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July 8, 2016

I am terrible at keeping up on my blog.  I have heard that it’s better not to have a blog than have one that you never write in.  Experts might have a point there.  However, every time I think of shutting it down, I feel like I’m losing a puppy.  It’s fun to play with, and you feel heart-broken when it’s gone.

However, I’ll try to keep my sporadic blog posts interesting.  This one is about seasonal flowers in Michigan.  Specifically, seasonal flowers that I frequently take advantage of while shooting.  As I’m not a botanist in any sense of the word, I am going to give you Rachel’s interpretation of each flowers.  Which means it’s mostly based on what I think of each flower—true or not.  Part of my interpretation of nature is that everything pretty is a flower.  I regretfully don’t care if it’s invasive or not.  I know I should, but I don’t.  IF it’s pretty, I am very happy to have it in Clarkston, Michigan.


Mid-June to mid-July.  Crown Vetch.  This purple flower has been called invasive to Michigan.  I LOVE IT.  Possibly my favorite flower, and I adore purple.  This flower has the added bonus of being everywhere (invasive), and being a type of ground cover.  I love photographing in this stuff.

It’s frequently found in roadside ditches.

This is Madeleine.  She loves crown vetch too.






Ox Eye Daisy blooms in June.  It came from Europe.  So maybe it’s invasive too.  Great choice to bring it on over.



Queen Annes Lace.  July.  Did you know this is a wild carrot?  That’s awesome.  If we get really hungry during a shoot, we can eat this plant.  Be careful to not confuse it with wild hemlock.  Wild hemlock is also very photogenic, but not edible, and is in fact, deadly.  My minor internet research says that it can kill cattle in as little as 15 minutes.  Oh well, it’s still a lovely plant for photoshoots.

Abby sat in a bed of poison hemlock.


Good thing we relocated to a safer place…


These lovely weed flowers are called spotted knapweed, and bloom from July to mid-to-late August.  I read they’ve been in Michigan since 1911.  Another great invasive plant addition for my photography.  Unfortunately, it can be toxic to other plants and can be a skin irritant to some people.  But hey–lots of plants can irritate skin. Let’s not forget our other Michigan invasive plant, POISON IVY, which I will not highlight today. Abby LOVES spotted knapweed.


August session with Kennedy


Late August session with Ashley


And then in September Golden Rod arrives.  A highly allergic weed-flower if you happen to have an intolerance to high pollens.  It’s beautiful and covers fields completely.



Also still a little bit of color in some fields, mixed with the golden rod in September…


I am ending this blog post with something that is actually native to Michigan.  October color.





July 12, 2015

Every year, I swear this will not happen.  Every year, it happens.  I am a tremendously terrible blogger.  Do you want to know why?  Below is a glimpse into the life of a photographer.  My work year generally starts in May–the beginning of good weather in Michigan.

April – “Oh crap, I have so much to do before the season starts.  I will do it as soon as I finish these client graduation cards.” 

May –“Graduation cards done.  Sweet.  I need a few days to get over that.  OH MY GOD, how did I get two weeks behind on my business marketing?  I will NOT do this next year”

Mid-May –I am feeling so overwhelmed.  Why did we decide to revamp our website, sign on a new studio, and try this new marketing deal?”

June – “My season has started!  I am photographing every day, and this business thing needs to be completed, and we have two weeks to get our new studio done, and I will not be able to breathe again until January.  Maybe I can see my husband…oh yes, we have a quick moment together around…10pm.  Oh—and husband, I CANNOT figure out which photos to show in this girl’s gallery.  Will you help me, oh lovely husband?  I know you hate me right now but I PROMISE I will not do it again…uh, until tomorrow.”

July – “I’m loving photographing all the time.”

August –“I love my job.  I miss my husband.  I think I need a vacation.”

September – “Look at that golden rod in the fields.  And THAT SUN!  It’s so beautiful.  I have the best job in the world.”

October – “Yes, those colors are gorgeous.  Yes, Michigan fall is beautiful.  But oh-my-god.  It’s freezing.  I’m glad I’m wearing a down-parka while you wear that oh-so-beautiful-dress, you lovely 17-year-old.”

November – “I have mammoth amount of orders to fill, and I need to meet with so many people who want their photos for Christmas.  This is crazy.  I am at my computer from when I wake up to when I go to sleep.  My back hurts.”

