Lindo Mexico

I have been a part of the EatGR page for a while now and have quietly read posts and queries on some of the best local food in Grand Rapids. The mission of the group, run by local realtor Chris Freeman, is to promote and discover local food options in an attempt to widen horizons and bring more business to these restaurants. I approached Chris a while back offering my photography skills to the group if ever needed, and with GR Restaurant week coming up August 12th he invited me to try some new places and take photos.

The first stop on our list was Lindo Mexico, a new age authentic Mexican eatery with fresh, bold flavors, and inviting staff. I was thoroughly impressed with not only the taste of the food but the presentation. We started off with a vegetarian corn tamale, topped off with Mexican cheese, sour cream, and salsa. It tasted like the best “corn bread” I’ve ever had. There was just enough spice to bring out all the flavors, but didn’t overwhelm the palate.

For our main course we were able to taste Carnitas, and no not like at Chipotle ;) Large and tender chunks of meat were stuffed into a corn tortilla and topped with housemade refried beans and rice. We also had a selection of salsas ranging from mild to very spicy, and were able to top it off. This meat was absolutely delicious, tons of flavor and clearly prepared with love.

Lastly, we enjoyed a warm pastry that was both flaky and soft. This was served a la mode, with fresh blueberries and a drizzle of sweet cream. I have such a sweet tooth and this just tied the whole meal together.

As you can see I was able to try some new exciting Mexican and will be stopping by again soon. I highly recommend them!

I will be heading to Bobarino’s tomorrow and look forward to sharing more with you!

Tips for Future Couples!

A lot of people have been asking for advice in preparation for their wedding day from a photographer’s perspective. I have had such unique experiences from all the weddings I’ve shot and think I might have some helpful hints in that department.

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Focus on the Light

For photographers the number ones thing we want is light. Photography literally means painting with light. I love when couples choose bright and airy spaces for their nuptials because it makes for even better photos. People will feel much more relaxed and happy in places with lots of light. Outdoor weddings might not be your style, but think of places with large windows or anything with non fluorescent lighting.  Some people can be super sensitive to types of lighting (like me) so natural and soft light just makes everyone a whole lot happier.

1 Timing is Everything

We have all been to weddings that didn’t run on time, let’s face it, not everything may go exactly as planned. I think it is important to make some time in between the ceremony and reception (if you are going the traditional route) to get some photos done just the couple. Plan a small cocktail hour, and give people snacks and drinks, it’ll make the time go by faster, and will give you are your photographer some nice time to get great shots. If you don’t plan on having any extra time the day of, consider setting a day after the wedding to get dressed back up and head out with your photographer. Some of the best wedding photos I have seen weren’t even taken on the actual day.

 Florals Make the Difference

I hear a lot of couples saying they don’t want to spend money on florals for their big day. If your only reason to not buy flowers and greenery is that it will only be used one day, think about the food that will be consumed, the dresses that are only gonna be worn once. All of these things are only for your day, so go ahead and splurge. A decorated wedding can make such a difference in not just the photos, but the whole feel of the day. Think about incorporating them into your centerpieces, or even into the ceremony. I am a sucker for flowers and greenery, and I love how luxurious it is.

 Do what Makes you Happy! 

It is your day, if you want to wear a blush dress, or have men and women on each side, or eat pie instead of cake, DO IT! This is your day to remember, and no matter what Aunt Bonnie, or Grandpa Mike say, you need to do things that make your smile. Of course you want to think about your guests, but traditional doesn’t need to be boring. I love small weddings for instance, make the ceremony about you and your very close family and friends, then focus your attention on the after party for everyone else. Maybe you decide to do a morning ceremony with brunch after. In this day and age weddings are becoming more and more unique, and that is exactly what I love about them.

Weddings are so much fun, and they should reflect you as a couple. Find a space that feels light and comfortable. Try to plan ahead as much as possible but be open to things not running on time. Incorporate flowers into different aspects of the day, and most importantly, have fun and enjoy.

If you have any more questions of wedding photography please feel free to use the contact page in the menu above

Becky’s New Car!

