Location Recommendations: Downtown Grand Rapids

 

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

I love doing portrait sessions in Grand Rapids, Michigan, so much so I was even considering moving there for a time. Downtown Grand Rapids specifically has tons of beautiful locations for portraiture all within a reasonable walking distance. 

I recommend parking at the Gerald R Ford Presidential Library and Museum at 303 Pearl St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504. From here most locations in downtown Grand Rapids can be easily reached by walking and you don’t have to worry about figuring out which of the similarly marked parking garages you are located in. 

I recommend starting sessions at 6pm and shooting for about two hours if the session is during the summer or fall. This gives us plenty of time to shoot around down town in the evening, sunset, and early night. 

Below are some of my favorite images taken in and around Grand Rapids over the years.

Location Recommendations: Grand Haven State Park

 

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

One of my all time favorite places to have portrait sessions in is Grand Haven, Michigan. Grand Haven is a beautiful small town on Lake Michigan. it is about a thirty minute drive from Grand Rapids. 

The address for Grand Haven State Park is 1001 S Harbor Dr, Grand Haven, MI 49417. 

I recommend starting sessions at 7pm and shooting for about an hour if the session is during the summer or fall. This gives us plenty of time to shoot through the late evenings and into sunset. If desired we can even head back to Grand Rapids afterwards for night shots. 

Below are some of my favorite images taken in and around Grand Haven over the years.

 

Location Recommendations: Ludington, Michigan

 

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

One of the most beautiful places I’ve gotten to photograph in Michigan is Ludington. The two areas I recommend having sessions at in Ludington are the North Breakwater Lighthouse at 9028 W Park Rd, Ludington, MI 49431 and the road leading to the Big Sable Lighthouse in the Ludington State Park Campgrounds, 5611 N Lighthouse, Ludington, MI 49431.

I recommend starting sessions at 6pm and shooting for about two hours if the session is during the summer or fall. This gives us time to shoot in both locations. I prefer to meet at the parking lot near North Breakwater. You can follow me to the road near Big Sable and then head back to North Breakwater to finish the session with sunset and night shots. 

Below are some of my favorite images taken in and around Ludington over the years.

 

Location Recommendations: Downtown Clare, Michigan

 

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

A location I frequent for portrait sessions is downtown Clare. By combining flash with the ambient light I can create beautiful portraits during twilight and night around the town. There are also tons of Pokemon Go gyms and Pokestops in and around downtown Clare as well for the kids. 

I recommend parking across from “the chicken” in the large free parking lot. This is across the road from The Evening Post Bar and Grill 114 W 4th St, Clare, MI 48617. 

I recommend starting twilight and night sessions at 8pm and shooting for about thirty minutes if the session is during the summer or fall. This gives us time to shoot in downtown as well as the surrounding area. 

Below are some of my favorite images taken in and around downtown Clare over the years.

 

The Studio Anywhere

 

When I got my formal photographic training at Hallmark Institute of Photography my professors Gregory Heisler and David Turner would take us once a week to various locations and teach us location lighting. I also received instruction from my instructors Tony Downer and Rich Barnes on how to create studio portraits. By using a small portable background and flash I can now create beautiful studio portraits in almost any location indoor or outdoor. Because I use flash I can create gorgeous lighting even when there is no natural light. By going indoors or in the shade a can still make beautiful portraits when the sunlight is strong and harsh. I can bring my studio to you! Below are portraits and behind the scenes images of me bringing my studio to clients. 

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.

 

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. 

 

Location Recommendations: Dow Gardens, Midland, Michigan

 

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

One of my favorite, and most requested, locations for portrait sessions is Dow Gardens in Midland, Michigan. This is an amazing location for seniors, families, and is even a great wedding venue as well. It is also open year around but most clients prefer session in the summer and fall. Annual admission passes to Dow Gardens are $10.00 per person. Daily admission is only $5.00 for adults. Kids 6-17 and students with an i.d. are $1.00. These can be purchased the day of the shoot prior to the session. 

Dow Gardens gets a lot of traffic at various times during the year. Because of this during our pre-session consultation we can research what events are taking place at Dow Gardens before hand to make sure we plan a time when it won’t be overrun by wedding attendants nor high schoolers prior to prom. 

The address for Dow Gardens is 1809 Eastman Ave, Midland, MI 48640 and hours are as follows: 

January 1 – April 14 – 9:00am – 4:15pm

April 15 – Labor Day – 9:00am – 8:30pm

Labor Day – October 31- 9:00am – 6:30pm

November 1 – December 31 – 9:00am – 4:15pm

Dow Gardens is not open on Thanksgiving, Christmas, nor New Years day. 

I recommend starting sessions at 6pm and shooting for about an hour if the session is during the summer or fall. This leaves time for sunset or night shots to be taken at a different location.

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