Calling Class of 2019 Seniors!

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...pssst... juniors!

It's that time again... that time when we start planning ahead towards next year.  Maybe you're really excited to be finished with junior year, and can't wait to be a senior!  Well, if you want to get a jump start on all awesomeness that comes with being a senior, you should look into our Class of 2019 Senior Representative Program.

Being a senior rep is fun AND easy!  You will be able to earn photos, cash, and more ....just for referring new clients to Betsy's Photography.  And that part will be easy, because you're going to love the senior photos we create for you.

Learn more about what's involved and find out how to become a senior rep today!  You can click on the button below to access a Google Drive hosted PDF with information about our Class of 2019 Senior Representative program.  

What's special about being a senior rep?

What do you get?  Well, check out the PDF for all the details, but to sum things up, you get:

  • a mini photoshoot at Betsy's Photography with your friends this semester!
  • your senior portrait session this summer!
  • web photos to share with everyone!
  • referral cards
  • and more, including referral perks and bonuses!!!


What? What's the catch?  

Really, there is no catch. All you need to do to participate is be yourself, and refer anyone looking for senior portraits to Betsy's Photography.  

That's it.

Will you join us?  If you want to learn more, click the button below to access a Google Drive hosted PDF file with everything you need to know!

Don't wait too long to make a decision though, because we can only accept 2-3 senior reps per school!  

Have questions?  Feel free to contact the studio :).

Learn About Shutter Speed

posted in: Learning | 0

Learn about shutter speed, part of the abcs of photography, with fun activities for kids from!Welcome back to our ABCs of Photography series!  With 2018, we’re relaunching this as a biweekly series, to help you finish working your way through the alphabet ABCs.  This week, we’re on the letter “S” … so we’ll be learning about shutter speed.

What’s shutter speed?  It’s how long the shutter is open, or the length of time that the exposure is for the photo you are taking (Check out our learn about exposure activity if you’re not sure what the term means).

To simplify things, let’s break down shutter speed into slow and fast.

A slow shutter speed means:

  • The camera is taking the photo for a longer time
  • Your camera has more light for the exposure (you can take photos in darker places this way)
  • Things are more likely to be blurry, or even abstracted
  • The image may look shaky  if you don’t hold the camera steady (tripod, anyone?)

A fast shutter speed, on the other hand, means:

  • The camera takes a fraction of a second to take the photo
  • Your camera has less light for the exposure (you might need flash rather than existing light)
  • Things in the image will likely be crisp and sharp (or, at least, not moving!)
  • You don’t usually need a tripod.

Some typical shutter speeds you might see on your camera are numbers like these (going from slow to fast):

1/2    1/4    1/8    1/15    1/30    1/60    /125    1/250     1/500    1/1000

The bigger the number on the bottom of the fraction, the faster your shutter speed.  Some cameras will even have longer shutter speeds, as in 1″ or 30″ — but we’re not going to get into nitty gritty details here.

Now, the question is, what can you photograph with different shutter speeds?

If you’re a photography guru, you might decry the fact I’m leaving out aperture and film speed here — yes, I know that it’s a multi part equation, but we’re keeping this as simple as possible.  Only one variable: shutter speed.

With slower shutter speeds you can photograph:

  • people or animals that know how to sit still and not move
  • nature landscapes or buildings that definitely don’t move
  • night photos that have streaks of light from moving stars (this would be a really slow shutter speed – maybe even minutes long).

With faster shutter speeds you can photograph:

  • kids running around at breakneck speed
  • sports athletes during a game
  • hummingbirds in flight

Learn About Shutter Speed Activity

Now, onto the fun part!  Let’s learn about shutter speed by doing an activity or two!  Depending on the ages of your kids, you might want to just do one or the other.

First, let’s look at some photos and try to guess which one has a fast or slow shutter speed.  I’m not worried about exactness, so use this as a dialog as to “why” they are either slow or fast.  Click on each photo to enlarge it, and read the caption while it’s enlarged to find out if you’re right!  (these are all stock photos used with permission via

Alternate Activity for Learning About Shutter Speed

Okay, now for one more activity.  This one might be fun for younger kids.  Get out your camera, or cameraphone, and start taking pictures of your kids.  See if they can “trick” the camera into photographing them as blurs by moving fast so that the shutter speed is too slow to catch them.  You can also have them see if they can sit/stand super still so that the camera can catch them.

If you have more than one kid, you can tell one to sit still while the other runs through the room — and take the photo.  One kid should be crisp and in focus, while the other will probably be blurry.  Make sure to let them take turns!

Wrapping Up

Well, I hope that was a helpful dialog about shutter speeds.  As you learn more about photography, you’ll find that this only touches the surface.  But that was the entire point behind this ABCs of Photography series.  To simplify photography terms so that kids (and adults!) can start to understand them!

Make sure to check back in two weeks for the next activity in the ABCs of Photography (letter T). You might also enjoy revisiting our last activity where we learned about the rule of thirds (including a fun snack activity for kids!).

The ABCs of Photography - An Educational Series for KidsJoin Betsy as she works through the alphabet in this educational series for kids… The ABCs of Photography!  We’ll cover topics from A to Z, with activity ideas for both younger and older kids

Sign up for emails to get each week’s blog update delivered to your inbox, which will include future posts in this biweekly series.

Ann Arbor Rainy Day Senior Portraits :: Genna

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It seemed fitting that I should post rainy day senior portraits on a rainy winter’s day like today.  After all, it doesn’t feel like winter right now here in Michigan at all, does it?  Anyways, before I share the still senior photos, here’s a video highlight reel of some of favorite senior portraits from Genna’s senior photo session.  I just have to say, I’m so grateful that these old growth trees were plentiful in number, because even though it was rainy we stayed relatively dry!


And in case you’re not one for video shows, here are some still portraits from Genna’s senior photo session.  Enjoy!

senior portrait yellow labrador retriever dog wearing cream bow tie outdoors, dexter michigan portrait photographer
Meet Genna’s dog, Roy. He’s the reason we had our session during the rain — scheduling can be tough when you have to arrange for a service dog-in-training to come too!
high school senior girl with labrador retriever dog on grass, ann arbor michigan senior photographer
Like any young dog (and maybe labrador retrievers in general), Roy was full of energy and excited …but willing to be around my camera equipment. Here’s one of him playing a bit with Genna while we got him in position for the real senior portraits.
senior portrait girl and dog laying down in grass, ann arbor michigan senior portrait photographer
I love working with dogs. Because there’s nothing better than a senior portrait with your dog in the photo, right? Here’s Roy focusing on me for a nice senior portrait with Genna!
senior portrait with dog, girl and her labrador retriever, in front of brick wall. Ann Arbor Senior portrait photographer
Here’s one final favorite portrait of Genna with her dog. I love this one, it turned out really well! Yes, it takes a little more effort to add a puppy into the mix, but I’m up for the challenge. If your dog can sit and is interested in treats, chances are good that I can create some nice portraits of you with your dog!
senior portrait of girl, close up in nature. Ann Arbor senior photo session, michigan photographer.
This senior portrait of Genna turned out so amazingly, don’t you think? It’s a bit more of a closeup, but for this portrait, the cropping really works well.
senior portrait of girl sitting next to brick wall, ann arbor michigan senior portrait photography
I love the perspective on this senior portrait. The brick wall just draws you right in to where Genna is sitting.
senior portrait girl sitting on chair in middle of park with trees. ann arbor michigan senior portrait photography
Genna and her mom also brought along a chair for the senior photos at the park. I love how this one turned out. The canopy of trees is gorgeous, and Genna looks so elegant sitting there in nature.
senior portrait of girl with mustang convertible in nature, ann arbor senior photo with car, michigan portrait photographer
Right from the beginning when we planned Genna’s session, we knew there would be something involving this awesome teal mustang and the trees at Burns Park in Ann Arbor. Genna’s mom pulled the car into place while Genna changed outfits, and we ended up with this really neat portrait. I always try to do a mix of serious and smiling expressions, because you never know what is going to be your favorite for a given image.
senior portrait of girl sitting in car and smiling, leaning out window. Ann Arbor senior portrait photographer
I love this portrait of Genna. She is really relaxed and happy, don’t you think? Make sure to enjoy the next two photos as well, because we did a series of silly faces that was really fun 🙂 (and would look great in a senior portrait coffeetable album).
senior portrait silly face sitting in car. ann arbor relaxed senior portraits
one of the senior photos in the silly face series I mentioned. So fun!
senior portrait silly face, relaxed and casual senior portrait of girl, ann arbor michigan senior portrait photographer
…and the final one I’ll be sharing in the silly face series. This might not be anything you’d buy as a single print, but as a series, it is just perfect.
senior portrait of girl with leather jacket next to mustang car, vintage style senior portrait ann arbor michigan photographer
Then we added a red jacket to the mix. I like this portrait of Genna, it’s a little vintage right?
senior portrait photo session of girl with vintage jacket and car, michigan portrait photographer ann arbor photos
I really can’t say which portrait of Genna is my favorite. She had ideas for her senior portraits and we did our best to work all of them into her session. While I’m happy to take charge and give suggestions or directions to my clients, I also love it when my clients take an active role in planning their session 🙂
senior portrait of girl not looking at camera, in front of blue car. dexter michigan photographer, ann arbor senior photo session
And I’ll leave you with this last almost-outtake from Genna’s senior photo session. She’s not looking at the camera, but I just love it.


