Category Archives: Portraits

A Proposal Story: Soulmates in Salem

Salem Ma. marriage surprise proposal and engagement session by Louise Michaud Photographer.

With the changing of the fall leaves and the cool air turning summer into autumn, I thought I would share a big change in two people’s lives that I recently got to be a part of.

Proposals might have to be one of my favorite types of portrait sessions, because they are so exciting! Not only do I get to document two people making a lifelong commitment to each other, but I get to be a part of the surprise.

Salem is known for it’s beautiful historic wonders and picturesque scenes, which attracts many young couples to celebrate the beginning of their love story.

I was delighted when a young man from Chicago came to us to document his commitment to the love of his life.

Salem Ma. marriage surprise proposal and engagement session by Louise Michaud Photographer.

Bryce and Ann have known each other since they were 10 years old. As they grew older they grew closer, and finally together as a couple. Bryce loves history, and Ann loves all things Halloween, which made Salem a perfect destination for their story to begin.

“We met when we were about ten in grade school we always had a few months at a time sporadically throughout growing up of being close, and then eventually after graduation we really hit it off! Bryce and I realized we’d love Salem because he has a love for history and I absolutely love Halloween. We took a trip to Salem last year and fell completely in love, and since then we’ve decided it’s definitely our place!”

Bryce planned the the location and chose the Ropes Mansion Garden as the perfect backdrop for their special day. It was an excellent choice; the flowers looked amazing even as summer was coming to a close.

Salem Ma. marriage surprise proposal and engagement session by Louise Michaud Photographer.

Mike loves proposals. He always has a great time working with the groom-to-be on how to surprise his love in the most special way. Mike and Bryce schemed out a plan for months… We bought a rose and planted it where we wanted him to get down on one knee for the perfect shot.

The plan worked out great and Ann’s reaction was priceless. She had no idea she was about to get the best surprise of her life.

Salem Ma. marriage surprise proposal and engagement session by Louise Michaud Photographer.  Man gives new fiance her ring.
Salem Ma. marriage surprise proposal and engagement session by Louise Michaud Photographer.

And of course, she said yes.

Salem Ma. marriage surprise proposal and engagement session by Louise Michaud Photographer.

We continued on to have a wonderful session in the garden, and then something special happened. Two Monarch butterflies fluttered around the couple and Ann remarked, “That’s my grandmother.” She said that monarchs have always been a symbol of her spirit, when she can feel her presence. It was so sweet to know that Ann felt a connection to her departed loved one on her happiest day yet.

Salem Ma. marriage surprise proposal and engagement session by Louise Michaud Photographer.

It brings me so much joy to witness these moments, ones we will never forget, and to freeze them in portraiture- the emotions, the excitement, and the overflowing love.

Salem Ma. marriage surprise proposal and engagement session by Louise Michaud Photographer.

After the garden we took a stroll to The Roof Salem for their engagement session finale.

In the end, it was the perfect time in the perfect place for their perfect day, and the results were absolutely beautiful. Bryce’s choice of location allowed us to capture both of their personalities, interests, and their love for each other all at once.

Salem Ma. marriage surprise proposal and engagement session by Louise Michaud Photographer.

If you love the Salem area and are ready to ask your soulmate the final question,  I would highly recommend checking out any of the places mentioned above or in previous blogs for your picture perfect day.

Salem Ma. marriage surprise proposal and engagement session by Louise Michaud Photographer.

Are you ready to say I Do?

Call us any time to start planning your perfect proposal

The Dog Days of Summer


As the dog days of summer come to a close, we are left reflecting on sunny memories of travels, relaxing days, and visits with close friends and family which will warm our hearts even as the chilling winds of fall come rolling through.

Looking back on my fun-filled summer, I wanted to share one of my favorite sessions with a man who decided to capture his memories in portraiture with his three greatest blessings: his dogs Bear, Clovis, and Cosette.

