wedding

John and Danielle | Amway Grand Plaza Wedding

John and Danielle were married in Grand Rapids last month.  They started their perfect day with getting ready at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.   Danielle and the girls had a suite in the old Pantlind side of the hotel to get ready in, while John and the guys were in the Tower side of the hotel.  Danielle and the girls had their hair and makeup done by the Amway Salon and Spa.  We had a few minutes before we left for the church to photograph a few portraits in the hotel.   The photography inside the Amway is always beautiful!

Amway Grand Plaza Wedding

The ceremony was at the Basilica of Saint Adelbert in Grand Rapids.  I love to take pictures inside old churches!  The sanctuary was absolutely gorgeous!  Anna had a special meeting in the courtyard before the ceremony with her dad, to see her before she walked down the isle.  It was very touching!  I think John was a little choked up when he saw Danielle walk down the isle in her wedding dress!

Basilica of Saint Adelbert Wedding

It had been raining on and off all day, and during the ceremony.  Right after the ceremony the rain cleared up just in time for us!   John and Danielle rented a horse and carriage to ferry them around downtown Grand Rapids, while we stopped to take portraits of the wedding party and bride and groom.  We stopped at some downtown favorite places, which included the Gerrald Ford Museum, and the Blue Bridge.

Grand Rapids Wedding Photography

We then headed back to the Amway Grand Plaza hotel for the reception in the imperial ballroom.  The night was perfect with a wonderful dinner, dancing, and ended with some twilight pictures of John and Danielle lighting and releasing a paper lantern.  If you would like to see more pictures of John and Danielle’s Grand Rapids wedding at the Amway Grand Plaza, make sure you check the slideshow here!

Amway Grand Plaza Wedding

Dan and Courtney | Michigan Wedding Photography

Dan and Courtney had a beautiful wedding at The Homestead in Glen Arbor, Michigan.  They had friends and family from all over come to their destination, and celebrate with them!  We started the day in the resort salon, and then had an outdoor wedding at Camp Firefly followed by the reception indoors at Camp Firefly.  We were able to sneak away from the reception for a few minutes, to go to the lakeshore and do some portraits with the beautiful sunset! It was a beautiful sunset!  Thank you to Dan and Courtney for allowing me to be part of their special day!  If you want to see more pictures from Dan and Courtney’s wedding day, make sure to check out the slideshow here.

Michigan Wedding Photographer Michigan Wedding Photographer

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!

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Matthew + Hannah! | Holland Wedding Photography

Matthew and Hannah were married in Holland, Michigan last month at Calvary on 8th Street Church.  What a perfect day we had.  Matthew and Hannah chose not to see each other before the ceremony. They decided to stand one on each side of a door, and share a letter with each other.  It was perfect.  Matthew got little emotional when he saw Hannah for the first time that day walking down the isle!  After the ceremony we headed over to Laketown Golf and Conference Center for the reception.  Hannah and her mom spent so much time on the details, and they were fabulous!  Make sure you check out the slideshow here to see more!

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Brittany + Tyler! | Grand Rapids Wedding Photography

Brittany and Tyler had their Grand Rapids Wedding at East Congregational Church.  Brittany started the morning by getting ready at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.  They weren’t going to let the rain get in the way of their special day!  It rained all day.  We were able to get into the courtyard for about 10 minutes without rain after the ceremony.  🙂  We had a great day even despite the weather!  After the ceremony, we headed to Watermark Country Club to finish the celebration for the evening!  Make sure to watch their slideshow here!

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Dustin and Stephanie | Grand Rapids Outdoor Wedding

Dustin and Stephanie had their outdoor wedding in Grand Rapids last month.  Graceful Country Club made a beautiful backdrop for their golf course ceremony.  The started the day with a “first look” at an orchard, and continued with pictures at the golf course.  It rained on and off all day, and Stephanie wouldn’t let that ruin her day!  The ceremony was postponed as we waited for the rain to pass, and it did.  So, she was able to have that beautiful outdoor ceremony overlooking the golf course that she dreamed of!  The decorations were out of this world beautiful, with the help of Michelle from Red Heels Events.  If you want to check out more pictures, watch the slideshow here!

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Ian + Jessica! | Grand Rapids Wedding Photography

Woo Hoo!  Our wedding season started out with a bang last month with Jessica and Ian’s wedding in Grand Rapids!  Kuyper College was a perfect setting for their ceremony, and the reception couldn’t have been better than the Watermark Country Club!  It was a great day full of sunshine, love, laughs, and friends.  We photographed Jessica’s sister 2 years ago, so it was great reuniting with old friends!  Make sure you check out the slideshow here!

