Noelle Johnson + Lake Cushman


Let me start off by saying… these were the best 3 hours of my life.

But let me backtrack. Chris and I were planning a trip to Seattle over Thanksgiving weekend to visit his brother in Tacoma. We didn’t have anything planned so I thought… why not take some engagment pictures! At this point we were not having a wedding so I wanted some sort of professional memories of our engagement.  I was looking through Pinterest and a post by Jordan Voth caught my eye. I took a chance and emailed Jordan to see if he was available. It was a few weeks out and Thanksgiving weekend so I didn’t have high hopes. Jordan responded almost instantly that he was busy and recommended a few other photographers in the area, including the angel that is Noelle Johnson.

Deciding on a photographer was really hard. Each one was so talented and all recommended different locations. Since we had never been any of these places, I went to Instagram and google maps to help us figure out what each place really looked like.

We eventually choose Noelle (because…well obvi she is incredible) and were headed to Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park. A few days before the big shoot, Noelle mentioned the amount of snow in Hurricane Ridge. Although I really wanted mountains, Chris and I remembered we don’t actually know how to drive in snow. We made the executive decision to head to Lake Cushman instead.

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Great. We had a location but I still had no idea what I was wearing. Noelle sent over some outfit inspirations and said think “Free People” and get a hat. I probably sent Noelle 50 pics over the course of two day for her input. I tried to follow her advice, but then again I do not think Noelle was invisioning a sheer F21 maxi dress with my bra hanging out. Not that my sweater with two bras underneath to make my boobs look bigger was much better, but hey Noelle is that talented she made us look great.

The morning of we rented a car and made the 2 hour drive to Lake Cushman. I had no idea how big Olympic National Park was or everything it has to offer. It would literally take days to see it all! I honestly thought “oh we could do the mountains for an hour and the beach for an hour no problem.” Then I realized yea that ain’t happening.

We got there a little early and stopped by a little order at the window restaurant, Kelsey’s All Natural. You are supposed to stuff your face with a burger and fries before a photo shoot right? I’m sure it is what Gigi and Kendall do. The food was awesome and they gave us homemade clam chowder, which in theory really grosses me out but in reality was so yummy, so I guess it was the right move.


After we ate, it was finally time to meet Noelle. At this point the excitement was really setting in. Living in New Orleans we don’t get to experience these kinds of views… well ever. I literally ran circles in the view-point parking lot because I didn’t know what else to do with myself. With that said, the nerves were starting to kick in too. Did we pick the right spot? The right photographer? The right outfits? I also wasn’t sure how Chris was going to react to all this.

The fact that Chris agreed to this photo shoot in the first place was a miracle in itself. When I first mentioned the idea he said “NO.” But I have learned that “no” doesn’t always mean “no”. I figured if I bribed him with a beautiful location he actually wanted to visit Chris would cave. And that is exactly what happened. Chris was not exactly running around in circles, jumping up and down,  but he had a full belly so I figured we had a few good hours.


The moment Noelle walked out of her Subaru and said “It’s not raining!” I knew everything was going to be perfect. We hugged and it was all smiles from there. We followed Noelle through some rough terrain and fallen boulders to our shoot destination. I kept praying to myself… please don’t let a boulder fall on our car!

So the time had come… Noelle put together some outfits for us and off we were. Umm do we just stand here? Where do we look?  Should I do scarm? It was kinda awkward for about 10 seconds and then Noelle did some directing magic and within 2 minutes Chris and I were like… we got this! We crawled down slippery rocks, through muddy marsh and up slippery tree stumps for the perfect shot. And we loved every moment of it.

Thought this experience I learned you should really trust your photographer. Noelle caught me trying to do my “blogger stance”, you know when bloggers stand on their toes with one leg in front of the other to make their legs look skinny (see above dressing room pic), and literally yelled “What are you doing with your legs!?” I tried to explain but she told me to stop, but in a really nice way.

I also asked for some cartwheel pics, which, you know, I thought would be totally normal. Apparently not. Although this is probably one of my favorites, I can see why… haha!


Noelle, Chris and I were the only people around. Idk if it was the setting, the camera or just the fact that Chris and I were supposed to be interacting with only each other, making each other laugh, smile and feel comfortable without any distractions, that made it so fun. It was a few hours that were just about us and our love for one another.  We will never forget the happiness we felt in those moments.


We also will never forget how cold and wet we were… like omg its really raining and 40 degrees outside. Why don’t I have a jacket on?! We only had adrenaline and each other for warmth. Chris’ raynaud’s were really kicking in. I kept offering up my armpits to help but Chris kept rejecting my offers. Instead, Chris was forced to cuddle up with me and hold my hands.  I’m not going to lie… I loved it.


It was getting dark so we had head back. We got back in the car and I’ll be honest, what Chris’s said next literally SHOCKED ME. “How can we do this for a living?!” and I was like… STOP. You had fun!?!?!!!!  Enough fun to want to do this again!!!!!

Moral of this long story. People, if you ever happen to be in Olympic National Park and need a photog call Noelle. She will make your anti photo significant other want to take more professional pictures.


BTW… her pictures are incredible. I still cannot believe this is us.

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