The First Look – What is it? should i have one?

What is a first look?

The first look. It’s something you may have heard about, but not sure exactly what it is. Or, it’s a term you’ve never heard before. A first look is an intimate moment for a couple that happens between the getting ready portion of your wedding day and your wedding ceremony. It is captured by your wedding photographers. Typically, it’s when partner A stands with their back to the other and then partner B comes up behind them to reveal themselves as a surprise to partner A. Then as an option from you or your photographer (if there’s time), you can get some nice portraits of just the two of you before you head off to the ceremony to marry each other. It is not unusual to have just the two of you and your photographers. Typically, the wedding party and everyone else has already headed to the ceremony location so it is just the two of you for a perfect intimate moment before you get married.

Megan and Diondra in Mount Clemens, Michigan

Positives of doing a First Look

  1. If we have two photographers at your wedding, we will be able to have one camera on one partner and the other camera on the other partner and it will capture your perfect reactions of each other in a more controlled environment than at your ceremony.
  2. Your partner will still have that same reaction when you walk down the aisle. You want that reaction in the images below? To be perfectly honest, you will get more of an emotional reaction during a first look than you will during the ceremony. It’s just the two of you so therefore there’s more emotions stirring.
  3. It will relax the two of you and calm nerves. It can be nerve wrecking when it comes to a wedding ceremony, especially when it is your own wedding. There’s emotions stirring. The one you love is standing in front of all of both of your loved ones and you’re walking down the aisle towards them to marry them, to profess your love for each other. Having a first look is the perfect way to share a moment together to calm those nerves and some times anxiety.

How does a First Look work?

For first looks, we can get as creative as you want. You can pick out a location around where you are getting ready or around the ceremony location or even somewhere else. If you can’t think of an area, no worries at all, we can always find the perfect spot for you. Once both of you are ready, we will take one partner and put them in the open in one spot and then take the other partner and hide them behind a door, wall, hill, etc. Once we’re all set up, we will ask the partner that is hidden to walk up to their fiancĂ© (who has their back to you) and you can tap on their shoulder or we can ask for them to turn around for your perfect first reactions of seeing each other face-to-face.

Once we’ve captured your reactions of each other, we will then get a couple portraits of the two of you together. At this time, depending on timing, we can get your formal portraits of the two of you done (normally these would be done after your ceremony and before your reception).

Bride and Groom portraits in Allegan, Michigan

Overall, it’s up to you whether you want to take the time for a first look. This is something that we will need some time to do (around 30 minutes recommended) before your ceremony so therefore, we will need to make time in your timeline of the day in order to make sure we have time. Typically, this is something that needs to be planned before your wedding day. However, if we didn’t schedule a first look beforehand, and we find that there is plenty of time and you decide to do a first look at the last minute, we can always accommodate.

Regardless of what you choose to do, we are always here for you and we will be there for every moment of your perfect wedding day!

State of Mind Photography

www.stateofmindphotography.com

contact@stateofmindphotography.com

Wedding advice from the mind of your photographer

I feel like most people have been to a wedding at some point in their adult life. You’ve experienced a wedding to some degree. Even those that have had their own wedding have experienced a wedding on a whole other level than as a guest attending a wedding. However, nothing comes even close to experiencing a whole wedding as a photographer. We experience every little detail, every accident, everything that can go wrong (or even right). I’ve collected a number of pieces of advice for couples when it comes to planning their wedding and when it comes down to advice on their actual wedding day. This advice has come from a combination between planning my own wedding and from experiencing weddings while photographing them. I’ve made a list of these pieces of advice below in hopes that it helps couples preparing to or in the process of planning their wedding.

General Planning Advice

1. Make a List

Be like Rory Gilmore and make a list. Make lists of your must have items for your wedding from most important to least important. Rank your vendors for the most important to YOU. This can actually help you to create a budget to make sure the most important things are top on your list and paid for with your budget. This is typically a preliminary step in planning because you can start to make lists of different vendors as well. Make a list of your top choices for DJs or Photographers or Venues. Write these things down. Trust me, it’ll keep you organized.

