Michigan Photographer

2018 Personal Highlights

I could write a 100 blog posts about 2018. Becoming parents is more than we could have ever dreamed, and I think you all know how I feel about our little man. Leland Theodore is just pure perfection. I have so many favorite moments, so creating a top 10 is tough. If I could bottle up this year and keep every memory perfectly without fading I really would. God was so gracious and kind and we have a million big and little things to praise Him for. Don’t get me wrong, it was also tough. The sleepless nights kicked my butt this fall, and getting past the postpartum blues was real, but that all kind of fades away with time and baby giggles.

So here it is- my top 10 memories of 2018!

Being pregnant. I absolutely loved being pregnant. Watching my body grow and change was such a joy. For a person who often takes her body for granted I loved feeling more connected to my body. I felt so grateful for what my body was able to do. And feeling those baby kicks- there is nothing like it!

Hot air ballon festival. We’ve talked about going to a hot air ballon festival for years. We have even driven all the way there in years past to find out that it was canceled because of weather. Not this year! This year we made it to the festival and the balloons actually took off. I think there is just something so magical about hot air balloons!

Baby showers. We were seriously spoiled by our friends and families before Baby Beatty arrived. The ladies in my family threw us a “Next Big Adventure” themed shower, Ted’s mom and sister planned us a backyard “Baby-Q” celebration and the girls in our bible study group helped us celebrate with a poolside bash. It was so fun to celebrate with everyone and all of the details that went into the celebrations made us feel so loved and known.

Leland Theodore’s birth story. I haven’t share too much about Leland’s birth story. I hope one day to write a whole post about it, but for now I can tell you that it was perfect. I had a long and difficult labor, but the memories we made during those days in the hospital are some I will always cherish. I welcomed my sisters and our parents in to help while I was laboring and after Leland made his entrance into the world our room was a constant stream of family and friends. It was loud and a little chaotic, and we wouldn’t have had it any other way!

Our little beach babe. We love the beach around here. So it didn’t take us long to head to the beach with our little guy. Ted’s family planned a little getaway on Lake Huron. We spent our time BBQing, exploring the beaches and climbing the local lighthouse. I may have cried at the end of our beach day because I was so happy. My little family with the sun setting behind us on the Great Lakes- yup, a dream of mine coming true.

Pool days. My parents have the best pool, and my favorite memories from childhood are the memories we made as a family in the pool. It has been so much fun to watch the pool transform over the years as a place of our family, and then a hangout spot for our friends and now the gathering place for all of the cousins. We couldn’t let the summer pass by without taking Leland for her first dip!

Our first flight with Leland. Ted had a work conference in Portland, Oregon so we added a few days on both sides of the conference and spent some time exploring Portland and the surrounding area and then we headed up to Olympic National Park for a few days. Some people may call us crazy, but we took Leland on his first plane ride at just 6 weeks- and hey it all worked out! We had the best time taking Leland on his first hikes and teaching him the art of adventure. Olympic National Park was absolutely stunning and watching Ted hike with Leland tucked in close in the rainforest made my momma heart explode.

Learning to be a full time work at home mom. Yes, I still work full time- I photograph over 100 sessions a year and up to 12 full day weddings. This year I took about 2 months off from work, but was back to photographing for the fall busy season. We get sitters when necessary, and we have the most amazing support system, but Ted and I do our best to balance our work and home life between the two of us when possible. That meant a lot of baby wearing, waking up before our little guy and quick baby hands offs when one person was home from work and the other needed to head off to work. It has been so fun to see our marriage flourish as we focus on this new stage of life as a stronger, more unified team.

Road tripping along the coast of Maine. We joined my parents for a road trip along the coast of Maine to check out the fall colors. My parents love Maine, so I grew up hearing all about it- and it truly was gorgeous. We loved stopping in all of the little fishing villages, walking along the harbors and eating delicious seafood every night. Our trip finished at Acadia National Park where Ted and I were able to have a little day date while Grandma and Papa hung back with Leland. We hiked the Precipice Trail, which is basically iron rung ladders that you climb up on the side of a mountain- it was terrifying and incredible!

Turning 30 in St. Augustine, Florida. We typically head south for my birthday, but skipped the tradition last year because pregnancy was kicking my butt. Ted went all out this year and surprised me with the most amazing trip to St. Augustine. We spent lazy mornings with coffee in bed and snuggles with Leland, enjoyed long walks and picnics on the beach and explored downtown. The highlight had to be the spa day Ted planned for me. An entire day of pampering- I couldn’t have asked for anything more! 30 sounded a bit scary, but celebrating it with my guys certainly made me ready to welcome it with open arms!

