Category Archives: Creative Wedding Photography

elaine and marcus on the roof of juniper

Juniper at Dock 580 Wedding Photos

Elaine and Marcus’ wedding took place on a sunny mid-October day. Marcus wore a striking blue suit from the Men’s Warehouse and Elaine wore an elegant sleeveless gown from Le Jeune Marie in Columbus, Ohio. Their bridal party was comprised of their best friends and there was a woman groomsperson and a male bridesperson. The women all wore maroon, with the maid of honor wearing the same shade with a sparkly sheen. The women carried bouquets of deep red and white roses that perfectly matched their floor-length gowns.

As guests arrived, they were greeted with a champagne tower and encouraged to grab a libation before the ceremony took place. The use of clear chairs in the event space made the room feel a lot more open and added a splash of modern sophistication. For the actual ceremony, the weather was good enough to open the retractable ceiling/wall. This created a show-stopping backdrop and focal point, as the lines of perspective angled straight towards the bride and groom.

Cocktail hour took place outside as the sun set over the Columbus skyline. Being October, the air cooled off and started to become brisk, but not so brisk that it was uncomfortable. In fact, the cooler air provided almost a new energy for the rest of the evening. Candles were lit on all of the dining tables and guests were treated to a meal with a view.  Speeches, dancing, and dessert followed into the evening. By the time I left, the bride and groom were blissfully dancing in each other’s arms.

The venue itself has a rich history in Columbus, OH. Starting as a hardware business in 1929, the loft-like structure was essential to housing heavy machinery. In the late 1990s, the dilapidated old warehouse building was rehabilitated and turned into high-end offices and event spaces. Just last year, the property added a rooftop event venue called Juniper which offers sweeping all-glass walls (complete with a retractable ceiling), amazing views of downtown Columbus, and a vintage high-end art deco flare.  It is the first rooftop bar and event space of its kind in Columbus and to say it is competitive to hold an event there would be an understatement. Because this event space is brand new, Elaine and Marcus’ wedding offered their guests an original and refined view of not only the city but of what an event in Columbus can be.

Because this venue is situated on a rooftop with glass walls and ceilings, the logistics of photographing an ever-changing lighting situation becomes paramount. With most traditional event venues, you are in a dark room at night. They are straightforward to shoot if you know off-camera lighting and come prepared. With an all-glass situation, you can’t approach shooting your subjects the same way as you would in other venues. You must set up your lighting very specifically to avoid reflections, shooting at angles that hide your flashes and their falloff and try to make the imagery appear as naturally lit as possible with the outdoor lighting constantly changing. It is a true art to photograph an outdoor event that bridges day to night, which is essentially what you’re doing here, with the added challenge of avoiding reflections.

wedding ceremony at Juniper

G. Michael’s Wedding Photos

Liza and Terri LOVE visiting G. Michael’s in German Village, so that’s where they decided to hold their intimate ceremony and reception for their wedding day last fall. I didn’t know it, but G. Michael’s will rent out the whole restaurant for you and your guest for a VERY cool experience.

We started the day with some portraits on the same block as the restaurant. It was very hot outside so we wanted to stay close so no one would get overheated. We then took all the family portraits to free up the rest of the evening for a celebration! When guests started to arrive, they were greeted with a cocktail and escorted out to the back patio. Liza and Terri were married by Terri’s brother in one of the most moving ceremonies I’ve ever been to.  Because this was at G.Michael’s the cocktail hour and dinner food was nothing short of spectacular. If you can’t rent the place out for an event, definitely go there on a date night- you won’t regret it. After dinner, Liza and Terri did their first dance in the same room as dinner. They seemed to be in their own beautiful love-filled world. You could tell just by looking at them that they have a special love that is deeper than most. It was an honor to be there to not only photograph it but just be in the same room. Dancing slowly moved into the same room as the bar and continued into the night. As I left, I could see everyone laughing, embracing and soaking up those moments inside. I felt a natural high as I walked to my car. Thank you so much, Terri and Liza. You’ll never know how much it meant to me to be able to capture these moments.

