Ells Family

I posted a little version of this story over on my Instagram page (I am @caryn_ashley over there,) but I had to share here, too.  I photographed the Ells family 5 years ago.  Their kids were much smaller and didn't look like stunning young adults yet.  When they showed up for their shoot this year I hardly recognized them. We quickly started reminiscing about their last shoot and couldn't help but laugh when we remembered there were some tears shed during that shoot.  Their youngest son wasn't agreeing with the shoes mom chose for the shoot and he let us know.  I loved that we were able to laugh about it together now, and I loved that there were no tears this year!  I get to share in the good, and sometimes the very real, moments of life with families and it is all such an honor. 

These family photographs are commemorating that their oldest son is heading off to college this year.  Such a great idea to get family pictures taken before he moves out and gets started at school.  We met at Milford Central Park and had to dodge a few minutes of rain that settled in right when we reached the back of the park before finishing their shoot.  I have to say these teenagers are some of the kindest I have met.  They joked together and didn't even mind when I made them hug in real close.  Thanks so much for the laughs, Ells Family!

Williams Family

One of the benefits of my job that I never could have anticipated is how it keeps me connected to people.  I get phone calls from friends and classmates that I haven’t had the chance to connect with in years.  They mention they saw my photographs somewhere on social media and we schedule a shoot.  And just like that we are wondering through the park together getting caught up. 

The Williams are one of those families.  They wanted to get together with their whole family to commemorate the birth of their first grandchild with pictures of their whole family together.  We had such a great time.  I loved watching their adult children subtly pick on each other and laugh together- it felt just like my family! Thanks for letting me capture this exciting time for your family with you, Williams!

Miller Family

Photographing my family- I am going to be honest with you on this topic.  The times when I get to photograph my family are some of my very favorite shoots.  My nieces and nephews are my favorite people in the world and they are constantly making me smile.  There is just one problem when it comes to photographing family.  Sometimes we all forget we have a task! There is an expected outcome after our time together.  Which is different than most of our time together, and can be difficult to articulate to and manage with little ones. 

Sometimes during a shoot with my family I think, oh gosh we are just playing around. We are having too much fun.  Focus, re-center, get back to posing.  But the more I think about it the more these shoots make sense.  We should be playing and having fun.  Your time in front of the camera should be a perfect expression of your family and the love and laughter you share. 

So here is to learning from these shoots.  To learning that just laughing and playing is what it is all about. That your family knows how to make each other smile and my job is to simply capture these moments for your family to cherish forever.  

Baby Henry

Henry made his arrival into the world a few weeks early, and it sounds like he certainly took his mom and dad by surprise!  I photographed Sarah’s baby bump a few weeks prior.  We left the shoot saying, see you in a month or more when your little guy arrives.  Little did she know we would be seeing each other much sooner!  Henry made his arrival into the world in a rush, and from the smiles on his mom and dad’s faces I don’t think they minded he decided to join the party early.

Henry was an angel during his shoot.  He slept for the first half and when he woke he didn’t make a sound.  His dad insisted it must have been the scented candles and soft music playing in my home studio space, and I would like to think that was part of it.  But in all honesty, I think he was enjoying the 90 degree weather and sunshine warming his skin.  Either way, his peaceful demeanor and baby cuddles made my job so much fun.  Thanks for letting me capture some memories of Henry with you, Krater family!  

Bilski Family

Happy birthday, Addison!  We had way too much fun photographing Addison for her first birthday.  While she was a little unsure about me at the start of her shoot, I would like to think we ended it as best buddies.  It may not have actually been me, but rather the bubble maker that was constantly residing right behind where I was shooting.  But hey, either way, I will take these smiles! I need to get one of these bubble makers to keep with me all the time!

I was lucky enough to photograph Addison's mom and dad for their engagement and their wedding, so it was a special treat to capture this next stage of life with them.  Emilee and Andy have very clearly, happily settled into this new stage as parents.  I could not get over how much they adore their little lady, and how much she adores them back.  Their house must be on an endless circuit of big smiles, belly laughs and cuddles!  Thanks so much for letting me join in on the fun, Bilski Family!

Serbinski Family

The Serbinskis are one of those families that you look at and you just say to yourself right away, 'yup they are rocking this whole parenthood thing.'  Katie is due with her third little one this summer and still ran around with her guys and looked absolutely gorgeous while doing it.  

