Purely Life Sessions Winter Special

Welcome 2018!!!! I know for some welcoming this new year was a much look forward to event as 2017 may not have been the best… as for our family 2017 was pretty great.

We became a family of 5, we traveled, we camped and we made some great new friends!  As our family has grown (both in number and in age… how is our first born almost SEVEN!?) I have been scaling back on the number of gigs I take so that I can attempt to master this work/life balance.  (if anyone has that on lock… give me a call, I have some questions! 😉 ) (Our photos courtesy of Ester Cobe Photography)


As I re-enter the work force again this year I am going to be taking less weddings (probably only 6-10 weddings verses 12-16 I used to!) and try to focus more on portrait sessions and corporate work.  This gives our family a lot more flexibility to travel and spend time together as a whole (plus its not super fun for Rico to be home solo parenting every weekend in the summer!)

To kick off this transition I am running a Purely Life session deal for January, February and March.  I will be booking select dates for these sessions for the steal of $750 per session.  This particular special will come with digital rights which is an average investment of $2550 (so that is a 70% savings!)

For this blog post I wanted to address some of the FAQ I get regarding these sessions… if you have one that isn’t here ask me!!

What is a Purely Life session?

A purely life session is essentially where I come ‘live life’ with you for a small portion of a day.

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How do you know what we will do?

I will send a questionnaire to you that will help you plan out different portion of your shoot.  I promise we won’t just sit and look at each other 😉

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These shoots look fun, what if our life isn’t that fun?

Everyone’s life is fun!  I will help to prompt you into the different activities we emailed about and since it is your life it IS fun… and it will look fun, promise.  Remember, one of my super powers is making people look awesome 😉

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What about our mess?

Well I shoot around mess… but also its your mess.  So its part of your story.  When we had our family photographed we stuffed a lot of things we didn’t want photographed in my office and laundry room.  Like laundry is a huge part of our life but I didn’t want it photographed… other people LOVE having their baby play in the laundry while they fold it… super cute photos!  I put all of my mail and bills in my office on the desk, no one needed to see that 😉 But it is a personal decision.  Some people live spotlessly, others have stuff.  It’s my personal opinion that stuff makes it look real.  🙂  If you’re not sure about it leave it and we can talk about it when I get there.  The point of these sessions is to enjoy love… not feel stressed.  So please, do NOT hire a house cleaner before I come or scrub the floors, or paint… or anything else like that unless of course that is part of your normal, every-day-activites.

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Will we be bored?

Absolutely not.  In fact most people find that the session flies by.

How long does it take?

Since it isn’t a typical ‘posed’ session at a park I recommend people block off 2-3 hours.  Most sessions last about 2… some last less and some a little more.  So just plan on 2-3 hours.

What happens when/if my kids meltdown?

That’s part of life too… it is overwhelming having someone following you with a camera.  When kids start to show meltdown-tendencies I take a few steps back and give you space… if you’re cool with it, I may take a few snap shots of the crying because thats part of life too… If you’re not thats fine too!  Usually when the kids start to melt down we take a break and get a snack 🙂

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Can we have multiple outfits?

Yes! I promise I won’t take pictures of you changing!  :p

Can we have some posed pictures?

Absolutely!  I will do a mixture of photojournalistic documentation as well as have you sit in a great spot with great light for a few fun posed photos.  I also try to make a special effort to take some photos of just parents.  Probably the last time you had solo portraits was your wedding (I’m guessing…!) So since we are in your space you have some safe places to send the kiddos… so lets send them there with an activity for a few minutes and nab a few pictures of just you!  Time to update your profile picture any 😉

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Can we go outside around our property?

Yes!  These sessions are generally limited to one location but if it is within walking distance we can go outside or around your neighborhood.  Where ever your life is lived, lets go capture it!

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Do you have more questions?? Ask them, I would be happy to answer them!

Here are a few more of my faves (ok… a lot of my favorites!)  These sessions are my favorite to photograph because I feel like they are such treasured time capsules of reality.  Hope you agree!! ❤  To book head to my website and give me a shout out!






Hello World!

While it is embarrassing that I haven’t posted in nearly a year… or that frequently before that I find it fitting that I am making my re-emergence with this post.  I have been working professionally as a photographer now for 12 years and full time for nearly 7.  Most artists try to continue to grow their skillset even as they enter the professional world because sometimes when your exchange your craft for money your passion takes the backseat… and no one likes a stagnate cranky artist 😉

The last several years I have focused immensely on upping my game in the lighting category.  Lighting is basically the foundation of photography so mastering added and artificial lighting makes the world your oyster.  2017’s project was working on a new, harsher lighting.  Most of my past lighting focus was for portrait work and so I needed a new and more challenging project so this year I decided to focus on fitness photography.