December – “I think I have been pulling 100-hour workweeks for at least a month.   Christmas is coming.”


January—”I am sick and tired.  No, I am exhausted, and I just want to crawl in bed to catch up on all the sleep I missed for the past seven months.”

February/ March – “Do I have friends?  Do they know I exist since I haven’t seen them since June?”  I should re-acquaint myself with them.  Oh, and I have all this personal stuff to catch up on.  I could go for a walk.  I could become a runner, or an astronaut, or an elephant trainer…”


April….oh god.  It’s starting again.  And I forgot to post on my blog.


So, that’s the nature of a seasonal job.  99% of my clients are high school seniors.  Because of the Michigan weather window, I photograph from June through late October.  If I photograph every day (I did last year), this gives me an average of 7,000 photographs to “light edit,” which means I go through images to pick the best ones, color correct and apply some editing to give a professional look before my client even sees them.  When I start fulfilling orders, I can expect to fine edit (remove acne and smooth skin) on about 1,800 photographs.   With a very conservative guess on the average 17-year-old’s face, I can guess that I zap about 9,000 zits, and remove an equal amount of stray hairs that glamorously blew in the wind during a shoot.  And this editing is on top of phone calls, emails, and at least 100 hours of actual meeting with clients for their ordering appointments.

And somehow, when all the numbers are crunched and I feel like a beastly work-horse, I pick up that camera once again and fall in-love with capturing the beauty of life.  And when I feel guilty about not posting on my blog, I remind myself that I once was a flaky art school student and considering that history, I’m doing quite well.


For those who may wonder how my health is doing…it’s doing okay.  My body seems to be fighting the good fight and keeping off some infection.  I’m thinking it’s finally healing.  Hurray for that.

November 18, 2014

Disclaimer: This photo blog is not really a photo blog.  At all.  It should be labeled “Rachel’s life, updated sporadically.”  If you don’t mind reading ramblings and adventures from your photographer, go on ahead and read!  If you’re looking for photos…well, this blog has been a dismal failure.

It’s been a long journey.  One I never thought would go on so long, nor be as difficult as it’s been.  The journey started almost two years ago, with a finale of almost dying of asthma complications and having surgery in April.  After the surgery, I recovered quickly, and thought it was all behind me.   When I thought I was better, I started my up my business for the season, and quickly booked more sessions than I had in any other year.

However, it wasn’t finished.  Two months after surgery, I started having complications.  I went in to the doctor, and found out I had a staph infection in my sinus.’   I guess it’s not uncommon, but needed to be taken care of right away with antibiotics.  Okay, I went on another round.  A month after those antibiotics, I got sick again.

This visit, my doctor turned around, pretending to look through my files for something.  He didn’t realize I could still see his face I guess, because I could tell it wasn’t good.  He turned around again and said, “Not too big of a deal, although it is a complication…”

I think he knew I would cry.  I already did that once when I got sick with the first staph infection.

It was something called biofilm.  Biofilm coats your sinus, and collects bacteria.  Essentially, you have a cycle of infections.  So, my doctor prescribed a steroid wash.  I went on that for months.  It seemed to help, and while I was on the steroid wash, I had another round of antibiotics too, just for the heck of it.  Geez, this was probably the 14th round in 18 months.  I was thinking of starting to throw them in with my cereal in the morning.

So, the biofilm was being treated, and then I started having a side affect from the wash…crazy bloody noses.  It was disgusting.  I’ve dealt with a lot since this all began, but for some reason this side affect really got to me.  It would happen whenever my nose felt like it, and go on for 40 minutes or so.  It wasn’t the kind of bloody noses you think of when you think bloody noses (I promise).  It was like a raging flood, or at least a tiny continues faucet.  I felt like a vampire.  It went all over my clothes, all over my face, no matter how hard I tried to stop it.  If I had wanted a great Halloween costume, that was it.  The steroid wash seemed to be causing the bloody noses, so I was asked to stop using it as much…and then had another staph infection.


It’s been a cycle of sick/ week of relief/ sick again, since June.  I’ve been impressed with myself, though.  I’ve been beastly.  In late September, I booked my maximum amount of seniors for the year and shut my booking schedule down.  It’s amazing what you can do when you don’t actually feel like you’re dying.  Compared to last year, I’ve been as well as…a beautiful flower.  As long as it had fresh rain and the sun didn’t beat on it too long.  I guess I should be compared to a shade flower.

