I often tell people that I’ll photograph year round, but rarely get takers in the winter. It’s been fun over the last few years that families I’ve photographed many times have realized that I’ve photographed them in many nature-driven-seasons, so they reach out to make a complete set. Spring, summer, autumn, and winter.

Maybe it’s the sunscreen I’m smelling on my skin and the heat from the start of summer, but I’m thankful for all the chances to photograph year round. I have been able to photograph under spring blossoms, summer’s carnivals, in the crunch of fall leaves, and folks wrapped in blankets and sipping warm drinks and embracing for warmth.

I remember the hot sun glaring down on us during this family’s engagement session and the cold air on their New Year’s Eve wedding. And countless times with the additions of their sons in between. They reached out midwinter for snow photos to help round out their collection, and we hung in there, watching the weather and touching base every time there was a reasonable chance for snow.

It was so worth the wait and spur of the moment scheduling.

Family photographed in midwestern snow

child in father's arms in snow in saint louis

young child in wonder at first snow

son hugs his mom in the snow

young brothers embrace in the snow in Missouri

close-up photograph of hand holding, near a table with scones and tea, highlighting the woman's engagement ring

Over a glass of lemonade, I tell each couple who sits with me in my sunny office the two reasons why I encourage couples to have an engagement session. Having portraits taken during this special season prior to marriage is both practical and a gift.

Exterior shot of The London Tea Room, through the window a couple is laughing

Painted heart with crown on a textured wall near Tower Grove Park

First of all, it gives the couple an opportunity to get to know me with a camera and what that experience is like. It can be daunting to have someone following you all day with a camera on your wedding day. This gives us a chance to grow more comfortable together so you can better enjoy your wedding day. And on the flip side, I get to know you better and how you photograph. I learn things like if you blink a lot, or if you giggle with the attention. I can learn that you need a lot of direction or you naturally fall into poses. These things help your wedding day go more smoothly since we’ve had a low-stress chance to practice together.

Tea, cream, and biscuits at a tea shop in St. Louis

Aerial view of a biscuit with jam and butter on a white plate

Secondly, I get to photograph you in a special part of your life, with special details that you’ll want to look back upon with fondness. I help you plan a date or location that holds meaning to you and helps tell your story. Some couples have recreated first dates or favorites. Some check things off their bucket list. And others aim for something more simple.

A man, sitting at a table in a cafe, smiles at his fiancee

Well-dressed man smirks while his partner leans closely during a date

I’ve accompanied people on boat rides, watched people make brownies and throw popcorn, and taken others for hikes. I love the variety of the couples I photograph!

African American woman smiles at her fiancée

Couple poses for indoor engagement portrait in Tower Grove Park area of South Saint Louis

I love the chance to make sure that during this busy time of planning a big event and planning a future, often with finding a new apartment or house and sometimes a big move, you get at least one awesome date. You can look into each other’s eyes, laugh, and hold hands. You get to connect over something that is uniquely you, and — BONUS! — then you get record of it for keeps.

Black couple conversing over tea and biscuits in front of a window

Curls falling into the face of a young woman laughing

Recently, just a week before their wedding, when things could have felt busy and overwhelming, Justin and Rachel said “Pause!” and enjoyed breakfast together. Rachel had just moved back to town and the wedding was just about to happen, but I joined them at The London Tea Room where they enjoyed tea and breakfast. They said that cream was so good it was worth the splurge!

White teapot with cream pitcher

A woman pours tea for her fiancé

Black and white photograph of a woman holding a tea cup, wearing an engagement ring

Couple embracing through a window with reflection of urban scene