ethan james | newborn | interlochen, michigan

Are you ready to feel all the feels?

Ok, but seriously, this is a story truly worth reading. Haley asked me to tell it here, on the blog. Maybe because of the redemption in life. Maybe to point people to Jesus. Maybe because she is unexplainably brave. Maybe all that and more. Whatever the reason, it is an incredible honor to share a slice of this story.

This sweet family is celebrating the recent birth of their rainbow baby, Ethan James. Oh, what a joy it is to see Haley hold him in her loving arms. 

In 2015, Haley, Brad, and Grace experienced an unimaginable loss— their baby, taken home to heaven, too early for their hearts to bear. A miscarriage. A baby lost; a life who’s future they had imagined in theirs. 

While they were suffering, I was pregnant with my son. I could not understand God’s ways— why her and not me? Why her baby and not mine? Why this pain? We had been pregnant with our first babies at the same time too, and it was oh so sweet. How fun to experience it together again! we had said.

Through her loss, her sadness, her pain, I experienced confusion, sadness. This story is not about me. But I want to share with you the kind of friend I have in Haley:

One day, a couple of weeks after her miscarriage was confirmed, still raw and very real, she asked me, had I felt any movements? In fact, I had, I told her; I cautiously told her I began feeling movement the very day her miscarriage was confirmed. This brought me deep sadness— but it was a sadness that brought me to pray for her each time I felt those flutters. I took it as from God, but didn’t share it with her at the time, out of sensitivity, and a little embarrassment. You know what she told me that day, as we sat FaceTiming, both crying? Something like this: Amanda, you don’t have to hide your joy from me. I am joyful with you! Just as you have experienced sorrow alongside me, I experience joy with you.

Love. Grace. 

This is friendship in Jesus. This is being like Christ. 

Romans 12:15 “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”

After struggling with infertility, loss, the pain in time, and waiting, waiting on the Lord, Haley now holds Ethan James in her arms. Yes, He can make good from all things. He will and he does. 

clare | newborn | detroit, michigan

At just one week old, I met Clare. 

I'll keep this post light on words and heavy on pictures because choosing which images to share here on the blog was no easy task— so much to love. 

Rachel and Andrew, you created a beauty. I’m so happy that God made you Clare's parents. He couldn’t have picked a more loving duo to bring her into this world! Thanks for sharing her with me!

The Mahanic Family {Grosse Ile, Michigan}

You guys, I have some really fun sessions from this fall to share with you! The light and the people and the locations all collided into something beautiful. And, I'm on vacation {mom's house, yay!} and might just find extra time to do some blogging. 

The Mahanic Family was a joy to photograph! It was such a privilege to capture their family. Matt and Candace, Madeline and Annabelle, Mimi and Grandpa Jim-- thanks for trusting me and making this session so fun! 

I'd love for you to visit again here on the blog later this week to see more of my recent work! 

xo

Amanda

Eva Jean {Grosse Pointe Woods, MI}

Eva Jean was two weeks old when I visited her and her mom, dad, and pup Ozzie for her newborn session. I have a special place in my heart for sessions like these, with new parents and new life-- precious firsts I adore capturing for friends.

I feel compelled to throw out a little advice today, so take it or leave it:

Do you know anyone who just had a baby {or is going through any other traumatic/difficult/crazy event, really}? Love on them. That way you express that love may look different between individuals, but figure out what it is that they need and be there for them! Do they need more help around the house? More meals? More sleep? More space? Someone to cry to? To make them laugh? To dream with? To listen to their woes? Trust me, your efforts to love are accentuated when you take some time to figure out what it is they actually need-- whether it be physical or emotional. And you may not get it right at first! And that's okay.

On the flip side-- did you just have a baby? {Or are you going through something else traumatic/difficult/crazy?} Don't be afraid to reach out and tell your loved ones how they are needed. Communicate. Let people in to love you. But also understand that all humans love differently and sometimes it's the effort that counts. 

