Madison Club Wisconsin destination wedding

It can be easy to get caught up in the details and locations of weddings – the pretty things that have been created and bought and altered and gathered to adorn the people and tables and buildings. And, of course, I do care about documenting those things – making pretty images that bring a texture to the documentation of a wedding day. But what I really love is the people. Because, at a wedding, there is just so much to celebrate. People being together for the first time, and for the last time, and for the only time. People surviving, and overcoming, and then choosing to celebrate.

There is just so much to celebrate.

So thank you, Kai and Luke, for letting me celebrate with you. There were so many beautiful things about your wedding, from the paper to the people, and you really enjoyed all of it.

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Ceremony Venue: Luther Memorial Church Madison
Reception Venue: Madison Club
Wedding Planner: Lavender Hill Wedding + Events
Accommodations: Concourse Hotel Madison
Florist: Garden Laurels
Rentals/Decor: Event Essentials Decor
Hair & Makeup : Alan Koa
Band: The Sundogs

Silverwood Park Wedding

The best explanation for Kristen + Brad’s wedding would be meticulous planning, and then being open to the spontaneity of being surrounded by all your closest friends and family. And that is a truly admirable combination – beautifully chosen to be slightly rustic with traditional elements, and then the occasional chipmunk, very energetic dancing, and a lot of laughter. I had such a fun time working with these two: I know the future holds some well planned and very fun days ahead! bride getting ready at blast salonbride and groom on gold medal parkgroom at gold medal parkflash composite of wedding part at silverwood parkwedding ceremony at silverwood park minneapolisbride and father at silverwood park wedding receptionbride and groom at night at silverwood park minneapolis

Winona Minnesota Basilica Wedding

Work hard/Play hard is maybe something Ryan worked through in his college basketball days. And perhaps the new traditional is best defined along those lines – a touch of classic (gorgeous church, beautifully appointed couple) and a touch of partying. Tera and Ryan pulled this off perfectly – emotionally touching ceremony, intimate happy times together, and a lot of celebrating with their wedding party and friends. Making a party this fun look this good is something Tera and Ryan are made for! Thank you to the lovely Meg Ann for second shooting with me and being a wonderful car companion! bride and groom on golf course at night in winona mnbasilica of St Stanislaus Kostka winona mnbridesmaids in basilica of St Stanislaus Kostka winona mnwedding ceremony panorama in basilica of St Stanislaus Kostka winona mninterior of basilica of St Stanislaus Kostka winona mnbride and groom in basilica of St Stanislaus Kostka winona mnlarge wedding party winona mn

Welcome to the tundra

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Winter is maybe my favorite time to do portrait sessions outside – no one else is around, everything looks totally different, you can walk on water, and everyone is motivated to finish up and get cocoa. Bethany and Stamatis had the extra advantage of shocking their non-Minnesota friends and family by showing them that Minnesota actually looks exactly how they imagined.

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church and Varsity Theater Wedding {Elyse + PJ}

I think Elyse + PJ might hold the record for most times a couple said “lets get this party started” at a wedding. Which is to say, they really know how to kick up their heels, and had the foresight to plan an excellent wedding celebration to share with their friends. And when they weren’t laughing and smiling, they were simply enjoying being with each other and enjoying the day! 

Ceremony: Gloria Dei Lutheran Church
Reception: Varsity Theater

The duck band and the diamond

duck band as wedding ring minnesota wedding photographerAnyone who can combine a love of hunting with an elegant wedding is pretty tops in my book. Perfect example – Janet’s beautiful filigree diamond wedding ring and Dave’s custom made duck band wedding ring. Like, based on the metal bands used to track duck migrations. Elegant, very Minnesota, and perfectly suited for each other.

My 9 Best Time-Sink Photos of 2014

The more comfortable you get with your equipment and anticipation of events, the easier aspects of shooting a wedding become. And ease is death for creativity. Because there are things I *know* will work – set up my light here, use this lens, say these things – I know they will produce good results. As you trim away the opportunity for poor results, you also trim away the transcendent accidents. And so you have to play around even more to bring in those challenges – finding new places to shoot, less intuitive ways to use your lighting, more challenging techniques.

All of that is to say, I spend a lot of my days editing weddings and putting together complicated panoramas and flash composites that most people never notice. I do this for myself as a creative person, and I do this for my clients so they have something unique and unexpected, and I do it for the wedding community, which continually pushes everyone to adapt or be made obsolete.

So, in no particular order, where my time went in 2014, as expressed in 9 photos:
(note: I have put most of these in as *large* photos for retina displays, so they might take a while to load. If you don’t have a fancy display, it is worth clicking to view the full sized images)

Wisconsin Capitol Engagement

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This is made of 105 images stitched together. Because of the detail of the architecture and the strong lines, getting this to like up correctly took several attempts and basically stopped my computer from processing anything else for about 4 hours. Time shooting: 10 minutes Time processing; 4 hours

Dino wedding crasher

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I don’t plan to add dinosaurs to any other wedding photos in the near future, but this was a special occasion. After I layered in the dino, I still spent an hour thinking “would a dino get closer? would a dino be smaller?” Time shooting: 10 minutes Time processing: 1 hour

LED light painting

Minneapolis photographer using led light painting at night

This image was created with a pixelstick (a programmable LED light wand). Not only did it take time to set up the image correctly for use in the pixlestick, but I needed 2 other photographers (one to hold a flash to illuminate the model and one to run with the pixelstick to create the skyline backdrop). This was a 5 second exposure, but took hours to create. Time shooting: 2 hours Time processing: 20 minutes. Special Thanks to Katrina (from Studio Laguna) and Jeannine (Jeannine Marie Photography) for their grace, humor, and time.

perfectly looped liquids

animated gif of distilling proces through copper pipes Norseman Distillery Northeast Minneapolis

This is an animated GIF (cinemagraph) of Norseman distilling using dozens of still images animated to create a moving photo. The largest challenge is having the images loop correctly, particularly with 4 streams of moving liquid. Time shooting: 20 minutes Time processing: 2 hours

Night tent


Backyard tent at night for this engagement session. Playing around with long exposures (even with the tripod, I couldn’t eliminate all camera shake from the trees) but ultimately worth it for the stars and warm sky lighting. Time to shoot: 40 minutes Time to process: 20 minutes

Boom island panorama

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This is 99 images stitched together. Making panoramas with architectural elements is something I regret as soon as I sit down to my computer to correct lines and eliminate bowing, but something I am happy for as soon as it is done. Time shooting: 10 minutes Time processing: 5 hours

Perspective shift

best minneapolis wedding photographer panorama of bride and groom in fall

Another panorama on Boom Island, this time with more foliage. 100+ photos merged together. I took versions of this setting with a wide angle lens, and the depth of field and perspective make it feel common – the bokeh panorama brings out the magic in the light through smaller depth of field.

Seeing Double

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3 images (one of the two of them sitting, one of Anna being still and Tom being silly, one of the other way around). These guys are funny, they are playful, they are brave, they are entertainers. So, you know, something totally different was called for. Time to shoot: 10 minutes
Time to process: 30 minutes

Tight spaces

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This is another perfect use for a panorama – there isn’t enough space between the stairs and the wall where I was standing to use anything but a fish eye for this image, but by stitching 30 + images together, I can bring in the entire staircase. Time to shoot: 10 minutes
Time to process: 2 hours