Natasha | Buti Yoga Photo Shoot in Upper MI

While I was back in my home town in Upper Michigan's "Copper Country", I met up with Natasha for some branding photos. Natasha is a Buti Yoga instructor and will have you dropping your jaw at her strength and flexibility. In case you're wondering, "Buti Yoga is a dynamic asana practice fused with primal movement, tribal dance and deep core engagement." ( As Natasha stretched, flowed and danced - I grew more and more inspired. The human body is so beautiful.. just look for yourself.


NM Family | Door County WI

Almost every summer I travel back to MI and WI for wedding and portrait sessions. While in the Door County area with my dear friend (and talented photographer) Andrea, I got to capture a few bits of a summer day with her family.

She brought me to a local beach where the Lake MI waters stole my heart immediately. We didn't plan much and let the day flow as it flowed, capturing mommy & me photos until dad got off of work. Hurley was a little unsure of the beach at first, but as soon as his mama started playing the ukulele, his little beach bum wanted in on everything!

Try and not fall in love with Andrea's beautiful smile and Hurley's most adorable chunky cheeks! Or don't resist it. 
I couldn't.

I also shot some of their portraits on a roll of 35mm film and the colors are insanely gorgeous. You'll see..

By the way, Andrea surprised me with a pregnancy announcement and her new bump is most adorable. SO MUCH EXCITEMENT!!

Brian got to join his favorite two humans after work for a few photos at sunset. Lil Hurley was a little tired, but was a total trooper after a busy beach day.

As the sun began to set, we raced down to the water for a few final photos in front of one of the most stunning sunsets I've ever seen in Sister Bay.

Subscribe to the blog to stay tuned for more from Andrea's maternity portraits!

Trish + Dane | Upper MI Destination Wedding

When Trish and Dane asked me to photograph their love story, from engagement photos in Seattle to their nuptials in Upper Michigan, I was elated! As soon as I met them together, I could see how much they genuinely enjoyed having fun and spending time with each other. The love and respect they share is completely obvious, as you'll see the tenderness and butt-grabbin' affection in their photos. I spent very little time posing these two and a whole lotta time just documenting them together. I love them because as soon as they're near each other, they pull in close and aren't PDA shy; they sure didn't need to be reminded to kiss and love up on each other and that's pretty cool to see raw love like that.

Trish and Dane traveled across the country (literally road-tripped from Seattle to Upper MI) for their intimate rustic wedding in a cabin along the Rapid River. Initially, an outdoor celebration was planned, but mother nature wasn't on board. It straight up poured for hours that morning so we kept the fun inside and managed to sneak out in short bursts for photos as the rain slowly chilled out throughout the day. 

Ready for the love story? Keep scrolling! As always, leave some love in the comments for our newlyweds! xo

Everything is always a little more fun when a dog from the neighboring park decides to come charging over for a visit. The half laugh of entertainment meets the half frightened laugh of please don't jump your muddy paws on our wedding attire. Good thing he was cute.

Vendor Shoutout:
Hair and Makeup: Attitudes Luxury Spa and Salon
Dress: David's Bridal
Tux: Jos. A Banks
Florist: Delta Floral
DJ/Officiant: Double Trouble Entertainment
Venue: Rapid River Lodge
Catering: Steinhaus
Cakes: Suzy D's Gourmet Sweets
Photography: Janelle Elaine Photography assisted by Emma Tembruell

Jenessa + Mike | Upper MI Backyard Wedding

While in MI, I had the sweet honors of photographing one of my dear cousin's weddings at my family's cabin. Jenessa traveled up from FL with her fiancee Mike (and kiddos) for a short and sweet celebration in one of her favorite places over the past 20+ years --- the Upper Penninsula of Michigan. Jenessa and I have had so many amazing memories together in the U.P. from toddlers on up and she was so excited to show Michael why it was so special to her.

If you're looking for a wedding filled with tons of decorations and details, this is not it. Jenessa and Mike chose to keep their focus on their love and marriage and that's exactly how it was. The day was hot and the sun was intense, but nobody minded. Jenessa's grandpa traveled up from FL to officiate their wedding, making the ceremony even more memorable for the happy couple. With a relaxed and calming view of the water, they exchanged vows in front of family (from all over the USA). We then headed to the nearby beach for a few more photos along beautiful Lake Superior and did our best to ignore the pesky flies. 

