Tag Archives: lighting

The Calm Before The Storm

One week before hurricane Irene almost completely evacuated Fire Island, I was shooting a wedding on beautiful Ocean Beach, Fire Island. There was rain in the forecast, but Mother Nature was understanding and it didn’t start to rain until I was well on my way back home. Coincidentally, this wedding was postponed from the previous weekend when we had the torrential rain storm that stopped the ferry service from going to Fire Island. Crazy weather.

Anyway, we were moving quickly in anticipation of bad weather and still got all the shots we wanted. It was a beautiful day and makes me wish I spent more time on Fire Island.

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Fire Island is a pretty awesome place to tie the knot. I love the beach….

Congratulations to Stephanie & Al!

Perfect way to say I Love You…….Again!

I recently photographed an event type for the first time, however I am very familiar with the setting. It was a beautiful wedding ceremony where the wedding vows were renewed to strengthen their marital bond. It was like a mini wedding, yet no different in structure and importance.

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Congratulations Angie & Fernando!

Joanna & Xavier

I met them when they contacted me earlier this year regarding their upcoming wedding. A beautiful couple who love spending time and exercising together. They were on vacation somewhere far away and met another couple from long island that were vacationing on their honeymoon, who’s wedding I had just photographed. The two couples became friendly during their time away. Joanna & Xavier were recently engaged at the time and were in the beginning stages of the wedding planning. I learned when I first met Joanna that this couple I mentioned had spoke so highly of my work while they were away, she felt she had to contact me…..and they did.

We had an awesome engagement session only a week before the wedding and displayed a beautiful 24×30 framed collage at the wedding reception showcasing some of the pictures. They were married in Elmont and the reception was at the beautiful Swan Club in Roslyn.

I’m not too good with the words. Let’s get to some of the pictures……..

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Congratulations Joanna & Xavier. I had an awesome time shooting your wedding. You have a beautiful family.

– Mark

Kimberly & Mark

Kimberly came to me over a year ago accompanied by her Mother and decided to book her future wedding with me. She was up from Texas where she lived at the time with her fiancé Mark, whom I had not met until a week before the wedding. They both moved to Maryland a month before their wedding date, as if the anticipation of the wedding was not stressful enough. It was because of that move closer to Long Island which is why I was able to meet Mark before the wedding date. This is important to me and the couple to know who they will be working with on this special day. With all that was going on with the two of them, I could not have met a more down to earth couple.

I was able to get some really nice preparation shots at Kimberly’s mother’s house where the bridal party was getting ready. Wedding party formals at Captree and Ceremony/Reception at Timber Point Country Club. It was hot, but at least it didn’t rain. Here are just a few of the highlights from this awesome day.

 

 

Congratulations Kimberly and Mark. It was an honor and a pleasure to document your special day.

– Mark

Wedding Memories

The wedding album is the icing on the cake. It’s the last time I touch the images from that shoot and move on to other shoots and projects. It’s the way it is. Which is why I prefer to design all albums myself instead of outsourcing to someone no matter how busy I am. They would probably do a good job, but do not know the images like I do. They don’t know why or how I took a particular image.

I’ve been the busiest I have ever been and I still manage to design all the albums for all my clients. This is another album I recently finished for a great couple.

Coming of Age

I covered my first Mitzvah reception about 5 years ago. Before then, I had never even been to a Mitzvah and didn’t really know much about it. I was just starting out as a photographer and needed to get some event experience to test my skills. So I contacted the brother of a friend who owns a DJ company and he agreed to let me work to get some experience for almost no pay. I really just wanted the experience, because I wasn’t a photographer…….yet. I began working for him as a zap shooter. Those are the people that work for the DJ company and take pictures to put them up on the projection screen or plasma while the reception is in progress. They are not usually photographers, but someone using the DJ’s camera equipment to take still pictures.

Well, I learned more that day than any other time in my career. Event photography is not just walking around with a camera on auto and composing shots. I learned how to push my camera to its limits given the low light situation of a quite large, yet almost pitch dark catering room. A lot of my pictures in the beginning were blurry as a result, but they did get better. If it were me, I would not have hired me to shoot another day unless I was working for free and there were a more experienced shooter present. Well, the DJ dude didn’t actually look at the pictures I took and gave me several more jobs. I have to say, although he did not pay attention to the quality of the product he was delivering to his clients, it gave me an opportunity to grow with this craft and I knew I needed to do this exponentially with each assignment. I was reading everything I could get my hands on that spoke about photography, but nothing ever proves your understanding of it until your doing it yourself.