kristen and david getting married at the darby house

Darby House Wedding Photos

Kristen and David were married on a perfect fall day at the Derby house last year. Everything was green and the sun was shining! Kristen looked flawless in her dress and I was so excited for David to see her at their first look out on the back patio. This was actually the first time I had ever shot at the Darby house, and I hope to add this venue to my frequently shot list because it is super stunning and the grounds provide a perfect romantic backdrop. What struck me about these two that I didn’t really realize beforehand was how goofy and funny they are! It is seriously fun to hang out around them. They don’t take themselves too seriously which brought a whole new element of authentic joy to the day. Some of the photos taken at their wedding were actually some of my favorites from 2018. Especially the one where David is clicking his heels together as they walk off into marital bliss.

Their ceremony took place as the sun was low and golden in the sky. Immediately following, guests were treated to a cocktail hour on the patio overlooking a beautiful waterway that runs behind the property. Bistro lights started to glow as evening set in, and everyone soon gathered in the reception hall. Speeches, toasts, cake and delicious food were shared with everyone. After which, the party really got started with a live band playing! Live bands can really turn the party up to the next level, and this was no exception. People packed the dance floor the entire night. By the time I left, Kristen and David were blissfully wrapped in each other’s arms. Congratulations to you two and I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I did taking them! I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for you both!

happy couple getting married at the darby house

chelsey and michael walking the grounds of kingwood garden

Kingwood Center Gardens Wedding Photography

Chelsey and Michael’s wedding was spectacular in every sense of the word, complete with a vibrant fuschia sunset the evening of their wedding at the Kingwood Center Gardens in Mansfield, about an hours drive from Columbus, OH. During the day, the sky had a thick layer of clouds, just perfect for shooting an outdoor wedding. The clouds turned the entire setting a giant softbox, lit to perfection.

I met up with Chelsey and the girls at a quaint little Airbnb not too far from the gardens. The multiple rooms were just buzzing when I arrived. Each bridesmaid had been given their own super cute robe to wear and personalized thermos to drink from. We traveled to Kingwood for Chelsey to put her dress on in a small private room with just her mom. The back of her dress was showstopping with lots of delicate buttons- perfect for photographing.

Chelsey and Michael did their “first look” out on the back steps of the estate. Never was there a more romantic first look location. Just the site of her walking out the door towards him pretty much took my breath away. I’m not going to lie, holding an outdoor wedding in Ohio can be a little stress-inducing. But if the weather shows up as it did on this late September day, it will bowl you over with beauty. Look at their ceremony pictures, guys! That’s real! That’s not a movie set. I guess what I’m trying to say is I want to shoot all the Kingwood Garden weddings, with one caveat. The couple has to be as cool and laid back as these two.

After their ceremony, we slowly walked over to their reception and shot some more heart-achingly gorgeous photos of them both together, freshly married. As we made our way over, the sky decided to treat us with the most magnificent sunset I’ve ever seen!

carole and john hug in the park

Columbus Wedding at the Vue

I’ve waited to blog this wedding for a very, very long time so I’m super excited for today when I get to share with you, drumroll, please… Carol and John’s wedding! Hanging out with these two gives me the same feeling as when my coffee kicks in. Pure, unadulterated joy.

We started our day with a first look on the patio of the Vue in the Brewery District of downtown Columbus. John was so excited to see Carole. As he was waiting for her, he was staring at one of the potted plants in front of him nervous and anxious to give his bride a hug! When he finally got to see her, he explained to her how he’ll never forget that plant and how much it means to him now. Lol!

We hopped on a bus and went to Schiller Park for some enchanting and magical photos. I’ve honestly never laughed so much on a shoot before. You’ll see why. I adore people who don’t take themselves too seriously- especially on their wedding day!

From there we utilized some rustic Columbus spots for more photos before we headed back. The green bridesmaid dresses were so striking. I truly wish more weddings utilized this color!

