Snow Sessions

I am still going strong and my camera is still clicking away, even in December and even in the snow.  For the past (too many to count) years I've always closed my portrait season in early November for a few months to throw myself into the holidays and to wait for the nicer weather.  We have made the decision to pare down our holiday spending and celebrations to minimalistic proportions, and also now have a college student returning home for the holidays...and so do many of you.  And waiting for the nicer weather??  It is Michigan, we could be waiting for 6 months or more!  Enter winter portraits, enter snow sessions.  Enter you and the people you love gathering-no matter the weather. 

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Fall and Winter Portraits

No warm sun? No problem!  It seems like it is winter for 6 months out of the year here in Grand Rapids Michigan, right?  So why not embrace the winter landscape, the chill, the snow(!) the wooly sweaters, scarves, knit caps & blankets and maybe even a bonfire. Come get cozy with your family in Michigan's 'other' season with a winter photo session.  Upcoming available dates are December 2nd and 3rd, December 9th, 16th and the 23rd!  For the first time ever, I may even have a few limited sessions available for you and your gathering family on December 24th.  You bring your winter style and I'll bring the hot cocoa! (e)denarobles@gmail.com to get the details and to book your session.

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Fall and Winter portrait sessions for families
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Grand Rapids winter portraits

Fall Family Mini Sessions 2017

We were so lucky to have extended summer weather this year and beautiful summer color and late evening light to go with it!  This adorable family session definitely took advantage of that golden evening summer light, photographed on film in East Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Michigan Family mini sessions by Dena Robles
East Grand Rapids family photo sessions
Grand Rapids Michigan family photographer
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Family mini sessions are booking on Saturdays and select Sundays through November.  Bring on the cozy sweaters, the woolen hats and knitted blankets and the thermos of cocoa, I love working with you outdoors in every season!  (e) denarobles@gmail.com to select a session date.

You Look Lovely

I do love working with fellow artists, and collaborating with Eva to create her senior portraits was no exception.  She is a very gifted artist, on her way to a very bright future career in design.  Eva's mom is a successful textile artist and we centered this session in the Grand Rapids neighborhood surrounding her studio.  http://www.studioztextiles.com/

Class of 2018 EGRHS
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High School senior sessions with parents too
East Grand Rapids, MichiganPortrait Photographer
EGRHS Class of 2018 senior pictures
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EGRHS senior portraits by Dena Robles
Michigan film portrait photographer

Eva was photographed on Fuji Pro 400H with a Contax 645 and Canon 1v in Grand Rapids, Michigan, film processed and scanned by my partner IndiefilmLab

East Grand Rapids Senior Portraits

The more time I spend photographing and chatting with the graduating class of 2018 the more assured I am of a really strong, productive and professional  future for our country.  Thank you parents, teachers and community for instilling so much faith and respect in our youth.  Here is Ben, from East Grand Rapids High School with a really bright life awaiting him.  Best wishes in everything you pursue!

East Grand Rapids Michigan Senior portraits
EGRHS Class of 2018 Senior Portrait Photographer
Egrhs Class of 2018 senior pictures Ben Sagritello
East Grand Rapids portrait photographer

Fall Mini Sessions on Demand

Whew, we made it through labor day and the first day of school!  Now hold on, we are about to propel full force forward into fall and holiday season.  NOW is the time to book your family photo sessions for holiday cards and gift giving.  The good news...this year I am doing mini sessions on demand, which means you no longer have to try to fit into a weekend mini session limited event.  I get it, your schedule.  My schedule. This year, let ME try to fit into your week.  Bookings start today.  Drop me a line at denarobles@gmail.com to get on the calendar.  New this year, if you and a friend book for the same date I have a gorgeous gift for both of you!

Grand Rapids family mini sessions

East Grand Rapids Family Photography

As my family grows, grows up,  and moves forward in life I am ever more grateful for all the years and years of photographs I have created.  We have our own quirky traditions that have been carried on in specific annual photographs which mark their growing bodies and different stages in their lives and as a family.  I cannot stress enough the importance of not only recording your children, but also as parents, getting in the photographs yourselves!   The time really does pass quickly and every day is precious. This East Grand Rapids family is entering several big milestones with one son prepping for college and the other two finishing their last year of elementary school. This is going to be a momentous year for them and I was so happy to be there to document this time.

