Matt Miller: Best Wedding Photographers 2013

Matt Miller: Best Wedding Photographers 2013

Sometimes it takes a big shift to set you on the path to the love you’re meant for. After Matt Miller’s punk-rock band decided to take a break in 2007, he moved back to Atlanta from Brooklyn and tried various jobs, including as a concert photographer. When a friend recommended him to assist on a wedding gig, he was skeptical. “It sounded awful,” he recalls. “I didn’t know anything about wedding photography, and all I could think of was overly posed, very stiff weddings, tuxedos, and boringness.” But he needed the money, so he went for it. The wedding, it turned out, “had so much love and interestingness to it, which for some reason I’d never thought of in wedding photography, that I kind of fell in love with it.” After assisting for three years, he took the lead and started booking his own shoots.

As fate would have it, his background as a musician turned out to be a boon for his wedding career. “Being in a touring band for seven years, I got to meet people across the U.S. and worldwide,” he explains. “I know tons of people in bands and the punk-rock subculture, so a lot of the weddings I shoot are very alternative. That’s been a blessing for me. It ends up being a lot more personal.” The lighting skills Miller picked up while working with bands in dark venues also come into play in his wedding work. During receptions, he often sets up studio lights that illuminate the whole space.

As Miller has stuck around the wedding scene, his rock-star dreams have taken a back seat, making way for a brighter photographic style—and a sunnier disposition. “The more weddings I shot, the more I fell in love with it and with the people getting married,” he reflects. “My outlook as a person became a little bit happier. When my outlook changed, the images started changing, too.”

See the rest of our Best Wedding Photographers of 2013 list here.

 

- AMERICAN PHOTO MAGAZINE

Matt Miller: Best Wedding Photographers 2013

Matt Miller: Best Wedding Photographers 2013

Sometimes it takes a big shift to set you on the path to the love you’re meant for. After Matt Miller’s punk-rock band decided to take a break in 2007, he moved back to Atlanta from Brooklyn and tried various jobs, including as a concert photographer. When a friend recommended him to assist on a wedding gig, he was skeptical. “It sounded awful,” he recalls. “I didn’t know anything about wedding photography, and all I could think of was overly posed, very stiff weddings, tuxedos, and boringness.” But he needed the money, so he went for it. The wedding, it turned out, “had so much love and interestingness to it, which for some reason I’d never thought of in wedding photography, that I kind of fell in love with it.” After assisting for three years, he took the lead and started booking his own shoots.

As fate would have it, his background as a musician turned out to be a boon for his wedding career. “Being in a touring band for seven years, I got to meet people across the U.S. and worldwide,” he explains. “I know tons of people in bands and the punk-rock subculture, so a lot of the weddings I shoot are very alternative. That’s been a blessing for me. It ends up being a lot more personal.” The lighting skills Miller picked up while working with bands in dark venues also come into play in his wedding work. During receptions, he often sets up studio lights that illuminate the whole space.

As Miller has stuck around the wedding scene, his rock-star dreams have taken a back seat, making way for a brighter photographic style—and a sunnier disposition. “The more weddings I shot, the more I fell in love with it and with the people getting married,” he reflects. “My outlook as a person became a little bit happier. When my outlook changed, the images started changing, too.”

See the rest of our Best Wedding Photographers of 2013 list here.

 

- AMERICAN PHOTO MAGAZINE

COSMOPOLITAN BRIDE MAGAZINE CHINA FEATURE

COSMOPOLITAN BRIDE MAGAZINE CHINA FEATURE

Mike and I have known each other since my senior year in college 2004. I went to Florida State and Mike was from Tallahassee where the school is located. He was working as a roadie for a band, traveling through Europe and parts of Asia at the time. When he came home for a visit, my friends had somehow started hanging out with his friends. I had been dating someone throughout college on and off but when I first saw Mike, I was smitten. He describes it the same way but for some reason, we didn’t stop in our tracks and get together. We played just friends for a while, but I’m sure everyone could tell we really liked each other. It was pretty obvious. One time while Mike was working in NYC as a model, he emailed me “Come to New York!” About an hour later, I was on a flight to JFK and we spent a really amazing weekend in Brooklyn. I’m not sure why we didn’t stop and get married right then but fate led us in other directions and it appeared all was lost for Mike and me.

Flash forward 3 years - I had just moved to New York from LA and Mike was living in Atlanta. We were all over the place! My college boyfriend was long gone and I got wind of Mike’s single status for the past year through mutual friends. I had never stopped wondering what would happen if we were to see each other again. My friends always said, “Things are not over with you and Mikey Peters!” I decided to suck it up and email him. I didn’t really have much to lose and if he didn’t respond, I would have my answer. My email said, “I live in New York now. It reminds me of you.” I didn’t hear back for a couple months until I saw a familiar area code on my phone. It was Mike. I reminded him that I owed him a flight to NYC. The next day, Mike was in the city and we have been together ever since.

Our wedding was 3 years to that weekend.

COSMOPOLITAN BRIDE MAGAZINE (CHINA)

COSMOPOLITAN BRIDE MAGAZINE CHINA FEATURE

COSMOPOLITAN BRIDE MAGAZINE CHINA FEATURE

Mike and I pretty much knew we were going to get married the moment we reunited. I seriously think we started talking about the wedding before we even knew we were “dating” officially. When my freelance work in NY was done, I packed up everything and moved to his house in Atlanta. I told my parents “Don’t worry, we are getting married!” to ease their traditional views on shacking up. I was curious if we would even have an actual proposal. We started talking about rings and I was adamant about not having a new diamond. We started collecting old diamonds from significant pieces of jewelry in both of our families - moms ring, grandma’s earrings, mom’s bracelet. Since I was so involved in the process, I knew I would have to wait for the ring to be finished for a proper proposal.

