• Welcome to Maria Erin Photography!

    Who am I? I am wife to Philip and mother to Katie and Ryan. I graduated from Hope College with a degree in Communication and a double minor in Spanish and Music. I love sleeping with the windows open, sipping an ice cold sweet tea, and watching TV shows on Netflix. My first job is taking care of my babies and my second is capturing snippets of life as they unfold before my camera.

    My name is Maria Straatsma and I am a lifestyle photographer in the Grand Rapids area. Here you can see photos from recent shoots, read up on photography tips, or find out what's going on with my family.

    Check out the Contact link to request information or to book a session!

A little piece of Wausau

A few Sundays ago I headed up to Wausau, Wisconsin with the kids to visit my parents and little brother. It was a gorgeous day for a 450 mile drive. And the kids did awesome!

I went for a couple runs in beautiful Wausau. I found a house along the river that I’m pretty sure I’ll buy, you know, it’s only $450k. But it has gas lamps at the end of the driveway! This is the hill my parents live on, it’s very steep.

We went to the Farmer’s Market on a very cold day. And we indulged in some delicious organic cider, pressed the night before.

We spent a lot of time relaxing around the house, playing with grammy’s toys, watching movies, playing soccer in the back yard, and deer watching.

And I was introduced to Steven’s Point own CiderBoys cider. So incredibly nom, I had to bring back a couple 6 packs.

The highlight of the week was visiting Rib Mountain. Ryan stayed home with Uncle Ben while Grampy, Grammy, Katie and I hiked through the rocks and trees. It was beautiful though windy and cold. Poor Katie didn’t have a winter coat yet (we actually purchased one later that day, ha!), but she was a trooper.

One side of Rib Mountain, overlooking the city of Wausau.

The other side of Rib Mountain.

Our lovely day ended with an outrageously lovely sunset in my parents back yard.

We had a great week hanging out with my folks and look forward to our next visit. Thanks for having us, Mom and Dad!

Dutch Calendars | Made by Maria Erin

I have a nice little portfolio of naturey photos that I just love. Several of them are displayed throughout my house, but I wasn’t really sure what to do with them beyond that.

Then I had this brilliant idea to put my favorites into a calendar.

A traditional annual calendar didn’t really appeal to me, so I settled on a perpetual calendar – a longstanding Dutch tradition. The idea is these calendars allow you to record birthdays and anniversaries on one calendar that can be used year after year.

I am so in love with these pretty little calendars! I hope you will like them, too, because I have listed them in my Etsy shop!

I am offering a printed version, as shown in the photos here. It measures 6″x11″,  is printed on 110lb white card stock, and tied with a jolly, green ribbon.

I am also offering a printable version at a reduced price. This way you can print it yourself. Fun!

These lovely calendars are a perfect Christmas stocking stuffer, birthday present, or first anniversary gift (paper!).  Or maybe you just need a way to remember birthdays – like me! Either way, I know you will love this little beauty. Be sure to visit Made by Maria Erin and stay tuned for more listings!

Nick 2014 | Grand Rapids Senior Photography

Warning: Picture heavy post! I truly had a hard time narrowing this session down to a “few favorites.” Nick was such a rock star for his senior session. He brought some of his own ideas and we worked together to create these awesome photos.

But first a bit about Nick. He is a senior at West Michigan Aviation Academy. This school has such a cool approach – high school students learning normal stuff, but with an emphasis on aviation, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Nick will graduate with his Pilot’s License and plans to attend Aviation School after he graduates. Cool, right? On top of flying his own plane, Nick is on the cross country team at school (a fellow runner!) and runs distances up to 8 miles. Impressive, no?

OK, now you can check out the result of a walk around Grand Rapids on a gorgeous evening in September.

The aviators were Nick’s idea, pretty awesome I thought!

I always get sucked in by the year bricks by GR Ford Museum. Yeah, 1996.

What’s up, Grand Rapids?

This last one is especially for mom. I find that guys are resistant to smiling. I tell them to “do it for mom” and they usually grin in response because they know I’m right.

Thank you Nick for being an awesome subject! I hope you have a fantastic senior year and beyond!

Gavin & Noah v.2013 | Grand Rapids Child Photography

Elisabeth and I met about twenty (is that even possible?) years ago at church in Sunday School. I remember distinctly causing all sorts of trouble for our teacher who we affectionately called Howie. In high school I remember her telling me about this “hot guy” she’d met named Brian. Fast forward many years later, she and Brian have two handsome boys who were some of my first clients with MEP. I was also thrilled to photograph her little sister’s (and my sister’s best friend) wedding last year in June. What a history we have! Well, we came full circle when she won the fabulous session giveaway. It’s been so much fun to watch these little cuties grow! And, incidentally, my photography skills seemed to have grown significantly, too. Ha!

Thanks to mom, we got some great smiles out of these boys.

I think by this point they were both getting tired. I sort of love the “realness” of their expressions here.

Here Gavin (right) was telling me about super heroes, how they are awesome cause they save the world.

But Noah (left) doesn’t like superheroes. He prefers sports, like Baseball.

Elisabeth and Brian, thank you so much for making the drive up with the boys. I hope you love the photos!!

Leanne + Jeremy | Grand Rapids Engagement Photography


I met the beautiful miss Leanne Day about five years ago. I was working at Van Andel Institute and she was a college intern. She showed up at my desk to help me out for a few days, but for the new few summers she became one of my favorite people to work with. Leanne is a little bit like me – girl-next-door charm with a dash of quirky individualism. But she’s a lot smarter than me – she’s an RN and is working on her Masters degree. When she called to tell me that she was engaged and wanted me (and Jamie) to photograph her wedding I was giddy! (I might have squealed and jumped up and down. Katie actually said, “What are you doing, Mom?”)

So a couple weeks ago I headed out to her parents’ home, on a gorgeous summer evening, to get some engagement photos. Was it ever worth it! There was so much yummy lighting I was beside myself.

These two are so ridiculously good looking and adorable together.

And, of course, what would an engagement shoot be without a ring shot. And boy, look at that rock! Nicely done, Jeremy.

Love love love.

Leanne shared their engagement story with me. I’ll sum by saying this guy knows his girl to the T. He planned the perfect engagement and this letter was the crowning glory.

We have a couple UofM fans here.

What a gorgeous couple. And what a gorgeous sunset.

Don’t you think that Jeremy kind of looks like Christian Bale? He totally gave me an “I’m Batman” look at one point.

You may be looking at one of my favorite photos of all time (that I’ve taken). Thanks to these two for throwing caution to the wind and jumping under the high powered, golf course srinkler!

When they kiss, there are fireworks.

Leanne and Jeremy, you guys are amazing and I couldn’t be happier. I am so looking forward to your fall wedding, thank you for inviting me to be a part of this moment in your lives.

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