Glynwood Farms wedding: Heather and Aaron

The grass is always greener on the other side, and for New York photographers, with rustic wedding venues like Glynwood Farms we take that literally. “Wait, there are trees here? And fresh air? And not once has a security guard threatened us? What is this magical place?”

There are many ways to describe how great Heather and Aaron are, but let me try a very 2016 one: I’d totally listen to their podcast if they had one. You can’t talk to them for a minute without getting hit with how intelligent, funny, and kind they are, and what a good pair they make. Their friendship and connection was keenly evident all day, and that connection was the star even with the gorgeous farm surrounding and their wildly celebrating friends and relatives.

As always, a great day is made even sweeter when I can cover it alongside Tatiana. Thanks to Main Course Catering and Flowers by April for making the day even more beautiful and delicious.

Glynwood-Farms-Wedding-01Glynwood-Farms-Wedding-02Glynwood-Farms-Wedding-03Glynwood-Farms-Wedding-04Glynwood-Farms-Wedding-05Glynwood-Farms-Wedding-06Glynwood-Farms-Wedding-07Glynwood-Farms-Wedding-08Glynwood-Farms-Wedding-09Glynwood-Farms-Wedding-10Glynwood-Farms-Wedding-11Glynwood-Farms-Wedding-12Glynwood-Farms-Wedding-13Glynwood-Farms-Wedding-14Glynwood-Farms-Wedding-15Glynwood-Farms-Wedding-16Glynwood-Farms-Wedding-17Glynwood-Farms-Wedding-18Glynwood-Farms-Wedding-19Glynwood-Farms-Wedding-20Glynwood-Farms-Wedding-21Glynwood-Farms-Wedding-22Glynwood-Farms-Wedding-23Glynwood-Farms-Wedding-24Glynwood-Farms-Wedding-25Glynwood-Farms-Wedding-26Glynwood-Farms-Wedding-27Glynwood-Farms-Wedding-28Glynwood-Farms-Wedding-29Glynwood-Farms-Wedding-30Glynwood-Farms-Wedding-31Glynwood-Farms-Wedding-32Glynwood-Farms-Wedding-33Glynwood-Farms-Wedding-34Glynwood-Farms-Wedding-35Glynwood-Farms-Wedding-36Glynwood-Farms-Wedding-37Glynwood-Farms-Wedding-38Glynwood-Farms-Wedding-39Glynwood-Farms-Wedding-40

Brooklyn workshop 3/31/16!

151221-110138-mm_f-2-2

Wedding photography is both and art and a craft. What matters in the end is the art — the making of beautiful, creative, flattering portraits; capturing important emotional moments and telling the story of the day. But the craft is what allows us to do this in any kind of environment, whatever is happening with the schedule, the weather, and with the people in front of our lens. With 20 years of experience and more than 900 weddings between them, Ryan and Tatiana have been through every problem and come out the other side with great images, and we want to show you how.

512So what better way to do this than to go straight to an actual beautiful-but-difficult NYC wedding venue? That’s right, for this workshop we have rented out the awesome 501 Union, a fantastic wedding venue with wonderful ambiance … and with a mix of black walls and ceilings, a giant skylight and low ambient light, it also has all the things that can make photographers’ heads ache in frustration.

This workshop will take you through working with couples and portrait subjects, from making them comfortable to making them look their best, and through a number of advanced photographic techniques that will allow you to more easily and quickly create striking and otherwise-impossible photos. We will also show you how to use a real NYC wedding venue to your advantage. Ever have a couple who wanted gorgeous, varied portraits and the terrible weather wouldn’t let you step outside for a second? Ever have to work in an extremely difficult reception space and wanted your lighting and documentation to look as good as possible? We’ll take you through our process step by step.

Better still, we are bringing the ethos we use in our weddings to our workshops, and full day means full day. We will begin with a breakfast meet and greet, spend a full workday on location at the venue, break for lunch on location, break for dinner out so you can rest your aching brains, and then meet for a session of night shooting, processing and workflow instruction.

We are so excited to be able to show you exactly how we work in a real venue with challenges, and to pack your brains full of useful information and individuated instruction. $800.

How do you get to 501 Union? Here you go. (Although pre-workshop breakfast spot is TBA.)

To sign up, e-mail photos@ryanbrenizer.com with the subject “MARCH 2016 BROOKLYN WORKSHOP.” Deposit will be $250. Please e-mail and get confirmation before paying the deposit.

