Oct 26, 2015

It was a cold winter evening when I met Adrianna and her mom at a coffee shop to discuss her wedding. Normally, these meetings last an hour and a half, plus or minus a second cup of coffee and consist of brides looking at photos and me telling stories.  Adrianna was different; I say that in a good way.  She was so excited and enthusiastic not only about her wedding, but about her fiance, Chris.  She told me everything – how they met (their parents set them up by buying an extra opera ticket), how long they have known each other (childhood friends), how long their families have known each other (20+ years), their tastes and hobbies (paddleboard), what they do (Med School and lawyer), where they live (Caribbean)…everything.  It was heartwarming.  By the time our consultation was done, the baristas were sweeping the floors and emptying the last of the day’s grounds.  We had closed up the shop.

Their wedding day was very family-centric.  Everyone – bridesmaids and groomsmen – got ready at Adrianna’s parents’ house.  It was a gorgeous renovated house on Lake St. Clair.  Laughter, small talk, excitement, and a touch of chaos ensued as the morning passed.  Being so close to her dad, Adrianna wanted to do a First Look with her dad before seeing her fiance, Chris.  With her family and bridesmaids looking on in the background, Adrianna met her teary-eyed dad.  Next, it was Chris’s turn.  There weren’t any tears shed, but there were a lot of compliments exchanged and excitement building.

Keeping with the elegant theme of their wedding, we stopped at Belle Isle for their formals before heading to the Grosse Pointe Academy, where Chris, Adrianna, and others graduated from.  Here, a beautiful gothic-like chapel adorns and humbles the guests.  The chapel, still in its original state, has a rich history and charm to it.  Its wood floors creak and acoustics echo in the high ceiling hall.  The pews were filled to the point where it was standing room only.  They truly were surrounded by loved ones.  In front of family and friends, they said “I do” and began a night of festivities…with one surprise.  After their first dance, Chris invited all of the guests out of the tent and hosted a fireworks show for all to enjoy.  The show was especially significant to Adrianna – they stood in the same spot where Chris proposed.  As you can imagine, the night was magical.

Groom prep

First look with the bride and her dad

Wedding day formals at Belle Isle Detroit

Grosse Pointe Academy Wedding 1

Grosse Pointe Academy Wedding 2

Grosse Pointe Academy Wedding 3 Fireworks at the Grosse Pointe Academy Wedding

BTW Photography shot this beautiful wedding at the Grosse Pointe Academy in Grosse Pointe, Michigan.

Oct 19, 2015

When Brooke called me up and mentioned that she was friends with two of my previous brides, I knew she was going to be great to work with.  Annie and Kellyn’s weddings were not only gorgeous and fun, but I felt more like a guest than I did a photographer most of the time.  Those are some of the best weddings and yield some of the best work because of how trusted you are within the circle of family.  And again, the trust was there with Eric and Brooke when they booked me without even meeting me!

Brooke planned out the entire engagement session around things meaningful to them.  St. Clair is a small town on the east coast of Michigan, where everyone knows everyone, teams gather at the local ice cream spot after a game, and people still leave their doors unlocked.  It was here that Brooke grew up and together, Brooke and Eric made memories.   One night, Eric asked Brooke to take a walk on the boardwalk.  She thought it was odd because they already passed it, but she obliged.  After a leisurely stroll and sweet whispers, Eric stopped at the end of the boardwalk, kneeled down, and proposed.  Naturally, we visited the same spot and Brooke and Eric took turns telling the story.

Our night was capped off by a gorgeous “golden hour” where Brooke and Eric enjoyed some time in quiet field.  The sun was behind them and kissed them as they goofed around like two teenagers in love.  From there, we drove north to Port Huron and caught a beautiful beach sunset typical to Michigan summers – swirls of red, orange and blue graced the skies and the waves from Lake Huron rhythmically crashed in a cadence on the beach.  It was the perfect end to a perfect engagement session.

