Another year gone by and another chance for reflection on all the blessings and celebrations I was fortunate to experience and photograph in 2014. Time truly flies when you are having fun. My passion for photographing destination weddings brought me all over the country this year including Davis and Chico, California, Idaho and numerous wedding celebrations throughout Montana. All were unique and special. I was thrilled to learn the news that Montana this past year joined the ranks of 35 other states to allow same sex marriages. A long time coming. I believe all should have the opportunity to love and marry who they choose. Progress march on. I am so thankful for all of my wedding couples who trusted me to deliver a fun, photographic experience. It was an honor to be apart of your special day. Here are a few of my favorite wedding images I made from the past year. Looking forward to the new smiles and faces I’ll meet and photograph in 2015. This wedding photographer is open for business! Now booking for the 2015 wedding season. Happy holidays everyone! -Mike Greener
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
I’m excited to post these wedding photos. About a month ago, I traveled to Chico, California from Bozeman, Montana to photograph the destination wedding day of Sara and Jason. These two lovebirds booked me well over a year out after her work friend found me and showed my photography to Sara during a internet search for Northern California wedding photographers during a long overnight emergency work shift (Sara is a veterinarian). Talking with with Jason and Sara on the phone we quickly bonded over discovering a mutual love of the outdoors, fly fishing and the occasional craft beer. These were my kind of people. I had been looking forward to their wedding day for a while. Our first time meeting was in the morning of their wedding day but it was like being reacquainted with old friends. I met up with them as they were getting ready at the Hotel Diamond in downtown Chico and photographed them as the day unfolded.
Their wedding was a fantastic DIY (Do it yourself!) event hosted at his mother’s farm property outside of town called the Double R Ranch. It was put together with the help of friends and family who were successful in creating a charming garden farm themed wedding celebration. Dinner was served in the garden amongst the sunflowers and squash on wood tables made by the groomsmen. The barn itself had been just finished by the wedding party in time for the event. Everywhere you looked there was a personal touch. It was a beautiful day filled with warm weather and smiles. A fun weekend with great people! I am just thrilled for these two! Congrats to Sara and Jason and many years of continued happiness! -Mike Greener
To see all of their wedding celebration photos, click here.
A few weeks back I drove over and up to northwest Montana to photograph Brynne and Dustin’s wedding day near Whitefish, Montana. Fall is by far my favorite season of the year and my excitement grew as I made the drive through the mountains landscape littered with bright reds, oranges, and yellows of the changing leaves throughout the Flathead Valley. You couldn’t ask for a nicer Montana Fall wedding landscape. Brynne and Dustin’s wedding celebration was held at the Abbott Valley Homestead, a gorgeous northwest Montana horse property with the classic cowboy charm. This was the second time I had the pleasure of photographing her family. After meeting the couple last year when I was photographing her sister Cierra’s wedding in Big Fork, Montana, we hit it off and they booked me over a year out for their own wedding day. Needless to say, I had been looking forward to their wedding for a while. And what a wedding it was! These are a fun bunch of folks to celebrate with. I had a blast documenting the day and the happy familiar faces. Here are some of my favorite images from the day. Wish these two all the best! -Mike Greener
To see all of their wedding photos from the day, click here.
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
Whew! What a week! Got back from a wonderful wedding of Brynne and Dustin near Whitefish, Montana last weekend. The venue was the Abbott Valley Homestead, a gorgeous northwest Montana horse property with the classic cowboy charm. You couldn’t ask for a nicer Fall wedding landscape. Here is a quick preview of all the awesome to come. Many more photos to post. I have my work cut out for me. Stay tuned… -Mike Greener
A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of photographing the wedding day of two amazing people here in Bozeman, Montana. Courtney and Chris had their late summer outdoor wedding at the beautiful Springhill Pavilion just outside of town. It’s funny how some people come into your life. I first met Chris during a friendly (but intense) game of garage ping pong with mutual friends at my old place in town. Little did I know that a few months later I would run into his bride-to-be Courtney at the 2014 Bridal Affaire Bozeman Montana last February and we hit it off. From the get-go, I loved the energy these two brought to the table. Such endless positivity and smiles. I love a wedding couple that takes the traditional concepts of a wedding and instead go in their own direction to make it entirely an unique experience. Such was the case with them. Their wedding honored their friends just as much as the day was meant for them. They had all of their friends contribute and participate in some way to make their wedding day special. Some performed songs, others read poetry, spun fire and gave blessings. They even had a friend perform numerous AC/DC songs on a cello. By the time DJ Missy O’Malley cranked up the beats, everyone celebrated into the night dancing their faces off. It was a wonderful celebration and I was so thankful to be there to document the fun. A big thank you to Time Of Your Life Events wedding planner Genevieve Burmeister and crew for making it all flow so smoothly. I wish these two all the best. -Mike Greener
Whew! What a weekend! I’m going through all of the fun captured from Courtney and Chris’ wedding day at the Springhill Pavilion last Friday. These two were an absolute blast. Here’s a couple sneak peeks at their wedding photos. I’ve so many more photos to show. Check back soon. Congrats again to such a fantastic couple! Stay tuned. -M
Wow! Is it August already? Time does fly when you are having fun. Looking back on my summer, I’ve been keeping busy photographing weddings and spending the remaining free moments mountain biking around the mountains of Bozeman, Montana. Life is good. I feel lucky to have found such happiness and fulfillment in documenting the love of others with my camera. It’s a continual reaffirmation that fills me with gratitude daily. The only thing better than documenting the big day of my new wedding clients are those times when an opportunity to document a good friend’s wedding comes around. A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of watching my buddy Levi marry the love of his life Christina in a beautiful and intimate ceremony on a family friend’s property outside of Manhattan, Montana. Levi and his family have been dear friends of mine for many years running. Having grown up in Bozeman, Levi was the guy who introduced me to great people and many places to explore when I first moved to Bozeman and I didn’t know a soul. It was a kindness extended at the time to the new guy in town that I will always be grateful for. I had been looking forward to them tying the knot for some time now. These two love birds met at a kundalini yoga retreat and quickly fostered a strong bond with each other. When it came time to planning their wedding, they decided to have a small ceremony with close friends and relatives contributing food in a potluck fashion. It worked out great. Their wedding day was simple but elegant collaboration. It’s was a great feeling to watch my friend be filled with such joy at having found a wonderful woman and partner in Christina. Here are some favorites from their wedding day. I wish them a lifetime of happiness! -M
To see all of their wedding photos and to buy prints, go here.
