A Lifestyle Session in a Nutshell

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According to Wikipedia lifestyle photography is “a style of portrait / people photography which aims to capture and document real-life events, situations, or milestones in an artistic manner and the art of the everyday.”

The beauty of a lifestyle session is that it isn’t scripted and posing isn’t required. It is meant to capture the real moments as they happen naturally. It is an opportunity to capture a family doing what they do the best – being themselves. As a photographer, it allows for me to focus on the moments as they play out and to capture them without the burden of posing, staging, and guiding. It provides the family with a more relaxed atmosphere in a familiar environment – their home. The moments are just those simple everyday kind of times – reading a story, baking cookies, play dress-up, and even washing the dishes with your children. It is a way of documenting a bit of your family’s story. You will be amazed at how simple and meaningful those little moments become and how lovely your life is during these moments. Let it happen and let me photograph it happening!

As your Lifestyle Photographer, I will:

  • Stay true to real life
  • Ask you about things your family enjoys doing together. I will learn a bit about your family before the session.
  • Select the best places in your home with optimal lighting and a space that allows for active engagement.

Don’t expect me to:

  • Pose your family
  • Tell your family what to wear
  • Ask your family to smile on demand. I want natural interaction within the family.
  • Bring props

 

 

 

 

My Online Collections

10999728_10152923011390796_166223610957295800_oI now offer my clients access to private online photo collections via Pixieset. I have loved giving my clients access to their photos through this website. It is very user-friendly and is a great way for clients to easily access their photos online. I simply provide them with a password and a download pin. In addition, I also send my clients a CD/flash drive of the photos as I will only keep the collections online for a limited time. I am in love with Pixieset.

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Voted “Red Hot Best 2015 Winner” by Traverse Magazine

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I was humbled and honored to be voted as the 1st place “Red Hot Best 2015 Winner” in Traverse Magazine. I am grateful for having such a loyal fan base of clients who took the time to not only nominate me but also vote for me. There are so many talented photographers in Northern Michigan. I am simply thrilled to win my first ever award. I am blessed to be able to be recognized for doing something I truly love. Thank you to all my loyal clients and fans. I am humbled.

Magnificent Mo

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When it comes to photographing weddings, Mo is my sidekick. I couldn’t and wouldn’t do a wedding without her.  What does Mo do? You should really be asking  what DOESN’T Mo do because that list would be much shorter. But I will give you some insight into what my wedding companion does.

First of all, Mo helps me to “find” the shots. She is another set of eyes. She knows what I am looking for and Mo also has a special way of noticing the small things. When I get to a wedding, I start shooting. Most of the time I have my camera in front of me getting shots and adjusting my settings. Mo checks out the scene for me.  She checks out the ceremony area, the reception area, the bridal area, and more. She keeps a mental note…”Shannon needs to get a photo of the grandma’s handkerchief” or “Shannon needs to see this banner”. This allows me to keep shooting photos. You could call her my scout.

Mo also keeps track of all my equipment. I arrive at weddings with multiple lenses and flashes and attachments and batteries and memory cards. Mo keeps it all safe. She hauls around my big ole’ camera bag with a big ole’ smile on her face. When I need a lens, she is there and ready with it. She knows when I need a certain piece of equipment without me having to ask. Mo and I “click”. We have our wedding groove. You could call her my “equipment manager”.

Mo is the person that I direct the wedding party to consult when they need something. I tell them to just tell Mo and it will get done. If a mother wants a photo with a special childhood friend, she seeks out Mo then Mo finds me. Snap, click, flash! We get the shot. You could call her my “go-to gal”.

During some of my shots, I have to gather up and organize a lot of people. This especially occurs during the family photos and the bridal party photos. She is there to find family members or to help with great grandma. She corrals the missing wedding party members who might still be at cocktail hour. She gathers them all up so I can continue with my shots. She generally has a list that we will work off. (She keeps track of the list too.) You could call her my ”gatherer”.

Mo somehow manages to give the perception of having more arms and hands than the typical human. She is able to hold more items during the course of a wedding than anyone I know. She holds bouquets (more than one at a time and that could be a lot if the wedding party is large). She holds water bottles. She holds beers. She holds purses, sweaters, coats, hats, and even shoes. She holds dogs. She holds lists, napkins, lipsticks, mints, and jewelry. Keep in mind that she also has my big ole’ camera bag. You could call her my “porter”.

Mo is also the bride’s assistant. If the bride needs anything, Mo will find it for her. If a safety pin is required, Mo will hunt one down. If a note needs to be delivered to the groom, Mo will promptly make that delivery. Mo makes every effort to keep the bride happy and worry-free. You could call her my “lifesaver”.

Those are just a few things that Mo does as my wedding assistant – Mo the Scout, Mo the Equipment Manager, Mo the Go-To-Gal, Mo the Gatherer, Mo the Porter, and Mo the Lifesaver.

But what you can really call Mo is my friend. She makes weddings so enjoyable for me. We share the magic of the wedding day together as we are surrounded by the family and friends of the day who are laughing, dancing, kissing, sharing, smiling, and enjoying. We get sucked into this wonderful wedding bubble. For days after, Mo and I will reminisce. The wedding day lingers with us. Sharing weddings with my friend Mo makes my job of wedding photographer an enjoyable experience. Thank you Mo for all that you do. Your magic is greatly appreciated.

“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh,” he whispered.

“Yes, Piglet?”

“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s paw, “I just wanted to be sure of you.”

Tips And Tidbits From A Wedding Photographer

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Dear Bride,
Planning a wedding is a lot of work. Every bride wants the perfect wedding day. I had great expectations for my own wedding day. As I look back at photos of my own wedding I wonder, “why did I have my bridesmaids wear dresses that looked like airline stewardesses?” I wish Pinterest was around when I got married. Pinterest is packed with so many wonderfully creative ideas. Among the many wedding ideas are hundreds and hundreds of possible wedding poses. However, I have found few words of advice about wedding days. As a wedding photographer, I have experienced weddings on a different level…beyond being a bride. I want to share some tips and tidbits that I have found to make a wedding day more enjoyable and (almost) stress-free.

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1. First of all, designate someone at your wedding to help with the details such as directing guests, keeping to the schedule, finding a bobby pin for the maid of honor’s hair, and all those important details that keep your day running smoothly. If you can’t afford to hire a wedding coordinator, then find a friend or a family member. This person needs to know the families and be knowledgeable of your expectations for the day. You do not want to have to worry about the itinerary on your wedding day or whether the flowers were delivered or if someone is directing parking.

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2. DON’T print out and give all the wedding poses you like that you find on Pinterest to your photographer. You need to allow your photographer to be creative that day and photograph your day as it plays out. You selected your photographer(s) because you liked their work and their “eye” so allow them to do their job. It isn’t realistic to expect your photographer to recreate all the photos you found on Pinterest.

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3. Designate a family member or friend to help with the gathering of people for the family photos. It will be their job to get “Great Uncle Bill” to stick around for photos. You should not have to do this or worry about it. I suggest providing your photographer with a list of family members and the groupings. Give a copy to your designated person in addition to your photographer. Believe me, this will make the family photos go much smoother and you will know that you are getting the groupings that you desire.

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4. Allow for time after dinner for some photos with you and the groom. This has been a favorite time of mine. It allows the two of you to have a bit of time away to connect. It is a very sweet and much needed moment. I suggest allowing for 30-40 minutes. It is best to do after you finish your dinner because: 1) you are served first and will be done before everyone, 2) photographers generally (at least I don’t) photograph guests eating, and 3) everyone will still be eating. It is the perfect time to slip away for some bride and groom photos. (If after dinner doesn’t work, try to find a time when there is still light outside for this private session to happen.)

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5. If you want photos of your wedding party in various group poses, allow for ample time to do it. I have found 30 minutes isn’t enough time. When at least an hour is provided, the wedding party doesn’t feel rushed and this part of the day is quite fun. If you want the great wedding party photos, then allow for time to do them. This is especially important if you have a large wedding party.

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6. My last bit of advice to the bride is to try not to sweat the small stuff. It doesn’t matter if the candies on the tables are color coordinated with the napkins or if the butterflies were released at the exact moment you wanted or if a few guests ate the cupcakes a bit early. What matters is that you are marrying your best friend, your second half, the person who makes your heart go pitter-patter and skip a beat. So find a way to let it go and enjoy the day. Dance, laugh, and smile simply because it is a happy day. It will all fall into place. You can do things to help ensure that it goes well by simply following some of my tips and tidbits. Happy wedding planning.

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Summer Family Mini-Sessions

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My “Family Mini-Sessions” will be on AUGUST 2nd this year.
Space is limited so book now to secure your slot.

About the mini-session: Cost is $139 which includes a 30-minute session, a CD or flash drive of 10+ edited photos (often more than 10), my editing time, and a treat for the kids.

It is one of my popular sessions and it fills up fast.
Slots are from 9:00am to 7:00pm.

Hello world!

Well, I had to “bite the bullet” and switch to a new blog server. My previous blog site was “down” too many times. My blog needs to be available and reliable to my clients. So today I sit and update my blog. I think it was ready for a new look anyway.