The second part of my duties as the NACE event photographer focused more on the hard work of the other vendors. Like I mentioned in my last post, the monthly events are a time for the vendors to educate on topics but also show off their strengths in what that particular vendor does. Here are some of the scenery images I made of the green layout and concepts from Catrina Maria Designs. I asked Catrina, who specializes in sustainable event planning to explain a bit about what she was striving to accomplish with her beautiful green table inspirations pictured above.

“The table inspirations where done in a variety of four looks. We were inspired by the traditional and expected ‘green’ look that we called ‘hippy/earthy.’ We dressed each table up a bit from there to cover your softer and more elaborate side of the earthy look, your urban look, and finally, a soft, more romantic feel that many brides can relate to.
1. Earthy table-woods and touch of kiwi green. All eco-friendly elements on the reclaimed wood tables. Recycled pots with succulents, and herbs.
2. Rustic table-woods, pewter, clay (brunt orange) and kiwi
Clay pots nestled in grapevine heart. Mix of organic flowers in burnt orange and cream with herbs and succulent accents.
3. Urban Square table- Grey and kiwi patterned linen, other natural elements in a modern feel (wicker, glass…). Gray cinderblock “vases” filled with organic flowers and organic greenery.
4. Romantic oval tables- Natural ekru and ivory hemstitch, rustic metals, glass Tablescape of Burnt orange recycled glass containers and metal accent containers. Ivory flowers and green accents. Add recycled ribbon accents.
5. Cocktail Tables – recycled paper flowers by Beatnik Artist. Made from old books that have recycled into art. Soy candles throughout
Lounge furniture through Classic party Rentals. Their eco line is made from recycled stuffing/padding and flax exterior in burnt orange and kiwi green.”

As the saying goes…the devil lies within the details. It was great to see all of the clever, sustainable concepts that everyone brought to the event. There were the staple green items like using organic produce but also the not so common items like bowls and plates made from compostable bamboo. It’s those little things that make the difference. I was impressed.  So much creativity and so many great ideas to build off of. Again, thanks to all of the vendors who went all out with the May NACE Green event including Ambience Floral Designs, Jackson Catering & Events, Sugar & Spice Specialty Deserts, Classic Party Rentals, Pamela Pamperin, Harpist and Extreme Productions for all of their hard work. -M

 

Last Tuesday was the annual monthly meet up of the Sacramento chapter of the National Association of Catering Professionals. The group is a hodgepodge of wedding planners, florists, DJ’s, photographers and all of the other types of vendors that cater to couples getting married. It has been a great place to network and establish relationships with other wedding vendors throughout the Sacramento area. I feel like I’ve learned so much already. I am brand new to the organization but I have quickly made connections and have met some great people in the organization.

Every monthly meeting is used to help the member vendors get to see a select few vendors to their thing. Each NACE meeting is a professional catered event complete with the goal of educating NACE members on the latest trends, styles and cuisine. It’s like a competition and participating vendors go all out to showcase what they do best. It works two fold. First, it allows you to show others what services you can provide for your mutual clients and second it lets them learn more about you as a person. In business, it’s all about who you know and the system NACE has laid out is perfect for this by creating business friendships. Everyone from all corners of the wedding market working together towards the same goal of having satisfied wedding clients. Brilliant.

This past Tuesday had a green wedding theme and a wedding planner friend Catrina, of Catrina Maria Designs, asked me a month back if I would not only photograph the event but also talk about green wedding photography practices. I accepted her invite and spent the better part of the month researching how I could make my business more green. I wanted to share some of the photos I made from the members that were there. I’ll post my green photography methods in another blog post. It was a fun filled evening at the Beatnik Studios in Sacramento. I loved it. Plenty of big windows, great light and a overall cool space for an event. Thanks to all of the vendors including Ambience Floral Designs, Jackson Catering & Events, Sugar & Spice Specialty Deserts, Classic Party Rentals, Pamela Pamperin, Harpist and Extreme Productions for all of their hard work. Congrats on a beautiful fun May NACE event. I was proud to be apart of it. I’m looking forward to the next one. -M

