Bloom Workshop / Leland Michigan Photographer

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.

Photo by www.adventurephotostories.comPhoto by www.adventurephotostories.comPhoto by www.adventurephotostories.comPhoto by www.adventurephotostories.comPhoto by www.adventurephotostories.comPhoto by www.adventurephotostories.comPhoto by www.adventurephotostories.comPhoto by www.adventurephotostories.comPhoto by www.adventurephotostories.comPhoto by www.adventurephotostories.comPhoto by www.adventurephotostories.comPhoto by www.adventurephotostories.comPhoto by www.adventurephotostories.comPhoto by www.adventurephotostories.comPhoto by www.adventurephotostories.com

Dawn: Joshua Tree Part 1

Dawn: Joshua Tree Part 1

Sometimes, waking up at 4:00am is SO WORTH IT. Jasmine and Will are pretty people in a pretty place and are in all the pretty pictures.

3 Questions for Finding the Right Wedding Photographer

3 Questions for Finding the Right Wedding Photographer

What to ask a wedding photographer before hiring them.

Adrienne and Matt Anniversary iPhoneography

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.

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3 Takeaways from 2016

As the new year approaches, I've been taking some time to rest and reflect on Adventure Photo Stories- who we are and what we will stand for in the coming year. Sure, it's normal for businesses to do end of year evaluations, but this is a little different. We launched in August (only FOUR months ago!) and are still getting our bearings. It has been a wild ride, and I am so grateful to be doing so unexpectedly well already. I thought it would be nice to take a moment and share what I've learned in 2016: 1. Don't do something just because everyone else is doing it

There is this thing happening in the photography world where a ton of big-name photographers are editing in a desaturated, moody, film emulating style and creating GORGEOUS images that combine landscape and portraiture. I die. They are so pretty.

I bought a few of the trendy editing presets (think fancy instagram filters for Adobe editing software), and found that it was definitely NOT our style. I kept trying to make it work so that I could "fit in" with all the hip photographers, but the truth is: I really really really really really really really like color. Vibrant, sassy, joyful, color. I've actually pulled some inspiration from the luxurious matte shadows people have been favoring and am thrilled with the new style. It's fun and not too serious. Just like us ;)

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2. Put yourself out there

When Colin and I moved back to Michigan, we basically had to start over. We had an incredible support system in Indiana. We had close friends to socialize with, and we had a professional network of creative people who we could count on. I was well-connected and took it for granted. It took 7 YEARS to build that, and in one 3 hour drive, it disappeared.

Luckily, I found The Rising Tide Society- a group of creative entrepreneurs who focus on community over competition. I started engaging in the conversation and asking questions. I let people in to my professional roller-coaster, and they accepted me. I now co-lead our local Kalamazoo chapter and am investing in others as they invest in me.

It is easy to get caught up in envy. It is easy to think that being honest about what you are going through makes you weak. Sure, there are some really sh!tty people in the creative world, but there are also some really kind folks who are looking for support just like you.

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3. Play

Sometimes, the hustle is HARD. I'm working a full time admin job on top of owning a full time photography business, trying to be a decent wife-friend-daughter-mom, and applying to seminary. Only God knows how I'm going to make it through school with all of this, but I had discovered that when I'm about to crumble, that is the time to DANCE and get WEIRD.

Margo (my toddler) is the queen of booty shakin' and can make the whole world happy. So when the jams start a playing, I get up and join her. For those few moments, I let go of my anxiety about the future and live in the moment. That is the gift of playfulness.

In a few short weeks, Colin and I will go explore Joshua Tree National Park and some of the weirdest coolest parts of California (ever heard of Salvation Mountain?). I am going to go play in the desert and take pictures of friends. It's the perfect way to begin the new year.

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Cheers to Adventure in all it's forms! I love you all,

-Rachel

Van Life / Kalamazoo Photographer

What happens when you put 3 photographers (and a photographer's in-denial-but-also-a-talented-photographer husband) together with a Volkswagon Westfalia Van and unleash them in a vineyard? Well, first the farmer dude of the group spends a half hour under the Van trying to fix it because it's FALLING APART, and the two ladies spend the whole time taking glam shots in the perfect light and then this happens. So much this.

Shout out to that "I'm not a photographer" husband for some of these images of the "real photographers." Also shout out to Lawton, Michigan for the glorious golden light.

Van life is about just letting the sh*t happen. It's about having a positive attitude and trusting that it will all work out even if the result is unexpected. That's why Robert brought expired polaroid film to play with. He thought it might turn in to something good... for the record, it didn't because it was EXPIRED. The most important thing is that we had fun along the way.

How are we ever going to discover adventure if we don't give it a chance?

All images copyright Adventure Photo Stories 2016