by admin | Feb 24, 2022 | Intimate Weddings, Outdoor Ceremony, Spring Weddings, Weddings
The pandemic changed a lot of plans, including those of Taylor and Rachel. They reached out in early 2021 to see if I’d photograph their intimate spring backyard wedding. They had to postpone their big day but didn’t want to prolong their marriage any longer. I, of course, said yes! It was the last wedding I photographed before Myles was born and honestly the perfect day to go out on.
When I first spoke to Taylor and Rachel, it felt like I was talking to two friends. They are super down to earth people with pithy senses of humor and great style. They got ready in the house they purchased together and said their vows right on their back deck. They were incredibly lucky with the weather for a spring backyard wedding – sunny and warm for March!
Their closest family were present for the vows, Taylor’s sister Paige married them. Others tuned in via Zoom. It was a very pandemic wedding, but honestly, I think a small spring backyard wedding felt perfect for them. They laughed, they cried, they smiled, it was grand. I know it wasn’t what they planned but something just felt very right about it. I thought that about a lot of pandemic weddings. We really got back to basics…back to the meat of what weddings are truly about. How special it was to witness their commitment to each other literally in their home surrounded by those dearest to them. I don’t take these things lightly at all.
These two happen to live on a golf course which made portraits easy, we literally stepped out of their backyard. Their beagle Scout joined us for a few photos – she is adorable. You know I welcome all dogs at weddings.
HMU: Salon Bliss
by admin | Feb 15, 2022 | Church Ceremonies, Weddings, Winter Weddings
January isn’t a popular time to get married in Michigan, but if you’re going to have an intimate winter wedding, this is probably the way to do it! Kaitlynn and Ben had originally planned on a larger backyard type wedding day in June but decided to move their date up and just tie the knot in January right after the holidays.
I have known Kaitlynn for many years – we met through my college roommate – and we have shared some fun adventures together, including the infamous Manitou Island backpacking trip that I took Josh on three months into dating. Spoiler alert: it didn’t end well. Kaitlynn also made our wedding cake – she is an incredible baker.
Their intimate winter wedding came together with the help of their families and I think it turned out absolutely beautifully. They were married in Kaitlynn’s dad and stepmom’s church, St. John’s Lutheran in Fowlerville, Michigan. The family helped decorate their reception space, with the absolute best element – a neon light right behind their sweetheart table. That light is now in their bedroom at home!
We were lucky to have a dusting of snow that morning which made the portraits all the more magical. No wedding party, under 30 people in attendance, it was the perfect way to celebrate in a low-key way. Winter is so underrated and I understand why people avoid it but when you get beautiful snow like this, it just makes all the difference.
My favorite part of the day was watching Kaitlynn and Ben read their vows to each other after their portrait session. So sweet!
I have to say, Kaitlynn insisted I go home with a doggy bag of food and it was some of the best wedding food I’ve ever had!
I feel like this day proves your intimate winter wedding doesn’t have to be super extravagant to be beautiful. Sometimes it can take a little more DIY, but simple is often better.
From the couple: “My husband and I have used Madalyn twice now and both times we have felt so comfortable in front of the camera. She has fun little tricks to get you out of your shell which has captured some pretty awesome genuine laughs. Our most recent session was our wedding and everything went so smoothly. She was so quick and kept things moving right along on the day. Our album also came out amazing and she was so easy to work with to get exactly what we wanted. We are using her again for a newborn session at the end of this year and I cannot wait to use her more as our family continues to grow!”
by admin | Feb 2, 2022 | Outdoor Ceremony, Summer Weddings, Weddings
Abby and Alkin’s Pine Knob Mansion wedding pivoted, like many others in 2020. What was going to be a full day at the Pine Knob Mansion turned into a part day there and the reception elsewhere!
I’ve known Abby a long time – we go way back to playing rec softball together when we were like 10! It was an absolute honor to be asked to shoot her and Alkin’s wedding. These two met at work at a bowling alley, which sounds like an absolutely fun place to start a romance. Their dog Ollie join us for their winter downtown Detroit engagement session. These two are so fun and so down to earth. I loved working with them!
It was truly the perfect September day for a Pine Knob Mansion wedding! The last weekend of September usually brings the last beautiful summer weather, and it’s one of my favorite weekends for a wedding.
What I loved most about the change of pace of this day was the small wedding party, small ceremony, and just overall intimate, laid back vibes. There’s something to be said about smaller weddings and how you can truly enjoy your day that way.
Best moment? Surely Abby’s first look with her dad. She is an only child and this was a special moment for their family.
Ceremony/Getting Ready: Pine Knob Mansion
Gown: Essence of Australia
Invites: Ann’s Bridal Bargains
by admin | Jun 27, 2018 | Engagements, Nature Engagement
When I met Brittany and Taylor back in December 2017, I instantly felt very comfortable with them. They were the kind of clients you hope for as a photographer: they cared a lot about their wedding day photography and asked great questions. Easy to talk to, and super sweet, I left our initial consultation hoping that they would indeed choose me to photograph their New Year’s Eve wedding. Thank goodness they did!
I’m just getting around to blogging these beautiful images of their March engagement session at Maybury State Park in Northville. After several winter sessions with zero sunshine, I was happy to get a little bit of golden hour with snow in the woods. I think Brittany and Taylor are perhaps my most adventurous couple to date, and I think that shows in their photos. They are also 100 percent incredibly in love — and it shows.
I know that it’s summertime and we don’t want to think about snow on the ground, but this session was WAY too good not to share with you. Snow photographs so beautifully and I’m so excited for all 3 of my December weddings this year, including Brittany and Taylor’s where I’ll end this year on a high note!
by admin | Mar 28, 2018 | Wedding Planning Tips
Out there in the wedding planning world, there is just as much confusion about how to choose and hire a wedding photographer as there is wedding photographers (at least in my neck of the woods). For most people, this is the first time they’ve hired a photographer themselves and probably the first time they’ve had professional photos taken since their senior pictures. And there are SO MANY photographers, guys. SO MANY.
