wedding

Practice What You're Passionate About

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Last Fall, Doreen invited me to photograph flowers in her garden and told me I was welcome to get started before she arrived; so I did just that.
Doreen had to kick me out of her garden. I couldn't stop. I was so involved and lost in my work I needed someone to tell me when I had taken enough. In all honesty, I could had taken photos of those flowers for hours on end. 

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As much as I absolutely enjoy photographing people and working with them, sometimes it is so nice to do "exercises" where I have no timeline and get to practice technique using still objects. 

I recently finished reading Malcom Gladwell's "Outliers: The Story of Success". 

I found myself reflecting on my work and Chapter 2 of his book, "The 10,000 Hour Rule".

Often, we believe successful people are those with "natural born" talent. 

However, practice is what enhances and strengths our skills that can lead us to success. 

It is believed that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an "expert" of a field. 

As examples, consider Bill Gates, the Beatles, Mozart, and the time they spent mastering their work.

Contrary to what some may think, 
I did not go to school for Fine Arts
I did not go to school for Photography
I majored in Entreprenuership with an Art Minor (which was collective from art classes).

I bought my first DSLR in college. I took two intro photography classes. 
Honestly, I took the class as an excuse to finally buy a "nice" camera and I always had an interest in photography. 

I created an LLC. 
I started booking sessions. 
I practiced. 
I worked with peers.
I practiced with peers.
I asked questions and listened to mentors. 
I researched online. A lot.
I then tried those things I researched about. 
I practiced. 
See a trend here?


So I'm here to ask, have you practiced? 
Have you done your homework? 
Once you have, go do more.

Practice what you're passionate about.
Dive right in.
Never stop learning. Never stop trying. 


Much love! - Jesselyn






 

Abby + Steve

The Bride & Groom dancing to Hall & Oates "You Make My Dreams Come True" for their intro

I love the city of Grand Rapids (where I reside and where this wedding took place). 
Prior to the event, Abby, Steve and I took a walk downtown to scout for locations.
We ended up with a well thought out plan of stops and covered some impressive ground the day of.

Abby and Steve are a class act. They show excellence in how they treat others and go about things. Something I thought was really great was they decided to not pick a best man or maid of honor. 
To me that spoke volumes with how much they value their friendships equally. 
This couple is also extremely down to Earth and well mannered.
Moments before they walked into the reception for introductions, their wedding cake got knocked to the ground. When Abby was told, she said with a smile, "That's ok. Did you get a photo of it before it fell?" 
I had and she was completely unphased by the event. 
Luckily, it was a display cake and the catering staff had more cake in the kitchen for serving.

My wish is that all bride and grooms enjoy their wedding day as much as these two did. 

A special thanks to the second shooter for this event,
Aaron of www.mcgranephoto.com / www.alliedproductionsgr.com

Andy + Brittney

Loved the color palette for their wedding - it complimented the bride, groom & party beautifully

Decorator/Florist for the event:  Classic Designs by Doreen Thomas

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Bride & Daughter

[ I was in the barn loft to take this photo ]

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Sometimes I give little direction - just to see what happens naturally - this is what happened.
These two are a dynamic duo together! 

[ For this photo, I had a prism held up to my camera - so if you look closely in the left corner, that's the party bus in the reflection. A couple of their friends were outside of the bus and got them to laugh ]

Where do I start with this wedding? 
The weather that September day was ideal. 
Andy and Brittney were more than ideal to work with. 
They were so appreciative; whether it was their family/friends or towards the vendors, they showed great care and thanks to all who helped on their big day
The ceremony took place at the Bride's parents' property overlooking a field and the reception was at the Aplex in Alpena, Michigan. 

The story of the swing:
 Brittney saw this swing in a creative shoot I had done. She told me she loved that swing and asked if there was a way she could have it in some photos. 

I coordinated with Doreen Thomas. We came up with a plan. 
My brother and Father put the swing in the tree on our family's private property. 
Doreen found time out of her busy day to put garland on the swing before we arrived at the locations for photos.

Andy and Brittney along with their wedding party truly know how to live in the moment. It was clear as can be that day when I worked with them.  From a photographer's perspective, that is something that truly adds to and often makes the photos. 

A special thanks to the second shooter for this event,
Amy of www.amybrownridge.com
 

Amy + Nick

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First Look

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I was in awe when I arrived and saw this vintage car behind the barn

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The Bride with their dog - Sadie

The Bride and Father of the Bride walking to the car they rode in together to the aisle

Nick and Amy's ceremony and reception was held at the Ivy Barn in Marshall, MI in October 2017. 
I met Amy and Nick during my studies at Ferris State University - go bulldogs! 
I am so thankful that they kept in touch over the years and gave me the honor of photographing their engagement session in Chicago and then their wedding in Michigan. 
The Ivy Barn made such a beautiful setting for their day.
At the venue there were two classic cars present which were a lot of fun to have the couple by or as seen above - sitting in the backseat for a laugh and a moment together.
Amy and Nick along with their family and friends were so easy going and light hearted.
They were not only enjoyable to be around but also had a radidant nature that was transferable. I found it extremely difficult to NOT be smiling behind the camera while capturing this event. 
 

