Engagement Photography - in Grand Haven

The waning days of Summer and early Fall are the best times for Engagement Sessions for couples who are planning their Weddings during the off-season.  And this is the case with Kelly and Josh.

Kelly will be the 4th of four siblings in the Cook Family that I've photographed when she and Josh tie the knot on Christmas Eve.  She asked if they could have their Engagement pictures done on the beech at Grand Haven.  I suppose that one of the benefits of having a long-standing relationship with your Photographer is that he will more aptly agree to using his day off for your benefit!  (lol)

In addition to some of the more expected images, I also created some super-cool, more abstract images which are more out of the ordinary - and which satisfy the creative bent that I, as a Photographer, have.  Here they are!



                                                                     What a cute couple! 



                                                                                                        Love it!



                                                                                               It's always great to have something different!  Too cool....


I'm really looking forward to Kelly and Josh's June Wedding next year!  It's going to be fun!






Categorized In: beech photography | couples photography | creative wedding photography | engagement photography | grand rapids engagement | grand rapids wedding photography | lansing engagement photography | lansing wedding photographer | lansing wedding photography

Looking your Best on your Wedding Day (Part 2)


In our last blog entry, we talked about the first 5 ways to make sure you look your best on your Wedding Day.  Here are a few more to consider:


   6.  Use Waterproof Makeup with Staying Power.  Maybe you don't plan on crying - but just in case - be sure to use a Foundation, Eyeliner and Mascara that are all waterproof.  There will be plenty of hugging and kissing, so your makeup will need to be up to the task, both in its durability and in the way it handles a little bit of tearing.  A little waterproof makeup will help you to avoid the "Alice Cooper" look.

   7.  Keep your Lips moisturized and colored.  Dry lips look dreadful in photos.  Have someone carry your lipstick for you and touch up often.  Matte and gloss lipstick both photograph well, and be sure to use blended lip liner for enhanced definition. 

   8.  Don't Sprinkle on Glitter.  In photographs, because Glitter is shiny, it tends to look like little white spots wherever it's used.  You may want to rethink using it.

   9.  Remember to apply foundation and powder to your neck, shoulders and decolletage - you want your head to look like it belongs to your body!

  10. And don't forget the Groom!   Sure, it's a given that your guy isn't going to be fond of the idea of being "made-up", but a little smoothing of the skin tones prior to his pictures goes a long way toward having a great looking Groom on your arm !



                     You never know when Waterproof Makeup may be needed!



Again, we thank Lorna Gentry for her insights into making your Wedding Day "look" unlike any other!  It's your day to shine, and, remember, we're here to help.  Give us a call, or send us an email! 


Until next time!



Categorized In: bridal makeup | helpful hints | lansing wedding photography | wedding day makeup | wedding photography | wedding tips and suggestions

Looking your Best on your Wedding Day

... You've done a masterful job planning your Wedding Day - from the style of Boutineers for the Groomsmen to the imprinting on the color-coordinated napkins at the Reception.  You've got every detail covered.  Maybe.


As a Wedding Photographer with over 30 years experience, I've found that the most overlooked detail of the Bride's Wedding Day may also be the most important:  The finished look of a Bride's makeup.


Since her early teen years, many young women have routinely started their day by reaching for the same collection of cosmetics and applied them habitually in the same manner.  But on a day as big as your Wedding Day, you may want to give your "finishing touches" a second thought.  For the Bride who wants to have "all her bases covered", we've enlisted the help of a number of Experts for you to look your best.  In the first of two instalments, make-up artist Steve Moore of the Moore Agency in Atlanta, and Deanna Rene of Scottsdale, Arizona lend their expertise in a Top 10 list of Tips and Suggestions for the discerning Bride who wants to look her best.  We hope you find them helpful.


  1. If you have the option, always Use a Professional Makeup Artist on a big day such as your Wedding.  Professionals are trained to see things you routinely overlook.  And they have the inside track on the latest styles and techniques to make you look your best!
  2. If you opt for doing your own make-up, the most important tip to remember is to blend, blend, blend your make-up.  Want to add a little blush?  Blend it seamlessly.  Under eye cover?  Blend it.  War Paint is out.  Natural is in.
  3. Use less makeup for a day wedding and be a little more dramatic for the evening. 
  4. For the under eye, use a moisturized concealer.  You may want to blend it with a skin cream if you need additional moisturizing. 
  5. If you make any changes from your day-to-day look, make sure you Do a Trial Run to make sure your updated "look" works.  The morning of your Wedding Day will be more stress free if you are confident in your preparation.


We have a few more Tips and Suggestions to add in our segment.  But remember, your Photographer is in your corner - even after your Wedding Day - helping to make your Wedding Pictures look their best!   Ask your Photographer for advice.  We're here to help!

          Shawna - Senior session (before)      


                                                           Shawna - with complete Retouching   


Make sure your Photograper will be providing Retouching on all your images.  You'll look great!


Until next time!



