Beautiful Life Studio » blog

Lauren and Nick eloped in Downtown St. Louis, MO, before relocating to Florida’s East Coast. It was a June wedding, held on the first day of Summer, and they opted for a simple ceremony followed by an early lunch with family. The photos from that day are private and candid… Everything you’d expect from a couple who dines on champagne and salmon sandwiches in the park, in lieu of a formal reception. In keeping with their theme of spontaneity, the couple decided to gift one another a second set of “wedding” images for their anniversary. At sunrise they dressed in their original wedding day clothes (a gauzy dress with a sweetheart neckline for her, a pared down gray suit with cuffed sleeves for him) and headed out to the local beach. This session is one of my favorites, not just because of the lighting and location, but also the casual, bohemian vibes. As we were finishing up, Lauren and Nick’s toddler son was dying to run into the waves. I watched as his mother stripped him down and waded into the surf with him, barely giving it a second thought. Naturally, I followed, and we were rewarded with some truly excellent shots. The moral? Sometimes, the best photos happen when you just go with it.

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Women are brilliant. We work. We dedicate our lives to helping our families. We play. We cook. We clean. You name it, a woman is doing it somewhere. Women are beautiful. Somewhere in the middle of living we have forgotten we are beautiful. I see beauty in every woman I meet and I wanted to create an opportunity for women to sit in front of a camera and hopefully get a glimpse of what I see and of who they are…beautiful. Sometimes we take photos just for us but, sometimes we need to take a photo for our loved ones. Our loved ones see their wife, their daughter, their sister, their mom, grandma…they see what I see, someone who is simply beautiful and someone who loves them back.What is the Beautiful You Campaign? It is a quick photo shoot, usually around 10 minutes long. Just you, me and a fan, ha! Imagine women of all ages, shapes, colors and walks in life. Imagine these same women in front of a camera, imagine the final results. Beautiful images of each woman to remind her, to show her, and to share with her family. The Beautiful You {White} Campaign happens twice a year, with a bigger campaign, Beautiful You {Black} at the end of the year. The white campaign is on a simple white background. We will usually help you with your hair and a little makeup {if you like} you wear a white top and we shoot. That is it. Clients are delivered five images from their shoot and the cost is $25.
The Beautiful You Campaign Black is coming in November…Space is VERY limited and the cost is $75. Think signature prints on your wall. Think Vogue. You will want to do this one ladies!



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You have spent months planning! You found that gown that made mom cry when you put it on. You know what your going to do with your hair…how about your makeup? Just as important as your wedding gown, veil, shoes and accessories is your eyeshadow, lipstick and blush.  Running out Friday night to Walgreens to find that lipstick or eyeshadow to match your bridesmaid dress color, is not a good option.

As a photographer I can tell you the first thing I notice on my brides is their makeup. Before I can take in the detail on your veil, the shape of your dress, I am looking at you. Your smile, your eyes…your makeup. I HIGHLY recommend the use of an amazing MUA (Makeup Artist) if you can’t find one, I will add some links below, of talented local women I have worked with.

An amazing MUA can…

  • Hide imperfections. (Blotchy skin, pimples, scars, etc.)
  • Provide all day coverage with makeup that won’t come off on your groom and guests!
  • Guide you towards perfect shades for your skin tone.
  • Knows how to get a perfect cat or smokey eye…and when it is too much.
  • Knows what eyeshadows photograph, blend and shape well.
  • Knows how to apply false eyelashes without gluing your eyes closed. (Ok a slight exaggeration)
  • Can even camouflage facial imperfections you may not like, such as chubby cheeks, wide nose, thin lips, etc.

