Frankenmuth Old Time Photo

The Beginning...

We are not celebrities…but as you are being shuttled through the back entrance of one of the most prominent concert venues in the world, I have to admit, like a Pirate at Old Time Photo…You definitely get to pretend you are!
As we hit the bright lights, the reality hit us…the VIP’s approaching had just been entertained by one of the most popular bands in the world…and we were supposed to follow that! We huddled quickly, and reminded each other what the great Coach Bill Belichik says, “Do Your Job!” This is what we were trained for…and we did that…until the wee hours of the morning, the same crowd that had been entranced by singing and dancing….partied with us, laughing and extending their memories of the night!
We love travelling to events—it really doesn’t matter where---we’ve closed concerts and we’ve opened a five year olds birthday—it’s a fine tuned machine…but it wasn’t always like that.
Almost a decade ago, I was assigned our first wedding reception…and being new to events, on a busy Frankenmuth weekend, I got an assistant who had been on the job for 3 days, brand new equipment, and a map to the venue…the advice I got that night: “It is the same as here, it is just there.” Worst advice ever.
I was nervous, so nervous, I showed up to the reception hall 5 hours early…before the hall’s staff. After a little while…a cleaning lady opened a side door and let me in…the clock in my brain was running! It took me forever to set up because I had brought way to much…I tested everything hundreds of times….I retested…I did the math in my head…1200 sheets of paper, if I was printing non-stop, could I run out…nope, I was ready…but it did not feel that way…
I sat there for a while, staring at the door…jumping to my feet each time another vendor or venue staff member opened it…I was ready for guests…
When they finally arrived, still in coats, I chased a family to their table… and offered my services…In a surprised and questioning manner they kindly replied, “OK, I guess”…good enough for me…I raced them and their son to the Old Time Photo area, quickly dressed them as mobsters and flappers…and the night began!
It never stopped, nothing could stop it…not speeches or dances at least…there was not another moment that night that we were not laughing and making Old Time Photo Memories…it was awesome!
During the course of the night, a gentleman kept coming up to me, informing that Grandma wanted to see me when I had a break…he probably told me 10 times…but I never had a break…back to that later….this party was rocking….we were scheduled for 3 hours from 7pm to 10pm…but that was of little concern at this point…11pm rolled around, we were still rocking while the DJ and the venue started cleaning….11:30, we were still rocking as the venue turned on the lights…11:55, someone, I still don’t know who, stood on our table and announced that the doors would be locked in 5 minutes…it was hilarious, the crowd gave her some slight ribbing, and proceeded to help me carry all of my stuff out to the Old Time Photo mobile! Best night ever!
On my final trip from the venue to the car…the young man I had seen earlier reappeared and asked me to go see Grandma before I left---he pointed to a small crowd in the parking lot, and walked away.
As I approached the gathering, it huddled around me and Grandma…She set her walker aside, hugged me, reached inside the upper strap (left hand side) of her gown, pulled out money, and placed it in my hand…the crowd erupted…they patted me on the back and truly celebrated the moment…honestly, my nature is to say thank you and decline the gesture…but I wasn’t going to ruin this moment…I hugged her again and put the money in my pocket.
I returned to my car and sat…eyes closed…exhausted…I sat and sat…I noticed a couple tears…I noticed a pretty good sweat stink I had built up…but none of that mattered, we had won…and I was tired.
I drove back to the studio in Frankenmuth that night, unloaded everything in a quiet calm that you usually don’t get to enjoy in that town…and I remembered to reach into my pocket! There it was, Grandma’s folded-well worn, $1 bill.
Nothing could have made me happier. She wanted me to have it…in appreciation of what we did that night…and we did good!
We have come a long way from that first wedding…and so has Grandma’s lucky dollar…it travels with us to events…it’s front and center before large events in Frankenmuth…it’s a reminder…We make people happy…We Do Good.

Let The World Outside Stop...
We are so appreciative for all of or friends who spend time with us...the joy in the eyes of young girl playing princess, the excitement of a surprise proposal, or the true love of a 50th Anniversary​.
Most groups somehow let you in on whether or not you are shooting a spontaneous memory or a planned celebration of one of life’s big moments…but you don’t always know. For example, depending on the group, it may be difficult in our fun pre-shoot banter to figure out if a couple is dating or just friends….but it works out…sometimes with a few awkward laughs!
Very few end up in tears…however, recently we had a Daddy-Daughter Shoot…Mobsters…Both dressed in zoot suits, two tommy guns, money, whiskey…on the bar, off the bar, gambling, action shots….so much fun. It was inspiring…these two had love, a bond that just took over the studio…after around 25 shots, we asked the young lady if she would like some solo shots of herself and if we could get some shots of Dad.
This brief conversation led to a tearful hug that we will never forget…The young lady spontaneously hugged me, crying, and whispered…”Please, just Dad….I want one of Dad”. Dad slowly approached us, and put his hand on his daughters back as she transitioned from hugging me to hugging him.
“I love you” he whispered to her…”It’s ok,” he said to me…Dad explained to me that his illness had come back, and he didn’t have long…
My heart dropped, my knees felt week…and all I could think about was the look, the look they had been giving each other, and me, that they didn’t want this moment to end…and neither did I.
We took solo shots of both of them, as they laughed and posed each other…I asked them if they wanted to do another set, Pirates? Cowboys?....Anything to keep this going…they said thanks, but they had gotten what they wanted.
We laughed and enjoyed our time reviewing their photos…hugged again before they left…and on the way out…they said “You have given us something we will never forget, to let the world outside stop.”
We will never forget …we are so appreciative…thank you for letting us share this moment.

We Needed This...
We have the greatest job in the world...not the easiest...but definitely the greatest! Like all jobs, they call it work for a reason...long hours, holidays, weekends...when others are on vacation, we are here! When others are at work, we are still here! 363 Days A Year! We are here because it is our great honor to make special moments for our friends!
And-we have seen it all, proposals, weddings, baby's first photos, anniversaries, tour groups, a lot of family photos, senior photos, and memories that last a lifetime! 
The takeaway from this weekend that inspired this Blog was not necessarily something we haven't seen before...but for some reason...we just felt it was time to share.
Winters in February in Michigan...Unpredictable! You never really know what the weather is going to never really know if you're going to be is really about being prepared and going with the flow (unlike July in Frankenmuth...when we ride the current!) A married couple came into our studio, asking for information...and informing us that they potentially had a family of 7 coming in--they left to see if they could get everyone on board. Pretty common around'd be amazed how many times the family member who is most opposed to a photo ends up having the most fun...and no matter how we explain it, it is difficult to understand how fun the process is...and how many photos we take, even dividing groups up to get parents, kids, and grandparents some solo shots!
The family did return, and they were great! Laughs, fun, love, and memories from beginning to end! 
I may have already mentioned this…but this is the greatest job ever, we get to do this all the time…Mom, Dad, Grandma, Sons and Daughters…all having the time of their life!
Dad pulled me aside afterword…and said “Thank You”…I said “You are welcome, Thank You!”…he said, “No, you don’t understand…our daughter is leaving for college, my mother is in and out of the doctors…our family is changing....changing now…but you guys gave us this moment…we will never forget it.”
Niether will we. We are so appreciative for everyone who makes memories with us!