I’ve always been drawn to stories. In life and through photography, I’m always looking to capture real moments and personality that can tell a story in just one photograph. This has led me to wedding photography and is a dominant thought in my approach to capturing every photograph that I take: how can I tell this person’s story through this portrait and what can I do to make this more meaningful?

This time around, I’m going to hand the mic over to some of the greats that I’ve worked with this past year. The questions I asked were: Has there been anything unexpected about how you enjoy your photos on a day to day basis? Also, do you have a photo from your wedding day that sticks out to you because of a story behind it? And then finally, looking back on your wedding day, does anything you were worried about beforehand matter as much now?

*passes the mic, obligatory event audio screech/feedback, faces grimace around the room, then the show continues…*

Hanna & Luke

Personally, my favorite photos were the ones where we weren’t super serious. I know Hanna doesn’t like me posting those photos because she doesn’t think it’s as “sweet,” but in my opinion, they capture our personalities better than the smoldering model pics haha. One in particular that stands out to me is the photo I put at the bottom (sorry I couldn’t figure out how to send it as an attachment on my phone lol). It’s completely silly, but makes me laugh every time I see it, and I think that is the essence of mine and Hanna’s relationship. There isn’t much of a backstory except that Hanna and I were absolutely exhausted at this point and I think we just wanted to cut loose. Something about posing like the cover of a bad early 2000’s rap album just cracks me up.
And I would say the wedding day as a whole was something we stressed about way more than was probably necessary. Looking back, all we cared about was that we were with the people that we loved, having an amazing time. The food, the colors, the flowers; everything extra was just kinda fluff. But the people we celebrated with are truly what made that day special. 

Luke Smith

Emy & Virgilio

I absolutely love our wedding pictures. While I expected that I would also love sharing the photographs with other people, I didn’t expect the photos to be as integral as they have been for sharing the experience of the wedding with other people who were not at the wedding. I find it difficult to put into words just how beautiful the venues were without the help of the photographs to show people. The photographs help to speak for me to tell the story of the day. People have just been in awe of the pictures of Anthony Chapel and the wonderful lighting that we were blessed with on the wedding day. I think it is also difficult to fully express how perfect and joyful a day it was, but the photographs were really able to capture not only our joy but also the enjoyment of the guests.

I would tell anyone that is considering not having a professional photographer that it was one of the best investments that we made for the wedding. For Virgilio, being a photographer himself, finding a photographer with a similar style and personality was one of the most important aspects of the wedding planning. It was such a great experience to work with you (Jon), and the pictures turned out amazing. I don’t think the average amateur photographer would have been able to guide us through how to stand to keep the photographs feeling natural rather than posed/staged. I also really appreciated having someone around who was able to fit right in with our group, unobtrusively, to be our eyes for appreciating the big and small details of the day. The wedding day was just a whirlwind for me, and it has been great to be able to look at the pictures to appreciate more of the details of the day that I didn’t have time to fully take in during the actual wedding day. This was especially true for all the photographs of details like the dessert table and room decor at the reception that I missed out on while we were mingling. I also think you (Jon) were able to capture some really interesting candid moments that help to give colorful flavor to our pictures, which makes them more fun to look back on.


The photos that I would consider the most significant to me include [the photo above], which are of my father’s family. My grandparents had been in ill health for the year preceding the wedding and we did not think that they were going to be able to come. The month before the wedding my father moved out to live with my grandparents to help with the upkeep of their house. Two weeks before the wedding my grandparents decided that they didn’t want to miss out on coming to the wedding, and my father was able to drive them. This is the only professional photos that I have with my grandparents and is one of the only family photos that I have with both of my father’s siblings present. Due to my uncle living in Ohio and the rest of the family living in Texas, I can count on one hand the number of times that I have been in the same room with both of my father’s siblings in the last 20 years. It was really unexpected for the entire family to be at the wedding, and it meant a lot of me that we were able to capture the small moment in time that we were all together to celebrate (especially with my grandparent’s age and health).