Holly + Ryan

The bride making her entrance with her Father escorting

At the altar, the Groom with his parents, as they see the Bride & her Father walk down the aisle
I absolutely love the array of emotions captured in this image

Mr. & Mrs. 

Daughter & Dad

Wedding Party
with a wall completely covered in vines as their backdrop - I'm a huge fan of vines for photos.

This wedding took place in Alpena, MI, the groom's hometown, which also happens to be where I'm from. 
Alpena is on the beautiful shore of Lake Huron. 
Holly and Ryan traveled all the way from California for their celebration. 
I can honestly say that the bride and groom along with their family, friends and wedding guests were so incredibly kind. That's one thing I really enjoyed about working with them, they were just so nice and kind to one another and others. 
Something that stood out to me about Holly and Ryan on their wedding day and their final collection of wedding photos is how real and auhentic their love for one another is. 
I hope that these photos share a glimpse of the love they so proudly and confidently share. 

Ben + Tiffany

Ben and Tiffany - also a referral! Someone I knew from Ferris State University passed my name along. The couple had planned their summer Michigan wedding all the while living in another state, which was pretty impressive.
 

I loved the atmosphere and feel of their lakeshore wedding. The bouquets had ferns in the mix and the bride's look was complete with a braid, beach waves and flower accents.

Ben with his Father, showing off their sweet Star Wars socks! 

The property was nestled in the woods at Michillinda Lodge inWhitehall, MI. Their ceremony took place on a balcony overlooking the water. With the afternoon so bright and the skies so blue, the water looked like a sheet of glass and seemed to go on forever with the horizion line far in the distance.

Tiffany and I were completely on the same page here - I asked if she minded sitting down for a photo and she didn't hesitate at all! 

Ben and Tiffany were incredible to work with - they truly live in the moment and have so much fun doing so.  There is this undeniable electricity and chemistry between the two of them that truly shines. 

Ada + Dave

Where do I even begin, to explain how wonderful Ada and Dave were to work with? 


I met Ada and Dave via through a referral - I photographed Ada's sister's wedding. While they were in town visiting, we met up in downtown Grand Rapids to go over details and scout possible photography stops for their wedding. They were so easy going and open to ideas as I bounced some suggestions based on what they told me they liked. We decided their sites would be a mix of architecture, art and nature/urban.  

[ This was their First Look - I loved capturing/witnessing their exchange from afar ] 

[ This custom topper takes the cake - no pun, ok, yes, pun intended. I thought the dinosaurs were a lot of fun and the perfect piece of flair  ] 

First Dance - photo captured by Aaron McGrane, for the assist

Ada loves sticker art and looking for stickers while out and about in places such as New York City! The couple had these custom drawings/stickers made and encouraged their guests to take one and place it somewhere

My other blog post featured a cat. Well, here is another cat! Ada gave Dave this one of a kind artwork of their cat as a wedding gift.

Ada and Dave's ceremony/reception took place at the John Ball Park Zoo's Bissell Treehouse. In the simplest term and with all due respect, they were cool. By cool, I mean awesome. I throughly enjoyed how comfortable they were with being themselves, showcasing their compassion for each other, their loved ones and the things that bring them joy in life - such as art, animals, music, nature, and time spent with family/friends. 

A special thanks to the second shooter for this event,
Aaron of www.mcgranephoto.com www.alliedproductionsgr.com

Cody + Maura

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Prior to the event, I saw in their notes that the ringbearer was "Leo" the cat. I could not wait to see that. I was so excited. Leo donned an awesome paper floral collar prior to the ceremony, placed on him by the Bride and Maid of Honor. A friend of the bride carried Leo in a basket down the aisle. No doubt about, Leo lives a good life.


The wedding took place at the bride's parents' homestead in Northern Michigan. It was clear to me that everyone had put so much effort into creating a comfortable and fun environment that was true to the couple's personalities. 

The ceremony took place in the front lawn where the couple engaged their vows under a wooden arch covered with floral work. There was a teal and white retro camper which had been revamped and transformed into a bar area. Additionally, on site there was a beautiful stone structure covered in vines, with a cigar lounge in the upstairs loft. Had I hit the wedding photography jackpot? I sure felt like it. A huge white tent was the "reception hall" and the dance floor was several area rugs. It was awesome, to say the least. 

Last but not least, Cody and Maura, their wedding party, family & friends were such a joy to be around and photograph. They really trusted me with my work and completely put their faith into my artistic and professional abilities. I am forever grateful for my clients. I love the details, I love the big picture and moments but who I get to work with, that's what makes me truly love what I do. 

Cheers! I look forward to sharing more weddings from the archives.