Categorized In: | helpful wedding tips | wedding make | wedding makeup tips | wedding retouching | wedding tips and suggestions

Bridal Wedding Albums - and More!

So, you're getting married....  You need a Photographer, and are pretty sure what style of Wedding Photography you're looking for.  The next question is ... what form will those Memories take?  What will you have in your hands when all is said and done? 


It wasn't long ago that the typical Bride was given but two choices for their Wedding images:  Have them placed in a fully finished Traditional Wedding Album or have loose Enlargements printed.


The Traditional Album, with Enlargements ranging in size from 4x5's to 8x10's, typically contained pockets into which the Enlargements were placed.  Although supremely constructed and considered "top of the line" at the time, their unimaginative format "failed to stir one's soul", as I like to say.  Because of this, many Brides opted instead for loose Enlargements, ingloriously stuffing their memories into an envelope or box, and rarely being seen by friends or family. 


All this has changed with the digital age.  (Background cheers sounding in the distance....)  Today's Bride has some new and exciting options:

Flush Mount Albums are now all the rage in displaying and sharing your Wedding Images with friends and family.  Incorporating the best in Graphic Arts design, the Flush Mount Album has caught the fancy of Brides across the spectum - and from across the country.  Why are they different?


First, each Spread Page (both the left and right sides of an open Album) is thematically unique.  You may have, for example, a Spread Page of the "Bride Alone":


Or a page with "Cake Cutting":



These images are either fused together, overlaped, merged, collaged, or otherwise graphically placed in a way which never fails to elicite "ooows" and "aaahs" as the viewer is pictorally transported back to the time of your Wedding Celebration.  Instead of being shelved in a box, Flush Mount Albums find themselves on coffee tables awaiting the next guest or relative who may drop by and muses, "I heard you got married this past year".


At RCP, we don't "farm out" the Album creating process.  Owner Rob Annis personally takes the time to design each Flush Mount Album (FMA) himself, creating unforgetable pages of your memories.  All FMA's are constructed from the finest Leather and include up to two lines of imprinting on the cover.  Classy.  Definitely worth showing to your friends.


In addition to the new FMA's, it is not unusual for Brides today to inquire about another possibility:  Receiving their images on a disk for archiving - and possibly printing Enlargements themselves.  At first blush, it would seem that being able to "print your own" is a no-brainer.  What drawbacks could there possibly be?  Answer:  Well over 99% of all wedding photographers are guilty of providing "rough draft" images to their Brides when they supply "Hi-Res" DVD's.  I personally find this to be crime, as most unsuspecting Brides are expecting their Wedding Images to have been completely Enhanced and Retouched (I call it "Lab-Ready") and fully believe they will be able to have beautiful finished pictures made.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  At least be aware of what you are bargaining for.  I have a blog article written on just this topic.


The bottom line:  Have in mind the end product you would like to have and show to your friends and family.  Whether it's a Flush Mount Album or Hi-Res DVD, you'll be way ahead of the game.






Until next time,








Categorized In: | bridal albums | bridal wedding albums | flush mount album | grand rapids wedding photography | hi-res dvd | lansing wedding albums | lansing wedding photography | wedding albums | wedding pictures

Wedding Photography Today

Having photographed almost 500 weddings over the past 30 years, I've been eye witness to a score of changes - some for the better, some not.  I've seen Wedding Photography evolve from stiffly posed "formal" portraits to a more realistic, effervescent radiant style.  I've seen the size of our tools shrink from the Medium Format heavyweights to the smaller SLR size.  And of course I've seen perhaps the biggest change of all:  the digital revolution which has supplanted the use of film.


With digital capture, there have been plenty of positive changes including

  • Finer detail recorded
  • Easier portability
  • Automatic features
  • Unimagined post-production possibilities
  • The ability to "preview" an image after capturing it


Aaaah... the ability to preview the image immediately....


Perhaps no other change in photography has opened the door to allow for a free flow of weekend wedding warriors than the "guarantee" that there will be ... something ... to present to a Bride and Groom after their "Big Day".  And sometimes that's a problem.


Last year I photographed Kori's wedding in June.  She is the middle of three sisters.  When they visited my Studio, they made reference to "the problems they had last year" with her older sister's wedding, and they wanted to make sure that didn't happen again.  Not wanting to pry, I let the topic pass. 


At Kori's Reception, I was approached by Katie, Kori's younger sister.  Katie was effusive in her praise and repeatedly mentioned how relieved she was "after last year".  So I had to ask.  "Last year", she explained, "the woman photographer came up to the head table just after the toasts and told us 'My battery died.  I guess I'm going home'".  "My battery" - as in singular?, I asked.  Indeed.  The woman had taken on the role of Wedding Photographer with (you guessed it) a single camera and a single battery.  "What happened?", I asked.  "She left.  She just left.  And mom told me, 'Katie, you'd better get your 'point and shoot' camera and take the rest of the pictures'".


I felt bad for her oldest sister, but accounts like you've just read are all too familiar.


Just this week I was approached by a wonderful woman who teaches Elementary age students.  She inquired about the possibility of being able to "work some magic" with the printed wedding images from her daughter's wedding from two years ago, saying "They are simply horrible".  I advised her to obtain the original files, since once an image is printed on to photographic paper, there is little that can be done to "rework" an image  Three days later, she texted to say that the photographer had deleted all the images from her hard drive, so the original files were gone.  


These two real life scenarios are tied together with same twine:  Just because an image appears on back of a camera, it most certainly doesn't guarantee the Quality of the images or Professionalism of the service. 


If your Wedding Memories are important to you, check around.  RCP has provided a number of blog posts which should make your search easier. http://blog.robertcharlesphotography.com/index/view-post/id/14    And if you have any questions, give us a call.  We're here to help make your day ... Memorable!


Until next time. 



Categorized In: digital wedding photography | grand rapids wedding photography | lansing photography | lansing wedding photography | michigan wedding photography | modern wedding photography | professional wedding photography | wedding memories | wedding tips and suggestions

Wedding Tips & Suggestions - Hot Summer Wedding Days


     If you live in Michigan, it's probably not much of a suprise to know that the vast majority of weddings take place during the warm summer months of June to September.  Brides and Bridesmaids usually seem unperturbed by these hot, hazy days, as they simply counter the heat and humidity by donning open-air "spaghetti" strap or strapless atire. 


     Dissimilarly, Grooms and Groomsmen, whose internal thermostats naturally run warmer, are destined to find themselves in long pants, long sleeved shirts, vests, and (ugh) a formal jacket to boot - which add up to one thing: a lot of guys with internal temperatures running much higher than the normal 98.6 degrees.


     Hyperthermia (over heating) is a cumulative process, but there are ways to slow it down to ensure your wedding - and reception - are as enjoyable as possible on a warm day.  Beside the obvious (have an air conditioned church and transport vehicle), here are a couple of suggestions you may not have thought of:


1. Have a Spritzer Bottle on hand    

           Spritzer bottles shoot a light mist of water, instantly cooling the skin.  They act the same way as "cool zones", used frequently by Professional Football players in the early, warmer months of the season.  Spray it directly onto your face from approximately 12", and you'll feel your body temp noticably drop

 2. Bring a 2nd Shirt

           On a 90 degree day, having a dry shirt to change into when you reach your reception may spell the difference between surviving an ordeal and being able to enjoy the second half of your day.  And don't be shy about packing a towel, baby wipes, deodorant, and some body spray to use during the change-over.  You'll thank yourself repeatedly as you swap that wet shirt for a clean dry one

3. Pack Gatorade

           With excessive heat comes dehydration - which is not to be taken lightly.  Even moderate dehydration will render you listless and lethargic, making you feel more like a spectator than a participant at your reception.  Drinking Gatorade (or something similar) replenishes the electrolytes and minerals you will have lost during an entire day to persperation.  I personally pack two 32 ounce bottles of Gatorade and drink whatever water may be found to offset the water I lose while photographing a wedding


Although these three suggestions won't actually lower the ambient air temperature, they'll go a long way to making your Wedding Day everything you had hoped it could be!



Categorized In: grand rapids wedding photography | lansing michigan wedding photography | michigan receptions | michigan wedding | wedding suggestions | wedding tips

Creative Wedding Photography - Photographing a Wedding under less than ideal conditions

  • Published May 28th, 2012 by Robert Charles Photography
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We all hope for ideal weather when "the big Day" approaches, but sometimes Mother Nature has other plans.  However, less than ideal weather conditions should not be a reason for your Professional Photographer to provide you with less than stellar images that he/she has created for you of your Wedding Day!


Here in Michigan, our "Wedding Season" is usually limited to the months of mid-April through mid-November, and during these 7 months, we are never guaranteed sunny, blue skies on any given Saturday.  And as a Professional Wedding Photographer, I am charged with always capturing images which reflect the glory of a day which may have been planned for months in advance.


This was the case for Theresa and Tony's early March Wedding.  With temperatures in the low 50's and a strong NW wind blowing, Theresa opted for the confines of the church, rather than brave the inclimate out of doors.  Many "weekend warrior" photographers suffer substantial trepidations at the thought of having to photograph an entire wedding in doors. 


We did some creative problem solving and used only existing light to photograph all participants prior to the Ceremony.  Here are some of those images:



   Theresa with her Father



With our "Painter's Touch" FX  


                            Here is our finished Spread Page, created for Theresa's Album



            And her Family Spread Page


Not always will we be able to use the great outdoors as our natural Studio.  Sometimes using the existing light indoors - and molding it creatively - produces equally good results!


See our quick 30 second "Animated Images!" video of Theresa & Tony (below)!


Until next time!


Categorized In: | creative wedding photography | grand rapids wedding photography | indoor wedding photography | professional wedding photography | wedding photography