Another photograph that is not necessarily the most stereotypically beautiful, but as you mentioned was the most emotion-packed photograph [the photo below]. This moment with my Aunt Alice was unexpected and significant for me, and I am glad that you were able to capture it. Prior to the wedding, I anticipated having some tearful moments with my mother and mother-in-law, but this particular moment during the money dance was not one that I anticipated getting as emotional as I got. My Aunt Alice, my mother’s eldest sister, has truly been the rock and matriarch of our family for my entire life. My mother’s parents passed away close to 10 years ago, and even prior to that were more elderly and I was never as close to them because I grew up in Texas and they lived in Tennessee. My Aunt Alice was one of the only relatives that lived in the same city with me growing up, and really filled the role of a grandparent for me. After my parents’ divorce, my aunt helped to keep our family stable through the emotional roller coaster. We have also had other family turmoil in the last few years that I have helped support her through. During this moment of the wedding, Alice was just expressing how happy she was for me to have found a wonderful man to spend my life with and that I had come so far in life to be in such a happy place after all that she and I have been through together. 


Kristen & Ellis

Since our wedding was fairly small scale as far as attendees (only about 30 of us total) it’s been so fun to use our wedding photos as a way to share our adventure in Iceland with other family and friends who were celebrating from afar. We used our photos to make a “thank you” book as a small gift to our wedding guests and loved how it brought many of the fond memories back to those who look through it. We have one sitting our coffee table now…and actually just looked back through it today! We also enjoyed picking some of our very favorite photos (which is almost impossible to do since they were all so amazing) to frame and put in our bedroom on either side of our marriage certificate. We wake up and see them every morning! For our living room, we ordered a large canvas print of the whole gang in Iceland and it causes us to think about and pray for all our family and friends often.

[on favorite photo] This is so hard. We love ALL our photos. Since our wedding was unique in that it was an international destination wedding, I think we would say some of our unexpected favorite pictures were taken not on the wedding day, but at a hike to Glymur waterfall prior to our wedding. Jon had to pull double duty as he was hiking this mountain and taking epic photos along the way. He even braved TWO river crossings with camera equipment in tow…I’d say that’s a dedicated photographer right there ;) All of these pictures turned out phenomenal and breathtaking…even in our hiking gear! Having Jon snap pictures along the way not only captured this fun event, but captured our personality to the fullest. One of our favorites from this hike was taken at a distance. We look so small and the mountain looks SO big (probably because it was) and it’s an awesome reminder of how great our God is. Jon saw this artistic opportunity and initiated this photo. Thanks Jon for snapping this epic pic! One of our other favorites is a wide shot of the the black sand beach where we were married (this is one of the ones hanging in our room). It’s almost as if you can jump right back into the scene and feel as if you were there. The red blankets against the black sand, the size of the rocky cliffs, the green moss in contrast with the blue sky, and of course…the Puffins flying (and pooping) overhead! This photo brings back all the great and funny memories of a truly wonderful adventure.


Hire Jon!!! But seriously, we love our photos and even more than this, we loved having Jon be a part of our big day. We’ve had some other photos taken before where we were asked to do funny poses that just weren’t “us” or felt very staged and unnatural. Jon is the complete opposite of this! His ability to capture moments in time is great and he always made us feel relaxed, allowing us to be ourselves in each of our photos. Jon also did a whole lot more than just take photos of us which we LOVED! He took amazing photos of the places we traveled to, some of the very best photos of our friends, and captured even the smallest details. As fairly avid photographers ourselves, we didn’t worry once about not having our cameras on us (and it was our first time in Iceland). We completely trusted Jon to capture each and every event of the weekend. Jon is easy to communicate with, sees creative photo opportunities, organizes group photos with ease, gets photos back to you in a timely manner, and just makes sure you have the best time during your wedding day. Thanks Jon, for being an awesome photographer and friend!

One of our favorite photo stories (this is just a bonus one) is the picture of Sam and Ellis in downtown Reykjavik eating a cinnamon roll from the local bakery. We had multiple people see this picture and comment on how “Ellis and his wife look great together” or Ellis and his wife are so happy”. Hahaha! There’s been a couple other times (outside of this photo) that Sam has been mistaken for Ellis’ wife, so now it’s just a funny running joke. Not sure this is something you would use…but it might provide a good laugh :)


Big shout-outs to my super-cool clients for sharing these stories! I always find it interesting to see if my favorite photos match up with my favorites and seeing which ones are more of a surprise. Here’s a small compilation of Kristen/Ellis, Emy/Virgilio, and Luke/Hannah’s weddings. Enjoy!