I’m at University of Michigan now.  I’m still hoping this can all be resolved soon.  As much as I feel better than last year, I still have limited energy and that’s frustrating.  I also can’t hang onto the idea that I’m completely well.  The cycles of sick/well/ sick has made me a bit distrustful of feeling good.  The asthma is not as serious as in “lungs shuddering for breath and waking up at night,” but it’s still labeled as “uncontrolled.”  I’m seeing a UM doctor about that as well, and hopefully new and stronger medicine will help.

This entire life-journey has definitely shifted my mindset.  So many things used to bother me.  For instance, I might burn my hand cooking.  “Well, hey—at least I can breathe.”  The other day, our basement flooded.  My husband and I got limited sleep.  “Well, hey—that sleep wasn’t that bad, I was able to sleep in bed instead of sleeping upright in a chair.”  I think I had a little stomach bug a few weeks ago.  “Well, hey…it’s only going to last a few days.”  I ripped my new leggings, which I was in-love with…well, things happen.  Am I going to hate shoveling snow this year?  Probably not (as much), because I bet I can do it without coughing for hours afterwards.  I used to LOVE traveling, and wanted to do it constantly.  I loved it so much, that I ended up being a little ungrateful for where I was at the moment.  Am I still like that?  Not really.  I’m grateful that I can take a walk through the neighborhood without gasping for breath.

I don’t really feel lame at all either, from losing my crazy desire of travel, or taking grateful walks around the neighborhood.   It’s amazing how much the little things in life mean to you, when you didn’t even notice them before.



June 8, 2014

LIFE!  It’s such a beautiful word and one I’ve so often taken for granted.  About a month ago, “full force” Rachel showed up.  I haven’t seen her in quite a while.  Honestly, it’s quite an adjustment.  The new Rachel moves so fast that I have to tell her to slow down so my mind can keep up.

We were not sure if I was going to be running a business due to me being so sick, so when it looked like a healthy recovery was actually long-term we burst into business mode.   In one months time, we have designed and launched a new website (a gloriously mobile website), turned all of our business filing electronic, remodeled the studio, bought a new camera, and launched our marketing.  I have to admit, I am quite impressed with the new Rachel.  It also helps that I have such an amazing technology geek partner-of-a-husband!

Randy thinks I need to commit to a marathon or something.  My new energy force drives him crazy sometimes.  As my brother added, “Rachel, just because you feel well and have all this energy, doesn’t mean the rest of the world wants to do everything with you.”  I have suggested sailing, biking, running, and picnics, all to no avail to my lackluster siblings.  My brother might have a point though.  It’s hard to do it all in one day.

Looking forward to this next year filled with love and laughter, photographing in fields, parks, and cities.  I am looking forward to new adventures, new friends, and taking walks without asthma.  By the way, I don’t think I told you…this summer Randy and I are taking a week backpacking trip to Yosemite.  Hopefully, the rattlesnakes and bears leave me alone.  Refer to other posts for info on that.



April 22, 2014

I was sick for a total of 16 months and it was one of the hardest experiences of my life.  It was filled with pain, and longing to be well.  The fears and joys of life never seemed so real to me.  The last two months I was sick, I was actually in the process of dying.

The last statement sounds dramatic, but it’s actually true.  Especially from the time of my last blog post, the asthma I had been experiencing became incredibly severe.  I was having asthma attacks for no reason throughout the day, and waking up during the night with asthma. My lungs felt constantly tight, and I was coughing up nastiness.  Twice, we almost called an ambulance.  Sometime in late March, my husband Randy and I took a short walk and my lungs almost completely closed up.  I couldn’t even make it home.  I sat on a rock waiting for Randy to return with a car, bent over and attempting to breathe.   A couple hours later, I called up an ENT to make a date for surgery.

April 9th, I went in for a sinus surgery.  The doctor didn’t know what he would find.  In a catscan, all he could see were nasal polyps–fluid filled sacks, which he planned to remove.  Polyps are caused by extreme irritation in the sinus’, and the root cause is typically believed to be allergy related.

