Claire recently moved back to Traverse City with her pup, Bowser, and she asked if I might be willing to take some photos of them near the cabin that she lovingly called her dad’s “project cabin”. Just say the words “project cabin” and I’m there. Seriously. It’s kind of my dream to build a rustic cabin retreat in the woods and this one is a little beauty. Claire and I hiked with Bowser to her favorite part of the woods near the property. A beautiful Aspen forest covered in fresh snow. Bowser was beyond excited to be outside exploring and we did the very best we could to get portraits of him in between watching him dive under branches and then untangling him. Once we made our way back to the cabin we enjoyed the fire, chatted with Claire’s wonderful parents, and changed Bowser into an adorable new sweater. I’m pretty sure this is Northern Living at it’s finest.
When my friend Julie became a mom she was looking for quick, healthy, meal options that didn’t contain any artificial sweeteners or additives. She began making smoothies and pretty soon the idea for her amazing company, The Purple Beet, was born. Now, alongside her husband Ryan and two sweet kiddos, Julie offers smoothie packages that contain only real ingredients. All you have to do is blend them with one cup of a liquid of your choice and that’s it. And there is no ice required because the packages come to you frozen! You can sign up for a smoothie subscription on the website! So when Julie asked me about collaborating with her I was super excited. I get to play with fruits and vegetables and sample 8 different smoothie flavors?! Yes please. We brainstormed the look we were going for, Julie & Ryan created a custom backdrop for this shoot, and then we spent hours carefully styling the ingredients that go into each smoothie recipe. It was so bright and colorful and I always love playing with food ;)
We fit Megan & Mike’s session into this perfect pocket of time - We were able to capture tons of late fall color before all of the leaves fell, as well as the icy blues of Lake Michigan. Mike proposed to Megan out at Empire Bluff, so it was extra special for them to have their photos taken here. To me it doesn’t get much better than hiking around this magical landscape with clients. Especially clients who are outdoorsy, and fun, and make the occasional goofy face at each other. AND I’m obsessed with Megan’s sweater poncho, so we’re basically destined to be best friends. I hope you’re enjoying this late Fall season as much as I am. Stay cozy my friends.
I’ll never get over this wedding. What an amazing day. We can’t imagine a more amazing way to wrap up our 2018 wedding season! The weather was something else - I don’t want to make this entire post about the weather, so let’s just get that out of the way first. We had rain that turned into snow. Yes, snow. We had fall colors and bitter temperatures. We had crazy wind. The sun came out like a blinding force and then hid again behind the clouds. For a couple of minutes there was a neon pink sunset that quickly left us and turned into a blizzard and a dusting of snow that actually stuck to the ground. So yes, it was a pretty unbelievable day weather-wise. But Jess and Stef handled it with humor - they laughed it off and even embraced it. I have to say, their ceremony in the barn turned into a warm and cozy intimate gathering as a result. Their vows were just filled to the brim with appreciation for each other, with emotion, with love. Their pup, Champ, made an appearance. Their Fall decor, and floral, and hand lettering, and desserts were on point. At the end of Stef’s dance with her dad, she brought her mom in. At the end of Jess’s dance with her dad, she brought out mitts for some catch. Everything was incredibly special and personal. I could go on and on, but I’ll let you check out the preview instead. Stef & Jess - thank you and congratulations!!
Venue: Ciccone Vineyard // Hair & Makeup: Simplicity Hair & Makeup Studio // Floral Design: Field of Flowers North // Calligraphy & Signage: Pop Fizz Klink // Transportation: Grand Traverse Tours // Catering: Uptown Catering // Cake: Top Tier Cakery // DJ: 2Bays DJs // Attire & accessories: David’s Bridal, Bombshell Bridal Boutique, Nike
Time passes so quickly, which is one of the main reasons I find so much meaning in being a photographer. I can’t encourage you enough to capture your life as it is right now. There will never be a “perfect” moment - your haircut might not look the way you want it to, you might question your outfit choices, your kid might not behave exactly how you hoped they would, or maybe you’re thinking that only people with kids take family portraits. Nope - c’mon this is real life. Nothing is ever going to be “perfect”, but I hope that you come away from your session with at least a handful of images (hopefully more) that make you feel like life is pretty freaking awesome.
Despite being chilly and windy, it doesn’t get much better than this. The Miller Family and I definitely took advantage of the Fall sunshine. I had a great time photographing this beautiful and super sweet family out on Old Mission peninsula last week.
Talk about a vibrant session! Looking through these images I still can’t quite get over just how amazing the Fall color was for this shoot! Northern Michigan has a special meaning for Lindsey and Brad which is why they have decided to get married up here next year. But it’s also why they planned a trip last weekend to scout the very best Fall colors for themselves! On Saturday while we were photographing a wedding, they took the time to drive around and find areas where the leaves were especially bright and close to the ground. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to help with location scouting and suggestions, but when you have an idea please let me know! I’m always excited to explore a new area during one of the most amazing times of the year. Cheers to Lindsey & Brad!