There you have it, the top 10 moments of 2018! Thank you so much for following along. Your love and support of our little family means more than I could ever say. We hope this year brings you lasting memories with the ones you love- and we can’t wait to capture some of them along side you!

Combs Family

I know fall is here, but I just had to share this summer shoot! We had to reschedule this session a few times because of rain, and then on the morning of our session it was 90 degrees by 9:00am! Thankfully the Combs family had picked the perfect location for a hot, session- the lake! We explored the park, and then when everyone got too hot, we just hopped right in the lake.  

Having three little ones for family pictures can always be challenging, and my favorite thing about the Combs family is how mom and dad always take it in stride.  They never stress if someone is taking a little longer to warm up, or needs a break, or at this session- just wants to jump in the lake! It keeps our sessions lighthearted and fun, and allows us to really capture the personalities of their kiddos.

I am so thankful I have been able to capture so many memories with this family over the years.  These three little cuties each have big personalities, and it has been so much fun to watch them grow and develop.  I hope you got to spend many more days together at the lake this summer, Combs family! 

Matt + Liz

I met Liz for coffee a few months back to chat about her and Matt's winter 2018 wedding. The moment we sat down at our little, local coffee shop I knew she and I would become quick friends. The conversation was natural and easy- as we chatted about life, wedding planning and travel.  I was so excited when right there on the spot she let me know she would love to have me photograph her and Matt's big day.  

Last month I met up with these two at their downtown Detroit apartment for their engagement session. Matt quickly made me feel as welcomed and comfortable as Liz did at our first coffee meeting.  These two have so much fun together, and I couldn't help but notice how comfortable and safe they seemed to feel when they were close to one another.  Not to mention, I was so thankful for the way Matt offered to serve me during their session- offering to carry my bag and step stool since I have pretty much perfected my pregnancy waddle these days.  

I had such a wonderful evening exploring the city with these two.  Detroit was certainly showing off.  The setting sun, budding trees, and a city that continues to surprise me with each new restaurant and ground breaking for new buildings.  What a fun and exciting place to start your life together, and I loved being able to capture a little part of their story in the city.  Enjoy all of the planning, Matt and Liz- and I can't wait to see you say 'I do!'

Smith Family

Oh goodness, how sweet is this family?! I got to meet these two older siblings last spring, and it was so much fun to reconnect with them and meet the newest addition to their family.  These two are so proud to be big siblings!  

We started off our session with sibling pictures.  After we finished that part of the shoot, mom let the two older siblings know they could head downstairs to play.  I love that these two decided they wanted to stay with baby Lachlan instead. This sweet older sister even went and got her own baby doll and blanket and imitated each pose I did with Lachlan.  These two would get as close as possible to me just to make sure they had a close eye on their baby brother and all of the action.  It was so adorable! 

Lachlan did so great during his pictures and was such a trooper with letting me change his swaddles and having two older siblings hold him and smother him in kisses.  He is going to be a tough one! And can we just talk for a minute about his hair.  You can really see his faux-hawk in the last picture! How cute is that?! Enjoy loving on your newest addition, Smith Family!

Nik + Elizabeth's Downtown Grand Rapids Wedding

I am so excited to share Nik and Elizabeth's Grand Rapids wedding with you! These two are the sweetest, and Ted and I absolutely loved being able to spend the day with them and their friends and family.  Their ceremony and reception were held downtown at two of the most beautiful locations.  For a January wedding, the weather even decided to cooperate and gave us temperatures that made being outside totally bearable! You can't ask for more than that in the middle of winter in West Michigan!   

I have so many favorite moments from Nik and Elizabeth's wedding.  I loved watching these two interact, and seeing the way they intimately care about one another.  There were so many moments where it looked like they were living in a dream- and isn't that how your wedding day should be?!  

Elizabeth and her girls had so much fun getting ready, and it was a party all morning.  Can you tell? Champagne, confetti, and a slow morning a the hair salon- it was the perfect start to the day. Elizabeth loves all things glamour, so I loved how she incorporated that into her day with Tiffany blue as her color, Kate Spade shoes, matching robes- all of those girlie details were so perfectly Elizabeth. 

One of my absolute favorite moments of the day had to be when Nik saw his bride for the first time.  He was totally overwhelmed with emotion.  You may notice that I think these pictures are simply the sweetest, since I just had to share a whole bunch of them.  Once Nik started looking at Elizabeth with heart eyes and the sweetest smile he didn't stop all day! I mean really, anytime I would zoom over on him he would be totally overwhelmed with love. I couldn't get enough of how sweet it was. 

Then can we just talk about their ceremony location? What a beauty! The pastor from Elizabeth's childhood church conducted the ceremony, and he helped make the ceremony so meaningful. From there the party started! Elizabeth and her dad had planned a surprise choreographed routine that got the party started early!  Seriously once the dance floor opened up, it was packed the entire night.  It was certainly a celebration!  Elizabeth and Nik, you two are an incredible couple and we cannot wait to see how God blesses your marriage, congruatilaitons! 

2017 Highlights- Personal

2017 was quite a year.  Every year around this time I sit down to write out our story to put in our photo album.  When I think about writing our story for 2017 it has a lot to it.  Ted and I both grew so much personally, spiritually and in our careers.  The year was filled with some awesome adventures with some of our favorite people, slow mornings at home, and more time spent with family and friends.  I really, really loved the way this year challenged us and I am hoping for a 2018 that brings more adventure and growth. 

So without further ado- 1o of our highlights from 2017! 

Our year started out with our biggest adventure! We visited Iceland with two of our very dearest friends and had the time of our lives.  I have about a million photos to share from this trip, but they are still in my editing queue- yikes! Iceland is so beautiful and unlike anywhere I have ever been.  We hiked on glaciers, soaked in hot springs, stayed in little fishing villages, visited waterfalls, and watched the Northern Lights!  Those Northern Lights are something else, and I am already plotting a way to get back to Iceland to see them again! 

Just like we have every year since our wedding, we celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary in Petoskey.  Our trip almost always looks the exact same, and I think that is why I Iove it so much.  Our first stop is at the church where we were married, where we read the bible readings from our wedding and pray for our marriage.  Then we make our way to the Perry Hotel where we celebrated our wedding reception.  They always treat us like royalty and gift us with champagne and put us in the room with the best view of the bay. I really love that place, and it is by far my very favorite tradition.

Next up- our chance to be lighthouse keepers! I had been looking forward to this trip for a whole year! Ted and I got to be lighthouse keepers at Crisp Point Lighthouse in the Upper Peninsula.  We took care of the lighthouse, opened it for guests, cleaned the area, and ran the gift shop. We invited some of our family to come Up North with us for the adventure and had so much fun camping on the beach with them. One of my very favorite moments of the entire year was rock hunting with this bunch in our pajamas at sunset.  I hope I never forget how much fun we all had together doing something so simple! 

I know this is a work highlight, but it is also a huge personal highlight for me! Ted started shooting with me this year, and it has been the very best.  I could go on and on about the ways he serves our clients, but you have probably already heard me do that.  Another way it has blessed us is in our marriage.  We have had so much fun growing and learning while working together, and I love the new element it brings to our relationship. 

We finished the summer with one last adventure to Northern Michigan with family and friends.  The highlight of this trip was watching Ted compete in his first triathlon.  This guy has so much heart, and it was so cool to see his summer of training pay off during the race.  He also has so much physical endurance, and I could never do something like this so it's fun to live vicariously through him! The atmosphere around the race is so fun and we had a blast chasing him around the course and cheering for him at different spots.  We rented the prettiest little beach house in Northport and once the triathlon was over we visited all the local wineries and breweries to celebrate! 

Clearly we are all about traditions in the Beatty family.  A few years ago we started a tradition to take a big road trip every October.  This year we headed out to Utah.  We visited Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce, Capitol Reef and Zion National Parks.  We hiked every day, cooked over a fire, slept in our tent most nights and the cutest little cabin one night, and totally disconnected from the world.  Utah and its National Parks absolutely stole our hearts and we had one epic road trip! My favorite memory was hiking The Narrows together at Zion, something I think everyone should do once in their life! 

Every year we try to get at least one photograph with everyone from the Miller side, but somehow one person is always missing.  This year we actually got together with the sole intention of taking a family picture.  I know we will all treasure this picture for years to come and I can't help but laugh when I look at it, because how are there really that many of us?! 

Our last trip of the year was to San Diego.  We left the day after our last wedding of the year, and it was such a sweet way to celebrate the end of wedding season.  Ted actually went on the trip for work, but a whole lot of it felt like vacation.  We watched incredible sunsets, ate delicious seafood, and even tried surfing- which was on our bucket list! 

This year we became an aunt and uncle to three new little humans! We welcomed Alicia, Colin and June to our family and we think they are simply the greatest.  There isn't much that we love more than being an aunt and uncle and these three have already stolen our hearts! 

The stomach flu struck our house the day before Christmas Eve so we had a very low key Christmas celebration.  The day after Christmas I was finally feeling better, and we got our booties outside for some snowshoeing.  It was the perfect way to celebrate Christmas together and after being sick it felt so good to get outside and get moving! And that snow! I love the way that white stuff looks right after a big snowstorm.

Well there you have it! A few of my very favorite memories from 2017.  From big adventures to Iceland to just finally getting outside after recovering from the flu, I am so thankful for all of the big and little moments this year.  

