Behind the scenes with SPP

From the desk of: Amanda

A couple weeks ago, I posted about the Bubbles for Brooklyn project that Sean and I were a part of. There was a small look behind the scenes, but it got me thinking. I have a ton of iPhone photos showing our set-ups and some wacky stories to go along with them. Why not share some of them with you guys, so you can see just how much fun we have when we’re on a shoot?

Here’s a quick look at the set-up from our senior shoot with Chris W. (Yeah, Sean was doing my job so that I could take this photo, lol)

The Dimick girls kept me busy, so I never had a chance to snap anything officially behind the scenes on this shoot, but here are a few candid shots from when we were blowing bubbles. When the bubble burst on Josie, she exclaimed “That felt just like when the giraffe SNEEZED on me!!” which made us all burst out laughing. There was never a dull moment with these guys.

Setting up the Zill family shoot was a riot. Sean and I were busy going over equipment and checking settings when we heard one of the kids exclaim “Andrew! You just stepped on a BIRD!!” I quickly looked up, and wondered what on earth he actually stepped on. There was no way a human was going to step on a bird, even if you’re a rambunctious six year old! I wandered over, and found this:

It WAS a bird! Who woulda thought? Turns out the poor things nest was displaced from the tree we were setting up under, so we spent the next hour watching our feet, making sure that the baby bird was no longer underfoot.

Sean is probably going to kill me for the next shot, but this is what happens when your assistant hears “It’s a good thing Amanda is sitting behind the softbox, and has NO idea what’s going on. Otherwise, I’m sure she’d have photos up on the internet by now.” How did I respond? Very quietly. My iPhone popped up over the top of the softbox and caught him doing this:

Hehe. Just because one cannot see what’s going on, does not mean that she cannot hear what is going on. I”m sure my paybacks are coming. <wink>

We took a bit of a break, but as the sunset drew near, Sean and I were setting up for a super cool shoot involving Amy and her Camaro. This shoot was going very smoothly, almost to the point of not even needing my assistance. See? They were rocking this shoot.

image(21)…..until the sun went down a little, and the mosquitoes came out. They started harassing Amy, so I busted out the bug spray. Then it was Sean’s turn, so I covered him, too. I was standing there, getting cocky about how they weren’t biting ME, when every mosquito in St Clair County descended upon me. Turns out they couldn’t land on Sean and Amy anymore, so I was looking like dinner. Check this out:

No, those white flecks aren’t stars. That would be a trillion mosquitoes illuminated by our lighting. I can’t believe how MANY were out!

So there’s a quick peek into what happens behind the camera on a SPP shoot. Lots of laughs, tons of fun, and …mosquitoes.

Keep an eye out for the recaps of the shoots from the “official” side of lens.

Want to get to know us a little better?  Facebookers can find us here, Tweeters can find us here, or if you’re a pinner, our boards are here. If you’re looking for more of ME, don’t be shy. you can find me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. I can’t wait to connect with you!


Bubbles for Brooklyn: SPP Style

From the desk of: Amanda

A few weeks ago, I was surfing Facebook (big shocker, I know), and I came across Amanda Lipsey’s business page (Amanda Marie Photography). She’s another photographer here in Michigan, so I spent some time poking around out of curiosity. She had just posted a call out to all of her photographer friends and followers, asking for help with a super special project that she was working on. Naturally, I emailed her and asked her what Sean and I could do to help. This is the response I got:

“Brooklyn is battling cancer right now and she loves bubbles. So what i am trying to do is get a bunch of people around the world to take pictures of themselves or their children blowing bubbles for Brooklyn somewhere. Whether it be at their house, in front of a cool landmark on the beach etc. I am going to be doing a BIG blog post and including all the photos so please either water mark them or provide me with link to your fanpage or website. The concept behind this is the idea that each bubble is a prayer for Brooklyn to get better. I am hoping this will cause a flood of others to post their own bubble blowing photos on Brooklyn’s page and really help grow their page.”

Perfect! Sean and I have always been quick to help with any charity, especially those involving kids, so this was a no brainer. Combining photography and helping this little girl? We were in. It seemed like perfect timing, since we had a few family shoots already lined up. I picked up plenty of bubbles, and we had a TON of fun!

I think it would be super cool if everyone that reads this goes out, takes some of their OWN bubble photos and posts them to Brooklyn’s page. They don’t need to be professional, remember … each bubble is a prayer for Brooklyn, and anyone can send up a prayer or positive thought, so get out there and have some FUN. We sure did, check it out!