The most important thing to remember about our loved ones (and pets) is that our time with them is precious. Portraits give us the gift of capturing their youthful spirit and all the joy they bring to our hearts.

Jack Kabrel wanted to do just that.



Jack is a creative guy in his own right. He has a strong appreciation for Film and black and white photography. At our very first meeting, I knew that this was going to be an incredibly fun and creative session.

At our planning session, we decided to incorporate My Hasselblad 2 ¼ film camera along with my Canon Digital SLR. This gave us a wide range of artistic expression when capturing Jack’s relationship with his best friends. After looking at the final shots, we agreed that the black and white look was the way to go- delivering strong character, emotion and detail.

While the the final portraits he picked looked similar to Mike and I, Jack found that each portrait presented different sides of the dogs’ characters. When you have a pet, you know their many facial expressions and what they mean- all the sweet ways that they communicate with you!



Bear is Jack’s oldest dog – a 15.5 year old Pomeranian, and is still ornery at his age; Clovis is a 12.9 year old Yorkshire Terrier, blind and mostly deaf but still a good boy; and Cosette is the only girl, a sweet and gentle 12.3 year old Shitzu.

They spent all their lives walking, sniffing and cavorting around with dog friends as well as thousands of neighbors and guests at the Wharf in Salem. This made the perfect location for their photo session: a beautiful home and playground. It was easy to capture their true spirit and personalities in their favorite spot.



We photographed Jack with each dog individually and all together, and he even brought his friend Will along to participate in the session!

Will is a close friend of Jack’s and loves all three of his dogs dearly, but has a special affection for Clovis.



It was remarkable to capture the bonds between both 2 and 4 legged friends at the same time. One of my favorite images from the Hasselblad was of Jack and Will sitting on a wall holding the dogs, with two bare trees behind them. We felt that the trees stood as metaphors for their friendship, which gave the image a special meaning.



Truthfully, we came out with so many great images in this session that Jack ordered a beautiful photo album – enough for a lifetime of memories. I absolutely loved the design he chose.

Of course, there had to be a favorite: one portrait that would live on Jack’s wall and bring a smile to his face every day. Jack chose a beautiful panorama on canvas of Bear, Clovis and Cosette to hang in his living room.



I was so honored to be able to capture such a sweet and profound bond on camera, in such a creative way! Mike and I both had a wonderful time working with Jack and his fur babies, and his feedback from our session completely melted my heart.


“Professional. Creative. Passionate. These are but three – of a dozen or more – adjectives that come flooding into my brain when I recall my photo shoot with Louise.

I chose Louise from several other photographers for no other reason than her proximity to my home. Wanting a photo shoot of myself and my dogs with a nearness to their environs for an outdoor session was important. This decision was fortuitous.

By the way, the other skill that Louise posses, if I haven’t mentioned it, is a unique talent for understanding what the customer wants. She knew exactly what I wanted from her after only minutes in her office. Her photographic eye for detail, unique angles, and symmetry in her shots was astounding. I ordered 95% of all the photos shot that day including a series of portraits and a panoramic of my three dogs before a backdrop of Salem Wharf.

Luck was on my side that day I randomly walked into Louise studio. The memories of my dogs are beautifully preserved because of the magnificent talent of an unassuming artist with an innate ability to sense exactly what I wanted. Thanks Louise!”

– Jack Kabrel


A Picture-Perfect Engagement Session

Are you ready to say “I do?”

Engagement sessions are one of the most exciting parts of planning for a wedding.

Not only do you get to commemorate your excitement for your new life with your partner, you also get great photos to use for invitations, gifts, and home decor!

We recently worked with a lovely couple who had a great sense of the time it takes to prepare for a perfect wedding.

Megan and Brian were a lovely couple who had recently decided it was time to say “I do,” and planned to get married in Salem, MA in the Summer of 2023.

After the chaos of the past few years, it is always a good idea to start getting details set in stone as far ahead as possible.