Downtown St. Clair Port Huron Engagement Session 1

Downtown St. Clair Port Huron Engagement Session 1

Downtown St. Clair Port Huron Engagement Session 1  BTW Photography is a Michigan based wedding, engagement, portrait photography studio.  Voted one of Michigan and Detroit’s best wedding photographers. 
Oct 13, 2015

The comedian Bill Murray once crashed a bachelor party, where he was asked for marriage advice.  He said, Take that person and travel around the world. Buy a plane ticket for the two of you to travel all around the world, and go to places that are hard to go to and hard to get out of. And if when you come back to JFK, when you land in JFK, and you’re still in love with that person, get married at the airport.”  


Jason and Cloryssa had a long drive from Iowa to make it to their engagement session at their alma mater, the University of Michigan.  Just like their homecoming, their relationship and engagement story was a long journey as well.  Friends in high school and later in college, Jason and Cloryssa didn’t start dating until they graduated from U of M. Initially, they followed their own paths – Jason enrolled in med school at Des Moines University to study podiatry and Cloryssa moved to California to become a travelling nurse.  Their love and attraction was strong proved to be too strong; Cloryssa said she knew early on this was going somewhere and neither wanted to spend so much time apart.  After spending the summer with each other and their maltipoo Louis in LA, Cloryssa found work as a Neonatal ICU nurse at a children’s hospital in Des Moines.

In the three years the have been dating, they have done a lot of travelling all around the United States.  Their first trip didn’t quite go as planned.  On a trip to Mackinaw Island, the transmission of their car died in the middle of nowhere.  Too young to rent a car and only equipped with their bikes, they were stranded for a few days to make due.  Needless to say, it was a daunting and challenging first excursion with each other.  Like Bill Murray suggested, Cloryssa said she knew Jason was the one at that point for how he reacted and helped her throughout the turmoil.

They wanted their engagement to represent their past and their future.  Michiganders at heart (yes, that is what we call ourselves here), we met at the University of Michigan and enjoyed the day exploring the classic spots of Ann Arbor – The Law Quad, Museum, Diag (where Jason proposed to Cloryssa), and the Arboretum.  Ultimately, they want to end up back here in Michigan. For now, road trips, reminiscing, and wedding planning weekends will have to do.

University of Michigan Ann Arbor Engagement Session  1

University of Michigan Ann Arbor Engagement Session  Law Library

University of Michigan Ann Arbor Engagement Session  Law Quad

University of Michigan Ann Arbor Engagement Session Museum University of Michigan Ann Arbor Engagement Session Museum University of Michigan Ann Arbor Engagement Session  7

University of Michigan Ann Arbor Engagement Session Nicholas Arboretum BTW Photography is a Detroit and Ann Arbor based wedding photographer, specializing in weddings, engagement, portrait, and senior photos.  Voted one of Detroit’s best wedding photographer.  This engagement shoot was taken at the University of Michigan wedding engagement session.  Locations include The Law Quad, U of M Diag, the Arboretum, U of M Museum, and the U of M Law Library.  Check out our Pinterest engagement ideas for U of M engagements. 
Oct 12, 2015

Fall family photos

Photography for For A Cause 

Today on Facebook, I read a story about April Goodson, a recently widowed mother of four (ages 16, 13, 12, 10) who woke up to her house burning.  Luckily, she and the kids got out alive and unharmed.  All of her possessions, however, have been destroyed.  Worse yet, she did not have insurance.  Now, this mother of four is starting over.  (You can read the story here, Fox 2 Detroit.)

We read tragedies in the news every day.  This one hits a little closer to home though; April’s eldest daughter is a student at Chippewa Valley High School, where I also teach.  The outpouring of community help has already begun and I would like to do my part – with your help.

On Friday, October 16th,  I will be hosting a photography fundraiser to help raise money to get April and her family back on her feet.

What: 25-Minute Photography Mini-Sessions
Where: Van Hoosen Museum (1005 Van Hoosen Rd. Rochester, MI 48307)
When: Friday, October 16th, 2016 (12:00p.m. – 6:00p.m.)
Cost: $250  (100% of proceeds will go towards the Goodson family)
Receive: 10 digital images and the rights to reproduce them.

We have 10 slots available for this one-day only event.  Images will be delivered to you in an online gallery where you can download your favorites and/or purchase additional prints and digitals.  100% of proceeds will go directly to help the Goodson family!  Email me at brian@btwphotography.com to schedule your appointment.

If you aren’t in the market for photography but would still like to help, you can donate directly at https://www.gofundme.com/9k5r9kbw