Let me just clear this up right away, I have more then 10 photographs to share with this blog post, not because I could not narrow the list down because I worked with waaaaaaaaay too many amazing couples but because I do top 10 list just like Chris Berman does. So ten is more of a guideline which I can completely ignore if I choose to do so. So did ignore it. Completely.

So why did I choose the photographs I did? It is actually pretty simple, because I like them 😀 Hey I am the guy with the camera, so when it comes to my favorite photographs I get to make the rules!


Game Face

I have mentioned it a few times before but that will not stop me from saying it again, I really do have fun with the people in the Bridal party and I would much rather have to reign them in, than to try put some “life” into them. I absolutely dig this photograph because this is just a perfect capture of who the groom’s friends were. If the groom (foreground) looks like he is rubbing his head in disbelief because his friends are a bunch of yahoos who can not take anything seriously well….. that is because that is pretty much the case here. Just a simple moment where you hear something slightly different that what was actually said and you end up creating a lasting story that I still share at almost every wedding.

It is not as easy as you think

When it comes to capturing the details of your wedding, I try and focus on what details you spent your time or money on. The more time or money you spent, the more I feel it needs to be told as part of your story. So that usually means the venue(s), the dress, the cufflinks, the watches, the shoes, the necklace, the earrings and of course the rings and flowers. Now you may at first think that capturing those details would be as easy as just walking around and taking those photographs. Psssh, I can assure you it, to capture them in a photograph that will mean something to the couple, it is much more involved than that. Take just the rings for example, you have two, usually completely different designs/sizes/materials that are directly tied to each person’s personal taste. As any newly engaged woman has found out, trying to take a decent photo of your ring to post on facebook is far more difficult than you think 🙂 Then you need some sort of backdrop and do not get me started on creative lighting…. Yeah, take all those factors in and let them marinate and you will understand why this photograph made it to my favorites.

Do I really need a reason?

Come on, who would not want to be this couple? On beach, at sunset, waves rolling on your feet…. Can you hear the waves?


So not “photojournalism”…

Let’s clear one thing up and set it straight for going into 2012…. there is nothing photo journalistic about this photograph at all. It is a beautiful photograph of a great a couple, at an awesome venue, taken during the golden hour at sunset but it is about the furthest thing you can get from being “photojournalism”.  Photojournalism/istic is the newest catch phrase in wedding photography but is almost always used incorrectly. A photographer for a newspaper is a photojournalist, very rarely is a wedding photographer one. Here is the best way I describe it you. Take a photographer who is embedded with Marines fighting overseas. He/she is there to document what happens, whatever and however that happens. If you were to find out that the same photographer was doctoring elements of the situation to their own beliefs and values, you would feel mislead. It is also the difference between fiction and non fiction books as there is nothing more frustrating to find out a story that was sold to you as truth was not exactly what it was made out to be. Yet, that is exactly what I did in this photograph. I took a couple, coached them on the “dip” pose, took them to a spot I had already been to at a time that I saw appropriate. That is called using a photograph to tell a story.

And that is what I do.


I use TS-E lenses completely incorrectly and I do it on purpose.

One of my favorite lenses I use is a Canon 24mm f/3.5 TS-E lens. It is a perspective correction lens that is generally used for architecture photography to keep vertical lines from converging on one another. I use it in a way that is starting to gain some traction on the East and West coasts, not only in photography but videography as well. By using a TS-E in a specific way, you change your focal plane in a way that is completely different than a standard lens. This allows a photographer to “guide you” through a photograph much easier. Take this photograph, it a photograph that has been taken many different times by many different photographers and all very similar. What I feel truly sets mine apart is how the blurring of the top and bottom parts of the photograph really guide you to where I want the focal point to be, which in this case is the tables. This venue (The Pavilion) finds it beauty from the simplicity of the design and that is something that is not lost by the blurring of the beams in the ceiling. Flickr has a term for what makes this photo great and that is “interestingness”, by using this lens it elevates the interestingness quite a bit.


No one else…

I am going to lump the next two photographs together because they both capture how on a wedding day, a couple has moments where everything else just fades to the background. You know those moments, the time you find yourself just oblivious to  the world, those moments where nothing else matters, those moments that times seems to stand still. Planning a wedding is a long and arduous process, one that stresses and pulls at the seams of how each couple is bound together. Those moments show how in the end, it is worth every moment of planning. These are also the moments that mean EVERYTHING to me as a photographer. Sure, I need to make sure I photograph you with your grandmother for her fireplace mantle but at the end of the day these photographs are going to be the ones that stand the test of time.

Capture the environment and not just the venue

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I really try and do more than just document what takes place on your wedding day, I truly try and tell a story. One photographer that has influenced my approach greatly was a street photographer from New York and he found a way to make a career of photographing people on the streets of New York. Now here is the crazy part of his influence on me, he did with one just one sentence. He said “When people look at my photographs, I want to be able for them to smell the pavement.” Think about it, his goal was not just the subject but the environments, the feelings, the emotions…the smells. When it comes to churches, I really want you to feel like you are there. This photograph was taken at Holy Family church and from a photographers standpoint, it is a difficult church to photograph. No artificial lighting is allowed, it is fairly low lit, with dark colors everywhere but the worst part is the window directly behind the stage. To try and expose everything correctly is pretty sketchy and it has to been done fully manually as one misstep and most automatic and semi automatic modes on your camera will meter the lighting completely wrong. Once I made it past that, I had to try and find a way to make you “feel” like you were there, to try and capture the solemn point of Catholic wedding ceremony. When you look at this photo, I want you feel like you are sitting in a pew, or dare I say “smell the pavement”.


There is a reason you chose these people to stand up with you

As I mentioned on the first photograph, I really enjoy working not only with the Bride and Groom but the friends they choose to share their wedding day with. Most of you know what it like to be stuck in the wedding party with a photographer who just makes the day drag and pretty much makes you want drink heavily, I get that. I really do. I am very aware that most of the time I working with the bridal party, I am the only thing between them and an open bar. So I always try and do two things, keep the situations lively and take photographs that the people in the bridal party will also appreciate and be proud of. You bought a dress/rented a tux, took a day and usually more, off of work and were around friends that probably stressed you out at some point. The last thing I want to do is bore you to death or take photographs that have no value to you. So take that as a word of caution if you are in the bridal party at a wedding I am photographing, be ready to have some fun and be ready to have photographs that you will enjoy as well!


The devil is the details

As almost every guy can attest to, our ladies like  shoes 🙂 As the guys can also attest to, no matter how many times the ladies explain it to us, we will never understand why you have 13 pairs of black shoes. As a guy, I do not get it either but what I do know that is regardless of what I think, the bride made it a specific point to choose the shoes she did. Much like my ring photographs, I really try and get photographs of the details that are creatively done, I am going to drop that “interstingness” word here again. At some point in every wedding day, I disappear with the brides shoes, rings and flowers. I can not tell you how many times I have gotten an inquisitive look on a bride’s face when I have asked for her shoes. Rather than explain it, I give her the wry smile and trust me speech and go get the photographs. What ends up happening when the couple sees them, is they are a little confused at how I got the photograph I did. For this photograph, I ran out the back door of the church and was using a pine tree that was lining the back yard of house. I love this photograph as it juxtaposes the elegance of a brides shoes against the ruggedness of nature.

So there you have it, my favorite wedding photographs of 2011! I hope you enjoyed them and keep watching as my favorite blog post of the year is next, my favorite photographs from 2011 you probably have not seen 😀

Thank you for sharing!

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