Awesome Photographs

posted on: June 29, 2006

A group of fabulous photographers put together a blog to feature favorite photos from photographers around the globe. The content is updated daily, so feel free to bookmark it for future viewing!

**Click Here** to see one of my photos featured in the blog, and then surf around to see other cool and interesting photos featured as well!

Gwen & Chad's Wedding

posted on: June 28, 2006

I love it when a couple is just so comfortable and relaxed with each other, which I really felt with Gwen & Chad. It was obvious from the reactions of friends and family that everyone was so happy for them. They were married at the too-cute-for-words Stone Angel Wedding Chapel in Davison, MI. The weather couldn't have been any more amazing! It was the perfect day with trees in full bloom and a beautiful blue sky as a backdrop. Gwen wore a fabulous pink gown with tons of great texture and even hints of roses sewn in! I must have taken at least a hundred pictures that highlighted different details of the dress! The flowers were bright and colorful, which really set the tone for spring and fun. ;-)

Their luxury party bus was filled with drinks and snacks for the bridal party to enjoy on the way to the reception, held at Woodfield Country Club in Grand Blanc, MI. Gwen also had the cutest favors for her female guests... SOCKS! Sure enough, they were all gone by the end of the night, and there were quite a few feet in socks on the dance floor. It was obvious that Gwen & Chad really wanted their guests to have a great time and feel comfortable. I know this is one couple that will be happy together for many years to come. ;-) Congratulations Gwen & Chad!! CLICK HERE or anywhere on the collage to view a slideshow preview of their wedding day.

PS. What do you think of the collage? Do more, or go back to single photos? I definitely posted different photos than I normally do (more "safe" images and less "artsy") because the collage seems to serve a different purpose.

Big Living in a Small Town

posted on: June 22, 2006

Granted, if you come from a major metropolis like Detroit or Indianapolis, Terre Haute is a small town. But for the people who live in the Wabash Valley, going to Terre Haute means going to the "city". Now, before people get really confused... we do NOT live in Terre Haute yet. We will continue to live in Rochester Hills, MI until mid-August. So we haven't quite taken Terre Haute by storm yet... but we certainly have started to create a stir. ;-)

Alex has always dreamed of living in a downtown loft. I just wanted a place to rent until we became familiar with the area and sold our house here in Michigan. During our first visit to Terre Haute, we learned of two great places to live downtown. One was the most modern looking building downtown (pictured above), which had a very long waiting list for two bedroom apartments, but had a 750 sq. ft. one bedroom apartment that would be available in July, and the price was right. The space was a lot less than what we were hoping for and later in the day we did a mini interview with someone from the local schools (who I would potentially be working for) and his office window looked DIRECTLY into that apartment... which, I have to admit, made me a little uneasy. :-)

The second space was exactly what Alex had dreamed of - beautiful, hard wood floors, tall ceilings, old building, great design, great layout, tons of space, and a very downtown Chicago look. The price was also like living in downtown Chicago and the apartment was not available to just anyone because the owners are very selective about who they would allow to live in their beautiful building, and rightfully so. Alex wanted this beautiful place more than anything, and with the only other acceptable downtown option being the small one bedroom apartment, there seemed to be two extremes and no in-between option.

Luckily, at the last moment's notice after we were getting ready to cash in everything we had for the beautiful loft, the company that manages the smaller apartment called to tell us that they had a two bedroom available. I'm not sure what happened to that long list of people waiting for two bedroom apartments, but I'm not going to ask! Not only did they have a two bedroom available, but it is the best apartment in the entire building because of the ammenities and placement within the building. We'll be taking over the apartment from the first person who moved into the building.

We still had to pay for an extra month that we would technically not be living there, but to us it was worth it to secure something that was both affordable and had enough space combined with the ability to walk to Indiana State University where Alex will be teaching, we can walk to Coffee Grounds which is quickly becoming our favorite coffee shop hangout, the super cheap movies at the beautiful Indiana Theatre, to church - and there are a LOT of historic churches, to Orchestra concerts, events at the Hulman Center, live music at The Verve, downtown festivals, and even the Farmer's Market on Saturdays. There aren't a lot of cities where you can do so many awesome things all within walking distance of your front door!! So, we're happy that we finally have a place to live in Terre Haute, even if we won't be there for a few months.

A small sample of the places I'm sure you'll find us hanging out when we get there...

Beth & Troy Engagement

posted on: June 20, 2006

I don't know how they managed to do it, but Beth & Troy hardly showed any signs of how incredibly HOT and HUMID it was during their engagement session! I met them in East Lansing to shoot at the MSU Horticultural Gardens. However, since the sun was so hot, I thought we'd last a little longer if we started out in the shade near the WJ Beal Gardens where the large trees and buildings provide a little more shelter from the sun. After we cooled off with one of my favorite volcanic French Sodas from The Cappuccino Cafe, we headed out to the Horticultural Gardens. MSU is fortunate to have such a green campus with plenty of places for great garden pictures.