2. Make a Budget

Budget talk is never a fun thing. However, it is so important to budget finances. It’ll help you to see the big picture when it comes to your money. Making a budget for your entire wedding will help you to organize things and figure out what you can afford and what you can save up to get. Put all the things you made in your list in your budget and figure out what it all will cost, then figure out if you can afford it. Most vendors have their set pricing when it comes to packages and what they sell their products and services for, but some vendors are willing to work with you so that you can afford them. If you have a budget, it really helps vendors to figure out if you’re going to be a right fit.

3. It’s YOUR Wedding Day!

I know wedding planning can be very stressful. Whether you are using a wedding planner or if you’re DIYing the planning yourself it can be stressful and overwhelming. You will have family and friends coming at you will suggestion after suggestion and they definitely mean well because they want to help you. However, do not ever forget that this wedding is YOURS and what YOU want is so important. If you want to do something non-traditional and crazy, but your family isn’t quite sure about it, do it. You don’t want to have any regrets after about your wedding day and this is supposed to be a once in a lifetime event.

4. Don’t Sweat the Little Things

On your wedding day, there will be something won’t go the way it was planned. It just happens. It’s best to just brush it off and not worry about it. The view point I had on my own wedding day was that if something goes wrong, I can’t change it and I can only move forward so there’s no point in worrying over it. I was photographing a wedding at one point and I was with the bride while she was getting ready. Her mother came in saying that the sign stands they had for some of the signs were broken so they didn’t have anything to put the signs on. They were all worried about what they were going to do so I turned to the bride and told her “Don’t sweat it. Your guests won’t even know that those signs were supposed to be there. So they won’t know any different”. It helped to ease her mind.

Advice From a Photographer’s POV

A lot of the advice below will definitely help you help your photographer out.

5. Make a Timeline

It is so important to actually write out a timeline for your wedding day. If you type it up and print copies and give them to people who may need them (family members, wedding party, vendors), it will definitely help everyone know where they need to be and when they need to be there. A timeline helps to reduce confusion and miscommunication. I, personally, give all of my client couples a timeline to fill out. My timeline is definitely centered around the photography portion of the day, but it can also help to create a starting point if you want to create a mega timeline for everything. My timeline goes over venue names and addresses and times in which different events during the day happen. It also allows the couple to give us everyone they wish to have in their formal portraits to help to get through the list a lot faster on the day-of. It helps us, as photographers, and our clients make sure we’re all on the same page before their wedding day even happens.

6. Groom and Groomsmen Getting Ready

If you are having a second photographer and they are to document the gentlemen getting ready, we always ask that the men have their pants and shirt on before we arrive. Do not put your ties, cufflinks, or jackets on. Not putting these items on really helps our photographer to be able to capture all of these details before you’re completely ready. We can get some fun images by doing it this way. We also ask that the rings are with the Groom and Groomsmen as well before we arrive. This way the rings are together and we know where they will be so that we can quickly photograph them. They can also be with the bride and bridesmaids as long as they’re together, but we just recommend they are with the groomsmen because typically the best man is the one that holds onto the rings.

7. Bride and Bridesmaids Getting Ready

Before we arrive we ask that you get your dress, your jewelry, your shoes, and any other items together so that when we do arrive, they’re ready for us to take and photograph. We like to get these items photographed first. I don’t like to promote being a stickler about timelines and sticking to them because I will say, you will be late all day. However, if you kind of time everything out centered around your hair and make-up artist and your photographer during this time, it will help to keep everyone on time.

A Portrait session

A portrait session is not just pretty pictures of an individual or group of individuals. A portrait session is a statement, a legacy, a document of who a person is. We don’t just sit you down, pose your arms and hands, and snap a shot of you. There’s more to it. These images will be forever a captured moment in time to define you and who you are. That being said, you are perfect how you are right now. There’s no need to lose those 5 pounds or no need in thinking you’ll break the camera if you sit in front of it. We will make you look good. There’s a technique behind what we do and we’re proud of it.

For our portrait sessions, we may do things a little different, but we want to create an EXPERIENCE for you, not just a portrait session. Below, I have outlined our process to show you what to expect when you book with us. It’s no secret and we want people to be aware of what they will be paying for.

