I’m Amy Straka. I make my home in the adorable beachside getaway of Michigan City, Indiana with a studio a block off the South Shore Line in the newly-bustling Uptown Arts District. I make my living creating stylish, narrative wedding photography and family portraiture along the shores of Lake Michigan and far beyond. Thank you for trusting me with the stewardship of your memories. Thank you for the unmatchable thrill that carries my heart back and forth along the interstate highway system, weekend after weekend, to watch like a thousand of you fall in love.
After all, I’m a real Midwest girl. I was raised in rural Indiana, on a few acres carved out of the woods, at the end of a dead end road. That’s where I grew up, and where my heart is now. Not always, though. When I was a kid, I always dreamed I’d end up with some bigger-than-life career, making huge changes with my name in the headline or the by-line.
Then I realized that there’s nothing bigger than life.
So, I couldn’t bear to leave LaPorte County. The country is my heart. No city skyline could ever compete with the simple beauty of a county road disappearing through woods and fields. I studied journalism in college, but I never bothered with that career. I have no interest in chasing huge stories anymore, only yours.
When I look at my wedding photography, I feel everything, all over again. That tiny piece of silence and stillness before they pulled those big, wooden doors open to reveal row after row of everyone I have ever loved, looking right into me. My shoes besides my fathers shoes, walking slowly and carefully. The smell of fresh-rolled cigar smoke pouring through the swinging doors between the colorfully-lit dance floor and the dark, busy lounge. Our eyes locking across the busy room, as we small-talked around the dinner tables, and his hands in mind when we finally found each other again, swaying across the hardwood floors to whatever song we’ve already forgotten. With every photograph, that day comes alive. How lucky am I to spend all of my days giving feelings like that back to you, forever.
Photography isn’t making people look pretty in pretty places. At least it shouldn’t be. Mine isn’t, it’s way more than that. You don’t live your life holding a smile, just right, in front of Buckingham Fountain, every hair in place. Necklace straight. Your best side. One hundred photos of the tiniest moments and details happen while other photographers are straightening your tie. Your laughter, those little glances you make at one another and assume nobody else sees, your finger running across the big, shiny diamond ring you’re hands aren’t quiet yet used to wearing. Yes, you’ll no doubt be incredibly pretty, but you don’t want to look at your wedding album and think, “How pretty.” You want to taste the whiskey, hear the banjo, feel the cold lake breeze collide with the hot summer air. You want to blink away tears you’re pretending aren’t happening while you say, “How us.”