So long sitting and posing!

A few months ago I wrote about how I'd given up on family sessions where kids and people sit and pose and smile and fake giggle. Well, every now and then I still ask for a fake giggle... mainly because it ends up creating a real giggle... and THAT is the giggle I photograph. 

Anyway - My 2017 family sessions will involve much more movement and will document real life family moments. More casual than ever and different from what I've done in the past. I'm so excited to have a job that can evolve and challenge me. I get bored so easily so it's nice to be able to shift focus from time to time.

I graduated from high school with the beautiful mommy who's on the blog today. She welcomed me into their home to hang out with her girls, and interrupt the lives of their happy little family. We chatted briefly about their new home and elementary school plans, work and new baby stories. The girls wrapped up snack time while I set up and her husband even took a time out from the Tiger's game to hang out for a bit. What a guy.

While we did keep the kiddos still on the couch for a bit, we were all eager to get outside and move. It was one of the first warm days of spring and they were itching to get their toes in the water. We smiled and smooched on the new baby for a bit, then slipped on the summer shoes and walked down to the water.

The wind whipping through the leafless trees made for some awesome all-natural-hair-blowing-in-the-wind shots. The girls made their way through the spring mud, down the dock and everyone finally got to stick their toes in the water. It was perfect. 

Cold lake water, spring air and wind, and a very very handsome, spring baby boy. It was a nice little Sunday afternoon if I do say so myself.

Thanks for letting me come visit you guys. Enjoy the baby snuggles and spring rain today.

-Adrienne

Our Director of Holistic Happiness

By: Adrienne Dennis

The first time I talked with Susan was a little over a year ago. My son was in the hospital with MRSA in his lungs and he was not getting better. I had spent weeks in the hospital watching my 3 year old have all kinds of procedures and meds pushed. I hadn't left his side and hadn't slept much at all. If you've ever been through anything like this you know you sort of lose your mind. You're out of your element, scared to death, and sleep deprivation is pretty much the worst. I was scared and desperate and the message she sent to me on a cold March morning was like a breath of fresh air. Her message was simple. She just asked if I had a diffuser. She said she'd bring one up to me for the room if I didn't. She said it might help us sleep better.

It was something new. Something different we hadn't tried. Something fresh and most of all, an act of love from a stranger. 

You see, when people are passionate about something, it's more than a business to them. It's not about money or climbing a ladder of promotions. Helping people heal and learn to take care of themselves from the inside out is what fuels Susan; it's what fulfills her. She's got an unquenchable desire to bring life and joy - physically and emotionally - to everyone she meets.

Fast forward a year and that stranger is now a friend. We didn't connect officially until a couple months ago when she was looking for a place to hold health coaching classes. She welcomed me into her house last month to chat about upcoming events and workshops. There is something amazing about people who look into the heart of other humans and want... and LONG.... for them to be whole. She yearns for people to know what it's like to feel their best.  

She made us a smoothie while her beautiful daughter stole a few berries. We talked about our seasons of life. The busyness and wonderfulness. We talked about things that were ending and about all the newness spring and summer brings. We talked of her fascination of how emotions effect our gut health and the absorbtion of nutrients!!! (She lost me there a bit... but it is very fascinating.) 

Over the next few months Susan will be pouring into friends, family, and community by holding classes and workshops. I'm so excited for her first one. "Beautiful Make & Take; chemical-free pampering" will launch her Summer workshop series. It can be overwhelming when you know you need to do something different, but don't know where to start. She's making it so dang easy. You just pick the products, prepay, then show up for a fun girl's night to learn how to make them yourself. You can see more info and sign up by clicking HERE

Friends, if you are passionate about something, go after it. God designed you a very certain way, and very certain things speak to your heart. Whatever those things are, go after them because He wants to use you. And He will equip you with whatever you need to make it happen. Use your gifts and talents and GO BE SALT AND LIGHT!


Lovebird Sessions

 

By: Ashley McCann

Just before Valentine's Day, Salt & Light Collective had a couple's session giveaway on Facebook. I'm new to the Salt & Light team, so Adrienne and I thought this would be the perfect way to build my portfolio and of course, meet new people! I met 4 amazing couples, took a trek through the woods (and the cold!) at Al Sabo Preserve in Kalamazoo, and captured some sweet, SWEET moments - I had too much fun with these lovebirds. We may have spent more time talking and laughing than we did taking photos, and I'm okay with that! ;)

Here are some of my favorites. I can't wait to meet more couples and families this spring and summer!

