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125th-Lake-Hotel-Round-GreenerVisuals

This past Friday I had the pleasure of photographing the Lake Yellowstone Hotel 125th Anniversary Event in Yellowstone National Park. The event was in conjunction with the 1ooth year anniversary of the National Park Service. To celebrate the National Historic Landmark designation of the “Grand Old Lady” a great party was held Friday evening in the historic building which recently received a two-year, $28 million facelift in which the 153 guest rooms, public spaces, dining room, and much of the interior were renovated. I was hired to document the evening festivities and distinguished guests. It was a lovely time complete with live music, a seven course meal and a celebration amongst good people dressed up in traditional black tie affair. So glad I could be apart of it. -M

To see all the images from the event and order prints click here.

Wedding season is upon us here in the Big Sky state and I’ve been having a lot of engagement photo sessions lately. Last week I met up with Bobbi Jean and Chris at the Triple Tree trailhead in Bozeman Montana to photograph their engagement photo session. Engagement photos sessions come complimentary with all of my wedding collections. I like it because it gives me and my clients a chance to get to know one another before their wedding day and make some fun photos in the process. The two brought along their dogs as we hiked and explored the popular Bozeman trail system. Knowing Chris worked as a logger and Bobbi Jean as an employee of Yellowstone National Park, I wanted to photograph them in their element. From their, we ventured over to the wood shop of Montana Wildwoods artist and friend Tom Benedict where we played amongst his juniper tree sculptures. These two were great and I’m looking forward to photographing their wedding at the Old Faithful Inn later this summer. A fun day. -M

To view all of their engagement photos, click here.

Last weekend I had the pleasure of photographing the 2015 Thrive Lilly Ball Auction Fundraiser at the Hilton Garden Inn in Bozeman, Montana Saturday evening. Thrive is a wonderful local organization that strives to give every child an opportunity to succeed and grow to become a valuable member of the community and the world. They have been providing families with the resources, tools, and support to raise healthy, successful children in the Bozeman area since 1986. Every year they host their Lilly Ball event as their mainstay for funding their organization. I was happy to volunteer my services to support their great cause. Here are a few of my favorites from the evening event and auction. I was happy to be apart of the event. -M

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.

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.

Last Tuesday I had the pleasure of photographing the January 2012 Sacramento NACE (National Association of Catering Executives) meeting at the Hyatt Regency at Capitol Park in downtown Sacramento. I’ve been a member of this wonderful organization for the past year now. Like all NACE events, they are held monthly at a different venue throughout the Sacramento area where wedding vendors from around the area come together to network, socialize, laugh and learn. It also presents a great opportunity to try local food vendors dishes, hear the talents of local DJ’s like Music and More Entertainment see a variety of floral arrangements from Ambience Floral Design and different table setting designs from our member wedding planners. Tuesday’s event took place on the 15th floor of the newly redecorated Capitol View Room at the Hyatt while where we wined and dined while learning about the new wedding trends for 2012. Guest speaker, trend expert and wedding planner Jason Diavatis, President of San Francisco NACE, is a Wedding and Event Designer with nearly 20 years in the event industry. Overall it was a great night out on the town. Here are some photos I made during the event. Cheers! -M

What a year! I had the fortunate opportunity to photograph numerous weddings over the course of 2011. During the last couple of weeks, I’ve been going through all of my wedding shoots from this past year. It was so great to go back and relive those celebrations that I was lucky enough to photograph. So many fun times and way too many photos to choose from. I feel very fortunate. A big thank you to all of my wedding clients from the 2011 wedding season. Wish you guys all the best and thank you for letting Greener Visuals Wedding Photography be apart of your wedding day. Here are some of my favorite wedding images from the past year. I’m looking forward to making the 2012 wedding season even better. Happy New Year everyone! -M

Whew! I’ve finally started to decompress from my fun, but busy 2011 wedding season. In my new found free time, I’ve been able to go back through my back log of vacation images and a few wedding assistant gigs that I have been meaning to process. Despite my busy wedding schedule this past summer in Sacramento,  I did actually get to attend one wedding as a guest. In between my Montana wedding and trip to Colorado for a Geekfest photojournalism summit back in early September, I hopped a flight to Chicago O’Hare Airport to return to my old stomping ground of Crystal Lake, Illinois for the wedding of my good ol’ high school buddy Karisa. I’m at that age now where more and more of my close friends are tying the knot especially all of my friends from high school living in the Midwest. It’s one thing to witness and photograph the wedding of my clients and another to witness the union of someone you’ve known since adolescence. Karisa is one of the few people I’ve managed to stay in touch with since graduating from high school. When I sought out the outdoor recreation bliss in the Rocky Mountains of Montana for college, she headed east to attend Dartmouth College to pursue her love of acting on stage. As the years have progressed, I’ve watched with excitement and pride as she has climbed that ladder of success in her craft. She is a Renaissance woman whose acting pursuits have branched into small movie roles, commercial shoots, on stage plays and comedy improv troops in the Chicago scene. So it’s only natural that the man she would fall in love with would be from that creative environment. Karisa met Scott when they were cast together four years ago on an Chicago improv group together called Counterproductive Lover. “We make each other laugh, so that’s absolutely a cornerstone in our relationship,” said Karisa. The group continues to regularly rehearse and perform long-form improv together and I even managed to catch a show of theirs a few years back. These days the two stay pretty busy working full time as actors. Scott is coming of his recent success with a show he was in at the famous Second City comedy club and Karisa recently finished up a commercial shoot for US Bank. From what I can tell, acting is not an easy road to venture so it give me a lot of joy to see these two making waves.

