Matt + Danielle's Northern Michigan Barn Wedding

I am not sure where to start with this blog post, because I have so many favorite things from Matt and Danielle's wedding!  Northern Michigan, portraits at a lighthouse, a beautiful barn setting, loving friends and family, a flower girl and rings bearers that stole the show, and a bride and groom totally and completely in love. Yes, it is safe to say this has to be one of my very favorite wedding days yet! Danielle and I have known each other since college, so I had so much fun reconnecting with her during her wedding planning.  What I really loved though was seeing how happy Matt makes her. After their engagement session I kept thinking about how perfectly these two compliment and care for one another. 

Their wedding day was such a perfect celebration of the love they have for one another, and the love their family and friends have for them. Danielle spent the morning getting ready in a house packed full of her bridal party, close family and lots of little ones. Matt and Danielle met in downtown Charlevoix for their first look, where they read handwritten vows to one another. *Insert, Caryn crying the entire time here.* From there we headed to the Charlevoix lighthouse for bridal party portraits, and then to the most beautiful barn for their ceremony and reception.  

During the entire day I was struck by how much everyone at the wedding loved each other.  I couldn't tell which family was Matt's and who belonged to Danielle's family, or if they had separate groups of friends- everyone just melded together for one, big celebration! The dance floor was one big party, the games of cornhole were cheered on by everyone and everyone treated Ted and I like we were part of the party.  It makes sense to me why these two are as passionate, caring and as hilarious as they are- it is because they are surrounded by people with all of those traits. 

After hearing about how Matt and Danielle connected on a trip to Alaska, and were engaged on a return trip. How they purchased a home together and plan to remodel it, how they adventure together and encourage each other in their careers- I am so excited for these two.  And Danielle's Dad mentioned something about 12 kids in his speech- so I cannot wait to see what the future holds for them!  Matt and Danielle, you could not have asked for a more beautiful day to promise a lifetime to one another. I am so thankful that you invited Ted and me to be a part of the celebration. Cheers to forever, you two! 

Venue: Shanahan's Barn in Charlevoix, Michigan | Dress: Patty's Bridal | Bouquets: The Harvester | Welcome Sign & Programs: Say I Do Decor |  DJ: A+ Event Entertainment | Catering & Cake: Grey Gables

 

Amanda- Class of 2018

Amanda was the best. I mean she was a serious trooper for her senior pictures. All day her mom and I texted back and forth about the weather. Should we try to make it work? The forecast looked like it was going to clear up. It was warm out, and there were moments where the sun even started to peek out of the clouds.  As the time got closer for Amanda to start her hair and makeup appointments we decided we were going to do the shoot that evening.  As I drove to the session the skies grew darker and darker. By the time I pulled into the parking lot sheets of rain were coming down.  Oh no, we made the wrong call.  That happens sometimes, we just have no way to correctly predict the weather. 

When Amanda and her mom arrived at the session the rain had slowed down, and I asked them if they would mind skipping the getting to know each other chat and jump right into pictures. They were game! We ran out to the boardwalk and snapped away. We jumped back into the car with Amanda's mom right as another cloud opened up. And on it went for the rest of the evening. Waiting for pockets of time when the rain would hold off and we could jump out of the car and get another set of images. By the last outfit the clouds had moved out and the sun started to peek out again. And I love how these images turned out. I love the clouds and the rich colors. And can we talk about how absolutely stunning Amanda looks in her pointe shoes in the rain?!

Not only does Amanda look absolutely gorgeous, but she was so confident the whole session.  When I asked her if it was bothering her that it was raining she reassured me that she loved that the pictures would be unique.  She went with the flow and we chatted in the car while we waited for the rain to pass and then she was a rockstar in front of the camera while we captured her senior pictures. I am always so thankful for clients that go with the flow, and love images that are unique. Thank you for making my job so fun, Amanda! 

Combs Family

I am loving fun, cuddly in home lifestyle sessions. There is something so beautiful about capturing a family in their home.  In the place where they do life together and make the majority of their memories.  It feels really intimate and real, and I think that is why I think they are such a unique way to capture the essence of who you are as a family. I highly recommend them- especially as we move into the colder months here in Michigan.

But anyways back to the story of the Combs family.  At the beginning of a session I will typically chat with mom and dad about expectations for the session.  I will let them know how I plan to organize the shoot and then ask them if there are any specific must have shots. I have photographed the Combs family a bunch of times in the past and I should have known that Lauren's response would be easy and carefree. When I asked if there were any specific shots she hoped to get out of the shoot she said, 'Just the kids playing! I don't even mind if they look at the camera or not, let's just photograph us hanging out at home.' A photographer's dream response! 

