Moving On… to a New Blog ~

After more than 2.5 years of being “here,” I’ve moved (a lot more quickly than previously expected) to a new blog. This one won’t go away since I will still make reference to past entries. So head to to see the latest.


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*Wedding Wednesday* :: Same-Sex Couples

It’s not my nature to get political on my blog, especially on a *Wedding Wednesday* post. But I’m filling out my ballot so I stop getting election calls. And in light of the recent campaign to oust three judges from the Iowa Supreme Court stemming from their 2009 vote deeming same-sex marriage legal, I thought I’d address a few FAQ’s regarding how my business practices.

same sex couple wedding

Do you shoot gay/lesbian couples?

Yes, I shot my first same-sex session recently, and the first wedding is scheduled next year. However, I do not seek out same-sex couples. It’s important that all my prospective clients – regardless of sexual orientation – like my work, like me and can afford me even before they decide to book a session.

Do you offer discounts for sessions with same-sex couples?

Nope. I’m an equal opportunity people-pleaser (or disappointer).

Do you shoot same-sex sessions differently than other sessions?

Well, strictly based on the most recent shoot, no… I didn’t shoot it any differently and can’t see that I would for future sessions. All my shoots tend to be interactive. And if the people being photographed care enough about each other then it will reflect the same way in the images as two people who are straight.

*Wedding Wednesday* is a weekly post of creative information, ideas and inspiration. If you are a professional in the wedding industry and would like to contribute an entry please contact me for information.

In other news, I’m moving to a new blog as of tomorrow – – and this series will continue on that site next week. Thanks to all of you who have been dedicated readers via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or have just dropped by to see what’s new. I hope you continue to follow me and comment and enjoy!

As Ever…


Quad Cities March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction

BETTENDORF, Ia. – So, yes I’m a little behind…. BUT… it’s all in the name of great photos! 😉

The Signature Chefs Auction, held just a couple weeks ago, is one of the biggest fundraisers for the March of Dimes. The event entails a lot of great food from area restaurant chefs, a silent auction, and some incredible live auction packages. The end result is tons of money be raised for a worthy cause – that of improving the health of babies born premature or with birth defects through research, education and advocacy.

This was my third year shooting the event. And this time around I had assistance from fellow photographers Teresa Ousley and Elisabeth Somes for the beginning part of it.

Here’s some highlights:

The chefs tables were busy busy busy with people eager to try some gourmet samples.

People enjoying restaurant food samples prepared by chefs

There’s honestly so much great food at this event it’s hard to know where to start. The combination of items are just incredible. The food is imaginative, creative and tasty. Here’s a glimpse of some of the yumminess from the chefs:

delicious restaurant food

And there was plenty of wine bottles to auction off  as well:

wine bottles and wine glasses

People were having a good time. I was having a good time. After having shot this event the previous two years, I admittedly didn’t shoot as much as usual because there were a number of people who stopped to chat or say “hi.” It was great! After less than 40 frames in the camera I sat and scarfed down some food.

people having fun at a party

Then the program part got underway, starting with some brief words by Andy Sallee – this year’s event chair and president of Tri-State Windows, Siding & Roofing.

movie scene emblem and man making speech

The top chefs were also honored for their culinary talents, with first place (from left) going to Happy Joe’s, second place to The Black Watch Room (at Pebble Creek Golf Course), and third place to Thunder Bay Grille.

top chefs honored

Radio DJ and MC Steve Ketelaar moved throughout the tables of guests and picked out New Orleanian Ben Doolittle, the new executive chef of the Hotel Blackhawk. The historic landmark is undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation and is expected to open in December.

interview with hotel blackhawk chef davenport

Afterward, the Wichman family came up. They are the Ambassador Family for the QC area, and dad Jim shared the story about the youngest Rhett, who was born 5 weeks early and spent 23 days in the NICU.

march of dimes ambassador family

After their presentation, there was no shame (and shouldn’t be) by the auctioneer in using Rhett to help raise money. After all, at age 3 I imagine he was already past his bedtime and had no interest in impressing anyone with shoes and socks.

Jerry Maguire kid

I’m so fortunate to shoot this event, especially given the money raised (some which impact specific hospital procedures people don’t normally hear about) have helped babies of my friends who have grown to be healthy kids.

march of dimes program

A great event!



Iowa City Old Brick Wedding of Lily & James

IOWA CITY, Ia. – Since meeting Lily and James more than a year ago I felt incredibly happy just thinking about them and what their day would be like. Their paths intersected after years of much living and learning on their own. But no matter what kind of wedding they had, it would have been perfect because they are such wonderful people.

Lily was already on cloud nine as she began her transformation at Coralville‘s Europa Salon & Spa. Her excitement was infectious as she and her matron of honor, Yuri, shared in her joy after arriving at Iowa City’s historical Old Brick Church… and then seeing her bouquet for the first time.

Bride getting ready at salon

In the meantime, James was getting ready at his friend Jake’s house, where the rest of the boys – James’ nephew, brother and Lily’s son Alex – also had gathered.

Groom and groomsmen

Old Brick is both easy and challenging to work with given its white walls, wooden floors and cathedral ceiling. Erected in 1856, it the second oldest public building in Iowa City and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. But oftentimes it’s the simplest things that make the biggest difference, like Lily’s use of muted coral ribbon on the curtains. Her bouquet also encompassed an array of colors to fit with the coral theme.

flowers by window and wedding rings

The design was set up so guests would move their seats after the ceremony to one of the roundtables for the reception. Each table featured its own cake for guests to feast on after dinner.

Iowa City Old Brick wedding reception cakes

Lily and James opted to do a First Look on the stage they would get married on. … and James turned around just before she got to him. He couldn’t wait to see her!

Couple's first look

They soaked in this moment for a while…

couples first look

… and then went to the front entrance of Old Brick for a few inside photos.

couple at Old brick Iowa City

A short time later it was time to get married, and Lily’s son Alex proudly accompanied her down the aisle.

Bride walking down aisle

Even after the First Look, Lily, you’re beaming with joy as if seeing James for the first time… I love it!

bride walking down aisle

The couple had a Tree Lighting ceremony in which their closest loved ones took part in to symbolize the unity of the families. Each person lit a candle to place on the iron casting before meeting James and Lily to say a few congratulatory words.

tree lighting ceremony at wedding

Afterward, the couple shared a few moments alone on stage, serenaded by Don Williams’ My Heart to You.

wedding ceremony at old brick iowa city

Seeing this photo makes me happy – for Lily and James, and that I get to do this for a living.

wedding ceremony old brick iowa city

Sealed with a kiss… and walking away to the tune of Happy Together.

bride and groom kiss

After mingling with guests, the reception got underway with dinner, toasts and finally their First Dance.

first dance wedding couple

Lily and James also had a CrazyBooth, run by my assistant Garrett. Here are a few highlights:

wedding photo booth

The entire day for me was so enjoyable, creative, fun … and that has been indicative of my time with this couple.

James and Lily, congrats to you both! Have a wonderful time during your honeymoon in Italy… you SO deserve it!




Wedding Notes

Ceremony & Reception: Old Brick Church & Community CenterIowa City, with Brigittine French officiating
Catering: Bread Garden Market, Iowa City
Photographer: Accent Photographics (me!) assisted by Garrett Adrian
Entertainment: D. Anthony MusicIowa City
First Dance Song: “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)” by James Taylor
Flowers & Cakes: Hy-Vee, Iowa City
Wedding Gown: Celebrations (formerly in Coralville)
Bridesmaid Dresses: Dillard’s
Tuxes: Ewers Mens Store, Iowa City
Tree Sculpture, Linens & Candles: Aero Rental and Party Shoppe, Iowa City

*Wedding Wednesday* :: Honeymoon Destinations

I need a vacation.

This being my busiest couple months with weddings and holiday sessions, it’s made me look forward even more to some less-intense workdays…. and daydream of cool vacation destinations (be it for a honeymoon or otherwise). And why not? A handful of my couples have gone to Hawaii, while some stayed in the lower 48.

Others still are venturing outside the U.S. My couple getting married this weekend have a honeymoon planned in Italy. A photographer who recently married is actually blogging during her honeymoon right now in Italy and Croatia. And since I’m drawn to the off-the-beaten-path sites, it’s worth mentioning that a couple whose wedding I shot last year honeymooned in… Peru.

My next big “break” will be around Christmas, during which time I plan to be in Ohio with friends, and then to be followed by a trip overseas later this coming winter. I can’t wait.

But regardless of the out-of-town destination, it’s the people around you who make it all the more worthwhile and memorable.

Expedia logo

*Wedding Wednesday* is a weekly post of creative information, ideas and inspiration. If you are a professional in the wedding industry and would like to contribute an entry please contact me for information.

As Ever…

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Rural Iowa Wedding of Sarah and Ross

It was the most perfect of October days, and Sarah and Ross were ready to get married. At the church in Clarence, Iowa, Sarah and her bridesmaids had their hair done. The clock was ticking but Ross was nowhere to be seen.

Sarah wasn’t going to worry. She was on time, and knew Ross would come. She had a calm excitement for this day to finally be here – and in good humor imagining her annoyance at Ross during their First Look.

Bridal Gown and bride getting ready

And then he came, and joined his groomsmen before getting dressed.

Groom getting dressed

The couple’s First Look – seeing each other before the ceremony – happened in an empty room not far from the church sanctuary. These first shots from my assistant Cathy of this moment were just beautiful.

