Katie & Troy | Spring Lake, MI Wedding

23 01 2012

Katie and Troy were married in Spring Lake back in July.  It was an amazing day full of family and friends.  The couple and their party were relaxed, outgoing, and full of energy.  It was the first time I ever photographed a bride playing volleyball in her dress!  The one small hitch – trouble with the air conditioning at the reception – didn’t slow this group down.  They kept the dance floor full and gave me plenty of picture opportunities.  Congratulations, Katie and Troy!


Friday’s Favorites – Pink Flowers

20 01 2012

On this cold, wintry day (as most are in Michigan in January!), I’ve pulled out one of my favorite spring-time pictures.  Today, it’s not the lighting or the shutter speed or the subject that I love; it’s the depth of field.  Depth of field refers to how much of the image is in focus (i.e. a blurry or sharp background).  In this picture, I opened my aperture – which controls depth of field – all the way to f/2.2.  The background became so blurry, it was no longer discernible.  I remember that it was a fairly windy day when I took this picture, and catching the main flower in the small space that was in focus was difficult.  It took patience and quite a few shots, but I’m happy with the results!

Bekah & Spencer | Grand Rapids Engagement

17 01 2012

I might be a little partial (the bride-to-be is my cousin), but I absolutely loved Bekah and Spencer’s engagement session!  We started in downtown Grand Rapids at the blue tiled wall on Monroe per Bekah’s request.

Then we wandered along the Grand River and through the city, eventually returning to our cars.

Finally, we drove out to Roselle Park on Grand River Dr in Ada.

Bekah and Spencer braved the cold, and we got some amazing pictures!  I can’t wait for the wedding in August 🙂

Friday’s Favorites – Clearwater Falls

23 09 2011

While driving to Seattle with my husband, we stopped at Clearwater Falls in Oregon.  It was a wonderfully tranquil moment.  We were alone at the small park; the only noise came from the rushing water.  The pine tree forest was quiet and peaceful.  We spent a near 30 minutes exploring around the river before a family of four arrived.

I love the patches of sunlight that broke through the trees, and the waterfall itself was like no other that I had ever seen, cascading over and under clumps of moss-lined roots, logs, and dirt.

If you’re ever in the Umpqua National Forest, be sure to stop by Clearwater Falls!

Friday’s Favorites – MacIntosh Falls

9 09 2011

While hiking in Nova Scotia last year, my husband and I made our way to MacIntosh Falls in Cape Breton Highlands National Park.  It was an easy walk over relatively flat terrain.  We had the trail to ourselves and took some time lingering at the falls.  I love the cascade of the water over the rocks.  It was a beautiful and tranquil scene.

Wedding Tip Wednesday || The Engagement Session

7 09 2011

I include an engagement session in all of my wedding packages.  Why?  Because I feel an engagement session is an important part of the wedding experience.  First, it gives me a chance to get to know the couple.  Occasionally, I’ll only meet with one person when discussing my packages and showing off examples (it’s usually the bride!).  The engagement session gives the other half of the couple a chance to meet their photographer.  As I’ve said in the past, the photographer is a big part of your wedding day and having a good connection is incredibly beneficial (https://branderphoto.wordpress.com/2011/07/27/wedding-tip-wednesday-find-the-right-photographer/).

Second, an engagement session gives the couple time in front of the camera.  Not everyone is relaxed when they’re having their pictures taken.  The last thing you want is to dread the sight of your photographer on your wedding day.  Engagement pictures give you the opportunity to get comfortable with your photographer’s style, direction, and personality.

More than getting to know the personalities of my brides and grooms, an engagement session gives me a chance to determine the best way to photograph the couple.  We can discuss preferences in style, posing, angles, etc.  Also, some people have physical characteristics that they want minimized or prominently displayed.  Knowing this before the wedding is always helpful.

And, possibly the biggest argument in favor of engagement sessions – not all of the pictures in your house will be in your formal wedding attire!  It’s nice to have a few pictures in normal clothes, everyday make-up, and typical hair styles.

Friday’s Favorites – Arches National Park

2 09 2011

Arches National Park is absolutely breathtaking.  Rain and clouds in the morning gave way to a perfect day as my husband and I hiked through the park.  We found this scene after visiting Dark Angel, just past the Double O Arch.  While the Devils Garden Primitive Loop isn’t for everyone, if you’re comfortable with heights and difficult terrain, I highly recommend the 7.2 mile hike.  This is just one of the unforgettable views you’ll discover!

Wedding Tip Wednesday || It’s Picture Time!

31 08 2011

Although I like to add extra time into my wedding day schedules, there are still times when events run behind.  It could be traffic, over sleeping, extra long hair appointments, or simple procrastination that slows things down.  Sometimes, it’s miscommunication that causes the problem.  That’s what today’s blog is about – letting your family and friends know when they’re having their pictures taken.

Often, family pictures are taken before the ceremony so that the bride and groom don’t leave their guests for too long between the church and the reception.  It’s a great way to manage time and keep things running smoothly once the day truly begins.  However, there are plenty of times when we’ve been held up by MIA mothers and fathers.  Parents feel it is their responsibility to watch over everything on the day of their child’s wedding and are often running around taking care of last minute details.  But if pictures (and keeping to your schedule) are important to you, be sure to stress this to your parents and request that they are at the picture taking site on time, if not early.  It might even help to appoint a reliable relative to keep them on track and on time.  Your wedding should be fun and relaxing for both you and your parents.

Occasionally, couples request extended family pictures after the ceremony.  They want their aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins in the formal family pictures.  If this sounds like something you’re interested in, be sure to communicate your plans to all of your family members (and your photographer!) before the day of the wedding.  If you wait until the day of the event, chances are someone will miss the invitation.  Family pictures just aren’t the same if Uncle Bob has already taken Grandma to the reception.  And waiting for twenty family members to be rounded up takes a while.  Again, assigning a trusted cousin or aunt to corral the entire family is a good idea.  You don’t need the stress of counting cousins to make sure everyone is there.

In the end, it comes down to keeping the stress out of your day.  If everyone knows the schedule and understands your desire to follow it, chances are things will run smoothly.  If not, refer to last week’s blog – Don’t Sweat the Small (or Big) Stuff!

Jen & Jeff | Allendale, MI Wedding

29 08 2011

Jen and Jeff were married in June at the Post Family Farm in Allendale, MI.  It was an absolutely gorgeous day.  Here’s a look back, as seen through our lenses…

Congratulations, Jen and Jeff!


Friday’s Favorites – Abrams Falls

26 08 2011

Last spring my husband and I went backpacking with our friends in the Great Smokey Mountains (one of my favorite places!).  During the second day of the trip, we came across Abram Falls.  It was a gorgeous day, and we ate lunch on the rocks near the water.  After a while, our friend Tim wandered over near the rushing falls.  He’s the lone man silhouetted against the white water.  I absolutely love the peaceful scene.  I hope you enjoy it too!

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