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  • Welcome--feel free to grab your coffee and hang out for a while. You'll get to see what goes on in front of my camera and behind the scenes here at Simply Life Photography.

    Whether it is newborns, children, seniors, or families -- I love capturing the lives of my clients in the greater Grand Rapids area, all along the West Michigan lakeshore, and across Michigan. Please contact me via phone (616.212.8800) or through the contact link above with any questions you may have or to schedule your session. Thanks for visiting!  ~ Mary Beth

This was the first downtown session I’ve done in a while.  It seems like I’ve been at the beach with my camera all summer.  While we do have the most gorgeous beaches here in Michgan for summer sessions – it was fun to shake the sand off and do a downtown session for a change!

One of my favorite things about photographing children is seeing how they have grown since my last session with them.  See this blog post for a trip down memory lane…  Awwww – right?

Due to the crazy heat this summer, we had to meet bright and early for our little urban adventure… aren’t they cute little troopers?!

Grand Rapids Michigan Children




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Kicking off the new year with a unique creative challenge!  I am once again privileged to participate with a group of super-talented & creative professional photographers from all over the world in what we call a Blog Carousel.  What is a Blog Carousel you ask?  Well, each month has a theme and we each link to the next photographer in the circle/carousel.  In each post you can follow the link to the next post and so on until you’ve traveled all the way around the carousel.  This month’s theme is alternative cameras… anything other than the norm.  Of course, there is always my iPhone that I simply adore for taking snapshots every day – and while I know some photographers that can ROCK their iPhone (which I’m sure you’ll see in the Carousel!) – I am not yet one of them.

I do have a few beautiful vintage cameras and wanted to use one of them – but yours truly is lacking the dark room for that.  So, I remembered another photographer telling me about how you could hook up a digital camera to shoot through a vintage viewfinder camera and I found this article with directions on how to make it.  So I got out my Argus (it looks like this) the cardboard, box cutter and lots and lots of duct tape and I was in business!  It is a clunky contraption and when you look down through it to shoot everything is flipped.  So if you want to shift the frame to the left, you have to move right, if you want to tilt it to the left, you have to tilt right.  I’m pretty sure I looked quite tipsy while attempting to wield this monstrosity, but hey – I was having FUN!  And, thankfully, even though this was one giant experiment – I did end up with some images that I truly love.  I hope you’ll enjoy them as well.

Much thanks to my beautiful little niece for being the most adorable model… love you J!

Next, take a look at the beautiful work of Teri Mason and what she thought of for ‘Alternateive Cameras’ – Georgetown and Austin Texas Senior Photographer.

  • Melissa - Gracious, she’s cute! <3

  • Calgary Baby Photographer -Bowes Photography -Baby Art™ - […] so much for stopping by. Be sure to follow along on the carousel and check out my friend MaryBeth, Grand Rapids Newborn, Family and Senior Photographer’s really awesome post about her alternative cameras. Posted in blog carousel, for photographers, […]

  • Corey - These are so cool, Mary Beth! Love the look and feel to these!

  • Anna-Karin - These are so great and I love the “historic feel” to them. Love that you found a way to use your old camera with your new digital camera. A true inspiration. Maybe one day I will be so brave to try my self!

  • christine plamann - wow, these are beautiful!

  • alpana - love these and they have a holga like look! Thanks for the article link too- will have to try it out sometime.

  • marmalade - MaryBeth, I love your interpretation on the theme. I love the combination of surreal mixed with modern digital. GORGEOUS images.

  • June - Love these, Mary Beth. Really an inspiration!

  • dena robles - I am so glad you finally tried this! Your first attempts blow my first attempts out of the water though. I sense a TTV fieldtrip coming on…

  • Julie - OMGosh, I must try this!! That is such a fantastic idea! These turned out amazingly!

  • Samara Hutcheson - What a great idea! I have some vintage cameras collecting dust on the shelf I really need to get out and try something fun with them!

  • Danna - these are incredible MaryBeth!! You have inspired me to research and look up new ways to play with my older cameras!