The first weekend in May I had the pleasure of photographing Gillian and Jeff’s wedding day at the beautiful Firehouse Restaurant in Old Town Sacramento. You could not have asked for a nicer day. The comfortable mid day California sunshine warmed down on their outdoor wedding where big oak trees gave a lovely cool shade over the festivities. I met Gillian and Jeff back in February through a wonderful wedding planner I’ve been working with named Catrina Arcularius of Catrina Maria Designs. Right from the get go of our first meeting in Sacramento, we hit it off. We talked for a solid hour and I learned all about their story. Gillian through the encouragement of her good friend Bianca (who would eventually be her maid of honor) and Jeff upon the suggestion of some friends met through the online dating site called JDate, a jewish community online for dating jewish singles. Neither of them had ever used the online dating service before yet on their first date back on July 9th, 2009, they found an instant attraction to each other and have been dating ever since. The two have made a life together in the San Francisco Bay Area Gillian as a lawyer and Jeff as an entrepreneur while sharing a love for each other and dogs. They were quick to tell me all about the antics of their two border collie/chow mix dogs Lila and Maggie. The way these two talked, joked and looked at one another during our meet up it was apparent that they are just crazy for each other. I had no doubts that they would be a great fun couple to photograph on their wedding day.

And they did not disappoint. It was the first time I had ever photographed a Jewish wedding ceremony. It was great to see how other faiths celebrate the union of two individuals. The wedding was beautiful. Between my assistant Brad Zweerink and I we ended up talking over 6300 photographs from the wedding. With so many smiling faces, great finger foods, friendly guests and plenty of dancing that kept everyone entertained throughout the afternoon, it was hard to stop photographing all the great moments in front of me. Catrina along with Shannon and The Firehouse Restaurant staff created a beautiful outdoor atmosphere and layout across the brick patio while flower arrangements from florist Cheryl Sage of Accents by Sage added just the right amount of spring colors to the mix. Subtle yet elegant. To see more photos from their Sacramento wedding you can seeing their wedding story here and their entire photo take here.

Yet another fun day celebrating with and photographing some new friends. I wish Gillian and Jeff all the best. -M


I’m happy to announce that Greener Visuals Wedding Photography is the newest member of the Sacramento chapter of the National Association of Catering Professionals. NACE is the oldest and largest professional association that addresses all aspects of the catering industry. According to their mission statement their goal is to provide catering and event professionals superior education, networking & resources to enhance career success and deliver excellence to clients. The group is a collection of some of the best wedding professionals in the Sacramento area including wedding planners, florists, caterers, photographers and high-end wedding venues. It has quickly become a great resource for inspiration, education and networking. I feel it will be the perfect resource to create a network of solid wedding professionals whose services I can extend to my clients. The members I have met so far have been incredibly outgoing, gracious and welcoming. So much that they recently asked me to speak this upcoming Tuesday during the group’s monthly meeting about applying green/eco-friendly practices revolving around green wedding photography. I’m really looking forward to it and I’m proud to be apart of this prestigious organization. -M

The California wedding season has begun! A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of seeing two of my oldest friends tie the knot at a small vineyard-surrounded property outside of Hopland, California. I met Ashley and Trevor back back in 1994 when I was in sixth grader at North Junior High School in my hometown of Crystal Lake, Illinois. It was a big time of transition at that point in my young life. Junior High meant attending a new bigger school with new kids and multiple teachers, all of a sudden girls started being topics of interests for me and the other boys, we no longer had recess at school (a huge disappointment) and instead, we got our daily fun through games in gym class. It was gym class where I first met Ashley. She was this pretty, firecracker red head who had grown up playing softball and now was a lethal force against anyone playing gym class dodge ball. For all the other pubescent boys and myself it was an immediate infatuation. This girl could throw a ball better than most of us. I’ve been luckily to call her a friend ever since that day.