 

I am currently booking Short and Sweet Mini sessions as well as Children's Easter sessions! Get in touch if you'd like to get on my calendar!

Happy Monday, friends. Thanks for stopping by.

-Ashley

My morning with Megan

By: Adrienne Dennis

Megan and I met up over the weekend to chat about next month's Art Hop. She'll be our featured Salt and Lighter, unveiling her newest collection. We sat down at the beautiful waterstreet coffee joint. A spicy burrito was on the menu for me and she enjoyed a bowl of <wait for it...> chicken salad. You know someone is pregnant when they're wanting chicken salad at 8:30 in the morning.

I wanted to know where her new collection was coming from, what inspired it, and get a peek at some of the things she's come up with. I had a list of questions to ask and checklist for the meeting. But, I threw that list out the window when our conversation began. I knew the details for her first official show would fall into place on their own and this time with her was more about two creative girls who just needed some time together. And through the free-flowing conversation all my questions were answered anyway.

Photos of her beautiful family peek out from her Bible as she talks about things she's walked through these past few years. Hard mom moments, family health scares, battles of the mind, and places darkness has tried to attack.  So many times where God proved HIS strength in times of human weakness.  And how strong she is to go through so many scary things and be smiling while telling the stories - giving the glory to God.

This scripture-inspired collection she's working on is about a new season that's approaching. A season of growth and newness and freshness. A closer walk with God. Simplicity and excitement. And it's going to be so good. So, so good.

It's fun to watch friends on their journey with God. The excitement of the unknown mixed with the longing to know more. The anticipation of what's to come mixed with the stillness we know we need. 

We packed up all our crap (I make a mess everywhere I go) and decided to take our conversation elsewhere. What better place to embrace and kick off this new season than in a place of all kinds of new growth? I followed her around as she soaked up the smells and touches of fresh dirt and baby greens. 

I'm so thankful for Megan. Not just for the artistic skills she she brings to our Salt and Light tribe, but the gentle spirit she adds to our crazy bunch. So calming and soft. The quiet strength she shows in the gritty situations she's walked through is actually anything but quiet. She's bold and fierce ...truly a warrior with so many victories already. 

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Friday, April 7th, from 5- 9pm is Art Hop in the Park Trades Center. Megan will have her new collection on display. Not only can you see her latest work, but she will have cash and carry items so you can take a piece of her journey with you.

I'd love to share sneak peeks of the collection, but I just can't do that yet. You'll have to come see them in person. It will be fun. Come show her some love and maybe bring her some chicken salad. Apparently it's sort of her thing right now.

-Adrienne

So, What is Salt and Light Collective?

By: Adrienne Dennis

 

     A few months ago I took a plunge into expanding my photography business. I knew God was telling me to “GO!”  He wanted to use me for something sort of terrifying. After weeks of telling him no and clinging to every reason why that was a terrible idea, I finally shut up, said YES, and got out of His way. You see, I fall somewhere in the middle between “planner” and “risk-taker.” I’d say I lean more towards “dive in and figure it out as I go.” But, even when I do that, I still have a clear idea of what my end goal is. Mostly because I MADE THE GOAL!

Right now, for the first time in my life, I (quite literally) have no idea what I’m doing, where I’m going, exactly what God is up to. I have explained this new journey like this; “I feel like I’m blind-folded, and God stuck out His hand, and said, "C’mon... I want to show you something really amazing.. but you have to trust me.”

And I did. And now I’m here, holding on to Him for dear life... often sitting in complete awe of what God has done these last few months. I find myself dancing between three different types of thoughts most days.

1- FEAR. That He’s going to let go. That I’m going to screw this up. That He’s going to ask me to do another “something that requires a sort of radical faith.” That I may have accidentally intercepted this mission, and it was meant for someone else... someone far more qualified than myself. Occasionally, a random fear that someone is going think I’m weird or crazy sneaks in there. But, I’m just about over those types fears... yes, I’m fully aware that what I am doing is crazy and weird.

