It was great to be back at Pine Lakes Country Club for the wedding of Emily and Fin. We had lovely Spring weather for their April 29th date, except for some thunderstorms rolling in at the end of the day. My last wedding at Pine Lake Country Club was in the fall of 2020. It was a beautiful wedding facing the back of the clubhouse, but its size had to be drastically cut back because of Covid. It’s nice to be there when everything is back to normal.
When I arrived, I checked in with Emily and got her dress, rings, and bouquet for detail shots. I love the windows in the ballroom of Pine Lake for taking photos of the dress and even pictures of the bride with the light spilling in from the outside. Emily didn’t have an invitation or much else that she wanted detail pictures of, so this gave me some extra time for macro shots of the rings. I always love laying the wedding rings on the bouquet or other flowers and taking close-up pictures. I recently got Nikon’s new 105mm f2.8 macro lens for the Z series mirrorless cameras. With my old macro lens, I had to focus manually. I still generally focus on macro shots manually, but it’s nice having the option for fast autofocus when needed.
The bouquet and all the flowers at this wedding were amazing from Kelly at The Little Shop of Flowers. I took many pictures of the table decorations, centerpieces, flowers, and wide-angle photos of the ballroom. Pine Lakes has a unique and elegant dining area with chandeliers, columns, fireplaces, and large windows.
Before the ceremony, I took some beautiful bridal portraits of Emily and some nice pictures of Fin and his brother. They didn’t have a traditional wedding party but had their brothers and sisters as part of the wedding. Since we had extra time, I even made the siblings do romantic shots with their significant others.
Ceremony on the Brick Pathway behind Pine Lakes
This wedding ceremony was set up behind Pine Lakes Country Club on the brick pathway facing the back garden. I hoped we would have a little shade for the ceremony, but the sun was still pretty intense. Emily’s father had passed away, so seeing her brother walk her down the aisle was very sweet. Fin got very emotional at his first look at Emily walking down the aisle, and I got some nice pictures of his expression.
Even with the harsh sun on the bride’s face, I got some great shots of their expressions during the vows. I did have to touch up some of the shine from the sun. The groom’s sister officiated the ceremony and did an excellent job. She gave me plenty of time for pictures and even remembered to step out of the way for the first kiss. After the ceremony, we used the shade in the small garden for the family pictures.
Since they didn’t have a traditional wedding party, I used the siblings for the wedding party style pictures, including a dip back for a kiss with them all cheering in the background. The family had a great time. I even got compliments from the groom’s sister that I was doing a fantastic job! That always makes me feel good.
We planned on doing most of the pictures of Emily and Fin at sunset. However, there were thunderstorms forecast for later in the evening. So using the nice shade in the back garden, we did most of their portraits right after the ceremony. The back garden has unique-looking tree branches that make an excellent background for the pictures, even some fantastic shots shooting through the branches. I wish the flowers had been blooming, which would have added some nice color.
Fun at the Reception and Sunset Pictures
After going in for dinner, I pulled Emily and Fin out for some “sunset” pictures. We had no pretty light in the sky because it was overcast, but the soft light still worked great for photos in front of the clubhouse and fountain. Sometimes black and white can look beautiful under these conditions. We also got some lovely portraits by the flowers that were blooming. It was so cloudy that we did not go to the golf course for pictures. They were ready to get to the dancing and fun, and I thought we had enough nice photos by that time anyway.
The dance floor was uncovered behind the clubhouse. This makes lighting the dance floor more difficult because I can’t bounce any flash. I used my traditional setup of two kicker flashes in the background but added a third large flash for lighting from the opposite direction instead of relying on my on-camera flash. This got the whole dance floor lit up nicely for pictures. Since Emily didn’t have her father, the groom’s father jumped in and danced with her while Fin danced with his mom. This made for some very sweet pictures.
The DJ and I were getting worried because thunderstorms were forecast for the evening. The wedding was supposed to end at 11 pm, but at about 10 pm, a massive storm cloud was moving in on the radar map and was supposed to arrive any minute. We pushed the time until almost 10:30 pm, and as soon as they did the sparker exit, it started pouring rain. It ended up working out perfectly, things were beginning to wrap up around that time, and the rain held off just long enough to finish the evening. While the group would have liked a few more minutes of dancing, everyone was pleased.
I also wanted to add this amazing review I recently got from Emily. “Of all the choices I’ve made for my wedding, choosing Ryan Smith Photography was likely the best one. Ryan showed up early on the day of and checked in with me immediately upon arrival and went straight to work. He was so much fun, personable, and professional. He turned the photos around quickly and responded to all of my emails immediately. Everyone loved him. My family and friends are still talking about him! I have a condition that makes my eyes look a bit strange in pictures sometimes and I was concerned about my wedding photos looking distorted. I had spoken with Ryan and he was very respectful of this. I was sure that there would be a number of pictures that I would not love because of my eye. Imagine my surprise when every single photo was perfect! The effort he put in to us and the time he spent perfecting every little shot was unreal. The pictures he took have given me a knew confidence that I didn’t have before my wedding. If you’re looking for the right photographer, look no further. Ryan is the best of the best!”
Please let me know if you are planning a wedding at Pine Lake Country Club. I can share some of my past weddings and give you tips and more information. I hope you enjoy the pictures!