Bean and Rocio Couples Portrait Session – Mount Pleasant, Mi

I had an amazing couples portrait session with Bean and Rocio in Mount Pleasant and Clare, Mi a few weeks ago. We shot a variety of natural light portraits in Island and Nelson Park in Mount Pleasant and also shot a few conceptual photos.

Bean wrote a letter to Rocio everyday that she was a away in Spain. These are the letters they wrote to each other and the bench they sat on for their first date after they were reunited in Michigan.

Bean and Rocio work at restaurants across from one another in Clare, Mi. They admitted to staring out the windows at each other during there breaks hence this shot of Bean going though the drive thru to get a glimpse of Rocio.

The complete gallery featured below.


Jake and Shaneice Couples Portrait Session – Grand Rapids, Michigan

I had great session with Jake and Shaneice a few weeks ago in Grand Rapids! They were the winners of my Valentine’s Day Couples Portrait Session give away and received a free session, Facebook collection, and free 16×20 print!


We got to shoot in Coit Park and downtown Grand Rapids during sunset and early evening.


Check out the full gallery below!



What Is New at RWP? – Early Spring Recap

Spring 2014 started off with some basic headshots and one light studio portraits with an old friend Jordan who is looking to start a modeling portfolio and already has a massive Instagram following @talesofsolace.


I also got a quick headshot of dad as well.



The next week I made a trip down to Mason, Ohio to visit with my friends Sean and Jess who I’d graduated with from Hallmark Institute of Photography back in June 2013. We had a great time catching up and they showed me around Cincinnati, Ohio and Newport, Kentucky where I grabbed these shots of them. They also took to me to a great restaurant Tom Chee’s, a restaurant chain specializing in grilled cheese and tomato soup, which I really hope expands to mid-Michigan eventually.



The next day I headed to Indianapolis to scout out some locations to shoot for my architecture portfolio. I spent two days exploring Indianapolis and visiting its multiple museums and war memorials. I happened upon a stunning Ansel Adams exhibit at Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art. I shot several buildings which will eventually be added to my professional architecture portfolio.


April is the final month of my off-season so I made a point of doing a few fun non career related things before I get busy photographing seniors, families, and weddings.About a week later I went to Ann Arbor and got to meet up with another amazing photographer and recent recipient of the Highest Portfolio Award for the class of February 2014 from Hallmark Institute of Photography Emily Darrow. Check out her portraiture that has a beautiful vintage feel.

I’m currently planning out more personal work and can’t wait for portrait season to officially start in May!

What Is New at RWP? – Winter Recap

Here is a recap of what I was working on during the polar vortex.

I began December by helping Clare’s 515 Gallery host Help Portrait. Help Portrait is an event put on annually at multiple locations worldwide which gives free portraits to less fortunate families and individuals. I had a great time photographing local families and spending time with the amazing 515 Gallery staff! During our down time I shot some portraits of this 515 Gallery member, and amazing model, Raven, who I can’t wait to work with more in the future!

Shortly after Christmas I finally gave in and bought a smart phone; I had been using a Verizon pay as you go for years. Being a dedicated Apple user I got the new iPhone 5s. As I suspected I soon became obsessed with Instagram and iphoneography. As the polar vortex continued and our temperatures started to be consistently below zero I started spending more time inside reading and expanding my social media presence. I now have an active presence on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook. The Ryan Watkins Photography Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest get a lot of neat behind the scenes photos, iphoneography, and industry news relevant to aspiring photographer and entrepreneurs that I don’t post on Facebook.

2014 rang in some new updates at RWP. Some new products like portrait books, a more affordable alterative to the portrait album, and Animoto slideshows, which I absolutely love, where introduced. Also a new pricing structure with more affordable creation fess and economy collections were announced. I also got a Square reader and started accepting credit cards!

Also in early January 2014 I announced that I’d be branching out in architecture photography.

