Whenever I post a new wedding on my blog, I always spend some time in preparation looking over the photos of the event, and reliving the day as it unfolded. It doesn’t take long for me to be transported in my memory back to the event and rediscover some unique moment, or recall the personalities of the couple and their family and friends, or be refreshed with the beauty of the ceremony and/or venue. For the same reasons I think my clients decide to commission me to be their wedding photographer, I also benefit from how the photos preserve all of these facets about each weddings’ story so I can write about it. I hear this again and again from the couples whose wedding I have had the honor of photographing, and it’s why I continue to perfect my style of documentary wedding photography. In Janis and Louis’ wedding day story, I can honestly say, there is so much to write about, I don’t know where to begin!
For starters, Louis is a long time friend. He has worked with his brother Alex of Fifth and Main Productions since I met them both back in 2006. I even had the pleasure of getting to know Janis years back from her attendance at a few weddings we all worked on together. Photographing friends’ weddings always allows me to be at my very best, because prior to the wedding day, I know that the couple is one hundred percent confident in what I can do for them. They know me well enough to know that I have a niche, documentary style that is not for everyone. They not only accept it, they love it and are excited about what I will uniquely capture from their wedding. In addition, because they are personal friends, chances are that I also know many of their family and friends. What I’ve witnessed over the twenty-two years I’ve photographed weddings, is that part of the celebratory atmosphere is due to that fact that these events are dual “family reunions” by their very nature of bringing people together from all over to the same place and time. As a photographer, I am usually an outsider, and only experience the love and excitement of family and friends being united, from behind my lens. At weddings like Janis and Louis’, I actually get to experience that bonding first hand, as a family friend! I cannot express in words how much I enjoyed being apart of this wedding day, celebration, and reunion; to be more than just their photographer, but to be counted among the friends in attendance of Janis and Louis’ wedding!
In this wedding, I was originally to be the only photographer. Most weddings usually require two because the bride and groom are in two different locations to start the day, and we want to make sure both are being photographed for the whole story to be told. I decided to bring along David Yarnall, my normal second photographer for Michigan weddings, to work as my assistant. He has become a great friend over the years and I thought it would be fun having him join me on this destination wedding that required being out of town for a couple of days. David is one of the funniest guys I know, always quick-witted, and I knew we would have a blast! David, as well, knew many in attendance due to his association with Fifth and Main Productions over the years, so it only made sense for him to attend! It ended up being a “win-win!” Having David come along as “my assistant” turned into him actually providing second photographer duties during the day when it mattered most! He ended up photographing Louis and the guys getting ready and providing help during the ceremony. You will see below some excellent results of his work. Some of my favorites of his are the images of Louis and Alex getting ready. Alex, who is the owner and primary shooter for Fifth and Main, was Louis’ best man and had his crew do all the filming so he could enjoy the day. It was only a matter of time until he grabbed his Super 8 camera and started shooting! The photo of Alex behind Louis looking in the mirror is a classic! Another of David’s photos is the image of the flower girl, Maryn (Alex’s daughter), looking back at the camera as she is walking up the aisle. This moment happened in a split second! It was not intentional! Had David not been positioned and focused on her, he would have missed this. Had I not had David doing some shooting, the moment would have never been captured because I was positioned a hundred feet away, capturing the wedding party arriving up the mountain on a ski lift! Its an incredible moment of Alex’s beautiful daughter!
Like I said, I could write forever on this wedding. By now, on most of my blog posts, I’ve finished describing the wedding day, and here, I haven’t even started. So I am only going to give you a brief summary and let the photos below tell the story – which they do much better than I can in words! We arrived up to the beautiful Homestead resort the evening before the wedding in a rain storm! As we were driving onto this fantastically scenic property, my heart was sunk because of the foul weather and how this might affect the plans for an outdoor ceremony the next day. Fortunately, all worked out! Not only did the rain hold off for us, but the cloudy skies made for excellent lighting! The ceremony is one in which most brides would dream for! Over looking Lake Michigan atop the beautiful trees and pines that were just changing colors for the oncoming Autumn season! Listen to me talk about all this beauty, and I almost forgot to mention how beautiful Janis was as a bride! I guess that’s why I let the photos do the talking! She was gorgeous! Even standing in such a breathtaking landscape, your eyes go right to her (Sorry Louis)! One of the highlights that I had anticipated long before arriving to photograph the wedding, was knowing in advance about the processional and recessional happening on a ski lift! I knew that these photos would be unique, and I won’t be surprised if one or two of them don’t end up getting published somewhere!
After the ceremony, the wedding party headed up to the Cherry Republic Winery to hang out and have some fun before returning for the evening reception. It is such a cool place! Not only did we get to drink some cherry wine, but everyone got to participate in some good ol’ fashion pit spitting, and Janis and Louis did a little slow dancing as well. From there, we headed up to the sand dunes and photographed some excellent portraits along the scenic coastline! I usually don’t post portraits on my blog, so to see them, you will need to check out the Highlight Slideshow of the days unfolding story by clicking >>>HERE<<<. We finally arrived back at the Homestead for one of the most fun receptions I have been a part of. I must say (sorry Alex!) that I saw a side of my very good friend Alex Bitoff that I never, ever saw before! He is such an awesome videographer, a complete professional and super serious when on the job! But at his brother’s wedding, as the best man, he was a total nut and had me in stitches by the nights end! Yes, that is him in the photos below with the chicken mask on! Check out all the great moments below of Janis and Louis’ phenomenal wedding day! It is one for the ages!