Lake Michigan

THE LOVE FAMILY // FAMILY PORTRAITS ON THE BEACH IN EMPIRE, MICHIGAN

 

I seriously look forward to seeing these guys every year and watching Margot grow! I had the pleasure of documenting Leslie & Bob’s wedding and we did a family session together last Summer when Margot was teeny tiny! Now she’s exploring, standing, rock collecting, and then of course trying to eat the sand - which is a VERY common occurrence during family portrait sessions with little ones ;) I’m so happy that I get the opportunity to stay connected with my clients. I’ve written this before, but it’s one of my very favorite parts of this work. Cheers to the Love family!

 

THE MORRICE FAMILY // NORTHPORT MICHIGAN FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER

 

Talk about a beautiful family! These four are super fun to photograph and just as fun to be around. I had such a great time up in Northport last week capturing a little slice of their vacation. Check out the images below for major #hairgoals. Thanks for inviting me you guys!!

 

COURTNEY & MARK // AN INTIMATE BEACH WEDDING IN NORTHERN MICHIGAN

 

It’s hard to find the right words sometimes. This day meant a lot to me for many reasons. It was a small wedding, which means that as a photographer you don’t blend into the background quite as much as you can at a larger wedding. You feel much more aware of the fact that you are a part of the day and not simply an outside photographer brought in to capture the events. I always feel privileged to witness each wedding we photograph, but sometimes the size of the guest list does have a huge impact on how the wedding feels. For Courtney & Mark I truly believe that this feeling was a perfect choice - it felt so sincere and meaningful and filled with family. It felt significant and rich. It felt like bright sun, and blue water, and colorful flowers. It felt like a deep commitment. It also felt extra special for me because I grew up in Ann Arbor, just a short drive, or run, or bike ride away from Courtney - and we’ve been friends since we could count our age on our hands. My heart fills up with days like this. I am SO happy for this family and I’m beyond happy to share this preview today!

Hair Stylist: Michael Moore

Florist: Jenna at Victoria’s Floral Design

Caterer: Mission Table

Cake/Dessert: Rumi’s Passion (Plymouth) and Juicy Kitchen (Ann Arbor)

Bride’s attire: David’s Bridal, designed by Oleg Cassini

Groom’s attire: Men’s Wearhouse, designed by Joseph Abboud

 

THE RUBIN FAMILY // A SUMMER FAMILY PORTRAIT SESSION ON THE BEACH IN NORTHERN MICHIGAN

 

The longer I have been a wedding photographer, the more I have come to realize that I’m really here for the marriage. I’ve talked about this many times, but as much as I love the details and the party and the flowers, I love the couple more. I love that they’re making an enormous commitment to each other. I love their relationship with their family and friends. I love that they’re saying “yep, I realize that we both have flaws but we’re gonna stick together on this ride”. I just love that I get to play a small part in capturing that. And ya wanna know the best part of reframing my job as a “marriage photographer”? I get to work with people for years. Sometimes I get the privilege of being asked to photograph their life again. At a sibling's wedding. For an updated couples session. Or for a baby. Kathy & Simon, I am SO happy that I got to see you and meet sweet Brian. This session made my heart so happy - I am very grateful. Cheers to this random Tuesday!

 

BREANNA & LUCAS // SPRING WEDDING AT THE HOMESTEAD // GLEN ARBOR, MI

 

We kicked off our 2019 wedding season in such a wonderful way with Breanna and Lucas. It never ceases to amaze me that clients open their lives to us with so much sincerity and generosity. It is truly a privilege to do this work. Breanna and Lucas are high school sweethearts! Each of them are also the youngest sibling in their family. With all of the other siblings already being married, there was such a palpable emotion from the families. It was truly sweet to witness. The rain held off, and with a bit of misty weather coming in and out, Bre and Lucas were able to say their vows at the top of the chairlift at The Homestead with gorgeous Lake Michigan views. The whole day was full of big smiles and the laughter only continued with a great party and some truly memorable dance performances ;) Cheers to Breanna & Lucas!

Venue: The Homestead, Hair Stylist: Amanda McFarland, Officiant: Crystal Yarlott, Florist: Field of Flowers North, Cake: Top Tier Cakery, DJ: Double Trouble DJ’s, Bride’s attire: Piera’s Bridal, Groom’s attire: Men’s Wearhouse

 

SARAH & TRAVIS // WINTER ENGAGEMENT PHOTOGRAPHY // EMPIRE, MI

 

If I have clients as fun loving and awesome as Sarah and Travis for the rest of my days I will be one happy camper. They brought a 6 pack of Stella, their crazy lovable pup (also named Stella), and multiple hat options to their engagement session. We hiked the Empire Bluff Trail and headed down to the beach where the ice formations were just unbelievable! It was brutally cold, but the sun came out giving us some gorgeous light to work with. I certainly can’t complain. Cheers to Sarah & Travis!

