Kristen and Sean's Kentucky Engagement Session

Beautiful fall weather and so much love.  This one was very special for me.  I got to hang out and watch these two compliment each other perfectly.

 After a long friendship, with lots of flirting, Kristen and Sean's  relationship revealed itself as love.  They were drawn to each other and couldn't deny it any longer.   I asked them when they knew it was the real thing.  Kristen responded,  "I knew it was real one day when we were watching TV together, he leaned over to scratch my back.   It was the first time we touched in a different way.  He said " I knew when I took her for a long bike ride.  She had been holding onto me all day.  I knew she was the one."

They let down their guards and really felt each other,  their hearts opened up to the love that they had for each other.   So sweet.


Julie and Jennie's Downtown Cincinnati Wedding

It doesn't matter where you are, what you're wearing, or how much you spent on your flowers, to me the most important thing you can bring to your wedding day is a heart full of love and a smile on your face.  Don't get me wrong, I adore all of the pretty details that make a wedding day special, but it's the emotions of the day that really sweep me off of my feet.

Julie and Jennie's intimate wedding was held at Venue 222 downtown.  About 50 of their closest friends and family came to help them celebrate and support their lifetime commitment to each other.  They presented each other with very personalized vows with promises to not only love each other but to also give each other the space they need to grow, and to be present while enjoying their journey together.  It was so heartfelt and their chemistry together is inspiring to be around.  During the reception I stopped taking pictures for a minute and just let myself really enjoy what I was apart of.  It was overwhelming.  There were people laughing and enjoying themselves in every direction I looked.  The joy in the room was explosive.  During that moment, there was no where in the world I would rather be.  I was experiencing right in front of me nothing but pure love and it felt great.   As I floated back to my car I just sat and soaked in how lucky I am for these amazing people that let me tell a piece of their story.

 Thank you to all of Jennie and Julie's friends who helped make the day perfect for the couple.

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This is why I love when couples do a first look.  You get to spend some time enjoying each other alone, and I get to capture it. :)

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iPhone Friday 24 Hours in Chicago

I need a winter project and I just got a new phone, so here I go again.  This time I am going to make it stick...iPhone Friday is back on my blog.

This week I am sharing a few pics from a 24 hour trip to Chicago I took with Chris this week.  He got me tickets to see one of my favorite bands for my birthday.  Since this is the busiest time of year for me we only had time to stay for 24 hours, but thats ok.  We managed to squeeze in all of our favorites...Good food, good music, and the beautiful lake.  We tried Air b&b for the first time.  The experience was very simple.  I chose a place that remindined me a lot of our place, but I booked last minute not paying attention to the fact that the only bed in the apartment was a twin.  Needless to say, we snuggled hard that night.  Here are a few pictures from the trip. 24 hours in ChicagoOur apartment in Logan Square.  Im telling you, the plants and old furniture, it was just like being at home.  There was even a polaroid on the fridge.  24 hours in Chicago (1)The show was sold out.  Before we went we had a nice dinner and drinks.  I told Chris I planned on letting loose at the show.  And I did.  These are the only pictures, because  I screamed and stomped my feet enjoying every second of it.  24 hours in Chicago (2)I can't leave Chicago without a visit to Lake Michigan.  It was a gorgeous day. 24 hours in Chicago (5)24 hours in Chicago (3)24 hours in Chicago (4)I joke that this is our CARaoke album cover.  I sing Chris's ears off when we are in the car together. nikitagross_rockandrollbride_0653

Becca and Greg's Ohio Wedding

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of driving to Jackson, Ohio for Becca and Greg's wedding.  The forecast called for rain, instead we got a glorious sky perfect for pictures.  Their wedding was laid back and fun.  Their friends and family were such a pleasure to be around.  I have really enjoyed getting to know Becca and Greg through their wedding planning process,  and I love that Facebook allows me to keep up with their lives.  They will start their new life as husband in Texas where Greg just got an awesome job opportunity.  I am sad to see them go, but so excited for their new adventure together!  Becca and Greg, thank you so much for allowing me to share in this special day with you two.

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Fall Mini Sessions

Since weekend dates for fall photo sessions are very limited, I have decided to set aside a day for fall mini sessions.  This is a great opportunity for an updated family portrait or headshot.

