Wedding photography is about telling a story.

Every single wedding I have ever photographed has the same goal. I want to tell the story of the couple being married. Keith and Shannon's wedding in Independence Grove out in Libertyville Illinois was no different. I want you as a viewer of the photos to be able to figure out the story through each photo. Even the posed shots look somewhat candid as if the couple had naturally posed themselves that way, which actually does happen fairly often. Candid photos from when a posed one gets messed up are often better than the magazine style look originally intended.

Bride laughing at the card her groom gave her on their wedding day

Getting Ready & Detail Shots

It's a pretty simple formula I try to follow that begins when I'm taking detail shots. During the preparation or getting ready part of the day I start with capturing some details, usually the shoes, dress, ring, and then focus on the bride getting ready. I want to capture emotions, because they can run high around this time of the wedding day but I keep in mind the storytelling aspect. For Shannon and Keith we followed a similar path, we started with details, getting ready and then probably the funniest gift card I have ever seen. The genuine smile from Shannon as she read the card from her future husband that said "Holy Shit! We're getting married." I don't think a single person in the room held in a laugh seeing that. That was followed by a custom print in the shape of a heart with the three locations where they met, had their first date, and then finally the location of their ceremony. (This is probably a good place to send your fiance for gift inspiration.) Keith was all smiles opening his gifts, getting ready and then going through the beer row from his friends. That in itself is like it's own ceremony.

Wedding shoes and rings on a white table at an Independence Grove Wedding in Libertyville Illinois
A ring box with wedding rings and a necklace Independence Grove Wedding in Libertyville Illinois
Bride opening gifts from her future husband Independence Grove Wedding in Libertyville Illinois
Little girl watching her mom open gifts on her wedding day
Bride showing off a heart map her fiance gave her
Little girl shocked by bridesmaids
bridesmaid looking at a brides wedding band
groom smiling on his wedding day
groom buttoning his vest on his wedding day
grrom shaking his father in law's hand
groom helping son get ready for wedding day

Bride and groom looking at each other after first look while holding hands

Sometimes first looks, really do make the day.

This was probably the most fun first look we had, and a lot of it had to do with the groom. Keith was so nervous prior to this point that he could barely stand still. He had been thinking the whole morning about how Shannon was going to look, and I can say without a doubt she did not dissapoint. Shannon snuck up behind him, tapped him on his shoulders and I'm fairly certain the first thing I heard from Keith was "Wow!" Shannon was absolutely stunning in her dress. After that it was all laughs because Shannon had set a rule "No kissing until the ceremony." and I honestly don't believe Keith was a big fan of that rule in the moment. Also... Can we just take note that all of these photographs are from my camera, and I basically ran through a pond to get both sides of the first look. This is why fitbit thinks I'm running a marathon at my weddings, haha.

Groom waiting for his bride during first look
Bride walking towards groom during first look
Bride sneaking behind groom to surprise him
bride surprising groom during first look
Bride tapping groom on shoulder
bride surprising groom
bride and groom seeing each other for the first time
bride and groom after first look

bride and groom celebrating down the aisle after becoming husband and wife

Now for the moment we've all been waiting for.

For months, all my couples wait for this moment. This small 10-30 minute part of a wedding day where you become man and wife for the first time. Shannon and Keith had so many awesome parts of their ceremony. Although I do vaguely remember the wind grabbing their arch, most of the ceremony was smooth sailing. Ultimately it's the bigger moments we remember, like Shannon walking with her dad down the aisle, the kids in thier "ring security" outfit bringing the rings, when the flower girl basically mic dropped after walking up the aisle, and of course the big kiss after the I do's. I like to change my perspective and use people and objects to help narrate the story from different perspectives. Open spaces like the one at Independence Grove allow me to grab shots from behind the ceremony without being seen and I really think it's these images that help convey the intimate moments.

bride and her father walking down the aisle
bride's sons walkign rings down the aisle as ring bearers
Flower girl setting flowers down
bride and her father walk down the aisle on her wedding day
bride and groom looking at each other during wedding ceremony
bride and groom first kiss as husband and wife

Sparkling exits are not necessarily just for the couple...

Let's be real here, everyone during a sparkler exit at a wedding sees the couple going down the sparkler exit and goes "That looks fun, and I want to do it!" That doesn't necessarily mean they all get to join in. If. however, you are the father of the bride... You get a few liberties. Fun fact: He was a former fire marshall and not ten seconds before running through this was telling me how unsafe it was. My reply? "You just want to go down the aisle too, dont you?" Seems like I was correct. Side note, this is also my favorite father of the bride photo of all time.

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