My love of architecture started when I visited the Boston Public Library and Trinity Church in Boston back in January 2013. Since I grew up in the rural Midwest I’d never seen anything like it before. I found these structures beautiful and awe-inspiring. I photographed the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at MSU during my spring break while I was home from my studies at the Hallmark Institute of Photography last spring. This image was featured on Hallmark’s 2014/2015 catalog back cover. This winter I had the amazing opportunity of photographing the sister churches of my church, the Church of Daniel’s Band. This is one of favorite church architecture photos so far. I’m continuing to grow my architecture portfolio with other building throughout the Midwest.

Later in January I got to spend time photographing fellow Hallmarker, Michigander, and amazing commercial photographer Kaitlyn Schwinderson and her adorable cat Sadie. Check out her stunning commercial, pet, and couple work at

I also got to work with aspiring actress Rocio for a headshot session in January as well. I can’t wait to work with her more in the future!

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In February I had a great engagement session with an amazing couple, Jason and Rachael, in Grand Rapids and Grand Haven. They recommended that we go to Grand Haven during sunset after shooting in downtown Grand Rapids. It was an amazing suggestion! We went out on Lake Michigan while it was still frozen over. Despite falling on the ice several times it was still an awesome experience with some amazing people!

I also bought a cheap Ilford Black and White Disposable 35mm film camera that I can’t wait to use! I will eventually have a series of personal work shot on this.

Lastly I spent much of the winter reading various Christian, business, and photography related books and experimenting with new beard oils from beard brands, their tree ranger beard oil is my current favorite. Even though I love the cold weather the arrival of spring is much appreciated. I can’t wait to get to out and shoot more during the remaining spring and summer months. The RWP blog will be updated much more frequently from now on and coming soon will be update on what I’ve been working on this spring.

New Senior Portrait Slideshow!

Huge thanks to all the awesome seniors, senior reps, and models I’ve worked with this year! Here is a new video featuring the best of my senior portrait work!


New Senior Portraits from Dow Gardens and Downtown Clare

Had a great senior session with Jenna back in October at Dow Gardens and Downtown, Clare, Mi!


New Clare High School Senior Rep Shoot at Dow Gardens

Huge thanks to my awesome Clare High School senior rep Kyleah for the great session at Dow Gardens! 

Now is the time to book fall senior sessions and a bunch of new items are now available including phone cases, senior albums, and ready to hang metal prints!

Lastly check out for the latest updates, photos, and special offers from Ryan Watkins Photography.


New Personal Work with Belly Dancer Cassi

Huge thanks to my amazing model Cassi for posing for some belly dancing shots in Mount Pleasant a few weeks ago! To see more from the shoot check out this Animoto slide show of the best image. Special thanks to Rhode Island based folk rock band Torn Shorts for the music.



New Personal Work, Upcoming Show at Clare’s 515 Gallery, and Coverage in Local Newspapers

This has been busy week with a lot of new updates!

To start, huge thanks to Ciara for modeling for some new images last week! We had a bunch of fun shooting at one of my favorite locations Dow Gardens and in downtown Clare for some edgy night scenes.

Secondly, Clare’s 515 Gallery will be featuring some of my work in there upcoming show titled “Junk It” on August 17th from 6pm-8pm. I’ve spend a few days this week photographing new work for this series.

Lastly, another big thanks goes out to the Clare County Review, Gladwin County Record, and Beaverton Clarion for including my press release in this week’s paper!


Helping Hands Monkey Helpers for the Disabled

I was very blessed to have the opportunity to work with Helping Hands Monkey Helpers for the Disabled a few weeks ago! Helping Hands is a non-profit organization based outside of Boston, Ma which trains capuchin monkeys to do various tasks for mobility impaired individuals. I got to spend time with some amazing people who’ve worked there for several years. They had me photograph three monkeys who performed various tasks like feeding, turning on and off light switches, turning book and magazine pages, fetching and throwing out objects, and opening refrigerator doors. If you know of someone who could benefit from having a Monkey Helper or if your interested in donating to Helping Hands please visit there website