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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

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

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.

A few weeks ago, I got a call from my cousin Kim saying that she, her husband Daniel and their little daughter Adleigh would be passing through Bozeman on a family road trip and they wanted to have some family portraits made. Having a rare break in the action from my busy wedding season, we decided to meet up and head over to Hyalite Reservoir. I’m a sucker for the outdoors and will always default to nature for my portrait backdrops. It just seems more natural. Pun intended. Lucky for me the whole area is one big scenic postcard. After a sunset dinner of Roost Fried Chicken, a new Bozeman favorite restaurant, we started playing with the light of the setting sun. Again, I wanted to photos to be about them and not their clothing. With the help of my assistant/sister Katie, we made some fun images and laughed all evening at Adleigh’s reactions. Thanks for looking, -M

To see all of their photo shoot, go here.

After a relaxing evening photographing Ali and Drausin rehearsal dinner at the base of the Vail ski mountain at the Manor Vail Lodge Friday night, I turned my attention to documenting their big wedding day. The two Yale alumni chose to have their wedding day at this cute ranch called 4 Eagle Ranch outside of Vail, Colorado. For many of my clients, choosing the venue is a big decision. The venue is the keystone in which all other vendors and wedding task fall in line behind. Once you have it, everything else tends to fall into place a lot easier. For them Ali and Drausin, who were simultaneously planning/executing a long distance destination wedding, moving from Philadelphia to New York City all the while figuring out their honeymoon plans to China, picking their venue was as easy as seeing the background landscape in a photograph on the website and asking where to sign the dotted line. Go figure. I appreciate working with a couple that knows what they want. Getting hitched surrounded by their loved ones while engulfed in the beautiful surrounding Colorado rocky mountains scenery was a recipe for a great time. You could not have asked for a prettier day. With the help of my assistant Josh Couper, we were able to document the fun well into the night including a surprise flashmob dance party coordinated by Ali’s sister. I am so excited for these two. I wish them all the very best and many years of laughter and happiness. -M

To view Ali and Drausin’s entire wedding, you can view them here.

I returned to the rocky mountains of Colorado a couple weeks ago to document the wedding weekend of Ali and Drausin in Vail, Colorado. It was a wonderful crossroad of my past and my future. Ali, has been a buddy of mine for years now. Back in college, while my journalism peers were seeking out newspaper internships, I opted instead to work two summers as a summer camp counselor at Cheley Colorado Camps. Ali was a campfire counselor at the adjacent girls camp. It was a job that paid pennies but rewarded you with an entire summer exploration of the surrounding mountains while sharing your passions, skills and goofiness with great outdoorsy kids. It’s amazing how certain places in your life really leave an impact on you. My two summers in Estes Park, Colorado and the people I met there, like Ali, played a big role in making me a better person. Besides helping to shape me on my path, the experience gave fruit to really great friendships. I was lucky to keep in touch with her.

When Drausin and her emailed me about photographing their wedding rehearsal and wedding day back in the mountains stomping grounds of my earlier youth, I was stoked. I love mountain weddings! The soon to be newly weds decided to have a causal relaxing rehearsal “dinner” at the base of the Vail ski mountain at the Manor Vail Lodge. It was quite the place. Instead of a formal sit down dinner, they had a tapas style buffet and a bar which worked out really well. It allowed everyone to go at their own pace and socialize.

They also spread out the toasts throughout the evening rather than one right after the other. It gave each speaker a chance to really express themselves without feeling rushed. It was so special to listen to the incredibly eloquent speeches from friends and family in such a warm (and green!) setting. There is a lot of love and support for these two newlyweds. Here are some of my favorite images from the evening. I’m hard at work finishing the wedding photos. So excited to show you all. It was quite the weekend. Stay tuned… -M

To see the entire rehearsal dinner photo shoot click here.

