Nathan and Sarah, a wedding for the whole family

In most weddings, two people come together and become one. In this wedding, those two brought along a posse to make one big happy family. Nathan and Sarah make a great couple, and together with their children they make a great family. This marriage is a beautiful example of two people finding themselves and each other at the right time.

If you watch closely, you’ll see that Nathan and Sarah look at each other in a way that people who are in love look at each other. If you watch closely, you’ll see that their children share in that love. If you watch closely, you’ll see a group of family and friends that support this marriage and this family. If you watch closely, you’ll see that this is what the true meaning of love is.

I wish Nathan and Sarah the best in the many years they will have together, and I look forward to watching this family grow together.

Also, many thanks to Scott Zischke for helping with the photos. He really helped round out the pictures and it was great to be on a photo assignment with him again.

























DJ and Milissa, happily married

April showers bring May flowers, but in this case, they also bring together two wonderful young people. DJ and Milissa got married in April and the wind and rain were merely footnotes in the story of their day. Weddings like this keep me coming back for more — I absolutely love seeing two young people who are truly in love and full of energy and promise.

Jen and Bryan, blown away together

The wind was strong, their love was stronger.

Bryan and Jen were married the other day and I was lucky enough to be their photographer. The forecast called for rain and wind and general unpleasantries, but none of that could hold these two back. The venue was Over the Vines near Edgerton, WI, and with a big red barn for the reception and a expansive green lawn for the wedding, it was perfect.

This was the 3rd wedding that I have done for the Pitterle family, and I am honored that they continue to ask me to be their photographer. They are wonderful people and are a blast to hang out with. I wish Jen and Bryan the best in their marriage.

Oh, and not to spoil the pictures, but this is the first wedding where I captured the couple under a full rainbow. If that isn’t a sign of good things to come for these two, then I don’t know what is.

Angie and Jacob, rain or shine

It is weddings like this one that reinvigorate me. They remind me why I got married, they remind me why I love photographing weddings, they remind me why family and friends are so important. They remind me that I’m alive.

From having all 8 grandparents in attendance to kissing in the rain under an umbrella, this wedding was full of life’s purest energy. Angie and Jacob are a great couple and it shows in every little thing that they do for each other. It shows in how they look at each other, it shows in how they love each other. I am honored to have been the photographer at their wedding. Enjoy the show.

Paula + Jason, a wedding to remember

Paula and Jason just got married at Tagalong Golf Resort up in Birchwood, Wisconsin and I was lucky enough to be their photographer. The weather was perfect, the dress was perfect, the cake was perfect, and these two are perfect for each other. I absolutely love to photograph weddings when I see two people who care so much about each other — Paula and Jason are great people and an even better couple. I wish them all the best as they start their lives together.

Paula is the sister of Jessica, who I photographed back in ’10. I always enjoy when I can photograph the weddings of multiple family members — it gives me a chance to catch up with the family, and in this case, meet the newest member of the family (little Connor is 9 months old).

This was the first wedding where my second shooter (my lovely wife Vicki) got stung by a wasp while taking pictures. Back in ’09, I got stung by a bee during a wedding for the first time, but unfortunately, Vicki had a more serious reaction and was knocked out of commission for the rest of the night. Luckily she was fine and I was able to get back to taking pictures after seeing that she was taken care of.

Photographer’s Cheat Sheet

I’ve been working on the notes I’ll be using for a beginner’s photo class I’ll be teaching and out of that preparation has come a cheat sheet of high-level concepts that I tend to repeat over and over.

I always state that photography can be broken down into two components: Lighting and Composition — if you don’t have those two things, you don’t have a good photograph. Of course, this doesn’t take emotion and the psychological attachment that people have to some images, but from a purely photographic standpoint, I stick by my claim.


Color quality is a term often used to describe how conducive a light source is for a photograph. This is subjective to the type of image you are photographing. For portraits, florescent light is poor quality while morning daylight is high quality.
The time of day affects the quality of light. Morning and evening light is softer than noon-time light and therefore more appropriate for portraits.
Color temperature is measured in Kelvin (K). Higher temps are blue/cool, lower temps are red/warm. 5,500K is neutral daylight. Calibrating your white balance (for digital cameras) or filters (for film or digital cameras) can be used to correct color temperature.
Direction of the light source makes an impact on the mood of an image. Angling the light source against the subject matter can create depth and add detail.
Soft light vs hard light. Choose which type of light source you want for your picture. Portraits typically work better with soft light, but hard light can add a dramatic affect.
Distance and the size of the light source also affect whether the light will be soft or hard. Diffusing materials can be used to soften a light source (bed sheets work).


