Top Wedding Moments of 2018

2018 was my second year full-time. It was exciting, adventurous, and another year of living out my dream. I won Detroit’s Best Wedding Photographer on Channel 4, Top 100 Wedding Photographers in a worldwide competition and I traveled out of the Midwest for the first time. I like to think of 2018 as a transition year from the highs of doing everything for the first time in year 1 and learning my own workflow before year 3. I spent most of the year behind a computer - finalizing my editing style, doing a ton of online education, finding softwares to help my clients and more gritty business details. 2018 felt like the fastest year of my life because there were so many things going on, which I absolutely love, but I think 2019 will be the year of taking things just a tad bit slower. For myself, but also for my business.

Today I want to bring to you one of my favorite blogs ever - my year in review. I had the hardest time narrowing down these photos, but here are some of my top moments at weddings in 2018. I had so many photos chosen but I wanted to highlight some “behind the scene” moments. I’ve included a little story under each one.

I hope you enjoy!

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  1. In The Water

    This wedding started out our peak season. It was a fairly rainy, gloomy day but it was more of a mist than anything. At the end of the night we headed to the beach for some sunset photos. Suddenly, Joe & Brittney ran into the water. They jumped, played, and threw each other underneath. Tears filled up my eyes when I took this photo and I was a bit confused why. I thought about it later that night and I think I got emotional during this because it was such a pure moment. I wasn’t taking photos of something posed or forced, it was free. It was a moment of two free - spirits just embracing their wedding. It was like I was standing in an actual love movie. I loved how fluid, how candid and genuine this moment was. I didn't even need to direct them or tell them to do anything, they were just themselves. It felt really good, especially to start off the busy season. This moment holds a special spot in my heart.

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2. Pure & Bright

Becky Jo + Keaton booked me only weeks prior to their wedding and now this wedding has become my most talked about ever. This entire day just had a glow to it. There was so much natural light, so many smiles and just radiance. This wedding was during our slow season and it really pushed me creatively. I think this particular day stuck with me because there were so many untraditional details - the girls in jumpsuits, Becky Jo having two dresses, Keaton’s hair, Becky Jo’s hair, the tiny surfers on his shirt. I love when couples bring their own character to the day and that’s exactly what this photo shows. (There is a full blog on this one too if you ever want to see more photos.)

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3. Gold Copper Sunlight

I bought a gold copper pipe on Amazon hoping to use it one day for a photo. Every time prior to this that I have tried, it just didn’t work quite right. Madeline + Travis’ day was bright, full of fall color and lots of orange hues. I had this pipe in the bottom of my camera bag. After taking a second to dig it out, a super bright ray of sunshine came out from the trees during their portrait session. I held the copper up to my lens and this was the photo I got. I love this photo so much .

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4. Backlit Veil

This year I photographed my best friend’s wedding. (They both are my best friends, but I don’t really know how to do the plural of best friends’s'). There are a lot of photos from this day that I love, but this photo was entirely unplanned. The videographer took them for a moment and I had a second to just regroup and figure out the next photo I wanted to do. I glanced over to see this light pouring in from the window (it was raining not long prior to this) and I just had them stand in front of the window. (Usually I have them face the window light). I got this beam of light through the veil and I just love the tones it created. Totally unplanned and probably my favorite photo of the day.

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6. First Looks On The Heli Pad

Sara took us to the rooftop of the Ren Center where she wanted to do the first look. I absolutely love rooftops in cities for some reason. The skyline, however, isn’t of Detroit but it’s Canada. There really isn’t a deep reasoning why I loved this moment - I think just being on top of the most iconic building in Detroit, yet overlooking Canada’s skyline, while they are moments from sharing their wedding day together. I love it.

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7. The Light That Pours

We were getting the final touches in this little room right before the ceremony started. Again, just like the previous photos, a beam of light just appeared in the room from the sun window. My logo is of a girl and a moth - there is a big story behind it but part is that moths are attracted to light, as photographers are. Throughout 2018, light would just perfectly appear in moments that we weren’t really planning on. This photo was powerful to me. The details, the contrast, the mood of it all.

8. Black Rocks

This was my first official Marquette wedding. I went to college at NMU in the Upper Peninsula but never had a wedding there. Most people don’t know but Marquette is one of the prettiest places on Earth. It was always a dream to have a UP wedding, especially in Marquette. It was the most popular wedding date of the year and I wasn’t sure if we would even have the chance to get to Black Rocks but we did. There were other wedding parties around (even a ceremony happening on the rocks not far from us) but we found this little spot. I hope 2019 brings more locations - oceans, deserts, waterfalls, anything.

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9. Wet Fall Pavement

The morning of this wedding was pretty rainy. The leaves were JUST starting to change and we found a few stuck to the wet pavement. I grabbed Allison’s wedding details and took them outside. The way that the colors looked, against the black sidewalk, was so pretty to me. This photo is definitely one of my favorites of the year.

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10. Belle Isle Sunset

It was a super sunny day and we had just arrived at the reception. We were squeezing in a few more photos before the sun officially set. The golden sun and the shadows on the ground really made this such a cool photo for me. 2018 was the year of light.

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11. Eastern Market Dancing

It was a spontaneous trip to Eastern Market with only a few moments left to take photos before we had to go to the reception. We were running just a tad late but we were chasing the last of daylight. At the end of the session we just asked for Charlotte & David to dance, run, jump, skip. They started dancing, cars driving by were mad at us for being in their way, all of us were just skipping and dancing down the road. It was a really candid, beautiful moment before we left for the reception. Eastern Market was important to Charlotte & David so spending a few minutes there, even though we needed to hustle, was worth every second.

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12. Father - Daughter Dance

Rachel’s story is beautiful and that day was emotional for so many reasons beyond what I can share. After the wedding, Rachel was moving out of state. Her reception was spent hugging and cherishing her last moments before her big move. The Father - Daughter dance was emotional for all of those reasons. I tear up every time I look at it because I can feel all of the emotions that Rachel was feeling during this moment. The joy of being married, being ruined with her Marine, the bittersweet feeling of moving from her family, the excitement of a new place. This photo is powerful and that’s why it was a favorite for me this year.

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13. Drunk O Meter

I just find this photo so pure and funny. They were dancing, somebody put these glasses on him - I’m not sure if he even realized what they said. These two were having so much fun, dancing and kissing each other’s cheeks. It was a moment of pure joy.

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14. Backlit Sparkler Exit

Molly & JP’s relationship in general is one of my favorites and it was important for me to capture their grace & character. Right before we were heading out, we did a sparkler exit. The sparklers ended up causing more smoke than light but with the flash, I thought looked really cool. I told them to just kiss and share a moment together as the sparkers went off. I captured JP kissing Molly’s forehead and just the smile on her face is pure joy. Again, another completely unforced and full of magic moment.

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15. Double Exposure

I love double exposures. I’ve practiced quite a few times but never got exactly what I was hoping for. During Sam & Kyle’s portrait session, I wanted to do a floral double exposure. I only had time to do it once and Sam’s expression was perfect. I love the grace & beauty of this photo. I think it has a beautiful, yet mysterious feel to it.

Autumn Thornsberry