Archive for Personal

Documenting is not living

Recently, I’ve seen this commercial from Universal Orlando. It’s been on tv a lot. This is after seeing a similar commercial from Apple over the holidays.  This may come as a surprise coming from a photographer, but documenting your life is not the same as living it.  These commercials bother me because of the truth behind them.  I know many people, not just teens, who are more concerned with documenting their life than living it.  They are more concerned with what their life looks like on Facebook than what it actually is.  I think usually it happens gradually and subconsciously, but it happens a lot.  These commercials are perfect illustrations of this phenomenon.

When I throw parties I often forget to take any pictures.  Friends tease me about it all the time.  Maybe it’s “pinterest-worthy”.  Maybe I spent weeks figuring out just the right decorations or the right recipes.  Maybe I even poured over our closets coming up with perfect outfits.  But when a party starts, I’m living my life.  I’m serving food, starting activities, laughing with my friends, playing with my children.  I’m worried that if I pick up a camera I’ll go into Photographer Mode and I’ll spend the day documenting my life in lieu of living it.  I’ve always thought that happened to me because I’m a photographer and it’s been a huge part of who I am since I was 13.  Now though, I’m wondering if there are greater forces at work.

There are some who take pictures and make movies to make their lives seem more exciting than it is.  There are also those who plan things to do just to be able to show it off on Facebook.  In the end, Facebook is a website.  Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest… they aren’t real life.  Eventually, it will most likely be gone.  Our lives cannot only exist virtually.  If it isn’t online, did it really happen?  YES!  IT DID!

Pictures are important.  They are time machines.  They can take you back to a moment in a way that very few things can.  They can remind you of that goofy haircut you had, or the way that your childrens’ faces looked when they still had their baby teeth.  They can show the dynamics of a family.  There is a time for pictures.  There is a place for pictures.  Take them, hire professionals to take great ones, document your lives.  It’s all about moderation.  Just try to remember to put experiencing life above showing off your life.

A vacation can’t be the “Best Vacation Ever!” if all you saw is the screen on your phone.


What do you think?  Let us know in the comments below!

You’ll never hear me say, “Say ‘cheese’!”  It leads to forced, faked smiles.  I just don’t think it works well.  What never ceases to amaze me, however, is how much children love to smile when they’re told not too.  It’s almost impossible for them not to.  Here’s what happened when I told my 3.5 year old son not to smile.

Baby Lucas – 10 days old

My friend Gabi had a baby 10 days ago, and I was able to meet him today.  He was an instant snuggler, and melted right into me.  He had that new baby smell and that new baby sweetness.  I think he also has her gorgeous eyes.  Maybe the next time I see him he’ll open them up for the camera.  Here are a few pictures I took while I was visiting him today.

Lucas - 10 days old


What do you think about these images?  Let us know in the comments below!

Fiona One Year – Canton, MI

This past weekend my niece, Fiona, turned 1 year old.  I went to see her on her birthday.  Even though she wasn’t prepared for a real “shoot”, I wanted to snap some pictures of her on her actual birthday.  So we grabbed a little chair and I took about 10 pictures.  Here are my favorites.


What do you think about these images?  Let us know in the comments below!

Bris Milah – West Bloomfield, MI

Today I had the honor of attending my baby cousin’s Bris Milah.  I got a little teary, as we welcomed him into this world with songs and prayers that have been shared through many generations.  You may have seen my post a couple of weeks ago with the maternity pictures I took with my cousin.  I’ve been so happy to finally meet baby Miles.  He’s also one of the cutest newborns I’ve ever seen!  Not that I’m biased, or anything.  You can see for yourself.  I was very pleased to be able to take a picture of 4 generations.  There is one with Miles’ Great Great Aunt Charlotte, his Bubbe (grandma), his mom and him.

(Thanks to momma Frannie for taking the pictures at the end of me holding Miles.  I really wanted a picture of me with him, and I’m always behind the camera.)

MilesBrisBlog1 MilesBrisBlog2 MilesBrisBlog3 MilesBrisBlog4


What do you think about these images?  Let us know in the comments below!



I’m a little late on this one, but I finally joined Instagram.  I had a phone for the last 2.5 years or so that would self-destruct if I ran basically any application.  Instagram, Draw Something, Words with Friends.  I’d have to take the battery out to restart it.  I’d have to delete all text message history and Facebook cache every 4 days or so just to be able to receive new text messages.  It was a disaster.  It stood against everything that a “smartphone” was supposed to be.  I regularly called it the Droid UN-Incredible.  Well, last week I got a new phone (a Razr Maxx HD), and I’m happy to say that I’ve joined the world of Instagram about 2 years late!  Will you follow me?

