Engagement and Wedding Photography by Kari Douma

Engagement and Wedding Photography by Kari Douma {Grand Rapids Wedding Photographer}

Engagement and Wedding Photography by Kari Douma

At Kari Douma Photography we love to photograph weddings! For the past decade, we have specialized in capturing the unique, once in a lifetime moments that make each wedding day special.

Whether you’re planning a destination wedding or a small intimate gathering. We have the expertise, equipment, experience, and artistic eye to to create stunning images you’ll treasure for a lifetime.

Every one of the photography collections we offer for your wedding day also includes a complimentary engagement session! We like to take the time to get to know you before your big day. We think it’s really important for all of us to have time to get to know each other.

Therefore, when we all gather on your special day, you won’t wonder what it will feel like to be on the other side of our camera lens. Plus, there’s the added benefit of gorgeous engagement portraits to display on your wedding day!

We also love to recommend some of our favorite wedding venues!  If you’re planning a Northern Michigan destination wedding, you can’t go wrong with the stunning views at The Homestead, Crystal Mountain, Shanty Creek or Mackinac Island.

We have sample albums in our studio if you would like to see some of the weddings we’ve photographed at these and other destination locations.

Right here in the Grand Rapids, you can’t beat the Amway Grand Plaza, JW Marriott, or McKay Tower. (Spectacular venues close to home!) One of our favorites on the east side of the state is The Dearborn Inn (across from Greenfield Village, Henry Ford Museum).

No matter where you are planning your wedding. We would love to meet you to hear all about the plans. We’re always happy to recommend other trusted vendors and give referrals.

Contact Kari to set up a complimentary wedding consolation at our Studio in Downtown Grandville. We look forward to meeting you and hope to be part of your once in a lifetime day!

Engagement and Wedding Photography by Kari Douma

Oh Baby! Newborn Sessions by Kari Douma Photography!

Oh Baby! Newborn Sessions by Kari Douma Photography!
Oh Baby! Newborn Sessions by Kari Douma Photography!

Oh how we love babies at Kari Douma Photography! We have raised multiple babies (of our own) and photographed countless newborns over the past two decades, so we know a thing or two about photographing tiny people.

Located in Downtown Grandville, our studio specializes in getting tiny babies snuggled in just right (but we’re not sharing those secrets here!) Pretty soon they’re breathing those restful deep breaths that let us create these peaceful sleeping baby images.

We’ve been photographing the family pictured above since mom and dad were married 8 years ago at Dimnent Chapel (on the campus of Hope College).

These sweet big sisters absolutely adore their baby brothers, and we couldn’t be happier for them! It’s a joy and honor for us to create beautiful images to proudly displayed on walls for years to come.

At Kari Douma Photography, we realize the images we capture will become treasured keepsakes when these babies grow up. (Faster than mom and dad can imagine!)  That’s why we work hard to create the time and space for you to enjoy a peaceful experience.

At KDP, it’s our goal to ensure both you and your baby will be able to relax and enjoy the photography session. By allowing plenty of time, we create a calm, peaceful environment. It’s our desire to make you feel right at home.

Last month we photographed the pretty in pink, sweet newborn girl (pictured below) at our studio. Whether it’s a hot, humid summer day… or freezing Michigan winter blizzard, the weather inside our studio is always perfect. Sweltering sunshine, or gloomy blustery weather outside won’t affect our cheerful, peaceful studio space. It’s perfect every day of the year!

We have several options to capture precious images of your newborn. You can choose a full service 2 hour newborn session, or sign up for our Bebe Premier Plan (which includes 4 sessions to document baby’s first year) with extra perks and bonus gifts. Either way, we would love to meet your new bundle of joy! Call Kari to find out more: 616-437-5603

Oh Baby! Newborn Sessions by Kari Douma Photography!