Fall is pure magic. When the hills behind your ceremony site are every single shade of orange, and yellow, and red, well that’s the stuff dreams are made of. Laura & Zack have been so fun to work with. We were able to include their dogs in their Fall engagement session last year, and ever since meeting them I have been truly looking forward to this day. P.S. When you have a separate vodka bar covered in the Polish flag, hard candies, and old family photographs you’re definitely speaking my language. As October comes to a close, I have just sincerely been filled with so much gratitude. Not only for these two amazing people, but for all of the couples who have trusted us this year. I can confidently say that I am so grateful to be a part of each and every wedding we document. Sometimes I’m still completely blown away by that honor. Cheers to Zack & Laura - Na Zdrowie!
Venue: Starry Night Barn & Studios // Hair & Makeup: Signature Salon TC // Bouquet/Floral: Sweetwater Floral // Drapery: Sweet Seat Chair Covers // Catering: Uptown Catering // Cake: Top Tier Cakery // Donuts: Gallagher’s // Videographer: Mandie Forbes // DJ: Rusch Entertainment // Bride attire: Allure Bridal // Groom attire: Livonia Tayloring
My dear friend Courtney has met a wonderful man, Mark. My heart is so full seeing how happy they are together. I made a quick trip down to Ann Arbor last week so that I could capture some Fall engagement photos for them. After the shoot was finished I got a text from Courtney that said, “I’m a little overwhelmed with my beautiful life/family/friends right now. So spectacular!”. This means everything to me. If my images can play a small part in helping people feel gratitude for their life, to feel thankful and present in the moment, then I’m doing something right. I also hope that as sweet Thea grows, these photos will be a little reminder of just how loved she is. Courta - I’m honored to photograph your beautiful life. I CAN’T WAIT for the wedding.
“And my arms need someone
Someone to enfold
To keep me warm when Mondays and Tuesdays grow cold
Love for all my life, to have and to hold
I want a Sunday kind of love”
Sing it Etta. That song has been on repeat for me lately. I’ve been spending a lot of Sundays these days photographing couples and it makes me oh so happy. Happy Sunday and cheers to Lisa & Greg!
The Lammers family has truly welcomed us into their lives over the past year and a half - we’ve had the honor of photographing the weddings of three sisters: Emily, Anna, and now Claire. We can’t speak highly enough about this family. We recognized so many faces at this wedding that at the end of the night I felt like we were hugging half of the guests goodbye. Now - Claire & Jake. What a special relationship they have. It was so apparent from the first look, to the moment they realized they had both gifted each other Shinola watches, to the walk down the aisle, to the ceremony, to the way they interacted with their family and friends. All of it was special and genuine and sincere. We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to document this day… I could go on and on. Instead I’ll just let you get to the preview. Cheers to Claire & Jake!
My friend Julie is building a really amazing business - with the help of her whole family ;) The Purple Beet is a company built to make sure you have quick, easy and healthy food options ready to go at a moments notice. I am especially excited about her new smoothie subscription service that allows you to select your favorite smoothie flavors and have them delivered to your door. Keep them in the freezer until you are ready to go. I can’t wait to make this a part of my routine and you should definitely check it out. We’ll be working with Julie and her family again in the coming months and I can’t wait to share more!
This sweet family has to move away from Northern Michigan for what will - hopefully - only be a short amount of time. Before they left, they wanted to fit in a few family portraits and I was so happy I could work with them for this quick mini session in Petoskey. I hope you hurry back soon McPhee family! xo
Happy Monday! Last week I went to Petoskey to meet up with a group of awesome women! Savannah is the face behind Nakina Artistry, soon to become Nakina & Ko. She creates magic with hair and makeup, but she also has big plans for a rebrand which will include more lifestyle content in the future. You’ll just have to follow along with Sav to stay in the loop! ;)
On Saturday Michael and I headed to Mackinac Island to document a surprise proposal - and then engagement session. It was so special and sweet, and we also got super into pretending to be covert spies as we hid microphones and tried not to be obvious while pretending to nonchalantly photograph and film the grounds of Mission Point Resort. Matt and Dawn were wonderful and after the proposal we spent some time with them exploring Mackinac Island on a moody early Fall day. I have to say, if you’re considering a trip to the Island, this time of year is a great time to go. It was so beautiful and way more laid back than it is in the height of Summer. Congratulations Matt & Dawn!
Special thanks to Mission Point Resort for advice and assistance in coordinating Matt’s proposal!
Maryssa & Colin’s engagement session was a perfect little tour of the Suttons Bay area. We strolled through the vines and drank wine. We sampled cider and checked out all of the large crates of apples early Fall is delivering. We headed to the beach, enjoyed the breeze and the evening light. They personalized the locations so that it would truly feel like a session about them and for them. I had a great time you two and can’t wait for the big day!
