Meet Linsey | GHS Grad

Linsey certainly made my job easy! She was comfortable in front of the camera and a hoot to photograph. The hard part is narrowing down her proofs... so hard! Mother Nature's wind machine made things interesting, but nothing was gonna ruin our fun. We ventured around G'ville and I obtained permission to shoot in new favorite location... oooh, yes! We may or may not have stepped into poison ivy... haha: totally. worth. it.

Random Linsey Facts: 

What is your favorite memory from your high school years? I don't think I have a favorite memory but some of the better ones would be prom, mission trip to Arizona, and classes with friends.

Are you in any extra curricular activities? I cheered all 4 years of high school, played softball 2 years, Student council 1 year, Helping Out New Kids 2 years, color guard 1 year, played clarinet in band 2 years, and I play the bass guitar.

What do you want to be when you grow up? I would like to be an orthodontist. And happy.

Store you could easily spend $1k? Macy's, easily!


Give Back | Christmas Tree Farm with the Atanasoff Family

What a meaningful and fun experience this was for me! Not only did I raise over $500 to support Heartland Hospice, I was able to see a glimpse of this family's Christmas traditions. They usually cut their own tree anyway, so spending the afternoon with me was a huge bonus for them, I suppose :) I haven't laughed so hard in a very long time! Their humor clearly feeds off each other, making it impossible for anyone witnessing their interactions to keep a straight face. Another tradition they have is wearing holiday sweaters, and yes, per my suggestion, they brought them along just for kicks and giggles. Giggles were had, for certain. Stay tuned for the holiday sweater shots to be featured on Facebook.

I love writing stories with my camera, but not everything is always as it appears. They REALLY wanted snow, so I pulled some of my winter magic. Since Abbey was the official winner, they voted she should cut down the tree. Wink, wink. All kidding aside, the reality was about documenting this family making Christmas memories.... ones I hope they remember for a very long time.

Thanks for your support in my first ever fundraising attempt. I can say I think I've started a tradition of my own, too. Look for another give back opportunity next holiday season. A big shout out to all those who supported my project; I couldn't do it without each and every one of you. Hope your Christmas' were merry and your new year is bright.

2011 Official Give Back Story
Special thanks to Rainbow's End Tree Farm
100% of proceeds to Heartland Hospice totaling $520


Personal | My Story | Give Back

Last year was my first Christmas without my Mom, except the one year she delivered a bouncing baby boy Christmas Eve when I was five. That was way different. Last year I was guarded by the shock of losing her three weeks prior to Christmas. We had just had an amazing Thanksgiving together with all extended family, filled with both laughter and tears. We had a girl's day that weekend with my two sisters and sister-in-law where we saw a movie she was so eager to watch and topped it off with dinner and margaritas. It was our last happy memory. She quickly declined, we thought from exhaustion. It was more. Within a couple weeks her organs began shutting down and we were instructed to prepare ourselves. Within a few hours of her death, I was sitting with her, her hand in mine. She was non-responsive, but I talked to her anyway. I talked through my tears and told her how wonderful she was, and how grateful I was to have her in my life. I went on telling her how scared I was to lose her. I then closed my eyes and prayed in a soft voice. Never in my entire life have I felt God's presence greater than that day. My eyes opened when her room lit up, the clouds had opened, but it was still snowing hard outdoors. Through the curtain sheer the snow shimmered, as if dust off an angel's wings. It was an amazing sight and feeling. I noticed tears had formed in the corner of her eyes and felt that was her way of saying goodbye to me and hello to the angels. Many of us had quiet moments with her that day, but it was when we all stepped out of her room and were talking in the living room, laughing even, that she slipped away. It was just how she had planned, and that brought tremendous peace to me. I held her hand as the angels guided her spirit to heaven. I held it a lot longer than that actually and letting go was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life.

This journey was guided along with the help of Heartland Hospice. They stepped in with open arms when my Mom was first diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. They became my parents' only non-related social outlet. Their care and companionship for my family, especially for my Mom and Dad, far exceeded my expectations. It was more than checking vitals and medication refills; they didn't hesitate to become close to someone who was fighting a losing battle. They listened to stories, shared their own memories and made many more. The nurses, social worker and chaplain all made meaningful impacts in her life, touching all ours.

