Wagner Vineyard Lodi, NY Wedding Photographer Mabyn Ludke Photography


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This is the last Canvas Contest related post, I promise! But, I just couldn’t leave things as they are.

Some of you may not have been aware, but there was some ballot stuffing going in in the contest that was brought to my attention. Not everyone responsible came forward, but the people that mattered did. Their heart felt apologies were accepted and their mistake forgiven. I chose to keep them in the contest as I felt that being generous was a better option than being condemning. I opted not to put up the winners on Monday, mostly because I was so heart broken over the matter in general.

This week has proven to be very emotionally demanding. I’m a generally happy person and it takes a lot to shake that happiness. So you may ask yourself the question, “Why is Mabyn so hung up over a canvas?” It’s true, from the outside looking in this might not be a big deal. Yet for me and my clients, this canvas represents something much more.

I pour my heart and soul into every single picture I take. I also try to put just as much love and attention into my clients. It brings me a ridiculous amount of joy to help each and every couple have a seamless photographic experience. Wedding photography is not just a job, it’s who I am. I am joyful, emotional, and loving just like my client’s weddings are. The thought of something negative being associated with my brand , aka ME, tears me up inside. Hear me on this one, it’s not because I can’t handle pressure or criticism or I’m worried for the integrity of my business. Those things are a part of life and I navigate those waters as they come. No, what my heart can’t bear is a client looking at a photograph that I have taken and only remembering a bad scenario in place of their amazing wedding day. This my friends is why I was so distraught.

When the contest ended, even though I stood (and still stand) by the choices I made, I felt empty. The joy I normally feel with delivering the prize was sapped out of me. Now that I’ve had time to reflect, I know it’s because my clients were so repentant and distraught about the scenario as a whole. This may sound silly to you, but it’s true. I can be empathetic almost to a fault. But now that the adrenaline and emotion has calmed a bit, I am able to see the “silver lining” in this whole experience.

The truth behind the epic battle that was this contest is that these clients wanted something SO badly they fought every way they knew how. No it may not have been the wisest way to fight, but they fought HARD! I’m actually incredibly flattered that the top 3 couples worked so actively to get votes. They contacted everyone they knew, told them to spread the word,  & some people even handed out fliers! It really blows my mind that this was so important to them.

I pray that my clients invest as much time and energy that they put into this contest into their marriage. I pray they fight tooth and nail to not only stay together, but FLOURISH together! Weddings are the beginning of the adventure that lies ahead and as a wedding photographer, I don’t often get to see past the first page of that story. Every married couple I know, that has been together beyond a few years, has confided in me that it takes HARD WORK. Love is more than just a feeling, it’s choosing to stay together, choosing to communicate, choosing to support, respect, and honor each other even when you may not want to. This my lovelies is my take away. My clients are willing to do whatever it takes for a thriving beautiful marriage. I pray that all of this is just a bookmark in their journey that they can say, I will fight for you with everything I’ve got!

I’m glad that I can now step back from everything and smile. Seemly bad scenarios can always be turned to good if we’re willing to work it through. I am now excited to announce that Katie & Tim are this years winners for the contest. I pray that every time they look at their lovely picture that they can say “I will fight for you, I love you that much!”


Wagner Vineyard Lodi, NY Wedding Photographer Mabyn Ludke Photography



Silver Linings – My Take Away


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Update to the Christmas Canvas Contest and something a lil’ extra! 🙂


It’s HERE! It’s HEEERRREEE!!! My favorite time of yeaaaaarrrr!!!! 😉 Check out the video below for all things Christmas Canvas Contest!


1) Nikki & Marquis

2) Megan & Duke

3) Tracie & Lawrence

4) Leah & Patrick

5) Susan & Bob

6) Molly & Charles

7) Joy & TJ

8) Susan & Tim

9) Donna & Mike

10) Carrie & Matt

11) Cayla & Zack

12) Denyea & Brandon

13) Catharine & Ben

14) Amy & James

15) Danielle & Dan

16) Elaine & Mike

17) Dori & Kyle

18) Emily & KJ

19) Cori & David

20) Katie & David

21) Shannon & Obi

22) Jamie & Peter

23) Liz & Mike

24) Amanda & Matt

25) Jessy & Evan

2011 Christmas Canvas Contest!