Kelly was introduced to me by one of my favorite Los Angeles-based wedding planners, Emma Petievich early in the Spring of this year. I already had a wedding scheduled in Michigan for the same weekend as Kelly and Justin’s, but any wedding that Emma is a part of, I knew it would be worth the effort to fly back from Michigan the next day! I am so glad that I did! I had not yet met Justin until that Sunday, but he was as easy going and as friendly a groom as I have ever met! Kelly and Justin were a great couple to photograph! They are genuinely in love and it was evident from the moment I photographed their “first look” with one another before the ceremony! I can’t make a couple appear in love, I can’t paint emotion on their faces no matter how well I know photoshop! When a bride and groom are in love, you know it! I can see it behind my camera and finding magical moments to photograph can either be very difficult to find, or as in Kelly and Justin’s, as simple as looking through the camera.

I was joined by my good friend Michael Andrews who assisted me mainly throughout the day, but also picked up a camera and provided some awesome photographs over my shoulder. You can see some of his work intertwined with mine in the highlight slideshow at the bottom of this post. We began our day photographing Kelly and Justin getting ready at the The Westin Pasadena. The remainder of the day took place at the Los Angeles River Center and Gardens. The venue was previously the Lawry’s California Center and is a hidden jewel, just minutes from downtown Los Angeles. It is sequestered behind thick, ivy covered walls and is an ideal spot for a wedding, filled with beds of roses, agapanthus, and daylilies soaking up the sun. This day couldn’t have been more perfect for a wedding! The decor was unique and splendid, only as Emma can create! At one point in the evening, during a short break, taking in the beauty of the day, I sat back with gratitude for the honor and opportunity to photograph such a beautiful wedding!

I love the results of the photos we captured! You can see some of my favorites of the day above and below (as well as the highlight slideshow at the bottom of the post)! Of course, the celebration was a success because of the great vendors Kelly and Justin chose to make this special day happen. Here is a list of the all-star cast:

Jim Hjelm Dress: Lili Bridal
Cake: Takes the Cake Pasadena, CA
Catering: Huntington Caterering Pasadena, CA
Celebrant: Jerry Petievich (Emma’s Dad & Bride’s Cousin)
Ceremony Musicians: Elegant Music, Eric Zimmerman
Floral: Bobbe Vagel, BOVA Designs
Hair/Makeup: Frankie, 323-770-2200
Videographer: Dream Team Entertainment

The entirety of the wedding day took place at Orchard Lake CC, one of my favorite country clubs in Southeastern Michigan! The country club is located on serene and picturesque Orchard Lake, a truly beautiful setting! I have had the good fortune of photographing several weddings here in the last few years. Search my blog to find previous weddings.  Kim and John’s wedding now joins the list of many memorable celebrations here at Orchard Lake CC.

This day, however, was met with a bit of questionable weather, not uncommon in Michigan at the end of May! I don’t like to say unfortunate, because weather does not make or break a wedding day in my opinion. Good weather or bad, it just adds to the story and the backdrop of the actual wedding day story. I like to call it “character!” The day is suppose to be about the unveiling of a love story, concluding (or rather “beginning”) with the story of how two people in love – and their families – celebrate their union in marriage. I can happily attest that this was the case with Kim and John! With rain coming and going, skies cloudy and gray, adjustments made for the outdoor ceremony to take place underneath a tent, the nuptials were, indeed, the focus and triumphal joy of the day! Not a frown or sense of dismay was seen or felt on the faces of this beautiful couple because of the questionable weather, nor did it deter the celebratory mood of their family and friends! Enjoy some of my favorite photos above and below. Please scroll to the bottom of this post to see several more photos that I’ve included in a highlight slide show set to music.

Before ending this post, I must give kudos to my vendor partners who all helped make this day a success!

