ITS LKM'S ANNIVERSARY.....10 YEARS!!!

10 years ago today I shot my very first wedding :)...

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I'm gonna be honest, I have thought of this day all year. I have dreamt up promo launches and fancy videos and feature posts....

but today, I paused it all and just have to say thank you. thank you to those who have encouraged me, invested in me, been patient with me in the busy seasons and reminded me of His perfect provision in the good and the hard. I sat down this past week to map out the timeline of being a photographer.  This is mostly a table of contents for my brain and the conversation of "how did you become a photographer" Read if your interested. Comment if you can. Otherwise--thank you for being here and for being part of the journey. :)

January 2008  - I PICKED UP MY FIRST DSLR and took a local community college course which I failed miserably--mostly because we had our first baby during finals week and didn’t quite finish. :) I did, however, learn about prime lenses and my instructor had a coffee shop meet up and took a portrait of a little girl standing near a window that turned my head. I loved what he froze and the light that he captured--it was something beautiful and real.  I wanted to capture people like that.

(my very first headshot session by my dear friend Emily Rickard)

August 2008 - My first official wedding….and I didn’t know WHAT the crap I was doing. I floundered more than thrived but fortunately still delivered a portfolio the clients were pleased with. I discovered that low light warehouses were no joke and that the art of photography was harder than it looked. I had a LOT to learn. 

October 2008 - Shot a picture of a bride that made me fall in love with the elegance and anticipation of a wedding day. (andrea burns...you haven't aged a bit :D)

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January 2009 - My first season of portraits and captured one particular session with twins. They were as crazy and rambunctious as they come and yet the raw journalism from that shoot and just “go where they go” style flipped a switch with lifestyle photography. I loved that the pictures made me feel the kid's wildness and curiosity. I wanted to do more of that.

Summer 2009 - i loved the connections i was getting to make with couples and shot several weddings i was proud of.

Spring 2010 - went to my first WPPI - wedding and portrait photography international  conference. Met my photography celebrity crush -- Kelly Moore IN THE FLESH, shook hands with Kennie Kim (my destination wedding muse) and came home with a keen sense of ambition......tempered HARD by my season of life as a MOM. My kids were young. I had a 2 year old and a 4 month old. They needed me more than I needed photography...but i'm not gonna lie--the tension was real and my heart had to fight to stay present in the home.

Summer 2010 - I stopped booking weddings. Hubby was facing a career change and were headed to Saudi Arabia to teach English as a Second Language.  Long story for another time.

Spring 2011 - Our time in Saudi Arabia adventure met a detour and we ended up in Tucson with hubby’s family. Started from scratch and we opened LKM’s doors again.

Spring 2012 - Went to WPPI again and Susan Stripling made me weep and fanned a flame for excellence and creativity. SEE THINGS DIFFERENTLY was so very loud in my brain. I had been out of the loop of photography and felt inspired to GO FOR IT. It was my first portrait season in Tucson. I went crazy and gifted ALL THE PEOPLE with portrait sessions. I shot 75 sessions, hyperventilated, had some bad-apple client experiences, got to know Tucson culture better and unraveled melodramatically by the end of the year. Below are some of the highlights during that first year launch in Tucson...

Winter 2013 - rebranded and booked a celebrity wedding for the coming summer. "Celebrity wedding photographer" was a fun label to own but I didn’t want my clients to be my stepping stones. I fought against the pressure to compete and "need" for like and followers. I was surprised by how toxic the hustle could be and I knew my "why" was being challenge and I couldn't quite answer that question.

June 2013 - I shot 6 weddings in the course of 4 weeks in 3 different states and nearly came home with my 2 weeks notice ready to flop on my husband’s side of the bed. BUSY was a hat I started to wear--a badge given by everybody else. I had to figure out a way to slow down but still make ends meet. 

