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Category Archives: Couples

Bryce and Bobbilee – A Nautical Engagement

This has to be one of my favorite engagement shoots! Bryce and Bobbilee are a super laid back and funny couple and I loved that they weren’t shy about showing their emotions for one another be it silly, sweet, or sultry. 
Cortnie of Cortnie Bigelow Styling was on fi-yah when she styled this e-session! I loved the sailboat launch Cortnie found at Seaforth Boat Rentals and the location fit in perfectly with every detail, from the awesome vintage diver’s helmet necklace to the darling nautical themed cupcakes by Leesa Booker of Cakes and Mudpies. (For the record, I got to eat those things when everything was finished and they were A-MAZ-ING!!! I’m officially addicted to her buttercream frosting!!!) 
 After we finished at Seaforth, we hopped on over to Coronado beach for some fun in the sand and water. It got dark super fast, so Bobbilee and Bryce agreed to allow me to experiment with some off-camera lighting. The shots are kind of cool and funky and definitely different! I like how they turned out! 
I’m uber excited to travel to Idaho in July to shoot Bryce’s and Bobbilee’s wedding. Cortnie is styling everything for their big day as well and I CAN’T WAIT to see how everything turns out!!!! Keep an eye out for photos from their amazing event coming up soon!! b5b25b10b11B1b3b4b12b2b6b7b8b13b16b18b15b9b14b17b26b19b23b24b20b22b21 BOBBI’S WARDROBE White paisley dress: O’Neil, Macy’s. Necklaces, Shillawna Ruffner. Shoes, Jessica Simpson. Navy Maxi Dress, Presley Skye: Nordstrom Rack. Gold Diver’s Helmet necklace, Two Birds: Nordstrom. Nautical Rope belt, Old Navy. BRYCE’S WARDROBE: Blue plaid shirt, Nordstrom Rack. BKE Jeans, The Buckle. Blue sweater, Banana Republic. Light blue gingham shirt, Banana Republic. Jeans, The Buckle.

Cutest Family Ever!

I LOVE this family so much! Kristen and her sweethearts are so wonderful to work with! The kids are extremely well behaved and Kristen and Billy are so calm and welcoming. They have a ton of trust in me and seriously, all that radiates from them is love, patience, and happiness. I’m so grateful to have these clients to call my own and I am very much looking forward to the birth of Kristen’s baby in August!!! I get all warm and fuzzy just thinking about him!
This is a little preview of my favorite shots from Kristen’s and Billy’s session at Leona Valley Organics, an organic cherry orchard in Palmdale, CA. It was SUPER windy that day and, other than a few stray hairs here and there, you wouldn’t even know that we were almost swept away because of how cheerful everyone was! I think everyone had a great time, despite the wind and I hope it shows in the photos.
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Eclectic Styled Engagement Shoot

I’m so excited to share the first of several styled shoots I will be doing this year! I LOVE LOVE LOVE how this collection of images turned out and I’m so grateful for all of the talented, hard working women who put all of their time, effort, and resources into making this e-sesh tres magnifique! There are a million and a half things I want to say about this shoot, but I think it best if I let the images speak for themselves and let the viewer come up with their own story behind them. Enjoy!
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Photography: Shillawna Ruffner Photography 
Set Design and Styling: Natalie Allen Production Design
Wardrobe Styling: Cortnie Bigelow www.cortniebigelowstyle.blogspot.com
Hair and Makeup: Melissa King www.kingsksalon.com 
Cupcakes: Leesa Booker www.cakesandmudpies.blogspot.com
Custom Bow Tie: Angela Munyer
Models: Erica King and Michael Rizzo

Heather and Pat: Engaged

Heather and Pat are such an adorable couple! I had so much fun hanging out with them during their engagement session, shot at the Oceanside Pier, and I felt so lucky to be a witness to their tenderness for one another. I will keep this post short because I feel like the photos say everything: that Heather and Pat are in love. And we are all so priveledged to be able to partake in all of the warm-fuzzies this couple radiates! A special shout out goes to Cortnie Bigelow for putting together the uber-cute and very romantic props for this shoot!
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Chris and Tiana: A Recipe for Love

Ingredients:
1 Gorgeous bride-to-be with amazing eyes
1 Dreamy groom-to-be with equally amazing eyes
2 Hearts Full of Love
4 Arms full of Gentleness
2 Cups of Friendship
2 Cups of Joy
A pinch of cuddles
3 tablespoons of pure sweetness
A great big kiss
1 Lifetime of Togetherness

Combine all ingredients together and add lots of warm spring-evening light and a location with color and texture to die for. Shoot, process, and enjoy.

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Click HERE to view Chris’ and Tiana’s entire collection and HERE to order prints or other products.