St. Nicholas – Amway Grand Plaza Wedding

Rick and Lexy started their day at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel by getting ready in their suites.  It was picture perfect for their wedding day!   The sun was shining, and love was abound.  They were surrounded by friends and family as they prepared for one of the most of the important days of their lives.  Excitement filled the air while make up was applied and hair was styled. Rick and Lexy exchanged gifts (by way of family members delivering them to each other.)  After taking a few pictures in the hotel lobby, we finally headed over to the church.

Amway Grand Plaza Wedding

Rick and Lexy exchanged their vows in the beautiful St. Nicholas Antoichian Orthodox Church in Grand Rapids.  Lexi’s brother had the honor of walking her down the isle, to give her to Rick to be his wife.  The ceremony was filled with tradition and beauty as Rick and Lexy became husband and wife!

St. Nicholas Wedding Grand Rapids

After the ceremony we got on the limo bus and headed to downtown Grand Rapids.  We stopped at the infamous “Blue Bridge” for some fun relaxed wedding pictures in addition to one more stop.   The wedding party was full of smiles and fun as they celebrated with Rick and Lexy and therefore the pictures reflect that!

Blue Bridge Wedding PicturesDowntown Wedding pictures

We made it back to the Amway Grand Plaza just in time for Rick and Lexy to have their reveal of their reception room.  It was absolutely stunning and also breathtaking. Every detail was perfect. Rick’s mom did a fabulous job planning all the details.  In addition to a great dinner, there were plenty of catered treats!  Finally, they danced their hearts out as the band played into the night.

Amway Grand Plaza Wedding

If you want to see more pictures from Rick and Lexy’s wedding day, make sure you check out the slideshow here!

Western Michigan University Wedding

Kanley Chapel was the perfect location for Jake and Elizabeth’s Western Michigan University wedding.  The chapel was the same location that Elizabeth’s parents were married years ago.

The weather this fall has been absolutely beautiful. Jake and Elizabeth’s wedding day was no different.  With sunshine in the sky, a pleasant breeze filled the air.

After the wedding party put the finishing touches on their preparations, we started out with a few wedding party portraits before the ceremony.  Jake and Elizabeth’s family and friends watched them say I do and then we finished up the family portraits.  We spent a little time on Western Michigan University’s campus before we headed into Kalamazoo for the reception at Niko’s Landing.

Niko’s landing is located right on the Kalamazoo river.  After the wedding party arrived, we were able to take more pictures down by the river.  (Avoiding the goose poo was not an easy task!)

While the guests enjoyed cocktail hour, Jake and Elizabeth spent some time creating beautiful wedding portraits that will become their cherished heirlooms.  With the sun lower in the sky, the lighting was gorgeous for their bridal portraits.  We took a little walk that lead to another opening of the river.  This walkway was one of my favorite places of the afternoon to photograph them!

After spending time with bride and groom portraits, we headed inside to continue the wedding night festivities.  The dinner that Niko’s landing prepared was fabulous.  Jake and Elizabeth shared their first dance, and then the parents had their chance at the dance with their children.

We were able to slip outside at the twilight hour to get one more portrait along the river.  Twilight hour is my favorite time of night.  It is the time of night when the sun is gone, before the sky goes black.  The sky appears as a deep blue.  It makes for a beautiful color sky in the portrait.

Make sure to congratulate Jake and Elizabeth then make sure to watch their slideshow here!

Western Michigan University Wedding Western Michigan University Wedding Western Michigan University Wedding Nikos Landing Wedding Nikos Landing reception

Laketown Golf and Conference Center Wedding

Jon and Laura had a gorgeous sunny day for their outdoor fall wedding at Laketown Golf and Conference Center last month!  In Michigan it can be a little brave to hold and outdoor wedding, but that didn’t deter Jon and Laura from planning their outdoor ceremony!  In the past we have had outdoor weddings that ranged from 40 degrees to 98 degrees.  I don’t know what the actual temperature was, but it didn’t seem too hot or too cold!
Laura started her day at her parents home in Holland with hair and makeup.  Laura and her bridesmaids enjoyed spending time together getting ready as Jon went out to lunch with his groomsmen.  After they both arrived at Laketown and finished their preparations, they had a special first meeting outdoors near the golf course.