From day one, my Mom was accepting of her fate. It was extremely hard for me to understand, but looking back, I realize that's the person she was. Her faith brought self comfort. She grieved for us, her husband of nearly forty years and five children, worried about how to help us cope and move forward. I never knew a person could be this strong. I am proud to say, yes, my Mom was that strong and more.

Please join me and give to Heartland Hospice. You never know when they will reach out and connect to someone you love. When/if they do, your life will be forever changed and you'll be in awe of the entire experience.

In memory of Bernice Jean Glass, February 18, 1949 - December 5th, 2010.

Meet Kyle | GHS 2012

Kyle's a Greenville senior and excited for his final year of high school. When Kyle's not on the football field, you'll most likely find him with his girlfriend or working on his truck. Both of them [the truck and his girlfriend, not to be confused with two girlfriends] even tagged along for his photo session! I was warned Kyle never smiles, but there were many times he couldn't stop smiling. I choose to showcase these non-smile photos for now, but I have some great smile images, too. Kyle hopes to attend MSU with his girlfriend, of course. He's retiring the baseball and football cleats to devote more time to his academics while in college. Best wishes, Kyle!

random kyle facts:

what makes you smile?

pet peeve?
people complaining

what do you want to be when you grow up?

dream car?
lifted diesel truck

Griffith Family | These Days Won't Last Forever

Year after year, the Griffith's of Griffith Photography pick me to document their family. Lucky me! Lucky them, too! I've been their photographer since their daughter was born; it's the challenge of shooting another photographer [and one who I greatly admire] that sets the bar high. Real high. The reward is spending time with them and having them fall in love with my work... year after year. I become a stressful mess about an hour before the session, triple checking to make sure I don't leave anything behind. Once I have my camera in hand, everything seems to flow seamlessly... almost like I'm meant to do this. Every time I photograph them, magic happens. They just show so much happiness; photographing them for sure recharges my battery and renews my love for my job. These days won't last forever, but for now enjoy your beautiful children and leave the photography part up to me.


Nick | GHS 2012

I photographed Nick's big brother a couple years ago and was delighted when they again contacted me for their photography needs. He didn't want any of the same things his brother had in his photos, so we opted for a road trip up to his grandparents' place near Weidman. Nick and his family spend much of their down time there camping, running the trails [on quads, not legs] and catching up with cousins. It looked like such a fun place to explore; Grandpa sure built some cool forts and unique play areas! We stopped along our route and found some old buildings and eye candy to make his photos unlike his brother, or anyone else in G'ville for that matter...
Thanks for a fun day!

random nick facts:

favorite way to spend a saturday?
hanging out with family and friends, especially camping, riding quads, going to the beach, watching the RedWings, hanging out with my girlfriend

pet peeve?
people that stink at driving

funniest high school memory thus far?
(Can't think of a funniest... but one of the most fun memories was last year's prom. My girlfriend, Casey, asked me to go and we've been seeing each other ever since.)

what do you want to be when you grow up?
I wish I knew! When I graduated from kindergarten, I said I wanted to be a fireman. Now, I just want to do something that I enjoy that makes a lot of money. Haven't figured out yet what that might be!

if you won a million dollars, what's the first thing that comes to mind that you'd purchase?
I'd buy a new car and give my mom some money


Meet Meghan | BHS 2012

No need to call 911, but Megan is on fire. Not only is she a smartypants, she's absolutely gorgeous! She's entered her final year at Belding High School and is ready to hit the "real word" in a blaze. She warned me ahead of time she was nervous about having her photos taken, but after ten minutes, she was over it and laughing. She told me during the session she knows she's already gonna love her photos. Not sure if that confidence comes from herself or her confidence in me; I like to think it's both :) We stumbled upon a vintage fire truck and I felt as if I had won the lottery! We also stumbled upon a medium size toy truck hidden in the tall grass, but wait.... that wasn't a truck, was it? Haha. Thanks for catching that, Meghan! What a laugh that was ...