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Help me paint my house!

We moved into a new house last Summer, and I haven’t painted any of the walls, except from the front room, which doubles as my studio (where I went from off-white to pure white).  I’m so undecided about what color to paint our kitchen/family room. We have a lot of golden oak and a red fireplace to work with. Here are some ideas, colors by Benjamin Moore (screenshots from their online tool). I’m drawn to a blue-green color, even though I know that a neutral gray or beige would probably work better. The kitchen does not receive much natural light, only spill from the rooms adjacent to it. It’s in the center of the house. I’d like to “brighten” it up with a cheery color. Any feedback is welcome!

What the rooms look like now:

IMG_0894web Yeah, I know, it’s a mess.  Our back room doubles as a play room.

Here are some colors I’m looking at:
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Yeah, they all look pretty much the same, right?  How does one decide?  Shouldn’t this virtual painting tool make it easier?  Should I be considering another color?  The curtains in the adjacent room (the front room that’s painted white), are these curtains from IKEA
janette-pair-of-curtains__0143312_PE302827_S4Ikea –

As much as I want a teal color, I do think a butter yellow, like our old kitchen could look nice:
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I need help!

March Winter Wonderland

Happy Saturday!  We woke up today and were greeted by a lawn covered with a thick layer of snow.  My kids were so confused, since it seemed like Spring was coming, and all of a sudden we’re covered with snow again.  This year is a crazy contrast from last year, when it was around 80 degrees in March.  Well, the vision of snow was enough to cause my 4 year old to immediately get himself dressed and request some snow play.  Personally, I’m quite partial to warm weather.  There’s something about kids though, they get you wrapped up in their excitement.  So we played, threw snowballs, and I secretly hoped that this is winter’s last hurrah.


For fun, I thought I’d show you a glimpse of what we were up to on March 14, 2012.  Gotta love Michigan.


She’s Here!

She’s here!  My 7th niece (I also have 3 nephews).  Her name is Karen, and she is soooooo cute!  Ok, I’m biased, but she really is.  After anxiously waiting all day, my husband came home and I raced over to the hospital as fast as I could!  Then little Karen had the audacity to eat for the first hour or so that I was there.    Finally, I got to hold her.  My sister, D’Arcy is doing great.  Tired, of course, but great.  I’m so proud of her!  She is so happy to finally be able to give her older daughter, Autumn, the sister she’s been begging for.  I can’t wait to snuggle that little baby again.  Newborn portraits coming soon!


Last month in our first home

My husband and I have decided to move, and the final move will be in July.  We are moving to a bigger house, in a bit better neighborhood, with a front room that will make the perfect home studio for me, with natural light (yay!).  We have a lot to do in the next 6 weeks.  Now that it’s becoming more and more of a quickly approaching reality, I’m finding myself feeling very nostalgic about our home.

This is the house that my husband, Andy, bought before we started dating.  He gutted it and made it his.  Then he started dating me, and in time I made it mine.  This is the home that I came to when I graduated college.  This is the home that we brought our new puppy home to, and now she’s 8.5 years old!  This is the home the we lived in when we got married, brought our first baby home to, brought our second baby home to.  This is the home that housed my very first studio, a photographic place that I could call my own. The yard is finally one that makes me smile, with the patio that we poured, daylilies that we planted, with garlic, strawberries and herbs growing in it.  (I recommend growing garlic.  Not only is it yummy, but the garlic scapes look awesome and can also be cooked).  This year, we even started finding Black Swallowtail caterpillars on our parsley, and I’ve really enjoyed watching them grow.  I don’t even mind that they’re eating all my parsley.

A couple of days ago we were all home in the afternoon, and my boys were in an especially great mood because Daddy had come home earlier than usual.  I grabbed my camera to capture this little slice of our everyday life in our first home.  Seth in only his underwear, playing video games with Dad, dipping his hot dog in ketchup.  Levi eating at his kid table like a big boy, and playing with the Build-A-Bear ipod.  I captured them playing rough with Andy, smiling and laughing.  Someday I’m going to look back at these pictures and remember the way that things were at the end of our time in our first home.  When Andy bought it, he lived here by himself.  Then he added me.  Together, over the last 9.5 years, we’ve added cats (only one at a time, but 3 have lived here), a dog, two kids and a whole lot of noise to this house.  I look forward to making such wonderful memories in our new home soon.

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