The session will take place on Saturday October 4 at one of my favorite local parks.  The session will be 20 minutes.  You will get 10-15 edited images available for downloading and printing all for $150.

full_nikitagross_01562014-05-12_0025.jpgbakerfamily005.jpg001 (46)Session times are below.  I will update the times as they are booked.  Please email me for more info and to select your time

2:00 Booked



3:30 Booked



5:00 Booked

5:30 Booked


Nia and Spencer's Intimate Ault Park Wedding

I leave every wedding I photograph with a happy heart.  Spending time with people on such a special day is something I am truly grateful for.   Nia and Spencer were going to have a huge wedding celebration, but when they started thinking about it, they realized that isn't their style.  They decided to have an intimate ceremony at Ault Park surrounded by their their immediate family.  There were 16 of us gathered to witness their love.   The weather was perfect and the couple was glowing.  Their love for each other along with the support of such amazing families will make them unstoppable together.

See Nia and Spencer's East Walnut Hills engagement session here.

aultparkweddingaultparkwedding (1)aultparkwedding (2)Nia's father was so happy for his daughter.  Here he is helping her get into her dress. aultparkwedding (3)aultparkwedding (4)aultparkwedding (5)aultparkwedding (6)aultparkwedding (7)full_nikitagross_0192full_nikitagross_0193aultparkwedding (8)aultparkwedding (9)aultparkwedding (10)aultparkwedding (11)aultparkwedding (12)aultparkwedding (13)aultparkwedding (14)aultparkwedding (15)aultparkwedding (16)aultparkwedding (17)aultparkwedding (18)aultparkwedding (19)aultparkwedding (20)aultparkwedding (21)A beautiful bouquet by Courtenay Lambert. aultparkwedding (22)In honor of Nia's mother. aultparkwedding (23)aultparkwedding (24)aultparkwedding (25)aultparkwedding (26)aultparkwedding (27)aultparkwedding (28)aultparkwedding (29)aultparkwedding (30)aultparkwedding (31)After the ceremony we headed to Moerlein Lager House at the Banks for a wonderful lunch. aultparkwedding (32)aultparkwedding (33)full_nikitagross_0183full_nikitagross_0185full_nikitagross_0186full_nikitagross_0187full_nikitagross_0184full_nikitagross_0188full_nikitagross_0189full_nikitagross_0190aultparkwedding (35)

Tina and Joe's Devou Park Engagement

 I fell in love with Tina's spirit when she joined a friend and I for a night out last year,  she has a very comfortable personality, like someone I have known for years.  I met Joe soon after when they invited me out for dinner.  We talked for hours about life, love, and following your dreams.  We also talked about their wedding...I was blown away when they said they want to have a very intimate destination wedding in Asheville, North Carolina and they wanted to bring me with them.  WHOA!!  It is a dream for me to be able to photograph people I connect so well with.

For their engagement session we hung around Devou Park where they live and spend a lot of time.  It was late in the day, the sun was shining and their love was a breathe of fresh air.  Joe adores Tina, she is the gentle spirit that completes him.

  I am so happy to be part of their love story.


Samantha and Heather's Backyard Wedding

Samantha and Heather's intimate ceremony was held in the backyard of a beautiful home owned by dear friends.  It was a gorgeous afternoon full of laughter and love.  Their close friends and family helped make the day extra special for the girls by helping with the food, flowers, and decor.  Samantha and Heather walked around with huge smiles on their faces all day.  At one point in the day I noticed Samantha tearing up, Heather asked her if she was ok.  As Samantha looked over at all of the faces of support and love she replied, "I am just so happy."  It was a moment I never want to forget.  It was a moment that reassured me, that I was right where I needed to be.  Celebrating love, documenting it, being part of something so special is the best feeling in the world.  Samantha and Heather, thank you for letting me be part of such an amazing day.  My hope for you is a lifetime of the happiness you felt on this day.intimatewedding001intimatewedding002intimatewedding003intimatewedding004intimatewedding006intimatewedding010intimatewedding007intimatewedding008intimatewedding009intimatewedding011intimatewedding012intimatewedding013intimatewedding014intimatewedding015intimatewedding016intimatewedding017intimatewedding019intimatewedding020intimatewedding021intimatewedding022intimatewedding023intimatewedding024intimatewedding025intimatewedding026intimatewedding027intimatewedding028intimatewedding029intimatewedding030intimatewedding031intimatewedding032intimatewedding033intimatewedding034Samantha and Heather are both teachers who love to read.  They used books for their table decor.  The guests were invited to take them home at the end of the day. DSC_9185intimatewedding035intimatewedding036

Sara and Jeremy's Super Awesome Engagement Session

Sara and Jeremy are two very good friends of mine.  I cannot wait for their Fourth of July wedding coming up  soon.  For their engagement session they wanted to do something fun and different.  One night while we we were hanging out on their porch we came up with the idea of having a pool party in the their backyard with their good friends, Seth, Jamie and Emily.  Everyone dressed up and really got into the theme.  We cranked up the music and ran around the yard dancing and singing, it was so much fun!  Here are a few of my favorites.