Best wishes for your bright future, Meghan.
Random facts about Meghan:

What type of music is on your iPod? I basically like anything but country. My favorite artist is Adele, especially her song “Someone Like You.”

Are you in any extra curricular activities? I’m involved in my church and my faith means a lot to me. I am a member of the National Honor Society (academics and community service). I used to be a dancer; I’m in marching band (I play the clarinet); I am in drama, and I play golf.

What are you passionate about? I love to sing. I am also passionate about working with children and science. I want to work with both in my career, hopefully as a pediatrician.


Beard Family | Tea Party

When Krista first contacted me to photograph her family and their darling daughter last year, the timing wasn't in our favor. I'm always excited when a potential new client remembers me! So a year later, it became reality. The fall air was cool the day of their session and Emery wasn't feeling herself, but we made the most of it. Their session was fun and interactive, even though Jeff was a tad skeptical of the tea party idea :) I eased his concerns when I explained my vision and said it would be a casual event with a natural setting and nothing fancy. Emery engrossed herself into the pretend world and I was fortunate enough to document this day for them.


Camie | GHS 2012

Camie is about to enter her senior year at Greenville High School. She's so stinkin' sweet and adorable; everyone knows it, even the young boys that followed us through town on their bikes! Camie loves Friday night football games, especially supporting and celebrating with her boyfriend after his team wins. She's eager to start the next chapter in her life and is thinking of studying at MSU to become a doctor. I wish the very best for her as she enters this exciting school year, and beyond.

random camie facts:

what is your favorite high school memory so far?
The Greenville/Lowell football game last year, watching our team beat Lowell on their own field. I was there with my friends and we painted our faces rushing the field after winning to give my boyfriend congrats hug was great. The whole school was so excited.

what would you say is the first thing people notice about you?
Funny story, I really had no idea what to put for this question so I asked facebook! Someone said my height; I am 5" so I'm pretty small and everyone notices that! I also got my smile and the fact that 'I'm so bubbly'

how about extra curricular activities?
This will be my second year in DECA and I love it! I am also a new member of H.O.N.K, which stands for "Helping Out New Kids"

how do you spend your weekends?
I'm ALWAYS with my boyfriend Kyle, or friends. Right now football season is just starting and I will be at every single game in the front row. I love events like that. I also work a lot. I work at the theater in Greenville so that's a huge part of my weekends.


Meet Allie | BHS 2012

Allie will soon be entering her final year at Belding High School. This girl has a lot to proud of and a future that's exciting. As you can see, she rocked her senior session. And that's not all she's rockin' these days. Allie can sing! She sang a Miranda Lambert song while I photographed her and I was fortunate enough to have a front row seat. She's involved with many extra curricular activities and student council president. She plans to attend college at either Saginaw State or MSU with her older sister; all in hopes of becoming a pediatric nurse, but her real passion is performing at any level. I'm certain she's driven enough to do something spectacular with her life and whatever paths she crosses will positively affect others along the way. For now, Allie, make the most of your senior year and keep on rockin'.

Random Allie facts:

what makes you smile?
music, my friends, dancing, comedy.

favorite way to spend a saturday?
sleeping, hanging out with my friends, playing music or going to an amusement park.

store you could easily spend 1k?
maurices, jc penny or khols.


2012 GHS Grad | Mitchell

Mitchell is a soon to be graduate of Greenville High School. He was a trooper for his photo session, even if it was the last thing he'd rather be doing. His mood lightened once we hit the soccer stadium. Yes, being a mom to three young children I knew to save the best for last. Mitchell loves soccer: from the competitive games to horsing around with friends on the field. He started playing young and I have a feeling he's gonna finish his final year strong. He's determined to do just that.
You may notice there are no soccer photos included in his sneak peek. As I previously stated, I like to save the best for last. Best wishes, Mitchell, for a successful year both on and off the field.


