My Favorite Images From My First Decade Of Photography

I first took an interest in photography back in 2008. The first photo I took I was really happy with was in 2009. I had a hard drive crash and much of my early work was lost. My first magazine publication in 2010. I thought it would be cool to look back over my work over the last decade. This helps me see what areas I grown and regressed as a photographer. Here are my favorite images since 2009 and little bit of there back stories.  

Raccoon, Grand Rapids, Michigan 2009

This was the first image I was really happy with. After taking this photo I decided I wanted to become a professional photographer. For the full story click here.

Nuthatch, Clare, Michigan 2010

This nuthatch hanging from my parent’s bird feeder would go on to be published in Audubon, Nature’s Best Photography, and The World of Photography Bookazine. For the full story click here.

Mountain, Field, British Columbia, Canada 2011

This mountain peak photographed on the border of British Columbia and Alberta, Canada. It would later be published in Outdoor Photographer Magazine. For the full story click here.

Bryana, Turners Falls, Massachusetts 2013

This studio portrait of model Bryanna was photographed while I was a student at the Hallmark Institute of Photography in Turners Falls, Massachusetts. For the full story click here.

Eli and Edythe Broad Art Building, East Lansing, Michigan 2013

This architectural image was photographed while I was home on spring break during my studies at the Hallmark Institute of Photography. It was later used in catalogs promoting the school.

Feona, Bernardston, Massachusetts 2013

This pet portrait was shot during my studies at the Hallmark Institute of Photography. For the full story click here.

Doc, Holyoake, Massachusetts 2013

This portrait of a doctor in Holyoake, Massachusetts was shot during my studies at the Hallmark Institute of Photography. I used a color temperature orange gel on my flash and cool white balance to make the doctor stand out from the background.

Ciara, Clare, Michigan 2013

This portrait of Ciara was shot in downtown Clare, Michigan at night. I used off camera flash to mimic the street light.

Ian, Harrison, Michigan 2013

This image of welder and art teacher Ian was photographed in Harrison, Michigan for the 515 Gallery. For the full story click here.

Church of Daniel’s Band Pine Branch, Midland, Michigan 2014

This image was commissioned by the Church of Daniel’s Band during the winter in 2014. For the full story click here.

Jason and Rachael, Grand Haven, Michigan 2014

This engagement session was done on the ice on Lake Michigan in Grand Haven during sunset.

Chickadee, Clare, Michigan 2015

This image was photographed on an early winter morning in 2015. For the full story click here.

Amish. Clare, Michigan 2017

This image was photographed on a foggy winter morning in early 2017. For the full story click here.

Chelsea and Dayna, Ann Arbor, Michigan 2017

This image of models Chelsea and Dayna next to a beautiful church door was photographed in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Beaverton Fireworks, Beaverton, Michigan 2017

This image of the 2017 Beaverton fireworks was shot with a fisheye lens while training my second shooter Nikki Robinson.

Matt and Chelsea, Ann Arbor, Michigan 2017

This engagement portrait was shot of Matt and Chelsea in Ann Arbor, Michigan during golden hour.

Todd and Kayla, Midland, Michigan 2017

This image of Todd and Kayla was shot at one of my most frequented locations Dow Gardens in Midland, Michigan. This was taken just outside the gardens after we were kicked out.

Sam Smoke Bombs, Clare, Michigan 2018

This image was photographed of my of favorite models Sam while setting off purple smoke bombs. This image was later used as my entry into Art Walk Central in Mt Pleasant, Michigan.

Lisa, Charlevoix, Michigan 2018

This image of model Lisa was photographed in one of my favorite cities in northern Michigan, Charlevoix. The subtle gesture and soft natural light make this image one of my favorites.

Stark Family, Clare, Michigan 2018

The Starks have been repeat clients of mine since 2017. This image of them and there several dogs remains one of my favorite family portraits.

Shane and Chelsea, Midland, Michigan 2018

This engagement session of Shane and Chelsea was taken on one of the busiest days of my career at one of my most frequented locations Dow Gardens in Midland, Mi. The beautiful backlight and expression make this image one of my favorites.

Productivity Hacks: Pocket and Feedly

I read quite a bit. Not only books but also articles and blog posts. A way I’ve found to streamline this process is by using Pocket and Feedly.

I first started using Feedly to follow various blogs. You can seperate the blogs you follow by category. For example the categories I have are entrepreneurship, lifestyle, local, misc, photography, politics, style, theology, and wedding. Feedly then lets you see the latest posts from the blogs you follow.

If I find a article I want to read in Feedly I then send it to Pocket. Pocket is another iPhone app which allows you to read articles. I find the way pocket displays most articles far superior to a browser. It also lets you save the article in the Pocket app instead of having tons of browser tabs open.