January 2014 - We raised our prices and then held on for dear life. I was scared I was shooting myself in the foot. But in the spirit of “if you build it, they will come” we set our prices to be what we needed to make to sustain a healthy business that paid the bills and its taxes and might even help put food on the table while allowing me to be more present. Business slowed but the clients who invested in me that year were ones that breathed life and joy into the art of wedding photography. They were eager to engage and trusted me. I found a stride and a "why" -- to be better at storytelling with people I could connect with and build a rapport--to tell their story authentically.

November 2014 - Business picked up and I was meeting my max capacity so I reached out to a colleague whom I respected and loved his work and had heard he "hated the business part of things." I asked him if he wanted to come shoot with the studio--under my name, take some weddings and function like a team.  He agreed.

Spring 2015 - It was the year i started to travel. I had several friends who were getting married abroad-- one in the Philippines, Alaska, Northern California, and then a cute little elopement in Mexico. That launched the "travel wedding photographer" part of the brand. To be honest though...we weren't quite sure what to do with it.

Christmas 2015 - wrapped up the year with our 1st attempt to function as a studio with an associate and became acutely aware of how unorganized our back-end was. We had no systems, no workflow. I knew if we were to grow if not thrive forward, I needed to stop looking so much externally or function autonomously. I had to start tending to the bones and foundation of the business. So we went into what I call the "ostrich" season. 

Early 2016 - We started working with an accounting firm who knew their stuff. They asked us hard questions and gave us hard numbers. I started to actually KNOW my business.

May 2016 - I started working with an editor who I’m convinced is actually an angel. Learning how to outsource was a game changer. My world turned to color again and I started sleeping more. (Jo -- you are a gift from God.)

Summer 2016 - We were stabilizing but I still couldn’t keep up. Accounting, studio management, social media, lead generation and retention, shooting, editing, marketing, planning--I felt like all the spinning plates were beginning to wobble. I needed to figure out how to tend to less plates and spin the right ones well.  Introducing …. INTERNS.

Fall 2016 - Makayla McGarvey joined the LKM team and I trained her on back-end tasks while being a regular second shooter. I exposed her to all the things -- family portraits, weddings, headshots, seniors. I wanted her to experience "on location" real world and find her preference. (below are a few of my faves from her this past year as second shooter)

January 2017 - Makayla and I reconvened for a studio pow wow and I offered her a promotion with a bare minimum gaurantee of work and a whole lotta "i don't know what's gonna happen but i do know i need help." She accepted the unknowns and we promised we would take the teamwork in intervals of 6 months.

Spring 2017 - We started focusing on technical and portfolio development. We set hard goals and high standards and she was more eager for feedback than I knew what to do with. Our trip to Maine was a big game changer. I asked her some pretty deep, hard, life, goal questions. I thought she'd run and peace out. Instead, a tearful plane ride home was filled with silent nods and an expression of "i want life to be more than pretty pictures and social media. I want to ask "why" more." We hunkered in and started applying...

November 2017 - Makayla shot her first independent wedding without me...and SHE NAILED IT. Despite the wedding being a rough experience (involving crazy mean park rangers, gnarly wind and wonky scheduling) she handled it beautifully. We officially promoted Makayla to associate shooter.

February 2018 - Major highlight.... Taxes were coming due and I was cleaning up the books. My jaw dropped when i saw the final profit/loss statement for our accountant. We had grossed over SIX FIGURES. My net was modest but it was something real and sustainable--and an intense moment when I sat in front of my husband and showed him the numbers and realized I had matched the average salary of a teacher -- the job i went to college for. I felt like a legitimate business owner and had hit an elusive goal in a changing and challenging industry. 

WPPI 2018 - 2 new interns joined us for WPPI and I experienced a passion for mentoring small businesses and start-ups. Asking hard questions and challenging people’s “why” lit my fire. A shift began in me.

Spring 2018 - Makayla & I traveled. A Lot. It was a season of me passing the baton. It was also our first Indian wedding which rocked our worlds. The culture and 3-day emphasis on family and "celebrating well" had me in tears by the end. 

