Wedding Favorites 2016

This is my final year in review post. My first two focused on the favorite landscape photos I take for myself and the second is my favorite photojournalism images from this year at the Daily Inter Lake. But another big part of my life as a photographer revolves around wedding photography, family photography, bridal portraits, engagements and the like.

I honestly believe one of the reasons I love wedding photography as much as I do, is because of my job as a journalist. In daily journalism I see both the good and the bad. So when I get to escape that and photograph as love story, it fills my heart. I photograph weddings with a photojournalist and documentary type approach. Try as I might, I could not narrow down my wedding photos to only one from each wedding. So, for this blog I cheated a bit. I picked one main photo and then did smaller collages.

I hope you enjoy these. Thank you for sharing in my look back at 2016. I am so excited for the year ahead and wish you all much joy and many happy memories.

Bridal portrait session with theater lights
These are images from a photo session I did with Pete and Caitlin after their wedding. I've known the dancers for several years and have always loved to photograph them dancing. It was truly a treat getting to photograph them under the lights.

These are images from a photo session I did with Pete and Caitlin after their wedding. I've known the dancers for several years and have always loved to photograph them dancing. It was truly a treat getting to photograph them under the lights.

Glacier National Park wedding
In the spring I photographed Collin and Liz's wedding in Glacier National Park. They started off with a small ceremony on the banks of Lake McDonald at the Lake McDonald Lodge and then moved to the reception at the Montana Veterans Home. We could not have gotten any luckier with the weather if we had tried. April is still cold and wet and just as we were wrapping up a powerful downpour opened up. Ironically, only a few months before this wedding I happened to be at the New Year's Eve dance by North End Swing in Kalispell. I was not planning on staying until midnight until Collin told me that he was going to ask Liz at midnight. Of course, I had to stay for those photos.

In the spring I photographed Collin and Liz's wedding in Glacier National Park. They started off with a small ceremony on the banks of Lake McDonald at the Lake McDonald Lodge and then moved to the reception at the Montana Veterans Home.
We could not have gotten any luckier with the weather if we had tried. April is still cold and wet and just as we were wrapping up a powerful downpour opened up. Ironically, only a few months before this wedding I happened to be at the New Year's Eve dance by North End Swing in Kalispell. I was not planning on staying until midnight until Collin told me that he was going to ask Liz at midnight. Of course, I had to stay for those photos.

Bride and groom under the Gateway to the West in St. Louis
This year I was asked to photograph a destination wedding in St. Louis. Destination weddings are always a wonderful challenge. On the one hand, it is an unfamiliar location so finding the right locations can be difficult. On the other hand, it is an unfamiliar location and can fire the creative spirit! The shot of the day was absolutely Ryan and Ashley under the Gateway Arch in downtown St. Louis. The challenge was figuring out how to get there and beating the storm that was approaching fast. I've written about this particular shot before, so I won't go over all that again except to say, my first trip to St. Louis was certainly extraordinary. To read the making of this Arch photo check out this previous blog entry.

This year I was asked to photograph a destination wedding in St. Louis. Destination weddings are always a wonderful challenge. On the one hand, it is an unfamiliar location so finding the right locations can be difficult. On the other hand, it is an unfamiliar location and can fire the creative spirit! The shot of the day was absolutely Ryan and Ashley under the Gateway Arch in downtown St. Louis. The challenge was figuring out how to get there and beating the storm that was approaching fast. I've written about this particular shot before, so I won't go over all that again except to say, my first trip to St. Louis was certainly extraordinary. To read the making of this Arch photo check out this previous blog entry.

Outdoor wedding on Blacktail Mountain in Lakeside Montana
Joe is one of my local first responders. He is a firefighter with the Kalispell Fire Department and I was truly honored when he asked me to photograph his wedding day with Miss Robin. They got married under perfect blue skies on top of Blacktail Mountain Ski Resort in Lakeside, Montana. My favorite moment of the day was when he picked her up and put her over his shoulder as he stood looking out over the mountains.

