#PureMichigan: a personal Oh! MG family vacation – Ahwatukee, AZ Family Photographer

I was born in , raised in, and still visit Grand Rapids, MI. It’s where my parents bought a tiny red brick house and made it their home. It’s where the kids left the nest from. It’s my mother’s resting place.  It’s where my daughter loves to visit Papa.


It’s where I met my husband, it’s where my husband’s family lives. it’s where I see my in-laws, its where my husband sees his parents and family. It’s where my daughter loves to see GiGi and Grandpa Joe.


Regardless, it’s a place full of memories. It will always remain a place of memories.

I mock the hashtag and saying #PureMI or #PureMichigan because of the semi-famous “Pure Michigan”  (click that for commercial) travel ad campaign that started in 2007 and still runs to this day. I have friends here in Phoenix, AZ that they always see the ads, I saw them when we lived in CA and people worldwide probably have the same testimonial.

She’s never seen a whirly-bird before. (helicopter, whatever you call them.) Her shirt? says it all. MI7__25

This trip revolved around my brother getting married to his amazing fiance. I may be a bit bias, but she’s awesome.  I didn’t photograph their wedding, thank gosh, because I had enough fun in the party to convince me to never shoot a wedding I’m invited to,  ever. The amazing Peach Moon Photography based out of Grand Haven, MI  shot their engagement photos and wedding photos and were great people to work with. I’m the tall blonde in the family image on the alter with the PRECIOUS flower girl that is my daughter,  and the tall bald ravishingly handsome man that I’m married to.  Thats my “cleans up well” dad next to me, and then of course her family on her side.

Peach Moon Photography, Tim + Erin Wedding
Copyright Peach Moon Photography, Tim + Erin Wedding

There are plenty of other #thelillis wedding insta-pictures on my IG Feed but you gotta go back a little ways. You can’t miss ’em!

Besides being there for their wedding, we were there for personal vacation as well. We saw plenty of family, scenery, and I took so many nature/still life shots it will make your eyes numb.

We went to the Grand Rapids Arts Festival downtown Grand Rapids, MI.

MI7__40 MI7__41 MI7__50 MI7__56 MI7__36 MI7__38 MI7__62 MI7__60

We visited  Grand Haven State Beach  both as a family and as a couples date to just get away.

060814_0304 060814_0312 060814_0311 060814_0296 060814_0317 060814_0315 060814_0319 060814_0320


MI5__21 MI5__19 MI5__26 MI5__12

We went to Traverse City (TC), MI which is known for their berries, and cherries.  We went because our daughter had never been there, and I haven’t either.  There’s this place called the Sleeping Bear Dunes  which is like, arguably one of the prettiest places to visit in the lower peninsula of Michigan. WE LITERALLY SAW A BEAR CUB CROSS THE ROAD. <– caps necessary.

060814_0384 060814_0386 060814_0391MI15__12 Known for their berries and cherries, so naturally I had to have a very berry filled pie at Grand Traverse Pie Co. MI15__25 Some lighthouse that wanted $4.00 to walk upstairs in it. No thanks!060814_0348 060814_0373We visited family for Father’s Day. The best part was that my dad came along with us to my husbands side of the family’s gathering. It’s so nice to have them integrated!

MI10__29 MI10__12 MI10__14 MI10__11 MI10__2 MI10__7 MI10__9 MI10__10 MI10__18

My husband and I respectfully saw friends I see once a year (when we visit.) Nothings more refreshing, more awesome, and more rewarding than maintaining friendships over years and years. We pick up where we left off the last time we saw each other — it’s how I’m able to have friends nation and world wide.   Friends are the flowers in the garden of life!

MI5__7 marshmallws Making S’mores with out friends Lisa and Conor whom will be getting married this year. MI5_

childhood best friends grow up, and have kids, who hang out with each other — i’d say that’s more like family.

The literally awesome part of the friends that I visit is they continue to grow up, prosper, and I get to see them from afar on facebook them actually meet their kids they’ve had or the ones they’re about to have! (a friend announced she was pregnant on fathers day!)

