Posts Tagged ‘documentary wedding photography’

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

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!

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?


The photos on this slide show are my favorites from this past year’s wedding season.  I photographed 30 wonderful weddings in 2010, all of which provided opportunities for capturing documentary moments.  Not every wedding is represented on the slide show, however.  This year, I decided to be very discriminating in the selection of photos that made my favorites list, unlike previous years where I made sure to have at least one photo represented from each wedding. The photos that were chosen, best represent my ultimate objective when photographing a wedding: finding powerful, meaningful and artistic documentary imagery that transcends time.

In all of the photographs I capture in the wedding day, I seek to find the following three elements: an interesting composition, great light, and wonderful expressions.  The images on this slide show are those captured that, I believe, have a fourth element, which is what makes them so special.  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 photographers that I admire the most are those who are masters in finding these moments. In years to come, I hope to continue mastering my ability to find imagery that has “the fourth element.”

That is what pushes me each year to be better than the last. I am a wedding photographer today, because I am passionate about finding these moments: that split-second where there is a combination of elements colliding simultaneously as if in concert with one another.  Most of the images are pre-composed.  I see the unique setting and possible composition in front of me. The natural, available lighting is there for an exquisite photograph. I see the people nearby and anticipate the possibility of a unique moment developing.  Suddenly, the person or people step into the frame of my camera at the perfect millisecond…the camera clicks…and a moment is cemented forever.  I hope you enjoy what I consider my favorite wedding stories of 2010.  Please share your feedback.

There is one image that I would like to provide some background history.  It is the very first photograph you will see in the slide show.  This bride is my hero, not only for 2010, but for the entire span of my wedding photography career – which dates back to 1992.  The bride’s name is Terry. When this photograph was captured, Terry was suffering from stage-four, breast cancer.  If you already watched the slide show, my hope is that you didn’t even notice that Terry was missing her hair, which was due to the results of her chemotherapy treatment.  Rather, you were locked in the beauty in her reflection.  In Terry’s reflection – you see her beautiful eye.  The eyes are the windows of our souls.  Our soul is the true essence of who we are and Terry’s soul has now passed on to her next life.  She passed away just before Christmas in 2010. Terry will always be loved and remembered by me.  I am truly honored that she selected me to photograph her wedding and invited me into her world.  My heart goes out to Terry’s husband, Chip, and the loved ones she’s left behind.

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