Wedding tips, ideas & stories, from The Photographer

Posts tagged “chicago

Congratulations Meghan & Ryan, August 10th, 2013

Vintage Dress, Pie, and Rock & Roll

From the vintage wedding dress, to the wedding cake being a wedding pie, the wedding day of Meghan & Ryan was a little askew from the norm, but in a way that rocked.

The bridesmaids skipped the main stays of getting ready at a parents house, or hotel room and hit up AirBnB for a late 1800’s apartment in Wicker Park. The location was a perfect fit. Short of a cell phone in a photo, with Meghan’s hair & dress, you might be able to convince someone the image was made in the 1940’s. Ryan busted out a good looking three piece suit and we did some first look photos in Union Park on the near west side which had a nice view of the city skyline.

The ceremony and reception took place at Kitchen Chicago, where the couple skipped having a wedding cake and instead asked guests to bake and bring a pie. Making it the first wedding pie I have ever seen. The officiant for their ceremony was the owner of the Hyde Park restaurant Z&H, where they first met each other and also how I met them. From the location of Kitchen Chicago, with its gritty factory surroundings, to mixed the gender bridal party, and the overall vibe of the day, I have to say this wedding rocked.

Thank you for being up for some of my “less than traditional” wedding photos. I had a blast.

getting ready with pearls

vintage 1940's wedding dress

Vintage 1940’s style wedding dress

The flower boy.

first kiss

Kitchen Chicago.

Union Park Chicago


To see more photos from this wedding, check out the photo galleries on Facebook & Google+

Don’t forget to like or follow me Facebook / Twitter /Google +

 www.VincentDavidJohnson.com


Congratulations! Anna & Josh, May 11th, 2013

Perfect Wedding Downtown at Buckingham Fountain

Anna & Josh, had a small Jewish ceremony just south of Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park, right in the heart of downtown Chicago. The weather had been wet most of the day, but opened up for some beautiful weather right when the ceremony was to get under way. With mother nature playing nicely it was a short walk back to the Essex Hotel where they had their reception.

Don’t forget to like or follow me Facebook / Twitter /Google +

 www.VincentDavidJohnson.com

 

Don’t forget to like or follow me Facebook / Twitter /Google +

 www.VincentDavidJohnson.com


Congratulations: Jackie & Jason, March 24th, 2012

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.

Getting ready to tie the knot.

I always take care of my grooms too. You want a photo riding your Harley on your wedding day? Done. Not sure about letting one of the groomsmen drive my truck, but oh well. Got the shot.

Bridesmaids relaxing before the reception.

A littler fakery on the toss.

 

See more photos on my pages on Facebook and Google Plus

 www.VincentDavidJohnson.com


15 Questions for a Wedding Photographer #3; Film or digital

15 Questions Brides Want to Know About Wedding Photography #3

One of the interesting parts of being a professional in a field for a while is you get requests from the media for comment on events, or topics relevant to that field. Recently I was asked to answer some questions for an upcoming book geared towards future brides.

I was one of several professionals who were asked questions specifically for wedding photography, so I don’t think I’ll be spoiling anything by revealing my answers, since I’m sure they’ll use others for some of the 15 answers, plus I wasn’t asked anything about catering, or how to preform a traditional religious ceremony.

I’ll be sure to post up link when the book is published, but for now I’ll be spreading the questions and my answers (plus maybe a little extra) out over the next 15 days.

 

Question #3

Is it better to book a wedding photographer who uses film or digital equipment?

The main difference between film and digital is the look and feel of an image created with one, or the other. I tend to shoot both at weddings, but at the end of the day though it really doesn’t matter anymore, most couples will still be printing the same amount of photos to hang on their wall and they may only see a real difference in their wedding album. If you are going with a photographer who shoots only film I suggest that you do so only with a seasoned professional. Film is not for the faint of heart. Their is a reason photography has become so popular now days and that reason is because even with a point you really need to know what you’re doing.

The top right & bottom left photos were shot on film, the other two were shot digitally. The matching images were both taken within a minute of two of each other and similar settings.

 

Coming up tomorrow

Question #4

What is a proof and what are the advantages of the different types of Proofing?

Previous Questions

#2 Why do wedding photographers copyright the pictures they take at weddings? Is this common?

 

www.VincentDavidJohnson.com


Preview of Posts to Come

lightning wedding reception
lightning wedding reception

Things got a little stormy at the end of Kate & Alex's wedding this summer, but they managed to miss bad weather. My advice & tips might not be able to stop storm clouds, but it could help you avoid disasters at your wedding.