Bride and groom first look

During the First Look, Sarah informed Ross that she was wearing the dress he helped choose back when she had narrowed down her favorites. Ross chose wisely, thus proving himself with good taste in style.

Bride and groom meet and kiss

The soon-to-be newlyweds.

Bride and groom

Turns out that after formals we had some extra time to kill before the ceremony. So they got more photos of themselves outside the church.

Bride and groom standing

Sarah’s dad, after walking her down the aisle, later said it was just as hard to give her away as it was her older sisters. And Ross, after being teased about not kissing her intensely enough at the ceremony rehearsal the day before, made sure he did so after they said their vows.

Bride walking down aisle and First Kiss

After church, it was time to party. Enroute to the reception, the couple, their bridal party and a handful of friends wanted to stop for photos at a park in Mount Vernon, Iowa.

Bridal party by lake

Ross’ brother, Kelly, was just crazy excited about his brother getting married. Can ya tell?

Brother of groom showing excitement

At the reception, members of the bridal party gave a mix of animated, memorable, bittersweet and poignant speeches.

People giving wedding toasts

We had a CrazyBooth at this party, and here are some highlights to commemorate the craziness.

People acting goofy

Ross and Sarah are now in Hawaii. After they return, they move to the Twin Cities where Ross will begin a post-doctorate.

Couple dancing

Thanks to you both for having me as part of your day. Enjoy your time off, and best wishes in your new life.


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Wedding Notes

Ceremony: St. John’s United Church of ChristClarence, Iowa, with the Rev. David Mears officiating
Reception: Regal Crown Receptions, Lisbon, Iowa
Photographer: Accent Photographics (me!) assisted by Cathy Kovach
First Dance Song: “When You Got a Good Thing” by Lady Antebellum
Entertainment: A Fine Affair DJCedar Rapids
Florist: Tipton Greenhouse & Florist
Cake: Yummy’s Gourmet CakesCoralville, Iowa
Wedding Gown & Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal
Tuxes: Men’s Wearhouse

*Wedding Wednesday* :: Event Production

The event-planning industry has a huge convention called Engage!10. One of the conference speakers this year was Bryan Rafanelli, owner of Rafanelli Events, who plans tons of weddings, parties, corporate and nonprofit galas in Boston, West Palm Beach, Fla., and Washington, D.C.

Rafanelli’s credentials include a series of inaugural events leading to and the day-of President Obama’s swearing in and Chelsea Clinton’s wedding.

He’s also done his share of nonprofit events, and the below photo is from a fundraiser.

Nonprofit event charity gala

One of Rafanelli’s strong points is to tell a story with each event he works with anything that is conceivable to the client. The result, I imagine, is an amazing display of environments that shows the quality, the care and attention that people appreciate and are excited about.

Although he isn’t local, there’s still much to draw inspiration on from his work – as a photographer, an event planner, and anyone else in the creative field. And, of course…as a bride.

*Wedding Wednesday* is a weekly post of creative information, ideas and inspiration. If you are a professional in the wedding industry and would like to contribute an entry please contact me for information.

As Ever…

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Quad Cities March of Dimes Featured Child ~ Grant

BETTENDORF, Ia. – I’ve photographed Grant a few times now, and he’s a definite ham in front of the camera. He was born 9 weeks early and is now a healthy and energetic boy. He was last year’s Ambassador Child for the March of Dimes, and will be showcased again this year among other youngsters who were born premature during the organization’s annual Signature Chefs Auction this Wednesday.

March of Dimes Child with Biaggis Restaurant Chef

The event features area chefs who will be preparing gourmet samples for attendees to enjoy and vote on. Grant is featured with Biaggi’s Chef Patrick Trainor, who has been part of this event for a number of years now and will no doubt have a spectacular items for the palate. Two more days ’til this event — I can’t wait!

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Emma ~ March of Dimes Featured Kid

BETTENDORF, Ia. – Emma is smart, creative and a lot of fun. At age 12, she’s done a lot thanks to the support of her family and friends who have known her since her days as a premature infant.

Emma will be one of the youngsters profiled during the March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction this Wednesday. She is photographed with Chef Doug Leer of Bass Street Chop House.

I’ll be there! Will you?

Shuva Rahim of Accent Photographics

Violet ~ March of Dimes Featured Kid

BETTENDORF, Ia. – Violet reminds me of Ramona Quimby. She’s cute, smart and has a lot of personality. I only spent a few minutes with her but I liked her immediately. She is one local kids who will be featured at this year’s March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction this coming Wednesday. At age 7, Violet has come a long way since her days at the NICU where she spent 3 months after being born at 25 weeks.

With her is Chef Greg Sanders of The Black Watch Room at Pebble Creek Golf Course in Davenport. He and a handful of other area chefs will be preparing gourmet dishes for guests to sample and vote on.

I’m excited to see what the chefs come up with – because I plan to taste everything!

Good times!

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