When I was 14 years old, I saw a TV commercial of a guy on a motorcycle jumping through a ring of fire at night. They did a freeze frame with a shutter sound, and it advertised: “Canon Rebel 2000”. To any 14 year old boy, this is about as cool as it gets. Had I been a Kardashian, I would have tweeted #want.
So I begged and begged until my father – a former professional photographer – bought me my first film camera and lens as a birthday and Christmas present all rolled into one. I eagerly explored the craft as a teenager, but it wasn’t until I arrived at college that I became serious: a staffing emergency at the school newspaper tossed me into the fire as the Editor of Photography… during my 2nd week of freshman year. I finally upgraded to my first digital SLR camera, and wound up covering nearly every assignment for my entire 4 years of school.
I wrote the business plan for Dazzle Photography as a junior and my business was operational 3 months after graduating. I began as an action sports photographer. Spending most days shooting thousands of frames of athletes of all ages in every imaginable environment, from a field to a gym to a ski slope.
At the time, when I thought about “wedding photography”, I thought “booooring!” All of the wedding photos I had seen looked like the photographer directed people to “stand on this white tape outline of feet and look at the camera and smile until your face hurts.” It was brutal, and someone needed to do something about it.
It wasn’t until I was asked to photograph a friend of a friend’s wedding that I realized just how much action sports photography had prepared me for taking a fresh approach to capturing weddings. I remember the first reception I ever photographed; I looked out across the large, dimly-lit, wooden dance floor, filled with people dancing who would become “camera aware” if I got too close. I thought, “OK… when I photograph basketball, I have a large wooden floor filled with fast-moving subjects. On-camera flash won’t work and I need a long lens as to not get too close…” I had already solved many of the same technical obstacles, and because I didn’t learn from an ‘old timer’ wedding photographer, I never had to un-learn some of the “this is how we’ve always done it” techniques that contributed to the lame perception of wedding photography that I once held. The result is an exceptionally unobtrusive approach that allows for maximum versatility and light control in every kind of environment.
Once I witnessed the joy my clients had after receiving the images I had taken of their wedding, I simply decided that I wanted to serve there instead of in sports. I felt that my legacy would run deeper, my personal connections would be more authentic, and that it was more in sync with my creative heartbeat. I was right.
Different moments throughout a wedding day require different approaches. If I had to boil it down, I’d describe our style as creative documentary. Our goal is to authentically, passionately, and creatively capture a series of moments that add up to tell a visual story of your wedding day – and on an even deeper level – the story of you as a couple.
We are frequently called “ninjas”. Throughout most of the wedding day we are inconspicuous, allowing memorable moments to unfold on their own and documenting them without giving direction or imposing. We’re also absolutely unyielding in our pursuit of epic imagery, so we’ll do anything to capture a unique perspective. We’ve climbed trees, gone underwater, swung sparklers from our shoelaces… “the shot” is paramount, and we’re always willing to sacrifice our own comfort, cleanliness of our clothes, and sometimes our safety in order to create it. This fearless approach captured the attention of Spider Holster – which I’d used for years to free up my hands for high fives and/or tree climbing – as you can see here in my bio on their website.
When the time is right, we’ll jump in and provide plenty of direction, while still creating an atmosphere that makes all your portraits feel natural. Our aim for all the creative portraits is that you experience a real moment inside of an environment where we simply arranged some of the pieces.
Of course, we’ll also capture the necessary traditional portraits with family members, which you (and your parents and friends!) will treasure for years to come.
When I’m not hanging out with my hilarious, beautiful, and frequently photographed kids, you can find me teaching classes at Dazzle Training, creating films, documenting the amazing Porsche Restoration work at Passion Driven, promoting one of my documentary films, or training for my next mountain climb.