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The Fink Family at Home | Kalamazoo Michigan Photographer, Elyse Rowland.

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The Fink Family at Home | Kalamazoo Michigan Photographer, Elyse Rowland.

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
– Mother Teresa


I don’t know that I’ve ever met a more giving, loving family. Marian is one of the sweetest mamas I know, and she may not realize how much of an effect her family has had on mine, but truly — I so often reflect on the way she and Trevor open their home, reach out to others, volunteer at church, and simply make themselves available to the circles of people around them.

I was so honored to take a few photos of their family as they enjoyed a weeknight dinner as a family. Just an average night as a family of 6… parents shuffling around to set the table, children bouncing here and there, a prayer of thanks for the food, and funny conversations scattered throughout the evening. If you ask Marian & Trevor, they might say life is a bit chaotic with 4 kids under 7, but when you look at these photos, I bet you’ll agree with me that this family is full of joy.

And I think that joy comes from the giving. The “less of me, more of Jesus” example they’ve set for their children. The willingness to be the hands & feet of Jesus (in a me-me-me world.) I’m so glad to call them my friends.

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An Old Dirt Road with the Lane Family | Kalamazoo Michigan Photographer, Elyse Rowland.

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An Old Dirt Road with the Lane Family | Kalamazoo Michigan Photographer, Elyse Rowland.

When you think of dirt roads, what do you think of? For most people, it’s dusty cars. For me? The location I love most for shooting. Something about the simplicity of it. The way children are drawn to running up and down the quiet road, hair blowing in the wind, with expansive views on either side. Sticks are found for drawing names in dirt, and beautiful gleaming stones are stuffed in pockets to be added to their rock collection. It’s the simplicity, much like an open field, and the way it allows the family and their genuine connection to become the centerpiece.

I’ve been photographing this family for quite a long time, and typically twice a year. And every time, I reflect on the fact that we still manage to capture unique images with true depth each and every time. Everyone is comfortable, and it makes a difference in the way their kids interact with eachother and with me. If I can give you one piece of advice, especially if you have young children: find a photographer whose work you LOVE and who you connect with, and then stick with them. Get to know them. You’ll see the difference in your photos, promise.

And with that, here’s a sampling of the beauty that went down one gorgeous June evening on an old dirt road….

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2019 P52, Week 16. Cuddling Chickens & Celebrating Easter. Elyse Rowland Photography, Kalamazoo Michigan.

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2019 P52, Week 16. Cuddling Chickens & Celebrating Easter. Elyse Rowland Photography, Kalamazoo Michigan.

“The day came, it seemed in no time, when my children were grown and gone, and I again found time to tend the roses. I could labor over them from dawn until dusk with no children to feed, no husband needing meals, and few passersby on the old road. My flowers have come thick and full and beautiful again. From time to time, I see neighbor children come to pick them when I am silent in my house. I close my eyes and listen to their laughter, and think that the best times of my life, the times that passed by me the most quickly, were the times when the roses grew wild.” (From the book Tending Roses, by Lisa Wingate)

A quote from my current read, a book passed along to me by a dear friend who knew it was exactly what I needed to read. The quote pops into my head at random times throughout the day & rearranges my thoughts. Like, when I’m frustrated because I have so much work to do, but my 2 year old is beyond tired and all he really needs are cuddles on the couch. Or when my 7 & 4 year olds get out of bed 32 times before falling asleep for the night, needing just one more thing, or to be tucked in & prayed over for the third time. :) Or when I’m faced with the decision of finishing up a client gallery, or playing that super-long board game that my 4 year old has been requesting I play with him for the last 3 days. ;)

Truly a reminder I needed. Maybe you need it too. Maybe you get caught up in the “hustle” — the constant push by outside influences to be more than ‘just a mom’. To do more, make more money, or atleast look the part of mom who’s ‘doing it all’. I think it’s time we stop glorifying busy, and start looking at this sweet time in our lives that is passing by in an instant… the things that happen when the roses grow wild.

I love my job. Seriously. I LOVE what I do. I cannot imagine taking photos or designing graphic art. It’s part of me. But it will be there when my children are grown. Maybe not in the same capacity, maybe technology will have zoomed past me, and I won’t be able to return to doing it in this same exact way. But you know what? It’s not the end of the world if things change — I can trust in God’s plans for my life. I can trust that things will work out the way they’re supposed to, if I’m just faithful to step into His plans for me right now.

I hope you all have a wonderful Easter weekend! We’ll be praising our King over at ChapNaz and I can’t wait to spend time in His presence with our church family beside me.

Thanks for following along on my Project 52!
xx, Elyse


Thanks for visiting my blog! I’m Elyse, the face behind Elyse Rowland Photography of Southwest Michigan, near Kalamazoo.