The sinus surgery is usually about 1- 1 ½ hours long.  Mine took 3 hours.  He found a massive fungal sinus infection (mold was growing in my sinus).  The doctor told me that I was one of his worst patients in twenty years of practice, considering how the infection had infected my entire respiratory system.

Immediately following surgery, I felt better.  It was the weirdest thing.  I was exhausted and slept for days and days, but I felt better.  It felt like a poison had left my system.  My body had been fighting hard for months, but it knew that it could rest after the infection was removed.

A few days ago, I had a cup of coffee.  I could smell it.   It was the first cup of coffee I had in a year that I could smell.  I cried.

A few days ago, I made dinner.  It smelled delicious.  I cried.

Yesterday, my husband was fixing his car in the driveway.  I jumped into his arms, grease and all.  I didn’t care about my clothes for once, and then I cried.

You know the day we had the snowstorm and broke the 1880′s record for snowfall in Michigan?  Almost everyone in Clarkston was mad because it HAD to snow, even though we became legends.  But I wasn’t.  The sun came out and made the snow beautiful and I cried.  I was so grateful for being alive and becoming well.

I am crying a lot right now, because I am so incredibly grateful.  The doctor didn’t guarantee that the surgery would even help, and I wasn’t sure if I would get better, but it looks like I am.  The next few months, my ENT will check up on me.  I have the risk of the polyps growing back and there is the continual chance of the fungus taking hold again.  However, I am going to live life without fear, trust God and in His love, and see what every day holds.

Two days ago, I made an amazing dinner and set the table elaborately.  The people eating with us asked, “Why is everything so nice?”

“We are celebrating.”

“What are we celebrating?”

“We are celebrating because I am alive.”




  • Lisa Shefferly-Gillay says:

    Oh Rachel, I didn’t know you were that sick! Your post made me cry…cry with empathy for you, cry with hope for me. I am so glad that all is well with you for now. I pray that your good health continues. I love what you wrote about the lessons learned in your sickness. I am journeying on a road currently of suffering, but not one of poor health. Your post gave me hope too, that someday, I may see the end of my trial and then be able to set my fancy dinner table and rejoice in celebrations when it is over. Thank you so much for humbly sharing with us all that you have gone through.God bless you, girl! :)

    • Rachel says:

      I’m glad I was able to encourage you, Lisa! It was hard for me to see that there might be an end, but there is one. I will keep you in my prayers as well.

  • Emily says:

    Wow, you sound like you had a great doctor and God was definitely at work in your life. And I am so happy for you, that you can really enjoy life again, we will pray that your body continues to heal and that you can keep smelling that delicious coffee forever.

    • Rachel says:

      Thanks Emily! I know you understand and enjoy the greatness of coffee :) And he was a super doctor. My favorite, especially since I felt better after surgery.

March 4, 2014

I have been really sick for about a year.  I never expected this, and I certainly never expected it to go on for so long.  It’s funny what that does to you.  Last year, I struggled with “first world problems.”  I was sad when I scuffed my favorite shoe, disappointed because my vacation wasn’t long enough, and looked a lot towards tomorrow, instead of today.

Sound familiar?  I think a lot of people live that way in the good U.S.A.  There is nothing especially evil in it perhaps, but something becomes alive when you get so very sick.  You notice all the good things that you’ve been missing out on.  Things like time with family, appreciating family.  Loving good friends, and cherishing today.

I know a lot of people have it worse than I do.  But when you have something that feels like a constant sinus infection, it’s hard.  When you cough all night and get about 3 hours of sleep, it’s hard.  When you exercise and have an asthma attack for an hour afterwards, with your throat bubbling and cracking because you have so much mucus, it’s gross and it’s hard.  When you feel bad enough to think that you might be nearing the end, and make plans for your business in case YOU go down, it’s hard (although my husband has assured me he doesn’t think that’s really going to happen).

The good results from being sick:

A)   I love my family.  I appreciate being with them more than I ever have.  I don’t know how much time I have left with them.  Not because I think I might die (although that’s possible—and we all die).  But because we might move if the root cause of this sickness is allergy related.  When you realize your entire life might change, you spend a lot less time on facebook and more time with real people.

B)   I have redeemed the time.  When you try to sleep during the day, because you only had three hours of sleep during the night between coughing, you have to use every bit of time awake to be productive.