Well funny thing, her kids are so use to seeing me around them with a camera that they were slightly confused when we got out the toy cars and just started playing.  Their oldest kind of looked at me like, so are you going to ask me to smile now? Should I look at you? It was the sweetest thing, because he knows the routine! After awhile they warmed up to the idea of just hanging out, reading books, and swinging in the backyard.  And I am loving how these images capture how their family does life every day.  Thank you for letting me capture your everyday story, Combs Family!

Steve + Caiti's Glamorous Gem Theater Wedding

We had been looking forward to Caiti and Steve's downtown Detroit wedding for months, and for so many reasons. First, Ted and I couldn't wait to join with Caiti and Steve's family and friends and celebrate this couple. Caiti and Steve are pure gold.  We share mutual friends, so we have spent time with the couple in the past and they always make everyone around them feel welcomed and loved. Caiti and Steve can come into a new group of people and seem like they have known everyone since childhood, even if it is their first time meeting everyone in the room.  Little did we know that their family and friends would treat Ted and me the same way.  Making us feel like a part of the party the entire day!

Secondly, we are suckers for downtown Detroit weddings.  The city is thriving and it is so fun use the Motor City as a wedding day backdrop. We shot at a few of my favorite downtown locations throughout the day and I felt like the city was just showing off. Exploring all of my favorite spots with this gorgeous bridal party made it all the more special!  Caiti and Steve's ceremony and reception were held at the Gem Theater.  The Gem is an iconic location in the city, and made for such a unique venue for their wedding day. 

Lastly, we couldn't wait for Caiti and Steve's wedding day because we knew it would be filled with so much laughter. And we were so right about this one!  Caiti and Steve have a relationship where they constantly keep each other laughing. We started noticing this when we spent time with Caiti and Steve as friends, and then at their engagement session.  During their engagement shoot Steve kept Caiti laughing the entire time. Even when I would encourage a soft, quiet moment these two would burst into laughter together. It was the best.  Because that is exactly who they are as a couple. 

Laughter is such an incredible trait to share as you embark into married life.  Some of our favorite moments are the ones where Ted and I just laugh together.  Because married life can get messy, and life gets busy, and sometimes the best source of comfort at the end of a long day is just laughing together. Laughing about the small things and sometimes laughing about the big things that you can't change.  Knowing how to make your spouse laugh is such a gift, and Caiti and Steve certainly have that gift!  Not to mention that they have a pretty wonderful support system that keeps life lighthearted and hilarious right along with them.  

Caiti and Steve's wedding lived up to all of our expectations. We explored our favorite city, laughed along with Caiti, Steve and their bridal party, and watched two of the kindest people vow to love each other unconditionally and through whatever life may bring them.  Thank you for letting us capture there memories with you, Caiti and Steve! Cheers to a lifetime of laughter together! 

Skylar- Class of 2018

If you have been following along here for awhile you know that I love all things summer. I love the beach, and being in the sun, I love boating and hiking and all of the activities that come along with summertime in Michigan. Now I have one more reason to love summer. Senior season.

I hope I don't sound like a broken record, but senior sessions are so. much. fun.  I get to meet confident, kind young adults like Skylar.  I get to hear about their dreams for the future and chat about all of their current interests and passions.  Each high school senior is so unique and I love hearing what makes them who they are. For Skylar that is being on the basketball team, hanging out with her friends, and being an older sister.  

Skylar is confident, outgoing, and joyful.  She shared with me about enjoying her senior year and also making plans for college next year.  Senior year brings so many fun milestones and I have to say I was getting a little nostalgic hearing her talk about homecoming, attending football games, sleepovers with friends and planning a senior trip.  So fun!  Have the most wonderful senior year, Skylar!

Putman Maternity

Another sunflower session! Sunflower sessions are totally becoming an annual tradition! Maybe mini sessions next year?! Anyways, I am getting ahead of myself there. Let's chat about this cute couple below.

That lady is Ted's sister, Eve, and that baby bump is our next niece or nephew.  The weekend of this shoot was all about celebrating that little babe, with Eve's shower on Saturday and their maternity session on Sunday.  We had so much fun getting together with all of the most important ladies in Eve's life and celebrating that little babe.  Eve and I went to college together, joined the same sorority and are only one year apart in age, so all different aspects of our lives are intertwined.  It was so fun to be at her shower and get to spend time with aunts, cousins, college friends, my family, family friends, etc. Can we please have more excuses to get so many of my favorite women in one spot?!

Ted and I cannot wait to welcome this babe in our family.  We take our job as aunt and uncle very seriously.  We are all about vacations together, sleepovers, Saturday soccer games, and teaching our nieces and nephews the most important things in life- like how to make the perfect s'more or how to play euchre.  My family is overflowing with kids, but this is the first baby on Ted's side of the family so we are looking forward to transferring our favorite aunt and uncle activities to their side of the family, too. We cannot wait to meet you, baby Putman! 