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Forest Hills Central Class 0f 2018

It is that busy time of year for all of us.  We are winding down the summer bliss and gearing up for the new school year and the upcoming holiday frenzy.  I do about 90% of my portrait shooting in 2 months of the year...which is right now!  Here is a small showcase of one of my early planners (love those) for high school senior portraits.  This is Ryan, Forest Hills Central rising senior.

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Grand Rapids senior portrait photography Class of 2018

If you haven't booked your Senior Photo session yet, don't panic, there is still time!  I will always do whatever I can to fit you guys in.  As a parent of a recent graduate, I know what a tremendous milestone this is for families.  I also know how many times over the course of senior year a professional head shot is requested for different publications and high school graduation activities.  Parents, think about this for a second...your child's next professional photo opportunity could be at their wedding.  gasp!  Do this now.  You'll thank me later.  Then the wedding photo can wait for years and years.  :)   drop me a note, denarobles@gmail.com

Learn to Shoot Portraits

Parents! Grandparents! Nannies!  This fall learn to photograph your favorite kids, in all their glorious silliness.

portrait classes grand rapids

This fall's session of Coffee & Cameras is learning to shoot portraits of your kids and create artwork like this.  The 3 part class will start at learning to work that fancy-camera-with-all-the buttons-and-the-lens-that-changes, aka DSLR, with the optimal settings for portraits. Next we learn how to set up a simple shooting space and how to engage your subject.  This session is what I call the 15 Minutes of Fame!  We finish the class off with learning to cull and edit your photographs and assemble and print a storyboard collage for your home.  No experience necessary, camera and cute kids are.

DATES:  

Wednesday mornings, 10:00-11:30 -- October 11, 18, 25

or

Sunday afternoons, 3:30-5:00 --October 15, 22, 29.

15 minutes.jpg

All the Info:

  • Classes are limited to 4 adults, your kids will model for you at home
  • Classes are 1.5 hours long for 3 weekly meetings
  • Your choice of Weekday mornings or Sunday afternoons beginning October, times & dates as follows: Wednesday mornings, 10:00-11:30 October 11, 18, 25 or  Sunday afternoons, 3:30-5:00 October 15, 22, 29.
  • Tuition is $150 + printing
15minutesoffame.jpg

FAQ

What kind of camera will I need?  A DSLR is best suited for this class and for the designed instruction.  There are some great hybrid cameras on the market now which are small and easy like a 'point and shoot' but still allow you to change all your exposure settings for optimal portrait performance.  I am happy to advise you on your camera choice.

I have a good camera and am interested in learning to use it for portraits, but have no idea what all these buttons and dials are foris this class right for me?  In a word, yes!  In more words, this is a project based class specific to shooting fun portraits of your child in a simple set up and in controlled lighting (don't worry, these examples are all window light!)  Since we are focusing on one outcome here, all the skills needed for this will be learned along the way. Later Coffee & Cameras classes could cover the camera skills needed for sports photography, storytelling lifestyle photos, creating artwork for the home, etc.

Are there any hidden expenses?  Well.  Sometimes I have to bribe my kids to allow me to photograph them.  If you learn this and have fun with it you might find yourself wanting to spend meeeellions of dollars on new cameras and lenses, but I don't recommend it!  For the class, I will make recommendations on where to print your final artwork, and the cost incurred will depend on the size you choose to print (around $3-$30)  The set up here is super simple, if you don't have a blank wall in your home next to a window, you may want to hang a sheet, or purchase a large piece of foam core (about $5.)

Am I limited to this black and white look? Nope.  This is what I will be teaching for this class, but you can make adjustments to suit your style.  Here are some examples from previous 15 Minutes of Fame sessions.