Now all grown up, I have long since left my Illinois roots and I’ve found that there are not many people from my hometown that have ventured out west of the Mississippi. Ashley and Trevor were some of the few who did. It’s funny to me how as you grow older in your life you never really know what friends will continue to be apart of your journey. Thankfully somehow, some way Ashley and I have remained in contact and have stayed friends throughout. I have had numerous opportunities to meet up her and Trevor (once they started dating) over the years. Their wedding day was a long time coming. These two are perfect for each other and I’ve always been impressed with their shared passion for the flavor of life both in cuisine and culture. Fast forward 16 years since the 6th grade, the two have made a life together working in the fine dining industry of San Francisco and many times they have offered up their apartment couch to me during weekend visits to the city by the bay. Trevor has quickly turned into one of the top up and coming chefs in the San Francisco bay area. I had the opportunity to photograph (and sample) some of his first restaurant dishes as he was starting out. I still dream about them. He graduated from California Culinary Academy in 2005 and quickly became the executive sous chef at Umami Restaurant and has since moved on to become the executive chef at Mission Beach Cafe over the last year. Trevor’s big news is that he just recently signed on to this new project, which will be called Chambers located in the Phoenix Hotel, a notorious destination for famous “rock n’ roll” musicians staying in the city. The restaurant is slated to open the first week of May and the food will be California cuisine with a focus on locally sourced ingredients. If it’s anything like his previous restaurants gigs that I have dined in, I have no doubts it will be a huge success. Ashley is balancing her time between being a head server and wine guru at the Betelnut Restaurant in Marina District of San Francisco while finishing up a major in Business Management with a minor in Economics at the San Francisco City College. I would not be surprised at all if these two opened their own fancy restaurant down the road. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed.

When I got their wedding invitation in the mail, I knew it would be a mini Crystal Lake reunion. They had their intimately small wedding outside of Hopland, California at the Mendocino Hill Event Center. It was really a beautiful ceremony filled with great friends and warm familiar faces. I attended this wedding as a guest but I decided to bring along my camera for fun. It provided a good opportunity for me to experiment and try out different approaches to shooting. Between catching up with old friends, laughing and telling stories over local wine and eating an assortment of fine cheeses and roasted duck, I managed to snap a couple pictures. Here are some of my favorite images I made of their wedding day. You can find more photos from Ashley and Trevor’s wedding here. It was so great to be apart of their special day. I wish them all the best. -M

It is a very humbling experience for me when my photography is recognized by my photographic peers. On Sunday evening at Scott’s restaurant in Oakland, California, a couple of images I made last year at my position as a staff photojournalist at the Daily Republic newspaper in Fairfield, California were honored at this year’s San Francisco Bay Area Press Photographer’s Association awards banquet at Scott’s Seafood Restaurant in Jack London Square in downtown Oakland, California. I won first place in the Spot News category for an image I made from a school shooting, third place for Best Mini-Doc Multimedia Package from a multimedia story I did on a local skateboard maker (I am particularly excited about this one) and I won an award of excellence in General News category from a candlelight vigil earlier last year. This was a pretty cool honor. There is so much photojournalistic talent in the Bay Area from Pulitzer Prize winners to National Photographers of the Year.  It was great to have my photography honored in a room filled with such exceptional storytellers. Congrats to all of the winners, congrats and thank you to my colleague Robinson Kuntz and a big thank you to my photo editor Brad Zweerink for all of the support and constructive criticism you’ve given to help further my photographic career. In all, the Daily Republic photo staff took home five awards. It was a great night.

Yesterday evening, I had the privilege of attending my first Sacramento Swop Meet attended by of all of the local wedding vendors from around the Sacramento area. The event, a bi-monthly social mix-up, was hosted by the editorial staff of Sacramento Bride and Groom magazine at the beautiful Lake Natoma Inn in Folsom, CA. I saw the gathering as the perfect opportunity to introduce myself and my business, Greener Visuals Wedding Photography, to all of the wedding planners, florists, DJs, venue managers and other photographers in my area. I’m quickly learning that so much of what makes a business great is who you know and your willingness to help out others. I found the whole experience a really inviting one. From the moment I walked in the door, SacBride.com publisher Tami Miller and saleswoman Lisa Duncan took turns showing me around and introducing me to the other vendors. I spent the evening mingling, enjoying the complimentary drinks and appetizers while learning about my fellow wedding vendors. I met a lot of great, friendly people who were anxious to tell me about their businesses. I was struck by the stories they related to me about how they became involved in the wedding industry. No two people had the same story as to how they got involved in weddings, but it was clear that each was passionate about their specialized area. Everyone I spoke with was so generous with their time and knowledge. For a young up-and-coming wedding photographer like myself, I was very impressed with the sense of community the event provided. How great is it that these professionals gather together to network, make friends, all sharing the common goal of creating a better experience for potential wedding couples. It was immediately apparent that everyone was on the same page. I’m already looking forward to the next meet-up.