June 2018 - We soft announced the shift for Makayla’s role as the New England point person

July 2018 - We spent this past month revising workflows, updating backend software, rewriting templates and projecting numbers for 2019. We also honed in on Makayla’s travel/adventure packages... coming soon to instagram feeds near you :)

CURRENT… I've decided to slow down and focus on local gigs and stay in the southwest while Makayla takes over most of the traveling abroad. I am firmly convinced, especially since working on the healthy bones of the business, that it is worth the sacrifice of busyness to live at a cadence I can keep up with and share stories with soul more than stress. 

So, in the spirit of “remember and remember well” this is the timeline of God’s provision...both the chaffing, the challenging and the championing.

Thank you for being a part of the LKM journey. If you made it this far down the rabbit trail of a blog post, you must either be crazy, creepy, competition *cough* colleague, commuty or a companion in this ride. The last few--thank you. Bless you. Cheers to the future and by all means--glory be to God for this job that has been a gift and a joy and a challenging petri dish of faith training. Cheers! | LKM & CO.

Kraft Azalea Garden Engagement | Florida Moss & Southern Class | Love Story Session Pt 2

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These florida sweethearts got fancy and grabbed their favorite luxury champagne Veuve Clicquot for a finale of their Orlando Florida Engagement Session in Kraft Azalea Gardens, Winter Park. By this point Megan & Kyle had gotten comfortable with me and the camera. We had all laughed a little, shared more of our stories and bonded a bit. Truly, it is this point in LKM engagement sessions that I (laura) settle in and breathe the best parts of romance. The goal in all our sessions is to ultimately find a natural, authentic stride where the attention is on each other and not the awkwardness. These two leaned into that and it was such a sweet place of comfort with each other. The backdrop of the gardens was exquisite and we ended on such a note of celebration. Highlights below! (if you didn't see the first part of their engagement session, here is Part 1)

Park Ave + Winter Park Engagement Session | Kyle + Megan Love Story Session Pt 1

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Megan + Kyle wanted their engagement session in Orlando to be classy, shnazzy but personal and authentic.  Kyle is a chef and culinary teacher and Megan is Rollins College Associate Event Director. With their refined taste and Megan's acute sense of planning, we were able to meet for coffee the morning of their session, cover a few details, talk timeline, catch up on a bit of their love story and prep for the evening's engagement session around winter park. We grabbed a few casual shots with their fur baby in the rain in the courtyard of Barnie's Kitchen and then reconvened a few hours later all gussied up and ready to strut their stuff in Winter Park. Shout out to Armando's for graciously letting us get cozy in their classy restaurant and messin' with their wine glasses. 

We couldn't have asked for a classier couple to be our very first #LKMorlando lovebirds! Thank you so much! See PART TWO of their engagement session in Kraft Azalea Garden's here! 

// NOTE TO OUR READERS & NEWLY ENGAGED //

Hi! If you are newly engaged, take note! LKM has officially launched LKM in Orlando! We are providing wedding and engagement session packages for Central Florida couples at no extra travel cost! It is our new travel hub -- our new place of adventure and plan to be out once every fall/winter and spring and summer seasons! Inquire HERE to check on dates for our next Orlando visit! 

Taylor Falls Minnesota Wedding | Missionary Kids get Married at a Waterpark | St Paul, Minnesota

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Not only did she capture our day perfectly, but she made us all feel comfortable the whole time (even my husband who isn’t a fan of taking pictures). ~ Heidi, Bride

Caleb + Heidi were highschool sweethearts from Faith Academy International School in the Philippines--my old highschool stomping grounds. When they asked me (Laura) to come shoot their wedding, I was thrilled. Missionary kid weddings are often a big international reunion of sorts--rich with understanding and inside jokes and nostalgia. Also, escaping 116 degree heat in Tucson, Arizona was also a perk and I was more than thankful to be shooting anywhere BUT the oven of the summer desert.  

