Southwest Montana had an exceptionally long stretch of Fall colors this past season. I was fortunate enough to be able to get out to photograph all of it’s grandeur with a few late season weddings and a couple family portrait sessions like these of my friend Beth and her family. An old friend from my days at The University of Montana, she now works here in Bozeman and they wanted to make some fun family portraits before the rains came. We found some time to go out for a walk in a nearby park on the outskirts of Bozeman. The setting sun mixed with the range of green, yellow and orange colors made for some sweet light to photograph in. Fall days don’t get much better in my book. Here are some of my favorite photographs I made from their family photo shoot. Thanks for looking, -M
For the past 7 weeks, I’ve been making a weekly trek to the outskirts of Bozeman to the Gallatin Valley Botanical farm with my girlfriend Lora to scope out her new puppy and best friend. Ten puppies equals awesome. Our Wednesday visits quickly became the best day of of the week for us. Lora’s friends Matt and Jacy, owners of the local Bozeman farm, had a litter of ten puppies and one would soon come bouncing into my life. During my youth growing up in Illinois, my family bred labs on our five acre wooded property. I have some good family memories growing up around labradors.. Now by association, I would get to be around one again. Awesome indeed.
Before the puppies all went to new homes, I ventured one evening over to the Bozeman organic farm with my camera and made some fun family photos of Matt and Jacy along with their kids and an army of labrador puppies. It’s not often an opportunity like this happens. We had a great time. In the end Lora got a yellow male and is calling him “Timber”. This will be fun. The dog adventure begins. -M
A few weeks ago, I got a call from my friend Jessica asking if I would make some maternity photo portraits of her. This will be her first child and she wanted to have herself and her belly documented. Having never photographed a maternity session before, I was intrigued and happily accepted. It was a fun challenge. We got together in the morning. I brought my mobile photo studio to her apartment and we spent our time sipping coffee and experimenting with different photo set ups. I wanted to simplify things, eliminate distractions and make the photos all about her. I’m all about versatility in my photographs and I want to give my clients options from their photo sessions. From her place we ventured outside and walked around downtown Bozeman chatting, collaborating and looking for interesting backgrounds. It was so fun to see her excitement. Two weeks out from having her life completely change into her upcoming motherhood. I’m excited for her. Congrats to the mama-to-be! -M
One of the surprising twists and wonderful honors I’ve been fortunate enough to experience as I grow my wedding photography business is returning clients. In the wedding industry, that rarely happens. Much like age has brought some wisdom my way over the years, outcomes of how I once thought my path would play out, rarely in fact, did so. I’m so grateful. I have been fortunate in ways I never thought I would have had a chance to be. I photographed Gillian and Jeff’s wedding day years ago in Sacramento, California and ever since they have continued to bring me back into their lives to document their special events over the years. For those of you who may not know, weddings are just one of many facets to my creative photographic outlets. Years ago, Gillian expressed to me just how much I made her feel comfortable in front of a camera. I feel privileged that I can continue come back into their lives to document their celebrations. Without even realizing it, I find myself in the role of a documentary family photographer. These two have been huge supporters of my photography from early on in my career.
A month ago, I left Bozeman, Montana and hopped a plane to San Francisco to spend a Sunday afternoon with my old friends/clients to document the new addition of their daughter Miriam. I spent the day documenting a traditional Jewish naming ceremony at their home and the celebration afterwards complete with the portraits of numerous family and friends. Gillian was very clear in what she wanted – as many photos of her little girl as possible. I was happy to oblige. What a cutie. It was a wonderful time. I recognized many familiar smiles from the wedding years ago and realized I had seen many of Gillian and Jeff’s coupled friends back then early on in their relationships. Fast-forward five years and now I had this new window back into their worlds seeing them with kids in tow. Add some good caterer BBQ with sunny weather to boot and you’ve got all the ingredients for a beautiful San Francisco Bay Area fall day. It was fun for me to spend time with these good folks again. My, how time flies. So glad I could be a part of it. -M
A few weeks ago, I got a call from my cousin Kim saying that she, her husband Daniel and their little daughter Adleigh would be passing through Bozeman on a family road trip and they wanted to have some family portraits made. Having a rare break in the action from my busy wedding season, we decided to meet up and head over to Hyalite Reservoir. I’m a sucker for the outdoors and will always default to nature for my portrait backdrops. It just seems more natural. Pun intended. Lucky for me the whole area is one big scenic postcard. After a sunset dinner of Roost Fried Chicken, a new Bozeman favorite restaurant, we started playing with the light of the setting sun. Again, I wanted to photos to be about them and not their clothing. With the help of my assistant/sister Katie, we made some fun images and laughed all evening at Adleigh’s reactions. Thanks for looking, -M
To see all of their photo shoot, go here.
Finding a window of opportunity with two extra days off from the newspaper this week, I packed up my gear and headed over to Missoula, Montana to visit my family yesterday afternoon. My parents had informed me that my Grandma Jean was being honored for 50 years of volunteering for a PEO (which is womens philanthropy sorority) and they wanted a nice portrait of her. Enter photographer grandson. I wanted to show people the grandma I know and love. The one who giggles at her own stories, the one who cooked our amazing family meals and a the formatable opponent who dominated the countless family boardgames growing up. It was a chance to photograph my second mother. I was excited about this photo shoot. I began by looking over her wardrobe. When making portraits of people, I always want them to wear clothing that is simple and not distracting. Remember it’s about the faces and not the clothing. I choose a solid navy color, non-pattern sweater for her (that also happened to make her blue eyes pop, bonus!) and choose similar color palette for Aca (my grandpa). He is a man that appreciates his flannel. A good trait by any other circumstances except for portraits with other people. I want the viewers eye to go right to the person’s face. not the pattern of their shirt. Different patterns on shirts can clash too easily with each other. Tip – This can be a good thing to remember when photographing your own family. I chose the most simple pattern I could find and set them against a blue piece of sewing material borrowed from my mom. I liked the effect of blue on blue. From there it was all about capturing the interaction between the two of them. They will have been married for 58 years this June. One of the immediate benefits to photographing a family member is that you know just the right way how to make them laugh. It didn’t take long. The end result are photographs I think really captured their personalities. Looking over these again, realized I am really going to cherish these for the rest of my days. So glad I was able to finally do it. Hope you like them as much as I do. -M
Happy New Year folks!