2 - HUMBLENESS. God is so, so big and although I feel like this whole voyage began a few months ago when I said YES, I learn more and more every day how He has had His hand in all of this for a long, long time. He’s been setting this in motion and it reminds me how small we are. I’ve also become so aware of my need for Him. My gosh, sometimes it hurts. That longing to be filled and recharged and to gain strength from Him. I’ve looked so many other places for that  throughout my life. Let me tell you; only God makes us whole, and if that statement (that last one right there, about how only God makes us whole) doesn’t make sense to you, or you want me to share my experience I WILL. It hurts, and I’ll most likely ugly-cry, but I can do that now. I can share.

3 - PURE EXCITEMENT. Watching God work in people around me is exciting. Watching them be surprised when God drops little love bombs along their path is exciting. Watching walls, BIG ugly walls be torn down and watching women strip away the lies they’ve believed... watching them step out when God whispers to them, squashing their fears and silencing their critics.. THAT IS EXCITING. My excitement is fueled by the essence of knowing that an army is rising. Right now it’s an army of women who are doing small things that make HUGE impacts. They’re bold and they’re relentless. They speak life into the dead areas of each other‘s lives, and love on one another. And every time we make a conscious (and often terrifying) decision to let Him USE us..... to JUST SAY YES... to not second-guess ourselves... to stop friggin’ trying to plan everything ...to be obedient and to shut up and get out of God’s way.. SOMETHING TRULY MIRACULOUS happens, and this army grows.

God has made it very clear that this isn’t about my business, about photography or about growing my client list. This is about reminding women that He’s there. He’s waiting. He wants to USE you. You are a vessel and you CAN’T EVEN BEGIN TO IMAGINE what He can do through you if you just say Yes. Trust me, I’m still learning this every day.

So now, I’m here, in this Salt and Light Collective workspace that God told me to go get, trying my best to find words that not only shine a light on what is going on over here, but also doing my best to keep from (joyfully) screaming at the top of my lungs to everyone I meet (because that isn’t always socially acceptable) about how God is kinda blowin’ things up over in suite #320.

So, I’ll begin to wrap this up with two things.

One, a recap of above to help it sink in. Two, what Salt and Light Collective is. I figure I should probably get that part in here because that is the title of the blog post, after all.  


Will you do me a favor? When you go carve out time this week (OR RIGHT NOW!!!) to just listen to God, and He whispers to you, and you find yourself scared or second-guessing yourself, will you just please say “okay, God.” I know it can be terrifying. But just GO. He’s got you.   DO YOU HEAR ME? ...HE's GOT YOU!

xo -Adrienne

Reveal... and squeal... and burst with happy tears!

By: Adrienne Dennis

 

Being able to wear short sleeves,  in a sun-filled field, in February wasn't something we could have planned for, but we will take it. When the snow first melts, the Michigan landscape isn't really at it's peak gorgeousness, although the golden ground and the muted trees were a perfect backdrop for a vibrant gender reveal.

This family is my family. These are my people. Our schedules don't always match up, and our seasons aren't always the same. We have different ideas, but similar goals, and we never get to go on enough double dates with them. Never ever.

There's pressure at weddings, and nerves at events, but I've never had to remind myself to breath as much as I did during this shoot. "Please God... let the pictures turn out because I know I'm going to cry and I won't be able to see..."  

Let me share a few from their big moment. Total shock, real smiles, and happy tears. 

xo

-Adrienne

Bushman Family

2/11/17

By: Marissa Massey

Bushman Family

 

This family is something special to my family and I. Doctor, Brad Bushman is our family’s Chiropractor at Bushman Family Chiropractic here in Battle Creek. We love his entire crew at the office, and it was super special to be asked to photograph his family in our Salt and Light Collective studio. 

 

These favorites from their session truly exemplify the calm, excited, relaxed and in love family they are.  Family session photos will hang on walls in their home, stories will be told about the stage of life they were in. And giggles and smiles will come about when they remember how much fun they had capturing their family exactly how and who they were in those moments.  

 

The only reason I know sweet memories will ring from this session like a sweet, sweet sound is because of what Doc had to share with me after our session together  “Ella asked us if we can ALWAYS do our family photos with you from now on. She had so much fun being with you. She was truly herself when we were with you.” That’s enough to make a girl weep. Not because I’m an amazing photographer, but because when moments like that happen, I know God is BIG, I know God is in my work, and in my relationships! God is Good! Shine bright friends! 

 

Matthew 5:14-16

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

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Home Sweet Home

To me, there are no pictures more beautiful than in home lifestyle sessions. Whether there's a new baby at home, a couple cozy by the fire, or a family doing their thing, I like to spy from the corner of their home, camera in hand. A collection of images that capture real life - right where you are - are the photos we will someday look back on and feel so many emotions.

