Allison & Kevin’s Long Beach Island Wedding at LBI’s Ship Bottom, wedding reception photographs at the Boathouse Restaurant – Jordan Bush Photography and wedding cinematography by Jonathan & Crystal Tirrell of Deep Focus Pictures. A special thanks to Matt Jordan Photography for once again photographing with me!
The 35mm & medium format film scans are not back yet, but I’m confident this was my best wedding photography work yet. There are many reasons, and the first is that Allison & Kevin are awesome. They are very laid back yet still organized, and embrace who they are as a couple rather than try to fit an expected mold. That gave the entire creative team a lot of range, flexibility, and freedom to tell their story. Last fall, I had a rare opportunity to spend a weekend with them in Tampa, Florida, photographing their engagement session. As we kicked it off, I wasn’t at all feeling the posed, formal photographs. A sense of strain pulsed through my nerves and as we talked, I realized how active they are as a couple. I asked them to take the top off of Kevin’s Jeep Wrangler so we could use it as a prop and I immediately started to photograph. Surprisingly, it started to make sense. Then I made a comment about Quentin Tarantino’s “Death Proof” and found myself photographing from the hood of Kev’s Jeep as he drove around Clearwater Beach, with Allison standing out of the top, rolling towards the sunset. Awesome.
That’s how their wedding went, too. Allison & Kevin met in Tampa a few years ago, where they now live, but both grew up going to Long Beach Island, New Jersey. Incredibly, they stayed just one street apart on the island, so it’s a certainty they interacted on the beach as children long before they married on the same shore. Kevin owns a bike shop and surprised Allison with a tandem that he built and her Mom, an amazing illustrator, hand painted. In typical Allison & Kevin form, I found myself hanging out of a sun roof photographing them as they rode off after their ceremony with the entire bridal party in tow, while Jonathan balanced his camera on a bicycle riding along with them.
The benefit of working so closely with couples and creative wedding vendors is enormous, and it’s not some artificial relationship either. Yes, I’ve spent years collaborating and documenting with Jonathan & Crystal of Deep Focus Pictures, as well as Matt Jordan, who was my second photographer at the event. Matt also knows Jonathan & Crystal at Deep Focus Pictures, the three of us guys worked at Apple together while establishing our own creative businesses. We’ve learned how to make storytelling easier for one another, we know what to expect and push one another creatively without pressure. There is a ton of trust there, we can stay out of one another’s way without having to communicate much. We know what priorities are important to one another and if we see something the cinema team should document, or vice versa, we can easily bring it to their attention immediately. We know how to timeline together, to scout, Jonathan knows how I work with digital & film, I know how he works with his DJI Inspire 4k camera drone as it flies overhead. This time though, it all really, really clicked.
More than all that, we’re friends. We talk on a near daily basis, and anytime a big or small challenge, idea, adventure comes up, we’re discussing it with one another. We’ve shared conversation over many coffees and craft beers, traveled, explored new places, proofread important documents. I was in Matt’s wedding last fall, helped Jonathan & Crystal move, they’ve supported me at every major success or challenge in my life since we’ve met. By chance, I ended up being Jonathan’s neighbor for a while, which is insane to me, especially that he’s one of the best cinematographers in the world really. He would ride bike over some mornings, and similar to balancing his camera at this wedding, with his 2 year old daughter in a carrier and a new pour over coffee in hand for me to try.
It all comes down to relationship, and it’s not an advantage I can easily list on a wedding catalog or commercial bid. I’ve found they’re the most significant benefit not only to us as creatives, but ultimately to the clients we serve. And when they are real, not just between the couple, but all of us, wow. So to Allison, Kevin, Matt, Jonathan and Crystal, along with many others at the wedding (Zak & Gretchen especially), thank you for sharing with me to make this day and storytelling the very best. Your journey has been awesome to not only document and watch, and I look forward to seeing you continue to do amazing things in life together. Congratulations Mr. & Mrs. Craft! May the Schwartz be with you!