up straight.  Today I need a break.  I'm going to go walk in the sun and see if I can find my way back to being ok.

This picture is from Maryanne McGuire of me in Hydra, Greece.  I choose it because I want to be that woman.  The woman on the edge of the ocean - grateful for what she already has and not what she doesn't.

xoxo S

Maui Destination Wedding : Taylor and Mike

There is no chance I can explain how fun this weekend was.  Seriously zero.  I knew Mike and Taylor would be the coolest.  From the first time I met Taylor, I knew I wanted to be around her and share in her and Mike's epic day.  These two adventurers were laid back and had awesome priorities.  From the welcome party to the sunset cruise to the wedding day - I had a smile on my face.  Taylor and Mike told me they were really close with their families.  It is one thing to hear that and a whole other thing to witness it.  So much love.  Seriously, all the love.  This blog post could have been twice as long.  It's already way to long, but so much love and beauty happened it's hard not to make the world's longest run on sentence.  It's been hard since my family moved away.  Sometimes you get exactly what you need.  After IVF didn't work out once again, I really needed to fill myself up emotionally.  A week in Maui with Morgan, Laurie's family and all the people surrounding Taylor filled me up with everything I needed.  I felt so grateful.  I'm so incredibly grateful to Laurie from the Creative Clique for being my friend, referring me to these two beauties, and making incredible invites for me to photograph.

I can't even try with words but here is my love letter to Taylor and Mike.  

IVF 3.0 : Not this time either

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” — Lao Tzu
It's complicated but our lives are still beautiful.  IVF didn't turn out the way we dreamed.  We are not pregnant.  In some ways it's as simple as that.  I don't want a big story about it.  We tried.  It just didn't work.  Our hearts didn't change.  We still want to be parents.  Mike and I have had weeks together in Europe trying to will this dream into existence.  We had a week with Jake Washington at home waiting while every pregnancy test was negative. 

We have each other to keep each other's hearts.  We have Jake to shower in love.  We have one embryo and dream of a surrogate.  We have plenty of dreams for our life and I believe that they are trying to come true.  I'm still a little bit quiet.  I know I'm not communicating the way I usually do.  It is because I'm repositioning myself.  I'm looking for who I might become.  I'm asking myself how can I move forward from a place of hope?  Since I already believe this is going to work out for us, how do I reconcile the failed attempts with what I believe will eventually be a positive outcome.  My only answer so far is to be a little bit quiet. look inside, and pay attention to who I am becoming.  

Mike and I are wildly grateful for all of your love and support. We couldn’t have done it without you.  It feels so good to know that we are trying to make our dreams of adding to our family come true and that we have the love and support of all of you. Thank you. 

 photos by the wonderful Betsy McCue LaVida    

photos by the wonderful Betsy McCue LaVida


taking you to prague

Sometimes when I’m traveling I wish I could bring you all along.  I want to show you every quiet corner I see and every ray of light.  This “sometimes” happens so often that I forget to show you even just a slice of a month photographing. 

So for today here is a slice. 7 frames of Prague. A mini adventure inside of a grand one. Believe me when I tell you, I wish you were here.

Xoxo suzanne

Fertility Vacation 3.0 // slowing down and following Mike

My world has been colorful buildings along the river, a blank winters sky, and Mike.

After the embryo transfer everything about me slowed down.  We stayed in more, I felt sleepier. Maybe I had a cold or allergies. Maybe the hormones just knock me out. Maybe the winter finally made me slower.

The last week or so has been slower and full of naps and rain but in between there is beauty. New cities and buildings and art museums. New feels like creation to me. New is allowing me to hold space for hope while I follow Mike Ofeldt around.

Investing in love & memories

When you think of planning and making decisions for your wedding there’s plenty to think about, and so many of those decisions depend on one thing: your budget. This can be overwhelming , but it’s important to know the things that you should save or splurge on without regret.

A recent survey showed that 22% of newlyweds wish they’d spent more on a photographer on their wedding day. It can seem tempting to cut corners on certain things to make everything fit into the budget that you and your love have set, but photography isn’t one of those things and I’ll tell you why.

You only get one chance

That’s it. Just one. That’s why splurging on a photographer for your big day is one of the best decisions you’ll make, besides saying “I do!” of course. A good photographer will capture your personality, emotions and share your vision in the tender moments on the big day. And that is what makes spending my days behind the lense so special. I love that every event is different because each couple is so individual in their own way.

These last forever

Time flies when you’re having fun, right? I love being able to share the stories of newlyweds because while you’ll be telling stories of your wedding day forever, you’ll truly be able to relive the moments with photographs. The cake gets eaten, the music will stop playing, but you can relive the day vicariously through photos displayed around your home.

You get what you pay for

This might be the most important for why you should splurge. This is our job, not just a hobby. We want to deliver you truly the most amazing work that we can. The shots you didn’t know we got, the frames that were set up perfectly, the smiles, the happy tears, and the sneaky kisses. Online wedding registry sites like Zola even let you put a cash fund for a photography on your registry! That’s a great way to help it fit in your budget.

So when you’re planning your wedding and get to the point of booking a photographer, I hope you see the value in splurging! We get to do what we love through our cameras and in turn get to narrate your wedding day through photos.