I am BEYOND excited to have a special guest contribution from the magnificent Corey Paxton. Having been married for over 19 wonderful years and partnering with his amazing wife Danielle, they have been making history and raising three beautiful daughters over the last couple of decades. I asked him if he would be willing to answer the following question: If I could travel back in time, knowing what I know now, what would I tell my younger self before I was married?  

Since Josiah asked us to reflect on what we’ve learned in our 16 years of marriage and what we would say to our 23 year-old selves, I think I could write a book about everything I’ve learned!  Some things you can only learn by experience, but I hope some of our experiences can help others in their journeys to learn how to love each other.  I believe the mysterious process of two people becoming one is the greatest gift and greatest challenge in my life….and totally worth it!  I wouldn’t trade the hard  lessons I’ve learned and life I share with Danielle for anything.  Here are a few things I wish I could talk to my 23 year old self about (although I’m not sure he would have listened”.


Make sure to take the plank out of your eye before you help with her specks…


‘Corey, you trust Jesus, but you need to trust Jesus with your wife’s journey with Jesus.  You will fight the temptation to think, ‘if she would change, our relationship would be better.’  This thinking will get you no where.  Yes, your wife has specks in her eye that keep her from seeing clearly, but don’t’ forget your job is to take the plank out of your own eye. Look at yourself first.  Let Jesus’ love and grace into your mistakes.  Take down your defenses.  Be quick to admit your mistakes rather than trying to prove to her why you are good.  The more you try to fix, change, or sermonize yourself or your wife, the farther you get away from the love and intimacy with God and your wife you really want.


Make sure she is with you before you run ahead…


You need to laugh at yourself here.  You actually moved so fast after you said “I do” that you pulled your wife down the aisle.  Don’t believe.  Look at the pictures.  This is something that you will continue to do and I want to urge you to SLOW DOWN.  Enjoy walking with your wife rather than trying to pull her ahead of where she is.  Ask good questions.  Listen.  Get to know her perspective and validate it even when you don’t agree.  Make sure you are really together on big decisions and that she feels the freedom to be completely honest.  It will be way better if you slow down and enjoy the journey together, even when it feels uncomfortably slow.


Be more honest about your vulnerabilities….you will like you more and so will she…


You grew up thinking you needed to be a hero.  You like to care for other people’s problems. I mean, you became a pastor.  Being honest about your own problems, needs, and vulnerabilities is hard for you, but is really important.  You will be tempted to think that she won’t like (or love) you if she really knows the real you.  You need to face the fear that you will be rejected and unwanted if you are really human.  It’s a lie from the pit of hell and on the other side of this lie is the truth of love that only vulnerable humans can share together.  Give her the freedom to be who she really is and trust that she will love you as you stop trying to be her hero.  I mean, there is only one Hero that can meet our deepest needs, and you aren’t Him.


Marriage Advice To Myself | Corey Paxton


Ohhhh!!! This session was fun for so many reasons!! Mostly just because I love this family. I got to photograph Gabi’s wedding after meeting her in Young Life several years ago. This is the third time I have gotten the family behind my camera and so much has changed!! Gabi was pregnant with her second child in this shoot and all her little siblings are growing up and starting to become adults. (AJ is wearing a stunning uniform before deployment in this shoot). One thing has not changed, however. Dana and Amir have raised a family that is full of personality, loves to have fun and is a blast to be around!! Love these guys and gals!!

Here is one of my earliest family photos.


And here is my latest session with them!!






It’s so exciting – looking back while I look forward!! I am currently designing a system to make family portraits easy and fun. Preparing for launch has given me the unique opportunity to review some of my prior work!! I have traditionally only done weddings but would often sneak off to do family portraits for friends or prior clients. What a joy it is to look through these memories!! WOW!! I have gotten to photograph some fabulous humans!! Take a look at just a few of my favorites from the last few years 🙂


June 2022 – Family Favorites!!


If you ever met Chad and Ally, then you know that they are going to both make fabulous parents. This was a very special session for me, getting to work with longtime friends. Chad has the biggest heart in the entire world and you know that his little boy is going to be so blessed by his father‘s full attention, wisdom, and goofy sense of fun. Ally is smart beyond all measure and she cares deeply. No one can stop her when she puts her mind to something and she is always looking for the good in people. This couple is a power couple in all the best ways. And now they get to welcome a little baby boy into the world very soon.

This was also fun because it was my first maternity session. I am in love with these photos–definitely some of my favorite desert photos ever. The session was still full of all the typical joy and laughter I love in an engagement session. But it was also full of really sweet, intimate moments as a loving mom and dad dreamed about their future baby.

Ally and Chad, thank you for letting me capture this special moment in the growing Zimmer family history. You are both amazing and I know the very best adventures lie directly ahead for your wonderful family. Much love to you both!


Desert Maternity | Ally & Chad

Family, Maternity

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