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 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.
I met Ryane and Mike last year when I photographed a wedding for their very good friends. They were both in the wedding party and spent some time with me that day (a good trial run). I have to admit, I do not approach each wedding as if I am attending a job interview, but it’s important to realize that each time you go out to do a job, you are potentially being evaluated.
A few months after their friends wedding, I receive a phone call from Ryane explaining that she enjoyed my stealth shooting style and how I handled documenting the entire wedding. The formals were quick, comical and relaxed and they were amazed at the images I was able to capture while remaining unseen at the ceremony and reception. This was especially important to Ryane as she does not like being in front of the camera, which is very common. This is perfect for me, because this is how I shoot.
To wrap this up, they both visited me this past weekend to see their images for the first time and I was able to witness their true reaction to the images. I was definitely pleased because I knew then that I made them both happy.
I was contacted by Rose last November. She had been engaged for under a week and wanted to schedule an engagement shoot. At this point, they have not yet set a date, secured a venue or anything. First things first; let’s get the engagement documented. The girl knows what she wants and I like where here priorities are at.
I was extremely flattered to hear that she found me from researching the internet. She not only found my website and images, but she also dug up some testimonials from previous clients and made it a point to let me know she heard nothing but good things. It’s nice to hear. Most of my business comes from referrals by word of mouth, so it’s nice when people find me from other means.
We scheduled the shoot and it was awesome. We walked around Argyle Lake in Babylon Village for about an hour and a half until the sun set. I got to know them together for a little while and they immediately felt comfortable in front of my camera. We took some candid shots along with a few fun staged pictures and we kept shooting until we used up every bit of available light.
Almost two months later after delivering the engagement pictures, I receive a phone call from Rose asking to book the wedding date. They were happy with the engagement photos and since we had a successful trial run, we stuck together for the wedding. Rose and Vinny were married a little over a month ago and everyone had an awesome time at the De Seversky Mansion to celebrate.
Occasionally the bride and groom will bring their own props to incorporate into a few of the images on their wedding day. I notice this happening more and more lately, probably from a wealth of these images flooding the internet through facebook, pinterest or instagram. This is great because it tells me they care about the message the images express, which is always one of my priorities. It also provides me with an opportunity to come up with fun ways to incorporate the props.
Choosing the right lens for the job is key. Much like post-productions image effects, it’s all based on opinion and over-using any special effect can be a bit much even if the effect is nice. When I am experimenting on the job, it’s important to get the safe pictures first before I attempt to be creative if the end result is not the way you remember seeing it. This effect is done through the lens and can not be corrected in post-production. Knowing your gear is critical when envisioning an image or duh, you wouldn’t know how to create it in camera and will only exist in your mind.
Here I have included two different shots of the same image shot with different lenses. I was backed up against an array of bushes when I shot these and could not go back any further. I chose to shoot this image both with a wide angle lens and a fisheye lens. If I had shot the first image any wider to capture the entire mansion’s width, the couple would be even smaller in the frame and that would not work. The fisheye lens is a much wider angle of view and I was able to move in a bit closer, which made the couple larger in the frame. What also happens is the edges of the image get distorted due to the very wide angle of view combined with the roundness of the glass and that is the effect of the optics.
Both are nice images, I kinda like the fisheye image myself, but it’s all about taste.
Feel free to let me know your thoughts.
The father daughter dance is a tradition as most weddings and can be pretty emotional some times. They both know the cameras are on them at this point, along with the eyes of every family member and guest at the wedding….including Mom. Mom is usually front row on the sidelines watching while she sits this one out. But that doesn’t mean she gets left out completely. I try to capture mom in several of the images I take of the father daughter dance. The close ups are a given, but these images say a bit more.