Erin • Brandon {Des Moines IA}


Erin and Brandon have a demanding schedule.  He being a Cyclone football player (calm down, Iowa City, he is an awesome guy AND Erin played softball, too at ISU) now Erin is studying here in Hawkeye Nation at the dental program (following in the footsteps of her two older bros AND pops, so that explains all the sparkling teeth you are about to see) … James actually knew the Johnson clan well before me … in fact he babysat (uh-hem, yes babysat we are OLD) for them and all of them grew up together at church as well.

You know whats really rewarding about our job?  We see the circle of life coming around all.the.time.  Like the times we shoot senior portraits of our friends kids, knowing we met them while those same kids were in kindergarden (OMG).  We photographed Mike + Jennifer (the older brother of Erin) so it was only expected at this wedding she would have the cutest little basketball belly…and the other brother with an infant!  Thats so cool to see.  Scary, I best be getting myself some wrinkle cream…but a good scary I guess?

Erin-dress-shoesYep – thats the first look {behind the cowboy/cowgirl hats!}


Let me quickly introduce the wedding party (or shall I just say groomsmen?)  You know that filter that most commonly we all try to have in front of new people?  Well none of the guys brought theirs along to the wedding.  And I liked that.  It was pretty contagious actually.  It was an absolute blast.  Some of the bridesmaids went sledding (like with snow, in their dresses, yes) and when I handed one of the groomsmen my camera to hold while I took my mittens off to get my keys, I knew what I was getting myself into but thought he could handle.  I got quite a bunch of his candids, but I liked their enthusiasm!

The guys overheard me telling the girls about this cute bobsled pose (thats the term James and I call it: its the very first pic of their engagements up top – you know, where they sit like they are on a bobsled) so challenge accepted.  They went for an all groomsmen bobsled (on their own, I coached none of this) and just squashed the term for me, for forever.


There were so many aspects to this day that were SO up my alley.  I am currently, like beyond obsessed with mint green and I LOVE pastel colors with snow…not to mention I love the laid back attitude of Erin + Brandon, and really miss them already!

Thanks Jensen/Johnson crew for the privilege of a perfect first wedding of 2015!


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Terra • Pete {and baby makes three}


Oh my loves.  Terra and Pete.

I truly could not decide between the above (one is so classic…but I can only assume James did something nerdy + humiliating in the second, and in return, we get those sparkly laughs).

I am posting today in honor of … Terra had a birthday yesterday! AND, I was hoping that baby would share a birthday with mama, but looks like baby is still too cozy to come out and debut.  So, in honor of celebrating a fantastic being…and new life on its way any day now, meet Terra + Pete (and baby H).

I cannot really even remember when Terra + I officially met, truthfully.  I just know I have always known her.  I associate her as part of my Iowa City family.  She has been cleaning us up (cutting our hair) from the days of James long curls to his dad-buzz-cut.

She knows everything about me.  Probably too much.  Anytime we are together, its like we are finishing each others sentences and diving right into the gritty goods.  Many life lessons have been passed onto me from Terra {everything from how to preserve screen printing emulsion, to the easiest credit card gadgets for small businesses, to using up soured milk to make biscuits…and most importantly how to curl your hair with a straightener}, its quite obvious the two of us simply cannot function in todays world without one another.

And now they are having a little peanut (gender is a surprise!) and James got to grab some pics. of them this fall:


The plan was to do a fall mini-session {here} and then a snowy session now with baby due any day! but Iowa is such a drama queen.  We got our fluffy snow but along with it, the freezing cold temps that are so dangerous, schools are cancelled.  So, we are going to cross our fingers for a tad of warming up, then is it too much to ask for a couple pretty fluffy fresh flurries?

Terra-Pete-brick Unpredictable is a double-edged sword.  While I know many of our other clients this year were so patient and understanding with the weather this season (we wanted fluffy snow in December too guys!) thanks for going with the flow with us.  Baby H could be born tonight (or today), or three weeks from now.  Some higher power is testing us, each day, on our patience, right?

Happy vibes your way this week, and month, Terra + Pete!

xo – MD


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jackie and justin | galena il | video/photo


You guys.  Jackie and Justin.  We were part of the family/wedding party/crew (not sure what our title really was) but literally – we lodged in Galena for three days chilling + hanging + yeah – documenting everything…everything!  So many wonderful things happened, to tell you in just a blog post is impossible.  Since we did have several days with them (and several sangrias, and several cups of Whiteys ice cream shipped in from Iowa City, and several bags of cheddar/ranch/chocolate popcorn…and more than several laughs and inside jokes and probably stories we should not have heard) so dang, I tried to keep the photos equivalent to that of a, I guess, traditional wedding (singular) day, I realized I pulled 80 photos for the blog, then laughed at myself come time to shrink them down in Photoshop.  So, here is a mini recap of the wedding day in photos…and see the VIDEO for more such as golf, mens prayer, shopping/deliciousness (oh dang we were fed well that weekend) and just to feel the energy and spice that Jackie has (its so contagious)!


How did our worlds collide?  Jackie and I worked together at the cutest scrapbooking store in the world, Reminisce, in Iowa City, while we were still broke college kids.  Yes, we spent every dollar we earned right back in the store.  We lusted over stickers, paper, ribbon, stamps/ink, you get the idea.  I had no doubt in my mind that the wedding day decor + details would exceed my expectations but whoa:

A sweet + charming popcorn station fed guests during their short walk from the outdoor vows to the outdoor reception (all at the same location/venue).  If one chose to forgo popcorn, you could grab a Czechoslovakian traditional tart (of course made by the grandmother).  Is this not perfect?  Oh you just wait – theres more.

So make your way nearly to the reception (already flabbergasted by the lovely details) and graze through an adorable little schoolhouse that showcased wedding dresses (nope not photos, like legit the dresses of generations) and be greeting by lanterns softly bouncing in the wind (a breeze that felt delightful following a sunny ceremony) then into this tented bash, where guests were fed like kings, pampered their tootsies to complementary flip flops (who needs heels anyways) and were entertained by live music (not just anyone – musicians were family/friends and they were GOOD stuff)…our salads were so delicious that Chad embarrassed us all by asking the chef directly for the recipe (we all love and hate Chads blunt approach to life).  And no, unfortunately, no recipe (total secret).

It was a weekend we will never forget.  Literally – you do not want to know the amount of memory card space we exceeded (wink).  Thanks J + J for everything.  How come this only gets to happen once?!  Miss you guys + the families already.

Enjoy the video:

Jackie + Justin – wedding from DPD Productions on Vimeo.

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