I currently offer both in-home documentary and outdoor lifestyle sessions. I customize each & every session to my beautiful client's lives, and I'm able to give clients my full attention by only taking a small number of sessions each month.

More of my work: Portfolio .  Facebook . Instagram.

For pricing & package information, click here.

If you'd like to book a session or want more info, please click here.

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2019 P52, Week 15. Syrup, Creek Loving Boy, and Fort Wayne Trip. Elyse Rowland Photography.

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2019 P52, Week 15. Syrup, Creek Loving Boy, and Fort Wayne Trip. Elyse Rowland Photography.

Week 15 already!

I thought it fitting to share my recent Instagram post about these little beauties below…

”A little back story on our syrup, since I’m sitting here reflecting on how so many of my life dreams have culminated recently. We started this little syrup endeavor about 5 years ago with just a few taps & each year we’ve added more. In February, the fun begins. We got the syrup stove ready, cleaned the basin, cleaned our buckets and taps, installed them, and then waited. In the waiting period, our boys helped us collect wood & gather glass jars and tops, and then we waited again. 

When the syrup starts running, we get our real workout in, gathering all the clear sap and pouring the buckets into a giant food-grade tub. Then 2-3 times per week we spend an entire day from sun-up to sundown boiling. If Kyle’s working, he starts the boiler fire at about 5am, and then I set a timer on my phone for each hour throughout the day to go stoke the fire, add wood, and continue adding the clear sap. The boys help with each step, and our 4 year old especially loves sifting the floating foam and debris from the top of the boiler. It’s a time of year when we wouldn’t usually spend much time outside, so I use these opportunities to explore our land in between caring for the fire and adding sap. We walk down by the creek and toss stones, “tightrope”-walk on fallen trees, and observe the seasonal changes. For me, this is homeschooling in this season— learning math and science, reading and writing in very real ways through the chores that accompany our syrup season. 

It’s such hard work but it makes me smile so big... It’s our seasonal rhythm. At the end of each syrup day, the boys help us boil the syrup down to the final temp (it has to be just right or it will be too runny, or harden like candy.) We double-strain each batch to remove as many impurities as possible & then quickly top the jars. This year I took it a step further and photographed and blogged about our syrup adventures, and created a label for sales. I love that I can use my design degree in so many ways, and that this gift of photography expands to so many areas of my life.

And in case you’re wondering...
We still have some syrup for sale: $20/quart or 2 qts for $38.”


Thanks for visiting my blog! I’m Elyse, the face behind Elyse Rowland Photography of Southwest Michigan, near Kalamazoo.

I currently offer both in-home documentary and outdoor lifestyle sessions. I customize each & every session to my beautiful client's lives, and I'm able to give clients my full attention by only taking a small number of sessions each month.

More of my work: Portfolio .  Facebook . Instagram.

For pricing & package information, click here.

If you'd like to book a session or want more info, please click here.

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2019 P52, Week 14. Saving for Beyblades & Listing our Camper on Outdoorsy.com. Elyse Rowland Photography of Kalamazoo, Michigan.

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2019 P52, Week 14. Saving for Beyblades & Listing our Camper on Outdoorsy.com. Elyse Rowland Photography of Kalamazoo, Michigan.

For over a month, these two saved their pennies for a new set of Beyblades and a larger arena (where the Beyblades hold their matches against eachother, in case this isn’t an obsession at your house yet…) They decided to compile their money into one jar, and insisted on counting it daily. At the end of each week, their dad would pay them a small allowance (usually $1-2 per week) for assisting in additional farm chores. They were thrilled, and so was I — they learned a ton about counting money and how much work it takes to earn a dollar! And in case you’re wondering, they did save up enough to buy a new Beyblade set & arena, and it’s kept them quite busy! :)

This past week also brought a new little side business — renting out our 8-person camper on Outdoorsy.com. It’s a site that allows traveling individuals to search for a camper, place a deposit, and pick it up at the beginning of their trip. So we got everything ready, took photos, and spent several hours getting it listed. I love that the camper is well insured for both the renter and owner, plus Outdoorsy offers 24/7 roadside assistance, and great customer service on my end. And the best part: within two days, the camper booked it’s first 4 day trip! I’m hopeful and excited for this new venture!


Thanks for following along, more to come next week!
xx, Elyse


Thanks for visiting my blog! I’m Elyse, the face behind Elyse Rowland Photography of Southwest Michigan, near Kalamazoo.

I currently offer both in-home documentary and outdoor lifestyle sessions. I customize each & every session to my beautiful client's lives, and I'm able to give clients my full attention by only taking a small number of sessions each month.

More of my work: Portfolio .  Facebook . Instagram.

For pricing & package information, click here.