Love, people.

Emilee, Andy, Eva, and Ozzie, thanks for inviting me into the delicate and special time you are in. It means the world to me and I hope your first weeks together can be looked back on with fondness!

The Pyle Family {Ann Arbor, MI}

Taking a break from editing {and chasing around my littles} to bring you images of this sweet family.

Fall has always been my favorite time of year, mainly because of my birthday. But as I got older, it became more about the way hot coffee fit perfectly in my hand at all times of the day, the way the leaves change, and the sweaters. Oh, how I love sweaters! 

This year, it's the family photo sessions filling up my schedule that make fall my favorite. All the other things still apply. But this addition really takes the cake!

The Pyle Family just recently welcomed baby Justine into the family, and this sweet outdoor session with the new family of five was a lovely addition to my fall sessions. Now back to editing! 

The Francis Family {Royal Oak, MI}

Before you scroll down to see one of my latest sessions, I'd like to attempt to express my gratefulness to you, my reader, viewer, client, and/or friend. I'm in awe of your support of me and my business-- you guys, word of mouth is awesome and I'm so blessed with work because of you! So far, this fall has been THE BEST as I'm meeting new clients and sneaking in sessions with old friends. Seriously. Can I ask something of you? Keep it coming!

Thank you, again, because I love what I do and I get to do it because you are awesome.

Below, meet a family who I met through another family I photographed last year. Matthew, Tracy, and Josephine asked me to photograph their first family portraits and it turned out to be a beautiful day with perfect light. As you'll see, we laughed a lot; I really enjoyed this hour with new friends. Scroll away!

The Gray Family {Grosse Ile, MI}

The Gray Family is adorable. Enough said.

But of course I'll say more!

After lots and lots of rain we finally got a gorgeous day for this long awaited session, and we were so relieved! I've known Kristine since I was in college, and I witnessed her love and joy for children as an early childhood teacher. It was such a joy to see this love and joy spill out of her for her daughter Lucy. And Lucy is such a sweet, sweet 5 month old little lady.

Kristine and Tony wanted to include some other family members in this shoot and I felt that this gesture was very special, loving, and others-focused. What a pleasure it was to photograph this sweet little family! Enjoy!

The Parks Family {Seattle to Michigan}

Life can be oh so sweet.

I mean, quite often I get bogged down by chaos and turmoil and drama and crazy but then there are those times when I get to experience pure joy. And it tastes sweet to my soul. {I'm grateful, Jesus. I really am!}

Recently I had a much too short visit with a childhood friend who was visiting home from Seattle. She hired me weeks ago to capture her family photos, and I've been anticipating it ever since. It was such a privilege to be trusted with this task!

With two kids in 2.5 years, it's no surprise that Becca and Phil have a lot going on. But their calm and patience and joy as parents and to each other was such a treat to witness. The day grew even sweeter since our session took place at her grandparents' house on the street we both grew up on. I convinced my husband to join us with our two littles and it was so fun to all be together.

Becca and Phil-- you're girls are so gorgeous and sweet. You two rock. Thanks for the honor of capturing you all!

If we haven't connected yet about your fall photos, shoot me a note and we'll get it on the schedule!

Hannah {Detroit, MI}

Hannah.

Over the last nine months and during her senior year at Wayne State University, I had the privilege to get to know Hannah through our weekly coffee dates. The purpose was for her growth and support, but relationships are never one-sided. I learned a great deal through our time together. 

Through Hannah, I learned that the Holy Spirit leads with even the slightest of willingness on my part. I learned that I need Jesus more than I need myself, or anyone else. I learned that in order to give to others, I must seek Christ to fill me up.

Through Hannah, I experienced great joy. Things got messy, and we laughed and cried together.

Through Hannah, I was reminded that my limitations-- emotional, mental, physical, circumstantial -- are not limitations of the God Almighty. He reinforced over and over that in my weakness, He is strong. 

