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Eva & Eric – A Greystone Hall Wedding in Akron

Shortly after a couple books me for their wedding, I send out a little questionnaire asking some questions about who they are, how they met, and all the steps that brought them to their engagement. Because Eva & Eric aren’t local to Ohio, their answers were the first things I learned about them. When I began reading and saw this – “It all started with an unfortunately placed cup of coffee, a silly children’s game and a pair of questionably tight jeans.” – I knew I was in for a good time.

Eric fell in love with Eva’s helpful nature. Eva fell in love with Eric’s sense of humor. They belong together. Eva was the most beautiful bride. She was calm, relaxed, and so obviously overjoyed to be marrying her love that nothing was going to bring her down. Eric couldn’t wait to see Eva walk down that aisle towards him. His face says it all. Everything about their wedding day was beautiful. From our bridal party portraits at Horseshoe Pond in Cuyahoga Valley National Park to their incredible reception at Greystone Hall, it all came together as it was meant to.

I’m so honored to have spent the day with these two.

Here are a few of my favorite images from Eva & Eric’s wedding day. A big thanks to my second shooter, Daniel. Some of the images you’ll see here are his.

Bride’s Dress //  Unbridaled
Bridesmaid Dresses // Atom Attire
Rings // Thomason and sons Jewelers
Makeup // Christina Freeman, Love Beautiful Skin
Hair Stylist // Cassie Riley, Love Beautiful Skin
Florist // Judy Hamilton
Venue // Greystone Hall
Caterer // Greystone Hall
Cake // Custom Cakes Creation
Band //  Allen Cruz and the Galaxy
Photobooth // Raise the Roof entertainment

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Nothing is Given, Everything is Earned – A Featured Article

I wrote this article a couple years ago as a guest contributor to a website for young female entrepreneurs,

but I thought it was worth sharing with you too.

I was 19 years old. It was super early in the morning, I was in a place I’d never been and I’d gotten no sleep. I remember how dry my eyes were from staring at the ceiling all night. My stomach was in knots, and part of me wanted to turn around, go home, and pretend like none of this was happening. You see, months ago, in a little cloud of starry-eyed optimism, I had agreed to photograph my very first wedding, and this was wedding day. As I laid in that unfamiliar bed, running through lists of reasons why I was incapable, and considering all the things that could go wrong, I panicked a little. Why was pessimistic Allison being punished for the hasty words of optimistic Allison? But there was nothing I could do about it. I was states away from home and running away seemed a bit irresponsible, so I stayed. I watched a friend walk down the aisle to meet the man of her dreams. I watched as they sang to each other during their ceremony. I watched as they hugged their grandparents tightly, and listened to the advice of the people they loved the most.  That was the day I fell in love with photographing weddings.

Here we are, 5 years and countless weddings later, and I still get those knots and kinda-want-to-run-away feelings, but it’s different now. I know these feelings come & go because I’m right where I’m supposed to be, because 5 years ago, I discovered the thing that drives me to be and do better and nothing, not even those knots can stop me.

It’s easy to make these last few years sound a little like a heroic before & after story with a nice little climax in the middle, but that’s not how it’s worked. So I’m here to talk to you about the reality of the last 5 years of my hustle.

We’ve all got that little dream inside of us. For some, we’ve told all our friends and family about our dream, and if they’re being honest, they’d say they’re a little sick of hearing about it. For others, we’re too scared to even let the words come out of our mouths. Either way, it’s in there somewhere. And now that I knew what mine was, it was time to do something about it.

I saved money, and bought some gear and started to photograph anyone I could. I did that for a long time. I second shot for other photographers, I interned and answered emails for them, and I soaked up every little piece of information they were willing to share with me. So much has changed since those days. I’ve gotten a degree, and a husband. I’ve moved cities and states. I’ve had too many jobs to mention. But this dream hasn’t ever waivered.

This year has, without a doubt, been the biggest year for my business. (I hope this is something I’m able to say every year from now until forever.) But with all of the great things that have come this year, there have been twice as many challenges because they don’t call it a hustle for nothing.

I still work full time, so that means answering emails on my lunch breaks, shooting and editing every night of the week, and giving up nearly all weekends for photo jobs. I’m using my vacation time from my full time job for the out of town weddings I’m booking. My husband and I have shared a single car for nearly two years. We both work full time jobs, with different hours and I somehow make it to all my meetings and shoots on time. (As I’m typing this out, I’m realizing how absolutely insane this is.) I’m exhausted most days. I’ve neglected my friends, I’ve had to turn down countless events and parties to make my dream happen. But never once has this dream waivered.