PVHS Senior Prom: Emily and Ricardo

Photographing Emily is like breathing; it’s easy and natural. So when I was invited to take pictures of her and her boyfriend, Ricardo, for prom, I didn’t even have to think twice about it! This is another couple who pretty much just has to have a pulse to look stunning. And I’m actually not even sure if that’s a requirement. 🙂
I LOVED Emily’s dress! She and her mom found it at (dress shop) and then had the oh-so-talented Oui Dettmer add an overlay and some embellishments to create this gorgeous (and modest!!! yay!!!) plum-colored gown. Everything from Emily’s thick, tumbling curls, to her chandelier earrings and matching (but not matchy-matchy) ring and bracelet, to the beautifully hand-crafted florals by Andrea Kitterman, were absolutely perfect! Emily was a true princess with Ricardo, her handsome and sweet prince, at her side.
And Ricardo? What a gorgeous prom date himself! I thought his pinstriped tux was so tasteful, modern, and classy! I’m sure Emily wasn’t too sad about staring at him all night long! Hah!
Prom is such an exciting right of passage and I hope that Emily and Ricardo and their families will cherish theses portraits! And I just can’t wait to hear all about your amazing experience, Emily and Ricardo! I hope you had a night to remember!
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Click HERE to view Emily and Ricardo’s entire collection.

These Sweethearts are Special

I’m so excited to share a few of my favorite images from Lisa’s and Bill’s Sweetheart Session! This entire shoot was devoted to their romance and an attempt to capture what this couple feels for one another. Bill travels a lot for work and Lisa, understandably, misses him dearly when he is away. What a wonderful way to keep their hearts warm until their arms can be full of each other once again! I hope these images are everything they were meant to be.
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Thanks to Simply Bloom Photography for providing some of the inspiration for this shoot.
Click HERE to view Lisa’s and Bill’s entire collection.

Lucky in Love

Here are a few quick shots from a mini session I did with my mom and step dad over Christmas. This Ah-Mazing location is just behind their house! When I saw it, I knew I HAD to shoot there and my mom and dad were more than willing to take advantage of me! 🙂 It’s so wonderful to be able to share my abilities for creating beautiful and meaningful images with my parents. And it was also really endearing to be able to capture some tender moments with them, displaying their friendship and deep love they have for one another. Merry Christmas you two!
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Double J’s and Double D’s

Jill is WAY too humble! I mean, come on, her work is stunning! So I was definitely humbled when she contacted me a few months ago about doing a family session for her and her husband and two dogs (yes, that’s where the “double D’s” reference comes from…) Well, I wasn’t going to let the opportunity for her to return the favor pass me up! So Jill and I happily agreed to meet together and photograph each other’s  family. What a fun experience!

I don’t know Jill very well, but I’m pretty sure the best thing about her is her smile and quickness to laugh. It’s awesome being around someone who seems to think that you and your family are the funnest (yes, I know that’s not a real word) and funniest people she’s ever met. And as for photographing someone with her kind of smile…I will let the photos speak for themselves. Jill is beautiful, Jesse adoring. And Rusty and Sophie? The perfect duo for my first family shoot including K-9s!

One of the best compliments I can receive is a job well done from a fellow photographer. I can only hope that Jill and her family love these pictures as much as I love the pictures she took for me. I really hope that she and I have the opportunity to work together again in the future as well as nurture a friendship outside of photography (because, yes, she really is that awesome to be around!).

Click HERE if you would like to check out Jill’s handiwork on my family portraits!
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Erica and Ryan

I got a quick email through Facebook: “My little sister is getting married and I told her how awesome you are!” Imagine both my surprise and my humble pleasure when I opened this message from a friend of long ago!
Long story short, Erica (the little-sister-getting-married) contacted me and quickly scheduled an engagement session for her and her long-time love, Ryan. It was wonderful being able to connect with someone whom I remember as being a little girl, but has now grown into a beautiful, confident, young woman.
During our shoot, the three of us bonded over wild animals, rocks in knees, falling in the dirt, and hidden treasures of beauty amongst little heaps of discarded things… and how the hopes and dreams of two people in love were manifested in a way that was easy and rewarding to capture.
I count myself lucky to have the opportunity to bond with “my” couples in such a sweet way; preparing with them for one of the biggest days of their lives and having fun while doing it. Thank you, Erica and Ryan, for letting me see the most intimate, vulnerable parts of yourselves and allowing me to wrap it up and place a pretty bow on top. I so look forward to photographing your wedding in November!
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Click HERE to view Erica’s and Ryan’s entire collection.

Eric and Amberlyn

I was so excited to photograph Amberlyn and Eric! They are the most awesome couple ever and Amberlyn has a killer sense of fashion to top it all off! I love how these images turned out…the lighting was beautiful, the location was perfect, and I am so pleased that these two felt comfortable enough with me to allow me to capture their friendship and love. Sometimes I ask silly things of the people in front of my lens but Amberlyn and Eric were more than happy to accommodate me. Thanks so much for all of your hard work and trust!

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Click HERE to view Amberlyn’s and Eric’s entire collection.