Calista- Class of 2018

Cali was one of the sweetest high school seniors I have photographed.  She made conversation easy and had a calm, kind demeanor about her.  Cali's mom came along for the shoot and it was clear that the two have a special relationship.  Mom quietly watched behind me with admiration as we moved from spot to spot. The two shared with about Cali's plans for college next year, the fun family vacation they had just returned home from and Cali's love for snowboarding. 

We met in downtown Birmingham for Cali's session and the location fit her personality just perfectly.  It was one of those beautiful evenings, when the sun sets slowly and as the city lights come out everything turns the prettiest shades of soft, muted colors. We found some really cool ally ways that I hadn't used for pictures before. Thankfully Cali's was a trooper because it just seems that all of the coolest spots are always located just a few feet away from dumpsters.  Totally worth it though for the awesome colors of the brick and bright doors that we stumbled across! I am really loving this session and the way it shows off Cali's cool, playful personality.  Have the greatest senior year, Cali!

Petersen Family

This shoot will go down as one of my favorites of the entire summer! Mark is one of Ted's best friends and he was a groomsman in our wedding.  Because of life and distance I didn't get to spend a lot of time with Mark and his family while Ted and I were dating, so it has been so much fun getting to know them over the past 4 years and seeing why Ted adores their family so much.

We got the chance to vacation with them when Ted and Mark decided to run a triathlon together on Old Mission Peninsula. Yes they are crazy and dedicated- and us girls just did our best to get there on time and cheer them on!  We rented the coolest house across the bay on the Leelanau Peninsula and spent a week enjoying Lake Michigan together.  The water in front of the house was loaded with Petoskey stones so many hours were spent scouring the beach for the prettiest ones.  We explored wineries, cooked delicious meals, enjoyed slow mornings with lots of coffee, and shopped at the local farmers market. It was one of my very favorite weeks of the summer. 

I loved that we were able to do their family pictures while we were on vacation.  The girls had so much fun, so I can't help but think how special it will be for their family to look back on these pictures for years to come and remember that wonderful vacation. Not to mention, when you rent a house this beautiful you certainly take advantage of the photo backdrop it provides! Thanks for a wonderfully relaxing week, Petersen family, you are awesome travel buddies! 

Kaitlyn- Class of 2018

I have so many favorites from Kaitlyn's senior session! She brought along her mom and her best friend for her shoot and we had so much fun together.  I didn't want the sun to set because I didn't want our time together to end!

Kaitlyn was absolutely hilarious and kept me laughing the entire time.  We started chatting about how she was wanted her photographs to look "earthy" and I was like perfect- I love that look! Then we started chatting about living an "earthy" lifestyle and I loved that we are both bohemian wannabes! I mean seriously I love the bohemian style and vibe, but when it comes down to it I could never give up all of the comforts (and cleanliness) of life.  My brothers joke with me that I am the hippy in the family, but I think it's a total facade and I just like bold patterns and jewel tones!

Anyways, since Kaitlyn and I were hippy kindred spirits we explored some beautiful paths and wildflower fields together at Stoney Creek Metropark, which was gorgeous! The clouds broke for the day and we had the prettiest light shining through the trees and across the fields of flowers.  We shot at a bunch of new spots inside the park and it was so much fun to play with the lighting and try out some new poses. Thanks for being the best model, Kaitlyn, and for keeping me laughing during our entire shoot!   

Miller Family

Sometimes when I show up at a session I have no idea what to expect. I have only e-mailed back and forth with the client and the most information I know about them is what city they live in and how old their little ones are.  This was the case with the Miller family! And it is so fun to see how much you can learn about the family in one hour together.  You leave feeling like old friends!  When I met up with the Miller family we realized we knew a whole bunch of the same people, both loved traveling and I even got to meet their pup at the end of our shoot.

Booth Park in Birmingham is such a great place to shoot with young families.  Everything is condensed so we don't have to do a whole bunch of moving around to get varied backdrops. The park is typically relatively quiet once you get away from the playground, and there are nearby bribing options (a.k.a ice cream shops) if your children are old enough for that! I am so not above bribing! There are also usually plenty of ducks, squirrels and birds around to keep kids interested in exploring more of the park.  

Little Jack was one of the smiliest little guys I have ever photographed.  If I sang the ABCs he smiled all the way from A to Z.  He couldn't stop laughing if I put his shoe on my head and he was wasn't shy at all.  I have to say the happiest he was was when his puppy joined us.  He adored his dog and it was so funny to see the two together.  His puppy just sat patiently next to his baby and Jack just wanted to hold his puppy's tail.  His puppy didn't bark or move once, he just let the little guy go ahead and hold onto his tail! So sweet! Thank you for letting me into your family to capture these memories, Miller family!