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 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.
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 ;)
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 :)
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!
I'll say this over and over again - I highly encourage extended families to invite a photographer to document them on vacation for a few hours. I'm so happy that the Goldsmith family invited me to do just that. It took a lot of clapping and silly faces from Grandma to get little Shay to smile, but I think the pictures of her sweet toothy grin made it totally worth it :) Thanks for having me you guys, it was truly a pleasure!
Our friends Rich & Holly are parents! What?! We are so happy that we were able to meet baby Olivia on our last trip out to California. Huge congrats to this sweet family - we love you guys.
Meet Ken, Amy, Zach and Ian. This sweet, sweet family invited me to their home last weekend to take family portraits. We spent time playing, reading books (complete with farm animal noises), watching 2 week old Ian sleep, and we even had a chance to bring their pup in for a few shots. It was truly a pleasure.
You may recognize some familiar faces here... The Martens clan is pretty much an extension of my family and I have done a few sessions for them at this point (Nick's brother Ted and his family were featured earlier this summer on the blog!). This time we headed to Barton Pond in Ann Arbor to capture these two heart-melting boys as they explored the river, fields, woods and falling leaves. I just love being able to document these simple moments and I hope they don't get sick of me always pointing a camera in their adorable faces!
This family is gorgeous. Both inside and out. I'm really not exaggerating - Bailey and Visar are so gentle and loving and attentive with their two little kiddos. It was truly a special session. The forecast called for rain coming in and out all day, but we had an amazing window right around sunset that was truly unique and created some amazing stormy cloud formations over lake Michigan. Living up here and taking pictures makes me oh so happy!
Alex is our adorable niece. While she was here visiting us in July, I snapped a few frames with my Pentax K1000 and I am loving how they came out. Mike also captured some great shots on the boat which we will share soon with a collection of other summer film candids!
Extended family portrait sessions are the best. I love when grandparents, kids and grandkids are all hanging out together enjoying a Northern Michigan summer. Wildflowers, toads, suckers, play dough pancakes, kites, waves, and dune jumping all made an appearance with a lot of love mixed in.
The Martens are close family friends and I love being able to capture moments like this as Grace grows! The spontaneous, in-between moments of sessions like this are the best. It's not always easy to get a two year old to follow instructions perfectly and look directly into the camera with a sweet smile, but honestly most parents I have worked with wouldn't call that typical toddler behavior. Who wants to do that when there are snacks, playgrounds, the beach, and dandelions? I hope these shots genuinely reflect the beautifully curious, goofy, and cautiously independent two-year-old Grace. Cheers to childhood! xoxo