January 11, 2021

West Glacier Family Photographer, The Connellys

My wife and I both come from a long line of teachers, with current and retired teachers on both sides of our respective families. As such we've got an immense amount of respect for those individuals that choose such a noble profession. So whenever I get an opportunity to work with one of my daughter's teachers it's always an honor. This winter I got to reconnect with her first grade teacher who had a profound impact on my daughter, and by extension us. She and her husband have three boys so it seemed appropriate to schedule the session in a location with an epic sledding hill to close out the photos.

January 6, 2021

Glacier National Park Engagement Photographer, Sofiya & Collin

Living in the Flathead Valley—an area small in population but big on epic views—means the majority of the couples I work with tend to be from far away. This means there isn't often the opportunity to get together for engagement photos prior to the wedding. And while there are always phone calls, texts, emails, and yes videoconferencing that just about everyone grew accustomed to during 2020, there's just no better way to get to know each other than a pre-wedding photoshoot.

So when Sofiya and Collin, who live here in the valley, booked me for their wedding next year and asked for an engagement shoot I couldn't have been happier. The weather was bitter cold, but that's nothing a blanket, some snuggles, and okay plenty of hand warmers couldn't combat.

We had so much fun traipsing around West Glacier and Glacier National Park, I can't wait to party with them here in 2021.

January 4, 2021

Montana Wedding Inspiration at Star Meadows Ranch, Whitefish, MT

This past fall Katie with Big Day Celebrations invited me to take part in a styled shoot at Star Meadows Ranch to celebrate their recently completed wedding and reception pavilion. It's an extremely cool space on the sprawling property that features open meadows, mountain vistas, and secluded wooded trails that are an amazing setting for a wedding, family reunion, or really any occasion where you might want to get friends and family together, particularly in these times where social distancing is prudent.

A huge thanks to Katie for organizing this and inviting me along, our models Cristine and Josh, and a shout out to the amazing team of vendors that made magic happen on this smokey September evening.

Planner: Big Day Celebrations / Venue: Star Meadows Ranch / Hair & Makeup: The Edge Salon / Couture: J Scott Couture / Rentals: With Love Vintage Rentals, The Party Store, BBJ Linen / Bakery: Montana Wildflour / Paper Goods: Simply K Calligraphy

December 11, 2020

Glacier National Park Wedding Photographer, Kaylee & Braxton’s Post-Wedding Portrait Session

Kaylee and Braxton didn't actually elope, bu they were celebrating their honeymoon here in Whitefish. And what is that saying "When in [Whitefish] you do as [Montanans] do." You put on your wedding attire and you book a portrait session in Glacier National Park!

Okay, maybe not everyone does that, but I am so happy these two Texans—by way of D.C.—ended up contacting me for said portraits. Kaylee is a photographer herself so it was really fun to talk a little shop. It was also a little different working with someone who knew just about all the prompts, and what those prompts were trying to accomplish. It made things super quick and efficient which was ideal given that it was below freezing. But I was once again blessed with a couple that was all smiles for miles.

Incidentally I'm so glad my wife insisted on buying a box of the little hand warmers to keep in the car to use for photoshoots. They've come in super handy this winter.

December 9, 2020

Glacier National Park Engagement Photographer, Michelle & Alex

Michelle and Alex were visiting all the way from North Texas and like any couple with taste, they wanted some engagement photos in Glacier National Park. They were actually my second of three Texas couples in the last eight weeks which has been really nice. It's always a pleasure to show people from the state where I grew up the area that has since captivated me. It wasn't snowing, unfortunately, but it was definitely more chilly than a couple of Texans were used to. It was actually a bit dreary this particular day, but you'd never know it from the laughter and the jokes shared during the session.

I may not be any relationship expert, but I like to think that laughter is an awfully solid foundation from which love grows. If that assumption is correct, these two are primed for many, many years of happiness. Congratulations to Michelle and Alex!

December 4, 2020

West Glacier Elopement Photographer, Ana & Steve

One thing I love about our wedding and event community here in the Flathead Valley of Northwest Montana is you often get to work with the same vendors on repeat occasions. One such occasion was getting a text from officiant Kate Berry just a couple of weeks after working with her on Ashley & Scott's perfect intimate wedding. Ana and Steve were on their way to Whitefish—with their two pups in tow!—to officially elope after a weeks-long, cross-country road trip complete with staged elopements with their respective families. Upon arrival in Montana, they encountered a freak blizzard which wasn't the most fun thing to drive through, but they made it safe and sound to the Hidden Moose Lodge, which is where I got to meet up with them for some getting ready shots and a first look. It was then off to West Glacier for the big event, some shots, and then portraits!

Lodging: Hidden Moose Lodge / Officiant: Kate Berry / Florals: Mum's Flowers

December 3, 2020

West Glacier Portrait Photographer, Somer & Friends

I'll admit that as much as a photo-taker as my dad and other members of my family were, and as much travel as my wife's family has done throughout her life, it wasn't until I began focusing on photography and booking people for vacation photos in this amazing place called Montana that such a thing ever occurred to me. But it's honestly such a great idea. What better way to remember your vacation, particularly in a place that isn't the kind of place that is super easy to make repeated trips too without copious amounts of time off and sometimes great expense. And what's more why not do that and share the experience with a close friend as well, because after all, memories aren't only for the family you're born with, but the family you choose.

Somer booked me—thanks to a referral from the ever so kind Jennifer Vernarsky—for such a session as one of her best friends made the drive from the Northwestern coast to meet up in the last best place as she was working in Central Montana. And I'm so glad she did. And spoiler alert, but if you want to get silly during your portrait session, I will only encourage you to do so. Do not ask me if I care if you don squirrel pajamas expecting me to talk you out of it, because I'll basically demand that you do so. The only bummer is there was one other photo prop idea that would've been killer, particularly with this session taking place just before Halloween. Alas, the props were left in the hotel. Maybe next time!

I'd also like to give a shout out to Somer's teenage son, because if there is any group that is "too cool" for family portraits it's the teenagers, but he was a great sport about everything.

October 26, 2020

West Glacier Wedding Photographer, Ashley & Scott

Ashley and Scott had another wedding that was thankfully able to commence as originally planned despite COVID-19 and all the chaos that caused the wedding and event industry this year. From my first contact with them, they had always planned on a very intimate ceremony with just them and their immediate families at Glacier Raft Co. in West Glacier. And from there the plan was always to hop on down the road to Glacier National Park and the Apgar Village area for some "epic Montana scenery portraits," And Montana and Glacier delivered in spades. While the rain did cause the slightest bit of disruption just prior to the exchange of vows, that just meant conditions were ripe for a perfect timed rainbow while we did family photos in the park. And... well just check out the photos, because words simply won't do it justice.

Vendors

Venue: Glacier Raft Co. / Lodging: Glacier Raft Co. / Officiant: Kate Berry / Florals: Mum's Flowers

October 20, 2020

Bigfork Family Photographer, The Nickels Family

This multi-generational family portrait session with the Nickels wasn't the first time I'd photographed people and their pets, but it was the first time I had someone bring their handsome feline outside for some photos. In true cat fashion "Duke" put up with the camera for exactly two photos before he made it clear he was done, but he was a consummate professional up to that point. I also got to meet Penny and her human, and the whole Nickels clan. We spent some time at their new residence and then headed over to Wayfarers State Park for the unrivaled views of Flathead Lake. It's always such a pleasure to explore new areas of the Flathead Valley I've not been to with vacationers and new residents alike.

October 19, 2020

Glacier National Park Portrait Photographer, Chacey & Asia

Having grown up in Texas, hearing a Texas accent can act as an odd sort of comfort blanket. And that is just how it was this chilly morning for these ladies hailing from North Texas. Another referral from the always too-kind Jennifer Vernarsky, Chacey and Asia were on a last-gasp-of-summer anniversary/birthday whirlwind vacation to Northwest Montana and Chacey wanted to surprise Asia with a photo session.

We met up at Apgar Village in Glacier National Park, and while the early morning clouds and fog obscured the mountains, it made the setting no less dreamy and surreal for a quick min-session. They were so fun to work with, and their smiles offered all the warmth needed in the upper-30s temperatures we were dealing with. We lamented the lack of decent Tex-Mex restaurants in Montana—and really anywhere but Texas—and other superior, non-Tex-Mex dining opportunities in the Flathead Valley.

Prints & Canvas

Matt Wetzler is an editorial, motorsport, portrait, and destination wedding photographer based in Northwest Montana.

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