For me, photography is about stories, and especially wedding photography. That’s the whole thing actually, to tell a great story with consistently great images. Below, I’ve compiled a short collection of photos that represent some of my favorite stories from some of the weddings I have been invited to be a part of.
“How about a little batting practice before your vowels?” is probably what you think I had to say to him to get this photo. The real story is much more interesting. Carlos and Maria had planned to do a first look on Whihala Beach, just south of Chicago, before heading to church for their ceremony. Although we were in the middle of a pretty mild fall season, this particular day was very cold and extremely windy. Not wanting to ruin her hair for the ceremony, and not wanting to shiver through a first look, we all made a game-time decision to scrap it, and they’d just see each other for the first time at their ceremony. This meant that we had a lot of dead time to fill, and if you’re not shooting, you’re missing the story. I had already taken a lot of nice bridal portraits, shot the details, and took care of the other pre-ceremony (prep) photos. They were getting ready in houses right next to each other. As it turned out, they bought the house right next to Maria’s parents’ house and so it was easy to bounce back and forth. So I went next door to talk to Carlos and the guys, and having already taken care of a lot of groomsmen photos already we started brainstorming other ideas for photos. And this is where my favorite phrase, “If I’m good it’s because my clients are good,” ties in. They all played in an adult baseball league together, and the best man jokingly suggested that we go down the street to the baseball diamond. This lit a fire in the groom, as he quickly began gathering gloves, a bat and ball, and even cleats. This was serious business, and we were now on a mission. We got to the park and I just let them do their thing, my goal was to just be a fly on the wall for this. When I saw the groom step up to the plate, I hustled into a nice spot right behind the pitcher and was able to snag what is one my top five favorite images from throughout my entire career.
This awesome moment occurred just after the ceremony had ended and I was taking family portraits with the bride and her family. Out of nowhere the sky just started dumping snow, and a lot of it. The bride, Genevieve, happened to be standing next to her sister as well as her new sister-in-law when it started, and right away I motioned for my assistant, who was holding an off-camera flash, to jump behind them and she understood what I meant right away, and got the light to the perfect spot. What I was able to capture was a pretty unique moment of them looking up at the first snow starting to fall.
Together, in 95 degree heat and 90% humidity, Morgan, Adam and I made this amazing, wide-open field in Kimberton, Pa our canvas. The plot of land here belonged to a local resident who graciously allowed us to use it as a shooting location. He even brought us bottles of water as we were leaving which we gratefully accepted. Kimberton is where Morgan grew up, and where she met Adam while bartending at the inn where they’d be getting married in about an hour. To me, this image strives to capture setting in multiple layers.
Sometimes the garter/bouquet toss can be a little awkward, like when a 35 year old man catches the garter while the bouquet was caught by a 14 year old girl, and sometimes it can be really funny, like here. In this shot, the garter-catching guy reacts to the DJ’s demands to place it higher on the woman’s leg. Hilariously, and with this face, he keeps yelling “OK” every time the DJ says “higher!”
This photo perfectly illustrates the style that I strive for in my wedding photography. Shyla, the bride here, was true to her name, a fairly shy person. She apologized ahead of time that she didn’t like having her picture taken and would probably be nervous in front of the camera, even on her wedding day. We met and talked several times beforehand, and through these interactions we built some trust together which is crucial for a wedding client to have with their photographer. It helps so much on the wedding day. When it came, knowing her preferences and personality, I put them in the most flattering composition and lighting that I could find, put on a long telephoto lens so that I could be out of ear-shot and not all up in their business, and told them to just “flirt like you would when you first started dating.” With that, I was able to get this completely natural pose and expression without have to micro-manage their posing or expression.
There’s nothing like mama’s love. There’s no big story behind this one other than the image. The best photos tell the stories themselves.