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Why You Should Hire a Professional to Photograph Your Wedding Day!

Hooray… you’re getting married! Whether you are the bride or groom, we are thrilled, and so happy that photography is important to you! Of all the things in life you can capture by freezing a moment of time in a stunning image, your wedding day is one of the most important, and that’s why you should hire a professional to photograph your wedding day! All the details of the wedding are important, but the photographs are the only thing (other than maybe the dress) that you’ll keep forever!

Only a professional has the necessary lighting equipment to capture a moment like this!

Only a professional has the necessary lighting equipment to capture a moment like this!

We meet with lots of brides and grooms every year, and some come with lots of questions, and some walk in just planning to meet us and get a feel for our studio and style. If your wedding day photographs are important to you (and we think they should be!) then here’s a list of questions we really recommend you ask when deciding who to hire to capture the moments and details of your special day (assuming you are looking to hire a professional photographer, who is not only talented, but also qualified, experienced, and dependable).

A macro lens is necessary to get an awesome close up shot like this!

A macro lens is necessary to get an awesome close up shot like this!

Question 1) How long have you been in business? Do you have a registered photography business?  Are you Insured? Are you a Certified Professional Photographer? Do you belong to any Professional Photography group/associations?

*Every true professional photographer will own a legitimate business and be insured (but you can’t expect everyone calling themselves as “Pro” to actually be one, so these are important questions!) Certified Professional Photographers are rare (they are the creme-de la creme of Pros!)  You can find a Certified Professional Photographer in your area. Also the Professional Photographers of America and Professional Photographers of Michigan are both groups that only allow professionals to join.

The right angle can make or break an image!

The right angle can make or break an image!

Question 2) How many weddings have you photographed? Can I see samples of your work?

*An experienced professional should be able to show you a complete wedding (not just the best few shots from several different weddings). You should see actual printed albums too, not just digital files on a computer. Actual prints and wall portraits will show the quality, and if the images are sharp, in focus (not blurry or grainy) and well composed etc. It takes most photographers several years of experience (being a lead photographer) to be excellent at capturing and showcasing the entire wedding story with poise and ease. (The last thing you want is a stressed out photographer trying to run the show on your wedding day).

You can only get this shot when you have 2 or more photographers, one to hold the lighting equipment, and one to capture the moment in camera!

You can only get this shot when you have 2 or more photographers, one to hold the lighting equipment, and one to capture the moment in camera!

Question 3) ”How many photographers will actually photograph our wedding? Will you be our photographer, or do you contract that out? Will I meet the photographers before my wedding day? What do you do if you are sick, or in case of an emergency?

*We don’t know any professional photographers who photograph a wedding alone (nor should they!). A true professional will always have a “second shooter” or at least an assistant to help with equipment and lighting, etc. Also, some Pros’ are the “face” of their business, but they hire other photographers to work for them (so they can book more than one wedding on a day). We recommend that you hire a photographer who will personally photograph your wedding (which is what we do at Kari Douma Photography, you will always have Kari Douma there!) We suggest that you meet with the actual person who will be photographing your wedding day. Personality has a lot to do with how comfortable you are, and how the day will flow. Also, the photographer you hire should be able to have another professional friends to rely on in case of illness or an emergency. These are good things to ask ahead of time!

This is another image you’ll need off camera lighting for, so if you’re asking a photographer to create a moment like this (if you’re showing them a picture you found on Pinterest) make sure you’ve seen them photograph something similar. Not all photographers have the equipment necessary to create images like this!

This is another image you’ll need off camera lighting for, so if you’re asking a photographer to create a moment like this (if you’re showing them a picture you found on Pinterest) make sure you’ve seen them photograph something similar. Not all photographers have the equipment necessary to create images like this!

Question 4) Can you tell me what equipment you use, and what you have for backup in case of camera failure?  Do you back up files? (when & how).
*These are really important questions, and good indicators if they are truly a professional! You can ask about camera quality (a pro won’t be using an entry level DSLR).  A legitimate photographer will not be offended by your questions (they will probably appreciate your concern) and they would also NEVER agree to photograph a wedding with only one camera body. They should have a minimum of 2 camera bodies (most have 3-4+) and at least 3 lenses (more likely 5-10+). Cameras and lenses can fail, as well as memory cards. A professional will have back ups for everything.  You definitely want to know if/when/how they are backing up your wedding day images! Images should be downloaded and backed up immediately after the wedding (if not throughout the day).