C)   You appreciate thoughtful people.  I can’t tell you how much it means to have a person’s compassion.  So many of my clients showed me how much it means to show empathy.  It’s not so much what they said, but how they showed it.  Many of them knew how to show empathy because they had been thru hard times too.  It was the questions asked, the good wishes they bestowed, and the patience they practiced if their photo order ended up a few weeks later than expected.  It really meant so much to me, and has forever changed the way I will relate to people in the future.

D)   Someday, when I have children, I will actually be grateful for getting up at night when the baby cries.  I was always afraid I would resent that aspect of childhood.  However, I now think that getting up because your baby needs you, instead of getting up because you’re choking on mucus or coughing…well, that’s actually one of my beautiful thoughts.  I think I might be grateful almost every time (I’m a realist—so I’m not going to say EVERY time).

E)   I have learned to appreciate my husband in a deeper way.  We have both agreed that this has been one of the most difficult times in our 7 years of knowing each other.  There have been times when he’s cried with me, held my hand and prayed when I felt I couldn’t, and got out of bed to watch movies with me at 3AM because I couldn’t stop coughing.  It’s been a beautiful and sacrificial love he has given me, and I couldn’t have asked for a better friend.

F)    I might become a marathon runner when this is all over.  If I exercise with asthma, and live on half breaths, I think once I’m well I’m going to be the most hard-core beast that a Rachel ever was.

Again, thanks for all your well-wishes and patience.  I do appreciate it so very much.  I will keep you updated and hopefully the next blog post will be full of cheerful health!

  • Patty Hester says:

    Well I scrolled through all your pictures and, read all of your post. You are amazingly gifted. I cried when I read this entrie. I know the awful struggle asthma & sinus allergies bring. I remember some very rough times, thinking if I just died, I’d get rest. First it was my late twenties, weight loss, extreme fatigue( from coughing all night). Got under control till I hit my forties, which caused two near death experiences that kept me in ICU. A lot of allergy shots over the years and,steroids. Then came menopause( probably not what you wanted to read) I notice it only happens now spring/fall or if I get a upper resp.infection. So I am fully convince hormones have played some sort of role in all this. I also know living where I live now has also helped a lot. Dry property, newer house less wet lands. I keep my nebulizer for when I get sick. When I was in Colorado, Flagstass Arizona, San Diego absolutely no problems and no meds. I know this is long and I’m not trying to be discouraging. Everytime I see you I pray for answers and your healing how ever Jesus does it. Love you beautiful lady. Patty

August 17, 2013

I love nature.  I love how everything is always changing–how the same field looks entirely different within a few weeks.  I love how the colors change, how flowers open up, how beautiful and wild things seem.  However, I don’t think nature likes me.

I’m not talking about the living organisms we call plants.  I’m talking about the animals out there. I don’t think they like me.  In fact, I’m vaguely thinking that A) I either have very bad luck, or B) It’s all out to get me.  Either way, It’s a bad thing.

Last year, I was charged by a bear (see here: http://folphotography.com/blog/?p=112), and two weeks ago, I had another encounter with wildlife.  A near-death experience.  It was pretty hard-core, if I do say so myself.

I was backpacking in the mountains of Virginia.  Super beautiful scenery, and overall a good time.  A lot of the hike, tree’s obstructed the view, so when we could, we tried to take breaks when we could see everything.


At one point, we found a rock outcropping on the mountain.  It seemed an excellent spot to eat lunch, so we decided to take advantage of it.  I sat down, took my shoes off, and started pulling things out to make lunch, when I heard a noise. At first,  I thought it was the cap on our water making some sort of strange hissing sound, although I had never heard it make a sound quite that loud before.  So I checked the water.  Then I thought that perhaps something weird was going on with our stove, but that would be impossible since I hadn’t taken it out yet.  Then for some reason, I looked behind me, and sitting A FOOT AWAY was a rattlesnake, all curled up.
“Oh my god.  It’s a rattlesnake.”  And I said it just like that, without really raising my voice.

