“The first time my family traveled to Priest Lake, Idaho, I was 12 years old. My uncle and mom had rented a tiny, little beach-front cabin and I spent the entire time playing in the sand, learning to water ski, and hiking the scenic mountains. There wasn’t a TV, cell phones and internet weren’t really around, and there was only one radio station. We’d play board games at night, and then typically a thunderstorm would roll through and we’d sit on the enclosed porch and watch the lightning strike over the lake. We loved it so much we kept going back each year. A few years later, my uncle purchased a property right along the water and every summer we would go up and have the best week of our lives. I grew incredibly attached to this pristine lake and all it had to offer.
Once I ventured off to college and beyond, I wasn’t able to make it every year. My mom still spends 2-3 weeks each summer up there, and this past summer we decided to make it a big family trip including my brother and his kids. There were fifteen of us total, so it was definitely more chaotic than any other trip, but it was still a lot of fun! There is something incredibly special about seeing my own children fall in love with a place I have held so close to my heart for twenty years; almost as if we’ve come full circle.
When we made the decision to have a family gathering, I knew I wanted to document it. As a photographer myself, I knew I wanted someone who would be able to capture candid moments, and simply document us being a family in a gorgeous location. I’d been an avid fan and follower of Hannah Mann for over a year when she announced she was moving to Boise. I thought there was a slim chance she’d want to travel all the way up to Northern Idaho as she has a young family of her own, but she jumped on board, and even brought them with her! We hung out all day beforehand, talking all things photography, business, and motherhood. Later that evening, she captured the beauty of the lake, and the full essence of our family and my relationship with my children. She is a true gem with an incredible talent; I will cherish these portraits for a lifetime…
“You never seem to realize how quickly time passes until you have children. They are visual evidence of how fast life moves. It feels like just yesterday I brought my son home from the hospital, not having a clue what to do with him and feeling overwhelmed and terrified. He’s now 4 years old and has a love-hate relationship with his 2 year old sister. They are best friends one minute and sworn enemies the next. They exhaust me, cause frustration and impatience, and leave me feeling completely inadequate most days. But they also teach me to be imaginative, show me the world through their eyes, and forgive me instantly.
Motherhood is definitely the hardest thing I have ever done, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I hear too often how quickly these days pass, that I will miss it and they’ll never need me in the same way. It breaks my heart to know I won’t always be their number one, which is why I find documenting these days so important. It’s why I do what I do, and also why I’m constantly hiring other photographers to capture my own family. I know how desperately I will need to hold onto these tangible moments as they’re heading off into the real world, starting lives of their own. It’s going to be here before I know it…I’m just not sure I’ll ever be ready.” Liz, Mother
“Liz and I had followed each other on Instagram for a while, but had never met in person, so when she got in touch with me and asked if I’d be willing to travel up to northern Idaho to photograph her family at their lake front cabin, I was thrilled! I moved to Boise, ID just a few months before she reached out and hadn’t yet had a chance to see the beautiful northern part of the state, plus I was so excited to be working with someone who is a super talented photographer herself.
Because I was traveling several hours and the cabin is so remote, I traveled with my husband and our three kids and we spent most of the day at the cabin with Liz’s family. I have to admit that I was a little nervous about being in their space, wondering how my kids would behave, etc. while knowing they were trusting me with such an important session later that evening (I definitely wanted to make a good impression!) – but Liz is one of the most calm and welcoming people I’ve ever met. No one was stressed, nothing was rushed, and even though they’d never met me or my family before, they made us feel right at home.
I was quite awestruck at how perfectly our evening went. Much of the PNW had been blanketed in smoke for weeks on end from all of the wildfires this summer, but the day of our session, it was beautifully clear – yet the next day the smoke was back. The kids behaved wonderfully, the cabin is located in the perfect spot for photos on the water where the light is filtered just right, and my kids played great while I worked.
Travel sessions always have a bit of extra weight to them because you can’t just reschedule if someone gets sick or the weather goes bad – but this was a day that I am so thankful for and still look back on so fondly.” Hannah, Photographer