The sun was shinning, the temperature was perfect for an outdoor fall day, and love was in the air.  After the first meeting, we spent some time photographing the bride and groom, wedding party, and family.
The ceremony couldn’t have been more perfect.  The sun getting low in the sky as they celebrated the Lord’s supper with their children for the first time as a family during the wedding ceremony. It was a touching show of their dedication to Jesus and their family.  They also showed a little fun for their sporting interests… with a little Ohio State and Michigan rival reference.  Agree to disagree with this divided house of loyalties!

After the ceremony we all headed inside Laketown Golf and Conference Center for the evening celebrations.  The food was wonderful.  The music and dancing was spectacular.  Jon and Laura danced the night away.

It was an honor and a privilege to be able to share with Jon and Laura on their wedding day.  We captured some amazing pictures!  If you would like to see more of them, make sure you watch their slide show here.  Congratulations to Jon and Laura and to their families as you start your new life together!

Laketown Golf and Conference Center Wedding Laketown Golf and Conference Center Wedding Laketown Golf and Conference Center Wedding Laketown Golf and Conference Center Wedding

Grand Rapids area Wedding

Mike and Fiona had their Grand Rapids area wedding at Saint Sebastian Church in Byron Center.  It was a beautiful sunny day for all their friends and family to gather together and witness the marriage.  It also brought family together from all over the globe!  Fiona and her parents are from Germany, and used to live in GA.  Her parents now live in California.    They had relatives attend the wedding from Germany and most of the wedding party was from GA!   After the ceremony, we spent a little time doing some family pictures in the sanctuary and then spent some time doing beautiful portraits in the old historic church on the property.

We then loaded up in the limo they had rented, and  headed to the covered bridge in Ada.  That is a fun place to take a wedding party…. we created some great pictures outside and also inside the covered bridge.  It was a busy day at the Leonard Park!  After spending some time at the park, we finished up with some portraits at Sunnybrook Country club.

The reception was perfect at Sunnybrook County Club in Grandville.  Good food and drink, good friends and family, and some music always make for a great night.  Congratulations to Mike and Fiona, as they start their new life together as husband and wife.  If you would like to see more pictures, watch the slideshow here, then wish Mike and Fiona blessings in their new life!

St. Sebastian Church Wedding Wedding Ada Covered Bridge Sunny brook Country Club wedding Sunny brook Country Club wedding

Grand Rapids Senior Sessions: Downtown, Beach & more!

It’s senior season for Grand Rapids area seniors at Kari Douma Photography… Grand Rapids Senior Sessions: Downtown, Beach & more!

Somehow summer always seems to fly by, and before you know it, it’s August and we’re counting down the days until school starts (and for all you seniors, that means your LAST – FIRST DAY of school)! We want to make sure you have a great experience for your senior portraits, so our senior sessions start with a planning meeting at our Studio in Downtown Grandville. We look forward to meeting all our new seniors a few weeks before their session, so we can spend time chatting about location, clothing options, and fun details like what sports, hobbies or activities we’re going to incorporate into your custom session. We like to get to know you before we start snapping photos, so that way when you come back for your session, we already know all the details of exactly what you’re hoping for, and we can spend your session time creating fun and exciting images!


We have a wide range of session options for you… from a quick 30 minute studio session for the senior who knows exactly what they are looking for (which is not lots of locations and outfit changes) to our Ultimate Senior session (which is 3 hours of unlimited locations and outfit changes). For those Seniors who don’t fall in the quick category, or the “I’ve been waiting for this for years, so we are going all out” category, we have the Just About Right session and Indoor/Outdoor session options too. Our goal is to create the perfect photography session that will give each senior the look they’re hoping for, and capturing their unique style and personality, all while having a great time!



Whether you’re thinking of a session at our studio, a local park, downtown Grand Rapids, a local beach along the lakeshore (or anywhere in between) we are confident that we can create a session experience for your senior portraits that will be everything you’re hoping for!

