I didn’t get my start as a wedding or portrait photographer. The first photos that ever earned me money were ones that I took of hiking and camping in college for Northern Illinois University‘s outdoor program. Soon after I was photographing cycling events for Chicago’s Windy City Sports Magazine. After spending our entire lives in Illinois, my wife, Carin, and I moved to southern California. By that time in 2002, I was starting to take photography more seriously and began attending the Brooks Institute of Photography. While studying, I was photographing mainly for a handful of environmental organizations like the Community Environmental Council. During my time in California, I focused on mostly landscape photography, and the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountains and Yosemite National Park, in particular.
After a year in California, we relocated to the mountains of Colorado where I visited often as a child. We made our home in Summit County, and I focused heavily on a combination of landscape and adventure travel photography. Within year, my work was being featured in magazines like National Geographic Adventure, Outside, Trail Runner, Freeskier, and several other small publications. In many ways, I was living the dream life of a photographer.
So where does wedding photography come in to play? Here is the funny thing about Colorado; people get married here because they love travel and adventure. Recently, I received a phone call that went a little like, “I have a question about wedding photography: How well can you ski?” The couple who asked was having a wedding at Copper Mountain in which everyone would be skiing. By now, I am used to those kinds of questions, but 10 years ago I was a little surprised at how people who saw my adventure photography were interested in having me photograph their weddings.
After a decade of photographing weddings, I have realized that this notion I had about weddings being boring, was based on my limited experiences growing up in the suburbs of Chicago. The people that hire me to photograph their weddings are different. They are fun and adventurous. In the last decade, I have photographed weddings in the desert, on roofs of buildings, on the tops of mountains, on tropical islands, on boats, and just about anywhere else you can think of. Everything I want out of life (having adventures and meeting new people) I get through wedding photography.
Below is a selection of images of things I have photographed that have nothing to do with weddings. Many of them are from before I photographed my first wedding.