Blog

Summer Engagement Photography

Another Summer Engagement Photography session.  This couple is getting married next year and we took some time this summer to shoot some engagement shots.  We shot at Indian Springs Metropark in White Lake MI, one of my favorite locations in the area as a wedding and engagement photographer.

We started at the tunnel going to the playground and then shot in the shadow of the structure.  I made sure to get a couple shots where the engagement ring was visible.  We then went to the dock on the small pond for a reflection shot.  I chose to convert it and a couple others to black and white as a different version. We next went up the hill to the top of the ridge to shoot under the couple large oak trees.  I brought off camera flash and lit the couple under the trees.  We then moved to the crest of the next ridge, put them in the middle of the weeds, brought in the off camera flash, turned it up to 11 and did some shots.  We then drove to the back end of the park and shot in on the path in the woods some.  I really enjoy this Summer Engagement Photography as it give me and the couple a session to wqork together and get to know each other a bit before the wedding.

Pine Knob Mansion Venue Review

This is another of my venue reviews, Pine Knob Mansion in Clarkston, MI.  This is almost a no compromise venue.  The building is located at the top of Pine Knob right next to the top of the ski hill and is an old residence for some obviously well to do family.

If we go through the building and grounds as we would see them during the day, we start with the bridal suite on the second floor. There are a couple rooms set aside for the bride and the gals. The first room is a former bar room that has a small alcove with some mirror that work well for hanging the dress and a bridesmaids review. Clarkston, MI wedding venueClarkston, MI wedding venue The nicest room in the house is the room above the dance, overlooking the gazebo.  It is a white room with huge windows on three sides, wonderful light and space for all sorts of photography.  The guys sometimes have access to what I call the Pine Man Cave, a room on the second floor with pine paneling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The gazebo is a wonderful place for ceremony. There is a curved path and a epic view to the east.  The patio is a great place for the cocktail hour.

Clarkston, MI wedding venue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The best thing about Pine Knob Mansion for photographers is the grounds.  Just off the patio are a variety of spots for nice shots.

Clarkston, MI wedding venueClarkston, MI wedding venue Clarkston, MI wedding venue Clarkston, MI wedding venue

Clarkston, MI wedding venue

If you go down the stone steps off the patio there are a couple stone walls and retaining walls.  The gardens to the south have a pond, gazebo and great vista views to the east.  There is a second set of stone steps to a lower level that serve on of the gold course tees.  There is a really great textured wall perfect for group shots. If you go back to the main garden level and head west, towards the driveway, there is a great vista view to the west, perfect for sunsets.  The building is lit well at night and there is a nice stone fountain at the front entrance.

The library is a wood paneled room where the cake typically is.  The dining room is one of the prettiest in the Detroit area.  It is not that large and is often pretty full.  It makes it difficult for photographers to get out of the way of guests while shooting, but the room always looks great.  The room below the Bride’s room is where the dancing ends up.  This is a difficult room to make attractive images.  The room is small for a dance floor, windows on three sides and a dark ceiling.  A photographer must be good at off camera lighting to get good looking shots.  Weather permitting dancing will often start on the patio.  Again being outside, photographers are challenged to make good looking light and are best to use off camera lighting.  The results with the Christmas tree lighting in the trees can made for beautiful dancing shots.

Clarkston, MI wedding venue Clarkston, MI wedding venue Clarkston, MI wedding venue Clarkston, MI wedding venue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall Pine Knob Mansion is one of my favorite venues in Southeast Michigan.  The staff is courteous, knowledgable and helpful, the food is always great.  They run a great wedding.

Las Vegas Wedding Chapels

A tour of Las Vegas Wedding Chapels. I was in Las Vegas Nevada a while ago.  I landed early on Friday and had to get up in to the mountains Friday evening for a Saturday destination wedding.  I’m intrigued by the variety of the chapels on the Strip. I must have see over a dozen pink Cadillacs in just the few hours I was on the strip.  A hand full of chapels had drive up weddings.  I don’t know if it really works or not, but it looked legit.  Some of the venues were large structures with what seemed to be a variety of additions.  Other venues were little more than storefronts.

 

Wedding Las Vegas Style

Wedding Las Vegas Style!  Some shots of a couple I ran across while shooting wedding chapels in Las Vegas Nevada.  This was not really a wedding, but a renewal of their vows.  I was is Las Vegas on a Friday for a Saturday destination wedding up in the mountains.  I drove up and down the strip photographing the stereotypical wedding chapels.  I stopped at A Little White Wedding Chapel, got permission from the owner and asked if I could photograph the couple.  They were very kind to allow me to photograph them.

Destination Wedding Photography in the mountains

Some Destination Wedding Photography in the mountains.  The ceremony and reception venue was Mt. Charleston Lodge with a mailing address of Las Vegas.  Everyone stayed lower on the mountain at The Resort on Mount Charleston.  The Lodge is most of an hour drive north and west of Vegas.  The terrain obviously changes as the road rises to 7500 feet and it took me a while to realize we were at altitude with being out of breath after going up and down a few flights of stairs.

This is the second wedding for both the bride and groom and they were both very relaxed and easy to work with.  The bride has a very organized daughter that took care of most of the scheduling, timing changes and details.

It was a pretty simple day. I started in the bride’s room where the girls got ready with hair and makeup from a team from Las Vegas. It was a very relaxed time with a bit of bubbly flowing.  The guys were ready well in advance and spent time in the lobby waiting for the day to start.  I went outside into the glaring mountain sunshine a photographed the groom, best man and other groomsmen.  We next had the bride come out for the first look, some tears.  I next photographed the bride with her maid of honor and other bridesmaids, the couple with mountain backdrop and the wedding party.

The wedding party and guests went up the mountain a bit to the ceremony and reception site.  The ceremony was lovely and the reception was a very casual, good food, many friends and family and even some dancing.  We were able to get out a bit after sunset for an epic shot of the couple with a late sunset mountains background.

I love traveling for Destination Wedding Photography.  Go to beautiful places and photograph people wearing their best, having a good time.

Las Vegas wedding photography

This is another example of Las Vegas wedding photography I did on a recent trip to Nevada.  The Elvis wedding was at noon, I heard (it had been a long day already) 2pm, so I showed up at 2.  I guess that is why Elvis was standing at the back, he must have just finished the noon wedding.  I assumed his pink Cadillac was parked outside.

This was a more conventional wedding complete with a regular pastor and all.  He gave a somewhat religious ceremony and I think everyone enjoyed it.  The bride’s brother walked the bride down the aisle in a small chapel on the strip with just a couple rows of pews.

There are dozens of wedding chapel on and just off the strip in Las Vegas.  What I saw was the majority of couples were renewing their vows.  I suppose a Las Vegas wedding is one version of a destination wedding.

 

Elvis and Pink Cadillac Las Vegas Wedding photography

Elvis and Pink Cadillac Las Vegas Wedding photography is here.  There is nothing like having Elvis drive you into the chapel in the back seat of a pink Cadillac, dance to the stage in the middle of a smoke and lighting show, have Elvis say a little something, give you your vows and dance out of the chapel. Only in Vegas.

I went to Las Vegas for a destination wedding up in the mountains about an hour out of town and had my travel day to poke around the wedding chapels on the Las Vegas strip.  While I’m not that fond of the town I find the wedding curiously interesting.  This service happened to be on the tenth anniversary of the couples wedding.  They were surrounded by their children and other family members, who all had great fun.  Elvis spoke for a while about marriage and was humorous, on point and rather philosophical at times.  One of their daughter brought the rings up, they exchanged rings and then the groom “sang” (lipped synced) a couple songs. At the end of the ceremony everyone came outside on to tohe driveway and greeted the couple.  It was bright after being inside for so long.

www.vivalasvegasweddings.com

Styled Wedding Shoot

This is my first attempt at a styled wedding shoot.  It was a blast and I’m really happy with the images.  The couple are good friends getting married next summer so this was a bit of practice for them. The dress was one from my stock of wedding dresses, yes I have wedding dresses.

Thanks to Packard Proving Grounds for the use of their venue.  It was a very cold day and it was nice to have someplace warm dry and interesting to shoot.

Thanks to Mary Simmons Hair and Makeup for her hair and makeup and general styling help.

Thanks to Ching Tan of Design Quintessentials for bringing some gorgeous flowers and head pieces.

A styled shoot is a chance to get wedding vendors together to make images that promote our brands and gives us a chance to experiment with products, services and images.  I sent Ching a couple images of the bride and she put together 4 different bouquets and a couple different headpieces for us to play with.  Mary did the bride’s makeup at the studio and we all traveled to the venue to shoot.  The bride’s hair was not very long and Mary was able to do a bit of an updo for a different look.  All of the help gave me the ability to shoot many images for Mary and Ching ofr them to use in their marketing efforts and to play a bit to see what they might be able to add to their wedding services.

For me it was a chance to play a bit.  I tried out some new lighting techniques, test a wedding show banner lighting idea and even go to test a Petzval lens.  The lens needs a bit more testing it is unusual and difficult to use.  I considered this as a first try at a styled shoot to see what is takes to organize and produce.  I’m planning a 3 photographer, videographer, bunch o other vendors, multi location shoot in the spring.

Day After Wedding Photography

I was able to get a fall wedding couple to do Day After Wedding Photography this winter.  It was a few months later, but still a fun day with really nice images.  The bride had not put her dress away yet and the groom had purchased his suit, so we had all the wardrobe.  We got a stylist to come to my studio and did a bit of Hollywood glamor photography before heading out to a local golf course.  We just had a good snow the days before and it was snowing a bit as we shot to add to the mood.

The couple were real troopers.  The snow was just about a foot deep and it was pretty cold and breezy.  I can’t tell from the shots that they felt uncomfortable.  If you look closely you can see they are not wearing their best dress shoes, snow boots.  Thank you to Fountains Golf Course in Clarkston, MI for permission to shoot on the grounds.  I don’t think we got in anyones way.

Day after wedding photography is a bit of a new item for couples.  I believe it came from the somewhat failed Trash the Dress idea.  I was not able to find a bride that would want to ruin the dress – yet.  Anyone?  A typical day after would be, well, the day after.  We would bring a hair and makeup stylist or not if you prefer more casual to your home or hotel, get you looking your best after a good night’s rest after an awesome party and go shoot.  A couple of the nice thing about a Day After shoot is the pressure is off to get to the venue because guests and family are waiting, we can go to more locations and the time of day, weather and lighting might be different.  All of those differences can make for an additional set of wonderful images.