Welcome to Kari Douma Photography!

Kari and Jayne

Welcome to Kari Douma Photography
If you are just finding our website and blog, we’re happy you’re here! It’s been awhile since we’ve introduced ourselves here on the blog, so we’d like to take a few minutes to tell you who we are and how we choose the profession of Photography! 

Kari’s passion for photography grew from a love of capturing the fleeting moments of her four children growing up, and has since grown into an exciting and successful career! She decided to launch Kari Douma Photography out of her home based studio over 12 years ago, and since then the business has continued to grow! In 2009 she decided to move the studio out of her home, into a professional studio with more space, located in Downtown Grandville, Michigan. We’re located just 7 miles west of Grand Rapids, which is famous for gathering artists from around the world for the annual Art Prize competition, and also known as Beer City for it’s famous Founders Brewing micro-brewery (among many others). West Michigan is also home to the largest freshwater lakes in the world, the Great Lakes… the beautiful, sandy beaches of Lake Michigan are only 20 miles from our studio!

After moving to the new studio, Kari also hired an employee. Kari mentored multiple interns over the years, and in 2009 she decided to hire Jayne (after she completed her one year internship with KDP). Jayne graduated with a minor in Photography from Central Michigan University, and after years of always being the “unofficial photographer” for every family event, she decided to further her education to become a professional photographer (and has felt blessed to work with Kari ever since)! We really enjoy photographing weddings together (people always ask if we’re sisters) and love meeting with new clients to create the custom photography experience and beautiful portraits each one is hoping for!

Over the past decade Kari’s passion for learning and striving for excellence has taken her all over the country learning from the top photographers in the world! She earned her Master of Photography degree in 2012, and her Craftsman’s Degree in 2014. Kari has used her vast knowledge and unique skill to create award winning images that have earned her accolades too numerous to mention (in the categories of portrait, wedding, landscape and commercial). A few of her most recent awards are the ASP District Elite Award (covering 12 U.S. states and 4 Canadian provinces) as well as being named Michigan Photographer of the Year (2016) as well as Photographer of the Year (2012-2016) by the Professional Photographers of West Michigan. She has also earned many national awards and honors over the years. Kari absolutely loves to compete in Print Competition, and that passion shows through in the portraits she creates for clients also!

More than any award, at Kari Douma Photography we just love people! Part of the reason Kari has earned so much national recognition is due to the amazing clients we have been blessed to photograph over the years! The weddings, newborns, children, families, and seniors we photograph become dear friends, people we grow to love over the years! We can’t explain the joy we feel when a family we’ve photographed for years sends their child off to college with the portraits we’ve created displaying their story along the walls of their home. We’re thrilled when we’re asked to to photograph the wedding a few years later, and then beyond excited to meet and capture the amazing details when they welcome their first baby into the world. There are no words for how abundantly blessed we feel when each family chooses us to record all those precious memories over the years, and we love creating those priceless images that will be cherished for generations to come.

We absolutely love what we do, and we can’t wait to meet you! Please don’t hesitate to call or email Kari to set up a time to meet with us at our Studio… we look forward to getting to know you, and anticipate creating a beautiful photojournalistic story to tell your family’s journey too. You can reach us at our Studio by appointment: 616-437-5603 or email Kari at .


Trevor and Jamie! | Grand Rapids Wedding Photography

What a fun day for Jamie and Trevor’s wedding!  They were married a couple weeks ago in Grand Rapids. I love it when I get to know my clients.  I photographed Jamie’s senior portraits, as well as her two sisters senior portraits.  And, we photographed Jamie’s older sister’s wedding 2 years ago. On Trevor and Jamie’s wedding day,  we started by getting ready and doing some of their wedding portraits at The Cheney Place.  We then headed to a barn for some rustic country images.  We wanted a few in the woods, but the mosquitoes were just too much to bear, and we had to bail out on the woods.  So, we stuck to just the barn.  After the portraits at the barn, we headed to Messiah Christian Reformed Church for the ceremony, then back to the Cheney Place for the reception.  What a wonderful day!  Make sure you watch their slideshow here!