You might think it’s a little early to start planning for senior portraits, but in fact, we’ll be publishing our senior portrait “model” call soon!  If you’re interested in have a two part senior portrait session and getting some *perks* for sharing your senior photos with all your friends, then you’d be a perfect fit!   Let me add that you don’t have to look like a model to participate.  We love having real, normal teens as a part of our program — because everyone is special in their own way.

To learn more about planning your senior portait experience with Betsy’s Photography, please contact the studio at 734-424-0472.

New Year, New Goals! {and another self-portrait}

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It seems like every year I do a new self portrait.  I don’t know if it’s to help ring in the new year, to keep my image looking updated and current, or what.  Maybe it’s just because I’m a photographer and I can’t help myself!  Anyways, this portrait was fun because I had curls!

But with the new year also comes new resolutions, right?  At least, if you’re into that.  I didn’t make any resolutions, persay, but I did take a mini-retreat  during the winter break — that alone time with my planner, my laptop, and a cup of tea was invaluable for helping me plan out my vision for 2018.  I always think big when it comes to planning, but this year it seemed smart to take some extra time to lay out a game plan for achieving balance between the many different hats I wear.  …entrepreneur, yes, but others too.  …wife, mom, pet owner, homeowner… you get the idea.

Long story short?  I came up with several mini-goals for each month to help keep me motivated, excited, and on track to have a great year!  But enough about me, right?  Here are those self-portraits I was talking about.  I LOVE how they turned out.

self-portrait studio photo dexter michigan photographer
This is my favorite self-portrait of the bunch. I plastered it everywhere on social media etc because …it’s good to have a consistent image, right?


studio portrait professional headshot photographer dexter mi
And another one from my mini professional portrait session.


photographer ann arbor mi headshot portrait professional photo dexter mi
And here’s my last favorite photo. I guess it’s only fitting that some photography studio equipment would work its way into one of my professional portraits, huh? I thought about bringing out a camera too, but that seemed a little cliche at the time.


Are you excited about what 2018 holds?

I am.  And I hope you are too.

But if you need some encouragement to get excited about your resolutions, your “new you” for 2018, make sure you’re not neglecting yourself.  We tend to take care of things that are more pressing and put our own personal needs at the bottom of the list.  But if you don’t make time for the things that motivate you, how will you have enough energy to change the world?

Make yourself a priority.

And if you haven’t had a new professional portrait done in a while, please consider letting me help you update your image.  I can provide clothing suggestions, makeup tips, and do my best to make sure you will be at ease for your photo session.  Because for your headshot to look like you, …well, you have to feel relaxed and be comfortable.

Whenever you decide you’re ready, I’ll look forward to hearing from you.

{call 734-424-0472 or contact Betsy today}

Portrait of Kids in the Studio

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These adorable little munchkins came into the studio for their portrait session this month.  Shh… don’t tell their grandparents, because it’s a holiday surprise!  It was really cute to see the kids interact, and to hear their ideas for how the portrait session should go.

portrait of brother sitting on sister's lap, kid portrait photographer dexter mi
I’d photographed Bella and Cole before, but they’ve grown so much since then! Bella wanted one of Cole sitting on her lap, so we did that portrait first.
brother clapping and smiling in sister's arms, children portrait photographer dexter mi
Cole was very excited…but as with all toddlers, he needed a little encouragement to smile for the camera. (This age is so cute…you get the cheesy “smile for the camera” grins and have to catch them off guard for a genuine smile). Love how this one turned out!
boy with stuffed animal, studio portrait photographer dexter mi
And a portrait of Cole by himself. I forget whether this was a bear, a bunny, or a dog, but the stuffie was definitely his favorite! 🙂
Bella had envisioned this portrait of her and her brother. I was happy to oblige! This portrait of the kids turned out so cute!
kids portrait in studio, photographer portrait studio dexter mi
And then we did a few portraits of the kids without the book. This one is cute, even through they’re not looking at the camera, don’t you think?
boys portrait brother in studio, photographer dexter mi
Next, it was time for a portrait of Bella and Cole’s cousins. Bryce and Trent were so cheerful, it was fun to photograph them!
portrait of kids in studio, children photographer dexter mi
And finally, we created a few portraits of all the kids. I like this one — they arranged themselves from youngest to oldest! Although, the younger boys weren’t as thrilled about this idea as the older kids. It’s all good though. What a cheerful bunch of kiddos!


If you are looking for the perfect gift to give a loved one, consider a portrait session!  While printed photographs are great to give (and receive!), it’s just as common for my clients to gift a certificate for a portrait session — especially if the recipient is supposed to be in the family photograph!  Contact the studio today or call 734-424-0472 to learn more about scheduling a session or purchasing a gift certificate for your loved ones.

Portrait of Dexter Community Orchestra

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The Dexter Community Orchestra recently asked me to create an updated orchestral portrait for them. I did one some years back during a concert (or maybe it was before). This time, we didn’t have much time at all to do the portrait of the orchestra. I created these photos in about five minutes, during their intermission.  When we did this photo, I was many rows back into the auditorium with my camera.  Many thanks to those onstage who told the orchestra members what to do for me so I didn’t have to be rude and yell!

I think these photos turned out very nicely, and you’d never know we had such limited time to capture the photos.

music performance dexter community orchestra onstage conductor anthony elliott
Here’s the portrait of the Dexter Community Orchestra with their conductor, Anthony Elliott.
Dexter Community Orchestra onstage for performance at dexter high school in michigan
And I took a second photo of the Dexter Community Orchestra, this time without conductor.  If you’re wondering why, I did this just in case the previous photo didn’t clearly show the orchestra members in the back row.  With such limited time for the photo session, I knew there would be no chance to review the photos and make sure everyone was visible in the first photo (but if you compare, I think we did a great job!).

I took this last image of the Dexter Community Orchestra while I waited for the intermission. I was able to hear this very talented soloist perform.  Don’t you love this wide angle view of the auditorium with the orchestra on stage?  So many visually interesting lines!

Dexter Community orchestra onstage with soloist after performing a piece during their concert at dexter high school in dexter michigan
And here’s a full auditorium view of the Dexter Community Orchestra during their performance this November. Including their soloist (who played amazingly!!).

