Wedding Photography

Tyler + Aleigha (Venetian Room, Atlanta) Atlanta,Ga

I had the pleasure of photographing Aleigha and Tyler a month ago on April 8th of this year. I had never shot at the venue that they had chosen and it was a pleasure to photograph them through out their big day. They were such a sweet couple and you could tell that they love each other dearly as the day and night went on. I also must say, for anyone who does weddings, the bridal sweet at the Venetian Room, VERY nice. Check out some of my favorites from the day below!

A Tale of Two Weddings: Comparison of Western and Japanese Weddings

Editors Note:

So a while back, I was speaking with a  friend of mine about the wedding industry and various things that could be done to help SEO and what have you. We were discussing blog postings, and really just writing in general. During the conversation, I began to think of and idea. That Idea was that over time, I wanted to compare and contrast various types of weddings. With that said, I have decided to start  series that I will post specific compare and contrast blogs over the next few months, and maybe longer (of course they will be spaced out) that will describe Western style weddings vs other around the world.

With that said, I contacted my best friend Tim. I have known this guy for over 20 years. We lived in the same neighborhood growing up, same high schools, a lot of the same thing. Out of us and all of our friends we were the most "creative" of the bunch so the amount of things we have in common is very vast. Although, he did catch more of the travel bug and nomad mentality more then I did.   

Tim had lived in Japan for a little under 3 years, also traveling through out Asia-he is very versed in the culture and what goes on.  Tim has had the privilege of contributing to various publications and blogs in the Tokyo community. Being a DJ/Music producer and creating his own music promotion he gained a lot of notoriety. On top of this, he has also started a growing and successful night life photography blogs ( that focuses on various after hours establishments and "cultural norms" in Tokyo through the evening. One that is a good source for people who are complete unfamiliar with Tokyo and what goes on. 

Below, you will find an article that he has written for us here at The Photo Collective in regard to Western weddings Vs. Japanese.


If given the choice, would you rather have a Japanese wedding or a Western wedding?

Not sure? Good. It’s a trick question.

 “Japanese weddings” are not what you might think. Your mind may gravitate towards kimonos, cherry blossoms, and temples, but surprisingly, this form of union has gradually been on the decline as the influence of Western culture and globalization has grown.


Traditional weddings of Japanese past were Shinto ceremonies; Shintoism being the indigenous religion of Japan. However, since the 1980s, Shinto traditional weddings have had began to decline in popularity. According to the New York Times less than 25% of marriages take place in these types of ceremonies. 

So what gives? What’s the other 75%? 

Quite surprisingly, it’s none other than what many of us are well accustomed to: the Western Wedding.

Western Style Japanese Weddings (About 75% of new weddings and counting)

Despite less than 2% of the population identifying as Christian, the majority of Japanese weddings take place in a traditional chapel setting. The pastor or priest may be more for show than actual effect, but it still takes place in a church (or a place that looks like a church). 

The flow of the ceremony mirrors that of a traditional Protestant ceremony. One of the few differences being that the groom bows to the bride's father; and the bride’s father bows in return. 

The service itself even includes a mixture of English and Japanese. And after an exhange of vows (seiyaku) and rings; the traditional wedding kiss.

Outside of the Japanese language, and the absence of religious connotations, you may feel surprisingly at home in a Western style Japanese wedding. 

Traditional Shinto Japanese Weddings (About 25% of weddings)

3. Spaztakular on Flickr

What was once the staple of Japanese union is no longer. However, some families and couples still elect to partake in this beautiful, and culturally unique, form of union in Japan. This is the type of wedding most people think of when they hear “Japanese wedding,” as it’s specific to the culture.

Unlike Western style weddings, there is no “fake” pastor and the service is entirely in Japanese. The groom wears a hakama (a pleated pant-like garment) with a black kimono jacket as opposed to a tuxedo. The bride wears a white and embroidered silk kimono (called a shiromuku) with long sleeves, as opposed to a Western wedding gown.

Instead of a wedding kiss, sake (traditional Japanese rice wine) is exchanged. Blessings are bestowed on the sake and the final sips culminate with the recognition of marriage.

Photo Credit: Michael Hawkings

4. Michael Hawkings from Pinterest

Like the Western style Japanese ceremonies, gifts of money are also standard affairs for these ceremonies. However, one can also contribute more traditional Japanese gifts and get a few culture know-how points. Popular gifts at these ceremonies are konbu (a type of seaweed), white hemp (representing old age), and an ornate folding fan (source: The Knot

So what makes a “Japanese” wedding?

While the ceremonies may differ, what ties them together, outside of the common language, is the exchange of gifts. The standard for all guests (and family), regardless of the ceremony, is to give money to the bride and groom (as the couple pays for the wedding). An individual is expected to give at least 300 USD Families should give 500 USD - 1000 USD. One would need to choose the weddings they attend wisely!

Both types of ceremonies have after parties as well, much like the Western counterparts, with a final afterparty culminating at a bar. After all the gifts, and the after parties, you may find yourself a bit low on cash. Especially if you’re the one getting married. But it’s all in good fun, and is always intended to happen just once in a lifetime.

So which style of Japanese wedding would you like to attend? A traditional Shinto wedding or a Western style one?

That Emotion In A Photo.

              Have you ever thought back to when you really had no idea what you wanted to do in life? Thinking about how in the world you actually wanted to get started with the career that you chose to do? You can bet some of those stories to where you are now are not really the most straight forward, cookie-cutter path. And you know-you know, my beginning is honestly a funny story. One that you would not think a photographer would tell as his beginning in this very fun albeit stressful (only at times!) rofession.

            I think back when I was a kid, well before I hit my teenage years. I was always smiling in pictures. Never had an issue with getting my picture take. Mom or dad would come up. I’d put a big smile on my face and then just yell “CHEESE!”. I was never one to shy away from the camera.

            Come the teenage years.  You would think with the way that I was when I was a young kid, I would be “cheesing” in every single picture. Honestly, I don’t know what happen. I guess it was the whole-“I hate my life, school sucks, I want to be rebellious” stage of my life. Man don’t we all know how productive that can be. Throughout those years, I would never smile. We would do family pictures or just pictures In general when we had people or family over and I was try my hardest to get away from taking the picture! So bad I know

            It wasn’t until the past few years, I guess when I started doing photography as a hobby and then profession, which I began to see the emotion in the pictures that I took. Because of this I began to smile and be happy to take pictures. Being a photographer; whether it be weddings, portraits, or anything else that I have the opportunity to photograph; has made me realize that those pictures are memories. These memories are ones that will last forever. Whether the emotion is good or bad, they will always be there to look back on and remember

            Grant and I's mission with the Photo Collective is to hopefully bring those memories  that you create to life every time you look at one of the images that we capture. We ant our craft and passion to bring a smile or evoke some type of emotion in you. Photographing you, your big day and your special moment, will be our honor.



In The Beginning

Back in the late part of Spring, Grant and I decided that we should bring our Idea's together on how we do wedding and engagement photography and create a Cooperative. In this cooperative, we would bring the best of both our companies, both Wheeltracks Photography and Norwood Photography. About 6 months of planning and figuring out what exactly we wanted to do and how we wanted to do it. We decided on the name, the way we would present ourselves, and how we would go about covering each of the weddings and or the engagement sessions that we are nothing going to do with each other.   

Well it all came together on September 28th We decided to launch. Using a small backyard and outdoor wedding we shot together and gained many beautiful pictures and clips of video. You will see a slideshow/video that was put together for this wedding below. I ask you all keep a look out for all the amazing coverage we will continue to cover for sometime.