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Interested? Have questions?  send me an email, denarobles@gmail.com

 

Summer Wildflower Sessions in East Grand Rapids

Hello West Michigan (and I am looking at you right now Grand Rapids and EGR!!)  One of my favorite outdoor locations for shooting summer wildflower sessions is peaking right now, a month early.  If you haven't grabbed your High School Senior appointment or annual Family Photograph, let's do it now before the flowers die and the city mows it all down.  Send me an email at denarobles@gmail.com to get on the schedule.

Welcome Class of 2018

Hello Class of 2018 and parents of Rising Seniors!  The best time to schedule your student's high school senior portraits is July and August!  Most school yearbook deadlines are the first week of October and we all know how incredibly busy the first month of school can be especially if you have an after school job or are in sports.  I am now booking the rest of July and the first week of August.  I will open up the rest of the August calendar as needed. Sessions are all created on-location.  I have several favorite spots and am open to your suggestions as well.

EGRHS senior photos
class of 2018 senior photos

I have a few different session options to suit a variety of needs and budgets:

Signature Senior---$475 ($425 for sessions booked by August 8th)---this is a full length session with varied locations and wardrobe changes and includes yearbook photo and 10 digital files for personal printing

Short & Sweet Senior---$150---this is a mini session for those who would like to be sure to get the professional yearbook photo without any fuss.  Sessions are created at one location with one layered outfit and last about 30 minutes and includes yearbook photo and 2 digital files for personal printing

Additional files and printed products are always available for purchase with either session option.

high school senior portraits
grand rapids high school seniors

Do you want to be photographed with your group of friends or your twin? I offer referral discounts and sibling specials.  Send me an email to find out more, ask your questions and get on the schedule!  denarobles@gmail.com

egrhs senior portriats
Senior Portrait Sessions Michigan
Class of 2018 senior portraits

I hope to hear from you soon!  denarobles@gmail.com

EGRHS Class of 2017

This is a big year in my home and a big year for us in our community.  When my son is a senior and graduates, it feels like half the town is graduating...I've watched these kids grow up together since we moved here in 6th grade!  I've watched you in band concerts, football games, school trips, service projects, team dinners, regattas, school plays, driver's ed, Winter Whirl and Prom, in the hallways and hanging out in the village.  Congratulations to all the families in our graduating Class of 2017!  

Here is Kaja, whose parents wanted to commemorate this milestone in their family with cap & gown photographs.  I am booking more sessions this weekend if you want to do the same.  Quick and simple, promise.   (e) denarobles@gmail.com

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Color Hunt Black

My recently completed Teen Photography Class had 10 students this time!  That means we had TEN gorgeous Color Hunt Collages.  After doing this for the last year I feel like I have run out of colors to hunt.  This time, the class challenged me to Black.  Not a problem at all to find black here given that my wardrobe is 97% black , I love all my vintage black cameras and I am slightly obsessed with Batman...

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Student Work from Grace

Grace was also in my Fall 2016 Teen Photography Club.  If I recall, she was sent to class so she could "become her family's personal photographer."  No pressure, Grace, no pressure at all.  :) 

I think you are going to do juuuuuust fine!

Teen Photography class Grand Rapids MI
Teen Photography Class taught by Dena Robles in West Michigan
Natural light portrait class for teens

In other news, there is now a dedicated page on my website for the photography classes, check here: http://www.dena-robles.com/classes/   The next series of Teen Photography club beginning this Saturday is full, I will schedule another one in the spring.  The next Kids and Cameras class for 4th/5th/6th grade students begins on Sunday and there is one spot left at the table--  (e) denarobles@gmail.com 

Color Collage--Grey

Everybody's favorite assignment in the Kids and Cameras series so far is the Color Collage. I think it is also one of my favorite ways to push myself to photograph every day, especially in the slower winter months.  Last December I did the project right along with my class participants.  Before I venture into fuschia, vermillion, or cobalt variants of classic colors, (I won't ever really run out of colors will I?)  I thought I should cover the 16 crayola box with grey, black and brown.  Here is Color Challenge GREY!