Here’s a bit of information about the Dexter Community Orchestra:

The Dexter Community Orchestra is a musical group located in Dexter, Michigan. The DCO is dedicated to cultural enrichment through live symphonic music. The DCO seeks to provide the many benefits that can be achieved only through live musical performance. We are proud to offer a place for volunteer musicians to play and an opportunity for individuals and families to experience the magic of live classical music. We are looking for musicians and volunteers to help make our season a resounding success.

For more information about the Dexter Community Orchestra, visit their website.  The concerts that I have attended are always very well done!  And I’ve even spotted some very well behaved younger children in the audience.  Kudos to those parents — it’s tough to decide when your kids are old enough to start experiencing things like this.  🙂 🙂


Artistic Senior Portraits in Nature :: Claudia

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Claudia and her mom came to the studio in October for her senior portraits.  We did the indoor formal portrait for the yearbook, and then headed out to Mill Creek Park in Dexter for some more artistic senior portraits in nature.  I am really excited for Claudia and her family to see these photos, it was hard for me to pick my favorites to share for this sneak peek!

senior photos in nature, water senior girl portrait dexter mi photographer
We started out on the boardwalk for Claudia’s senior portrait session. I picked this spot because of the view you have …love including the water in senior photos!
senior portrait artistic style in nature, dexter mi senior photographer
Here’s another portrait of Claudia in the same spot. I love how relaxed this is, and it shows off her artistic style too!
senior portrait girl sitting cross legged on board walk, dexter mi portrait photographer
I pulled out my wide angle lens for this portrait, because I thought it would look nice. Love how the senior portrait turned out….don’t you?!
senior portrait, girl sitting in nature, mill creek park dexter michigan
And then a more traditional close up portrait. Claudia did a great job of putting up with the blinding sun, which was really obnoxious in this spot. We “abandoned” it for some other spots right after this portrait.
senior girl standing by water, dexter michigan photographer
I love photographing clients by this little section of rapids. It always looks visually interesting, whether or not the water is warm enough to dip your toes into. And on this day, it definitely was not. No matter. We got some great portraits with the water in the background!
senior girl standing on rocks by water, dexter mi senior photographer
Here’s a full length portrait of Claudia by the water. I captured this portrait before officially posing her. Actually, she was a natural so I kind of went with the flow for a good part of our session :).
senior portrait on rocks near water, dexter mi senior portrait photographer nature
I absolutely love this senior portrait of Claudia. The water is brilliant, and the reflection of the blue sky in the foreground of this senior portrait is so cool. Love it!
senior portrait of girl in grass, casual senior portrait photographer dexter mi
And then we did some portraits with the natural grassy area behind Claudia. It’s not exactly fall colors, but I love how the warm yellow tones complement her hair. So pretty!
Senior portrait girl on stairs in natural setting, dexter mi park portraits
Then it was time for an outfit change. Claudia brought a pair of jeans and this fun sweater for her second outfit. I love how this series of photos turned out. She looks gorgeous!
Senior portrait girl saline high school senior photographer michigan
Another portrait in the same series. I seriously don’t know which one I like best!
Senior girl sitting by tree, rays of sun light black and white artistic senior photo
OK so this is a really moody and artistic senior portrait that just had to be in black and white. I absolutely love the sun rays in this senior photo. Granted, Claudia isn’t really the main focus of this particular portrait, but it would be really neat to include in a senior coffee table album.
Senior girl portrait with tree, dexter rocks facebook senior photo michigan
Here’s another one from the same set. I was literally lying on the ground for this portrait. And….coolest thing? I discovered while editing these photos that one of the painted “Dexter Rocks” from Facebook was at the base of the tree! How fun!


Senior Portrait Outdoors at the Studio :: Ian

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Ian came to the studio last week for his senior portrait session.  We did some portraits inside the studio, including the obligatory high school yearbook photos.  In case you’re not up to speed with senior yearbook requirements, it really varies across the board.  Some high schools will take anything, or allow any background as long as no hands or props are showing.  Other high schools, including Saline High School, require the senior portrait for the yearbook have a professional backdrop.  So, for that reason, we started in the studio.

After the studio portion of Ian’s session was finished, we headed outside (here at the studio) for some really cool fall portraits.  I love how easy it is to create portraits both indoors and out here.  Make sure to scroll down so you an enjoy some of Ian’s senior portraits that include the natural wooded area with the fall leaves strewn all over the ground!

senior portrait boy, formal studio portrait dexter mi photographer
Ian’s senior portrait session started out in the studio. When a formal senior portrait is requested or required, I always do this part of the session first. It gives people a chance to relax a bit in front of the camera, and get used to working with me 🙂 ….we did a series of senior photos for the yearbook, and then moved on to something more casual.
senior boy, serious look, studio portrait headshot, saline high school senior photos
After we got those formal portraits taken care of, Ian changed into his second outfit and we did a few more portraits in studio. Here’s a close up portrait that I really liked. I always take a variety of poses in studio, often with some more serious rather than only smiling. Because variety is the spice of life!
high school senior boy resting head on hang, smiling for camera. senior photographer saline high school michigan
And here’s another from the studio portion of Ian’s session, with a smile this time. Love it!
senior boy in woods nature portrait, dexter michigan photographer
Next stop? Outside! While some of my clients have a particular destination in mind for their location portrait session, others are just looking for some nice senior portraits in a natural setting. When that’s the case, we’ll often use my property. We have this gorgeous wooded area that shows off the fall colors really well.
senior portrait in woods with leaves and trees, senior portrait photographer saline high school
I love this setting. Yes, I’m biased. But there’s something about the trees, the sky peeking through, and the leaves on the ground. Gorgeous spot for any type of portrait!
senior portrait, natural setting michigan senior portrait photographer, saline high school
It was hard for me to decide which of this series of senior portraits was my favorite. Ian did a great job during his session, don’t you think?
senior portrait with natural background. high school senior boy in dexter michigan
I seriously love this close up senior portrait. The background is really unique! Even though I photograph clients here a lot, the seasons change, the time of day is different, and I use my lights to create something unique for every portrait session.
senior portrait of boy in forest during fall, senior boy saline high school, dexter mi photographer
And this has been my favorite type of senior portrait lately. To be honest, I really like them all, but there’s something to be said for these fish eye portraits. The resulting senior portrait is really creative and looks awesome!
senior portrait, boy in woods, smiling, senior photo high school photographer
Another close up portrait. It’s nice to have a little variety when choosing your senior portraits, especially if you think about having me design a coffeetable album for you!
senior boy portrait photographer fall colors dexter michigan
…..seriously. The sun, peeking through the trees. Gorgeous. I love those rays of sunlight, the dappled leaves, and the whole setting. It’s amazing how beautiful nature can be! I’m so glad we were able to create senior portraits for Ian that included the fall colors 🙂
senior portrait of boy outside, serious pose, senior photos in ann arbor michigan
Another more serious portrait of Ian. Love how this turned out!
senior portrait of boy next to tree, close up smiling photo, senior photos in ann arbor michigan
I know that some people consider the “tree” pose to be a little cliche for senior portraits, but this next set of senior photos turned out really nicely and I just had to share. I love the texture of the tree bark (this tree trunk probably has a 3-4 feet diameter, and is easily 100 feet tall).
senior portrait next to tree, senior boy michigan senior photographer
A mid-length senior portrait with the same tree. Still love that tree trunk’s texture!
senior portrait boy sitting next to tree with leaves all around, dexter michigan photographer
And one final senior portrait from Ian’s session here at the studio. Yes, I had to wrap this post up with a wide angle portrait. I love how the leaves are surrounding Ian, don’t you?

Well, that wraps up this sneak peek.  I know Ian’s family is really excited to see all the portraits we created when they come back to the studio for their ordering appointment.  It’s easy to compare favorites when you can view images on a studio projection system 🙂 — and I’m here to help along the way with any tough decisions.

If you are needing to schedule a portrait session this fall, please contact the studio or call 734-424-0472.  The leaves are falling, but not as quickly as I would typically expect.  Or, if you want to keep things simple and plan a studio portrait session, I’m always happy to help you with that too!

