I hadn’t covered a Devil’s Thumb Ranch wedding before, but as a Denver wedding photographer contemplating a 12-hour day in the August heat, spending the weekend in much-cooler Winter Park was more than welcome. The ranch is a resort just a few miles north of town tucked into its own little valley. That location is important for day or night it feels much further from the closest town than it actually is and there’s no visual evidence that there’s anyone there but you. The landscape is gorgeous and undisturbed. There are cabins, lodges, restaurants and a number of different event venues, but it’s all rather quiet and disguised. It’s one of the nicer venues I’ve been to in Colorado.
Maria and Ilya were looking for a Denver wedding photographer who understood their Manhattan vibe. I’ve lived in New York and they’re recent transplants who brought a small chunk of the city out to Longmont for their wedding at Black Cat Farm. It’s sort of a gourmet farm to table place that brought the tables to the farm itself. Most of what they serve comes from the same property, and I saw them picking the greens and vegetables that would be served that evening. I don’t recall what they served as animal protein, but they were doubtlessly discrete on that front. In any case, the venue is surrounded by rolling hills and feels very removed from everything.
As a Denver wedding photographer, I’ve worked in a lot of places up in the mountains or these rural venues sprinkled along the front range. Just being outside the city or the suburbs, driving down gravel roads through canyons or farmland to the ceremony site puts one in a different mindset. It sets the expectation that today we are plucked out of our everyday lives for something special.
I say I’m a Colorado wedding photographer, but I’m a transplant from the northeast and brought some of that mindset with me. After moving to Denver, I soon learned that East Coast was a personal adjective, one not generally intended to flatter. Oh, well. We are what we are. I suppose the wedding photographer part of Colorado wedding photographer isn’t entirely accurate either. My background is in photojournalism and I continue to do documentary work. Those categories usually have little in common, but one should be defined more by the way they work than by the the particular story or client. I don’t change, much. My weddings may be slightly more sentimental than my other work, but I’m still essentially telling stories, observing human nature and the myriad ways people connect. Read More
Kat and Levon had a Ramble Hotel wedding in Denver’s RiNo neighborhood. Many know the hotel for its lobby restaurant, Death & Co, but there’s also a private upstairs bar and a great rooftop terrace which was perfect for a spring wedding. It was also perfect for one of my first weddings after things were suspended under Covid. The ceremony and reception were in the slate blue Vauxhall ballroom, but at least people could socialize and eat for hours on that outdoor terrace and feel perfectly normal doing so.
Ellie and Kjell’s Aspen wedding was held at the T-Lazy-7 Ranch just outside of town. Kjell is an accomplished photographer himself and felt strongly about having an Aspen wedding photojournalist document the day. I had not been to the T-Lazy-7 Ranch before, but it’s a great venue. The ceremony was in a large open meadow looking up a valley toward Pyramid Peak, not far from the Maroon Bells. The reception was a short from an open rustic pavilion with a roaring campfire. It set the tone for a very laid-back reception, conditioning the environment for people to kick back and have fun.
Julia and David had their ceremony and reception at The Villa Parker. I’d worked as a Denver wedding photojournalist at The Villa Parker before and was familiar with the place. While references to a Tuscan country estate may seem a bit aspirational, the site is atop a large hill surrounded by fields, with views of the plains and mountains. It actually feels quite removed, and the generous outdoor terraces make full use of the location. I’ve found that as a Denver wedding photojournalist at The Villa Parker and other rural reception sites, if you’re fortunate to find a venue with this seamless blending of indoor and outdoor spaces, I think it’s great for the guests’ experience, but also lends contextual variety to the resulting pictures.
As someone who moved to Colorado for the mountains, I’m partial to these mountain wedding decks for ceremony sites. One of the weddings on my main page was held at the Vail wedding deck. But that was in summer.
Gina and Chris’s wedding was a relatively modest affair; a ceremony at the Spruce Valley Lodge above Beaver Creek followed by dinner in the Out of Bounds dining room at the Four Seasons Vail. It was a little rainy and dreary that morning at Beaver Creek Village, but a gondola ride could take you above all that, right? As we rode up the mountain, we escaped the rain and landed in a near white-out.
Although I’ve been a wedding photojournalist in Denver for awhile, Katy and Charles’ wedding at the History Center Colorado was giving me flashbacks to weddings I covered when I lived in Washington DC. Culture transcends location, and as the two attorneys met while working at the Department of Justice, the wedding felt a little like a time capsule of weddings I’ve covered in DC.
Why would a black and white Colorado wedding photojournalist be covering a wedding at Great Oak Manor on Maryland’s Eastern Shore? I lived in Washington DC for 25 years and still go back to the area a few times a year for couples who find me through referrals. But in this case, a bit of history was involved. Not everyone feels comfortable hiring a photographer from half way across the country, but I think I understood why Michelle seemed confident about me. As she told me, she still likes looking at the pictures I made when I covered her first wedding.
Weddings are all about ritual; white dresses, vows, rings, first dances, etc. Regardless of how unique a given wedding is, there are certain patterns, which is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because a wedding photographer has a rough idea of the arc of the day, a curse because if you’ve been doing this for awhile you want to avoid taking pictures you’ve made before. Even though your mandate is to make the best pictures possible of this wedding regardless of what precedes it. Other patterns emerge over a period of time, often having less to do with weddings per se than human nature.