Molly & Tim. A Terrain Wedding in Glen Mills.

Very rarely due I not get to meet a couple prior to their wedding.  If I don't it's usually due to them living across the country, or even in a different country.  And even in those circumstances I will usually get in a Skype meeting with them - just so we can meet each other on some level.  But in the case of Molly & Tim's wedding, I didn't meet either of them in person, or online, before their wedding at Terrain.

So you may be asking yourself, why?

Here's the answer:  I'm friends with Tim's sister - Sarah - and she hired me to photograph Molly & Tim.  I've photographed Sarah's family a couple times and love them as people - so I assumed her brother would be just as awesome them.  My assumption was correct.

Molly & Tim's wedding is one of those weddings where everything works out perfectly.  The weather, the people, the locations, the style, and the all around general emotion and atmosphere.  It's a wedding where the father of the bride pulled me aside just after his dance with his daughter and said the following to me:

"You're a fucking awesome wedding photographer.  I said to my wife in the car on the way over (to the venue from getting ready) that this guy is fucking awesome."

Can anything beat that compliment?  Perhaps not.  But that sums up the day for me.  It was just fucking awesome.

Dani & Kyle. Married.

It's becoming a habit now.

Thankfully, this wedding season hasn't been too dramatic on the weather front.  Sometimes we have stretches of rainy/stormy weddings that last for weeks.  A few years back there was a run of 6 or 7 weekends in a row where there was no trace of the sun for a wedding.  But for the most part, this season has been pretty tame.  I won't complain about that.

But what this season has brought, as I noted in a previous wedding blog post, was that I've been more involved in the process of making decisions when there's a chance of rain (for an outside ceremony).  Dani & Kyle's wedding was no different.

The rain started as I pulled up the house where she was getting ready.  The humidity was insane, 90-95%, and it felt disgusting all morning.  It was going to rain, we just didn't know when.  It had to, the humidity was oppressive - it felt like you stepped into a rainforest.  Actually, we were praying for rain so it wasn't so stifling outside.  The rain would break the nastiness.

And rain it did.  It poured for about 2 hrs - pretty much the entire getting ready time period.  Decisions were going to have to be made about the ceremony.  Oddly enough, the bride from the first wedding I photographed earlier in the season (Ashley & Jay) where I helped make a decision was a bridesmaid in this wedding.  So once again I was called upon for advice.  

My vote:  Go for it.

The rain slowed down as we stepped out of the house and into the cars.  It was lightly drizzling for the 10 minute ride over to the venue.  And by the time we parked our cars, it had stopped.  The humidity dropped dramatically and the sun even showed itself.  But more rain was in the forecast so a decision had to be made about the ceremony.  The planner's suggestion was to have it under the pavilion so Dani came to me:

Nope, have it outside.  We'll be fine.  She completely agreed.  

We fit in all the portraits we could, and the ceremony, into that window we had which ended up being a couple hours.   It didn't last too long as during Dani's dance with her father a massive storm rolled in and soaked everything.  I'll never forget photographing that dance while the rain blew in the sides of the pavilion and people were huddled close in the city; my camera, clothes, and hair wet from the mist.  But it worked out.  The day was a success.  And I still maintained a perfect record.

3 for 3.


Matt & Lauren. A Family Session in Lake Placid, NY.

When I booked a wedding for the end of September in the Adirondack Mountains - Lake Placid to be specific - I knew it was going to be amazing.  Autumn.  Changing leaves.  Mountains.  Brisk weather.  That's my happiness.  I made a 4 day weekend out of it with my buddy, Aron, with the first night camping in a lean-to several miles outside of town.  For months I was looking forward to this trip.  

A couple weeks prior to leaving I made a quick little post online about me heading up that way.  A colleague of mine, Matt, reached out to me after seeing the post and inquired about a family session in that area.  I was immediately excited.  I had just booked another family session up that way for Sunday (which will be blogged as well and its incredible) but I had some time Friday available for Matt.  Plans quickly came together.  He and his awesome wife, Lauren, booked a cabin up in the Jay area and after a few chats it was decided we'd do that shoot starting at the ADK Loj where Aron and I were staying at early Friday morning.  The plan ... hike up Mt. Jo.

