lauren + ryan | anniversary session.

In the earlier years of my photography business, the closest thing I had to a co-worker was my computer screen. When I had a question about Photoshop, or wedding packages, or running a business, I blindly combed through tutorials and forum posts in hopes of figuring it out on my own. That is, until one year ago.

One year ago, I went to the Reset Photography Conference, and decided to carpool with a few other Peoria area photographers (Sharon, Lauren, and Erin), who I knew more so as acquaintances at the time. Through the mini road trip together and spending the day getting to know one another, we all realized, without directly saying it, that there was something brewing there – we spent that day at a conference where we were learning about the things our businesses needed, and ended up realizing that what we needed was each other. Over the course of the past year, these newly-found ‘co-workers’, and more importantly, these friends of mine, have made me a better photographer, and have helped propel me forward both in my work and in my life. I would not be where I am without their support, their feedback, and their friendship.

These images are a product of one of our monthly hang-outs – we get together over dinner and drinks and coffee to talk about photography, sure, but also to talk about life. One night, we were discussing Lauren and her husband Ryan’s upcoming two year anniversary, and marriage in general, and how cool it would be for a woman to throw on her wedding dress again and have some photos taken with her husband a few years down the road, and how good it would be for each of us to do some shooting for fun. And so, this impromptu stylized session was born. Lauren threw on her wedding dress, the amazing Le Fleur in Washington, IL created this beautiful bouquet and flower crown, and Sharon and I photographed our little hearts out.

Lauren and Ryan will be celebrating their two year anniversary on Tuesday, and getting to photograph them as they approach that milestone was an honor. Marriage is both amazing and challenging, and as awesome as one’s wedding day is, the real stuff happens in the many, many days that follow it. So here’s to celebrating that – celebrating all the fun firsts that come with being married, and giving each other props once you get through the really hard stuff that comes with it, too. Because weddings are cool, but marriage is even cooler.

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