Macro Photos of Monarch Butterfly Emerging from its Chrysalis

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It seems like forever and a day since I last shared photos of the Monarch caterpillars.  So thank you for your patience!  I am really excited to share these macro photos of the Monarch butterfly emerging from its chrysalis.  That week of my life was crazy — we spent hours watching for signs that the butterflies would be emerging soon (also called “eclosing”).  I learned that the top part of the chrysalis gets very bumpy and “slinky like” — rather than being smooth.  Yes, indeed it does.  But that’s still not really an accurate measure of how long you have, because the whole process takes time.

I was blessed to be able to witness four of the Monarch butterflies as they eclosed.  We “missed” another one, and the last one was a sneaky little guy.  Fortunately I’d turned on the video camera before putting my attention elsewhere, so it was caught on film. All together, I photographed three different butterflies eclosing.  The others I watched.  And let me tell you, this miracle didn’t get old or become more mundane.  It’s amazing how the butterfly climbs out, and interesting how small its wings are, and how swollen its abdomen is.  The wings took a lot longer to dry and “grow” to full size than I expected.  And the butterflies didn’t fly away immediately.  We put them outside within hours, but they stayed nearby for hours or even days longer.

My boys are set on doing this again next year.  I think the self-started milkweed plants in my garden bed may have to stay.  We’ll see what spring brings, of course.

Make sure you don’t miss the end of this post, where you can watch a time lapse video of one of the Monarch butterflies emerging from its chrysalis!

monarch caterpillar chrysalises with one monarch butterfly ready to emerge eclose
These Monarch chrysalises are in various stages of development. As they become ready to eclose (emerge), the chrysalis becomes more and more translucent. The middle chrysalis was hours from being uninhabited. The one on the left still had days. And the one on the right was a little further along.
monarch butterfly about to eclose, emerge from chrysalis, macro photography, michigan nature photographer
This is the first in a series of photographs I took while the Monarch butterfly eclosed (emerged) from its chrysalis. You can see right through the chrysalis, even such details as the wing pattern and the butterfly’s eye (at bottom left).
monarch butterfly eclosing from chrysalis, macro nature photography dexter mi photographer
And the process of eclosing begins! It was so exciting to look over and realize the Monarch butterfly had split its chrysalis open! Do you see the slight vertical crack along the left side? So cool!!
monarch butterfly working its way out of chrysalis, macro nature photography, entomology photos
Over the next minute, the Monarch butterfly worked her way out of the chrysalis. This first part seemed the most laborious.
monarch butterfly eclosing from chrysalis, legs almost out of chrysalis. macro butterfly photographer
And just like that, the Monarch’s legs were almost free!
monarch butterfly emerging from chrysalis, macro nature butterfly photo, michigan photographer
She wriggled her way to freedom a bit at a time. …getting free from the chrysalis that allowed her transformation to take place.
monarch butterfly almost eclosed from chrysalis, monarch butterfly emerging photo, michigan photographer
The Monarch seemed to hesitate here for a bit, I’m sure there was unseen work going on so she could finish the process of emerging.
monarch butterfly just after eclosing, swollen abdomen and shriveled wings, macro nature photography, butterfly photos
And just like that, she was free from her chrysalis. The chrysalis was empty, the Monarch hanging onto it, though looking very different from what you’d recognize, no? When Monarch butterflies first emerge, their wings are shriveled and their abdomens are swollen. The fluid drains from the abdomen and the wings fill out, and eventually dry.
monarch butterfly hanging from chrysalis just after it emerged. macro butterfly photo michigan
From Toby’s butterfly book, I learned that it’s important for butterflies to stay out of direct sunlight while their wings are filing out and drying so that they can “grow” to full size. If the wings dry too soon, the Monarch would have crippled wings and be unable to fly or survive in nature.
monarch butterfly with swollen abdomen after just eclosing from chrysalis, nature photography macro photographer michigan
Here’s another view of the Monarch butterfly’s swollen abdomen.
Monarch butterfly wings drying after emerging from chrysalis, view of monarch eyes and proboscis
I took a few photos from a different angle, so you could see the butterfly’s eyes and proboscis (or, as my kids call it, the butterfly’s “straw tongue”).
monarch butterfly while wings drying after eclosing, macro photo of monarch eyes and head, nature photographer
I thought the symmetry on this photography was really neat. Love all the detail. And you can see how wavy the Monarch’s wings are too.
monarch butterfly hanging from empty chrysalis, waiting for wings to dry, macro butterfly photo
I took several photos of the Monarch while her wings dried and grew bigger. I like this one because you can see her proboscis is unfurled a bit.
monarch butterfly with wrinkled wings waiting for the wings to dry after eclosing, monarch macro photographs michigan
This photo shows the full length of the wings, and it is very apparent that the wings aren’t ready to be used yet (they’re way too wrinkled and wavy).

monarch butterfly hanging from chrysalis after eclosing, macro nature photography michigan
The Monarch butterfly hung from its chrysalis for at least half an hour until its wings filled out.
monarch butterfly hanging from chrysalis, wings not quite ready to fly, michigan photographer
Here’s a full length photo of the Monarch as it was waiting for its wings to finish doing their thing.
monarch butterfly macro close up of head, macro nature photography
Here’s a close up macro photo of the Monarch butterfly’s head. I am continually amazed by all the detail in such a small creature.
monarch butterfly eye, macro nature photographer
And here’s a really close up view of the Monarch butterfly’s eye. How incredible is that??
macro detail photograph of monarch butterfly wing, macro nature photographer
Another detail shot, this time of the Monarch’s wing. So incredible!
Monarch butterfly macro photograph of its head, macro nature photograph
And one last close up photograph of the Monarch butterfly.
Monarch butterfly with wings drying, hanging from chrysalis after eclosing, macro nature photographer
After some time had passed, the Monarch’s wings were finally getting to the point she could use them to fly. She didn’t fly away from several hours after we took her outside, but we wanted to make sure that when she did decide to fly, it wouldn’t be inside!
monarch butterfly with proboscis, hanging from chrysalis, macro nature photo
I love this photo because you can see the Monarch’s proboscis is partially extended. Those green chrysalises in the background weren’t ready on the day I took this photo, but they emerged successfully some days later.
monarch butterfly hanging near other monarch chrysalises, maccro nature photography michigan
And one final photograph of the Monarch butterfly. In this one, you can see all four chrysalises, including the butterfly’s empty one.

Now, you may recall me saying that I borrowed a video camera from my dad in order to film one of the butterflies eclosing.  That’s true.  I managed to film two butterflies eclosing from their chrysalises.  Here’s the video I created.  Portions of the film are time lapsed so that you can experience the entire transformation:


Senior Portrait with Fall Colors

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I love going on location for senior portrait sessions! And, I love when my clients have a specific location in mind!  T and his mom started his session at my studio (so we could get the yearbook photo), but the bulk of his amazing senior portraits were created on location in Dexter.  Mill Creek Park is just one of those versatile places, I love how it never looks the same twice.

