documentary style

OLIVIA + ABDOULAYE // A WOODLAND ELOPEMENT IN NORTHERN MICHIGAN

 

This is not the first time that I’ve written about this, but I’ll say it again. I love when couples create a wedding for themselves. They create it to be about the two of them and who they are as a couple. They incorporate the traditions that they want to, let other ones go, and build new ones together. This wedding was a creative expression of who Olivia & Abdoulaye are and I couldn’t love it more. It was truly an honor to be a part of the small group that ventured into Hartwick Pines last Tuesday.

Tuesday Afternoon by The Moody Blues played as Olivia & Abdoulaye walked through the woods to their ceremony site so I’ll just leave a snippet of lyrics here for you before you see what we captured:

Tuesday afternoon
I'm just beginning to see
Now I'm on my way
It doesn't matter to me
Chasing the clouds away

Something calls to me
The trees are drawing me near
I've got to find out why
Those gentle voices I hear
Explain it all with a sigh

I'm looking at myself, reflections of my mind
It's just the kind of day to leave myself behind
So gently swaying through the fairy-land of love
If you'll just come with me you'll see the beauty of

Tuesday afternoon
Tuesday afternoon

 

AN EXTENDED FAMILY PORTRAIT SESSION ON SPIDER LAKE // TRAVERSE CITY, MI

 

It can be hard to get grown up siblings together often. I know that from personal experience with our own family. So when you do have that rare family vacation where everyone is together: the grandparents, parents + kids, it’s a prime time to get some photos taken. I love doing this for families and this group was absolutely wonderful. It was a super playful session with superhero poses, marshmallow mouths, and silly faces and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Thanks for having me you guys!

 

LISA & GREG // A SUMMER WEDDING AT SONSHINE BARN IN GAYLORD MICHIGAN

 

It might rain on your wedding day, and if it does, I hope that you react with as much grace as Lisa and Greg did. Rain is not what anyone plans or hopes for, but it’s a lot like life. Things are thrown at you and you figure out how to make magical things happen anyway. You make the best of it - and let me tell you - Lisa and Greg truly made the best of it. I also don’t want the lasting memories of this day to be about the weather. Because this day was about SO MUCH MORE than the weather. The day was about this amazing couple. Their commitment to each other, and their friends and family who all gathered together in a beautiful barn to celebrate them. After the storm had passed, and they were officially married, they walked together into the fields on this beautiful property and took it all in. It was their best day ever. And I know for sure because at the end of the night after toasts and dancing and laughing, Lisa told me that it was. Cheers you guys!

Venue: Sonshine Barn Wedding & Event Center

Wedding Coordinator: Amber with Sonshine Barn

Hair & Makeup: M.O. Hair & Beauty

Florist: Flowers from TC farmers market.  Arrangements put together by Flowers by Evelyn.

Rentals: Sonshine Barn

Caterer: BJ’s Catering

Dessert: Strictly Sweets

DJ: Rusch Entertainment

Bride’s attire: Memories Bridal

Groom’s attire: Macy’s

 

AN EXTENDED FAMILY PORTRAIT SESSION ON INTERMEDIATE LAKE // NORTHERN MICHIGAN

 

It’s Summer folks! Find some time to have breakfast & coffee on the deck or the lawn. Clink those coffee mugs. Grab a pool noodle. Throw down a blanket. Watch your kids dance to their favorite songs. Make silly faces. Cool off in the water. Enjoy the sun. Be together. I’m so happy that I had the opportunity to meet this awesome family and capture them doing just that! Thanks guys, I had so much fun!!

 

EXTENDED FAMILY PORTRAITS AT CAMP MICHIGANIA // WALLOON LAKE, MICHIGAN

 

I have way too much fun photographing this family. You may have seen them before… and they are all awesome. This year was no exception. You can’t go wrong on the grounds of Camp Michigania. The goofing, laughing, and playing was top notch and the soft serve game was strong. I feel lucky to have such amazing friend-clients. Cheers to another Summer session focused on what’s important: family. I love you guys!