 

It was time for the evening Mike had spent some time planning and I did a good job of not being sneaky and trying to find the ring!! I couldn’t wait to see how it turned out although I wasn’t sure I would see it on this night. Mike packed up a picnic, a juicer, oranges and champagne for homemade mimosas. We parked on the causeway by the water and had a drink before hopping in the car. We started driving towards the airport - the small one with prop planes. At first I thought he was taking me skydiving or in a helicopter and I promised to kill him afterwards.

Mike planned a sunset flight over the Sunshine Skyway bridge and it was so beautiful! The sky was bright pink and we were literally flying through clouds and looking down the coast of Florida. He said it through the headset because it was so loud but I heard him clearly. The pilot did a good job of not being too nosey but I could see him smiling. It was really cute. Can I keep what he said a secret? It’s special....

COSMOPOLITAN BRIDE MAGAZINE (CHINA)

COSMOPOLITAN BRIDE MAGAZINE CHINA FEATURE

COSMOPOLITAN BRIDE MAGAZINE CHINA FEATURE

Mike and I spent pretty much a year picking the music for the whole day/night.  Literally every free moment we had at night consisted of us listening to potential ceremony, reception and mix cd favor songs while drinking some wine and arguing over if my little cousin wouldn’t notice and occasional curse word in a song.  Music is what initially brought us together and it is a constant hobby and source of connection for us.  We love discovering new indie bands and have a huge vinyl collection old and new. The music had to be perfect and our work totally paid off. From start to finish everything just flowed so well. We made a four hour playlist and paid Mike’s pal to man the laptop.  He rented equipment for us and everything sounded great around the whole garden.  Music started one hour before the ceremony and he literally hit play and only had to stop for speeches.  The songs were 

a mix of old and new (Joni Mitchell, CCR, Feist, Cat Power) There was always an intentional song on at every moment of the event, even if it was just background.  We pat ourselves on the back for this one still.  We all walked down the aisle to Transatlanticism by Death Cab For Cutie.  We walked away from the ceremony to Spottieottiedopalicious by Outkast. After, Mike and I danced to I Never by Rilo Kiley, Mike and his Mom danced to a Bob Dylan cover by Old Crow Medicine Show called Wagon Wheel and my Dad and I danced to our all time favorite Jimi Hendrix song, Red House. It was a little unconventional but we had a blast and I think our guests appreciated us doing something different.  We chose all of these songs because they were what came to mind when we started brainstorming how we wanted the day to feel for us.  Tradition pretty much went out the window unless it was our tradition. I am so happy we followed our hearts because planning your wedding exactly how you would want it makes the day enjoyable for you which then will transfer to everyone attending.

Our last song was actually voted on by our guests.  On our invites, we had 3 songs listed and asked guests to pick one.  They chose With a little help from my friends by Joe Cocker. Some other highlights were - Mother by Danzig, Maps by Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Journey To The End by Rancid, Hall & Oates, Van Morrison, Phoenix, Girl Talk, Queen, Modest Mouse and many more!

 COSMOPOLITAN BRIDE MAGAZINE (CHINA)

COSMOPOLITAN BRIDE MAGAZINE CHINA FEATURE

COSMOPOLITAN BRIDE MAGAZINE CHINA FEATURE

The ceremony was in the front of the hotel garden where the reception would also be. There was a deck at the top of the grass and our guests sat in random chairs and on homemade benches throughout the lawn.  It was very casual and looked great. Like a giant living room.  We stood up at the front in front of a backdrop my mother 

helped me configure. Her neighbor came by to help setup and god bless that woman, she did a lot.  We also had a large yellow dresser as an altar. Mike and I built it in our garage by nailing two smaller dressers together. We painted it a bright mustard and filled the drawers with flowers and hurricanes. We timed it so we would still have sunlight but it was approaching magic hour and wasn’t too bright for our guests.  We all walked up to the altar to one 8 minute song.

The programs were a one sheet card stock newspaper-ish sheet designed by Westwillow.  My stepfather wrote an “article” on Mike and I and that was the focus of the front page.  The wedding party was listed on the side and the back contained Mike and Lesley fun facts and a Madlib. We placed them in old suitcases that were in a hospitality room when guests arrived.  They could grab a program, a pencil for madlibs and then get a glass of champagne punch, tea or water.  My aunt decorated 165 flutes with yellow and black paint for guests to drink out of and keep if they wanted. Nothing like having a drink when you first walk in! We also had some fruity trail mix and kettle corn to keep anyone from having an empty stomach filled with booze!

My mother sewed table cloths out of aforementioned Ikea fabric and corresponding patterns in the “Patricia” collection. These really set the tone and look of the tables.  Each table had a stack of old books (black, brown, ivory) on which vases, candles and table designation stood.  There was garden lighting (mostly spotlighting on the trees) as well as hanging lanterns (which live in the hotel trees).  I brought it giant ball paper lanterns which I spray painted gold.  Note to decorators, this doesn’t help with light as the paint blocked the tea lights inside. Either way, they looked great. Water was served out of Ball jars and the place settings were really casual because we were eating BBQ.

- COSMOPOLITAN BRIDE MAGAZINE (CHINA)

 

rock-n-roll-bride-diamond-eyes-wedding-photography-1.jpg
rock roll bride magazine feature 2015

rock roll bride magazine feature 2015

Maggie and Steven knew each other in high school. They were introduced by their mutual friend, Greg, so when they came to get married, they asked him to officiate the wedding!

The couple had a small elopement-styled wedding in Washington DC with just a few family members in attendance at the ceremony. The couple actually plan elopements for other people for a living with their company Pop! Wed Co. “With my work I have been too lots of alternative weddings,” said the bride. “We always used to say that our company offers exactly the type of wedding that we would want to have ourselves, and it turned out that we were right! We had a short ceremony at the most amazing rainbow building in the city, ate some pizza and then invited our local friends to see our favourite band play. The whole thing was easy and timeline-free!”