Venue and Caterer: Orchard Lake Country Club
Event Coordinator, Floral and Decor: Emerald City Designs (Nicole Beaudoin, planner)
Bridal Gown: Roma Sposa (Birmingham, MI)
Video: Fifth and Main Productions (Royal Oak, MI)
Band: Simone Vitale Band
Celebrant: Sherry Mullins (A Joyful Celebration)
Cake: Sweet and Savory (Oxford, MI)
Custom Printing: Very Truly Yours (A. Kelly Cash)
Makeup: Linda Bateynah
Hair: Mallory

The honor to photograph Afton and Danny’s wedding was given to me just a few weeks before the event. I didn’t meet either Afton or Danny in person, but after speaking with them about their wedding and photography expectations, I knew that this was going to be a perfect wedding for my style! They chose a beautiful estate in the foothills of Monecito, called The Monastery in Toro Canyon. You will see in the photos below that this venue is an extroadinary place to host a wedding! Three huge roll-up doors open up the house to a large terrace and the full panorama of the Pacific Ocean. The house was built in the early 1930s by famed conductor Leopold Stokowski and his then-wife, Evangeline Johnson, heir to the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical fortune. Residents over the years have included Greta Garbo; the best-selling author and aviator, Beryl Markham; and Gloria Vanderbilt, Stokowski’s third wife.

Afton and Danny wanted to utilize The Monastery to help create a tranquil, yet festive, wedding celebration for those they love the most in the world: their family and closest friends, and just importantly, their three precious dogs. Even though the day was seemingly carefree and relaxed, wedding planner (and property manager of The Monastery) Lexi Mclane, made sure everything went perfectly. A good portion of the time was spent with their guests enjoying the peaceful setting, family members from each side getting to know one another, relatives from across the country reuniting, nieces and nephews exploring the unique grounds, and the dogs having ample room to play. Local pianist, Patrik Maiani, lended his talents on the baby grand piano with music that carried throughout the home and terrace. When the time seemed right, everyone was gathered near one of the ancient olive trees and local minister, Nino Maiani, performed the wedding ceremony. Afterward, guests gathered at a wonderfully decorated long table for a several course meal, provided by Chef Robin Goldstein, and multiple heart-felt toasts were given for the newly-weds.

Floral arrangements were created by Padaro Floral
Afton’s hair and makeup were provided by Team Hair & Makeup

Enjoy some of my favorite photos below and scroll to the bottom of this post to see the entire highlight slideshow set to music. Enjoy!

When my good friend and Event Planner, Carolyn Hefner of The China Closet, called me to photograph a birthday party, I didn’t hesitate! When I meet a potential client who has hired Carolyn, I know they are serious about having an incredible event! I have photographed a few spectacular birthday parties for Carolyn’s clients in my career, so I knew that this was going to special! Alan’s party took place at a really cool place called Stage 3. It is an actual photography and production studio with a huge sound stage area for photographing large products like automobiles! What an awesome setup for parties as well! It provided for a perfect background to project graphics, videos, and colorful lights to enhance the festive environment! The theme of Alan’s party was centered around the two cities he lives in, Detroit and Las Vegas. A club scene on one side with a DJ, video and dancing, and Las Vegas on the other side, complete with the famous Vegas sign, showgirls and gaming! Alan and his Cranbrook High School friends had a ton to do! I personally felt right at home, having lived in both great cities myself! Alan, without a doubt, will never forget this incredible birthday celebration!

Check out some of my favorite photos and scroll to the bottom of the post to see even more photos in a highlight slide show!

One thing about making Las Vegas your home is you forget how fun of a town it really is! Now that we are no longer living there, it has been great continuing to book a few weddings each year there! For one, it gives me a chance to visit my parents, who live in nearby Summerlin, but it also allows for me to see the town from a different perspective! It is now a destination location for me which has given me a fresh appreciation! My clients can benefit from my having had the experience of knowing the town and having photographed several weddings there. Now, however, they also benefit from me having a renewed energy coming back to this completely unique environment that is so different from anywhere else in the country! There is truly no other place in the USA like Vegas, especially in regard to photographing a wedding!

That’s why I was so happy that Melanie and Brad found me and commissioned me to photograph their wedding this past month! They truly had a great plan for a uniquely Vegas affair! Not only was it held in one of Vegas’ more famous venues, Caesar’s Palace, but they had a great turnout from their family and friends who traveled mostly from Edmonton and other parts of Canada! Most everything took place at Caesar’s Palace: getting ready photos inside their hotel suites, the ceremony took place at the Venus Gardens, and the reception took place at Spago’s Restaurant. Between the ceremony and reception, we were able to take a ride out to the famous Las Vegas sign for a few portraits and back to Caesar’s for additional fun photos around various fountains on the property. To top it all off, what Vegas party would be complete, without Elvis? Sure enough, the emcee and resident crooner himself (a look a like, actually!) entertained the guests during dinner and dancing! Enjoy some of my favorite photos above and below. To see the highlight slideshow with even more great photos, scroll down to the bottom. Oh yah, could not resist selecting an Elvis song for the show! Enjoy!

