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Last week I was able to travel up to Anchorage, Alaska to photograph an extended Family Day in the Life photo session with my brother Eric, sister-in-law Brandy and their young family. The new Greener heir has been born! My new nephew Paul is a little over a month old and the trip was my first time meeting him. It was fun to imbed into the world of a young family’s experience raising two kiddos. Despite the occasional fuss from my stinking cute two-year-old niece Molly, the majority of the time giggles and laughter could be heard throughout the house. These two are natural parents and it was fun for me to help out where I could while documenting their family experience. It’s a cool new thing for me in my role as a uncle. It’s the ultimate long term photo project. A lifetime photographing all of the fun with my niece and nephew. I’m just thrilled! We had a great time and my arms are tired from holding and bouncing babies! Someday I’ll get dad arms. Here are some favorite photos I made of my family during my stay. I can’t wait until the next time I can head back up. -M

Back in October, I packed up my cameras and traveled northeast to the city of Seattle to make some “Day in the Life” family photographs of Kim and Daniel and their two girls. Upon my arrival into Seattle, we decided to load up the Subaru and make a day trip north to the small coastal town of Bellingham Washington (near the Canadian border) where we explored the beaches, rainforests, parks and the surrounding community. It was great to have another opportunity to photograph this awesome family. Years ago, before kiddo number two came into the picture, I photographed these guys here in Bozeman, Montana as they were traveling through town. I had a great time with these guys. This time it was fun to explore their home turf and a new photographic canvas to work with. Bellingham is a beautiful place. Here are some of my favorite images from my time with them. -M

When my brother informed the family that he had proposed to his long-time girlfriend Brandy, we were just thrilled. Group effort wedding planning soon commenced. In celebration of the Greener/Hollenbeck wedding day in Hope, Alaska this past summer, I brought along my Greener Visuals Photo Booth for the reception. The reception site was held two hours south of Anchorage, Alaska at a the Discovery Cafe in Hope, Alaska. I’m going to say it…photo booths just make weddings receptions better. They are interactive, creative and often hilarious. Bringing your own props allows you to shape the photo booth interaction for the reception guests and invites them to play. Having one at this Greener wedding reception was a no brainer. Like I mentioned in their wedding day photos blog post, this “do-it-yourself” wedding required frugal creativity on everyone’s part. Everyone aided in making for a really special weekend. Tasked with final prep for the reception photo booth, my sister Katie and I decided to go drive around and visit numerous thrift stores scattered around Anchorage, Alaska for last minute affordable photo booth props. Our efforts didn’t disappoint. At Eric and Brandy’s wedding day reception, we set up the booth against a rustic, weathered looking cabin wall as the backdrop. The photo booth was a complete hit. Via remote control, their wedding guests could fire the camera and strobe to make epic, wonderfully weird self portraits on their own. Without fail every time, those who enter it let loose in their creativity and leave with a grin on their face. The best part is you never know what you are going to get.

Here are some of my favorites from their wedding day photo booth but you can view all of the awesome photo booth pictures, by going here. PW: greener

What a fantastic day! I could not be more excited for Eric and Brandy! I love you guys! Wishing you a lifetime of happiness! – Your brother Mike

Eric & Brandy Wedding Day Photos in Hope, Alaska - Greener Visuals Wedding Photography

It is with much love and pride that I present the wedding photos of my brother Eric & his awesome lady Brandy’s wedding day celebration in Hope, Alaska.

Earlier this summer, my younger pilot brother Eric tied-the-knot with his long time flight attendant girlfriend Brandy in a lush, mountainous wild Alaskan setting in the small town of Hope, Alaska. She is an incredible lady and I’m so grateful to now call her sister. After a very public Alaskan Airlines in flight wedding proposal that went viral on YouTube, the excitement of the first sibling to be married in the Greener clan was felt by all and plans soon sprang into action to create their special day. This was going to be one hell of a wedding celebration. I would be the best man and wedding photographer which proved to be a tricky, fun challenge. After purchasing their first home together earlier this year, Eric and Brandy were looking to be as frugal as possible when planning their wedding day. Without being over the top, they wanted a place to gather the two clans, have some good food, dance to a live band without breaking the bank. Not a problem. The families and friends all came together to create a DIY rustic themed Alaskan wedding day. I think some of the best wedding successes are when wedding couples think outside the box while staying within a budget.

We got creative.

We took reclaimed weathered barn wood to make their wedding arbor and decorated it with mason jars filled with flowers the grocery stores had that morning. Rather than make the bridesmaids and groomsman buy matching outfits, they instead told them a color palette, in this case navy which also would work with whatever color flowers were available the day of. It worked out well. Scrap pieces of corrugated steel siding with the application of white paint became cool signs and decorations for the reception. The elder Greener gentlemen roasted a pig, guests brought a dish to pass, local friends helped with location needs and their unfinished new house as a staging ground for the bride and her ladies. Everyone in attendance contributed to making their wedding day special. Paying for the live funk band was worth every cent.

