Arizona Wedding-Boudoir-High School Senior-Photographer » I'm Stacy Kokes, and I photograph love...

Yesterday, our pastor of 5 1/2 years gave his farewell sermon before he and his family move to SF to plant a new church.

We knew this day was coming and we have had several months to process. So on the morning of the service, I thought I would hold it together no problem.

Boy, was I wrong.

As the Anderson family stood on stage looking out into a crowd of people standing and clapping in gratitude; them looking out at us and us staring back at them, I was overcome with emotion.

In that moment, I couldn’t help but reflect on the past 5 1/2 years and the tears just kept coming.

I thought about all the amazing memories and realized that even though things will be great, they will never be the same anymore.

I remembered the first time I walked into this tiny church in the middle of a neighborhood and met Joe that very night.

I remembered the early friendships we made with some amazing people; many of which we don’t often see as life has taken them to new places and stages.

I remembered the first time I got invited to Mamacitas with the ‘in crowd’.

I remembered the 5 different buildings we moved to throughout the years I’ve been there.

I remembered when Joe got baptized and I proudly sat in the front row recording the whole thing.

I remembered when Pastor Justin preached on Hebrews and brought the Word to me like never before. 

I remembered our weekly LOST parties with some of the coolest people I know.

I remembered the annual Anderson 4th of July party, in honor of Em’s fave holiday and her mesh America flag shirt.

I remembered the first time we had the Andersons over for dinner and we didn’t know that our table opened up, so we ate elbow to elbow the whole time!

I remembered when Lily was born 6 weeks early and Pastor Justin couldn’t make it out to WI to officiate our wedding.

I remembered when Lily reached out to Joe for him to hold her and he couldn’t say no. She was the first baby he ever held.

I remembered when Justin + Emilie dressed in the best Halloween costumes. 

I remembered watching the church grow from a few hundred to over a thousand.

I remembered how the Andersons always welcomed my parents with open arms whenever they would come to visit.

And mostly, I remember how the Gospel was brought to the city of Tempe through these amazing people. 

Yes, yesterday was a VERY emotional day for me as we witnessed the closing of a chapter in what has been a very important book in our lives.

My heart is a mix of sadness, joy and hope as we look forward to the impact this family will make in the city of SF and the work that will continue to be done here in Tempe.

Justin + Emilie,

From the bottom of our hearts, we will miss you SO much.

Tempe will not be the same without you.

We’re sad knowing that we can’t just drive down the street to see you anymore, but you better believe that we will be visiting you in San Fran often!

We love you!!!!

(darn it, I’m crying again!)

Me + Em (don’t mind our tearful eyes)

Sweet, sweet Lily (and Elliot). I’m freakin’ going to miss this girl!!!

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There is something so special about photographing women.

Our culture is constantly bombarding us women with lies that we are not good enough. Not pretty enough. Not (blank) enough.

I make sure that every woman that steps in front of my camera knows that she is enough. She is beautiful. She is strong. She is enough, because she is fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)

It is such a privilege to empower women and help them discover their beauty. In that hour that we are shooting, I want them to feel on top of the world.

And when they see their images, I want them to see more than their physical beauty. I want them to see themselves as joyful + loved and more beautiful inside than they ever realized.

Last night, I had the pleasure of photographing Lauren who is absolutely beautiful both inside and out.

These images speak of her strength, beauty, joy and kind heart.

xo stacy


  • April 12, 2012 - 10:45 am

    Donna Zahn - Love it Stacy , Beautiful work:)

  • April 12, 2012 - 11:28 am

    Elizabeth Langford - Awesome pictures Stacy! I love this session!!! Very cool backdrops and a very gorgeous girl!

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I never know where to start when it comes to writing about good friends. I feel like there is so much I could say; so much I SHOULD say. When people make such a significant impact on your life, it’s hard to put it into words sometimes.

Brittany has become such an amazing friend over the past 3 years. We meet up for ‘girl time’ at least once a month and talk about everything from photography, marriage, the Lord, new milestones, and struggles. Brittany has seen me laugh and seen me cry.

We’ve been there for each other through some really amazing times and some really hard times, and she has definitely left a footprint on my heart.

Over the past 18 months, I have had the pleasure of watching her + her husband John’s adoption journey from the application all the way until now; as they are about to celebrate their son Cruz’s first birthday.

