Outdoor

Nevin & Pat - State Park Engagement

This was first adventure engagement session & I’m obsessed. And addicted. These two were the perfect couple to travel up north to Matthiessen State Park last weekend for their photoshoot. The four of us, Tom included, made a whole day out of it.

On our way up, we stopped at a winery, that was unfortunately closed, so we proceeded to the park. We got lost. We had tons of laughs from the landmarks on the map that I imagined, like calling a piece of plywood a bridge. LOL Ohhh, memories. Thankfully, some really nice women riding horseback redirected us. I am thinking about creating a guide for Illinois photographers, because that was stressful.

Once we found our location, I think it’s safe to say we were all mesmerized. God’s nature is truly breathtaking and this location makes you feel like a tiny ant on this earth. It was such a nice day. 65 degrees, slight breeze, over cast skies. We weren’t the only ones who had the idea of experiencing the park. It was kinda really busy.

Once these two lovebirds quit making out, we eventually found the winery and indulged in two blocks of cheese, two bottles of wine and countless amount of crackers. Definitely not macro-friendly. LOL

I love traveling with my couples for their photoshoots. I love hearing every detail of their relationship and getting to become friends with them. It makes the wedding day so much easier and a lot more fun. I am already ready to head back to this place with my camera. Any takers?

Xoxo,

Hannah

Hank + Johanna - Urban & Rural Engagement

Last week I was honored to photograph Hank & Johanna's love for one another and they brought along a special guest. Rudy - their fur baby. I was able to have these three in front of my camera last fall (almost a year ago). I'm so thankful for the friendship we have built over the last year & how much I have learned with photography since then. 

Fur babies are always welcome at my photoshoots. I highly encourage it. I know my dog is part of me & I want my couples to be completely themselves. So bring the doggie! 

I am so excited for their wedding this coming May. Hank & Johanna are the type of people you can be completely yourself around. If they're laughing, they're laughing with you. They are encouraging and supporting of me as a person, an artist and of each other. We need more people like them. 

Their session was so easy. Because that's what their love is. Easy. It comes naturally for them, at least that's how I interpret their relationship. Congrats you two on your engagement! Can't wait to photograph your vows! 

Xoxo, 

Hannah 

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When you see your dog just simply existing.

When you see your dog just simply existing.

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Dave + Amanda // MARRIED

Wedding season has officially kicked off and I'm so excited to share my favorite images from this Memorial Day weekend wedding in Springfield, IL. 

If you have followed me since the end of 2017, then you would have seen Dave & Amanda model for my styled bridal photoshoot at Lincoln Memorial Gardens. They were naturals in front of my camera then and followed suit on their wedding day. 

Tom & I became friends with Dave & Amanda through Hope church. Some of those people you just connect with as if you've known them for years. 

I feel so honored and blessed to have captured their wedding day as a photographer and a friend; that I was able to witness Amanda reading Dave's letter, spy tears roll down her mother's face, and watch her dad kiss her before they walked down the isle together. 

Dave & Amanda - thank you so much for trusting me with THE most important day of your lives so far and allowing me into your hearts. I wish ya'll MANY years of happiness, laughs, adventure and tons of "spicy" moments. :) 

Vendors:

Wedding Coordinator: Carolyn Johnson - CP Events

Hair: Willow & Birch Hair Salon

Makeup: Sarah Wilks

Cake: Specialty Cakes

Bride's Dress: Elite Bridal in Champaign 

Bridesmaids Dresses: David's Bridal

Men's Tuxes: Men's Wearhouse

Caterer: Hamilton's Catering

Reception Hall: Erin's Pavilion

 

 

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Starting a GO FUND ME to help homegirl out with a new screen, LOL

Starting a GO FUND ME to help homegirl out with a new screen, LOL

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When #meetmeinthemiddle (a.k.a. the Bride's song) comes on

When #meetmeinthemiddle (a.k.a. the Bride's song) comes on

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The Bride & Groom were big on "icing" people and successfully pulled off icing the bridal party during photos!

The Bride & Groom were big on "icing" people and successfully pulled off icing the bridal party during photos!

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Mr. Springfield & his Bride.

Mr. Springfield & his Bride.

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The small details are my favorite.

The small details are my favorite.

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-Lay with me while our world stands still-

-Lay with me while our world stands still-

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Remember how I said the Bride & Groom were big on "icing" people? Yep, the Bride successfully iced the Groom.

Remember how I said the Bride & Groom were big on "icing" people? Yep, the Bride successfully iced the Groom.

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Samantha & Alex

A month ago we shot Samantha and Alex's engagement session in downtown Springfield and at Lincoln Memorial Gardens. If I could describe the photoshoot in one sentence it would be, "Do it for the picture".