Here’s Genevieve Dimick chasing the bubbles that her Grandma was blowing:

Genevieve and her sister Josephine playing with bubbles in the grass:

Josephine admiring her HUUUGE bubble ………… right before it burst!072213_0357_BubblesforB4.jpg

A quick video of Amy Zill and her kids, Andrew, Matthew and Kaitlyn, blowing bubbles with some encouragement from Sean 😉

Andrew Zill and his extra large bubble!See how much fun that was? What are you waiting for?! Grab your camera (or phone!), some bubbles, and go have some fun of your own!

Here are the links I promised:

Amanda Marie Photography’s Blog Post – Bubbles for Brooklyn

Brooklyn’s Facebook page – Battle for Brooklyn

Want to get to know us a little better?  Facebookers can find us here, Tweeters can find us here, or if you’re a pinner, our boards are here. If you’re looking for more of ME, don’t be shy. you can find me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. I can’t wait to get to know you!

If You’re Going to Choreograph …

To choreograph or not? That is the question when it comes to first dances.

Originally, this just referred to whether or not you would spend one night a week for a few months taking ballroom dancing lessons and putting together something with a lot of box steps, twirls, and a dip at the end. However, these days it can mean a lot more.

You’ve probably seen a few of the first dance videos that went viral on youtube, like the evolution of dance first dance or the “original” surprise first dance. However, I’ve got an all-time favorite.

Back in 6th grade I decided I WOULD do this at my wedding. I was certain. As the years went by and I evaluated my wedding plan checklist (Spring time, check; in a botanical garden, check; bridesmaids wear pink dresses, check; do the Dirty Dancing dance, check), I was in love with it all. It was only a matter of time before it all unfolded magically as I planned.

Then I met Jeremy. When he proposed, I couldn’t wait until spring to get married. I was happy to get married in the dead of winter. That eliminated two things on my sacred list right off the bat. Then there was the small detail that Jeremy was … well, he was not the type of guy to do that dance.

Don’t get me wrong! It’s not as if I asked him and he struck the idea down. I suppose if I told him it meant the world to me and I wanted nothing more for our wedding day, he would have grit his teeth and gone along with it, but that’s not what I wanted. I didn’t want to force him to do something so totally out of character, on this, of all days. I knew the man I was in love with, and I loved him for good reason. I knew that dance wasn’t on his to-do list, and therefore, we had a wedding that reflected us together, which is what it should be.

HOWEVER. If you think a fun dance to shock your guests reflects you as a couple, then DO IT! Please, please, do it! Then send me the link on youtube so I can watch it! I believe my role in life is now to convince other couples to just do it! Choreograph a fun dance! Make people laugh! Laugh with your new spouse! And, consider the Dirty Dancing dance, won’t you? It really is the best.

You can find Veronica at her blog, Veronica M.D. (no, she’s not a real doctor), on Twitter, and InstagramFeel free to stalk her. She encourages it.

Breaking wedding traditions

From the desk of: Veronica
As someone who loved planning her wedding and would do it over a hundred times if my budget (and convention) allowed, I am always thinking and reading about weddings.The other day I was thinking about the balance between traditional and non-traditional and how fun it is to show up to a wedding and see where the couple falls on that continuum. For my own wedding, we kept with many traditions, but did a fair amount of things “our own way.”Some ways that brides and grooms buck tradition are particularly interesting to me, and I wonder if they might even become the new traditions! Here are a few of my favorite:
1. Bridesmaids. Most specifically, their attire. Traditionally, bridesmaids would wear the same dress, same shoes, same jewelry, and often the same hairdo. Now it’s trendy to have the same dress in different colors, different dresses in the same color, or even all different dresses! Shoes, jewelry, and hair need not match!
2. Headgear. A veil is not mandatory these days. Wear a headband, a fascinator, or nothing at all! Whatever you think looks good with your dress is the best way to go! Heck, you can even have different headgear for the ceremony and the reception.
3. Shoes. You’ve seen enough expensive white bridal shoes in your life to know that they all pretty much look the same, no one will see them if you wear a long dress, and you will never ever wear them again. These days, more and more brides are using their shoes to add a pop of fun and color to their attire, whether they show them off or keep them a fun secret.
4. Giving away the bride. Father of the bride not the person to walk to you down the aisle for whatever reason? Let the most significant person in your life walk you, whether it be your mother, brother, uncle, or son … if you even have anyone walk you down the aisle at all!
5. Seating. More and more receptions are including the much-pinned sign proclaiming guests should sit on either side of the aisle. It’s an interesting idea! If the wedding is about bringing two families together, then why separate them from the beginning?
What do you think? Love these changes? Hate them? Which do you think are here to stay and which are the flavor of the week? We’d love to hear from you! Leave us a comment and take some time to peruse the website to see some of our lovely brides and grooms — some traditional, and some not! 
101713_1813_BookReviewI4.jpgYou can find Veronica at her blog, Veronica M.D. (no, she’s not a real doctor), on Twitter, and InstagramFeel free to stalk her. She encourages it.

