SHEREE + TYLER: MARRIED IN HISTORIC DOWNTOWN GLENDALE, AZ!!

When I first met Ty… he was quiet. I couldn’t read him. I was prospectively going to be shooting this guys most special day and I had no clue how he felt about me. Good, bad, or otherwise. As I got to know him, I learned that Ty only has good feelings about everyone. He is the kinda guy who gives everyone a chance. He looks for the good in people. He is shy, even once you get to know him he’s still quiet, but he is someone you want to know. He is patient and he is kind– and definitely one of a kind.

Ty, calm it down sugar… you are so dang good looking.

Growing up, I never knew the skills I acquired as a kid would benefit me so much in my professional career…. when I was a kid and I would hear my mom coming down the hallway to my room, I would gather up everything I could and stuff it into wherever I could to help make my room appear clean… fast forward a few years, and I had about 3 minutes to get this tiny back room that was covered in stuff, ready for photos. I have to admit, I was pretty impressed with myself too.

If you know Sheree’s mom Magie– then you know how much I love Magie and how much I love these pictures of her.
When the getting ready photos went this smoothly and this fun… I knew I was in the company of some great people. All of these girls for sure made the day. I appreciate every single one of them for being so amazing.

Sheree. Recently Sheree reminded me of our very first encounter, ever. I was a sophomore in high school and she came over to our lunch table to say Hi to some of our mutual friends and I just turned around and stared at her with my eyes crossed and never letting up until she left the table. Not much has changed… at least on my end. But Sheree…. how do I even begin to explain Sheree? First, she is so extremely nice, almost to a fault… she’s the kinda nice where if someone tried mugging her on the street and they tripped and fell as they ran away, she would stop and check to make sure they were okay, and apologize if she was the reason they tripped. BUT here is something great, something Sheree teaches me, nothing bad can come from always doing whats right. Her heart is huge– she is always looking out for everyone else– and as I grow up and as I mature, I realize how badly I want to surround myself with people like Sheree.Gorgeous, inside and out. I could not be more thankful to know this beautiful human being.Okay. Are you serious?! Flawless.

Calm down ladies… almost all of these sexy beasts are already accounted for. 

I love these guys. You are all as equally awesome in my book. And thank you guys for making my job a fun one.

For me, one of my absolute favorite moments of the day. You see, in high school, without ever meeting Ken, I was scared of him. I don’t know why, I just was. The first time I photographed the entire Diehl family together– he was EVERYTHING I never imagined. This man is someone I would love to spend my entire free-time being around. He is giving, he is kind, and whether or not he ever wants to admit it– he is sensitive. And I love him for it. 

Ken said he lost his man card this day…. but let me just say, no one is as deserving as this guy of owning his man card. It takes a lot to share your true emotions so openly. There was not a dry eye around… even I cried (weddings do that to me)!Every single one of the girls– I love ’em. Ladies. Cool it down.Beauty after beauty after beauty. Seven of the best souls I have ever worked with, yet alone met.

Ty, you beautiful human being you. This will forever be one of my favorite photos of you.

These next two pictures are exactly why I will never shoot a wedding without Katelyn. Two perspectives are definitely better than one.

Of every ceremony picture I have ever taken… this is my favorite. Fun fact: this is the exact same church Ty’s parents were married in.

Sheree does this thing, when she doesn’t want to cry, when she doesn’t want someone else to cry, she just laughs. And keeps laughing. It’s a quirk, but its something I love about her.I love that I was able to grab a quick photo of these two lovers in-front of the church where they were married. Beautiful.

Six of the greatest people I know. I love and adore this family… forever.

Let’s be honest… the bigger the wedding party, the more likely you will run into one or two people who rub you the wrong way– whether they want more attention than the bride, or they want to play creative director, or the worst, they don’t want to do pictures…. but let me tell you, of these TWELVE people, everyone was so amazing and they ALL made my job such a fun one. No joke, I loved them all.
Sheree & Ty. I am so happy for you guys.

This picture is simple. It does not display some crazy photography skills or anything like that…. the simplicity of this photo is exactly what makes it one of my favorites.  I have A LOT of favorites… don’t ask me to pick just one.The sky was definitely my friend this day.

One of my other favorite moments of the day…. Ty is the insanely talented man of music and without him even knowing it, he taught Sheree a few chords and she surprised him with a little performance. I loved it, every little bit of it.Long, I love you and I love this picture.This is Bart. And this is an ode to his dance moves

Sheree + Ty,

I cannot thank you guys enough for being the beautiful people you are. You are not just clients to us– you have become friends who we truly admire and adore. We are incredibly excited for you both. I think God knew exactly what he was doing with you two. Thank you for being the type of people who make us want to be better, thank you for always looking out for everyone else, and thank you for finding each other. I truly love the both of you… and even more so, I love the two of you together.