Our Process

  1. Before you actually book with us, we like to have a little chat. This way you can get to know us and we can get to know you to make sure it’ll be a great match and to make sure you are aware of what we do. At this time, we will go over all pricing and our products and our process of doing things. If you decide to book at this time, we will send over a contract and an invoice for our session fee. This session fee must be paid before your session takes place. The session fee pays for your portrait session, hair and make-up, all consultations, and any travel or other charges and fees that may incur for your session. We will book a day that works for all of us.
  2. Your initial consultation will occur up to two days before your session. This is where we will go over your wardrobe and the style that you are looking for for your session. This is a great time ask questions about specific things you want in your session or anything else dealing specifically with your session. We will also go over product pricing again as well. If you need it, we can also be your personal stylist and come and either look at your wardrobe or go shopping with you. Once we have our own studio space, we will be creating and building our own wardrobe for clients to choose outfits from.
  3. The day of your session. We will start your session with your hair and make-up. This typically can last up to two hours. You will go over what you want your hair to be styled as and what your make-up will look like with the hair and make-up artist. We highly encourage everyone to take part in this because it can really enhance your portraits. You will not be forced into anything you do not want. Once your hair and make-up are done, we will begin your portrait session. Our portrait sessions are not your typical “pose and shoot sessions”. We use a combination of prompts and traditional posing to get the most natural expressions and interactions out of you. This allows the most natural imagery that we can get. Whether your session takes place outdoors or indoors, you will receive basically the same experience. Obviously, there are some differences between being outdoors and being indoors, but we don’t treat them differently, in general.
  4. The day of your session we will schedule your final reveal appointment. Your final reveal will be where you get to view your beautiful images either displayed printed in front of you or on screen (depending on the situation). This appointment will also be your purchasing appointment where you will choose the images and products you would like to purchase. If you have a physical printed reveal, you have the chance of taking the printed portraits home with you if you choose a package with a keepsake box.
  5. Once your products are paid for, we will begin the process of creating them and ordering your products. We do not order products until they are paid for in full so we definitely advice purchasing and paying for your products at your final reveal because that means you’ll get your beautiful portraits sooner! Our albums are created and made by a 3rd party company located in New York City and our keepsake boxes are created and made by a company located in Australia. So, our products take different times to produce and ship to us. We will get more into our products below.
  6. You can expect to receive your products in as little as a week once they are ordered. Since we like to ensure your products arrive safely and correct, we have all orders shipped to us and then bring you in to reveal your products to you once they arrive to us. We can also ship them to you, from us, if you live too far to come in.

Our Products

Our products are made by some of the top companies in the world for photographic products.

Our albums are created in a company located right in New York City. They can be beautifully custom made into exactly what you want. You choose the images and the cover material for your album and let us take care of the rest. From beautiful leather and vegan leather cover options to brilliant silky velvet cover options

Our keepsake boxes are a unique options when it comes to prints. The box is a gorgeous 11×14 custom box that can hold up to 25 8×10 matted prints. These boxes are exactly that, keepsakes. They will literally keep your images safe while also being out on display in your home. The pro of purchasing the keepsake box? It will keep your prints safe when you want to only display and frame a couple of your matted prints at a time.

Keepsake Box in “Midnight Sin – Asahi Japanese Silk”

We offer a variety of products to meet your needs. The albums and keepsake boxes are what we sell directly with our packages. However, if you would prefer to purchase framed prints or other wall art products, we offer those as well. We absolutely love metal prints and framed prints and would love to see these products on your walls in your home. This is exactly why we sell physical products instead of just burning a cd of your digital images. You will receive a digital copy for every image you purchase, but we create products and sell products for you because we believe having these physical products is so important.

Why can’t I just purchase a cd of images?

We don’t sell just digital images because we love for you to hold, view, and experience your images. We’ve found if we just burn cds of digital images for clients, the images will either just sit on a computer for years and forgotten or they go and get them printed at Walmart and the quality is just not there and the images will not last. Each of our images come printed as an 8×10 and matted and as a digital image that you can used for social media so you can share with your friends, family, or use for professional purposes.

Different Types of Sessions

Although we love to focus our business on couples, we do photograph just about everything.

Couples:

Couples are our main focus. We love to photograph two people in love. Whether it’s for your engagement session, your 50th anniversary, or just because and everything in between. It really doesn’t matter why you want your portrait taken with your significant other, we will photograph you and show you connection. Connection is key to a successful portrait session with couples. We use a combination of posing and prompts to get natural expressions and natural connection between couples. Although engagements are included with a purchased wedding package, we also sell these separate with the whole above package as well.