 

SUMMER CAMPING WITH FRIENDS IN NORTHERN MICHIGAN // FROM THE ARCHIVES

 

If you are really, really, lucky you will have a couple friends who have been there for your whole life. Who you played power rangers with. Who you spent months with in the summer living out of your bathing suits and throwing fishing lines over the side of old pontoon boats. They grew up with you and witnessed your adolescent shenanigans and still love you. They aggressively rooted for college sports with you. And then when everyone had graduated from college and moved onto other adventures, and moved long distances, there was always that phone call, that random text, that email, just checking in. I’m so so grateful to have a couple of these people in my life, and now we’re all “grown up” and either married or about to be married.

Even though we don’t always see each other as much as we might like, when we are together it’s pretty special. Last Summer we found one weekend that worked for all of our schedules. We went camping and made meals over the fire. We passed around bottles of beer and bubbly. We ate snacks on the beach and fell asleep in the sand. I almost got hit in the face with a frisbee - instead I ended up with a welt on my collarbone. We all laughed so hard we cried. We took a kayak out into Lake Michigan and the early Summer water was crystal clear. We watched the sunset and then made our way back to the fire. The best part? We were unplugged. If you only have a couple days out of the year to spend uninterrupted with some of your favorite people, I highly, highly, recommend doing something like this. Find a place where your phones don’t work - it will be great.

 

2018 WEDDING PORTRAIT HIGHLIGHTS // NORTHERN MICHIGAN & MIDWEST WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

 

Forget everything else. Forget the discussions about money, family dynamics, and logistics. It’s hard, I know. But try for a minute. Forget the decor, the menu, the venue. Forget the magazines and blogs (ironic, I know, since this is a blog post). Definitely forget the awards, and features, and pins, and posts. Take everything away and your wedding is about your marriage. Your marriage is about you and your partner. This is where the magic in the portraits live.

These are the amazing partnerships we photographed last year.

We worked with an unbelievable number of talented people this year. I hope I’m not missing anyone!

Venues: The Inn at Bay Harbor, Shanahan’s Barn, Ciccone Vineyard, Starry Night Barn & Studios, Brengman Brothers Winery, Sojourn Lakeside Resort, The Garvey Family Wedding Barn, The Cathedral Barn, Aurora Cellars , Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Ecco Event Space, Pierce Stocking Drive, Sleder's Family Tavern, Blue Bridge Event Center, Bay Harbor Yacht Club

Churches:  St. Joseph Catholic Church, St. Mary's of Lake Leelanau, St. Francis, St. Francis Xavier

Officiants: Crystal Yarlott, Weddings Your Way

Wedding Planning, Coordination and Design: Sincerely, Ginger Weddings, Sunrise to Sunset, Tableau Events, Every Little Detail 

Prep Locations: Hotel Indigo, Condos at Grand Traverse Resort, Brys Estate, Chateau Chantal, The Westin Michigan Avenue, Holiday Inn West Bay Beach

Hair & Makeup: M.O. Hair & Beauty, OnSite Bridal , M Salon, Simplicity Hair & Makeup Studio, Pavlova Salon & Spa, Bliss Salon, Signature Salon TC, Brittany, Elegant Bridal Designs, Jess Klaas, Mario Tricoci, Lysette Nazworth, Northern Michigan Beauty

Floral Design: Sweetwater Floral, Bloom Floral Design, Field of Flowers North, Hooper Farm & Gardens, Lilies of the Alley, Martin's Flowers on Center, Premier Floral Design, Omena Cut Flowers, Blue Bridge Floral

Decor & Rentals: 307 Events, Serradella Vintage, Monstrey MacDonald, La Tavola, Sweet Seat Chair Covers, Gigi and LaClede, Special Occasions West, Taylor Rental

Stationary, Calligraphy, & Signage: Pop Fizz Klink, Minted, Kelsey Malie Calligraphy, Holly Thomas Design, Leah Moss, Silver Fox Calligraphy

Favors: A Signature Welcome

Transportation: Grand Traverse Tours, Great Lakes Party Bus, Northern Michigan Trolley, Blue Lakes By The Bay, Bay to Bay Shuttle, Affordable Limo

