As I wrap on another year of being a photographer and small business owner, I am overwhelmed by the support, love, trust, and kind words you have all had for me and my incredible crew. You’ve welcomed me and the KJAD crew into your lives and families not only in 2022, but over these past 20 years, and there isn’t a day that passes by where I don’t think about how lucky I am for it all.
Being a wedding photographer, and furthermore having the opportunity to photograph senior portraits, family photos, holiday photos, headshots, community events, or events for local universities, truly is the best career… especially for me. I love what I do, strive to better myself each day, and take what I do with the incredibly seriously so that I can better serve my couples, their friends and family.
Thank you for all of the likes, shares, referrals and continued support to me and Knot Just Any Day. I believe that being kind, helpful, and caring is integral to what we do… and being our best, always, is all we can offer in return. I hope to keep doing it for decades to come.
Capturing your lives is an honor and a privilege. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
Let’s keep making memories together.
Steve is now featured on Shotkit! Shotkit is a great resource for photographers in any field at any skill level to get an in-depth look at the gear photographers around the world are using everyday! Photographers can get advice, read reviews, view tutorials, and much more and we’re so happy to be a part of this community! To see Steve’s Shotkit, click here.
A few weeks ago we posted 50 photos on our Instagram Story that we submitted to the 2022 Shoot & Share, and the results are in!! 9 of the 50 we submitted across multiple wedding categories received accolades. Check them out below! Scroll all the way for our highest awarded photo. =]
I’m so so so thrilled to be sharing this bit of “steve news” with you.
For the past five years, I have been aware (and mostly obsessed) with an international photographer’s collective called “Fearless Photographers”. The incredible work found on this curated site is all around stunning, inspiring, jaw-dropping, and most definitely filled with compassion, not only from the subjects, but clearly the photographers. In my opinion, it’s an extraordinary group of top notch, seasoned, photo pros that without question, love-love-love what they get to create. And I needed to be a part of this group. I wanted in, and to do so, I had to know the password at the door or even just the fancy members-only handshake. Truthfully, I had to continue to care for my profession and art and continually try to create long lasting impactful photos.
Over the past five years or so, I have had the drive to become a Fearless Photographer. With every photo, edit, and wedding photo gallery I delivered I wondered if I had what those photographers listed on Fearless had:
The ability to capture the magic in love.
To see a scene like no one else.
To be confident enough to get even closer.
To be gutsy enough to be farther away from it all.
To truly be patient.
To be even more predictive.
To be a little braver than before.
To be an even better technician by the end of each day.
And as a personal goal, to be more accommodating, caring, careful, and above all – expressively appreciative.
So finally, after too many years, I applied..and guess what?
I am now a FEARLESS PHOTOGRAPHER!!! I now know the secret handshake, and I couldn’t be more excited. Thank you for your continued support of me and KNOT JUST ANY DAY. We always have so many exciting things going on and with that comes opportunities for our couples, our community, our crew, and other creatives. You can see my profile here!
If you are interested, be sure to check out our newest subsidiaries of KJAD on Instagram and Facebook.
For business and professional portraits inquiries – @corporatebyKJAD
For families, kiddos, senior sessions and more – @portraitsbyKJAD
For wedding planning and coordination – @planningbyKJAD
For wedding invitations and all things stationery related – @paperbyKJAD
As we close out the week and the 2021 season here at the KJAD studio, it’s impossible to look back and not be so tremendously grateful for our couples, crew, and families. We are thankful for everyone who made KJAD a part of their day (and lives) this past year. We navigated so much uncertainty together as you planned your weddings, and at the end of each day, we were able to do what we love with each other for genuinely great people.
Our mantra here is that we take the time to get to know you and what’s important to you, so we can make your wedding as wonderful as you’ve always hoped it would be, down to the smallest detail. Every kind word, review, holiday card, recommendation means so much to us, knowing that we were there for you in such a meaningful way. So, thank YOU. Not just for the kind words but for your trust in us. For giving us the opportunity to archive such important moments and create timeless art you’ll cherish for a lifetime. We’re excited to share more of our year with you as we plan an exciting upcoming 2022.
Thanks again…so so much,
the KJAD crew
Whether we were traveling to New York City, Colorado, the Jersey Shore, and more to be Destination Wedding Photographers or photographing, filming, and planning weddings here in NEPA, we were so happy to be out doing what we love. Scroll to see selfies, our travels, fun moments with our couples, fun moments with each other, how we captured the moments, and lots more.
Hey, it’s me, Mike! I’m your second crew feature, and while you’re here, I wanted to tell you a little bit about myself and how I became the Lead Photographer at KNOT JUST ANY DAY.
One day, just about 5 years ago, I showed up at the KJADstudio, sat down, started doing some work, and I’ve been here ever since. Okay, okay, maybe it wasn’t quite that simple, but it’s close.
I graduated from Wilkes University in 2012 with a degree in Integrated Media. My path with Steve didn’t cross there being he didn’t start teaching at Wilkes until 2013. Still, a good friend of mine, Eric, was a student of Steve’s and transitioned into videography for KJAD after he graduated in 2013.
I definitely credit KJAD for jumpstarting my creative career, but art has been in my life for as long as I can remember. I was really into video games and anime, which made me want to learn how to draw. There was no YouTube then, so before taking art classes, I got my start by learning from drawing books from Walden Books. Drawing and gaming evolved into an interest in motion graphics, and that’s when I began working with Adobe products like Photoshop and After Effects, and found my interest in graphic design and photography. I watched tutorials and made graphics for friends, and by doing enough of those you learn the basics of it. Photography came into play when I needed some sort of footage to test my graphics over. Then, when I got to school, I learned that it was a part of the Integrated Media program, and it all started working together.
Prior to KJAD, I worked in advertising for about 2 years, which oddly enough was right next door to the KJADstudio. During that time, my friend Eric then gauged my interest in coming to work for KJAD. I said I was down, so here we are. Even though I am a photographer now, my role there began as a video editor.
At KJAD, my first jobs were file management, video editing, and designing flyers, invitations, and all of that fun stuff. Within a few months, I was at weddings as a 2nd shooter for video. Ever so slowly from there, I started training more in photography, saved up some money, and bought all my gear. Getting a camera after all those years of messing around and teaching myself was like a “game on” moment. I knew this was something I wanted to do and that I was comfortable with it. So, in my second year, I started as a 2nd photographer to learn even more and grow my skill set. After that and once I got even more comfortable, I started shooting lead. Now, years later, that’s my role today!
I think the cool thing is, being a photographer and videographer has gotten me out into the world more than I expected. I’ve gone to places I otherwise wouldn’t have gone and met great people that I would not have met. KJAD definitely kickstarted my creative career, which I’ve continued to build on since I’ve started, but the experience has also impacted me, as I’ve matured as an artist and a person through KJAD.
Nowadays, you can find me splitting my time as an artist between my full-time job at Benco Dental as a designer, photographer, and videographer, and as a Lead photographer on weekends with the KJAD crew.
That’s all there is to know about me and my time here! I’m looking forward to becoming part of your wedding. Can’t wait to meet everyone! Thanks for reading and taking a few minutes to learn more about me. In the meantime, follow me here (@mjgentle) and listen to my playlist below.
Hi everyone! It’s me, Steve. I thought I would take a few minutes to introduce myself to those of you I have yet to meet and give the rest of you who know me a little more, a bit more backstory on me.
Owner, Photographer, Videographer, Stationery Designer, Wedding Planner, @thekjadbaby’s dad
I have a BFA in photography from Kutztown University. Began playing guitar and singing in bands, professionally, towards the end of college and continued that well into my 30s. I owned an art gallery in Jim Thorpe for a few years after college. Worked as an artist’s assistant, taught 30-50 guitar lessons a week, and began photographing everything I possibly could. I photographed my first wedding in 2003 with one of my film cameras and never looked back. I did freelance photo and graphic design from that point forward. The graphic design work landed me a killer seat working for the coolest arts and entertainment paper called The Weekender. During my time there I went from The Weekender’s graphic designer to the parent company’s, the Times Leader, creative director. This change of focus from just creating non-stop to being more involved with the development side of the business really pushed me to continue to further my own entrepreneurial endeavors. Towards the end of my time at The Weekender, as I tried to push forward my side work, I began teaching as an adjunct instructor at Wilkes University.
My first love is teaching. I teach no matter what I am doing. And over my time at Wilkes, I have learned what it’s like to make a difference in someone’s life. Teaching is a gift unlike any other thing, but it goes both ways. My students have always left a mark on me. They have always pushed me in ways to better problem solve, better communicate, and to be more patient. I’m the kind of person that can wait for anything from someone else, but can NOT wait the time it takes to watch my coffee reheat… so, I teach with a room temp cup of coffee.
Continuing on, after leaving the Weekender and Times Leader, I made my way over to Metz Culinary Management. I continued in the creative marketing world during my time at Metz. And all the time all of this was going on over the past decade and a half, I kept playing shows with my two bands, Lessen One and OurAfter, played acoustic shows by myself, photographed weddings, bands, concerts, models, food, architecture, events, headshots, family/kid/senior portraits, designed logos and ads for local and regional businesses, AND officially started KNOT JUST ANY DAY in early 2008. (deep breath)
KJAD was created to give me a more formal business entity to take photos, create memories, and to find myself making art that lasted for generations to come. Ever since my first wedding in 2003, I found myself valuing the importance and beauty of weddings and relationships. Once I let the concept of weddings more into my world of photography, I realized that I couldn’t take another photo that was just for the sake of the photo. I needed to create for people who truly and genuinely loved every bit of what I was creating. Not to knock fine art photography, but if I had to try and sell another long exposure waterfall print for $35, I would have hung up my camera and called it a day. Weddings found me and I found my purpose as a photographer in weddings. Some people LOVE wedding photography, and others… not so much. I, on the other hand, love what I can timelessly create at a wedding for my couples, friends, and families. It’s an honor to be a wedding photographer if you want it to be. These images will last for generations to come and will carry in them, the most important people in my clients’ lives. Every wedding I accept the challenge to archive this day – to be present, predictive, artistic, tender and kind, and to allow my personality and technique to lead the way.
Now, I’m speaking very much in the “I”, when really the point of KJAD is “we”. I started this business knowing that I work better with others around me. I thrive on sharing the excitement and positive outcomes with my crew and at the same time work towards better outcomes through challenging times.
The concept of “we” really is what drove me to open the KJAD studio in 2015. The studio is a place where we meet prospective clients, have important meetings about weddings and events, edit photos and videos, create customized stationery, work as a team, and even share our work with you. If you haven’t been to the studio, please stop by… once, of course, we can all be in the same space as each other. Despite all of the hurdles we face with this ever-present disease that we are faced with, I know that if we take precautions, be aware of our actions and support one another, we will all be back up and running before we know it. This year will mark the five year anniversary of our downtown Wilkes-Barre studio’s opening. I am eager and so excited to, hopefully, in the near future, open our doors and have you all over for a celebration of what we have achieved and what we soon will begin, all thanks to your support and love of what we do.
The last item on my list of things to share with you is my family. I have a wonderfully supportive family that’s always on the ready to help me stay flexible with my time and efforts with KJAD. My wife, Bridget, always has had my back and my biggest cheerleader, Henry, our son, (@thekjadbaby on IG) is itching to get in and help out… well I mean he’s three, but he really likes keyboards and all of the buttons on my cameras, so that’s a start.
Thanks for reading this. Thanks for your continued support. Thanks for trusting us with such an important role in your lives. And thank you for trusting me.
And just for fun, I’ve decided to share with you a playlist of tunes I am listening to right now. On each on of these crew feature blogs, I will include a Spotify playlist that each crew member creates. Here are some of my recent musical finds and songs I have on repeat. Enjoy!
And lastly, here is the full video of a new feature we are doing with everyone in the company. And for your official max overload of me – enjoy 49 slightly random questions with me.