The Secret Life of Joel and Amber

Life with Joel & Amber

Apr 16, 2020

I had some wedding planning tidbits scheduled for the blog, but so many of us are in wedding planning limbo with COVID19 hanging over our heads. I tossed those back into my drafts and decided to find something fun to share during this crazy time!

We gathered a few things about each of us and our life together that you might not have known. Enjoy getting to know a little bit about what goes on behind the camera!

Bet you didn’t know this about: JOEL

I was born in Washington, DC.

I didn’t live there very long, but it makes filling in the “Which State Were You Born In” bubbles difficult sometimes. Every once in awhile, they forget to include a bubble for our nation’s great capital. My dad is a US citizen who was born in the Netherlands while his dad was studying at a seminary over there….which made applying for our marriage license extra interesting.

Everybody always asks if I played basketball.

No. No, I didn’t. You probably wouldn’t have wanted me on your team, anyway. No, I can’t dunk. No, I can’t just stand there and drop the ball in. My lack of interest in basketball matches my current basketball skills. Now Amber, on the other hand. She’s the one you’d want on your team. I played ultimate frisbee in college. A flying disc is much more my jam than bouncing a rubber ball.

I used to want to be a pilot for the Air Force.

I reached commander level in Civil Air Patrol and toured the Air Force Academy and everything. Then I grew and didn’t stop. By the time I was old enough to apply, I was already disqualified because of my height. It’s still one of my life goals to get my pilot’s license.


Bet you didn’t know this about: AMBER

All the way from kindergarten through college, I couldn’t stand to study at a desk or a table.

I studied a lot in school, and I always studied on my bed or on a couch. In the library, I hunted down the cushiest corner chair. (As far away from the “group study” people as I could get. Who’s with me on that one?) In my tiny dorm room, I just sat on my bed.

Now that I work full-time from my laptop, I actually spend way more time at the table in our studio than I do on the couch! I have no idea what changed (probably the fact that I can reach my coffee more easily when I sit at the table…), but the 180-degree change amuses me.

Two skills I have always wished I had are drawing and singing.

One of the most amazing things I can imagine would to spend a spring afternoon like a painter in the movies: easel propped up beneath a shady tree, paintbrush in hand, and stroking the scenes of a picturesque Italian city just across a shimmering bay.

I love to sing and can hold my own in a choir, but as soon as it turns into a solo it deteriorates quickly. There have been so many opportunities where I would have really enjoyed soloing, but…it’s okay. The choir it is.

I played volleyball, basketball, and softball from 6th grade up through my senior year.

My skill at each sport probably reflected the order of the seasons. I was pretty decent on the volleyball court (fall), basketball was okay but I played a much better defensive game than ever scoring points (winter), and softball (spring) was just because I had a hard time not signing up for every extracurricular. Plus you got out of class early in the spring to travel to games, so there’s that.

Volleyball was the sport I was most passionate about. As quiet and timid as I usually was, I never had a problem launching myself 10 feet across the court to dig a ball.

Basketball was the cool sport at my school. I definitely wasn’t winning any MVP awards and I was way better at defense than offense, but I was quick and it earned me a starting spot by the end of my sophomore year. 

I’m pretty sure there wasn’t much competition to make the cut for our softball team. I still squeeze my eyes shut as soon as the bat makes contact with the ball. It was a reflex that I could never break. I was decent at catching pop flies from my center field position, so they let me stick around.


We own two real estate investing companies.

A few years ago, after a ton of research, we dove into the real estate market. We don’t talk about this business nearly as much as our photography, but we love it all the same!

When people first hear “real estate”, they automatically think we’re agents. Nooope. I respect real estate agents because that is one tough, competitive field. We focus on finding good investment properties and holding them as rentals. We’ve done one flip in a partnership with Joel’s dad, and that’s out of our system for now. Maybe someday! For now, we like single family homes and our 4-plex the best.

Even though we seem like extroverts when you’re with us, we’re both pretty shy and introverted.

While we love serving people and building relationships, we have to make sure we give ourselves quiet time at home to recharge in between. Over the years, we’ve learned to rebalance things a little bit so we can have the social energy we need to serve others well.

We’ll always be bubbly, joyful, and full of energy around other people. This is especially true on the wedding day! Our joy overflows from our love to serve other people. But after it’s all done, we crash in the quiet of our home and soak in some re-charge time.

We both have a humorous dislike for talking on the phone. You’d laugh if you saw us trying to work up the nerve to make a phone call. Does anybody else have this weird phone phobia? It’s so funny sometimes, but the struggle is real!

We’re really indecisive when it comes to stuff like where we want to go out to eat.

We actually rarely eat out when we’re not traveling, partly because we choose to spend our budget on other things, and partly because we just like to cook.

So when we do eat out, it feels like kind of a big deal. We love food, so we don’t want to “waste” our opportunity by choosing a restaurant we won’t be excited about. Our process is really quite humorous. Yelp is my tool of choice, and Joel likes Google. We’ll be sitting in the car on one of our road trips, reading reviews and looking up menus.

Of course, trying to decide what type of cuisine we’re in the mood for makes things even more complicated. We try to only almost exclusively at local restaurants when we’re traveling (and even when we’re in Huntsville), which can sometimes be hard to track down.

Eventually we decide on something, and we usually like it. But the process it takes to get there is just a little overkill. We can all be quirky sometimes, and this is one of ours!

Tell us about you! What random things do most people not know? Tell us in the comments below!




  1. Kayla says:

    Yesss! I always studied on my bed or couch! And answering the phone is my least favorite part of work

  2. Betsie Z says:

    Your little guy is so cute and big! And I love the photo where you jumped in with Sean and Lauren!
    No little known facts about me…I’m an open book! lol
    Glad you are staying well.

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