Also, did I mention she is beautiful?

Paul wrote to the Philippians something beautiful that resonates with me when I think of Hannah. "I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." {Philippians 1:3-5}

My dear Hannah, the Lord has great plans for you. Thank you for letting me in on a tiny sliver of it.

The Nowaske Family {Birmingham, MI}

It’s spring! That means more sessions outdoors and that makes me really, really happy. Green grass and trees and new life blooming everywhere as the backdrop to portraits excites me. 

Carolyn and I became friends {through a dear friend} rather recently but I’d say we’ve quickly jumped into each others lives. When I had the opportunity to take photographs of her family, as usual, I was equally honored and nervous to attempt at this role for them. Honestly, I cannot get over how friends new and old continue to trust me with taking their photographs and I hope it never ends. As I am able {currently 32 weeks pregnant, and chasing around a toddler!}, Jesus continues to provide clients and new experiences that continue to bring me so much joy. I believe that work is GOOD. And I hope to never cease to recognize that all good things come from His gracious hands. 

With the light drastically more generous during this session than the others I’ve had recently, I felt much more free to capture candid moments without meticulously checking composition. It made for a very laid back session with the Carolyn, Jeff, Evan, and Joslyn, in which I gladly got to know them better as a family! 

Thank you Nowaskes for a lovely morning and for your friendship! 

And for those who continue to tune in to my photo sharing and personal thoughts about life currently {and those stopping by for the first time!}-- thanks a million. I'm genuinely open to feedback or encouragement or collaboration and I'd love to hear from you! Contact me here!

xo Amanda

 

Grayson James {Buckley, MI}

Babies!

2016 surely has brought its share of infant photography for me-- and I absolutely love it. I found, in this last session, that I have much more confidence, allowing me to work more at ease and more out of my creativity. All while enjoying every minute. It's seriously so fun! I love this job.

Kenny and Summer have been our friends for years. I've known Summer since we were on opposing t-ball leagues {way way back} and Kenny since I met my {now} husband 11 years ago {they're besties}. When Summer and Kenny got together, it was a really really good thing. And I love spending time with them. Add little Grayson to the mix, and it gets even sweeter. 

For this session, my family spent the day with our new-parent-friends at their home {with our two year old... who kept waking poor Grayson up and asking, "pick him up?"... Let's just say I'm a little worried for June when her brother arrives!}. We snuck in pictures when Grayson was feeling especially photogenic-- aka rested and recently fed. As you will see, at four weeks old, he was calm and alert. Kenny and Summer just adore him, which is evident here. They are a trio I'd like to be around more. Enjoy their sweet photos.

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit me here on the blog! If you'd like to learn more about booking a session, contact me here! I'd love the privilege of taking photos for you. xo - Amanda

Baby Clio {Boston to Michigan}

Lately I've had a {very welcomed} upsurge of newborn sessions, and anticipate more in the future {yay!}. Little Clio and her parents were visiting family in Rochester, Michigan, from Boston. I'm thankful for good friends and connections like this that keep me doing what I love. What's more, I'm thankful for the individuals who continue to trust me behind the camera. Honored, really.

Clio is a precious babe with personality and the strongest neck I've ever seen on an eight week old. She was content and sweet and loved looking at her mama. As it should be. 

Towards the end of our mini-session, Clio made it clear she was tuckered out and needed to catnap. With a little soothing from mom, she dozed off; her sweet face was peaceful and still content as she dreamed.  

I had more laughs in this mini session than I've had in a while-- thank you baby Clio for being so sweet, making me laugh, and reminding me of the squishy newborn joy the babe growing inside me is going to bring in just a few short months. 

Baby Luke {Williamsburg, MI}

I've been anticipating the month of January for quite some time.  Awaiting the arrival of several babies-- those of friends, family, and clients alike, has been exciting and kept me checking my phone often. Then, three newborns arrived in the matter of four days! When I got the call that Luke had arrived, I couldn't wait to make the drive up north to photograph his squishy, newborn self and his adorable family.

