Brooklyn engagement: Gina and Pat

We love Brooklyn parks … all of the greenery and glory of Manhattan Parks, and far, far fewer random people moseying around in the background of photos. This is especially true for people like Gina and Pat, who were willing to brave Owl’s Head Park on a blustery winter day in nothing more than sweaters and jeans. We warmed up with a quick indoor session at the Brooklyn Firefly.

Gina headed the astonishingly great CxRA staff who catered our wedding, and so we’re doubly excited to document hers in the (we hope) warmer month of August.

Lyndhurst Castle wedding: Allie and Luke

One of the ways Allie and Luke express their love is through regular dance-offs in their home … and it showed. Their Lyndhurst Castle wedding was not only incredibly beautiful, but ridiculously, incredibly fun. You know you’re in for a good time when an extremely elegant long-sleeve wedding gown is traded in for a party outfit specifically designed for maximum get-downage.

This is one of those weddings where I feel like each word I say is just a road block between you and photos of a deeply emotional, completely gorgeous day. I could tell you about the importance they place on family, but it’s more important that you see that in their every action. I could tell you the weather was perfect, but … well in that case I’d be lying. It was raining hard in the morning and I had to pull my full-fledged weather geek card to provide some calm and promise that the 37 weather forecasts I read every morning all agreed that there was a zero percent chance of rain by ceremony time, so there was no need to cancel their dreams of an outdoor ceremony.

(Thank you, assorted weather forecasters, for getting that right. I had to stick my neck out a bit on that one.)

Thank you, Allie and Luke, for letting us tell your story.

Brooklyn Bridge Park engagement: Gillian and Rod

It’s been amazing to shoot in places like Hong Kong, Chile, Ireland … but our deep, pervading love is for Brooklyn — that’s why we live here. We love being able to celebrate places like Pier 5 in the Brooklyn Bridge Park that are just down the street from us — particularly with a couple like Gillian and Rod, who share a love and history for the nabe.


Gotham Hall wedding: Jackie and Paul

We sometimes wonder if we tempt fate when we tell couples we very nearly specialize in bad weather. Hurricanes, blizzards, floods — you name it, and we’ve navigated our way through them all on wedding days, and Mother Nature loves to throw it at us. For Jackie and Paul, we had another kind of challenge – a New York City wedding as August-y as it could be … hitting a heat index of 115 degrees right when we were slated to be walking around midtown on the way to the opulent Gotham Hall.

But if trapped in sidewalk-egg-frying weather, it helped so much to be in the company of a couple like Jackie and Paul, who not only took all this in stride, but were happy even to jump up on the hot hood of a taxi for a portrait. Armed with instant ice packs and unrelenting can-do attitudes, they kept focused on the things that really matter: their love for each other, celebrating that love with friends and family, and great air conditioning:)

We loved getting to know Jackie and Paul throughout the whole wedding planning process. From their engagement shoot where we visited their first date spot and home to their reception where sweetness abounded even with a serenade to Jackie by her dad, we loved it all. Thank you Jackie and Paul for making us a part of these happy days, and thank you to our good friend Jashim Jalal for all of your talent and help and planner-so-great-we-used-her-for-our-own-wedding Sara Landon at SL Events for bringing the awesome yet again.


Our turn: Ryan and Tatiana’s wedding(s).


On June 9, 2015, we got married.
On June 8, 2016, we got married.
On June 9, 2016, we got married.

Let me explain.

Tatiana and I got engaged way back in 2014, which probably already falls somewhere between “vintage” and “retro” on Spotify playlists. Given that most of the people who surround us are in the wedding industry, we knew we would have to get married on a weekday. Given that we didn’t want our non-wedding-photographer friends and family to completely uproot their lives for our celebrations, that meant having it in the summer. Planning a wedding takes time, particularly when your work-heavy lifestyle means you count an afternoon nap as your summer vacation — and so that all added up to an engagement of more than a year and a half.