To see their Photobooth photos, go here.
A couple weekends ago I traveled down to the small Idaho town of Rigby near Idaho Falls to photograph the country garden wedding of Hope and Jeffery. I met the two last summer when I was photographing her sister Ashley’s wedding day in the Montana Bitterroot Valley. It was so great to celebrate another wedding with their family again. Hope and Jeffery had their wedding at her grandparents country garden home, a beautiful property covered with flowers, produce, horse pastures and cottonwood stands which left all onlookers to admire the artistic touch of two master gardeners. Her grandparents said they collected over 30 gallons of raspberries alone last year. I love seeing wedding couples take the idea of a wedding and make it all their own. These two were no exception. Hope and Jeffery were able to blend a country wedding with Jeffery’s Japanese roots. His relatives folded 1000 paper cranes and then hung them intermixed with lights all in a large cottonwood tree which made for a beautiful ambience. The food had a wonderful homemade touch. They had many mouths to feed since about 360 guests were invited. The riddle was solved by having a caterer make pulled pork BBQ. Rather then create an exorbitant wedding cake, they opted for a smaller wedding cake from a fancy bakery then the family cooks united and made dozens of homemade pies, a delicious personal touch to a wedding day food menu. Once bellies were full the night entertainment began. Drinks were poured and the moment the DJ cued the music, the dance floor got busy. Yard games, a photo booth and an epic candy bar assisted in keeping spirits and sugar levels high into the late evening. Smiles were seen all around. In all, it was a beautiful day and I was thrilled to be apart of it. I wish Hope and Jeffery all the best! -Mike
To see all of their wedding day photos, you can view them here.
The Wedding Team:
Cherz & Co. Salon – Hair and makeup by Kellie & Kristie Stolworthy – Idaho falls, Idaho
North Hi-Way Cafe – BBQ catering – Idaho Falls, Idaho
Master DJ – music man Tony Schmitz – Omaha, Nebraska
I returned yesterday from Idaho after photographing the country garden wedding of Hope and Jeffery this past weekend. I had such a great time hanging out and photographing these two awesome families. There many more photos to show you all! These are a mere glimpse of a few photos from their wedding day. I have my editing work cut out for me. Just wanted to say “Congrats again!” to these two newlyweds. Stay tuned for more awesome. -Mike Greener
In addition to photographing Emily and Matt’s wedding celebration, they also hired me to set up my photo booth at their reception at the Odd Fellows Hall in Davis, California. Photobooths are a great way to add some fun to the wedding reception. It’s amazing the positive energy it can bring to a wedding celebration. Their wedding guests were able to trigger the booth remotely themselves which meant I could continue to photograph the festivities elsewhere. The results are often a surprising and hilarious discovery and random creativity. I’ve made it a rule now never to have beverages around my computer while editing photobooth images. Too funny. You never quite know what you will get. This crowd did not disappoint. What a fun evening! -Mike Greener
A few weeks back I had the honor of photographing the spring wedding weekend of my good buddies Emily and Matt in Davis, California just outside Sacramento. I hopped a flight from Bozeman, Montana and flew back to my former stomping grounds of Northern California. Before moving to the mountain paradise of Bozeman, Montana, I lived in Davis for three and a half years photographing weddings and working at a newspaper in the San Francisco bay area. At the time, Emily and Matt were attending UC Davis as Ecology PhD graduate students. Over the years as our friendship grew, I watched their relationship blossom and flourish. Early on, it was apparent to most onlookers in our friend circle that they were a close match and soon it was not so much a question of if they would ever get married but a matter of when. Surrounded by hundreds of friends and loved ones, these two finally made it official with their beautiful ceremony in the lush green scenery of the UC Davis Arboretum. The following evening their reception kicked off in the heart of downtown Davis at the Odd Fellows Hall. Rather than have the run of the mill wedding, these two tapped into their love of dance, performance and the decor of the Burning Man scene – a place and experience both bride and groom hold in high regard- and shaped their reception into a colorful exotic ball. The end result was a wedding unique and beautiful unto itself. The way all weddings should be, a complete representation of the wedding couple’s own awesome style. As it turns out, these two were able to source many talents from friends and family -from helping to plan out the wedding, to DJ’s to florists to foodies to yours truly behind the camera- everyone came together to help make their colorful California wedding a reality. Even the onset of spring rains that at the last minute forced a wedding ceremony to be held inside couldn’t keep anyone’s spirits down for long. It was a wonderful weekend full of laughter, love, feathers and a copious amount of dancing. Don’t believe me? Check out the photo booth these two had at their reception. Yes, those are custom made bride and groom super hero costumes they are wearing. My friends are awesome. So glad I could be there to photograph their wedding day. I wish them a lifetime of happiness! -Mike Greener
Reviews of the Day
“My husband and I met Mike in Davis, CA, where we had the privilege of getting to know Mike as both a friend and a talented photojournalist and burgeoning wedding photographer. When it came time for our wedding, there was no question that we wanted Mike to be our photographer, despite having to fly him out to CA from Montana.
