I'm mthree. Those are my initials. Always have been, and thanks to a hubby with a "M" last name; always will be.

I've been a designer for over ten years, I was an animator and a filmmaker once, I was a bride before I was a photographer, I'm a new business owner, but I've always been an artist.

You can get a glimpse of where I've been, a better look at where I am and a peek at where I'm going right here.

You gotta S -T-R-E-T-C-H your browser window to see the BIG pictures...

Monday, June 30, 2008

Miscellaneous Monday

Fireworks season is upon us, it is four days before the Fourth of July and Hubby is... at home sleeping? What is wrong with this picture? Usually at this point is he running on about four hours of napping caught at his desk between 4am and 8am. Things have either been a little slow this year or hubby has managed to be ultra-prepared at the store, allowing him to be home for an *almost* full night's rest. (I'm banking on a little bit of both of these things) I'm not complaining, it is nice having him next to me at some point during the night instead of sleeping alone. But sadly, I know he would trade a few days of that for some ultra-business at the Fireworks store. So go get your fireworks people and make my Hubby smile! Of course, make sure you go to his store - the big yellow building on Hwy G and I-94.


Ringo is getting "fixed" today. I admit, I cried on the way home after dropping him off. I just feel horrible leaving him at the vet's office all alone. He doesn't know anyone there...and he doesn't understand what is going on or why I left him.... okay, I can't talk about it. Four o'clock can't come fast enough today so I can call and find out how is doing.


My Sister in Law invited me to go check out her new apartment in Milwaukee yesterday. Thanks to three engagement shoots in Madison being rescheduled due to weather, I was able to go. Hubby and I are both looking forward to August when she will be up here in the area full-time, though it will also be kind of different, we have been so accustomed to her being a hour and a half away for the past six years. Welcome back, Karen!


I have found THE shoes. As a photographer, I spend all day on my feet. And being a stubborn German, I insist on wearing heels and looking cute doing it. I like to look like a guest at weddings and blend in. I worked in a "upscale" shoe store in college and have spoiled my feet ever since with shoes by Naot, Josef Siebel, Clarks, etc. The price tag doesn't scare me because I am still wearing most of them now, six years later, and they are only starting to wear out. And using the Standard Women's Fashion investment Rule, if you divide $150 (average price of my chosen shoes) by the number of years I have worn them (6), that means they only cost $25 and that is a huge bargain! I can walk all day in those shoes and not have any pain. Only problem is, companies that make shoes that comfortable tend to stay away from heels, and 3/4 of their designs I would never consider (most comfortable shoes are, well, ugly). Finding a comfortable pair of heels I can shoot in all day has been a challenge. Short of investing in some $500 Cole Haans or even more staggering Christian Laboutins, I have been wearing regular heels until dancing starts and then switching to flats and dealing with the consequences. In a moment of desperation on Friday night I went to Stan's Fit for your Feet. There wasn't a ton to choose from in my "cute, dressy, with heels" category, I'm not going to mislead you. But I did find these by Beautifeel:

(please ignore my chipped pedicure and what is supposed to be my ankle looking broken)
They aren't going to get me on any Best Dressed lists, but I will tell you this: After fourteen hours at a wedding, my feet did not hurt even one teensy bit. In fact, it felt like I was wearing tennis shoes all day, only better. And as my old boss used to say, if your feet feel good, then you feel good. So true. Looking at their website this morning I see many cuter options, and they even have a bridal section. If I could have saved my feet from the bruising they endured on my wedding day in the name of fashion...


Saturday is the Tom Petty concert - I can. not. wait. Though I do wish I could squeeze a trip in to Summerfest before then. I hope all of you get a chance to check it out this week. For my blog readers that don't live in Wisconsin, Summerfest is the World's Largest Music Festival (no joke) and runs for 11 days straight with constant music on something like 15 stages and all the amazing food and beer you can consume. It is also the best people watching you will ever see in your life.


