There was no way around it. If this failed, there would be no way to hide it. All the prep, all the promotion, all the expectation...all culminating with the possibility of me calling the whole thing off. That is the thing with visions and dreams and risk and failure. They all seem to often go hand in hand.
A month ago today i boarded a plane destined for the middle east and an experience i will not soon forget. with my cameras, passport, and clouded expectations...i arrived in the city of beirut, on the coast of lebanon. the reason for my trip was to help document the work that is currently happening in this country - medical workers from the states traveling to the heart of the syrian refugee crisis in order to serve a swelling need. as the turmoil continues in syria, the needs grow for a multitude of displaced men, women, and children. over the past year, a team of doctors and dentists with hearts of service and the hope of the Gospel compelling them, have mobilized.
don't get me wrong, i love living in michigan. ever since i moved here in 2003, i have seen my affection for this state grow...the people, the lakes, the arts and culture. so much to celebrate in the high five state.
but i would be lying if i didn't say that i often miss the mountains of my youth. i cherish the memories that have stood the test of time. i am grateful for the childhood i experienced, and the wildness of the pacific northwest that has a piece of my heart.
and so, a few years ago we began the hopeful planning of a holiday with our family high in the cascade mountains. this past Christmas, that dream became a reality and the whole english clan descended upon leavenworth, washington's bavarian village. and what at trip it was! here is just a taste of our time in the emerald city and among the towering pines of the evergreen state*
here it is...my final wedding of 2016. and what an awesome couple to spend it with! drew and rebecca were married on saturday in grand rapids surrounded by friends and family, and it was beautiful!
when i have the chance to sit down with couples and chat about their wedding day, we often talk about scheduling and how they envision their wedding day playing out. usually the topic of a first look comes up and i really make a point of trying not to influence a couple's thoughts prior to them making a decision one way or the other. there are certainly good reasons for both a first look or waiting to see each other until the moment the bride walks down the aisle.. i say all of this, because for these two...a first look was absolutely perfect. when both the bride and groom cry seeing each other for the first time, you know it was a special and powerful moment, made even more special because of the intimate privacy they were able to share.
and the wedding day was truly full of those moments! from the early morning stylings in the salon to the late night sky lanterns being lit, it was a stunning day* thank you d&r for helping me to finish out my shooting season on a high note! may God bless you you two in your marriage - it was a gift to be a witness for your wedding!
i don't often have the opportunity to shoot on the east side of the state...i figure that there are plenty of incredibly talented and capable photographers in the greater detroit area that couples look to hire when planning their east side wedding. but this past weekend i headed east to join rachael and andrew for their wedding celebration, and it was awesome! my wife and i first officially met rachael while on a trip to israel last summer. although we attended the same church here in grand rapids, we hadn't been introduced. and i must say, experiencing israel in the way that our group did has a way of making everyone family. we depended upon one another and grew close as we spent two weeks in the summer heat of the holy land.
so when rachael got engaged and asked if i was available for her wedding, i was so excited to share in the next chapter of life for her and andrew. it was funny, because andrew even told me on the wedding day that initially he wasn't totally sure about me, haha...as that makes sense because often the first point of contact for my couples is with the bride. but it didn't take long for us to hit our stride as friends on saturday. it was beautiful to see these two interact, completely infatuated with each other but even more...a desire to pledge their very lives to one another.
a&r - thank you for the joy of sharing in your day. i know you two are currently enjoying the beauty of the hawaiian sun, but i hope this wedding preview allows you to enjoy and relive such a wonderful day!
this was a whole lot of fun! partnering with lisa of linnaea floral (http://www.linnaeafloral.com) was a dream and my good friends abigail and jason worked their magic as the perfect model couple for this styled shoot.
i've always wanted to shoot a bride and groom up at the silver lake sand dunes and i was so ecstatic to make it happen this past september. with my associate photographers matt & abby (http://mattandabby.us) along for the shoot, we caught some of the best light of the year on those dunes and transported ourselves to the middle of the arabian desert*
The day finally arrived for these two...i can remember vividly, sitting in my living room in oxford, skyping with alexis and rob and talking about this past weekend as a future moment of celebration we were going to be sharing. and now, the day has come and gone...what a day it was. you would have thought we were in late september with the absolutely perfect weather. so many singular moments in time to hold onto from saturday, so many memories to be treasured.
take just one look at a photo of either of these two and you wouldn't be surprised if you were told they worked professionally in some modeling agency...and i guess in some ways i was told that wouldn't be too far from reality! so much beauty, elegance, class, and happiness! these two just complimented each other so beautifully..and their families were a great gift to be around all day.
thank you a&r, for inviting me to sharing in your wedding day - i hope you enjoy this little window in the story of your celebration. it was lovely in so many ways, and i wish you both the very, very best in your marriage*
i met katie and tj at a wedding three years ago while shooting another couple's wedding in lansing. with all of us working in the wedding industry, there was certainly a common bond and understanding! over the years we have had the chance to work together and i was so very honored that they would ask me out of the many many photographers they knew to help capture their wedding day. when a fellow vendor gives you that kind of trust, you know its a big deal!
planning for the wedding was a flexible process with the final details landing us at an absolutely stunning location up in the mountains just outside of las vegas. it was an intimate ceremony and a day of stunning views, dream locations for any photographer, and an end of night ride over the vegas strip. thank you so much tj and katie, for the honor of documenting your wedding day. blessings to you guys in your married life together - it was a privilege to share this day with you!
a question i often ask couples who get in touch with me is where they found my name in the search for a wedding photographer. and no matter how many times i hear it, i am still grateful and honored to hear that they were recommended to me by past clients. there is an inherent accountability in the work that i do..no matter how many weddings i shoot, each and every one has to be respected as the only one that matters in that moment. to have past couples encourage their friends to invest in me for their wedding day is so humbling and gives me great joy every time i get the chance.
for megan and eric, their wedding on saturday was that very scenario. one of eric's groomsmen derek, was a groom from one of my weddings last year. and so, not only is it a great honor, but it feels like a growing family as i see past couples, friends and families at these weddings and remind myself that as much as people see the images..this work is so much more than just photographs. its about people, relationships, and the celebration of love in so many honest, intimate, and beautiful ways.
i am pretty sure that the west michigan autumn day on saturday was just trying to keep up with megan on her wedding day. she looked absolutely stunning, and her husband eric embodied the hashtag that megan coined for him...#frustratinglyphotogenic haha! thank you both for the privilege of joining this past weekend. i hope you love your wedding day preview as much as i loved editing it. blessings to you two in the many years to come!
all the best,
so i'll tell you right away..i am pretty sure i broke every rule for the reasonable number of portraits for a bride and groom in one blog post. but hopefully once you scroll down, you will understand why! when a couple is this easy to photograph, and the light is this wonderful all day, you just can't help yourself!
i met whitney a few years ago as a guest at another wedding i was shooting and had the wonderful privilege of photographing her mother's wedding in 2014. when couples ask you to capture their wedding day after witnessing your work, especially for family members, it is probably the highest compliment i can receive. and the day was so much fun, seriously. ben and i could totally pass off as long time friends i am pretty sure, with the fact that we couldn't stop laughing at the awesome awkwardness that photos can sometimes be!
thank you b&w, for the gift of celebrating beside you two and your beautiful families. leland will always hold a special place in my heart, and the fact that your wedding was there makes it all the more magical! lets relive this past weekend, what do you say? i loved working through these images...pretty sure i cried while editing your vow photos. love you guys!