You’re going to see your friends making their dreams happen seemingly sooner than you are. They’re going to make it look easy, or like luck’s just on their side. You’ll make excuses for yourself. You’re going to compare yourself to others, and you’re most definitely going to want to give up. It’s not going to feel easy, and there will always be a struggle. You’ll struggle to book clients, and sell products. There are going to be things you don’t know about and things you’re too scared to learn. You’re going to feel like you’re in over your head. You’re going to spend a lot of money and you’ll probably lose some, too. You’ll make clients unhappy, and worse, you’re going to disappoint yourself. But don’t ever give up. Because it does get easier. You will book more jobs, and you will sell more product. You’re going to get emails from clients who loved your photos so much they cried. They’ll tell their friends, and write reviews. And one day, you’re going to impress even yourself. One day you’ll look back at where you started, and where you are now, and you’ll pop the champagne and celebrate the work that you’re doing. And all of this is part of the hustle.

In the last 5 years, I’ve discovered what I love most about weddings, and what I could do without. I’ve fallen in love with the sweet little moments that make each wedding its own. I’ve formed opinions on trends and color schemes and made lists of venues in my city that I love & would rather not shoot at again. I’ve learned about myself, my strengths and weaknesses. I’ve learned how to communicate better and how to not take everything so very personal. And I’ve got a list twice as long of things I’ve yet to learn. But every little moment has been worth it.

As soon as I’m done writing this article, I’m packing up to leave Cleveland and heading out of a state to shoot a wedding. Saturday morning, I’ll wake up with a dry mouth, and knots in my stomach, and I’ll kind of want to run away a little bit. But I won’t. I’ll stay and watch this sweet bride walk down the aisle to meet her new husband at the altar. I’ll watch them share their first dance and hug their grandparents tight. I’ll watch tears & laughs, stolen glances & whispers, and think to myself how lucky I am that this is the dream that’s inside me.







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TERRA Ohio City

I believe in strong marriages over beautiful weddings. I hope and pray that all my couples spend the months and years after their wedding day growing closer together.
I want for them to be able to celebrate being with each other in the good times, and the times when it feels like it’s all falling apart.I believe that weddings are inherently beautiful. The act of committing your life to someone is one of the most pure and genuinely exquisite things there is. Everything about a wedding in addition to that covenant is meant to add to the beauty of a wedding day.The last thing that I would ever want my couples to do is plan a wedding filled with dreamy details they found on Pinterest that don’t add a thing to that promise.

So you can imagine how stoked I was to connect withe Rachel and Elijah. They are recently married, and believe so strongly in the concept of meaningful weddings that they started a business dedicated to helping couples create an intentional wedding experience that accurately represents exactly who they are. They’re so obviously in love with each other and being married, and It shows so strongly in these photos. Elijah is an incredible musician, and Rachel is the only yoga teacher that I trust to bend me like a pretzel. So in addition to helping couples with wedding planning, they are bringing their community together through concerts and yoga classes. They’re just really cool people, if you hadn’t noticed.

I was so excited to spend a couple evenings with them in their home and their community.
I like to think that my couples consider me friends after we’ve worked together and I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that’s definitely the case with Rachel & Elijah.

To learn more about Rachel & Elijah’s business, TERRA Ohio City, visit their website.

To all my couples planning weddings – do your best to make it meaningful.
To all the married couples out there – do your best to celebrate your marriage.
I’d love to schedule a solidarity session with you to do just that.

Enjoy some of my favorites from my session with my new friends.

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Matthew & Amanda – A Bay Village Engagement Session

It was the perfect summer night on the lake. We played some Copeland, walked through the perfectly unkept grass, and smelled the water’s air.

In the woods & on the beach.

Matthew & Amanda.

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Travis & Stephanie – A Cuyahoga Valley National Park Engagement Session

I recently had the opportunity to attend a photography workshop hosted by a couple of my favorite local photographers, Mallory + Justin. We spent two days in Cuyahoga Valley National Park enjoying each other’s company and learning so much along the way. As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to feel isolated sometimes. I don’t regularly spend time with other photographers, but I soak up every chance I get. These two days away from my routine were just what I needed. We learned so much from each other and we’re all coming out with a few more friends than we started with.

Travis and Stephanie graciously agreed to let us practice our new techniques on them, and they killed it!

Here are a few of my favorite images from our engagement session in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Ps. If you scroll to the bottom, you’ll find a list of all the wonderful vendors who made this event possible.

