This seems to be a year of former wedding clients reaching out about family portraits, and I'll tell ya what: I'm 100% ok with that. I was basically jumping for joy to hear from Kendall about setting up a session with her extended family while they were vacationing at Camp Michigania on Walloon Lake. I've followed along with Kendall, Tim & Ellie on social media since their wedding and I've also run into her mom at a number of local events here in TC. This family has the best sense of humor and their laugher was contagious. Given they don't all live in the same place anymore you could just tell how precious this time together was. My job is just the best - I'm so grateful for families like these.
Does it get cuter than this?! No, my friends. No it does not.
Julie and John's riverside wedding was one of the first weddings I photographed the year that we moved back to Michigan. 5 years has passed, which is just super hard to believe! Now they have a sweet little one, Jack, and last week we spent a few hours exploring the family property along the AuSable River in Grayling. This property was where Julie and John got married - his family has been coming here for generations. They were so happy to just spend some time doing simple things: playing the banjo, hanging out with cousins, and enjoying Northern Michigan as a family (with their three dogs of course!). It couldn't have been more fun or more special to reconnect with them.
This is the fifth Summer that I have photographed the Martens family. Five years! Wow.
July is busy. The height of the Summer... but it's a perfect time for sessions like this one. We took a cruise on the pontoon and played in the sand. It doesn't get much better. I'm so happy that these beautiful people want me to do this every year. Love you guys!
Three years ago, we were lucky enough to meet Kerry & Nick when we documented their wedding. Fast forward a of couple years and Kerry and I found ourselves at the same retreat for women who own or are starting businesses. We were able to connect on a level outside of the client to wedding vendor relationship - which don't get me wrong, I love and value my relationship with my clients, but it makes me so happy when we can actually become friends and stay in touch. When Kerry reached out to me about taking portraits for their son's one year birthday it felt extra special. Seeing our clients years after their wedding, so happy and in love with their awesome baby is just the best!
I've said it before - but I'll say it again. I love extended family sessions. I love the fact that families are gathering along the shores of Lake Michigan to vacation together. To eat meals together, explore a new area, take in the lake views, enjoy the late sunsets and just be together. Cheers to this beautiful family and their time together.
Last week Michael and I volunteered to photograph a few of the events hosted by Up North Pride: a vigil honoring the lives lost in the Pulse Nightclub shooting, the Pride Ride through downtown Traverse City, and a sign-making party at Rare Bird Brewpub (see the bottom of this post for a full list of contributors!). We were overwhelmed by the love we saw in this small town and felt an immense sense of joy to know that we don't need to live in a large urban area to support Pride. As people who document love for a living, our goal is to make everyone feel welcome and accepted. We want to work with loving people of all religious and non-religious backgrounds, all races, all sizes, all sexual orientations, and all gender identities. The vigil was a somber reminder that we have a long way to go to achieve peace and acceptance as a society, but the pride ride and sign-making party reminded us of how far we have come. It gave us hope for the future. One with more love and more parents teaching their little ones how to keep an open mind and open heart.
Cheers to Up North Pride!
Up North Pride & Michael Chetcuti Foundation // Vigil: Polestar LGBTQ + Community Center of Traverse City, Mom's Demand Action, Blackbird Arts, and New Waves United Church of Christ // Pride Ride: Norte! and One Up Web // Sign-Making Party: Rare Bird Brewpub, Blackbird Arts and Ampersand Lettering Lab
My friend and fellow artist, Dani Knoph, and I had the fantastic opportunity to collaborate with Lee Maynard of Fieldguide Farmhouse to exhibit new works. The new show opened this past weekend and our work will be on display throughout 2018! So if you book a stay at the farmhouse, or participate in any of the fantastic events held there this year, you'll have a chance to view (and even purchase!) the pieces. For more information, check out the links at the bottom of this post.
My oh my what a wonderful world - especially when it's filled with family, love, kids, cupcakes and balloons. We spent a special day with the Schlehuber family and I just love how much energy exists in these photos. The candid nature of a family at home celebrating together makes me very, very, happy.
When your clients request an engagement session at a hidden little lake with special meaning to them, you know it is going to be a good day. Despite some truly bone-chilling temperatures and a fresh dusting of snow from the night before, Erin & Shelby took the rowboat out with their pup. The late fall colors were subtle but beautiful and by the end of the session we were hiking with big fat snowflakes falling around us. It was such a pleasure to work with these two and I'm beyond excited to share a peek of the session here. Also, I have to mention that Shelby is a very talented woodworker - I had the chance to check out her products at Shop & Sip (a holiday craft market), but if you missed it I would highly recommend browsing her website... just in time for the holidays ;) wink wink ;) Cheers to Erin & Shelby!
