Backyard wedding in Kalamazoo Michigan / Kalamazoo Wedding Photographer
According to my mother, Kevin and I go way way back. When we were three, we had a play date at a local park and I gave him my stuffed animal. I'd like to think it was then that I solidified my reservation as his wedding photographer. I say it that way because even though I was a hired professional, I was truly the lucky one. The day was so fun and beautiful it was the kind of wedding photographers drool over. Branda and Kevin trusted me totally. They let me be creative. So it wasn't just the wedding that made me so happy, it was them. I mean, the venues didn't hurt though. Their ceremony was at one of my favorite places in Kalamazoo. As soon as I heard the words "Brewery Wedding," I was IN. Arcadia Ales has amazing food and amazing beer and amazing atmosphere. It's industrial but somehow homey. They have lawn games and you can paddle your kayak up to their boat launch overlooking the Kalamazoo River.
And for the reception, we danced the night away at Monaco Bay, a dueling piano bar. Because it is part of the Entertainment District downtown, we also had access to Loft 310, Gatsby Night Club, and SkyDeck. Everything was gorgeous, and the staff coordinating the night were incredible.
I love being a Kalamazoo wedding photographer. We've got some super cool places to get married and even cooler people.
Branda and Kevin are the kind of people that I love to sit down and share a drink with. Branda has the best laugh, and Kevin has a way of making you feel heard and valued. They have been together for a long time, and I know that their love and kindness will continue.
Michigan summers are magical. Our state has some real hidden gems and Leland fish town is definitely one of them. I never would have discovered it's historic wooden shake covered shanties without Brooke. She, the creative force behind Stellaluna Events, is another one of those Michigan gems. We were in the area for a super sweet girly workshop on floral design and hand lettering (check out the Bloom Workshop site here). And after driving three and a half hours up to Northern Michigan, we were not disappointed. The workshop was fabulous... SO MANY PRETTY FLOWERS... and when we finished, getting sandwiches from the Village Cheese Shanty was well worth seven collective hours in the car.
Being a photographer is easy in Leland. There is so much texture and visual interest. Taking pictures at Bloom- surrounded by intentionally lovely things, was obviously a breeze as well. I hope you enjoy living vicariously through these images.
I was dying to photograph this apple orchard, farm-to-table, brewery reception wedding from the moment Andrew told me he was going to propose to Ruth. Colin and I were sitting outside at Texas Corners Brewing Company on our first date night since moving back to Michigan. I've known Andrew for years from school and his family farm, but I had never seen him so giddy... smile crinkles dancing in place happy. The whole wedding was full to overflowing with joy. From an outdoor ceremony with the orchard as a backdrop to the reception at the brewery and the best wedding band I've ever heard (seriously, their rendition of Up Town Funk was AMAZING), it was the kind of wedding I could have stayed at forever. At the end of the night, Ruth asked to take a picture with me because "You're not just our photographer, you're our friend!"
Folks, that's what I live for.
“Trust your heart if the seas catch fire, live by love though the stars walk backward.”― E.E. Cummings
Emily and Drew live for adventure. They will do anywhere together and they are each others best teammates. Like, they should probably do the amazing race. They can handle anything together.
They were married on a bright day in early summer in Spring Grove Park where the sun was warm and the breeze was cool. They set off a rocket afterwards and danced the night away at Baker Lofts in Holland.
It was a good day. The best day.
Colin shot this session with me and it ended with us getting drinks with Branda and Kevin at Founders Brewing Co. Basically, we just met our new BFFs.
I first met Shawnda at church, and everyone kept telling me about how awesome she is. She runs our Free Store and serves in about a million other ways. This session was the first time we got to spend any real time together, and she is even more sweet than I imagined. Lamont is her perfect match: steady and kind. It was a cold and rainy day, so Adrienne from Salt & Light in the Kalamazoo Park Trades Center let us crash her space. I love that building. The giant windows. The murals. Everything was gorgeous.