I'm hoping my readers can help me solve this little conundrum. I provide these cute little cards at weddings that are personalized with a photo of the couple and info on how to view their wedding images:

Usually, we put these at the guestbook table. I don't put up a sign or my own business cards and it is all cleared with the couple ahead of time. However, very few people take the little cards. Why is this? Do you not care to see the pictures from the wedding (possibly some of yourself)? Do you think that they are business cards and so you recoil in horror? Advise me on this please because I'm not loving spending the money on the cards only to have them still sitting there, mostly untouched at the end of the night. Would it help if they were in a little box with a sign that said something to the effect of "To see photos from this wedding take a instruction card" ? When you are a guest, what is your perception? Or, have you seen something that works in this area?


Have a Happy Monday!

Friday, June 27, 2008


I've been published!

The ever popular "sparkler shot" from Harmony and Darin's wedding is getting some more attention in the latest issue of Wisconsin Bride Magazine. Go to your newsstand and pick up the latest issue because it is gorgeous and chock full of good stuff. Be sure to check out page 20 for my ad, and page 84 for the "Pictures from Friends" feature on Harmony and Darin. I think I might have to officially retire that shot now. It's funny, I'm a lot prouder of at least twenty other shots, but that one always gets the attention, people just love it. I'm pretty proud of myself, it only took a year after officially starting my business to get something published. Now my goal is to get a whole wedding featured.

WI Bride comes out twice a year, in July and in January. Also published were my photography friends Heather Cook Elliott and Amy Gaerthofner of Ardent Photography. My pals over at Front Room also had a few pics used in the "Top of the Tiara" award page, though they don't appear to have been credited.

I went to the "Best of 2008" awards party that the magazine held on Monday and we got our copies of the issue there. The awards are a bit confusing to me - I'm not 100% sure how the votes are collected and winners are determined, it seems that just whoever visits the WI Bride website votes, as many times as they wish and then the most vote-getters are the nominees and winners. But hey, if their clients love them enough to get that many votes then they must deserve it! But the cocktail party was pretty good, held at the beautiful Ambassador Hotel. I got to hang out with some great industry friends; Eron, Monica, Amy, Craig (and his lovely wife Angie) and we all went for dinner at Kincaids - yummm!

And, in a stroke of luck, I was also published in the Shepherd Express this week. A goofy headshot I took of Monica of The White Box of Wedding Design is used in a brief article they wrote on her:
Click Here

I'm busy getting ready for Alejandra & Erik's wedding tomorrow. I didn't meet my editing goal for the week, but I'm closer. This is going to be a truly insane weekend in the Michel household. Hubby is obviously busy with fireworks, this being the weekend before the Fourth and all, and will be working some crazy hours, and I have an all day wedding tomorrow and then three engagement shoots on Sunday in Madison. And we will be shuffling Ringo around to babysitters inbetween everything. Whew! I'll be back on the blog on Monday. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Engagement | Macaire & Bill

She was "that girl" at a friend's wedding - the one with a glass of wine in hand having the best time, laughing, dancing. The one the other girls watch and wish they were. He realized he could be "that guy" if he could just get her attention. And that he did.
And so it was that a relationship that started at a wedding will get a wedding scene of its very own.

Macaire (pronounced ma-car-a) and Bill are a cute couple who play their contrasts off one another beautifully. Bill, with his dead pan humor and tall lankiness and Macaire with her bubbly effervecense and winning smile. Macaire will always have a special place in my heart because she emailed me just 24 hours after getting engaged to check on my availability for dates they were considering. Next January they will tie the knot in a fabulous vintage inspired wedding in Downtown Milwaukee and I can't wait to bring a true vintage vision to their wedding images.

Their engagement happened on a surprise New Year's Eve getaway planned by Bill that involved dinner at Hotel Metro and a night at the Pfister. Romantic? You bet. Memorable? Without question.

They had their first date at Swig, and will also be having their Rehearsal Dinner there:

Enjoy the Slideshow:

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Miscellaneous Monday

If you didn't catch Kate & Adam's Wedding blog post (posted on Saturday morning) yet, please scroll down, they are not to be missed!