Lord Thompson Manor wedding: Jackie and Corey

The classic, ideal Western wedding is sort of a palindrome: you start the day slowly building to the heights of finery, hoping to look better than you ever have in your life, culminating in the stunning formality of a wedding ceremony … and then you let it all go in wild revelry, a mash of joy and sweat and hairpins. It’s how we squeeze every last bit of happiness and camaraderie out of a single day, and Jackie and Corey’s wedding was an incredible expression of the form. Beauty? Well, you have a couple whose ecstasy (and every other emotion) radiates through their whole body, classic style,beautiful, well-thought-out details and all set in the stunning Lord Thompson Manor.

You know the Manor is incredible given that it was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted … who not only designed spaces like Central and Prospect parks, but the area where I proposed to Tatiana. So it was wonderful to be able to share this day shooting alongside Tatiana and working with friends like Styles on B at this amazing wedding. I knew it would be a good crowd, when, within the first 20 minutes, I texted Tatiana “The guys are hilarious; they’re doing improv with all of the decorations in the room” and she said “Jackie is doing the same thing!”

Thank you, Jackie and Corey, for having us tell this story.

 

Connecticut Wedding PhotographersLord Thompson Manor Wedding - 02Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 03Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 04Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 05Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 06Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 07Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 08Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 09Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 10Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 11Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 12Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 13Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 14Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 15Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 16Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 17Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 18Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 19Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 20Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 21Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 22Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 23Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 24Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 25Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 26Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 27Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 28Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 29Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 30Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 31Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 32Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 33Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 34Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 35Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 36Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 37Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 38Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 39Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 40Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 41Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 42Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 43Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 44Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 45Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 46Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 47Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 48Lord Thompson Manor Wedding - 49

Bryant Park Grill wedding: Allyson and Isaac

You don’t generally associate “Midtown Manhattan” and “chill,” but Allyson and Isaac’s wedding at the Bryant Park Grill managed to achieve that feeling with a keen focus on the big picture — whatever happens, they still get to marry their best friend. When I consulted with Isaac a couple days before the wedding and said “Unfortunately it looks like your wedding is going to be the coldest day in weeks, should we change anything?” He was able to just say “Nah, we’ll be good whatever happens.” Of course, in Manhattan it helps when everything is within walking distance from each other. Allyson got ready at the Bryant Park Hotel, which is as close to the Bryant Park Grill as it sounds  — her hotel room, which doubled for the ketubah signing, actually looked out over the ceremony.

Isaac says: “Allyson has the biggest heart of anyone I have ever met.” He loved the first look at Grand Central, which they chose not just for its beauty but because it has played roles in their daily life and the lives of their parents. He says “that was when it all hit me in the face, it was really happening, the best day of my life was finally here.”

Allyson says: “Isaac’s sincerity is one of the the qualities I love most about him. He makes everyone in the room feel special, welcome and wanted.” She also loved the raucous celebrations with Kinky Spigot and the Welders: “After dinner, I was dancing to ‘Boogie on Reggae Woman’ and totally getting my groove on. I turned around and saw the entire crowd on the dance floor having a fun time. Not a single person was seated. It was an awesome moment!”

I loved being able to share a day like this with Tatiana — our only problem is that the dancing was so much fun we wanted to be in it, but shooting a reception has a rhythm and a movement to it, to put us in the middle of all of the energy.

 

Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 02Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 03Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 04Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 05Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 06Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 07Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 08Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 09Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 10Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 11Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 12Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 13Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 14Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 15Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 16Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 17Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 18Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 19Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 20Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 21Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 22Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 23Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 24Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 25Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 26Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 28Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 29Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 30Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 31Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 32Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 33Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 34Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 35Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 36Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 37Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 38Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 39Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 40Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 41Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 42Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 43Bryant Park Grill Wedding - 44

Montauk engagement: Sarah and John

It’s not often that our in-season allows for destination engagement shoots, but the stars aligned for Sarah and John. They both had long histories with their families in Montauk, and we had a wedding the next day at Lord Thompson Manor in Connecticut — add a few ferries, and Montauk is kinda-sorta on the way (with extra excuses for seeing two sunrises on the beach with Tatiana, biking to the Montauk lighthouse … it helped tip the scales.) John’s family had made Fudge N’ Stuff a mainstay of their Montauk experience for many years, so we started in the small, incredibly accommodating storefront before making our way to the shore. Tatiana and I had at least as much fun as they did, and all of our equipment survived the experience, always a risk when you mix our “anything for the shot” attitude and the sand and salt water of a beach. We can’t wait for their August wedding at Carlyle on the Green!