-Ace

ASHLEY KELROY!!

Ashley. She showed up to our house in what she called her everyday look: baggy t-shirt, yoga pants, hair pulled back in a messy bun, and flip flops. She told us that comfort trumps everything else in her book and if she has to go to school everyday… she might as well be comfortable. As Katelyn did her hair & make-up, I got the opportunity to really know Ashley– not just on a surface level– I really got to know her. Without her even saying it– I knew she was an amazing friend. And let me stop real quick and explain this… in high school and even after high school, good friends are very hard to come by… honest, thoughtful, and loyal friends. I just know that’s exactly who Ashley is. And for me, that goes an extremely long way and says a lot about her as a person. She isn’t the kinda high school girl who would leave someone out and she always has something nice to say… don’t get me wrong, she will 100% speak her mind– but she isn’t being rude, she is being honest. She would never be fake– if you did something to make her not like you, she wouldn’t waste her time, she would keep on going with her life. At 18 years old– thats huge. When I was 18… I did everything in my power to make people like me, even people I hated, I wanted their approval. I was friends with people I couldn’t stand– there was nothing I wouldn’t do to fit in. That is not Ashley. This girl is a genuinely beautiful human being– I love her honesty, I love her thoughtfulness, and I love how much she taught me about being a decent person. Ashley, hair in a messy bun with no make-up, or all dolled up with curly hair and even fake lashes, it doesn’t matter… you are beautiful. Inside and outside, you are beautiful. Please don’t ever stop being the person you are– keep telling it like it is, keep being the friend we all need, keep being real, and keep being YOU.

Every time I would show Ashley a picture on the back of my camera– she would always say, “Wow! That doesn’t even look like me!” But it is. This is the girl me and everyone else see’s when they look at you. You are stunning.
Ashley, you are a very mature person. More mature than me, thats for sure. You have a lot to offer the world– you have a lot to teach– and I hope you always share yourself with everyone you meet. Because trust me, you are worth knowing.

-Your Best Buddy,

Ace

TALIA GIANNOTTA!!

Senior season is basically the time of year when I constantly look back at the choices I made as a senior in high school and how I clearly wasn’t doing something right… because time and time again, I get to photograph these kids who are stunning. As a photographer, I love it– as a human being– I am so envious. But here’s the best part– all of my seniors are just as beautiful on the inside as they are the outside. Thankfully. Talia was no exception. I could have photographed this girl F.O.R.E.V.E.R– she is seriously stunning and this is one of my all time favorite senior sessions to date.

I love this next picture SO much… but I couldn’t decide if I liked the black & white or color more….

I love every single one from this series…

Talia, I hope you know two things: 1. You aren’t awkward at all. The camera seriously loves you. 2. You are crazy beautiful– you need to know that!

-Ace :)

SUMMER MCGREW: TURNING ONE!!

Summer, Summer, Summer. I love this little nugget. Sometimes I meet kids who scream bloody murder at the sight of me and sometimes I get lucky enough to meet kids like this one– so outgoing and a total ham for the camera…. makes my job incredibly easy.

A lot of photographers would probably leave this next picture out of their final images…. but I love them. I die laughing every time I go through the shoot and see these ones.

I love her.

These next 6 pictures are the progression of what occurred after her parents said, “Do the Hulk, do the Hulk.” Probably the funniest one year old, ever. 

Sami + Daniel. Good, happy babies, don’t just happen. They take a lot of work and a lot of love– and Summer is one of the happiest babies I know. And you are some of the best parents I know. 

Stiff legged. Refusing to stand.

Get it smoochie. 

PS- If you love Summer’s Deer Dress or White Dress– these are from Katelyn’s new store, Dear Carter. Go and check out her shop for even more adorable little girls clothes.

THE WALSH FAMILY HEADS TO DENVER!

I am writing this post, because some things are easier for me to write out than to speak about. And this is one of those things I don’t want to talk about. I really don’t want to answer your questions and I don’t want to cry in front of you. I hope by writing this here– I will answer all of your questions and the next time you see us, we can all just pretend it’s not happening.

A few weeks ago we had a bomb dropped on us. And allow me to clarify– I realize in the grand scheme of everything that happens in this world, this is not anything. I know I live a fantastic life and I am so thankful for my health, for my family, and for all the blessings I have. I don’t want to receive comments from people saying I am being dramatic or there are bigger things in the world. I get that, 100%. I am not comparing my story to anyone else and if you think that, then you can stop reading here, because frankly, you are annoying.

