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Meijer Gardens Woodland Shade Garden Wedding | Brian and Claire

Brian and Claire had a wonderfully intimate wedding at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. We started with a first look on the bridge in the Japanese Garden, followed by portraits both there and at the nearby Michigan’s Farm Garden. The couple were wed in the Woodland Shade Garden surrounded by their loving parents.

There’s a small island with a gazebo in the middle of the pond in the center of the Japanese Garden. The bridge leading to the island is a great picturesque location for a bride and groom’s first look.Meijer Gardens Woodland Shade Garden WeddingMeijer Gardens Woodland Shade Garden WeddingThere’s a hill with a walking path that spirals up to a lookout point, from which you can take an expansive view of the entire garden.Meijer Gardens Woodland Shade Garden WeddingMeijer Gardens Woodland Shade Garden WeddingMeijer Gardens Woodland Shade Garden WeddingMeijer Gardens Woodland Shade Garden WeddingMeijer Gardens Woodland Shade Garden WeddingMeijer Gardens Woodland Shade Garden WeddingMeijer Gardens Woodland Shade Garden WeddingMeijer Gardens Woodland Shade Garden WeddingMeijer Gardens Woodland Shade Garden WeddingMeijer Gardens Woodland Shade Garden WeddingAfter leaving the Japanese Garden, we walked down the path to the Farm Garden where we found this lovely arbor covered hops (very appropriate for a wedding in “Beer City, USA”!)
Meijer Gardens Woodland Shade Garden WeddingMeijer Gardens Woodland Shade Garden WeddingThe farm garden also has an old chicken coop, which probably isn’t the most obvious choice for a portrait location, but the lines of light coming through the boards made for a cool graphic element.
Meijer Gardens Woodland Shade Garden WeddingFinally it was time for the ceremony. We walked to the Woodland Shade Garden where Brian and Claire’s parents were waiting.Meijer Gardens Woodland Shade Garden WeddingMeijer Gardens Woodland Shade Garden WeddingMeijer Gardens Woodland Shade Garden WeddingMeijer Gardens Woodland Shade Garden WeddingMeijer Gardens Woodland Shade Garden WeddingMeijer Gardens Woodland Shade Garden WeddingMeijer Gardens Woodland Shade Garden WeddingMeijer Gardens Woodland Shade Garden WeddingMeijer Gardens Woodland Shade Garden WeddingTime for hugs!Meijer Gardens Woodland Shade Garden WeddingMeijer Gardens Woodland Shade Garden WeddingMeijer Gardens Woodland Shade Garden WeddingClaire’s dress was a beautiful and a perfect complement for the natural setting of the ceremony.
Meijer Gardens Woodland Shade Garden WeddingMeijer Gardens Woodland Shade Garden WeddingThe photos above are a perfect example of how I use flash to blend seamlessly with natural light. They don’t look “flashed” and the light doesn’t call attention to itself. It just looks beautiful and flattering. Claire is just slightly brighter than the background, which makes her “pop” forward just a bit. The light is coming from a direction that gives depth and dimension to her features, instead of being flat and bland. Finally, there’s light in her eyes that brings her to life to the photos.

All of that would be lost if I had shot these photos using only the natural light that was available. The main direction of light was from directly overhead, which creates dark, shadowy eye sockets, and the background is the same brightness as her, so she didn’t stand out at all. Take a look at this next photo (taken without flash) and you can see what I mean:Meijer Gardens Woodland Shade Garden WeddingMeijer Gardens Woodland Shade Garden WeddingMeijer Gardens Woodland Shade Garden WeddingOur last stop for the day was the Tropical Conservatory. This awesome indoor rainforest is another of the many gorgeous portrait locations at Meijer Gardens.
Meijer Gardens Woodland Shade Garden WeddingMeijer Gardens Woodland Shade Garden WeddingThis last photo is another perfect case study in how the proper use of flash can make an image work that otherwise would have been dull and boring. Check out the “before” shot with no flash below:
Meijer Gardens Woodland Shade Garden Wedding

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