Salem has a rich history and many beautiful venues and outdoor locations for photos, which made it the perfect location to celebrate their special day. They began looking for a local photographer to photograph their wedding ceremony as well as their engagement portraits! We were so happy when they reached out to us.

They had already booked their ceremony at House of the Seven Gables, a venue we were familiar with and knew to have a wonderful staff. We were excited to start working with them!

We began chatting and planning details for their engagement session over email. Ultimately they would need about 20 final images to use for their “Save the Date” cards, albums and gifts for parents and grandparents, social media and more. We wanted to incorporate several locations and outfits to make sure they had a lot of variety to choose from.

After establishing their goals for the engagement session, it was time to choose a date. When picking a date for your session, it’s always best to have a few options you can commit to. We had the couple give us two available times to ensure the best weather possible. This means you won’t have to worry about rain or harsh sunlight ruining your portraits!

Pre-Session Consultation

After establishing a Plan A and Plan B for their session, we also scheduled a video call to discuss natural and comfortable style, outfit options that would photograph well, and general tips to prepare them for the best session possible.

Since Megan and Brian were from out of town, we gave them some location suggestions for portrait backdrops, and referred them to a great hair and makeup artist we knew and trusted, as well as a great place to eat afterwards! We love being able to share our favorite spots in Salem with our clients.

After our zoom call, Megan and Brian felt fully prepared and were excited for their portrait session a week later!

The Day of the Session

We met Megan and Brian for the first time at our studio the day of their session. This was their first formal portrait session, so we wanted to ensure they were comfortable and able to give natural, beautiful expressions.

When taking portraits with your spouse-to-be, its important to look good of course, but what’s more important is that you look comfortable together. These photos are ultimately about your relationship with one another, and should show the most authentic version of your love and connection.

This is what brings a smile to the faces of your friends and family when they see them.

As we began shooting their portraits, we gave them pointers as to how to pose together, paying attention to the smallest of details for the most naturally flawless results. The couple had fun posing in different outfits, and we all enjoyed the scenery as we drove to different locations for their session.  We brought them to an awesome Salem MA. landmark – Winter Island.

We were so worried that we would look/feel awkward, but we were immediately at ease with Louise’s suggestions for how to stand, where to look, etc and everything actually felt very natural. We were able to take photos in a few different areas so that we have several types of backgrounds (on the beach, in front of flowers, etc). We were even able to do an outfit change for more variety.”

– Megan Brewster

Megan and Brian looked naturally stunning together! We really got a feel of their loving relationship while working with them. Most importantly, we all had a great time, and we were so excited to share the results with them a few days later!

Their engagement portraits came out beautifully- we aren’t sure who loved them more!

We cant wait to see their Save the Date cards, and are so excited to work with them again at their wedding next summer!

We see a lot of couples at Louise Michaud Photographer, but Megan and Brian’s planning and enthusiasm made them absolutely fantastic to work with.

We are so happy for this gorgeous couple!

If you are ready to start planning your wedding, contact the studio to start planning your picture-perfect day!

A Military Portrait Story


One of the most rewarding aspects of being a portrait photographer is meeting remarkable people with inspiring stories. Periodically we want to share sessions that have a particular visual, emotional and motivational impact on us.  A recent military portrait session brought these together for us.



Kevin had just retired from the Army as a well decorated Colonel and wanted a portrait in his full dress uniform to commemorate his career. Serving as a Commander of the 883rd medical detachment, he was promoted to  Chief Army Occupational Therapist. His pride for that uniform and what it meant to him was deeply inspiring.



Kevin had a long lineage of military service in his family spanning generations, but his journey would be different.  Kevin’s passion for helping others led him to the medical field. By the age of 40, he had established a successful medical practice.  However, there was something missing.  He felt a calling to serve his country and knew that he could use his skills for the good of those that defended it.  The legal cutoff age for joining the army was 42.

Getting in just under the wire, he served 2 tours in Iraq.



Kevin’s personality was magnetic.  His humility and leadership skills were evident as we got to know him during our session planning.  The relationship we formed with him as well as his succinct manner made it refreshing to work with him.