Greener Visuals featured on Blurb.com

I have to say one of the best complements I can receive for my wedding photography is when others recognize my work, especially if it’s a national book making company like Blurb.com. I just found out that I am a featured photographer on their new wedding book website. I got a call from the folks at Blurb a couple weeks ago complementing me on the creativity of the numerous wedding albums that I have designed for my wedding couples and they wanted to know why I chose to use their services for my wedding business After using Blurb to publish my first book “Shopping for Dynamite – A Brotherly Adventure to South America,” I was sold. I found the quality of the books to be top tier. Everything from the color reproduction to the thickness of the paper to the look and feel of their ImageWrap book covers.

The San Francisco based company has taken notice of all the great impressions their custom made books are making on people, myself included, and are now actively marketing to professional wedding photographers. And they should. This isn’t your grand parents dusty wedding album. Their wedding albums go above and beyond the typical wedding mementos. I started using them for my wedding albums soon after my first book and they have been a big hit with my brides ever since. I couldn’t be happier with them and I’m flattered that Blurb.com has chosen to feature me on their wedding book website.

2011. Oh the possibilities. To ring in the new year, I celebrated with some good friends from around Davis, California. We had a great time. Here is some fun pictures from my photo booth that I set up at a friend’s house party. I can’t wait to see all of the opportunities the new year will bring. Happy New Year everybody! -M

Happy Holidays everybody! I opened my email yesterday to find out that I have been accepted as a member of the Wedding Photojournalist Association. It’s a pretty big deal for me. They are the elite, industry standard of wedding photojournalism. To quote their website, ” Leading the way in Wedding Photojournalism, WPJA represents the most discriminating talent around the world technically, creatively and visually. Qualified members hold industry-leading standards, skills and business integrity.”

It’s great to be associated with such a top notch organization aimed at maintaining quality wedding photojournalism. I’m proud to be apart of it and I wanted to share with all of you. For brides-to-be, now is a great time to book your wedding photographer. I still have plenty of dates open but they are starting to fill up fast. Always a good thing. I’m really looking forward to the new wedding season but for now I’ll enjoy the winter holidays. Happy New Year everyone!


Fall has come to California and I find myself meditating on my good fortune to have had the opportunity to photograph so many of my friend’s weddings this year. But none have had so much anticipation and impact on me like Zack and Anna’s wedding did. I’ve known Zack and Anna for almost four years now. They were some of the first friends I made after arriving to my first newspaper job in Redding, California. When the time came to move on from Redding and travel to South America with my brother, Zack and Anna left their positions as bird researchers and began graduate school in ecology at The University of California Davis. Little did I know that upon my return to the states, I would get a new newspaper job close to Davis and would eventually become roommates with them and four egg-laying chickens.

Unlike other weddings I have photographed in the past, being roommates to an engaged couple automatically made me apart of the wedding planning. It was fun to watch their excitement grow as the months and weeks counted down to their big day. Because of my inclusion in the preparation, I felt the whole wedding day to be all that more important. We headed out towards Lake Tahoe to a beautiful secluded log mansion for their wedding weekend. They completely made the day all their own with the help of their great friends. Everything from the two wild pigs that were shot then roasted to the homemade decorations to the relentless energy and good spirits of their guest that helped keep the party going long into the night despite plummeting temperatures. It was incredible to see the amount of giving each of their friends and family members gave to help celebrate the union of these two individuals. We had a great time and I was proud to be apart of it. There are countless photos from their wedding day and I hope you get a chance to check them all out. You can find all of their wedding photographs here. I wish them all the best. -M






The Greener Visuals photo booth is open for business. For it’s inaugural run at Zack and Anna’s wedding, the photo booth was an instant success. The idea was to set up a camera rig that would allow all of the guests of the wedding to make photos of themselves from a remote radio camera trigger. I had never done this before so there was a bit of a learning curve. Despite the frigid mountain temperatures numerous people found their way over to make some pretty creative photos with the help of the costume box from distinguished members of the UCDavis Ecology crew. Thanks for your help guys! I uploaded the entire take to show the progression of the evening. To see more of the fun go here. Truly a great time was had by all.

