A few months ago, I met Michelle + John at their favorite JMU coffee spot, The Artful Dodger, to talk about their wedding, and the first thing I noticed was how amazing their personalities were. They are both incredibly fun people to be around and I knew their wedding was going to be equally as awesome. The ceremony and reception were both held at Bluemont Vineyard in Bluemont, Virginia in early October. The location was stunning, with an amazing view overlooking the vineyard, and a lot of rustic places to explore. I was so glad to be capturing the awesomeness with my friend Sam Hurd from Sam Hurd Photography. We had a great time collaborating & he is extremely talented. One of my favorite parts of the day was the letters that were exchanged before the ceremony. Just to hear a little bit of what makes their relationship work and what they value a as couple was incredible. After a fun first look, the ceremony was held overlooking the vineyard below. Their officiant really made things fun by telling guests a little bit how they all met and kept the whole atmosphere true to their fun personalities. The reception was held in the stables & DJ Phlipz of Posh Life Entertainment totally got the party started with some great mixes. It was great getting to know Michelle & John & I hope you enjoy their film below!
2013 was a transitional year for my business. Last year I asked myself how I could still create amazing wedding films, spend more time with my clients throughout the process, and also work towards my goal of commercial filmmaking. The answer was doing less, but while that happened to an extent, I still ended up being busier than I ever have. I cut down the number of events I shot, but with that came a really close connection to all my clients. I do not think there was one person that I was not able to meet before their event via phone or in person. A lot of my clients became friends that I regularly keep in touch with and for that I am incredibly grateful. We shot events across the east coast this year and witnessed some beautiful stories.
The commercial side of my business took off like a rocket. September will go down as the most insane month I have ever had. Not only did we have weddings every weekend in NY, CT, & VA, but I flew to Seattle, Washington for a whole week to shoot a film for a nuclear company that is cleaning up nuclear waste (cannot wait to share it). Then I shot two promotional films for companies in northern VA that were both multiple day shoots. It was pretty insane with multiple deadlines to meet, 80+ hour edits, and navigating a completely different world of working (licensing,different contracts, talent, etc). It all led to something that really summed up 2013 for me and that is collaboration.
I worked alongside so many talented people this year in order to create films and images that I could never have made on my own. From stylists, florists, editors, producers, planners, directors, and other photographers, we worked to create art that I am extremely proud of. It really opened my eyes to what is possible and that being a one man band in most cases is often a disadvantage. In the commercial world its critical to collaborate, and I may be working to hire some additional help in the coming year to fill the roles of line producer/studio manager & editor. I want to thank my father, Greg Gooden, Jen Jar, Jodi & Kurt Baier, Ryan Berry, Paul Hairston, Riley Hanlon, Lee Morton, Jeremy Mitchell, Ashley Barnett, Katelyn James, Katie Nesbitt, Gaelan Smith, Jordan Baker, and the countless others that shot, assisted, or edited for me this year.
Beyond collaboration, I also made the choice to reinvest in myself through more education conferences. At the start of the year I attended WPPI and made some incredible friends, who I talk to on an almost daily basis. The connections alone were worth the price of admission and while I won’t go into all the details, it was life changing. Recently, I went to Masters in Motion, which is a conference aimed more at commercial/documentary filmmaking. One of my mentors and main sources of inspiration when I was first starting out, Philip Bloom, was there and it was amazing to reconnect. I also met several filmmakers who I admire greatly and it was amazing to ask questions one on one. My nuclear film was critiqued by Philip and Vincent Laforet, and to my surprise they both thought it was excellent and that I should continue to push in the commercial direction. If there is one thing I can take away from meeting these people, is that they were extremely humble, and were truly passionate about helping others. So many people have come to me this year with questions, and I feel that teaching is something I want to do more of in the future.
