August 10, 2021

Glacier National Park Elopement, Paige & Victor

Working with Paige and Victor both leading up to their Glacier National Park elopement and the actual elopement itself couldn't have gone any more perfectly. We enjoyed absolutely perfect weather, they were both relaxed, and their immediate family was so sweet, and by the end of the evening, it was like hanging out with old friends.

August 5, 2021

ATP Kids “Disney’s Descendants: The Musical”

I consider myself very fortunate to have crossed paths with Betsi and Luke at Alpine Theatre Project thanks to our kids sharing a first-grade classroom. Though I suppose we live in a small town, we most likely would've crossed paths one way or another. Twice a year they do kids productions that are open to children from all over the Flathead Valley, no kid is turned away, and everyone gets a part. This results in two casts rehearsing intensely for four to six weeks culminating in multiple performances of a 60 to 90-minute show. As you can imagine it can be a bit like herding cats, and honestly, I don't know how they all do it, but the final performances never fail to blow me away. Even when I've been present at a high percentage of the rehearsals. "Descendants: The Musical" was no exception, despite an extremely physical show with lots of complex choreography. I suppose what I'm trying to say is, if you ever have an opportunity to attend an ATP Kids performance you should absolutely take advantage of it.

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.

April 8, 2021

Whitefish Wedding Photographer, Joann & Ryan at Star Meadows Ranch

Joann and Ryan came to Whitefish from Colorado with their closest friends and family to hang out, go skiing, and get married! Their wedding at Star Meadows Ranch was the perfect match for their laid-back attitude full of dogs—they've got three—no attendants, unicorn socks, corn hole and hockey set up in the pavilion, a roaring fire, and fireworks to close out the evening.

They also had the most unique unity ceremony I've ever witnessed which involved them both pouring un-aged whiskey into a custom aging barrel to age over time and be enjoyed at a later date.

Venue: Star Meadows Ranch / Lodging: Star Meadows Ranch / Catering: DeSoto Grill / Whiskey: Buffalo Trace Distillery

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

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 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 14, 2020

Glacier National Park Wedding Photographer, Allyn & Nicholas

Allyn and Nicholas were my first of two wedding couples from Illinois in the span of five days, and my first wedding that actually took place inside Glacier National Park. Though initially, that was not the plan. Originally I should've been making this blog post this past spring. Of course, we all know what happened throughout the world in March. COVID lock-downs for everyone! Thankfully they didn't allow that to completely scuttle their dreams of a Montana wedding and they rescheduled for this fall and it couldn't have been more perfect. Yes, there was intermittent rain, yes there ominous clouds that obscured the mountains occasionally. But without rain, you can't have a rainbow. A rainbow that spanned Lake McDonald just as they said their wedding vows. If that isn't a sign of a blessed marriage, I don't know what is.

While they weren't technically eloping, they had a sort of 'deluxe elopement' with a total headcount of fewer than twenty people with a ceremony at the Apgar Amphitheatre, portraits in that general vicinity thereafter, and finally a dinner to close out the festivities.

I am so glad the pandemic didn't spoil my chance to hangout and get to know Allyn and Nicholas more, and can't wait for them to come back and visit—hopefully often—in the future!

Vendors

Venue(s): Glacier National Park Apgar Amphitheater, Grouse Mountain Lodge / Transportation: Montana Trolley Co. / Bakery: Delectable Desserts & Catering / Hair & Makeup: Brittany Brennan / Flowers: Southern Blooms Co.

Prints & Canvas

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

Copyright ©Matthew Wetzler 2008–2021