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Mattie & Vince’s Minneapolis Wedding

I recently returned from Minneapolis, Minnesota where I shot the wedding of Mattie Crawford and Vince DiDona. When I have the chance to head out to the midwest it’s usually an opportunity to see a lot of old friends. In this particular case the brides family and I go back a number of years – I met Mattie eight years ago in Florida when we were both lifeguards. But I met her family years later while attending school in Michigan. I photographed the second half of her gymnastics career for our college newspaper. Vince was a college wrestler, and while I don’t recall shooting him at his meets, I do remember photographing a number of his groomsmen that were on the team.

So, there were of course a lot of the gymnasts from college attending, as well as other friends that I knew from school but hadn’t seen in many years. It was awesome to catch up and see so many people. And I joked with Mattie that it would probably be a lot easier to shoot her walking down an aisle instead of flying and flipping through the air, hahaha.

I flew out to Minneapolis one day after returning to Socal from the SF Bay Area where I was the week before shooting the Balatoni wedding. So the quick turnaround was somewhat tricky – especially knowing that I had to return to the Bay after flying home to Socal from Minnesota. Yep. Lots of traveling right now.

But it was awesome to see Mattie’s family again. Honestly, I can’t believe had been five years since seeing all of them. It makes you realize how fast the time really does go by. It had only been two years since I last saw Mattie and Vince at the Knudson wedding in Michigan during the summer in 2009. Everyone looked the same, so it was like no time had really passed as I caught up with the family after arriving. The Crawfords are wonderful people and truly made me feel like family during all the sports events I would see them at during college – which was awesome since I was 3,000 miles from my own family.
I met a lot of the extended family, friends, and Vince’s family as we passed the time before heading to the rehearsal.

The wedding was going to be at St. Boniface – a huge old catholic church. The pastor who would be marrying Mattie & Vince turned out to be a very cool guy. He told me I was more than welcome to use flash as long as I wasn’t obnoxious about it. AWESOME. You have to love any catholic church that allows flash – I would say that 9/10 do not. The rehearsal was a breeze, and everyone shared in laughs as they figured out order of events and people for the ceremony.
Dinner was after at a nearby park where the families had decorated the picnic area with lanterns and candles.

Mattie and Vince’s wedding day was incredibly smooth. I spent the morning hanging out with the bridesmaids and bride, as usual. The problem, if you call it that, is that I hadn’t seen most of these girls in five years… so catching up a little bit was inevitable and I had to keep some conversations short so I could bounce between the rooms the girls were getting ready in.
After heading to the church we did a first-look that way we could shoot all the family photos before the ceremony. It helped shuffle everyone out the door after the wedding, and allowed us time to go out and get a few images with the downtown skyline in the background. The image above we tried twice. And there was just no way we were going to get everyone’s faces showing with 21 people on a high-traffic bridge on Friday afternoon… ha!

The reception was a blast and I even had time to sit and catch up with the Favazza family who attended the wedding! They are Lisa’s family from the Knudson wedding two years ago; and I would definitely consider them one of my many extended families out in Michigan now, haha. I also had time to catch up with the gymnast girls more, and even Mr. Langley, one of the gymnast dads I used to see and talk to at all the meets. Really it was just awesome to catch up with everyone. Makes me realize I need to take a trip to MI and the Great Lakes areas soon. Or maybe after winter…

Saturday after the wedding was pretty chill. I actually didn’t end up taking any photos and instead socialized and relaxed with everyone. We all had a picnic out in the park and spent the evening hanging out at the hotel.

Minneapolis was great. I had an awesome time and it’s a really cool area in the parts that I got to see. Who knows, maybe I’ll eventually be heading that way. For those of you who remember, earlier this year I was one of the nationally selected applicants for the Viking’s team photographer position. They postponed interviews unfortunately so I don’t know if it will open up again to continue the interview process.

Mattie and Vince, I had an awesome time. Vince, your family is wonderful and I’m so glad I got to spend some time getting to know them in between all the running around. Mattie, you know I love your family, they’re amazing. To everyone else that are old friends or new, it was great catching up, and awesome to meet the rest of you between all my running around.

After the break are over 150 images from the wedding. As usual I’ll throw in various captions here and there. Otherwise simply enjoy them, I liked a lot.