Congratulations you two newlyweds! Welcome to the married club!

UPPER MI Travel Dates 2018

I'm coming to the Upper Penninsula of MI in July and would love to photograph you! I have just a couple dates left for photo sessions. From personal portraits to engagements, anniversaries or an updated photo for your business - I've got you covered on the beautiful and fun photo side of things.


Head on over here to get in touch:

See you soon, Yoopers!

Do I Really Need to Hire a Professional Photographer?

"Do I really need to hire a professional photographer? They're just snapping pictures, how different can it be from hiring my friends daughter who has a camera?"

Hiring a professional to take your photos is crazy important when it comes to big milestones. Even for non events (update your profile pic anyone?), the difference between a pro and a beginner photographer is huge. Now, please know I'm not bashing beginner photographers here. I, along with every other photographer in the world was once a rookie. We all start somewhere. My hope is simply to show you the difference between a beginner and a professional photographer (via my own personal experiences) and let you decide how you want to invest your money into photography on your own, especially when it comes to important occasions.

 The very first wedding I shot on my own in 2011 on the left to one of my more recent weddings.

The very first wedding I shot on my own in 2011 on the left to one of my more recent weddings.

 There I am at my first wedding with the sweetest bride.

There I am at my first wedding with the sweetest bride.

When I first started out in wedding photography, I was lucky enough to start as an assistant photographer to a local wedding photog, exclusively second-shooting all of her weddings. With only two weddings under my belt, I was asked to photograph my first wedding that first summer; I was nervously excited. I knew I wasn't a pro yet and clearly communicated this to my client. She completely understood, said she trusted my skills and I accepted two hundred bucks as payment. I got all the important shots that day and the bride loved her photos, kindly referring me every chance she got. My photos weren't bad, but I had a huge learning curve ahead of me to get me from where I was then to the work you see from me today. I am SO grateful to my first clients for trusting me and giving me the opportunity to photograph such special days for them without lots of experience.

I've spent so many hours, weeks, months of my life pouring into education, practice and honing my skill since then. Listen, I know I will always have more to learn, but I'm certain of my value as a professional photographer (and price of my work) where I'm at today. While I was able to capture the wedding day as best as I knew seven years ago, I wasn't able to offer my clients the skill, security and style I can deliver today. I get asked all the time how I get my photos to look like they do, what software I use to edit, what kind of camera I have and the honest truth is the combination of those things aren't going to make you a professional or not. Only experience can do that.

The difference between a beginner photographer and a seasoned professional doesn't just boil down to simply the price you pay. When you hire a pro, you're paying for high-quality photos that can only come from years of expertise and education. You're paying for a business that is licensed, insured and able to protect itself (and you). You're paying for experienced guidance on your wedding day that can't come from someone without experience. You're paying for a photographer who can work in any sort of lighting and who is trained in making you look your best. You're paying for a service that requires skill beyond the expensive tools and gear used. This is only the tip of the iceberg my friends. 

Since photography is my language, let me show you some THEN and NOW photos from my first wedding in 2011 to now. 

So, when you start to compare photographers for your wedding day, keep in mind that while you can get a steal of a deal and decent photos from a new photographer, the level of service you'll get from a professional cannot be beat. Just like you wouldn't go to a hospital for surgery and opt for the med student to perform it for a cheaper deal because you know they don't have professional skills it takes, you cannot expect professional quality service from a photographer just starting out. 

Do what you feel is best for you and your budget, but I encourage you to manage your expectations so you know what you're getting and you end up with photos you LOVE. In the end, that's all that matters.

Karen + Ethan | Georgetown Engagement

This engagement session was a very dear one to me. If you follow me on social media, you may remember my friend Karen as the first friend I made when I moved to WA. Well my friends, I am stoked to announce she recently got engaged and I got to capture just a peek into the love story of her and her fiancee Ethan. *cue the applause* Karen is also an extremely talented photographer so being asked to photograph their engagement + wedding photos was a huge honor.