I saw old high school friends, old family friends. Family.

Oh, and I continued to shoot barns for no good reason at all.




Nerd alert: I got new glass! (that means lenses in non-nerd speak) – Oh! MG Photography, Phoenix AZ

I got two new lenses recently (a belated mother’s day gift from my husband) and I’m sort of, really completely, totally and utterly am obsessed with my new Sigma 105mm 2.8f AF lens.

I was so obsessed with my olloclip and I still love it but this brings my macro TO LIFE! Everything can easily be gorgeous now with this amazing lens.

I do have a complaint against it when working in low light situations, that’s when I’d go with a fast acting 35 or 50mm. My 50 has never steered me wrong in low light!

Soooo I made a gallery because of the nerdliness.

This lens is going to make a newborn shoot much more interesting! I get to shoot baby “B” on the 24th, and I am counting down the seconds until I get to use this lens in a real shoot :)

Welcome to the world, baby “B”! – 1st 48 hr hospital visit | Oh! MG Photography, Phoenix, AZ

I was ecstatic when I got the text that said “baby is here! here’s our room number, when will you be by?”

I LOVE visiting these itty bitties in the hospital, so fresh and so new and so amazing.  All they know is mom, the sound of her; the smell & what she offers for them.

thumb sucker, Oh! MG Photography  Phoenix, AZ

mommy baby love, Oh! MG Photography, Phoenix, AZ

baby foot, Oh! MG Photography, Phoenix, AZ

to view the whole album, visit my portfolio page link at the top, or click here!

I am honored to be onboard with this family for a year for Newborn, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months & 1-year shoots. Although I’ve done numerous (and I mean NUMEROUS) shoots of different ages of different children I can’t say that i’ve been around for all 5 of those awesome milestone ages for too many people that weren’t my direct friends. Needless to say, I’m super excited!

Wow, finally a dot com!

It took me forever. I don’t know why I didn’t do it earlier? I’m not sure, really. 

Oh! MG Photo is now in Phoenix. 

We’ve been situated for a few weeks but it’s been busy with getting unpacked, figuring out routines. Our daughter is enrolled in PT preschool now which sorta frees up but confuses my mornings a bit.

I’ve met some neighbors and really right now i’m just trying to spread word right now;  Meet & greets. Networking meetings. Social gatherings. Uprooting is hard! Especially integrating into such a large city such as Phoenix.

I’m just one family portrait photographer amongst a sea of other photographers. 

So refreshing to shoot!

I had a great family shoot this weekend with a super sweet family.  It’s hard to believe mom has had 2 kids. WHATTTTTTT — right? & both the lil men have just the best photogenic smiles. Mom, you did well!

It was so good to have such a great shoot after not being able to book with this house selling crap.  The day was gorgeous, and the whole family was so easy going. This once again was shot down in Morongo Valley, CA (one of my most favorite places to shoot — ever. ) Image

The sheer power of blogging, meta tags, and dedication.

An amazing photographer Kimberly Ogden has always seemed to look out for my well-being without me even noticing. She said to me, “Oh by the way, when I google the terms ‘twentynine Palms’ and ‘photographer’ [as well as a few other words in different combinations] you don’t even show up on the first page of results. You only show up when you search exactly ‘Oh! MG Photography'” 

Then she went on to tell me about SEO (search Engine Optimization).

Wow. so thats how they do it I thought to myself.


I then found myself engrossed in learning about SEO and how to and why and when and where. I became a little obsessed. I started renaming all my images, albums, etc on my smugmug.com site, I started using more terms here on my blog. I started doing a lot more SEO. 

Well I also learned first hand that SEO is only good if you keep at it. You have to continuously be using those vices. Always blogging. Always tweeting. Always status udating. Always posting images places. Always pinning. 


My work is currently paying off. Slowly but surely.
Oh!MG Photography | Twentynine Palms Photographer SEO

Oh!MG Photography | Twentynine Palms Photographer SEO

For my 26th birthday (In July.)