The other half of SP Photography

“Surround yourself with people smarter than you.” 
Chris Albrecht, CEO of Home Box Office (HBO).
After deciding to make the move to start Sean Purcell Photography I was struck with the terrifying realization of an ever increasing list of things I didn’t know.  Worse yet, I had a sinking feeling I didn’t even know enough to know what I didn’t know…yikes!!!Fortunately for me I knew just enough to know it was time to reach out to a friend who had over a decade of business and creative wedding planning experience.  I don’t mind telling you that I let out a huge sigh of relief when she agreed to help (and by help I mean save my business butt) with SP Photography.  So now, it’s time for everybody to meet the one…the only…the amazing Amanda!!

So, Amanda, where did you call home while growing up?

Avoca, according to my zip code.  It’s about 10 miles out of Port Huron, Michigan. I went to Yale schools, though, it’s St Clair county.  For those of you scratching your heads, it’s about 75 miles North of Detroit. 

 Right, so you’re basically Canadian?

How many times have we talked about this?  Just because I can throw a rock and hit the border, does that mean I’m Canadian, aay!?

  Was that where you first become interested in photography?

   I’ve been interested in photography for as long as I can remember. From a very early age, cameras have been a huge part of my life. My Dad was really into photography, and given our closeness, I suppose some of that rubbed off on me. You’ll find very few photos of me with my family, since I’m always the one behind the camera.

   What’s your idea of the perfect way to spend a day off?

  Hmm….the perfect day off? I’d have to say jumping in the car, and taking a drive to the other side of Michigan. There’s so much to do and see there, it’s really quite relaxing. Quaint towns, tons of lighthouses (one of my all time favorite things to photograph), and an amazing botanical garden with a huge butterfly house that I can get lost in for HOURS with my camera. Then, back to the lighthouses at sunset. Nothing beats a beautiful couple standing combined with a lighthouse and a setting sun. 🙂

   With all the fantastic craziness surrounding wedding preparation, what’s your favorite part about talking to new brides-to-be?

   I love every aspect of meeting with brides, but if I had to pick an absolute favorite? I’d say it’s the initial consultation. As a photographer and former floral designer, I get to meet newly engaged couples who are still super excited to be in the planning stages. Their enthusiasm is always contagious, and it’s easy to get swept away in the magic. It’s something I’ll never grow tired of.

With all your business experience, would you consider yourself the more serious side of SP Photography?
  Um, never mind.

  Do you remember that time you asked me check if the light outside the door was firing?  Uh huh, I’m definitely the serious one…and hey, after you stopped laughing I did tell you the light was firing, right? 😉


   Where do you get your inspiration when helping brides design some of their most memorable elements of their weddings?

   A little bit of everywhere, honestly. Events I attend, websites like Pinterest, magazines.  Not just bridal weddings.  Magazines in general are an awesome resource for planning events. Look at all of the photos and you can’t help but be inspired. I store it all in my brain, and pull from it as needed.

   Orange juice or coffee, how do you get moving in the morning?

  Ohhh, good Lord, gimme coffee. A hot cup of strong coffee is enough to blast through any morning…even Monday 😉

Trip down memory lane

Yesterday I came across a video that really threw me for a loop.  I mean, it was one of those life changing, “holy cow” kinda moments.  Have you seen the “One Second Everyday” video yet?  If not, you have to check it out after this.  It’s a video by Cesar Kuriyama and he shares his experiences with a personal project  to take a single one-second video everyday and piece it together.  He did it, in part, because he realized he would forget so many moments in his life and it really bothered him.  That’s cool enough, but he plans to do it for the rest of his life!  At some point in the future he is going to have a five hour video…five hours!  I started thinking, I’m “that guy”.  I’m the guy who is going wake up someday and realize I can’t remember all the the little moments that make me what I am…wow.  You guessed it, first thing this morning I was digging through my hard drives and surfing through the countless folders of images I have.