 

ALLISON & RAY // A JULY WEDDING ON HIGGINS LAKE // ROSCOMMON, MICHIGAN

 

On a Tuesday in July, Allison & Ray tied the knot. They stood on top of a friend’s boathouse overlooking Higgins Lake and read vows and exchanged rings. And laughed. And cried. They made Ray’s daughter, Eleanor, a critical part of their day. They danced and joked together. They remembered Ray’s dad in a powerful way by placing his flag and portrait on the front row of ceremony chairs. Friends surprised them and decorated the van with “just married” chalk paint and streamers. They drank and danced the night away. I’ve been trying to write about this day and coming up short. I haven’t been able to find the right words, but I keep coming back to this: This day felt real. This was truly Allison & Ray’s wedding. It’s hard to explain. There is no way this wedding could have been for anyone else. It was 100% them. It was filled with their personality and I am filled with gratitude because I had the opportunity to tell this story. Cheers!

 

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 ZEMAITIS FAMILY // NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHY SESSION // ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN

 

Kirsten & Dan’s wedding was one of the first weddings we documented when we moved back to Michigan. And it’s not an understatement to say that their wedding seriously helped jump start our business. Their group of friends are all AMAZING people and we have been lucky enough to work with many of them. It has been so great to stay in touch with Kirsten and Dan over the years, but nothing made me happier than being able to photograph them again. This time, as a family of three! They recently welcomed Zoey, and my oh my, what a sweetheart she is.

Zemaitis Fam, Thank you, thank you, thank you, for welcoming me into your home and being amazing clients and friends. We are so grateful for you!!!

 

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!

 

KARIN & NATE // A BACKYARD WEDDING IN WATERFORD, MICHIGAN

 

It’s no secret that a backyard wedding is one of my favorite venues. There are a million reasons why it’s not always possible or practical, but there is just something so personal about opening up a family home to all of your wedding guests. Karin’s parents were able to do just that and it was really special. After the wedding ceremony at Karin & Nate’s church, everyone returned to the family home where they personally greeted every guest as they entered the door. This little gesture felt very symbolic of their new life as a married couple and the close knit group enjoyed an awesome celebration throughout the afternoon and evening with beautiful lake views. The weather came through for us with some awesome golden light. The party had bbq, garden inspired centerpieces, cupcakes, donuts, belly laughs, tears, and lots of joy. Cheers to Karin & Nate!

Venue: Woodside Bible Church & Private Residence

Day of Coordination: Purple Clover Events

Make-up artist: Hannah Price Beauty

Hair Stylist: Billy Dixon

Florist: Designs by Ella Rae

Rentals: Perry’s Tents & Events

Caterer: CAYA Smokehouse Grill

Dessert: Love and Buttercream

DJ: Love Plus One Entertainment

Dress: Becker’s Bridal

 

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

 

2018 CANDID WEDDING HIGHLIGHTS // DOCUMENTARY WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY IN MICHIGAN AND THE MIDWEST

 

We’ve made it to part three of my 2018 highlight series and let me just say - the candids are what really spark joy for me (anyone else out there binging the new Marie Kondo series on Netflix?!). The unplanned moments, the dynamic emotions, the chance to capture fleeting things that can’t be recreated.

This is why I’m a wedding photographer. This is what keeps me motivated season after season. It was always what drew me to weddings, and it continues to inspire and challenge me today.

If the last few years have taught me anything, it’s that even if you try as hard as you can to plan every aspect of your life… you simply can’t. Shitty, deeply tragic, things happen. AMAZING things happen. So when you can feel happiness and joy, feel it deeply. Set that time aside to celebrate. Sing loudly, laugh with your favorite people, and DANCE.

This is a long post, but I promise you it’s worth it for a lot of reasons, but definitely the dancing. Stay for the dancing.