Shalie + Sam // Engaged / Silver Lake, Michigan

I’ve had this dream for quite some time now. This vision in my head that i’ve been working towards is one that goes deep into my bones and my love for the great outdoors and the desire for exploration. I’ve been patiently waiting for all the stars to align, and to find a couple who had the same vision for their engagement session.

When initially talking with Shalie & Sam on their hunt for a wedding photographer, I asked them what their vision was and Sam’s response like most newly engaged men, “her vision is my vision”. Shalie shared more about the details of their wedding day like venue, style, overall vision. With each detail she described I found myself saying “yes. Yes. YESS!! I LOVE IT”. By the end of our conversation it was pretty clear that her vision was my vision and we didn’t even talk much about engagement photos yet lol.

Well fast forward a touch, I am beyond grateful that they decided to choose us to help make their photography dreams come true. Over the next several months Shalie and I started talking engagement photos and after listening to her vision and using our expertise to “storyboard” this engagement session if you will. One of the ideas I had was using Sam’s families hunting cabin in Northern Michigan to not only tie in some nostalgia but it seemed as if it would be a good place to make their vision come to life.

After needing to reschedule due to the rainy fall weather we have been having, it gave me a couple weeks to think about some details and I realized that while most of it looked good and would work great that there was one thing missing. We were going to use Sam’s old fishing boat originally but I had lined up a beautiful Canoe to rent from a guy named Ken that I knew would be the cherry on top. Being as busy as fall is for photographers, I was on my way to another engagement session the day before, with some time on the road so I made a few phone calls to lock down details for Shalie & Sams session.

After talking to Ken he decided it just wasn’t worth it and so he had to back out. As I hung up the phone discouraged, I started brainstorming how to solve this problem. My initial thoughts were find another canoe for sale and see if they would be willing to rent it. Only problem is the type of canoe I need are delicate works of craftsmanship that most people are not going to jump to the opportunity to rent to some random “photographer”. A phrase that my mother always says pops into my head “asking is always free”. So I call Ken back and say “what if I buy your canoe?” And that’s how I became the proud owner of an incredibly beautiful canoe…..that I am still figuring out where I am going to put… (cue Haylee’s eye roll).

Ken’s canoe ended up being the cherry on top of our already awesome plans for the session, and I am so glad it worked out the way that it did. From the moment we saw Ken standing in front of his barn, right below the sign that says “The Boat Barn” we knew this was not just a canoe that had been sitting in a barn neglected. This was Ken’s passion. We had to force ourselves to load up and get on the road before we got sucked in by Ken’s genuine & passionate spirit. There is something to say about his meticulous workmanship, and I feel so fortunate to have captured him with his prized possession and piece of work.. which is now mine.

As for the rest of the day I am going to let the photos do the talking, but I want to leave you with this. Never be shy about your vision with your photographer and if you don’t really have much of a vision, than don’t be afraid to give your photographer more of the reigns. This session was an example of Shalie sharing her vision, me clearly loving her vision and using my expertise to fulfill that vision.