My husband, Jeff, and I started a “Leap Year Project” last year during an eight month stint in Washington DC. We decided to create a video every four years to document where our lives have taken us (in honor of Jeff’s leap year birthday). View the first video from 2013 (yes, we started a year late—leap year was in 2012. Better late than never!).
“My husband and I did extensive research on photographers in the Downstate Michigan area and after meeting with several different photographers, we ultimately chose Allie for several reasons. The first was, obviously, the quality of her photos– she sent us albums for us to look through and we were thoroughly impressed. The second reason was her easygoing and cheerful personality– it is obvious that she loves what she does and she made us feel very comfortable.
Allie did our engagement photos last August and they turned out beautifully! I really appreciated that she took the time to look at my Pinterest “Engagement Photo” board and she saved some of my pins to her phone so she had a better idea of what poses we were hoping to capture.
On our wedding day, Allie and her partner, Chris, were FANTASTIC! They made our friends and family feel completely at ease and they were so much fun! They were very accommodating and helped capture all of the special moments throughout the day. When our pictures came back, they truly took our breath away. The quality of Allie and Chris’s work was beyond words and we would hire Allie again in a heartbeat. Not only is she a phenomenal photographer, but she is also friendly and professional.”
“I wanted to send a big THANK YOU for capturing our day so beautifully!! I can’t believe how amazing our photos turned out. We’ve shared them with close family so far and everyone has been blown away! In my totally unbiased opinion, our wedding belongs on Style Me Pretty, haha I can’t wait to order prints!”
“Holy Crap! Allie is awesome. We have so many beautiful pictures, we can’t even decide which ones to put up on the wall or in our photo album. And that’s a good thing. Allie captured so many candid moments, in which I didn’t even know she or her assistant were shooting, that after I saw all the pictures I was overwhelmed by all the amazing memories from the day. She’s fun. She’s personable. And most of all, she’s creative. She gets the good shots, without making you feel like she’s posing you like a mannequin. She also set up a super fun photo booth, using our barn wall as the backdrop and our guests had so much fun (so did we!). Some people wait 6 months to see their wedding pictures. We got to see a teaser of them, plus all the photo booth pics in just 2 weeks. And the disk of ALL the high-res pics arrived last week, 1.5 months after the wedding!! Plus, they were in an adorable package with some of our favorite pictures on the fronts of the CDs. Allie puts so much care into each and every photo and it shows. I can’t wait to hire her again when it’s time for holiday photos (or baby pics)!”
“My husband and I got married in East Lansing in October of 2012. We were planning the wedding from Texas and found it difficult to find vendors in East Lansing while being so far away. I luckily ran across Allie and her work in a quick google search. Having to make decisions from far away and without much research, we lucked out big time with Allie.
Allie was a calming influence for me during the planning process. She took our input to heart and also offered great advice not only on photography, but the planning of the day as a whole. I felt comfortable with her right away. The day of the wedding, I didn’t even have to think about photographs – Allie and her other photographer handled it all which was such a stress relief for me. She was also able to wrangle our crazy families and friends! It was one less thing I had to think about. She captured some of the most special moments of the day (and my life) that I will cherish forever. Even just thinking about some of the photos makes me tear up and smile. I would highly recommend Allie to any other bride. She was a large part of what made our day and memories so special.”
“Allie was so much fun to work with. She did a great job of getting a good mix of staged and candid photos and was never pushy about doing anything we didn’t want to do. Her photos are absolutely beautiful and you can tell she genuinely enjoys being there. Allie followed the bridal party all day and it was almost like she was just another person in the bridal party – never at all uncomfortable. We also paid for her to bring a second photographer that day which I would recommend. While Allie was with us, he was elsewhere getting photos of family and friends that would otherwise be left out. I would recommend Allie to everyone in the area!!”
“I feel like I got work whose value is worth several times what I paid. Leading up to the wedding, Allie was prompt in all communication, friendly, and helpful. Allie did a fantastic job photographing our garden wedding! Due to living across the country, we were unable to meet her before the wedding, but she was able to make us feel immediately at ease. Her work style is inconspicuous, and the resulting product was beautiful! Neither myself nor my husband is very photogenic, but Allie was able to capture us naturally, and the result was a set of photos that we will treasure forever and that has received many compliments.”
Questions? Start here.
Where are you based? Will you travel?
I’m based in East Lansing, Michigan (largely serving Michigan, with a few trips to Chicago each year), but I’m open to traveling anywhere in the world. I have experience with destination weddings, both as a photographer and as a destination wedding bride myself.
What are your specialties?
