Sam + Sean – Buffalo, NY Wedding Photography at St. Joseph’s, Tifft Nature Preserve and Pearl St. Grill and Brewery

As years go by in a chosen profession, you realize little nuances, and not so little nuances that give your work meaning and purpose, your, “whys,” so to speak.  I’ve grown to realize many wedding photography, “whys” over time… free wedding cake, for example.  But there’s one that takes an ever-growing priority as time ticks.  One that has reshaped the entire structure of my business.  Connection.  When I’m able to personally connect with people, and through my work, connect these people to their pasts, the present of course, and even their futures, that keeps this job interesting and full of joy for me.  Using photography as a vehicle to connect people to their most important relationships gives the work greater meaning for me than “another wedding.” That’s when the work starts to feel like part of the legacy of the subjects – that’s when you can look at a photo and remember what it FELT like to be in someone’s presence – that’s the stuff the “keepers” are made of.

This wedding season, more than ever before, I’ve been working to get to know my clients a bit before their weddings.  I used to photograph 35 weddings in a summer.  The weddings were a lot of fun.  The work load was not.  For me, for my work, I realized I wanted MORE time with the people, more time with the pictures, and I wanted to be more personally connected to all of it.  So now it’s 20 weddings per summer instead.  I’m texting with my clients all the time, getting together for coffee or an adult beverage before the wedding, trying to establish mutual access to one another.  In the end, this is a collaboration, I don’t want to just show up, snap some photos and collect a check.  I want to understand the depths of what I’m photographing, and it’s really hard to do that 35 times in a summer.

Other photographer’s have asked me about how to avoid “burnout” while hustling to wedding after wedding.  They worry about keeping things fresh and exciting.  “Should I get a new lens or maybe try out a new location” they’ll ask.  That’s all well and good, but my best advise it truly to invest in the people.  People are FASCINATING and family dynamics are as complex as could be.  Every story is unique and quirky and beautiful in it’s own way. It’s our job as photographers to find those special stories, all the little nooks n’ crannys a la English Muffins and document them.  That’s what keeps it fresh – fresh people, fresh personalities and stories, not a new pose or lighting technique.

Enter Sam and Sean.  I’ve photographed three weddings for this family and several others for their extended friend group.  I recognize the faces, I’m learning the traditions, people are familiar with me and that brings a comfort and ease to the day that makes it easier to really dig deep in to the story line without seeming like a total stranger weirdo with a camera to everyone.  I’ve loved getting to know all of these people and being present for SO many of their life events.  It has truly been a privilege.

I chatted with Sam’s dad for a little while just before the first dance was about to begin.  He said “giving away” his daughter was a really strange feeling and that it has been harder than he thought.  He went on to say how excited he was though, how strong Sam and Sean are together.  I added that Sam and Sean’s smiles shine bright on their own, but you can tell they stretch just a little further when they’re together.  He went on to say how they’re both special-ed teachers.  I mentioned how it takes special sorts of people for that sort of work and he agreed.  It was a very quick conversation, but it reminded me of how COMPLEX these days are, the range of emotions felt by so many involved.  How much leads up to it, decades of parenting – love, tears, support, discipline, etc. etc.  THAT is what I’m photographing.  Sure, there will be pretty pictures of centerpieces and flowers too, but it’s the pictures that represent a lifetimes worth of highs and lows leading up to this celebration that mean the most. Here’s hoping these pictures hold their place in Sam and Sean’s history and continue to tell their stories far long after we all can.

Without further babbles, Sam and Sean’s wedding highlights (!!!):