senior boy leaning on boardwalk railing - michigan senior portrait photographer dexter mi photo
For T’s session, our main location was Mill Creek Park in Dexter. I love how versatile this park is — even though I’ve photographed numerous high school seniors there this year, every session feels completely unique and different.
senior boy in nature high school senior portrait, dexter mi photographer
The natural setting is great for portraits, I love how it changes throughout the year. This close up senior portrait of T. is nice, don’t you think?
senior portrait boy on boardwalk, senior photo session dexter mi photographer
Another one at the same railing. I love using this lens of mine, because it provides a really unique perspective. What a great environment!
senior boy on covered boardwalk, dexter mi park senior photo session
T’s mom really liked this part of the boardwalk where it goes under the railroad bridge. I thought it was a great spot too… so we stopped here for several senior portraits that incorporated the structure and warm wood tones.
senior boy sitting on boardwalk, portrait in dexter mi, michigan photographer
Another one in the same spot. It’s always neat to see how a little shift in perspective changes up the whole portrait! I had T sit on the boardwalk for this senior photo, and I moved a bit to get more of a visual leading line.
senior boy on rock by water, half-sitting, senior photo michigan photographer
We moved to another spot in the park for some water portraits. It was a bit chilly for going in the water, so we decided just to use the rocks and have the water in the senior photo instead.
senior boy sitting on large rock by water, senior photographer dexter michigan
A quick outfit change and T was ready for the last part of his session. We started off in almost the same spot, but using a different rock for the setting.
senior boy sitting on rocks by water with sunset, dexter michigan mill creek park senior photos
It’s really hard for me to say which senior portrait from T’s session is my favorite, because they all have so much character! I love how the sun’s rays are captured in this particular one.
senior boy in natural setting, professional senior portrait photographer michigan
Oh wow! I love this one, and think it would look great hanging over a sofa or even a piano in someone’s living room. What a great natural setting, don’t you think? Love it.
senior portrait of by with river, dexter mi photographer
We walked further down the boardwalk to get to another popular spot. I’ve photographed clients at this rock many times, but again, it never looks the same twice. And I like that. Lovely colors.
senior boy at mill creek park in dexter for high school senior portrait session, dexter mi photographer
In a change of pace from the last senior portrait I just shared, this one features a calm and quiet river. I love how the sky is reflected in the water, and that we can get a glimpse of fall colors as the last rays of daylight grace those leaves. Gorgeous.
senior portrait boy on boardwalk with water behind him, fall colors, dexter mi photographer senior portraits
Again, I wanted to get a full sense of the setting, so it was time for another wide-frame image. I like to provide a variety of senior portraits for my clients, this type being one of them!
senior portrait with fall colors, michigan senior photographer
These last few are somewhat similar, but I couldn’t pick my favorite. It’s just a gorgeous setting in the fall. Love those fall colors!
senior portrait with fall colors, by water. dexter mi photographer senior portrait session
Love the colors, and the serenity of this senior portrait. So peaceful!
senior portrait fall colors photographer in ann arbor michigan
See what I mean? T did a great job of working with me for his senior portrait session. I loved creating these images for him and his family, and it will be fun to see which portraits they pick as their favorites!
senior portrait boy, senior photo for high school yearbook, dexter mi photographer in michigan
Oh yes, I almost forgot. Here’s a sample of the studio portraits we did for T — he had to have an in-studio yearbook photo for his senior portrait session. I created this senior yearbook photo (and several other choices) very quickly at the beginning of his portrait session. Personally, I’m a fan of the outdoors ones, but I know there’s a time and a place for traditional professional portraits like this one.

If you need to plan your senior portrait session, please contact the studio today so that we can fit you in before your yearbook deadline!  We typically get booked up with last minute appointments as high school senior yearbook deadlines approach.  So, a little advance planning will ensure you get your senior portrait planned — at a time that is convenient for your schedule!

Sometimes… Simple Portraits are Best!

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If you’re thinking about skipping the whole senior portrait thing.  Please reconsider.  My guess is that you just want something simple and painless — well, look no further!  We can make your senior portrait session short, relaxing, and maybe even fun! With studio senior portraits, there is nothing to distract you from the person.  Everything, all your attention, is drawn to the high school senior — you really get a sense for their personality.  You get to look into their eyes and see their smile.  Years down the road, you will look at that senior portrait and fondly remember that time in your life.

A few years ago, my mother-in-law gave me a picture book illustrated by one of my favorites, Tomie DePaola.  The author is Nancy Willard, and the book is called “Simple Pictures are Best” (#afflink).  The brief synopsis?  A man and his wife hire a photographer, but add so many props and “things” into their portrait that they end up with ….well, let’s just say the photo doesn’t turn out as planned.  Anyways, I digress.  Let’s take a peek at these simple senior portraits that we did in my studio that meet most high school yearbook requirements in the Ann Arbor area.

senior boy, high school senior traditional yearbook photo portrait photographer dexter mi
When it comes to keeping things simple for your senior portraits, there’s no better choice than a studio portrait session!
studio portrait of high school senior boy, huron high school senior portrait for yearbook photo
The nice thing about staying in the studio is that you don’t have to worry about rain or inclement weather. It’s always nice and comfortable inside!
senior portrait, high school senior boy sitting in chair backwards with arms crossed, senior portrait photographer ann arbor mi
Simple is good. We can breeze through a number of poses to give you some variety in your final senior portrait images, but it doesn’t take a lot of planning or effort on your part!
senior boy headshot yearbook portrait high school senior photos
Whether you have a great smile and are “camera ready” — or you need me to work my magic, we will get some fantastic portraits of you during your senior portrait session. 🙂
senior portrait high school senior boy, headshot, senior photographer michigan
Seriously. Your session can be a calm and relaxing experience. My job is to listen to what you want from your senior portrait session and make it happen. If you just want some simple portraits for the yearbook, we can do that. If you want senior photos that you can also share with family and friends, we can do that too. My job is to make sure you have a great senior portrait experience!
senior portrait, boy sitting on chair in studio, senior photographer ann arbor mi dexter
When my clients are up for it, we’ll do several full length portraits during a studio portrait session too. It’s simple, but gives you a little bit of a different look…. because variety is nice!
senior portrait of boy sitting on chair with studio background, senior portrait Michigan photographer
I always love using this traditional studio backdrop! It’s a little more interesting than your run of the mill textured color wash, and pairs wonderfully with earth tones and blues alike. While this senior portrait wouldn’t cut it for the yearbook, it would definitely be a nice portrait to display at home!
senior portrait, professional photographer portrait in studio with professional background, high school senior yearbook photo
All in all, I am excited for this family to see the senior portraits — I know that they will be very pleased with the results! Because in my book, everyone *is* picture perfect!


There’s something to be said for the classic portrait. Whether it’s the more traditional suit and tie, or a somewhat relaxed studio portrait — these senior photos really will never go out of style. As I said before – if you’re on the fence about hiring a professional for your senior portraits, please give me a call at 734-424-0472 or visit our contact page.

I’d be happy to talk with you personally about what you want for your senior portrait session and help you make that happen.  Your senior year of high school is already crazy enough, so let me help you make at least one thing go smoothly!

Senior Boy Portrait Session (in the studio)

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Sometimes my clients contact me looking for something simple and in studio.  Maybe it’s because the yearbook requirements dictate a formal studio setting for the portraits, or maybe it’s just because simple can be easier.  Whatever the reason, I’m always happy to create timeless portraits like the ones we created for this senior boy’s portrait session.  So, without further ado, enjoy these portraits I created for this class of 2018 senior.

senior boy portrait in studio
I really like how this portrait turned out for G!
senior boy portrait in studio close up
Here’s another portrait, this one framed pretty closely. This type of senior portrait looks very sharp, don’t you think?
senior boy leaning on chair studio portrait dexter mi photographer
I typically run through a series of poses when doing studio portraits, changing out chairs and such to create a variety of portraits for my clients. Love how this one turned out!
senior portrait boy smiling in studio huron high school ann arbor mi photographer
From the same set of photos, we changed up the pose just a little bit. But it has a very different look. This whole posing thing is my job — to make it go quickly AND to get the photos to look good.
senior boy serious resting head on hand, studio portrait photographer senior class of 2018
I really like how dramatic this one looks. Definitely contemplative and such. It’d look nice as a black and white portrait too.
senior portrait boy smiling in studio portrait photographer dexter mi
You don’t always have to be smiling a full smile for a senior portrait to look good. Sometimes the beginning of a smile, or a half-smile, like this expression, turns out really nicely!
senior portrait, serious boy in chair not smiling, huron high school senior portrait photographer
I like the weighty atmosphere in this portrait. Not everyone comes in planning to create “serious” portraits, but I typically capture a few anyways. They are a great addition to a coffeetable album, if you’re more a fan of smiling senior portraits.
senior portrait of boy smiling, studio portrait photographer dexter michigan.
And let’s wrap it up with one final smiling senior portrait. I really enjoy creating portraits like these — they may be just in the studio, but these senior portraits are timeless and will look nice in any home!