Prom 2011 | Ian & Abbey

I was stoked when Abbey said she wanted me to take photos of her and boyfriend, Ian, before her final school dance: PROM! These two are are absolutely smitten with one another one minute and quirky the next. Ian saved me from a panic attack when he noticed a snake coiled in the grass. He assured us if we left it alone, it would be fine... as he attempted to poke at it! He again came to the rescue with his sharp eyes when he noticed a buzz-illion bees [get it? haha] flying around a hidden nest. I was lucky to end the session unscathed, and very thankful to spend some time with these two. I hope you two had a fabulous evening!


2011 Grad | Ashley

I've known Ashley for years and when she choose me to document this exciting time in her life it indeed made me smile. This girl is going places and wants to save the world "one crazy person at a time". Her words. I don't lie. She's full of life and youthfulness and I'm curious to follow her many adventures. Her first expedition is following her heart, but also playing smart. She's soon moving to Washington DC to be with the one she loves. Should it matter that he's a studly Marine who's climbing the military ladder? While there, she'll take online classes at Central Michigan University. I have zero doubt that she'll find success and happiness.

Enjoy some other random Ashley knowings:

what makes you smile? my boyfriend, friends, & my sisters and brothers

who is your hero and why? Gandi, because of all the struggles he went through to fight for his rights and for everything he did for humanity.

favorite restaurant? ihop

store you could easily spend $1k? rue 21

dream job? psychologist


Expecting | Griffith Family

It really does my confidence wonders when Emily and Allan Griffith of Griffith Photography continue to commission me for their photography needs. They are expecting their second child TODAY, so I thought I'd better get these posted. They appreciate my style and have even gone as far as naming their living room the S3 Gallery... how cool is that? Emily is as beautiful as any expecting mama could possibly be.... seriously, look....

I have other photos of her that are defiantly blog worthy, but for privacy reasons won't be featured here. For those of you interested in a maternity session, it can be as intimate as you desire.

Their little girl wasn't feeling so well that day, so the best option was to make her comfortable, aka nap! They read her a couple stories and soon she was asleep. The plan worked like butter and I nearly melted when I got this shot of mother and child.

After a brief nap, it was outdoors we went....

Wishing you the very best, Emily and Allan, as your welcome your little boy into the world today.


2011 Grad | Abbey

Abbey is a soon to be graduate of Greenville High School. Her eyes are alluring, her smile warm, and her beauty is abundant. Her mom told me the word that best describes her is energy. She picked Eastown for the location of her session for that reason alone. Eastown is full of color, unique shops and restaurants. My husband took one look at her [yes, he's usually supportive and will look at my work per request] and said she resembles Ellen Pompeo. For someone who never watches Grey's Anatomy, he's right! Ok, now back on track.... Abby was a thrill to photograph, until I stepped on that dead [really, really dead] bird, but let's not talk about that. It was really gross and I felt awful. Ok, seriously moving on now... Abbey is a bright spot in the future. She's passionate about helping people and I can tell she has a heart of gold. I wish you the very best, Abbey, in your senior year, college life at CMU and beyond.

Random Abbey facts:

favorite restaurant?
ooh, toughie. food is my life.
gotta go with Yesterdog

what is your greatest accomplishment?
while its not the most glamorous answer, i would have to say my greatest accomplishment is figuring out who i am. i know 40 year olds who have absolutely no idea who they are or what they stand for, so i'd have to say "go me" on that one :]

what would you do with a million dollars?
donate as much as possible, and use the rest to:
-pay off mine and my sister's student loans
-buy my parents their dream house
-build a house in Vancouver
-open an animal rescue with my mom

favorite musical artist/song?
John Mayer!!!
we're getting married,
he just doesn't know it yet.


Celebration Spotlight | Eli

As promised, more birthday photos would be posted. Our sweet baby Eli is a baby no more. He's gaining independence, and pretty much believes he rules the roost, except when Chelsea and Alex are around. It's then that he can't make his own decisions. Which ever one is on his good side, he's got their back and he agrees to do anything he or she would like. Barely breaking 30 pounds and just now wearing 3T jeans, it's hard to believe he's four already and will start a full day of school next fall. No matter how big and strong he becomes, he'll always be my baby.