As people excited to just be married to each other already, that seemed like an awfully long time. While we were starting to plan in May, I realized something: We should just get married — and if we acted quickly, we could keep the same anniversary: June 9, 2015.

And so we did. We kept it very hush-hush, thinking it would be just our parents and us, not least because that was all we had time to plan for. But some of our closest friends and relatives found out with less than 48 hours to go, and we were glad to have them. My cousin Jay drove 300 miles on a moment’s notice, and even learned “Northern Wind” by City and Colour for us … when I asked him one hour before the ceremony. (That’s him performing it at the top of this post).

Our close friend and neighbor Inbal Sivan photographed our Prospect Park ceremony, capturing my slobbering, emotional mess better than we could have asked for. We did some quick portraits after, but — with the sort of freedom photographers pray for, she very wisely said “This light is shit. Let’s come back later.” And so we did — to one of our favorite neighborhoods, Red Hook, and had a grand ol’ time taking awesome portraits that show just how very at home we feel with our dear friend Inbal.

After the ceremony, we took our family out for brunch. Being the last Foursquare addicts remaining, we turned toward the service and found a place called Frankie’s 457. We got there, saw its lush garden out back, and immediately fell in love with it. We’d been thinking of making our big wedding just an all-out raucous party, but suddenly while being at Frankie’s we could feel how nice to have a different, quieter sort of event, surrounded by our close family and friends who hadn’t been at the elopement.

We realized: what if we could have it all? It was an ambitious plan, but we moved forward deciding we’d host two completely different wedding days back-to-back. In total, it meant being able to enjoy three very different kinds of weddings. In 2015, an elopement as private as possible. At Frankie’s, a sweet celebration of our love with close friends and family. And at the Bell House party? A sheer, wild celebration.

Hopefully, to most of you this sounds sweet, romantic, and fun. Of course, many of you reading this are planning or have planned a New York City wedding, and so are also gasping in silent horror at trying to plan two at once.

It was daunting, but we had a few things going for us. Most obvious, Tatiana and I have been to more than 1,000 weddings between us, which made us better at some sorts of decisions — we didn’t need to visit a thousand venues because we’d already been to them, and knew The Bell House was the right place for a crazy dance party. Also, we’d shopped well for the elopement, and our celebrant Christopher Shelley and florist Lydia Andrien of WYLD were so amazing and perfect for us that we knew we’d have to use them both two more times.

And then, of course, happenstance led us to an amazing wedding planner, and now good friend — Sara Landon of SL Events. In 2015, Tatiana and I were still doing events separately, and after shooting one night, Tatiana came to me and said “I know who we’ll use for our wedding planner — I just worked with her and she’s amazing — Leslie Knope meets Amy Schumer.” I said “Well, I bow to your judgement, but I worked with an amazing planner last weekend who seemed great.” Of course, both of these people were Sara Landon.

We felt blessed to have Sara, Christopher and Lydia on our side. They have all become good friends and we make the effort to continue to see them— and as anyone who knows our schedule knows, that is no small thing. Chris is incredibly smart and funny — deeply entertaining even to a crowd who has seen countless weddings before. Lydia’s designs are amazing even to me, who has an anti-green thumb. The last time I grew flora before Tatiana was when I accidentally left cranberry bread in my 7th grade locker over Christmas vacation.

Ok, you say, but get to the real question: How did you hire your *photographers*? In some ways, the exact opposite way that most people do.

I started wedding photography only after years of journalism and corporate work, and I soon realized there was a big difference between getting hired by art directors, who hire photographers for a living for all sorts of jobs, and wedding clients, who are hiring someone for THE job for the first time. We were way more like art directors — if there is someone out there who has been a good wedding photographer for more than five years, we at least know of them, and have probably gone dancing with them. Of course some of our choices were friends so dear that we couldn’t bear the thought of them working our wedding, but we still had a very clear list of hundreds of photographers who are all extremely great at their jobs and whose strengths we know intimately. So we decided to pair those strengths to our individual events.