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The Balatoni’s Los Gatos wedding

Hey! I used to be in Boy Scouts with that guy!
This past weekend an old friend and fellow Eagle Scout, Nick Balatoni married Melissa Cadmes at the Los Gatos Opera House in the Bay Area. I traveled back up to the Bay last week to photograph the rehearsal and ceremony for them. Nick is an old friend, and while we’ve gone different directions over the years since high school we’ve been in touch loosely through various mutual friends.

You see, I’ve known Nick, and best-man Paul, since I was in 6th grade. We all went through scouting together (they were already scouts and I joined when I was 13). We were all in the same troop, Troop 14, and all part of the same patrol, Foxes. I have tons of memories with these two. And according to Paul I still hold the record at camp for fastest time up the climbing wall! Yes! 12+ years and going strong! Both Nick and Paul were instrumental on my path to Eagle Scout. Nick reached Eagle before me, and being one of the MC’s at his ceremony really helped push me to finish my requirements and reach Eagle myself. And when I did Nick was one of my MC’s for the night. And while this blog is about the wedding weekend, I will share one image from back in high school from our scouting days..


Left to right: Paul Barron, Jon Anderson, John Remus III (me), Nick Balatoni, and Robert Rico.
This was right after we finished my Eagle project. Robert and I were 17, everyone else 16.

BUT ANYWAY! So Nick’s married now!

Unfortunately due to crazy schedules of both myself and Nick/Melissa I never got the chance to meet Melissa before the rehearsal day – which is really too bad because she’s a totally sweet person and her friends and family are hilarious.
When I arrived at the rehearsal last Thursday evening it was easy to start chatting with Nick like no time had passed. I met Melissa, groomsman Shawn, and Dale who would be the officiant. I went upstairs to check out the venue – the Los Gatos Opera House. I had actually shot an event here shortly before moving to Los Angeles years ago for a fundraiser for battered women and children. So I knew the lighting was going to be terrible, but that the venue itself is very pretty.

The rehearsal went great, and quick! Nick and Melissa emphasized that they don’t want a long ceremony – opting instead for quick and simple and to get right to the reception and spend time with their friends and families. Later on at dinner I talked the ears off various family members that wanted to know about my work and photography I’ve shot over the years.

Their Saturday wedding was in the afternoon – and it was a good thing it was indoors because it ended up being a pretty hot morning in the South Bay. I met up with the ladies as I normally would and laughed and joked with them as they got their makeup and hair prepped. Later on I headed down the street to the Los Gatos Hotel to shoot the guys a bit – did you guys know there is a GORGEOUS hotel right down the street from downtown?! I didn’t.
As Nick and Melissa said, the ceremony was FAST. I just made sure to shoot almost non stop because there were only a few chances for photos and “moments” instead of longer ceremonies with multiple speakers/etc that other couples have.
The reception was a blast, I got to catch up with a lot of old faces that I knew from school, or from scouting. Met some new people, and even found out I have things in common with some family members too! I’m going to leave the rest for the captions below, so enjoy the images.

Tomorrow morning I head out of town for the midwest – Minnesota to be specific. I’ll be shooting the DiDona wedding out there for a couple old college classmates! The awesome thing with weddings is that they take me all over the place for work!

..more after the break.

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Makeup shoot with Amber, Lauren and Alicia

Two weeks back I did some studio shooting with Amber – a girl that good friend and MUA Lauren (Elle) Favorule had talked to me about for probably eight months. I’m not sure how she met Amber, but, Elle had mentioned wanting to do a shoot with her for quite a while. So we finally found some time to put something together and shoot.
Also brought on set that day was MUA Alicia Yvette who ended up handling most of the make up that day. We were keeping everything very simple and straight forward. Single color themes, white backdrop. I actually had very little do on set for that reason – all my work really come around in post to bring out more of the image.
I’ve received a ton of compliments on these images and on Amber. Amusingly enough Amber jokes that she doesn’t model professionally, but rather just “goes to auditions to get turned down and feel bad”… She’ll tell you that as she laughs about the competition and strict/picky industry.

Either way, enjoy the shots. Hopefully I’ll be doing some more studio work soon. I really do enjoy the simplicity of shots like these. However I’m also starting a series dedicated to colors. Those images will be a bit more themed though.
I’m also getting ready to leave for two weeks of travel and weddings in Northern California and also in Minnesota. Gonna be a busy few weeks!

Click the break for more photos..
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