Haley & Hans | Royal Oak Documentary Couples Session

While talking to Haley before her’s and Han’s session she told me something along the lines of, “My friends have told me I had better warn you that Hans and I are really gushy and lovey. They’re worried you might think that we’re faking it for the camera.” I am pretty good at spotting what is real and what it fake when it comes to how people are acting, but I thanked her for letting me know and got even more excited for their session. Seriously you guys, Haley and Hans are the cutest, most in love couple, and it’s obvious that they are the real deal. I joined them for one of their favorite morning rituals, walking up to the bakery not too far from their house. There was a moment when Haley went to use the bathroom and Hans looked at me, his face full of love, and said “Isn’t she just the cutest?!” The love is so huge and so real! Then we went back to their home and they made and drank tea together, something they often do. Simple, perfect, them being them.

Spending a couple of hours with them, really got me excited for more of this type of session. A family doesn’t only exist when there are children involved. Capturing love, silly faces, little glances, that’s what this is all about. Every family has all of these moments, whether there are children involved or not.

So here’s my shout out to all of you couples without children. Have your pictures taken together. Get a session done. Plan some time doing the things that you love to do together and have someone capture and show you your moments. You won’t regret it.

Haley’s response to her slideshow had me in happy tears:

“SHELLEY I AM IN LOVE WITH THESE PHOTOS!!!!! *swoon* Wow you are so talented. I have no idea how you captured that many good ones lol. It just felt like a walk but you captured the treasure. Wow. I'm in tears.”

**With any of my shorter length sessions I offer 10-15 mins of loosely directed portraits if that is something that a family wants. There are a few pictures in this slideshow that are not purely documentary. The love is real, their reactions are real, but this couple wanted to reenact something they’ve done together every year, so we made that happen for them.

Ami, Mike, & Cleo | Day in the Life | Detroit Documentary Family Photography

This wonderful family was about to become a family of four.

That time when you know your heart is about to expand with love for this new little addition to your family. A time that is so exciting, but also so bittersweet. Thinking about how it is going to change, how your first little love of your life won’t be your only little love of your life anymore. Wondering how it’s going to affect your first born, will they be okay, will they feel, sad, jealous, confused? Will your connection with this person who first made you a parent be affected? There are so many emotions that come with this time. In the end, we all know that it ends up being wonderful and beautiful, but that doesn’t stop all of those feelings from happening in the moment.

This is such a wonderful time to have a session because as much as I am always emphasizing that you can never get this time back, or your child’s age right now back, in the situation of a second child being born, this really is the last time to photograph your the relationship with you and your first kiddo with them as an only child.

I really am fortunate that all of my clients end up being people who I want to hang out with. Ami and Mike are no exception. I immediately felt welcomed into their home like an old friend. When they mentioned that they didn’t know who was going to stay with Cleo when the baby was born, I felt compelled to offer to help. Mind you, we had never met before this day, so I did hold back and didn’t offer for fear of seeming a like a bit too much. But I’m pretty sure I did still end up mentioning it to them some time later. AND to top off their hospitality, they sent me off after their session with a giant bag of yummy homegrown garden tomatoes. Ami and Mike, you’re two of the good ones. XOXO

Bluebird House in a Slideshow & What I've been Up to Recently | Ferndale Metro Detroit Documentary Family Photographer

There's quite a bit for me to catch you up on!

At the end of the school year I spent time during nine different days documenting at Milo's school. I have been going through and working on the thousands of photos and I am loving the pictures I made while there. I am so happy that he is at the school he is at, it is such a good fit for our parenting and our family. The slideshow I am sharing below is such a good representation of what a day in his school is like. Watching it has brought happy tears to most of the moms who have seen it. (myself included of course) If you know me, you know that to me that is a success. I love you ladies!


I also recently, had a Day in the Life session, photographed the birth of my nephew, spent a couple of days with my photography mentor the amazing Kirsten Lewis in Denver, photographed two families there, came home and two days later spent Sunday at an all day retreat with the equally amazing Natalie Fuoco of The Designed Life and five other inspiring women, and then last night I met up with another group of inspiring small business owner women at The Spark Collaborative's monthly Happy Hour event.

It has been an inspiring and fulfilling few weeks!

I think now it might be time to plan to go camping, head to the beach with Milo, and maybe visit our friends while they vacation in North Carolina. 