Audra + Mike

I can’t believe it! My little sister is getting married! I am so happy for her that she found such a great partner in life in Mike. My family and I met him for the first time about a week ago (we live all across the western US) and I think it’s safe to say that we all adore him! What a catch they have found in one another!

Audra and Mike decided they wanted a beach theme for their engagement pictures and we had so much fun rolling around in the sand and splashing in the water. Okay, so maybe I had a lot of fun watching them do it because it was pretty cold that day 🙂 What are big sisters for, though…it’s our duty to haze our younger siblings!

I am really looking forward to Audra’s and Mike’s wedding next year! They are planning a destination wedding (somewhere still to be determined in Europe or on a cruise) and I hope that I get to be their photographer for their very special day as well!

Congratulations, Audra and Mike! I know you will have a long and happy life together!
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Click HERE to view their entire collection!

Jeff and Hilary: Long Overdue

For two reasons:

1. I took these photos for Jeff and Hilary about two or three weeks ago while on a business trip to Tucson with my husband. I am finally home and can post them on my neglected blog!

2. Hilary told me that she and Jeff haven’t had professional portraits taken of them since their engagement pictures before they were married!

I met Jeff and Hilary through my sweet husband, Kevin. Jeff and Kevin graduated in the same major from college only one semester apart, and it was Jeff who persuaded Kevin to apply for his current job. (Thanks again, Jeff!)

I vaguely remember my first impression of this dynamic couple: Jeff was handsome and edgy, Hilary exotically beautiful and punk rock! Kevin and I loved hanging out with our new friends because of their easy way with each other and laid back demeanor. Nothing has changed over the 3 or 4 years since we met… except that their relationship has become richer, their confidence and charisma has strengthened, their love and devotion for one another has deepened, and – holy cow! – are they hot or what?!

I cannot believe how well these two photographed! I would like to take all of the credit for how beautiful these images turned out, but really, it has a lot to do with this couple’s willingness to be vulnerable in front of the camera. Their ability to let me into their relationship and catch them expressing their love through their body language. And it helps that they are both so stunningly gorgeous!

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Click HERE to view Jeff and Hilary’s entire collection.

Lily + Joe = RAWR!!!

I had heard that another photographer had “moved into our group of friends” while my husband and I were in New Mexico for his job assignment this last summer. I was warned, “Shillawna, you’ve got competition.” Competition? Maybe. Except that I don’t need to mark my “territory” like an animal. In fact, I don’t even believe in “territory” when it comes to building relationships with family, friends, and clients.

When I was told to watch out for my competition my reaction was to call said person immediately and ask them to be my friend. Because THAT’S what I believe in. I believe in camaraderie, companionship, friendship, and community. I was soooo thrilled to have another photography buddy, someone whom I could bounce ideas off of, someone to learn and grow from, and hopefully someone to offer something to in return. I believe in building one another up, not tearing each other down.

When I emailed Lily, I was nervous as to what her reaction might be. Photographers seem to either share the same philosophy I have, or keep to themselves. I wasn’t sure which way Lily would go. To my great pleasure, Lily responded to my request for collaboration and friendship with open arms and I am now proud to call her my friend. Not just because we share a common interest…no, passion… for photography, but because I truly think she is a beautiful person both inside and out.

So, competition? Sure, why not. My friend and fellow photographer? Now that’s more like it.

Here is Lily and her handsome hubby, Joe. They were so kind as to sit for me for a mock engagement shoot. Need I talk about how stunningly gorgeous both of them are? I didn’t think so. And I was so grateful that they felt comfortable enough with me to let me act as a fly on the wall during their session. These images turned out so beautifully intimate because of their trust in me and my heart just sings when I look at the love and passion they have for one another.

These are a few of my favorite photos from their shoot, although I had a really hard time narrowing it down!
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Click HERE to view Lily and Joe’s entire collection.

Golda + Mike = Bellalina June

One of the best things about being a photographer is the opportunity I get to see and capture people at their rawest, most emotional, and happiest moments. And it’s even more special when I get to do that for someone whom I dearly love!

Golda is another long time friend, a best friend, from high school and after. I met her freshman year in choir and we also had PE together. I think our friendship was cemented when Golda’s enthusiasm for the game of basketball landed me with a broken finger…and we were even on the same team! We have been through so much together, our friendship weathering completely different lifestyles, living states apart, babies, marriage, and time. I always say that you can tell when someone is a true friend if when seeing or speaking to them after years without communication, it’s like you were never apart.

Golda is dear to my heart. And Mike is dear to her’s… so I’ll just say it: I love you, man! Seriously though, Mike makes Golda happy. He loves her. He dotes on her. He cherishes every part of her. And he is making her an honest woman! 🙂 Ha, ha! j/k I am so happy for this sweet couple and their upcoming nuptials in May of 2010. And if I’m not too huge and pregnant, then I get to be a bridesmaid at their wedding! Here’s to the both of you…and that beautiful little baby that you have made together!

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Click HERE to view Golda and Mike’s entire collection.
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