Then & Now – Marci Curtis {Detroit Wedding Photojournalist}

I decided last week that I “needed” to have my personal photos updated. It had been a decade since my wonderful photographer hubby (and back up shooter) Rodney Curtis ( had been allowed to take any formal photos of me. Like many photographers I know, not too many of us like being in front of the camera. My comfort zone has always been behind the camera.

I was worried that my “old” photos might misrepresent me to my Detroit, Michigan wedding couples. I am youngish, hipish and plenty silly. But were these “old” photos of me disingenuous? Would prospective wedding couples worry about my gray streak? Would my naturally wildly curly hair make me look at first glance more like a homeless bag lady than a first rate and well loved wedding photographer?

After seeing the take of photos, I was very pleasantly surprised. Guess what? I didn’t look THAT different! Here are the now and then photos of me, Marci Curtis – Detroit Wedding Photojournalist.

Before and after photos taken 10 years apart.

Photos taken a decade apart.

So yes, the hair has steaks of gray and the skin has added some wrinkles. But who (other than our own narcissistic selves) would notice those things? I’ve done a LOT of living in the past decade and am a pretty happy person to have come through everything fairly unchanged. I’ve earned these gray hairs and after a day of shooting weddings, I’ve earned the right to look like a crazy bag lady! I work incredibly hard and if I show up in that crazy uncle’s photo (there is one at every wedding who insists on taking photos of the photographer), that’s okay with me. I do look like a wind blown, red faced chick who’s been crawling in the mud since that pretty much describes what a real wedding photographer does on a daily basis!

Photos of Detroit Wedding Photojournalist taken 10 years apart.

Marci Curtis – Before and After 10 years apart!

For anyone who is panicked about getting their Linked In or work or Facebook photos updated, take the plunge! It’s actually very empowering to see how you look through the eyes of a knowledgable and talented photographer. Forget focusing on your “flaws” and celebrate all the things that come through a great portrait; energy, sparkle and great sense of self. That’s what I see 10 years later.


Professional photos taken 10 years apart.

Marci Curtis – Detroit Michigan Wedding Photojournalist profile photos taken 10 years apart.

Being seen as you really appear to others is actually kind of fun and a relief! I’d been dreading seeing how I look “in real life” for so long that it’s actually a nice reward to see that a decade of raising teenagers, shooting another 500 weddings, watching our family struggle through cancer and well… just living… hasn’t taken quite the toll I’d thought it had!

Detroit Winter Wedding Photography

Detroit Winter Wedding Photography

Detroit, Michigan winter wedding photography featuring favorite places to shoot indoor winter wedding photos as well as popular Detroit outdoor winter locations.

Detroit Winter Wedding Photography featuring a couple reflected in ice outside their church.
Yes, that lovely reflection of the church IS ice!

Turns out brides and grooms get married in the Metro Detroit area all the time in the very late fall and all throughout our long, long winter. So what is a couple to do when they want outdoor photos and the temperatures are hovering near or below freezing?

Michigan snow wedding photos featuring a couple out in the snow in Troy.
Go out and enjoy it! This is the ONLY time in 1,000 weddings I’ve had a couple ask to go out in the snow!

Well, most couples that choose cold weather weddings don’t mind the frigid temps. If they do and are looking for warm places in the Detroit area to take nice wedding photos, they usually plan their entire wedding and reception for picturesque indoor venues. There are many that offer wonderful photo opportunities indoors in the Metro Detroit area for wedding venues. Some of my favorites are;

All things Henry Ford, including the  Henry Ford Museum,

Detroit Winter Wedding Photography at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.

The Dearborn Inn,

Detroit Winter Wedding Photography of a couple at the Dearborn Inn.

The Colony Club,
colony club winter wedding on the stairs.

and a couple of art museums as well.

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Cold weather wedding at University of Michigan’s Museum of Modern Art

Detroit Winter Wedding Photography inside the DIA.

With pre arranged permission, we were able to shoot inside the Detroit Institute of Art.

