As a documentary wedding photographer, it’s my job to capture your day in photographs, as beautifully and as creatively as possible. I need to use my intuition, think on my feet, and be ready at all times to capture those split-second moments that tell the story of your day. It’s no easy task, but I absolutely love it!

Bride and Groom entrance to reception

There are a few things you can do, or be aware of, that will make my job go so much smoother, and make your photos look so much better. Three easy things that will make a big difference in the way your wedding day photographs look.

1. Lighting. I know it isn’t always possible to light your ceremony, but for the reception this has a huge effect on how your images look. Think about creating a mood- use candles, string lights, paper lanterns, anything to help create a soft, dreamy mood. The more lights like this, the better- because (obviously) it’s hard for me to take photos in the dark! I need light to expose a photo, and the more interesting and moody the light is, the better the photos turn out.

Detroit Opera House Wedding

2. Clear the Clutter. When I arrive to start photographing everyone getting ready, typically there is miscellaneous stuff piled up everywhere. Try to keep clutter hidden and to a minimum. Keep bags, suitcases, and food in another room, if possible. If not, please be sure things are picked up and the room is tidy before I arrive. If I need to do a sweep before I begin shooting, I might miss some important moments. Have your dress out of the bag and on a hanger (if you’d like me to photograph it), as well as other items like your jewelry, shoes, wedding invitations, etc.


3. Unplugged Ceremony. An unplugged ceremony is when you ask your guests to refrain from taking any photos. Asking your guests not to use cameras or cell phones allows all guests to really take in your ceremony, without fussing with cell phones and flashes. (It also helps to remind guests to turn their phones off- the worst thing is when a guest’s phone starts ringing during your ceremony!) It only takes a split second for a guest to stand up to quickly grab a shot with their phone- right in my view- causing me to miss a moment.

If you don’t want to entirely unplug, I would at least recommend that guests take photos from their seat, without getting up into the aisles. If anyone is in the aisles during any part of the ceremony it will definitely affect the photos I am able to take. Please talk to your guests about this beforehand.

Unplugged ceremony- sign

In the end, it’s my job to capture your day in the best light possible, and I will do just that. But keeping these three things in mind will help to ensure your wedding photos are as awesome as they can be!

Couples who book me for a wedding will receive a wedding planning guide that has these tips and a lot more information on how to make your day a huge success. If you’d like more information, or to check my availability, get in touch!

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Wedding Photography Gear

There you have it- all of the gear I use when photographing a wedding. I like to keep things simple, and as light as possible. I don’t enjoy lugging around a ton of equipment, plus I don’t like attracting attention to myself. Here’s the list of my gear:

1. Nikon D750 body (top)

This is my main body. It’s a machine! My favorite features are it’s insane low-light capabilities, the tilting back screen, and the incredible dynamic range it produces.

2. Nikon D90 body  (bottom left)

My backup body. Gets the job done. I like that it’s a cropped sensor, in contrast to the full frame D750. Gives me some variety. This body is kind of a dinosaur, and I plan on upgrading it pretty soon.

3. Nikon 70-200mm 2.8 lens (top right)

Only used if needed during the ceremony, like in a church where I’m unable to get very close. Most times it stays in my bag. It’s so heavy!

4. Nikon 85mm 1.8 lens (middle left)

Love this lens. I use this one and the 35mm 90% of the time.

5. Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art lens (middle right)

Awesome, beautiful, amazing lens! Perfect for almost every situation. My favorite.

6. Tamron 90mm 2.8 Macro lens (bottom right)

Just for the rings and extra close-up detail shots. Stays in my bag most of the time.

7. Lens Baby Spark lens (bottom left)

For creative shots- it’s fun to play with! It gives images a dreamlike, mostly out-of-focus look.

8. Nikon 50mm 1.8 lens (on D750 body)

A great lens! This lens is the closest to the way we see the world, so it gives a real authenticity to images.

9. Two SB-800 Speedlights (bottom)

They don’t make these anymore, but I’m crazy about them! Used mostly at the reception. I use one on camera, and one off if I need it. I try to keep lighting as simple and natural as possible.

10. Yashicamat vintage film camera

Sometimes I like to play around with this film camera during the couple’s portraits.


