I’m loving the number of family sessions that I’ve been doing this Summer! I’m here for it. It doesn’t have to take up a ton of time - it can be a quick, uncomplicated shoot at a vacation rental. Memories I made with my own family as a kid during our time “up north” are full of nostalgia and have honestly influenced my life enormously (including moving up here full time). So I’m beyond happy that I can capture and preserve these memories for other families. Like the seasons, time is fleeting - it’s so cliche but true. Document these times together because they go by so fast. Thanks for inviting me you guys!
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.
When my friend Julie became a mom she was looking for quick, healthy, meal options that didn’t contain any artificial sweeteners or additives. She began making smoothies and pretty soon the idea for her amazing company, The Purple Beet, was born. Now, alongside her husband Ryan and two sweet kiddos, Julie offers smoothie packages that contain only real ingredients. All you have to do is blend them with one cup of a liquid of your choice and that’s it. And there is no ice required because the packages come to you frozen! You can sign up for a smoothie subscription on the website! So when Julie asked me about collaborating with her I was super excited. I get to play with fruits and vegetables and sample 8 different smoothie flavors?! Yes please. We brainstormed the look we were going for, Julie & Ryan created a custom backdrop for this shoot, and then we spent hours carefully styling the ingredients that go into each smoothie recipe. It was so bright and colorful and I always love playing with food ;)
My friend Julie is building a really amazing business - with the help of her whole family ;) The Purple Beet is a company built to make sure you have quick, easy and healthy food options ready to go at a moments notice. I am especially excited about her new smoothie subscription service that allows you to select your favorite smoothie flavors and have them delivered to your door. Keep them in the freezer until you are ready to go. I can’t wait to make this a part of my routine and you should definitely check it out. We’ll be working with Julie and her family again in the coming months and I can’t wait to share more!
Happy Monday! Last week I went to Petoskey to meet up with a group of awesome women! Savannah is the face behind Nakina Artistry, soon to become Nakina & Ko. She creates magic with hair and makeup, but she also has big plans for a rebrand which will include more lifestyle content in the future. You’ll just have to follow along with Sav to stay in the loop! ;)
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!
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.
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....
One of the reasons I am so inspired by living in Northern Michigan is the sense of possibility. There is a freedom here to make big dreams happen, to live the lifestyle you want. Our friends Kalin and Matt have taken huge steps to do exactly that. To build the life they want for themselves. With no previous farming experience, but lots of research, support from each other and their community, love for Northern Michigan, and big dreams, they bought a beautiful piece of land just outside of downtown Petoskey. This past Saturday they planted their first field of lavender with three different varieties and Sweetwater Lavender Farm was born. Instead of hiding their dreams from the world, they turned this first day of planting into a Planting Party, inviting friends and neighbors to help out for as much, or as little time as they chose. In return, they provided breakfast, lunch, beer, bubbly, and gift favors of lavender bath salts. It was so amazing to see so many people come together to spend a day outdoors lending a hand to help two very deserving, awesome people. At the beginning of the day Michael and I focused on shooting video and time lapse of the majority of the field being planted. We will share that footage later, but below are some stills I took later in the evening as the light turned golden and Kalin and Matt were able to put the last few plants in the ground. Afterwards, a number of close friends stuck around to hang out, play lawn games, and eat dinner by the campfire. I'm so happy to call Kalin and Matt friends and I can't wait to watch all of this beautiful lavender grow over the years! Cheers!
If you want to learn more about Sweetwater Lavender Farm, I would highly recommend following Kalin's blog and Facebook page. Here is one of my absolute favorite posts. And, Brides! Kalin is an amazing floral designer! Her studio for Stems & Sprigs, is also located on the property and she does amazing work.
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.
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!
Oh we are livin' it up in Northern Michigan these days. We have to savor every last drop of warm weather while we savor our wine, whiskey, beer and margaritas. Our friends at The Little Fleet asked us to do a relaxed summer shoot (you can check out our winter one, here). We had a ton of fun photographing one of our absolute favorite hang out spots - at any time of year! If you are in TC, The Little Fleet is a must visit. Cheers! And special thanks to our awesome friends who came out and allowed us to photograph them!
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.
On Easter this year I headed up to Northport to visit Idyll Farms with my friend Carla and her kids. Cats were roaming the farm, chickens approached us with a curious interest and we were even allowed to pet a very new baby goat. On the drive back to Traverse, the ice was leaving the bay and everything was starting to turn just a touch greener. That evening Mike and I enjoyed an amazing happy hour spread including prosciutto, triple cream brie and dried cherries. Now a few weeks have past and there is even more sun. Yes, Spring has sprung and we are looking forward to everything this new season has in store. Enjoy your Sunday folks!
Have I mentioned before how much I LOVE photographing bars? Especially THIS one. Mike and I love The Little Fleet. They always have something fun going on, whether it's the food trucks, live music, DJ's, sparklers at midnight on New Year's, Indian takeout food from The Cook's House, arts and crafts events, and the list goes on & on... So I was super excited when they asked me to help them create new images of their space. For this shoot, we focused on the interior of the bar and cocktails, but come summertime you can expect more shots of the awesome indoor/outdoor concept and all the fantastic food truck eats!
When we lived in California I actually missed snow, because let's face it - we never got to Tahoe enough. I missed the stillness of winter and the quiet. We are beginning our second winter back in Michigan and I am really embracing it. The snow and the way it blankets the woods is meditative. There is too much negativity about winter, and if you live here you should really challenge yourself to explore it. Because it is beautiful and peaceful, and it allows you to see the same scenery in a completely new way. Just wear the right clothes and get out there.
Shot on Kodak Portra 400 that was accidentally processed in black & white chemicals. Camera: Pentax K1000. The Hartwick Pines' AuSable River Trail and My Aunt's awesome golden retriever, Lily are featured.