How did you get into the wedding industry?
I started photography in the 7th grade in Yearbook. I loved developing black and white film and watching the fiber based papers come to life. This obsession with photography flowed through high school and college where I was the Editor and Chief of my college, St. Norbert College, Yearbook. My senior year in college I photographed my first wedding. It was in Seville, Spain for a friend of mine's sister. I thought it was a lot of fun and they were thrilled with the images.
I spent time in AmeriCorps after college and carried my camera with me everywhere I traveled. I was in Northern California in the redwoods and I loved nature photography. During this time I took more classes in photography so that I could develop and print color film. You could say it was my life at that point. I worked in a gallery and frame shop in Northern California in my off time and printed and framed like crazy.
When I moved back to the midwest, for my now wife, I found myself in Chicago. I was a part time bartender and wedding photographer. It worked great for me and my business grew VERY quickly. Before I knew it I was photographing 50+ weddings a year. I scaled that back a lot and I currently photograph around 25/year.
How would you describe your style?
My style is a mix of candid, creative, and posed photojournalism. I use a lot of off camera lighting to bring in the beautiful blue skies of Northern Michigan and add to the details and accents of the wedding day. I always work with two cameras on me at all times to make sure that I am ready for unforseen moments during the wedding day.
I love telling the story of the day and being entrenched in all of the emotions.
I am very relaxed but assertive. I was taught years ago by a former boss that you should think in the future and that is what I do at Weddings to position myself where the action will be.
My clients love me and this shows by the number of positive reviews that I get online.
What is your favorite part of a wedding?
I love the fact that people are always happy. I am just lucky to be invited to celebrate their wedding day. The whole day is special to me and I try not to pick favorites so that I can remain unbiased and capture the wedding day how it happens.
What are some of your favorite trends from this wedding season?
I see a lot of clients using details, clothes, etc that you would have seen in your parents wedding. Of course they are much nicer and modernized, but they are going back in history looking for that antique, classic look.
What advice do you have for couples about choosing a photographer?
Go to google and type "photographer's name" wedding reviews. You should literally stalk your photographer and know everything about them. You are about to spent a great deal of time and money with someone and you should have a good vibe. Keep in mind that everything that you spend on your wedding day will be documented by this person. Are they going to do the job for you? This is all that you have after the day to remember everything.
How far in advance should a couple look into booking your services?
This varies from year to year. I say as soon as they are engaged and know their date. A good number of my clients book before they even have their venues set.
What advice do you have for couples about the planning process?
Don't do too much so that you are overwhelmed. Take it in steps and look for assistance, whether that be a planner/coordinator/friend/family. Get everything completed far in advance so that you don't have to worry about a thing even months before your event.
What do you love about living and working in Northern Michigan?
I grew up in Northern Michigan in Alpena. I live in Petoskey now and we could not be happier to have such a gorgeous town, friends, and lifestyle with year round activities. I have driven in all the States in the U.S. and traveled extensively overseas but home is Northern Michigan. The four seasons are where it is at.:-)