After the session Kevin spoke at some length with enthusiasm and pride about the meaning of the “fruit salad” – the rack of medals that each soldier has on their dress uniform.  In this interesting discussion, we learned that almost every country has some form of the “fruit salad,” and most soldiers can immediately identify the symbolized service and accomplishments at a glance!  ( Wiki Ribbon Rack )



In the end, we were honored to commemorate Kevin’s impressive story of accomplishment and continued military service lineage.

We are all exceptional in some way.  Everyone has a story.  Capture yours with a professional portrait that will be passed down through generations.

Check out some of ours here: Portraits

Couple’s Portraits – Not JUST for Valentine’s Day!


A Couple’s Portrait Session is the perfect experience to share with your loved one on Valentine’s Day, from planning your outfits together, to receiving your finished portrait: a visual representation of your love for each other. Of course, true love lives on for the other 364 days of the year as well!  Relationships thrive and grow every day, and any day can be made extra special by commemorating your love in portraiture.

There are so many ways that couples can capture their love on camera. You might consider looking at a few Pinterest boards to get inspired, and find something that really resonates with you and your significant other.

A great way to plan a  couple’s portrait session is to schedule it around a fancy event, like the Salem Masquerade Ball! You and your partner can get the most out of your evening look by capturing it in professional lighting.

Here’s a story about a lovely couple we worked with recently who wanted to create something beautiful together.

Jill is a national rock vocalist in The 1999 Band, marketing guru and Miss Massachusetts finalist. Her beau Matt is an ex military helicopter pilot and current paramedic. They decided to have a Couple’s Portrait session, for many reasons. The result? The truest expression of their love for each other captured in time. The best part however, was the fun they had together in the process.

If you are looking for an excuse to get some fresh and beautiful portraits with your significant other, we have a few you can borrow 🙂



The Couple’s Portrait Session Experience


Having fun planning and plotting something emotionally intimate together.

Jill and Matt spent a great deal of time plotting and planning a session that would capture some of their most intimate emotions. A major requirement for this session was to have some fun. Planning a portrait session should never feel forced or stressful. The goal of a couple’s portrait is to capture your love in it’s truest form, and this begins as you and your partner plot out the perfect look and feel for your portraits.


Sharing their feelings about each other visually.

Through images, Jill and Matt wanted to visually show their friends, colleagues and families how they felt about each other. Each photograph made a statement that accomplished this in some way. True love is too deep and complex to express in words, so a portrait session is the perfect way to create a visual representation of your timeless love.

Collaboration with the Photographer.

Once you have your inspiration, it’s time to start brainstorming with the photographer.  The consultation and planning session is one of the most important meetings. This is where we will decide the look and feel of your contemporary portrait, and translate your ideas into a session plan, including posing, lighting, wardrobe, and attitude.

Jill and Matt collaborated with Louise and found their inspiration from editorial, magazine styled portraits. Vanity Fair, Vogue, and Annie Leibovitz were heavy influencers as well. Their ideas intersected amazingly with Louise’s. Establishing an emotional, trusted and productive relationship between client and photographer is a key ingredient to an awesome session.


An excuse to get some awesome outfits.

Any portrait session is a fantastic excuse to snag a few outfits to fatten up the closet. Intentional styling always brings a portrait to the next level, and it allows you to express yourself in a whole new way! Jill and Matt had a very clear vision for the look and feel of their portraits. After some collaboration with Louise, it became clear that a few new garments were required. No one complained about that!


The session was a success.

Our session with Jill and Matt was a total success. We captured the fun, glamour, sensuality and connection that this couple shares. In the end, their love was forever captured in time, and they created beautiful memories together in the process.

Don’t wait any longer to schedule a Couple’s Portrait Session for you and your loved one! Find your inspiration, and work with us to create something which will bring many smiles and memories for years to come.


Call the Studio to Start Planning Your Custom Session Today!

Gift Certificates Available