I’m excited to see which portraits G. and his mom will like best. It’s always interesting to see which of my clients’ favorites end up being my favorites too!

If you’re needing to plan your senior portrait session still, know that it’s never too late.  Even if your yearbook deadline has come and gone, we can still create a series of senior portraits that you enjoy and want to display in your home.  If your yearbook deadline is coming quickly, make sure to get in touch, as we may be able to fit you in before the deadline.  Contact the studio today at 734-424-0472 or use the contact page on our website to get in touch!

Monarch Caterpillars make their chrysalises!

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The next big step for any Monarch caterpillar is to pupate!  That’s when it turns from a caterpillar into a chrysalis.  I was blessed to be around when one of the caterpillars pupated, but he was sneaky so I only managed to capture a before and after rather than a “during” …maybe next time.  (if you missed my earlier posts, you can see the caterpillars when they were tiny, and the caterpillars when they’d grown bigger).

For purposes of disclosure, I should mention that I rehung most of the chrysalises… they were either on tin foil that I secured to the twig, or tied up there with dental floss.  I did a bit of research beforehand so as to avoid damaging the creatures, don’t worry.  But I wanted to let you know because these photos have been photoshopped — to remove the unsightly dental floss, tin foil, etc.  I did my best to give an accurate rendering and not depart from reality.  Maybe next time I’ll be brave enough to try the super glue method!

Anyways, enjoy these macro photographs of the Monarch caterpillar and Monarch chrysalises.  They are really amazing to look at close up… and I just today learned that you can tell whether a butterfly is male or female while it’s in its chrysalis.  There is a little seam at near those black dots at the top of the chrysalis.  Very interesting!  Maybe next time around I’ll know to photograph… 🙂  …hindsight is 20/20, huh?

monarch caterpillar pupating, monarch chrysalis chrysalises, nature photography macro photo
Some of the monarch caterpillars had already pupated, but one hadn’t yet.
monarch caterpillar pupating, nature photographer
This monarch caterpillar is in a “J” shape because it’s beginning to pupate. I learned (from my first grader’s book) that they make this “J” shape when they’re beginning to make the first transformation.
caterpillar pupating, monarch caterpillar, monarch chrysalis
Another photo of the caterpillar pupating with the chrysalises.
monarch chrysalises hanging on stick with pupating caterpillar, nature photographer michigan
As you can see, we had a number of chrysalises that formed at the same time.
pupating monarch caterpillar, nature macro photography
I really enjoyed getting to see this phase of the monarch butterfly life cycle. It’s not often that you get to observe the process from start to finish… usually those caterpillars are pretty sneaky and do their transforming when you’re not looking!
monarch caterpillar pupating, macro nature photography
I changed up the lighting a little bit for this one. Look at all the detail…. so amazing!
pupating monarch caterpillar, macro nature photo
Okay, this is the last one of the pupating caterpillar, I promise. We’ll move onto some close ups of the chrysalises next.
newly formed monarch chrysalis, just pupated, macro nature photography
That little guy from the previous photos? Well, I looked away for maybe ten minutes, and he (she?) had pupated. This is a VERY newly formed chrysalis. Once you scroll further down, you’ll see what I mean…
newly formed chrysalis, monarch chrysalis, macro nature photo
Another one of the newly pupated chrysalis. It’s so bumpy and shiny!
newly pupated monarch chrysalis, macro photography
It’s really tough to convey a sense of how shiny these things are, but I was finally able to manipulate my lighting just right to create this photo. Can you see the shape of the wings on the chrysalis? So cool!
monarch butterfly chrysalis, macro nature photo
Okay, now here’s a chrysalis that formed earlier. See how much smoother it is? You can still make out the shape of the butterfly wing, but it’s much more streamlined
monarch chrysalis, translucent
I took this photo because the little metallic flecks on the chrysalis are mesmerizing. Based on the research I did, people aren’t sure what those flecks are for. You can also see the semi-translucent nature of the chrysalis is in this photo as well.
monarch caterpillar pupated, macro nature photography
I thought this monarch chrysalis was very interesting. The caterpillar pupated on a leaf that had been resting on the “ground” of its hotel. I attached it to the stick so it could develop properly. But the reason I found it interesting is how you can still see part of the caterpillar outside the chrysallis. I really don’t know the technical term for this, my apologies.
monarch caterpillar pupated into chrysalis, macro chrysalis photo
Here’s another photo of the same chrysalis, it’s crazy detailed. I really found this to be amazing! If you can explain the science to me, I’d definitely be interested ;).
monarch caterpillar pupated chrysalis, macro chrysalis photo
Yes, one last one of the same chrysalis. I thought it was that interesting.
monarch chrysalis, nature photo macro photograph
Here’s a photo of a different monarch chrysalis from a different angle. You can’t really see the line of metallic flecks on this side. As I discovered later in their life cycle, this is the side of the chrysalis that will split open. Pretty neat.
monarch chrysalis, macro photograph
Another view of those cool metallic dots on the chrysalis. You can also see that part of the chrysalis is darker inside …very interesting.
monarch caterpillars, macro photo
All the chrysalises, lined up in a row. In case you’re wondering, no, nature wasn’t this organized. I transferred all of the chrysalises to this stick — the caterpillars had used their silk to attach to the aluminum foil lid of their hotel, and I cut it up into strips before wrapping it around the stick. For the photos, I did touch it out….
monarch chrysalises hanging on a branch., macro photo
And one final picture of the chrysalises. I thought this one was particularly neat because it really highlights that newly formed chrysalis and how it stands out from the others that have been hanging there for longer.

Nature Portraits by the River in Dexter :: Haylee’s Senior Portraits

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With this recent cold spell, fall really seems to be upon us.  But it wasn’t that long ago that we had warm sunny days like for Haylee’s senior portrait session.  We planned Haylee’s portrait session to take place at Mill Creek Park in Dexter.  As you might have guessed from some past blog posts, it’s a popular destination for portraits.  But even so, it’s not hard to make your portraits look unique and personalized to you.  Haylee was a great sport and smiled beautifully for the camera throughout her entire session…. and we ended up with a fantastic set of senior photos for her and her parents to enjoy.

Make sure to scroll all the way through this series of senior portraits, because I saved some of my favorites for the end.  We did do a few portraits standing in the water, which I have to say, was cold but felt refreshing given the heat.

