All photos of me are by my lovely and talented friend, Stephanie Smith.
We can’t get these moments back, but we can always recapture the feelings they give us.
Hi there! I’m Allie. I used to work in marketing for giant global companies. It was fun for a while, and I learned to love coffee, but it didn’t feed my soul. Photography does.
I’m driven by emotions and connections. That’s why I focus on people and not landscapes. I don’t just want to capture a moment in time. I want to capture a feeling in time, and I want to give you a way to hold onto that feeling no matter what life throws at you. I want to photograph real people with real emotions—smiles, laughter, sentimental moments. This gives me so much more satisfaction than sitting in a high rise in Chicago and marketing canned meat (my actual first job out of college).
Who I am.
When I’m not behind my camera, you’ll find me wrangling my two tiny daughters (Zel is two, and Arden was just born at the end of 2015), documenting the renovation of 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, traveling as much as possible and eating dessert on a daily basis. You can follow my adventures on Instagram.
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! We’re filming the second edition later this year).
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’m a people photographer. I photograph weddings, couples, families, seniors (both high school and Michigan State seniors), head shots and editorial/marketing work. Check out my portfolio and most recent client galleries to view featured work across these categories.
Who do you work best with?
For weddings, 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).
For other personal sessions, I love working with people who really want to do something with their photos, whether you’re planning to print them yourself or have me help you. All of my clients get access to an online tool to visualize what photos will look like in different sizes and styles on their own walls, and I’m working on a style catalog with my friend, Brooke DeBoer from Brooke DeBoer Interiors, to give you ideas around how you can display photos in your home in a way that will adapt to your changing family and lifestyle.
For editorial and marketing work, I love opportunities to follow real people at work and play in their natural environments, but I do have both a studio and a portable head shot setup for those who need more classic shots.
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.
How did you get started?
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.
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 my 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.
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, or if you’d like to work with an associate, 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
- A few other backgrounds that I’ve collected over the years
- ExpoDisc (LOVE)
- 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