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The Wengerd Family – A Cleveland Portrait Session

A couple weeks ago, my dad gathered some of the most important people in my mom’s life into one balloon filled room and surprised her. It wasn’t her birthday. It wasn’t their anniversary. It was a party just to celebrate how wonderful my mom is every day of the year. (#goals, am I right?) Her friends came from all over the state. There were people who are in her life now, and people who meant so much to her many years ago. But I think she’d agree that the most special guests at the party were the four people in these photos. (ya know, because she gets to see me all the time.) : )

This is my brother and his sweet family. Although we’re not super close in age, we’re so much alike it scares me sometimes. Matthew moved away to Florida seventeen years ago. Since then, he has married his high school sweetheart and had two (as you’ll see) adorable kids who call us Aunt Allison & Uncle Stephen. (or sometimes Aunt Raspberry & Uncle Milk) They drove all the way from Florida to surprise my mom and I’ll never forget her face when she saw them.

They spent about 10 days with us, and every day was packed with all things Cleveland. (If you follow me on instagram, you may have seen a little of our Zoo trip.) We watched fireworks, and toured downtown. We went swimming and shopped a little too much. We had sleepovers and listened to “bacon pancakes” about 40 times too many. But we loved every moment of it.

Visits are always farther apart than we’d like, and they never seem long enough. But I’m so glad for the memories that were made last week.
Here is the Wengerd family.

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Abby & Tyler – A Tom’s Country Place Wedding in Avon

“& the way you move, I won’t close my eyes.
Cause it takes a man to live, but it takes a woman to make him compromise.

Be in my eyes
Be in my heart
Be in my eyes
Be in my heart”

A big thanks to my second shooter, Marina. Some of these images are hers.
Venue / Tom’s Country Place
Florist / Stem Floral
Cake / Convivial Confections
DJ / Troy Entertainment
Popcorn provided by Campbell’s Sweets

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The Paz Family – A Cleveland Heights Maternity Session

“What the water wants is hurricanes,
And sailboats to ride on its back.
What the water wants is sun kiss,
And land to run into and back.

I’ll show you the sky.”

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Luke & Stephanie – A Cleveland Maternity Session

“Rock-a-bye baby, come and rest.
You’ve been tired lately, lay your head down.
Don’t you think, baby I know best
I’ve been a father for a long time.

No one knows you better than me.”

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Marlee & Grant’s Windows on the River Wedding

I remember as a child when I would visit a friend’s house for the first time, I would always take a second to close my eyes and experience what their house “felt like.” I’d take in all the smells and absorb whatever vibes the room was giving off and from then on, when I’d think about that friend, that feeling would come rushing back to me. When I think about Marlee and Grant’s wedding, the feeling that comes back to me is so comfortable. I remember taking a moment during the reception to take it all in. I looked at their families, and watched their smiling faces, and made a mental note of just how “right” it all felt. It’s like the world had been waiting for this day to happen, like it was all finally coming together exactly the way that it was supposed to. Like Marlee and Grant were created to be with each other. To be married. On this day. From their strikingly similar family backgrounds to their perfectly silly personalities, this was all so right and I knew it from the moment I met them.

Marlee and Grant kicked off my wedding season and they set the bar super high. We started the day at Stylehouse Beauty Bar in the Arcade, and finished at Windows on the River. It was all one big party – from the bridesmaids’ gold sequin Rent the Runway dresses, to their flawless Hamilton duet in the party bus. It was perfect.

Here are a few of my favorite images from that day.

A big thanks to my second shooter, Marina.

Makeup Artist/Hair Stylist: Style House Beauty
Florist: Paradise Flower Market 
Transportation: Platinum Party Bus 
Reception Venue: Windows on the River 
Cake: Wild Flour Bakery 
DJ: DJ Willie Hooper, Drop the Mic Entertainment

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So You’re Planning A wedding – Why You Should Hire a Professional Wedding Photographer

So you’re planning a wedding, and it feels like both your money and emotions are being pulled in all different directions. Your mom is adamant that there be baby’s breath in the bouquets. Your dad NEEDS steak at the reception. And the best man is dead set on a party bus. When you can’t afford it all, where do you make the cuts?

Well, you don’t have any friends who own a party bus, and your parents are paying for part of your wedding. But you’ve got a friend with a new camera, and you’ve seen some of her pictures of flowers from her last trip to the botanical gardens, so you’re pretty sure she can handle it. If not, you’ll just set up a wedding hashtag, or throw some disposable cameras on the tables and let your guest handle the rest. What’s the worst that can happen…


Because most of us live with cameras in our pockets 24/7, it feels like photography is often the first to get cut out of the wedding budget. And if I can speak as a former bride, and not a photographer for just a second, can I just say that’s a really bad idea? Ok, photographer again.

I want to do my best to educate brides on some of the things they may not think about when planning their weddings. I’ve seen it all, I’ve heard the regrets, and I want to save even just one bride from wedding photography sadness.

So why should you hire a professional wedding photographer?

