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Twenty Seventeen



As we kicked off the new year, Jenn and I set aside a little time to do some planning and thinking about what we wanted to aim for in 2017. We talked through some straight forward ideas as well as some abstract stuff, but as we started, Jennifer had the keen idea to start with a list of words that globally defined how we wanted our brand to be viewed, felt, and embodied throughout the year. As you well know, the big problem with resolutions is keeping them in front of your face all year long. So I decided to make a desktop background, to hold myself accountable to the goals we set. These goals go beyond what I want for Derk’s Works, it is also what I want for myself. So here it is, thank you for continuing on this journey with us.

(If you’d like the background too, you can click on the picture a few times and it will show you the full resolution version that you can save and use, or you can always email us and we’d be happy to send it over.)



That is to say, I long to be in balance. Hard to believe but, I too am after the Holy Grail of work / life balance. I want priorities to be in their place, I want people to always come before things, to be grounded and stable as life around me shifts. I want my family to always feel prioritized and every client to know that I am on their team 100%.


I want to be known for giving it all to the task at hand. I want the person I’m having any conversation with to know that I’m listening, not just to their words but what they’re feeling. When I look back at some of my favorite work, I know that it represents the moments when I was in a singular place free from distractions. 


There are times, places, and spaces when the normal should be thrown out the window. I’m not talking about giving discounts or doing a few shoots a year for free (though I also want to do more styled shoots with awesome folks), I’m talking about running our photography business in a way that provides for more than just ourselves. We have a big idea on this topic that I hope to share very soon, but in the meanwhile, I want you to know that I plan on dragging you into this idea along with us :) 

EXCEPTIONAL (yes, I know the image says “awesome”.. the letters fit better)

Every year, I look back and challenge myself to do better. Each shoot, each email, each edit poses new opportunity to do better. Some avenues have more room for improvement than others (lookin’ at you email), but I never want to take this goal off my list. There is a lot to be said for contentment in other avenues of life, here, I want to be relentless. 


Through it all I know that I/we are not here alone. The trust you have put in us with your most precious moments and memories has been astounding and I would be foolish if I thought I was here because of straight talent. I don’t want to simply give lip service though, I want to conduct our business in a way that shares that joy and perpetually shows gratitude for everything that comes our way. 

So I’ll start now, thank you for reading this. Thank you for your encouragement and kindness along the way. Thank you for taking part in our lives and letting us share in yours. I’m looking forward to this year, and I’m glad that you are a part of it. 


2016 Family Tree Chopping

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J-I-N-G-L-E Bells! Tree chopping 2016 at Hickory Ridge Tree Farm as a family of FOUR!

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We’re Thankful, To Say The Least

This year, Derk’s Works has been up to some new things, some old things, and some adventurous things. The one thing that has been consistent though, this year and all years, is the love we have for our clients. Actually, if it’s possible, we love you more than ever (such a dad thing to say, I know). But, if I may summarize our feelings, we want to express that we are deeply grateful.

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(Yes, it does feel odd to use this photo that was taken before Solomon was born, but we just got it back from the film lab and it seemed a shame NOT to use it… He’ll get his own blog post, don’t worry…)

When we photograph your life and your moments, we count it as sacred to be invited into your space. We love the community that has formed with each of you.

In this season of thankfulness, we can’t help but send our love your way.

For you, we are thankful.


Derk’s Works

2016 Family Vacation

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Vacation. This year was a restorative year. Not because we caught up on hours of sleep, but rather we enjoyed quality time as a family of three and as a part of my larger family. The joy and contentment of time together, outdoor adventures and watching your child play for HOURS on a beach filled my heart with rest and restored the fuel for the day to day.

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Having visited the Upper Peninsula of Michigan since I was a young child, I still marvel at it’s beauty and simplicity and the way each year we enjoy or experience something new. From hours of hiking along the pictures rocks with family, to warm sunny days on Lake Superior and late night cards and chats, the UP is a great family get away and something we cherish. Sharing and creating these memories with brothers, sisters, parents and cousins just makes it all the more special!

So enjoy a collection of phone and camera images from this year’s vacation!



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Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind. -Seneca

This weekend we head out on our yearly family vacation in the beautiful Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Enjoying time as a family, fresh air, rest, the clear waters of Lake Superior, and some hiking adventures. We will be returning to the office August 22th.

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In our DNA \\ Travel Photography

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It’s not unusual for us to have our bags packed, flights booked, and plans for an adventure. We love to travel, both personally and professionally. Experiencing new places with new people is our favorite.

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When we think about memorable excursions, Ireland, our honeymoon destination, is one that comes to mind. Tropical weddings are another, making it hard to consider the travel as work. Paris was destination for the books where we fell deeper in love and learned we would be expecting #BabyDerkin.

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Traveling is an avenue for capturing things we find important. Whether traveling for weddings, engagements, or for pleasure, we are inspired by new culture and new places. Photographing in new environments creates opportunity for us to become more creative, catering images to the people while complimenting the place.

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We hope to travel with you soon.

Sam & Nicole – PROPOSAL

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George’s 1st Birthday Party

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Excited to finally share a selection (though rather long) of our little man’s first birthday party! I thoroughly enjoyed every detail, smile, sprinkle and smash of cake!

Special thanks to all of our family and friends who came and celebrated George’s first birthday. Your love and support during our first year as a family has meant so much!

Cheers to your first year George! We love you more than we thought possible and are privileged to be your parents!

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  1. Qmb

    Great jarb… These are super

Baby Derkin #2

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We are excited to announce that Baby Two is coming mid November! We are looking forward to growing our family and snuggling our sweet #2 soon. #BabyDerkin (George) isn’t quite sure what to make of this announcement but is committed to rocking the role of Big Brother and @derksworksdog is still in shock and potentially denial!

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Thoughts on Father’s Day


I always grew up thinking that Father’s day was about the dad. Now that I’m a dad and celebrating Father’s day, I am overwhelmed understanding that I wouldn’t be a dad without my amazing son, I wouldn’t know what fatherly goals to aspire to without the kind and generous examples of my dad and father-in-law, and I would surely be a straight up dad-tastrophe without my amazing wife.

I have a long way to go on this journey of fatherhood, I know there will be twists and turns in the road, unbearable tears and unspeakable joy. Through it all I know two things to be true; I know that I will never be able to live up to the calling that God our Heavenly Father has set before me and I know that He will constantly equip, challenge and encourage me to try. 

Happy Father’s Day, to the ones that make dads dads.


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“Forward to the far horizon; Rise as men, be strong” – Hall S. Derkin

  1. Debra Meyer

    Beautiful Benjamin! Love the quote from Hall at the end! It has been such a blessing to see you become a father and watch you embrace it with gusto, humility, perseverance and so much love! May the Lord continue to bless you on this amazing journey! Love you! Mom M ????