Brooke & Rob | Downtown Austin Engagement Photos

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A tiny smile; grazing hands. It’s the little things that you see out of the corner of your eye that make up the whole picture.

Brooke had been eyeing Rob in their Body Pump class; Rob had been eyeing Brooke. When they finally got together for their first date, they shared drinks at Swift’s Attic. It seemed only fitting, then, that their engagement session would be at this eclectic downtown Austin spot. We finished with an epic Texas sunset at Auditorium Shores. I’m so excited for their backyard wedding next spring!

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Aintzane & Lee | SoCo Engagement Photos

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The blog has been quiet for several months now, but we’re going to roll right back into it starting now, with this gorgeous couple, Aintzane and Lee. These two touched my heart from their very first email by attaching a photo of their cat, Mr. Butters (who sadly could not be included in the session, as he lives with them in Ohio) — but also because their story was so lovely: a dude from Austin, a lady from Spain, met in Colorado and fell in love.

The more I photograph people, the more I want to hear the very beginnings of their relationship, because I feel like every single love story that crosses my path is unique and sweet in their individual ways. The warm hand of fate, the lucky glimpse of actually seeing a person out of all others, and the courage or intrigue to pursue what could be your life’s future happiness! It’s one reason why I love what I do…

I can’t wait to see their Camp Lucy wedding next spring!

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maui sunset

My father has a love obsession with Hawaii. Even though we traveled to Oahu together as a family in 2006 — which is where I got my pendant, and the eventual logo of my business — and saw the beautiful land, smelled the salty ocean, and ate mounds of pineapple, I didn’t really understand it. It’s a gorgeous place, of course, but what makes it so special? How can it hold onto his heart the way it has?

And then I went to Maui. And then I understood.

Travel, for me, isn’t just sightseeing places or eating local foods. It’s more about settling into a different skin and feeling what it might be like to be a different version of myself. If this sounds strange, let me elaborate:

In New York, I wore cute boots, wrapped my hair into a chic sock bun, gnawed on bagels, and took the subway. I missed seeing the sky but the energy of the city hummed through me. (I also had an anxiety attack on a stalled subway line.)

In Japan, I finally understood the joys of legging pants, ate fresh fish and rice for almost all meals, switched to my second tongue, and was surrounded by children.

In the PNW, I walked everywhere — walked more than I have ever walked in my entire life, I think — and felt my mind melding with the many artist-types and photographers I met.

When I’m in Austin, I run a business, I drink Soylent, I go to Pilates, I wear lipstick.

The version of Elissa in Maui was the happiest Elissa I think I’ve known. Relaxed, suntanned, wearing a bathing suit instead of underwear, and having shaved ice as 95% of my diet, I think I could have lived there forever. And Maui is the best of so many worlds: fresh sushi, mountains and beaches, and sunsets like no other.

I can’t wait to go back.

(Photos taken with Nikon D750 and GoPro Hero Silver 4 (affiliate links). I used my sister as the subject in most of these. She took the one portrait of me included in here.) 

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