This time of year, things are so busy it is difficult for me to keep up with the blog. I have so much material and no time to share it. Well, I am squeezing a post in today. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before the next one.
These images are from an awesome wedding for an awesome couple. I’ll let the pictures tell the story.
Congratulations to Arielle & Fellipe!
I spent many years seeking for the formula of getting the perfect portrait. Over time, I came to realize that people are not seeing their true self when they are completely posed in front of the camera. While those posed pictures are critical to a wedding shoot, there needs to be more. Probably the most important factor for me is to do everything I can to make sure the subjects feel comfortable in front of the camera. Most people do not like having their picture taken (myself included) and when someone feels uncomfortable, they usually look uncomfortable. Another rule I live by is that I don’t put the camera down until everyone is gone. Some of the best pictures are a result of joking around between groups and getting those scripted shots. I try not to do too much posing, yet I will direct in a way to help them feel natural and just let everything else happen. People enjoy seeing themselves smiling for real.
I met Amy and Joe a little over a year ago. They are an awesome, fun-loving couple that wanted one basic, yet very important thing for their wedding from each vendor. They wanted to be sure if they were going to pay someone to do a job, that they were going to do that job well. I gave them the opportunity to put that theory to the test when we came up with the idea for their engagement shoot. Their first date was a the Top of the Rock in NYC, so of course, that is where we went. We got some great images that day and after that, there were no doubts.
It really is a serious consideration when you hire someone to do a job. How do you really know that the work they are showing you is theirs? I often work with other photogs on the wedding day, but I made a strict business decision when I started that I would not put a photo from another photographer in my portfolio. I get feedback from people which implies that knowing that makes them feel more comfortable. At this point, I am doing engagement sessions for 90% of the wedding I shoot, so they are getting to know me a little before the wedding day, and likewise.
We me recently as we viewed their wedding photos together, and it was really nice seeing their reactions to each and every photo. I kept hearing, “I can’t wait to show my family these pictures”.
Congratulations Amy & Joseph. I wish you all the best as you start a new chapter in your lives.
The first dance is one of my most anticipated shots in any wedding. I’m not sure exactly why, maybe it has something to do with my love for music. When most people think wedding photo, they probably visualize an image of the bride and groom either kissing or posing for the camera. First dance is always atop my list, if not first. I think it’s because you can always find a picture of two people kissing or smiling for the camera, they are flooded all over facebook. There is a certain class when I look at a nice image of two people dancing.
I am anticipating this image from the moment I enter the reception venue. I visualize where I am going to stand, where my assistant will be and any other variables that come into play. My assistant has a pretty important assignment during this time and needs to have some experience, or it does not work. That is why I am happy that my wife has taken this responsibility and has been working with me now for over a year.
The newlyweds have just been introduced to the reception and are now on showcase in the center of the dance floor. There is a moment when their song begins to play where they both seem to block out the reality that they are surrounded by every important person in their lives right now. The moment is usually just that, a moment and it’s gone. I always try to capture this moment if it happens because sometimes they come out of it, reality kicks in and it looks as if they are dancing for the camera.
Sometimes it takes time for a child to warm up to the stranger with the big camera. If you don’t have an opportunity to photograph a child before the formal portraits, and they are either shy or just do not want to have their photo taken, it may not turn out good. One very important thing I learned about photographing people in general is that there is just as much work that goes into building relationships as actually taking pictures and are often done at the same time. By that I mean simply getting to know people and more importantly, letting them get to know you and feel comfortable with you.
This beautiful young lady was as shy as can be when I arrived at the home where the bride was getting prepared. I introduced myself and went about setting up my camera. I tried not to move around too much as to intimidate her. I sat close to my equipment bag and was testing some shots inside the den where the wedding dress was hanging. The sunlight was pouring in through the windows, so I was testing for a good exposure on the dress where I would not blow out the highlights or underexpose from the sunlight. I then opened up a third stop to better expose for skin tones because I wanted to be ready to grab a shot of her, which I knew would be quick.
I turned around to see what she was up to. She was peeking her head out from the kitchen watching everything I was doing. I told her I liked her tiara and asked if I could take her picture because she looked so beautiful. She nodded yes and quickly ducked right back into the kitchen. When she peeked her head back out, I was already focused and ready to snap the shot that literally lasted about a half a second. I smiled and said “I got you”. I then asked her if she would like to see the photo. She smiled and nodded yes again as she came over to look at the back of my camera. I told her again how beautiful she looked and wouldn’t you know it, she followed me around and modeled for me for the next 20 minutes. When it came time for the formals, she was my best subject (next to the bride, of course).
This weeks image was inspired by a wedding I covered yesterday at this same venue. As my wife and I were on our way to the reception, we were going over a mental check of equipment/shots/timeline stuff that we usually go over while in route. I mentioned that on the dance floor, there is an 8 point star that plays well into my first dance images. One of my signature first dance shots is a backlit, highlighted image of the bride and groom on the dance floor. Because the image is backlit, if I compose the shot in such a way to capture some of the back light, it produces a star-like glare which is similar to the one on the dance floor.
As we arrived at the venue, I was lugging my equipment across the dance floor to the back of the room and I noticed that the beautiful floor I remembered was no longer there. They had replaced it with a plain dark flooring. I asked the manager and she said that they just decided to replace the floor a few months ago. No real reason, just because. Oh well, no big deal, I still captured plenty of cool images, however this just made me reflect back to this one which I happened to like a lot.
Back to work. Enjoy your weekend!
More like images of the week, this week I’m cheating a bit, but they are all from the same session. Sometimes it’s just plain hard to choose just one. If I could, I would post an entire image gallery each week, but that would be way too many photos to insert into the blog post.
This year, I have been fortunate to be busy and having so much fun doing what I do. Although I have a pretty decent web presence, I owe a lot to my friends and family who have endorsed my work this past year, because I know it’s because they believe in me. I am more confident than ever before because I do what I believe is right. I have listened to every professional in the business say that the most difficult thing as a photographer is try to be different than everyone else out there. The way I approached that theory is simply to not try to copy everyone out there so that I am not the same. This gives me the freedom to be instinctive and approach each shoot with a clear mind while not following a fixed shot list each time out. If that were the case, all of my images would look the same and this would eventually become boring.
Well, off to work. Enjoy the weekend and thanks for checking in.
This weeks image of the week comes from a wedding I just finished covering 11 hours ago. I rarely post images from events this recent, but it is so vivid in my mind. These people were so much fun, I could not help myself.
A 13 hour day of no pressure, fun-filled image making. From the moment I entered the brides home, her family and friends were so warm and inviting. Both families were amazing and the core group of friends could not have closer. They were genuinely cool with awesome personalities all around. It was so great to work with them. You know it’s a good night when the family and wedding party are looking for you at the end of the night (or morning) to make sure they say goodbye to you before you split. It really was awesome to have met everyone last night.
Congratulations to Shamie & Anthony. I look forward to meeting with you soon to go through your images together. More images to come soon.