I proceeded to tell the girls to get off the rock, “NOW,” since they started questioning and getting closer to look at the snake.  I thought they were going to make it more agitated and likely to bite me, if they made it feel trapped.  I got up very slowly, grabbed my stuff, and walked away.  Oh, and right before I started walking away, one of the girls was like, “Let me kill it.  Let me kill it with my hiking pole. I know I can kill it!”
“You cannot kill a rattlesnake with a hiking pole.  Get off the rock, now”
“No, I know I can kill it!  Let me at it”
“No.  You cannot kill a rattlesnake with a hiking pole.  It will definitely bite you.”  I was also thinking it would bite me, while she tried her mad jedi-skills on the snake.

Below is a photo of the snake.  Yes, we stopped long enough (at a safe distance) to take a photo.


So, it was the largest specie of rattlensake in North America, a Timber Rattlesnake.  They don’t bite often, as they are a timid snake, but by the time I knew what the noise was, it had been a few minutes.  When I was finally was able to leave the rock, it was a very angry, agitated snake.  It was even moving around to look at us when we left.  I am sure I would have died if I had been bitten.  I looked up some Timber snake bite incidents on google and it looked like, at the most, you have about ten hours.  It’s very unlikely that I  would have gotten help within ten hours, with our placement on the mountain.  I was glad none of the other girls were bitten, obviously, but they might have had even less time than me.  They are smaller girls.  And I didn’t know what to do with a snake bite–I would have tried to walk for help, which you’re not supposed to do.

Like I said, I have had a bear charge me and now I have had a snake encounter.  I don’t know if I ever want to go scuba diving or snorkeling.  A shark seems next on the list.  I know the odds of a shark attack are astronomical, but hey!  What are the chances I would have these other encounters?  Overall, I think it was a good thing.  Okay, maybe that’s exaggerating a little.  However, I did see two good outcomes from it.

First outcome: I tend to complain a lot while backpacking.  I mean, the backpack is freakin’ heavy and the hills are really big.  It’s just a lot of work.  I feel like complaining is part of the experience, you know?  Somehow, it makes it more fun for me.  “Oh my god, why am I DOING THIS…” As I vow to never climb another hill in my life.  Having a near-death experience on this trip helped me complain in a more unique way.  Instead of just murmuring complaints up the hills, I would say things like, “This hill is REALLY big.  BUT I LOVE CLIMBING HILLS!  THEY ARE THE BEST!”

Second outcome:  I feel like I’m going to be the worlds greatest grandmother.  “Sonny, when I was your age, I climbed mountains, backed down bears, had encounters with rattlesnakes…don’t you complain to me!”

April 23, 2013

At this point, I have photographed a lot of newborns. However, I rarely photograph in-home, as most of my newborn clients want to photograph at the studio. Guys, I have to tell you. This is the wave of the future for me. I loved photographing Kaedyn in her own environment. It was great to meet their dog, see details I wouldn’t have seen otherwise, and photograph in such a relaxed atmosphere. It didn’t hurt that they had a great house, and impeccable taste!


I LOVE those little newborn faces!

Blog-Collage-1366772284226The details in the nursery were amazing.  The little fabric balls below?  It’s Kaedyn’s mobile.  Stacy made it.  Along with the awesome ‘anthropologie-type’ letters spelling her name, the you-are-loved canvas, Kaedyn’s small table (not pictured), the chalk board…need I go on?  We can all be shamed by her creative genius.  It was genius, seriously.
details, nlgSee what I mean about the dog?  Maybe this is just because I’m a dog lover, but I was in my element catching the reaction of Berkley, to his new friend Kaedyn.

Blog Collage-1366771471654Blog Collage-1366771818101
Stacy and Ben were kind enough to have their floor re-done, just a few weeks before Kaedyn was born.  Obviously, just for the shoot.

frame, nlgfeet, nglfamily, nlg

April 10, 2013

I photograph High School seniors a lot. In fact, I mostly photograph High School seniors. When people ask what I like to photograph best, I tell them that because people are so different, I really enjoy many different shoots—weddings and newborns are all so special. However, with that said…I really love High School seniors.

Every senior shoot is an adventure. When I originally talk with the mom’s on the phone, they always ask, “Can we go on location?”
“Of course…”
“Are we able to go anywhere?”
“I tramp through swamps, walk up mountains, almost get hit by cars, get chased by crazy roosters, am a pro in field environments, walk into cow pens, and I expect to be eaten alive by mosquitos.” In other words, yes.

Am I exaggerating? Actually, no–I really have experienced all of the above.