But not everyone can afford these nice, pretty and warm Detroit wedding venues during the winter. So I am often asked, “Where can we go to take our winter wedding photos in Metro Detroit”? The funny thing is, other than the occasional tell tale splotch of snow, for the most part you would never know these are photos taken in the winter. Most couples that can brave the freezing temperatures head downtown Detroit for photos at the old train station.

Detroit Winter Wedding Photography outside the old train station in Detroit in the snow.

Detroit Train Station Wedding Photo

Detroit Train Station Wedding Photographer

Detroit Winter Wedding Photography with a wall of graffiti in Detroit
If you’re having a hard time telling the difference between dead of winter photos and late fall photos… well, these are ALL winter photos!

Only the snow tells the season.

Detroit Winter Wedding Photography celebrate the 20
Note the variation of skin tones… it was -30 with wind chill and perfection in posing simply was not the goal!

Another great option is to head to Comerica Park when the Tigers are out of season,

Detroit Winter Wedding Photography in front of Comerica Park

Comerica Park winter wedding photos with Tigers

Detroit Winter Wedding Photography at Comerica Park with the Tiger
This doesn’t look too cold does it?

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But this is what was going on behind my back!

Heading into downtown Detroit for with all the iconic landmarks and freezing gusts of wind in another great option!

Detroit Winter Wedding Photography needs the help of a groomsman to shield the bridesmaids from the cold.

Detroit Winter Wedding Photography with the Renaissance Center seen as the backdrop of this photograph.

Detroit Winter Wedding Photography at Greenfield Village.


I shoot wedding photography downtown Detroit year round. There is little difference in the look of these places from season to season. It’s all about the architecture. So most of the place look the same in summer and in winter. Of course, I love catching fun photography moments that break the illusion that it isn’t freezing. So be fore warned. If you want me to take outdoor photos, you’ll end up with lots of photos showing the reality of the day as well as wonderful, non season specific portraits. While the wind took the bride’s veil,

Detroit Winter Wedding Photography in freezing temperatures featuring the Spirit of Detroit.

Detroit Winter Wedding Photography featuring freezing bridesmaids

her bridesmaids huddled for warmth!

So if you do want to head out into our chilly Michigan weather for wedding photos, here are a couple of things to keep in mind…
Bundle up! Bring lots of coats for the ladies since they wear little and will need coats. It helps to have ones that you can set down (in the snow or mush) and not worry about.

Belle Isle Conservatory Wedding Photo

Detroit Winter Wedding Photography outside the Detroit Institute of Art.

Detroit Winter Wedding Photography featuring a freezing ride in a model T at Greenfield Village.

This was the coldest day of the year… hovering at 10 degrees BEFORE wind chill is factored in! We could have used some windows on this Model T!


Often brides will find some sort of wrap they don’t mind ending up in their photos.

Detroit Winter Wedding Photography features a bride laughing about being wrapped up in her wrap.

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Little kids get cold extra quick. So bring something for them to keep warm with and keep their time outdoors to a minimum.

Detroit Winter Wedding Photography showing a little flower girl getting warm under a bridesmaid

Detroit Winter Wedding Photography showing a flower girl trying to keep warm.


We can only be out for a matter of minutes. Like 5-10 at most at a time. If we’re lucky!

Detroit Winter Wedding Photography showing a wedding party hugging to keep warm at the Inn at St. Johns.

Detroit Winter Wedding Photography with a cold couple at the Royal Park Hotel.

Detroit Winter Wedding Photography shows a bride kidding around with her husband at the Dearborn Inn

Detroit Winter Wedding Photography at the Dearborn Inn.


Nature’s own joke is that it tends to be windy on cold days, so be prepared for windy weather photos. It’s the norm rather than the exception.

Detroit frigid Wedding Photography featuring a bride in downtown Detroit having her veil fly up over her head.

bridesmaids grad their skirt as the wind catches then i Ann Arbor.

