Megan + Zak / Kalamazoo Engagement Photographer

I don't do "normal" engagement sessions very well. Luckily, Megan and Zak are not only cool with that, they drove all the way from Indiana for my crazy antics. They are two of the best people you'll ever have the chance to goof around with. Their silly is only matched by their kindness and love.

When I found out that it was going to be well below 20 degrees outside on the day of their engagement photo session, I did some last minute scrambling to find an indoor location that would be full of natural light and visually interesting. The Park Trades Center in Kalamazoo is the perfect spot. The fourth-floor hallway will always have my photographer heart for its giant industrial windows, white walls, and high ceilings. 

After we wrapped up our goofs, we headed over to one of my other favorite places in Kalamazoo- Arcadia Brewing Co. We spent a total of ten minutes outside next to the river on the back lawn, but golly, my frozen fingers were worth it.

Pro-tip: end engagment photography sessions at breweries because afterwards, BEER AND FRIENDHSIP.

Photos by Adventure Photo Stories, a Kalamazoo Michigan Wedding Photographer

Rachel's Favorite Wedding Images of 2017

This year has been INCREDIBLE. This was my first full wedding season as Adventure Photo Stories, and I had so much fear doing into booking season. I was terrified that no one would be able to find me after our move to Michigan. I also lost all name recognition when I rebranded. All logical predictions called for a season with just a few weddings and clients who had no reason to trust my creative vision. 

The miraculous happened.

Not only was my season fully booked, but all of my couples believed in me. They trusted my weirdness and allowed me to be an artist without limits. These aren't necessarily the technically best images, or the most engaged on social media, but these are my very favorites from the year and the reasons I love them.

Glowing Love

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Sundance Studios is an incredible venue. It's a photographer's dream. There are a million awesome and quirky spots that are perfect for pictures. From floral wallpaper and vintage windows to gorgeous landscaping, we had endless options for portraits. We did a ton of that stuff, but I wanted a bold image that was ONLY about Jaime and Nate. So, I framed them in this doorway and overexposed anything that would be a distraction in the background. The result is an image where their connection is the only subject.

Sneak a Peak

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This is a semi-accident. It was freezing cold outside, and I was literally using Rhian's veil to sneakily get some wind and rain protection. Then magic happened. Some photographers might skip past this image because, you know, you only see part of their faces, but something about it made me swoon and I trusted my gut. I'm so glad I did.

Happy Tears

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It is common for couples to exchange letters the morning of their wedding. I don't know what Brian wrote to Liv, but I know that it must have been incredible because homegirl cried for like 10 minutes and literally required a make up touch up in the middle of it. I am a sucker for real emotion, and this has all the feels.

Finally

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Josh and Chris are two of my very favorite people. They have been together for 12 years, and their wedding ceremony was incredibly simple. They were married at the home that they shared in front of their closest family and friends. No fluff, just the real stuff.

Bold Contrast

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I didn't know it at the time, but when Branda And Kevin chose me as their wedding photographer, they also chose me as their friend. They put their full trust in me when it came to wedding photography, and I was to create one of my favorite images of all time in front of this window at the Gatsby.

a different kind of First look

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This is the first time that Tori saw herself in her wedding dress on her wedding day. It's a different kind a first look, and I am so glad that this bridesmaid suggested it.

Winter snuggles

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Alexandra and Paul were married in February, and since Paul is from South Africa, the cold weather was quite a challenge. Everyone was a good sport, but when I found a wall of windows inside a warm building, I knew that we could do some really awesome backlit portraits. I'm obsessed.

Sunset

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What more can I say? Northern Michigan sunsets will always captivate me.

Eyes toward heaven

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If you have been following me for very long, you have probably already seen this image. It marks the point in my Journey as an artist were allowed myself to "get weird." I let go of the traditional, and embraced myself for who I am. This was taken in Miami under a wicked hot sun, and I made it work for me. I'm really proud of that.