See a behind the scenes video from out shoot here

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Nia and Spencer's Cincinnati Engagement

Happy Monday everyone!

It has been an insanely busy past couple of months.  Though most of my time is spent at my computer when I am this busy, I really look forward to the time I get to spend getting to know my clients during their engagement sessions.  Last week I headed to East Walnut Hills for Nia and Spencer's laid back engagement pictures.   I first met Nia at a bridal event.  She was planning a huge winter wedding.  After lots of thinking,  she and her fiancé Spencer decided they were planning a wedding that did not fit their personalities at all.  They are both super chill.  They decided that is how they want their wedding to be...They changed the date, location, and cut their guest list down to immediate family and friends.  I love this so much.  Your wedding should be about you and what you want, not what you think you are expected to do.  There are no rules.  As long as you two are there, that is all that matters. :)

I walked away from this session smiling ear to ear.  I felt like I just hung out with friends I have known forever.  These two laughed, and laughed, and laughed.  Spencer is full of jokes, but he is also a total sweetheart who kept telling Nia how beautiful she looked.  Every time she looked at him, she would tell him how pretty his blue eyes were.  It was very sweet.  They like each other a lot and they weren't afraid to let me see that.  My favorite!  I can't wait to see them again next month!

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Annah and Julian's Cincinnati Engagement

When Annah contacted me about setting up an engagement session I was thrilled to hear her ideas.  She wanted to shoot underwater, something I have only barely dabbled with, but I was excited for the challenge.  Annah said she loved that my work has an artistic flair, and gave me the freedom to do whatever I wanted.   A real dream for me.    I met Annah and Julian at a friend's house early in the day.  Once we got going it was a super exhilarating experience.   I had practiced the day before with a good friend, but was still a little nervous.  During my practice shoot I forgot one key element...goggles.  Once I got those things went a lot more smoothly.   I am very grateful to many friends who let me borrow their cameras for this shoot.  And even more grateful to Annah and Julian for giving me this awesome experience.  It is defiantly something I want to do again.   underwaterengagement (6)underwaterengagement (5)underwaterengagement (4)underwaterengagement (3)underwaterengagement (7)underwaterengagement (9)underwaterengagement (17)underwaterengagement (20)underwaterengagement (23)underwaterengagement (30)After our super fun morning we all went home to get ourselves together and met back up at Highfield Discovery Park for part two of their engagement session.  This park is so whimsical and pretty.  The perfect setting for a photo session.  Before I show you their images I want to share a little story about a kindred soul named Bob, who was our contact at the park.   I shared this story on my Facebook page a couple of weeks ago, but I figured it can't hurt to share it again....I noticed Bob's wedding ring was very cool, so I asked him about it. He told us it was created 30 years ago, his wife has the only other version of it. "Of course it's much more dainty" Bob told us. The ring is custom made and inspired by the DNA double helix, the combining of two to become one. It was a great story and he was proud to tell it.bob

There are so many beautiful people in this world. Bob is defiantly one of them. His passion for nature and science was inspiring. Before we left, he told us more about the park and what they do there. The Discovery Garden is set up to teach children about nature and to remind them that they are part of it. He talked about how we all need to take responsibility for taking care of our home, Earth. He also wanted children to know how important it is for their well being to be out in nature, away from all of the noise that surrounds our lives. See, don't you just love Bob?! If you are looking for something fun to do this summer, you should check this park out for sure.
While we ran around the park I got to get to know Annah and Julian a little better...there isn't a lot of talking when you are underwater, you know?!   Annah and Julian met Salsa dancing.  Their attraction to each other was instant.  Their chemistry together was out of this world.  They were so loving and touched each other a lot, something I adore in a couple.  I love how much comfort they found in each other during our shoot.
Julian is originally from England, so they will be heading over the pond next year for their laid back wedding.  I am sure it will be so much fun!

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Kendal and Joe's Pyramid Hill Wedding

Every single thing about Kendal and Joe's wedding was from the heart, personal, and full of love.  They spent many, many months making bird houses, pinwheels, kites, signs, a custom photo booth backdrop, and the most amazing altar I have ever seen.  They wanted their wedding to represent their fun personalities.  I was was bouncing around the park like a kid in a colorful candy store admiring and photographing all of the details.

