Family Fun ~ Fall Family Photographer ~ Northern Michigan



I love fall.

Growing up in Washington State, I found the months of September, October and November to be rather….soggy.

Like much of the rest of the year.

It’s the mountains, the rivers, the lush greens and outdoor brilliance whenever the sun shines that makes Washington so spectacular. But I will never forget the first time I met October in Michigan. It was October 13, 2000, and I flew into Chicago and drove into SW Michigan for a week with my best friend. The drive through the agricultural countryside on that first evening gave me memories, images that still come quickly to mind. Every house was decorated as if the month of October was THE celebration of the year! My first impression of Michigan was undoubtedly good, but sadly, two days later my best friend’s grandmother passed away, and we were soon on our way north to Kalkaska.

In the midst of the sadness of that week, two beautiful things blossomed: a relationship with the man who became my husband almost exactly a year later, and the soul-filling joy of anticipating the yearly return of splendid October in northern Michigan. In the years that followed our wedding and relocating to a place so far from my family and native home, the Octobers were like a shot in the arm of hope and profound gratefulness for the blessings to be received no matter where in the world you make your home.

These are some of my favorite images taken so far, these are the ones that are framed and up on my walls, or hanging in the living room, stretched on a gorgeous canvas so I can see them every day. They capture my favorite people, my corner of the world, and some of the favorite pieces of the vivid intensity of peak color in Kalkaska county. There is no real way to capture what this looks and feels like in real life. No words, no camera, could really take in the entirety of how the earth feels like it has its own light source, a glowing, wonderful, luminance everywhere you look. Even now, more than a decade later, I sometimes have  a difficult time driving during peak color week because my eyes are drawn to everything but the drab, gray road.

I am already looking forward to October 2015! I enjoy the spring greens after the long, hard winters, and we all know how fantastic summer afternoons on Torch Lake are on a sticky hot day, but October, you have my heart!IMG_3976 edit small
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Gorgeous Fall October Autumn Blonde Hair Girl

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Kalkaska Outdoor Photography Fall Beauty Family

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October Birthday Session Fall Color MIchigan

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Senior | Sidney | Fall Session

October Kalkaska Senior Photos


There is no better feeling as a photographer than to have a client who loves their images so much that they are willing to drive nearly 4 hours to come see me again! Sidney’s Senior Portrait Session (Part 1) was done in the beauty of the northern Michigan summer time, with the field in full bloom and summer sun warming the horizon with gorgeous tones and creamy backgrounds. Don’t miss the link at the bottom of this post to take you back to her summer session to see all of her amazing images!

Sidney also wanted fall color photos to add to her Senior Collection and we had the perfect fall day in all its Michigan October splendour! We found some awesome places near Torch Lake to capture these portraits and had so much fun during the whole process! Thank you for coming to see me again Sidney, I am honored that you chose me for this amazing time in your life! Congratulations on your recent graduation!

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Senior Fall Foliage Photography Michigan

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Senior Girl Grunge Torch Lake Abandoned Portfolio Model

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See the rest of Sidney’s Senior Pictures here on her Summer Session Blog Post!
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Jeff & Stephanie | Fall Color | Family Session

What is better than a fall family session in Northern Michigan?! Well, how about throwing in some fun with leaves, a beloved old puppy dog companion, and some amazing family memories!

Our fall session was on a beautiful day near Torch Lake, Michigan. Stephanie did a wonderful job coordinating everyone and their happiness was evident by the gorgeous smiles and the fun they had together. They chose some wonderful gift prints for their families and have some gorgeous images to decorate their home and keep these memories for years to come!

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Fall outdoor family photo shoot michigan beauty

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Couples Engagement Autumn Northern Michigan Photography IMG_4498 edit small

A Boy And His Dog Photoshoot Autumn October Leaves

Family Playing In the Fall Leaves Torch Lake Michigan


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RED: A Traveling Dress Adventure!

One of the many resources I have been grateful to utilize in my photography journey is the Focused Photographers Forum. They are an amazing group of talented photographers willing to share their time and knowledge to other photographers as we all learn and grow together. Photography is, for so many of us, a life-long passion for further education, greater understanding of the craft, and pushing toward accomplishment of a vision that is our own, traveling the sometimes difficult path to get that vision from our brains to the back of the camera or the front of the computer screen. Joining forces with other talented photographers, such as those on Focused Photographers, makes traveling that path easier….and way more fun!!