Two People In Love in Port Huron, Michigan
5 year Wedding Anniversary Session in Port Huron, Michigan and the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse

Legacy and Individual Portraits:

What is a legacy portrait? It’s a portrait of yourself or a loved one to capture who they are. It is the perfect opportunity to grab a beautiful image of an individual to remember them by. When a loved one passes on, what’s the first thing you look for for their funeral? This may be a gruesome question to ask, but it’s so important because most likely you’re going to be looking for pictures of them or your family may be looking for pictures of you. What will you find? Will it be beautiful portraits that capture the essence of that person and who they are or will it be nothing? These types of portraits are just as necessary as any of the others we’ve listed.

Portrait in downtown Armada, Michigan

High School/College Seniors:

First of all, senior sessions are not just for those graduating high school. College students graduating college (whether it’s for your bachelors degree or your P.H.D.) deserve to celebrate this huge accomplishment as well with a portrait session. We offer traditional headshots for yearbook session and a full portrait session for seniors. These are perfect opportunities to celebrate this awesome milestone. Graduating high school and college are huge accomplishments and celebrating these accomplishments with a portrait session can be fantastic. These are also milestones that can help document this time.

Armada High School Senior Session
Armada High School Senior 2020 – Wolcott Mill Metropark

Families

We don’t photograph families all too often, but they can be so much fun. We also offer a combination of traditional posing and prompts just like for couples. We definitely encourage families to get their portrait taken every year because you will look back and be thankful for this. Your children will grow up so fast that it’ll be hard to remember all the years they were growing up.

We do not photograph newborns individually because that’s a specialty that takes a lot of patience, skill, and caution when posing a newborn child. We would be more than happy to refer you to a professional newborn photographer.

Family Portrait at Wolcott Mill Metropark

All-In-All…

We would absolutely love to photograph you and create special and timeless memories for you. Portrait sessions are designed for YOU! We want to create beautiful imagery of YOU! To book a session, just go directly to our website contact page and fill out the form. We will contact you as soon as we can to set up your consultation or you can book a consultation directly by viewing our availability. Our you can email or call us directly.

www.stateofmindphotography.com/contact

contact@stateofmindphotography.com

574.850.8498

Why You should hire a Professional for your wedding

Wedding planning can be so stressful (especially during these times, during a pandemic). It is so easy to get lost in all of the ideas and all of the commotion of planning a wedding. You will have so many people coming at you with ideas, whether it’s vendors or even your own family members and friends. Do not forget, it is YOUR wedding day and your choices matter.

When it comes to hiring vendors for your wedding day, it is best not to skimp out on paying a professional to just cut corners and save dollars. Hiring a professional photographer, videographer, planner, florist, etc. can be one of the most important decisions you make for your wedding. For these vendors, this is what they do for a living and they want to make your perfect day special and they know exactly how to do it. They know the ins and outs of weddings and know how to execute their field professionally.

I cannot speak for other vendors because the only thing I’m an expert on is wedding photography. When it comes to wedding photography, the best thing you can do is to hire a professional who does this for a living. You may be tempted to hire a good “family friend” who has a “nice” camera to photograph your wedding for free or “as a gift”. However, most people end up not satisfied with their wedding photographs because either the person wasn’t able to concentrate on the job they were hired to do because they were also a guest at the wedding or they are not a professional and do not make the majority of their income on photography (they just have a “nice” camera, remember?).

If you are thinking of hiring that family member or good friend to photograph your wedding, keep the above in mind. Photographing a wedding takes so much concentration and focus and you have to be on your toes at all times. It’s best to hire a professional who can spend your entire wedding focused on YOU and always there to capture every moment. You’re going to want your friends and family members to enjoy themselves at your wedding instead of them trying to balance a job and having fun. A professional can do all of the work (well) for you and your friends and family can just sit back and relax and enjoy themselves.

It may all seem so expensive, but in the end, I know for a fact that you will be so satisfied with the outcome, you won’t regret it. It is also best to hire a true professional who has experience in wedding photography to photograph your wedding. It gets down to the old saying, “You get what you pay for”. There is a difference between someone who charges $3000 and someone who charges $300 for the same service. The $300 may look appealing because of cost, but the value probably is not there. Plus, you want to make sure they are a proper registered business and have liability insurance. Someone charging only $300 for a wedding, probably does not have these things.