When the couple initially inquired they shared some of their priorities for their wedding that i thought were beautiful and refreshing--they knew that people were most important and they wanted both a personal and journalistic approach to the day. #wegotyou is what I thought and hollered to Maggie Witter, another Faith Academy Alumni and phenomenal photographer based in Minnesota, to come shoot with me! Enjoy the highlights below! (oh and if you missed their pretty epic Rehearsal Dinner on Tayler Falls Paddle Boat!

From the Bride...Caleb and I are both very simple and we want our wedding day to reflect that, we're both just thrilled to be getting married. We're going for a more natural wedding style, with a vibe that reflects who we are as fun, casual people :) ...The most important thing to me is that the candid moments and true joy and happiness of the day are captured through the photos. I'm most excited for images that capture the special moments between Caleb and I. I'm also excited for photos with the special people in my life that are able to celebrate with us (family and best friends). ... In regards to horror stories or concerns that we have...to be completely honest, both Caleb and I aren't the most photogenic people, haha. We can't do the 'serious/model' like photos, it just doesn't suit us well. So I guess just know that and know we're much better at being natural and smiling with each other-- we welcome direction when being photographed :) (apart from just being natural) I also really would love to have a journalistic approach to capture the full story...

When I started wedding planning, the only thing I knew for sure was that I wanted LKM to photograph our wedding. I was so happy that it all came together and she made it out to Minnesota. Laura is absolutely amazing!! ...LKM a pro, so she knows what will look best in terms of lighting, poses, background, etc.— but at the same time she also knows when to let things play out and just photograph the moment unfolding. Now we have stunning photos to look at for the rest of our lives, and I could not be more grateful. If I had to make the decision of a photographer again, I would choose Laura, every single time.
~ Heidi, Bride

Caleb + Heidi, I can't thank you guys and your families enough for trusting LKM with your precious wedding weekend. It was such a refreshing treat to be among missionary families and celebrate a wedding out in the mountains with Faith family! Blessings! ~ Laura

La Mariposa Tucson Wedding | Creme & Eucalyptus Meets Love and Tears

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We just wanted to thank you for the incredible job you did with our wedding photos! We consider ourselves so blessed to have had our whole day captured with such raw emotion. From spencer crying to my grandma laughing you truly were able to put together snapshots that represent the many emotions of the day!! We can’t thank you enough! If you need any more reviews or anything out in the Bay Area let us know! We loved working with you and would be more than happy to help you with anything! ~ Krista, Bride

Conversations leading up to the wedding were sprinkled with eager assurances that people and relationships were top priority. From beginning to end this sweet couple eager loved each other and were set to honor their family as best as they could. Planning a wedding long distance from San Francisco was a challenge but when our team arrived on their wedding day, we were stoked to see hands working, family aware, spirits calm and hearts aglow. It was truly a beautiful day! Here are a few highlights from this beautiful Tucson Wedding!

// VENDORS //

Wedding & Reception Venue: La Mariposa Resort // Photography: Laura K Moore Photography // Florist: In Full Bloom // Gown Boutique: Lulu's // Makeup: Analia Martinez // Hair: Gadabout // Cake: Dairy Queen // DJ/Band: Millennium Music Service // Officiant: Desert Hope Lutheran Church // Videographer: Omega Wedding Films // Bridesmaid Robes: LeRoseGifts // Custom Designed Signage: Danadecals

And as a finale, here is the awesome wedding highlight video from Omega Wedding Films

Wedding & Reception Venue: La Mariposa Resort // Photography: Laura K Moore Photography // Florist: In Full Bloom // Gown Boutique: Lulu's // Makeup: Analia Martinez // Hair: Gadabout // Cake: Dairy Queen // DJ/Band: Millennium Music Service // Officiant: Desert Hope Lutheran Church // Videographer: Omega Wedding Films // Bridesmaid Robes: LeRoseGifts // Custom Designed Signage: Danadecals

Vista West Ranch | Wedding Videography Highlight Reel

Here is a highlight wedding video from Eric + Katie's Wedding at Vista West Ranch in Dripping Springs, Texas. *Push Play*

To see highlights and photos from their entire wedding weekend, go HERE.