031-storyboard

032-storyboard

033-storyboard

034-storyboard

035-storyboard

036-storyboard

037-storyboard

Hudson River Yacht wedding: Milena and Michael

Any time I get to do something romantic with Tatiana like take her on a yacht ride around the Hudson, I’m down. It’s just an added bonus that we were also surrounded by the infectious energy of Milena and Michael’s wedding.

When you have a wedding on a boat, you make sure that you really, really like the people you invite, since they are going to be there and be close the whole time. This made for an incredibly tight-knit and supportive group, the energy of a family reunion directed at celebrating a couple so obviously made for each other. The night was so perfect that we wanted more, and we ended up taking Milena and Michael on a stroll down 42nd street.

001-storyboard002-storyboard003-storyboard004-storyboard005-storyboard006-storyboard007-storyboard008-storyboard009-storyboard010-storyboard011-storyboard012-storyboard013-storyboard014-storyboard015-storyboard016-storyboard017-storyboard018-storyboard019-storyboard020-storyboard615

Big News and a Great Long Island City engagement

There are some big changes afoot. People who know me well will likely find this to be the least surprising surprise ever. But now that I’m marrying one of the best wedding photographers in New York, and when we’ve found that we work exceedingly well together, it only makes sense for us to just … do that. So we are becoming something more. We’re still becoming, still in the chrysalis, since we are awfully busy right now taking care of our existing clients. We’ve finished up the contracts and made it official, but Marketing? Long-term strategies? Still working on them. Of course, this makes it sort of a fire sale, since 2016 couples who manage to book us before we manage to change our Web site are also getting in before we change our prices, effectively getting an extra wedding photographer with a spotless decade-long record of amazing customer service and photojournalism for free.

We’re also changing up our engagement shoot approach as well, with a bit more time and, well, a bit more photographer — and here’s an example of how it can all come together, a shoot Tatiana and I recently did in Long Island City. Noelia and Amadeo have personalities and smiles far too big to be overshadowed be all this news. They are born stars, and we were happy to shine a light on their connection. We are even more excited for things to come, more excited than we’ve ever been.

Long-Island-City-engagement_01Long-Island-City-engagement_02Long-Island-City-engagement_03Long-Island-City-engagement_04Long-Island-City-engagement_05Long-Island-City-engagement_06Long-Island-City-engagement_07Long-Island-City-engagement_08Long-Island-City-engagement_09Long-Island-City-engagement_10Long-Island-City-engagement_11Long-Island-City-engagement_12

The Journey Here

Mayra Omar

Tatiana and I made this photo of Omar and Mayra at Crest Hollow Country Club in three minutes, but it took us four days to get there. Story below if interested … the photo geeks can just know that this was a 45mm f/2.8.

Clients often ask me what happens if I get sick? It’s a good question … there are no sick days here, and the people that hire us want our unique vision expressed to the best of our abilities. So, when we get sick, we make sure we have a back-up plan, but we also treat getting better quickly like it’s our actual and only job.

I try to be paranoid so my couples don’t have to be, and this week, all of our paranoid planning for incapacitating illness came into play. Both Tatiana and I were struck with the worst flu we’ve had in decades on Sunday, and upon the first sign of sickness the only thing I could think of was a countdown clock to Thursday’s wedding. We had to be better for it, and we did everything possible.

Most of you, statistically, know me as something other than your own wedding photographer — as a business and brand, we are any things. We teach, we share stories, we lecture, we work on independent projects … but our core work is simply showing up at weddings and doing the best we can, and that always wins out. We had so many plans for this workweek — I was finishing a project I’ve been working on for a year and a half. Delayed. We were in initial planning for our next workshop. Pushed back. I’m making the biggest changes to my business since 2007. Next week. And, one of these days, we’re planning our own wedding. Not now. It’s October, so the government wants reams of paperwork from my business — sorry for the tight deadline next week, accountants. Sadly, even our production deadlines had to be walked back a week, given that I didn’t have enough energy to do things like read a book or type on a keyboard. But every moment we knew we had to be our best selves for Thursday morning.

So we rested like it was our job. That meant getting a hotel room instead of making the normally easy trip back from Long Island. That meant leaving our comfy couch visiting first a clinic and then a hospital not due to emergency but just because I wasn’t getting my strength back fast enough. It meant some very healthy, but very disgusting water-and-greens-based nourishment drinks.

