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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As September rolls on and we start to feel hints of fall here and there, I am savoring every last minute of summer weather while also looking forward to what might be my favorite season. There is nothing quite like fall in Michigan... But there is nothing quite like summer either. Here are a few shots that Mike and I have taken throughout the summer on 35mm film. A glimpse into our non-work life (even though we are still attached to cameras all the time). A blend of different films, a blend of cameras, a blend of our families... Truly one awesome summer mash-up, ending with a glass of whiskey (duh). Cheers to summer, family and loving life!
Our beautiful niece, Alex Leigh Kent, was born on April 19th and we were lucky enough to be able to head to California and meet her on the very same day she came home from the hospital! The Kent family had a very relaxing week, and Alex got lots of cuddles from all of us. Of course we had to take portraits, but we did so in a very fun and informal fashion so I threw in a couple hiking shots and one terrible group selfie for good measure.
At the end of March, Mike and I headed to Fayetteville, GA, right outside Atlanta, to visit my aunt and her family. My parents drove down from Michigan - bringing numerous pounds of Kowalski kielbasa with them - and together we had a crazy weekend that I have dubbed Kielbasa Fest 2013. A healthy amount of family and an unhealthy amount of food and alcohol. Night One - beef tenderloin, mashed potatoes, and salad with an apple bread pudding concoction for dessert. Night Two - kielbasa, kraut, and cheesy potatoes. Day Three: homemade pierogi. Ok and I can't forget Aunt Gloria's ambrosia salad... as she was making it, she claimed that she would be the only one eating it, but in reality everyone found themselves digging in after the drinking started. We even filled a couple pierogi with it to create a bizarre dessert pierogi when we ran out of regular filling. The majority of the weekend was spent outside on the back deck with music playing.
I shot one roll of Ilford HP5 Plus on my Pentax K1000 - unfortunately I ran out of film by the time we got to the pierogi-making, so I am hoping to recreate a bit of that for you this summer. I don't know what it is, but I am loving shooting film. I think shooting film is also rejuvenating my excitement for photographing family events, and all of the normal, everyday moments that sometimes you can take for granted. There was even something serendipitous about picking up the film... as the woman behind the counter found my film she said, "oh, Mee-hall-eek, that's a Polish name!".
It has been a long time, but every March 1st, I think of a very special man. I love you Grandpa, and miss you so much.