First things first, I just LOVE Ashley + Mike. I met Ashley via Instagram not too long after both of us moved to Bozeman: I found her feed and loved her interior decor sense and she just seemed like someone I could click with. She loves her husband Mike and their dog Sage, the mountains, great furniture (seriously, go check out her couch at @ashley.joyfullygrowing), coffee, and Friday nights in. Side note: IG has been a blessing in that sense to the introvert in me: I'm able to get an idea of who people are before having to exert the energy of going out into public, socializing, and deciding after I've invested the energy whether I want to be friends.
Back to the point: I've had the chance to photograph Ashley + Mike on a couple of occasions and I'm constantly grateful to them. They put up with me, they let me creep on them, and they let me try all kinds of things that I might not ordinarily try. For this session, I'd had the word "freedom" in my head for a while, and when Ashley said they wanted to do a mountain session, I jumped at the chance to put that word into motion. With a crazy busy legal work calendar and a full wedding and portrait schedule this summer, I've been feeling strapped to a schedule and deadlines and my commitments to others. So as we started this session, I really just wanted to focus on a feeling, rather than hitting specific poses or checking any of the boxes that I would normally check during a session. That means I focused less on how things looked and tried to capture their sense of freedom and adventure. Summer all wrapped in a neat little package: chilly mountain air first thing in the morning, no obligations, the rapid upswing in temperature as the sun makes its way over the treeline, the smell of pine trees, the feeling of your person's embrace...all that good stuff that seems to just come with summer. I threw out the rules and embraced a feeling.
Thank sweet baby Jesus, Ashley + Mike were game for all of my silly requests and are the quintessential embodiment of this sense of adventure, playfulness, hope, potential, and freedom (and Sage definitely didn't hurt either!). They ran, they jumped, they twirled, and talked. They danced, climbed, cuddled, and told secrets. And this morning in the mountains, with these people, filled my proverbial cup. This was exactly what I needed to keep pushing through this season of chaos.