I went to a Bachelorette Party for our friend Sara on Saturday. I would like to proudly tell you that I, the oldest attendee (besides the moms), hung longer and harder than almost everyone else, except for my good friend Jamie. The party started hard at 3pm with tailgating at a Brewers Game and then we moved on to bar-hopping. Jamie and I went toe-to-toe with everyone (more or less) and we still outlasted the 23 year old bride who called it quits at Midnight (in her defense she had been drinking steadily since three). I know it is petty, but this makes me feel good about my age. I also ran into Lisa from The White Box Shoot we did back in February (she's the one who's image graces the beginning of the slideshow on my website). Great party thrown by Sara's bridesmaids - everyone had a blast. I'm really looking forward to the wedding (as a guest) in a month.


Ringo turned Six Months Old yesterday. He goes in for his "fix" next week, this is not Hubby's favorite subject.
Here is a shot I took of him after his bath last week (hence the wet look):

and lounging in my office chair:


It is no secret that Hubby works in Fireworks. He runs the store at I-94 and Hwy G in Racine County, the big yellow building. (As a consequence of this career, I have seen him very little lately)
He would like me to remind all of you to GET YOUR FIREWORKS EARLY. Don't wait till the fourth, third, or even the second of July. I promise you, they will have no new items then that they don't have now. You will have a better selection if you go now, and a better chance of being able to get some sales help. With the Fourth falling on a weekend this year, it is going to be absolutely nuts at the store. You will wait an hour in line just to get in if you put this off. And once you are in, it will be hot, crowded (with a lot of people you don't want to smell) and picked over, so go early! I'm sure if you told Hubby that you are a loyal Mthree Studio Blog reader, he would do what he can to help you out (which actually he would do for any customer).
Just to further convince you, here is a shot that we hired an aerial photographer to take on July 3rd two years ago:

See that line of people?


I'm going to be working hard to get all caught up on editing this week. I really want to leave for Alejandra & Eric's wedding on Saturday knowing that when I get back, I'll be able to start editing their images right away. Send me some good work and focus vibes!


I saw this over at Black Eiffel this morning and it totally stole my heart. If only I had owned a stack of these postcards when Hubby and I lived where those two hearts are for three years- I would have sent him one every week!

You can get your own (with hearts where you want them) from Rarrar Press. I know a lot of my brides are living far away from most of their family - these would be great announcements to use.


Have a happy Monday!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Wedding | Kate & Adam

Kate & Adam are an awesome couple. There is no need to add flowery phrasing or get descriptive about it. They just are.

Their wedding day was a true reflection of this. Friends and family gathered in Madison from all over the country to be there with them as they became husband and wife. I had a hard time distinguishing between Kate's friends and Adam's friends, and even between who was friends and who was family. Every one there, most especially their wedding party, was so present in what was happening that day for their friends and had their hearts on their sleeves.

Kate & Adam did a first look and saw each other before the ceremony so we could get the bulk of their pictures out of the way. It is always a treat witness this and this time I got to hang out with Adam as he waited for Kate to arrive.

These two moments with Kate and her Dad as they watched the ceremony begin just took my breath away:

The ceremony was beautiful, held in the Olbrich Botanical Gardens (top notch staff there) on what was an amazingly beautiful day. One of my favorite parts was that Kate and Adam were sitting in front of her parents for a good portion, situated in such a way that Kate and her Mom could wordlessly communicate their emotions to each other at different moments. Watch for a good example of that in the slideshow.

Some highlights from the ceremony, which Kate and Adam constructed themselves:

(that's "Best Bridesmaid of the Year" nominee Anna wiping away a tear)

Adam had the most awesome ring (eclipsed only by the one he designed for Kate - check the slideshow), it was made of distressed titanium (making it brown) and it was carved to look like wood. And it really did.

One of the coolest things about this day is that I don't think there was ever a moment in the planning process where Kate and Adam allowed themselves to create anything other than what they wanted to have. There were so many aspects of their day that were unique or just particularly suited to them and not the way you "usually" see things done. One of the best things they did was the Parade of Cakes. They borrowed the idea from some friends. A Croatian tradition, several family members and friends had baked a cake for the event and brought it along - then the wedding party each took one, and paraded around the restaurant with them to a rousing improvised song by the band. The place went totally nuts. It was just one of the neatest things I have ever seen. And the variety of cakes was astounding. The wedding party members served up their flavor to whomever wanted it.