I must’ve spent an hour laughing at some of the good times and…well, remembering some tough moments too.  LCpl Clinton Miller, LCpl Budd Cote and Cpl MattDillon…Semper Fidelis, Brothers.



Picture This one made my shoulders ache.  Yeah, I know, photographers are supposed to take awesome photos every time we pick up the camera and this one is far from perfect.  The thing is, that wasn’t the point and I didn’t even care about the imperfection in this shot.  All I thought about was my baby sister took me indoor rock climbing a couple of years back and I had a freakin’ blast!  Seriously, it was one of the most exhausting and incredible afternoons I’ve ever had.  Yes, she’s upside down by her fingers and toes and yes she’s pretty kick-butt…and yes I’m going to pay for the baby sister comment.  Bring it on, Sis.


I can still hear this little guy’s infectious, genuine laugh.  I’m smiling now, years later as I’m typing this out.  That is the power of his laugh and this photo.



Powder therapy after one of the trips overseas.  That night, while we were dancing on very tired and stiff legs, I looked over and saw a guy dancing in a 6′ tall bear costume.  Why?  Who knows, but you go Mr. Bear Costume wearer…you go.

Picture My hiking partner came around the corner and I was sound asleep on the most comfortable rock you’ve ever seen.  Guess that’s what happens when you don’t sleep because you’ve been out all night…but what a night.





The AWESOME Susan D on the photoshoot for the home page images for Sean Purcell Photography.  Yep, you guessed it, I was sitting on those tracks about a minute before the train came around the corner.  Susan doesn’t place any pressure on her subjects at all.


Picture I was a personal trainer while in Florida.  The lady beating me on this sprint is Elsie, my mentor and the most intense workout partner I’ve ever had.  Those rock stars in the back?  They had just finished one of our boot camp style workouts, and this is what happens when I taunt them with “If I can do it, you can!”  Yeah…I had to do it.  Ugh.

Probably one of my favorite location photos from 2012.  This was right down the road from the shoot location the London Ballet Company’s advertisement shoot.  They were awesome!  I’m pretty sure I saw them actually levitate a few times.  I still have no idea how people can jump that high or bend like that.

So maybe I do have a tendency to move a little too fast and sometimes let life zip by a bit too quickly.  Maybe, but that’s something I’m going to make a point to work on from here on out.  In the mean time, I’m so very thankful that I have these images (literally thousands of them) to look back on as little reminders.  Okay, if you’ll excuse me, I have another whole folder I just found.  See you next time everybody.


Making it Happen

  So you’ve seen your friend’s gorgeous portraits hanging on their walls and everybody is looking fabulous and happy.  Seems they found a photographer they love who provided a great finished product.  Who doesn’t want their friends to think they look amazing?  If you think your friend was the only person smiling, you’re missing out on all the behind the scenes action.  A recent shoot in Reno is a great example of the recipe for a great photo.  Mix one awesome fellow photographer and new friend (Huong Forest), two gorgeous ladies (Manila and Gianna), a cool downtown location and toss in a pinch of awesomeness for good measure and you have the makings of an incredible day. 
727559_origSometimes it means getting up close and personal.  You don’t even have worry about the background too much.  With your smile and some creative angles, you’re going to look awesome.  Check out Manila here, even sitting on the steps of a downtown building it was pretty much impossible to find a bad angle with her.  Would you look at those eyes?  She literally stopped traffic.

    Now Gianna, she was tall enough and I decided to change it up a bit and boy did her personality shine through.  Moments like this remind me why I love the Black Rapid camera strap.  This thing lets me drop the camera to my side and just focus on not killing myself while I move around.  Okay, so Gianna was probably right when she pointed out that the Crocs probably didn’t make for the best climbing shoes, but that smile after the shot made it all worth it.  She told me she doesn’t spend much time in front of the lens but I’m having a rough time believing it.  These days you can find her conducting interviews, like this one with NBA player, Thomas Robinson.


  Hey now, photography is a serious business.  No really, it’s hard work and there’s a lot that goes into catching that perfect image for your wall.  Well, okay there are a ton of good times and laughter and I wouldn’t trade a single moment of it.  I’m not sure there is anything better than hearing someone tell you they look beautiful in their photo you just took.  Yep, that’s what it’s all about.  So what are you waiting for?  Go rock it out in front of the lens.  Life is full of memories just waiting to find their place on your walls.See you next time everybody.Sean

PS…Thanks to Huong for capturing the behind the scenes images.  Did I mention that lady is a rock star?