I have had the pleasure of covering quite a few Mitzvah ceremony’s and receptions in my career. I cover as many mitzvah events as I do weddings each year, and from my approach, they are almost no different. In fact, covering the mitzvah assignments is how I gained the experience and confidence to start shooting weddings. I keep a very similar mind set when covering these events. There are plenty of family present, a beautiful and structured ceremony and reception, lots of portraits and plenty of tender moments to find and capture.

My clients have been very good to me as my business has grown by word of mouth. I am thankful for the opportunity that my friends brother has given me to get started and for my wonderful clients that I have grown to know over the years. Here are some pictures from a recent mitzvah. I had a blast covering it and I look forward to many more this year.

My First Workshop

I have attended many workshops in my years as a photographer. There are so many different styles and categories of a photographers profession and some are quite diverse from the others. I have always followed my favorites, but I am open to listen to anyone who is doing something interesting, whether they are wedding, portrait, editorial, photojournalist, or freelance shooters. Even as a professional, you can never acquire too much information in any profession. You simply take what you can use, and hopefully the rest is reassuring that you are still doing things right.

I was asked recently if I would actually lead and instruct a workshop on portrait lighting for a group of photographers. My immediate thought was, WOW, I am not even known as a portrait photographer, I‘m a wedding shooter. I worked with a few people some time ago on a portrait session for charity and they liked what they saw when I was working. I was honored that there are actually people out there that want to hear me speak and teach them what I do. I don’t even like to hear myself speak, imagine what they were in for.

I gladly accepted and began to feel real confident as I realized the message I was going to communicate. This can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. When you learn from celebrity portrait photographers, they teach you their way of doing things with all their expensive equipment. They will sett up 12 profoto strobe lights, softboxes, umbrellas, gobos, gels and snoots just to take a head shot. And you know what, that’s how things are done if you are shooting professional portraiture for an editorial shoot. There are also makeup artist and hair stylists and a team of people just sitting around directing stuff. That is not likely in most situations and if you want to take a really nice portrait of someone, you start simple and can expand on this if you wish.

Simple portrait lighting concepts begin with one main light. This light could be a studio strobe, the speedlite flash unit from your camera, a continuous light (lamp or flashlight) or even the sun. Whatever it is, the direction of the light is what is most important. As long as the light is not coming from the same axis as your cameral lens, it will be interesting. The intensity of the light can be controlled from the camera’s exposure settings and if you are using a studio strobe or speedlite, you have even more control to set the power so that it is balanced with the exposure and ambient light.

Well, the workshop was held last Saturday and was a really great experience for me. We did an actual portrait shoot and I walked through setting up the camera and the lights based on the ambient light settings from which I was working in. I used one main studio strobe with a large softbox, a background light gelled with an interesting color to change the color of the background and a reflector to fill light coming from the main (key) light on the opposite side of the face. While working through the existing conditions, I continued to stress that they not focus on the equipment as much, but on the concept in which I am demonstrating. This could all have been done without any auxiliary lights. The same concept applies for outdoor sun light and window light indoors. If you don’t have a photographic reflector, just use something with a white, silver or gray reflective surface to add some fill light. If you bounce light off of something with color in it, the color reflected back to the subject will be the same color as the reflective surface it is bouncing off of.

I did receive some great feedback from the attendees afterward and they were very thankful for sticking around to answer their questions and being very detailed in explaining exactly what I was doing while I was doing it. I realize it is rare that someone will just teach you what they know for free. Most people spend years learning this stuff and years perfecting it. I have paid a lot of $$ to learn from many different professionals. They will teach you how they do things and tell you afterward that every piece of equipment they just demonstrated is something they are selling on their website with an inflated price tag, but the workshop special is buy 2 and get 5% off. Some of this is bullshit and I have lost respect for a few professional photographers because they turn from professional photographer to professional salesman. One very important thing to keep in mind is this, when they were up and coming photogs with a camera and a dream, they were not using the equipment they are selling today, they started out basic just like everyone else. Always keep it as simple as the job allows.

Take care and happy shooting!