high school senior, dexter class of 2018 senior photo dexter mi photographer
I’m not sure if there was a surefire favorite from Haylee’s senior portrait session at Mill Creek Park, but this one is definitely up there. She looks so beautiful!
high school senior girl portrait leaning up against rock wall. dexter mi photographer
I love photographing seniors at this rock wall. It’s timeless, and even on the hottest days, it feels nice and cool!
black and white photo of senior girl in nature, michigan photographer
Okay, so every once in a while, the photo just really needs to be in black and white. And I love how this one turned out.
senior portrait headshot, senior girl smiling, high school senior photographer dexter mi
This portrait of Haylee was used for her drama club headshot. So pretty!
smiling senior portrait, dexter high school senior portrait photography
And a close up of Haylee smiling. Love it.
senior girl sitting on rock by river, senior portrait in mill creek park, dexter mi photographer
We ventured out towards the water a bit, and Haylee smiled beautifully for the camera (even though her mom was making her laugh!).
senior portrait mill creek park dexter mi photographer girl near rocks
This one of Haylee is cute too! It was really hot out, but she did an awesome job of following my directions and smiling for the camera!
senior portrait, girl smiling, high school senior photo
Seriously, Haylee had so many great photos to choose from. What a gorgeous senior photo session!
senior portrait in nature, dexter mill creek park, portrait photographer
You’d never know it from these photos, but it was sweltering out the day we did Haylee’s senior photos . And, there were bugs too, of course. But Haylee did so well!!
senior portrait head and shoulders picture, dexter mi photographer
After a quick outfit change, Haylee was ready for the second part of her session. Here’s a head and shoulders photo of her…
senior portrait dexter mill creek park, border to border trail senior photos dexter mi
Haylee put up with my antics while I created a series of wide angle portraits like this one. It takes a little guesswork when you’re holding your camera two feet above your head! Love how this one turned out.
senior portrait at mill creek park in dexter near dexter library and railroad bridge.
Honeslty, this portrait might be my favorite from the session. It’s just so fun, and you get the awesome view of the border to border trail going under the railroad bridge…and the Dexter library too! Quintessential Dexter, right?
senior portrait, girl in dress smiling, senior photo dexter mi
Stunning. Really. I love this portrait series that we did on the pathway. Haylee looks so sophisticated, don’t you think?
full length senior portrait, high school senior girl, dexter high school
A full length photo from this series of senior portraits. So pretty!
senior portrait of girl leaning on railing, dexter mill creek park, michigan portrait photographer
And, of course, another one that turned out great. 🙂 🙂
wide angle senior portrait, girl by water and trees, nature portrait senior photographer dexter mi
We wrapped up Haylee’s senior portrait session with a few portraits by the water. This one is a super wide angle one that is kind of fun, don’t you think?
digital painting from portrait photograph, high school senior girl, senior portrait photographer dexter mi
And here’s the final frame. A digital painting that I created from one of the last portraits we did at Mill Creek Park in Dexter. You might notice a few scenic changes from the last portrait — that’s the beauty of painting. It’s an art and you can change the scene to fit the feel of your painting. Love those clouds.


If you’ve been putting off planning your senior portrait session because it seems like a lot of work, just get in touch!  We help you through the entire process, whether it’s choosing your location, giving advice on attire and outfits, or selecting the best portraits to hang on the walls of your family room.  Your senior portrait experience can be relaxing and maybe …even fun! 🙂

Monarch Caterpillars – Take Two (They are bigger!!)

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Earlier I shared some macro photos of monarch caterpillars…. and since I promised to show you how much bigger they would get…. here you are!

The monarch caterpillars are definitely bigger.

A lot bigger.

Anyways, enjoy these photos. I did include the same dime in one of the photos so you could get a sense of scale. Because when you take such close up pictures… it’s hard to get a big or small a monarch caterpillar is.  And they’re definitely fatter, I will add — just like in “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”

monarch caterpillar macro photo taken from side, dexter mi photography
When I opened up the container, one of the caterpillars was hanging onto the tin foil lid. This guy is actually the smallest of all the caterpillars. Kind of makes me wonder if something is wrong with him, because he is definitely half the size of the other guys. Or, maybe he’s just a few days behind, growthwise. Your guess may be better than mine!
monarch caterpillar peeking over milkweed leaf, macro nature photographer dexter michigan
Oh my gosh. I seriously love this little caterpillar portrait… down to the little green thing that’s stuck to the monarch caterpillar’s antenna. So cool!
monarch caterpillar crawling on leaf. macro nature photography michigan
Here’s one of the fatter monarch caterpillars, from the side. I love hose this one shows off all those little legs. Very cool.
three monarch caterpillars on a milkweed leaf. macro photography nature michigan
Here are several of the caterpillars (we had six total in this round). It’s interesting how the stripes aren’t exactly identical. I wonder if they’re completely unique like zebra stripes?
monarch caterpillars on milkweed leaf, macro photography michigan
This monarch caterpillar was very wiggly. As soon as I set him down on the leaf for his photo, he started going places.
monarch caterpillars on milkweed, nature photography in miniature
Another one of the wiggly monarch caterpillar. He was one a mission of some kind!
monarch caterpillar on milkweed leaf, mostly eaten. michigan nature photography
This monarch caterpillar had completely eaten the milkweed leaf that he was hanging out on. Seriously, the only thing left was the stem.
monarch caterpillar eating milkweed leaf. macro photograph.
I love this photo of the caterpillar on the edge of the milkweed leaf. So cool to see the eaten part kind of curve around him!
monarch caterpillar profile view, front end
Now, which end of the monarch caterpillar do you think this is?
monarch caterpillar, profile view, back end
Here’s the other end of the caterpillar. Any guesses? It’s amazing how similar they look, right?
monarch caterpillars with us dime for sense of scale, nature photography macro
As promised, here’s a photo of the caterpillars with a dime for size comparison. Haven’t they gotten bigger since I took their photos last week?
monarch caterpillar on milkweed leaf, macro nature photography dexter michigan
One final side view of the monarch caterpillars on their milkweed leaf. Notice how you can see the shadow of a second one on the leaf too?
caterpillars on milkweed leaves, caterpillar poop, macro nature photography dexter michigan
And a final photo of all (or most) of the monarch caterpillars. I took this after piling them all back in their living quarters. If you look closely, you can see caterpillar poop pellets… they look like little green pellets. Kind of interesting how much waste these guys make. Especially for kids, right?


I know some of you like videos. so here’s a video slideshow of the photos from both photoshoots.

I hope you enjoyed these photos.  I will try to keep an eye on them so that you can see photos of them once they’ve made chrysalises.  My dad, a longtime amateur entomologist, has always dreamed of getting a time lapse video of a monarch caterpillar emerging from its chrysalis. Wouldn’t that be cool?  We’ll see if I can pull something like that off.

Anyways, I’ll leave you with one final fun fact, courtesy of my son’s monarch caterpillar book.  Did you know that monarch caterpillars born late in the season will fly directly south, instead of mating?  The ones born earlier in the summer are the ones that do the mating.  Interesting. Over and out.

Senior Photos at Mill Creek Park in Dexter

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It’s always fun to do senior photos someplace local, someplace meaningful.  Or, in the very least, someplace that is amazingly gorgeous!  And that’s what Mill Creek Park is — gorgeous.  You might know it as the Library Park, because the Dexter District Library overlooks the park.  Or maybe you know the park as Warrior Creek Park….which it was formerly named in years past.  Whatever you call it, the park is gorgeous.

Let’s just say, if you’re thinking about doing senior photos at Mill Creek Park in Dexter, you won’t be disappointed.  I love the boat launch steps, the walking path under the bridge, the grassy natural areas, and even the playground.  Mill Creek Park offers a nice variety of settings for most types of portrait photography sessions — and, most importantly, there are some nice shady spots to keep you out of the heat of the midday sun!

Here’s a sibling portrait session I did at Mill Creek Park this summer.  N. is a senior at Dexter High School, while C. is a junior this year.  It was nice to get photos of both of them during this senior and not-quite-yet-senior photo shoot!

Since you might want to see what some other parts of Mill Creek Park look like, here’s another senior photo session that we did there.  Well, at least partly.  Madison’s senior portrait session took place in downtown Dexter, and included some senior photos at Mill Creek Park in Dexter too.  I love the one of her with her black lab.  So adorable!

I’ve done various other senior portrait sessions at Mill Creek Park over the years.. the water is almost always nice to wade in, and feels great during hot summer Michigan days. On rare occasion the water is too high, and the current too fast, but usually my older (i.e. teen or adult) clients are able to comfortably wade into the shallows of the water. Here’s a few photos from a teen photo session at Mill Creek Park….

And for those of you who remember what Mill Creek Park was like before the boardwalk and other improvements went in, I haven’t forgotten either.  Here are a few senior photos at Mill Creek Park when it was still known as Warrior Creek Park.  Amazing how quickly we grow accustomed to new improvements, huh?