Rule of thirds. Draw a tic-tac-toe grid on your frame and position your subject matter in one of the intersections.
Portrait vs landscape. Choose the orientation of your picture to match your subject matter. People are vertical (typically), while landscapes tend to be horizontal.
Pay attention direction within the frame. Subjects looking off-frame should have less space behind them and more space in front of them. Likewise, if something has a sense of motion in the frame, allow for space in front of it so that it feels like it has room to move.
Foreground AND background are both important during the composition of an image. Watch out for tonal similarities between the foreground and background — it’s easy to take a picture where the subject looks like he has a branch growing out of his head.
Contrast, be it with color or brightness or focus, is how you create separation between foreground and background.

Et cetera

Take your time. Most of the time, photographs do not have to be rushed. If you know you’ll have limited time, spend some time scouting the area and prepping the image.
Look first then shoot. Spend a second looking at the entire frame before you take the picture. Is the subject prominent? Is somebody photo-bombing your image? A quick look before you snap the shot can save countless hours of post-production.
Take more pictures. Get out there and take pictures. If you see a picture you like, try to replicate it. Retake a picture that didn’t turn out how you wanted it to.
Read and explore. From photography blogs to Flickr, there are thousands of ways to get inspired and educated. Take advantage of them.


I have been blessed with some great weddings over the past 11 years, but it’s time to set this gig aside for a while. Sometimes I forget how much work and effort goes into photographing a wedding — planning and preparation, the day of the wedding, the hours of post-production, the album design, etc. When I do something, I put everything I have into it, and I can honestly say that I put my best effort into every single wedding I photographed.

The turning point for me in making this decision was knowing that I could be at every one of my son’s Saturday soccer games this fall. It was knowing that I would have time to work on some personal projects that I are on my to-do list. It was knowing that I could spend more time with my family and friends.

Photography is as much a part of me as by love of riding a bike — instead of brides and grooms, I’ll be chasing kids and dogs and whatever else catches my eye.

A Thanksgiving wedding in Madison

When you think of Thanksgiving, you usually think of turkey, food coma, football and shopping (at least, that’s what I typically think of). Emily and Lee, on the other hand, think of throwing one helluva wedding party. For their special day, they chose to have the ceremony at Monona Terrace and the reception at the Concourse Hotel. In between, we had some time to stop by the Overture Center for some pictures. The whole day went by about as smoothly as I’ve ever seen and was fun the whole time.

One thing I love about weddings is hearing all the stories that build up to the wedding itself. For Emily and Lee, there was a story behind everything — from the story of how they met, to their wedding rings, to the stories that will be told about their wedding day (ask Lee about tying a bow tie). Every story comes with a backdrop of love and friendship. These are the stories of our lives and I’m honored that I can be there to capture them.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that they has the Chris Sarlas Orchestra perform during the reception. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing this band at a previous wedding and they are absolutely fabulous. If you ever have the opportunity to see them perform, you will be in for a treat.

Cory + Jessica, a Dells wedding

For those of you with a long memory, you may remember an engagement session I did with Cory and Jessica over a year ago. Sometimes you just have to wait for a good thing, and this wedding was well worth the wait.

It’s weddings like this that remind me that Wisconsin Dells is only an hour from Madison and that I should get up there more often. C&J chose to have an outdoor wedding up in the Dells and they were blessed with some fantastic fall weather. This has been a great year for outdoor weddings — half of the weddings I’ve been a part of have been outdoors and the weather has been good for every single one of them. Let’s hope this run of good luck continues!


lovely bride

C & J





in love

a walk


in flowers

big B




A red and white UW alumni wedding

Paul and Kristen live in Chicago, but they met on the campus of UW Madison. When they were planning their wedding, they knew it had to be in Madison and it had to come with a heavy dose of Red and White. They got their wish and had everything from a stroll down State Street (Abbey Road style), a seat in the big yellow chair at the Memorial Union Terrace, a windy September day (sorry, no snow), a ceremony on Monona Terrace, a singing of Varsity (and Jump Around), and brats & beer to top the night off.

It was an absolute blast being their wedding photographer. You can’t ask for better clients than Paul and Kristen.