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Grand Rapids Michigan wedding photography

Downtown Holland was a perfect location for photographs after the wedding and the reception at Baker Lofts was truly beautiful – a great venue fitting for two architects! Katie’s parents are friends of the family, so even though I am taking a break from weddings due to a very packed schedule, this was one I couldn’t resist. Andy & Katie – thank you so much for letting us be a part of your special day.:)

Holland Michigan wedding photographer

modern wedding photography in Holland, MI

downtown Holland wedding photos

wedding party photos in Holland, MI

Baker Lofts wedding, Holland, MI

Baker Lofts wedding, Holland, MI

Baker Lofts wedding, Holland, MI Baker Lofts reception, Holland, MI

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Oh my word – it is half-way through the summer already!  I am again participating in the monthly Blog Carousel with a group of super-talented & creative professional photographers from all over the world.  Each month has a theme and we each link to the next photographer in the “circle”.  In each post you can follow the link to the next post and so on until you’ve traveled all the way around the carousel.  The good news for you?  This actually makes me blog during this insanely busy summer!  Otherwise, I might just retreat into the cycle of taxi-cab mom to four kids, running two businesses, chasing two dogs and retreating to my tiny little garden for a little sanity once in a while.  Whew!

On to this month’s theme – laughter.  Getting kids to laugh isn’t as hard as you might think… generally “don’t smile! don’t you dare smile” while I grin at them works like a charm.  Or with boys, anything that has to do with funny sounds, girls or booggers… all good material.  haha  However, more than getting kids to laugh and have fun, I love it when they make me laugh (and in turn make their parents giggle a little when they see their photographs!).  These images might normally be considered out-takes, but I consider them priceless.  I think my love of the quirky stems a bit from when our youngest was a baby… an adorable, very chubby 3-4 month old.  We were sitting at the doctor’s office and my boys decided to use their baby sister for entertainment.  There she was sitting in her little carseat happy as a clam, in these adorable 50’s inspired sunglasses that I just couldn’t leave in the store (story of my life since having a girl after three boys!), not even suspecting that her brothers were plotting to make her a real live Miss Potato Head.  After putting as many face parts on her, they begged me to take a photo and the resulting snapshot spent years on our frig.  It made me laugh outloud when I looked at it every day.  I mourned a little when that photo was lost in the move!  If I ever find it I will let out a squeal that will send the local wildlife running I’m sure!  THIS love of the fun times in life, the quirky little things that make us smile and laugh – that is what I want my clients to discover.  Does it mean I love the beautiful, classic portraits any less.  Not a chance… but these little gems do hold a special place in my heart!

These are from a recent beach session with the sweetest family.  Their youngest, A – is a little heart stealer.  Her sisters are gorgeous and were up for whatever I asked.  What do you do when you’ve already gotten a session’s worth of great photographs and you’re just waiting for the sun to set for some sunset images?  Well, if you are me – you break out the fun lens and PLAY.  Enjoy and I hope you laugh a little too!  I promise to return soon and show off some more from this session as I can’t possibly just share a few and run.

holland family photographer

grand haven child photographer

michigan beach photographer

Next you get to travel to Australia!  Aren’t you excited? :)  Have fun visiting the blog  of Adelaide Australia’s top maternity, baby and childrens photographer, Simone Hanckel!

  • Tara McGlinchey - What gorgeous images. Beautiful interpretation of the Laughter theme.

  • Marmalade - These are awesome, totally summer, 100% summer laughter. I love the fun captures of these gorgeous girls.

  • Anna-Karin - I can almost hear the giggles from these girls when viewing these photographs. Great choice for the laughter theme!

  • amanda padgham - Great images!!! I love the angles here!

  • Samara Hutcheson - I love these! I’ve been showing more “realistic” photos lately too. I mean really why not right, I’d LOVE these photos of my own kids and my clients have enjoyed it too. Kids being kids = awesome.

  • Blair Blanks - I love your angles and compositions…and that little girl with the piggies is so darn cute!