We met for their family shoot at Booth Park and spent the whole time playing and exploring.  The boys searched for squirrels on the paths, fed the ducks, blew bubbles, ran through the tunnel at the playground and even took a ride on the cardboard slide.  They had to have been as tired as I was after all that!  These two little guys were so outgoing and it didn't take them more than a minute to warm up to having me around for their family fun.  Thanks so much for letting me share these special moments with you, Serbinski family!  Looking forward to meeting your newest addition soon! 

Solon Family

These pictures are from a sweet Sunday afternoon shoot on Father's Day.  I met Lennon and her parents at Heritage Park in Farmington to capture a few pictures in honor of Lennon's first birthday.  Shooting on the holiday really reminded me why I became a photographer.  It is such an honor to capture pictures that will be cherished for a lifetime by a family.  While I never want to speed up time, it is fun to think that one day when Lennon says 'I do' a few of these pictures just might make their way into a slideshow or onto a memory table.  And thinking about that makes me feel so honored to capture these memories.

Little Lennon was all smiles during her shoot.  She wandered around the park and explored to her heart's content while we just tried to snap a few of her genuine smiles.  It was clear that her mom and dad absolutely love the new addition to their family, and they interacted in such a sweet and loving way.  And let's all be honest, it doesn't hurt when your family is this stylish on top of everything else.  It was a good, good shoot.  Happy first birthday, Lennon!

Baligian Family

 I always have such a nice time when I get to photograph the Baligian family.  They seriously make having 5 kids look so simple (and growing up in a family of 7, I know the chaos first hand!) The siblings are so sweet to each other and I can't get over how their oldest daughter just loves on her little siblings.  She is a little momma in the making!  

I joined the Baligians at their home for photographs to welcome the newest addition to their family, Ezra.  He was a little cutie and didn't make a peep the entire time- even when his toddler sister wanted to be all close and personal while he was trying to fall asleep. Thank you so much for letting me spend the morning with your family, Baligians!

Jack + Kathleen

When Jack and Kathleen first contacted me to photograph their wedding I was so excited.  We all went to college together and there is something so sweet about capturing the wedding day of fellow Albion College Britons :) I think part of it is that it instantly takes me back to the day I married my college sweetheart and was surrounded by so many college friends.  Or maybe it is the chaos of trying to take a picture of the Albion alumni with the purple flag.  Or maybe it is all of the songs that get played that remind you of those ridiculous fraternity parties . . . but whatever it is, I couldn't have been more excited to share their day. 

The morning started at their apartment where Kathleen was surrounded by her friends and family while she prepared for her wedding day.  I loved that she included more than just her bridal party for this special part of her day.  All of her closest friends were there getting ready, chatting and enjoying the morning together.  It was a cozy, intimate setting and you could feel the anticipation building for the rest of the day.

Their ceremony was at the gorgeous St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Ann Arbor.  From there we visited the Law Quad at the University of Michigan and another local park for their portraits and bridal party pictures.  Jack and Kathleen also included their family and friends on the party bus and during this time for photographs, and I loved that.  Your wedding day is so special and the more people you love that can share it with you the more authentic and memorable it will be.  The day finished at Polo Fields in Ann Arbor for dinner and dancing.  

We were lucky enough to sneak outside for a few more shots while the sun was setting.  I love sneaking off with the bride and groom during their reception.  It gives the couple some quiet time to take in all of the craziness and to just look into each other's eyes and say, 'we are married!'  Jack and Kathleen walked and spoke with each other about their love and their wedding and I just got the chance to quietly capture it.   What a blessing this job is.  Thank you so much, Jack and Kathleen.  I had so much fun sharing your special day and feel so blessed to have been a part of it. 

Kelly's Baby Bump

Oh mommas-to-be, you are just so freakin' beautiful!  There were a few weeks at the beginning of the summer where it seemed like every shoot was a maternity shoot.  And these ladies were all glowing!  They are growing a human, juggling life, and looking like super models while doing it- you rock, ladies! 

Kelly was certainly no exception.  I photographed she and her husband, Steve, at their gorgeous home, where we were able to capture some of their nursery and their family's beautiful backyard. Steve simply doted on Kelly the whole time and it was the sweetest.  It was extremely evident that they cannot wait for this next stage of life together as parents.  I am looking forward to meeting the newest addition to their family when he or she arrives later this summer!