This past weekend I peered into the life of one of our Salt and Light Collective photographers. Her family has very recently moved into this new home, and while hustlin' her photography business, being mom and wifey, AND making time for family and friends, she's been busy working on getting their new home set up and settled into.

I didn't stay long. Just long enough to grab some photos to celebrate this new home milestone.. and more importantly, to snag pictures that will help them fully remember this season of life when they look back on them later. Coffee, Valentine-making, and a quick trip out to the polar windy front yard was the perfect combo for the short and sweet session. Go pour yourself another cup of coffee and enjoy a few of my favorites.

Congrats on the new place Marissa, and of course I can't wait to watch all the memories be made there.

xo

-Adrienne

 

Success!

By: Adrienne Dennis

I love hour long, talk with the adults, play with the kids, full family sessions. But, when it's freezing (literally) and snow is flying, and it's such a busy time of the year (pretty sure all of last weekend's clients were stopping for photos ON THEIR WAY to a family function), and there's a list a mile long of clients who are hoping to get photos back in time to make cards and gifts, we just have to do the short and sweet, sit and pose kind of sessions.

We packed the studio full of families and kids, love and giggles all weekend long. Some families braved the snow and cold and stepped outside for a few while others were quite content exploring the hallways of the beautiful Park Trades Center we shoot in.

My heart is thankful that I have a space to shoot all winter. And I'm excited that the space worked great for so much traffic. The possibilities of all the creative ways we can use this space this winter are endless! I'm looking forward to everything that will go down here over the next couple months. But, tonight, I'm thrilled to say that these mini session clients will all have their images back in time to make a pretty gorgeous card. Leaving a handful here to peek at... in case you're feeling like staring at other family's photos tonight ;-) 

Thanks to all my Christmas session clients. It was great to see so many return, and FUN meeting so many new faces!

Cheers to wrapping things up for 2016. The end is near.

Behind the scenes and self timers

By: Adrienne Dennis

This whole Salt and Light Collective journey has been spectacular for me so far. I've seen God's hand in so many of the details along the way, and the anticipation of what's ahead is exciting.

This space we share isn't just a photography studio by any means.  It's place for creatives to do their thing. It's a place where we get to share resources and ideas, a place we get to invite vendors into, a place to learn and teach, and (obviously) a warm place to shoot littles during the cold winter months. It's place where our tribe of small-business lovers can bloom. It's a space for opportunity, and I am so, so thankful that God put it on my heart to go out on a limb (a long, crazy limb) to open a space like this.

Salt preserves, and so do photos. Light shines, and that's what we get to be when we open our doors to all kinds of people. People who want to be photographed, people who want to learn something new, people who need a space to show off their pretty things or sell their creations, people who need a place to work, and sometimes people who just need to come hang out with a community of filler-uppers (we definitely have a few of them).

 Earlier this month we held our first Art Hop. We used our self timer skills to get a group shot of some of our "after party VIP-ers."  I'm pretty bummed we didn't do this sooner before a handful of them left. But, you get the picture, I think. It's a group shot of some of our seriously "we've got your back, go after it, number one fan" kind of homies. The team has had so much support to get us going, and I appreciate that so much.

Now, we are working on transforming a few corners of the space for our indoor Christmas sessions. A couple sweet models came in so we could test things out. We are hoping to pack these sessions in during the first couple of weeks in December. The sets are so darn cute, and the chance to meet a bunch of new people (and get to spread some holiday cheer to current clients) gives us energizing momentum to head into year end.

If you'd like to chat about collaborating on something, using the space, or just want to come in for coffee sometime let me know

Our Salt and Light Collective Christmas party is Friday, December 2nd. Come see us! Live Christmas music, a mountain of LLR leggings for sale, and snacks? What more do you need for a night out? We party in the studio, of course... over in the Park Trades Center Suite 320, from 5-9pm.

I'll wrap up this heartfelt blog post with a sincere Thank You (in my warmest thank you blog voice) to my close group of friends and family who has cheered me on from the very beginning. You're the best, and all the reason I needed to stop blocking out that gentle whisper from God telling me to go for it. It was scary to take the leap, but you were all right; it's going to work out beautifully.

Soak up these last few days of sunshine, my friends. I'm ready for winter to set it. Are you?

xo

-Adrienne