Interactive Prompts + Movement = Natural Photos
Hi there, future friend! I’m Allie. My photography is driven by connections and emotions—that’s why I focus on people and not landscapes. Remember how awkward you felt during school photos when the photographer would pose you? Yeah, we’re not going to do that.
We’re going to focus on the real stuff—how you feel and who you are right now—so you can hold onto those feelings no matter what life throws at you. I photograph real people with real emotions—smiles, laughter and sentimental moments. I promise that you’re going to laugh in your photos rather than laughing at how awkward you were in your photos in years to come (unless your bangs look like mine did in junior high, in which case, I take back my promise).
Here’s How it Works
I’ll use a series of prompts and movements to get you interacting in a natural way so your photos won’t look stiff and awkward. Rather than posing your every move, I’ll use small “games” (some with words, and some where words aren’t allowed) that are guaranteed to get you smiling, laughing, having a few sweet moments together, and often forgetting that you’re having your photos taken.
My favorite prompt works so well that 90% of my couples end up getting so caught up in it that they forget to stop until I remind them that I’ve gotten all the smiles and laughter that I need and we can head on to the next location or prompt.
I have another prompt that usually goes one of two ways—it either creates a really sweet moment, or one person ends up poking the other in the face. I always try to guess who will fall into which category 🙂
My team never discriminates.
Press + Accolades
My photography work has been published in The Knot Wedding Magazine, Style Me Pretty, Every Last Detail, Houzz, Borrowed & Blue, Love Inc. Magazine, Love & Lavender and other outlets. I’m a published author, part time Michigan State instructor, and my business advice has been published in Forbes, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Mashable, Yahoo! Small Business Advisor, MSN, VentureBeat, Under 30 CEO, the Business Woman Rock podcast, the Mixergy podcast and the Hack the Entrepreneur podcast.
Who I Am
Our 2016 Leap Year Video was created by the talented Andy Owen of Owen Video.
When I’m not behind my camera, you’ll find me wrangling my two tiny daughters (Zel is three, and Arden was 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 sailboat, 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. You can check out the 2016 video above, and view the first video from 2013 to see how much has changed (yes, we started a year late—leap year was in 2012. Better late than never!)
I moved back to East Lansing, Michigan, with 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 (616-522-2515) to set up an appointment. You can also follow Allie & Co. Photography updates on Facebook.
About the Associates
I started my associate program in 2015 with a group of three amazingly talented photographers and friends. I’ve worked with my associates over the years to give them feedback on each wedding to make sure that they’re approaching their portrait prompts and lighting in the same way that I would (though each has a unique creative perspective).
I manage all of the wedding day details and editing with each couple, and my associate team always blow me away with their talent and creativity from the wedding day—I can’t tell you how much inspiration I’ve drawn from them.
Where are you based?
I live in East Lansing, Michigan, and I split my summers between East Lansing and Muskegon, Michigan.
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 blog 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 all of my wedding couples 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 and/or sailing, 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 have a printed style guide that will inspire ideas to display photos 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 a portable head shot setup for those who need more classic shots.
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 with 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 the forecast looks like rain the day before a scheduled engagement shoot, be prepared to reschedule for another day.
Do you have backup equipment?
Yes, absolutely. Gear failure is the stuff of nightmares for me.
You made it all the way to the end! Here’s a gif of me completely embarrassing myself on a Ninja Warrior course as your reward 🙂