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The Rusty Pelican Wedding – by Tampa Wedding Photographer

Last year I had the pleasure of shooting a couple of fun weddings at the Rusty Pelican, a charming restaurant just outside downtown Tampa. One of Tampa wedding photographers’ favorites, this gem has it all – beautiful wedding gazebo, waterfront courtyard and several reception rooms with gorgeous views of the bay. This wedding venue is quite popular among local brides not only for wedding ceremonies but also for receptions. Opportunities for great pictures are limitless, inside and out. Sunsets over Rusty Pelican’s rocky shoreline, with beautiful palm trees in the background, set a romantic mood for celebrations of any kind.

Angel and Diana’s wedding was in late afternoon, outside by the gazebo just an hour before the sunset. Once we were done with all the formals, we used last 10 minutes of the sunlight to shoot few very nice portraits of the two of them right by the wall of the restaurant. Maria and Jacob’s wedding was also supposed to take place outside, but due to the rain was moved indoors at the last moment. Nevertheless, after the ceremony was over, we still managed to come out and take lots of great pictures by the gazebo. As any Tampa wedding photographer will tell you – overcast weather is great for portraiture, so we used the opportunity to the fullest. A colorful rainbow appeared out of nowhere, just as we were wrapping up, and gave us an awesome background for few more shots. The slideshow I created for Maria and Jacob was picked up by the restaurant’s management on Youtube and to this day is played on Tampa Rusty Pelican’s homepage.

Here are some of my favorite picks from both weddings:

Tampa Wedding Photographer - Rusty Pelican Wedding 10

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gordon mackinnon - beautiful images, I really love the look of your blog too!

Grand Rapids Wedding Photographer - Dang, those sure are some crazy lights at the reception! I like it!

White Chapel Wedding by Tampa Wedding Photographer – Esther and Yoon

One of the most interesting aspects of being a Tampa wedding photographer is meeting the people and learning their stories. A couple of weeks ago I blogged about Kevin, who proposed to his fiance Estephania on the “Ellen” show. Today I’d like to share with you another very romantic story which started on the other side of the world and now continues in Tampa Bay area.

Once upon a time Esther and Yoon went to the Philippines to visit Esther’s parents for the Christmas Holidays. At some point, the entire family went to Calaraya, a significant place for Esther, as many of her deepest and richest memories had been formed on that island. While there, one night Yoon and Esther took a walk up to the Eagles Nest, a gazebo on the top of a mountain which served as a lookout over the entire island. They always remembered the anniversary of their first date, but this month Esther had completely forgotten about it. When Yoon pulled out a white gold diamond necklace and put it around Esther’s neck, she thought – “how romantic!” He then began reading a handwritten letter aloud. The letter told of their journey, how they traveled the roads of friendship and explored unknown territories as they learned more about one another while dating. When he reached the end of the letter he knelt down, held out a ring, and asked Esther to continue this journey, only this time as his wife. It was 23rd month of their friendship. Afterward they celebrated this event with Esther parents, who apparently were in on the whole thing.

Few months after their engagement, Esther and Yoon got married at the White Chapel in Palm Harbor, a romantic chapel, all done in white. Built in 1924, rebuilt in 1970s, and restored again in 2002, the White Chapel is a designated historic landmark. That day, the light inside was beautiful and soft, allowing for gorgeous ceremony pictures. After the ceremony, as guests retreated to the adjacent Palm Harbor Hall for cocktail hour, I took Esther and Yoon around the chapel and we shot quite a few awesome portraits. Reception was a lot of fun and the day ended with Esther and Yoon’s official exit, as they drove away in their car, newly decorated with flowers and empty coke cans.

Congratulations Esther and Yoon once again, my best wishes to both of you! Below few of my favorite pictures, and A LOT MORE is here!


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Mark - So colourful and full of fun!! Great job.

Leo Druker - What a great wedding. Love the shot of the bride and bridesmaids laughing together – a great moment.

adam - Ahh. Such a cute couple. Great color in these.

Avelaine Scyrup - What a sweet story! I am from Philippines myself so I feel like I really connected there. She doesn’t look very Filipino though heheh j/k! Congratulations!

Marianne Taylor - The bride is absolutely adorable! You’ve captured great moments.

Sam Obeid - WOW what a beautiful bride and some really amazing photos. Your processing is top notch!

Stacy McPeek-Smith - The colors are amazing! Love the yellow wall shot!! :o )

Daniel - Really professional looking stuff here. That photo of the bride and her bridesmaids is a perfect moment and the colors are amazing. Well done!

Ryan Brenizer - Man, that guy is rocking those glasses. Great job and flattering captures.

Jon Rouston - Very nice work, a fantastic set of portraits!

Heather - Fabulous! I love the shot of the kiss under the veil.

A Pirate Wedding in The Gulf Of Mexico

Tampa-Wedding-Photographer-Pirate-WeddingI do! – said Scott, squeezing Mollie’s hand, while gazing straight into her beautiful eyes.
I do! – whispered Mollie, as tears of joy and happiness rolled down her cheeks.
Two canons fired.
Arrrr!!! – exploded the crowd behind them on the deck of the pirate ship sailing into the sunset in the Gulf of Mexico. On the All Hollow’s Eve of October 31st of last year Scott and Mollie were married aboard the “Pirate’s Ransom”.

Being a Tampa wedding photographer undoubtedly has its benefits. Where else but in the land of buccaneers one would witness a wedding in the piradical style? Guests and stuff dressed as pirates, enjoying every wild moment of the journey, cool breeze of the warm Florida evening, the smell of salty water and gun powder in the air – can you think of a more fun way of tying the knot? As we sailed away from the Clearwater Beach, I couldn’t stop thinking how much I admire these guys for their ingenuity and the amount of work and creativity they’ve put into making something so spectacular take place on their special day.

Attention to details was simply breathtaking. Few months before the wedding a black envelop arrived at my house, secured with a genuine wax seal with skull and bones. As I opened it, a smell of burned paper filled the room. Inside I found an invitation to Mollie and Scott’s wedding, and it wasn’t your typical post card. It was a masterpiece to say the least. Oily paper with holes burned here and there looked and smelled amazingly realistic. As I placed it on a table, a ray of light fell across it – I grabbed my camera and started shooting. That’s how Mollie and Scott’s photo gallery actually started – several months before their wedding.

Tampa-Wedding-Photography-Clearwater-WeddingThe big day itself went without a glitch. For the bridal party shots we headed off to the Sand Key park in Clearwater, a favorite place of many Tampa wedding photographers. Scott and Mollie brought along an old wooden chair, which looked like it was at least a hundred years old and probably saw its share of high seas adventures. Everyone’s custom-made costumes looked truly breathtaking. I should mention here that no guests were allowed to attend the wedding without a costume. In fact, I myself was dressed as a pirate, running around with a skull hanging off my gear bag. Once we were done with the “formals” everyone headed off to the docks where after quick “rings warming” ceremony we boarded the vessel. I knew we were heading for one of the most spectacular wedding adventures, and, boy, was I right!

The wedding was a great success. The story of Mollie and Scott’s pirate wedding was picked up by the “Offbeat Bride”, “Digital Wedding” as well as a multitude of private blogs. Vision Art Book publisher featured it in one of their albums displayed at the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International convention in Las Vegas earlier this year.

Congratulations Mollie and Scott, best of luck to both of you for years to come!

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The Palmetto Club at FishHawk Ranch Wedding by Tampa Wedding Photographer

I love shooting at the Palmetto Club. Its gorgeous landscaping, veranda and courtyard, surrounded by beautiful gardens, make it such a romantic place for a wedding! I’m sure many Tampa wedding photographers would agree with me that this is one of the most charming venues in Tampa Bay area.

I joined Kristin and Fremiot on the day of their wedding a couple of hours before the ceremony. Kristin was getting ready at the Bridal Suite of the Club while Fremiot was hanging out with the guys on the veranda, avoiding brutal midday sun as long as they could. I started with Kristin and we took some awesome detail shots of her dress. The Bridal Suite looked fantastic as a background for Kristin’s getting ready shots. Did I mention this club is a gem inside and out? We took some fun shots with Kristin and her bridesmaids and then I spent some time with the guys, just as the ceremony was about to begin.

Tampa wedding photographers are used to shooting under harsh Florida sun but we appreciate a break now and then. Turns out this was the day! As Fremiot took his place next to the officiant, the sun hid behind a small cloud and stayed there, for the entire duration of the ceremony! I love when this happens! It created an incredible light to work with. And no direct sun means no sweating, no squinting and overall easier conditions for shooting perfect pictures. As you browse through the photographs below, you’ll notice how “soft” they are in terms of light and tonality.

The ceremony was very emotional. Both Fremiot and Kristin cried when they saw each for the first time. I didn’t, but for a moment there I couldn’t see very well out of my right eye, not sure why. Kristin looked stunning in her dress – I managed to capture a shot where guests just went wild with their cameras and iphones, snapping pictures non-stop as she made her way to the front. Vows, rings… Congratulations, you’re now husband and wife!!!

The sun must have decided to extend its mercy even further and we had about an hour of formals and awesome bridal shots done before it reappeared, but by then we couldn’t care less since everyone was off to the reception. Below are few or my favorite shots from that day and here is a link to a page with even more picks. Enjoy!!

Palmetto Club Wedding - Kristin and Fremiot 17

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Olaf Siebert - I love no. 4, a great way to capture the bridalparty!

Paul Mozell Photography - These are great shots. You’ve got a great blend of casual and formal styles and the images are crisp and lively.

Regina & BW Wedding at Avila – by Tampa Wedding Photographer

When Regina first approached me, asking if I was available to shoot their wedding, she told me right away – photography was very high on the list of their priorities. Those kind of words is music to the ears of any Tampa wedding photographer! She said that their wedding was going to take place at the Avila Golf and Country Club, but they were open to ideas about picture taking outside the club as well. We spent some time flipping through my portfolio while she was pointing out her favorites. It turned out that she really liked the feel and the mood of Dinara and Johnny’s pre- wedding photoshoot in downtown of Tampa. She also said that they were renting a Rolls Royce Phantom instead of a limo and right away I knew I wanted to work it into the pictures.

Finally, we came up with a plan – we’ll start shooting in downtown of Tampa and then go over to the University of Tampa campus for the shots of the Rolls Royce and UT’s Plan Hall as a backdrop. Also, rather than trying to work with very limited time between ceremony and reception, we’d go a less traditional route and start their wedding day… with a 3 hour photoshoot! Now, that’s what I call a dedication to photography! Since I’ve shot quite a few engagement sessions on campus of University of Tampa, I was already envisioning some of the setups. I was excited and couldn’t wait…

Few days before the wedding I got a bit worried – the forecast for the big day was alarming: in almost unprecedented turn of events the temperatures in Tampa Bay area would drop to freezing during the day for the first time in many-many years. (They were talking snow in Florida!). I was almost convinced that Regina and BW would cancel the downtown shoot and settle for pictures on the Avila’s Golf course. To my surprise, they stuck to the original plan. The day was freezing as predicted, but the pictures came out perfect. We even made a huge canvas print (4ft x 2.5ft) of the shot with the two of them and the Rolls in front of the UT (see below). In fact, I think that we actually got somewhat lucky with the cold. Many Tampa wedding photographers love UT – usually on a weekend you’ll see occasional wedding or two stopping by for pictures. Then there are always tourists, students, etc. On that day however, it felt like we had the entire campus to ourselves!

Reception and ceremony took place at the magnificent Avila Golf and Country Club, where we managed to steal few more shots on the course and around the club. Decoration, setup and lighting were absolutely stunning. Oh, and so was the dinner:)

You can see more pictures in their Wedding Album.

For their album they picked Italian 12×12 flush mount book with beautiful acrylic cover and metallic pages. See the actual pictures of their album here (scroll down a bit, it’s the second album of the three I posed there).

Downtown Tampa Wedding Pictures - Regina and BW

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matt sloan - Great job Vadim, Avila looks like a gorgeous place for a wedding!

Ricardo Buchner - Hi!
Great photos on your blog!
From this particular wedding, I really liked the detail shots. Everything is very creative and well done!

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