Anyone that knows me knows that I am the weirdo who can’t get enough of a good sweat session or the endorphin high after cranking out a new PR.  So entering into this new line of photography was not only fun but it allowed me to combine some of my passion with my work. (winning!)

After I learned some of the lighting techniques I needed for fitness photography (a HUGE thank you to all of the fitness instructors I used as guinea pigs 🙂 I should do a post for them at some point!)  I wanted to do more than just shoot professional athletes or fitness pros.  My favorite part of my job is not capturing the ‘money shot’ or the 8×10 great grandma will hang on her mantle.  My favorite part of what I do is working with families and people in such an vulnerable way that I capture ‘THE’ shot.  The shot where a person can see themselves through my lens the way loved ones see them.  Beautiful.  Strong.  Capable.  Loved.

Our society puts so much pressure on all people to be a certain way, act a certain way and achieve certain goals and without completing this imaginary list of conquests we are told we are worth nothing.  I hope that through my work (both hired and personal) people can treat themselves a little more kindly and see themselves in the light that other people view them.  Which with that longwinded journal entry brings me to my project!

This project was birthed to show everyone of all fitness levels, interests and walks of life that there is an inner athlete in you.  Everyone can be fit, strong and do amazing things.  You don’t need to do cross fit, run marathons or be a zumba instructor. (though if you want to, more power to you!)  Everyone has their own starting point and often times people have *multiple* starting points.

The main goal is to view your body as this amazing machine that enables you to do AWESOME things.  So we should really love it instead of constantly hating it, criticizing it and worse; trying to starve it to mold it into something it isn’t meant to be.  Fuel your body.  Love your body.

As I finally delve into the ACUTAL post a huge, huge shout out to KIN Movement for hosting this event.  They have an awesome space to help people from all fitness levels achieve their goals.  Their mindset is unlike any I have found in a gym and their support through this project has been unparalleled.  Also a HUGE thanks to the folks who showed up and were vulnerable enough to let me use them as my models.  These are just regular people (NOT fitness models!) and I hope you give them a standing ovation for their awesomeness.

2017-08-22_0001Bob: Triathlete and would be diplomat.
Always be ready to embrace the suck.  May not be the fastest but always moving forward.

2017-08-22_0002Cole: Manager/Specialist at Human Element and Single-Mom-Extraordinaire
Strives to be stronger and more fit to set an example for her son.  Wishes she could be a travel writer to show him the world.

2017-08-22_0003Hannah: Owner/CEO Metric MKTG
Loves the beach, her kiddos and kicking thyroid disease in the butt.
Favorite actress is Candace Cameron Bure and would be a professional singer in another life.

Holly: Mama of two sweet babes and part of University of Michigan’s Sea Grant (School for Environment and Sustainability)
Multi-sport competitor and Proud Canadian.  Mama who nurses/pumps WHILE working full time (that is a marathon folks for those of you who have never done it!)

Jesse: Swim instructor and coach.  University of Michigan student.
Would be professional gymnast.  Favorite book is The Hurt Artist by Shane Neimeyer.

Katie: Mama and Manager of Health and Wellness of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
Would love to travel to Greece and favorite color is yellow.  Has a PhD but in another life would be a Labor/Delivery nurse.

Megan: Nurse Anesthetist, bad ass and dog mama.
Loves Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and would be a race car driver if being a nurse anesthetist didn’t work out.

Nikki: Mama to 3 littles and fitness lover.
She is a beach lover and Paul Walker fan.  If she could tell her younger self anything it would be: To stop spending so much time caring what other people think because what matters is what YOU think!

Sam: Teacher for STEM Prep school in Nashville.
Runner and newly minted teacher from EMU.  If she could live anywhere it would be to her newly relocated Nashville, living the dream!  Favorite song is ‘Before He Cheats’ by Carrie Underwood.

2017-08-22_0010Stacey: Mom of two and Battle of Waterloo finisher
Loves making gains in the gym, pushing herself harder and being epic for her two sons. If she could tell her younger-self anything it would be “Don’t compare yourself to all these girls. Don’t change a thing about what makes you you. You and your life end up to be really amazing! ”

2017-08-22_0011Susan: Fitness Guru and Marketing pro
In another life would be a photographer or a veterinarian.  Miami transplant to Michigan and warm weather lover.  If she could live anywhere it would be Brazil.