Kate and Adam's first dance was a spectacularly self-choreographed number to "All you need is Love" by the Beatles (a couple after my own heart!). They had so much fun with it:

In the slideshow you'll see a few pictures from the toasts. This was another different approach - they held off on them until after dinner and everyone (and I do mean everyone) gave their undivided attention to some of the most spectacular toasts I have ever heard. Some were long, some involved music, but all were heartfelt, and no one minded listening and toasting.

And lastly, but certainly not least was the band. Kate and Adam flew them in from Arizona and they were beyond amazing. Sunday Afternoon is their name, and one of the guitarists is an old friend of Adam's. I have never seen a reception take to the music like I witnessed at this wedding. And I have certainly never seen a Bride and Groom enjoy their music to the core like Kate and Adam did. Being there just witnessing it felt like being at a really good concert by a band that you have just adored for years. This band is good, really good. I went home and bought two of their albums right away. I used their music (with their permission) for the slideshow, because it only seemed fitting. The song Adam chose is also the one (I believe) that Kate's cousin stepped in and lent his saxophone skills to. You can see how she felt about that in the second to last shot:

Thursday, June 19, 2008


A photographer friend emailed me tonight and let me know that a bride on The Knot said that she had tried to contact me (in multiple ways) and had gotten no response. This saddens me, because I never got these emails or phone calls. I actually write down in my notebook every inquiry that comes in via either method and then follow up with those people if I haven't heard from them a week later (after sending them information).

I wonder if it is a mix-up with someone else because how could several emails and phone calls have fallen by the wayside? Even at my busiest, I don't think I could have overlooked that many messages. The mere possibility that this might have happened scares me. I would hate for anyone to think that I am ignoring them.

So, to the bride who said this happened to her - I am truly sorry. I would never knowingly ignore your phone calls or emails. I have no way of contacting you, but maybe by the magic of the internet you will get this message, whomever you are. I'm sorry I missed out on meeting you and learning about your plans. I hope that you have found a photographer you are happy with and I wish you the best of luck in all your planning.

And just as a general bulletin: I was having some trouble with my website inquiry form - I wasn't getting any of those inquiries it turns out, for quite awhile, but I only found out about that last week (when a bride told me her inquiry had come back to her as "undeliverable mail"). It has been fixed, and inquiries have been rolling in which only scares me more thinking that the lack of inquiries I may have had previous to this fixing means that people were filling out the form and hearing nothing (because I didn't get it) and not trying another method of communication (despite the fact that the form itself says if you don't hear from me in 24 hours, please email directly). Hopefully fixing the form has ended this problem.

Let it be known that I respond fast to inquiries, and I respond to all inquiries, without exception. I am not too far removed from being a bride myself to remember how anxious I was to know if people I was interested in were available for my date. If you have called or emailed me and not heard back - I never got your message, and please contact me again. I think any current clients I have (or past clients) can testify that I respond quickly to all of their questions, usually within 24 hours at worst.

Thanks all, and I look forward to hearing from you!

Stream of Consciousness

it is so nice outside, I wish I could go outside and play with Ringo - but then my mucho weeding would distract me - need to email the landscaper - is the new iphone really going to be twice as fast for half the price? - the new coldplay album is amazing. is this the eighth time I've played it or the ninth? - those were cool potential clients I met yesterday, so hip, and such great taste - where did i put that wedding book i bought yesterday? - five photoshoots left to edit, six after tonight. things are looking up - i really need to go to the post office - oh, and the bank - did i switch the wash load? - should I really still be dealing with acne at my age? - i wonder if i can fit tanning into my schedule today? - where is Ringo's carrot toy? - i need to order business cards - better find hubby's t-shirt design too - did I bill St. Joe's for that last project? - i'm hungry - need to go to office max - gosh, it seems like i'm there every day - is there a friend I haven't talked to in awhile - of course there is (Hi Rob and Angie!) - i wonder if mike will remember to bring pictures of baby jack tonight to softball - how long has it been since i've been to the gym? - shoot, i need to email MacKenzie - did I tell hubby about that speaking offer I got? - proubably not - i need a bigger to-do list - i wonder if it would be easier to give clients their wedding images on jump drives rather than multiple disks? - how does one enter their photos in competition - that is a question for another day for sure - i wonder if jamie figured out how to get the ink off her kitchen table - Racheal cracks me up - i wonder what we are doing for FIL's birthday on sunday? - ooo, that means hubby and i have been "together" for nine years now - i need to get that print framed, where to take it? - i also need to figure out how to make hubby's poker chip mat - did i put on makeup today? - hmmm. no. - i'm hungry - better go switch that washload.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Engagement | Dawn & Sam