Although I cannot speak for other vendors, I am pretty sure all of the above scenarios and information can completely apply to just about any vendor and their businesses. Professional photographers are not just photographers, we are professional photographers who run businesses (just like a lawyer, restaurant, grocery store, doctor, accountant, etc.). Now, that being said, it’s not all just about the business. We absolutely love what we do because we get to capture beautiful memories that our clients will cherish forever and that makes us happy. Everyone deserves beautiful still images of literal memories that you can hold on to forever. Now, that’s something!

Engagement Season is Upon Us!

We are finally entering holiday season for 2020 and believe it or not, this is a very popular engagement season. A lot of couples get engaged during the holidays. There are different steps you take in your life and a lot of the time it starts with the proposal to marry.

The Proposal

When you are thinking about proposing to your partner you may be thinking about how you’re going to actually do it or what kind of production you want for your proposal. It all comes down to what type of person you are and what type of person your partner is.

Whatever you choose to do to propose, you have the option to have it documented through photographs. This is the first step in getting married and starting your life together. This can be the first step in documenting your life.

There are a couple of different ways you can go about documenting your proposal. First, you can hire us to be stealthy and we can hide while you’re taking a knee and proposing. Second, you can hire us for a couples portrait session and we can plan a time during your session for you to propose. Either way can be an emotional and special time for the two of you.

Engagement Session

Your engagement session is the next step in documenting the start of your life together. We include engagement sessions in all of our weddings that are booked because we believe they are so special. An engagement session is the perfect time for all of us to get to know each other and for the two of you to feel comfortable in front of the camera. Plus, an engagement session can be a special, quiet moment for the two of you to step back from a hectic life and relax.

We like to have fun at our engagement session and have a talent for drawing out emotion and natural expressions of our couples. We don’t time our sessions because we like for them to flow through naturally and we don’t want you to be restricted to time restraints.

Wedding Day

We have arrived at your wedding day! You could say that the wedding day is the climax of this whole process. All of the planning between us and you for your wedding day will take place before the actual day because we want things to go as smoothly as possible and for no surprises to pop out of nowhere. Whether you have hired us for the full day or for only a couple hours, we are there for you no matter what.

Bridal Session

Not too many think about bridal sessions. What is a bridal session? A bridal session is an option where we get you, as the bride, back into your dress and whole “get-up” and take our time getting beautiful portraits of just you. The wedding day can be a very hectic day and we may not always have the time to get these types of portraits during the actual wedding day. We can also turn this into a Bride and Groom Session as well where we get individual portraits of both of you all dressed up. So, it’s not just about the bride getting portraits of them.

We typically recommend these types of sessions to occur shortly after your wedding day. Usually within the next week or two is best because it’s after your wedding and you don’t have to worry about getting your dress dirty and also it is typically before you have had time to get your dress cleaned. These types of sessions can occur before your wedding day, but we will either have your session indoors or be extra careful when photographing outdoors. If you do decide to have your session before your wedding, we will also hold on to your images until after your wedding so that nobody, but you, the bride, sees you in your dress.

Day After Session

A day after session is a great option for after your wedding day. This type of session can be an add-on or can replace your included engagement session as well. A day after session will be very similar to the engagement session, but you will be married and we can celebrate that you just got married. This can also be an opportunity to take some “Thank You” card portraits.

These sessions don’t need to take place the exact day after your wedding. If you know you’ll be just too exhausted (I get it) or if you are going on your honeymoon immediately, we can schedule this session within the two weeks following your wedding day.

One Year Anniversary

The final point in this process also includes the one year anniversary. The first year of marriage goes by so fast and it will be here in no time. A great way to celebrate one year of being married is through an anniversary session. Typically, for these anniversary sessions, couples tend to be more comfortable with each other especially in front of the camera. We can go back to where you got married, where your engagement session took place, or at a new place where you have created new memories in the past year.

Engagement Season

Yes, this is a lot of information to be thinking about before you even propose to your partner, but they are things to start thinking about. You will be looking through vendors soon and planning your wedding. We want you to be informed about your options. Engagement season is upon us and we want to be able to help you from the time you propose, through your wedding day, and beyond. We are here for you and want you to feel at ease about your wedding.

