» detroit, ann arbor, toledo . fine art wedding and portrait photographer melissa squires day to day blog companion

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Sometimes a wedding day just flows moving organically from one moment to another with the markers of each bit of time being hugs, kisses, and smiles.   Sara and Jeff spent some time together, grounding themselves and expressing their love and excitement for this new stage of their lives, they then spent the rest of the day making each and every guest feel like they were the most important person there!  What a day and I enjoyed every bit of photographing it!

Daniel and Brandon wanted to do a session at home and something with a bit of a more editorial feel so we hung out at their beautiful home and then went exploring at a drained lake not to far from their neighborhood!  What we got was a fantabulous mix of domestic bliss and then so fun more dramatic images! Their wedding will be next year and we talked about their plans for their big day and I have to say I’m beyond excited!!! They have a website and it’s here!

It is both a relief and a worry to photograph another photographers family… On the one hand, they aren’t missing out on the perfect portrait of their little girl.. Both Tamara and Steve are fantastic photographers and so I knew that this isn’t their one and only chance for that “perfect” image.   On the other hand, I myself anyway, always feel a bit of eek, taking pictures of someone who knows not only what lens I’m using but how to work the light their way can make me feel a bit “in the spotlight.  Tamara helped me with the first step of getting a darkroom in place and I wanted to thank her with a little family session.  Nothing fancy, an afternoon in the life, them just being them and of course we’d throw in a couple family portraits because CAMERA HOLDERS NEED TO GET IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA NOW AND AGAIN!!!!

Aubrey did some painting, we went on a walk, chased the cats and nuzzled the dog and even got a few of mom and dad on their own.  These kind of lifestyle sessions, unscripted are my favorite.  Thank you all for letting me hang out with you it was a joy.


What I love about this session is it includes all the things we usually do at a lifestly session… I love the portraits where we’re all trying to look at the camera, the parents get the kids to look then LOOK at the kid to see if they are looking!!! :)  This is my favorite “outtake” so I guess it’s not an outtake if I include it everytime it happens!

It always takes a bit for the kids to warm up, here is this stranger in the house staring at them and so usually I play for a bit or have them show me their favorite stuff… We painted and then she showed me her beautiful sunny room and her bow and arrow which she drew and shot at me!!! (I missed the bolt coming at the camera (it was soft) because I ducked)

Then it was outside to play!

The family cats followed us wherever we went even on the walk!!! This hammock swing was awesome and she loved it because it was hard for me to get a picture in there, photographers kids are always the best at avoiding the camera!!!

Then we did some hide and seek, she was going to count, but then decided to hide.  But I found her and got this cool shot… 

We tried a family shot here and it was not going to happen so we decided on a walk instead!

Maybe it’s time for a break instead :) Mom got some photos with her other little baby.

And then we were ready.  The neighborhood was like one big beautiful park… I lived in Ypsilanti for a few years and loved it.  It’s looking amazing!!

The cats really did walk with us!!

This is my favorite set, those games you play all the time, the ones the kids ask for over and over again, like swinging or reaching for the leaves, these are the magic moments, these are the memories that you will go back to again and again as you look back and they will look back on as they get older with so much love and joy.  These are the moments that are timeless. 

It’s on the way back home that I did a bit of direction.  A cool yard to play in (friends of the family), maybe a couple looks at the camera!  When we’re about done the pressure is off and the kids (and parents in some cases) feel a lot more relaxed.  The hard part is over and there never was a hard part!

This is where we took the “family” pics above and got the cats in it to boot!!! Then it was time for the kid part to be over and I did the pics that I think are as if not more important.  The parents… because right now you want the adorable photos of your littles, and I love them too, but in 50 years, the littles will want the photographs of the parents and I want to be sure they have them.

It is always the grand images that make the viral world go round.   The dramatic gardens, the beautiful play of light and shadow, the backlit drama of a rainstorm at night.   Those images and I love to take them, are the WOW shots, the ones that get the clicks and the ones that we call the “money” shots.

They aren’t my favorite moments.  They are GREAT moments, but they are not my favorite.  My favorite are the quiet moments, the bits of time when whomever I am photographing are able to forget I am there and be in the now, feel what they are feeling.  The intimate moments… And I work the hardest to get those moments and deliver them.  Tears and something someone called “ugly crying” of which I don’t think exists, and those looks when the world falls away and in the case of a wedding two people feel the love they are celebrating.

Sara and Jeff wanted a private moment, and we took it, away from the bridal party and the planning, I stood and documented as we do the “first look” but then they tucked themselves behind a wall and just spent 20 minutes being together and feeling all the feels they had before they were going to put their game faces back on and celebrate.

I captured it.  It was my favorite moment of the day… and then the next day, not even having seen the images Sara and Jeff emailed me and made me cry.

“Please know how very very much we are indebted to you for your amazing work on Saturday.  Your ability to guide us in pictures, yet simultaneously give us privacy in that first-look moment was so special.   You were amazing with the nephews, grandparents, and that pesky photographer-uncle that probably kept getting in the way of your shots ;) ”

So while I was working to be unseen, and succeeding, they still SAW me and what I take my most pride in.  Thank you, Sara and Jeff… I’ll be sharing the whole wedding next week but this moment was special and I’m so glad that I was able to be there but not be there, for it :)



From the Zelda earings of the bride to the groom playing classic NES before the wedding Andrea and Jason incorporated little bits of their love of video games (especially classic Mario) into their wedding!!!  It was fantastic!! There were bright bold blues and reds, a real sword to cut the cake with and tons of fun props for the portrait booth which we all had fun playing with!!!  Good friends, great family and some pretty epic speeches and in the end a double rainbow to bless the night!!! Thank you, Andrea and Jason, for being so creative and wonderful!!!! I am so happy to call you friends!!!

We have gotten to hang out many times since their engagement session 7 years ago and when they had their third baby and asked if I could come back to Chicago I didn’t blink but jumped on the train :) We did the stuff they do everyday, went to the coffee house, got some donuts, climbed some rocks.  Played stacking and jumping and running and hugging and oh yeah, did some newborn photos while we were at it!!  Just another day filled with a myriad of perfect moments.