Rhian + Danny / Geneva Illinois Wedding Photography

Wedding Photographer Riverside Receptions Geneva, IL Chicago, IL

I was there when Rhian chose her high school prom dress, and I was there when she found her wedding dress. I cried a ton. I feel like we just "get" each other. We've been texting throughout the course of her wedding planning, and everything she sent me was AH-MAZING. Rhian is my sister-in-law, but she's always felt more like a best friend. She gave me the choice to be in the wedding or photograph the wedding, and I knew that I wouldn't trust anyone else to do her justice.

When the family met Danny for the first time, we all gave him a hard time. Rhian is so special, and we wanted her to end up with someone who appreciated her and would cherish her. Danny is a fairly reserved dude, but on their wedding day, he did a giddy dance waiting for their first look, surprise-dipped her for their first kiss, and threw up a rock fist when they entered the reception. This guy is in LOVE, and I am so glad that Rhian and Danny found each other.

Every detail of this day was warm and romantic. This was my LAST wedding of 2017, and it was perfect closure.

Dress: BHLDN
Hair: Ashley Andrews
MUA: Kristina Evans
Shoes: Betsey Johnson
Rings: Zales
Venues: The Herrington Inn and Spa, Riverside Receptions (Geneva, IL)
Flowers: Town and Country
Invitations: Minted
Photographer: Adventure Photo Stories

Chris + Kayla / Fort Wayne Wedding Photography

Fort Wayne Wedding at Baker Street Station

Chris and Kayla wanted their wedding day to be no-stress and fun. It was raining, all of the plans changed, and we had a limited variety of locations to work with, but they were smiling the whole time because REAL TALK they are just so in love and happy to be getting married.

Chris is an artist (animator, motion graphics designer, graphic designer, and I would imagine countless other things) with a super modern aesthetic and Kayla loves vintage romantic. It was super cool to see how they married (see what I did there) those visions on their wedding day. The Pièce De Résistance of the day was the venue itself. Baker Street Station (or the Pennsylvania Station as some know it) has soaring ceilings, intricate brickwork, and huge ornate windows. Despite the rain and the fact that the space was full of reception tables, we discovered some majestic backdrops... including the bathroom hallway which we lit up with some off camera flash. 

I would describe this set of images as "cozy." I hope you can feel the warmth and joy in them.

Alexa / Kalamazoo Senior Photographer

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I met Alexa on a chairlift in northern Michigan during her sister's wedding. Fun fact: I'm afraid of heights. She was so sweet and distracted me the whole time. This session was SO MUCH FUN. Her style, her natural energy, and her laugh had me so inspired. I haven't done a senior session in forever, but this girl reminded me of the importance of honoring the next generation. Alexa will be a world shaker

Jaky + Charles / Kalamazoo Couple Session

Kalamazoo Michigan Engagement Session / Kalamazoo Michigan Photographer

Jaky and Charles are incredible photographers. Their style is light and airy and I'm pretty sure Jaky's favorite colors are pink and mint green. That's why I was like, "YOU PICK MEEEE?!?" when she asked if I would take some fall pictures of them. I had this momentary identity crisis wondering if I should try to change my warm and deep style, but they were so encouraging about me being me. I'm so happy with how these turned out. What gorgeous people amiright!?!

Renae + Joshua / Kalamazoo Engagement Session

Kalamazoo Michigan Engagement Session / Kalamazoo Michigan Photographer

This engagement session was HOT. This is not a euphemism. It was like 90 degrees, but you can't even tell because Renae and Joshua were such good sports. We began at Asylum Lake Nature Preserve and when the light began to shift, I brought them to the Western Michigan University Engineering Campus for more variety. It is such an underused location, but I LOVE how within just a few feet, we found a bridge, pond, sci-fi awesome sculpture, and wheat (or wheat-like) field.

Their wedding is going to be awesome. When I asked what they were most excited about besides the actual getting married part, they both said dinner... so yeah... we are kindred spirits.