Dennis and Esther’s Surprise Wedding Photos

cleveland surprise wedding photographerNot many people have arranged for surprise wedding photos, but Dennis is a smart man. He and his long time fiance Esther have been together nearly 30 years, and the recently decided to legally tie the knot.

cleveland surprise wedding photographerThey decided to have the ceremony at the Justice of the Peace with only a few guests present. As far as Esther knew, they would get dressed up, say their vows, and have a nice dinner out afterward. Dennis, however, had other plans. He had contacted me a week and a half in advance to talk about photographing them after the ceremony at a local park and surprise his new bride Esther. It had been a couple of decades since they had professional photos taken of them, and he knew she would be thrilled to have new ones taken, especially on their long-awaited wedding day. Dennis scouted local parks and found a beautiful one in Cleveland that has a lake, walking trail, gazebo, and lots of beautiful trees. We arranged a time for the photo session, giving them plenty of time to drive to the park for a “Walk around the lake” with his new bride.

Because I had never been to the park, I got there about 40 minutes before our meeting time to scout potential locations to shoot photos at. With the beautiful arched bridges and beautiful forest surrounding the area, that wasn’t hard to do. I selected one remotely-triggered speed light with an umbrella and a stand to use as off-camera lighting and my favorite on-camera flash and lenses and waited for the happy couple to show up.

cleveland surprise wedding photographerIt didn’t take Esther long to understand what Dennis had arranged. Not only had he surprised her with a wedding day photo session, but he also surprised her with a beautiful bouquet and flowers for his lapel. She was thrilled and stunned to learn that Dennis had went to such lengths to set the surprise up so perfectly. They only had an hour to stay because of a dinner reservation so we had to get working immediately. cleveland surprise wedding photographerWe worked our way from location to location with efficiency, so as to allow us to get the maximum number of photos possible taken while not rushing anything. Having my gear set up and ready to go helped speed things along, and Dennis and Esther were wonderful subjects to photograph.

The love between the newly-married couple is so easy to see in these photos. One of the poses we made sure to capture recreates the pose in Esther’s favorite photo of them taken nearly 30 years ago. It is always so sweet to see a couple so obviously in love with each other and Dennis and Esther were radiant with affection.  cleveland surprise wedding photographer

Beach Theme Wedding Reception at Quarry Golf Club in Canton

akron ohio beach wedding photographyThis past Saturday I photographed a gorgeous wedding reception in Canton, OH at the Quarry Golf and Country Club in Canton, OH. akron ohio beach wedding photographyThe beautiful newlywed couple had chosen to get married in Panama City, FL. because they’ve always vacationed there and they brought the beach theme with them into the lovely reception I had the honor of photographing.

Looking at the wedding cake, you can see the hand-made starfish on the side and the blue “water” flowing down the cake. At the base is Sugar In The Raw which looks like sand and delicious chocolate seashells scattered around the base. akron ohio beach wedding photographyThe cake topper was, of course, beach-themed with a casual look. All of the guests were treated to goodie bags filled with sugar “sand” and chocolate seashells. For the meal, we had the luxury of eating the best shrimp in my memory with a pina colada dipping sauce on the side.

akron ohio beach wedding photographyAt the entrance to the country club is a magnificent waterfall and pond that made for ideal bridal party portraits. Terry, the lead photographer, placed them around the setting and shot photos using the prime angles, while I shot mostly off-center, candid angles. The grass around the stones was too wet to allow the ladies to comfortably stand in it with their 4″ heels, so they were positioned to stand on the large, flat stones, while the guys were arranged on the grass and surrounding rocks. akron ohio beach wedding photographyThe sky did a huge favor for us and passed a large cloud directly across the sun for the duration of our shoot at the waterfall, which allowed for even lighting and let the bridal party to avoid the need to squint. We then went back to the clubhouse we continued the bridal party photos, using the lake and surrounding landscaping as gorgeous backdropsakron ohio beach wedding photography.

During the reception, I used the building’s walls, pillars, and ceiling as surfaces to bounce our flashes off of, which make the photos have more even light on my subjects. Because I am able to avoid shooting the flash directly at my subjects the light isn’t harsh, like most flash photography, but instead is soft and even which makes for much more appealing photographs. In some photos I used a higher ISO and slower shutter speed combined with the flash to let the ambient light from the reception show, but still making my subject stand out. akron ohio beach wedding photographyThe evening finished up with a gorgeous sunset, and we had the bride and groom stand outside on a small knoll and used my flash as fill light to illuminate them while still capturing the sky.

All said and done, it was a really nice evening for everybody involved. They had the video of their wedding on the beach playing during their photos so their guests could see the ceremony. The DJ from Beach Boyz Entertainment was a real professional and moved the evening along with efficiency and fun (I wish they were all as good as him). There was dancing and laughter well into the early morning. May the happy couple find a lifetime of joy and love together!

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