Joe is one of my local first responders. He is a firefighter with the Kalispell Fire Department and I was truly honored when he asked me to photograph his wedding day with Miss Robin. They got married under perfect blue skies on top of Blacktail Mountain Ski Resort in Lakeside, Montana. My favorite moment of the day was when he picked her up and put her over his shoulder as he stood looking out over the mountains.

Flathead Lake wedding and bridal photos
As one might expect, most of the weddings I've photographed in Montana have been outdoor weddings. This is truly one of the most beautiful places and it is very popular as a destination wedding site. But for David and Darinda's wedding they got married at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Polson, Montana. Many of the photos of the day were details from in and around the church. Personally, I love the details and ceremony that are such an integral part of Catholicism. But the wedding was very early in the day so we decided to meet up for an after the wedding bridal portrait session on the docks in Lakeside at sunset. Magical light makes all the difference.

As one might expect, most of the weddings I've photographed in Montana have been outdoor weddings. This is truly one of the most beautiful places and it is very popular as a destination wedding site. But for David and Darinda's wedding they got married at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Polson, Montana. Many of the photos of the day were details from in and around the church. Personally, I love the details and ceremony that are such an integral part of Catholicism. But the wedding was very early in the day so we decided to meet up for an after the wedding bridal portrait session on the docks in Lakeside at sunset. Magical light makes all the difference.

Barn at Finley Point wedding, Polson, Montana
Scott and Katie got married at the Barn at Finley Point near Polson, Montana this summer. It was a gorgeous ceremony that pulled quite a lot from Celtic traditions and the idea of "Anum Cara." This was profoundly ironic to me because for my birthday in April a friend had given me a book by John O'Donohue about Anum Cara, the soul-friend and its meaning.

Scott and Katie got married at the Barn at Finley Point near Polson, Montana this summer. It was a gorgeous ceremony that pulled quite a lot from Celtic traditions and the idea of "Anum Cara." This was profoundly ironic to me because for my birthday in April a friend had given me a book by John O'Donohue about Anum Cara, the soul-friend and its meaning.

Backyard wedding in Montana
Outdoor Montana wedding
For Casey and Samantha's wedding I am cheating a bit. I love this black and white of Sam. It was instantly my favorite wedding photo of the year, even over the Arch, and I thought that was going to be unbeatable. They got married in the backyard of a family friend alongside a river with a view of the mountains. It was all so perfectly Montana. I especially loved the way the bridesmaids were evenly split between having attended the University of Montana and Montana State University. They even had competing tee-shirts to wear as they were getting ready. Jokes about that classic rivalry continued throughout the night.

For Casey and Samantha's wedding I am cheating a bit. I love this black and white of Sam. It was instantly my favorite wedding photo of the year, even over the Arch, and I thought that was going to be unbeatable. They got married in the backyard of a family friend alongside a river with a view of the mountains. It was all so perfectly Montana. I especially loved the way the bridesmaids were evenly split between having attended the University of Montana and Montana State University. They even had competing tee-shirts to wear as they were getting ready. Jokes about that classic rivalry continued throughout the night.

Ginger wedding
As a ginger myself, I love photographing Ginger Weddings. Redheads are a unique tribe and there aren't nearly enough of us. Kolten and Spencyr got married at Brumar Estates near Bigfork, Montana. This was another gorgeous outdoor wedding with a really fun crowd. This wedding reception was particularly interesting to me because this was the first wedding where I used an Ice Light for the reception. I was thrilled with the results and will be using it for all my wedding photos to come.

As a ginger myself, I love photographing Ginger Weddings. Redheads are a unique tribe and there aren't nearly enough of us. Kolten and Spencyr got married at Brumar Estates near Bigfork, Montana. This was another gorgeous outdoor wedding with a really fun crowd. This wedding reception was particularly interesting to me because this was the first wedding where I used an Ice Light for the reception. I was thrilled with the results and will be using it for all my wedding photos to come.