West Michigan is a great place for a destination wedding with views like this of Lake Michigan

West Michigan is a great place for a destination wedding with views like this of Lake Michigan

Question 5) Will we go over the schedule of the day together? (Who sets the schedule?) How many hours of coverage will you provide? Will I see a certain number of proofs, and how will you show those to me? How long will it take for me to get my proofs?
*Great photographers will plan the schedule with you (and your wedding planner, if you’re using one, such as Michelle Torno from Red Heels Events, who we recommend. To make sure the day will flow well, they will go over the entire schedule with you in detail, hour by hour, a few weeks before the wedding. You should have a specific number of hours of coverage in your wedding contract. A professional will do basic editing of all the images they show you (white balance, color and b/w, cropping, etc) before presenting you the proofs. You should receive either a digital album, online image gallery, CD (or DVD), or printed proof book, to view your proofs within a reasonable time after your wedding. (Waiting months should be a red flag). The number of images will vary greatly from photographer to photographer. More is not always better! Some photographers don’t want to “cull” through the images (to take out the ones where the groom is blinking, or the Father of the Bride is not looking at the camera) so they just show you all of them, and let you spend hours trying to choose the best images. A true pro will select the best images and present them to you in an easy to view album or online gallery.

The schedule is important if you want to capture all the details of your wedding day! While the lead photographer is working with the the bride and groom after the ceremony, the second photographer can be at the reception making sure all the details (that you spent months planning) will be preserved forever.

The schedule is important if you want to capture all the details of your wedding day! While the lead photographer is working with the the bride and groom after the ceremony, the second photographer can be at the reception making sure all the details (that you spent months planning) will be preserved forever.

There are so many other things we could recommend (like making sure you hire a photographer who makes you feel relaxed, and someone you feel comfortable with) but if you focus on asking potential photographers these important questions during your interview, they will know you are serious about your wedding day images, and that’s great place to start! If you are planning a Michigan wedding, you’ll find “Pro” photographers are plentiful here! Due to their being so many (because there’s no degree or license required to practice photography) it can be a challenge to weed through them to find out which ones are truly qualified professionals. If you start with the links we included at the top of the article (to find a CPP, or PPA/PPM members) you will know you’re getting a highly qualified professional photographer!

Since digital DSLR cameras are now available and more affordable, there are a lot of people with “good cameras” calling themselves professional photographers. If you’re going to pay hard earned money to hire a professional, you should get professional quality images! You don’t want to mess around with an amateur photographing the most important day of your life! Pricing alone isn’t always an accurate indicator either. There’s a huge price variation for wedding photography, as you can find photographers from $1,000 all the way up to $10,000+. This can vary greatly based on hours of coverage, and many other factors, from a “shoot and burn” package, where you have a set number of hours and images on a CD, all the way up to complete 3 day weekend coverage (for a destination wedding) with high quality professional albums for the Bride and Groom and their parents. This is why we suggest meeting potential photographers in person to go over all these important factors, to make sure you’re getting everything you’re hoping and expecting. (Shopping for photographers online can be tricky, by just comparing prices posted on websites you can miss a lot of important details).

We are happy to share these tips with you, hopefully they will help you make an informed decision, so you can hire the best photographer that’s a perfect fit for you! If you are planning a Michigan wedding, feel free to contact us at 616-437-5603 or by email at kari@karidouma.com to find out if we have your wedding date available! We’d love to meet you at our Studio in beautiful Downtown Grandville (just 20 minutes from downtown Grand Rapids) where we have studio hours by appointment. We wish you all the best as you plan all the details for your once in a lifetime day!

~Jayne Wirebaugh
Kari Douma Photography (Copyright 2015)

Twilight at Crystal Mountain Resort

Twilight at Crystal Mountain Resort

Karl and Sara | Dearborn Wedding Photography

What a beautiful fall wedding Karl and Sara had in Dearborn!  I drove over from the west side of the state, where we were covered in snow.  But, on the east side of the state, the trees still had leaves, and they were beautiful!  The ceremony was at St. Michael’s in Livonia.  The reception was at the historic Dearborn Inn in Dearborn.  We started the morning with getting ready in one of the suites at the Dearborn Inn.  We then drove to Livonia for the ceremony.  The church had beautiful stained glass windows!  Then, we finished up the day back at the Dearborn Inn, where we photographed the wedding party, and had a wonderful meal and dancing at the reception!  Make sure you check out the slideshow to see more!

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Chad and Ara! | Muskegon Wedding Photography

Chad and Ara were married last month near Muskegon at Mona Shores Boating Club.  They chose a beautiful setting for their outdoor ceremony.  Even the rain was not going to dampen their love!  We had a small break in the ceremony to wait for a passing rain shower… but then the sky opened up for a spectacular sunset!  The decorations for the reception were stunning.  What a fun night for Chad and Ara! Make sure you check out their slideshow HERE. Muskegon Wedding Photography

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