When we first met with Katie and Matt over coffee our meeting ran late because we were laughing so much. We knew this was going to be a great day, but it truly exceeded our expectations. There was a lot of laughing and a lot of crying. Katie’s niece kept walking around the room singing “Jelly Beans!” while Katie was putting on her dress: Laughs. They chose to have a personal and private vow reading before their ceremony: Tears and laughs. Matt’s dad officiated the most beautiful, sincere, and heartfelt ceremony: Tears. Then, at the very end he accidentally announced them as husband and wife using Katie’s last name: Laughs. The best men and maid of honor tore it up with their speeches: Mostly laughs with a few tears mixed in. Instead of a bouquet toss, Katie asked all the women present, especially her mom, to join her for a dance with the most beautiful speech: Tears (mostly from me behind my camera). And at the end of the night, Matt played piano and sang a song to his wife for the first time: all the feels. We are so happy for these two and feel deeply, deeply honored that we had the chance to document this day.
Prep Locations: Hotel Indigo & Private Residence // Venue: Brengman Brothers Winery // Day of Coordination: Kathleen Egan // Hair & Makeup: Melissa Shelcusky // Paper & Calligraphy: Minted & Abigail Whitford // Floral Design: Lilies of the Alley // Catering: Catering by Kelly’s // Cake & Cupcakes: Sweet Tartlette // DJ: Bugbee’s DJ Plus // Bride’s attire: BHLDN // Groom’s attire: Pierre’s // Photo Assistance: Chelsey Granger // Video by us, with assistance from: Sawyer Harris
The September weather was perfect. The bride and groom were surrounded by an overwhelming amount of love. The bride brought whiskey shots to their first look by Lake Michigan. The vows were heartfelt and real. The ceremony was officiated by the bride’s brother in law. The flowers were colorful. The youngest flower girl stopped to pick up rocks on her way down the aisle. Loved ones lost were memorialized with the most beautiful tributes. Sometimes when I can’t quite find the words to summarize a wedding I make a list like this, and I think I’ll just keep this post this way. Cheers to Xan and Dan! P.S. Their nieces and nephews were a very important part of the day and they are amazing little humans so they make a significant appearance in this post!
Prep Location: The Inn at Bay Harbor // Venue: Shanahan’s Barn // Wedding Planning, Coordination and Design: Sincerely, Ginger Weddings // Hair & Makeup: M.O. Hair & Beauty // Decor & Rentals: 307 Events, Serradella Vintage, Monstrey MacDonald // Catering: Catering by Kelly’s // Dessert: Simply Sweet by Jessica // Entertainment: Blue Water Kings Band
Wedding Design, Planning & Coordination: Tableau Events // Hair & Makeup: Northern Michigan Beauty // Florist: Sweetwater Floral // Papery Design & Event Branding: Tableau Events // Calligraphy: Leah Moss // Prep Locations: Private Residence & The Inn at Bay Harbor // Church: St. Francis Xavier // Venue & Catering: Bay Harbor Yacht Club // Dessert: Simply Sweet by Jessica // Transportation: Bay to Bay Shuttle & Affordable Limo // Band: Simone Vitale Band // Photography Assistance: Chelsey Granger // Videography Assistance: Sawyer Harris // Check out Megan & Evan’s wedding photography, here.
For years I have been thinking about what our roles are as wedding photographers and I've come to a lot of conclusions about what I feel is truly important. Somehow, the amazing folks over at We Are The Parsons (a tremendously inspiring husband and wife photography team) are writing about many of the same things that I've been thinking. There have been times when I feel like they're reading my mind - and then taking those thoughts even one step further. Ideas about letting go of a rigid "shot list" and instead allowing yourself to truly watch what is happening in front of you. Then capture that. The moments that you let unfold before you will inevitably be the most realistic. The way a dad looks at his daughter. The ring bearer's pouty face before portraits and then a complete 180 degree mood change as he RUNS down the aisle during the processional with a huge smile on his face. An offering of flowers at the beginning of the ceremony to honor those family members who are no longer physically present. Feeding your new mother-in-law a bite of your wedding cake after you cut it. Does this mean I'm never going to pose anyone ever again? Absolutely not. BUT, it helps to have this refreshing perspective about shooting. That you are doing it for a specific group of people each weekend. They are all unique. Don't follow the same "rules" every time. Liz and Brian are awesome. Their family is awesome. I hope we captured some images that could only have happened with this group. Cheers!
August was a full month for us and now it's hard to believe that September is here already! On the very last day of the month - in between unpredictable late Summer weather - I fit in an engagement session with Amelia and Chris while they were in town visiting from the East Coast. I'm so glad we could make it happen! They were hoping to sun and water views. Check and check. Cheers to you two! Meeting our 2019 couples always makes me excited for what's ahead.