As an aside, there’s another nice park in Dexter that’s similar, but a little different — Hudson Mills Metropark.  I’ve done senior portraits there too.    If you want to take a peek, you can view Luke’s senior portrait at Hudson Mills Metropark.  Here’s a teaser of his senior portrait blog post:

If you want to explore Mill Creek Park a little more, you might check out this blog post of mine about Mill Creek Park in Dexter.  I have a few more recent sessions on the schedule to share with you at Mill Creek Park, so if you’re dying to see more senior photos at Mill Creek Park in Dexter, definitely sign up for my email updates so you won’t miss those posts.

If you want to learn more about planning your senior portrait session at Mill Creek Park (or elsewhere), please contact the studio today.  We definitely are in a busy season right now, but should be able to fit you in before your yearbook deadline.


Family Photos with Baby + Dog :: A. Family

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I photographed the A. Family when this cute little girl was just a newborn. And now here we are, doing a family portrait already… she’s grown so much!  There is nothing more exciting than getting to watch my clients’ children grow up into their own little selves.  Oh, I guess there’s one thing almost as good… and that’s when my clients bring their pets to the portrait session.  I love including animals in family photos (or any type of portrait photo, for that matter!).

infant portrait, digitally painted by photographer dexter mi
I based this digital painting from several photographs we took during the outdoors portion of their family session. It was really fun to create this, and I especially had fun painting the background of the piece.
family portrait with baby girl outdoors dexter mi
Here’s one of the portraits I am talking about. Adorable family portrait, no? You’d never know it was buggy out by their great smiles 🙂
mom with baby girl, portrait session outdoors dexter mi
We got this portrait of mom with baby girl before deciding the bugs were too thick outside …at least in this spot.
family portrait with baby and dog in grass. dexter mi photographer
Before heading into the studio, we did one last set of images out in the grass. I was hoping the bugs would be fewer in number here, but no such luck. They were great sports though! Love this one.
family photo in studio with baby and dog, dexter mi photographer
And after a bit of a break for baby, we started in on the studio portion of the family photo session.
baby sticking tongue out with mom giving her kiss, dexter child photographer michigan
It’s always cute to capture some of those silly baby faces. I love this one of her with mom!
baby smiling while mom holds her, dexter michigan baby photographer
And an adorable baby portrait where she’s all smiles!! I love it.
baby sucking thumb in dad's arms, dexter michigan photographer
Dad’s turn to hold her came next. At this point, she was more interested in her thumb. Too cute!
dad with baby, family portrait photographer dexter michigan
She was getting a little wiggly at this point, but we managed to get this one with dad and babe in arms.
mom and dad looking at baby during family portrait, michigan dexter photography session
Oh my gosh. I totally love this photo. She is looking so sweetly at the camera, and mom and dad are so happily looking at their baby. Love it!!!
outtake from photo session, prepping for baby portrait session dexter mi safe photography
This one is an outtake from the family photo session, but I wanted to share it with you because it’s important to know how much prep work goes into some of these photos. With little ones, we’re always VERY careful about keeping them safe. And then you can’t do a portrait like this with just any dog. They have the calmest, sweetest dog ever. Dad stayed right nearby the whole time, with his hand on his kiddo to make sure she didn’t fall over. That’s when Photoshop comes in handy — I do a little magic and you end up with a safely created portrait.
baby portrait studio dexter michigan photographer. baby girll with chocolate lab dog pet portrait
Seriously. Adorable. Isn’t this the cutest baby portrait ever??? I love how it turned out. And as I mentioned a minute ago, dad was holding onto this kiddo because she’s not quite ready to sit up yet. Sometimes Photoshop magic just makes sense. Safety first.
chocolate lab portrait in studio, pet photographer dexter michigan
And to finish things up, I took one portrait of this well-mannered chocolate lab all by herself. She is really such a sweet pup!!!

I’d love to talk with you about planning a fun family portrait session — whether or not you have pets to include! Call the studio today at 734-424-0472 to start planning for your next family photo.

Senior Portraits at Hudson Mills Metropark :: Luke

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Luke’s senior portrait session started at the studio, but most of his photos were created on location at Hudson Mills Metropark.  When photographing clients at two locations, I always love to start in the studio because those portraits are a little more formal. By the time we get to the second location, everyone is relaxed and comfortable — perfect for more casual location portraits!

So, without further ado, enjoy these senior portraits taken at Hudson Mills Metropark!

formal portrait of dexter mi high school senior boy
We started out in the studio for Luke’s portrait session. I like to start in the studio because it gives us a chance to get used to working with each other. Besides, these traditional shots tend to be a little more formal anyways.
senior portrait boy at hudson mills metropark mi
After the studio part of his senior portrait session, we went to Hudson Mills Metropark. Hudson Mills, like most parks, has a lot of nice natural areas. I love that it’s easy to incorporate the river into sessions here too!
senior boy crossed arms in front of river, dexter mi senior portrait
I love this portrait of Luke with the river behind him. Whether you’re a natural in front of the camera, or need lots of directions from me, I will make sure that we get some fantastic portraits 🙂
senior photo relaxed expression high school boy dexter mi
Luke with a slight smile. I love how natural this expression is, and how relaxed he looks in this senior photo.
senior portrait, boy on bench by huge tree. dexter michigan hudson mills metropark
A lot of the time, I will tell my clients “go sit over there on that bench.” Because even if you might not see it, there’s an awesome photo waiting to be taken. And that was the case with this photo. I love the huge old tree in the background, and how Luke isn’t really looking at the camera (yes, sometimes I tell my clients to look at such and so …to deliberately stage a contemplative senior portrait like this one.
senior portrait boy standing on rock by river dexter michigan
After a series of photos on the bench, we walked down the path and stopped by the river bank near the base of that old tree. I had Luke stand on one of the larger rocks so that I could create this cool senior portrait. I love how the leaves are in the foreground…
senior portrait, boy sitting on rocks dexter michigan hudson mills park
While it had been a partially cloudy day, the sun suddenly peeked out from behind the clouds. We got some gorgeous light on the water, and it definitely added a lot of impact to this portrait. Love it!
senior portrait of boy on rocks at hudson mills metropark
Another one from the same series. I just love that light reflecting off the water. Throughout this whole session, Luke did a great job of following my directions so we could create great images like this one.
senior portrait of boy near a fence in dexter mi
A little further down the path, we found a wooden fence. I had Luke lean up against it. This one is the first in the series. Very serious, but I like it.
dexter high school senior boy leaning on fence.
Another senior portrait – I love this capture of Luke.
senior portrait boy near fence in nature park dexter mi
And the sun, again. I love it. The leading lines from the fence draw your eye down the path, and Luke is right in the center of it. Very cool senior portrait!
senior portrait of boy in nature dexter michigan
I had Luke stay where he was, and moved further up the path to create a totally different look from the same exact spot. Love this one too!
senior boy at river edge sitting on rocks dexter michigan portrait
We finished up our session by a boat launch. I had been eyeing this spot from the beginning of the session, but we did wait until after several kayakers got their boats into the water. Luke sat on the rocks, his mom steadied my light for me so I didn’t have to worry about it falling in the water (thanks mom!)…. and we got this great natural looking portrait of Luke!
senior boy sitting on rocks near water in dexter michigan
And, of course, a pull back of the same portrait. I couldn’t decide which was my favorite, so you get to see both! Either would be great for a senior portrait — but I’d use this one for a larger wall portrait 🙂
senior portrait boy sitting near tree roots dexter michigan photographer
As we were wrapping up the session, Luke’s mom asked about doing a few photos near these cool tree roots. I am so glad she mentioned it, because I had seen the same thing and loved it! We did a few photos of Luke here, and I love how the roots all wiggle their way towards the subject of the senior portrait.

Luke was a great sport during his entire senior portrait session. We managed to create all these senior portraits — and more — during his hour long session.

I’m always happy to work with clients who know exactly what they want… and with clients who want me to direct them completely. We will make your senior portraits uniquely you. If you’re interested in planning a laid-back senior portrait session and need someone who knows what they’re doing, call us at 734-424-0472 today!

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