Vista West Ranch | Austin Texas Wedding Weekend | Jade Green, Babies Breath & Southern Charm

One reason I knew I wanted Laura to photograph my wedding, even before I was engaged, is because she has a personality that will bring the fun, smiles and spunk out of people. She can fit into any crowd. She loves to tell a story with her photography. She wants to capture the emotion and thoughts during each and every moment of your special day... ~ Katie Dollar, Bride
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The Wedding Day Story...behind the scenes recap

Wedding photography for this Austin wedding day began early. My team and I (Makayla, Gavyn & I) made our trek (but first, coffee) to Molly, the make up artist’s house and our jaws dropped with the shiny chrome and class that oozed from Molly’s home studio. Her work was stunning and you could tell that the girls were being pampered well. We hung out a little while the bride relaxed with her girls and mimosa.

We peaced out to the venue 10 minutes down the country road to Vista West Ranch -- a hidden boutique gem of a venue in the middle of Dripping Springs Texas on the outskirts of Austin. The whole location was perfect--nailing the casual but classy vibe of the couple's personality colors were fresh and the sunbeams ROYALLY on par. Also note, Austin wedding coordinator Jordan Smith with Coordinate This helped move things along from the very beginning of the weekend and kept everything smooth and organized!

//VENDORS //

Wedding & Reception Venue: Vista West Ranch // Photography: Laura K Moore Photography // Event Coordinator: Coordinate This // Florist: The Flower Girl // Gown Boutique: Paisley Crush // Bridesmaids Dresses: Alfred Angelo // Grooms Attire: Men's Wearhouse // Hair & Makeup: Molly Makeup // Caterer: Freebirds // Cake: Gale's Cakes  // DJ: Premier Entertainment // Photobooth: Posers Photobooth // Rehearsal Dinner: Trudy's // Farm table + Vintage Chairs: Petal Pushers // Bartenders: Bar Butlers // Videography: Gavyn Gates Cinematography

The first look was one of the most precious. The couple being nonsense "lets just have fun" kind of people seemed to sink into the moment alone--reading their vows to eachother and breathing in the first real moments of the wedding day. Their affection and eagerness was palpable. From there we swayed into wedding part pictures, family portraits and all the relaxed, casual moments with the VIPs. Can we just take a moment to note that First Look's are crazy intensely game-changing? It was, at least, for Eric & Katie. They had been on the fence but experiencing that space of sweetness and unprompted freedom and privacy--it set the tone of joy for the day!

The ceremony time approached and the bride made her way back to the room to freshen up and cool off a little. (It was a warm one that day). Guests trickled in and the bride watched eagerly from above through the window of the bridal parlor. Because the timeline had provided these margins of space to just breath and enjoy eachother, she used this pamper time to give a few letters to her girls. Good grief were those notes special!

Because we   been able to capture so many of the signature portrait moments and enjoyed family time, bride and groom grabbed a few relaxed moments in creme de la creme late afternoon light and then surprised the guests by joining cocktail hour early and doing a super special receiving line--welcome their guests personally into the dining hall!

The rest of the night was spent eating yummy food, enjoying cake and being merry. (note the Baylor Stadium Groom's Cake!) 

