Michael & Jen | Just Married | Terri Gillis Photography 2014

The Blue Water Grill was such a awesome location for this wedding.  Not too big &  not too small. A very intimate casual, party where two people tied the knot just moments earlier.  Michael & Jen were surrounded by their family and closest friends for this very sweet celebration. The rest of the world celebrated with them on facebook. I’m pretty sure a wedding is 10 times better than your facebook birthday party, so many sweet messages to them in the newsfeed that day.  LOVE  it.

When I arrived the sun was blazing and it was pretty steamy; then the rain came in. It sprinkled, then it rained (of course while I’m supposed to be doing the photos) and then the weather started to settle just as she came down the aisle.  Positively peaceful and poetic. They needed to decide who would say their vows first; a quick game of Rock, Paper, Scissors helped settle the matter.  They exchanged rings, updated their facebook relationship status, exchanged a quick kiss, took a selfie and walked back down the aisle happily married. Nothing complicated or fussy, sweet and simple and so much fun.  I was delighted to take part in their day.

The first look kills me EVERY. TIME.  So precious.  Love it.

Her Grandmother stitched that on her dress.  How adorable is that? Love it.

Jen LOVES all things marshmallow.  When I saw that the glasses has marshmallows I knew this was the spot to get a photo of their rings. The tables were so beautiful with these sweet and simple decorations.  My cupcake didn’t make it through dinner.  Red Velvet…. YUM. Love it.

His & Hers become “Ours”.  Love it.

Rock, Paper, Scissors.  Scissors cuts paper and she got to say her vows first. All decisions in my house from now on are going to be made using this method.   It’s as simple and complicated as that. Love it.

So you take a bottle of wine and nail the boxed closed with letters to eachother inside.  If either of you is at the end of your rope, you open the box, pour the wine and read the letters.  I think a good way to signal that someone is in the doghouse would be to go ahead and put the box in the fridge…. as a warning or maybe a white flag.  Either way that wine needs to be chilled before we even think about opening it.  Love it.

P.S.  I forgot to leave a wish for them and it would be this…. “I wish that you will never have to open that box.”

Forget the unity candle.  Let’s have wine and toast our family!!! Cheers!! Love it.

I’m not going to lie.  I sort of LOVE facebook (& Candy Crush so feel free to send me a life).  I thought it was so cute that they did this! Love it.

The ultimate selfie.  I don’t care where you are, nothing (NOTHING) beats this.  Best. Selfie. Ever. Love it.

Jared + Lauren Just Married | Terri Gillis Photography

Jared and Lauren tied the knot last weekend on a spectacular June day.  Light breeze, no humidity and 77 degrees….. Ahhhhhh….

I met with them last winter to discuss their big day and they brought along Jared’s brother, Caleb, who also has a passion for photography.  Caleb asked me a very specific question “How will you capture their personalities?’  I consider wedding photography to revolve around beauty and romance, not so much about “personalities”.  I want to deliver beautiful images to my clients that will tell the story of their wedding day and have images to convey the deep love that brought them to that day. However…. after shooting Jared & Lauren’s engagement session and getting a glimpse of their sparkling personalities I understood what Caleb was asking.  And the truth is, they are not capable of hiding their personalities!!  The unapologetically like to have fun/be fun.  It’s who they are;  you couldn’t hide it if you wanted to.  When I say fun I don’t mean obnoxious! They’re very sweet and caring and are just overflowing with some good old-fashioned JOY.  It’s been nothing but a delight getting to know them during this very special time in their life.

Congratulations Jared & Laured – I wish you a lifetime of joy!

Camelopardalids Meteor Shower May 24, 2014 | Terri Gillis Photography

Stepping out of my box last night  I decided to try and photograph the Camelopardalids Meteor shower.  This was about 11:45pm  and as you can see I have 2 little trails/tails  (not the HUNDREDS I was hoping for).   I set my alarm and got back up at 2, nothing more was happening and my husband got up at 3, still nothing.  I’m not sure if this was it or if we missed it?  If they were so slow that you couldn’t visibly see them??  I shot this with a 24 second exposure and I didn’t t see them until I viewed the image in camera. For me a  fun little discovery to say the least & I’ll take it.  It might not be the most impressive thing you’ve ever seen, but was a fun thing to try.  It brings me to this scripture. … “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. James 4:14” .  Like these little comets/meteors (forgive me, I’m NOT an astronomer) how many moments do we miss when we are not completely focused? Things that we let go of or  get by us due to lack of time. We’re missing some big stuff people!!  Life is a vapor.  Can we be courageous, love deeply, forgive (again & again), seek joy, be content, cease striving and just relax once in a while? Don’t miss the vapor.

Family Photo Sessions| Terri Gillis Photography 2014 | West Michigan Family Photography

I photograph many family photo sessions every year and I deal with a lot of little people who are typically interested in getting their picture taken for the first 5 minutes of it.  After that the marathon begins….Me trying to engage them in any way I possibly can.   I have my standard tricks and these two were pretty easy. Just give them a chance to make silly faces and they erupt into uncontrolable laughter.  During this session there was dancing, there was a little singing (confesssion… I did not know the words to any of the songs from Frozen),  there was posing (Thank you Caroline for your assistance!!), there was a tour of their house,  there was candy, promises of rewards and shopping, a little tickling & lots of laughter.  Honestly, it was very fun!!

They are the typical family. They book their session with high hopes of having family photos to remember these precious days. The most important thing I can relay  is to just relax.  Sometimes having Mom and Dad walk into the other room is just enough to take the pressure off; that’s  when the magic begins.  Thankfully Jeffrey and Amy have trusted me with so many of the sweetest moments of their lives that they gladly let me have my fun with their kids.  A little time and a lot of patience is all that’s required to create images that will surely capture your heart. 

If a 4 year old wants to assist with posing her parents for a photo you just go with it.  Priceless!! 

I gave each of them the opportunity to pick their “pose”.  Keaton required his Cheetah and preferred not to smile.  Caroline put her hand on her hip and told me “Just tell me when you’re ready”…. Hahahahahaha…. I could hardly take it.  it was so cute!

Caroline offered MANY time to take my photo… “Just pass me your camera”… She settled for this photo with me.  {I might frame this in my office!}

The last image from our session…. so precious.

This and That| FREE To-Do List download| Terri Gillis Photography 2014

Confession!  I’m completely addicted to list-making.  I love my to-do lists…. Actually what I love crossing things OFF of the list.  I print mine off of my computer and add it to a 3 ring binder. (Yes. A 3 ring binder. On my kitchen counter AT ALL TIMES.) This is necessary when you’re managing the lives of 3 busy children and a business. My goal of this design was to make it manageable. I don’t allow myself to even write in more than what will fit.  Once it’s filled up, that’s it folks.  A little section for “Committment” for all of the dentist, orthodontist, dog groomer appointments that might otherwise be forgotton in the hustle and bustle…. and my favorite “Good Things.”.  This weeks Good things include: Sunshine, 40 degrees (that was a few days ago), Satellite Radio (I just found out my car has this free for 3 months and I.LOVE.IT.), Mamma Mia with my besties, Cocoa Pebbles (Hey. I’m honest. That’s all I have to say about that.), phone calls from friends, new babies being born and coming my way…. and my favorite….coffee.

I design all sorts of stuff including Christmas cards, birth announcments and albums.  I showed this to a girlfriend the other day and she loved it and said… “Where’d you find that, I want one!”…. So I thought it would be fun to share a freebie!

This = The stuff that needs to be done.  but more importantly THAT = Be joyful – Pray – Give Thanks.

Click HERE to get a free pdf printable of this file and ENJOY!!!