The Traveling Red Dress Challenge: A certain Red Dress was purchased and sent to each of a dozen or so participants around the country (and 1 in Canada!). We were to keep the dress for a maximum of 5 days before sending it on to the next person on the list. Everyone had the same dress to work with, but of course, each of us had our own struggles with how to use the dress, finding the right (petite) model to fit into the dress, coordinate tight schedules and make our own unique vision come to life! All in all, the project took a few months to complete, beginning in mid January and just finished up the first week of May. I received the dress in mid March and was able to pull in my Hair and Makeup artist, Raini Jenkins, as well as my model Mary Williams, get us all together, shoot these images while the weather cooperated (some in the snow!), and mail the dress within my allotted time frame. Whew! ;)

At the time of publishing this post, I have yet to see ANY of the images taken by the other participants! I am SO excited to finally see the finished work of everyone in the group! We were asked to share our 1-2 favorites, and these are mine! I couldn’t decide between the color and black and white edit on the outdoor shot, so I am sharing both. Hope you enjoy following along our blog circle to see all of the other fabulous images shared today on our big RED: A Traveling Dress Adventure Reveal!

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I enjoyed this so very much, and I want to say “Thank you!” to each of the other photographers who participated with me and a special “THANKS!” to Beth Russell (Photos by ejrussel) for doing all of the leg work and organization for this project and for sending each of us little gifts to make our challenge shooting and editing just a little bit sweeter!

Please head over to Cheri’s blog HERE to check out her take on the RED: A Traveling Dress Adventure Project! This is a blog circle! Ever heard of it? A blog circle links from one blog to the next in a complete circle. Click on the linked up blog on each post until you find you way all the way back to me! Although there were a dozen or so of us participating, not all photographers have a blog, so the circle won’t be terrible big or take up a great deal of your time. Comments are awesome! Thank you for taking a look!

Senior | Emilee



Emilee came to me on a gorgeous summer day for her senior portraits. She won me over with  her stunning smile and amazed me with her sense of adventure! She was up for anything and we had such a great time capturing her in the beautiful country side of northern Michigan! Emilee, it was such a pleasure to work with you!

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Natural Light Studio | Children & Families

baby toes photography pink dress white stoolMy kids (and nephew) are my dear little guinea pigs when it comes to trying new methods and putting concepts into trial-and-error mode. Sometimes these kids show signs of PKS (Photographer’s Kid Syndrome), like that little one in the pink dress, who had to fight back tears before we got her laughing. Most of the time, they are gems and put up with a lot of my directing and even become my valuable helpers when dealing with little clients!

Sharing some of my favorites from last year’s summer work in my makeshift Natural Light Studio.Studio photography children and families kalkaska

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Senior | Sidney | Summer Session

The incredible Sidney drove all the way up from SE Michigan on her 17th birthday to have her senior portraits done on a perfect summer evening! We planned and waited and waited some more until the conditions were just right for this kind of perfect evening light in this field and the perfect smoothness on the lake for reflections. It was incredible and I can’t tell you how much fun we had putting together these elements of style and place to create something memorable for Sidney.

And the best part? She came back in October for fall portraits, too! Those will be shared in another blog post coming up soon!IMG_3236 edit full

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Backlit Summer Senior Field Flowers KalkaskaIMG_3145 edit full3Senior portraits in kalkaska reflectionsIMG_3272 edit fullNorthern Michigan senior portraits natural lightIMG_3154 edit fullIMG_3278 edit fullSummer Sunlit Senior Session Michigan Photography Warm Golden Portrait Session Traverse City PhotographerIMG_3190-2 edit full

Matt & Josie Minikus | Album Cover Art | Summer Session

I’m so excited to finally share some of these images! About 18 months ago Matt and Josie came to me for a photo shoot to gather some images for the cover art on their upcoming album. It was such an honor to be able to work with them on this project, and now I’m happy to share my favorites from their session and announce their album is available and ready to ship in time for Christmas gifts. I was so proud of this session but I couldn’t share it! It was so hard to be patient for me!

Please take a moment and go check out their new album here at their website!


Finished Minikus HP&L Cover W166

The digital download is also available here!

Or take a quick look at their facebook page and give them a “like”!

I can’t tell you what a thrill it is for me to see my work on their website, business cards, and now 2 albums! Their music and ministry has blessed me greatly, and I hope you are blessed as well.

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B. Family | Summer Evening Mini Session

This gorgeous Mama has been a friend of mine for more than a decade, and I’ve had the honor of photographing her many times over the years. We got together on one lovely summer evening for a quick mini session with her sweet family and I love how these turned out! I especially love it when I can coax mom and dad to take a few minutes to capture the connection they share as a couple!
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Fun Photo Shoot on Family Farm in Michigan

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Outdoor family photo shoot

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I never could decide if I liked this one better in color or black & white!
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Traverse City Family Photography

Nicholas and Riley : NICU Twins!

Photographing preemie twins while still in the NICU was one challenging project! But one that was incredibly rewarding and so very sweet! We had to work within the structure and rules of the NICU, without any natural light or any sort of flash, and I was not allowed to hold them (bummer!), but we were not to be out done by our circumstances.

I was really glad to be able to help share the little details of these precious new babies with those who were not able to see them yet in person, like their tiny little toes and the sight of them laying together, mommy holding them, and big sister helping out with the littlest of her 6 siblings!

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