Contact Us!

If you have questions about the above information or would like to book a consultation with us, please feel free to contact us at the following…

www.stateofmindphotography.com/contact

contact@stateofmindphotography.com

A Good crm is hard to come by

When it comes to a specific genre of business, it’s hard to come by the perfect CRM (Customer Relationship Management software). Especially in the photography world. There are so many different options out there that can help photographers keep track of their clients and I’ve tried several of them. A year or two ago I tried out Dubsado (a CRM that is designed for photographers). The learning curve was pretty high on how to set up all of the options, but I really liked the customization of the different aspects of it, especially the fact that I could make my questionnaires exactly how I wanted them, which I didn’t have with the CRM system I was using before. However, I couldn’t justify the cost of Dubsado at the time because my business wasn’t making enough money because I was just starting.

I recently decided to make the switch to Dubsado because my CRM at the time just wasn’t making the changes that I needed in a system to cohesively keep everything in one spot. I really liked it because it was simple to use, but the customization wasn’t there. Dubsado was still there for me.

There’s so much to Dubsado that it’s really hard to name it all, but the best parts that I use are the customized questionnaires, easy way to send contracts, and a whole profile for each client where they can go in and do everything. Plus, the e-mail system is so easy to use directly from Dubsado. It has helped me to also keep track of my finances very easily. I just input all of my expenses and all of my income and it keeps track of my goals that I want to achieve for the year. It lays it all out in simple diagrams that are easy to read, even for someone who is not completely familiar with finances. I love it! One thing I would really like is to have a booking system that I can embed into my website so I can have potential clients book a phone call or consultation with me directly on the calendar and see what my availability is. That, I think would make this the perfect CRM for my business.

As there are so many different options to keep track of all this information for a photography business, this is the almost perfect option for my business. I feel like once my business gets going and I have consistent clients coming in, I will probably start using the more automated options in Dubsado, like the automatic emails and more of the task options. However, for now, I have the option to skip these things and use the things in Dubsado that I CAN use.

If you are interested in trying out Dubsado please click on my affiliate link below and when you sign up, you’ll receive 20% off your first month! It’s totally worth it to keep track of your clients!

https://www.dubsado.com/?c=somp2020

30 Over 30

30 Women Over The Age of 30

The big 3-0! This is a time that has been traditionally a time of change in one’s adult life. For many women, it is the time when they may start a family. It is the time to create an identity for themselves for the rest of their lives. There is pressure to do all of this during their 30s and that pressure can some times be overwhelming. However, I want to take this time to make moments like this about them. Women in their 30s. This is why I am starting a campaign of “30 Over 30”. I’m going to be photographing 30 women between the ages of 30 and 39. I want to celebrate these women for who they are. I feel I can relate the best with this group of women because I’m one of them!

Therefore, I am currently looking for any woman who is the age of 30 through the age of 39 to photograph. Sessions are $250 and you will receive a print credit with your booking to spend on any print purchase from your session!

This is for ANY woman in that age group. Mother’s, single women, married women. It does not matter! I want to be able to feature your story. This is about YOU!

If you would like, and I highly recommend it, go get pampered yourself and then come to me to get beautiful photographs taken of just you. My initial goal was to have a beautiful reception to showcase this project for all of you and your friends and family, but once Covid hit, it does not seem this will be possible this year. If things get better for next year, we will proceed with a reception for this project. In “replacement” for this reception, we will be creating a private, safe, Facebook group for all of you to join to share with all the other women your stories and to get to know each other. I will be sharing updates for this project in this group. I want to create a safe, trustworthy group for women to share with others.

YOU DESERVE THIS!

All of these sessions at this time will be taking place outdoors to follow state codes for Covid-19. To book your session and to be a part of this amazing project, please contact us today!

www.stateofmindphotography.com

contact@stateofmindphotography.com

How to Prepare – Summer!

Summer can be hot and mucky in Michigan especially when you’re trying to stand or sit as still as possible during your photo session. However, there are some ways you can help make the experience more comfortable and enjoyable for everyone.

