Category Archives: Summer

Ann Arbor Summer Farm Sessions

We are ready for summer at the farm!  This season we have set up a few new experiences for your family to enjoy.  All of the areas pictured below will be available for our (one day only!) summer mini sessions {June 30, 2018 – BOOK HERE!}.

If you would like to have one of these experiences in a full or premium farm session, please just mention it ahead of time, so we are all set up for you!

*Tip – These images were shot in the golden hour and have a glowing light that we just can’t replicate at noon :)  If you love the light, be sure to get a golden hour premium session!

Our handmade bench with buckets of seasonal flowers (changes with whatever’s currently blooming at the farm!)The sandy beach at our spring-fed pond,  with umbrella
Blackberry picnic!  Sometimes we have some available for you to pick, other times we have some picked for you!Either way, you will likely have to protect your precious berries from hungry dads…
My vintage enamelware baby bath – be still my heart.  One hundred loves.  Our camp-y little cabin by the pond, all decked out for summertime.  And, of course, you can do some wading to end your session! 
Our summer schedule is very full already!  Please contact us soon if you are interested in a session!

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Advanced Photography Retreats – Ann Arbor, MI

We host monthly Sunday workshops at the farm that are entry level everyone  can attend and benefit from.  But a few times a year will pull out all the stops, and host all day Advanced Retreats.  (There are lots of things I enjoy about my job, but these retreat days are at the top of my list!)

Retreats are open to amateur and professional photographers.  We have time for inspiration, lots of teaching, time to shoot beautiful models on sets all over the farm, and time to relax and eat some of the best farm-to-table fare I’ve ever tasted.  When the season is right we harvest the eggs, fruit and vegetables we eat from our farm.  I hire my talented and dear friend, Erika Ingle,  to prepare the menu, and it is amazing! (~ Erika! ~ hang a shingle!  People will be banging down your door!!)

Each retreat has a different focus.  For 2018, we will be focusing on:

March 3rd  – Newborn Photography

June 16th – Portraits- from newborns to grandparents

September 15th – Photography Business Mentoring

Please drop us a note if you are interested in receiving future retreat invitations!  Invitations will go out periodically to my client list.    Not ready for an all day retreat?  Try our Sunday afternoon Beginning Portrait Workshop and learn how to take artistic photos of your family and everyday life.

All models, sets and meals below were photographed during past AKP retreats –  ©amykimballphotography 

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Summer Musings

I ran into a friend at an Ann Arbor summer festival last week.  She is an adventurous person that backpacks India with her husband and fills her home with art that she collects as she travels.   She’s purposeful as well, and despite of the noise of a nearby stage and beer tent, she unpretentiously began to explain the ways she was intentionally slowing down her summer. 

She was inspiring.  I left and thought about how hard I push during the summer to get things done that I can’t get done during the kids’ school year.  I thought about the lists, the renovations, the planning, the projects.  I thought about the fact that my oldest son, my 6’2″ man-child, is graduating next year.  Graduating.  (He was a chubby thighed, jolly baby yesterday, I’m pretty sure…)  I don’t want to miss what really matters.

Sometimes it seems like the lists, the work, the projects are what really matters…I sure do feel myself pat my own back when I get them done.  But they are not what’s important.  The solitary misty morning walks with the birds and crickets matter.  The sound of my kids laughing on the hammock, the hot hours I pass watching them jump in the pond, the meals shared with friends, the books that alter my course, the rare and precious dates with my husband – these are real life.  I’m determined to not get that backwards.

So this week I did a photo scavenger hunt with my 9 year old daughter.  For fun.  We got ice cream at our favorite spot.  We invited friends over for a spontaneous swim.  I didn’t get my list done, but I put down my phone every morning and picked up the book that is changing me.  I made little pockets of time to think and be alone.

And as my sweet friend asked me, I ask you:  What are you doing this summer to slow down?  Are you doing the things that make life restful or reflective for you?   I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Newborn session in the renovated barn studio

The reality is as I hoped it would be when we planned the renovation – natural light fills every room.  No backdrops, just natural materials, real beauty.  I can shoot anywhere in the barn – there is nothing to crop around or hide.  (Even the outlets on the walls were strategically placed to stay out of sight)  Soft light, beams and stone – and then add one sweet family being real with their two adorable boys.  Dreamy.


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The making of a studio barn – The before and after tour

Farm Journal, August, 2016:

There once was a little barn that barely looked worth saving.  The big barn that it attached to fell years ago, leaving a funny point on the roof that made it look like the prow of a ship.  The prow may have been what got me – the barn just looked like it wanted to go somewhere.

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When we finally got the rotting particle board off the sides, we found the original wood planks.  Nate and our friend Liam re-framed the entire building so that it could be filled with windows and natural light.

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We hired an Amish crew to help with the roof – they have done a few roofs with us now, and we love these guys.

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Doors, windows, siding and paint followed – but then winter hit, and we had to wait.  The ground was frozen and we still had no electrical service at the barn.

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Then came spring, and we dug the electrical,  got some garden beds in, and finally began work on the inside.  It was a mess in there – endless projects awaited, with not a wall of that old barn plumb.  Mind you, Nate has a very full time job, and this project is his nights and weekends…(He may have muttered more than once “we should have taken a bulldozer to this thing…”)

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Nate, his brother Chad, and his dad did all the electrical work.  Then we hired our friend Mike Ely, who owns Life Construction & Design, do the insulation, drywall and paint for us – three really big jobs we were thankful to have off our plate.

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At last, Nate began the finish work. The wood from the exterior we carefully saved for an interior wall.   We installed the light fixtures, and did endless clean up of the space with the kids’ help.

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We were just about out of steam, when a huge group of friends and family arrived on a hot August Saturday, giving us the final push we needed to lay the floor, tidy the exterior, and finally move in furniture!

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We have projects left to do, but we are in! This studio barn was pulled together with love – so many hands over 2 full years – you know who you are, and we sincerely thank you! As a new school year starts for my kids I am so grateful that my 1 – 1.5 hour commute is now a glorious 20 steps. I am most especially thankful to Nate, for countless hours of his skill, his eye for detail,  and problem solving. Here it is, our cheerful studio barn, surrounded by the people that loved it back from the brink!

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When you can’t go wrong

Contrary to what you may imagine a farm pond to be, our farm pond is fed by a natural spring that is always filling it.  It has a spillway, and flows underground to a stream that heads north.  Some past owner of the farm hauled over many loads of sand from the nearby white sand dune on our land; and so instead of muck, we have a beach.  That past owner engineered a brilliant place, and my kids swim there every day the weather is remotely temperate.  We are thankful, thankful, thankful.  All this to say, we have a beloved beach, and I often plan for summer shoots to happen there.

Knowing Julia, and her decorating style that is based on clean lines and a love of white, we planned for her maternity session to reflect her style. When she arrived with her husband and 3 girls in white sundresses, I got excited.  Sometimes, the light, the clouds, and the sweet children are exactly as you hoped they would be.  Sometimes, you just can’t go wrong, and this was one of those shoots.  The girls were tender towards each other, helping their camera-shy youngest sister to warm to the experience.  This baby will be welcomed into so many loving arms!  It was the loveliest of evenings, with the loveliest of families.


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