• WELCOME!

    I live in beautiful Bozeman, Montana and I am happy to travel anywhere in Montana and beyond to photograph your wedding events!
    I love what I do.
    I travel to new places, see rad things and photograph them.
    Its truly a privilege to photograph some of the most personal and amazing moments of your wedding.

    Vital info:
    Married: to an awesome guy who tolerates my crazy ideas (I have a lot of them).
    Love: rafting Montana rivers, playing roller derby and spending time with my pup; Max.
    Number of years shooting weddings: 6 years and loving it.
    School: B.A. in Photography from Montana State University
    Coffee: It better be good.
    Dreaming big: always.
    Adventure and fun: required.

    406-587-2996
    Read what clients have said about my services! Reviews

Montana Folk Festival 2014

What is the Montana Folk Festival?

Most people who haven’t experienced the festival think it is “folk” music. Images of hippies playing guitars come to mind. Well, it’s not to say that there wont be any of that, its just that there is more to “folk” music than that. Really, the Folk Festival celebrates all folk traditions. The traditional music of all countries and regions are welcome. Each year you never know what you will get from Zydeco, Native American drumming, Reggae, American bluegrass or southern gospel. I was thrilled to photograph this awesome 3 day event that happens in Uptown Butte, Montana again! I photographed the first 3 years of the festival when it was the traveling, national Folk Festival and really loved it. The goal of the National Folk Festival is to have the structure in place for that town to create a local version of the festival when the national festival moves on to another state. I can say with certainty that the Montana Folk Festival is just as large and perhaps even better since the last time I attended several years ago!

Some of my favorite performances were: Don Carlos (reggae), Mariachi Reynas de Los Angeles (the worlds only all women Mariachi band!) The Traveling McCoureys (bluegrass) and Ali Akbar Moradi (Kurdish). Those Mariachi girls were amazing. Beautiful harmonies, powerful voices and so talented. Don Carlos was a joy to watch and photograph. Dancing around the stage with a big grin, he stole my heart. From Kingston, Jamaica this reggae legend has been performing since 1973. I liked their vibe and he caught my gaze and smiled as if saying “it’s all good mon”. Some people really give you a gift when you photograph them, posing a little, giving a little to you. I wish I could have chatted with him, I imagine he has some stories to tell. Until next time, thanks to all the people who make the Folk Festival possible. SO many volunteers, musicians, techs, it is really impressive the army it takes to put on this free festival!

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Bozeman wedding photography- The Woodlands

Here is another beautiful Bozeman wedding, and it reminds me why I love photography so much!
The Woodlands at Cottonwood Canyon just outside Bozeman, Montana is a beautiful place for weddings! I am happy to have photographed a handful of weddings there and just love the place! Emily and Austin planned their big day to include their little man; Jack. Such a cutie, he was part of their ceremony and the reception until the little guy fell asleep that is! Emily and Austin have excellent taste and the event was just stunning. From the cake to her dress, I really enjoyed capturing the details and special moments. Great people, a fun party, and a little photography bling for me and I am a happy girl.

I am pretty sure Emily could be a model. No really. And she selected the most elegant dress from Plume Bridal in Bozeman, Montana. The sash was the perfect touch. With gorgeous flowers and event design from Allison Brook Design including a white orchid bouquet it was quite a civilized event! Oh yeah, and one of my favorite caterers too: Just a Taste and a unique and creative cake from Elle’s Belles Bakery. I have to admit I get excited when certain vendors are involved in a wedding and I know I am gonna love the food. When we are busy photographing a long wedding day we photographers look forward to dinner!

They are young, happy and I was thrilled to photograph their big day and meet their lovely family. Cheers guys!

P.S. I also have been known to nibble on dessert too!

Want to view some more Bozeman wedding photography? Here is another one you might like: Aly + Isaac’s Wedding at the Woodlands

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WPPI review + experience

My very first trip to the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International Conference in Las Vegas!

WPPI is the worlds largest convention for professional photographers, think 13,000 camera toting freaks. It is a great time, with industry parties, days full of amazing classes from some of your favorite photographers and it’s VEGAS of course! This is my WPPI review and I like to travel well so I have some travel tips and advice for saving some money too. The event is held at the MGM Grand with 5 days of classes and a HUGE expo for 3 of the days. We are talking 2 full ballrooms of stuff you want to touch, try and compare. It’s almost overwhelming.

Where to stay?
You can stay at the MGM Grand but it still means walking a mile or so to your classes. That is just an estimate, but you know how these casinos are, they make you walk through everything to get you to spend more money (basically a large maze of artificial, indulgent and sparkling things). Based on advice from photogs I know who had attended in the past, I chose the MGM Signature. The Signature is right next door and attached with enclosed hallways with those land escalator thingies so it is basically as close as staying at the Grand.
WPPI review
Photos: One of the Signature’s lovely pools, Me catching a ride in a stretch hummer with Kiss Albums, one of my lovely room mates : )

Why the Signature?
I love that it is non smoking, and no gaming. I don’t care for either so this really attracted me. Also, it is super nice, has it’s own pools that are not as crowded as the Grand and the rooms have kitchens. Having your own fridge for drinks and being able to cook food can save you a ton of money! A bottle of water is like $5 around the strip!
I shared a 1 bedroom hotel room with 2 other girls from Montana. It had a bedroom with a master bath and a pull out bed in the living room, a second bathroom and a small kitchen. It was very nicely appointed, comfortable for 3-4 girls and had a balcony. I could live in that hotel pretty easily : )
We took a taxi to a grocery store once and stocked up on some food, snacks and drinks, especially water! I didn’t cook much but having cereal in the morning and sandwiches or whatever for lunch saved money to go out for dinner! It is expensive eating and drinking in Vegas. A beer is $8 and I prefer cocktails which were about $18 a piece! OUCH. The industry parties are great for providing h’orderves and drinks. WPPI also has parties every night sponsored by Nikon, Canon and such. Many of these have some food but no free drinks that I remember? I only went to a few of these as I was there for only 4 days, the pool party at the MGM Grand was fun and had great food to snack on!

WPPI vegas

How are the classes?
Enough about pools, parties and rad hotels already. We are here for the classes right? You can reserve your seat in 5 classes in advance. You can go to more, these are just one’s you absolutely have a seat for. I went to at about 2 classes a day. If you aren’t going to make it to an early class don’t try. It takes 15-20 minutes just to get to the classes and they sometimes fill up if the speaker if very popular. I went to Sal Cincotta, Brett Florens, Jerry Ghionis, and Lawrence Chan (AKA Tofurious) to name a few. All the classes were pretty awesome, although sometimes I felt a little too advanced for what they were explaining as I have a bachelors degree in photography and have worked professionally for over 5 years. I would recommend researching the person teaching and the class before deciding. I really enjoyed Brett Florens- his story was fascinating and his tips were honest and helpful. He really tried to demystify the high fashion wedding photography he does and I won a book from him! Woohoo!

Is it worth going to WPPI?
Yes! Maybe not every year, I am not going in 2014. Even if you go just for the expo and a few parties it’s a a great experience and you meet wonderful people. Keeping up on new technology, techniques and learning new things is important in any field.

Final tips:

Don’t try to do everything. Make time for what you really want to do while there. I scheduled some serious time at the pool and soaking up the sun because it was still winter in Montana! We made time for some fun industry parties and yummy food. I spread the expo over 2 days so it wasn’t madness taking it all in.
WPPI vegas

Livingston Montana Engagement Session

A Livingston Montana engagement session?

YES please! I love downtown Livingston, it has so much character. Kara and Richard also wanted to take their pooches down to the Yellowstone River so they could swim. I love when couples bring their pets to shoots as they are part of the family! We wandered the streets and alleys and visited the Murray Hotel in Livingston. We then headed to one of my favorite rafting take outs; Pine Creek. Kara and Richard have some serious water dogs, big surprise as they are labs! I was worried they would get carried down the river but the couple knew better. Those dogs swam forever and weren’t even tired. My little schnauzer-mix Max would be a goner in that current, so I tried to resist the urge to jump in and save them!
The Yellowstone is a special place for me and Paradise Valley is one of my favorite sections. Rafting the Yellowstone in the summer only takes a close second to photographing beautiful weddings! Being on the water does something wonderful to me, it’s exciting and calming all at the same time. Feeling the sun, having a cold drink and hanging with a few good friends is a day well spent indeed.
Until next summer, I will be thinking of that river.

Congrats Kara + Richard!

Contact me today to chat about your big day! 406-587-2996

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Want to see more engagement sessions? Montana Engagement Sessions

Livingston, Montana wedding photographer

Paradise Valley near Livingston, Montana is perhaps the most beautiful place to get married in Montana.

As a wedding photographer in Livingston, Montana I was thrilled to photograph this event. The Yellowstone River runs through this valley just north of Yellowstone Park with the Absaroka Range on the east and the Gallatins to the west. I try to spend as much time here as I can in the warmer months rafting some of the most scenic areas in North America. No really. To put it short, any day I am not out photographing weddings I try to be out on the river. Maggie & Mike love it too and spend a lot of their time with their black lab, Otter out on the river. Pretty perfect considering they live about 150 yards from the river in the same place as their wedding ceremony. It might have been a little chilly that day as they were married in late Autumn but the sun was out and family and friends snuggled up tight in blankets and scarves. It was special for me to photograph a wedding right there on the banks of a river I revere and adore.
They told me there was nothing more important than family. Their bridesmaid and groomsmen were all brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews. It was really touching how close they all are and how they helped out with the wedding. How stinking cute are those kids?!
Of course their doggy Otter was part of the ceremony and portraits. I would want my dog Max to be part of it too, if we weren’t married 10 years already. (That makes me sounds old huh?)
I was also excited that their reception was held at the livingston train depot a historic once train depot now turned museum that is awesome. It’s in the lively downtown of Livingston and has a lot of character. They invited their guests to “BYOP” or bring your own pie, it was touching to see so many homemade pies of all varieties. What a great idea!
Then we finished the night rocking out with the local band bottom of the barrel They played some songs at special request for the bride and groom then played their set. A live band really livens up a party and keeps the fun going all night.
Congrats Maggie + Mike!

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June 28, 2014 - 5:31 pm

Sarah Jensen - Hey there Merissa, I am getting married August 16th of this year in Gardiner, MT. I was just wondeging what your rates and availability would be for that date? I hope you are having a great summer and thank you so much for your time, Sarah

July 2, 2014 - 12:47 am

Sara Meyer - Merissa,

My fiance and I were wondering what wedding packages you offer and pricing. We are getting married in Livingston, MT on6-20-2015. Thank you!

Sara

July 2, 2014 - 3:53 am

merissa - Hey Sarah! I emailed you directly, excited to chat with you!

July 2, 2014 - 3:54 am

merissa - Hi Sara! Thanks for contacting me, I will email you directly. I can’t wait to hear more about your wedding plans!