2014 will be a year of reinvention. I’m already halfway booked with my events and I have several commercial projects lined up (going to Arkansas to direct a film on Sunday). My focus will be on rebranding for events and commercial filmmaking, as well as to further collaborate with other filmmakers on personal & commercial projects. I am going to travel more if I can..might have to make the Tour de France trip happen this year. Most of all, 2014 will be the year of trying to interact more with you. I’ve been wanting to create personal videos to share here, write more posts from BTS, and try to educate more through my blog. I sincerely thank everyone thats followed me in the last few hours or four years ago when this ship set sail. The friends that like/share our work, and everyone that believes in us, drives us forward. Its been an absolutely mind blowing journey so far, and I have so many things I want to achieve and accomplish in 2014. Sometimes I get ahead of myself and my parents have to tell me that I’m only 22, but I want to keep striving and continuing to evolve + grow. Have a happy New Year, Friends! Cheers to 2014!! I still have quite a few films to share from this year, so stay tuned later this week for a new film.
Heather & Brian share a genuine love that spreads to everyone they meet and their story is one of my favorites this year. While we had spoken briefly prior to their wedding, I was not able to meet Heather & Brian until I found myself standing at their house on the Long Island Sound. Brian was working on putting their ceremony together a small stretch of the beach below their house and Heather was finishing up her vows upstairs. They were both incredibly relaxed and from the endless letters on the wall one could tell that this was a day they have been looking forward to for quite some time. Brian is an Army medic and Heather is a doctor, so naturally they met in a hospital and after a few attempts, Brian was able to convince Heather to go on a date with him. Bryan’s best man goes into this in more detail in the film, but it was amazing to hear Heather & Brian’s story and the love felt for them from their friends and through personal vows they shared. After the beautiful ceremony on the beach, friends and family gather in a beautifully decorated tent by the water for the reception. We had an amazing time capturing Brian & Heather’s story along the seaside and I hope you enjoy their story below!
The music is licensed through The Music Bed and the track is called “Take Me Back by Urban Rescue”.
If the posts below are any indication, I absolutely love to travel and when Shanshan & Felix inquired with me about their wedding along the Hudson in Cortlandt, New York, I told them to sign me up. To me, its always amazing when I have inquires for events or commercial shoots hundreds or even thousands of miles away. It is always a refreshing experience to discover a place as you shoot & to weave a story amongst it. Once Shanshan & Felix mentioned that their photographer, Tatiana Breslow, would be photographing the event, it made an already awesome experience, even better. Tatiana and I shot together last year in Roxbury, NY for Zack & Heather’s incredible wedding, so I knew Shanshan & Felix would be just as amazing as they were.
We headed up to New York on a Saturday and checked out the real Sleepy Hollow (super neat), before waking up early and heading to Monteverde at Oldstone for Shanshan + Felix’s wedding + reception. The manor itself, is located directly on the Hudson with beautiful stone paths and a trail leading to the river. With both sides of the family being deeply rooted in Chinese traditions, beautiful decorations hung from the ceilings and walls to celebrate the couple’s happiness. The ceremony was held outside, and as it began, the clouds parted to reveal an incredible sunset as the couple exchanged rings and said their vows. The real party started with the reception, where Felix & Shanshan entered to “Blurred Lines” with their wedding party, and then went into a choreographed dance. The first dance was hilarious and everyone’s reactions were priceless. As with all of our films, we rely heavily on audio, and the speeches that Shanshan & Felix’s friends and family gave were excellent. After the main events had finished, the All Stars Band took the party deep into the night with some great entertainment and amazing dancing. I hope you enjoy a few highlights of Shanshan & Felix’s wedding day!
After a very busy September & October of working on commercial projects, weddings, and hours of editing, it was fun to take an afternoon to go exploring with Laura & Chad. Laura attended Sweet Briar College outside of Lynchburg and suggested we photograph their session there. To say it was incredible, is an understatement. The campus is already gorgeous with an estate look to the buildings, a lake, and of course a boathouse, but combined with the gorgeous colors of fall & the love of these two, it was amazing. Laura & Chad are both teachers and were extremely fun to spend the afternoon with. We are excited to photograph & film their wedding next Summer in Abingdon, Virginia & we hope you enjoy the images below!