And why do I LOVE it so much? Well, I really love adventures in general. I also love that look on a girl’s face, when she feels beautiful. I tell her the issue is actually because her friends take crappy i-phone pictures, so she doesn’t know how photogenic she is. But that’s not really the case. Our culture is bombarded with “how women are supposed to look.” We are told there is only one type of beauty, and we are given strict guidelines on what that is supposed to look like. I love to get to know someone, and photograph the personality that comes out when she feels comfortable. When that confidence comes out, and that beauty of heart pops out of her eyes? I realize all those mosquito bites are entirely worth it.

Most of the shoots are 2-3 hours. I photographed a lot of girls last year. They would come in with their laundry basket FULL of clothes, and ask, “What do you think I should wear?” We design their shoot together. We pick a place that fits personality. We laugh a lot, talk a lot, and live.

With that said, I don’t only photograph girls. I photograph a lot of guys too. But that’s different. I don’t look for beauty to pop out of their eyes. We just have a grand adventure and I make fun of them a lot. They like it. Really. I guess my goal with guys is to “call out their inner stud.” I’m not going to explain that. Let’s just think GQ.

To prove my point that I really don’t exaggerate, I am posting a few photos…

Sometimes I photograph with scenic lakes as a beautiful background
lexi lake
But other times, we photograph in lakes…
abby in lake
Ballerina’s are welcome.
And fields can be happy
clare in field
They can also be dreamy. By the way, don’t let the dreaminess fool you. This is where I was chased by a rooster.
We also like to make things cooler. Like fields. Sometimes we bring things into them.
I really did climb mountains
nick snowboard
I climb mountains in the summer too
lance on mountain
I photograph big animals a lot
maicey horse
And I wasn’t kidding about the cows.
In general, I just got my farm girl on this summer. During this shoot, I was climbing barn rafters.
I’ve learned a lot about golf.
alec oakhurst
But when I photograph golfers, I always have an inner fear that somehow, that club will hit me. So I backup sometimes.
And sometimes? We don’t really need a background at all. Just a lot of joy.

The life of adventures. Gotta’ love it! I am super blessed.

April 4, 2013

I didn’t get to meet Kristi and Kyle until a few weeks before their wedding, since they both live out-of-state right now.  However, I did get to see their engagement photos, and that gave me a glimpse into Kristi and Kyle’s personality.  As soon as I saw their pictures, I knew that I would have a fun time photographing their wedding.  I could see they had tons of personality, love, and a good sense of humor.  I adored them–and I wasn’t disappointed on their wedding day.  What I saw through their engagement photos came out throughout the day.  Their family and friends had the same warmth, and being able to capture some of that emotion from their wedding day was a privilege.

A) prepresized

They had a “first look,” when the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony.  I’m a huge fan of it, because I think it gives you a moment where you can really take in what’s happening.  Kristi described it as “magical.”  I thought so too–I can honestly say that I tear up at every single first look that I’ve ever been part of.  The one photo I regret not getting?  The fan base (parents and bridal party) that were peeking thru one of the church windows, trying to follow along on Kristi and Kyle’s “private” moment.

B) First Look

C) First Look

And then the ceremony.  They were married at St. Josephs, in Lake Orion.  The music was unearthly beautiful.

D) Church

E) Church

F) Aisle

G) Cool Portraitresized

H) Bridal Group

The reception was at The Myth Golf course, in Lake Orion.  The lights were beautiful, the table settings lovely, and the food yummy!

J) Reception toasts

The First Dance was beautiful, and the daddy-daughter dance had Randy and I choking up.   Especially since Butterfly Kisses was sentimental to me.  At my wedding, it was my daddy-daughter dance song.

K) Reception Dancing

Kristi and Kyle met at Ohio State.  Their wedding had one of the biggest mixes of Ohio State and Michigan fan bases I’veever seen at a wedding.  Their sports biases might be completely divided, but they certainly knew how to unite over a party.  It was one of the best I’ve been to so far, complete with glow sticks at the reception–and four grandmother’s that danced the entire night, irregardless on the type of music that was played.

L) Reception end

For those of you who support flash (Apple products do not), feel free to see more pictures from Kyle and Kristi’s wedding day in the slideshow below. You can also view it in its own link, http://folphotography.com/kyleandkristi/