We wanted to get photographers who love telling the story of the day’s motion and emotion. For the dinner event — 88 of our closest friends and family — we chose Tyler Wirken. Tyler is an experienced photojournalist who uses the codes of journalistic ethics to tell the deep, true story of wedding days as they actually happened. He has a creative, studious eye, and was one of Tatiana’s mentors at the Foundation Workshop. We knew he’d be perfect for the quiet, more solemn ceremony and dinner — and we know that doing great work in an event with no dancing is NOT easy, so we were grateful to have his skills applied to the day.

We can see Tyler’s thoughtful, deliberate photography especially in our first look, one of our favorite parts of the day. You can see this story in fuller detail on Tyler’s blog. We wanted to link each part of our wedding to our beloved neighborhood of Cobble Hill, and that meant meeting Tatiana on our local subway stop (Appropriately, it is an F Stop.) We have always loved weddings with first looks, because they give a private, emotional moment without taking away one bit from the emotion of the ceremony, and Tyler took a logistically challenging first look and turned it into incisive, emotional photos — never intruding on the moment even while getting right into the emotion with his 35mm.

As for the anniversary wedding, June 9th, the big shebang – we knew this day would be, well … nuts. Really, that was the point. We knew that we easily have another thousand weddings left in our career. No way were we going to go to more weddings and keep thinking “Man, I wish we’d enjoyed our weddings as much as THESE people.” We wanted to throw a blowout party, leave all of our guests well-fed, with thighs sore from the dance floor and heads sore from the bar. We needed someone who could capture the crazy — and luckily we knew some of the best in the world at that — Two Mann Studios.

Erika and Lanny are great at capturing crazy because they ARE crazy — able to be friendly and open even while visibly intense about their work. At one point Tatiana told them they could take it easy during the getting ready and Lanny said “You don’t understand … we don’t take it easy.” I understood because I knew them better … and because it’s what we would say.

What sort of craziness was in store? Well, we decided to invite 250 people. We wanted everyone to spend their time dancing and talking and mingling, and we knew the best way to do that is to take away their chairs.

No fixed seating, a five-hour cocktail hour with a dance floor. I also knew this may not be for everyone, so I wanted to make sure that even if guests didn’t like to dance, they would go home very well-fed. That’s where CxRA came in. We’d done a wedding for one of their directors and were amazed at the quality of their food as well as their professionalism. Everyone talked about how amazing the food was … food that we, of course, did not eat. Wedding clichés? They’re all true. It does go by in a flash, and unless you make it a priority, the bride and groom are too busy to eat. We are particularly grateful to Gina DiCarlo, who headed up the staff at our event. She ran the show seamlessly … and now we’re extremely excited to shoot her wedding next year.

But there’s more. You see, Tatiana is, well, optimistic. She played a number of long-shots for the wedding, and not all of them panned out. No, Chelsea Peretti did not reply to our IG invite, and no, President Obama did not attend either. But some of them, against all odds, did. Tatiana donned two amazing dresses from fashion designer Rani Zakhem after calling him personally … in Lebanon. And we’d always loved Postmodern Jukebox, particularly with Robyn Adele Anderson, so she posed the idea of contacting Robyn to play even a portion of our wedding. “That’s silly,” I said. “That’s not the way the world works. They’re on tour in Germany anyway. It won’t work.”

I was wrong. Robyn replied — with astonishing promptness for someone touring in Europe — and she would be coming back to the U.S. shortly before. We quickly worked something out, and Robyn not only showed us she was a consummate professional throughout the planning process, but she KILLED it in a 45-minute set at the end of our cocktail hour. Seriously, just to hear this, by this singer, play right before our ceremony … was amazing.