June Faith

We are so lucky we get to call this sweet little lady our niece! I love getting to photograph newborns, but when they are family it is just a little sweeter.  This little lady made a late arrival into the world, and we all anxiously anticipated her arrival. The wait was absolutely worth it once she finally joined the family.  She is the cuddliest little bundle of joy and we have loved getting to know her. She is the first grandbaby on Ted's side of the family, so it has been so fun to see their family adjust to having a little one around again. 

June wasn't ready to stay asleep for her whole shoot, but I love the images we were able to capture when she was awake, too.  How adorable are those big eyes?! She and I got some extra time to rock and hum songs together while she fought sleep, so I will be honest I wasn't too mad that she wanted to stay awake and hang out.  

Eve and Nathan are adjusting right into parenthood and are making it all look easy.  Watching them become parents has been so sweet and seeing how much they love this little lady is so encouraging.  June already has a schedule, sleeps through the night, and I will be honest I have never heard her cry- so they must be doing something right!  June, your Uncle Ted and I cannot wait to make so many memories with you as you grow up!

Lauren + JD's Romantic Wedding

Joy. All of the joy, that is really the only way to describe Lauren and JD's wedding day.  Their wedding was the most amazing celebration of joy that I have ever had the honor of being a part of.  Ted and I arrived to the cutest lake house where the ladies were getting ready and we were instantly met with the warmest welcome from everyone.  These ladies could not love Lauren more and it was so sweet to see her surrounded by such an amazing group of friends and family.  

Lauren and JD had their first look down by the lake, where they read notes to one another before seeing each other for the first time.  It was such an intimate moment and the perfect way to kick off their day together.  From there we made our way to downtown Pontiac for a few more bridal portraits.  The rain started just as we were finishing up, but of course we had to sneak in a few fun umbrella shots! 

Then it was time for these two to get married! Lauren and JD's ceremony and reception were held at the Crowfoot in downtown Pontiac.  The venue was absolutely breathtaking.  Lauren and her vendors had put together an intimate, candlelit space that created the perfect backdrop for Lauren and JD's celebration.  The two shared handwritten vows, which had everyone tearing up.  Following the ceremony, they continued the celebration with amazing food, a donut bar, personal and meaningful speeches, a packed dance floor, and a Taco Bell midnight snack- it doesn't get much better than that!

I could go on and on about the beauty and the details of Lauren and JD's wedding day, but I will let the photographs tell you that part of the story.  What I can't write this blog post without sharing is just how joyful and meaningful this wedding day was.  These two are clearly destined to be together and have found their true loves.  To see them come together and celebrate that, surrounded by friends and family that love and support them, was such an honor.  It truly was a wedding where everyone was celebrating, because seeing Lauren and JD promising forever to each other is such a testament to what an impact great family and friends have on your life.  These two are going to have an amazing future together, supported by people that love and care for them deeply. 

Lauren and JD, your wedding will always make us think of all the joy that love brings to our life. Thank you for letting us capture the day with you, and thank you for being our friends! We wish you a lifetime filled with all of the same joy and happiness that you felt on the day you said I do!

Venue: The Crowfoot | Day of Coordinator: Melissa Marie Events | Hair and Makeup: Posh Studio Flowers: New Creations | Catering & Linens: Two Unique | DJ: Wayne Kinney

JD + Lauren

I just love these two! Lauren and I were in the same sorority back in college and getting to reconnect with her during her wedding planning has been so much fun.  This time last year she and JD came over to have dinner with Ted and me and we had the best time.  Lauren has this infectious spirit that makes everyone around her feel so loved.  After meeting JD it was clear that Lauren had met her perfect counterpart.  Not only do they share the same hobbies and pastimes, but they share a love for people and both have a way of making you feel known and cared for. 

JD teaches at Cranbrook and these two actually get to live on the absolutely beautiful grounds. So basically they live in a storybook! When your clients have a backyard this pretty of course we have to take advantage of it!  We wandered around the perfectly manicured grounds and stepped inside the most picturesque library for a few shots.  These two both love reading, so it was extra fun to capture them right in their element- surrounded by books. And the library looked a whole lot like a scene out of Beauty and the Beast so basically it quickly became one of the coolest places I have photographed!

While chatting about engagement pictures Lauren and I also discussed going with a vintage travel theme.  So Lauren put together a few things to create the perfect vintage travel setup. I love the way the images of her in the fur with the suitcase and big hat turned out. I love that these two were able to show some much of their personality during their engagement shoot.  

Lauren and JD I could not be more excited to be a part of your wedding day! I think you both are pretty darn amazing, and cannot wait to see the beautiful day that celebrates the start of your forever!

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!