Another friend married, Theresa Payne.. er, Spoeneman!

Blue eyes is what pretty much anyone will say they remember when they meet Theresa. She has bright, bright blue eyes that everyone notices immediately. They were the focus of this photo… well, actually Theresa made her goofy expressions the main part of this image. But when I heard that she was engaged, among the first things I thought was “Perfect, I know exactly what bridal portrait I was to create with her”.
Cuz that’s what all creative photographers do, right? We use our gorgeous friends for creating beautiful photos, hahaha.

Theresa is a friend of mine from when I was a lifeguard and lifeguard trainer in Florida, at Disneyworld. We are part of a core group of friends, mostly lifeguards, that all spent a good portion of 2003 living and working together. Her wedding was a small reunion for some of us who hadn’t seen each other in years.

This posting will include a number of personal shots since these are my old friends. Typically I keep personal things off this blog, but this is different and I’m even in some of the group shots, too. Overall we had a great time hanging out in Downtown Portland and catching up on life. It was a crazy and hectic week – did I mention I flew to Portland for this wedding less than 24 hours after landing back in California from spending the week shooting in Michigan at the D’Orazio wedding? Yeah, didn’t sleep much at all.

Anyway, enjoy the photos. I’ll put more info in the captions!

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My photo inspired someone to change their life..

This photo inspired someone I’ve never met to completely change their life.

What an incredible compliment. Wow.

A friend of mine, named Liz, occasionally tells me about her friend Adam. I’ve never met Adam, it’s likely I never will. But I’m constantly reminded by Liz that “Adam has asked about you again” or “Adam mentioned you today. He’s still working out and exercising.”
I’ve heard this from her for at least the last year or so.

But, this week Liz sent me this in a text:

You’re his idol. Simply put. Like, you really did trigger something and inspire him to get into the gym.
It’s pretty major. You basically made him turn his lifestyle around and he doesn’t even know you. You’re amazing.

Adam, this is one of the most incredible compliments I’ve received in a long time. To be given even a small amount of credit in encouraging someone to change their lifestyle to be healthier and take care of themself is so hugely flattering to me.
I wish you the best in your goals, wherever you set them. And Thank You again for such a wonderful compliment.

I’ve never actually shared this photo on my blog – for those of you who don’t know, this is a self portrait I took a while back. To answer the most common questions: Yes, it is me. No, it is not photoshopped. Yes, I’m in that level of shape. Yes, I do actually eat food. Yes, I wear glasses, but usually contacts 99% of the time. The shot is fired on a timer, single light setup. And no, I have no clue what my body fat level is.

For those who are curious: My workout routine is mostly cardio. I run a few miles every day. I do pullups, pushups, and inverted (hanging upside down) situps. That’s about it. Occasionally I may use weights – but not often. I eat healthy, always have. But don’t deprive myself of things for the sake of being in shape. If I’m in the mood for something I will still eat it. And yes, I also eat bread… those Atkin’s dieters creep me out. The main thing… I’m consistent. I run every day – unless I’m traveling for work.

So, good luck to those who have their goals for fitness. Eat healthy, and stick with a routine.

And I’ll be back to photo updates soon with another wedding I recently shot. Thanks everyone!

The D’Orazio Wedding, Michigan

… sometimes, you leave your wedding reception in a squad car.
<insert cliche about being sentenced to life here>… We should all hope to be so lucky.

I recently spent the week back out in Michigan. This was my second of three trips back out to the midwest this year. I was in town to shoot the D’Orazio wedding. I had been looking forward to this trip for quite some time. Mike and Christina booked me nearly a year and a half ago. Last summer I even had the honor of shooting their engagement photos while in Michigan shooting the DeLand wedding.
It’s always nice to hear any feedback on my work. I would say one thing for me that disappointing is that I never usually get to see my clients reaction to the photos I create of them. However during this trip I heard from both Mike and Christina’s families that they all loved the work I did for the engagement shots – and that they were all excited to see what I would do with their wedding day.

So, Mike and Christina… I hope that I don’t disappoint!

I have over 100 images in this posting. There were so many hilarious shots from the weekend that I had a hard time trying to narrow it down. So, hopefully you guys take a few minutes to look through everything. It should be quick to get through them. And, as always, I would love to hear any feedback from you readers about everything. Also, click on my Facebook fan page on the right hand column to stay updated with what I’m doing.

My weekend with the D’Orazio family was a blast. Spending time with Mike again was funny in the sense that Mike’s attitude was “do whatever you think will look good, John” every time I asked “So what are you thinking you want from your wedding shots?”.
Both the D’Orazio family and Vilk family said they had heard a lot about me. So, obviously I had the bar set pretty high, lol. But they warmed up to me fast, and ignored me taking pictures just as quickly. That’s always helpful since all my wedding work has a journalistic approach.

Anyway, I’m going to continue this blog post with a number of captions. There are so many small comments and stories to tell about the weekend that it’s better I do it with the photos that they relate to.
So please read on! Enjoy the photos, and leave your thoughts at the end!

Let’s get started…

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Two wedding, Two States, Four days apart.

What a crazy two weeks! The amount of work and travel was ridiculous – but a lot of fun.

I recently returned from a whirlwind trip that spanned THREE different states (not including California, where I live). My travels started off heading back out to Michigan. I was in Detroit-area again, this time to shoot the D’Orazio wedding.
For those who don’t remember, Mike booked me for his wedding nearly a year and a half ago. I was also able to shoot their engagement photos while out in Michigan last July shooting the DeLand wedding. Check out the last image on this page.
Mike and Christina make such a wonderful couple. They were a pleasure to photograph during their engagement session, and their wedding weekend was just as exciting. I have so many great photos from the day and a half I spent with their families. But rather than make everyone wait I wanted to upload a single preview for now to hold you over.

Also, Mike and Christina had this to say after my return home:

“John, we can’t thank you enough for everything! We know the photos are amazing! You are a true professional and we are proud to say you were part of the best day of our lives! Thank you again.”
-Mike D’Orazio

“I couldn’t of said it better myself!
I cannot wait to see the photos! I know how wonderful your work is, and it makes me so excited to see the final product :) You were very professional and did 110%. Thanks again!!!”
-Christina D’Orazio

After returning from Michigan I was home in California for about 15 hours before boarding a plane to Portland for my friend Theresa’s wedding. I was attending purely as a guest – however when a friend with gorgeous blue eyes gets married, I’m going to take some pictures regardless…

This is why you throw down a couple grand and buy an 85mm f/1.2
Yep, you read that correctly… couple grand… f/1.2 – this lens will be worth every penny.

I’ve known Theresa for seven years, we used to work together in Florida where I trained lifeguards and lifeguarded for the Disney Water Parks in 2003. So, when I heard she was engaged, I knew the exact photo I wanted to take on her wedding day… this image above.

I have a lot of photos from my trip north to attend the wedding; most of my photos are actually shots of me and our friends all hanging out laughing catching up on the last five years since we some of us last saw each other. But I also have some shots I took at the ceremony. Those will be coming in later weeks after finishing work for other clients.

Check back soon for an update on D’Orazio wedding!