Thank you to everyone who has supported me in this journey!  Posting this has taken a bit of vulnerability on my part as an artist because as we learn new crafts we see only the flaws in our projects… much like how we view our own body’s in the mirror.  I hope through this journey of life we can all view ourselves a little more kindly and honestly give ourselves a pat on the back.  Being a good human is no joke, so lets all be nice to each other, give each other high fives and encourage each other to be the best, strongest human ever.

run often, smile more!

Amanda 🙂


This has been a week of snow storms, fevers and a little bit of sunshine.  As a dessert creature I am trying to enjoy the beauty of winter but often it takes a bit of coercion.  One method that was worked really well recently is this little man petitioning snuggles to get warm.   2015-02-08_0002We still find him in our bed many (most… ok ALL) nights but he starts off in his room.  When he asks me to lay down with him to snuggle him I can’t help but say yes.  Some night in the future he won’t need me anymore to get warm but for now I will enjoy our snuggles.  And these toes.  I suppose they aren’t baby toes any more.  But they’ll always be baby toes in my heart 🙂   2015-02-08_0001


2/52 Baby Dimples.

Lalo turned four this week.  Most days I can’t believe how fast it went.  Some days can’t seem to go fast enough. He has grown to be a remarkable, caring, creative and funny little guy.  One of his birthday presents is to ride the Silver Train (Amtrak) to Dearborn and Gramps will pick us up and take us to Lalo’s Museum (The Henry Ford).  We couldn’t go ON his birthday, so I drove him up to see the train at the station on his actual birthday and then we grabbed some hot cocoa (since it was -20 with windchill…)


This picture speaks volumes to me.  Probably many mamas can relate. These little hands would reach for my face when he was just a babe, would grab for my hair, my nose and my lips.  Eventually he would crawl to me and reach up to have me hold him, in time he would toddle towards me and grab my hand for steadiness.  Now he is confident in his balance but will still reach for me when he needs reassurance or when I tell him we are crossing a parking lot.  When I reach for him he still more often than not he will place his growing hands in mine.  Soon this will change and he will tell me he doesn’t need to hold my hand and this mama isn’t ready.  I need to get ready for soon he will not be holding a hot cocoa and a super pup but a strong black coffee (just like his mama) and a brief case.

This picture of him warming his hands I can still see his precious baby dimples.

They are less pronounced but still there.

Someday soon they will be completely gone but forever etched in my heart.  My prayer is my sweet boy continues to use his hands for comforting, creativity and connection.  I pray for this sweet boy that I can be the Mama he not only needs but deserves.

Happy Birthday my sweet Eduardo.  For while you grow all I can do is smile and hope you know just how much I love you.  AP6_6349-3

Planning, wrapping up and catching up!

So 2014 is coming to a close, when did that happen!!!???!!  This whole year went by in a giant whirlwind and I am so incredibly grateful!  We had a lot of ups and downs this year but looking back now I cannot even write how blessed we were!  I have a ridiculous amount of catching up to do with the blog to show every event, family and senior I was able to capture so you can look forward to that in the coming year!

As many of you have heard 2015 will be another year of change for us as we prepare for the addition of our Éowyn Olivia this Spring!!!

I am still working and will be accepting weddings for the year but will only be shooting 15, so that means I will not be able to accept every one that comes my way.  I will be focusing on more local weddings (with the exception of my September Holland wedding… YEA!!) and smaller events.  So if you know of any brides looking for a SE MI photographer send them my way, please! 🙂

The last year I have been slowly changing my family sessions from posed portraits to more of a lifestyle feel.  I will continue to do that as well as some new opportunities 🙂 so if you are a regular family client get EXCITED!

Senior portraits are still one of my favorite types of sessions because they are SO different from student to student and allow for some awesome creative expression!  I am hoping to add to these sessions for the 2015 season (2016 class) and will be looking for some help!  So if you are a past AMP Purely Senior or know of someone who may be interested I will be looking come May/June for some additional help, so keep that in mind too 🙂

Another exciting thing I am pumped to start in the new year is a monthly challenge!  With the new babe on the way I want to have a schedule set up for artistic exploration!  I will be focusing on off camera lighting as well as artificial lighting because that is one way I am excited to grow my business in the next year 🙂 If you want to join me please feel free!  And if you see me, feel free to hold me accountable 😉

So as I just sent out my last wedding for year be on the look out for me to catch up on blogging my last 8 weddings from the year as well as my ump-teen portrait sessions!  2015 sure is looking EXCITING! I cannot wait! 🙂

And since a photographer’s blog isn’t complete without PICTURES! I leave you with some pictures of my loves! (minus starbuck who has been firmly planted next to my belly protecting the baby… silly pup!)