If you'd like to book a session or want more info, please click here.

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2019 P52, Week 13. A Little Work Never Hurt; The Theme of our Homeschool. Kalamazoo Michigan Photographer, Elyse Rowland.

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2019 P52, Week 13. A Little Work Never Hurt; The Theme of our Homeschool. Kalamazoo Michigan Photographer, Elyse Rowland.

It’s not rare at all for someone to say “…but how do you work, run a hobby farm, and homeschool?” The short answer: one thing takes priority at a time.

The slightly less short answer? Everything we do has rhythms and a season where it’s most important, and since we homestead and love growing and raising our own food, it’s fairly easy to just follow the seasonal ebbs and flows. (Ex: In early spring, we work on Maple Syrup, raise baby chicks for meat and eggs, and prep our garden area. In the fall, we focus on getting into a school rhythm before my busy photography season begins.)

The second part to this answer is that were not your typical ‘homeschoolers’ since we believe more in ‘life-schooling’ – living and working and giving of ourselves alongside our kids. They’re expected to finish chores first thing (before breakfast usually) including watering & feeding all the animals, cleaning their household zones, and helping with things like dishes & laundry. It doesn’t always go smoothly… in fact, there’s a lot of days where I have to walk alongside each of them (when I’d rather be getting my own chores done) as they do their tasks just to remind them that yes, they can do it! :) I must add – it helps that we make meals & privileges (like toys, snacks, activities, TV time) dependant upon whether their chores & dedicated table work are done.

young boys working alongside their father in a field

I’ve mentioned before that we follow a Minimalistic homeschool curriculum, Lamp & Light. It’s my first year using it, and it’s helped organize what I was basically already doing, as well as provide tons of book suggestions, links, and handicraft ideas. Do I follow it completely? Not at all! I pick and choose what I want to do for each week based on how busy we are… i.e. how many animal chores & field trips we have that week. Every family is so different & unique — why try to mold to what someone else is doing? That’s the beauty of keeping your children home. You do what you feel is best for your family. The world doesn’t revolve around our children; instead we work as a team-unit and our end goal is always one simple thing: that our children would know Jesus and have a true relationship with Him, one that spills into every area of their life, so much so that it overflows into this world.

boy raking a fire in a field
young boy lighting a fire in tall grass

While other homeschool moms are well into their planning for the 2019/2020 school year, I’m still sitting back. Waiting to see what God reveals to me this summer. We have a few options… continue with Lamp + Light (very likely), enroll in Classical Conversations again, do some robotics/lego clubs, try a new sport or art class… but one thing is for sure: I want my kids to know that a little work never hurt.

Hard work gives us grit. It helps us see the world differently, gives us a boost of confidence in these amazing bodies God gave us. Hard work as a family gives your children roots — deep roots that hold them to their past, to all that is good and true, to our Creator. It ties and binds our family together. As Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.” (NASB)

I still have to remind myself sometimes to work heartily, as for the Lord, because life will get hectic, farm chores will overrun other areas of my life, and my attitude may suffer. But my hope is that my kids will see me ask Jesus for grace, dust myself off, and walk on…. that they’ll see me work cheerfully as I persevere.


 

Have questions about our homeschool? I’d really love to hear from you! Comment below or shoot me an email at elyserowlandphoto@gmail.com. I’d love to answer a few questions in my next blog post, or to chat with you personally! Thanks for reading!

 

Thanks for visiting my blog! I’m Elyse, the face behind Elyse Rowland Photography of Southwest Michigan, near Kalamazoo.

I currently offer both in-home documentary and outdoor lifestyle sessions. I customize each & every session to my beautiful client's lives, and I'm able to give clients my full attention by only taking a small number of sessions each month.

More of my work: Portfolio .  Facebook . Instagram.

For pricing & package information, click here.

If you'd like to book a session or want more info, please click here.

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2019 P52, Week 12. Sailing the Sugar Sea. Elyse Rowland Photography of Kalamazoo Michigan.

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2019 P52, Week 12. Sailing the Sugar Sea. Elyse Rowland Photography of Kalamazoo Michigan.

Lately on rough days, I take a deep breath, and pop in the JJ Heller CD I received with my MOPS membership this year. This song, “Sailing the Sugar Sea”, is one of my favorites, and as I was taking these photos I thought of lyrics. JJ’s music feels like a giant hug to my weary soul.

So, this is my Week 12 of the Project 52…. just me observing his little features, how they’ve changed over the past 23 months, and recognizing that this is the last time he’ll ever be this itty bitty. I mean, he’s not “tiny” by any means… he’s broad and big and has the cutest chunky legs. :) But as a third time mama, I know it’s important to think about the “long days and short years”.