What a weekend! I’ve begun editing through and reliving the fun wedding photos of Ali and Drausin’s celebration I made last weekend at the 4 Eagle Ranch in Vail, Colorado. I wanted to share a sneak peek of some of their wedding photos. Many more to come. My work is cut out for me. Congratulations to Ali and Drauslin! Stay tuned. -M

Montana! I love it! Especially when it means I get to make a road trip through the state to photograph a wedding up near Glacier National Park. A couple weeks ago, I headed north towards Bigfork, Montana where I photographed Cierra & Brian’s wedding day festivities at the Cougar Trail Ranch. These newlyweds have been making a life together working in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania but decided they wanted to marry closer to home, their friends and their family and opted for a Montana wedding. The place they found, the Cougar Trail Ranch, was in a classic northwest Montana setting complete with dense, surrounding lodge pole pine forests that opened into golden grass pastures bordering the property line. The big fancy house offered tons of space for the wedding party staging and it’s huge big windows offered this photographer great light to work with. Cierra, an old college rugby friend of mine, contacted me about a year in advance to book my wedding photography services and it was great to finally watch her walk down the isle to marry the boy of her dreams. It never gets old photographing the weddings of old buddies. The day went off without a hitch. As the festivities turned to dancing, I struggled to hold in my laughter at the sight of seeing some of the wedding guests cut loose and begin tossing kids into the air as they danced, celebrated and sang the words to every DJ song. It was one big, awesome Montana party! Such wonderful energy throughout. I had a blast documenting these guys. I wish them all the best for many years to come. -M

 

To see Cierra & Brian’s entire wedding click here.

 I’ve been excited to post these photos for a while now. A couple weekends ago, I drove over to western Montana to photograph the wedding day of Ashley and David at the fantastic Teller Wildlife Refuge Slack House and Barn in Corvallis, Montana. Ashley has been a longtime friend of mine since our time together attending The University of Montana and the two are making a living in Butte, Montana as social workers. You would be hard pressed to find a cuter couple. I had a awesome time photographing the fun throughout their wedding day. Thinking back on it makes me smile. The entire time I was hanging out with them, you could tell their excitement by the big grins they had on their faces all day. It’s such a fun thing to witness two people completely head over heels for one another. I think that emotion really shines through in their wedding photos. Having photographed at the refuge years ago, I had a pretty good idea of where my best images would come from. This place was a Montana wedding photographers dream. I used the rustic Montana farm backdrop to it’s fullest by exploring the variations of color schemes and trying to capture the feeling of their wedding day. It is such a joy for me to document the union of friends. I’m thrilled for these two and wish them all the best! -M

This past weekend, I traveled towards the Flathead Valley in northwest Montana to the town of Big Fork to photograph Cierra and Brian’s wedding day held at the beautiful Cougar Trail Ranch. Here’s a sneak peak at some of the fun photos I got to make on their big day! This is just the tip of the iceberg and I’m excited to show you all the rest. Many more photos to come. Check back soon. Congrats you guys! -M

A couple weeks ago, I saddled up from my home here in Bozeman, Montana and hopped a flight bound for Charleston, South Carolina to photograph Josh and Elizabeth’s beautiful wedding day festivities. I love traveling for weddings! Photographing in new places all over the country is like an artist working with a brand new canvas and I couldn’t wait to start. It was my first time exploring the charming city and my first time being completely submerged in the throws of southern charm, cuisine and lifestyle that the folks in the deep south continue to proudly cultivate. It was pretty surreal walking along the historic streets and adorable old buildings that date back to the Civil War. For Josh and Liz, who hail from the suburbs of Chicago, it was that southern soul that they wanted to incorporate into their wedding celebration. The couple decided to have their wedding at the Creek Club at I’On in the small town of Mt. Pleasant just outside of Charleston, South Carolina. The place offered a perfect setting along the banks of picturesque Hobcaw Creek for both the couple’s wedding ceremony and reception. A huge convenience not to be under estimated if you are ever planning your own wedding day. Despite ninety degree temperatures and full-on humidity, the day was packed with all the right ingredients of a gorgeous southern wedding day and the couple’s small gathering of friends and family celebrated their union well into the night hours. It was an incredible weekend with these two and I wish them all the very best! -M

To see Josh and Elizabeth entire wedding day photographs click here.

The fun continues! I just got back from photographing Ashley and David’s beautiful Montana cowboy styled wedding at the Teller Wildlife Refuge Slack House and Barn in Corvallis, Montana this past weekend. Here’s a sneak peak at a couple snaps from their wedding day. Many more to come. -M

I just got back from documenting Josh and Elizabeth’s beautiful wedding day in Charleston, South Carolina at the Creek Club at I’On. It was my first time exploring this charming city. Here is a sneak peak at some photos that caught my eye from the day. So many more to come. Stay tuned…M.

Update! The wedding photos are ready! Check them out 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