BOWLES FAMILY :: HAMILTON, MT IN-HOME FAMILY SESSION

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ABIGAIL + SAM // BOZEMAN IN-HOME COUPLES' SESSION

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MIKE + CAROLYN // BOZEMAN, MONTANA IN-HOME LIFESTYLE SESSION

If you know me at all, you probably know that I'm a little bit of a home-body. Don't get me wrong: I LOVE a good adventure, be it a short hike or a week-long vacation. But I do love coming home.

It should come as no surprise, then, that I also love laid back in-home sessions. I love them because your home is where your everyday life happens. Life isn't made up of grand adventure after grand adventure; rather, its the day-to-day routines that make up your lives together and those little things are worth documenting and remembering. For better or worse, this season in your life together is temporary: you won't always be living in that little studio apartment overlooking downtown, or maybe its the basement of your friend's home while you're saving up for your own. Or maybe you're in the house of your dreams (lucky you!). Either way, there will be a day when this phase is long over and it'll be hard to remember exactly what it looked like, all the little things you loved about it, and all the nuisances that drove you crazy about it. So whether its just selfies with your iPhones or with a pro, make sure to take a few photos to document your life together in the home you share.

Side note: I also love these sessions because it is so much easier to relax when you're in an environment that is familiar and comfortable to you. This means we get more relaxed, genuine moments that truly represent you and your relationship! And if I'm being totally honest, these types of sessions mean the most to me because I have this theory that sometimes, a photo can be enough to remind you of your "why" when things get tough. I've noticed over the years that the photos I print most often for myself are the ones that are a little messy: snapshots of a real, great moment. They aren't perfectly composed portraits and I'm usually ugly-laughing in them (you know what I'm talking about!). But when I look at them, I remember that day, that moment, and all the things that made me so happy in that moment. Posed portraits don't do that for me. And here's the thing: no matter how perfect your relationship, there will be days, weeks, months, or even years where things get off-track and you have a hard time remembering why you chose each other. When that happens, it gets too easy to dwell on the not-so-great and forget the rest. But I really believe that surrounding yourself with tangible reminders of the good times can be enough to remind you when you need it most (which leads me to another point: print that s***! You're never going to scroll three years back in your iPhoto library to find that photo when you're mad at him - put it on the wall so you see it whether or not you look for it!). Maybe I'm alone in this notion, but I'm holding on to it :) 

Anyway, Mike and Carolyn were nice enough to let me into their Bozeman home for a couple hours for a super relaxed, in-home lifestyle session. Even better, they quickly let their guards down and let me into their physical and emotional bubbles. Hallelujah! When this happens, everything else just falls into place. It doesn't matter if the dishes are left out, the bed is unmade, the laundry is waiting: when you let me in to that sacred little bubble, what you get back is a true and raw image of the way you live and love together. And at the end of the day, isn't that what matters most? Fun fact: that red bracelet he's wearing? He had matching ones made by a monk for him and Carolyn. *Collective "awwwww"* Also, guys she has mermaid hair and its amazing!

Check out a few of my favorites below!

SASKIA + RICHARD // BILLINGS, MONTANA ENGAGEMENT

I "met" Saskia through social media a few years back. As an aspiring competitive bodybuilder, I followed her (she's a well established competitive bodybuilder with several national-level competitions under her belt) not only for her physique, but her heavy dose of "real" on IG. She tells it like it is and doesn't hesitate to shed some much-needed light on the less glamorous side of the sport. Needless to say, I was thrilled when she contacted me after she got engaged.

Anyway, enough fan-girling. Saskia and Richard are two of the most down-to-earth, awesome people I've met. They dated for seven years and he proposed while they were visiting Saskia's sister in Amsterdam! Saskia suspected something was up on that trip: her sister gave her a pair of rose gold earrings, which tipped her off that she may be acquiring a rose gold ring as well. Turns out she was right (and it's a stunner!).

Saskia and Richard opted to start their engagements at their house (I do love a good in-home session) and she had a couple pieces of furniture that have a real story. First, their dining room table is made of the wood from the bowling lanes of the Lucky Strike, where they met. The Lucky Strike was demolished, but Birch + Bennett (an amazing furniture company in Missoula) bought the wood and made a few pieces out of it and Saskia bought the table. It's incredible! Second, the sofa in her office: guys, this piece belonged to her great-grandparents, who lived in the Netherlands. It travelled across the ocean to find it's new home in her office and it is SO cool! Surrounded by pieces that mean so much to them, their home was the perfect place to celebrate their engagement. AND Richard brought home a bottle of the good champagne. Like the really good kind.

After spending a little time in their home, we headed to a restaurant that we had to ourselves for a bit. Richard is a chef and this was the perfect nod to his passion. Once we finished up at the restaurant, we made our way to the rims. If you're ever in Billings, check them out: it's such a beautiful spot with an amazing view of the city. It was also the perfect place to watch the sun set on the most beautiful October day. Scroll on through to check out a few of my favorites from their engagement!