We started the photoshoot in a random alley and in front of a random, old, abandoned wear house, where I made them run towards my camera only 50 times. From there, we took it to the next level. That is, next level in my photography career. We brought along smoke bombs, which are actually quite terrifying in the fact that you can feel the spark on your hand. Alex, being a cop, was the perfect candidate to hold them (insert hair flip emoji). Then these two daredevils stepped into Lake Springfield when it was 34* outside. Who knows how cold that water was. 

But like I said, they did it for the picture. When they got out of the water, I asked Alex if it was worse than he expected and he answered so quickly, "Yes, that sucked". HAHA

(Samantha, I hope you're thinking it was worth it.) 

These two are some of my favorites. So easy and go-with-the-flow, yet also very prepared and make my job so easy. I am soooo excited to shoot their December wedding here in Springfield! 

Take a peek at their love story. 

"There are not enough words in the world to describe how amazing Samantha is. She is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. She is the most caring person I have ever met. She has the sweetest voice I have ever heard. Her smile melts my heart. She is amazing in every single way. I feel more love from Samantha in one minute than I have felt in the rest of my life combined. She is my best friend and she is the love of my life. Marrying Samantha is the most obvious and easiest decision I have ever made. She truly is perfect."

- Alex

"Loving and being loved by Alex is like the feeling right after you sneeze. Does that sound weird haha! He makes me feel like I’m the most beautiful girl in the world, even after I’ve been working in the yard or sweating my booty off at the gym. He has this way of always making me feel at home, even when we are 300 miles from our front door. He is my family and the other half I never knew I was missing but once he came in my life I knew I couldn’t ever go back to a time without him holding my hand. Being loved by such an amazing man cannot be accurately described in words, only felt. Honesty, Love doesn’t even begin to describe what we have, it is so much more."

- Samantha

Xoxo, 

Hannah 

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My Health Journey

Today I am sharing with you something very personal. The purpose of this post is for me to be just as transparent as I expect my clients to be with me. My clients are not strangers. They are real people with real feelings and real hearts; and my job is to capture all of those emotions. So, I figured it's time for my clients to get to know something about me. 

It was our last semester of the Physical Therapist Assistant program when I started to experience burning, cramping, aching abdominal pain. My primary care physician diagnosed me with an "ulcer" due to my symptoms and started me on Prilosec (an acid reducer medication). They say ulcers are caused from stress and caffeine overload, which was totally my case with finishing an intense program. So, that's what I thought it was and believed I would be cured.

Not the case.

Tom and I got married August of 2016. When we returned from our honeymoon, we put our vows to test with two ER visits before December. Tom got the flu in November and was violently ill with vomiting and dehydration. Not too long after that, it was my turn to have "the ER experience". I specifically remember the day. It was a Saturday because I was supposed to work; I woke up at 2am with severe stomach cramping- sharp, stabbing pain with burning and aching symptoms. I was in fetal position on the bathroom floor screaming. No matter what I tried, the pain would not go away. I knew if we went to the ER, they would at least give me pain meds, so that was our plan. What I did not know was that I would be discharged without any scans and a diagnosis of "ulcers". Only funny part about this experience was when the Morphine and Ativan hit me. Tom had to help me sit up in bed because I was so knocked out. You could say it helped my pain a tad. 

From then on I continued to experience the same symptoms pretty much EVERY DAY. I visited a new primary care physician in Springfield MULTIPLE times with new medications and no relief. They finally ordered an abdominal x-ray. It was negative. Then they ordered at CT scan. It was negative. I was then referred to a GI specialist. He performed an upper GI scope (EGD) on me and it was negative. Sooooo he gave me new medication, which I'm not taking because IT WAS $400!! 

In the mean time, I'm missing so much work. Calling in and leaving early because I couldn't even stand up. Also not very fun when your boss tells you you're out of days to miss. 

I then turned my world upside down. A co-worker recommended me to try a Paleo diet. She was listening to For The Love with Jen Hatmaker podcast when Danielle Walker with Against All Grain was featured. Danielle was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis when she was 22 years old and experienced most of my symptoms, but worse. Basically her body was rejecting all sorts of nutrition and causing her to lose weight and her hair. I connected with her story because I am now 22 years old and recently married, as she was. I ordered her cookbooks and dived right into this new lifestyle. 

Paleo is a diet that does not include dairy, wheat, grains, or gluten. So what the heck do you eat you might ask? Air and water. LOL NO JUST KIDDING!