Kendal and Joe decided to see each other before the wedding so we arranged a first look at the park.  Joe, who is a master of all trades,  was running a little behind because he had to sew a button for one of his groomsmen.  When he arrived at the park I got to witness one of the most special moments of my career so far.  When Kendal walked up to Joe and tapped him on the shoulder it was like an explosion of nerves was released, you could see and feel it.  It was very emotional, I had to fight back tears while shooting.  They found so much comfort in each other.  Their love was radiating.  This is why I always encourage my clients to see each other before the ceremony.  Moments like that are what memories are made of.

Though Kendal and Joe spent a lot of time curating the perfect wedding the one thing, the most important thing I remember about the day was that big, colorful love they share for each other.  Their friends and family were so supportive and happy for them.  It was such a treat to be around.  I have been smiling so much editing these.

Thank you to everyone who made the day even more special for Kendal and Joe.

 Venue: Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park Event and Floral Design: Marti's Floral Designs Invites, Signs, Programs: Pinwheel Print Shop  Custom Cake Topper: Melting Pot Love Photo Booth: Framster Kendal's Dress:  European Bridal Jewelery: Macy's/Kate Spade Shoes: Seychelles Bridesmaid Dresses: Anthropologie Flowergirl Dress:  Gap Joe's Suit: Egara Guy's Shoes: Vans  Guy's Ties: Original Penguin Handmade Altar, wood signs, birdhouses, decor: DIY by the bride, groom, and family  Guest Book Tree: Bleu de toi Cookies: Cookies by Sue
Cupcakes/Cake: JoJo’s cupcakes DJ: Jonathan Klein Ceremony Musician: Bryan McCartney Save the Dates: Hullaballoo
Wood Cupcake Sign, Chair Covers, Birds of a feather sign, and Fields sign:   Mimi’s Vintage Signs
Caterer: Jeanettes Delicacies Photo Assistant:  Andrew Ducker

P.S.  One of their images is featured on the real weddings section of Huffington Post!  How cool is that?!

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Carly and Ryan's lake house wedding Published in Kentucky Bride Magazine

YEAH!!  Carly and Ryan's lake house house wedding is featured in the newest issue of Kentucky Bride Magazine.  Their wedding was so personal and super laid back.  I am happy to see their pictures made it to print.  :)

See more images from their wedding here.

Screen Shot 2014-06-06 at 5.32.13 PMKBM SummerFall 2014 - Cover Photo by Leslee Mitchell Photography - web

Bob and Louise 68 years of love

"To have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part."

These are the vows many people take everyday.  You find the one person whose life and love fits with your own like a glove.  Entering a marriage, committing yourself to the person you want to spend your life with is a more than a declaration of love, it is a partnership.  You choose to live life as a team.  The beginning of every relationship is so full of excitement and passion.  As a wedding photographer, I am very lucky to be part of this special time in people's lives.  My hope for every couple that I photograph and every couple that I know, is that their love lasts a lifetime, that they can get past the stressful times, the times when they want to give up and remember the vows they took on their wedding day.

Bob is 91 and Louise is 84.   When I walked into their home it was very cozy and comfortable.  I was welcomed with big smiles.  They had 2 boards full of pictures that documented the many years of happiness they have lived together.  They were excited to have me over and to tell me their story and I couldn't have been more grateful to be there.

Louise's family was from Italy and Bob was an American.  They met through family members when they were young, but it wasn't until Bob returned from the Navy and saw Louise again that their relationship began.  They fell in love young.  Like many young couple's at the time, because of their age, they snuck over to Kentucky to elope since Ohio's laws were more strict.  Their life together gave the world  3 children,  who then  had children, who then had children, and now their clan is up to over 50 people strong.  Their love and a marriage is a solid foundation for their children and grandchildren to look up to.  I admire that so much.

The love and partnership these two share is beautiful.  It was nice seeing how they balance things out.  Bob is a retired firefighter.  He is a giver by nature.   He likes to stay busy and fix things, he sews, does yard work, he even cuts Louise's hair.   Bob adores his wife,  I could see it every time he looked at her with admiration.  He still surprises her with gifts, and tells her he loves her every night.  Louise is a strong woman with the most beautiful smile and skin.  She spent her life as a caretaker for her family, but also worked different jobs throughout the years.  I imagine Louise was a fun woman in her youth, someone I would like to hang out with.  She used to go to Vegas every year with her girlfriends.   In all of the pictures they showed me, she was laughing and having a good time.  Once the children were grown they spent a lot of time traveling together.  When I asked them what they liked to do for fun they told me how much they loved to dance and spend time on their boat the named the Bob-O-Lou.  Though they can't dance much anymore, they still play cards every Saturday night and try to get out whenever they can.  Louise has some back problems, but Bob is always right there to help her out.