Why Your Families Memories Might Be the One Luxury Item You Want to Invest In. | Metro Detroit Documentary Family Photographer Shelley Torgerson

The truth, is any kind of photography you have done could be considered a luxury by some. It is not something necessary. Just like getting a coffee, taking a vacation, buying nice shoes, or going out to eat. We can get by just fine without any of these things. But I saw some pictures today that a friend posted on Facebook of her daughter who was turning 20 today. Some of the pictures included her and her daughter together, and of course those were the ones I was most drawn to. They really got me thinking.

I couldn’t help but think to myself, that I bet she is so glad that she has these photos, of her now adult daughter at the age 5 or 6 leaning on her back, both of them smiling together. These weren’t even professional photos, they were snapshots. But I know looking at those photos that they mean the world to both the mother and daughter. They are able to look at those photos and bring up so many memories and feelings about that time in their life. What did it feel like to be together? What did a day feel like in their house? As a mom, I know that the time it goes by so quickly, and each moment, each stage of our kids lives can be so different and feel so important. Looking back and seeing what it was like, feeling what it was like, it is such a gift to have the photos to take you back there. 

And then I saw a post from an acquaintance about moving to another country. And I thought to myself how I wish I had done a Day in the Life session for that family before they moved. To give them this tangible and beautiful set of captured memories of what it was like, in their house, in their city, in their current county with their child before they make such a big move, I think it would have meant the world to them and to me. 

This is why I feel so passionate about documentary family photography. This is why, although some people may call it a luxury, it is a luxury that I believe is worth the investment. What ever extras purchases you choose to make important are different for each person. That’s part of the beauty of the world. But, if you’re like me and want to preserve a little of what your family feels like right now, if you want to be able to look back and feel it again, then think about getting a session with me. You won’t regret it, I promise. 

Willow | Fresh 48 | Ferndale Documentary Newborn Photographer

The first few days after our baby is born it's a time when our babies and their smell and their faces are so new to us, but so familiar at the same time. The time when we are in awe each time we look at them because we can't believe they are finally here, but we also can feel that they belong here with us. When we suddenly can't believe we have this tiny baby to care for, but also cannot believe they were ever not a part of our lives. These first hours are so fleeting, and so much is happening, so much newness, so little sleep. I don't know about you, but for me, there was so much love, but also, so much going through the motions. My memory of this time is such a blur. It's such a whirlwind and then when we try to think back it's hard to remember, "What was it really like?" They grow quickly and it's hard to remember how little they really were.

A Fresh 48 session solves that for you, it allows you to remember what it felt like right after your new baby was born. All the tiny parts, how at only a day old, they already looked at you with love, how they already knew that you were theirs. The joy and the tiredness. The looks between parents while thinking "we did this, this beautiful baby is ours." It's all beautiful, all beautifully real. And it's all captured in photographs, forever.

Baby Willow has been a long awaited and welcome blessing to her family and all those who love them and now her. I am so honored to have been welcomed into this sacred and special time in all of their lives. Thank you Erin and Adrian. I love you all. 




The Molnars | Day in the Life | Ferndale Family Photographer

I'm not going to lie, I have loved every session that I have done. Every one. There are always the full range of emotion inducing moments, moments that make me grin, make me cry, and make me crack up, moments that are so relatable. Moments that remind me that I am not the only one dealing with whatever recent hard time Milo might be having. Moments that remind me that I'm not the only one who is having whatever motherhood struggle I am having. Moments that remind me again and again, WE ARE ALL ON THE SAME JOURNEY. We are all having the same struggles and the same wins. That is what is amazing about watching these sessions. Even if you are never going to get one for yourself, watch my slideshows. See all the moments that other parents are having and see yourself in their struggles, but also in their triumphs. When you see that five year old looking up at their mom with so much love, please don't look at that picture and think that maybe they are a better parent than you. Your kids are looking at you like that too! We, the parents, me included, just don't see it during the hustle and bustle of our everyday. So even if you think you are never going to hire me, (but do!) please watch these slideshows and then remember to stop and notice every once in a while how much your kids are adoring you. Even if it's in between their complaining about not having MORE popsicles, as they are eating a popsicle! (What your kids don't do that? Just mine!?) 

I started this off by saying that I love every session, and I do. And I wonder if each new one becomes a new favorite, I'm not sure... But I LOVE this session so much. I loved being with this family and I loved watching them interact and I loved the boys facial expressions. OMG, I love the expressions. And seriously, the youngest, he was eating ice off the floor at one point, no hands. I LOVE what kids will do to get what they want. I love the Erin & Alex's love for each other. I love it all. I usually will say more about the family, but I want to let the pictures tell the story here.