Felt Like A Royal Wedding
I have to say, I’m pretty confident with my skills as a photographer, but I still get a little butterflies, especially before a wedding. Because I know how important every image I create will be. I like to think this helps me push myself and stay on top of my game.
Of course I’ve photographed events before where even an 89 year old grandma with an iPhone could bust out a dozen good photos and this was very much the case for Katie & Shawn’s wedding. As the day started I just couldn’t help but fall backwards into amazing photo ops.
At one point during the ceremony I literally felt like I needed to do a double take after looking at a couple of shots I took. It was like a royal wedding; Katie in an spectacular dress, the gold plated wall behind the alter at the Mission Basilica in San Juan Capistrano and the Shawn in his Air Force dress uniform. And I hadn’t even seen the finishing touches put on the reception area yet.
I was briefly afraid as images were almost coming to easy and I knew there were probably hundreds of other professionals who would have bent over backwards to photograph this wedding, which was one more reason I was really touched that Katie had asked me if I would shoot her wedding before she really even had the wedding date set.
First Wedding of 2012; No Wild Horses
As far as March weddings go in Chicago, you can’t complain about 68 degrees and overcast, unless of course the last 12 days had been sunny and 80 degrees, but as most couples will tell you, the day goes by so fast with so much emotion, it would take a natural disaster to make you anything south of happy.
Part of my process of getting to know a couple, I often ask how they met, how did you propose and so on. Jackie & Jason have to have one of the more interesting stories I’ve heard and I’m sure the set backs would have had them prepared if there was another “Snowpocalypse” this year on their wedding day. To keep this brief, Jason had basically planned to pop the question at a picnic they were having while horse riding. As the couple made the trek from the Chicago burbs to downstate Illinois, Jason’s truck had a mechanical problem which essentially forced him to drive no faster than 45 miles an hour. This trip can take up to 3 to 4 hour trip at normal speeds. Finally on their picnic, it’s almost go time for Jason, and one of the horses comes undone and runs away.
As I’m sure you’ve guessed, Jason didn’t take this as an ominous sign and went through with his proposal.
The ceremony took place at Ascension of our Lord in Oakbrook Terrace. We made a stop at a local park for some informal portraits and then made our way to the Carriage Green Country Club in Darien, ironically the site of the reception for the last wedding I photographed.
Not that I’ve ever had to say different, but it was a pleasure shooting their wedding. Jason is an all around stand-up guy and Jackie, is a breath of fresh air with a contagious smile.
Congratulations once again.
Besides the fact it was nice to actually be sitting at a table with family instead of complete strangers at the reception. In all the years I have been a photographer, the one thing I have never done was photograph a family member’s wedding. I’m the oldest of 13 grandkids from my mother’s side of the family alone and Stacy is only the third one of us to tie the knot. With 10 more to go, I’m sure this won’t be the last wedding.
I’m delighted Stacy found such a standup guy in Anthony and it was great to be involved in her wedding in some capacity, since I was the ring bearer in her father’s wedding (my uncle).
For a complete gallery of images & to purchase photos from this wedding, visit my web gallery
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Royal Wedding with Princesses
Tara & Irvine got married at what I think is one of the most spectacular churches in the Chicago area; Rockefeller Chapel, on the campus on the University of Chicago. If you’re not familiar with it, that might be because it’s located in the Hyde Park neighborhood on the city’s south side, at a school many get confused with UIC.
I was extremely excited to photograph this wedding for two reasons, first, while I’ve photographed couples in and around the chapel, I’ve never actually shot a wedding there. Second, Tara, runs the home daycare that my son attends and her and her family are wonderful. Their two little girls adorable and the three of them together were like princesses with Irvine in a church that reminds me of a recent royal wedding.
I had to throw this one in because it makes me smile.