I met Dawn and Sam for the first time when I walked up to them in the Art Museum for their engagement shoot. They have planned their wedding pretty quickly, but after discussing their plans over lunch at Alterra, it is clear that they are focusing on all the right things. In just about over a month, I'll be showing you pictures of them walking down the aisle.

They met inside the aisles of a Hobby Lobby store as co-workers. Dawn remembers that Sam was really nice to her (Sam points out that all he did was say "Hi."). After a few weeks of friendly interaction, Dawn took the bull by the horns and left a note on Sam's car windshield - asking him out on a date. It took three weeks to find an agreeable day and time for them both, but they have been stuck together as if by glue ever since.

While vacationing up North with family, Dawn and Sam were fishing on the edge of a lake. Sam points out that it was a particularly beautiful day, with tall, tall pine trees, a gorgeous sunset and crystal blue water. Dawn remembers being very frustrated with the whole fishing experience, since she hadn't caught anything all day. Sam convinced her to try one more time and offered to bait her hook. When he handed it over to her, instead of bait there was a ring.

Enjoy the slideshow:

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Wedding | Laura & Jesse

The two guitarists strummed along and sang their tune, leading the thirty guests up a hill like ancient pied pipers. There was a low din among the guests of whispers, laughter and wonderment. Thru a small archway in the treeline they walked, around thorny bushes, twisted tree trunks and under a canopy of green. The group emerged within a natural circle punctuated by one mighty evergreen tree, it's trunk bare until about 12 feet in the air. There stood a happy couple, the bride giggling with delight and the groom grinning from ear to ear. They gestured and welcomed all of their nearest and dearest to circle 'round them and witness their commitment.

Laura and Jesse had a wonderful laid back wedding in a local Milwaukee park on a day that was supposed to be rainy and cold, bu instead was sunny and temperate without a drop of rain until the guests were getting in their cars to leave. They were legally married on leap day in Las Vegas, by an Elvis impersonator. But this ceremony was for sharing with their friends and family the deeper, spiritual side of their commitment. Jesse's dad officiated, his brother sang and Laura's sister read. Everyone stood around them in a big circle, lending their love and support as the words were spoken. It felt intimate and dramatic all at once.

The day was stripped of all the usual wedding trappings, and only the core of what really matters was there - fun, family, friends, time to spend with those people, good food, music and memories. There was no cake cutting, no first dance, no toasts or garter toss, but none of it was missed. The wonderful Saz's catered the event, an Elvis impersonator entertained for awhile and there was plenty of hanging out time. The look was decidedly vintage - somewhat forties, in some details older, sometimes a little fifties, but always nostalgic.

I took my editing cues from that vibe and I've decided to only show you the pictures as a vintage feel. Laura & Jesse will be getting a set that has all the pictures as crisp, clean, color versions, but a good portion will also be interpreted with this more vintage look. Usually on the blog I show you a mix of all of this. But this story I think really deserves to be told this way - it is something I'm considering doing for future blog posts as well. After all, it is this version that tells it how I see it, and that is what my clients are looking for I hope.

This one following has to be explained. Laura had just finished her vows, and Jesse found it highly amusing that she was so serious about it and then proceeded to make these faces in reaction:

Everyone started laughing, so Jesse exclaimed "I've never seen her be so serious!"

Here is the slideshow. Enjoy!
(if you are reading from a blog reader, I believe you have to click into the actual blog to see the slideshows)