This world I occupy over here as a wedding photographer is foreign to most people. When I meet with potential clients and ask them why did you decide to reach out to me? (I ALWAYS ask this question) their response is usually something about feeling like my portfolio lacked posed shots and they want natural, candid photos, or they stumble through a response about how they’re awkward in front of the camera and they thought my photos looked natural and pretty. I always ask this question to determine how much I need to educate my client and how thoroughly I need to explain my approach.
If I hadn’t ever picked up a camera or taken a photography class, I’d probably be just as confused as clients are about photography styles, lighting, timelines, shot lists, etc. And having hired a wedding photographer right before I entered this world as a wedding photographer myself, I’ve learned a lot about how the differences between photography styles since then. I just always want to ensure the client is hiring me for the type photography I do, in other words my style and myself, and that if they don’t jive with those things, I can help them find someone else who would be a much better fit.
So, when you’re choosing a wedding photographer, what should you be looking for? Here are my top tips for you.
Most photographers are probably approaching the logistics of your wedding the same way.
I’d say that most wedding photographers out there have moved towards a photojournalistic approach to shooting a wedding day. What does this mean? Pure photojournalism is literally the most unobtrusive kind of photography. The photographer steps back and captures events as they unfold. They are not there to create the moment, but to capture it as it occurs. Most photographers today will capture your wedding as it happens. If you’re not cool with being moved and posed all day, please ask your photographer if they take a laid back photojournalistic approach or if they are more traditional (think mom and dad’s photos). I am a wedding photographer who captures the day as it happens AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE, excluding portrait sessions which are a little more directed, and I’d say most of the other people in the biz are the same.
Moments I didn’t create.
But the end result can be COMPLETELY different.
Every photographer has a different take on how they tell your love story and the story of the day. This comes out through the photos they take, how they take these photos, where they stand, what lens they use, and ultimately how they process the photos.
It comes down to lighting, composition, and overall storytelling style.
More dramatic lighting. This was created with a lamp they were using for makeup and some magic in the camera.
Lighting: consider your venue
Lighting is hands down the most important thing to a photographer. If it is not, you should run away and find someone else.
Working with some harsher natural light and crouching in the sunflowers.
Good photographers know how to work with the light they’re given or create lighting situations that work for the style they shoot. Photographers play with light differently and often play with light differently depending on the venue and wedding vibe. For instance, some photographers like to create really bright photos while others go for a moodier effect. Neither is correct, it’s all just style. Find the style of photos you like and look for photographers whose portfolios match. If their portfolio is inconsistent, really ask a lot of questions about style.
This photo would look different in a room with windows.
The biggest thing to take stock in when considering how lighting will effect your photos is your venue. If you’re hiring a natural light photographer and you’re having your reception in a dark banquet hall, make sure your photographer knows how to handle that (with flash I’d assume). Your photos will look different that that tented reception but the storytelling shouldn’t change.
Composition: where the story is
If creating a solid photo is mostly about the lighting, then composition is really where the storytelling lies. Composition is really just how does the photographer choose to set up the photo? Where are they standing? What are they shooting through? Are they laying on the ground?
Composition can make photos interesting. It can make photos romantic (think snuggles). It can make photos private and intimate. When you look through a portfolio, look at how the photographer has framed the shots. Are they all close ups? Is there a mix? Do they like to cut off people’s heads and focus on other parts? Do they focus on detail elements? Are the shots really wide?
These are all questions you can ask yourself to help identify the composition style of the photographer. For example, I’d say my style is definitely more focused on intimacy than on really wide shots–think sweeping landscape shots. I like to shoot through things. I sometimes get on the ground. Maybe I stand outside the door as a bride and bridesmaids chat and I snap a shot with the doorway in the frame to create a more interesting story than just a photo close up of the bride laughing.
Composition is a huge part of art and I could go on and on about it. But long story short: ask yourself how the photographer make things more interesting? Do the photos feel like they’re in the moment?
The most important element: overall storytelling style
I’m an English major, so I’m a sucker for all things story. It’s a big reason why I became a photographer. There is a right way to take a photo, of course. But photos are also art, or at least I consider them to be. There is an element of leeway there. And like I think some art is bad, people may think my photos are bad. It’s entirely subjective.
But when you’re looking at portfolios, ask yourself how the photos make you feel? When your wedding day is long gone, these are what you’ll have left. That and your fading memories honestly. You’re hiring a photographer to help you remember.
So are the photos funny? Are they romantic? Do you feel like you sense the personality behind the couple? Are they playful? Serious? A mix?
My photos are usually more on the playful side. I love a joyful, laughing couple. In fact, most of my couples don’t nail the serious look at all. But that’s the type of people I seem to attract. We literally laugh our way through sessions.
The bottom line? Do the photos and/or photographer make you happy?
If this has been an overall read for you, no worries. I promise that so long as you ask questions and make sure you’re hiring a legit business, it will be okay. The most important thing to remember is your photos will look similar to the work you’re looking at. Are you okay with that? Do they provoke some feeling in you?
And most of all, do you jive with the photographer? I purposefully do not book weddings without meeting at least the bride, preferably the couple together, because I’m one of the only people who will be with you through the entire wedding day. If you can’t stand me as a person, please don’t hire me. Meet your photographer. Make sure you’re comfortable with them. They may see you at your most anxious, stressful moment, and at your best moment. We don’t want to be strangers!
I hope this is helpful. If you have more questions about photography or what questions you should ask potential wedding photographers, please reach out to me!