midwest wedding photographer marble arches at madison memorial union
Madison’s Memorial Union is maybe my favorite building ever – marble, history, and the world’s best terrace. It is the rare kind of space that is actually used on a daily basis – students studying in the halls, people attending performances or grabbing a beer. It is easy to ignore the amazing golden marble arches when you are just on your way from the theater to the gallery, but it is one of my favorite spaces, and it was a perfect place to get a photo of Kristen and Mike before their reception in the Great Hall!

minneapolis wedding photographer first dance with dramatic lighting at the varsity theater

I give myself a lot of arbitrary rules about how I show images on my blog and how I talk about them. As an owner of a creative business, I have to think a lot about how people perceive the Becca Dilley Brand, as opposed to how people might just think of me, Becca.

So I generally don’t show Black and White images – I love monotone images and deliver some in all sessions I do, but I think that you really see the skill of lighting technique and post production work with color images. I believe that it makes me stand out to show images that don’t have to be treated into black and white.

I generally try to show off new lighting techniques or composition techniques – something complicated or difficult. I believe it again echoes a level of technical difficulty.

I try to blog on a set schedule – always in the mornings – Because it makes me seem organized, kind of.

But, I just love this photo of Brooke and Adam dancing. I love the light (most of which is just part of the Varsity Theater experience), I love all the guests trying to take iphone photos (I’m guessing those didn’t work out), and I love the intimacy in a crowded room that Brooke and Adam emit.

wa frost wedding st paul bride and groom on patio

I often post a lot of fancy photos with complicated lighting and technical aspects. I do that to stand out as a photographer who knows about both technique and working with people. But I also just love a good photo of two people, crazy in love, in a pretty patio in the spring time. I know Ann has her eyes closed in laughter, but sometimes the imperfection is even more perfect. Congratulations to Ann + Jim on the start of a fantastic marriage!

When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.
-Marcus Aurelius

In winter, I traveled to Ely for a feast in the boundary waters. An extravagant multi-course meal, referencing the history of the boundary waters as well as modern tradition, cooked by J.D. Fratzke of Strip Club Meat and Fish. Part celebration of the bounty that is the Boundary Waters Wilderness Area, part styled photoshoot, part campaign to save the Boundary Waters, it was easily one of the most spectacular gatherings I have been a part of. This was a featured piece in the Heavy Table, and with support from Save the Boundary Waters.

And what a privilege it is to be alive and in the Boundary Waters. The Boundary Waters is the most spectacular preserved wilderness in the United States, and accessible enough to be enjoyed by those of us in Minnesota. Thank you yo Save the Boundary Waters for the work they do to preserve this precious resource.

Styling: Becca Dilley
Tabletop: Wood from the Hood
Outfitter: Paragis Northwoods Company

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  • Wendy Nielsen - Yum!!! These photos are wonderful!

I can’t think of a better way to show modern Minneapolis cuisine to your out-0f-town guests than a rehearsal dinner at Bachelor Farmer’s Afghan Room. It has a cosmopolitan ease and a Midwest soul. And the food, of course, is amazing – fun with throw back tastes (deviled eggs and popovers) and so excellently executed that it feels totally contemporary. I have a feeling Megan and Reed felt the same about having their groom’s dinner there – comfortable, tasty, and welcoming for their guests. What a great way to kick off a wedding weekend in downtown Minneapolis.
bachelor farmer minneapolis wedding photographer rehearal dinner in afghan roombachelor farmer minneapolis wedding photographer rehearal dinner in afghan roombachelor farmer minneapolis wedding photographer rehearal dinner in afghan roombachelor farmer minneapolis wedding photographer rehearal dinner in afghan room

silhouette wedding photo wi

A blazing sunset for Mindy + Peter’s wedding in Wisconsin last weekend. This is a two image composite taken with a tilt shift lens. Hopefully all you notice is how insanely in love they are.

  • Camille Stallings - Oh my god! So beautiful! Love how you captured the vibrant colors. :)

  • Jessica Gensler - Such a beautiful picture! I love it!! :)

using a prism for minneapolis wedding photography outside varsity theater dinkytown

When I was a camp counselor, we called it a “bag of tricks” – you need to have a lot of ideas ready to go to on a moments notice. Sometimes you don’t need a trove of camp songs and a game that requires you to take off your shoes, but you are very happy to have them when it rains for a third day.

The “bag of tricks” is something I consciously bring to my wedding photography work. Having ideas for photographing a wedding party of 20 people, making mom feel comfortable, lighting a dark room, finding a new way to photograph a familiar space.

I’m bringing a new tool to my bag: this image was shot with a triangular prism (sometimes called a chimping technique) to bring a reflection into the image in camera (as opposed to a post processing or photoshop technique, etc). I love that it emphasized the vertical marquee and brings that line all the way through to Brooke + Adam – making them the center, reflected, of their preview wedding photo.

  • Stacy Cole - Love this !!! ❤️❤️

  • Jennifer Koch - This is amazing!

guthrie theater wedding reception in black box theater with dramatic lighting panorama

So, here is the deal with panoramas. I do some super large scale panoramas with 100 photos or more that make an image have a very shallow depth of field for a very interesting effect. I try those at weddings on occasion when the fates conspire to combine the right location, a little extra time, and the right couple. Those are all about the art of the panorama – creating something unexpectedly technical by combining images.

But I shoot location panoramas at almost every wedding. Occasionally, when I am waiting for photoshop to crunch together 10 images of a wedding reception set up, or a ceremony location, or the outside of a venue, I often think “why am I chopping up my workflow with this image that my couples might not even notice”

And the answer, even though people don’t always notice a panorama, is that it adds to the storytelling of the wedding day. It adds a bit of exposition and structure and texture to the whole gallery of images.

This panorama of the Guthrie Theater black box reception space, is one of my favorite examples. This is usually a working theater space, but when it is transformed into a wedding reception, the dark scaffolding disappears with the dramatic lighting that creates a whole new space, and a very strong atmosphere. A panorama makes sure that you understand what it *feels* to be there, not just what it looks like to be there. Intimate, magical, dramatic.