“Our theme was really just ‘stuff we like’,” Maggie continued. “It ended up being filled with crazy bright colours, lots of black and white patterns, and it felt like us. It was awesome. We got married outside in January and it was freezing. Obviously, we were expecting it to be cold, but it was -8 degrees celsius! Our parents were not thrilled about having to stand around outside in that weather, but we went for it and it ended up working out great!” 

rock roll bride magazine feature 2015

rock roll bride magazine feature 2015

"you can celebrate the start of your marriage absolutely however YOU want. our wedding wasn't conventional but it was the very best way for US to start our married life"

rock roll bride magazine feature 2015

rock roll bride magazine feature 2015

 

"Maggie’s short dress was custom made for her and Steven made her video camera ‘bouquet’ by taking apart an old plastic camera, 3D printing some extra parts, adding some paper flowers! It actually worked, too!

“The best bit of the day for me was after the official ceremony. We ate some pizza and went to see The Pietasters, a band that we’ve been seeing together for almost 10 years! So many people came out to celebrate with us. It was kind of the opposite of a traditional wedding reception, and it was the most fun way we could have imagined celebrating.” 

brides magazine feature diamond eyes

brides magazine feature diamond eyes

Christina Lopez and Josh Parker had two simple goals for their wedding: “We wanted to get married in Palm Springs, our favorite weekend getaway, and we wanted everyone to have a blast,” she says. So the Orange County couple invited 110 guests to the Viceroy Palm Springs and kicked the day off with a DJ’ed pool party. By 5 p.m., everyone was dried off, dressed up, and in the courtyard to watch the bride walk down the aisle. Synchronized swimmers performed at cocktail hour, then dinner was served family style at long black tables. The crowd danced until 11, when everyone moved to an informal after-party in the hotel’s gazebo. “Then
we busted out the sliders and Dom Pérignon!” she says. 

- BRIDES MAGAZINE

brides magazine feature diamond eyes

brides magazine feature diamond eyes

TAKEAWAY TIPS FROM JOSH AND CHRISTINA

Accidents happen

“I ripped my dress while we took photos in the desert, which made it hard to bustle the skirt,” says Christina. Luckily, her planner was able to tame the tulle. “And the pictures were worth it!”

Make adjustments

The venue didn’t allow sparklers, so the couple had confetti cannons set off as they entered the reception.

Check the closet Josh and Christina were halfway home the next morning when they realized they’d forgotten something major: her dress! “Thankfully, we had time to go back and get it before our flight to Bali,” the bride says. 

 

- BRIDES MAGAZINE

SALAD DAYS MAGAZINE INTERVIEW

SALAD DAYS MAGAZINE INTERVIEW

In 2009, when the book's Burning Fight, The Nineties Hardcore Revolution in Ethics, Politics, Spirit, and Sound, some of the most influential bands of the 90s were left for two concerts in Chicago and San Diego. Unbroken, Undertow, Threadbare, 108, Gulit, Swing Kids, Disembodied among others, along with a selection of newer bands. An exceptional collection of photographs of the two evenings is the appearance of thefivemilegrace.com, the site of Matthew Miller, bassist of the Most Precious Blood, which - at that point I discovered - a few years ago remains with a curious profession.... wedding photographer "alternative." 

- SALAD DAYS MAGAZINE

SALAD DAYS MAGAZINE INTERVIEW

SALAD DAYS MAGAZINE INTERVIEW

OK, let’s say I’m getting married next June, and I want Matt Miller to come out to Europe and make the most amazing wedding shooting Italy has ever seen. Starting rates are mentioned on your website, what’s going to increase my bill, besides getting you on a 15 hours flight?

first off, i would love to come overseas to shoot a wedding for sure. when i do travel i just ask that flights, somewhere to crash, and transport from airport/hotel/wedding be covered. and some vegan doughnuts if possible.....haha.

Which kind of interaction you have with the couples, which kind of (professional) freedom you have in this kind of job?

well i don't take on a wedding that doesn't fit with my vision. so the people that hire me, know my work inside & out and know what to expect. they trust me and know that i will represent what they are about and deliver some rad images. i treat the couples as if I'm their best friend and i want to give them the someyting special as a representation of their wedding day.

I’m not tattooed, my family wants us in a church, you’re going to face a 17 courses meal, my girlfriend will be a pain, and you gotta dance to traditional Italian 60s revival. Are you still coming?

probably not. haha, like i said, i don't take on wedding that i know will not fit my style. i don't want to shoot something I'm not into, and i don't shoot just for the $. if I'm not feeling the vibe, it reflects in the photos, so in that case, everyone loses, so i just avoid that all together.

We know the troubles of a touring band, but which are the troubles of a wedding photographer? Relatives, locations…? Would you share one (anonymous, for sure!) horror wedding story?

right before every wedding have a bit of a panic attack, but once the ball gets rolling, i flow into the groove and all falls into place. sometimes i get aunts & uncles who keep telling me that i should take the couple by the fountain and shoot, or something equally as cheesy, i might pull a couple frames just to get them off my back, but i usually get away from the crowd to do my more creative stuff without input from the in-laws. but no horror stories really, i think if you are confident and know your stuff, nothing can really go THAT wrong. i mean I've been robbed (all might lights, one of my cameras, and all of my assistants gear) and still pulled off the wedding!

- SALAD DAYS MAGAZINE

 

SALAD DAYS MAGAZINE INTERVIEW

SALAD DAYS MAGAZINE INTERVIEW

Once you've defined a pretty recognizable style, which is the further step? I’m not looking for untold secrets, but do you feel like you still have a lot to experiment with lights, gear…? And are you in the right professional spot to do such things?

I'm still looking for something new, i have a bit of a formula now, but sometimes i feel stagnant so ill try new things all the time. ill shoot what i know works first, and if i have a few extra minutes, ill pull something out of the air and see what happens. i try to stay constantly inspired and always feel the need to progress....