And it worked. We went from barely able to lift our head to being able to gracefully put in 11 hours of physical labor and come out smiling. Part of that is due to how awesome Omar and Mayra are, but it’s also that there is no seemly paranoid scenario that our couples can envision that have not already pored over long ago. We also had backup plans in case our work couldn’t get us well in time, but we are thrilled that our 800+ combined weddings have continued their flawless “bright and shiny attendance” streak.

Now, of course, we face a one-day workweek, and one peppered with meetings. In the fall, that means a staggering amount of deadlines and a to-do list so complicated that managing it is a to-do item in and of itself, but I’m glad we’re facing it together.

Renaissance Westchester Wedding — Ilana and Grant

There is something extra-awesome about shooting multiple weddings for the same family. Ilana’s wedding was the 2nd of the three sisters’ whose wedding I’ve shot, and it adds so much depth to see so many of the same people celebrating a new day, deja vu and nostalgia providing a perfect foil to the novelty of a new celebration. The Renaissance Westchester was a great location, combining beautiful locations with the logistical simplicity that makes my paranoid problem-solving heart sing. Steps to a beautiful pastoral path without dying of the summer humidity! A short walk to a quaint cottage where Ilana and Grant’s friends and family tore up the dance floor. It was one of those weddings where I only realize how long I’ve been smiling when I feel the strange ache in my cheeks. Thank you to Matias Gonzales for flying up from Chile and shooting his talented heart out with me.

Rennaissance-Westchester-Wedding-01Rennaissance-Westchester-Wedding-02Rennaissance-Westchester-Wedding-03Rennaissance-Westchester-Wedding-04Rennaissance-Westchester-Wedding-05Rennaissance-Westchester-Wedding-06Rennaissance-Westchester-Wedding-07Rennaissance-Westchester-Wedding-08Rennaissance-Westchester-Wedding-09Rennaissance-Westchester-Wedding-10Rennaissance-Westchester-Wedding-11Rennaissance-Westchester-Wedding-12Rennaissance-Westchester-Wedding-13Rennaissance-Westchester-Wedding-14Rennaissance-Westchester-Wedding-15Rennaissance-Westchester-Wedding-16Rennaissance-Westchester-Wedding-17Rennaissance-Westchester-Wedding-18Rennaissance-Westchester-Wedding-19Rennaissance-Westchester-Wedding-20Rennaissance-Westchester-Wedding-21Rennaissance-Westchester-Wedding-22Rennaissance-Westchester-Wedding-23Rennaissance-Westchester-Wedding-24Rennaissance-Westchester-Wedding-25Rennaissance-Westchester-Wedding-26Rennaissance-Westchester-Wedding-27Rennaissance-Westchester-Wedding-28Rennaissance-Westchester-Wedding-29Rennaissance-Westchester-Wedding-30

Playing with Fire (Fiddler’s Elbow Wedding)

150731 DSC 4074 jpg

Just when I think after 500ish weddings I’ve run into all of the challenges out there, life shows me how wrong I am … and I’m thankful for it. Without challenge, growth is slow and meandering.

On Friday morning, Tatiana and I got an e-mail from Kristin asking if we could do a long-exposure shot with shooting sparks. There were just a couple challenges 1) We had never taken this kind of photo before. 2) The wedding was also on Friday, and we were packing to leave.

Generally, photography tricks are modifications and extensions of existing techniques. I never would have thought up the so-called “Brenizer method” if I hadn’t already been experienced in regular panoramas, and while we’d never lit anything on fire and violently swung it around for a wedding photo, I was experienced enough in the other basic skills of night-time long exposures — such as exposing and composing a photo without being able to see anything that you’re doing — that we said we’d give it a try.

When pushing the envelope at a wedding, it is absolutely vital to manage expectations. I often ask couples if they want to take a given amount of time for something that might be awesome, or might be absolutely terrible. In the rare situation that we’re trying a new technique on the wedding day, we made absolutely clear that the result might be no photo at all, especially given that by doing this during the time of the reception we had time for only one frame.

That’s right — this photo is not only the very first time I’ve tried this technique but also, as of this writing, the last. Treading new ground on a tight time frame could only have been achieved with the capable help of Tatiana, who talked them through the posing and lit them with flash.

