So I was the kid who at age 4 was given a superman cape..... And promptly jumped through a plate glass window. Later I was the one who totalled his first car within 24 hours of getting his drivers license. And then... well I got older and at least look before jumping now. But I am the photographer who doesn't mind walking down an ice covered trail next to a 60 foot drop to get the perfect frozen waterfall shot. Or has braved the wrath of at least a dozen pastors, preachers, and other officiants to make sure I get the first kiss, or the father of the bride tearfully hugging his little girl. So far I haven't been chased out, so I must be doing something right!
So it's November of 2007. And I'm getting married! And just about everything that could go wrong does!
Everything had been planned to perfection by my beautiful bride to be. The ceremony was to be held at the stunning Como Conservatory in the sunken garden. After the ceremony a short limo ride over to the Radisson for our reception for almost 300 guests and family members. My jobs for the day were pretty straight forward. Go pick up the tuxes, go check into the hotel, and meet everyone at the photo studio to get dressed for photos. Easy enough right? Well as we are getting set up to do the formal family portraits I find out that not only is my tux jacket the wrong size. I'm pretty sure it was a kids size. I mean, I can't even get my arms into this thing.
And since everything was planned so perfectly, there was no time to drive across town to get another one. Everyone was panicked, nobody knew what to do! Our photographer was the one who came up with the idea to steal my fathers suit jacket to use, telling us that in the photos nobody will be able to tell the difference! Crisis averted!
If only mother nature played along!
During the ceremony it started snowing. The news told us just a dusting, nothing to worry about! We were thinking to ourselves that this would be stunning! The glass conservatory all lit up after dark. A gentle snow falling quietly everywhere....
By the time the ceremony got done there was a couple inches on the ground. We made it to the hotel by the skin of our teeth, and some very creative swearing by the limo driver. We walk in to the beautifully decorated event space to meet our 300 guests only to find out that someone caught the updated weather, and they described the incoming storm as the snowmaggedon or some other silly name. Our guests are almost at a panic. Some are already thanking us and heading for the door. We had planned enough food and beverages for a 6 hour reception. By 10pm the room looked deserted except for the few immediate family members who were staying in the hotel. And since there was enough free food and drinks for a small army, everyone was having the time of their lives. Dance offs were had. A couple people stripping. And my little brother who stole a servers tray and was filling it with cups of beer and using it as a to-go carrier.... It was honestly one of the best parties I have ever seen in my almost 40 years.
And that is where it just began to get interesting!
During the reception and all through the night the snow continued. We had booked a suite overlooking Lake Superior in Two Harbors for our Honeymoon. Non refundable of course. So after we left the reception, spent almost 2 hours pulling well over 300 bobby pins out of my wife's hair. We were able to get a couple hours of sleep before our adventure! We had to drop a whole carload of presents off at home before we left town, and the normally 3 hour drive took us closer to seven hours. By the time we got to Two harbors there was about 20 inches of snow on the roadway. Me driving our Toyota Corolla along the edge of insanity somehow made it to within 10 miles of the lodge, but then we could go no further. Nothing was open. The lodge had closed hours ago, and left our key outside for us. And we were stuck. Luckily enough we found a guy plowing snow behind a gas station, and after some heavy negotiations that left me about $150 poorer, he agreed to bust us a trail to the lodge, and forever became our hero! Nothing seemed to go right, and we loved every minute of it! Me and my wife still talk about the wedding, the honeymoon, and the plow guy!
It has been 12 years now that me and my wife have been together.
We have been blessed with a daughter whom wants to know the why behind everything. And a 4 year old son who enjoys running into things at full speed! During the summer months when I'm not shooting weddings, we love spending time in Northern MN. Either somewhere along the North Shore, or at my parents cabin by Bemidji.
I myself enjoy just watching my children play, or as I like to call it, attempting to kill each other. Reading just about anything written by Clive Cussler, Rick Riordan, and Janet Evanovich. Or listening to photography podcasts.
I have been in and around the photography community since the late 90's. As much as I would love to say I jumped out of the womb with a 35mm camera in my hands. It's been more of a on again off again love affair. My first job in photography was actually in a photo lab. Then (probably the worst job ever)managing a photo studio inside of Walmart! I learned two very important lessons in my time there. The first, that I absolutely hated working for a large corporation. And second, that I probably didn't have the patience to be a newborn photographer. I have tried with my own children a few times, but with little success.
There was a golden side to it though.... I learned how to pose, shoot, and work under high stress very quickly and efficiently. During the holidays I was shooting, editing, and selling up to 20 sessions a day from single kids to large groups. This has been priceless as a wedding photographer. I'm able to keep the bridal party on schedule, and move quickly to capture the shots at the speed of life!.
As a Wedding Photographer
I would describe being being a Wedding Photographer as one of the scariest, most stressful, and rewarding jobs out there!
You alone are trusted with capturing some of the most important moments of someones life. Everything is moving fast. There are schedules that have to be adhered to. Lighting is constantly changing, people are moving. Random people stand up and block shots at the worst times. And there are no retakes, no do overs! And all of your mistakes throughout the entire day are captured in your images! But when done correctly, you capture beautiful emotional images that tell the story of that day!
So what makes me different from every other photographer out there? Well I do of course! My expertise, my personality, my passion, and my personal life all make my wedding clients experience different. The way I see the world is different. And I am definitely not for everyone. I meet face to face with every client I book. Not to sell them a wedding package, or to show them all the coolest new products, but to see if we would be a good fit! As a wedding photographer I book clients on average about 12-18 months before their wedding. We correspond about wedding plans, the schedule, the dresses, the family. We might shoot an engagement session. Meet for coffee. We send dozens of messages back and forth over the course of the year. On your wedding day itself, I spend more time with the bride than the groom does! The wedding photographer is a big part of your day!
After the wedding we talk some more.
I still talk to couples who's weddings I shot years ago. I have photographed their children, family portraits, and I've been doing it long enough that before too long I will probably shoot graduation photos, and their kids weddings! I firmly believe that as a wedding photographer I build a lifelong relationship with my clients. Building friendship and trust plays a big role in your photography. If you actually like your photographer it shows in the photos! You trust them, and are comfortable with them. The smiles are real. Your more relaxed. And you let them in on some beautiful moments because of it!
It's just the way I do things
It has taken years for me to arrive at where I am now as a photographer. I have shot a lot of weddings! My couples keep getting younger and younger. The technology changes almost as soon as it comes out. But my belief that I am documenting weddings not just for the couples that hire me, but for their children and grandchildren. I know that this is a hard thing to think about when you are in your 20's or early 30's, but it's the truth. One of my favorite wedding photos of all time can't be found on instagram, facebook, or even the web! It is the tiny little photograph in a silver frame of my grandparents wedding that sits on a shelf overlooking the dining room table in their house. The photo was taken almost 60 years ago. Grandma died years ago. But that photo is still sitting on the shelf that it was on when I was little. Those are the types of memories and photos I love making!
Everyone gets exactly what they are looking for!
Every photographer out there has variations of the same three packages! Yes the prices and the items in the package may vary slightly, but they are all pretty much the same! My job as a wedding photographer is to get you exactly what you is best for you and your wedding!
That's why I do things a little bit differently. I don't have any pre made packages pushing the products i like to sell. I sit down with every couple, I find out what is important to them, and I build options just for them to fit their budgets.