I don’t shoot many family portraits due to being so busy with the newspaper or weddings, but every once in a while an opportunity presents itself. My close friends from college Chris and Molly called me up over the holidays and asked if I would make some portraits of their family and of their new son Jude. They were back in Montana from Davis, California for the Christmas break. I love seeing old friends. I met the crew out at Rockin TJ Ranch just outside of Bozeman where they were staying for the week. The place is a cute little wedding venue during the summertime and served as a quite, cozy place for their family to stay. With temperatures hovering in the teens and knowing I would have limited infant enthusiasm for pictures with Jude, I elected to photograph their family in the large banquet hall where there was lots of pretty light and warm indoor heating. It was a pretty versatile space to work in and I was quickly able to set up a couple different portrait scenes. I had a great time on this shoot and was pleased with the results. Who knows? I may have a future in baby photos. Jude was so stinking cute. What a smile. Thanks for looking everyone! -M
I’ve been meaning to post these pics for a while now. A couple months ago, some friends of mine, Ben and Charlotte, approached me about making some fun portraits of them that they could send to their families both here and overseas in Germany and Belgium. They had never had professional portraits taken together and wanted photos that would accurately show their relationship. I really enjoy going out and making photos of friends. Having watched their relationship blossom over the past couple of years I was excited to try to capture it in a formal portrait setting. We ended up checking out the trail along side Putah Creek on the outskirts of Davis and as a added bonus, they brought their puppy Timo along for some entertainment. I find having dogs on a shoot can either be hit or miss. At times they can be very distracting to the subjects but more often than not they can be a fun addition to bringing out the best in my subjects by helping to make them laugh. Timo behaved perfectly and I think added a nice touch to their portrait session. Another fun afternoon with friends. -M
For those of you who might not know, when I’m not making images of brides, I am a full time photojournalist at a San Francisco Bay Area newspaper. I wanted to share a recent story I had the pleasure of covering at my staff newspaper job in Fairfield, CA. I don’t tend to share many blog post between my wedding business and journalism website but this story was too good not to share. Also, Greener Visuals Wedding Photography is happy to announce that we are now accepting bookings for the 2012 wedding season! We would love to be apart of your wedding day. Once the end of the year celebrations subside, we would love to hear from you. Give us a call. Happy Holidays everyone! -M
Yesterday evening I covered a tear jerker of a story for my newspaper. We found out late in the day that a Travis Air Force Base military dad was going to be surprising his 4-year-old daughter and wife by coming home early and show up at the daughter’s dance recital here in downtown Fairfield. His plan was to sneak into her recital and then once she finished, he would walk out from the crowd and go to her on stage. I decided to camp out behind the curtains stage left and then when the moment came, rush out onto the stage to make my frame. It was pretty special to watch the daughter finish dancing then see her eyes grow big and tear up as she yelled out “Daddy!” and ran to hug him. Soon after, wife came up on stage too and there was a great family moment with the crowd applauding. I knew going into it what side of the stage he would likely walk up so I set up a strobe on the overhead balcony shooting down to the steps. I was thinking the moment could happen either on stage or down in the crowd. I compensated by aiming my flash so it would hit both. I got lucky that they were facing away from the audience and towards me. I think it worked out pretty well. I like how I can see the crowd in this image. The first image in this post is from when the daughter stopped her initial hug to look her father in the eyes. I think she was a bit stunned. Rightly so. It ran big on the front page of our paper this morning. You can read the accompanying article here. The local broadcast stations covered it as well. The rest are some other images from the event that I liked. It’s times like this that I feel really lucky to be working as a journalist. It warms the soul to see a young military family like this getting to spend Christmas together. Happy Holidays everyone! -M
A couple weekends ago, I had another opportunity to spend the afternoon with my wedding clients Gillian and Jeff at a party her mom was having in celebration of their recent nuptials. It was a chance for all of the family friends that were unable to attend the actual wedding at the Firehouse Restaurant in early May, to come over for food and drink and chat the newlyweds. By far one of the best complements I can receive is when my satisfied clients hire me on for more work. From the get go Gillian, Jeff and I just clicked and the success of their wedding is a direct result of our like minded personalities. I was thrilled to work with them again. For their afternoon party, they wanted me to capture the fun as the party progressed while stopping to take some formal portraits of them and their guests along the way. It was a small but elegant catered event complete with incredible desserts from Pastry chef/sweet goddess Carissa at Sugar & Spice Specialty Deserts and live background music from the band Cold Shot. The advantage to having previously photographed clients and many of their wedding guest before is that they were already comfortable around me and my camera. Unlike the pressures of documenting a wedding day, this was a more laid back event where I could spend more time getting to know each of the guests in attendance. It was wonderful to see all of the immense love and support that Gillian and Jeff have through their friends and family. They are truly a fortunate couple. To see more photos from their Sunday afternoon party please go here. It was a pleasure to spend another afternoon toasting the union of Gillian and Jeff. I wish them all the best. -M