Their ceremony inside the Vue was filled with laughter and tears of joy. The setting was striking with its natural light and soaring ceilings. Immediately after the ceremony, Carole and John spent a few minutes together on the back patio with just each other. I was so glad to see them taking the time to do that because the party that followed was a throw-down whirlwind!!! Awesome speeches, a Dairy Queen ice cream cart, and some incredible dance moves were just a little of what made this party so memorable. I couldn’t be more happy for two people and thank the universe all the time for letting us cross paths!

kaila and brittany and their downtown german village wedding

Dock 580 Columbus Ohio Wedding Photography

When I think back to this wedding, I still think it was a wonderful dream. Everything from start to finish was so beautiful, laid-back, and genuine. Kaila and Brittany started their day getting their hair and make-up done in the same room. They then separated into two different rooms to put on their dresses for their first look. We did their first look in the heart of German Village on hot but beautiful June day. Both of their dresses were a pale blush color and very similar as far as the cut. The details, however, were very different and so striking on each of them. Their two dresses together were so breathtaking and all my second shooter and I could say was, “two dresses are so much better than one!” After a few shots on the streets of German Village, we headed over to Schiller Park. The beautiful park mixed with these two gorgeous ladies made for some seriously romantic photos.

Now it was time to go get married! The outdoor ceremony took place in Frank Fetch Park in the heart of German Village. The park had a small fountain that provided a warm ambient background noise. Each bride was escorted in by their immediate family up to a central arbor. They had their neighbor perform the ceremony and she read one of my favorite readings, “on marriage” by Kahlil Gibran. Vows were shared, tears were shed, and before you knew it, Kaila and Brittany were wife and wife!

From Frank Fetch Park we headed over to Dock 580 where we were able to get some of my favorite portraits from the day! After that, the real fun began and the night was filled with some seriously funny speeches, lots of laughs and two radiant souls surrounded by family and friends. Thank you, Kaila and Brittany, for having me as your wedding photographer. This was truly one of the highlights of my year! XO Jess

Elopement in Downtown Columbus

I have a special treat to post today! My last post was about a small intimate wedding. And I mentioned that it really doesn’t get more intimate unless you get married at the courthouse. Welcome to kate and Jeff’s courthouse elopement! I am starting to be truly obsessed with courthouse elopements. They have an excitement that’s so different from the feelings of a big wedding! Only the closest-of-the close are invited. In fact, the last time I shot one it was just me and the couple. On this day, I arrived and was immediately struck with Kates warm and kind smile. She wore a short white wedding dress and her look was so classic. It reminded me of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Her dress fit her like a glove and there was a good reason for that- she made it! Not only did she make it, but she made it using her mother’s old wedding dress. (Let the sentimental tears start flowing!) She even made pockets in the dress! As we waited, her mom stood next to her and just beamed from ear-to-ear. I know I ‘ll look just like her mom if my kids get married someday. At the courthouse, the hallway started to fill up with other families who were going to tie the knot. All cultures and all ethnicities were waiting for the judge to call them back for their turn to say “I do”. After a very long feeling few minutes, Jeff and Kate were finally called. We all went into a small room and the ceremony only lasted about 5 minutes. From there, the three of us drove around the city to find the cutest places we could find! I am so honored to have been with them both and can’t wait for the world to see how fun this day was! XO Jess

columbus best of weddings

2017 Best of Weddings

Here is the post I’ve waited all of 2017 to write!!! Along with featuring photos from my 25 couples whose weddings I was lucky enough to photograph this year, I also wanted to share some business side goals that I had for 2017 and where I want to go for 2018!

2017 was my 9th season as a professional wedding photographer. I used it as a rebuilding year in that I updated a ton of gear including my computer. I worked on streamlining operational flow and reassessing products, brand, and imagery. I have always cherished my network of other local photographers, but this past year we all banded together in monthly meetings to critique, evaluate and lift up each other’s businesses. The experiences I’ve drawn from these meetings have been invaluable.  There is so much talent in the greater Columbus area!

I had a few goals this year- one was to become the blogging overlord of Columbus. I would say I still have a ways to go in attaining that title, but I did smash all of my previous years’ blogging numbers. Why was this important to me? I firmly believe that every shoot I take deserves to be showcased. While I fell short of this goal by a few shoots, I truly love all the people who I get to meet, even if I’m just spending an hour with them. I absolutely love writing about the little nuances and experiences that made each shoot uniquely them.

in 2018, I want to share not only my shoots and photography but a little more about myself as well. This means being more vulnerable on a public platform and sharing more of my WHY – WHY I’m in photography, WHY I shoot the way I do, WHY I’m so excited about this business.