Lume Photography- wedding rings and succulent Tamron 90mm 2.8 Macro


Elopement photographer- Lume Photography

Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art


Lansing, Michigan Wedding Photographer- Lume Photography

Nikon 70-200mm 2.8


I often hear the question, “If you could only shoot a wedding with one lens, what would it be?” or this version: “What is your #1 lens for shooting weddings?” That’s an incredibly difficult question for me to answer! I can’t imagine shooting a wedding limited to only one lens! I can say that the majority of the time, I use the 35mm and 85mm, though. The 50mm coming in a close 3rd. They’re my favorites because they’re fast, sharp, and phenomenal in low-light situations.

Some other items I can’t shoot a wedding without are: lip gloss, eye drops, comfortable shoes, my Kelly Moore bag, snacks, water, extra memory cards, extra batteries, my Black Rapid Dual Camera Strap, and a light stand in case I need it. :)

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I am so excited to share this article with you, “8 Ways to Personalize Your Wedding”, written exclusively for Lume Photography by Shana Tibi- wedding and party planner extraordinaire at The Townsend Hotel in Birmingham, Michigan. If you’re planning your wedding and looking for ways to make it unique, these are some great ideas!


“8 Ways to Personalize Your Wedding”  Article by Shana Tibi | Photos by Lume Photography

You’ve finally met your match. Through a crazy host of a confluence of events, you met your significant other, soon to be partner for life. It could have been a blind date that your friend from high school sent you on. Or you met your soon to be spouse through a book you sold on Amazon (true story).  You may have bumped into him on an airplane…. The list goes on…

Every couple has a unique love story, a story that eventually brought them to commit their lives to each other.  Sometimes, couples like to weave their story into their wedding in fun and creative ways, so that their friends and family can enjoy it as well.

No two relationships are alike and your wedding and reception is the perfect place to tell your unique love story to your guest. See below for tips on how to personalize your wedding and make it as extraordinary as your relationship.


1.The Ceremony

During the wedding ceremony, all eyes will be focused on you and your fiance as you vow to uphold the sanctity of marriage and profess your love for one another.

This is the perfect place to use a little creativity. Choose poems, quotes or readings that are near and dear to you and your fiance. You could also write your own vows to one another to make the ceremony even more unique.

Check out other cultures to see what they include in the wedding ceremony and do something similar at your own wedding. For example, certain cultures light a unity candle to signify two separate flames being joined as one. Another idea which may be interesting to you is the Irish tradition of ‘tying the knot’, binding the bride’s and groom’s hands together using a ribbon or a rope.

2017-02-06_0010.jpg2. Save the Date Cards and Thank You Cards

If the two of you have been dating for a while, dig out some old photos and use them to create a save the date card, or hire a photographer to shoot engagement pictures and include them in the card. When choosing photos, use one that resembles the theme that you will use at your wedding. For example, if you will be doing a beach inspired wedding, use photos of the two of you at the beach, an ocean background or whatever else you can think of.

Use these cards to showcase your quirky, fun side.  Instead of sticking to traditional thank you cards, go for something outside of the box that is as unique as you are.

2017-02-06_0004.jpg3. Wedding Favors

One of the latest wedding trends is giving guests edible party favors. These party favors can be inexpensive and provide a unique gift that your guests can take home with them.

As a side story, about a week before I met my husband, I received a fortune cookie that said that “love is on its way”. When my husband proposed, he used fortune cookies (the fortune read “will you marry me?”).  So I felt it was fitting to shower every table at my wedding with fortune cookies, with hopes that people at the table would get as good a fortune as I did.

You can also plan your wedding favors based on your honeymoon location or the time of year. For example, if you are going on a honeymoon to France, why not give miniature bottles of champagne and macaroons?  For a fall wedding, fill mason jars with traditional candy corn and other fall candies and tie with a raffia ribbon.

If you are having a summer wedding, opt for things that won’t melt in the heat. Try a mason jar candle, some spa-inspired bath bombs or something else that can help tell the story of your wedding.

2017-02-06_0003.jpg4. Signature Cocktails

Offer a couple of signature cocktails at your wedding to really wow your guests. Think about how these drinks can tell your unique love story. Create catchy names for the drinks. For best results, come up with several creations that can be made with or without alcohol.

The names of the drinks can be where you met, your first vacation together or anything else that is a part of your history as a couple. Personalized cocktails and a limited wine and beer list will help you keep costs down if you are having an open bar at your wedding.

2017-02-06_0013.jpg5. Wedding Photography

The photographs taken at your wedding will be special to you and they will be an important memento from your big day. When hiring a photographer, you need to ensure that her style of photography meshes with what you want. Think carefully – discuss the venue, the wedding date and the wedding theme with the photographer to help ensure the photos taken are what you want.

One of the most popular forms of wedding photography nowadays is photojournalism. With this style, the photographer becomes invisible and follows you and your wedding party around taking candid shots of the entire day. This will allow you to reminisce about the entire day instead of just the ceremony itself.


6. Wedding Venue

Your wedding venue is one the most important pieces of telling your story, the backdrop that gives the feel you want your guests to have. Some venues are also more willing to accommodate personal touches more than others as well. When choosing a wedding venue, think of your preferences.  Would you prefer the rustic feel of a barn? Or a fairy tale ending that an elegant hotel can provide? Are you more off the beaten track? Maybe a zoo or museum is a better fit.

Whatever you decide, take photography into consideration. Make sure that it has the lighting your photographer needs and maybe scope out the area first to see if there are some areas where you’d like to take pictures.

If you’re in Michigan and are looking for a wedding venue, click here for the Townsend Hotel. It may be the venue you’re looking for.

2017-02-06_0002.jpg7. Centerpieces

Floral centerpieces help set the mood for the event. They can be simple or quite elaborate, depending on your preference. You can use your creativity to design amazing centerpieces. Vases and candles can include engravings and photographs, frame fun facts about the two of you, buy custom-made labels for wines and bottled water and any other items that you can think of that will make your centerpiece unique. Some of the best centerpieces engage guests and offer them a personalized touch.

2017-02-06_0009.jpg8. Your Wedding Attire

In today’s weddings, bridesmaids do not have to wear ugly bridesmaid dresses and groomsmen do not have to wear tuxedos. You can create a color scheme that will allow your wedding party to choose something that will complement the theme, yet still allow them to express their creativity and uniqueness.

Many brides are moving away from a traditional white wedding gown and opting for colored wedding dresses in blush pink, mint and even bold colors. Bridesmaids can wear printed dresses, different color dresses or shades of the same color to create interest. Suits or dress slacks with a button up and suspenders can be worn by the men in your wedding party.


You can also choose the attire based on the theme of your wedding, the venue or even the season of the year. Your wedding party will appreciate cooler, lightweight fabric if you are having an outdoor wedding in July. Another thing to consider is the hemline of your bridesmaids’ dresses. The best look for a tall lady may be an ankle length dress, but on a short lady, this length may not be pleasing. By allowing them to choose a hemline based on their unique proportions, you can allow your bridesmaids to look great.


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I have to say, this was one of the most endearing weddings I have had the privilege to witness. It was a grand celebration of love, of partnership, of family, and of acceptance. The setting was the iconic Meadowbrook Hall in Rochester, Michigan. It was the perfect venue for this old-world Scottish clan to come together and raise their glasses to this couple- historic, majestic, and opulent. This was a true Scottish wedding- complete with kilts, flashes, ghillie brogues (shoes), rowdy family members, and lots to drink! Of course, no Scottish wedding would be complete without pipers and highland dancers.

The wedding ceremony was incredible. Speeches were made, prayers were said, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. The piper played, and at the end everyone cheered. Afterward, the couple were announced on the grand staircase, to a huge audience of family, friends and loved ones. The family members each took turns reading a traditional Scottish blessing, then gave advice to Heather, their newest family member, on how to get along and what to expect as a member of the family (lots of rolling laughter).  All of the cousins then gave the couple a word they had chosen to describe them. Words like “devoted”, “courageous”, and “supportive”.

There was a fabulous strolling dinner throughout the rooms in the hall. Guests had the chance to mingle and I had the chance to hear many stories about the family’s history and humorous eccentricities. There was an incredible dessert table with every sweet thing you can imagine. The party then moved into the ballroom, where the highland dancers put on a thundering show, and the whole place shook with jubilation. Dancing ensued, and everyone ended the night feeling joyous and full of gladness.


I was the second photographer at this beautiful wedding, the other photographer was my good friend from Her Pen My Lens. If you get a chance, check out her work. She does some pretty amazing documentary work. :)

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