Oh how I love this wild and crazy little boy of mine…

 

Sunset in the sky
Bid the day goodbye
Leave your worries from the day
Let your troubles fly far away

toddler boy sleeping in crib

I will miss you
When you're sleeping
Will you find me in your dreams
Will you look for me in rainbows
I'll be sailing the sugar sea

overhead shot of young boy sleeping in crib

Moonlight on your skin
Lullaby in the wind
Fireflies all aglow
They flicker like an old picture show

toddler boy sleeping in mahogany crib with teddy bear

I will miss you
When you're sleeping
Will you find me in your dreams
Will you look for me in rainbows
I'll be sailing the sugar sea

little boy's whispy hair while sleeping in crib

Thanks for visiting my blog! I’m Elyse, the face behind Elyse Rowland Photography of Southwest Michigan, near Kalamazoo.

I currently offer both in-home and outdoor lifestyle & documentary sessions. I customize each & every session to my beautiful client's lives, and I'm able to give clients my full attention by only taking a small number of sessions each month.

More of my work: Portfolio .  Facebook . Instagram.

For pricing & package information, click here.

If you'd like to book a session or want more info, please click here.

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2019 P52, Week 11. Maple Syrup, Homesteading, and a Pogo Stick.

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2019 P52, Week 11. Maple Syrup, Homesteading, and a Pogo Stick.

Ahhhhhhhh. Maple Syrup season. My absolute favorite thing we do as a family all year long, and my husband’s too. It marks the closing of winter, which means Spring is around the corner, and the best part — it gets us all outside in those last cold, dreary days when we could easily just continue hibernating for days on end.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lot of work. It costs money to run even a small operation like ours, especially when you’re getting started. But my husband and I are what I call ‘scrappy’. We use what we have, we bargain shop, and we make-do. Most years we end up with between 8-10 gallons, with last year ending at 15 gallons. This year is a bit slower, so we’re aiming for 10 gallons. (That sounds like a lot, I know… but I use it in everything! Oatmeal, baked goods, on meat, in smoothies and shakes, plus I give it as a gift sometimes. No matter what my husband tells you, no, I do not drink it.) ;)


Thanks for visiting my blog! I’m Elyse, the face behind Elyse Rowland Photography of Southwest Michigan, near Kalamazoo.

I currently offer both in-home documentary and outdoor lifestyle sessions. I customize each & every session to my beautiful client's lives, and I'm able to give clients my full attention by only taking a small number of sessions each month.

More of my work: Portfolio .  Facebook . Instagram.

For pricing & package information, click here.

If you'd like to book a session or want more info, please click here.

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2019 P52, Week 10. In the Kitchen and on the Farm with Elyse Rowland Photography, Kalamazoo Michigan.

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2019 P52, Week 10. In the Kitchen and on the Farm with Elyse Rowland Photography, Kalamazoo Michigan.

The tenth week of 2019 is already over?! It feels like winter has gone on and on, yet, time has flown. It’s like I’m stuck in this strange time-warp and can’t tell if it’s almost Christmas or almost Spring. Do you ever feel that way?

We’re well on our way with Lamp+Light Curriculum (it’s so so good, you guys!), and still listening to Classical Conversation Memory Work in the car or while doing chores. Rather than considering how much my children are learning, I’ve been considering how much they’re thinking. It’s made all the difference. We could spend hours checking off boxes, or we could do a few things together each day — really immerse ourselves in them — and find a more joyful, lasting memory from those moments. I’ll choose the latter any day.

Rhett is nearly two. And he acts like it. The photos below only show a glimpse of his stubborn, playful, cranky, excited, always-hungry self, but these are the images I’ll come back to time and again in future years. This may very well be the last time I’ll have a one year old. A child who doesn’t fully talk yet. A child who still nurses to sleep, and cuddles, and needs me most all of the time.

The photos you see of me in the kitchen were taken by my 4 year old, and they mean the world to me. I spend a whole lot of time standing in that spot drinking copious amounts of coffee while considering my day, and bubbly little Rhett moves in and out of my space, always making sure I’m not too far. :)

The last set of picture shows the start of our homestead season. We’ve had chickens since we moved to the new house, but we finally felt ready to get back to ‘normal’, which for us includes raising pigs, bees, meat chickens, maple syrup, egg layers, and this year we’re adding chicken butchering to our skills. (You should’ve seen the delivery person’s face when she pulled the “chicken plucker” off the truck.)

Well, if you’ve read this far, you’re amazing, and I love you for caring enough to read my words. It’s such a joy to photograph our weeks and then reflect back on them, and then release it here. I hope other moms find it encouraging, because I really believe photography is not only an art form, but also a way of healing and releasing and refreshing ourselves as we move through life.

xx,

Elyse


Thanks for visiting my blog! I’m Elyse, the face behind Elyse Rowland Photography of Southwest Michigan, near Kalamazoo.