I was looking forward to their wedding day. It would be a good opportunity to visit with past friends and also because it would be the first time in a while that I could actually celebrate a wedding properly without having the obligations of producing wedding photos for a client. Karisa wanted to make sure I would enjoy the party properly and not be working it. Alas, you can’t take the photographer out of the boy. I couldn’t resist bringing along a camera and lens just in case I came across a scene worth documenting. And I found many scenes. In between socializing, dancing and drinking in celebration, I made a few wedding photographs that stood out to me during my editing session. I used the occasion to experiment a little but mostly I used it as more of a snapshot approach. Some things worked others not so much. But that was okay. I was thoroughly enjoying myself.

Karisa and Scott decided to have their ceremony and reception in the beautiful backyard of her parents home in Cary, Illinois. When planning their big day, the emphasis was to have it feel very personable and reflect their style. Much of it was put together with the help of family and friends. Karisa designed the wedding invites and all other paper stuff which were then assembled and printed at home. The bouquets were made by family members. Instead of a DJ, they opted for the do it yourself iTunes playlist where they picked their favorite songs. This worked for a while until their computer crashed. (Something to think about for your own wedding entertainment). Luckily, there were no shortages of personel iPods around and her friends took turns spending the rest of the evening choosing songs to play and dance to. For other items at their wedding, they went for the professional approach. They had their wedding photography shot by Chicago based photographer and fellow WPJA member Allison Williams and their photo booth set up by their friend Rob Strong. Karisa and her bridesmaids had her hair and make up done by Jennifer at Jen J Style. The wedding was catered by a great Mediterranean buffet-styled grill called Roti. They also had the great idea for having a local food truck which allowed guests to make after dinner smoothies, wild game sausages, and coffee drinks. You could not have asked for a nicer day. I am so glad I was able to see it. Here are a couple photos that I made from their wedding day. I wish these two all the best! -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.

I’ve been excited to show this wedding for a while now. How appropriate that my last wedding shoot of the year was spent documenting the union of an old family friend. Nick and Emily hired me to fly down to greater Los Angeles area to photograph their wedding weekend festivities. I’ve known Nick and his family my entire life. Growing up in Crystal Lake, Illinois, his family and mine were close friends who attended the same church where the kids shared in the same childhood mandate of singing in the church choir. Nick and his brother Matt were partners-in-crime with my brother and I every Sunday as we played games of hide and seek around the church sanctuary often times managing to get into trouble as young boys tend to do. The tradition of mischief continued throughout adolescence through countless celebrations and BBQs together and our families’ annual road trip westward towards the mountains of Colorado for a week of skiing every spring. So, needless to say, when I heard that Nick was getting married and his family asked if I could photograph the celebration, I jumped at the opportunity.

Nick and Emily met on the job. Nick, upon graduating from high school, moved out to Los Angeles to pursue his dream of becoming a Hollywood actor. He was supporting himself at that time by working in numerous positions at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company restaurant from dancing in a shrimp suit to being host. It was there that he met Emily during a work training session three years ago. Emily, a Los Angeles native, has since found her calling as a talented pastry chef working at Rivera Restaurant in Los Angeles. “It wasn’t exactly love at first sight with Nick,” joked Emily when recalling how they first met, “Our relationship started off as friends but he was the persistent type and kept trying to ask me out on a date. I didn’t want to risk losing the friendship.” But thankfully, persistence pays off and after asking her out four times with her answer being no, it was the fifth time that she finally said yes to a date with him and as the saying goes…the rest is history.

When it came time to plan their wedding things got a bit complicated. Nick was cast in a lead role for a new television show and would spend the four months leading up to their wedding filming in Prague within the Czech Republic. Emily was busy trying to finish up her schooling as a pastry chef. Being resourceful, they were able to defy the hurdle of the time zone difference and plan out the wedding through the power of Skype and with the help of their family members. It all came together really well with a good mix of professionalism combined with a do-it-yourself feel. Above all, they were adamant that they wanted candid, high quality photography for their wedding day and that’s where I came in. The wedding festivities were to be held on Saturday around noon. I flew down Friday evening to Burbank where I met the wedding party and watched as the last minute preparations were made. The outdoor ceremony and reception were held in the courtyard of The Castaway Restaurant in Burbank, California. It was a beautiful warm, southern California setting overlooking the De Bell Golf Course and the surrounding Burbank hills. These two families know how to celebrate a union! Their ceremony went off without a hitch and then the celebration began. Like all great receptions, there was plenty of dancing. Food was provided by the venue and when their wedding cake plans fell through a couple days prior, Nick’s grandmother Ann was able to whip up a beautiful homemade cake for the event. All in all it was really great to be apart of and document the celebration for an old family friend. I wish them all the best. -M

To view more of their wedding images you can check out their wedding story here

and to view their entire wedding photo shoot and purchase prints you can see them in the photo archive here

I’ve been working hard to finish up the wedding photos of my friends Nick and Emily Wedding photos. Pneumonia be damned. They are almost done but I couldn’t wait to show some of them. They will be up here soon. Stay tuned.

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

 



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