I find it extremely special when a family invites me into their home-- especially so when it is to photograph their newest member. These lifestyle sessions are equally relaxed and fun and challenging for me. I've found as of late that beautiful pictures can be found indoors, too.

I decided to share these photos in all black and white. I'd love to hear feedback of what you think about this style/choice! 

Alicia, Jeff, and Ben, thank you for sharing baby Luke with me! I hope these have photos captured a time in your life that you'll cherish for years to come. {oh, and Go Blue!}



The Kroupa Family {Traverse City, MI}

Remember that time in November when it snowed? It was definitely 60 degrees this weekend and it's the middle of December. I'm not sure what is going on with Mother Nature but it's the weirdest. Ok, I actually love it. But a teeny tiny part of me keeps thinking, this is just not right!  I mean, it's Michigan!

This year I've truly enjoyed being entrusted to capture beautiful memories for so many families. It has been fun, rich, and I've learned so much. I had the opportunity to be behind the camera twice for the Kroupa Family-- one this summer and one in the {only} fresh snow a few weeks ago. They have been so supportive of me and my business; I adore them. 

Meet the Kroupas and all their mini-session cuteness! 


Greta {Lansing, MI}

This weekend's hangout included a casual maternity session. With the football game on and our husbands, dogs, and kiddo hanging in the room next door, I had the opportunity to spend some time hearing about the excitement of a very loved little boy on the way.

Greta is stunning. She had a vision for indoor photos, which was meaningful and sweet. Thankful for the natural light shining in, I posed her near windows and was happy with the results. These photos seemed to be really special to this mommy-to-be. But later, as I saw the sun going down and its glow seeping through the windows, I convinced her to come outdoors with me for a few poses-- and it was so worth it. 

I've notice lately that when I get behind the camera, I can't help but be energized-- in a giddy, can't stop smiling kind of way. While it may sound silly, in this season of thankfulness, I feel the need to say that I am thankful for the individuals who trust me to be behind the camera. Being here brings me joy in a way that I never thought possible. I'm trying my best to love others through this God given blessing; I'm so grateful. 

To Greta-- My hope is that these photos will have captured this moment in time so you remember how content you were, waiting for little Rock, preparing for his arrival with patience and love. It was so special to me to be a part of-- thank you!

The Hullinger Family {Detroit, MI}

I'm throwing it back to a summertime session because this shoot came before I started the blog. The Hullinger Family was my first real family shoot, and let me tell you, they were the best gang for it. Not only did they provide me with honest and rich feedback, we laughed and learned and basically used the time to have fun-- which comes very easily with them.

The Hullinger Family is so so special to me. I try to spend time with them weekly for several reasons. To name a few-- my daughter is obsessed with Eli, their son; there is never a dull moment around them, which I love; Jen has a way of making me feel loved and known and valued; they love God and love people well. Doesn't get much more real than that.

This session was one of my favorites and I'm excited to share it with you! Thank you Jen and Will for trusting me to capture your beautiful family!

The O Family {Ann Arbor, MI}

I lived in the same city {and went to the same church!} as this family for nearly five years, and we never met. Now, years later, they hired me to take their family photos and I'm bewildered as to why this was our first meeting! They are so admirable and loving and fun, I didn't want our time together to end.

Their session was on a welcomed warm October afternoon. Mid shoot, the seven of us had to take cover under a tree as it poured for several minutes. It took us all by surprise! But the gray cloud moved on and the sun even broke through for the last few minutes. It was the perfect day for the challenge of capturing six smiling faces at one time. 

After the shoot was my favorite-- like old friends, they wanted to treat me to frozen yogurt for driving all that way {!!!}. I of course couldn't pass that up and happily joined them. Getting to know them more was the best part. Thank you O Family for making me feel so loved! I'm so glad we finally met!