I said an amazing makeup artist, because just like anyone in any field, all are not equal. Aunt Betty who sells Mary Kay might know a little about makeup, but she is not trained like a professional.  (Hopefully Mary Kay reps will not hate me now.) Make certain your potential MUA has her certificates, state license and a portfolio of Before and Afters! Ask them if they have anyone similar to your look? Ask to see images of their work that is similar to the style you were thinking.  Never be afraid to ask, always have a trial and tell them exactly what you want and what you dislike about your skin. The very first thing is you need to feel beautiful to look beautiful, so if you dislike heavy makeup or red lips, blue eyeshadow, tell them!

If you have EXHAUSTED all your resources and can not afford an amazing MUA or are not convinced you need one…here are a few tips for a beautiful look.

  • Buy nice makeup. Quality, Quality, Quality ladies!
  • Invest in a primer. Smashbox makes an amazing primer! What is primer?
  • Apply your foundation & check the light everywhere! Inside to Outside, fluorescent to incandescent. No Line, No Line!
  • Know your eye shape. Only certain shapes can handle eyeliner all around the eye. Learn more here.
  • Keep your color palate neutral. Soft pinks, browns, golds, ivory.  Like this.
  • Beware the tarantula eye.  Example here.
  • Watch makeup tutorials like crazy. Some great ones here.
  • Less is more. Less is more. Less is lovely.
  • If doing fake eyelashes. Go with a natural looking lash & practice! Learn a bit here.

After you have done all of that…

  • Run in your full makeup. Is it dripping coming off. Ahhhh! Fix it, change it.
  • Watch Toy Story 3 did your mascara run? If if did, buy waterproof.

Now you can pack your makeup bag, don’t forget the lip gloss! No chapped lips!

Hope this helped you! Really, really do try to hire an MUA. I heard this from my sister who didn’t have an MUA, “I had these amazing images of me in a dazzling gown, amazing flowers and the man of my dreams, but I looked like I look on any ordinary day, just dressed up. I should of had someone do my hair and makeup.” There is power in perfect makeup. Even if for only one day…discover it!

Please feel free to ask any makeup related questions below, or post your favorite tutorials! I can’t wait to hear from you!



Eye Do St. Louis – Kim Haglund {she did my makeup for my wedding}


Hair One Design Team – They also do amazing hair!!!



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Nate and Whitney met in high school, my old stomping grounds even! (St. Charles West). He was a sophomore; she was a freshman. They started off friends, and the rest as they say, is history. After eight years of dating, the firefighter and Doctor were thrilled to be married, and in Whitney’s words, to “truly start our lives together”.

Their journey as man and wife began in Hermann, MO, on an overcast stormy day. Brides get nervous when it comes to their wedding day and the rain, but I’ll let you in on a photographer’s secret: Rain is our friend. The overcast, soft lighting is far more flattering than the bright, sunny skies nearly all couples dream of. Colors of nature pop against the darker skies. I understand rain may make things a little harder, but that is ok, a good photographer just gets more creative and if you’re me, a little drenched!

That being said, I can not applaud Nate and Whitney enough for keeping the fun energy flowing as they posed for photos in the rainy vineyard. The bride’s dress was completely soaked, but she kept smiling!  I think that small detail is testament enough to the kind of couple they are…

Speaking of details, Whitney D.I.Y.’d most of the wedding décor, from the invitations, programs and centerpieces down to all the thank you gifts (charming wine charms)!

Groom’s tux: Nate’s suit was a Tiglio purchased from Dan’s Clothier and Tailor, Lenexa, KS.

Groomsmen suits: The groomsmen wore suits from Stallone’s Formal Wear, O’Fallon, MO

Bride’s gown:by Moonlight Bridal, from Bridal Solutions Tailor and Tuxedo, Kansas City, MO

Bride’s shoes: David’s Bridal

Makeup Artist: Tammy Hartenbach, St. Charles, MO

Florist : Windy Hill Garden Gate, Hermann, MO

Cake: Sugar & Spice Laura’s Delights, Montgomery City, MO

Wedding venue: Hermann Hill Chapel

Wedding Coordinator: Jill Winkelmann, who did so much to make their big day at Hermann Hill perfect!

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