Morgan and Cody are married!

What a wedding.  I've had the honor of photographing both of the Troyer weddings and I always love it.  They are so heartfelt and so much fun.  This one was set up in Gene and Brenda's back yard, and I loved that we could photograph in a place that meant so much.  Congratulations, and it was an honor to be with you guys.  

Maggie and Branson are married!

Maggie and Branson had a beautiful Sunday afternoon for a wedding. Wait till you see Branson's face at first look, and I loved that we were able to sneak away at dusk and get some photos.  There is just so much feeling in late evening.  Congratulations guys, and thanks for having me be a part of your wedding day! 

Ceremony: St Patrick's park

Reception: The Brick

Decor: A Trick or Two

Luke and Ali are married!

Lovely, rainy, classic.  Luke and Ali's wedding had a beautiful setting and a crew of friends and family to celebrate with them.  Congrats! 

Katie and Garrett are married!

There are a lot of photos here.  I don't regret that.  I'm loving getting back into wedding season, and I'm happy it was with these guys.  The whole day was full of fun, and it's great to photograph with a crew that doesn't take themselves too seriously.  Congrats! 

Also, venue was Potawatomie Conservatories, which was lovely.  

Miranda

I'm discovering that collaboration is the next level for me in creativity. It feels great to be working with people who are bringing their vision to me, and working together to achieve it.  For this shoot, we brought 4 people together who all brought strong artistic visions and decided to see what we could do. I loved the process and I'm happy to recommend everyone listed here.
Model: Miranda Savoie
Stylist: Tania Ballvé
Makeup: Ashley Troxel

Jeremy and Cheryl are married!

I love this family and I'm so glad this was how I started my year off.  A wonderful and crazy crew of kids are now a family, and will surely terrorize dance floors wherever they go.  

The Listening Series

Taking photos of people is delicate work.  

There isn't so much danger for a photographer, but for someone who sits for a photo, (particularly for someone who isn't a professional model) it is a vulnerable experience.  In some ways I've blocked that out of my mind because for a photographer, the job is intense enough without that weight.  Do we have the right light? Is everyone on time? Are my 22 batteries all charged? Do I have the correct modifiers?  Do I know where I'm going, and will my contact be there? Of all these concerns, many times except for the most basic concerns, the comfort of a subject is not high on the priority list.  Even less, my understanding of their story.  

While writing my best of 2016 blog, I stumbled upon a realization as I was writing.  A camera serves as a shield.  In fact I've kept it up at the expense of knowing almost anything about my subjects.  This gets work done, and allows me to make photos, but I'm not sure that it allows me to make portraits.  To me, a portrait is made through a connection.  It can be as simple as putting the camera down and asking questions.  So that's what I did.  I recruited 10 volunteers to meet with, and simply put the camera down.  I planned to ask them 3 questions.  

1. How did you grow up?

2. What is a good memory you have? 

3. What is something you miss?  

After 1 or 2 people, I realized that the first question could simply open the communication by itself.  As it turns out, people generally are happy to tell a story to someone who is actually listening (as I have failed to do so many times), and the stories were wonderful. People are so much more interesting when you are interested.  After a while, I found my camera and took a few simple photos, or photos that i thought they would enjoy, sometimes while they told me a story and that was that. 

I was thinking of a clickbait headline for this project.  "Photographer asks questions, and what he found will change everything!".  That would be a good way to both cheapen and complicate a thing that was neither cheap, nor complicated.   It was a simple exercise, and I learned simple but important things.  We all want to be heard, and we all have much more depth than we are able to show on a regular basis.  It's refreshing to share that depth on occasion, and it's important to share it with the right people.  We need face to face time with people who listen.  That transcends photography. 

Rudy and Michelle are married!

 This wedding had the distinction of having the most ice on every single surface of any wedding I've photographed, but the ceremony was full of warmth.  The hymn sing during the ceremony took me back to childhood as well.  A beautiful wedding in Champaign, IL and a wonderful couple.  Congrats Michelle and Rudy!  I was honored to be a part of it.  

2016: Weddings in review.

2016.  Man, what a year for weddings.  I was able to photograph the most I ever have, survive an entire system switch in the middle from Canon to Nikon, and make some wonderful friends.  There is such an overwhelming number of photos that it's difficult to pick my favorites, so I just went with my gut and grabbed some.  If you trusted me in 2016 to photograph a wedding, i just want to thank you so much.  It's a tremendous thing to be there on a day that means so much, and I am grateful that you picked me to be there.