2011 Grad | Brooke

Brooke is a senior at Belding High School, so we stayed in her hometown for senior photos. It's always fun to find an old building and put it to good use! This night was no exception. Brooke was a pleasure to photograph; I swear she laughs at everything :) It was the serious shots that took a bit more effort for her, so she would tell herself that she was trying to look into my soul through my camera. Well, let me show you who won that battle. [Look above; no additional words needed]. Her gorgeous eyes can draw anyone in and what I saw that night was beautiful, warm and striking. Don't you agree?

Brooke is also involved with volleyball and track. Did you catch the article in yesterday's GR Press? Yeah, that's her team receiving some well deserved recognition! I had to include a couple volleyball shots in her sneak peek, just for being a good sport. Pun intended, even though it's lame.

Here are a few random facts about Brooke:

what makes you smile?
my best friends (2 who just happen to live in different states)
but pretty much anything can make me smile because anything can make me laugh!

favorite restaurant?

store you could easily spend $1k?
any store, haha. probably forever 21
or pacsun

dream job?
for awhile i wanted to be a book editor/publisher but i'm not sure anymore. hopefully i'll figure it out soon!

I wish you the very best, Brooke, in your senior year and beyond!


Spotlight | Chelsea's Birthday

I just realized I never posted any photos of my children's summer birthdays. They enjoy being featured on my blog, too! We celebrate all three birthdays within six weeks... not well thought out on our part. Each have their own party, and will also have their own blog post. It's only fair, right? Our sweet, absolutely beautiful and now sassy girl turned nine years old already. I am still in denial.... where did the time go?

She planned another slumber party, similar to last year, but nine/ten year old girls have so much more drama! I wasn't expecting to overhear some of the things I did... more denial for me! Late night dancing was a big hit and it was really fun watching them, until ... more denial. The plan was to have the girls camp in the backyard, but the late afternoon rain dampened that idea. Instead we set up the tent in the family room and the girls talked [about boys more than I cared to hear], laughed and even cried [told you there was drama] into the wee morning hours.


Expecting | Justine & Zach

What could one possibly say that this photo doesn't say alone?
Absolutely nothing.

I felt it as my shutter clicked. I felt their energy, their love, their moment. The sun's glow is radiation from them... think I'm kidding? No way. I can not wait to meet their baby next month!

Brothers | Noah & Adam

These boys were fun to play with (um, did I say play? I mean work, yea work, hard - hard work :), and real troopers to play in the wet grass. Wait, they're boys, I'm sure they didn't even notice! Their session had been previously rescheduled due to high winds and extreme heat and we weren't about to let a little wet grass stop us now.

Once their mom mentioned that Noah LOVED trains, I borrowed some of Eli's and took them along with me. I had a vision for what I wanted to do.... except being a child photographer means sometimes [ok, I'll be completely honest, all the time] you've gotta roll with the punches. Little adorable Adam enjoyed demolishing his brother's track building skills and pulling trains off the track even before Noah had a chance to play. The above shot was taken right before Adam swooped in and played his own version of trains... again. Look at his expression; I love it!


Personal | Twelve Years

At ten years of marriage, my husband and I decided to take a yearly anniversary weekend get away. This year was our third year renting a cottage in Southwestern Michigan. We most look forward to reconnecting, sightseeing, dining out and cooking in. We even found a perfect golf course for us and went 9 holes in between rain storms. These photos were taken at Saugatuck Dunes State Park. This park was filled with trails and endless hours of exploring.

We walked the trail just in time to see the sunset. I clung onto my husband's hand a bit tighter when we started to quickly lose daylight while making our way back. For some silly reason, I envisioned us lost without any resources and I became anxious to get back to our vehicle. My husband with his great sense of direction, managed to keep me calm.

And once back at the cottage, we cooked an amazing dinner on the back porch grill. Yes, it was nearly 11pm, but who cared? Not us. We both really enjoy cooking together when we're without kids. Perhaps it's because we can have shish kebabs with peppers, mushrooms and onions on a bed of rice, with my glass of wine and his glass of seven and seven without hearing the words: I don't like this.


