It’s always a huge compliment when a fellow photographer hires me for photos. Mike had been following me for awhile on Instagram when he reached out about having a session with his wife Erika and their dog Audrey. Not only did I get to geek out with Mike about photography gear, but I also got to spend the afternoon with the sweetest Boston terrier. It was such a great way to end the year! Color can get a bit scarce during the winter in southern Arizona, but Carr Canyon was still full of life and color.
There were two driving forces for this December portrait session. Mike and Erika have been married for over 12 years. Mike admitted that they hadn’t had any professional photos taken of them together since their wedding day. Well, it was certainly time to fix that.
Audrey was only a couple of years old when Erika introduced her to Mike. She’s been there from the start of their relationship– through marriage, moves, and tons of adventures in between. You would never know that Audrey had a pretty intense surgery a few years ago and lost most of her liver because of it. It definitely hasn’t slowed her down!
As soon as we got to our stopping point, Audrey wandered around wildly kicking at the leaves. Dirt went flying everywhere! Erika and Mike had given her a bath before their session and Audrey ensured she didn’t stay squeaky clean for long.
We gave Audrey some time to sniff around, explore, and get out some of her energy. This little girl was more like 15-going-on-5. Despite a 20-minutes walk through the woods, she showed no signs of calming down yet.
Erika has the creative bug just like Mike and I. She works for the Parks and Recreation Department developing experiences for park guests. She loves spending time outdoors and gets to embrace her artistic side, too. During her free time, she loves to knit. Scarves, beanies, blankets, blouses… all kinds of beautiful creations!
Not only does Mike do some pretty intense work in the tech and data industry, he’s also an avid cyclist. He has clocked hundreds of miles mountain-biking all over Arizona. In addition to digital photography, Mike also loves to develop his own black-and-white film at home. The development process requires him to be patient, knowledgeable, and precise, but adds a whole lot more appreciation for his images.
A little bit of time had passed, so we decided to see if Audrey was ready to cooperate for a few photos. After a few failed solo exploration attempts, she decided that pets and scratches from Mom and Dad would be acceptable.
Mike rewarded Audrey with a few treats that disappeared as soon as he opened his hand. With a full belly and gentle cuddles, she was struggling to keep her eyes open.
We gathered up our things and began to make the walk back. Audrey was tuckered out so Michael did what any good dog dad would do: he carried her. I mean, she looks pretty content back there! She stayed snug and secure in her doggie backpack for the whole hike. She would sometimes reach forward to give her dad a “thank you” lick on the neck to show her appreciation.
One last photo with their sweet baby girl before hopping into the car. Audrey’s bed was warm and waiting for her.
Mike and Erika, thank you so much for spending the afternoon with me and letting me meet Audrey. She was friendly, wild, and so happy to be on another adventure with you! There is no doubt that you two love her to pieces and spoil her as much as you can.
Check out other portrait sessions in Arizona and beyond HERE!
Christy Hunter is a wedding and portrait photographer based in Seattle, Washington.
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