Their story, their faith and their undeniable obedience to the Lord has been incredibly impactful to Joe + I personally and many others as well.

Brit+John are the kind of people you want in your corner. And I’m so blessed that they are in mine.

And even more so, that they are in Cruz’s…

Here are the two people who so faithfully acted on their call to adopt…

…which ultimately lead to them bringing their son Cruz into their lives :). I.could.just.steal.him!!!

And now they are a sweet family of three (and the cutest one ever, right??!)

My heart smiles when I see the joy that radiates from each one of the Hagensens. They are blessed and they know it!

Fun with daddy!

Fun with his sweet mama :)

This cupcake was Cruz’s first taste of refined sugar. He was an instant fan :)


I’ll end with a collage of Cruz wearing a hat (or attempting to anyway) :)

Happy soon-to-be Birthday Cruzer! We love you :) xoxo

  • April 10, 2012 - 1:47 pm

    Sara Hasstedt - What a gorgeous family! An Cruz is SUCH a doll!!

  • April 12, 2012 - 11:16 am

    Lynnae Lovs - Hi…I love these Pics of my kids…they are such amazing people! You did an fab job !!! BLessings!

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Happy Monday, sweet friends! I hope that you had a lovely and blessed Easter weekend :).  After having very busy months, we have LOVED having some commitment-free weekends like we did this past one. We could do anything or nothing. In this case we did a little of both. We watched tv, went to coffee with friends, I read almost ALL of Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover (love it, btw), and had a relaxing picnic in the backyard. Joe wrapped the weekend up with a bang by going to bed at 7:30pm. LOL! He tried to woo me to do the same with my weakness…cuddling! It almost worked. At one point during our cuddle sesh, I did indeed fall asleep BUT I woke up at 8:30 and jumped out of bed. I already consider myself pretty lame due to my 9:30/10pm bedtime and I was afraid that if I gave into the 7:30 bedtime, I might like it too much haha!

It’s official…I can’t keep house plants alive. Apparently the Kokes house is like death row to all life of the flowery variety. I bought a cute plant for my mom when she and my Dad came to visit in February. My Mom had that thing blooming and looking great. Before she left, she even transferred it to a new pot so that it was in ‘optimal living conditions’. I watered it. I gave it some sun. And yet somehow day by day, it was looking droopier and droopier. And like always, it died :(. Maybe it was just it’s time to go…

Anyone else want to see Titanic 3D? I remember being in middle school, seeing Titanic for the first time. I. WAS. OBSESSED! I saw it in the theatre at least three times, had titanic posters, titanic magazines. I was THAT girl. I mean, what 13 year old girl wouldn’t have had a crush on Leo?! And not gonna lie, my heart still skips a beat when the trailer of the movie comes on.

Speaking of movies, we watched Justin Bieber Never Say Never this weekend. I’ve always been very neutral when it comes to the Bieb. I didn’t dislike him, but I certainly was not a fan. However, I had heard from some friends that whether you like him or not, that this was a worth-watching movie. Oh.My.Goodness. I LOVED it! I was so entertained and inspired. AND it brought me back to my teeny-bopper days when I was obsessed with N’sync and BSB which was fun. I am non longer Bieber neutral, I am officially a fan. Bieber fever baby!  ;) (and for the record, Joe enjoyed it as well.) If you haven’t seen it yet, do it.

Hope your weekend was as relaxing as Hope’s. Happy Monday!

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I was SO excited when fellow AZ photo Liz asked me photograph her and Andy’s wedding. The plan was to keep it super simple. Get married at the court house followed by some romance shots and an intimate lunch reception.

You know what I love most about this couple? Their go with the flow, fly by the seat of their pants mentality. On their way to the 2012 WPPI conference in Vegas they thought “why don’t we get married while we’re there??!‘ And that they did!

So their ‘wedding day’ turned into more of a marriage celebration.

No ceremony. No first dance. Just all the stuff I LOVE…lots and lots of romance shots! It was so laid back and SO much fun :).

Here’s a peek at the day.

Girl got a Tiffany’s ring! Way to go Andy :)

Their reception details were ADORBS

Liz’s cutie daughter Morgan. Isn’t she sweetness?

Mmmm, I love me some romance shots :)

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