Catering: The Boathouse, Catering by Kelly’s , Uptown Catering, Chef’s Pride, Grand Traverse Resort, Dawn Fresh Catering, Folgarelli's, Bayside Gatherings, Jewell Events Catering, Grandview Catering

Cakes & Desserts: Simply Sweet by Jessica, Top Tier Cakery, Sweet Tartlette, Bella e Dolce , Grand Traverse Pie Co. , Tom's Mom's Cookies, Aunt B's Cakes & Desserts

Donuts: Gallagher’s, Stan's Donuts

Videographers: Mandie Forbes

Photo Booth: Up North Photo Booth, Motion Booth

DJs or Bands: 2Bays DJs, Bugbee’s DJ Plus, Rusch Entertainment, Jump Start DJs, Soul Xpress, Blue Water Kings Band, Cage & Aquarium, Brena Band, Northern DJ Connection, Simone Vitale Band 

Bride attire: Allure Bridal, BHLDN, Antonio's Bridal, Juri by Enzoani, Nancy's Bridal, Barb's Bridal, The Gown Shop, Modern Trousseau, Bianka Bridal, Renee Austin

Groom attire: Livonia Tayloring, Men's Warehouse, Pierre’s, Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Generation Tux

Photo Assistance: Chelsey Granger, Lindsey Billings, Cathy Fitz, Josh Hartman, Hallie Kohler

Video Assistance: Sawyer Harris

 

RAY & MIKE // SLEEPING BEAR DUNES WINTER ENGAGEMENT PHOTOGRAPHY

 

Last week Ray and Mike headed to Northern Michigan for a little getaway and I was thrilled that the timing worked out so that I could join them for a photo session! The weather, as always, was unpredictable and we ended up with a cold day that felt absolutely frigid the moment the wind touched you. When I stepped out of my car at the beach in Glen Haven, the wind was whipping up huge icy blue waves and I was a bit worried. Despite conditions that make you want to curl up on the couch under a blanket, Ray and Mike were absolutely up for the adventure. Those blues of Lake Michigan came through, we walked through green forests with fat snowflakes coming down, and explored the vast expanse of sand at the dune climb - Northern Michigan’s color palette really came through for us. But the most important part was, of course, Ray and Mike. Their sense of humor and laughter was contagious. We were chatting and laughing as we walked down trails and hopped back in cars to warm up. Their smiles stole the show and I had an absolute blast. Thank you Ray and Mike for an awesome afternoon!

 

THE MILLER FAMILY // TRAVERSE CITY FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER

 

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.

 

MATT & DAWN // MACKINAC ISLAND PROPOSAL AND ENGAGEMENT SESSION

 

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!

 

THE DONAHUE & LOVE FAMILY // OLD MISSION PENINSULA FAMILY PORTRAITS

 

Leslie & Bob are former wedding clients of ours and so I was super excited to hear from Leslie about a family trip they had planned in Northern Michigan!  They were coming up north with her brother and sister-in-law whose baby was born within months of their new little one.  Bob also proposed to Leslie at the Old Mission Lighthouse, so that made these photos extra special.  What a sweet time for this family.  I was honored to capture some shots for them!

 

CAROLYN & DAN // LEELANAU COUNTY WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY // AURORA CELLARS

 

As I was sorting through Carolyn & Dan's wedding photos I was really struck by two things.  First was of course the natural beauty of Northern Michigan and the striking portraits we were able to take of the two of them in that landscape.  But the second thing I was really struck by was the number of great "in between" moments that I wanted to include in this preview.  The photos that probably won't be the hang-on-the-wall or "frame-worthy" photos, but are priceless none the less.  No, you probably won't frame the photo of your parents making ham sandwiches and hummus roll-ups for the wedding party, but that moment is special and it's definitely worth documenting.  I never want to be so caught up with seeking "perfection" that I miss moments like those.  Cheers to Carolyn & Dan!  What an absolutely spectacular wedding day.

Venue: Aurora Cellars // Ceremony: St. Mary's of Lake Leelanau // Hair & Makeup: Memorable Occasions // Florist: Premier Floral Design // Transportation: Great Lakes Party Bus // Caterer: Bayside Gatherings // Dessert: Grand Traverse Pie Co. // DJ: 2 Bays DJs // Bride's attire: Bianka Bridal // Groom's attire: Calvin Klein

 

THE COLLA FAMILY // HARBOR SPRINGS FAMILY PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHER

 

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.