Grand Rapids Wedding Photography Grand Rapids Wedding Photography Grand Rapids Wedding Photography

Finding the Best Photographer for Your Family!

Holland Beach Family Photography

Finding the best photographer for your family can be a bit overwhelming… like choosing a pediatrician, or dentist, you want to find a professional who is experienced, friendly, and someone you look forward to seeing (ok, maybe comparing it to the dentist wasn’t the best idea)! It can be overwhelming to take that first step to finding the perfect photographer to create those beautiful images of your family that you will cherish forever. Now, also like the dentist, some people may put off having family portraits taken… you may be waiting for something to be “just perfect” (to lose that 5 lbs, for teenager to get their braces off, etc.) but here’s a tip, it will never be the exact “perfect” time (you can always find an excuse to wait) but you will want to remember your family just the way they are, even if you don’t think so today! To quote Nike, “Just do it!” We promise, when your kids are grown, you will never look back and wish you hadn’t had those photos taken! (We know from experience). So, we’ve put together a list of tips to help you find the right photographer for your family…


1)The Search:

You can easily look at social media sites and your friends homes (virtual walls and actual walls). Almost everyone knows a photographer these days, so begin by looking at your friends professional portraits (either in their home or online) and maybe you’ll find one with a style that fits you and your family. You’ll want portrait art that’s going to look great on your walls, and fits your home decor. Maybe the latest trend in photography isn’t your thing, so look around and find a photographer with a style that speaks to you. You can make notes of images (what you like about them) is the light pleasing, is the image well composed (do you like the crops and edits) does the photographer capture the uniqueness of the family through their images? Check out the photographers website and see if they have complete galleries displayed, or just one or two images from many sessions? You should be able to see an entire session somewhere (either on their website, blog, or social media) posting multiple images from a family session, or a slideshow of a complete session. (Tip: If the photographer doesn’t have a website, be cautious, they may not be running a legitimate business if they only have a social media page or blog).

2)Their Style/Your Style:

Professional photographers generally have a specific style you will see throughout their work, while others change with the trends (or with the clients who hire them). We recommend you look for a photographer whose professional work consistently showcases the style you’re looking for. You’ll also want a professional who’s experienced and comfortable photographing a family, whether it’s just a family of four, or parents with grown kids and dogs, or a large extended family group. (Not all photographers know how to work with large groups). A true professional will know how to instruct their clients to stand/sit in a manner that is flattering, but as you’ll find, some may not. It’s usually obvious by how pleasing the lighting and posing is in the final portrait (trust us, proper lighting and posing make a huge difference!) If you want a beach session, find a photographer who has photographed families at the beach at the right time of the day (for the best light) or with amazing sunsets if that’s the look you’d like. (FYI, not all photographers have the necessary lighting equipment to do this!) Some “professionals” are just people who own a nice camera, and some are Certified Professional Photographers, true professionals that have spent years in training, and have years of experience creating beautiful photographic art.

3) Referrals:
You can ask for referrals from your friends. If you have a friend who has beautiful family portraits, ask them who they hired to photograph their family, and if they would recommend their photographer. Find out what the session was like… was it fun? (It should be!) How did the photographer interact with their children? Was the photographer friendly and outgoing, and were their children comfortable and at ease during the session? If you find a friend with beautiful portraits created by a photographer they love (and have been going to for years) that’s usually a good indication that they are an experienced professional. We think you should not only love your portraits, but also enjoy the photography session experience!