I am a born romantic, I love love more that anything else in the world.  I was lucky to get this amazing opportunity to spend time with and photograph Bob and Louise, a couple who is celebrating 68 years of love and marriage.  I hope their story inspires you as much as it did me.  Their lust for life is what keeps them young and their love for each other is what keeps them strong.


Bob holding a picture of his wife on their boat, The Bob-O-Lou. Louise saw this bear she really liked on T.V.  Bob saw the bear while he was out one day and brought it home to surprise his wife.  What a sweetheart.  Guys,  take a lesson from Bob's book.  After 68 years, he still makes sure his wife knows he is thinking of her.  I always say, it's the little things. Here Bob is telling me the reason he doesn't wear a wedding ring because it got caught while he was working.  

Louise was telling me how Bob showers her in gifts.  Here she is showing me a necklace he got for her. I really liked this part of the day.  Like every couple, Bob and Louise went through some rocky times when they were young.  There was a time when Louise got her own apartment for a short time.  Bob was always over visiting, he couldn't stay away from his love and children,  so their split didn't last long.  In the picture below she was saying "we were like, what are we doing?  It was silly, we wanted to be together, we had our family to take care of. "   She made sure I knew it wasn't always roses,  but they stuck it out through the tough times and they couldn't be happier about the life they have had together.    I would like to thank to my friend, Suzanne for introducing me to her these two beautiful souls.  She is very lucky to call them her grandparents.

Caroline and Stephen's Cincinnati Wedding

  Caroline and Stephen's had a little hard luck right before the wedding.  A car gone missing, dryers blowing up, cell phones breaking.  There wasnt one time during their wedding, even for a minute that I felt any kind of  stress from either of them.  Instead they both were 100% present enjoying every moment of generous love and affection they were surrounded by on their wedding day.  From the moment they saw each other for the first time, which was one of the sweetest moments in the history of my wedding career, they looked at each other and held each other full of pure happiness.  Thank you for the fabulous day Caroline and Stephen.

See Caroline and Stephen's engagement in Rabbit Hash, Ky. session here.

Ft Thomas Florist created romantic bouquets and flower arrangements that were dreamy. Their very sweet first look at each other.  Thank you to my amazing second shooter Andrew for helping me cover it  so well. Their romantic reception was at the Bell Event Centre.

Julie and Jennifer's Cincinnati Engagement

One of the best parts of being a wedding photographer is the fact that it allows me to be surrounded by my favorite thing in the world, love.  Unconditional love, family love, friend love, lover's love, it's what makes life worth living and it's my greatest inspiration.  People are all diffent at expressing their love.  Some are shy and reserved, some are open and want to show it to the world.

 I come from a family of huggers.  I love to hold hands and touch and smell.  Getting people to open up in front of the camera is my favorite.  It takes trust.  It involves all five senses working together.   It's easy to simply make someone look good, it's when I capture real emotion that I feel like I have done something really special.

This shoot with Julie and Jenn was one of those shoots where I feel like I was able to capture the pure happiness these two feel for each other.   We walked around Northside stopping whenever we saw something that caught our eye.  Autumn was showing her most beautiful colors and Jenn and Julie were bursting with love.  I am so excited for their intimate wedding next year and so thankful they trust me to capture their love.

cincinnati weddingJen and Julie wore their Tie the Knot bow ties for part of their session.  Here is a little more info about this organization from their website

"Tie The Knot was founded to combine all of our favorite things: humor, style, individuality, fashion, art, and equality. Founded by Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Justin Mikita, the goal of Tie the Knot is clear: to advocate for the civil rights of gay and lesbian Americans throughout the United States and to look damn good while doing it.

It’s simple: We will release a collection of neckwear seasonally, inspired by our favorite art, fashion, things we see on the street, and things in our living room. Each bow tie will be produced in limited quantity to inspire and promote uniqueness & individuality. All proceeds from the sale of the bow ties will go to various organizations that are in the trenches fighting for the civil rights of gay and lesbian Americans every single day."

You can purchase these unique ties at The Tie Bar here.

Jacqueline and Chip's Columbus Wedding

I drove up to Columbus a few weeks ago for Jacqueline and Chip's outdoor wedding.  It was a gorgeous day.  Jacqueline and Chip both looked fantastic, with huge smiles on their faces from the moment they saw each other for the first time.  It was such a pleasure to photograph such a loving couple.  Thank you for being so gracious and for choosing me to photograph your big day!

See their Park of Roses engagement session here.

Something old, borrowed and blue. This is my favorite!  Jacqueline, you are stunning!!He is smitten looking at his new wife. The party was so much fun!!!