Friday, January 27, 2012

We've MOVED!!!

So.....  we've moved!  Head on over to our new self-hosted blog at: 

...and we hope to see you there!  Thank you for your support!

Doug and Ally

Thursday, December 22, 2011

No sibling rivalry here!

Not sure these guys could've been any sweeter!  They truly love each other and as a mom of an older daughter and a younger son, this was HOPEFULLY a glimpse of things to come.  H and M were so happy together - like best friends!  A true gift that every parent dreams of!

H was a total trooper!  She was completely into the photo session and put on a great smile even though it was absolutely FREEZING outside!  I think that even if we had her in the water, she would have had the same gorgeous smile on her face.  She was like working with a true professional and I loved every moment of it!  
Sitting pretty at one of the most beautiful locations!

M is absolutely adorable.  His freckles were AWESOME and he has this great infectious personality!  A very genuine person, very warm, friendly and was willing to do just about anything I asked him to do!  He didn't even put up much of a fight when I asked him to plant a kiss on his big sister's cheek for a photo.  Super sweetie!!!

Such a cool guy! 
Add in two amazing locations, and I think that's a recipe for an exceptional photo session.  These two kids were a complete and total pleasure to work with.  Great kids, warm (personality, not outside!!!) kids, and NICE kids!  Way to go Mom!!! 

H and M, you guys were the best!  Thanks so much for a super fun afternoon!!!  Can't wait to show you the rest!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Boy meets girl.....

Boy courts girl through high school, college and several moves throughout the country.  And then he enters a contest to win an incredibly beautiful engagement ring from Tapper's Jewelry Store.  

E and M have quite an amazing love story.  It started back in high school (to know me is to know that I'm a sucker for couples that meet in high school.  These two actually DATED in high school.  So cute!).  You can read the whole story here.  

Well...when we found out that E won the ring, we were asked how late we were going to be at the studio that evening.  When we asked why and were given the answer, we JUMPED at the opportunity to photograph an engagement.  

At 7:30, Tracie from Tapper's came down to get us.  We all but ran down the hallway (with our super excited 12 year old and 10 year olds in tow - they were almost as excited as we were!).  We walked into Tapper's and waited while E and M were "interviewed" one last time.  It was really a diversion tactic that E set up so that his whole family, M's whole family and we could get down to the store to be able to photograph the question being popped.
Down on one knee.  M sees her ring for the first time.

Just realizing what's REALLY going on!


The first kiss as fianc├ęs.

When the door opened, and E and M came out, M saw everyone around.  E got down on one knee with an opened ring box, and asked M to marry him.  

I was teary, my daughter was teary, both moms were teary, E was get the picture!  And ya know what?  SO DID I!!!  

This was such an incredible event to be a part of!  There's nothing like the beginning of something absolutely beautiful.  Family, love and diamonds....  Does it get any better than that???
In front of the winning video that E submitted to win the ring.

Many congratulations to you, E and M!  We hope that you're as happy for the rest of your lives as you are now!  

Thank you for letting us help you capture this amazing milestone in your lives!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Hail to..... wait - which?

I couldn't resist this one....  One more little "buy local" rant and then I'll (try to) leave it alone for a while.
As a follow up to my "Meditations on Buying Local" post, this shirt appeared on this link at  

I'm sure many of you saw this already since a lot of people got a kick out of it and posted it on facebook especially here in Michigan where we are based.  For those of you who aren't in Michigan and may not know, Michigan State University's team name is the Spartans and their colors are green and white, but the University Of Michigan Wolverines' fight song contains the opening line "Hail to the Victors" and their colors are maize and blue.  Needless to say this was a pretty bad mistake to mix them up and put them on the same t-shirt.  I hate to sound like a broken record but putting your loyalties aside for a second and your urge to talk some smack if you're a Wolverine or a Spartan, what this really is is a commercial for buying LOCAL.  Do you think a local Michigan based t-shirt company would make a mistake as ridiculous as this?  No way.  Why would you want your school's logo hijacked by some national corporate brand like this that doesn't have a clue about it?  

Now granted college athletics is huge business and national brands Adidas and Nike are the official outfitters of the sports teams at the two schools so you can't really avoid buying the apparel from a national company.  That's the way it is.  But I think the point here is there are local independent retailers you can support that sell licensed t-shirts with your alma mater on them who would never make a mistake like this.  Local merchants have a feel for the local community and have a vested interest in it.  National chains....not as much as evidenced by this shirt.  Maybe that is a generalization that isn't 100% fair, but c'mon.  This actually made it to their website.  Not one person at Pink cared enough or bothered to check on this?  A business sports reporter actually pointed it out to Victoria's Secret which is what prompted them to pull it off the site.  Once again our message is not to boycott national chain stores, but rather in a case like this let Pink stick to what they do best and when you are considering buying some gear for your local team consider a local option first.  If Pink bothered to get the shirt right and you could buy Pink products from local merchants then I guess it would be different, but they didn't and you can't.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Such a gorgeous family...

Such a beautiful couple!  No wonder they have two stunning kiddos!
The D family was in the studio a few weeks ago and did we have the BEST time!!! Seriously, I think we laughed for the entire session. Doug and J bonded over football in the good old days and K and I bonded over football and how the boys are SO enthralled with it! It makes a good session great when you can chat about common interests!

And then there were the kids.... J and K are so photogenic and so funny! They had me in stitches with their karate poses and attempts at blowing great big bubbles from their new package of Bubble Yum. 

