Fun Couples Session at Donner Lake, California

Do you know why I am passionate about taking pictures? Because when I look back at my childhood photos, I see a six-year-old Kate smiling back at me. You wouldn't know that our family was coming unglued during the time the photo was taken because in most of my pictures with my older sisters and my parents, I am smiling. Joyful and happy as can be. And when I look at those photos, it makes the adult me happy too.


Have you ever heard of the saying, carpe diem? It means seize the day; to pause time and live in the moment. Photographs do that for us; the memories become tangible and as time passes they are translated into something like a time capsule where it would later remind you of what's happened in your life. When I look back at my childhood photos, it reminds of me the fonder memories I have with my family. Because in that moment we were joyful. And I love that.


I have been inspired by one couple, who recently and also in the last few years have gone through their fair share of personal struggles. And this summer they will be together 16 years.


Jeanna and Dustin met in San Diego when they were in their early 20's; Dustin is a young Marine and Jeanna a college student. After just three months, they knew they were meant to be together but it wasn't until five years later that they would get married. Big decisions were made by the both of them in the last few years. They knew they wanted to relocate to a city that would fit their active outdoor lifestyle, so after a lot of research they handpicked Reno. With no second thoughts, they packed up their house in Virginia and have called Reno home since.


They have lost and they have loved. But as they enter their second decade of marriage, they are hopeful. Hopeful in a way that is not starting over but in a way to build on an already strong foundation. In good times and in bad, these two have kept it strong and in the next ten years of their marriage they only want to make it stronger.


Our session at Donner Lake is one for the books! The location was beautiful and so fitting for their nature loving hearts. We laughed, we got cold, got warm, and got cold again but most of all we made memories. Memories that will one day tell a small part of their story of the milestone they reached as husband and wife at this point in their marriage.


Jeanna and Dustin, as I write this blog, I sit by myself while my family sleeps. It is quiet, cold, and dark but somehow as I think back to our session all of a sudden I don't feel alone. I can hear the laughs we shared together and I can still see the radiant smiles you both had on even in the midst of our cold "spr-inter" weather. Jeanna, when I asked you what you were looking to get out of this experience, you answered "To have fun and laugh! To focus on the excitement of looking forward and our next 10 years together!! To represent the future and the foundation of our love together."


Carpe Diem. Seize the day.


That's exactly what you guys did today.


When you look back at these photos ten years from now, I hope you are able to feel the memories you've made come to life again. Thank you for being such rockstars in the cold! And thank you for trusting me and my amazing friends Rosa, Ridhi, and Courtney to help shape your vision for your session. Here are just a few of my favorites!










Location: Donner Lake, California

Hair & Makeup: Rosa Mercedes

Flowers and floral hair pin: Zuri Floral Design

Jumbo Balloon: Balloons by Court


Special shout out goes to Ridhi for being an amazing photography assistant. Love ya friend!

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Kate Stapleton is a wedding photographer who values telling your story in a way that feels like you.

She creates images that are sincere, meaningful, and real.

Kate is based in Reno, Nevada and photographs weddings in the Reno-Tahoe area as well as destination weddings all over the world.

@KATESTAPLETONPHOTO
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