Carnival Engagement Session

Carnival Engagement Session

Carnival Engagement Session

Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival

Jodi & Bruce

Every year our little town of Grand Haven, MI hosts the annual Coast Guard Festival. We’re know as Coast Guard City USA. A big part of the festival is the carnival which takes place right on the main street of Washington Ave, right in front of all the shops. Taking Jodi and Bruce through the crowds of people, we found that you can be surrounded by activity but still only have eyes and ears for your love. Their clothing colors were specifically chosen to coordinate with the vivid colors of the carnival without being a distraction.

Frauenthal Theater Wedding – Muskegon, MI – M & W Sneak Peek

Frauenthal Theater Wedding – Muskegon, MI – M & W Sneak Peek

Frauenthal Theater Wedding  – Muskegon, MI

Sneak Peek of Marci and Walt’s epic day!

While we may have hardly left the building yesterday, we came away with an absolute plethora of images that certainly did not lack for variety.  The day was fun and full of love as family and friends settled in to the historic Frauenthal theater to watch Marci & Walt pledge to love each other forever.

All the details were perfectly planned and executed.  They had some amazing pros helping to make sure the day went off without a snag.  A big shout out to Rachel and her assistant Becky from White Dress Events, who were truly amazing and help me and my assistant through some curve balls that were thrown our way…and they made sure we were fed!

This is just a peek for now.  The rest will come later.  To catch the updates as they come, be sure to subscribe to the blog.  You can also sign up for Marci & Walt’s gallery.

Vendor Love (the team players that made the day happen!) – Thanks to all you helped make the day possible!

Frauenthal Theater– Venue (one of my favs)

White Dress Events – Planning (my heroes for the night)

Caela Scott – dress (such a gorgeous one!)

Desserts by Design – cake/cupcakes (so yummy!)

Chalet Floral – flowers/decor (fantastic as always)

Harris Hospitality – dinner (always delicious!)

Modern Entertainment – DJ (great team player and kept the party going)

Salon 297 – Bride/bridesmaids hair & makeup (simply perfect!)

Dan Anderson – Officiant extraordinaire


Crockery Creek Natural Area – G & D

Crockery Creek Natural Area Engagement Session – Garrett & Danielle

Nunica, Mi

Being finally blessed with comfortable temperatures, it was pure bliss to photograph Garrett & Danielle on this lovely spring night.  We met at the Crockery Creek Natural Area and enjoyed being comfortable in shirt sleeves for one of the first warm days of spring.

These two fell easily into sync with each other as I posed them in front of the camera.  You could tell that they enjoyed being together and in each other’s arms.  They enjoy easy banter but also a sweet tenderness that cannot fully be described with words.  The photos do all the talking.  Looking at Garrett as he looked into the face of his future bride, you knew he had found the one.  Danielle’s easy laughter and sweet smile conveyed the abundance of joy she has when she is with Garrett.  These two have just begun their journey of a life together and I am honored to be a small part of it!  I will see you in 2018 at District 5 Schoolhouse!

How to Take Better Christmas Photos

Merry Christmas! 3 easy tips to improve your Christmas photos (even if all you have is your cell phone)

Every year I am up early preparing for the early morning gift giving. I want to be ready to capture the many wonderful memories that would soon unfold. So since it’s just a few short days from Christmas and I just wanted to send you happy greetings and a few easy tips to improve your Christmas morning photos! Because who doesn’t want to take better Christmas photos?

1. Turn on the Lights! –

It may seem bright to your eyes with all the lights on the tree, but to the camera it is actually rather dark still. So go around the room and turn on all the lights you are able.

2. Go PRO! –

Here is where you’re going to start to feel like a pro! Just be sure to practice this beforehand so as to not delay the gift opening. 🙂 Most cameras, including smart phone cameras today allow you to go into manual mode. This means that you take control of the dumb camera on your smart phone (I know you’ve seen the very dark images that sometimes come out of a cell phone camera). This is where you can tell your camera that it needs to work a little differently for you. There will be a setting called ISO. This is the cameras sensitivity to light. Go ahead and change that number to one of the higher numbers (my cell camera goes to 2700). You will see how it brightens up your screen and thus the photos that you’ll be taking. If your screen is still too dark, look for the setting that says shutter speed (my cell camera has an “S” with the symbol of a camera shutter). Go ahead and reduce this time. You can go as low as 1/30 for still subjects. Still too dark? – You can also make use of the flash in manual mode. Look for the lightning bolt icon.

3. Focus on the faces –

When you’re all set to take those photos, be sure to tap the focus point on the subject’s face(s). Seems simple but if you let the camera choose, it will often focus on the wall behind the person (which I’m guessing isn’t your desired memory to capture on Christmas!).
There that’s it! Your Christmas morning photos should turn out merry and bright!.
Happy memory making!

Brenda Hoffman

Come see me at upcoming bridal shows!
January 13, 2017 – at the Grand Rapids Public Museum
January 14, 2017 – at the Muskegon Frauenthal
February 4, 2017 at Boatwerks in Holland

Bride’s Special Dance

Bride’s Special Dance

A Bride’s Special Dance

Allison walked herself down the aisle.  A strong person no doubt, met her mother at the end of the aisle to be “given” to her groom.  Having only passed away mere months before this bride traveled down the aisle, Dad was “present” throughout the day. She had a charm on her bouquet with his photo in it.  Another photo frame was placed prominently for all to see during the ceremony and reception.

But there was a moment that his presence was poignantly missed.

The “Father/Daughter” dance

I struggle to express the story of this bride’s special dance.  Tears flowed so hard for this sweet bride (and I’m sure many others – including me) as Allison’s brother took the dance floor with her in place in their father who had passed only months before.  Even with two brother’s, it’s obvious to everyone that no one can fill her father’s shoes.  Tenderly the dancing for the first half of the song with her brother, quietly letting the tears roll.  And then..

A surprise came

When is was time for her to switch to the other brother you could see the visible shock on her face as he backed towards her.  You see, he had pulled a t-shirt over his wedding garb that said “May I have this dance?” and on the front of the t-shirt was a photo of her father.  That’s when the tears really began flowing.  It was such a sweet, simple, special gesture meant to share love to their sister and acknowledge that they, too, loved their father and he was very much missed.  Blessings to you, sweet Allison.  I will always remember that dance.


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