This is what happens when a photographer’s child puts up ornaments and you tell him ‘no, look at the tree but keep your eyes wide so I can catch the sparkle in them” …. he looks like a deer in the headlights…. goofball!

2014-12-15_0002His first trip to see Santa 🙂 2014-12-15_0003But seriously… those EYES! 🙂  Love my brown eyed boy! 2014-12-15_0004Had to include the brown eyed pup too 🙂 2014-12-15_0005These three are such goof balls and lights in my life! 🙂 ❤

What’s Up Wednesday: Growth

Last year I was lucky to have a friend who allowed me to use her daughter as my muse for a spring themed portrait session!

This year I wanted to do another portrait session with her current ballet outfit and it proved to be a bit trickier so we went with a whimsical fairy tale theme.  A big huge thanks to Kat Foley Photo for the use of her studio!!

2014-05-12_0019My goal was to capture the beauty and innocence of a little girls imagination, her fairy tale if you will.  Lexi was more than a willing subject and while I haven’t yet finished editing the images,  I couldn’t wait to show you a few!!!

2014-05-12_0021 2014-05-12_0020This is by far my favorite image and it took a bit of work to get everything just so, but I am thankful I took the time and Lexi was patient with me!

2014-05-12_0018Thank you Amy (and Phil!!) for allowing me to borrow Lexi again!! ❤


run often, smile more!

Amanda 🙂

What’s Up Wednesday: Swimming

Anyone who knows our family knows we LOVE swimming!  To say love is pretty much an understatement.

Lalo was born in January but from the time the pool in our neighborhood opened in May of 2011 until the time it closed it is safe to say we spent every.single.day.there…

When we stumbled upon Ann Arbor’s Goldfish Swim School we were ecstatic to find an atmosphere that loved water as much as we did!

Lalo began lessons there last year when he had just turned two and he loved it.  We were in lessons that included one parent in the water with each child for the entirety of the class.  He learned many vital skills that aided in swimming as well as water safety and just over all comfort in water.  Since Lalo has been a water baby since birth he was able to coast through these classes with ease and enjoyment.

This year, however, since he turned 3  he was enrolled in the ‘big boy classes’ where he is with a few students a teacher and no parents in the water.  As a mom,  I was terrified.  While the Goldfish staff are spectacular, I have never let Lalo be in a pool without me close by, ever.  So the first class when I dropped him off in the pool, I snapped a quick picture with my iphone and hurried back to the parents area behind the glass praying for a good class.

2014-02-04_0001( Wonky Iphone picture! )

Lalo was totally fine and continued to wave at me throughout the class.  I sat there and stared at my baby who was learning to do things independently of me; it was both a proud mama moment and a sad mama moment.  Inevitably my baby boy would grow up and it was taking place right before my eyes.

Lalo struggled in the first class.  Learning to sit still and listen to instruction all while learning harder swimming skills but ultimately he succeeded.  He has an excellent teacher with the patience of a saint.  With every new step there are growing pains and he took them in stride.  After a second class I knew I had to bring my ‘real’ camera to capture some of these moments.  I’m not saying Lalo will be the next Michael Phelps… but he certainly was rocking my world of three  year old swimmers and I wanted to make sure that we never forget these moments!  So this past week I brought my camera and to my astonishment Lalo managed to take the next step in swimming right as I was snapping pictures!

On January 30 Lalo swam over 5 feet independently!!!!! He still has a long way to go to be ‘independent’ in the water.  But he is sure on his way!  He is strong, determined and overwhelmingly spirited!  So as you scroll through the images I hope you will allow me to boast with some mama pride for my boy!

If you are looking for a great place to learn to swim that invokes a healthy respect for the water while taking strides to aid students in independence in the water, Goldfish is the place to do it!

2014-02-03_0001Lalo has never liked goggles, but is learning to keep them on…. sometimes 🙂 2014-02-03_0002I think his favorite part is getting to jump off the wall and make big splashes!

2014-02-03_0003He is such an amazing kid, I am so lucky to be his mama!

2014-02-03_0004 2014-02-03_0005Beaming with pride after he received his first ribbon!

2014-02-03_0006 Check it out!!! ‘I Swam Independently’ Ribbon! 2014-02-03_0007Thanks for stopping in and checking in on what’s going on in our corner of cyberspace!! Come back and check what’s up next Wednesday!

run often, smile more!
Amanda 🙂