All photos of me are by my lovely and talented friend, Stephanie Smith.
Hi there! I’m Allie. I started photographing portraits and weddings as a creative outlet in 2009 after taking classes at the Chicago Photography Center—a nonprofit led by professional photographers in the Chicago area. I officially started my business in 2010, moved back to East Lansing in 2011, and I’ve been lucky enough to meet some really neat people and travel to interesting destinations to shoot since then.
My husband, Jeff, and I started a “Leap Year Project” in 2013 during an eight month stint living in Washington DC. In honor of Jeff’s leap year birthday, we decided to create a video every four years to document where our lives have taken us . View the first video from 2013 (yes, we started a year late—leap year was in 2012. Better late than never!).
When I’m not behind my camera, you’ll find me renovating my 1970s house, enjoying life in a university town, walking to the farmers market with my family on a warm summer day, heading out on the lake on a stand up paddle board or sail boat, hanging out around the house with Jeff and my daughters, Zelda and Arden, traveling as much as possible and eating dessert on a daily basis. You can follow my adventures on Instagram.
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 photograph weddings, couples, families and seniors (both high school and college). Check out my portfolio and most recent client galleries to view featured work across these categories.
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 to focus on getting more natural reactions and interactions during sessions, and it has made a huge difference in how I approach couples during their sessions to get real expressions and interactions in my photography.
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 often help 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 set up an appointment. If I’m available for your wedding day, we’ll meet in person, on the phone or on Skype to talk about your day and see if we’re a 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.
I’d love to hear from you. Find me on Instagram, 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 (the first DSLR I ever bought—I just can’t seem to part with it)
- 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/light diffuser globe
- Harbor Digital Design Bounce Diffuser
- 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 rechargeable batteries
- Cliff bars for when I’m on the run
Other fun things I recommend to other photographers