Category: Venue reviews

Pine Knob Mansion Venue Review

This is another of my venue reviews, Pine Knob Mansion in Clarkston, MI.  This is almost a no compromise venue.  The building is located at the top of Pine Knob right next to the top of the ski hill and is an old residence for some obviously well to do family.

If we go through the building and grounds as we would see them during the day, we start with the bridal suite on the second floor. There are a couple rooms set aside for the bride and the gals. The first room is a former bar room that has a small alcove with some mirror that work well for hanging the dress and a bridesmaids review. Clarkston, MI wedding venueClarkston, MI wedding venue The nicest room in the house is the room above the dance, overlooking the gazebo.  It is a white room with huge windows on three sides, wonderful light and space for all sorts of photography.  The guys sometimes have access to what I call the Pine Man Cave, a room on the second floor with pine paneling.







The gazebo is a wonderful place for ceremony. There is a curved path and a epic view to the east.  The patio is a great place for the cocktail hour.

Clarkston, MI wedding venue








The best thing about Pine Knob Mansion for photographers is the grounds.  Just off the patio are a variety of spots for nice shots.

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Clarkston, MI wedding venue

If you go down the stone steps off the patio there are a couple stone walls and retaining walls.  The gardens to the south have a pond, gazebo and great vista views to the east.  There is a second set of stone steps to a lower level that serve on of the gold course tees.  There is a really great textured wall perfect for group shots. If you go back to the main garden level and head west, towards the driveway, there is a great vista view to the west, perfect for sunsets.  The building is lit well at night and there is a nice stone fountain at the front entrance.

The library is a wood paneled room where the cake typically is.  The dining room is one of the prettiest in the Detroit area.  It is not that large and is often pretty full.  It makes it difficult for photographers to get out of the way of guests while shooting, but the room always looks great.  The room below the Bride’s room is where the dancing ends up.  This is a difficult room to make attractive images.  The room is small for a dance floor, windows on three sides and a dark ceiling.  A photographer must be good at off camera lighting to get good looking shots.  Weather permitting dancing will often start on the patio.  Again being outside, photographers are challenged to make good looking light and are best to use off camera lighting.  The results with the Christmas tree lighting in the trees can made for beautiful dancing shots.

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Overall Pine Knob Mansion is one of my favorite venues in Southeast Michigan.  The staff is courteous, knowledgable and helpful, the food is always great.  They run a great wedding.

Immanuel House of Prayer Venue review

Immanuel House of Prayer

147 East Grand Boluevard

Detroit MI 48207

313 567-1871

Facebook Page –

The Immanuel House of Prayer is a pretty nice venue for wedding photography.  It is located on East Grand Boulevard just a block north of Jefferson and the Belle Isle Bridge.

Interior – The church has a nice lobby with grand chandeliers.  The church is a large bright room, wider than it is deep with stadium styled seating.
Exterior – The exterior is blue stucco with white and red trim.  There are six big white columns at the entrance and steps leading to the front doors.  E Grand Boulevard is just a few feet away from the steps so there is not much room for gathering or photography.  The steps make a great place for photos of large groups.  The church is in a residential and commercial area on a busy street so there is not much in the immediate area for photography
Rooms – There are many rooms for the wedding parties to get ready in the basement.  The guys had a series of wood trimmed rooms with bathrooms and mirrors.  The girls had a much larger purple room to get ready in.  There are many hallways, stairs and mirrors that make for interesting photography opportunities.
Parking and Loading – Parking is either on the street or in the small gravel lot next to the church.  Loading is simple if you are able to park near

St Andrew Catholic Church the small chapel , Rochester Hill, MI

St Andrew Catholic Church

1400 Inglewood Ave

Rochester, MI 48307

I have not shot in the main sanctuary, but earlier shot in the small chapel at St. Andrew.

– Being a chapel the space is rather small , but nicely intimate.  As you look at the alter there is a very large crucifix commanding your view, just behind the alter. There is Mary to the left and jesus with a couple to the right.  Rochester MI wedding photographyThe chapel has 5 or 6 rows of seats in an arc facing the alter.
We were there on a heavy overcast afternoon and the light levels were pretty dark.  The lighting on the wall behind the alter is pretty bright and where the bride and groom stand is not as well lit.  What you get are ceremony images that are somewhat contrasty with a very bright background.  Not unpleasing, just different.  Because of the low lights I had to use a rather high ISO and will be challenged with noise when processing the images.  The formals work just fine at the alter

The weather on our day wasn’t not cooperation, in fact is was really sh#%y, so we chose to do romantics inside.  The main entrance to the church has some pretty OK stained glass doors and some interesting ramps.  The windows outside the chapel work well for window lit portraits.

St Andrew Catholic Church Rochester ,MI

Rochester, MI









Exterior – The exterior is non-traditional, modern light colored brick with a copper topped roof. The chapel is a very nice small space at the back of the main church. There is not much other than parking lot surrounding the church.  Howlett Park is a bit a of a walk south from the church and has a nice bridge, pond and slight rolling hills.  It was sleeting our day, so we stayed inside.Rochester, MI

Rooms – The room the bride gets ready in is one of the main church Crying Rooms.  It is plain, simple and large enough for a small wedding party.  We did not have a room for the guys.

Parking and Loading – The parking lot surrounds the church, so parking and loading is very easy.