mike + janelle + baby

‘Tis the season for babies around here! (No, not for me… for my clients ;)) The past few winters it seems like my winter months have been filled with maternity and newborn sessions. It’s a welcome change of pace from the busy wedding season… plus, who doesn’t like to celebrate babies?? Today, I want to share with you some images of first-time parents and friends, Mike + Janelle!

Mike + Janelle briefly appeared on the blog last summer for their anniversary. We had a session celebrating their 2-year wedding anniversary… and, a baby announcement! In case you missed it, here’s a little peak…

Well, fast-forward about six-months and it was time for a maternity session! Mike + Janelle braved the wintery elements and headed to downtown Grand Rapids for their photos. We had blue skies and sunshine for just a couple hours that afternoon and it was perfect! Their little one is due next month and I can hardly wait to see these two be parents! If you ask me, I think they are going to be pretty great at it. I’ve watched them be an awesome aunt + uncle and now it’s their turn to be mommy + daddy! Yay! :)

Mike + Janelle, we are so excited for you and are honored to be a part of this amazing time in your lives. Can’t wait to meet your sweet babe SO soon!I’d dare say that Janelle is a glowing momma-to-be. You’re beautiful, Janelle!Oh, Mike. What a funny guy… ;)

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tina

What better way to watch the snow fall then to post some images from one of the hottest days in the July? Just looking at the sunlight in these pictures brought me warmth!

Blog, I’d like you to meet Tina. Tina is an artist, a musician and has mad style. This woman is a strong individual – full of life, depth and grace. Tina has walked through some tough battles, but she is a fighter, with an amazing soul. She is spunky, knows how to make you laugh and always has a fun time. And, she also happens to be a rad photographer, too!

This summer, we had the opportunity to spend a lot of time together – working, dreaming, and taking lots of photos. She might tell you she was trying to learn from me, but really, I found myself learning from her. Tina motivated me, encouraged me and taught me to see beauty and life in new ways. I’m forever grateful for her role in my life as a fellow photographer and friend. I’m excited to see where her journey takes her in the coming years!

Tina, my friend, you are a blessing to me!
jenn anibal // lifestyle photographertina // photo by jenn anibaltina // photo by jenn anibaltina // photo by jenn anibaltina // photo by jenn anibaltina // photo by jenn anibaltina // photo by jenn anibaltina // photo by jenn anibaltina // photo by jenn anibal

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russ + courtney + baby

As a storyteller, I’ve come to understand that one of the best things you can do is celebrate the “ups” in life – truth and love, the good times and the hopeful moments. Cherishing happiness + joy makes it easier to process the bad… and we all know that life has it’s difficult times. I’m grateful that photography allows me to be able to be a part of so many amazing stories, because of the constant reminders to me that life is beautiful. And today, I have some more good to share with you. :)

I recently spent some time with Russ + Courtney in downtown Grand Rapids for a maternity session. Maternity sessions are not my most popular type of shoot, but I always love being able to hang out with soon-to-be parents! I’m honored that these two would allow me to commemorate this beautiful time as a family. Russ + Courtney’s personal journey to parenthood has not been easy – it’s been a path marked with difficulty and grief. But in just a couple weeks, they are anticipating the arrival of their son… and that is a wonderfully awesome, good thing to celebrate. Russ + Courtney, THANK-YOU for sharing your story with me and allowing me to capture this exciting time in your lives. Can’t wait to meet the little guy!!

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michael + trisha – troy, mi wedding

My last wedding of 2012 was spent celebrating Michael + Trisha! Yay!

I have come to really appreciate and enjoy my time with these two. The way Michael + Trisha care about each other and their family and friends is admirable. They respect each other, know how to make each other laugh and know how to love each other so well. Michael + Trisha so graciously invited me into their story and it has been an honor to share in it with them.

These two chose to enter their marriage amongst an intimate gathering of family and friends in southeast Michigan. The ceremony was held at North Hills CRC and dinner followed at The Iroquois Club. There was no snow for this December wedding, but we dodged the rain drops for portraits and stayed warm with a fire and hot cocoa at the reception. It was a perfect Christmas wedding and a wonderful way to cap off the 2012 season! Congratulations, Michael + Trisha!
Trisha, you were a gorgeous bride!Snuck this frame right before Trisha saw Michael for the first time that day. She was nervous, but excited to see her groom!

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the don’t give up project

This has been a long-time coming, and it’s hard to get it into words, but I want to share with you about 72 hours from last August, and how it is continuing to mold me…Approximately six months ago, I started an intentional journey. I got on a plane in Detroit (I actually missed my first flight by 2 minutes… worst feeling in the world), and headed west. The destination was Divide, Colorado, and I was heading to spend a few days in a large mountain lodge with about 20 strangers.

I didn’t know what to expect.
I didn’t know what to feel or
how to handle myself.
I felt inadequate and nervous, but
I knew,
within the depths of my soul,
that this trip was
necessary.

I was attending a workshop/retreat with the Parsons. Jeremy + Ashley are an awesomely fun, totally-in-love, photo-taking duo based out of Kansas City, MO. I have followed their work since 2008 and I am continually inspired not only by their photographs, but their life, in general. For the past few years, their work and their approach has taught me and affirmed in me that there is a different way to be a photographer. There’s a different way than just trying to be your own boss or take pretty pictures or have the best equipment or be the hippest + coolest artist. Their approach has taught me that it’s ok to care and to feel. It’s ok to adventure and it’s ok fight for good and for beauty. The past couple years, they’ve been inviting other photographers to journey with them… to discover a better story about themselves and about others.

So on August 7th, 2012, I met up with a handful of strangers at the Colorado Springs airport and hopped in a van to the mountains. This wasn’t a “how-to-shoot-like-us” workshop. This wasn’t a “tips and tricks” seminar or conference. This was a retreat… an experience. A time to get away, to reevaluate ourselves, and to connect with other photographers who have similar dreams and goals. We spent three days laughing, crying and encouraging each other. We read stories together and shared our hopes and our fears. We embraced whimsy, watched the sunrise and wandered through the aspen trees. We drank lots of coffee and ate the best food I have ever eaten. Oh, and we took a lot of pictures, too. :)

I learned a lot about myself in those three days and I gained a greater understanding for WHY I want to spend my time photographing individuals, weddings and life events. But, I’m continuing to figure it out. I’m still writing my own story and striving to be a better author of it every day. I’m grateful to be on this journey and to be able to share this crazy life with wonderful family, friends, and all the amazing individuals who invite ME into THEIR stories to photograph them.

Why am I telling you this? So maybe, you can better understand where I’m coming from as a photographer, as an artist. Or maybe, you can connect with these words and will invite me into your story. Or maybe, you’re a photographer and you feel like the Don’t Give Up Project was created for you. If so, you’re in luck, because my friends, Jer + Ash are traveling to the great lodge one more time this March. And maybe, just maybe, you’re meant to be there.
Jeff + Erica were there to videograph our days together. They put together a really lovely film that you can see by clicking here.The second afternoon, we followed Jeremy + Ashley as they photographed Jayden + CarolineThis is Stephanie. She has a heart of gold.On our last day, we woke up before the sun and ventured outside to photograph our amazing chefs for the week, Dave + Jessi.this is jeremy + ashley. just two people trying to live a good story and share it with others. so thankful for them.

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