Starlyn and Ryan | Ranch Engagement Session in the New Mexico Desert

New Mexico Wedding Engagement Photographer

Sometimes the weather in New Mexico is as changeable and temperamental as a two-year old (I've had three two-year-olds, and that's the only comparison that feels appropriate!). 

It was beautiful on Saturday and I had no reason not to be ecstatic for my engagement session with Starlyn and Ryan later that evening. They'd decided to use an old barn on her grandmother's property for their backdrop. The spot was a few miles out of Deming on the Hatch Highway, and since I had only seen pictures, I made sure to arrive a little early to do a quick light check. 

When I pulled in, the sky was a little hazy (I thought maybe there was a fire somewhere?), and it was a little windier than I'd have hoped--but it wasn't anything I couldn't work with. 

Or so I thought.

Within a few minutes, it looked like this outside.

We got hit with the biggest dirt storm I've ever seen! 

Starlyn and Ryan were so gracious and patient about rescheduling--I know I have no control over the weather, but I still hate asking clients to get all dolled up two times for the same session! It worked out for the best, though--Monday turned out to be a much better choice, and the session went SO WELL. 

These two are so sweet together--I literally stopped shooting at one point to tell them how naturally they melt into each they just fit and belong snuggled in closely together. They were trusting and receptive to my ideas (even ones that probably sounded a bit strange!), and that meant I was able to get really creative and try some things I've never done before.

At one point, I asked them if they ever go dancing, and then suggested we turn the old barn into their private dance floor. Ryan softly hummed or sang a song while they turned. He held her close, and oh! the smiles on their faces, and the looks in their eyes--it's so obvious these two adore each other, and it completely melted my heart! 

Ryan and Starlyn, I loved spending the evening with you! You are sweet, gracious, humble and kind people, a pair made for each other. I can't wait for your wedding in February! 

XO, Erin

Chelsea and Jeremy | Deming, New Mexico Sweetheart Session at Keeler Farms

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Friends, say hello to one of my favorite girls, and her awesome husband.

Chelsea is smart and witty, spunky and clever (is that the same thing as witty? or smart?). She’s a ball of fun, and she’s sweet and genuine and oh, so many other fantastic things, rolled into one beautiful person—and I love her so. :)

Jeremy has such a beautiful backyard, and he did it all himself. If only I had his talent, we would not have a dirt backyard, and my kids would love me forever! He’s quiet and unassuming, easy-going and patient. Embarrassingly, I once crushed one of his solar powered front walk lights, and he didn’t even get annoyed at me. So I 100% appreciate him for that. :) He’s totally sweet with their two tiny kids and he's a really hard worker--he seems to always have a project that he’s currently working on.

As a couple, these two are so stinkin’ cute—Seriously, I will not be offended if you skip the rest of this post and scroll straight to the good stuff if you want to, because it does not disappoint! In fact, I may do that as well. :) 

For their Sweetheart Session, we started out up near Spring Canyon, just southeast of Deming. This is one of my favorite locations in the area--I shoot here often, so I’m always looking for new areas and angles to shoot from, to keep things fresh. This time, we had beautiful desert backgrounds and light right up near the base of one of the hills. And BONUS! Less wind. So maybe THIS is my new favorite spot. 

I got these two into place and spent a few minutes walking them through what to expect from our session, and I promised they'd have fun, look natural and have some really amazing pictures if they'd relax and trust me.

You guys. Trusting your photographer is HUGE, because that's where the magic happens. (Just wait, you'll see!).  

We spent almost an hour playing around in the Canyon, and then headed back down to Keeler Farms for some sunset portraits. Did you know I live for sunset portraits?? (The day will come when people will start rolling their eyes at me when I go on about how much I love to shoot in golden hour light and how it sets my soul on fire. I've come to terms with that. ;) 

So anyway, the fields and orchard at Keeler Farms were such a perfect setting to end our session--lots of green and open sky, dirt roads to stroll down, and a fantastic, sweet, loving, fun and trusting couple to try a few new tricks with. The only thing more I could have asked for was a bit of cloud cover to make the sky come alive...but hey, you can't have everything. 

I bet you can't scroll through these without smiling. At least, I can't.

XO, Erin 

Laura Mae and Kyle | Silver City, New Mexico Sunset Wedding Portraits

The subject line for Laura Mae's inquiry email read "Hello, New Friend!", so I knew right away this was a great match. When I called to 'meet' her over the phone, I couldn't help but be excited for her--she was all but overflowing with bubbly energy! We talked about how she and Kyle met (on the first day of college, when the professor told the class to turn around and introduce themselves to the person sitting behind them). We talked about how Kyle left to serve an LDS mission in Sao Paulo, Brazil; and about how, after he returned two years later, life with her new coaching position at Onate High School in Las Cruces was so crazy-busy that she almost didn't have time for dating. She told me how she finally started to find balance when she gained an assistant and learned to delegate. When her calendar finally opened up a bit, there was Kyle, and they've been inseparable since. 

Kyle and Laura Mae were married at the LDS Mount Timpanogos Temple in Utah (my amazing photog friend Marquette was there to capture their wedding day!)--but Laura Mae knew she wanted her Silver City Reception documented as well, and even asked if we could go out for Sunset Portraits during our time together. (Can  you guess my answer?! That's only my FAVORITE THING EVER). 