I currently offer both in-home documentary and outdoor lifestyle sessions. I customize each & every session to my beautiful client's lives, and I'm able to give clients my full attention by only taking a small number of sessions each month.

More of my work: Portfolio .  Facebook . Instagram.

For pricing & package information, click here.

If you'd like to book a session or want more info, please click here.

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2019 P52, Week 7. Watercolor, Valentine's Day, and Ice. Elyse Rowland, Kalamazoo Michigan Photographer.

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2019 P52, Week 7. Watercolor, Valentine's Day, and Ice. Elyse Rowland, Kalamazoo Michigan Photographer.

Lots of good piled into one week…

This Project 52 is blessing my socks off. Want to see past weeks? You can see more here.


Thanks for visiting my blog! I’m Elyse, the face behind Elyse Rowland Photography of Southwest Michigan, near Kalamazoo.

I currently offer both in-home documentary and outdoor lifestyle sessions. I customize each & every session to my beautiful client's lives, and I'm able to give clients my full attention by only taking a small number of sessions each month.

More of my work: Portfolio .  Facebook . Instagram.

For pricing & package information, click here.

If you'd like to book a session or want more info, please click here.

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The Truth about my Photography. Elyse Rowland, Kalamazoo Michigan Family Photographer.

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The Truth about my Photography. Elyse Rowland, Kalamazoo Michigan Family Photographer.

The truth about my photography... I’ve been sitting on this thought for the last month – really it’s been since January 1 when I decided to partake in a Project 52 challenge with a group of close friends. I’ve picked up my camera more in the last month & a half than I typically do, and the results have been eye-opening. I’m not just talking technically, but more in the way I personally see my photos.

I had fallen into a low spot with my personal images… comparing my tones, detail shots, subjects, my house decor… basically every.little.thing to other photographers’ work… to other’s instagram images. Deep down, I know those things don’t make photos great, but when you bombard yourself with outside input/images/thoughts/fake perfection, rather than getting alone with your own work, or finding joy in your own reality, it’s easy to become distracted and lose sight of who you are.

With this project, I’ve allowed myself to shoot when I want to, and also to not shoot when I’d rather be in the moment. This is why I chose a Project 52 (shooting atleast once a week) instead of a 365 (shooting everyday). I believe a 365 would lead to huge technical growth, but that’s not my goal right now. I want to feel my images. You’ve probably heard the saying - “Don’t shoot what you see, shoot what you feel.” It makes me smile when I see the images I’ve taken. I don’t feel pressure (okay, maybe a tiny bit each Sunday when I’m supposed to get the blog post up, but it’s a good pressure - because without that I might never post), and I don’t feel any sort of angst about getting ‘perfect’ social media-worthy images. I simply want my life, my loves, my feelings, my mundane days in frames. It’s like journaling, but without writing the words.

The truth about my photography is that my images let me share the ugly, messy, weak moments in my journey through motherhood and marriage.

I think back to images I took last winter, after my husband passed out & then fell from a 12 foot tree stand. Even when he was still laying the hospital bed, passed out from the heavy medication, I reached for my iPhone to document moments. The way the light flooded in over him as he lay there, peacefully sleeping between bouts of terrible pain, unable to sit up or walk. It may seem strange to others that I would want to document pain, but it’s how I cope.

When we got home, I took photos of him sitting in his chair, playing a card game with the boys. It was my way of documenting the good happening around me when I didn’t have words to write or vocalize my feelings. Then there’s the photo of him bent over pulling a turkey he raised, and then lovingly cooked for a group of our friends, just a few months after that fall. There was still pain there - aches in his bones, and a fear that had settled in my own bones after watching what he’d gone through and felt the panic of not knowing what life might look like when I first got that call, but he was up. He was moving, cooking, helping me again, taking care of us. I was so proud of him, but didn’t know how to say it. Photos allowed me to capture it, and then later I was able to write about that day.

The photos below are from a day last week when I spent most of the day trying to keep our wood boiler going during the Polar Vortex here in Michigan, homeschool had gone downhill that entire week, I was feeling unsure about so many choices we’ve made for our family, and our house was an absolute disaster. No amount of tidying would have done the trick… it needed a total overhaul.

But these boys found joy… and by documenting their joy in the beautiful light that afternoon, I found joy too.



Thanks for visiting my blog! I’m Elyse, the face behind Elyse Rowland Photography of Southwest Michigan, near Kalamazoo.

I currently offer both in-home documentary and outdoor lifestyle sessions. I customize each & every session to my beautiful client's lives, and I'm able to give clients my full attention by only taking a small number of sessions each month.