As a punk rock kid, weddings are quite far from what I usually want to see, remember that here (Italy, I mean) we have a quite invasive catholic culture, and even a civil wedding still looks like a bad idea. I know you’re also married, can I ask what brought you to that decision? And what’s bringing to that decision most of the guys and girls from the “alternative” culture you use to shoot? And besides all this, which was the soundtrack at your ceremony?

i fell into wedding photography as an assistant and i had no idea what i was walking into. all i could imagine was a dude in a tux and a girl in a fluffy whIte gown, formal family photos and a cheesy posed image of them cutting the cake. i shot with OUR LABOR OF LOVE and my world was turned upside down. the nervous energy, the unbounded love, all of it, it blew my mind. i was lucky enough to see the other side of it all with creative people getting married with ideas that were so far out of the box. i saw a wedding as a celebration of love. as a "punker" i identified with hardcore shows as a celebration of being out of step with the regular world. i felt like a wedding could have the same vibe. as a wedding is a traditional ceremony, you could think of a concert as the same thing, but we put our own spin on it and made it OURS. thats the kind of wedding i want to shoot & thats the kind of wedding i had. no religion was involved, just family and friends and love. our soundtrack to our wedding, our first dance was to the cure. and our friend michael (aka the FLASHDANCE) rocked the vinyl all night long from billie holiday to gorilla biscuits.

- SALAD DAYS MAGAZINE

SALAD DAYS MAGAZINE INTERVIEW

SALAD DAYS MAGAZINE INTERVIEW

Looking at your blog, and thinking back to photographers whose works I happen to see, there's one thing almost missing, which is the sexual component. I was wondering if you ever tried any of that imaginary, also considering that the whole tattoo/alternative/rocknroll figure has been so popular, and you seem to be in the right place to know that world. Ever applied your style to that shooting?

are you asking about sexual tones for my wedding photography, or boudoir photography? I've see plenty of stuff like suicide girls and the like, its just not my bag i guess. I've shot a couple things similar for my friends bar in atlanta, but id just rather shoot a show or a wedding personally...

In the last decade lots of photographic (punk/hardcore) books came out. Do you usually look for those publications, is there anything you enjoyed? Besides the value, does everything deserve to be printed? If the 80s are property of guys like G. Friedman or E. Colver, could you point a few names for the last two decades? And what about a Matthew Miller book? Would it be just bands, would you like to mix it up a little, do you already have it in your mind?

i would love to see a book of modern hardcore photography. there are some kids doing some cool stuff for sure and seeing that stuff in print would be great. i would hate to see all this documentation go to waste. i think a lot of it gets overlooked since there are 1000 dudes shooting every show. but i always enjoy looking at the blogs and seeing some cool stuff. when i first started i totally bit danielle dombrowski's style for sure. i dig the stuff that john hatfield, dan purnell , james hartley , ryan russell , meghan mcinnis have been doing. as far as my own book, i toyed with the idea of putting one out of my photos from burning fight, but i think i waited too long on that one, doubt people would still be into it...

Last Most Precious Blood has been out for a while, I was wondering which are your impressions on DNR after a few months… I liked the record as it sounded quite raw, was after all what you wanted?

i actually didnt have anything to do with DNR. i have been living in atlanta for the past 5 years, so it was written while i was here and rachel recorded and wrote all the bass parts. so i wasn't as attached to this record as the others, but its a rager and super fun to play live!

- SALAD DAYS MAGAZINE

 

SALAD DAYS MAGAZINE INTERVIEW

SALAD DAYS MAGAZINE INTERVIEW

“We didn’t listen to anything recorded after 1995 while recording this thing” is a not so recent quote of your guitar player, do you share that? In 2011 do you still listen to new stuff or punk rock is dead and nothing good comes out, or is it just a matter of being 30something and not having free time as once?

i still take the time to listen to some new jams. recently I've fell in love with the record that balance & composure just put out. but I'm always checking out new stuff from the bands that we toured with, like converge, hope con, 108, sick of it all, etc. and checking out dudes who I've know forever and their newer bands like all pigs must die, burning love , foundation. all solid records and good people.

Two of your bandmates also started a production company that looks interesting, did you witness this project first hand? Will you be able to collaborate with them on a professional level? Movies and photos hand in hand?

they started that once i moved and to be honest, i don't know too much about it beyond the fact that they are making an Indecision documentary, which I'm guessing is going to be fucking amazing.

I kept your blog in my bookmarks for a couple of years, from the Burning Fight pics. Can you tell me a little bit about those shows, how you personally went as a fan, musician & photographer? Bring back to life one of those bands and make it your local Atlanta band for the next year, who’s gonna be?

i was so honored to be a part of burning fight and to capture what i could of the show and share it with the world. i loved those bands so much and just wanted to give them back something since they had changed my life. i wanted to try and capture the magic that was going down those nights. i hope it translated through those images and i could immortalize the feeling that we all shared. as far as having one band from burning fight become a local atlanta band? id have chamberlain play once every few months in a basement... that would be amazing....

- SALAD DAYS MAGAZINE

 

BRANDSMASH TOP 100 WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS 2015

BRANDSMASH TOP 100 WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS 2015

Just in time for 2015, I’m releasing the 100 Best Wedding Photographers in the US list.  In 2014 I wrote a post of 30 influential portrait & wedding photographers, this list is a follow up to that one! Since becoming a wedding photographer of offbeat & quirky weddings in the Philadelphia area in 2006, I’ve realized wedding photography while a fun job is lots of work.  So I’d like to recognize some of the best wedding photographers in the country for their dedication to the craft.  To be a successful wedding photographer you must be not only an artist but a savvy marketer and an entrepreneur rolled up into one.  To formulate this list I asked some of the smartest photographers I knew to nominate the photographers who impressed them the most (in business or in art).  This list was compiled from submissions along with photographers who I’ve seen consistently improve their craft.