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Surrounded by ArtKate & Alex, tied the knot in a beautiful ceremony at the Smart Museum of Art, on the University of Chicago’s campus in the Hyde Park neighborhood. It’s a location I’m very familiar with, since I am an artist and the museum is only 5 blocks from my home, I’m there quite often (my son on a recent trip there, you may recognize the painting from the ring photo top left).
The couple and their guests were truly in luck, as gloomy morning skies gave way to clear blue and sunny. While the reception and ceremony were held outside, the museum was open to all guests and the ketubah signing & cocktail hour were held inside the museum, allowing for a unique backdrop for any event.
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I’ve heard stories of wedding photographers who’ve had car accidents, fires, or other news worthy type events take place at them, but luckily for the couples & myself, most if not all of the weddings I’ve photographed have gone off without a hitch.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t moments where I see things that tell other stories outside, or intersecting with the narrative of the wedding, what those of us in journalism might call a feature story. So I just thought I’d share this really quick post about two of those moments that happened at the wedding of Laura & Chris.
The First United Methodist Church, is right in the middle of downtown Chicago. It’s a beautiful wood lined church with stained glass windows on the first floor of what looks like an office building, and like some churches they have a policy of welcoming anyone to come in and stay for awhile. This often means homeless or transient people will find a safe place on hot and cold days. They are asked to leave before the ceremony starts, but I was early and was able to take this image before the bride & groom even arrived.
Also, because of the beauty of the building and it’s two chapels (there is a sky chapel as well), it is a frequent stop on some downtown walking tours. This group happen to be touring the second floor art gallery, where the bride and groom were waiting till the ceremony began on the first floor.
A Midsummer Night’s Wedding
Meredith and Joe, were married at the Millburn Church in Lake Villa and celebrated afterwords at the Lehman Mansion. Both beautiful locations that played along nicely with the theme of a Midsummer’s Night.
If there was one thing I couldn’t stop thinking throughout the wedding day of Laura & Chris, was that I needed to know more poets.The couple met via a love for poetry and their wedding day showed a similar theme of love for the spoken word.
Their wedding day played out much like a well rehearsed poem, from the magnificent stained glass and wood of the First United Methodist Church in the heart of downtown Chicago, to the private room at Jak’s Tap in the near west side. Even forecasted thunderstorms avoided them the entire day.
It had been two years since I had shot a wedding in Milwaukee, and it was nice to be back. Ironically the last wedding I photographed was the sister of the bride, and just like I had two years ago, my day started off in the town of Wauwatosa, a cute little burb of Milwaukee, nestled along the banks of the Menomonee River. What wasn’t so cute was that after having one of the most perfect Octobers ever weather wise, the forecast for the day was for serious rain.
Luckily for the both of them the weather man was wrong and the most of the rain came before the end of the ceremony. Emily & Matt had picked out a bunch of great locations outdoors for some bridal party photos, so the weather cleared at just the right time and we were even lucky enough to get some great late afternoon sun.
For more photos from this wedding please visit my Facebook page. (Don’t forget to click like).
Being a city person, I hardly get out to the suburbs unless it’s on assignment, or for a wedding. However, there is one place myself & most wedding photographers who work around the Wheaton area know all to well and that is Cantigny. I know that almost sounds like I’m rolling my eyes when I say it, but there’s a reason why this place is so popular with brides & Photographers. It’s beautiful and you’d have to photograph 2 dozen weddings there before you’d run out of new places to take pictures at and that’s not including different seasons.
While I’ve shot bridal parties inside the park before, Suzi & Dave, were my first couple who were actually having their ceremony at the park half of Cantigny. Complete with our own golf cart & driver we made our way around the park and got some great photos.
The peacefulness of the park really lent itself nicely as a back drop beyond posed photos once the ceremony started.