Karen and Ethan met at a work event, chaperoning elementary children at Wild Waves/Enchanted Village. Between dates of hiking, biking and adventuring, they eventually fell in love. Karen says she knew she first loved Ethan while visiting his grandparents in Montana during their first Christmas together. Ethan says he knew he loved Karen while celebrating their first Valentines Day together, with a spaghetti picnic on her dorm bed. Fast forward a lot of fun times to January of this year when Ethan wrote Karen a sweet love letter and then proposed to her. Now the two lovebirds are planning their late summer wedding and toasting to the future. 

Guys, I cannot be more happy for you! Thank you for letting me photograph your love. I am so excited to see your love story continue to grow and for you to start this new chapter of your lives together! Cheers!

These are a few of my favorite things..

Spring allergies are knocking on my door and instead of inviting them in and being all mopey, I figured I'd drink a glass of vitamins and find something positive to do. Which brings me to this list of 10 of my favorite things right now. I'm not endorsed by any of these companies; I'm truly just digging these things.

1. Our Coffee Gator Pour Over. Deliciously smooth coffee is so easy to make in this every morning that my Keurig has officially taken the backseat.

2. My patio palm tree that's fighting incredibly hard to stay alive like a champ.

3. The fact that it's supposed to hit 70 degrees this week. Can I get a hallelujah!?

4. The book I'm currently reading called Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi. He's a wise man and really inspires me within my business. 

5. Icon Glamorous Wash for my sheets. I was gifted a mini jug of this laundry detergent and my bed smells so. darn. good.

6. Lady Yum Macarons. If you're ever in Kirkland, WA (or the SEA airport), do not miss the opportunity to try these babies.

7. I company I recently discovered called Freeset USA which creates Fair Trade and ethically made products that empower women and help to end human trafficking. You can shop their products here:

8. Urban Decay Naked Eye Shadow Palettes. These pretties make doing makeup fun.

9. Audiobooks in general (because they make my commutes much more bearable), but this one called Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton in particular has my love and attention this week.

10. Our new alarm clock. It mimics the sun rising by gradually brightening up until my alarm sounds. Some people say it doesn't work, but since I'm a light sleeper - I'm finding success with it! Plus, I'm a fan of not depending on my phone next to my head all night long anymore. 

And there they are! What are some of your favorite things at the moment? I'd love a new book recommendation!

 Oh and this photo of my niece sharing her Valentines cookies with my dog Chloe is a bonus favorite because it doesn't get much cuter than this!

Oh and this photo of my niece sharing her Valentines cookies with my dog Chloe is a bonus favorite because it doesn't get much cuter than this!

Tipsy Tuesday | How to Prep for my Photo Session

It's Tipsy Tuesday and today's tip is on feeling prepared for your photo session. While you should trust your photographer (if you've hired a professional you love) to help you to look your best, it's natural to still feel a little nervous and unprepared before your session. Here are 5 quick tips to help smash those jitters!

1. Bring an extra outfit, accessories, jewelry and easy-to-walk in shoes. Even if we don't end up using them, having options in the car is helpful in case you have a wardrobe malfunction, want to change up the feel of your photos or want to venture off the beaten path in something other than those adorable new heels you just bought.

2. Dress accordingly to the weather and/or bring warm-up gear for breaks. Warm jackets and boots, hand warmers, dry socks and a thermos with a hot beverage. If we've made a day of it, feel free to bring snacks to ward off the hangry dragon.

3. Communicate clearly with your photographer in advance if you have a specific vision in mind that you want created in your photos.

4. Create a SOS bag with chapstick, bug spray, spf, lotion, safety pins, hairspray and a comb for quick touch-ups in between in case rain or weather gets you down.

5. Hire a professional stylist and hair and makeup artist if you can! This will help immensely when it comes to choosing colors and outfits that look good on you, as well has having photo-ready hair and makeup. Professionals can help your look to look killer and last longer. 

I hope these 5 tips help you feel a little more prepared before your upcoming photo session! As always, my online door is always open if you have any questions! 

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