February 15, 2021

Whitefish Montana Family Photographer, The Ahmads

I'd hate to speak for other photographers, but for this particular photographer, repeat business is one of the best feelings ever. I met the Ahmad family this past fall when they were paying a visit to Northwest Montana, and I was extremely stoked to get a text from them again this winter asking if I was available for some portraits this February as they were here for some powder turns at Whitefish Mountain Resort.

While it was certainly chilly we did manage to sneak in before an arctic system moved in and temperatures plunged below zero. We were also blessed with the most perfect light snowfall, something I've been wanting to have for a portrait session for the last three years but had never materialized until now!

Ahmad Winter Family Portraits in Whitefish Montana at Riverside Park
Ahmad Winter Family Portraits in Whitefish Montana at Riverside Park
Ahmad Winter Family Portraits in Whitefish Montana at Riverside Park
Ahmad Winter Family Portraits in Whitefish Montana at Riverside Park
Ahmad Winter Family Portraits in Whitefish Montana at Riverside Park
Ahmad Winter Family Portraits in Whitefish Montana at Riverside Park
Ahmad Winter Family Portraits in Whitefish Montana at Riverside Park

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.

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 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 3, 2020

Whitefish Family Photographer, The Ahmad Family

I was fortunate to spend this chilly morning with the Ahmad family at Depot Park and Whitefish City Beach documenting their late-summer family getaway to Northwest Montana. Little A. wasn't super comfortable in front of the camera for a lot of the session, but once she saw the water at City Beach and got to take a little walk with her brother and grandmother she perked right up and started grinning from ear-to-ear. They mentioned that they are planning a potential permanent move to Montana, and I can't wait to welcome them if they're able to make that happen.

September 2, 2020

West Glacier Family Photographer – Fisher-Malle Family

I do a lot of talking about how awesome it is to meet folks from all over the country who come to Montana for weddings, family reunions, or just your standard vacation. What I don't often talk about is hanging out and documenting the lives of the friends we've made here in Montana. But no more! Nick & Skotti's daughter was in my daughter's first- and second-grade classes and they've become good friends. So naturally when Skotti hit me up for some potential family photos I naturally jumped at the chance. Of course it was chillier than expected—it was in the mid-40s on this late August morning—which made it necessary to just power through, but we all managed!

August 19, 2020

Kalispell Family Photographer, The Brown Family

I probably sound like a broken record, but one of the perks of being a photographer in an area that is such a destination for so many people is I get to meet and hang out with people from all over the country. The Brown family contacted me in hopes of getting some photos to document their trip that took them literally all over the western half of Montana, and culminated in a visit to the Flathead Valley. They made the trip from Mississippi, which was funny because it was the day after Shona & Bradley's wedding, and they live in Mississippi. It's as the song from the Disney ride says, "it's a small world after all."

March 29, 2020

Sandpoint Family & Maternity Photographer, the Stuarts

Like a lot of states around the country, Montana is now under a 'stay-at-home' order in hopes of combatting the spread of the Coronavirus. Thankfully, prior to that happening I was able to escape with the family to the in-laws in Northern Idaho for some extreme social distancing and some maternity photos in anticipation of another nephew!

Family photos can be tricky with a rambunctious two-year-old and a brother-in-law who sometimes acts like a two-year-old (joking!) but here's a little secret. Silly kiddos are infinitely more stressful on the family—and let's be honest, the mom primarily—than they are for the photographer. Oftentimes my favorite photos from family sessions are when the kid(s) are just goofing off and not following my direction or the pleas of their parents.

Anyway, I can't wait to meet the latest addition to our family, with the hope all of this COVID-19 stuff is largely behind us in a few months and life has returned to some semblance of "normal."

December 18, 2019

Kalispell Family Photographer, the Radabahs

There are few things more satisfying to a photographer when their clients refer friends and family to you. One thing that comes awfully close though is when a fellow photographer refers their past clients to you in an emergency. The amount of trust involved in such an act is something I take extremely seriously, so when my friend Kiralee texted me after being stricken with the flu to see if I was available to handle some family portraits for Sam and her family when they weren't able to reschedule I was extremely humbled and glad I was able to help her out. On top of that, Sam and her family were a hoot, and it was such a pleasure working with them for some late fall photos.

August 10, 2019

Bigfork, Montana Family Photographer – The Flawn Family

This multi-generation family portrait session was a big helping of "it's a small world after all." If only because many of the individuals either grew up or still currently live in Austin, Texas, which is of course where I moved to Montana from. Odd that it would take a cross country move for me to meet people who live less than five miles away from my old address and other parts of Austin I frequented in my youth.

I'm fortunate that Northwest Montana isn't just a destination for weddings, but also family vacations and reunions. And one of the absolute best parts of being a photographer is it provides me the opportunity to meet such awesome people from all over the country.

The Flawn's were staying in Bigfork at Sentinel Pine, a beautiful rental with a neat history on Swan Lake and it was so fun to hang out with them for a couple of hours grabbing family portraits as well as candids as they enjoyed lake activities.

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

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