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 time of year is something special. Like everything else, it comes and goes and before you know if, it’s gone. I usually set aside some important time to go out and shoot fall foliage, but this year has been real busy. However, I was able to deprive myself of some much needed sleep and head over to Belmont Lake State Park early one morning this week at sunrise and get a few images. Holy shit was it cold, but it is beautiful and peaceful to be at such a busy place that early in the morning…..and so close to home.
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.
You know what it’s like when you get that wedding invitation in the mail. The first thing you probably do is check the date in your calendar, cause that just makes sense. Then you begin to think about what you are going to wear. Maybe you need to get a new dress, or pull that old suit out of the back of the closet to send it to the cleaners. What if that invitation said something other than formal or black tie in the dress category….
Every once in a while, I find the theme of a wedding drift outside of the formal tradition. It’s kind of refreshing in that it reminds us that it is our day and we really can do what ever we want.This bride and groom held there wedding at their private residence dressed in an all out country theme. The guys were uniformly dressed in wrangler jeans cowboy boots/hats (no spurs for safety purposes). The girls were also wearing boots with cowgirl dresses. There was a country band playing at the reception and the food served was all barbeque. The bride is a professional horseback rider and yes, we took formal pictures with her horse.
The property was enormous, but there were so many people in attendance, it was difficult to get an environmental picture without guests in the frame. As the sun was saying goodbye, I looked around for a setting to take a few more shots before we completely lost daylight. I was standing on the lawn across from the house (log cabin actually) looking out over the driveway. The sky and silhouetted trees were pretty sweet. I framed the side of the barn on the left and the asked the groom if we could place the carriage on the right in front of the boardwalk. The reception was in full swing right behind me in a huge tent on the lawn and was well illuminated, but only inside the tent itself. There was a portable luxury bathroom trailer on the other side of the barn, so this area was quite busy and the only area outside the tent with an outside light. Because of the bathroom traffic, I was able to test a few shots as people returned from the bathroom. I tested the exposure balance between the sky and the flood light on the front of the barn, which was the key light that would light the bride and groom in this photo. Once I had what I was looking for, I grabbed the bride and groom from the reception and kindly asked them to pose for this picture while asking everyone else to stay clear of the frame for literally about 5 seconds.
I like this image because it totally fits the theme of the wedding. After spending part of the day here, I almost forgot I was still on Long Island.
I chose this image for this weeks post because of its significance for a couple of reasons. Shamie and Anthony thought Captree would be a cool spot for their engagement shoot because Anthony has a picture of himself when he was very little at this very same spot. He was on the beach playing as a young boy and in the background is the the Robert Moses Bridge. The image he described shows the entire length of the bridge including the Robert Moses needle. So going into this shoot, I knew I wanted to create an image for them, which has the same canvas.
We planned the shoot to end around sunset as to capture a nice silhouette of the bridge. Given the lack of natural light, I needed to set up a strobe that lights them and I wanted to make it look like they are being lit by the setting sun, so the light had to come from the side of me and light them from the front. Here is where it gets interesting. I set my light up near the water and pushed the legs of my stand into the sand so that the wind would not blow my stand with my light and battery pack into the water. Well it worked for a few shots, but then a big gust of wind took the whole thing over right after I snapped this shot and I could not react to catch it before it was submerged in the water. I quickly grabbed it in hope that the water did not make it into the battery compartment, set it aside and kept working the rest of the shoot with just my on camera flash.
Thank goodness, my light is fine and in perfect working condition. I realize afterwards that it could have been much worse…..It could have happened before I got the shot.
In honor of opening day weekend for both the NFL and our hometown NB Bulldogs, the image of the week is the team banner that will be leading our team in today’s opening day ceremony.
Football is back. Go Bulldogs!