Isn't she a beauty?  What an angel face!  Such a sweetheart!!!
Hands down, one of the most amazing smiles from a young man.  Mr. Personality here!!
The session ended with a bunch of high fives and hugs all around.  You just gotta love when clients leave from the session and you talk about them for the rest of the night.  All good things, of course!  Like how they're the kind of people you'd like to be friends with...good, kind, nice people.

Oh!  And it doesn't hurt that ALL four of them are VERY EASY on the eyes...  :)

Friday, November 25, 2011


We have been in our studio space here in the Orchard Mall for about three years now and we really are living our dream.  It hasn't always been easy building a young business but it's been a labor of love for sure, and today on the day after Thanksgiving was one of those days when you just realize how thankful you are.

We are humbled by the opportunity to be a part of the lives of our people who we lovingly refer to as the "frameables".  We had so many people come by the studio to visit us over the last couple days - especially our high school seniors - some who are still in high school and just had a couple days off and some who are home visiting from college.  They all make us smile!

When new parents bring babies to the studio to photograph and back to visit and photograph as they grow up, when a wonderful 90 year old lady brings a 90 year old photo in to restore and tells us stories, when families come together from out of town and gather in our studio to allow us to be a part of that reunion and document it for posterity, when a dog owner brings in their best friend for a session, these are the moments that have given us so much.

We are thankful for you.  All of you.  Thank you so much.

Ally and Doug

Friday, November 18, 2011

Meditations on Buying Local...

BUY LOCAL - you hear this everywhere right?  Save our local economy!  It's pervasive.  There are facebook and LinkedIn groups devoted to the idea, politicians throw the issue around to try to make each other look better than the opponent knowing that it's an emotional hot button for their constituents, businesses remind you at every turn almost as a sales pitch to get you to come in and buy something in their store.  You start to become numb to it.

Listen - it's certainly an important issue to us being a local business ourselves but I like to keep these posts a bit lighter and more fun.  I don't want to be a downer and I certainly don't want to get on a soap box to beat you over the head again to shop local.....  (hmmmm wait Doug - this isn't a typical light fun Frameable Faces blog post - seems you already went there).   Sorry.  Big exhale..... Okay - I'm just gonna go with it then.  But I'm going to try to make it as painless as possible.

The fact is there were three different things that put this in my head this week in particular which is why I'm thinking about it and felt the need to blog about it. The first thing happened at our last Orchard Mall tenants meeting.  One of our fellow tenants alerted all of us to a project and website called The 3/50 Project whose mission is to strengthen independent brick and mortar businesses.  What I like about this is that it appears to be a very sensible and practical call to action.  The "3/50" part refers to the suggestion that everyone pick out 3 local businesses they would miss if they closed and commit to spending $50 per month collectively at those businesses.  The studies suggest that for every 100 dollars spent at a local business 68 of them return to the community.  For every 100 spent at a national chain only 43 stays here, and for every 100 spent online none of it stays here.  Makes you think.

The second thing happened in Birmingham the other day while we were there photographing a senior.  We drove past the Varsity Shop which is a sporting goods store that has been there since I was a kid.  It is a small corner store that certainly would seem to be a relic from a bygone era when you compare it to stores like Dick's and The Sports Authority not to mention Target, Meijer, Wal-Mart and all the other big box stores who sell sporting goods.  I don't know the people at the Varsity Shop and I haven't been in there forever.  I don't know what they specialize in and I have no stake in spotlighting them, but my point is when I pondered how they've managed to stay in business when so many others couldn't it dawned on me - they certainly didn't do it because I shop there.   I felt a pang of guilt - I have good memories of that place and they deserve better from me.  Now to totally beat myself up over this isn't fair because I do buy local - a lot.  And with online commerce and the economies of scale that a Target or a Costco brings to the table I'd be nuts to not make sure I looked for the best deals from time to time as we try to support our family with a still-young business in this wonderful economy of ours.  Indeed, the 3/50 Project doesn't suggest you stop buying from chains, they just suggest that you make sure your healthy balance includes a helping of local merchants.  I personally think I can do better and I'm going to buy something from the Varsity Shop when I get a chance.  Meanwhile the Orchard Mall is filled with many local merchants.  We've got a Panera here sure (love their breakfast power sandwich - hold the ham, extra egg), but we've also got a couple local eateries, a very cool local toy store, a couple boutiques, a linen store, clothing stores, a bridal couture, a dance studio, a locally based supermarket chain, a jeweler, a gift shop, a few spa/salons - all local.  Most of the businesses here are local and not many malls can say that.

The third thing that happened was we received a nice thank you gift from a Michigan based company we order our albums from called Finao (the link is to their blog and much of it is targeted at their clients who are professional photography studios like us - lots of shop talk).  This made us feel great and appreciated - this company really gets it.  A very inspiring move on their part.  It makes us happy to do business with such a great company and it gives us even greater comfort that they are based in Michigan and everything they produce is made from stuff made in the USA.  This is not by accident - we have always made a point of using local vendors for the business wherever possible and most of our vendors - our framer, our printer, our canvas folks and many others are based in Michigan.

So, I suppose if I had to give myself a grade with an "A" representing a full commitment to spending as many of my dollars as possible with local businesses (within reason), and being conscious of it whenever I make my choices of what to purchase, I would probably give myself a "B".  I can do better.  What about you?