This was the session that almost didn't happen. First of all, Emily and Drew didn't really NEED me to take engagement pictures because their good friend Cindy had already taken some, but I gave them the option and we all figured it would be fun. We had plans to walk around downtown Grand Rapids and I ALMOST rescheduled this session. I had a specific vision, and Lord knows that when I get set on something, it's all I can think about. I couldn't think of any indoor locations, and I was about to give up when I discovered the Studio 3 Space in the super cool 1111 Godfrey Ave. SW building. Guys.
It's so cool. Studio 3 included, the whole building is incredible. Emily, Drew, and I had a blast exploring the stairwells and crumbling brick hallways. I loved seeing them lean into the wonder of the space.
Cheers to them and their many adventures to come!
These two have been through a lot together. They have loved each other long distance, endured the visa application process, and planned a wedding based on an ever-changing date of governmental approval. They have successfully petitioned the Catholic church. Paul has moved across the world. Allie has literally carried Paul on her back for miles when he couldn't walk. They have survived multiple 21+ hour flights and a ridiculous wedding photographer who made them take outdoor pictures in Indiana winter. They did it all with grace and kindness.
Cheers to a love that endures all things. It never fails.
A hodgepodge of shots Colin and I took for ourselves. Below are some landscapes, some portraits of each other, and some pictures of me taking pictures. Hope you enjoy! -Rachel
A while ago, I posted on facebook that I needed to experiment more and challenge myself to think differently about my craft. I proposed something a little wacky- an entire session done with my iPhone as the camera. No special add on lenses... no "cheating..." just working with the tools in front of me while trying to make something new. Adrienne of Adrienne Dennis Photography and Salt + Light Collective volunteered right away to model. I'm so glad she did. We are totally kindred spirits and (surprise!) it was approaching her 10 year anniversary with Matt. Perfect timing for a couple's session in the winter woods.
I love what we made. I love that it was a scrappy set up. I love that we took a risk.
I met Tiffany and Lane at One Well Brewing in Kalamazoo (Go. Don't ask, just Go.) and I wasn't even finished with my beer before my suspicions of their awesomeness was confirmed. They bonded over geocacheing- aka: super cool kind of treasure hunting outdoors. My kind of people. Adventurers.
Their wedding next year is going to be at a gorgeous herb garden, and I know that it's going to be the perfect balance of unique and laid back... uncontrived, just like them.
Kalamazoo Michigan wedding photographer- In honor of pumpkin lovers and witchy weddings everywhere: a moody styled shoot themed for Halloween. Featuring craft beer, local donuts, and just a hint of eclectic autumn decor, we can definitely see being a perfect combination of stylish but easy to DIY inspiration.
By Rachel, circa 2015 I take a lot of pictures. My camera is an extension of myself, and I honestly sometimes I get queasy if I don’t have it with me when I see something beautiful. I understand it, and it doesn’t fail me. I value it’s ability to freeze time, places, and emotion. When I look at a photograph, I am grateful because without it, I might forget.
There was a time after my daughter Margo was born when I was struggling with postpartum depression. I felt like the world was grey until I looked through the lens of my camera. It made me focus (pardon the pun) on beauty. I noticed the color of the sky. I noticed the way my baby’s face crinkled when she yawned.More importantly, when the fog of sadness finally cleared, I had pictures of the things that I missed.
That’s why I’m a photographer. It’s a way to give love to people.
The most important parts of our lives are often the hardest to remember in detail. Our weddings, the birth of a child, senior year of high school- they are all joyously chaotic. If I can help someone remember the joy, my job is one of real meaning.
I believe in marriage. I believe that when done right, participating in the sacrament of marriage is one of the most selfless commitments a person can make. You are no longer one. You are two opinions. You are two lives. You are yours and you are someone else’s. There is a tension in that. Choices take twice as long. Disagreements must be resolved. Wills must bend. Someone else must come first. It’s impossibly hard, but it is oh so good. The sacrifice makes us better humans. I want my clients to look back on the pictures from their wedding day and remember that it’s worth it.
It’s the same for every other kind of session, but weddings are where I thrive. The energy from the day is contagious. It’s the start of a great adventure, and I get to be there.
I do it because the world can always use more love.