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The Kids are Alright

May 17, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Children at Weddings.

Should they be in the ceremony?

Should they be invited?

Should people even bring children to weddings?

Children, some say, are meant to be seen and not heard.


Google what’s right and you’ll find as many answers as there are children with some getting angrily passionate about their view.


Here’s our take.


Having been to hundreds of weddings, maybe only a small handful have had very few or no children in attendance. I’m guessing in larger cities or if a wedding is held at…The Four Seasons or Belmond Hotel Caruso, invitations may more frequently have some verbiage suggesting the event is for grown-ups and children might be more comfortable at home.


Here in southern Indiana though weddings typically have children in attendance and as part of the ceremony. We’re A-OK with that, because we’re laid back and easy going (or because we don’t have a stick up our ass.) Also because weddings are a celebration of people coming together; families and friends as a couple begins their new life. To some extent children help illustrate this.


Children may be among the guests or they may be a part of the ceremony. Frequently, and deeply moving, a child may be at the altar at their mother or father gets married.


So, while not everyone may agree with us, we have a hard time imagining a wedding without children. Quite simply, they add so much. But we’re not the only ones who feel this way. To see more images of children at weddings Google “Royal Wedding...”


or look at the slideshow we’ve included in this post.


Off the Hanger; Capturing the Beauty in the Dress

January 19, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Photographing the back of the dress is in some ways easier as flowers a frequently held toward the front.

I love photographing a bride in her dress. Definitely one of my favorite parts of the day so here are a few observations. Lights inside churches rarely help, but they were just the thing to accent the draping and pick-ups on Megan's gown.

Sometimes traditional poses aren't the best poses. Trisha keeps her dress of the ground at Lasata Wines and it looks great It’s important to get what we call a “dress on the hanger” picture as a fun little detail shot, but it’s always looks SO much better on the bride.

I love it when brides show me pictures of Kirsten gathered up her dress off the floor and that doesn't work in every situation. Obviously it worked for her. We still managed to keep the unique layered effect in place using a large light source. their dresses in the weeks before their wedding. The Beautiful portraits shot in church basements are just about as rare as they come, but we got one with Eryka, The light coming down the staircase was perfect for her and perfect for her dress. anticipation of lighting the dress to best show off the draping, beadwork or embroidery, etc. is great.

You don’t light all brides in their dresses the same way. The draping and style; whether it’s natural, asymmetrical, princess etc. will all want to be lighted differently to be shown to their fullest effect. Don't believe me? Look at the work of Dutch and Flemish painters in the 16th and 17th centuries. When we see the dress we pretty much know what’s going to need to happen, but we work with it, cajole the bride a bit, find the right light and the right pose and when it happens it's impossible not to see it and inside you’re just like “Yes!”

We took Shelby and her Vera Wang gown to a painting studio for a bridal portrait before her wedding day. We originally chose the studio because the shutters in the ceiling I thought would illuminate the back and train of her dress nicely. We also added a light from the right side for her face. That the bouquet matched the colors of the paintings in the background was just good luck.

Unplugged Weddings? Why it’s not a big deal for us.

January 09, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

This is a wonderful time of year for planning a wedding; Designers showing off the newest dresses. Photographers jockeying for position and attention; bridal “showcases” every weekend; venues offering tours; caterers offering samples! Like I said it’s a great time of year.

No doubt, by now you’ve seen articles and posts advising you to have an “unplugged wedding.”  Briefly, at an unplugged wedding guests are asked (at least for the ceremony but often for other parts of the day) to turn off their phones and tablets and just sit back and enjoy the day.

There may be a number of reasons for this.  Possibly the bride and groom actually DO want you to watch their ceremony.  Another reason, the sound of a cellphone ringing or other various electronic chirps add nothing to the ceremony.

There are other reasons. Photographers frequently rant online about how their pictures were ruined by insensitive phone-wielding guests. Frequently their rants are accompanied by a photo ; a masterpiece worthy of the Louvre’ but for the clutter of cellphones.

As a photographer, I could tell you stories about guests taking pictures at weddings. All of them quite amusing, yet….it’s never been a problem for me for a number or reasons.

First and most important: The digital revolution has made photography available to people in ways that nobody could’ve imagined. There’s a good chance that you’re reading this on a device right now that has two cameras on it. It’s just a part of the world we live in.

Second, when people use their camera-phones to take your picture during the ceremony (first kiss, coming up the aisle, whatever) it’s because they love you. It’s sort of like giving you a hug and it helps them feel like they’re a part of and enjoy  your celebration.

Third; Let’s go back, let’s go waaaaaay back to when I was a news photographer, first in Chicago, later in Indiana. The idea of returning to the office and explaining to the editor that you didn’t get the picture because too many other photographers were in the way was NOT an option. If someone with a camera, or a street sign or a limo or whatever was in your way, it was your job to find a position to get the image to tell the story. That’s one of the things that made us professionals.

It never occurred to us (and it still doesn’t occur to me) to manage the behavior of those around me to make my job easier. These people are your wedding guests. Your family and your closest friends. They are part of the day and the photographer is there to capture it not control it. I say let the guests enjoy themselves. Let them BE themselves. And to tell you the truth, people are going to take pictures anyway.

One website suggests appointing a member of the bridal party to enforce the rule. in their June 14 article by Ariel Meadow Stallings titled How to have an unplugged wedding: copy 'n' paste wording and templates  suggests this verbiage "The bride and groom have asked me to respectfully suggest guests to put down their electronics and just enjoy the day. Can I ask you to put your camera/phone away?" Hmmmmm. I think I’d rather have a grandmother enjoy herself than get called out (no matter how gently) by a bridal party member. Who in the bridal party wants to be the enforcer?