So without further ado, I’m so excited to share these incredible moments with you today. I always try to make my blog posts short enough so it doesn’t feel like you’re scrolling through endless photos, but today no such luck. There were far too many to narrow down! Thank you to all of these couples, the photographers who second shot for me, the vendors who kept the days running smoothly and to the network of family and friends I’ve been able to grow year after year through this magical journey. XO Jess

Dock 580 Loft Wedding

I have been excited about this wedding all year long. Not only was it the one that I consider the last of my regular fall wedding season, but it was also the most personal to me and my family. My husband Scott and I have been so blessed to get to know Alyssa, Jeff and her family over the past two years. They have truly become an extension of our little family- through thick and thin. I couldn’t think of any couple more special in our life and I’m so honored to have been here on this day as they started a new chapter in their lives together.

The day started relaxing and getting ready in separate homes. I was with Alyssa and my second shooter Katie was with Jeff. Over on our side of the process, there were so many laughs, doggie hugs, and even some pretty awesome dance moves!

Next, it was time to go to their church, Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church. Alyssa and Jeff privately said their hand-written vows to each other as they held hands around a corner before the ceremony. Very rarely does this happen, but they made me quietly cry behind my camera. It was such a personal and intimate moment, that as a photographer I am lucky enough to witness. It’s in those moments that love between two people sings its loudest on wedding days, whether it’s between parent and child, siblings, or the future Mr. and Mrs.

The church itself was a stunning backdrop for the traditional Catholic ceremony. It had an old-world romantic feel that almost felt like it was from an older era. After the nuptials, we utilized the church grounds for some photos before we went downtown for some more portraits with the wedding party. It was then time for the real party to start!

Their venue was The Loft side of Dock 580 and the dining room was decorated in such a romantic and sophisticated way. Moroccan lanterns were hung over each table, and linens of blue were accented with gold and maroon. Stunning florals pouring out of centerpieces made for the perfect exclamation point on an already beautiful setting. As the guests dined, laughter from the perfect speeches filled the room. Everything felt so warm and alive.

The party ramped up with the first dances, including a fun coreographed dance by Alyssa and her father. Once open dancing started, it didn’t end until the lights were turned on. It was such a joyous blur!  Their wedding day also fell on our son Caddie’s second birthday and they were nice enough to have him come to the reception for some dancing and cake! Needless to say, he loved every minute of it! Thank you again to this amazing family! I’m so thankful to have been a part of it all! XO Jess

Best of 2015 Weddings

Fair warning- photo wise, this is going to be a serious over-post. I have so many favorites from last year that it was hard to narrow them down. I’m going to do wedding details in their own “best-of” post later this month because there were simply too many to even begin to include them in this post.

2015 was a year that we’ll never forget! Scott and I moved into our first home and we welcomed the world’s cutest little boy to our family. Most of the year I was pregnant, however I consider myself lucky because it never really slowed me down as far as mobility when photographing. I was just a little more rolly-polly towards the end. Because of our little bundle of joy, my wedding season ended a little early at the beginning of October. Our year ended with the announcement that Jessica Miller Photography won The Knot’s Best of Weddings 2016, which is the fifth year I’ve won the award in a row!

As you will see, my couples this year were really really good looking. Each was super fun to work with and I feel so lucky that the couples that hire me tend to be laid back and genuine in spirit. All of my weddings this year were in the Columbus area, which is the first time ever I believe I haven’t traveled for a wedding. From the engagement shoot through the wedding and book design process, my couples really start to feel like great friends. I think that’s probably one of the best parts of this job.

This summer came with a lot of rain and a lot of outdoor weddings were pushed inside as a result. This of course isn’t ideal on a wedding day, but the wind that comes with rain can make for some fun and unexpected moments.

Thank you to everyone for your love and support this year! It’s been our best year yet and 2016 is gearing up to be even busier and better! XO Jess

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