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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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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 of 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 an 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

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.

I can not think of a better way to start my 2013 wedding season. A couple weeks ago, I went out for a fun, wedding engagement shoot float with Candace and Andy on the Madison River. The two found me through a recommendation from a friend here in Bozeman, Montana and reached out to me in a bit of a panic. The two were disappointed with a previous photographer’s engagement photos and they called me looking for a last minute remedy. I was happy to help. The two wanted photos that conveyed their relationship while mixing in their mutual love of floating Montana rivers. For those of you that haven’t met me personally yet, flyfishing and floating a river are two of my favorite past time activities. Mix in a great photogenic couple, some great Montana evening sunlight with a photographer in his ultimate happy place…well, you have yourself a recipe for some awesome and unique engagement photos. I had a lot of fun with these two. We set out west from Bozeman (boat trailer in tow) towards our river put in. Candace and Andy brought along their English Springer Spaniel puppy “Bobo” for his first floating experience. Sometimes it’s those little added ingredients like a curious, young dog that can help set the stage for some fun moments. Upon casting off shore, two things were quickly revealed to me: first, Bobo had never in water before (let alone floated on top of it) and secondly, this dog had never seen a trout before. Hilarity ensued as Candace and Andy reacted to their pup’s new experiences in between each portrait set up and I was there to document it with my camera. The end result was some uniquely Montana-style engagement photos that they were really happy with. The two will be tying the knot later this summer. I wish them all the best. -M

Last weekend I wanted to tap into my autumn nostalgia and celebrate the new Fall season by hosting a apple picking event and BBQ at my house here in Bozeman, Montana. Growing up in the Chicago suburbs of Illinois, one of my favorite activities was to go apple picking in the local orchards. So I invited some friends over for my First Annual Apple Pressing Party last Sunday. The idea was to all meet up on bikes and to go ravish the local Bozeman area apple trees then bring our bounty back for cider pressing, micro brews, BBQ and campfire into the evening. The reality was that this year was a lousy fruit year for the apple trees in the area and we ended up buying boxes from the local grocery store. Still, we borrowed a apple press from the good folks at Rocky Creek Farms and pressed about a gallon of delicious cider that everyone got to sample around the warmth of the campfire with nice rum and whiskey and smoked ribs. As part of the celebration, I also set up my photo booth over my cast iron yard tub/stationary hammock and we all went to town making fun, spontaneous photos throughout the evening. It was a great time! Here are some of my favorites from the evening.

Winter quickly approaches here in the Big Sky and I’m already starting to book wedding dates for my 2013 wedding season. If you or someone you know is in the market for a wedding photographer, now is the perfect time to be the early bird and book Greener Visuals Wedding Photography for your wedding day. I’d love to hear from you. Happy Fall everyone!

I love it when brides and grooms completely make their weddings unique and their own by doing a “Do-it-yourself” styled wedding. For my last wedding of the 2012 season, Melissa and Brendan wedding didn’t disappoint. I always like to end my wedding seasons with a bang. In the case of photographing their wedding a couple weeks ago, it was a literal interpretation with shotguns. These two Seattle outdoorsy, love birds found me through my connections with the fly fishing industry and flew me from Bozeman, Montana to Seattle, Washington for the weekend. For the groom, an avid hunter and fisherman, what better way to celebrate his wedding weekend but to start with a half day of blasting guns along the Yakima River at the private gun range. It was awesome and the fire powered event would set the tone for the rest of the country styled wedding weekend. Their wedding was held at this cute little fishing lodge called the The Canyon River Ranch along the Yakima River. Friends and family came together to help set up and celebrate these two. I had a great time getting to know them all. What a fun bunch. I wish them all the best. -M

To see their entire wedding photo collection go here.