mother of groom pins flower at wedding in buffalo nygroom and groomsmen laugh during wedding at St. Josephgroom poses with flower girl during wedding at St. Josephbride smiles before ceremony during wedding at St. Josephfather walks bride down aisle during wedding at St. Josephbride and groom kneel during wedding at St. Josephbride and groom smile during wedding at St. Josephwedding at St. Josephbride and groom exchange vows during wedding at St. Joseph bride and groom exchange vowsduring wedding at St. Josephbride and groom kiss during wedding at St. Josephbride and groom smile at guests during wedding at St. Josephchildren dance during wedding at St. Josephpriest blesses bride and groom during wedding at St. Josephgroom smiles at bride during wedding at St. Josephguests pray for bride and groom during wedding at St. Josephbride and groom walk down aisle during wedding at St. Josephbride and groom look out door during wedding at St. Josephbride looks out window during wedding at St. Josephbride and groom exit church during wedding at St. Josephbride and groom exit church during wedding at St. Josephbride and groom exit church during wedding at St. Josephbride and groom pose for portrait near "greetings from Buffalo" mural in downtown Buffalo, NYbride and groom pose for portrait near "greetings from Buffalo" mural in downtown Buffalo, NYbride and groom pose for portrait near "greetings from Buffalo" mural in downtown Buffalo, NYbride poses for portrait near "greetings from Buffalo" mural in downtown Buffalo, NYgroom poses for portrait near "greetings from Buffalo" mural in downtown Buffalo, NYbride and groom pose for portrait near "greetings from Buffalo" mural in downtown Buffalo, NYbridal party walks at Tifft Nature preserve during wedding in Buffalo, NYbridal party poses for portrait at Tifft Nature preserve during wedding in Buffalo, NYbridal party poses for portrait at Tifft Nature preserve during wedding in Buffalo, NYbridesmaids pose for portrait at Tifft Nature preserve during wedding in Buffalo, NYbridesmaids pose for portraits at Tifft Nature preserve during wedding in Buffalo, NYgroomsen and women pose for portrait at Tifft Nature preserve during wedding in Buffalo, NYgroomsmen hug at Tifft Nature preserve during wedding in Buffalo, NYbride and groom embrace at tifft nature preserve during their wedding in Buffalo, NYbride and groom embrace at tifft nature preserve during their wedding in Buffalo, NYbride and groom embrace at tifft nature preserve during their wedding in Buffalo, NYbride and groom embrace at tifft nature preserve during their wedding in Buffalo, NYbride and groom embrace at tifft nature preserve during their wedding in Buffalo, NYbride and groom embrace at tifft nature preserve during their wedding in Buffalo, NYroom photo at wedding at Pearl St. Grill and Brewery in Buffalo, NYdecoration details at wedding at Pearl St. Grill and Brewery in Buffalo, NYplace settings and cake at wedding at Pearl St. Grill and Brewery in Buffalo, NYflowers at at wedding at Pearl St. Grill and Brewery in Buffalo, NYcandy bar at wedding at Pearl St. Grill and Brewery in Buffalo, NYguests mingle during cocktail hour at wedding at Pearl St. Grill and Brewery in Buffalo, NYbridal party entrance dances at wedding at Pearl St. Grill and Brewery in Buffalo, NYbride and groom enter and eat cake at wedding at Pearl St. Grill and Brewery in Buffalo, NYpeople giving speeches at wedding at Pearl St. Grill and Brewery in Buffalo, NYbride and groom dance at wedding at Pearl St. Grill and Brewery in Buffalo, NYbride and groom dance with ribbon wrapped around them at wedding at Pearl St. Grill and Brewery in Buffalo, NYbride and groom dance with ribbon wrapped around them at wedding at Pearl St. Grill and Brewery in Buffalo, NYbride and groom dance with ribbon wrapped around them at wedding at Pearl St. Grill and Brewery in Buffalo, NYbride and groom dance with ribbon wrapped around them at wedding at Pearl St. Grill and Brewery in Buffalo, NYbride and groom kiss in front of cheering guests on dance floor at wedding at Pearl St. Grill and Brewery in Buffalo, NYguests dance at wedding at Pearl St. Grill and Brewery in Buffalo, NYguests lift bride during horah at wedding at Pearl St. Grill and Brewery in Buffalo, NYwedding photography of rings at Pearl St. Grill and Brewery in Buffalo, NYwedding photography of bride eating cake at Pearl St. Grill and Brewery in Buffalo, NY

Preparation:  Private Homes

Ceremony: St. Josephs University Parish

Portraits: Tifft Nature Preserve

Reception: Pearl St. Grill & Brewery

Second Shooter: Joey Galdieri

Flowers: Flourish

Makeup: Ashley Ledowski

Hair: Maria Miosi

Cake: Muscoreils

Video: Justin Bondi Productions

Limo: Status Limousine

DJ: Toy Bros

 

 

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