So without further ado, the top 100 Wedding Photographers in 2015 (in alphabetical order of course)

 

Adam Houseman
Amanda Picone
Angelica Glass
Anna Kuperberg
Anne Almasy
Ashley and Jeremy Parsons
Ben Chrisman
Blonnie Brooks
Brendan Bullock
Brett & Tori Photographers
Brett Butterstein
Callaway Gable
Caroline + Ben
Cindy Guessford
Christina Blanarovich
Christopher Becker
Cliff Mautner
Crissy Everhart
Crystal Stokes
Daniel Stark
Danny Dong Photography
Dave Getzschman
David Murray
David Zaveloff
Dee and Kris Photography
Diane Stredicke
Dina Douglass
Douglas Despres
Dylan and Sara
Elizabeth Messina
Emin Kuliyev
Erin Chrisman
Erich McVey
Erik Clausen
Evan Hunt
Gary Nevitt
Hiram Trillo
Hunter Leone
Jacklyn Greenberg
Jaime Emery
Jana Williams
JB & DeEtte Sallee
Jeff Newsom
Jen Woodruff
Jeremy Chou
Joe Buissink
John Michael Cooper
Jose Villa
Joshua Dwain
Julie Paisley
Justin and Mary Marantz
Justine Ungaro
Kamila Harris
Karina Picache
Kathryn Krueger
Kelly Rashka
Kirk Mastin
Laura Gordon
Leah Haydock
Leslie Gilbert
Lin & Jirsa Photography
Lindsay Docherty
Lindsay Hite
LuRey photography
Matt & Kristen Roberts
Matt Miller
Maurico Arias
Melissa Jill
Michael Ash Smith
Michelle Gardella
Michelle Randolph Turner
Mike Colon
Morgan Lynn Razi
Nessa K
Ning Wong
Parker J Pfister
Pat Furey
Popography
Raven Mathis
Rhinehart Photography
Right Start Photography
Rob Greer
Roberto Valenzuela
Ryan Brenizer
Ryan Joseph
Sam Hurd
Samm Blake
Sascha Reinking Photography
Scott & Melissa Hopkins
Sergio
Siang Loo
Susan Stripling
Syed Yaqeen
Tara Welch
Taylor Lord
Tim King
Todd Laffler
Tony Hoffer
Trevor Dayley
Tyler Wirken

 

Mike Allebach

‘NO RULES, JUST RIGHT’ – AMANDA & TYSON’S PARTY HARD WEEKEND WEDDING

‘NO RULES, JUST RIGHT’ – AMANDA & TYSON’S PARTY HARD WEEKEND WEDDING

UT oh…new wedding obsession heading your way. Seriously, Amanda & Tyson’s wedding is what dreams are made of and I’m so excited to share the full thing, in all it’s colourful glory on these pages.

- ROCK N ROLL BRIDE MAGAZINE

‘NO RULES, JUST RIGHT’ – AMANDA & TYSON’S PARTY HARD WEEKEND WEDDING

‘NO RULES, JUST RIGHT’ – AMANDA & TYSON’S PARTY HARD WEEKEND WEDDING

Some of you might know Tyson. He is the genius behind this site, and a pin up artist (I actually found his site myself when I was searching for tattoo inspiration.) So needless to say, with such a creative groom, this wedding was always going to be bad ass. The wedding was held at Highland Falls in Blairsville, GA.

“We wanted a weekend wedding because our families and friends get along smashingly,” the couple told me. “Plus, we wanted to have the time to enjoy everyone rather than spend the wedding only saying a quick hello. We love the mountains and we wanted an outdoor wedding so it seemed only fitting to find property that had a series of cabins to hold all our family and friends as well as have an on-site ceremony location and a large enough area to set up a tent for a reception… easy enough right? We found Highland Falls Cabins which is 15 cabins on beautiful property (check), large flat area for a tent (check), horse pasture that leads to two beautiful ponds = ceremony site (check).”

“Thanks to an exceptionally easy going and helpful property manager the site was exactly what we hoped for. Because of not choosing a venue there were some obstacles. We had to spend a bit more renting everything the catering required and running electricity, plus we had to be prepared for bad weather (thankfully there was NONE). By not choosing a wedding venue you definitely take on more stress, but thanks to a team of wonderful family and friends (big shout out to my mother in law Fonda Mcadoo) it was all possible. The ceremony and reception we had envisioned just wouldn’t have been achievable in a venue. With 40 acres all to ourselves we knew we could throw the party of a lifetime… and that’s exactly what it was.”

- ROCK N ROLL BRIDE MAGAZINE

‘NO RULES, JUST RIGHT’ – AMANDA & TYSON’S PARTY HARD WEEKEND WEDDING

‘NO RULES, JUST RIGHT’ – AMANDA & TYSON’S PARTY HARD WEEKEND WEDDING

Sounds so perfect! But there was a bit of pre-wedding drama as Amanda explains, “Our wedding story is more like a series of ridiculous bloopers leading up to the day… starting the day before the wedding: the day starts with my nephew accidentally kicking me in the face and busting open my lip. By the evening I had somehow gotten pink eye and it looked as though someone had shoved a golf ball under my eyelid and then covered it with yellow pudding (YUCK!). So though my soon to be husband and I had planned on not spending the night before the wedding together, he stayed by my side, waking every two hours to put more eye drops in my eyes and to change the ice packs on my face… just a gentle reminder of how lucky I was. Thank God the morning of the wedding my eye is back to normal thanks to hubby nurse. But still more to come… (after all, these things always come in threes) I am dolled up by an array of magical hands… my dress is on, the makeup is perfect, the hair is flawless… then the stairs.. many, many, many stairs. I get caught on my dress, I fall and I crash down a flight of stairs. There is now blood & champagne  on my dress while I hold back tears and simply freeze up. Before I even realize it I am swept into a chair, my wounds nursed, my dress (yet another reason I’m glad it’s not white) is de-stained by some club soda and besides the band aids and lumpy shins under my dress you would never know I had ate it…. the wedding is perfection, the reception a non stop party and my series of unfortunate events seen as sign of good fortune to come.”