Becky’s New Car is a fabulous play at the Circle Community Theater on Aquinas College’s campus. I was asked to photograph opening night, and capture people’s fun personalities with this very sexy car! Let me tell you, if this car was red I just might have driven off in it. Everyone had a lot of fun posing, and I picked a few of my favorites. Note the guy with the handkerchief, he was my favorite I think. I highly suggest you check it out if you are in town.

ITALIA

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 3.23.58 PM I have considered producing a fine art photo book in the past but only just recently wanted to explore the idea more. So here we have ITALIA. A beautiful 21 page 8.5×8.5 in full color hardcover book with images from my journey to Italy. I am really excited to see how the test print book looks, and will be providing updates both here and on my facebook page about pricing and a more precise timeline. More than likely I will be doing preorders since I am just trying this for the first time and it will make inventory a bit easier. I can’t wait to share this with you all and hope you consider purchasing when they become available!

Ciao Florence!

Today is my last day in Florence. It has been quite the interesting 6 weeks and I am so excited to be going home. Although I had an amazing time there truly is nowhere like home, and I am happy I’ll be reuniting with family and friends.

Florence was so good to me, Italy was so good to me. I was able to do so much and see so many important and beautiful places. I am so beyond thankful for all the people I met here and made it so wonderful. I was able to stay with a good friend and her family near Verona. It was a great time to catch up with her, but also see the northern regions of Italy. Her family was so welcoming, and it was so great to experience the true Italian family life.

I was also able to go to Venice, the most beautiful place on earth, I am convinced. The pictures I will be sharing do it no justice. Although there were way more tourists than I would have liked, it truly is a magical place. I am so happy we were able to go and I could experience it for myself.

While my trip comes to an end I am reminded of my love for travel, and desire to experience other cultures and countries. Italy truly is a unique place with so much history and passion. I could not have imagined a better place to spend half my summer.

So I will be keeping myself awake with copious amounts of coffee and espresso in order to kick jet lag’s butt, and hopefully sleep on the plane. Ciao Florence! Thanks for everything!

Preparations

As I count down the days until I head back to the states, I am confronted with some mixed emotions. While I will not deny for one minute that I have enjoyed every moment here, I am realizing my heart is back home and I am ready to be back to my normal life. This has been a crazy adventure and I am so grateful for everyone who helped get me here.

I have met some incredibly beautiful people while here. Studio Art Centers International (SACI) has provided us with such an amazing group of people who are just as dedicated to art as I am. I have been accepted in a large group of people who are so joyful and enthusiastic about being here that it is infectious. We have had family dinners, margaritas, trips to the countryside, and so many more memories to share together. I am also so happy that some of these people are from Kendall, my home school, and will be able to continue our time together back home. It has been refreshing to be in a place with new people to see my work, talk about art, and share stories with. I think it is important for all students, especially artists, to branch out and have meaningful conversation with people who are a new pair of eyes when looking at your work.

I have also been blessed with the chance to meet and work under Romeo Di Loreto, an amazing photographer and even more amazing human being. He has such knowledge and wisdom for all those he teaches, and has such a positive outlook on life and art. I have learned more from him in the last 5 weeks than I think I have from any other teacher. It is amazing what can happen when a mentor understands what you are trying to do and encourages you to push yourself. He is such an honest person and I truly appreciate his influence in my life. I created the most beautiful print and photograph I have ever done yesterday. With his help, and his most prized camera, I was able to see how truly amazing my work can be. I knew going into this class that something important was going to happen this summer, and I can say it most definitely has. I have found a renewed passion and the courage to say without regret that I am a portrait photographer, and want to do nothing else with my life. This is what I feel most fulfilled doing, and what I know I should use my gifts for.

My time here has also led me to realize that I have a passion for connecting with others. With my photographs I want to achieve a visual representation of the beauty I see in others, that they might not see within themselves. This is what I am meant to do, and I will do everything I can to make this a reality.

Although I am satisfied with my time here, I will always have a soft spot for Florence. It is a beautiful city filled with so much passion, art, and beauty. I highly encourage everyone to visit at least once. It truly has opened my eyes to a new world. The people here a so kind and passionate about their history and country. The food is spectacular, and the cities are so stunning.

I look forward to sharing more reflections and photos with you during this next week. I hope you have enjoyed following my journey and I am so grateful to have all of your here to share it with!

XOXO Liv