A few weeks ago my sister sat us down at her house and told us there was a very good chance they would be moving. A little over a year ago, my sister sat us down and we had this same conversation. They were moving from our side of town to Central Phoenix– they would now be 20 minutes away from us instead of 5. At the time, that was tough, and I was upset… but in the end, it really made no difference to our lives. I was so thankful for that. But this time, as we sat there on the couch, it wasn’t a move that would be a few more minutes away, it would be more like 820 miles away, 13 hours away, to Denver to be exact. At the time, it wasn’t a for sure thing, but they would know at the end of the week if my brother-in-law got the job. I just sat there. I didn’t say anything. Honestly, my very first thought was, “I hate you.” Thankfully, I didn’t say that. I didn’t mean it, but if you back me into a corner, I can be nasty. It’s a defense mechanism– a horrible one– but its who I am. Not speaking was the best choice at the time.

By the end of the week, I hadn’t talked to my sister once when we got her phone call. Devin received the job in Denver. I was so happy for my family– this move would be such a good thing for them– but at the same time, I was so hurt. For the past four years, these kids have been a huge part of our life. And now they were being taken from us (please don’t ask me to justify my feelings– this is how it felt)! We cried. And then we cried. Cried some more. And we still cry.

This move and this job are exactly what my sister and her family need… and it’s happening, whether we like it or not. I am not mad at my sister or brother-in-law, I am happy for them– I want the absolute best for their family, and then selfishly at the same time, my heart just breaks. What a position to be in.

We don’t have children. We don’t understand that type of love. We have Humphrey– and if you told me you were taking Humphrey away from us, I would probably land myself in a psych ward! (I already have a breakdown usually once a month about him dying one day– and he’s only 2!) But we know what it’s like to be an uncle and an aunt. We understand what it’s like to love a niece or nephew. And then we know the feeling of loving these three kids. I am not sitting here writing that we love any of our nieces and nephews more than any of the others, but I would be lying if I said we didn’t have a different connection. For the past 4 years, we have shared a lot of memories– I’d be lying if I didn’t say I felt like we’ve had a hand in raising them. No, we did not raise them– that’s not what I am saying– I couldn’t begin to say that. My sister and her husband do the hard work. We just get to do the fun stuff… like skip naps, eat candy, and go to fun places.

But in these past four years– as much as we’ve gotten to watch these kids grow up, I’ve gotten to witness myself grow up. Four years ago– I was a gross person. I was selfish and so quick to anger and I didn’t care about anyone but myself. Katelyn would never admit this, because she’s a nice person, but there was a point there where I think she really had to question whether this relationship was one she really wanted to be a part of, because I didn’t offer anything to her life, except maybe headaches. I sometimes wonder if Katelyn hadn’t gotten so attached to Baby B, would leaving me have been easier for her. Baby B bought me time. Time to grow up, time to fix myself, time to make myself a better man, if for no other reason, than to be better in my relationship. I couldn’t do anything without Katelyn by my side– I am extremely dependent on having her in my life– and if it weren’t for B, there’s a chance I would’ve had to learn that the hard way.

People always tell me how lucky my sister is to have us. But to be completely honest, I am so lucky to have these kids. I am going to miss them so much. I am going to cry a lot. I worry that they won’t remember these times. I hate to think about how our relationship will change with this move, because lets be real, FaceTime is just not the same. It feels like a huge part of my heart is being taken away. I knew our days wouldn’t last forever– I knew one day when we had our own kids, and when my nieces and nephew were in school, things would change. But I wasn’t ready for it to happen right now. I know we are going to miss out on milestones and that’s really hard. I know that when we do see them, it will take them awhile to warm up to us again. And I just know things will be different. But I know in time, this will become our new normal. But right now, its just hard.

And for right now, we are trying our absolute best to not think about it. My sister and the kids are staying here until our wedding in June. I am so sad that they will have to be apart from their dad for so long, but selfishly, I am so happy we have this time to really soak them up. My heart is torn in so many different directions. I am so happy and yet so depressed at the same time.

I love these kids so much. I am going to miss them even more. A very big part of my heart will be in Denver… while we are here in Phoenix. But here’s to FaceTime, cheap Southwest flights, long 13 hour car rides and doing everything we can to make it work.

And that’s that. Please don’t ask me about it. Please don’t bring it up in front of me. I prefer to do my crying at home, alone, with a big can of Rainbow Chip Frosting close by.

Thank you.