Ever since I started shooting in RAW instead of JPEG, I've been pushing the boundaries a lot in terms of color, saturation, and contrast and I'm just loving it! I know that it's not for everyone, however when it comes to engagement pictures, there are often so many that are similar to each other that it doesn't matter much if I take one or two and get really wild with them. ;-)

I just love kissing pictures. I've been accused by mothers of brides and grooms of having "too many" kissing pictures.. but for me, there are never enough!

I also love pictures of people laughing. I can't think of a better expression of true happiness than laughter, can you? A lot of photographers might throw this picture out because she has her eyes closed, or because there's motion blur, but not me... the emotion and moment are real and honest, and if I have to make a few technical sacrifices to capture real emotions.. I'll do it!

I've seen a lot of pictures done on train tracks, but very few with an actual train in them!! Most people, when hearing a train whistle, would step away from the tracks, but once I heard the train whistle, I couldn't resist the opportunity to get the train zooming by! How exciting! Of course I have to thank Beth & Troy for standing so close to the tracks with the train zooming by! (Don't try this at home kids!) Click on an image to view a slideshow preview of their engagement session.

Kim & Rene Engagement

posted on: June 19, 2006

When Kim wanted to hire me for her wedding, I was already booked. She had a very popular date, so I'm sure it was difficult to find a great photographer. She ended up hiring one of those studios that uses a lot of different photographers. Well, I guess she had a horrible engagement session experience with this company. Now, in all fairness... it probably wasn't an extremely horrible experience... but since she had already seen pictures from my engagement sessions, I think she was expecting A LOT more than this other company normally delivered! After seeing how disappointed she was, Kim's best friend called me again only a month or so before the wedding day to find out if there was any chance that her date was somehow open. Ironically, the bride who had previously booked the same date decided to call off the wedding, leaving me with the date open! Talk about luck!

Well, one of the things she mentioned about this other engagement session was that the photographer made them stand against a wall, outside of an office complex, with a Doritos bag on the ground next to them and told them "Don't worry, it's only head shots," after which she thought.. why did I even dress up for this?! The photographer took about 15 shots and then they were done. Now, if all you need is one or two pictures as an announcement for the newspaper, or to put in a signature frame, I'm sure what that photographer did was just fine, provided he used good technique to make it look better than it actually was. I have to admit that when Kim told me this, I was a bit nervous as to what she'd think about my engagement session!! Sure enough, I would have them standing near a wall with not just a Doritos bag on the ground, but an entire alley full of dumpsters in full smelling range!! You can find some of the coolest backgrounds in alleys and parking lots... it's all in how you "see" it. I think quite a few of my clients would agree that some of their favorite images were taken in some very "unattractive" places. ;-) Of course... when you have a totally hot couple like Kim & Rene, they just make everything around them look better.

We started off by stopping by my favorite colorful parking lot and alley in downtown Windsor, then headed to the riverwalk, and finished off with a few quick shots in front of the Casino Windsor. On our way to Windsor, Kim & Rene were telling me how they met in a pool hall where they used to hang out all the time. So, of course, I had to get some shots of them shooting pool! Instead of going to a bar where we probably would have had a lot of people staring at us, they took me to a relative's house who had a game room in the basement. I loved getting the chance to weave some of their personal story into the engagement session. It makes it that much more meaningful and genuine. In any case... I've blabbed enough!!! Click on any image to view a slideshow of samples from their engagement session!

Happy Anniversary Jennie & Alan!!

posted on: June 18, 2006

Jennie and Alan are very special to me. It was over a year ago that Jennie got this crazy idea that I should take their engagement pictures, after seeing some pictures I did as a gift for a mutual friend of ours. Once they saw their engagement pictures, Jennie & Alan had an even CRAZIER idea!! They decided that they were going to CANCEL the professional photographer they had already hired for their wedding so that I could shoot their wedding instead! WHAT WERE THEY THINKING!?! I was also just crazy enough to say yes.

It's amazing how one little decision can change your life. It was at that point that over ten years of a serious hobby became more than just a hobby. I studied everything I could get my hands on... reading books, message boards, magazines, tutorials.. anything and everything to feel as prepared as possible for the big day. I had offered to assist a few photographers and no one really wanted to take me up on my offer, so I ended up going solo for my first big job. Luckily I already had the technical knowledge down pat from years of practicing, so everything else was about timing, anticipation, and preparation. The whole day was a blur, but looking at the images, I remember every single moment like it was yesterday.

