payton photography

A wedding pic Scott took this summer while working as a second with his mentor. He’s giving up wedding photography for now for a whole host of reasons. He’s never had an unsatisfied bride or family. He’s really wonderful at this. But it’s time to move on. The creative heart is on the move.


Scott and I had the pleasure of photographing the wedding and reception of Megan and Curtis on September 6th. Scott had previously taken their engagement photos, but I met this lovely young couple for the first time on their big day.

The festivities were held in the gorgeous North Bend, WA backyard of Megan’s aunt. The families did a wonderful job of prepping the yard for the ceremony and reception. Everything looked so lush and green, and the details were pretty amazing. North Bend is in the foothills of the Cascade Mountain range, and most of the exterior shots for Twin Peaks were shot there if that helps you get a feel for its woodsiness.

I started the day taking shots of Curtis and his fellow Coast Guard groomsmen at a nearby hotel before I hopped a ride with Curtis to meet up with Scott and Megan for first look photos in the shadow of Mount Si. Curtis entertained me with stories of how he and Megan met on our drive to the first look location–the place where he had proposed to Megan. Our joyful mood wore off, however, when we realized there had been a miscommunication about where we were all gathering to meet, and Curtis and I were several mountains miles away. And Curtis needed to get gas. Did you know mountain parks all look the same? And also tend to have terrible no cell reception?

Luckily, we all managed to reconnect, and Scott took some very cool first look and bridal party photos and still stayed within the timeline. The delay was actually fortuitous, since it was incredibly hot that afternoon, and it felt a little like we were taking pictures on the surface of the sun.

The wedding was relatively small, but it was certainly lively, and Megan and Curtis’ friends and family were a real treat to get to know. The ceremony was incredibly sweet, and the dip at the end was perfect. Guests dined on wonderful food and super yummy cake before dancing the night away. Seeing Megan’s awesome grandma dance to YMCA was the highlight of my evening. 

As the sun started to set, Scott whisked Megan and Curtis down the road to take a few sunset photos in a nearby clearing where they were joined by a large herd of grazing elk. You know, just your average backyard wedding guests. In the Pacific Northwest anyway.

This wedding had its share of challenges. It was very hot, the first look started off a little shaky, and the officiant was an hour and a half late among other things. But Scott and I were really impressed with the poise and maturity of the young bride and groom. They were very relaxed and gracious, and I have seen much older couples crumble under similar stresses.

Must be the military training. And that mountain air.


A few shots from a recent Payton Photography wedding. The bride and groom were so sweet, and they had a great back-story. They’d met as kids through their mothers, who worked together. The moms even arranged a play date, but Little Boy Groom didn’t want to have anything to do with Little Girl Bride. (There was a bedroom door slammed in a face and an exclamation of “Ewwww! A GIRL!”.) The moms lost touch when the groom’s family moved to another state, and it wasn’t until their mothers reconnected on Facebook (some 27 years later) and he was shown an all-grown-up picture of her that he decided maybe she wasn’t so icky after all.

I love a happy ending! 

Lordy, I’m wiped out!

Yesterday was a 12-hour wedding bonanza day, and the weather was nasty. If you watched the Seattle/New Orleans football game on television you might have an idea of what we were dealing with elements wise. It was crazy windy and rainy. But there was a window of about 15 minutes around 12:30 pm when the sun came out for a brief moment, and we rushed the whole wedding party outside for a few quick shots on the Tacoma waterfront.

And by we I mean I stayed indoors and watched all the equipment and bridal party valuables while everyone else went outside. Didn’t even muss my hair up. The shot above is a quick pic I took with my iPad from the warm and dry lobby. And they all arrived back inside right before the next torrential downpour.

Scott and I got home about 10 pm, and even though we knew about the Seahawks victory, we watched the game on DVR to savor the highlights.

So today will clearly be a lazy Sunday. Thinking of having a late breakfast of leftover wedding popcorn (one of the perks of wedding photography is getting leftover food and flowers). It’s not on my healthier living eating plan, but neither was the cupcake I ate at the wedding yesterday. YOLO.