Any final pieces of advice? I asked the couple. “If your having a weekend wedding get people involved,” they told me. “Your friends and family want to be apart of the event and giving them ownership of something that contributes to your special day will make them feel awesome. For example: designating the photo booth backdrop to a friend. We bought the materials, showed her an example of what we wanted and she made it awesome.  Also don’t follow any ‘wedding rules’ because you feel your supposed to… follow the outback slogan ‘No Rules, Just Right’ and you’ll end up with wedding that feels like perfection.”

- ROCK N ROLL BRIDE MAGAZINE

 

weddings magazine from united kingdom feature.

weddings magazine from united kingdom feature.

THE ATMOSPHERE.... We both loved the idea of a big, fun party and while we wanted to create a relaxed atmosphere, the details we also important to us. An elegant garden party suited our vision perfectly. It was a beautiful sunny day and our venue was the grounds of my parents house. My mom spends more than 40 hours a week gardening and it showed - the gardens were amazing. we had several seating areas, but people sat on the grass during the cocktail reception, it was lovely to see everyone relaxed and enjoying themselves.

THE LOOK.... My dress was an abundance of lace with a sweetheart neckline and ruffled tiers at the bottom. The antique lace matched the theme of our day and made me feel unbelievably beautiful. when i tried my dress on and looked up, i literally gasped. Having lots of flowers on the day was also really important to me. I enjoyed making the bouquets with the help of one of my bridesmaids, using peonies, roses, lisianthus, and queen anne's lace, while my mom made all the reception flower arrangements. 

- WEDDINGS MAGAZINE UK

weddings magazine from united kingdom feature.

weddings magazine from united kingdom feature.

THE DETAILS.... We covered the ceiling of the marquee in pink and green lanterns and they made such an impact. For a vintage touch we added mismatched antique china and chandeliers hanging in the trees and lots of lace. We had long banquet tables and  each one featured several different flower arrangements in crystal and porcelain containers. Instead of one big cake, we opted for a delicious dessert table of homemade cakes, cookies, and pies. They were all family recipes and labeled with each bakers name.

MY FAVORITE MOMENT.... I loved it when Jason got up and played with the band and played a song he had written especially for me.

WEDDINGS MAGAZINE UK

photo professional magazine feature or matt miller & samm blake

photo professional magazine feature or matt miller & samm blake

Of course the best wedding photographers don’t do the job for the fame or the glory, but there’s no doubt that it is gratifying once in a while if someone completely independent takes a look at you and your business and declares that, in their opinion, you are one of the very best. It’s good for the soul to have such verification of what you’re doing – although naturally it’s still the opinion of the clients that’s the most important – and it’s also potentially excellent for your marketing, since this is news that you can shout about and present to future customers.

One of the biggest honours on the wedding photography front is a place in the Top Ten list that’s compiled on an annual basis by American Photo magazine. Over the years this has gathered a reputation for singling out some of the outstanding stars of the business – Jerry Ghionis, for example, made the very first list in 2007, and it was a launch pad for his extraordinary career – and those that achieve this status join a still very exclusive club that many would give their eye teeth to join.

The interesting thing about the list is that there appears to be little a photographer can do to lobby to appear on it, and it’s also a one- off appearance since the list evolves every year. We spoke to two very different photographers who made the most recent list to find out what they thought led to them being noticed and asked how they had managed the marketing of this glowing endorsement. 

 

 PHOTO PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE

photo professional magazine feature or matt miller & samm blake

photo professional magazine feature or matt miller & samm blake

From punk to weddings

Another of those to make the celebrated American Photo list was Atlanta-based Matt Miller, who started out with no aspirations to be a wedding photographer at all. “I came from a background of a steady diet of punk rock and skateboarding,” he says. “I played in a band in Brooklyn for about seven years, touring all over the world from Australia, to South Africa, Brazil and Sweden. It was an amazing experience, but once the band decided to not be full-time anymore I moved back to Atlanta and had no idea what to do with
my life. I was turning 30 and had no college education – I barely graduated high school – and had no job history for about eight years.”

Photography entered Matt’s life first through a natural affinity – he shot pictures on his band’s first tour of Europe and loved the experience – and then through necessity. “In Atlanta I ended up falling into wedding photography as an assistant, and I had no idea what I was walking into. All I could imagine was a dude in a tux and a girl in a fluffy white gown, formal family photos and a cheesy posed image of them cutting the cake. However, I shot with the Our Labor of Love studio and my world was turned upside down. The nervous energy, the unbounded love, all of it just blew my mind.

“I was lucky enough to see the other side of it all with creative people getting married with ideas that were so far out of the box. I started to see a wedding as a celebration of love: as a ‘punker’ I identified with hardcore shows as a celebration of being out of step with the regular world, and I felt like a wedding could have the same vibe. You could put your own spin on it and make it your own. I put that vibe out in my work and it resonated with people, and they started to seek me out. Now here I am!”

Matt’s inclusion on the American Photo list took him completely by surprise. “It just blew my mind,” he says. “I just kept thinking they had the wrong guy. I loved my work and my clients were stoked but I didn’t think anyone knew my stuff outside my little tattooed, alternative wedding world. I couldn’t imagine I was on their radar at all. After their initial email I sent off some more work as requested and made the second tier of finals and then I had to send in some more images and answer a few more questions. A couple of weeks later I got the call and couldn’t get my head around it. It was such an honour: they even had my image on the cover of the issue and the lead spread. It was surreal.”

Does he know how he came to be selected in the first place? “All I can imagine is that my approach was so out of left field that it made an impression. I mean, any time I go to something like WPPI or see wedding vendor bridal shows, it is
not my scene at all, so maybe what I’m doing just felt like a breath of fresh air.”

