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Fairy Lake, in the heart of the Bridger Mountains, is one of my favorite places in Montana to take destination wedding couples for their engagement photography session.

A few weeks back, I met up with my childhood friend Mark and is lovely wife-to-be Jennie during a stop on their Rocky Mountain road trip in Bozeman, Montana and took them out on an adventure.

The first time I talked with Jennie and Mark was during a video chat and instantly we reconnected over similar interests and many laughs reminiscing about stories from our youth growing up playing hockey together in the Chicago suburbs. It was clear to me from our online visit that these two were the perfect match for each other.

Mark’s tribe has been good family friends with my family for many years now. Despite going our separate ways almost eighteen years ago after high school, we kept tabs on each other through the parental telegram over the years and where I learned of this awesome woman named Jennie he had met. Suddenly here we were picking up where we left off years later planning out their Montana engagement session and the intricate details of their wedding day this upcoming summer in Springdale, Arkansas.

It’s always such a treat for me to photograph old friends. This was going to be fun.

Upon their arrival into Bozeman, we all saddled up into my 1984 Land Cruiser and made our way up into the beautiful Bridger mountains for our engagement portrait session. The Montana Fall colors were in full array and we took full advantage of them.

Here are some of my favorite images from our time together. I’m so excited for these two and can’t wait to celebrate their wedding day next October! Congrats to the newly engaged! -M

 

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Hi guys! I’m so excited to introduce to you all my new best friend “Tippet”. I’ve been waiting for her for a long time. My family grew up raising labrador retriever puppies and every Spring we would have a litter of pups in our house. It was so much fun to come home from school and yell “Hey kids!” and suddenly a wave of wagging labrador would run towards me for kisses. Having labs growing up was such a wonderful part of my childhood. My folks have since moved from my childhood Chicago suburb home and have settled into their new life in Missoula, Montana. As I grow older, those familiar childhood memories and nostalgia grow more distant and seem harder to hold onto. I don’t get to go home to my old room or old stomping grounds which makes tapping into those old childhood memories a little harder. Besides having the new companionship, I felt getting my own labrador companion would be one way to have some of those positive childhood experiences enter back into my life. And also just be a ton of fun.

Since leaving home to pursue a degree in Photojournalism at the University of Montana seventeen years ago, not having a dog has been a hole in my life that I’ve been waiting patiently to fill. So, two years ago when I made the decision that I would get my first pet and put a deposit down with Lori’s Labradors in Whitehall, Montana, my excitement could barely be contained. It turned out to be almost a two year wait to get a black female labrador. Turns out it was worth the wait. Last Monday, I finally got to pick her up.

Suddenly I’ve leveled up in adulthood. Now my days are filled with puppy training, praising and dodging those puppy needle teeth. I think Tippet is going to be a fun addition to my life. Keeping me company in my photo studio, accompanying me on my adventures and bringing lots of laughter daily. I’m excited to share future our adventures with you all on here. -M

This past Saturday, Greener Visuals Photography participated in the 2017 A Montana Wedding Event at The Commons in Bozeman, Montana. I’ve been apart of this great annual bridal show put on by the Bozeman Daily Chronicle for the past five years. This year the event was held at The Commons just outside of town. The event is a wonderful place for wedding planning brides to gain inspiration, meet a plethora of talented wedding vendors and a chance for me to meet some excited brides-to-be. As always, I set up my trusty rustic, reclaimed lumber/metal wedding show booth that has served me well over the years. Here are a few photos I made during the day’s love themed festivities. I still have a few dates available for photography booking in the 2017 and 2018 wedding season. I travel worldwide. Inquire for details. The day as a whole, was a blast. So glad I could be apart of it. -M

I just picked up some copies of the new A Montana Wedding magazine and was excited to see that the new issue features numerous wedding photos from Greener Visuals Photography inside! The annual publication put out by the Bozeman Daily Chronicle is a helpful guide chocked full of inspiration, tips, and content from local wedding vendors for couples planning their wedding day in and around Southwest Montana. It never gets old seeing one’s labor of love in print. I’m proud to see my photos grace its pages. Check out the goods! Thanks, Bozeman Daily Chronicle! -M

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Gallatin County 2015 Holiday Party Photos

As a young business owner, I believe it’s important to give back my time and skill sets to enrich and benefit my community. It was one of the many things I took pride in over the last decade photographing for community newspapers across the company. Telling the stories of others in my community. It is one of my passions. Now as a full-time self-employed wedding, editorial, and commercial photographer, opportunities to interact with the public, like my time working as a journalist, don’t come around as much. Supporting and donating my photography skill set to benefit local non-for-profits is a service I am grateful to provide.

About week before the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Gallatin County‘s 2015 holiday party for the kids, their families and the mentors of the program, I was contacted by Valerie Erwin, Marketing and Outreach Coordinator of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Gallatin County. She was in a bind, short on time and needed a photographer to document the fun in photos at their annual holiday party. I was happy to help. I headed over to the Gallatin County Fairgrounds and set up my portable photo studio, setting the stage for the party attendees to have some fun. This crowd was a hoot. I love documenting humans at play. We all had a great time and I came away with some fun photos from the event. Here are some favorites. Happy to support such a great local organization. Merry Christmas everyone! -M

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My pilot brother Eric and his new bride-to-be Brandy have been making headlines throughout the internet the last couple of days. Recently they became engaged when he surprised her at 34,000 ft with a proposal inflight while she working as an Alaska Airlines flight attendant! She is incredible. The family is thrilled. Then a few days ago, a posted youtube video of Eric’s in-flight marriage proposal started to gain traction online. It has since caught the attention of the national and international media. The list continues to grow but so far Eric & Brandy have turned up in news articles for USA TodayThe Daily Mail in Great Britain, MSN.com, featured on CBS This Morning, ABC NewsAlaska Airlines blog, Cosmopolitan, The KnotPeople Magazine and The Huffington Post even used a Greener Visuals Wedding Photography photo that I took of these two love bird goofballs on a mountaintop outside Anchorage, Alaska. Check it out. It’s been fun for the family to watch their love story spread across the web. Well done brother. Way to be a wing woman, Mom. It’s a great story. I encourage you all to watch the video below and hear my stud little brother propose to an awesome lady. The Greener wedding is going to be this summer! I can’t wait. Congrats on your engagement you guys! -M

 

Had a great time meeting the brides and other Bozeman wedding vendors at the 2015 A Montana Wedding Magazine The Bridal Event in Bozeman, Montana last Saturday at the Best Western GranTree Inn. Here are some photos I made throughout the day. Great food, beautiful flowers and inspiration abound for the local brides-to-be. Well done to the advertising staff of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle for hosting such a great event. And congrats to Kerry for winning my free photo engagement session in the grand prize drawing. All the best to all the recently engaged! Looking forward to next year’s event. -M

For more photos of the event click here.

Yesterday the news spread around the State of Montana that a U. S. District Court Judge struck down Montana’s same-sex marriage ban which effectively made the Big Sky country the 34th state to allow gay marriage. I was so happy to hear it. It has been a long time coming. Positive change. So this morning as I was sipping my late morning coffee reading the Bozeman Daily Chronicle newspaper article about the court decision, I got a surprise call from a friend letting me know that my two friends MichaelAnne and Shannon had decided they had waited long enough and we’re going to quickly tie the knot at the Gallatin County Law and Justice Center at 11:30 am. I had about ten minutes to get to the other side of town. I wouldn’t miss such a special occasion. I grabbed my camera gear and rushed out the door.

Sprinting up to the second floor, I arrived to find the Rev. Nina Grey, of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Bozeman performing free wedding ceremonies to LGBT couples in the hallway as they lined up to the County Clerk’s office to get their new marriage certificates. It was a beautiful and emotional scene to witness. There were many tears of joy. Sweet beautiful victory. I photographed a few couples and then waited to see my two friends finally join in union. MichaelAnne and Shannon met in Eugene, Oregon has been together for the past 15 years. It was so special to see them finally tie the knot surrounded by close friends. I’m so excited for them and all the other LGBT couples that finally got their big day. Today love won! Congrats to all! -M

 

 

Whoo hoo! Big news! I just got copies of the brand new A Montana Wedding magazine and it is full of wedding photos from Greener Visuals Wedding Photography! The wedding magazine is a yearly publication produced by the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and showcases Montana wedding stories and useful tips for couples planning their wedding day in the Big Sky state. The best part is that a photo from Courtney & Chris’ Wedding day was chosen as the magazine cover photo! My first ever! I’m so excited! The publication will be dispersed to wedding vendors and businesses throughout the state for the next year. I’m proud to to see numerous past clients of mine be featured throughout the pages. As you can see from the photos, I got a lot of good photo play. Also, I have plenty of copies. Shoot me an email and I’d be happy to send you one. Check it out! -M

GreenerVisualsInBlissI was doing a little spring cleaning of my email this morning over strong coffee and rediscovered this bit of news I wanted to share. A photo I made from Erin & Ryan’s wedding day in Denver, Colorado back in 2011 was featured on In Bliss Weddings blog in an interesting take on using social media on your wedding day. You can read the post here. I embrace anything that gets others to express their creativity. These new smart phones have replaced the traditional point-and-shoot cameras and have given access to photography for the masses. You can form your own opinion. I say if one feels inspired to snap a quick pic of a moment that inspires them, they should go for it. These days it’s a common sight for me to see guests in attendance or brides maids bust out their phones. Most commonly I’ll have a mob of relatives behind me as I coordinate a large family photo. I’m not worried about them. Have they ever gotten the same image that I deliver to my wedding clients? Nope. It’s not the camera that makes a good photograph, but the photographer behind the camera lens. I bring my own vision to the table. For the wedding couple, the beauty of hiring a talented wedding photographer is so they can simplify their wedding day to focusing on being with their loved ones.

I find that social media use at weddings depends on the crowd at the wedding. Sure. You see folks tune out a second to check their phones throughout the wedding day. It has become common place in our culture. I don’t think this wave of social media is interfering at weddings. It is just changing from the traditional ways we’ve experienced the union of two individuals. In the end, I think most wedding guests and loved ones remain present for what really matters….the marriage of two people in love. The more ways we as a society can document, amplify, share and spread the message of love, I say all the better. Share away! -M

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Just got word that Greener Visuals Wedding Photography  was awarded 8th Place in the Getting Ready category of the Wedding Photojournalism Association 2013 National Q4 Photo Contest. The photo, above, was from Josh and Elizabeth’s Wedding Day at the Creek Club at I’On in Charleston, South Carolina last summer. It is an honor to be recognized in the ranks of so many incredible wedding photographers throughout the world. The judges give their comments under the top ten winning images. I love good feedback. Check out all of the other winning images on their website. -M

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I‘ve been photographing weddings for the past nine years all over the country. Being a destination wedding photographer (now based in Bozeman, Montana) has been the perfect blend of my love for telling stories with pictures and love for adventure and exploring new places. Last year my wedding photography took me from the southern charms of Charleston, South Carolina to the mountains of Vail, Colorado onto San Francisco, California and to the rustic Bitterroot Valley in Western Montana. So much fun. I’ve been blessed to photograph some really wonderful wedding couples. What started out as a fun gigs for friends at weddings, has cultivated into a wonderful creative outlet I want in my future. Over the past decade, my wedding photography business has been running solely on word of mouth and organic searches on the interwebs. In all that time, I’ve never had an opportunity for a physical public display to showcase my wedding photography business. Last weekend given my first chance. I was honored to be apart of the Bozeman Bridal Affaire 2014 held at the Strand Union Ballroom on the Montana State University campus in Bozeman, Montana. It was the first bridal fair that my Greener Visuals Wedding Photography has participated in. It was important to me that it made a good first impression.

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Working with a 10 x 10 ft space, we would need to get creative both in design and in how we would transport my photography display booth. Sometimes I can be stubborn. I was not willing to sacrifice visual impact for ease of transportation especially if my booth was to make a big splash with those in attendance. I’m a strong guy. But after a car accident years ago that left me with constant back aches, I needed to consider the weight of it all. My booth would represent my formal “Howdy!” as the new photographer in town to the brides of southwest Montana in attendance but also to all of the other wedding vendors in the area. Which made me ponder some concepts like what should my brand look like? What kind of feeling should my booth convey to wedding couples moving through wedding maze within the MSU campus ballroom? Being able to show fun, wedding photos is one thing, packaging it with the feel of my overall brand was another. I had never done anything like it before.

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What a cool opportunity. I discovered it to be a wonderful exercise to get me to think differently. With my logo as the starting point of inspiration, I began piecing together the branding puzzle. I’ve always loved the old rustic feel of Montana that I  experienced visiting family as a kid here every summer growing up. The color schemes of Montana are like no other place on earth. Besides the gorgeous mountain streams filled with trout and jagged rocky peaks, what stood out to me was always seeing the old abandoned barns or homesteads worn down by the environmental elements to the point that they grey out and become part of the Montana scenery. Rough around the edges. Beautifully imperfect.

I wanted to replicate that feeling so dear to me onto my future wedding clients. So, I sketched out some concepts and drove over to my parents house in Missoula to seek the assistance of my woodworking savy dad. Bonus that it was a fun father and son woodworking project. Together, we set out to build a display that would catch the eye of engaged couples and give a powerful, first impression showcasing my style and brand of Greener Visuals Wedding Photography. It was a great challenge. The display needed to have a big visual impact in size, great lighting and many large photos. We were still brewing up a concrete design, when we drove down into the valley and checked out Home Resource, an incredible nonprofit building materials reuse center in Missoula, Montana. Having “green” in my name, I decided “being green” would be a cool concept to incorporate into my new brand building project. We ended up finding a bunch of beautiful, old reclaimed barn wood planks, insulated sheet metal heating ducts and some really nice track lighting. Now that we had raw materials, so began our visualization of how it would all come together.

Many questions needed to be answered. How to showcase my wedding photography with a professional look but also make it stand out by being unique in my approach? How could I convey something personal? What feelings would brides experience from seeing my display? I had to figure out what my goals were. I consider myself a wedding storyteller. To emphasize that point, I knew I wanted to show my potential wedding clients an entire wedding story in pictures. The ultimate way to show them exactly what they would expect to get by hiring me as their wedding photographer. That meant I would need to show quite a few photos for just that purpose. Showcasing to Montana brides, I decided to feature Ashley & David’s Montana wedding story, one of my favorite weddings I photographed from my 2013 wedding season at the Teller Wildlife Refuge in the Bitterroot Valley of western Montana. It was also important to highlight some of my best images to show the range of emotion, moments and range of my photojournalistic photography style. All good thinking but I was limited financially. Print costs can add up quickly. Rather than make the investment of expensive canvas prints (a very popular, beautiful option used by photographers for displaying photos), I decided instead to be more versatile and chose to print out regular photo paper images instead. To me there is still nothing more impactful than seeing a physical photograph in print. After all, every picture tells a story.

Over two weekends, my dad and I created a large four panel, self-standing, framed display where I could use rare earth magnets to hold my wedding photos across the framed metal backdrop. It was different and I was pleased. To add to the visual impact of my images, we fastened the track lighting to a reclaimed long barn wood plank and anchored it across the top to link the two large frames. We rigged the whole lighting system to a dimmer switch which allowed me to dial in the perfect light to accent my photography. Add a screw to hang my business sign and like that, a paper concept comes into fruition. I was very pleased with the ending results. The best part is that it all breaks down in size where it can be easily carried and will fit into the back of my Subaru Outback. Score! A big thank you to my dad, John, for all of his assistance and use of his tools.

Last Friday evening, I hauled it all over to the Bridal Affaire, and got it all set up in anticipation for the all day event on Saturday. My booth was a huge hit. Besides my build display I was able to display wedding albums and more information about my photographic services. I had an awesome time meeting a lot of excited, newly-engaged couples and hearing about their wedding plans. How exciting it must be for them. It was a really good feeling to see folks engage with my photography. I got as many complements on my booth as I did on my wedding photography. In the end, I’ll call it a big win for the day and a great stepping stone in my photographic journey. The best news is that my phone has been ringing. I’m already looking forward to the new wedding stories I will get to tell this year. -M

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Stumbled across this gem in a news feed recently. Glamour Magazine nails it on the head for a good wedding toast advice formula.

“Introduce yourself + funny story about your friend and why you love her + why the spouse is such a great match + larger sentimental thought + “Cheers!” + a hug for the couple = a truly killer wedding toast.

I thought it was really good food for thought. I would add with all of that to just be genuine and keep it short and sweet. Check out the full list of tips here. -M

Happy 2014 everybody! What a year!  I feel very fortunate. Rounding off my second year being based back in Bozeman, Montana, I feel like I have really come into my own on many fronts – creatively, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Most importantly it was a year for me to realize just how much I love doing what I do. I had the great fortune to photograph weddings in Charleston, South Carolina, Vail, Colorado, and through out Montana. A big thank you to all of my wedding clients from this past 2013 wedding season. Wish you guys all the best and thank you for letting Greener Visuals Wedding Photography be apart of your wedding day celebration. Here are a few of my favorite wedding images from the past year. Looking forward to the new smiles and faces I’ll meet and photograph this year. Stay tuned! -Mike Greener

Hot off the presses, I just got some copies of the brand new 2013/14 A Montana Wedding Magazine wedding planner. I’m pretty excited about it because it is just littered with my wedding photography. If you are looking for some Montana inspiration for your wedding day, this wedding planner guide will be a great resource for ideas, tips and info to find top notch Montana wedding vendors. I’d be happy to send any of you a copy. Shoot me an email if you are interested. I have extras. I was really pleased that the editors of the magazine just ran wild (and BIG) with my storytelling wedding images. It’s the quickest way to bring a smile to this photographer’s face. As you can see they made full use of photographs. I highlighted a couple above but there are so many more to see. I went big myself and invested in a three-page advertisement for my wedding photography business. I think it will be a great boost to get the word out around Montana and beyond that Greener Visuals Wedding Photography is open for business and accepting bookings for the 2014 wedding season. Psyched. If you or a friend you know is in need of some kick ass wedding photography, I know this great guy they should talk to. I look forward to hearing from you. -M

Good news! I found out recently that a couple of my photographs were recognized in a national wedding photo contest. I’ve been a member of the Wedding Photojournalism Association, a national organization of professional wedding photojournalists, for a couple years now and every quarter they hold a contest to honor the talents of its members. It’s always fun to see how you stack up again other talented peers in the industry. There was a lot of inspiring work that was awarded and I was excited to learn I was amongst them. I won 3rd Place in the Reflections category and then won 17th Place in the Great Natural Light category. I’m pretty stoked! I had a lot of fun shooting Michele and Brian’s Wedding and Melissa and Brendan’s Wedding where these award winners were made. Click on their names to check out their fun wedding photos! Thanks for the support everyone! I’m looking forward to making many more award winners for my upcoming wedding season. I’ll be a traveling man. Headed to Oregon, Colorado, South Carolina and all over Montana this summer. There’s always room for more. I’d love to hear about yours or a friends wedding day plans and tell you how Greener Visuals Wedding Photography can help capture the fun. Talk to you soon, -M

Just found out my Greener Visuals Wedding Photography photo shoot from last spring’s Lavish and Fabulous Couture Bridal Event was just blogged about from my friends at Real Weddings Magazine. Behold the awesome colors of the Moroccan Lounge. What a fun event. If you are in the Sacramento area next spring be sure to check the event out. You can view their blog post here. Cheers, -M

I’m happy to announce that one of my go to wedding photo assistants and long time friend Brad Zweerink just found out that a photo of his from our coverage of Gillian and Jeff’s Wedding last May won and is a finalist in the Photo District News (PDN) “Top Knots” wedding photography competition. We had such a fun time photographing these two. The winning photo is of Gillian being hoisted up on a chair during the horah dance of their Jewish wedding. Gillian had a great surprise reaction on her face that I think really adds to the success of the image. It’s a big, national photo competition and I’m thrilled for his good news. Way to go Brad!

Well, this is always a fun email to wake up to. I found out the other day that a photo I made at Christina and Ryan’s wedding last summer placed in the the most recent Wedding Photojournalism Association quarterly photo contest. It’s a shot I made of Christina’s grandmother giving her toast. What a sweetheart. There is an incredible amount of talented wedding photojournalists in the organization and I’m thrilled that my work was able to stand out  amongst them. My first wedding of 2012 is one week from today! I’m getting excited. Sonoma, California here I come!

God…I love what comes across your path on the internet. I found this great unique wedding toast the other day and wanted to share it with all of you. I hope my friends are this creative when it comes to my wedding day. So awesome! Give it a second to load then watch it all the way through. Too funny. I’m getting excited to start my 2012 wedding photography season. If you know of anyone looking to hire a fun, talented wedding photographer, send them my way! All the best, -M