August 17, 2023

Bigfork Family Photographer, the Cheneys

As with the majority of my extended family portrait sessions, the Cheneys were using their visit to Montana to get together as one big family spending time together and exploring the beautiful Flathead Valley and Glacier National Park regions. They were renting a vacation rental right on the Flathead River heading into Bigfork. I joined them there in the morning as the adults wrapped up their morning coffees and as the kids needed to get some energy out.

August 11, 2023

Bigfork Family Photographer, the Larcombes

I've said this before—on social media for sure, if not here on this very blog—but one of the biggest compliments I feel you can give a photographer is inviting them back into your life after you've worked with them before. I had one such honor recently after I received a message from Kate and Benjamin. I photographed their intimate, backyard wedding at Ben's parent's house.

I got to return to that very same location to photograph them as a relatively new family of three, and it was so great to see them again.

September 30, 2022

Bigfork Family Photographer, The Gazieva Family

This family session, while maybe a little out-of-the-ordinary was such a delight. It was more along the lines of what you might call "a day in the life" session. We did a handful of posed photos, but the vast majority were really me fading into the background and documenting them sharing some family time. Whether that was reading a book, drawing dots, riding bikes, or going on a little family hike and building fairy houses.

So let this be your reminder that it's always okay to slow down, and take time for fairy houses.

June 1, 2022

Bigfork Wedding Photographer, Anne & Kari

Sometimes from the first discussion with a couple, you know your paths were fated to cross at some point in your lives. Anne and Kari were one such couple for me this summer. I was scheduled for a phone consult with them to discuss their wedding and to see if we might be a good fit. No biggie, and often these calls, even when they go great don't tend to last more than 30-45 minutes because you ask each other the questions you need to do, discuss the wedding plans, etc. and everything is groovy. Anne and I did all of those things in about 15 minutes, but then remained just chatting for almost two hours about life, art, and yes photography.

As the wedding day got a little closer we chatted on the phone again for over an hour, but this time it was primarily about the wedding day details and how best to tackle the day. And because it was on some family land I scheduled time to meet Anne's dad to walk the property and get a concrete lay of the land. At this point, it is probably worth mentioning Mr. Lehmer is a longtime fine art photographer, so I'll admit I was a bit nervous, but he couldn't have been more welcoming, and we ended up walking around the property, and chatting for a couple of hours. Naturally by the time the wedding day arrived, I pretty much already felt like part of the family, and it was such an amazing honor to be included in such a special, purposefully planned day.

And all of this is still ignoring the intimate dinner and reception with Rob & Halladay quist performing the music, a belly dancer, and ice cream!

Venues: Family property and The Nest on Swan River / Couture: Brides for a Cause with extensive customizing by Anne / Jewelry: Jewelers Guild of Milwaukee / Band: Rob & Halladay Quist / Catering: Montana Craft Kitchen / Rentals: Empress Tents & Events, Peak Audio / Transportation: Harlows Transportation

October 20, 2021

Bigfork Wedding Photographer, Kate & Ben’s Backyard Wedding

Documenting Kate and Benjamin's intimate backyard wedding was really just like hanging out with longtime friends—and dare I say 'family'—by the way they kept trying to attend to my every need and I had to remind them I was there to blend into the background as much as possible and document the day as it unfolded.

Florals: Mum's Flowers / Catering: Forage Catering / Rentals: Celebrate Event & Party Rental

September 2, 2021

Bigfork Wedding Photographer, Katie & Travis

One thing I really missed during my 2020 weddings—with COVID and what not—was large, raucous wedding receptions. I'd honestly forgotten how much fun I had photographing such things. Katie and Travis' wedding was a huge reminder of how much I enjoy that aspect of photographing weddings. The wedding took place on a gorgeous piece of family property in Bigfork and the ladies got ready at the nearby Nest on Swan River.

Lodging: The Nest on Swan River / Florals: Conrad Floral / Videography: On the Fly Films / Catering: Copacabana Grill / Jewelry: Brilliant Earth / Stationery: Amaze Paperie

August 1, 2021

Bigfork Wedding Photographer, Diane & Shawn at Clementine’s

Diane & Shawn's story was so special and amazing. Both grew up in Bigfork, both went to the same high school but were barely more than acquaintances. Fast forward past graduation and thirty-plus years and they reconnected and fell in love. They had the most special, intimate wedding at Clementine's in Bigfork that felt more like the sweetest family barbecue ever than some stodgy wedding. My favorite part of course was seeing Shawn begin crying happy tears as Diane walked down the aisle just before tying the knot.

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.

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 Whitefish, Montana.

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