Important note: while I wasn’t sure whether we’d get a photo, I did make *really* sure that at least we wouldn’t set anything or anyone on fire. The bridge wasn’t just a pretty bit of symmetry for the photo — it also made sure we were surrounded by steel, concrete, and water. I was also farther away than it may look, though there is no such thing as too paranoid, especially when around highly inflammable things like lace (which we weren’t) or hair-sprayed hair (which distance and angle of velocity made exceedingly unlikely to get hit, but anything is possible, hence eager, informed consent from bride and nearby water).

Thank you Michael and Kristin for encouraging us toward creative and literal sparks.

Camera: Nikon D810
Lens: Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 II

Newport, RI wedding at the Rosecliff Mansion: Nicole and Emilie

Nicole and Emilie’s Rosecliff Mansion wedding celebrated Independence Day on many levels — there were countless couture nods, from the red, white and blue clothes they wore to the oh-so-Northeastern rehearsal dinner at Kempenaar’s Clambake Club to the custom color worn by their Instagram-famous dog, Charlie. There were all the trappings of a Newport summer weekend, from casual fun over seafood and fireworks, to impossibly ornate settings like the Rosecliff and The Elms. But it was given a deeper, sweeter meaning when, shortly before the wedding day, the Supreme Court invalidated any laws keeping same-sex couples from marrying in any of the United States

When I started shooting weddings, only one state allowed same-sex couples to marry, and though it was right next door, it wasn’t recognized in Rhode Island until 2013. So not only could Nicole and Emilie show what a smart, driven, devoted couple they are, this can be recognized in every inch of their country. It was a good reason to wave the flag even harder that day.

But there’s a lot more to them, and to the unbelievably gorgeous wedding. They drip intelligence; you feel a bit smarter being near them. They’re the sort of people who use “alacrity” in common conversation, but also the sort to turn into emotive puddles when their dog is nearby. It was such a great feeling to share this day with them, and to share the coverage with my own love, Tatiana Breslow. I’m smiling just looking at these photos again, so I’m going to get out of the way and share them:

 

Rosecliff-Mansion-wedding-01Rosecliff-Mansion-wedding-02Rosecliff-Mansion-wedding-03Rosecliff-Mansion-wedding-04Rosecliff-Mansion-wedding-05Rosecliff-Mansion-wedding-06Rosecliff-Mansion-wedding-07Rosecliff-Mansion-wedding-08Rosecliff-Mansion-wedding-09Rosecliff-Mansion-wedding-10Rosecliff-Mansion-wedding-11Rosecliff-Mansion-wedding-12Rosecliff-Mansion-wedding-13001-storyboardRosecliff-Mansion-wedding-14Rosecliff-Mansion-wedding-15Rosecliff-Mansion-wedding-16Rosecliff-Mansion-wedding-17Rosecliff-Mansion-wedding-18Rosecliff-Mansion-wedding-19Rosecliff-Mansion-wedding-20Rosecliff-Mansion-wedding-21Rosecliff-Mansion-wedding-22Rosecliff-Mansion-wedding-24Rosecliff-Mansion-wedding-25Rosecliff-Mansion-wedding-26Rosecliff-Mansion-wedding-27Rosecliff-Mansion-wedding-28Rosecliff-Mansion-wedding-29Rosecliff-Mansion-wedding-30Rosecliff-Mansion-wedding-31Rosecliff-Mansion-wedding-32Rosecliff-Mansion-wedding-33Rosecliff-Mansion-wedding-34

Alger House Wedding: Sabrina and Kumar

When Sabrina and Kumar decided to add 1920s’ vintage elements to their Alger House wedding, they really went for it — Sabrina taught 20 or so of her closest friends how to dance the Charleston. From the couple to the guests to the venue, the wedding dripped with style. But the close connections between the guests made it something more … unfortunately Kumar’s parents were blocked by paperwork from entering the country for the wedding, so Sabrina’s family stepped in, showing that although Kumar was only legally entering the family that day, they’d already long considered him a part of it. The relatively small size allowed a casual charm, including a meandering walk from the ceremony to the reception, enjoying the late April sun in Washington Square Park.

Of course, they knew the weather would probably be perfect, because one of the many factors they considered when planning their wedding was this exchange from “Miss Congeniality.”

“Miss Rhode Island, please describe your idea of a perfect date.”
That’s a tough one. I’d have to say April 25th. Because it’s not too hot, not too cold, all you need is a light jacket.”

Thanks to Jashim Jalal for his capable help on this great day.

