November 7, 2017
I’m not going to lie, I was exhausted. I had just finished a 16 hour day shooting video for a Southeast Asian wedding with the awesome Jamie Howell when I got home and crashed at 2 AM Sunday morning. In 6 hours, I would be up again to charge batteries, shower, eat breakfast, brew some English Breakfast tea, reconfigure my gear bag for stills, and hit the road for a 2-hour drive into the mountains for another wedding. I sat on the phone with my parents and friends and drank my tea to counteract the soothing, twisting mountainous roads attempting to pull me back to sleep. When I finally parked at the ceremony site for Amy and Erica’s wedding, I felt my energy restored as I saw the gorgeous scene. Little did I know that the scenery would be the least beautiful thing that day.
I’m still floored that I booked this wedding. It was through another wedding referral, but hysterically enough I only shot the groom’s prep. That wedding only needed a solo photographer which my buddy was the lead, but the couple wanted both the bride and groom’s prep to be photographed. Unfortunately, they were getting ready 30 minutes apart, so I got a request to shoot his prep photos at 8 AM on a Saturday and then enjoy the rest of my day. It was a fun morning, with the groom’s family being very friendly and photogenic. The groom was awesome and we chit chatted about work and sports all morning long.
Fast forward about a year and I get an email from Erica and Amy saying they were referred to me by this groom. I still remember the double-take and quick slap to my face to make sure I read the inquiry correctly. A few phone conversations later and we were booked! The trick, however, was that both of them lived in Florida and we wouldn’t meet until the wedding day. Not my preferred way of working with clients, but sometimes you just can’t help it. I felt comfortable enough with them on the phone so I wasn’t worried. Side note: personality syncing with my clients is a BIG priority to me booking with them. If we don’t click, then I will probably turn down the job. Seriously.
End the flashback and there I was, standing in the middle of a gorgeous field with some chairs and an arch. I knew it was going to be a good day right then.
I met Erica a little before the ceremony and still remember how nervous she was. A few sips of beer, a shoulder rub from her brother, and some laughs with bridesmaids and family helped her get ready. Come ceremony time, everyone was just in awe. The weather was perfect, the readings and words were gorgeous, the vows tear-wrenching, and the moment pure. Pardon the sappiness, but I really can’t begin to describe how much I loved this ceremony.
From a photography standpoint, the portraits after the ceremony were freaking sick. Erica and Amy wanted to take advantage of Cloudland Canyon’s stellar views by taking a gaggle of bridesmaids for a 5-minute hike through the forest to get an amazing backdrop for the bridal portraits. I don’t know how any heels weren’t broken! Damn was it worth it though. I may have giggled like a little girl after I took the first frame of Amy and Erica’s portraits.
The rest of the evening went off like clockwork – knocking out family portraits, capturing first and family dances, cake cuttings, toasts, and one hell of a dance party.
At one point during the reception, I stole Erica and Amy for a quick set of portraits to take advantage of the string lights draped from the ceiling. Lucky for me, I had a pair of wedding guests who served as my guinea pigs to get my settings right first! I always try to do something different and tricky at each of my weddings – I think this one paid off!
After a successful sparkler exit, I got in my car and hit the road. I got to reminisce a bit during my drive, but again used friends and family to manage the drive home at 10 PM. As soon as I got home I fired off two preview images to Erica and Amy because I was so excited for the shots and for them. While at work the next day, I got an incredible review from Erica:
“Mike was amazing to work with for my wedding at Cloudland Canyon State Park. He was a great resource while we were planning our wedding and was always available and eager to help. Everyone enjoyed his presence during the day–he is extremely friendly, keeps things fun and light, stays on schedule, and was good at juggling his photography duties while being asked a lot of questions by curious nieces. All of my family and friends raved about him the day after the wedding. He maintained a perfect balance of seamlessly getting all the important moments without being intrusive. We cannot recommend him highly enough.”
*swoons* No pressure to deliver stellar images right?
This is what a wedding is supposed to be – fun, intimate, filled with joyful tears & inquisitive nieces, and some great pictures to remember it all.
Congrats to Amy & Erica and thank you for letting me be part of your incredible day!
Sorry gang! This feature is currently under construction. Check back in a few weeks and it should be up and running!