michigan film photographer

Downtown Senior Portrait Sessions

This is a session I am very excited about. Even though I have photographed this family many many times over the years, this was the first time I really got to focus alone on Ashton and (hopefully!) photograph him the way he wants to be seen. I love when a person can relax and bring their true self in front of my camera and when that person is also a very talented artist with killer style and great attitude it is even better. Love you!

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Ashton was photographed in Eastown and downtown Grand Rapids in June 2019 by Dena Robles. The session was captured on Kodak Portra 400 film with a Contax 645 and processed by IndieFilmLab.

Senior Pictures

I met Katie and her sister Ashley when they were in 6th grade, the year our three community elementary schools merged into one middle school. I met them with braces, glasses, blemishes, unruly hair and ‘mom I don’t care’ awkward stares. I’ve watched them evolve into their own identities and into the confident, witty and beautiful people they are today. I look forward to hearing about all their college adventures and adult lives. Thanks Katie for finally getting in front of my camera :) These are just a few of my favorites!

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Katie was also photographed at Reeds Lake in Grand Rapids, MI. A popular place if you know where to go and at the right time! She was photographed on Fuji Pro400H film with a Contax 645 by Santa Barbara based portrait photographer Dena Robles.

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/

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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

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.

Family Photos in Gas Light Village

When your family has a strong presence in just about everything in the community, what better place to capture the exuberant personalities than in your "own front yard" of Gas Light Village in East Grand Rapids, MI?!  We may have stopped traffic a few times but we also found a few hidden corners amongst all the familiar landscapes. Here are a few favorites!   

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Kowalewskis were photographed at Gas Light Village in East Grand Rapids using a Contax 645 and Kodak Portra 400 film by Dena Robles

Then, Later and Now

One of my favorite parts of being a family photographer is getting to watch all those little babies grow up over the years.  I've been a working photographer here in Grand Rapids Michigan for just over 6 years now which means I have several families that I have photographed again and again and witnessed new family members join and little ones get bigger!  This is Harrison, Then, Later and Now, along with his two little brothers.

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These sweet boys were photographed last month in their home.  The photographs were created using Kodak Portra 400 and Tri-x400 films on a Contax 645 and Canon Eos-1v and were processed and scanned by my partner lab ProPhotoIrvine.

That Michigan Moment in August

It's that Michigan Moment in August when you have spent a sun drunk morning at the beach in Lake Michigan for the hundredth time this year and you long for a hundred more days before summer closes.  With sand dusting your feet and salt lingering on your lips from your lunch of potato crisps you shake out your beach blanket and venture to the car for a drive in the countryside.  After a short respite from the late summer sun and a chorus from the back seat of the car you pull over at DeGrandchamps Blueberry farm to pick a sweet treat for dessert tonight. Gathering white buckets, you watch as they dash down the rows of blueberry bushes bursting with fat ripe clusters of berries searching for the just-right bounty.  They reach their young tanned hands out and with an initial tiny plop and ping the blueberries start to fill the buckets.  The little one dives between rows to discover all the hidden places. We all exclaim "Look at this one!"  "This is the perfect blueberry!"  "I found the biggest one yet!"  Your fingertips become stained blue as you continue harvesting nature's perfect jewel.  Your lips are sweet with the taste of blueberries as you test every third berry you pick.  Fresh blueberries warmed by the sun are delicious like nothing else in the world and you treasure the goodness almost as much as you treasure the moment witnessing your children relishing in nature and food.  With your blueberry buckets brimming to the edge you start the trip home with the perfect summer anthem playlist in the car, the taste of blueberries on your tongues, the anticipation of blueberry cobbler after dinner.  After a hundred days of summer the sun is getting lower earlier every evening and you know the days at the lake are nearing their end as summer begins to close.  Blueberry picking is the last sweet gift of the summer.  And lucky you with the eager pickers you can preserve today's blueberries for the taste of summer all winter long, giving you the glimpse of another hundred grand days at the beach next year.  And more blueberries to come.

That Michigan Moment by Dena Robles
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DeGrandchamps Blueberry Farm South Haven MI
That Michigan Moment in August
kids picking blueberries in the summer
Harvesting Blueberries
Making blueberry cobbler
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kids in the kitchen
that michigan moment in august with instant film and blueberries

The nature of shooting film means that sometimes your stories aren't shared until a month, sometimes two later.  The beauty of shooting film is getting to stare out your kitchen window at a scene of brilliant autumn foliage on November 1st and pull a bag of handpicked blueberries from the freezer to make blueberry cobbler and getting to relive the summer days all over again, in your kitchen AND in photographs and in your memories. Long live summer.  And film.  

Grand Rapids Senior Photography

Kaja and I were lucky to hit downtown Grand Rapids *juuuussst* before ArtPrize 8 turned our city into an art feeding frenzy.  She requested her senior portraits around downtown art murals and at the Grand Rapids Art Museum, so that's what we did, discovering some new spots along the way.  Isn't she lovely?!

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Kaja was photographed by Dena Robles downtown Grand Rapids Michigan on Kodak Portra 400 with a Contax 645, processed and scanned by ProPhotoIrvine.

EGRHS Class of 2017

It certainly IS that time of year isn't it?  High school senior portraits, back-to-school photos, and fall family mini sessions are keeping this little photographer happily busy!  The film scans from Zach's recent downtown Grand Rapids session were filtering in to my inbox this morning and I quickly grabbed a few favorites and then a few more and then a few more to share.  I can't express enough my love of shooting film for ... well, everything.  

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Zach was photographed downtown Grand Rapids on Kodak Portra 400 film using a Contax 645 and Canon Eos-1v, processed by my lovely partners at ProPhotoIrvine.

A quick call out to all West Michigan High School Seniors, if your yearbook deadline is early October, it still isn't too late to book your session with me.  Even though I shoot film, I have some options to meet your deadline.  Also, if you would like to do a quick yearbook-only session now send me an email ASAP to get on my calendar, I'd love to work with you.  (e) denarobles @ gmail.com