Location Recommendations: The Farm, Clare, Michigan


This is the third of a series of blog posts showcasing the various locations I recommend for portrait sessions around Michigan.

A great location for senior portrait sessions especially is the property owned by my parents between Clare and Coleman, Michigan. This property makes for an amazing backdrop for photoshoots. The farm has several beautiful features like abandon buildings, barn, and several large trees. 

The farm is one house down from 11070 East Oak Road, Clare, Michigan 48617. This is two houses down from the dead end sign. 

I recommend starting sessions at 6pm and shooting for about an hour if the session is during the summer or fall. Studio images can also be easily set up hear as well. 

Below are some of my favorite images taken at the farm over the years.


Win a Free Couples or Engagement Portrait Session with Digital Files


I will be giving away a free couples or engagement portrait session to which ever couple can get the most people to comment their names in the comments section of this blog post. This session includes a thumb drive with digital files with web rights for personal use and no creation fee. Additional prints or products can be purchased at the normal cost. Contest ends at 1am on June 1st 2017.


Final Tally as of 1:00am Thursday June 1st


Brendan and Emily 47

Brennan and Sheridan 30

Allen and Lisa 24

Bean and Rocio 15

Jeffery and Jessica 8

Alex and Rachel 6


Congrats to winners Brendan and Emily!


New Portrait Studies from Ann Arbor, Michigan


I’ve spend the last week in Ann Arbor, Michigan running tests for a new business idea and finishing up the few things left on my off season to do list. I also have gotten to photograph some new portrait work for my portfolio as well. Below are some of my favorite images from a shoot with the amazing models Chelsea and Dayna as well as some behind the scenes images of my friend William. 

Product Overview: Portrait Books


This is the fifth of several new blog posts explaining the various products available from Ryan Watkins Photography. 

I now offer portrait books with images from your wedding or portrait session!

Portrait books are available in both soft and hard cover each with 20 pages per book. The back and front covers of each book both feature images from your session as well. I recommend doing one image per page, 21 images including front and back cover, but more images can be included upon request. 

Softcover books are available in the size 7×7. Hardcover books are available in both sizes 7×7 and 12×12. Prices range from $100 – $400. 

Location Recommendations: Island and Nelson Park, Mt Pleasant, Michigan


This is the second of a series of blog posts showcasing the various locations I recommend for portrait sessions around Michigan.

One of my most popular locations to photograph in is Island and Nelson Park in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. This is an amazing location for seniors, engagements, and families. The two parks are connected by a winding trail. I usually prefer to meet at Nelson park and then walk to Island and back taking images along the way. Nelson usually has far less people than Island and is pretty easy to get around even during the busier time of the year. There are gazebos, a waterfall, rocks, weeping willow trees, railroad tracks, and trails which all make for great portrait backgrounds. Near by is downtown Mt Pleasant which is a great location for night portraits. Also across from Nelson Park are even more trails which I love to photograph at as well.

Nelson Park is located next to Mountain Town Brewing Company on 614 W Pickard Rd, Mt Pleasant, MI 48858. There is no charge to enter Nelson Park and it is open twenty four seven. Island does close after a certain time but is still accessible via Nelson Park. 

I recommend starting sessions at 6pm and shooting for about an hour if the session is during the summer or fall. This gives us time to shoot in both Nelson and Island Park as well as the surrounding area. The session can even go into sunset and end with night shots in downtown if that is desired. 

Below are some of my favorite images taken in and around Island and Nelson Park over the years.


Portrait Session Anytime: The Night Sessions



Between work and other responsibilities it isn’t always easy for my clients to meet in the evenings or mornings for a portrait session. Luckily by using flash I can create beautiful images at night!  By placing my strobes properly I can make it appear as if my clients are being lit with the street lights when in reality they are being lit with my flash which has a much nicer light quality. Below are some of my favorite images photographed at night in downtown Clare, Bay City, Ludington, and Grand Rapids, Michigan.