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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, families, or weddings -- 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 at the studio 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

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:  http://simplylifephotography.com/?p=967 [...]

  • 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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What is more fun than looking at a beautiful photograph from one photographer?  Checking out the amazing work of a bunch of super talented pro photographers, that’s what!  A group of photographers I am so blessed to know 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!

The theme for this month is…

mon·o·chrome [mon-uh-krohm] 

–noun
1.  a painting or drawing in different shades of a single color.
2.  the art or technique of producing such a painting or drawing.
3.  the state or condition of being painted, decorated, etc., in shades of a single color.
 
Of course I had an amazing idea for creating a new photograph for this post, but it turns out I was overly ambitious considering this last week was off-the-charts-crazy-busy and the weather was often wet & dreary or super-de-duper windy.  So, deciding to use a past image, one stood out in my head.  It was just a matter of digging through the DVD’s in the fire safe to find it considering this one is almost an antique – vintage 2006 to be exact.  True, it is not as technically perfect as I would expect today, however it still stands out.  Not only is it monochromatic because it is in black and white, but I also love the way the paleness of her hair and clothing combined with her creamy, fair skin creates a soft feel.  Besides, her eyes are just stunning and draw me in every single time I look at this image. 
 

You are in for a treat!  Next stop (officially as of 9am EST on Monday, May 2nd), the blog of central California photographer, Lisa Maksoudian.  Enjoy! :)

  • Marmalade - I LOVE IT! Technically it’s magical!

  • Leah Profancik - This is simply stunning!

  • Julie - Really beautiful – the soft, light tones, the direct gaze…lovely!

  • Lisa m - Wow! This is truly gorgeous, MaryBeth. Those eyes..those lips…

  • Brandy Anderson - Such a beautiful and airy image. Love it.

  • Austin family photographer teri mason - She is gorgeous! Love her creamy skin and the overall soft feel.

  • Melody Hood - This image is absolutely breathtaking!

  • Anna-Karin - Beautiful!
    Perfect choice for a monochromatic image.

  • Lauri - This is so beautiful! Technically, I think it’s wonderful. But even from “just” an artistic standpoint, this is stunning.

  • Simone Hanckel - Her eyes are amazing in this!! I love her expression :)

  • Danna - there is something so ethereal about this image…..love it!

  • PamN - I’ll bet this image is loved even more now. It is beautiful and timeless!

  • Dena Robles - This is such a beautiful portrait Mary Beth. It is a wonderful depiction of childhood innocence merging into preteen independence.

  • Hop on the Blog Carousel – May 2011 – Toronto newborn and children photographer | Heather Rivlin Photography - [...] see how another very talented photographer sees the world in monochrome, please visit Simply Life Photography with MaryBeth Vreugdenhil, her work is stunning, and you’ll be glad you did! Tweet This [...]

  • Samara - What a great photo, I love the expression on her face, makes her seem older yet I can still see her childhood. Love it!

  • Heather Rivlin - I agree her eyes are captivating! She looks like a young Uma Thurman! Beautiful work, as always MaryBeth!

  • Jim Davis - Great photo! Love her eyes here.

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These twins really were twice the fun.  Now I know their mom is laughing at me – because nothing seemed to go right during the session.  Skinned knees, classic brother-sister stuff, chocolate on a stick (to sooth the skinned knee of course!) that we prayed wouldn’t get on clothes…  What mom doesn’t know though is that I almost love sessions like that more sometimes.  I love knowing that in those little moments – the moments that matter in life are always the little ones – I was blessed enough to capture memories like this.  (just a sneak peek for now… more to come later)

  • PamN - Adorable kids – love their outfits – and their smiles!

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Grand Rapids wedding photographer

We had so much fun photographing Mike and Rachel’s wedding and was it ever a gorgeous day! Thankfully, the scattered thunderstorms that were predicted never showed. Plus, how can you not have a great time with a sweet, beautiful bride with an impeccable sense of style… a groom that adored his bride and happily put up with two photographers all day long… gorgeous flowers and details… lovely locations and a fun wedding party.

When we first arrive, we are often jumping into the middle of everyone getting ready and love to capture all the activity and beautiful details.

Lifestyle wedding photographer

Mike and Rachel exchanged letters…

West Michigan wedding photographer

The preparation. LOVED the neckline of Rachel’s dress!

urban wedding photography

After getting ready, we headed off to a beautiful home (belonging to a friend of the bride & groom) for some outdoor photographs. While I like the energy of the wedding day, having fun with the entire wedding party and all of the events, my favorite time is always when I have the bride and groom to myself.  I think I am inspired by people much more than locations or events and when I get the chance to just connect with them (or capture their connection) – whether it is a child, family or a bride & groom – it doesn’t really get any better than that!

country wedding photography
East Grand Rapids wedding photographer

While there, we found out they had a vintage car.  Did we want them to bring it out?  YES PLEASE!  (i.e. photographer jumping up and down inside – haha)

vintage wedding photography

The wedding party joined us and we had to have a little contest to see who could get the most “air”.

Ada Michigan wedding photographer

All the beautiful ladies…

Michigan destination wedding photographer

We went back to the church for family photographs and time for everyone to freshen up before the ceremony.

Grand Rapids, Michigan family photographer

Time to get hitched!:)I told Rachel before the ceremony that if she wanted a good “first kiss” photograph… they’d better kiss like they mean it.  Not that I really needed to tell these two though! Oh, and I LOVE it when the bride and groom make it down the isle, through the doors and just can’t wait to hug each other in celebration.

wedding ceremony photography

The getaway!

bridal photographer in Grand Rapids, MI

We took the bus through downtown Grand Rapids on the way to the reception and made two super-quick stops for a few photos. I think I’m lucky to have the rest of the wedding photos as proof that I just didn’t hire these two for a model shoot.

Grand Rapids engagement photographer

modern Grand Rapids wedding photography

Last stop… the reception! Fun, fun, FUN!

Grand Rapids wedding reception venues
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This sweet little flower girl wasn’t too excited about having her picture taken earlier in the day – so we saw our opening at the reception and jumped on the opportunity!

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Sweetest first dance. You could tell they were singing to each other (and later in the evening too). Love that.

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The father/daughter and mother/son dances always get me.

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Grand Rapids wedding photographer

Michigan wedding photography

Mike and Rachel ~ You two are one very special couple. Thank you for letting us capture your day and we wish you many, many happy years together! ~ Mary Beth and Julie

 

  • Rachel Wierenga - Mary Beth, I love, love, love them! You did an amazing job, so happy:)

  • Elizabeth DeBoer - LOVE THEM!!! SOOOO SOOO BEAUTIFUL!!! THE ONE IN THE FIELD WITH THEM WALKING IS MY FAVORITE! soo cool!!

  • Tricia - Mary – I don’t believe I have ever commented on your blog before even though I have looked at it many times. If this is to be your last wedding then I must tell you that I LOVE looking at your wedding pictures – you INSPIRE me!!! Oh and by the way, I think the picture of the bride looks like Courtney Love-Hewitt. :) BEAUTIFUL!!!

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