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
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
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
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
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
In Upper Arlington, there’s a little known secret barn called Amelita Mirolo Barn, and it’s just the perfect backdrop for anyone looking for a barn wedding that’s close to the city. It has tall ceilings with wooden rafters, great for decorating or leaving bare. It’s located right near a beautiful park that has tall wooded pine trees, ideal for varying up photo looks in one convenient location.
Carrie and Dave accentuated this raw space perfectly with overflowing Spring flowers, hanging lights and chandeliers, and personalized details, like a hand-written love note on display from Dave to his new wife. From the moment you walked in, there was eye candy at every turn, but it still felt very intimate and authentic.
Dave is a pilot and Carrie is a flight attendant. They had met each other around 10 years ago, but from what I can remember, neither made the first move. I’m glad someone finally did, because the rest is history. Carrie glowed all day in her white lace gown. I have to say, hands down, that her dress had the prettiest back to a dress I have ever seen. The two were married with the accompaniment of a string quartet surrounded by their family and closest friends, and then they all danced the night away under the illuminated ceiling with a live bluegrass band.
Later in the evening, we snuck outside for some really quick night portraits that were the proverbial icing on the cake for this collection!
You might recognize these two from a blog post I wrote earlier last year about their engagement shoot. I knew their wedding was going to be amazing the moment I met the two of them, but it truly was such an elegant and fun evening! First of all, Chris and Casey are just beyond cute together. The way they look, smile and interact is so endearing. One of my favorite parts of a wedding day is when the couple sees each other for the first time, dressed to the nines and blissfully on cloud nine. I was especially excited for them to see each other. There were nothing but smiles from ear to ear.
Casey has an impeccable sense of detail and style, as you’ll be able to see from these photos. Everything was so beautifully coordinated, yet retained a fun, laid back and intimate environment. I think my favorite detail was the illuminated C&C signs. They helped some of the other detail shots look so editorial and magical.
The summer ceremony was held outside with the musical styling (lol i love that phrase) of our good friends the Shaw Brothers. If you’re looking for some awesome ceremony or even reception music, they’re where it’s at! They play from the heart, and for wedding music, I think that’s hard to find.
Creekside in Gahanna is a great ballroom where during the day, lots of natural light beams through the windows that line the perimeter, and after nightfall, the room is illuminated with colorful LEDs. The footprint of the room is in the shape of an “L”, which I wasn’t sure about at first, but it really worked nicely, and gave center focus to the dance floor. The dance floor is topped with a curved ceiling, which makes for a grand and unique setting for the first dance photos!
Enjoy all this magical eye candy! I hope you love it! XO Jess
I just woke up from my coma-like nap after returning home on the red eye this morning from California were I was lucky enough to attend Photo Field Trip 2015, also known as Yeah! Fieldtrip.
There are so many things that I want to write about this trip, but probably none more important than the reason I wasn’t going to go. I really don’t like to put myself in situations where I don’t know anyone, especially on the other side of the country….at least that’s what I kept telling myself. I’ve had limited experiences in this that were very difficult, mostly when I’ve moved to different cities and hadn’t known anyone and didn’t have any sort of friendships established yet. And those situations are hard. I find always having to smile and make small talk with people I don’t know completely exhausting, almost like a song and dance routine that never ends. This was my main reason I wasn’t going to go, so I made it my one reason I was GOING to go. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I’ve put myself out there and reached outside of my comfort zone, it’s always been reciprocated with amazing people and experiences.
So the trip started out a little rocky- I bought a rather expensive airline ticket for the wrong month. The airline couldn’t fix it for me because I didn’t find out about it until AFTER that date passed. Losing the money sucked, but I found it seriously funny what I had done and my new flight was direct both ways, which is a big deal from Ohio.
Field Trip had a bus available from LAX which was awesome, because my brother lives in LA, so I got to see him during one of my layovers. The drive from LA to Santa Barbara is also extremely beautiful and it’s nice to just sit and watch the world pass you by sometimes, especially when it’s lush mountains, organic farms, and stunning ocean-side veiws. At LAX I saw some guys walking around with video cameras. I asked them if they were going to Field Trip, and they looked at me with the strangest faces and said “yeah” sarcastically. At first I thought they were being ironic hipsters, but later I found out they were just LAX paparazzi, there to film a star of a Lifetime Channel for Women series as she boarded her plane. #Blondemoment
When we pulled into the El Capitan Campground, it was so much prettier than anything I could have imagined. From yurts to cabins, tents to safari tents, this place was luxe and diversely unique all at once. Having been to WPPI before, I was wondering how this would compare. I understood the difference the moment I got there- fresh air and smiling, welcoming people everywhere. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been in an environment where you could just go up to literally anyone, and start a good down-to-earth conversation. And it wasn’t the song and dance routine I was scared of- it was awesome people being awesome together. And that never got old.
I was going to write in-depth about everything, but then I realized, that might be the same as spoiling the best movie you’ve ever seen. All I can say, is if you have the means and the interest to go, don’t let your fears stop you. You need to experience this- it’s awesome. Go with an open mind and an open heart and I promise you it will be a small highlight of your life. Instead of spelling it all out, I’d like to just write down some words that sum up my experience, and then of course some photos I took!
On wedding days, I get to become immersed in other people’s families for a short window of time. I’ve gotten pretty good over the years at picking up on subtle interactions that speak a lot louder than words. One thing that struck me about this wedding was the love that was so prevalent from Catherine’s mother for her daughter. I would sometimes catch her admiring in awe as Catherine was getting ready or laughing with her friends. You could tell she was soaking it all in. Her mother had a constant ear-to-ear smile as she simply exuded pride and love. There is definitely a special bond between the two of them. So much so, we even photographed their wedding dresses side by side.
Catherine and Jonathan had a romantic summer wedding at the beautiful Clintonville Woman’s Club in the heart my favorite Columbus sub-city, Clintonville. This facility was simple and elegant all at once. The outdoor ceremony space is nestled amongst tall towering pines, and beautiful lanterns hung from a pergola that created the perfect wedding backdrop. It was supposed to rain all day, and about five minutes before their outdoor ceremony was supposed to start, I pulled out my cell phone and watched the radar which was tracking a huge storm set to roll in right during the middle of their vow exchange. Up until this date, my radar had never been wrong. It showed a massive storm right OVER us. And yet…no rain. During the ceremony this continued. The radar said we were in the middle of a massive storm, but still, no rain. It wasn’t until every last person was inside for the reception that the storm finally unloaded. It was nothing short of miraculous. The rest of the night was filled with great speeches, and even greater dancing! Enjoy! XO Jess
I love weddings, obviously. But it’s weddings like this that confirm it every time. Kathryn and Steve have such great family and friends. This whole day was pure celebration from beginning to end. I’m not sure why they chose it, but they got married on Friday the 13th, and I honestly couldn’t think of a cooler date to tie the knot.
The ceremony was held at St. Elizabeth’s at Sharon Woods. It’s a beautiful church with modern accents. Natural light flooded through ceiling skylights and created a warm and bright atmosphere. Kathryn and Steve’s friends sang throughout the ceremony, which made for a beautiful and personal experience. Kathryn wore a veil that was a family heirloom, which is always such a loving way of intimately including those you love.
After the service we took the party bus (I love when I get to do ride-alongs in the bus) to the Statehouse in downtown Columbus for some bridal party and portrait shots. This is such a fantastic location to have photos taken. It’s sophisticated, grand, elegant and timeless all at once. The building has such a rich atmosphere that any photo taken in it almost seems other-worldy. Because it’s so dark in certain parts of the Statehouse, it is perfect to do some fun off-camera lighting effects and dramatic portraiture. Outside the statehouse is grand and truly provides a divine backdrop for any wedding party.
After the statehouse we all rode to Walter’s Commons at St. Charles for the reception. This venue is simply stunning with its high vaulted ceilings, stunning natural light, and gorgeous stained glass windows. Among the many awesome details, there was a larger than life rubber ducky, an exquisite cookie and dessert table, and a Keurig bar. I think the coffee bar must have been well attended because there was some pretty great dancing that just didn’t stop!