Jennie & Alan are so much more than clients, they are close friends. I know that no matter how far apart we are, they will always have a special place in my life. In honor of their first wedding anniversary, I share with you some of my favorite moments from their wedding day.... June 18, 2005.

To Jennie & Alan - thank you for believing in me and giving me the confidence to pursue my passion.

Sarah & Mike Engagement

posted on: June 17, 2006

Sarah & Mike drove all the way from Columbus, OH to do their engagement sesion in downtown Detroit with me. (Thank you!!) ;-) We did a little sight seeing in the downtown area via The People Mover. From the look on Mike's face, I could tell that getting his picture taken was the last thing he was looking forward to that day! HA! Now, I'm usually prepared for guys to be reserved and a bit resistant during the engagement session, but Mike was definitely a tough cookie to bite into! I tried all of my subtle tactics to get Mike to loosen up, but he wasn't budging! What's a photographer to do when people are uncomfortable in front of the camera? Get them to NOT look at the camera. Some people are very comfortable getting their picture taken and will ham it up for the camera, but for those who aren't, I find that the best expressions and emotions come out when two people are interacting with one another and I'm off on the sidelines capturing it as it happens. It is in this way that I can really capture what is genuine about a relationship between two people. How they look at one another, how they touch one another, how they walk together... they are all little clues about the chemistry between two people.

I really love that every engagement session is different. For me, it's an entirely organic process and a constant challenge. I tune into how a couple reacts to different suggestions to determine what works and what doesn't and sometimes things that I have planned take completely different turns due to the responses of the people I'm photographing. My ultimate goal is to create images that are not just beautiful... but also honest and revealing. Of course, I leave it up to each person to determine if I'm successful in that goal. Click on any image to view a slideshow preview of Sarah & Mike's Engagement session.

PS. If you haven't ridden the Detroit People Mover lately, I highly suggest you do. If nothing else, at least to appreciate the beautiful Pewabic tiles that adorn many of the stations!

Random Photo

posted on: June 7, 2006

Heather & Martin Engagement

posted on: June 2, 2006

When our first session together was rained out, Heather told me it was because she had terrible luck, so I promised her that there wouldn't be any rain on our rescheduled session. I got lucky.. in fact, really lucky because it was one of the warmest days we'd had all year!! In fact, I was even a little worried because full sun and clear skies meant harsh shadows and difficult lighting... but I found ways to use it and to work around it.

Heather & Martin are so silly when they're together... which doesn't seem to be often since Martin travels often with the Marines. I had a lot of fun hanging out with them and they were up for just about everything I wanted to try. ;-) I had fun shooting on Belle Isle again, and trying to find even more places and scenes that I hadn't explored in the other sessions I've done on the island. I love that the island has so much diversity, and even though I've shot there a few times now, each session looks like they were shot in completely different places!

What would an engagement session be without a little story? While we were walking back from the beach, a woman on a motorcycle seemed to just fall off her bike and stop traffic. Now, my personal take on this is that she was staring a little too hard at Martin & Heather having fun and not watching where she was going! Then, as we were trying to make our way to the island Casino for some great architectural shots, I was pulled over by the cops for turning left in one of those places where you can only turn during certain times of the day. I felt really bad because Heather & Martin were following me and they had to stop also. Of course, I never saw the sign because the sun was in my eyes, and luckily the cop let both of us off... which might have something to do with the fact that Martin flashed his military ID. Thanks Martin! Click on any image to view a flash preview of their engagement session.

June Desktop Image

posted on: June 1, 2006

Every month or so I change my desktop image to a recent photograph I've taken and I thought it would be fun to share these images in my blog so that you can download them for your desktop as well! Every month I'll try to post a new image that is suitable for displaying at desktop size and resolution. Click on an image to download a copy for your desktop.

What do you see when you look at this image? Is it full of imperfections or is it beautiful? What does that say about how you perceive the world?

I love that it's beautiful yet imperfect, fragile yet strong. Life is full of contrasts and often times with the good, we also must accept some bad. However, this also means that the opposite must be true. When we find ourselves in difficult situations, there are still opportunities for hope... we only need to change our perspective on life so that we focus on what is positive rather than what is negative.

Now think about your self image... do you see yourself full of imperfections, or simply beautiful as you are? It's easy to pick ourselves apart, yet we also must make room to recognize how beautiful we naturally are and that our imperfections are part of that beauty. If we treat ourselves with compassion and understanding, than we are more likely to extend that compassion to others which will ultimately create more peace in our lives. I challenge you to think about how you perceive the world around you, how you perceive yourself, and how your perceptions affect the way you interact with others. Take time this month to enjoy the little things that make you happy and bring peace to your life... even if it's something as simple as watching the sunset...

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