In terms of what it meant to Matt and his business it was a huge deal. “It sort of solidified that what I’m doing makes sense,” he says. “In terms of how I used it, of course I blogged about it and it was all fun and exciting, but honestly I don’t think I’ve gotten any extra work from it. Being the ‘alternative’ wedding photographer, particularly if sometimes a couple’s parents are paying for things, it’s hard to convince them to pay for some dude from Atlanta to fly in and shoot a wedding. Now however I have the leverage that the couple can say, yeah, he’s a dude who’s like us but he’s also one of the top ten wedding photographers in the world!
“In a sense it’s helped a bit, but I’m such a niche photographer that I don’t get hundreds
of emails a day. Rather it’s nicely spread out and there is never really much back and forth. I put so much of myself out there that people generally just want to know if I’m available, and how to book. Lucky me!” 

 

PHOTO PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE

photo professional magazine feature or matt miller & samm blake

photo professional magazine feature or matt miller & samm blake

Both Samm and Matt are firm believers in training, and the good news is that both
of them are coming over to the UK for the next Photography Farm Week, which is taking place 16-20 February at the Farm’s HQ near Brighton in Sussex. As well as Samm and Matt there’s a line-up of star speakers over the five days, and places are still available for those quick off the mark. 

For Matt the teaching side of things is more of a new experience, but he’s looking forward to opening up and sharing his story and experiences with others. “I just want to relate to others that might be on the same trajectory as me,” he says.

“All I know is how I do things and that might strike a chord with someone. Since
I was 13 I really have just been doing what feels right, not really setting goals or doing what was ‘safe’, and it’s paid off. I’ve learned so much from trial and error that I feel I can speak from experience and from the heart about how and why I do what I do.”

PHOTO PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE

DESTINATION WEDDINGS MAGAZINE A LIST 2015

DESTINATION WEDDINGS MAGAZINE A LIST 2015

DIAMOND EYES

Based in Atlanta, Matt Miller of Diamond Eyes has been in the wedding-photography industry for five years.

Specialty Alternative weddings.

Passion “I love seeing the world, and I love love. I toured in a punk-rock band for years before doing this. With my pho- tography, I want to be a part of the celebration of our lives. I’m drawn to the realness of a cer- emony, the energy and joy of a reception, the moments cap- turing portraits that show how amazing a couple is together.”

Behind the Scenes  “Epic dance parties require epic photos. This was taken at Gibbet Hill Grill in Groton, Massachu- setts. This is where having the know-how of reception lighting makes all the difference.” 

the knot magazine florida feature.

the knot magazine florida feature.

Julia carried a ruffled, round bunch of pink peonies. Guests found their seats with oversize, colorful paper fortune cookies. For the ceremony, Julia wore a lacy gown with a simple veil tucked into her updo. Wanting to include their Chinese heritage, Julia and Rendy planned a colorful wedding with pinks, peaches and soft browns. Red, the symbol of happiness in Chinese culture, played a big role in the reception décor and design as well. 

- THE KNOT MAGAZINE

the knot magazine florida feature.

the knot magazine florida feature.

The couple wed outdoors under a giant banyan tree in the garden of an ancient Spanish monastery.  A black geometric border, paired with pretty watercolor designs, made for unique menu cards. The reception design was inspired by 1940s Shanghai. Julia and Rendy used vibrant colors and a mix of patterns to master the look. The table runners were fashioned after red kimonos. They were topped with various blooms housed in sleek black vases. during the wedding, Oversize tassels hung from the newlyweds’ seats. The couple and their parents participated in a traditional tea ceremony. Julia changed into a customary red dress for the reception. She chose another lacy style with a see-through back. The intimate reception was held under the stars. 

THE KNOT MAGAZINE

good light magazine - 5 questions for matt miller

good light magazine - 5 questions for matt miller

Known for his energetic visual style, Matt Miller is a rock star amongst wedding photographers. in an industry that is mainstream-oriented for the most part, he is one of the few providing fresh impulses. Michael wanted Matt to share how he is able to pull this off.

[Michael Zelbel] Your work rocks. Many magazines have published you. You are on American Photo’s list of the Top 10 Wedding Photographers 2013. How did you get where you are in your photography? 

[Matt Miller] it’s been a crazy ride for sure...

i came up with no formal training or anything. i learned how to use a DSlR on the top middle bunk of a tour bus full of smelly punk rock dudes in 2004, making our way across europe, playing loud music, eating falafel, and getting into trouble. Through sleepless nights and tours all over the world, i trained myself to take pictures by studying my images after shooting all day and seeing what i loved and what i hated in what i shot that day. i did that for years, and when touring in a punk rock band was over, i was lost and had no idea what i was doing with my life. i moved from Brooklyn back to my hometown

in atlanta, Georgia. i worked really crappy jobs, was turning 30 and was so depressed.

a friend of mine, Ray Jones, was shooting a lot and we talked and shot a bit together. He was offered a job with the New York Times and was moving to NYc. at that time, he worked as an assistant to some local wedding photographers (“Our labor of love”) and said that i could take over his spot when he moved. i cringed at the idea of it. Wedding photography in my mind then was stale, lame and boring ... until I shot my first wedding with them. It changed my life for sure. The same things that drew me to playing in punk rock bands and being involved with 

that sub-culture were ringing through the wedding day: love, passion, honesty, creativity, expression, etc. i had no idea that “Our labor of love” would turn out to be the juggernaut that it became, but i knew they were doing something against the grain and i was stoked to be a part of it all.

luckily, when you’re covered in tattoos, and are a vegan, straight-edge skateboarder, not many boring people reach out to you to shoot their wedding. i was nervous in the beginning that no one would want to hire me because i was so different, but it became what people sought out in me. So, every wedding has been an amazing collaboration with creatives and daydreamers who want something amazing. Somewhere in that whole thing I get to take pictures of it all...

 

- GOOD LIGHT MAGAZINE

good light magazine - 5 questions for matt miller

good light magazine - 5 questions for matt miller

[MZ] Let’s talk about your visual vibe. Your photos are usually bursting with energy. They show people who apparently have a boatload of fun doing hilarious things. Are you directing your subjects to act like this or are your clients simply behaving this way themselves?