It was an absolute pleasure working with Katie + Eric on their wedding day. They are such a sweet and laid back couple and their love for each other was evident from the moment I met them. They put together a fabulous vendor team, including Laura Moore Photography. Not only were they fun to work with throughout the evening, but their professionalism made the event run smoothly and the whole night went off without a hitch. Of course the images are stunning and something Katie + Eric will be able to treasure forever as they look back on their wedding day. ~ Jordan Smith, Owner & Lead of Coordinate This
What a firecracker and joy to have (LKM & her team) photograph our wedding.... They want to capture the emotion and thoughts during each and every moment of your special day! I would HIGHLY recommend LKM for an engagement and wedding photographer. Thank you, Laura, for all you did for Eric and I. Thank you for going above and beyond! ~ Eric & Katie

Eric & Katie, it was an honor to be part of your wedding weekend! Thank you so much for trusting us with your crazy fun and spaztically awesome wedding day! :D Joy, LKM

To see more from Eric & Katie's wedding weekend, go HERE for their engagement session, HERE for their rehearsal & mini sweetheart session and HERE for their wedding video!

//VENDORS //

Wedding & Reception Venue: Vista West Ranch // Photography: Laura K Moore Photography // Event Coordinator: Coordinate This // Florist: The Flower Girl // Gown Boutique: Paisley Crush // Bridesmaids Dresses: Alfred Angelo // Grooms Attire: Men's Wearhouse // Hair & Makeup: Molly Makeup // Caterer: Freebirds // Cake: Gale's Cakes  // DJ: Premier Entertainment // Photobooth: Posers Photobooth // Rehearsal Dinner: Trudy's // Farm table + Vintage Chairs: Petal Pushers // Bartenders: Bar Butlers // Videography: Gavyn Gates Cinematography

Dripping Springs Texas Wedding | Rehearsal & "Day-Before" Sweetheart Session | Austin Wedding Photographer

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We adore storytelling and are a bit obsessed about people...the natural, real side of people.

As part of our "wedding weekend" packages we often are able to be a part of the rehearsal and maybe some dinner flare. It offers a chance to meet people, break the ice with our destination wedding folk and start storytelling off on the right foot--with relationship and candor. :)

Eric & Katie spent some sweet moments with us during their wedding weekend -- we met each other Thursday morning before the wedding for a sunrise engagement session on PennyBacker Bridge on the outskirts of Austin Texas. Afterwards we parted ways, edited a few highlights and then met back up again later that evening to casually watch, shoot and meet friends and relatives at their rehearsal on wedding venue property: Vista West Ranch in Dripping Springs. 

Below are a few highlights of the chill evening and camaraderie between their favorite people. It set the tone for the weekend -- celebratory, energetic and deeply affectionate and grateful. See highlights from the evening below a!

Go HERE to see Eric & Katie's engagement session on Austin's PennyBacker Bridge & HERE To see their full wedding day highlight story! 

Austin Texas Engagement Session | PennyBacker Bridge & Colorado River Sweethearts

Makayla, Laura & Gavyn flew into Austin thursday night before Dollar Wedding Weekend kicked off! We grabbed a rental car and skiddadled over to Pennybacker Bridge where the couple, Eric & Katie, had asked to do their sweetheart / day-before / kinda-sorta engagement sunrise session the next morning! We scouted the area and noted shadows, parking, greenery that tickled our fancy, watched the light play on the rocks on the side of Lake Austin (i.e. Colorado River) and then made our way back to our AirBnB.

The next morning we met up for the engagement session at PennyBacker Bridge and met Eric & Katie's fur baby Bean. (he may or may not have a ridiculously cute instagram page :D). There was a thin layer of cloud cover that softened the rich greens and rugged browns of the mountains. Eric & Katie were relaxed and...well...just couldn't keep their hands off eachother :) 

To see Eric + Katie's wedding day go here!

Desert Engagement Session | Palo Verde Trees + Prickly Pears w/ a Splash of Wine

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Krista & Spencer flew in from San Francisco for the weekend to get their Tucson desert fix, visit their wedding venue at La Mariposa Resort and grab a few lovely sunbeam embraces during their engagement session in northeast Tucson. We had a few wardrobe changes and Sulamita Pacifica, a local event stylist, offered to contribute a few elements and the couple agreed. Enjoy the picnic in the desert. And to see Spencer + Krista's wedding highlights, go HERE!