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.
To keep with the Superbowl theme for this weekend, I figured a football picture was appropriate for this week. What’s better than an action sequence of a kid spiking the ball after he just scored a touchdown? I hope everyone enjoys the game and stays safe!
Although it was late December, we were actually blessed with some really nice weather and were able to shoot a fair amount of pictures outside. This particular shot was taken just as the sun was going down and was beginning to chill up quite a bit. At this point, we had taken most of the pictures from the day outside, including at the beach.
As the sun was going down, it was getting cold quick. We went down by the golf course for one last portrait, because we had shot everywhere else but there. As we were walking down the cart path, I noticed the groom was holding the brides bouquet and he heard me snap a few shots. As you can see, both the bride and groom had some fun with it and I think I may like this picture even better than the portrait we walked down there to take.
This week’s images are from the same shoot as the silhouette images from last week. As I mentioned, we shot 95% of the images from the rooftop terrace of this apartment building, which had some incredible views. I wanted to incorporate some significant NYC views into the shoot as best I could. I even shot them while we took a break to warm up a bit.
This was my 4th year volunteering for Help Portrait. I was turned on to the idea thanks to my friends over at Long Island Photo Gallery. I researched the movement and I found that their mission was quite simple. Find people in need and take their picture. Well, St. Patrick’s Parish in Bayshore made it simple for us. They found us the people and we showed up with tons of gear to take professional portraits for every family.
The church puts on a really nice Christmas party for families in need that do not have much to give their children for the holidays. They feed the families a nice meal, Radio Disney comes in to get the kids dancing and laughing and then Santa Clause comes in for a visit to deliver each child a bag of gifts that were on their Christmas list. It is one of the most heart-warming experiences I have ever been a part of.
My role in this whole thing is to take portraits of all the families that wish to receive a free portrait. Giving the gift of photography, as the Deacon described it. Some of the families do not have much to smile about, but the children were adorable and excited to see Santa. We took professional portraits of each family and our friends at LIPG were generous enough to print all the pictures for the church so they can distribute them to the families.
I am privileged to be part of this awesome event and I look forward to doing it for years to come.
Have a Happy and Safe New Year!
On one of the coldest days of the year, we decided to head out to the rooftop terrace of an NYC penthouse apartment. We were looking for some nice skyline views and hopefully a nice sunset. For this weeks image, I chose to show some basic concepts I like to use during any sunset shoot and that is to include at least one silhouette. The main challenge is to include some some of the surrounding environment so it does not look like a plain silhouette image with nothing but empty space in the background. Body language is a pretty key factor here as well.
We shot 95% of this engagement shoot on this terrace, starting about an hour and a half before sunset. It was freezing cold and we needed to keep taking breaks to go inside and warm up. It was worth it as both the terrace and view were awesome.
More pictures to come. Happy New Year!
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.
When time allows, I enjoy spending some time with the bride and groom to capture some fun shots that play off their personalities. These shots are never preconceived, it all depends on the subjects. I have been fortunate to have met some pretty cool and fun people, the anti bridezilla.
This week is a quick hit cause I have a lot of work to catch up on due to the holiday week coming up. I want to wish everyone out there a very Happy Thanksgiving and I hope you get to spend some time with the family.
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).