Family | At Home

Third time was the charm with this family. Their session had been rescheduled twice before for various reasons, but we made the most of a mild [and buggy!] spring evening. I love when I am able to photograph families in a location that is special to them, in this case their own yard, complete with pond and barns... bonus! I first met Kristi while we both volunteered in a kindergarten classroom; that was three plus years ago! Even though Matt and Chelsea no longer attend the same school, we have remained friends. Another bonus!


Spotlight | My Boy

Alex is our middle child. He's sweet, athletic and can be very stubborn. His laugh is contagious, really. His smile warms my heart. He finally lost one of his top teeth and has pledged to give his tooth fairy money to Granny's cancer. I warned you he was sweet like that. He truly believes he's the best six year old soccer and basketball player in the world. It's not in my job description to tell him otherwise.


Toddler | Meet Mr. Underroos

If Carter had his choice, everyone would wear only underwear --- all. day. long. To think of all the time saved doing laundry, it's an option I'm considering :) Carter's world is headed for a big change. You see, he's turning four years old very soon; he also just became a big brother and assumed the middle child label. That's a lot to handle at any age... Thanks for spending some time with me buddy, even though you were bribed with a lollipop and a movie. I really enjoyed our little chat on the porch and believe there's no amount of sugar or entertainment that can replace any conversation with an almost four year old.


Newborn | Mr. Bennett William

I received notice many weeks back that my very first client was interested in newborn photographs. I was excited when I received the phone call sharing the good news about this little guys birth. He was born on March 30th, weighing almost 8# of pure sweetness! His mom became a little frazzled during the shoot [sleep deprived and with two other children pushing her every button, I can completely empathize with her]. I hope seeing this preview brings her tears of joy and renewed energy. It has been so wonderful getting to know this family and documenting their life.


Outtakes | Two Peas in a Pod

Meet Aidan & Blake. Yea, they think they're cool. In fact they're so cool I traveled nearly 120 miles to photograph them. They're cousins, neighbors and best buddies. This was the second time I've been commissioned to photograph them and their siblings. This is what what I think their peace signs really mean: two fingers to tell the world I'm crazy enough to photograph them not once, but twice! And for that opportunity, I believe it's their moms that are the coolest of all. Stay tuned for further updates and I'll show you some of my coolness, too :)


Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

I have been an active member of the Grand Rapids Camera Club for a few years now.  We have monthly meetings and competitions, photo walks, late night gatherings and always many laughs.  At the end of the year all competition entries are tossed together and are judged by other established photographers outside our 100+ member club.  These awards are given at the year end banquet in February. I was honored to receive many awards this year.... and as my three year old would say with excitement, "winner, winner, chicken dinner!".

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: My 2009 WinnersCreate your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox


Personal | Why?

my world turned upside down last week, when we nearly lost my mom. now, with a successful emergency surgery to remove the large tumor, God has allowed her to stay a bit longer. i am thankful, but still very angry that her time will be severely shortened because of a disease without a cure -- cancer. angry she won't be able to see my daughter marry her prince charming, let alone graduate from elementary school. why her? why us? why, God, why?

this numbness i feel
will not go away
it's buried itself
to protect me today

tomorrow who knows
what God has in store
for it's His choice
to give or take more

this anger i feel 
is so complex and raw
emotional overload 
so overwhelming i fall

on the floor i stay
the pain too real
it's a dark place
where weakness i feel

there's little hope
dreams have already died
her end will come
no matter how hard we try

my faith becomes wobbly
for it's God who chooses
from the ones He loves
who suffers and loses

chelsea | 2007
i hope she never forgets how to dream


Personal | She Was... She Is

She was a strong woman filled with words of her own wisdom. She spoke the truth, although sometimes blunt, it was the truth. She beat odds. She had the softest hands. She was traditional. She was stubborn. She was kind. She is my grandma. She is gone. She is loved.

We all mourn the death of a loved one differently. I look to my photography as my way to put these raw emotions within me aside. I write with tears streaming down my face, but it's only the beginning.  I feel numb, sick.  I want to be held; I want to be alone, simultaneously. My eyes burn, fill with sadness and my world becomes blurred. With each blink, it washes down my face and begins the cycle again.  I want to say goodbye. Now, this is my only way. You have forever changed my world, Grandma. I love you.