The University Course at Scott Park was just a few streets over from the reception site, and it was the perfect location for quick evening portraits of these two. They're so cute! They have a sweet and playful love--they quietly joke and tease, and steal kisses when they think no one is looking.

Congratulations, Laura Mae and Kyle--I'm grateful to have been a part of documenting the beginning of your life together! 

All My Best, Erin 

Donaldson Family Pictures | On the Farm in Deming, New Mexico

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I don't know what made me think that I'd be able to easily keep up with blog posts while I have three kiddos at home all day this summer--but I've now seen the light. That's not going to happen, so instead, I'm learning to give myself a little grace and remind myself that tomorrow is another day, and that the to-do list will eventually be caught up.

Tonight's late-night catch-up post features a session I've been thinking about almost daily since I shot these frames. Why? Because in so many ways, it was so incredibly ideal--I loved the whole thing, from start to finish, and I count myself so blessed when clients like Zoe book family portrait sessions!


1) On the way to the Donaldson Farm, I passed a section of dry river bed--and I immediately knew it would be a stunning spot for their pictures. That LIGHT! I did not, however, plan on the gnats. Holy Moly. They were crazy. This family is full of troopers--they totally pretended gnats were not buzzing in droves around their heads, landing on their faces and necks (gah!). If anyone is wondering, yes, I do edit out unwanted, pesky insects. 

2) Zoe, Jeremy and their two sweet kids were AMAZING in front of the camera--I always tell clients to come with their personalities, and to prepare to be relaxed and have FUN. And wow, they took that to heart. They were so chill, and it made for the BEST chemistry on camera.  

3) The outfits. The colors. Perfect combination for a casual summer session!

4) Zoe was a little concerned that 60 minutes might not be long enough for her shy, reserved son son to warm up and smile naturally--but we were fist bumping like old friends within minutes. :)

5). I told corny jokes. Kids didn't laugh. That made me laugh, which made them laugh. I do what I can.

6) There were also foot races, secret handshakes, family pets popping in and out of frame, and group hugs. It. Was. Awesome.  

7) Romping around in alfalfa fields with a sweet family, while the sky literally ON FIRE in the background...that's a pretty incredible way to spend an evening. 

Thank you, Zoe, for the opportunity to meet, serve and love your family while I captured these precious moments!

Wishing you the best, Erin 

Mommy and Me Mini Sessions in Spring Canyon, Deming, New Mexico

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New Mexico nearly gave me a heart attack last weekend.

I'd been planning these Spring Canyon Mother's Day Mini Sessions for six weeks or more--and  Saturday was an absolutely gorgeous day...until about an hour and a half before my first scheduled session. That's when the sky turned dark, a desert wind storm rolled in, and within 15 minutes, I couldn't see the Florida Mountains that are 10 miles behind my home--the air was thick with dirt, the yuccas in our yard were slanted sideways against the pressure of the wind.

I was in a panic--I had clients coming in from Silver City and Lordsburg, an hour away in two different directions. Not to mention those who live here in sessions, back to back, and both my plans and theirs were about to be ruined.
I scrambled to contact the first of my clients--those already on the road coming in from out of town--to either reschedule, postpone, or to relocate the shoots. I was grasping at straws to find a solution, while my husband and kids frantically whipped the house into shape, in case I'd need to shoot indoors as a last-minute alternative. 

And then, as quickly as it started, the worst of the storm passed--the air cleared, the wind died down, and it looked like I might have worried for nothing. So I reversed my steps, called everyone back, asked them to meet me at our original location, and hoped and prayed the weather would hold. 

As a child, my mom frequently said "If you don't like the weather, stand still for five minutes." That may be true of a lot of places, but I have literally never seen weather as changeable as in New Mexico! It wasn't done playing tricks on me that day--we had everything except snow and hail in those short three hours, including rain WHILE the sun was shining, with a full rainbow bridging the sky behind us.  My clients--many of whom I'd never met in person until that day—were so trusting and such good sports! We’d snap a few frames, then dash back to the cars when the rain started falling too hard to shoot in. Or, I'd get a shot set up, only to have a cold wind rage through the canyon, whipping hair in every direction, nearly knocking little people over. And all the while, I didn’t hear a single complaint.

Wind, rain and storms aside, I’m so happy with the way these images turned out. My clients were amazing!! I’d corresponded with each of them several times prior to their session, and I’m so grateful they were responsive, participated in my questionnaires and took my suggestions to heart.  I felt like I knew them by the time they arrived, and they were totally prepared to have a good time. Everyone arrived early, so I was able to stay right on track with the flow of the sessions. They came in great spirits and were relaxed and genuine, and I think it shows through in their portraits.

What started six weeks ago as  a desire to help women document a sliver of their relationships with their children, has turned into a favorite project. Too often, we’re the ones behind the camera. Even if we are in frame, it’s usually only because we’ve used the front-facing camera on our smart phone to snap a selfie with our kids. In poor light. At a less-than-flattering angle. Im excited to have been able to offer a much better, and hopefully much more meaningful, alternative, andI’m so happy that these amazing women took me up on that offer. (I’m also grateful to the husbands, friends and parents who drove out with them and supported these women off-camera! You all deserve a shout-out for making it happen!). These Mother's Day Sessions were a beautiful experience, and I’m honored to have beenthe wind-blown, rained-on photographer behind the lens.

Enjoy.  :)

XO, Erin