I want to celebrate life.

Recent events in my life, mostly my mothers health, have made me realize that if you got it – flaunt it.

I have a beautiful mastermind child. I have a strong, handsome, giving husband.  I have a clean bill of health. I have the luxury of moving around the country on the governments dime. I have the amazing ability to capture moments that scream, “FRAME ME.” I have skills with photography, photoshop, and knowledge of professional print labs.

For my 26th birthday, I’m promising to myself that when we move to Arizona and make a comfy rental our own for 3 years, that I will MAKE it our comfy rental.

I’m talking ACTUAL, PROFESSIONAL GRADE printed, framed images. throughout.

My walls are bare, and there’s no reason for that. I have so much to show off in my life, but I don’t.  But I should. i should be screaming from the top of my house that life is good.

My mom has pictures of her only grand child, my daughter, strewn everywhere in her house. It’s a shrine to Hailey. She’s got pictures of me as a child, pictures of my brother, old picture Christmas cards, pictures of my dad and her, a picture of her passed parents.  She’s embracing what she loves in life, even if they’re passed.  She’s got a happy picture of sunflowers, and a nostalgic blue-print/map of their sub-devision when it was first mapped out in the 50’s-60’s.

I’m making it for my birthday, but thats because i’m sure this will be a costly endeavor. (mostly on frames.) Birthday = money. But, I can’t enjoy that promise and wish to myself until I get to Arizona with the Mister because of selling the current home. (it’d just be pointless to decorate now.)

Celebrate life, and smile more.

celebrate life.
celebrate life.

Homecomings, and why I no longer offer them

Fact: Unfortunately, I don’t do homecomings anymore.

The last one I may ever book is coming up soon, so I don’t want people to think I’m selectively – choosy when they may see it on facebook. hear me out.

A friend approached me, frantic, like half a year ago, freaking out, “THEY’RE ALL GONNA BE BOOKED BY THE TIME I GET BACK.”

She was leaving town for the deployment and had enough on her plate to where she wasn’t gonna be able to book while she was gone.  I took her on.  *and only her.*  You don’t calm down a crazy mom of two with a deployed husband by saying, “it’ll be okay. contact me in half a year see where I’m at in terms of bookings, k?”   You sorta just say, “okay okay okay breathe, sit down.”

Now, on to why I don’t take them on anymore.  Gosh, where do I start with this?

When you book a homecoming I have to completely leave a window of empty dates around it.  Every date on the calendar is a possible sale for a photographer. With that said, I’m denying X days of sales because of the 1 I have booked.  The logical thing would be to raise a homecomings price to the equivalent of 2-3 lost days of sale. I mean, to me. To me that’d make sense. If I have to make perspective black-out dates for one shoot, I’m going to charge you for more than one day. because you can potentially hurt me sales wise. but. I wouldn’t do that. Because no one would book a session. So – I don’t even offer them. 

The dates fluctuate, horribly. Nothing comes off more annoying and unprofessional than a photographer who says, “I shoulddd…. be … available on the 12th?” The uncertainty in their voice should send you running to the hills (and toward a different photographer.) I like static. I like planned out, organized dates. I have a child, I have a husband, I have a life, I have a business. I can’t be everywhere at once and I can’t CAN’T double book.  So I don’t offer them, because the shoots I actually love to do are easily set in stone and never move around.

I focus on what my REAL passions are. I’m a sucker for a sunset, and a happy family with kids running amuck. I look forward to little smiles giggling over a cake they’re about to smash. I melt when a newborn walks into my house with those little feet and eye lashes and lips. 

I just don’t have a passion for homecomings. Although a homecoming is LOADED with emotions, and should be a priority to a photographer living in a military town, I can’t afford to offer them along with shoots I actually have feelings for. 

Obviously I feel a tad guilty about no longer having them on my menu, mostly out of peer pressure. I can’t tell you how many homecoming inquires I’ve received. However – there’s a plethora of people in this town who are willing to help.  There’s also OpLove (http://operationlovereunited.wildapricot.org/)