Yay for weddings! Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to travel back to sweet home Chicago for an old friend’s wedding. Adam and his new bride April called me a couple months ago and asked if I would help document their wedding day. I always feel very lucky to be apart of the wedding day of old friends. This one was no exception. From the moment I arrived, it was literally a blast from the past and quickly turned into a high school reunion. After so many years away, living out in Montana and now California, I don’t get as many chances to make it back to home to visit. Adam and I played football together at Prairie Ridge High School and April attended school with my younger brother Eric. Despite a threatening Midwest thunderstorm, the wedding went off without a hitch. It was so great to see so many familiar faces all grown up. I had an absolute great time documenting these guys. Crazy, summer humidity and all.

Here are some of my favorite images from the day. I’m anxious to hear what you all think. This is a mere small sampling of the 4000 images I made that day. I suppose that is to be expected when you have so many old friends around dancing the night away. There are too many good people to take photos of. To see all of the photos from their wedding day go here. I wish these guys all the best. -M

Last weekend I had the pleasure of photographing an old friend and colleague’s wedding in Chico, California. I worked with Lauren when I was a staff photographer at the Record Searchlight newspaper in Redding, California. At the time, she was a reporter and for over a year, we would accompany each other to assignments around the town. You really get to know your colleagues well at a newspaper because you are all working together to put out the newspaper everyday. Often times while waiting for an assignment to begin, conversations turn to personal stories and day-to-day ramblings in your life. For me it was always about my latest fishing trip. For Lauren it was her boyfriend in Chico. For as long as I’ve known Lauren, she was living in Chico and then would commute up to Redding for work. An hour drive on a good day. I could never understand why anyone would willingly put themselves through that kind of inconvenience. And during our assignments together, I would constantly let her know I thought she was crazy. Looking back on it, I don’t think I was seeing the big picture. Her reasoning was always the same. She kept talking about her wonderful boyfriend turned fiancée now husband Richard and the life they were living together in Chico. When Lauren called me up a couple months ago asking me to shoot their wedding, I just had to smile. It was a long time coming. Last weekend I finally got to meet Richard and from the very moment I saw them together, it was clear that they were head over heals for each other. I realize now that her driving commute was small sacrifice compared to the overall happiness that these two shared together as a couple. To Lauren it was well worth it. Ah, the things you do for love. It’s good to see.

The wedding was a lot of fun to shoot. A beautiful outdoor ceremony in Bidwell Park then the wedding party walked through downtown to the reception. You couldn’t ask for a nicer day. I love watching friends get married through my lens. Here is a sampling of photographs from the wedding. To view more wedding photos you can find them here.

I love this time of year. The rains are subsiding and California is enjoying it’s brief window of green before the summer heat scorches us to our usual golden brown hue. More importantly the early spring time signals the start of the wedding season. My bookings are really starting to fill up. Always a good thing. Two of my good friends Zack and Anna recently got engaged and hired me to shoot their engagement and wedding photos. Both are ecology graduate students at UC Davis and through their studies have come to really enjoy bird watching. They came to me looking for a creative photographic twist to capturing their relationship. We spent an afternoon playing around one of the beautiful Davis parks and made some traditional and non traditional images. We had a great time and I think their relationship really shows in their photographs. I’m look forward to shooting their Lake Tahoe wedding in August.

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You know you’ve done something right when one of your past wedding couples refer you to their friends. I consider those gestures one of the highest complements a photographer can receive. It lets me know that I am doing my job well. Back in 2006, Abby and Johnny asked me to photograph their wedding in western Montana after hearing about my photojournalistic style through their friends and my former clients. It was the ultimate picturesque Montana cowboy wedding. Their outdoor wedding was held at this cute little ranch where the men were decked out in their cowboy boots and hats twirled the women in their summer dresses as they danced to the upbeat rhythms of bluegrass music. Summer was ending and with it the days grew longer. Because of it we were blessed with beautiful afternoon sunlight that made the dried wheat fields glow with a golden hue as the sun set over the Bitterroot Mountains. What more could a photographer ask for.