There were of course some logistical hurdles to cover, the first being that Hope, Alaska was a dinky little town a two hour drive around the Turnagain Arm on Highway 1 out of Anchorage, Alaska. This meant that everything (guests, tents, tables, chairs, decorations, camping accommodations, food, etc..) would need to be driven out by the family and wedding guests. The venue provided the site alone. In the end, it took a village, generous friends, a fleet of trucks and a used short school bus to make it all happen.

It was a day meant to be. Even the rain held out. What a wonderful love to honor and celebrate. I’m so happy for them. In between dancing, chatting and my best man duties, I managed to make a couple photos through out the day. Here are some of my favorites.

To see all of the wedding photos from the day click here. Password: greener

Love you guys so much! Wishing you two a lifetime of happiness. -your brother Mike

A few weeks back my pilot brother Eric married an awesome woman named Brandy, the love of his life in Hope, Alaska. The first of the siblings to get hitched. It was also the first time I’d been assigned the roles as both a best man and a wedding photographer. It was a fun challenge. I’m editing through the mountain of photos and will post their full wedding soon. I’m so excited for you brother! Stay tuned… -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

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

To see all of the party photos and portraits click 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

About a week ago, I left the mountains of Montana to head over to Sonoma, California to photograph the long awaited wedding weekend of Molly and Brian. Back in mid May, I made the same journey to photograph their engagement session. Sonoma is a truly beautiful place. This time of year the famous grapevines are starting to bear their fruit and the surrounding valleys are covered in multi-layered shades of green. Molly and Brian live in Chicago, Illinois, not far from my old stomping grounds of my youth. Rather than soak in the midwest humidity, they decided to have their wedding out west and bring out all of their friends and family out to California for their big day. I met up with them Friday evening at the famous El Dorado Kitchen Restaurant in the heart of downtown Sonoma for their rehearsal dinner with close friends and family members. Here are some of my favorites from the evening. I’ve been busy working on all of their wedding day photos and will post them soon. More goodness to come. -M

To view all of the images from Molly and Brian’s Rehearsal Dinner at El Dorado Kitchen Restaurant go here.

I’ve been excited to show this wedding for a while now. How appropriate that my last wedding shoot of the year was spent documenting the union of an old family friend. Nick and Emily hired me to fly down to greater Los Angeles area to photograph their wedding weekend festivities. I’ve known Nick and his family my entire life. Growing up in Crystal Lake, Illinois, his family and mine were close friends who attended the same church where the kids shared in the same childhood mandate of singing in the church choir. Nick and his brother Matt were partners-in-crime with my brother and I every Sunday as we played games of hide and seek around the church sanctuary often times managing to get into trouble as young boys tend to do. The tradition of mischief continued throughout adolescence through countless celebrations and BBQs together and our families’ annual road trip westward towards the mountains of Colorado for a week of skiing every spring. So, needless to say, when I heard that Nick was getting married and his family asked if I could photograph the celebration, I jumped at the opportunity.

Nick and Emily met on the job. Nick, upon graduating from high school, moved out to Los Angeles to pursue his dream of becoming a Hollywood actor. He was supporting himself at that time by working in numerous positions at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company restaurant from dancing in a shrimp suit to being host. It was there that he met Emily during a work training session three years ago. Emily, a Los Angeles native, has since found her calling as a talented pastry chef working at Rivera Restaurant in Los Angeles. “It wasn’t exactly love at first sight with Nick,” joked Emily when recalling how they first met, “Our relationship started off as friends but he was the persistent type and kept trying to ask me out on a date. I didn’t want to risk losing the friendship.” But thankfully, persistence pays off and after asking her out four times with her answer being no, it was the fifth time that she finally said yes to a date with him and as the saying goes…the rest is history.

When it came time to plan their wedding things got a bit complicated. Nick was cast in a lead role for a new television show and would spend the four months leading up to their wedding filming in Prague within the Czech Republic. Emily was busy trying to finish up her schooling as a pastry chef. Being resourceful, they were able to defy the hurdle of the time zone difference and plan out the wedding through the power of Skype and with the help of their family members. It all came together really well with a good mix of professionalism combined with a do-it-yourself feel. Above all, they were adamant that they wanted candid, high quality photography for their wedding day and that’s where I came in. The wedding festivities were to be held on Saturday around noon. I flew down Friday evening to Burbank where I met the wedding party and watched as the last minute preparations were made. The outdoor ceremony and reception were held in the courtyard of The Castaway Restaurant in Burbank, California. It was a beautiful warm, southern California setting overlooking the De Bell Golf Course and the surrounding Burbank hills. These two families know how to celebrate a union! Their ceremony went off without a hitch and then the celebration began. Like all great receptions, there was plenty of dancing. Food was provided by the venue and when their wedding cake plans fell through a couple days prior, Nick’s grandmother Ann was able to whip up a beautiful homemade cake for the event. All in all it was really great to be apart of and document the celebration for an old family friend. I wish them all the best. -M

To view more of their wedding images you can check out their wedding story here

and to view their entire wedding photo shoot and purchase prints you can see them in the photo archive here