Brittny and Corey’s wedding was my first in Michigan this Spring.  It was as fun of a wedding as I can remember and, because Michigan’s weather is always unpredictable this time of year, it couldn’t have been a more beautiful day! We began the day at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel in downtown Detroit where the wedding party were getting ready.  I finally met up with Corey at Ss. Peter and Paul Jesuit Church, the location for the ceremony.  Even before the ceremony, both Brittny and Corey were relaxed and happy.  They were also surrounded by terrific family and friends.  After the ceremony, we had a couple of hours to have some fun, so we all jumped in the party bus and drove down to Slo’s Barbeque for some hanging out time, followed by a cruise over to Belle Isle for some photos on the riverfront.  The reception began early that evening at the fabulous Colony Club.  We arrived early enough for the wedding party to join the cocktail hour, before Brittny and Corey made their dramatic grand entrance into the grand ballroom.  It has been a couple of years since I last photographed a wedding at this venue, but I must say, it is one of metro Detroit’s gems!  It is absolutely beautiful and perfect for an elegant wedding reception!  Enjoy some of my favorite photos of the day below!  I will have a highlight slide show up and running in a couple of weeks right here on the blog as well!

 

Jennifer and Matthew’s wedding was the second wedding in the last seven months that I photographed at Angel’s Stadium, home of the Los Angeles Angels. This was not your typical wedding to say the least! In fact, the wedding caught the attention of the Orange County Register, and they sent out a reporter and newspaper photographer to report the story! Check out this link if you would like to read the details and see there photography coverage. There is even included a few photographs of me and my associate, Michael Erdkamp, in the article (make sure to click on the “Photos” tab). My only regret is that I wished they would have asked us to provide them with the images for their story. As you will see from Michael’s and my coverage of the day, we found plenty of great moments and expressions! It was a beautiful April day in Southern California for a baseball game…I mean wedding!!! Enjoy some of the highlight photos of the day. I will post a slideshow of highlight photos here on my blog in a few weeks!


























I am just about to see an end to the slow season for weddings as we approach May and June, but I wanted to put up a post for those who follow my work – just in case you thought I disappeared!

Every once in a while, I come across a photo that I captured from a wedding a few years back (in this case, 09/2008), that I had forgotten about. In my last post, I spoke about the various elements that I believe make a good documentary photo and how I strive to find those elements in each of my photographs. I also spoke of a forth element, saying “It’s difficult to describe what makes up the fourth element, but it is that “something” that draws you into the photo, a story that is either conveyed concretely or, perhaps, not so concretely, but lingers as a mystery that causes you to stop, stare, and wonder.” The following photograph is an image, that in my humble opinion, is one that possesses the forth element. Again, it is difficult for me to describe why, but the word “timeless” is what is in my thoughts when I look at it.

Kelly’s Detroit Yacht Club wedding was beautiful and she was a beautiful bride. I remember being struck by the closeness of her family. Because she and her father are silhouetted by the window light, you would never know the identity of the bride unless she told you or showed you her wedding photos. I think that might be one of the reasons this image takes on a life of it’s own. It could be any bride with her father. These final moments before her father would walk her down the aisle almost provide the feeling that there is no other moment more precious than this: the anxious bride with the man who provided and protected her all these years to bring her to this very time of handing her off to the one who would replace him as the man of her life: her groom. I am especially sensitive to father/daughter relationships because I have two daughters. One is married and I could not photograph her wedding because I was afraid I would be too emotional. So an image like this speaks to me directly.

The funny thing is that I had forgotten about this photograph. I don’t think I have ever showcased it on my blog or in a photo contest. To me, this just proves my point all the more: a photo that has this forth element is “timeless.” It maintains its beauty or significance over time and represents something deep about the human spirit. It’s appeal is like a fine wine that matures with time. Do you agree?


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