Introducing Amarie Vela.. A Totally New Brand | Michigan Lifestyle and Destination Wedding Photographer

I am sure many people have noticed that I have been slowly shifting my various aspects of my business over the past year. First, with a complete style change back in November of last year, and then with a new logo and branding a few months back. Now, a completely new business name!



Changing your business name when you are about 7 years in is quite a process and never one to be taken lightly.

So why the change? 


It wasn't an easy decision to change my name, but Amarie Photography was a name I chose when I first opened my business at 19, and was my username handle since I was 12. My first name is so long and my last name is always mispronounced, so I just made it simple for people to remember me back in the AIM and Myspace days. 


With this as my representation, I started dedicating myself to make a name as Amarie Photography. As the years have gone on though, I have realized that I have outgrown the name with my work; that just being Amarie Photography wasn't suiting anymore for the luxury and sophistication that I wanted my business to portray. A huge thank you to all the support and trust my friends, family, and clients have had in me as I have barked on this incredible self discovery journey. But there is always that passion in me to go further and make things more meaningful, in not only myself but in my work and business. 


Which is why I have chosen Amarie Vela as a name.



I wanted a name that meant something to me. something that when I heard it day in and day out, would hold some special place in my heart. I truly love Amarie, it is part of me and who I am and always will be, but as the years have passed I have noticed that so many other "Amarie Photography's" have popped up, making my business less and less unique and special. This is when I decided it was time to make a change. I have been working hard to turn Amarie Photography, LLC into a business that I love and cherish, along with keeping it true to myself.




"But Alex, your last name isn't Vela?"

Of course not! So, you may be wondering where the Vela comes in. It was really right in front of me for so long, I'm surprised I didn't think of it sooner. I was listing all these potential names, googling descriptions, and nothing just stuck, nothing felt special or me. Until I started playing with my own name. Vela is my last name (Sayles) in Latin. In other languages, it means sails the sea, which is fitting for me because I love the ocean and I am a constant voyager in life. I am always looking for something new in the world, a true wanderluster.  When I saw it written down in front of me, it just made me stop and think.. Yes, that is it.


This is what I have been searching for!

So while Amarie Photography was the name that built my business, Amarie Vela is the new foundation in which I stand on today. It's elegant, classy, and I'm more ready than ever to take my dreams to the next level.

Which is what started all of my random business changes, beginning with my new approach to photography which meant removing all posed studio sessions that I offered.

It is not that I loathe studio photography, I actually adore it.. but for other photographers. It just didn't feel right to me and I felt like I was forcing myself to do something because it was "the norm." But why be ordinary when you can be extraordinary. I have mentioned specializing before in a blog post, and though not known at the time it was a huge step for me in realizing what kind, and who, I wanted to be as an artist. 

I have always loved the interactions between people, I have always swoon over those moments that truly represent someone as who they are. Sure, perfect smiles are nice to have, but we are all not perfect. We have smile lines, we have squinty eyes when we are belting out a huge laugh. We have wrinkles, watery eyes, and most of all.. we have love.

And that is important to capture.

My work is raw, it's dramatic, it is real. It is supposed to make you emotional, it is supposed to make you remember the memory in that photograph you are looking at perfectly, and even if it wasn't a perfect moment it is one worth keeping. It is all the little things that make us who we are, and I feel like our portraits should showcase that. 




In the early years of my childhood, my family used to capture our lives as they were in all of its glory..

Myself in my highchair, spaghetti smeared on my face and body.

My sister and me building sandcastles at the lake, and of course watching as the sun dried the sand the castle would soon crumble. 

Us slowly sneaking further and further out to the horizon at Brevoort Lake, after our grandparents told us we were already too far.

The three of us playing street hockey, with the sticks that our grandfather made us and we each hand painted to show off that they were ours and no one else was able to use it.

I used to adore studying the photographs of those early years of our lives, years that I can sometimes barely remember, wondering and listening to the stories they told.  Would obsess over the pages, knowing they held the secrets of my past. I have a strong connection to these memories that I can no longer remember but mean so much to me. They were my personal version of a map to where I came from, the perfect relic.

As the years passed, we got older, and everything started becoming posed. The images that told stories were gone and now I just look at forced smiles and us standing in a line, staring directly into the camera. There is no emotion in them, I can’t tell how we felt in that moment, besides being told to stand and smile for the camera.

It seemed more about just providing proof in the fact we went somewhere once over being a true record of our lives. The everyday stuff that I fell in love with in the earlier photos, it was no longer there anymore.


They had stopped telling stories.


That is not what I wanted to do. I didn’t want to be that type of artist. Though I love others that are able to produce the perfect portrait of a family, it just is not in my heart. I want to give families those stories that I hold so close to my heart. The ones I would never want to give up.

Lifestyle photography allows for the creation of photographs that really capture the essence of a family. Their emotions, their intimacy, but most of all it showcases their true selves. It documents the beauty of their life, no matter the circumstances and obstacles in it, and depicts them so accurately they become intrinsically bound to the images. With doing this, comes a feeling of passion, allure, and belonging - a sentiment that only grows stronger as time moves quickly on. And it does move on fast. I have a hard time accepting that my son is already two and a half, but with the photographs I take of it I made something tangible that will tie us to not only our past, but his and generations to come. And that is something we can all cherish for the rest of time.


So, won't you come along on the adventure with me?

Let's tell your story.