Leonard and Sarah's Wedding

Dramatic portraits make me happy

So a few weeks ago I had the extreme pleasure of capturing moments like the one above for this happy couple. You may recall the image of them we captured during the engagement session at Hungry Mother State Park on the bridge over the lake. Meeting them that day for the first time, I quickly knew we would have a great time working together. They are so in love, and they share that love for Leonard's son Jake that I also had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with. Those moments led up to the big day, and that's what I am writing about now. Before I get much further here is a short video I shot, that my good friend Wes and partner at Throat Punch Productions put together for me on the fly. Take a sec to check it out then I will meet you on the other side.


I hope you watched it and left some feedback. I would love to do more of them and I learned a lot from the first attempt. Stay tuned for more of that and Wes wrote more about our new venture HERE. He is a much better writer than I am. Ok, back to the newlyweds. Sarah and Leonard were married at her church in Marion, VA. It is a small church established in 1859 with a stunning wooden door and high ceilings. The church also sets at the base of several mountain ranges so it was a perfect backdrop for such an incredible day. 

The weather was moody to say the least but we were blessed to miss almost all of the rain and had the opportunity to be out side for shots like this.

I love how engaged they are with one another here.

The ceremony was lovely and the church quickly filled with friends and family of the couple. Immediately following the service, even though the pastor almost forgot to have them kiss LOL, we had a few minutes for portraits just of the new Husband and Wife before packing up and heading to the reception several miles away, also at Hungry Mother State Park. This was amazing because we wanted to remake the photo I mentioned above, and thought the weather would refuse us the opportunity but once again, fate was on our side.

From the wedding day :)

From the wedding day :)

Ok I know  I am rambling so I will leave the rest of the story to be told visually through the images from the day. Let's go!

I usually keep my blog post's to a few images but wanted to incorporate moments from the entire day for a change. This couple was so much fun to be around and so was their entire family. I had multiple people stop and speak about the engagement pictures or to express their gratitude for being there. Often it's the small things that make a day special, and together I think we truly told the story of Sarah + Leonard Gardner!

All of the last images below were shot on 35mm film, and developed by The Darkroom Lab. I want to really shoot more and more on film, so be watching for those soon.

Shot on film

The couples stamp

The couples stamp

The Grandparents of the Bride

The Grandparents of the Bride

Beautiful Church for the wedding.

Beautiful Church for the wedding.

Where do you find inspiration?

I love candid black and white street photography

I love candid black and white street photography

As photographer's we can easily lose our inspiration if we are shooting all the time, and if those moment's are solely for clients. What? Did I just admit that I struggle with inspiration, ABSOLUTELY. Its scary to admit and I do not feel that this hinders my work, but I am painfully aware that it has kept me from pushing myself to my fullest potential at times. I think if we all could be completely honest with ourselves we could admit that in an ideal world we would create something unique, all the time, and only accept the jobs that truly moved us. I know this is a reality for me some days. Being conscious of this, keeps me checked, and allows me to focus on whats most important, and that its not me or my desire all the time. It reminds me how important what we as photographers do. Do I strive to shoot the jobs that move me most, of course and will continue to push and develop my craft toward that prize but will also put all of myself into every client along the way. I will try to make connections stronger, build more lasting relationships than ever before.  Below I have several images, all taken with my beloved Fuji Xpro 2 and either my xf16mm, or xf90mm lens. These were for myself and even a few of myself. Looking to express how this world is such an incredible place to live if we can only look up from our phones once in awhile and take it all in!

“It is the the photographer’s movements, perspective and experience that are being depicted in any given picture.”

-Antonio d' Agata

What does our work say about our experiences? Our perspectives and movements? One of the quotes, I have become very attached to in an interview with Antonio d'Agata. His work is not for the faint of heart nor is it pretty and pleasant but it is RAW and REAL and EMOTIONAL.


parking lots, abandoned , cracks


Crossing into nothingness 

self portrait, me, xpro2, shutter drag


In the everyday world, a world which affords comforts, encourages fear and supports silence, lies, hypocrisy, cynicism and laziness, people protect themselves to the point of numbness,ending up lifeless.- Antonio d’Agata
— https://www.americansuburbx.com/2014/03/asx-interviews-antoine-dagata-simple-desire-exist-2014.html

All of the above images were taken in Downtown Johnson City, Tennessee and the self portraits in our home. I find inspiration for my work in many places, mostly nature and my family, but also by other artists. I've said many times Ryan Muirhead is currently at the top of my list, followed by countless others. I have an Instagram problem. LOL