April 13, 2014  •  5 Comments

My clients who have been kind enough to visit in past years know that up until recently, my studio has been a bit….blah.  Clean, yes, but nothing to speak of in the way of things that catch your eye.  It’s been a work in progress. …. for YEARS. 

Now don’t judge; please remember that my focus in this business is to take beautiful photos, which the vanilla studio suited just fine.  But I love my clients and want them to have a fantastic experience with me, in comfort.

During the winter, things slow down a bit from the 100mph pace that we’re used to from June – November and it’s a great time to catch up on things.  Lucky for me, my handsome and talented husband Marc decided this would be the year he finished my studio. 

Marc busted his hide these past few months.  I am almost ashamed to admit, though it wasn’t intentional (our schedules differ and he has mad skills in this department), I didn’t do ANY of the hard/boring stuff (such as painting).  He did it all, bless his soul, with nary a complaint.  The painting.  The finishing.  The stairs.  The (spoiler alert!) pallet wall and barn-style doors.  ALL of it.  And then he stepped aside, tipped his hat, and let me do the FUN part: decorating! 

I can’t tell you how much it means to me to finally have a space that I am PROUD to bring my clients into.  And I am SO proud of Marc for doing this all on his own with his tremendous talent.  I could go on for days and tell you how wonderful this man is to me, but I can feel you rolling your eyes already, so I will spare you that. 

Alright, enough lead up… let’s start the show ‘n tell!  Please keep in mind, there are a few minor things that still need touching up (trim here & there, etc.) and we need to decide what we'll do with the ceiling, but I couldn’t wait any longer to share this exciting news!

Freshly painted stairwell.  I love the purple!  The trim work is about 99% complete; still needs finishing touches.  Eventually I'll hang some large canvases here.

New stairwell color...loving the purple! Stairs still need a little trim finish but are 99% complete.


View coming downstairs....





I've done many silhouettes, as I love to utilize our gorgeous lake lighting and do something unique during senior sessions.  If you look through my senior gallery you'll find many that are really cool, but this one is dear to my heart. The bird coat hanger is another example of Marc's handiwork.



Lots of little treasures for newborn/children sessions.  Some are vintage (lantern, oil can, tool chest, fishing net/bouey) , and others I've sold my soul to Hobby Lobby for.




This little spinning rack was purchased at a going-out-of-business sale many years ago and housed various scrapbooking supplies until I decided I could do something fun with it.  Eventually I may hang a wallet from EVERY session, but for now, these are some of my favorites.


Looking down the studio.  Here's the pallet wall I spoke about...and we managed to find the perfect door to pull it all together!


A closer view....


Looking back toward the stairs....


The odd shadows you see on the far wall are from the lantern lighting.  This is still a work in progress.



Recycled pallet wood barn doors...


The doors are hung on hardware that allows them to be rolled left or right.


Another view of the doors and hardware...


New guessed it, made by my better half.  I'm spoiled!




A closer view of one of my favorite maternity photos, mounted as a "standout" - a new product, coming soon!


Another standout...




I love two kinds of things: Things that are old, or things that look old.  I love all of my little vintage details, collected over the years from thrift shops, antique stores, and yard sales.  Seeing them put together makes me feel like an accomplished treasure hunter!  Though the Hobby Lobby finds are always fun, I really like my authentic pieces.  They have a "story".


You'll see this painted burlap "kite" used in an upcoming session. 


All of my baby props are within arm's reach.  The closet houses additional props and supplies.


More stand-outs on the left.  These are 8x8" and I love how they look together.  I have some pretty darn cute clients!  The vintage scale hanging on the right hasn't been put to use yet, either, but I will be rocking a newborn session with it some day.


I could go crazy buying headbands and ties from various talented Etsy crafters, but I try to not go overboard and occasionally replace them when I know I have a session coming up. 




My vintage gumball machine will be getting a makeover in the future.  Old trunks are some of my favorite things to find, as they are so versatile and double as storage for other props.  The child's boxing gloves are vintage as well and were discovered at an antique store in downtown Ludington.  I have a ton of suitcases, as well, but those are hanging in the storage room (behind pallet wall), along with a dozen or so chairs, some baby beds, etc. The yellow stool in the lower left-hand corner was salvaged from an old ice cream shop.  I haven't had the perfect opportunity to use it yet, but it's one of my favorite finds.


Attached to my shelf is a vintage movie light.  I was lucky enough to find two of them, but haven't put the other to use yet.  I'm not sure what I did with the photo of the whole shelf, but it is home to various small toys and such - anything safe for little hands to discover.  One of my goals for the studio was to make it safe for my littlest clients while also allowing them to poke around without being told "no, no" around every corner. 


I love my "Goodies" jar, picked up for a buck or two at a random yard sale.  I keep a few little treats & treasures for kids in here.



I can't tell you how much fun I had just adding little touches here and there to the decor.  Most of what you see are meant to be used as props, but a few things are just for fun.





A cozy seating area for my clients:



Another view.


My backdrops are mounted on wood pieces, rolled, and stored on metal piping that hangs out of the way, above my seating area.  I'm in the process of purchasing a few more, but what I love about the new studio is that I can use various parts of it as backdrops without having to put anything up.  I can use the stairs, the purple wall, the blue wall, the grey walls the pallet doors, the pallet wall, and the door on the pallet wall.  Using various angles helps to keep things looking fresh.


An upcycled find... this little stool was covered in brown vinyl that was ripped.  I knew it was the perfect height for newborns and small children, and I love the new fabric on it.


Another of Marc's projects.  This adorable little chair was gifted to me, but the fabric was not really my style.  I love the makeover!


I hope you've enjoyed "the tour"!  I am so elated over my new surroundings and can't wait to show the studio off to my clients!  If you're up for leaving a comment to let Marc know what an awesome job he did, that would be fantastic!


Best Wishes,



Aunt Sue Monson(non-registered)
I can see in your future much success. I love looking at all your props, I can see a book in your future as you are very talented in the writing field. (You and Kelley should get together on that.) You talents are absolutely wonderful and Marc's, too. I wish you much luck and success in the future.


Aunt Sue
Carol & Ron Monson(non-registered)
Wonderful job by both of you. So much talent you have. We are very proud of you.
nancy covey toll(non-registered)
I seldom take the time to scroll through someone's blog, but I felt as if I were part of the process. Mark did a splendid job, too. As a side note, your spelling, punctuation and syntax were a delight to read! Much success to you in this updated studio!
Kelley Kelley(non-registered)
A beautiful tour and a beautiful and plentiful studio! I enjoyed the artful commentation as well. Amazing photos will be taken here with your masterful eye.
That's awesome! Great job, Marc. You're both very talented.
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