We often get asked how we got started being Michigan wedding photographers. Photography started as a fun hobby at first. When I was working at General Motors, I had a good amount of vacation time and took every opportunity I had to travel the world. I learned how to do photography better because I wanted to capture some of the beauty that the world offered and bring it home. So, it all started with landscape and travel photography which is visible on our fine art site.
Cheridy and I met in January of 2000, were engaged in April 2000, and got married on June 2nd, 2001. When we got married, we had never seen really beautiful or artistic wedding photography and did not do any research into it to find someone that could shoot like that. Our goal was to enjoy our wedding day and not worry about photos. I think that was a huge mistake. Looking back on it now, I wish we had hired someone for the whole day to make us a beautiful wedding album that we could pass on to our kids as a family heirloom. We have a couple of nice wedding photos and that’s all we wanted at the time.
Soon after getting married, our goal was to move out to California and enjoy the mountains and the ocean for a few years. We were so serious about it that we even bought a condo out there.
Well, the engineering job market was just starting to take a turn for the worse and there were no jobs available for me out west. I still had a nice job at GM here in Warren, MI.
Cheridy started to encourage me to do photos of people instead of just landscape and travel images. I was starting to buy expensive equipment, so it would be nice to at least pay for that. At the time, I never really had a goal of becoming a Michigan wedding photographer. I really had no training in wedding photography and honestly didn’t know what I was doing and we made sure to tell everyone that so they didn’t have the wrong expectations. After shooting a few jobs, we realized that I was actually pretty good at it. The photos were turning out fantastic and when I compared what I was doing to what other pros were doing, I thought that I had some potential.
Cheridy came with me on every job and she always carried around my equipment and backup equipment. Since she was always carrying a backup camera and lens, we realized that it made the most sense for her to just take some pictures with it even though she didn’t know what she was doing. After each job, I would critique her pictures and let her know what worked and what didn’t. She started to learn the relationship of aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and white balance. Her pictures started to get better and better and that eventually turned into a second shooting position working with me.
Our business started to expand and we started to invest a lot of time into building the business along with marketing and networking with other Detroit wedding photographers. After two years, things really started to pick up and we realized that moving out to California was not going to happen. So we sold our condo in Sacramento and made the decision to stay in the Detroit area.
I started to attend lots of workshops and seminars about photography and realized the true potential to do it as a business without being a starving artist. The Detroit wedding photography market looked to be stronger than I initially suspected so I put all my time and energy into learning about business and learned everything necessary from accounting to marketing and all the boring stuff that you needed to know to run your own business.
There were a few things that became the catalyst for wanting to do this as a fulltime business:
1) wedding photography could be a form of art and inner expression
2) we were going to get to work with people on one of the happiest days of their lives
3) the Michigan wedding photography market was strong
4) Cheridy and I would be able to work together and be together all the time
After about my third year of burning the midnight oil and trying to work at GM and do photography on the side it was time to quit. Soon after, Cheridy quit her job as well so we could both work from home fulltime which has been a blessing. Our business has grown exponentially since then. In 2007 we were voted the Best Wedding Photographers in Detroit in the WDIV vote 4 the best contest. We started to get wedding clients from Birmingham, West Bloomfield and Ann Arbor all the way to New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. As our skills and product improved, the venues that we started to work at improved as well and we now are regular working at places like the Royal Park Hotel in Rochester, the Meadowbrook mansion in Rochester Hills, the Detroit Athletic Club in Detroit, etc. etc.
We believe that everything that has happened for us in the last few years is truly a gift from God and hope to always use the gifts and blessings that we’ve been give to bless other people.
We are always continuing to improve our skills and build on what we have already started. We began to introduce more fashionable posing into an otherwise mostly photojournalistic style and have lately been trying to incorporate more dramatic lighting to vary the look of the photos. The best part about this job is that there is potential to never stop learning and growing and there are always new things to try out and learn.
To find out more information about our wedding photography business, please go to our main website at: www.ArisingImages.com
Here’s just a few of our favorite images taken at weddings in Michigan: