Jen Kroll Photography

Master GradyJuly 2, 2015

posted in Film, Portraits, Wee Ones

This poor neglected blog.  I had good intentions for keeping it current.  But ya’ll.  There is so much noise in our world.  And to be quite honest, this little corner of the world didn’t demand too much of my attention.  Facebook announces its presence by pinging in the background.  Email pops up in the corner of my screen.  Phone calls, Instagram followers, magazine requests, album designs, thumb drive orders, photo editing, preset managing, 2nd photographer scheduling, timeline finessing, film researching, craft honing, and so many trips to the post office.  Sometimes I actually pick up my camera! 😉

But this little blog just waits patiently.  It waits for the story.  And sometimes I’m just too tired for words.  Surely, I’m not the only one who lives in this realm on occasion?

This is the year for being deliberate.

We are STILL fumbling through a messy adoption — 4 1/2 years strong — but we are beginning to get a glimpse of the end of the road.  And by end of the road, I mean that we can finally *almost* see the beginning of the cut and dry portion of the process.  We’re also approaching a large game changer.  Kindergarten.  And all the moms rejoice.  This was momentous for our boys.  It was.  But for someone who works from home AND is a parent of one remarkable, special needs little girl, this is life changing.  The past 4 1/2 years have been spent juggling therapy and doctor’s appointments, medical research on available options, surgeries and recoveries, education advocacy, IEP concerns, inclusive activities, trauma drama, insurance quirks, accessibility provisions, and nurturing a little heart that is so strong and brave and yet so fragile and terrified.  These things will not go away once she begins school.  BUT.  I will no longer need to be concerned about making or taking a phone call and diverting my attention from her for a single second when her world could and often comes crashing down.  Trauma drama is a real and nasty beast with far reaching claws and we are never more than a breath away from it.  Knowing she will be starting school in the fall with the same teaching staff who have so wonderfully cared for our boys offers so much reprieve from a level of uncertainty that has existed for the last several years.  And I will have a chance to breathe.  Less reaction and more proaction.

Even though this is my first post of the year, I already have enough photos prepped for SEVEN entries!  I’ve never felt more prepared to jump start this little engine.  First up is the littlest member of A Day In May Events , Master Grady.  After ringing in the New Year with some of our favorite people in our second home in Traverse City, January 1st brought the introduction to this charming little man.

Master Grady was welcomed with open arms although Holly seems a bit unsure about this whole baby business.

Melissa + Ross {newlyweds}August 19, 2014

posted in Film, Portraits, Weddings

At most weddings, I like to blow through a couple rolls of film for my own personal fulfillment as an artist.  So far no one has taken me up on my all film photography package, though I’m hopeful that 2015 will bring my first all film wedding!  It’s a whole different mindset than what most people in the Midwest are used to.  Many couples want EVERY moment documented which means we start shooting from the bridal preparation that morning and go through the final exit.  Who can blame them?  If I were planning a wedding now, I think I would gravitate towards that too.  Film on the other hand often means fewer photos and less hours.  All the major moments are documented but you might not have 6 different photos of your cousin on the dance floor.  There was a time when not EVERYTHING was captured.  We have 60 professional photos from our wedding day and a couple rolls of black and white film from our dear friend, John Pottenger, who now runs an incredible videography company.  We savor those photos.  Less than one hundred photos and don’t feel like anything was missed.

A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to document a most special backyard wedding.  Ross, the groom, wasn’t quite ready so Melissa and I went out and went through a roll of film, which is 16 frames.  It’s so good for me to slow down and think through every photo!  Normally the time crunches and the list of photos that need to be taken RIGHT NOW and the list of photos that need to be taken next in the following 1/2 hour are always on the back of my mind.  It has to be like that.  We are all working as a team, and the rest of the group is depending on me to get my job done quickly and with excellence so that they can also rise to the occasion.  I thrive in that situation.  And we are mentally, physically, and creatively ON for hours on end.  But backyard weddings have a sense of freedom, and even though a tornado siren brought the party inside at the end of the day, I soaked in every minute of it.

Precious Hearts {Film}July 16, 2014

posted in Film, Portraits, Wee Ones

A few years ago, I photographed a wedding in LA for a really remarkable couple.  That bride, Grace, now lives in Nashville and is starting a business that is quite frankly, brilliant.  I had the honor of recruiting and shooting some of our photography friends’ kids along with our own three kids for the images that will be used in her branding.  For fun, I blew through a few rolls of 120 film in addition to the digital work.  I love love love the mystery of shooting film, the confidence required to push the shutter at the perfect moment (since the $$ rack up quickly), and the anticipation of waiting for those film scans to come back.  It’s like Christmas.  EVERY TIME.  So much joy!

I look forward to sharing more about Grace’s new business venture, but for now — enjoy a handful of the film pieces!

Mitch + Emily {newlyweds}July 14, 2014

posted in Weddings

Another cloudless June day, another perfect wedding!  Emily and Mitch were married at Dimnent Chapel on Hope College‘s campus with the reception held at Cascade Hills Country Club.  They also had the best getaway car in the history of getaway cars.  Plenty of photos of the car (and the wedding) to follow.  As always, Jenn Ederer of Modern Day Floral knocked it out of the park for this wonderful couple and their sweet families.  We are so grateful to have played a role in capturing the laughter that surrounded such a special day.  To capture the movement and sounds of the day, Bradley Productions was on hand and were a true joy to work beside.  Definitely do not miss a glimpse of Gwyneth Paige Letterpress on the tabletops.. they are always a favorite.

Thank you Emily and Mitch for inviting us into your story.  It has been an absolutely joy getting to know you both!

Dress Reveal to the Bridesmaids!  Emily kept the dress a secret!

This man cave takes the cake.  Such a perfect spot for the guys to get ready. Oh yes.  But more on the getaway car in a moment.. Absolutely in love with this series of photos that Ryan captured as Emily and her dad were preparing to walk down the aisle. Perfection. I don’t ask bridal parties to jump.  It’s not my thing.  But, sometimes they jump and we shoot it.  And sometimes there are ninjas in the group.   Sunset light.. is absolutely the best.

Adam + Laura {newlyweds}June 30, 2014

posted in Weddings

Our first wedding of the season brought us down to the lovely village of St. Joseph on the coast of Lake Michigan. I first heard about Adam and Laura through our dear friend, John Pottenger, of Coastline Studios. Early on in their relationship, Laura told Adam that she wasn’t into jewelry. If and when the time came, she wanted to be proposed to with not a ring, but a saddle made by designer, Phil Harris. A saddle would be something that she would find useful as she knows a thing or two about winning world championship titles! Being the incredible man that Adam is, he began working with Phil Harris to create a saddle worthy of a promise. Last fall, he surprised Laura with a trip to Ecuador and a proposal of dreams. Really, you should watch it. Click HERE. {Jay, we might need a do over.}

Fast forward to a perfect day in early June, I had the honor of meeting Adam and Laura for the first time and documenting this intimate celebration. The ceremony was held at First Congregational Church with the reception at the newly opened Inn at Harbor Shores. The event was designed by the bride and groom along with their families . Mel Ball and Colours had the dance floor packed all evening.  Thank you for inviting us into your celebration! This is the look of a bride who just found out about a surprise toast by video from her sister who was not able to make it to the wedding.  Shortly after the wedding, Laura’s sister gave birth to a little girl!