001-storyboard002-storyboard003-storyboard004-storyboard005-storyboard006-storyboard007-storyboard008-storyboard009-storyboard010-storyboard011-storyboard012-storyboard013-storyboard014-storyboard015-storyboard016-storyboard017-storyboard018-storyboard019-storyboard020-storyboard021-storyboard022-storyboard023-storyboard026-storyboard024-storyboard025-storyboard

A New Day

Blog 150418 185729 12mm f6 3 577 Edit

Yesterday I started my first-ever 365 project. The season really went into full, non-stop-work mode last week, so this isn’t the best time for some deep, time-consuming personal project, so I’m keeping it vague: I will post a photo online every day over the next year. Some of them will be here, some on the countless different social media profiles photographers tend to collect along the way, but all will be collected on my business Facebook page.

I haven’t done a preponderance of personal work over the past six years not only because I’m shooting for work all the time, but because that work is so personal. A friend of mine said years ago: “I love weddings because the kinds of photos I’d want to take for free happen there, but I also get paid for it.” Weddings very quickly allow me to get to the stuff that matters in people … the emotion, the connections, the history. It might take days or weeks for people to become comfortable with a photographer around if you’re a long-form documentarian, but on wedding days it’s so natural for you to be there, and people have so many other things to think about, that you can get into the varied, real emotional life of people really quickly.

And it also allows me to play visually in so many different ways, because your only real instruction is “here’s the time you have, let’s see what you can do.” Shooting portraits with a wide-angle lens is general rule-breaking. Shooting with a 12mm lens is general insanity. Shooting from a lower angle with … well, you get the picture. The reasons for this is that it takes all sorts of tricks and learned skills to keep this sort of shot flattering, but it can be done. And it opens up the door to creating images that look completely different than the actual scene. Here all we had was about three minutes, a parking lot filled with cars, and rapidly oncoming rain. The lens stretches the venue behind them and the tree above them into looking like they’re on the same plane; the addition of light transforms them from three-dimensional objects to shapes.

I get to play, to try things that, by the rule book, are completely crazy, and then within minutes share in the chaotic emotional energy of a wedding celebration? Most of my job is personal work.

Also, because of the in-season, mid-week timing, there are still some seats open for my May 28 and 29 workshop here in Brooklyn. I will teach all of the tricks to make images like this work and many more, and we will also take you through getting, working with, and maintaining clients. We’ve gotten a flood of people saying that the dates couldn’t work for them, so similar to some of the favorite workshops I’ve done we’re going to allow signing up for just one day: May 28, the shooting-heavy day that runs from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., with breaks for lunch and dinner, will be $650. May 29, featuring portfolio review, all aspects of getting and pleasing clients, and running a long-term wedding photography business that sustains you financially and emotionally, will be $450 for 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Both days (which is recommended) is $1,000.

Vintage engagement shoot at June Wine Bar: Michelle and Matthew

There’s vintage, and then there’s Michelle and Matthew. A lot of people dress up in vintage clothing for shoots, simply because it’s fun and looks great. But when Michelle met Matthew, she was impressed by how he looked in the 1920s strongman-style swimsuit he was wearing. She runs a blog called My Vintage Love, so a good part of their central identity looks back about 100 years.

So when Tatiana Breslow and I thought through their engagement shoot for them, we centered around some bars with beautiful interior woodwork to play off their look. The Campbell Apartments are in Grand Central, so they have to be very careful about how much photography they let in — even with prior approval, we were allowed to shoot with our dSLRs for exactly 90 seconds. One of the photos below was taken with an iPhone 6+, and I wasn’t doing it just to be showy — it was all we were allowed to use!

In contrast, June Wine bar in my studio’s Brooklyn neighborhood was so nice and amazingly accommodating that it almost freaked us out. “Why are you so nice? You know this is New York, right?”

Advantage, Brooklyn.

It is such a great thrill to work alongside Tatiana, and to see how our businesses and lives will improve as we merge in the coming year, and the thrill doubles when we work with a great couple. This shouldn’t be the last you see of Michelle and Matthew.

Next Level Workshop: May 28 and 29 in Brooklyn

140516 225518 12mm f5 6 125079

It’s been more than two years since I’ve hosted a workshop in the U.S., but we’re back! After a series of workshops around the world, and more than 100 weddings later, we’ve refined our teaching experience and are launching the Next Level Workshops. Find out more at ryanbrenizer.com/workshops!

Also, Tara Atkinson has a well-written and thorough write-up of my last workshop in Dubai, complete with behind-the-scenes images. See that here.