Detroit cold Wedding Photo at Greenfield Village

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In most photos you would never know how cold it actually is. The only tell tale signs are red (or worse, white) hands. I work very quickly, but once your nose turns pink and starts running, we’re done! No amount of photoshopping will make snot look hip or attractive!

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The fantasy photo above ….

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Verus the reality photo. I’m adjusting my lighting, but you can see how red the bride’s nose is getting as they listen to me. We were outside for a total of 7 minutes!

Always try to find a great indoor back up for your winter wedding shoots. That way we can keep shooting, warm up and still get fun photos. Some of my favorite indoor Detroit locations to take indoor wedding photos during the winter are; the DIA,

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The Guardian building,

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Michigan bride at the Guardian Building downtown Detroit.

Michigan bride at the Guardian Building downtown Detroit.

The Henry Ford Museum

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and the Conservatory on Belle Island.

Belle Isle Conservatory Wedding Photography


These all need to either be arranged in advance and some do require a fee. Nobody likes to turn down a woman in white on her big day, but improvising with a cold wedding party isn’t a great option. So track down what’s involved so you won’t have any unhappy surprises on your wedding day.

If you have fun, specific requests, make sure your photographer knows ahead of time so they aren’t improvising in the cold. It helps to have everything worked out in advance so the wedding party spends as little time as possible outdoors. Here are some fun, kitschy photos that were specific to the bride and groom’s taste and requests. They’re fun, but do take a bit more set up time to pull them off. Because of the freezing temperatures, we talked about what the entire party needed to do BEFORE we got out of the limo so we were all on the same page and could pull these off with only a few minutes of skin exposure.

Silly photo of a dinosaur chasing a wedding party during a Michigan winter wedding.

Silly photo of a dinosaur chasing a wedding party during a Michigan winter wedding.


Silly photo of a bride stepping on the groom during a Michigan winter wedding.

Silly photo of a bride stepping on the groom during a Michigan winter wedding.

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And lastly, here are a couple of wedding photos also taken during our harsh Michigan winters. You’ll see right away that some of the wedding photos look like they are obviously shot in the winter while others don’t seem to suggest any specific season. They were all shot from in Michigan mid November through March! Enjoy!!

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Detroit Train Station Wedding Photography

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The Iroquois Club and Moose Preserve Wedding Photos

Here are some of my favorite images from The Iroquois Club and Moose Preserve wedding photos I took in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan with Melissa and Joe – I’ve driven past Bloomfield Hills Michigan’s The Iroquois Club and Moose Preserve many times. I had no idea it was available as a wedding site or could host wedding receptions.

The bride and groom pose at the entrance of the Iroquois Club in Bloomfield during their wedding.

The bride and groom pose at the entrance of the Iroquois Club in Bloomfield Hills during their wedding.

Bride and groom at their first look outside the Iroquois Club in Bloomfield Michigan.

“First Look” at the entrance of The Iroquois Club in Bloomfield Michigan.

Two girls wait for a wedding to begin and wait in a bookshelf at the Iroquois Club in Bloomfield Hills Michigan.

Two flower girls wait inside a bookshelf at the Iroquois Club in Bloomfield Hills Michigan.

Two flower girls play with their petals during a small, family wedding at Bloomfield's Iroquois Club during the ceremony.

Two flower girls play with their petals during a small, family wedding at Bloomfield Hill’s Iroquois Club during the ceremony.

Wedding photo of the bride and groom at the Moose Preserve at Bloomfield Michigan's Iroquois Club. The rustic ambiance of the Moose Preserve isn't typical wedding fare, but it's pretty cool!

Wedding photo of the bride and groom at the Moose Preserve at Bloomfield Hills Michigan’s Iroquois Club.

Melissa and Joe had a wonderful, tight knit family wedding at the Iroquois Club for an intimate brunch wedding. We also had access to the popular Moose Preserve to take wedding photos there. The inside is rustic, but Melissa and Joe loved the variety of wedding photos we were able to take within the Moose Preserve. I personally loved how many different textures and backgrounds we were able to use as wedding photo backgrounds at the Iroquois Club in Bloomfield as this was a winter wedding as using their outdoor areas wasn’t really an option. I didn’t see many samples of wedding photography from either the Moose Preserve or The Iroquois Club in Bloomfield Hills, so I wanted to share a few of my favorites from the day.