See more photos from this wedding on my Facebook page. (Don’t forget to like me)
I’m a big believer in serendipity when it comes to my photos. Not saying I don’t plan things out, but if you’ve ever sat down with me while I talked about my philosophy & style, “serendipity” will no doubt have come up at some point. Gwen & Jeff, might have referred to some things that happened on their wedding day as good luck; Chicago’s July 3rd fireworks show being moved to the 4th, getting extra space at their reception venue, or bumping into Ronnie Woo-Woo while posing for pictures in front of Wrigley Field.
We went to Wrigley to get a photo, since this was the place Gwen & Jeff first met (please correct me if I’m wrong), and just happened to bump into Ronnie Woo-Woo and he was kind enough to jump into a photo with them.
While I love serendipity, I’ll also say that luck is all about how you position yourself. Gwen & Jeff picked the 4th of July and the Signature Room at the John Hancock building, because they knew at least Navy Pier would be doing fireworks.Congratulations again, you planned a beautiful wedding day.
See more photos on my Facebook page.
I photograph a dozen or more weddings each year and 99% of the time I feel that I’ve formed a very good relationship with the couples I’m working with and while I’ve never had any disasters, forming a bond with the wedding party & close family doesn’t always happen as easily. With Adrianna & Jame’s wedding that was not the case.
Tagging along side of the bridemaids & groomsmen was a blast. I even have to make special mention of the bride’s sister Marika, who was a blast to be around. Just look at some of the photos from the reception which was held at the Walter Payton Round House in Aurora, and I think you’ll see how lively this group was.
On another note, I’ve had a few weddings where the groom, or bride had served, or was serving in the military, but Adrianna & James, was actually the first wedding I’ve ever shot where the groom was dressed in uniform. While a uniform isn’t an option for every groom, it a great reminder that you don’t need to stick with just the same old tux or suit. My personal favorite, mostly because it’s what I wore, is a white dinner jacket instead of a black tux jacket. This works great for summer & spring weddings.
See more photos from Adrianna & James’ wedding on my Facebook page (don’t forget to click like)
I often get calls from couples who are looking for a photographer who isn’t a traditional wedding photographer and one of the main reasons for this search is because the couple feels that they’re style, or ceremony is going to be different from the norm.
I mostly just nod in agreement and smile as couples explain exactly how different things will be from any “normal” weddings I’ve photographed and the reason I do this is, as a photographer in a major urban area I’ve had the pleasure of seeing many diverse and unique weddings, and even then, everything that can be done, has been done, unless you’re going for some Guinness World record.
The reason I bring this all up is not because Jinnel & Randy told me their wedding was going to be “so different”, but the fact that while they may have done a few things outside of the norm, it was the overall style & vibe of their wedding that truly made it feel different and unique. The Peabody Estate, had a charm & warmth, that made it feel more like you were at the summer home of a wealthy family, and the band who was hired to play swing & jazz standards was a perfect touch. Which just added to the vintage charm of Jinnel & Randy’s wedding attire, as well as most of their guests, who for lack of a better term, played dress up to go along with a swing theme.
If I can say one thing to couples looking to break out of the wedding mold, work on doing something that really speaks to who you are and not just something that nobody else is doing.
See more photos on from this wedding on my Facebook page.
I shot Delia & Eric’s wedding on what was looking to be a very gloomy April day. Luckily for them the rain only came down while they were inside of one of Chicago’s most famous churches, Holy Name Cathedral.
While the sky didn’t open up and bath us in sun, they were fortunate enough to see the rain stop and streak of light come though in the late afternoon, giving us this beautiful shot (above) as we walked around Millenium Park downtown.
I shot Amy & Mark’s wedding back in April. It was my first wedding of the year and the weather turned out to be better than what we just had this weekend in June.
While some couples are locationally or time challenged to find an outdoor location for posed & group photos, Amy & Mark did a little pre-planning and found a great spot at a local farmstead with a river & a big red barn.
Given the fact that we were in the South Wilmington/Gardner are in central Illinois, far from where I live, leaving an outdoor location up to me might not have work out as good as this. Which goes to show you, a little bit of leg work can help make your images even better, regardless of who your photographer is.