Kari Douma Photography Studio Brothers

Most professional photographers will have a Studio, either in a professional/commercial space, or a private studio set up in their home. If you hire a professional with a studio space, we recommend you make an appointment to meet them, see their work in person, and get an overall feeling for their personality before your session. You’ll want to hire someone you get along with, who is friendly and fun. (We have become wonderful friends with many of the families we have photographed over the years!) Some studios will have only one photographer, while some have many, so that’s important to know before the session. We at Kari Douma Photography do a planning meeting with all new families before their session… we want to meet you in person and get to know your style and what you’re looking for before we photograph you. We give you tips about planning for your session, and clothing suggestions as well as session options and pricing information. If you decide to hire a photographer without a studio space, you may want to find out what the backup plans is in case of poor weather (or if you want to have a session when your baby turns one in December, then what?) Some photographers call themselves “natural light” photographers, which usually means they don’t have access to a studio (or they may not know how to use studio lighting). This is all good to know ahead of time, and information you should be able to find easily on a photographers website, or by calling and asking to set up a time to meet. With so many photographers out there, you should find one you LOVE, not just settle for the one with the best deal.

Grandville Studio Family Newborn Session

5) Options/Investment
Get all the necessary information before you hire a photographer. This can either be done in person at the studio (which is the best option, so you can talk face to face about details, and ask questions) or via email or over the phone. You should see everything in writing… if there’s a miscommunication somewhere you don’t want it to become a “you said ____ on the phone” disagreement. If overall cost is a deciding factor to you, you will want to know what your total investment will be before you start. Most professional photographers will not have their pricing information posted online, and for those that do, it’s best to clarify details in person. (Shopping online pricing can be deceiving as most photographers will have different standards for their sessions and portrait options). Some photographers may seem to be a great deal from the start, but end up being the most expensive in town after you finish ordering everything you wanted. Some may have very low up front fees (little or no session fee) with nothing “included”, while others may have higher up front fees (session that included print credit or digital files) so it’s best to ask those questions ahead of time. A professional will always provide session and pricing information in writing (either at their studio, or via email/PDF etc). If you find someone who seems much less expensive than all the other professionals you’ve found, you may want to ask yourself why. Do they have professional equipment? Do they have a licensed business (and pay taxes) as well as insurance? Are they booking numerous sessions each week (trying to get them all in during the fair weather months) and if so, will they devote the time necessary to to your family session? Will they provide you with proofs in a timely manner? A photographer who owns a professional studio should provide you personalized attention, and understand the time necessary (as well as their expenses involved) when setting up their sessions and portrait pricing. If you find a deal that seems too good to be true, it probably is!

6) Ask questions! These are some good questions to ask:
How long have you been in business? (Are you insured, etc)
Where is your studio located? Is it family friendly?
Do you regularly photograph families? (Large family groups, if necessary).
What’s included in the session (time, number of proofs)?
Are their different session options?
Is there an order/print credit included?
What are portrait prices/options?
Can I purchase digital images as well as prints? What are the options for poor weather (cancellations or rescheduling)?
What days/times do you schedule sessions? (Time of day is important!)
How long will it be between the session and when I’ll see the proofs?
Will I get to see the images in person at the studio, or will I only see them online?

Summer Beach Family Session

7) Relationship
We think the most important part of finding the right photographer, is building a relationship with a photographer you can trust with documenting the milestones of your family. If you find someone who creates beautiful portrait art for your family, you are going to want to go back to them over the years as your family grows. You’ll want a photographer who remembers you and your children (and knows you all by name). Someone your kids are excited to see when it’s time for a new family portrait! Your photographer is going to capture those precious moments between the people you love the most in this world, and they should be someone you can trust with that important task. We cherish the relationships we’ve built over the past 10 years with the families we’ve been trusted to photograph! It’s such an honor for us to be asked to photograph every wedding day (for siblings) of a large family. When they’re engaged, and we’re one of the first people they call, we feel so blessed to be able continue creating their photographic legacy! When we’re trusted to photograph each newborn baby as a family grows over the years, their families become like family to us. There’s nothing we love more than capturing those priceless moments and creating beautiful portrait art that will last for future generations. We think you should have a photographer who does that for you too!

Written By: Jayne Wirebaugh
Kari Douma Photography
Grandville, Michigan 49418



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