Michigan wedding First Look Prank!

This was a new one for me! A wedding day “First Look” prank 10 minutes after I met the groom!

I shoot a lot of Michigan wedding First Look photos and they are a great way to get lots of photos out of the way before hand. It also helps with the general flow of the wedding day so wedding couples can flow more naturally from their wedding ceremony to their wedding reception. It also helps with calming jittery nerves.

Usually the first look is an emotional, fun or at least a “phew… got that out of the way” event. I personally have never photographed a Michigan wedding First Look prank.

What really settles wedding couples’ nerves on their wedding day? A good laugh! Here’s the best wedding day “First Look” prank I’ve ever seen!

After meeting the groom, Gene, last Saturday, he asked me if I’d help facilitate him in playing a prank on his bride. Sure! Amanda, the bride, had a very clear image in her mind how she wanted the “first look” to happen.

Gene asked if he could substitute his cousin for himself for the first look. You tell me… hilarious, or what?!
Here’s Gene’s cousin rounding the corner to meet an unsuspecting Amanda.

First look bridal prank

The groom’s cousin pretends to be the groom during the “first look”.

Michigan wedding couple's "first look".

Troy, Michigan bride and groom hold hands during their “first look” before their wedding ceremony.

Groom plays prank on bride.

First look with the real Michigan bride and groom

Here’s perhaps the most adorable “Thank You” image I’ve ever had the pleasure to shoot. The shy, but silly flower girl and ring bearer helped make this a super fun and memorable Thank You card for my Troy, Michigan wedding couple.

Cute wedding thank you card with kids.

Two adorable prankster kids add cuteness to the Troy, Michigan wedding couple’s “Thank You” card.

Rain Creates Dramatic, Dynamic and Unique Senior Photos.

It’s Michigan, it rains and it’s senior portrait season! Photographing in terrible weather is par for the course. What you don’t realize is that it can create dynamic, dramatic and really unique senior photos.

As a photographer who always creates studios on location (or as you may like to call it: outdoors), weather is always an issue. Maybe all States have some sort of saying about how terrible and unpredictable their weather is, but here in Michigan the saying is, “Wait ten minutes and it will change”.

Many of my photography clients are nervous about crummy weather forecasts, especially rain. And while it’s true that actual rain isn’t great to shoot in (think drowned rat look… not a great look for anyone), pending rain and overcast conditions are perfect for creating dramatic photographic portraits.

Wind can also add a flare of the dramatic and dynamic to any photo. My senior girls benefit from this the most and tend to fear it as well. Don’t worry… it helps photos… just bring a brush!

So before you rush to cancel or reschedule your Michigan senior photography shoot, ask your photographer what you can do to tweak the time forward or back to take full advantage or a pending storm!

Here are some of my favorites from my senior shoots in the past year.

Michigan senior photo of parkour during rain.

Senior Photo featuring Michigan parkour senior flipping during a storm.

Senior poses with his car in Bloomfield, Michigan during a rain storm.

Senior photo posing with his car during a rain storm in Bloomfield, Michigan.

Senior posed in front of a major thundercloud.

Storm clouds make for a dramatic senior photo in Auburn Hills, Michigan.

Senior photo featuring the wind blown look.

Wind whips a senior’s hair for a dynamic senior photo in Detroit.

Wind blown hair is great for senior girls photos.

Wind helps make this senior photo in Detroit more dramatic.

Storm clouds add drama to senior photos.

A pending storm can certainly add drama to senior photos as in this Rochester, Michigan’s senior photo.

Rain clouds add drama to senior photos.

Troy, Michigan senior’s photo is more dynamic and dramatic as rain clouds moved in.

Michigan senior photos before a storm.

A Rochester, Michigan senior photo is enhanced by rainy weather.