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Stephen: One Year Ago You Became A Photographer (And All The In-Between)


You said, “I want to see your world, Tara. I want to experience what you love. I think we could really make this work and create something, together.” I stopped and thought for a moment. After all, you had just spent three and a half years being along for the journey as I started this business. It wasn’t all new to you. But who knew how far we’d come now?…a husband and wife wedding photography team.

This past week marks one full year of you being my business partner.

One full year of me throwing you to the fire as a photographer. One full year of me not hiring anyone else. You aren’t the second or the third photographer anymore.

No, you’re a lead photographer by my side.

I’ll never forget…

  • The first time I explained how bridal prep works and yes, there will be squeals & swoon moments that we will wholly partake in…And. You. Did.


  • When I pulled out all your own clothes & accessories from your closet and pointed at the coffee table said, “You have 15 minutes. Style these & photograph them as though this is GQ magazine.” And. You. Did.


  • When I wrote the manual settings onto your day-of timelines so you could focus on what matters: emotions. And. You. Did. And then, what seemed like a “settings” mistake at first, has actually become the thing you’re now known for: epic silhouettes of the bride and large, “scene-setting,” visionary shots. It wasn’t long before YOU were telling ME how to shoot. I am so proud of you. 😉


  • When you forgot to pack your pants for the wedding but had faithfully remembered my snacks & headphones for the flight. And then, despite being appalled, you wore those new, non-tailored Target pants all day like a champ. –> That was the same weekend we realized we hadn’t booked a return flight until two days before departing…not only did you find us an airbnb and uber to the airport far too early in the morning after shooting a 10 hour wedding day, you also bought me a latte on our long layover (beggars can’t be choosers when you get last minute flights) and found a way to make me laugh through my tears in the Minneapolis airport. You were right. It’s one of my favorite memories now.


  • With sweaty palms holding onto mine under the table, we did our first consultation as a “husband & wife” team. And then our second, third, fourth, & twentieth. And we’ve never looked back!


  • When you discovered & fell in love with bokeh, bokeh, bokeh (blurry background effect) and now YOU remind ME every wedding to be conscious of my settings.


  • When you wanted to listen to rap music to pump yourself up for the day…and then took one look at my face and promptly switched over to Jack Johnson instead.


  • When I looked over at you and you had tears in your eyes right along with that bride & groom.


  • When I was sorting through your images after one particular wedding and realized that, quite possibly, you had become a better photographer than me. I’ll never forget how proud I felt & still, how proud I am of you and your creative work.

I love it that…

  • You serve our couples. I turn around and you’re tying the bowties. I turn around and you’re carrying the bridesmaids coats & purses and lending a hand if their heels are sinking into the ground. I turn around and you have a water ready. I turn around and you’re laughing with the Father of the Bride. I turn around and you’ve not only found a chair for Grandma but also entirely reorganized my shot list to be more efficient – and now, we have seamless family formal experiences every dang tiiiiime. I turn around and your hand is on the groom’s shoulder as you pep talk him as he waits for his bride at the First Look.


  • You never tire of thinking of ways to expand, scale, and grow this little business. We talk for hours. Geeking out about marketing – what’s working well, what’s not.


  • You are always up for traveling with me & exploring new places.


  • You happily help guys know how to hold onto their girl by suddenly grabbing me, pulling me in, running your fingers through my hair, and then with a big smile turning to that guy and saying, “See man? You got this.”

Stephen, having you be a part of all of this has made me better.

Better at my craft. Better at the experience we offer each couple we journey with.


I admire how hard you work at your day job and how joyfully you also work on this job with me. I admire & support your own career dreams and am grateful you admire mine too.

Thank you for the bit of crazy. For shooting long wedding days, getting three hours of sleep and then hopping on a plane for a 48 hour work trip, and then coming home still just as happy. I am so proud of you.

And with every couple we work with, I fall more in love with you.
With every wedding, I remember our own vows too. And how we said Hello to Forever.


Let’s keep doing this (follow along with us on Insta – @PattengalePhoto!)
Let’s always be young & free!

–Tara M

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I’m Tara


As a young girl, I kept a journal and then when Stephen and I got married, we wrote our vows into a journal we shared as a couple. On this lil’ corner of the internet, I want to invite you into our virtual journal’s stories and musings.  I hope you’ll find encouragement and inspiration along the way. You can expect a mixture of our recent photography work & adventures, lifestyle tips, current obsessions, and personal stories of us behind the scenes too! I’m so glad you’re here!

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