Moms.

One of the funny things about photographing weddings is that a lot of people assume I photograph the same basic things from celebration to celebration.  Certainly a lot remains the same week to week,  I see a lot of white dresses and tiered cakes.  I hear a lot of vows and toasts.  But it’s not the same really.  There’s an entire collection of unique personalities who have an intensely deep history, and when together, they create a one of a kind dynamic.  What keeps wedding photography spicy for me is diving in to this dynamic and allowing a couples deepest, truest relationships to shine bright in their photos.

I see weddings as a culmination of sorts, the actual marriage is simply a capstone to an entire lifetime of moments that got them from A to B.  So much of that history, that collection of moments, is reflected in the eyes of those the couple surrounds themselves by.  As the photographer, providing the viewer of the pictures an outlet to truly FEEL the nature of these relationships, that’s what it’s all about for me.  Parents are undoubtedly the biggest reflections of this history in most unions.  And since we’re celebrating moms today – this post is about some of my favorite moments with moms this past year.

I’m not a mom.  Becoming a mom has never really even crossed my mind in any sort of serious way at this juncture in my life.  And maybe it’s just because… I get it.  The sacrifice, the responsibility, the time and attention, the capacity to love unconditionally, the list is endless and it’s a wild leap to take in ones life.  One I quite literally haven’t been able to wrap my head around.  A lot of my friends are moms, my mom’s a mom, my sister is a mom, I know a lot of moms.  And THEY.  ARE.  ALL.  SUPER.  HEROES.  I stand in awe of every one of them and their commitment to others.

So, this one goes out to all the moms.

The moms who prepare us and lend helping hands.

Moms who “can’t even” during life’s biggest moments

Mom’s who still have wise words, even for adults.

Dogs moms count too.  Don’t be a hater.

Moms who teach us about friendship, sharing, helping others

and then become friends themselves

sisters can be like moms too

moms who look at their children with wonder and pride

Mom’s who are still learning and embracing the ride (those lighters really are impossible sometimes)

Grandmas who have passed a strong legacy and soak it all in too.

Moms who aren’t afraid to be silly and enjoy every moment

Mom’s who support dads.

…and let everyone know it’s ok to laugh hysterically at his bad dad jokes. For the record, this was not a bad dad joke, this guy was hilarious.  Then again, I love bad dad jokes…

 

Moms who have adorably cheesy ideas supported by no shame when it comes to embarrassing you

This isn’t a mom photo, but to whoever makes kids this cute.  Props.

Moms who laugh with us and share their joy, unabashed.

Aunts who are like second moms, I had my share of those

Moms who are the best huggers, ever.

…and Grandmas who spark spontaneous standing ovations for all they’ve done

moms who celebrate us, with open arms

Mom’s who still fix our hair

And moms who uphold family traditions

 

to the moms who are no longer with us, your legacy is carried in these photos and our hearts

and finally, to some of the brides who became moms this year too

It’s a true honor to have the opportunity to immortalize so many moms in photos throughout the year.  Your support and love of your families inspires me every day.  Thanks to all the great moms in this world, nothing exists without you.  Literally.  And we love you! Happy Mother’s Day!

 

 

 

Melina + Mike – St. Louis Church, Ellicott Square Building & Admiral Room Wedding Photography – Buffalo, NY

Melina and Mike, Mike and Melina, they even SOUND good together!  And on this rainy Saturday in early spring, they made together a forever thing.  This day was the perfect balance of elegance and sweetness.  The locations Melina and Mike picked for their celebration were some of Buffalo’s finest architectural feats, and the crowd of family and friends they brought along with them were spirited and engaged in every part of the day.  It was easy to see how much love and support follow Melina and Mike and I’m so glad we had the opportunity to document all of this for them.

I began the day with Melina and her bridal party at the Courtyard Marriott while Steve joined Mike and his crew over at the Hilton Garden Inn.