Sunblock

I highly encourage everyone to wear sunblock. It not only protects you from the sun, it also helps keep the redness down in your skin for your photographs. If you do not want to wear sunblock on your face because of your make-up, there are some options for foundations that have sunblock in them to help protect your face.

Make-Up

It really helps if you wear powdered foundation. This takes down the sheen on your face and If you use powder, I recommend bringing it along with you for touch-ups during your session. If you don’t use powdered foundation, there is an alternative that you can use to help keep the shine off. There are several different brands of “anti-shine” powders (they can be used for men as well!) or you can use the oil blotting papers that are available as well. Also, using a water-proof/sweat-proof foundation helps to keep sweat from ruining your make-up.

Water

Bring water! Our sessions can last anywhere from 1 hour to 3 hours and we want you to stay hydrated. I highly recommend drinking water before your sessions and then bringing some along for during your session. Standing in the hot sun for along period of time can be taxing on our bodies so even if you aren’t moving around, you still need to stay hydrated.

A Fan

If you have a small, hand-held fan, bring it with you. It’ll help you get a little break from the hot air. Plus, we can use the fast to “fluff” hair which helps to keep the hair full and out of faces.

Cooling Down

To stay cool and keep red faces out of your portraits as long as possible, I definitely recommend staying in a cool environment before your session (like the air conditioning in your home and car). It also keeps you more comfortable for a longer period of time.

Clothing

Wearing light clothing (in color and weight) during your session can certainly keep you cooler. However, it’s not always ideal or possible so if your only option or if you choose to wear long pants and/or long sleeves, we won’t do as many movement activities if it will make you feel hot and uncomfortable. This is why we make sure you understand that we want you to be as comfortable as possible so when picking out your outfit(s) to pick out ones that you will be able to wear for at least a couple hours.

Time

Yours and our safety is most important. If there are any temperature or air quality warnings or if the temperature high for the day of your session is set to be at an extreme temperature, we will definitely encourage scheduling for a time either early in the morning or late evening before sunset. The sun won’t be right up above us and the temperature tends to be lower (or at least feel lower). Plus! The lighting will be even and more controllable.

Anniversary Session on the Beach! 8:00 PM in Mid-June

After It’s All Said and Done

The last three plus months have been difficult for everyone. Businesses have had to be shut down because of Covid-19 and the rapid spread of the virus. The photography industry hasn’t been an exception during this time. However, this first weekend of June I was able to get back at it and start to photograph sessions outdoors. Before Covid hit, I had scheduled a lot sessions and was so pumped to put together even more work into my portfolio. At the end of May, once the Michigan government gave the okay to start working outdoors again, I contact everyone I had booked previously and scheduled them all for sessions in June. Shelby and Graham were my first session after all of this. It felt great to get back to shooting and the weather and atmosphere were perfect for their couples session.

A Dream Wedding

A wedding is a production. Whether it is big or small. It is a production of the dreams and wishes of a couple. To celebrate the love between two people. Typically planning a wedding takes probably an average of a year for someone to plan out exactly how they want it to go. From the dress, to the caterer, to the atmosphere, all to fit into a venue that will encompass it all.

I want to feature a specific wedding because this is one of the things I love about photographing weddings. We, as wedding photographers work directly with out couples from the time they hire us (which is usually very early on in the planning process for them) through beyond the wedding day. We are one of the few vendors that doesn’t work with them once before and then the day of. We all become friends. During meetings before their wedding, we ask them how the planning is going and we find out all of the details about their wedding. This is why it is always so fun to be able to come to the wedding day and see the whole production put together. To see the couple so happy to be surrounded by their creation, but more importantly to see them happy to share it with their friends and family.

Megan and Diondra got married on July 27th 2019. I met Megan at the end of 2018 when she was looking for vendors. We discussed what she was looking for and she booked with me. The beginning of 2019, we scheduled an engagement session. I love engagement sessions because it gives us the perfect way to truly get to know each other. Plus it helps the couple feel more comfortable in front of the camera. This is why I offer engagement sessions complimentary for all of my weddings.

It was a very cold and snowy day in March of 2019 when we had their engagement session at George George Memorial Park in Clinton Township, Michigan. It only lasted about 25 minutes, but we had a good time and got to know each other a bit. As the time went on, our fingers, faces, and toes froze, but I was still able to capture the true love between these two wonderful people. It was seemingly so easy for them because they are truly in love.