More of my work: Portfolio .  Facebook . Instagram.

For pricing & package information, click here.

If you'd like to book a session or want more info, please click here.

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2019 P52, Week 6. Counter Chaos with Elyse Rowland, Vicksburg Michigan Photographer.

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2019 P52, Week 6. Counter Chaos with Elyse Rowland, Vicksburg Michigan Photographer.

Just one photo for week 6 of my Project 52, because almost every photo I snapped over the course of the week is a blurry, in-the-moment iPhone photo at Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City. We spent 3 days there with sweet friends who invited us for their son’s 7th birthday party. He and our boys always have fun together, whether it’s nerf guns or climbing trees, so a trip to Great Wolf with their family was the perfect getaway.

This image is the counter chaos that happened one day prior to leaving. Finishing up some work tasks, journal sprawled open, lists of items to pack, water bottles everywhere, a humidifier running to alleviate some of the dryness we’re all feeling this winter, and my room-temp coffee that needs re-heated for the umpteenth time. Then behind that you may see our game cupboard hanging open, toys and blankets scattered, and a random stool placed next to the couch – likely by the baby who likes to jump from high things lately (#fearless). It’s a simple photo, but years down the road, I know it will remind me of days gone by – the craziness of three boys, making list upon list when packing for 5 people, tying up loose ends before heading out the door, working & answering client emails in the cracks of time, and of course the constant need to tidy up… that’s motherhood, right? It’s a job with many ‘hats’, but I wear them with pride and know this is all part of the journey.

cluttered countertop in older home

Thanks for following along on this Project 52. Lots of good stuff coming in the next week, and I can’t wait to share!


Thanks for visiting my blog! I’m Elyse, the face behind Elyse Rowland Photography of Southwest Michigan, near Kalamazoo.

I currently offer both in-home documentary and outdoor lifestyle sessions. I customize each & every session to my beautiful client's lives, and I'm able to give clients my full attention by only taking a small number of sessions each month.

More of my work: Portfolio .  Facebook . Instagram.

For pricing & package information, click here.

If you'd like to book a session or want more info, please click here.

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2019 P52, Week 5. Surviving the Polar Vortex. Kalamazoo Michigan Photographer, Elyse Rowland.

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2019 P52, Week 5. Surviving the Polar Vortex. Kalamazoo Michigan Photographer, Elyse Rowland.

What a week! We survived the Polar Vortex of 2019. Temps dipped down to the negatives and local schools closed for a week straight. I spent most of my time trying to keep our wood boiler above 150 degrees just so we’d have heat and warm water, and had to make several trips outside each day to keep it stoked while my husband worked. I would wrap myself up head to toe, with only tiny slits for my eyes so that I could see where I was going. Then I’d run out (or waddle?! so many layers…), throw as many logs as I could in the boiler, load up a sled with more wood, and haul it all into the house – completely breathless from the chill in the air of course.

I also spent several mornings trying my hand at fire-starting in our indoor fireplace, and realized it’s harder than it looks. At one point, Remy noticed how frustrated I was and came over to me. He said “Mom, why don’t you take a break and see if it starts up better in a little while”. And what do you know — after playing “Trolls” in the basement for a while, we came back upstairs to a roaring fire. :)

On one of the coldest days, we found it fascinating to play with bubbles in the frigid temps. It almost looked like the bubbles would ‘shrink wrap’ and then turn into small frozen feathers. We also threw boiling water in the air, and it would freeze and mist in mid-fall. Afterward, the kids set their bubble machine up on the table and played for over an hour. I can still hear their shrieks of joy and see the beautiful, messy chaos in my dining room. Their joy is so contagious.

Then suddenly as the weekend arrived, the cool temps rose a bit, and I decided I better grab a photo of their snowman. Remy told me he built it right outside the kitchen window for me to look at. (That boy really knows what gets me.)

Excited to see what next week holds! Thanks for following along.


Thanks for visiting my blog! I’m Elyse, the face behind Elyse Rowland Photography of Southwest Michigan, near Kalamazoo.

I currently offer both in-home documentary and outdoor lifestyle sessions. I customize each & every session to my beautiful client's lives, and I'm able to give clients my full attention by only taking a small number of sessions each month.

More of my work: Portfolio .  Facebook . Instagram.

For pricing & package information, click here.

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2019 P52, Week 2. Life is Messy. Elyse Rowland Photography of Kalamazoo, Michigan.

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2019 P52, Week 2. Life is Messy. Elyse Rowland Photography of Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Life is messy right now. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. Some days I feel like I’m in survival mode, so I make lists and more lists, I clean like a crazy person (to feel some sort of control), I work myself into the wee hours of the morning trying to feel ‘caught up’, I re-write our daily schedule & tell the kids “tomorrow!”, my laundry piles up and the house in general feels overwhelming, and then eventually… I crash.

I think this happens to so many of us. We forget that we weren’t made to do it all.

My mess and my ‘crash’ does something important though; it brings me to my knees, to the One who never gives up on me. I’m thankful for that.

These photos give just a tiny glimpse of our week. It doesn’t show the tantrums or arguments, the nights where I woke up 6 or 7 times with three children (thanks to night terrors, nursing, and one with terrible eczema.) It also doesn’t show much of our homeschool, because this week, we just didn’t do much. Some weeks are like that… we read more, or the boys work with lego sets or go outside instead, I work a bit more because of a special project (currently: this website), and we do less bookwork. It used to really bother me–not following a perfect schedule each and every day, but I’m starting to feel more comfortable with the pattern.

So tonight I’m taking a deep breath, sharing a piece of my heart with you, taking a bite of chocolate:) and practicing eucharisteo — thankfulness in all circumstances.

“The practice of giving thanks...eucharisteo...this is the way we practice the presence of God, stay present to His presence, and it is always a practice of the eyes. We don't have to change what we see. Only the way we see it.”

Ann Voskamp



Thanks for STOPPING BY! I’m Elyse, the face behind Elyse Rowland Photography of Kalamazoo, Michigan. 

I currently offer both in-home documentary and outdoor lifestyle sessions. I customize each & every session to my beautiful client's lives, and I'm able to give clients my full attention by only taking a small number of sessions each month.

More of my work: Portfolio .  Facebook . Instagram.

For investment information, click here.

If you'd like to book a session or want more info, please click here.

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Thankful to be your photographer. Elyse Rowland of Kalamazoo, Michigan.

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Thankful to be your photographer. Elyse Rowland of Kalamazoo, Michigan.

I have just two sessions left to edit and then it's a wrap for 2018! I am so thankful for all the REAL, raw, blissful moments that were lived out in front of me this year, and even the tears, because this is *real life*, y'all! I'm not a 'sit down, don't move, smile-at-the-camera' sort of photographer... I want genuine & my biggest desire is to hang with people who think head-thrown-back laughter is real beauty

If I could just tell my clients one thing, it'd be this: tears sometimes fall, stained knees happen, and we aren't meant to be perfect -- we're flawed and that's what makes every family so unique, and you know what else? We need to give ourselves some grace & remember that these little people in our homes will grow wings too soon and these photos will be just what they need to remember their roots. All those moments you wonder "did I do enough?" -- the proof is right there in your photos. (The ones you *print*, that is...)

I'm grateful for clients who specifically hired me to see their family through my eyes, & who trust the process -- my vision for location, suggestions to make their session smoother, wardrobe ideas... even my sometimes crazy directing that helps pull out their true emotion. It all matters, and it means the world to me.

And maybe more than anything else, I'm grateful for all the homes where I was an observer, sometimes a participant, and mostly a witness to beauty and goodness and laughter and chaos. Ohhh the chaos -- I thrive in the chaos. Give me some chaos and a camera, and I promise in a few years, you're going to see the beauty.

These photos don't even represent all of the amazing sessions - some are purposely kept private, some feel too personal to share... but each and every family who I've had the pleasure of working with this year, thank you. 

Hugs and grace to you, sweet friends!
xo, Elyse


Hello & thanks for visiting my blog! I’m Elyse, the face behind Elyse Rowland Photography of Kalamazoo, Michigan. 

I currently offer both in-home documentary and outdoor lifestyle sessions. I customize each & every session to my beautiful client's lives, and I'm able to give clients my full attention by only taking a small number of sessions each month.

More of my work: Portfolio .  Facebook . Instagram.

For investment information, click here.

If you'd like to book a session or want more info, please click here.

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Kalamazoo Michigan Family Photographer | The DeGroffs

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Kalamazoo Michigan Family Photographer | The DeGroffs

Splashing in the creek, uncontrollable giggles, and rounding out the night with s’mores by the bonfire…. so perfect for this adventurous family! I’m pretty sure every family needs atleast one good creek session where you let loose with your kiddos. They’ll remember it forever, and you’ll have pictures to prove what awesome parents you really are. :)

Thanks DeGroff clan for the best time!

Xo, Elyse

little girl splashing in creek
family embracing in creek near kalamazoo, michigan
family playing in creek and having smores by bonfire in Kalamazoo Michigan

Hello & thanks for visiting my blog! I’m Elyse, the face behind Elyse Rowland Photography of Kalamazoo, Michigan. 

I currently offer both in-home documentary and outdoor lifestyle sessions. I customize each & every session to my beautiful client's lives, and I'm able to give clients my full attention by only taking a small number of sessions each month.

More of my work: Portfolio .  Facebook . Instagram.

For investment information, click here.

If you'd like to book a session or want more info, please click here.

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Kalamazoo Michigan Family Photographer | The Lane Family

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Kalamazoo Michigan Family Photographer | The Lane Family

And the sun took a step back,
the leaves lulled themselves to sleep,
and Autumn was awakened.
-Raquel Franco

I love September. It’s a new beginning… the crisp air and gorgeous sunsets and smell of falling leaves. With the start of fall tomorrow, this seems like the perfect session to share. I can still hear their laughter and smell the fresh apples when I look at these photos. Maybe today I’ll stop and grab my first Pumpkin Spice Latte & light a candle… ;)

Happy fall, friends!
xo, Elyse

fall family photos in apple orchard
little girl wrapping arms around dad

Hello & thanks for visiting my blog! I’m Elyse, the face behind Elyse Rowland Photography of Kalamazoo, Michigan. 

I currently offer both in-home documentary and outdoor lifestyle sessions. I customize each & every session to my beautiful client's lives, and I'm able to give clients my full attention by only taking a small number of sessions each month.

More of my work: Portfolio .  Facebook . Instagram.

For investment information, click here.

If you'd like to book a session or want more info, please click here.

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Vicksburg Michigan Family Photographer | The Davis Family

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Vicksburg Michigan Family Photographer | The Davis Family

Happy fall, y’all!

It’s that time again… you know, the season of pumpkin spice lattes in hand and apple cider candles flickering on the counter… and I LOVE it.

Until recently, I was still feeling like summer flew by far too fast, but then we had those few crisp, cool days and suddenly, BAM, I’m ready for all things fall. Funny how that works.

Last week I had the pleasure of photographing one of my dearest friends & her sweet family….

fall family photos in apple orchard

Mandy & I became close friends in middle & high school, and then shared an apartment during college. She was my Maid of Honor at my wedding, and I still tear up when I think about the speech she gave - if I ever want to re-live some of the most special moments in our friendship, I just play that speech. :) This girl also *seriously* raises the bar on friendship and has always made me feel so special. I’m just so thankful to know her and to have her in my life!

fall family photos by old barn with sunflowers

I loved documenting this season of motherhood for Mandy, and I hope she sees just how beautiful she is in these images with her little girls. Her husband loves her fiercely, and it shows in everything he does. You can certainly see it in the photos, but I get little peeks in their ‘behind-the-scenes’ of parenting, and I can tell you these two are quite the team.

My biggest hope though, is that when these little girls have grown up, Mandy & Anthony will hold these photos in their hands and remember the perfectly imperfect moments of life with their girls. Time with our littles just flies by - we all know that - and these photos are the only things that allow us to travel back in time.

cozy fall family photos by old barn and in field

A question for all the mamas out there: how many photos have you been in with your children recently? Do you like the photos?

If your answer is “hardly any” or “zero”, and “the photos are so-so…” or “they’re just selfies”, then let me change that for you!

I’m booking 2-3 in-home sessions per month over the winter (November through March), and it doesn’t matter if your house ‘isn’t quite where you want it to be’, or ‘doesn’t seem picture-worthy’, because I can promise you that your children won’t care 20 years down the road when they pull out the photo book of their sweetest memories — memories they made with YOU.

You can reach me here…. I can’t wait to hear from you, mama!


Hello & thanks for visiting my blog! I’m Elyse, the face behind Elyse Rowland Photography of Kalamazoo, Michigan. 

I currently offer both in-home documentary and outdoor lifestyle sessions. I customize each & every session to my beautiful client's lives, and I'm able to give clients my full attention by only taking a small number of sessions each month.

More of my work: Portfolio .  Facebook . Instagram.

For investment information, click here.

If you'd like to book a session or want more info, please click here.

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Kalamazoo Michigan Family Photographer | Schultz

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Kalamazoo Michigan Family Photographer | Schultz

"Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain."

There's something magical that happens when families let loose and forget that the camera is there. Those are the moments I wait for. 

Thanks Schultz fam for making the most of a drizzly day and letting me in on your sweetest moments in your coziest of places —

home. 

xx, Elyse

mom with little girls on bed
mom tickling daughters on bed
family dance party in living room
husband and wife embracing in kitchen
dad hugging daughter

Hello & thanks for visiting my blog! I’m Elyse, the face behind Elyse Rowland Photography of Kalamazoo, Michigan. 

I currently offer both in-home documentary and outdoor lifestyle sessions. I customize each & every session to my beautiful client's lives, and I'm able to give clients my full attention by only taking a small number of sessions each month.

More of my work: Portfolio .  Facebook . Instagram.

For investment information, click here.

If you'd like to book a session or want more info, please click here.

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