It was a busy wedding season and I haven’t been posting as many tips and advice for couples about to get married, but there are a bunch of things lined up.

•Things to look out for with group photos

•Google for weddings

•Why you have a better eye for photos than your photographer

•Tips for the Groom

Plus ways to make your wedding more image friendly.

www.VincentDavidJohnson.com
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Congratulation: Tara & Irvine, Aug. 28th, 2011

Royal Wedding with Princesses

dresses

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.

The view from the choir loft at Rockefeller Chapel.

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.

Tara & Irvine's first dance.

I had to throw this one in because it makes me smile.

The groom and his princesses.

I couldn’t have been more happy when Tara & Irvine asked me to photograph their wedding. They’re a great couple and someone my wife and are glad to say we know.
For a complete gallery & to purchase photos from this wedding visit my storefront

(Please contact the couple if the gallery is password protected)

www.VincentDavidJohnson.com
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Congratulations: Kate & Alex July 23rd, 2011

Smart museum chicago wedding

Surrounded by ArtSmart museum chicago weddingKate & 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.

bride getting ready

smart museum art wedding chicago hyde park

I love the similarities between this painting and Kate & Alex.

ring bearer drops the rings

I've seen very few weddings that don't have just a little bit of drama or an interesting side story. This photo below is part of a search for the wedding bands after they come undone from the ring bear's pillow. As a former two time ring bearer myself, my heart went out to the little guy as family & the bridal party searched for them. And yes they were found.

smart museum art wedding chicago hyde park

One of the few places in the museum which is sans art, is the handicap access ramp from the lobby to the museum floor. I took this photo as the couple made their way to a small table for appetizers and some alone time just after their ceremony.

speeches and toasts

Toasts and speeches can be one of the least exciting parts of a wedding reception, but I have to give it up to the groom, for really giving a great thank speech to his family and guests. It was warm and heartfelt and given flawlessly without a single note, or cue card read.

The wedding ended at midnight, but not before some lightning showed up.

Wedding guests dance in the open air garden at the Smart Museum under a lightning storm.

For a complete gallery & to purchase photos from this wedding visit my storefront
(Please contact the couple if the gallery is password protected)
www.VincentDavidJohnson.com
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Wedding Stories; Great Speeches, Angela & Ben

wedding toast speeches from the bride

An Amazing Wedding Speech

wedding toast speeches from the bride

[Angela, please correct me if I’ve gotten any part of this story wrong]

It’s no secret, weddings are extremely joyous & emotional events. Especially for the friends and family that are involved with the couple.

You’ve got a quivering bottom lip from the father of the bride as he walks his darling little girl down the aisle, a stuttering groom as he recites his vows and of course what wedding is complete with out tears from the mother of the groom and crying bridesmaids.

groom bride speech

Seeing over a dozen or more weddings a year I don’t often get choked up, so I tend to remember the one, or two times it does happen. I find it a little funny, as earlier in the day I had mentioned this fact to Angela (the bride), and thinking about it now, I can picture her saying in the back of her mind “Oh. I’ve got something for you later”. That is assuming she knew how emotional the room would be.

Angela was the last to give a speech that night and the story she would tell would be set up perfectly by her father, whom had mentioned in his speech about Angela’s issue of not being noticed by, or being able to find the right kind of man.

Angela, continued on with this story as she took the mic. Explaining that she was depressed about not finding that one true love. So one night she sat down and started writing love letters/poems to this yet unknown man who she was sure was out there, in hopes of one day being able to give them to him.

Admitting that the whole idea sounded like something a crazy person would do, she then produced one of the poems and read it aloud  in front of everybody and to Ben, for the first time.

As Angela, read her poem, she cried and sniffled through quite a bit of it, but finished strong in a giant embrace with her new soul mate.


To say there were very few dry eyes in the house would be an understatement. My own eyes were filled partially with tears and I had that dry feeling in the back of my throat. It was a wonderful moment and I was glad they allowed me to be the person to photograph it all.

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Photojournalism at Your Wedding

Photojournalism at a weddingWith an open door policy, the First United Methodist Church is a resting place for some of the city’s homeless.

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.

First United Methodist Church ChicagoThe First United Methodist Church is a frequent stop along the way for many downtown walking tours.

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.

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Congratulations Laura & Chris; June 18th, 2011

Poetic Wedding

Wedding Chicago, First United Methodist Church, Laura & Chris

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.

First United Methodist ChurchA view from the balcony at the First United Methodist Church.

wedding rings dress church ChicagoA view of the Church from Daley Plaza (l to r), Laura’s wedding dress, the wedding bands.

laura & Chris wedding first dance chicago, illinois

poetic wedding first dance chicago, illinoisLaura & Chris shared their first dance to live guitar played by a friend.