Mt. Jo is one of the easier, shorter, hikes in the region that yield pretty sick views.  At just under 3k feet above sea level it keeps the hike relatively short - even for an amateur hiker - and the start of the hike is at the campground we were staying at.  So it made sense.  What we didn't prepare for was having 2 children.  Small children, haha.  Just under year old for their one son and I believe 2 years old for their other son.   I'm not sure if Matt and I just blocked that part out and were thinking of photography only but we definitely didn't account for taking it slower with the kids.  45 minutes turned into 1.5hrs pretty easily.  Matt and Lauren were troopers - and so were the kids.  Nobody never showed any annoyance with it at any point of the hike AND I like to think they were rewarded with some pretty stellar views, and pics, of the experience.  We ended the calorie burning fest back at our campsite and let the kids walk in the lake ... what kid wouldn't look forward to that!

So here is our morning in the Adirondack mountains with the leaves changing!  I encourage anyone looking to do a family session to get outdoors and into nature.

Also, please don't hesitate to check out Matt & Lauren's website ... they are awesome photographers from my neck of the woods.  The More We See.

Jessica + Alan. A Greenville Country Club Wedding.

"I say go for it," I said with confidence.

Jess looks out the back window on to the ceremony location and her eyes glance up at the sky.  It's still partly sunny but she knows its going to rain soon.  Its just a matter of when.

"Ok, I trust you."

Up to this point I was 1 for 1 when calling the ceremony due to impending rain.  I was putting my perfect record on the line.  I just the radar often.  I'm a self professed weather geek - as I've noted in multiple blog posts - and I've apparently adopted that nerd-ness to wedding days.  Especially when there's rain in the forecast.

"Here's why I say yes.  You have nothing to lose.  At this point its a 40% chance of rain during your ceremony.  All that means is that there's a 60% chance it won't.  I will always choose going for it unless its pouring at that time."

Too many reception locations make such a big deal about ceremonies in inclement weather.  They ask to make the call hours before .. sometimes 3.  Thats crazy.  They could make the decision 15 minutes before and would be fine.  Yeah, it would be a bit rushed or chaotic for a few minutes but oh well, no harm done.  But this time Jessica trusted me and I had the planner on my side as well - which doesn't always happen.

So we press ahead with the outdoor ceremony.

The thunder gets closer by the minute.  You can feel that it will rain very soon.  The trees show the backs of their leaves and the sky darkens.  I change my shutter speed from 500 to 125.  They say their vows.  It darkens fast.  They exchange rings.  The thunder is loud now - lightning is on the horizon.  They kiss.  A slight spitting rain develops.  They walk - fast - back down the aisle.  The rain increases.  They stop for a kiss.  Rain now - steady.  The last person walks under a small covered portion of the patio while the guests are shuffled quickly to cocktail hour.  

It pours.  Downpour is a better word.  The clouds quite literally open up and let go of what they've been holding on to for hours now.  We fit it in and everyone is elated.

2 for 2.

Claire + Marc. A Bartram's Garden Wedding in West Philadelphia.

Claire had me at film.

When she contacted me last year to discuss the possibility of me photographing her wedding at Bartram's Gardens in Philly she mentioned her love for film - and more specifically instant film and the use of Holga cameras.  Those are the outer niche of the film world and I fell in love instantly.  Every time I saw her post a Holga image online I got a bit more excited for their wedding.  I knew they were going to let me explore and allow me the creative freedom to express my style properly.  There is nothing better you can ask for from clients.

The ability to explore.

I wasn't afraid to push the boundaries a bit and I did so at their wedding and I personally feel they were rewarded with something unique and personable - which matches their personalities perfectly.  I was relaxed and tried a few things I have never before at a wedding because I was too scared to miss a shot.  This time I still got the shot I wanted, just from a different perspective.

So here is the wedding day of Claire and Marc.  Check out the bottom for a little surprise.

And here's a little something special.  I've been wanting to try this for a while and thought this would be the perfect wedding to do so.  I handed Claire's sister a 36 shot point and shoot camera and told her to fire it off whenever she wanted.  I did a bit of explaining of things I was looking for but I also made sure she was able to have full creative control.  She was 12 (or 13, I forget).  I wanted to have someone get in to areas I wasn't able to and what better way then with a child?  So here's a few of my favorites from her set.