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Last week I met up with Samantha & Jonathan for an afternoon winter engagement photo session here in Bozeman. These two Manhattan, Montana natives hired me to photograph their wedding day this upcoming August and wanted to showcase the winter Montana landscape into their engagement photo session. We decided to take advantage of the wonderful winter evening light we’ve been having lately here in the Big Sky country and walked around the historic Story Mill area and Gardner Park in Bozeman for a couple hours. This time of year, the outdoor color palette yields a lovely mixture of golds, oranges, and blues and I wanted to maximize it. These two had a great attitude and were up for a fun adventure. Our photo session time went quickly as we enjoyed exploring the landscape and getting to know each other. These two are great. I’m thrilled with how their photographs turned out and I’m looking forward to photographing their big day later this summer. Congrats on your engagement you guys! -M

 

Last week had the opportunity to venture out into the surprisingly mild Montana winter weather with my wedding clients Julia and Peter for a fun afternoon engagement photo session around Bozeman. These two have had this great park near their home in Bozeman where they often walk their dogs and we started our photo outing there. I loved the winter color palette of blues, greys and oranges standing out from the white snow blanketing the ground. I was really pleased with the results. These two are great. A fun day outside in the Big Sky. Looking forward to photographing their 2015 wedding day at Chico Hot Springs in June. Stay tuned. -M

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of going out for an afternoon with my wedding clients Sara and Cory for their engagement photo session throughout downtown Bozeman, Montana. I’m looking forward to photographing their wedding day at the Springhill Pavilion in September 2015. With the holiday season upon us, they wanted to get out and use their complimentary engagement photo session for a Christmas card/wedding announcement and wanted to take advantage of the unusually warm weather we were experiencing mid-December. It was a great time for us to get to know each other while breaking the ice and making some fun photographs. I always am inspired by my surroundings when photographing – be that a walk through Lindley Park, using the architecture along Main Street or even cool window displays like at The Bent Lens Optical Boutique. These two were up for the challenge and we had a fun day collaborating on making images. I feel lucky to know that in my line of work I get to meet and hang out with such fun couples like these two. September can’t come soon enough. A fun day. -M

Jessica 2014 Bozeman Montana Maternity Photos

A few weeks ago, I got a call from my friend Jessica asking if I would make some maternity photo portraits of her. This will be her first child and she wanted to have herself and her belly documented. Having never photographed a maternity session before, I was intrigued and happily accepted. It was a fun challenge. We got together in the morning. I brought my mobile photo studio to her apartment and we spent our time sipping coffee and experimenting with different photo setups. I wanted to simplify things, eliminate distractions and make the photos all about her.  I’m all about versatility in my photographs and I want to give my clients options from their photo sessions. From her place, we ventured outside and walked around downtown Bozeman chatting, collaborating and looking for interesting backgrounds. It was so fun to see her excitement. Two weeks out from having her life completely change into her upcoming motherhood. I’m excited for her. Congrats to the mama-to-be! -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

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

To see all of their wedding photos click here

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

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

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

Go here to view their entire wedding engagement photos

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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

Last week I was asked by my chef friend Carrie McCully, of ADOUR Good Food, to photograph a swanky Christmas party she was hosting for the Bozeman Young Presidents’ Organization at the famous Story Mansion in downtown Bozeman. I had just a great time with these folks. My job was to capture the fun and document the details all in the span of two hours. I love a good challenge. Here are some of my favorite images from the evening event. Happy Holidays everyone!

To see of the party photos, click here.

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

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.

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

Happy New Year everyone! Well, I finally got around to editing down my favorite wedding images from 2012. It’s great to look back and relive all the fun memories of my wedding clients celebrations. I feel privileged and proud that I got to be apart of them all for that, I raise my glass to all  of my brides and groom’s continued happiness. 2013 is already shaping up to be my best wedding year yet and the bookings are pouring in. If you know of any friends or family members that are looking for a unique way to have their wedding day documented, I hope you send them my way. Hope everyone had a great holiday and that you’ll continue to support my storytelling wedding photography in the new year. I feel very blessed. Cheers! -M

Happy New Year folks!

I don’t shoot many family portraits due to being so busy with the newspaper or weddings, but every once in a while an opportunity presents itself. My close friends from college Chris and Molly called me up over the holidays and asked if I would make some portraits of their family and of their new son Jude. They were back in Montana from Davis, California for the Christmas break. I love seeing old friends. I met the crew out at Rockin TJ Ranch just outside of Bozeman where they were staying for the week. The place is a cute little wedding venue during the summertime and served as a quite, cozy place for their family to stay. With temperatures hovering in the teens and knowing I would have limited infant enthusiasm for pictures with Jude, I elected to photograph their family in the large banquet hall where there was lots of pretty light and warm indoor heating. It was a pretty versatile space to work in and I was quickly able to set up a couple different portrait scenes. I had a great time on this shoot and was pleased with the results. Who knows? I may have a future in baby photos. Jude was so stinking cute. What a smile. Thanks for looking everyone! -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!