What I love about the Against All Grain cookbooks are how easy it is. Danielle tells you exactly where she orders her foods from and how to substitute the right ingredients. I'd say I did true Paleo for 2/3 months, with occasional "bad" ingredients to test my body. Let me tell you, it was hard. But I couldn't have done it without Tom. Seriously. There would be nights when I didn't feel like cooking and making real food due to fatigue or depression. Then I'd hear pots and pans start clinking in the kitchen with my sweet husband serving me chicken and vegetables. 

Before this journey began, when I thought of depression, I always thought it was fake. But I'm here to tell you depression is a real thing. I NEVER thought the words "I'm depressed" would come out of Hannah Shoaff's lips. But they did. A lot. I was depressed from going through pain for a year and a half. I was depressed for having to literally cook in order to eat. Couldn't just eat a frozen pizza to say I made dinner. I was depressed for losing faith in the medical system. 

But by the grace of sweet Jesus, and only His grace, am I now able to say that I no longer have daily pain or daily black holes of depression. I want to share today the things that kept me going. 

1- JESUS!!!!!

2- My sweet husband Tom Shoaff.

3- This always faithful puppy, Obi.

4- Good, true friends who supported my diet, feelings and needs.

5. The great outdoors.

6. Staying active. Yoga. Biking. Walking. 

7. Rest.

8. My mother and mother-in-law for making me special Paleo meals on holidays. (yeah did I mention I went through this at Thanksgiving and Christmas- freaking hard). 

To answer your question, no I am not Paleo still. But I kept the habits I learned. I do not eat gluten or wheat for the most part. Every now and then I cheat. I'm a sweets girl, so it's still hard. I choose Almond milk anytime I can. I incorporate grains and rice into my meals and have felt pretty good so far. Not only did this diet affect me, it affected Tom as well. He'll say he feels better when he doesn't eat gluten or wheat. I can't tell you the last time we had a loaf of bread in this house. 

I want to thank you for taking the time to read my journey. Like I said, this is for my clients and followers to get to know Hannah Shoaff just a tad better. And to help anyone out there experiencing these symptoms know they're not alone. After all the doctor visits and testing, we still don't know what caused my pain in the first place. For me, it's a day-to-day effort to watch what I'm putting in my body, trying my best to keep a stress-free life, and staying in constant prayer for my health. 

Xoxo, 

Hannah 

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I am a total drink girl. Always feel better if I have something pretty to sip on. I ditched the soda and will instead grab a La Croix, Bolthouse smootie or Kombucha out of the fridge. 

I am a total drink girl. Always feel better if I have something pretty to sip on. I ditched the soda and will instead grab a La Croix, Bolthouse smootie or Kombucha out of the fridge. 

Danielle Walker's  Against All Grain  cookbooks are my fav! So easy and so many favorites, as you can tell with my bookmarks. Her Celebrations cookbook gives every holiday an easy, healthy option. 

Danielle Walker's Against All Grain cookbooks are my fav! So easy and so many favorites, as you can tell with my bookmarks. Her Celebrations cookbook gives every holiday an easy, healthy option. 

One of the easiest, on the go, meals for me to make is a lettuce, spinach and kale salad. Ditched the croutons and substituted sea salted almonds. I loooove green olives- could eat the whole jar. Add some avocado and black berries with an olive oil/vinaigrette salad dressing. For some extra protein, add chicken strips!

One of the easiest, on the go, meals for me to make is a lettuce, spinach and kale salad. Ditched the croutons and substituted sea salted almonds. I loooove green olives- could eat the whole jar. Add some avocado and black berries with an olive oil/vinaigrette salad dressing. For some extra protein, add chicken strips!

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All of these ingredients can be found at  Aldi's . 

All of these ingredients can be found at Aldi's

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To keep sane throughout this stressful journey, fitness was very important for me. I started yoga for a stress reliever and have been very pleased with the results. I'd find myself just sitting outside, listening to nature, and talking God's ear off. 

To keep sane throughout this stressful journey, fitness was very important for me. I started yoga for a stress reliever and have been very pleased with the results. I'd find myself just sitting outside, listening to nature, and talking God's ear off. 

This man. Right here. Is a god-send. I can't imagine going through this journey without him. Between making meals or doing the dishes, he portrays such a servant's heart. He inspires me to be more like Jesus daily. 

This man. Right here. Is a god-send. I can't imagine going through this journey without him. Between making meals or doing the dishes, he portrays such a servant's heart. He inspires me to be more like Jesus daily. 

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OBI DOBIE!!! My child. His middle names are loyal, faithful, silly, attentive, concerning, adventurous, and special. He played such a big part in this journey. Whether it was being a comforting friend late at night or encouragement for fresh air.

OBI DOBIE!!! My child. His middle names are loyal, faithful, silly, attentive, concerning, adventurous, and special. He played such a big part in this journey. Whether it was being a comforting friend late at night or encouragement for fresh air.