Color Collage project-- Grey, by Dena Robles

KIDS and CAMERAS--Teen Photography Club

I have loved teaching the Teen Photography Club classes and watching novice photographers start to view their world through different perspectives and through their own 'lenses.'  Following is a sample of work from Ainsley in the autumn class.  First up is her HERO Image, in just the first assignment she shows a good understanding of exposure and composition. Next is her Color Collage using different camera perspectives. Third is her portraiture assignment for "15 Minutes of Fame" and I am impressed with how well she handled a very tricky back-lighting situation.  Well done Ainsley!

Teen Photography Club taught by Dena Robles
Grand Rapids Michigan teen photography class
Teen Photography Class in Grand Rapids Michigan

Teen Photography Class in Grand Rapids Michigan

Teen Photography Spotlight

I've had several emails regarding the next series of Teen Photography Club starting up January 28th.  What do we learn?  All teen and adult students learn to obtain proper exposure on a DSLR on manual mode from Day 1.  Throughout the class we are learning the ins and outs of our cameras while working on creative projects.  We cover the Exposure Triangle (ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed), we learn how to photograph in different qualities of light, how to use creative composition, and changing perspectives as well as framing our shots.  Additionally, we learn the top tips for portraiture and practice photographing faces in the "15 Minutes of Fame" segment.   I can talk and talk and talk about it, but wouldn't you rather see some results from the student photographers?  Yes, I thought so.  
Here is the first showcase from middle schooler Kira in the November/December Teen Photography Club, can you even believe she was a beginner??  So proud.

Day One.  Learning manual exposure and choosing appropriate aperture.  These are frame-worthy!

Day One.  Learning manual exposure and choosing appropriate aperture.  These are frame-worthy!

Hero Image Project--learning to use different qualities of light.

Hero Image Project--learning to use different qualities of light.

Color Collage-everybody's favorite assignment!

Color Collage-everybody's favorite assignment!

15 Minutes of Fame-Kira chose a wiggly subject but captured his cute personality perfectly and made great choices in light and environment.

15 Minutes of Fame-Kira chose a wiggly subject but captured his cute personality perfectly and made great choices in light and environment.


You can get more information regarding all 3 series of photography classes here, http://www.dena-robles.com/blog/kids-cameras-series-2017-dates

Teen Photography Club begins January 28th and runs for 5 weeks on Saturday late mornings--almost full. 

An overflow Kids and Cameras class begins January 29th and runs for 4 Sunday afternoons 1:00-2:30, there are TWO spots left for that class, 4th and 5th graders only.

More details for adult classes will be coming in the next few weeks, there are a few underway already!

Faces I -- Simple Black and White Portraits

The December series of Teen Photography Club finished up with portrait practice and Cameron modeled for us for his 15 Minutes of Fame.  Everyone had a chance to set up and engage with our 'model'.  Here are the results from my camera...

Black and White portraits with the Teen Photography Club Grand Rapids Mi

Do you want to know how simple this set up can be?  Take a look.

a) It was a grey snowy day so I knew we needed to be rather close to the light source, which in this case was my large dining room windows.  

b) A simple background was going to be preferable to let the Face and Expressions  be the star. I was decorating for the holidays at the time so the room was a bit cluttered--I propped a framed Doctor Who poster (backwards) up on the piano bench and leaned it against the piano, it was something we had set in the hallway waiting for Freecycle.  I often have a large piece of white and black foam core handy for food styling shoots, but one of my kids had recently cut out a chunk of the black one for a school project so I improvised.

c) Since this was an exercise in metering, focusing AND engaging with a human I wanted the model AND the photographer to be stationary.  The subject got a wooden kitchen stool to sit on, photographers used a dining room chair.

d) 15 Minutes of Fame, the fun part.  We put music on, adjusted our exposure settings and focus and then-staying put-asked our subject questions, got him engaged in conversation, asked him to demonstrate different emotions until after a minute he was free to give us the best of his personality and expressions on his own.  Wham bam, done.  A few seconds in photoshop with a VSCO b/w preset and my own collage template and I suddenly had a christmas present sorted out and sent to the printers.

The behind-the-scenes simple set up: