Jess and Rob - Renault Winery - New Jersey Wedding Photographers

I first met Jess at her brother’s wedding back in 2016. Working with their family was such a great experience; they’re energetic, loving, and just all-around great people. I was so excited when Jess asked me to photograph her wedding that I’d have the opportunity to work with them again. Jess was such an amazing bride. Cool, calm, and as carefree as you can be when planning a wedding just months before it happens. When I first met with her and Rob, it was like we were old friends. Though Rob seemed like a man of few words at first, we ended up talking about all sorts of things, and he might have even invited me to Amsterdam with him while he’s on duty. Speaking of which, Rob is an active member of our nation’s Air Force, and for that reason, I am honored to have been a part of such an important day in his life. Thank you for your sacrifices and for putting others before you, Rob. Jess, thank you for presenting me with another incredible experience in my career. And both of you, thank you for trusting me with your day and for making me feel like family!

Emily and Ken - California Redwoods Elopement Photographer

I don’t usually write a lot in these blog posts. I became a wedding photographer because I love storytelling, but I’m not the best with words. However, I could say so much about Emily and Kenny and their amazing wedding in the redwoods of California. So I will.

Back in the days of AIM (AOL Instant Messenger for those of you who have never lived) I got a message from someone about one of the Madden NFL games on Xbox. We continued talking for days, weeks, months, and I never actually knew who it was. One thing I remember this person talking about was a book his cousin gave him.

Fast forward a couple months to Mr. Hill’s 8th grade history class. I sat behind Kenny. One day, he started talking about a book. He mentioned his cousin gave it to him. And then it all finally made sense. I’d been talking to Kenny this entire time without even knowing it. I didn’t tell him about this until years after it happened, mainly because I felt like an idiot. Since then, though, Kenny has been one of my best friends. We played baseball together, currently play wiffle ball together (yes you read that right), went to the last game at Shea Stadium together, drove to Florida and back multiple times, saw the Mets lose the 2015 World Series in person together, and we have shared some of the best times of my life.

I met Emily when I was working at The Picture People in the mall. Back then, I was the guy who met with you after you had your pictures taken to try to sell you prints and all that fun stuff. Ironically, I never even got to use a camera there. Emily, on the other hand, did get to use a camera. She and I laughed our heads off playing Madlibs and finding creative ways to vacuum one night when we were closing. She was by far the coolest cat at The Picture People besides yours truly. I told Emily she should meet my friend Kenny, and one day he and our friend Dave came into the studio and had Emily take their photos. Shortly after that, they got together outside of Emily’s job and they hit it off immediately. The rest, as they say, is history. If it sounds like I’m taking credit for their relationship, that’s because I am.

I couldn’t be happier for these two. They’re some of my best friends, and they were clearly meant for each other. Just ask anyone who’s spent 5 minutes with them. It was an absolute honor to be able to capture the memories of their incredible wedding for them, but it was even more of an honor to be standing up there with Kenny as a groomsman.

I can hear you thinking, “how did you shoot photos of the ceremony and wedding party then, Garret?” Well that’s where another one of my best friends comes in. Dennis worked as my second shooter for the first time in the 7 seasons we’ve been working together. Some of these photos would have been literally impossible without him, so thanks for crushing it as usual, Dennis!

Okay. Wow. That was a lot for me. I could keep going, but I’m gonna cut it here. You came here for the photos, not to read a novel. Enjoy.

Venue: Deer Park Villa

Hair & Makeup: The Makeup Dolls

Floral: Home Sweet Flowers

Coordinators: Cotton & Oak and Stacey & Company

DJ: Runaway DJ

Catering: Ray’s Catering

Dress: Tara Keely from Kleinfeld Bridal

Videography: This Charming Heart


Rock Island Lake Club - Sparta, NJ - Garret Torres Photography - Northern NJ Wedding Venue Spotlight

There is no carpet at Rock Island Lake Club.

When I spoke to Jamie from Rock Island about this blog post, that was one thing she mentioned that was important to her. While it was funny to hear, I think it says a lot about the overall mood of the venue. Like Jamie, I’m not the biggest fan of “wedding factory” venues with gigantic, gaudy ballrooms (not saying I hate them, they’re just not my top choice.) Rock Island Lake Club has been creating a unique, personal wedding experience for their couples since 2014, and they’re always improving. The focus of their weddings is their couples, which is one reason they only do one wedding per day, and the venue and property are there to accent the overall experience.

If you’ve never been to or seen photos of Rock Island, let me introduce you.

First of all, there’s obviously a lake.

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Outdoor ceremonies happen right here on the lakeshore. Being tucked away in the woods allows for a quiet, uninterrupted wedding ceremony experience. After your “I dos” you are led just a few yards away into the indoor/outdoor cocktail hour area, and let me tell you something. You’ve never experience a cocktail hour (hour and a half, actually) like the one at Rock Island Lake Club. Here’s just a taste of what’s included in their cocktail hour package: top shelf open bar, 30 beers on tap (craft, local, ciders, IPAs, gluten free, and more), a bacon station, guacamole station, Friendsgiving, gridiron grub (decorated in the theme of your favorite sports team), fresh mozzarella station, 8 different butler-passed hors d’oeuvres, 2 butcher blocks, your choice of music, and more. All this happens, as I mentioned, in their indoor/outdoor cocktail hour area. Guests can enjoy the lake view from an open-air balcony above the lawn, or they may choose to hang out by the newly renovated bar inside.

If you’re into portraits like I am, Rock Island has you covered. The lake is just the beginning of the opportunities for great photos. If you’re up for it (and I hope you are), you’re able to take out a row boat that the venue provides you! I’ve been dying to get some great drone photos of a couple in the boat on the lake, so let’s make that happen! Rock Island also has a great section of woods that’s not far off from everything else. There’s a cute little swing hidden back there along with some trails through the trees that make for great cover on even the sunniest of days.

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On the way back from the woods, you can hit up the walkway along the lower parking lot (I promise it’s prettier than it sounds. See the next photo for proof.)

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Some days the sky just comes through for us photographers. The last time I photographed a wedding at Rock Island Lake Club was one of those days.

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Even when it rains, Rock Island has provided me with some of the best portrait opportunities.

Alright, alright. I could go on and on about the great photo locations at this place, but let’s get into more of the information you came here for.

Your dinner and reception takes place upstairs on the main level. Windows line the wall facing the lake to continue providing guests with spectacular views of the water and wilderness. The room is big enough to fit 150+ guests, but it’s not so big that you feel like you’ll get lost. When guests work up a sweat from dancing all night, they can step out on to the balcony to get some fresh air, or head over to the bar for some refreshments.

While many people talk about dinner being one of the most important parts of a wedding, Id argue that Rock Island’s dessert and late-night options are possibly even more appealing. Donut board? Got it. Milk and cookie station (with edible cookie dough)? Yep. Churro bar? Check. S’mores by the bonfire? You know it. McDonald’s station? Wait, McDonald’s station? Yes, Rock Island will literally provide your guests with actual McDonald’s burgers, fries, nuggets, all that good stuff. I love a good filet, but I also love a greasy cheeseburger every once in a while. Imagine the buzz you’ll create when people find out that they can grab some Philly cheesesteaks or a classic New Jersey breakfast sandwich before they leave. No need to order food to their hotel room when they get back! They’ll probably be pretty exhausted from a killer party anyway.

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Remember when I told you that the staff at Rock Island treats everyone like family? One morning I was shooting a wedding there and the bride mentioned that she couldn’t enjoy mimosas with her bridesmaids due to the acid in orange juice. The bride was fine with it and told the bridal attendant not to worry about it. Without skipping a beat, the attendant sent someone out to a local store to purchase acid-free orange juice, and minutes later, the bride was enjoying an acid-free mimosa with her girls. If that isn’t supreme service from a venue, I don’t know what is. On top of that, most of the staff are in the same age group as their couples which makes it easy for them to relate and get along with each other. I don’t know about you, but if I’m planning a wedding, I want to work with someone who understands that a boomerang photo booth that can text you your photos is more important to me than the traditional “look at the camera and smile while you cut your cake” photos.

Some other great offerings from Rock Island include a roomy bridal suite with tons of natural light and a great view of the lake, a groom’s suite with a shuffleboard table, popcorn machine, and PlayStation 4, a cigar & whiskey bar, and the ability to go fishing off the dock before guests arrive.

If you’re interested in learning more about Rock Island Lake Club, or to schedule a visit, reach out to Emma at info@rockislandlakeclub.com

Top Wedding Venues for Adventurous Couples in Northern NJ (NY and PA, too!)

One of the biggest decisions in planning a wedding is choosing a venue. By doing a quick Google search, I was able to find 3,348 reception venues within 100 miles of where I live in Sussex County. In the greater northern New Jersey/New York/Pennsylvania area, there must be thousands more to choose from. Whenever I speak with a newly engaged couple who hasn’t yet chosen their location, they’re always overwhelmed with the amount of research, meetings, and tours they endure during wedding planning in hopes of finding the perfect venue. If that sounds like you, then you need to check out the list below!

Personally, I love places that are not quite your typical wedding venue. My favorite places to photograph weddings are the ones that offer more than just a pretty building. Marble columns and fancy chandeliers have their place, but there’s nothing like an outdoor ceremony in front of a lake, or being able to get creative with portraits in an old factory built in the 1800s. Below you’ll find a list of some of the absolute best wedding venues for adventurous couples looking for a more unique wedding experience.

*I’ll be returning to this list from time to time to update it with new places and new information.

Rock Island Lake Club - Sparta, NJ

Style: Upscale Rustic

Amount of guests: 125-200

Best time to of year get married: Summer

Number of weddings per day: 1

Rock Island Lake Club opened in 2014, and since then they’ve been known for their beautiful setting and exemplary service. Nestled in the woods away from any main highways, Rock Island serves as a private oasis for a medium-sized wedding. I love shooting at Rock Island because of the lake, the woods, the amazing cocktail hour offerings, and most importantly, the staff. Everyone there treats every bride, groom, guest, and vendor as if they’re family. I’ve been there as a guest and as a photographer, and their service is top-notch every. single. time.

Click here to learn more about Rock Island Lake Club

View photos from Rock Island Lake Club


The Art Factory - Paterson, NJ

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Style: Industrial Chic

Amount of guests: up to 400, no minimum

Best time of year to get married: Any time

Number of weddings per day: 2

The Art Factory is like no other wedding venue you’ve ever seen before. No, seriously. The venue is set on 5 acres across 21 buildings and has been used as filming space for Nike, HBO, BET, History Channel, and tons of other big-time productions. Everything from the layout of your tables to the timeline of your day to the decor used around the venue is customizable, and any decorations, tables, etc. that you might want for your wedding are made IN HOUSE! Doesn’t get much more custom than that.


Stroudsmoor Country Inn - Stroudsburg, PA

Style: Natural, Charming

Amount of guests: 30-350

Best time of year to get married: Fall

Number of weddings per day: 6

Stroudsmoor Country Inn is one of my favorite wedding venues to tell people about. Well, it’s six of my favorite wedding venues to tell people about. Yes, the Inn has six separate venues available to their couples! Each one is unique in its own way, yet each one stays true to the natural and charming feel of the entire property. Adventurous couples are able to explore the wooded grounds, take in scenic valley views, and enjoy the architecture of the buildings and passages.

Check out my latest Stroudsmoor Country Inn wedding!


Ledges Hotel - Hawley, PA


Style: Quaint, Intimate, Natural

Amount of guests: 25-150

Best time of year to get married: Fall

Number of weddings per day: 1

The first time shot a wedding at Ledges Hotel, I stood in awe of the scenery for so long that I almost missed the wedding. Not really. But if I didn’t have an amazing wedding to photograph that day, I could’ve spent hours by the waterfalls and rock ledges just taking in its beauty. Aside from the obvious visual attraction of the falls, Ledges offers a charming courtyard with string lights, multiple cocktail and dinner locations, and even a fire pit to enjoy after the festivities are over.


Emmerich Tree Farm - Warwick, NY

Style: Rustic, Outdoor

Amount of guests: up to 150

Best time of year to get married: Spring-Fall

Number of weddings per day: 1

Although the only wedding I photographed at Emmerich Tree Farm happened almost two years ago, I remember the magic of it like it was yesterday. Being able to enjoy the reception in the fresh air under the pavilion was one of Emmerich’s many perks. Others include a gorgeous view of groves of evergreen trees, a cozy campfire, pathways through the woods lit by string lights, and the full attention of an eager staff.


As mentioned above, this list will be updated periodically. If you have any questions about any of these venues, drop a comment below or feel free to reach out to me at garret@gtphotonj.com!













Heather and Tom - Wedding at The Lodge at Mountain Springs Lake Resort, Poconos PA Photography

There is always something special I take from every wedding I photograph. It’s usually a feeling or a memory, or maybe even an image in my mind or from my camera. With Heather and Tom, I came away with a new friendship with two extremely caring and genuine people. From our very first meeting, they made sure that not only their photography needs were being met, they also made sure that I felt like more than just a vendor at their wedding. This relationship helped us all enjoy their wedding day to the fullest, and it made for some of my favorite photos of 2018. Thanks for being so wonderful, Heather and Tom!

Best of 2018 Wedding Photography - NJ Wedding Photographer

Well, well, well…. Here we are again. Another year has passed, and I’m still blown away by the fact that I get to capture one of the happiest days of people’s lives for a living. To be completely honest, when I got into wedding photography, I didn’t expect to like it. I’d always thought of wedding photographers as grumpy, jaded, uninterested people with cameras telling people what to do at weddings, just waiting for the minute they’re done for the day. I quickly learned that that doesn’t have to be the case, and that weddings offer so many opportunities for a photographer to express creativity, constantly hone their craft, and most importantly, to help couples immortalize the moments of their wedding day. I really don’t know if I’d be as enamored with photography as I am now if it weren’t for weddings and the wonderful people I’ve met along the way.

That group of wonderful people, the ones who make my career worthwhile, is predominantly made up of the people who chose and trusted me to document their weddings. I’m thankful for every last one of you, and I hope that the photos and memories I provide you with show you how truly grateful I am. Because of you, I’m able to continue doing what I love, and most importantly, you’re the reason I can say that I can’t wait to go to work weekend after weekend. Thank you.

Another faction of that group of wonderful people are the ones who help me succeed in the world of wedding photography. First and foremost, I need to thank my wife, Melissa. You’ve been the single biggest inspiration for me these last few years, and I can’t thank you enough for everything you’ve helped me with this year, from assisting on weddings to getting better at SEO and everything in between. Dennis, thank you as always for all the opportunities you’ve provided me with while second shooting for you. Last year I thanked Dennis for letting me beat him in golf so often. I hate to admit it, but this year it was pretty much an even split. I even managed to shoot a 117 somehow. Yikes. Touché, Dennis. Tommy, thanks for coming through in the clutch while shooting for me, and for having me as part of your team. I don’t know if I’ll ever enjoy fast food as much as I did with you in Maryland. Chris, thank you for bringing me along to shoot with you at some awesome weddings. And thanks for reminding me that I need to be more active to keep up with you (thanks to the Apple Watch for that, too.) To everyone who has shot with me/assisted for me, Tommy, Brandon, Danny, Justin, Matt, thank you guys for all of your hard work and company this season. Garret Torres Photography wouldn’t be where it is today without you.

Alright, that’s enough writing to last me through 2019, maybe even 2020. Here’s what you all came here for:

Sara and Michael - Ledges Hotel - Hawley, PA Wedding

Anyone who knows me knows that I love wedding ceremonies near waterfalls. Sara and Michael had that, plus a killer party in a nearby restaurant, their closest family and friends, and almost an hour of night portraits. As if that wasn’t enough, Sara and Michael are two of the nicest, most genuine people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. They were up for anything, and all day I felt as if I was among lifelong friends. Needless to say, their wedding was the bomb. Check it out below!

Kayla and Nuri - Perona Farms Wedding - Andover, NJ

Some weddings really stick out in my mind when I recount all the ones I’ve photographed. It’s only been two weeks, but I can already tell Kayla and Nuri’s will be one of those weddings. I had such a great time working with everyone involved in their day, and it was so stress-free that it almost felt like something was wrong. Kayla and Nuri won’t be the only ones wishing they could redo their wedding day over and over again.

Side note: if you need to set up a retirement fund, talk to Nuri. Reach out to me and I’ll give you his info. I can say from experience that he’s fantastic to work with! And though I can’t speak from experience about Kayla, I think I’m safe to assume that she’s a wonderful teacher :)

Ashley and Justin - Chandelier at Flanders Valley Wedding, Flanders, NJ

Back before I was a wedding photographer, I worked at Modell’s Sporting Goods.  So did these two kids named Ashley and Justin.  I was very close with each of them in my three years at the company, so when they got engaged 1. I was super happy for them, and 2. I really wanted to shoot their wedding.  They reached out to me shortly after and I was ecstatic for the opportunity.

Their wedding was nothing short of amazing.  It was packed with tons of love, smiles, tears, and beautiful moments.  There are a lot of photos in this post, but don’t blame me.  You can blame Ashley and Justin for having a killer day.

April and Jason - Stroudsmoor Country Inn Wedding - Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania

Sometimes you meet a couple who you know are just perfect for each other. April and Jason are that couple. You could feel the strength of their connection simply by the way they looked at each other. Their wedding day was full of smiles, happy tears, and love from everyone there. Not only were April and Jason perfect for each other, they were the perfect fit for me as well. What really sealed the deal was when they told me they’d love to take even more time to do extra night shots. I mean, come on. Night photos are my favorite. And you want me to do more than I expected to be doing that night? Amazing.