Briana and Bob have adopted two adorable children, Korben and Autumn, from China. I first met Korben a few years ago now, and at the end of September they were able to make the trip to bring Autumn home. As they are adjusting to life as a family of four, it seemed like a perfect time to document them together. I think the happiness is pretty contagious.
I first met the amazing Grajqevci family two years ago when we did a summer session in Charlevoix. Fast forward to a few days ago... we met up again for an adventurous hike at Brown Bridge Quiet Area - one of my very favorite places in the Grand Traverse region. It also happens to be kind of a hidden gem. Bailey and Visar (along with their two adorable kiddos) have started the Instagram account The Family Travels. This year they are collaborating with a number of photographers around the state of Michigan and I feel so lucky that they asked me to be a part of their project. Follow along to keep up with their adventures! And hopefully this won't be the last time you see them here either ;)
The Gather Series is one of my favorite little slices of Summer. A lavender farm in Northern Michigan, a table full of smiling people, an amazing carefully crafted multi-course meal, and of course wine. Sweetwater Lavender Farm is a magical spot and I feel so lucky every time I get to hang out there. The fantastic vendors for this meal include: Petoskey Cheese, Bear Creek Organic Farm, D&M Design Co., S2S, The Bow Tie Baker. Soak in some Summer vibes....
You might recognize these faces. I've photographed the Martens family every summer for the past four years! I love watching these kiddos grow, and as they get older their interaction is just the cutest. Of course we had to end the session with an ice cream stop - ahhh summer :)
These two are getting married in Northern Michigan next year, but live in Chicago, so we took advantage of our travel schedule to explore some of their favorite local spots! We began the session at The Oyster Bah, one of their favorite places to grab drinks and - of course - oysters. I absolutely loved this, because it's a meaningful location for them and gave us such a unique setting for photos! Cheers to Megan & Evan - can't wait for next year!!
My good friend Dani is a talented artist who just launched her new website! We spent some time in her studio taking behind the scenes photos of her space, artwork and process. I absolutely love her work, and we have two of her prints that we're getting ready to hang in our own home. If you're also a nature and wildlife lover, I highly recommend visiting her site and following along with her on instagram. AND she has a promotion going on right now for Father's Day - check it out!!
Our Southern Road trip at the end of March took us all the way to the Keys for some diving. If you follow along with us on Instagram you may have already seen some sneak peeks ;) We found a perfect Airbnb in Islamorada and spent three days diving through Islamorada Dive Center. It was a greatly needed getaway for us, with just the right blend of relaxation and adventure. Below are a handful of our favorite shots.
We've been a bit absent from the blog for a while! That tends to happen as we wrap up our wedding season and move into a different phase of our work... this Winter we have stayed pretty dang busy though! We're communicating with 2017 and 2018 clients, wrapping up our remaining videography projects of 2016, creating new pieces of artwork, painting and organizing our home/office/studio spaces, generally scheming about the future, and working on editorial projects! For this particular project in the February issue of Traverse Magazine, I had the great opportunity to photograph dishes by Chef Myles Anton of Trattoria Stella (which just happened to be named the most romantic restaurant in Michigan by USA Today). I wanted to share the magazine spreads as well as a few outtakes. There's nothing like cooking in cast iron in the cold months - yum.
I have been friends with Courtney since the fourth grade - the days of juggling soccer balls in the basement and putting on impromptu fashion shows down the hallways. Being able to watch her begin this new phase of life called motherhood, fills me with happiness. Seriously, pregnancy really suits her. I feel honored to capture this incredibly special part of her life. Photographing people makes me feel connected to them and if I already feel connected, it makes that feeling even richer. I love you Courta.
Liam is a senior in high school?! Whaaaaa? When did that happen?! It is still crazy to me, and I can't get over it. Liam is my cousin's son... I still remember carrying him around places, and now he's probably a foot taller than me. Anyway, he's an awesome human, and I'm so happy that I got an excuse to hang in Allen Park & Detroit with one of my favorite families. Love you guys and cheers to Liam, 2017!
Cedar Creek Interiors has moved from Traverse City to Elk Rapids and their new store front and design studio is absolutely gorgeous. Kim from Cedar Creek and Deb from LaLa Projects asked me to help capture the new space for their website and it was my pleasure. Here are a few shots from a great afternoon spent oogling beautiful home goods!