Megan and Diondra’s Engagement Session at George George Memorial Park
Megan and Diondra’s Engagement Session at George George Memorial Park
Megan and Diondra’s Engagement Session at George George Memorial Park
Megan and Diondra’s Engagement Session at George George Memorial Park

After their engagement session, we stayed in contact all through the time they planned their beautiful wedding. In July we met over the phone to discuss and finalize the timeline for their big day. I like to make sure we’re all on the same page so there are no surprises or miscommunications on the actual day. I was to start my day with them in the early afternoon at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Clinton Township, where Megan and her Bridesmaids were getting ready. Some may not think much about the location where they will get ready in terms of photographs. However, it truly does make a difference. The suite that they had chosen for this wedding was fantastic with plenty of light coming in. I’ve been in a few hotel rooms used for weddings and I have one tip for brides thinking of doing this for their wedding…Make sure you turn your room into an ice box before everyone arrives. You will thank me later for telling you. No matter what you try to do when the room is crowded, you will never be able to cool it down. Just a little friendly tip.

Details – Getting Ready at Hotel

It came time for the wedding day. I met Megan and her Bridesmaids at the hotel and began photographing all of her details. The rings, flowers, shoes, etc. I usually start with all of these items because the Bride is usually still in hair and make-up during this time. If she is still getting her hair and make-up done once I am done, I will just start photographing everything happening in the room. Megan had a lot of children in her wedding party so it was very easy to keep my lens occupied. I had a great time capturing the story of the day.

Flower Girl – Getting Ready at Hotel

I absolutely love it when a bride has so many details because it expresses my creativity when I go to photograph them. When I first get to the location that everyone is getting ready at, I ask for all of the details including the dress, jewelry, rings, shoes, and whatever else they have.

The bouquet and rings with the dress – Getting Ready at Hotel
The shoes, rings and jewelry – Getting Ready at Hotel

Megan had very beautiful jewelry and THOSE SHOES! So unique and beautiful! The jewels, the sparkles, and the accent of color from the shoes.

The Bride and Groom’s Rings – Getting Ready at Hotel

After everyone was ready to go, we all headed to the ceremony. Megan and Diondra got married at the Riverhouse Banquet Center in Mount Clemens, Michigan. It is a beautiful venue set right on the Clinton River smack dab in the middle of downtown Mount Clemens. They have the perfect little area outside for a ceremony under a gazebo with the river as a backdrop.

The Ceremony – The Riverhouse Banquet Center
The Ceremony – The Riverhouse Banquet Center
The Kiss – The Riverhouse Banquet Center
The Exit – The Riverhouse Banquet Center
The Exit – The Riverhouse Banquet Center
The Exit – The Riverhouse Banquet Center

Usually after the ceremony we go directly into the formal portraits. It was perfect for Megan and Dra’s wedding, they had everything all in one spot so we didn’t have to go far. With having a little area right off to the side of the venue with the trees in the background, we were able to get the portraits done in no time.

The Wedding Park – The Riverhouse Banquet Center
Family – The Riverhouse Banquet Center
The Bride and Groom – The Riverhouse Banquet Center
The Bride and Groom – The Riverhouse Banquet Center

It was a tight timeline, but we made it in time to get back to the venue for the wedding party announcement and dinner. The reception was designed perfectly for the princess ball of dreams. Dancing and fun pursued after. They had a photo booth and guests converged outside through the night (the weather was perfect on this not-so-humid summer night). I love weddings that have such a relaxed feel to them.

The Cake – The Riverhouse Banquet Center
The Bride and Groom at Reception – The Riverhouse Banquet Center
The First Dance – The Riverhouse Banquet Center

All-in-all I absolutely loved to share in these two love bird’s perfect wedding day. One of my favorite parts of of the wedding day is when I leave and see the huge smiles of the bride and groom and to see how happy they are and how much fun they are having. Even if there were extreme stresses occurring before the wedding day and worry that everything will go wrong and even if something doesn’t go as planned, at the end of the night, it really doesn’t matter. Your friends and family are there for and with you and that moment when everything starts to wind down and your worries are gone, it is just a fun party from there on.

Megan and Diondra’s Vendors: