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 weeks back I was asked by my friend Catrina, of Catrina Maria Designs and The Venue Vixens, to photograph the social meet up of the Association of Bridal Consultants Sacramento chapter meeting. The quarterly event brings wedding planners from throughout the Sacramento area together for educational and networking and was held at new CAVERNA 57 wine cellar in Sacramento. My job was to document the evening while also photographing the new venue for an upcoming Venue Vixens review. The place was so new that much of it’s landscaping wasn’t finished so I was forced to get creative about how I composed my shots. Once the venue shots were taken care of, I started to document and socialize with the guests. I love these types of events for numerous reasons. It’s a very welcoming educational scene, it allows everyone to experience the different, new concepts of floral displays and venue set ups, it’s a good opportunity to sample the foods and beverages of the local vendors (which can be a good reference when suggesting food vendors to potential wedding clients) and best of all it is a perfect place to network and to meet with like-minded friendly people in the Sacramento wedding industry. Overall the evening was a lot of fun. The CAVERNA 57, when completed, will be a great little venue for small intimate weddings or social events. Definitely worth checking out. -M

After I spent the first half of the evening photographing the 2011 Lavish and Fabulous Couture Bridal Event VIP Black Carpet portraits at the Arden Hills Resort Club & Spa, I wandered the venue documenting the fun. The annual event is put on by my wedding planner friend Fearon, of Fearon May Events, in association with Real Weddings Magazine as a chance to show case the top wedding vendors in the Sacramento region to local brides and grooms in numerous themed vignette table top design settings.  Each room within the spacious resort vicinity had a different theme that introduced brides to an assortment of different design possibilities they could apply to their own wedding. Fearon also asked that I photograph two rooms for future publication in the Real Weddings Magazine including the Moroccan Lounge and A walk down the Aisle room. One thing I really liked about the venue setup was that each room was so unique from the others. The Moroccan Lounge offered an outdoor setting where guests could warm themselves by a fire while watching a belly dancing demonstration or enjoy a freshly rolled cigar from Casilla Cigars while being entertained by a Egytian music duo. It had a surreal feel to the place with lots of pink and blue color tones throughout. The Walk down the Aisle room offered a very different feel. It had a more subtle yet elegant feel to it with plenty of candles to light a centered room alter surrounded by flowers and guest chairs. It was a great intimate setting to it that would be perfect for brides considering a small family wedding ceremony. After guests had a chance to wander through all of the decorated rooms and sample the desserts and foods from the selected vendors, the remainder of the evening was spent socializing and dancing to the music of the Mother Mayhem band. Overall the event was a huge success and a lot of fun. I was proud to be apart of it. Until next year. -M

To see of the event photos you can view them on the Lavish and Fabulous website here.

Last night I had the privilege of photographing the 2011 Lavish and Fabulous Couture Bridal Event at the Arden Hills Resort Club & Spa. The annual event is put on by my wedding planner friend Fearon, of Fearon May Events, in association with Real Weddings Magazine as a chance to show case the top wedding vendors in the Sacramento region to local brides and grooms in numerous themed vignette table top design settings. It was incredible. Each room within the spacious resort vicinity had a different theme that introduced brides to an assortment of different design possibilities they could apply to their own wedding. I was asked by Fearon to help out by photographing two of the rooms (which I’ll talk about in a future blog post), documenting the guests having fun at the event and lastly to make portraits of the brides an grooms on the black carpet entry way as they entered the event. This turned out to be a lot of fun. I decided it would be fun to turn it into a glorified photo booth and set up my big lights combined with a reflector to create a beautiful lighting scheme that helped to make everyone’s skin toned really pop. The “black carpet booth” was also a great chance for me to meet all of the brides and grooms and get them riled up and smiling for the event. Everyone was in a great mood and it made for some really nice portraits. I had a great time. Here are some of my favorite photos from the black carpet photo session. I’ll be writing up a post on the rest of the Lavish and Fabulous Couture Bridal Event experience soon. Stay tuned…

To see all of the black carpet photos you can view them on the Lavish and Fabulous website here.

I’m happy to announce that I’ll be one of the featured photographers working at the upcoming 2011 Lavish & Fabulous Bridal event at Arden Hills Resort Club & Spa on November 10th, 2011. The event is being put on by my good friend and talented wedding planner Fearon DeWeese, of Fearon May Events in association with Real Weddings Magazine. The two have teamed up to create an exclusive couture bridal event featuring the top wedding vendors in the Sacramento region. Lavish & Fabulous was designed to take bridal shows to the next level by showcasing all of the vendors in themed vignette table top designs. They pride themselves on only selecting the best professionals in the area and personally invite them to participate in the show. This boutique style soiree allows couples to find wedding resources in a low-key, modern and fun environment. This is an event unlike any other in Sacramento that caters specifically to the couture bride and groom. With fashion, food and fabulous vendors, this is definitely a show you will not want to miss out on. Come see the latest trends from New York to San Francisco for your 2012 wedding. We invite brides and grooms-to-be to this one of a kind luxury showcase at one of the premier wedding venues in Northern California. This is a bridal show that even the groom will enjoy! With a special groom’s lounge, delicious food and no pressure from vendor booths, you can make it a fun night out for the two of you. When you enter Arden Hills Resort Club & Spa you will start your evening by being greeted with a glass of champagne as you walk the red carpet. You will walk through the themed table tops designed by Fearon May Events, be inspired by the breath-taking decor by our amazing professionals, taste delicious hors d’ ouevres & beverages and dance the night away to live entertainment! Inspiration, delicious food, alcoholic beverages and live entertainment for only $15! Tickets are on sale now! By your tickets now before they sell out. We hope to see you at the show! Cocktail attire suggested.

Check out their website for all of the details. http://www.lavishandfabulous.com/

Hope to see you all there! -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

I can’t believe it is the 4th of July already. I’ve been so busy with weddings and photographing events that the patriot holiday snuck up on me this year. After a long fun weekend in Denver photographing the wedding of an old high school friend, I returned home exhausted but satisfied. Since my return, it’s been nothing but one hundred degree heat and barbecues with friends in Sacramento and Davis, California. It was a treat to slow down and enjoy a relaxing afternoon. I decided it would be fun to set up my Greener Visuals Wedding Photography photo booth for the event. It was a great excuse to play and draw with sparklers. It reminded me of my youth growing up catching lightning bugs and celebrating the Independence Day fireworks in northwest suburbs of Chicago. Happy memories and just like that…summer is halfway over. Time flies when your having fun. Happy 4th of July everyone! -M

A couple weeks back I was emergency hired to document a family reunion of Plush Wedding & Events planner Michaela Rodgers. Her former photographer backed out at the last minute and she was left scrambling to find a replacement. Through the great wedding network of Sacramento, Michaela was able to track me down and asked if I could help her out. Being a professional photojournalist at newspapers for the past six years, I’ve often been thrown into a photographic situation at the drop of a hat where I’ve had to roll with it and make captivating images. I was happy to offer my photographic services and a couple days later, I found myself hired and driving eastbound towards Lake Tahoe for my Saturday with the Rodgers documenting their family festivities.

The Rodgers Family gathering was focused around the birthdays of the grandparents Donna and Kirk and their kids wanted to celebrate the event with a surprise weekend in Lake Tahoe. Michaela married into the family with her high school sweetheart now husband Cameron, the youngest of the six children. The two have known each other since their junior year of high school.

Coming from a smaller family of three kids, my eyes were definitely opened to a whole new family dynamic of six children and ten grand children. There are eighteen grand children now,” said Michaela Rodgers about life as a Rodgers family member, “It’s never a dull, or quiet, moment.  I knew right away that this family was special and they have taught me a whole new meaning of what being a family truly is.”

The whole idea of their special surprise weekend began months earlier stemming from Cameron’s older sister, Tawna (third oldest sibling).  Their parents, Donna & Kirk both recently turned sixty-years-old this past year and their kids and grandchildren wanted to do something meaningful for them. The kids figured since their parents had taken care of, supported and loved their children and grand children every day of their lives their recent birthday was a good excuse to celebrate in style. So Tawna gathered the family members together, gave us each tasks and assignments to get the planning underway.

I’ll let Michaela describe how the weekend went with a letter she sent to me.

Everything about this weekend was a surprise to the parents.  The first day, we put together a scavenger hunt that began in Lincoln, CA and led Donna & Kirk up to the cabin in Lake Tahoe.  They were welcomed with a huge gift basket of their favorite treats: Popcorn, Hot Tamales, Diet Pepsi, Pellegrino, M&M’s, all their favorites along with beautiful fresh flowers to brighten up their room.

The second day, we surprised them with our fabulous photographer, Mike Greener of Greener Visuals Wedding Photography.  The idea of having Mike share our weekend celebration with us was so that he could capture the everyday silly, goofy, emotional and special moments that we have with one another regularly. It’s those special moments that we rarely are able to capture because we are always “in the moment”.  We wanted Mike to document our day with his beautiful pictures and he delivered above and beyond what any of us had envisioned.

First, let me back and up and mention how we came to find Mike…and let me say too that he was our savior for this weekend!  We actually had another photographer lined up, but she canceled two days before our departure!  Needless to say, I was in a panic, and happened to call a dear friend/colleague of mine in the wedding industry, and she gave me Mike’s name and information and said I have to give him a call.  I was a little hesitant at first, being that I had never met him before, and we all know how important pictures are, right?  So, I checked out his website and was blown away!  I gave him a call and his kindness, compassion and eagerness to help us in our oh-so-desperate situation was more than I ever could have ever asked for!

So, when Mike arrived at the cabin, we had our picnic lunch all packed up and we headed out to the beach!  There we ate lunch, played some football, volleyball and baseball and simply hung out and enjoyed each other’s company.  Mike was awesome!  He captured everyone in his or her truest state of being and living.  We gathered all twenty-three family members for a family picture in front of Lake Tahoe and let me note there were two families that weren’t able to make it.  We have a huge family!

After the beach we made Donna & Kirk one for their favorite meals, Mexican food galore and each family member around the table shared a special memory that we had of them.  Needless to say, the room was filled with an immense amount of emotion, love and tears.

Following dinner was the biggest surprise of them all!  Tara (second oldest) wrote and directed a play for her parents.  This play was a representation of Donna and Kirk’s life together, beginning when they first met in 2nd grade, their marriage at 16 (just juniors in high-school) and they re-played each child’s birth.  The twelve grand children that were there played the parts of their parents as they were growing up, high-lighting extra special events and moments that occurred throughout their lives.  Having such special meaning only to our family, watching stories being acted out that we have heard throughout the years, the amount of laughter and tears that were shared during this moment, were indescribable.

And thanks to Mike, he captured it all flawlessly.  Because of him, we will forever have these intimate memories of this weekend to look back on and reminisce about and forever smile upon.

Thank You! Thank You!  Thank You!”Michaela Rodgers

Upon my arrival at their snow-covered, cabin doorsteps it was immediately apparent that this was a loving, tightly knit family. I had so much fun watching and documenting the Rodgers family play and laugh together. I quickly felt right at home. One after another there were jokes and stories of the family’s past being retold and laughter and hugs ensued. You knew it hadn’t always been smooth sailing for them like most families I know but here they all were older and wiser laughing till their stomach hurt, recounting all of the antics and struggles big and small that they endured over their childhoods. This was a family that had grown strong together. A family that had supported each other through thick and thin and now were here to honor and celebrate the two parents that had given them that unwavering foundation and guidance along the way to adulthood. It was a cool thing to behold…laughter, tears and all. Here are a couple favorite images from my time with them. It was yet another fun weekend photographing in the mountains. I was glad to help them out. –Mike Greener

 



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

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