The same article offers this verbiage: “We've hired an amazing wedding photographer named _________ who will be capturing the way the wedding looks and we’re...” To all my future couples, PLEASE don’t post this at your wedding. I love that you have a high opinion of me as your photographer, but I’d rather not have attention drawn to myself in this manner.

Are there things I would change at weddings to make my images better? Sure and within reason I manage those things to make our images the best possible. Is someone between the bride and me with a camera? Take a step to the left and they’re no longer a problem.  Is there a trash can in the background as the bride and groom share their first dance? Move so it’s not. It’s what we do as professionals. But we really don’t feel like we need to manage the behavior of your guests in order to “create masterpieces.” It’s nice to take yourself seriously, but only to a point. Take a look at the work on our website. Does it really look like cellphones are a problem for us? You'll see people having a beautiful time and couples who trust their guests.

We realize our view on this is different from that of almost all other photographers. But, you see, your wedding day is a genuine and real experience for you to enjoy and the people closest to you to share. Let them be themselves. They’re so much better when they are. The day is not about pictures, the pictures should be about your day.






"Don't you see the time flashin' by?" -Stones

March 04, 2016  •  1 Comment

OhhhhKaaayyyyy, Since we've been at our First Street location nine years TODAY, I thought I'd pull out something form the first wedding we did as Bartholomew Wedding Photography way back in '04. This is from Kristina Linneweber Brown's wedding at Community United Methodist Church in Vincennes.

Something cool here: as I looked through their pictures I saw guests that I still see at some weddings; Max and Vera were at a wedding I shot last month. How cool is that!

I shot my first wedding back in the 80s when I was a student at Hastings College and that seems like a long time ago. It was film, OK!?!  When I look at Kristina and Wes’s pictures I see things that have changed: Nikon D100? Really? Or: “Was that really an accepted style back then?” I was back from my first WPPI convention and full of fire. It's brighter now. Alot more clear.

Some things have stayed the same. I think I’m still using one of the same flashes that I used at this wedding, but now I have more of them. And from a style standpoint, there’s some stuff that we don’t do anymore but there’s some stuff that we still do. The picture included with this blog post is one I’ll always remember and I wouldn’t hesitate to shoot it again. It was the last frame before we headed to the reception (Moose Lodge, I believe.) The truck, if I remember, was a '54 ford that Wes and his Dad had restored.


Cheers Kristina and Wes!

Why Going to Wedding Rehearsals is Great....Or... Don’t Be That Guy

February 12, 2016  •  Leave a Comment




Attending a rehearsal can be a laid back good time. There can be some nice moments there Sadly, we’ve all seen it too many times.

A sacred moment when two people’s lives will be forever changed as they become one. With dignity the celebrant helps guide the couple through this most special time. It’s a time of reverence as the closest family and friends look toward the altar; just the couple, the clergy….and the photographer? Really?

It doesn’t have to be this way and when I see it happen, I want to beat my head on the back of the pew in front of me. But see it I have. I’ve seen photographers on the altar moving around the couple like a doctor performing a thorough physical exam, their auriscope a 150 watt second flash.

"People talking, really smilin'" at the wedding rehearsal.

We’re sure that the photographer on the altar is doing a bang-up job but upon reflection we ask ourselves, is it really worth compromising the dignity of the event to get that close? The simple answer is no.

When photographers behave in such callous fashion they’re a distraction for the guests, the couple and the clergy. There are other ways to tell this story.  The day is not about the pictures, the pictures are about the day.

That’s why we go to wedding rehearsals. Actually there are several reasons, but this is the first.  Going to the rehearsal helps us understand the choreography of the ceremony. Knowing this helps us to know where to be during the ceremony (and where NOT to be) so were well out of the way of the ceremony on the altar and at the same time able to capture these most important moments.

While we’re there we can introduces ourselves to the clergy. The clergy does not own the church, synagogue or venue of the wedding, but they are still the one in charge. At this time we ask them if there are any guidelines they’d like us to follow while we’re documenting the ceremony. Courtesy.

Getting to know people at the rehearsal. All of this helps us stay out of the way and help maintain the dignity of the ceremony.

A second reason to attend the rehearsal is to more closely understand and know the people we’ll be working with. We can see how people respond to each other and this helps us document those relationships. If I see a bride consult with her grandmother numerous times during Go to the rehearsal to get the full story. the rehearsal, I know that’s an important relationship. What about the groomsmen. Does the best man who’s also the groom’s brother hang with the rest of the groomsmen? Are they cohesive as a group or do they each have individual relationships to the groom? Knowing these things makes a difference in what we’ll look for the following day. The wedding day is about people and relationships so we try to be aware. Frequently the bridal party dresses up a bit at a rehearsal.

So we’re at the rehearsal. We’re familiar with the people, with the venue, with the ceremony, just about everything. The last perk I’ll mention is that by coming to the rehearsal, we’ve made the bridal party and family familiar with ourselves. I find it so much easier to work in an environment where people know me. It only follows that people will act more natural and feel more comfortable around a photographer who they’ve seen or met before. It’s a special day with a number of intimate moments. It’s hard to image people opening up as much to a stranger.

Going to rehearsals are a great way to find out how your clients will respond to being on the altar.

Cheers. And remember, don’t be that guy.

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