Click Here to view more photos on my Facebook page.

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Congratulations Gwen & Jeff, July 4th, 2010

Wrigley Field wedding photography Chicago

Wrigley Field wedding photography Chicago

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.

Chicago wedding photography Cubs Wrigley field

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.

wedding John Hancock building Chicago photography

See more photos on my Facebook page.

vincentdavidjohnson.com


Congratulations Delia & Eric, April 23rd, 2010

Chicago wedding photography

Chicago wedding photography

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.

For more images from their wedding you can visit my Facebook page.

VincentDavidJohnson.com


Photojournalistic Style

New Lenox Wedding reception

Chances are if you are reading this, you have at least heard of the term “Photojournalistic Style Wedding Photography”, but what is it and why is it so popular?

Back in the day wedding photography consisted of a trip to a photo studio where a formal posed photo would be taken after the wedding. Mainly because cameras were far to large and churches were a lot more strict. When cameras got smaller, formal photos went from the studio to the aisle and eventually the reception. Since most of this work was done by studio photographers, it retained much of the look and feel of studio work. Heavily staged & formal. You can read more about the changes in wedding photography here.
http://www.wedpix.com/articles/001/evolution-of-wedding-photography/

So why did brides start to prefer a “Photojounalistic” look, over a glamorously posed photo studio session?

One big reason as mentioned in the article I linked to above was magazine coverage of royal weddings in England & Marolyn Monroe’s wedding by magazines like Life & Look. What’s more glamorous than having your wedding covered like a newspaper or magazine story.

Another was back in the 60’s & 70’s photojournalists started to photograph weddings out side of their newspaper work and it was often done using black & white film only and shot mostly as unposed candid images. They’d go back to their darkrooms and develop and print images up at a much lower cost than color film would allow. Why do you think they call it Photojounalistic Style.

Well the natural look of it took off and some in the Photojournalism industry left and started shooting weddings full time. Some wedding photographers never even worked in the industry, but employee similar techniques. Since Photojournalism isn’t really a style, it’s a field in photography, you’d truthfully be better off and I actually prefer to call it what it really is, which is “Documentary” style photography.

As I mentioned before “Photojournalistic Wedding Photography” has kind of become a buzz word in the wedding industry, but many outside of the photo world often mistake it for several things. Make sure when you are looking for a photographer who says they shoot “Photojournalistically”, that not only do they shoot documentary style, but that you actually know what that means yourself.

First a little bit about what “Documentary” style isn’t

1. A wedding shot in all black & white, is not documentary style. Black & White film was a cheap alternative to color film and many of the photojournalists I talked about above, started out shooting just in black & white. This is a film choice not a style. Although there is a different astetic to black & white photography. It is not a style in itself.

2. Different angles, close up & purposefully blurred photos, doesn’t make it documentary. All photographers strive to get different looks of a subject, myself included. These are part of a photographer personal style.

3. It has to be candid? No not really. It’s very hard to not notice somebody standing 2 feet from you with 3 cameras wrapped around their neck, but it’s easy to get use to that person being there and in time forgetting about them. Plus, all good documentaries have head shots or group photos. Looking at the camera isn’t a sin in this style, but doing the old “buddies with their arms around each others shoulders” photo isn’t what it is about.

So what is documentary style?

Basically it is the idea that what you are taking photos of will eventually have a final output, and ending if you will. Your wedding is essentially a story and capturing moments that happen during it are very important. Detailed images of rings, glasses, hands and so on are elements of that story and when laid out in a book or slide show, these images should flow together like a story without words, or voices.

A photographers personal style is their own, you can see this in their portfolio, as chances are it is a collection of the work they have done that they feel represents what they do best. A sample of how they photograph a wedding from start to finish,is a good indicator of the overall style they shoot in. Are they Documentary? Artistic? Commercial?

And while you may not have the eye that a photographer has to tell the difference, just know if you see a lot of straight on photos of people looking right at the camera, chances are that photographer won’t be laying upside down on the dance floor to get the guys diving for the garter. And if you see an image like the one at the top of the page, chances are that photographer isn’t going to grant somebodies request for a grip and grin photo.

There’s a photo I show in my full wedding presentation. It’s of a groom on the ground with his butt in the air looking under a bed. I love the weird look I get from brides, but the next photo is his cat, under the bed, because he was looking for it as friends and family gathered at his home prior to the ceremony. I always say that there’s a method to my madness. Make sure you ask about that method and figure out whether it’s right for you or not.

www.vincentdavidjohnson.com