I must have taken 25 photos of these two little ladies on this couch and each one is as cute as the last.  <3Melina got Mikes mom a rock as a gift.  Never got the story behind that and I think maybe I prefer it that way.  All I know is this rock clearly brought a lot of joy to their faces.On to the stunning St. Louis R.C. Church for the ceremony!Classic spring Buffalo weather, high winds and torrential rains.  This flower girl gave up pretty early…I genuinly love when this happens… makes for a far more memorable photo!Steve took this photo.  He calls it “money phone.”  It’s random and I like it.  The Ellicott Square Building served as the backdrop for our portraits and it’s truly the “rainy day backup” location of photographer dreams.  This office building from 1896 was at the time of its completion the largest office building in the country!  I think my favorite thing about this building though was the mantra of the architect Daniel Burnham, “make no little plans, they have no magic.”  I think of that line every time I come here.  From Ellicott Square it was on to one of Buffalo’s most beautiful reception venues, the Admiral Room located in the Marin building.  I had the opportunity to tour this building several years ago when it was up for sale.  A friend of mine had visions of turning it in to a wedding venue and wanted some feedback from a few of us in the industry.  It was a big time YES from me, but he ended up passing on the opportunity.  I’m SO glad someone else went through with this though because a special place such as this should not be sitting idle as an abandoned bank!  The last time I saw the space there was carpeting and cubicles in here.  It has taken a lot of time to get this place up and running, but at long last it’s here!  The staff was great and everything ran smoothly.  I’m so excited to have this new space to work in – I’ll be back for a few more weddings this summer!

Preparation Bride: Courtyard Marriott

Preparation Groom: Hilton Garden Inn

Ceremony: St. Louis R.C. Church

Portraits: Ellicott Square Building

Reception: The Admiral Room

Flowers: Maureen’s

Cake: Admiral Room Catering

Transportation: 716 Limo

Invitations and other Printed Materials: David Buck

Hair Styling: Fawn & Fox Salon

Makeup Artist: Ashley Hart

Brides Dress: Designed by Catherine Deane and purchased at BHLDN

Morgan + Tim – Beach or Bust – Couples Photography – Lake Erie – Buffalo, NY

“seeking semi-adventurous couple for free photo shoot”

Those were the words I tossed out in to the weird world of facebook, in hopes of getting someone, anyone, to volunteer to indulge my weird ideas.  Some 50 people replied!!!  How ever would I choose?!  Actually it was pretty easy.

I think a lot of people thought I was going to draw names out of a hat.  Maybe that would’ve been the right thing to do.  But this shoot was for ME, a rare off season treat where I could just go shoot for fun, and so I decided to be a little selfish.  I hand pick these two deserving people and gave myself an opportunity to serve a couple who has been serving me for years!  You see, Morgan and Tim own two of my favorite restaurants/bars, Lucky Day and Ballyhoo, and so it was nice to give back a bit.  Not to mention these two haven’t had their photos taken together professionally since my friend Aaron Ingrao photographed their wedding out in San Diego nearly a decade ago.  It was time.  Plus, c’mon look how cute they are?!

What planet did you take these photos on?

Thought you would never ask.  Planet earth, actually.  The inspiration for this location came earlier this winter while photographing one of our lovely Buffalo blizzards for my “side hustle,” Reuters.  As part of that assignment, I was taking photos of a very frozen Lake Erie and noticed large buildups of ice forming along the break-wall that protects the city of Buffalo from some of the turbulent water that passes through this choppy section of the lake.  These icy towers looked awesome, but getting a couple out on to the break-wall was going to be near impossible.  I decided to wander further down the lake, past the break-wall, to see if the beaches there had this type of ice build up.  The first beach was closed off for the winter and the second beach had a lot of ice, but it was as flat as could be.  Looking back toward the city though, I noticed one small section of beach with what appeared to be the giant ice towers of my dreams, and I was determined to find a way to get to them.  That turned out to be not so huge of a challenge.  I drove down all sorts of random side streets trying to find an access point to this part of the beach, but it’s an industrial area that is completely fenced off.  Then suddenly, an opening in the fence with a sign that said, “park closes at dusk.”  It was a legit, completely open to the public, no trespassing required secret little beach that had piles of ice piles sunbathing upon it.  And so the shoot was on.