1. Because I’m more than a photographer.
You’re going to hire a whole lot of vendors, some of which you won’t even see on your wedding day. Your florist will drop your flowers off and maybe say hello. You won’t see the artist who bakes and decorates your cake. You’ll greet your DJ, and thank him in between announcements. But your photographer is with you all. day. long. For most of my brides, this is their very first time being a bride. If they haven’t hired a planner or coordinator, who are they supposed to ask their questions to?

I help my brides with their wedding day timelines (before and during the wedding) – who’s supposed to be where and at what time, and I’m there all day to answer all the questions a first time bride might have. After all, I’ve been to a few weddings. ; ) When my camera is in their face during the cake cutting, they whisper to me to ask which layer they’re supposed to cut. I’m there to quietly shoo your great aunt out of your bridal suite when you need a few quiet moments with just your girls. I’ll fix your dress and remind you how high to hold your bouquet, and to take just a few moments to soak this beautiful day in. These are questions that an amateur won’t be able to answer for you. So don’t think of me as just your photographer, but your personal wedding expert.

2. Because weddings aren’t suited for amateurs.
There are plenty of great newborn photographers who probably couldn’t shoot a wedding. Similarly, I wouldn’t be the one you’d call if you were looking for some sweet Anne Geddes style photos of your new little one. Just because someone is a photographer, does not mean they are a wedding photographer.

Studio and portrait photography are usually in very controlled environments. For instance, I schedule all my portrait sessions around sunrise or sunset because I know that’s when the light is going to look its best. If it’s storming, we’ll cancel. It’s simple. Weddings are completely out of my control. Although I’d prefer all wedding venues to feature large windows, and natural light pouring through, that’s not how it works. Sometimes your reception is in a dark restaurant at 9pm, and I’m working with only candle light. Sometimes it storms during our whole allotted portrait time and we have to make it work. It takes both the right skill and equipment to produce the results you’re looking for in these situations. A less experienced photographer might know exactly how to photograph a dark space, but if they haven’t invested the money in the right equipment, they simply won’t nail the shot. On the other hand, you may know someone with the best equipment on the market, but if they don’t have the wedding experience to back it up, it’s of no worth to you.

3. Because I’ve done this before.
It’s your wedding day. You’ve been announced into your reception for the very first time as Mr. & Mrs. and you couldn’t be more excited to get out on the dance floor and spend a few quiet moments with your new husband. Your song starts playing and this is the moment you’ve been waiting for. You can’t even wait to see the photos of you dancing in your beautiful dress with your love. Those sweet little glances and dance floor whispers. But when you get your wedding photos back, something is wrong – you don’t see any first dance photos. There must be a mistake. That friend you knew with the camera, who did you such a favor by photographing your wedding must have just misplaced those photos. But when you hear back, that’s not the case. They explain that since they had never shot a wedding, they thought the first dance came later in the night, so they decided to take a little break during the reception. They didn’t think anything important would happen while they were out, but it looks like they were wrong. You’ll never get that first dance back.

Professionals know what to look for. If I need to leave the room for any reason, I know to talk to the DJ and let them know when I leave and when I’ll be back so we don’t miss a beat, and you don’t miss any photos.

4. Because your “I do’s” should never need a redo.
If you hire a photographer to take family photos and you’re unhappy with the results, you may be out some money, but you can hire another photographer the following week to get you the results you’re looking for. That’s not how weddings work. Think about all the hard work you’ve put into planning the wedding of your dreams. When will you ever have a room filled with your favorite people, and your favorite things together again? Your niece will grow out of her flower girl dress in just a few months. Your maid of honor won’t have that cute baby bump anymore, and by the time you get your photos back, your family will all be settled back into their homes around the country. You’ll never get a chance to redo your wedding day. Hire someone you trust to make sure you won’t need to.

5. Because photos matter.
I’ll end with the obvious. Your wedding photos matter more than you realize right now. I know you’re thinking about how to impress your guests with the best food you can find, or making sure your peonies are the exact shade of pink you’ve always dreamt of. But in a few years, people will have no idea what kind of food you served, or even what color your flowers were. They won’t remember the cake, or if you handed out favors or not. But you’ll be left with the photos that capture that exact shade of pink you love so much. You’ll look back and talk about how young you looked, and how much you had to learn. You’ll thumb through that special photo of your husband hugging your mom and that little tear in her eye. And for a moment, you’ll remember those butterflies in your stomach the day you married your love. I don’t want you to look back on your wedding day with any regrets. Let yourself have the photos you know you’ll cherish. You deserve that.

I asked a couple of my friends who had wedding regrets about their experiences, and this is what they had to say.


Please do your research. Please don’t hire anyone who doesn’t know how to handle your wedding with importance. Please hire a professional.


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Abby & Tyler – A Coe Lake Engagement Session

“Your love is a symphony, all around me.
Running through me.
Your love is a melody, underneath me.
Running to me.”


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