I currently have tons of articles that I found in Feedly that I still need to read in Pocket. By using this method it has made it far easier for me to find and read various blogs and articles online.   

James and Courtney Mckechnie Wedding in White Lake, Michigan

I had a great time photographing James and Courtney’s beautiful wedding at the Environmental Discovery Center at the Indian Springs Metropark! I’ve worked with Courtney several times over the last few years through her swing dancing instructing. Even though several changes had to be made last minute due to weather the day went amazing!

Productivity Hacks: Gear Placement

Over the years of being a photographer, I’ve realized that it is the non-sexy parts of the job that make the biggest impact. An example of this is where I place my equipment in my bags. By strategically placing what gear goes where it makes shoots and weddings go much smoother. Instead of searching for gear, placing it in the same spot every time makes it easier to access. This also includes where I put the bags in my vehicle as well. By placing them in a way which is easier to access, it makes shoots go much smoother. I occasionally switch up where I put various gear. This depends on the assignment and seeing what worked in past shoots. Currently I have a bag full of lighting gear, a red cart for location shoots, and a large and small camera bag that I switch between depending on assignment.

People You Should Know: George Eastman

“What we do during our working hours determines what we have; what we do in our leisure hours determines what we are.”—George Eastman

The photography industry would not exist as we know it if it weren’t for entrepreneur George Eastman. For a primer on the life of George Eastman check out this article from FEE.

Overcoming Wedding Day Obstacles: The Missing Boutonnieres

I love Grand Rapids. I’m not a city person. Grand Rapids is one of the few cities I like to visit and have fun in. I briefly considered moving their, but ultimately ended up staying in Clare.

In 2018 I had a great wedding in Grand Rapids in a little Lutheran church near Calvin College. I showed up early. During the consultations we had decided to do some group shots prior to the wedding ceremony. We left plenty of time for getting ready shots as well as these group shots. Some of these images included the groom, his family, and groomsmen. We shot all of these and were about to start photographing the bride, her family, and bridesmaids. Then someone pointed out that the guys had forgot to put their boutonnieres on. Because we planned to have plenty of time prior to the ceremony for group shots, we were able to reshoot all of the guys images with boutineers on with time to spare.

Justin and Alyssa Crawford Wedding in Lake Isabella, Michigan

I had a great time getting to photograph Justin and Alyssa Crawford’s wedding in Lake Isabella, Michigan! The wedding took place as the beautiful Little Flower Barn and the reception took place at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Mt Pleasant, Michigan. The couple and their families were great to work with!

Overcoming Wedding Day Obstacles: Language Barriers

Over the years I’ve had the privilege of working with tons of great and fascinating clients. I regularly get clients who don’t live locally. A few times I’ve even had clients from other countries, who spoke very little English.

The first instance of this was back in 2016. I was shooting a wedding in Farwell, Michigan. The clients had family fly in from all over. The bride had family coming in from down South as well as Detroit. The groom had family coming in from Puerto Rico. About half of the groom’s family didn’t speak much English. This made the group shots very difficult to coordinate.

Anytime I come across a difficulty during a wedding I try to find ways to solve it in the future. Since 2016 I’ve added a lengthy wedding worksheet that I go thru with clients prior to the wedding. I do this to figure out as much as possible about the wedding and clients before the wedding day. I also make a detailed list of the group shots.

In 2018 I got to work with some of the best wedding clients I’ve ever had. During early August I got to work with David and Rebecca who met while studying abroad in the Netherlands. Rebecca was from Au Gres, Michigan. David was from Germany. David’s family flew over from Germany to Michigan for the wedding. Despite the language barrier the wedding went great. We used non verbal communication, and plenty of prep work, to guarantee that the group shots, as well as other images requiring more communication, worked out great.

Brandon and Ciera Boyer Engagement Session at Dow Gardens in Midland, Michigan

I had a great time getting to photograph Brandon and Ciera’s engagement session at Dow Gardens last week! I can’t wait to photograph their wedding next year!

Overcoming Wedding Day Obstacles: Dead Fish

One of the funniest wedding stories comes from a wedding in 2014 in my hometown of Clare. The couple wanted to take two fish and poor them into one bowl showing unity during the wedding ceremony. While getting ready the fish died. One of the groomsmen had to run to a local pet store and buy two new fish. This is one of the reasons I recommend having someone to contact on the wedding day to take care of little issues like this.

Chase Engel and The Night Shift in downtown Saginaw, Michigan

I had a great time getting to photograph Chase Engel and The Night Shift again in downtown Saginaw, Michigan.