Kara + Eric – Unitarian Universalist Church, Duende at Silo City and Barrel Factory Wedding Photography – Buffalo, NY

Kara and Eric were two of Buffalo’s dearly missed ex-pats, we have quite a few of those around here.  But somehow, it took moving all the way to Austin, TX for them to find each other… meant to be as they say.  These two planned their wedding from Austin, and since the wedding have actually moved back home!  The timing on that I suppose wasn’t ideal, but we sure are happy to be welcoming these two back to Buffalo!  Kara and Eric are sweet and fun, a lot of fun, and our bright city is shining a little brighter with these two love birds in it.

I began the wedding day with Kara in one of the Hyatt Regency’s top floor rooms.  The views stretch for miles from up there.  I tend to think you can tell a lot about the way a wedding is going to go down by the brides shoes.  If this shoe/sock combo didn’t show all the promise in the world, I would have no hope at all.  Because, c’mon!!!

When your makeup brush looks like a unicorn horn… you make the bride a unicorn!Meanwhile second shooter extraordinaire Steve, met Eric, his ole’ pal from high school (small world!), at the new Reikart House, a boutique hotel in nearby Amherst.  Eric and Kara BOTH picked their sisters to stand with them at their wedding – a touching tribute to their families.We all gathered together at the Unitarian Universalist Church in the Elmwood Village neighborhood of Buffalo for the ceremony.  This church is one of my all time favorites for a myrid of reasons.  For one, it’s gorgeous.  The stone and wood give it a cozy feel while the grandeur and massive stained glass windows make it feel regal and fill it with beautiful side-sweeping light.  Add to that this church has been home to some of my favorite weddings over the years.  Close friends and clients alike have chosen this space, for all the reasons noted above, but also because this church welcomes all.  I’ve photographed gay weddings, multi-cultural weddings, even a Beatles themed ceremony here!  It’s a special place bursting with love and acceptance, and isn’t that what marriage is all about?Kara and Eric wanted a distinct industrial Buffalo vibe for their portraits and Buffalo’s Silo City/Duende area provides one of the most unique industrial landscapes I’ve seen.  We had limited time to roam around, but there’s always time for a swing.   That time we were just taking wedding portraits and a guy walked through the brush beside us with a 2″x4″ on his head… We capped off the day with a reception at one of my favorite new venues in Buffalo, the Barrel Factory.  This was my second wedding at this location and so far I’ve just loved the relaxed energy of the room and the cozy, rustic look of the space. 

Many thanks to Kara and Eric for having us document your day!  And thank you to all these venues and vendors who helped make the day so great!

Bride Preparation: Hyatt Regency

Groom Preparation: Reikart House

Ceremony: Unitarian Universalist Church

Portraits:  Albright Knox and Hoyt Lake at Delaware Park

Reception: The Barrel Factory

Florist: Savilles Country Florist (bouquets)/ Barrel Factory (reception arrangements)

Bakery: Carriage Trade Pasteries

DJ: Jeremy Grodek

Second Photographer: Steve Karosik

Kelly + Brendan – Lewiston Art Park – Wedding Engagement Photography

As a photographer, it’s always nice to have the chance to photograph clients in places that are personal to them, but in this instance, Kelly and Brendan met me on my old stomping grounds, Lewiston Art Park.  I grew up close by and spent countless days wandering around the grounds as a kid.  I participated in all sorts of art activities on the ole’ “Art L,” creating everything from pottery to handmade paper and visiting the various resident artists to watch them create.  I attended art and theater camps here as well, it was truly a little aspiring artists dream.  As I grew older, Art Park lost funding for their programming and the property sat pretty still for some years.   I still wandered the grounds though, sometimes with a sketch book or a camera, sometimes with friends, sometimes just with my own thoughts, but the place has always been a sanctuary for me.

Kelly and Brendan were up for pretty much anything for their engagement session, they just wanted some fall foliage, so it was a perfect opportunity to take a little hike on the Art Park trails along side the lower Niagara River.  Many thanks to Kelly and Brendan for being so easy going and rolling with my more adventurous location ideas!  Can’t wait for the wedding next year at Statler City!