  • Corey Sewell - These are so fun! It looks like they are having a blast!

  • Danna - these are wonderful and so exactly what childhood is all about. LOVE!!

  • lauri - Oh, I love these! Especially that last one. The lens choice is perfect for making images of fun and laughter.

  • alpana - such a fun, happy session filled with laughter!

  • Julie - awww…so much fun and life in these! awesome!

  • Dena Robles - Such a great perspective on such a fun day! These are the kinds of photographs that the children will want to have around for years.

  • William Sullivan - Genuine laughter is at times so difficult to catch on film. You are very talented.

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Welcome back to the blog carousel!  A group of photographers I am a part of have created a monthly Blog Carousel.  Each month has a theme and we each link to the next photographer in the “circle”.  In each post you can follow the link to the next post and so on until you’ve traveled all the way around the carousel.  Have fun, feel free to leave comments of what you think along the way and just relax & enjoy!

This month’s theme is Framed and I took a more literal approach to it.  One of my wonderful clients let me come into their home and photograph how they have displayed their last couple of sessions.  Not only do I love photographing their family, but their fabulous sense of style is inspiring to me.  I love that they chose images to display that make them smile on a daily basis… the fun, the sweet, the goofy! :)

In their front entryway are these…

In a lower-level family room (this is a favorite of mine!)…

The back entry, where they come in daily – wouldn’t this make you smile!?…

and finally, a small arrangement on a bedroom wall…

There are others, placed here and there, mixed with heart-tugging snapshots they took on their own.  They all work together to create this lived-in, family-centered feel in a very artful, inspiring style.  I love that wherever you enter their home you are greeted with images of what is most important to them – images of fun, images of connection, images of love.

Next stop (officially as of 9am EST on Monday, June 6th), the blog of San Luis Obispo California baby and children’s photographer, Lisa Maksoudian.  She is simply AMAZING!  Enjoy! :)  ~ Mary Beth

  • | Heather Rivlin Photography - […] If you’d like to see how my friend and colleague MaryBeth Vreugdenhil interprets “framed”, please visit her site at: […]

  • Corey Sewell - Gorgeous displays! I especially love the “life is good” next to the one image – perfection!

  • marmalade - THESE are beautiful framed (really really framed!) images. Love the layouts.

  • dawn sela - the love and fun is so prevalent in all of these images…what a beautiful home to grow up in! beautiful photography, beautiful family!

  • Dena Robles - Oh dearie me, you need to come to my house and see my completely blank walls to know how much I fully appreciate this post. Yes, a photographer (with gorgeous children no less…if I do say so myself) and nary a photo on the wall. Spank me please.

  • lauri - What beautiful photos in these arrangements! I do love the way they’re displayed too.

  • Brandy Anderson - Oh wow, I love how important photography is to this family! I bet their house feels very homey and is comfortable and happy.

  • alpana - Love these displays! So glad you shared them.

  • Anna Mayer - It’s happiness on their walls!

  • Heather Rivlin - These are beautiful MaryBeth! They’ve designed these so well, and they showcase your work beautifully!

  • Lisa m - Okay, I am officially inspired now. These are amazing!!!

  • Reb - Stunning displays of gorgeous portraits! I love it!

  • Julie - WOW! that is fantastic! I love love LOVE how this family has chosen to fill their home with this wonderful session of work! Very inspiring!

  • Danna - oh my! not only are the images amazing but your clients definitely do have a wonderful sense of style and how to decorate with their images!

  • TaraMc - I love seeing the wall arrangements and how you display your photos. Great designs.

  • Simone Hanckel - These are gorgeous!! So inspiring for my own photos :)

  • amanda padgham - These are awesome- I love the displays! Such a great visual for clients!

  • Samara - I always love seeing how others have displayed their photographs, its so inspiring. Love!

  • Je Neuhaus - Thank you for sharing this gorgeous family’s wall galleries! Love seeing not only the images in the galleries but also how they’ve grouped them for visual and emotional impact!

  • jim - Great images. You must feel amazing walking in their home.

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