[MM] Most of my clients have jumped off a stage at some point in their life, or gotten the courage to adorn their bodies in tattoos, or they look for hours or days to find a photographer who “gets” them and their vision. 

By showing the work that i want to shoot, I have the benefit of weeding out the boring and drawing in the people who are bananas in love with each other, and that all really shows through in the images. i’ve always been a lid mouth and a bit of a presence in a room, so getting people to come out of their shell is pretty easy for me.

i’m also a pretty good judge of character so i can tell if a couple wants a more laid-back and somber mood for their portraits or if they want to get experimental and laugh non-stop.

[MZ] Given that your clients seem to jump around and dance all day, how do you technically get the shots? Are you freezing their actions with flash? Speedlights? Do you prefer short focal lengths and get nice and close rather than shooting longer lenses?

[MM] i’m guessing you’re speaking about my reception images. i bring my own lights on a dance floor and try to freeze the action and sculpt the light to make it interesting. My usual setup is with three lights and using them as rim & key. i grew up using on-camera flash at punk shows and, after seeing everyone using the same slow shutter and light trail images, i wanted to do something different. i think it’s a pretty amazing look and my clients really dig it. 

 

-GOOD LIGHT MAGAZINE  

good light magazine - 5 questions for matt miller

good light magazine - 5 questions for matt miller

[MZ] Are you sometimes approached by clients that are simply not a good fit for your style because they are, let’s say, too boring? How you deal with that?

[MM] i’ve said “yes” to a few weddings that, in the back of my mind, i should have said “no.” Now i understand why. it does a disservice to the couple and a disservice to myself. if they want something that doesn’t mesh well with me or my style, they are far better off with someone else. if you want me to make pictures at your wedding, i want you to want exactly what i do, not hire me because I fit in the budget or just because i’m local. i want every image in my portfolio to speak to you.

5 Questions for... Matt Miller 5

There are thousands of other wedding photographers out there, so they can continue their search. i don’t want to get burned out shooting weddings i don’t want to be involved in. i want to have new best friends and be stoked to deliver the images to the couples and eat nachos with them next time i’m in their town.

[MZ] You changed your profession from music to photography, so you know these two worlds. Do you have a tip for a fellow photographer who wants to do the reverse and break into the music business (no, I am not talking about myself)? 

MM] ahhhh... The music business. 

Well, it’s fun if you don’t have to pay rent or eat or keep your sanity. i’m kidding, but not really. i still shoot shows every once in a while. it’s a good bit of work to not ever get paid for, but what’s important for me now is more about giving a bit back to a scene that helped me become the person i am today.

in reality though, it’s nearly impossible to make a living doing it. Getting a few bucks from a band on tour is like pulling teeth, but i’ve also been in their shoes before, living off peanut butter and sleeping on floors for months at a time. Record companies, magazines, and really the whole industry are hurting, so there isn’t much of a slice of that pie left to pay a photographer anymore. That all being said, i am looking to do a little more of that stuff these days to try some new ideas with hanging a bit more time to focus on lighting and whatnot that isn’t available on a wedding day. 

 

- GOOD LIGHT MAGAZINE

peacock feathers, mustaches, and recreating their first date.

peacock feathers, mustaches, and recreating their first date.

Kristy and Leon were married in Nashville in February. Their ceremony was held at a friend’s home, with the reception taking place at Events on Third, an event space located downtown.

“We’d been dating only two months when we agreed that we should get married and we said ‘I do’ less than a year after our first date”, began the bride. We also decided to get ready together, to have our ceremony in a friend's living room and to write our own vows.”

ROCK N ROLL BRIDE MAGAZINE

peacock feathers, mustaches, and recreating their first date.

peacock feathers, mustaches, and recreating their first date.

“We were adamant about being 100% ourselves.  We love old classic rock music, vintage clothing, draft beer, Nashville local community, belly dancing and our family and our friends.  We weren't interested in tradition rather, authenticity.  Every bit of our wardrobe was planned to represent who we are. Our closest friends and family were in charge of all the reception decorations and planning, so we never got stressed out.  As favors, guests were given a quilt square to write a message for us on and my aunt Vicki is currently stitching them together into a quilt for us to keep forever! We spent our money on things that would be remembered like the music, the photos and the food.  Every detail was thought out to represent us as a couple.”

ROCK N ROLL BRIDE MAGAZINE

peacock feathers, mustaches, and recreating their first date.

peacock feathers, mustaches, and recreating their first date.

The couple planned for their wedding to be just like their first dates. Kirsty explains, “The first person we hired was Jacob Jones as our DJ. He throws a Monday night dance party called Keep On Movin' at The Five Spot here in Nashville.  Our first dates were at this dance party of all 50s, 60s, and 70s music so this is the music we picked for our wedding. We wanted the dance floor to be packed all night – and it was! The first time Leon and I slow danced was to Otis Redding's ‘These Arms of Mine’ and so this is the song we picked as our first dance. We also planned our food menu so that everything could be eaten on the way to or on the dance floor!”

“Our favourite thing about the wedding was connecting our lives together forever and kicking it off with 400 of our favorite people!” Kirsty concluded. “It was literally the best night of our lives.”

ROCK N ROLL BRIDE MAGAZINE

peacock feathers, mustaches, and recreating their first date.

peacock feathers, mustaches, and recreating their first date.

Kirsty wore a red Vera Wang gown which she’d previously worn when maid of honour at her sister’s wedding in 2008. She gave it a new lease of life by adding her trusty Frye holster boots with knee-high pink moustache print socks and peacock feather earrings which she borrowed from a friend. Her three antique cameo pendants were also borrowed and her engagement ring had previously belonged to her deceased maternal grandmother.

ROCK N ROLL BRIDE MAGAZINE