Bridal portrait sunset on Flathead Lake
Samantha's dress was really one of the most beautiful I think I've ever seen. I loved the way it flowed. After the wedding we did a bridal portrait session at the Flathead Lake Lodge in Bigfork. I'm friends with the owner of Woodland Floral and she graciously created a small bouquet for the photo shoot and Sam and two of her best friends joined us for the evening. Although I didn't plan it, this became a sort of Trash the Dress session. I was fascinated with how the dress would move in the water and Sam told me during the reception it had gotten an unmendable stain. The dress was therefore already "ruined" and she had no problems heading out into the water. And didn't that just make my night! We had some gorgeous light and the gown and the lady and the flowers and it all came together. One of my favorites from this is the photo in the bottom center square of Sam reacting to getting splashed. She really went all out for this and this is a September photo shoot, that water is cold.

Samantha's dress was really one of the most beautiful I think I've ever seen. I loved the way it flowed. After the wedding we did a bridal portrait session at the Flathead Lake Lodge in Bigfork. I'm friends with the owner of Woodland Floral and she graciously created a small bouquet for the photo shoot and Sam and two of her best friends joined us for the evening. Although I didn't plan it, this became a sort of Trash the Dress session. I was fascinated with how the dress would move in the water and Sam told me during the reception it had gotten an unmendable stain. The dress was therefore already "ruined" and she had no problems heading out into the water. And didn't that just make my night! We had some gorgeous light and the gown and the lady and the flowers and it all came together. One of my favorites from this is the photo in the bottom center square of Sam reacting to getting splashed. She really went all out for this and this is a September photo shoot, that water is cold.

Swing dance wedding in Bozeman Montana
For several years now I have been photographing swing dancers. I love the people. Love the music. And love the friends I've made while doing this. I've known Andrew and Christine for years and when I saw their engagement announcement on facebook this summer I was thrilled for them. I was touched and so honored when the next day they called to ask if there was any chance I had a weekend in October open and if I would come out to Bozeman. Of course I said yes. This wedding was so much fun for me. Not only did I get to photograph two people I adore getting married, I got to photograph the entire reception which was filled with dancers and so many friends. This was the biggest wedding of the year for me in terms of the different packages I offer. With that package I promise people 500 plus images. This wedding ended up with 701. I was really proud of myself with this one because not only did I drive myself the five hours home on Sunday I sorted through the thousands of images I had made and got their photos finished and in a web gallery within one week. Getting images to people in a timely fashion is such a sticking point for me. It is the reason I only take one wedding per weekend. I don't want couples to have to wait four or five or six or even eight weeks.

For several years now I have been photographing swing dancers. I love the people. Love the music. And love the friends I've made while doing this. I've known Andrew and Christine for years and when I saw their engagement announcement on facebook this summer I was thrilled for them. I was touched and so honored when the next day they called to ask if there was any chance I had a weekend in October open and if I would come out to Bozeman. Of course I said yes.
This wedding was so much fun for me. Not only did I get to photograph two people I adore getting married, I got to photograph the entire reception which was filled with dancers and so many friends. This was the biggest wedding of the year for me in terms of the different packages I offer. With that package I promise people 500 plus images. This wedding ended up with 701. I was really proud of myself with this one because not only did I drive myself the five hours home on Sunday I sorted through the thousands of images I had made and got their photos finished and in a web gallery within one week. Getting images to people in a timely fashion is such a sticking point for me. It is the reason I only take one wedding per weekend. I don't want couples to have to wait four or five or six or even eight weeks.

I photographed one final wedding in 2016 on the shores of Whitefish Lake. A Jewish couple came in on a short trip for a destination wedding with their children. But they've asked me to keep those photos off the internet and while part of me wishes I could show these off, I would rather have the clients happy. After all, they may legally be "my" photos, but they are their memories and if they want them private, then I'll keep them that way.

Thanks for checking out my best of 2016 collections. Time to get to work on 2017.  ;)