We have zero regrets. I appreciated that Mike talked with me before the wedding to get a sense of our vision, and share some of his own ideas. When our plans for a fun photo shoot didn’t work out the day of our wedding, Mike just rolled with it and rescheduled it for later that weekend. He made a point of making sure that he wouldn’t add any extra stress to the event. Far from adding stress, Mike’s positive energy and supportive attitude made him a blast to work with, for my husband and I as well as our guests. At the end of the weekend, I kept hearing the same words from my friends and family, almost as though someone passed them a political talking point: “Best wedding photographer EVER!” And that was before we saw the photos…
Mike’s photojournalism background is evident in his approach to wedding photography: rather than doing round after round of boring posed portraits, Mike keeps the focus on candid shots, making people look their best while also looking REAL (though he snaps a nice portrait as well!) While looking through our wedding photos, I feel like I’m reliving the events, seeing genuine happiness and love in the faces of our friends and family. We now have the story of our wedding captured in beautiful photographs, and we will treasure them for a lifetime.
It’s hard to say what I appreciate more about Mike as a photographer- his positive energy and downright charming manner, or his fabulous photographs. It’s rare to find a person who is both easy-going and fun, AND extremely professional. Mike is both of these, and I highly recommend him to anyone who needs a wedding photographer!” – Emily & Matt, married 2014
“May I just say how thrilled I am that my sister hired Mike Greener as her wedding photographer? His warmth, energy, and enthusiasm made the day all the more wonderful for all of us. Mike was able to capture so many details, expressions, and special moments without ever getting in the way. My sister, friends, family and I couldn’t have been happier to have him with us to document the weekend-long occasion. When the bride endured some wedding stress, Mike helped her re-focus on the positives of the day, keeping her laughing and making her feel beautiful. His pictures were a reflection of that positivity. No matter how rushed or stressful things got (which, you know, often happens at weddings!), Mike kept his focus, rolled with the punches, and extracted joy from every subject. The vibrant, creative, beautiful photos he captured that weekend will be a permanent reminder that my sister chose the right photographer. We can’t recommend Mike Greener highly enough!” -Laura, sister of the bride
Just got back from a trip to Davis, California where I photographed the wedding weekend of Emily and Matt on the beautiful UC Davis Arboretum. So many photos to show. I’m hard at work editing through them. This is a mere taste. I can’t wait to show you all. Stay tuned…-M
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
Last weekend I had the pleasure of hanging out with Rachel & James and their excited young labrador puppy Deacon to make some fun engagement photos for them. These two lovebirds got engaged this past December and were planning their California Wine Country wedding later this summer from their home in Bozeman, Montana. While their wedding photos would be in the California sunshine, the two wanted to contrast their engagement photos with the beautiful snowy backdrop of Southwest Montana and hired me to help. Montana is no stranger to the cold. This winter has been an exceptionally chilly one here around Bozeman often times dropping into the negative double digits. A good thing if you are a skier, (I am) but it can be a difficult task when you are trying to make pictures of people out in the elements and not have them look like they are freezing. Our photo shoot was scheduled a couple weeks ahead of time and I found myself the day before the shoot looking at a thermometer hover around -10 F and thinking my clients will turn into popsicles. Alas, the weather gods were on our side and as we drove out to the Gallatin River Sunday morning, the sun popped out from behind the clouds to give us a balmy 20 F degrees. Rachel and James, unphased and all smiles, bundled up and were ready to go. I love it when couples embrace the unexpected. I think their enthusiasm shined through in their images. We had a great morning adventure exploring the snow covered landscape and making photos. Such a fun day. Wish these guys all the best! -M
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.
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.
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
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
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