I focus on a limited number of weddings and couple sessions each year. I also photograph families, and I began studying newborn photography in 2014.
Describe your style.
My work has been described as “fresh, upbeat, beautiful, and modern.” With every session, I mix candid photographs with light direction to make you feel comfortable and look your best—and I love to capture the sentimental details.
We love your photography portfolio—can you tell us what makes you stand out?
I spent a summer apprenticing under a photographer in Chicago with 25 years of wedding and editorial photography under his belt. Through this experience, I grew by leaps and bounds—learning the ins and outs of everything from technical off camera lighting to running a tight ship during fast-paced weddings.
I also studied the “Beloved” photography approach from Jesh de Rox last year, and it has made a huge difference in how I approach couples during their sessions to get real expressions and interactions in my photography. To learn more about my experience and philosophy, check out this fun little video.
Do you have liability insurance?
Absolutely. I’m insured through State Farm.
What if it rains on the day of my shoot?
If it rains on your wedding day, we’ll make it work – I’ll have my full lighting gear to shoot inside. If it looks like rain during a scheduled lifestyle or engagement shoot, be prepared to reschedule for another day.
Do you have backup equipment?
Yes (see my gear list below).
This all sounds so wonderful, but it also sounds like it could be expensive. Will we be able to afford this?
You’re welcome to put together a payment plan to make the collection work for you. I can also set up a wedding photography registry to let your guests’ gifts go toward your wedding day coverage.
Who do you work best with?
I work best with couples who are looking for a partnership to make their wedding day run smoothly. Photography becomes such an important part of your wedding day schedule, and I want to help you make sure it’s stress free for all of us. I have a guideline that will help you with your schedule (I’ve even helped couples put their entire wedding day schedules together), and I always love couples who will schedule in time to take photos during the most beautiful natural light of the day. It’s all about planning and working together (major bonus if you love dessert, but not a deal breaker).
This sounds like everything we’re looking for. What happens next to start this process?
Contact me to view a la carte pricing and available appointments. We’ll meet in person, on the phone or on Skype to talk about your day and see if we’re a right fit to work together.
More About Me
I moved back to East Lansing, Michigan, with my husband, Jeff, in 2011 after four years living in Chicago (we met as students in the digital media arts & tech lab at Michigan State).
I was married in the Riviera Maya on November 12, 2010, and I’m now fully aware of the excited anticipation that comes with waiting for wedding photos to come in (and I’m eager to lend guidance to new brides-to-be!).
I adore the creativity and challenges I encounter with photography—it’s truly a blend of art and science.
When I’m not hanging out with brides and grooms, you’ll find me hanging out with my daughter, Zelda, and my husband, Jeff, remodeling our 1970s home in East Lansing, writing the occasional article for Forbes, taking trapeze lessons and sampling every amazing dessert possible.
I’d love to hear from you. Find me on Twitter, send me a line through my contact page or give me a call (517-285-9776) to set up an appointment. You can also follow Allie Siarto Photography updates on Facebook.
I’ve had a lot of people ask what kind of equipment I’m using. Here’s a peek inside my bag (believe it or not, I’m able to carry everything that I take to weddings on my own in two bags):
- Nikon D750
- Nikon D700
- Nikon D90 (just in case)
- Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 (first lens I ever bought—this is a great starting point if you’re just learning the art and science of photography)
- Nikkor 60mm f/2.8G Macro
- Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
- Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 ED VR
- Variety of flashes and pocket wizards
- AlienBee and soft box
- Harbor Digital Design Bounce Diffuser
- Aurora Mini/Max 6.0 x 8.0″ BHB Soft Box
- A few umbrellas
- 12 foot light stand/umbrella (don’t forget the hot shoe adapter)
- 42″ Zip Disk with reversible cover (translucent, silver and gold)
- Sekonic Light Meter
- Drop it Modern Support System
- Drop it Modern Wonderland Backdrop
- Drop it Modern Vintage Backdrop
- Botero Collapsible Background
- ExpoDisc (LOVE)
- Crumpler “5 Million Dollar Home” bag (perfect for my lenses and two cameras)
- Kata LS-54 Light Stand Bag (plus a nice big side pocket for extras)
- Wireless remote
- Calumet Carbon Fiber Tripod
- Lots of batteries (Eneloop rechargeable)
- Cliff bars for when I’m on the run
Other fun things I recommend to other photographers
- Whitespace blogsites and blogging templates (a personal project—also check out the weekly podcast that I produce for photographers)
- Totally Rad Actions
- EchoSign for contracts (life changer)
- Millie Holloman’s Get it Together Kit
- Lauren Clark’s Uno (hooray for better workflow!)