About that ceremony. The Bell House has one of the most theatrical stages we’ve ever seen. We’d already married each other politely and solemnly … TWICE. Now it was time to have some fun with it. Christopher Shelley concocted a script for some of our closest friends to read, re-enacting our early relationship in a rhythmic, semi-musical chant. My cousin Jay performed a wedding song again, but this time it was a lyrical version of “Started from the Bottom” … very fitting if you know our early history. And we ended the ceremony by me jumping off into the audience, followed by a giant balloon drop, as one has at their wedding.

But that was not the most theatrical thing to hit the stage that night. You see, we’ve been to A LOT of weddings, and by the end of those days we are most jealous not of the couples, but of the little kids who take off their restrictive formal clothes and run around the dance floor in PAJAMAS. So we thought we could extend that comfort to our guests with a “pajama hour,” which, in deference to our often competitive friends, was also a pajama catwalk contest judged by the three J’s — my cousin Jay, Tatiana’s brother, Jason, and our friend, sexy-hair Jason.

Because you know what they say… “It’s not a wedding until the bride gets hit in the face with a rose thrown at her by a man wearing a judges’ robe because he liked how she modeled her pajamas.”

(I guess I should mention at this point that, in addition to being extraordinarily grateful to our photographers, we are also insanely jealous that they got to shoot this wedding.)

We are most grateful to everyone who came and celebrated all this madness with us. It was been wonderful to re-live this day through the pictures. Of course, having invited 96 wedding photographers, our guests photos were … not the usual, and even though we wanted for our friends to take a night off for fun, we are still over-the-moon happy to have video from our friend and videographer Seth David Cohen and the best “casual guest photos” ever taken ever from Ben and Erin Chrisman, who are simply incapable of being casual. We also got valuable help from our friend, the lovely wedding photographer Nessa Kessinger. Knowing how much would be going on at any given time, and how hard it is to choose between shooting beautiful details or all of the moments going on around you, we asked Nessa if she would photograph details on both days. Nessa does details with an eye that would make Wes Anderson proud, so we are deeply grateful for her help.

Just writing this stuff seems like a dream. We feel so eternally lucky to have had so much come together and to be able to celebrate with nearly everyone we love most in the world. We are so excited to share some of the photos of the weddings with you, from each of these incredible sources. And the things we learned from being in the position of our clients? That’s a whole other story, and an even longer one.

June 9, 2015: Prospect Park by Inbal Sivan


June 8, 2016: Frankie’s 457 by Tyler Wirken


June 9, 2016 at The Bell House by Two Mann studios


Shangri-La Spa wedding: Anna and Kerry

Let me tell you a story about pressure. Pressure is when the bride for your January 2016 wedding first contacts you in April … April, 2009. Pressure is when said bride is also a wedding photographer … and goes on a wedding photography show … still years before she actually planned a wedding, saying that she would hire you for her wedding even if she had to wear a trash bag as a dress to do it.

That was the pressure of Anna and Kerry’s wedding. How could I, just some guy who likes to take pretty pictures of people enjoying themselves, live up to seven years of Anna’s hopes and dreams? I’m not sure I ever could, but thankfully I had an advantage that she never considered for most of that time … Tatiana, still the biggest secret weapon in wedding photography.

The biggest advantage, though, was the outsized personalities, hospitality, and general awesomeness of the bride and groom. Yes, we are blessed to have couples that seem to have a staggeringly high number of people maintaining their niceness through stressful, expensive wedding days, but it is something else when you find yourself using the bride and groom’s apartment as an ad hoc office the entire day after their wedding. Consider the smiles that you will see below, and consider how large they are despite their original venue being damaged by tornadoes right before their wedding, and that their gorgeous new venue, the Shangri-La Springs, was rained out on the morning of their wedding. Of course, there may have been some pent-up energy that was released when the sun peaked through the clouds, since at that moment Anna told the officiants to shorten the ceremony to exactly three minutes from processional to first kiss so they could run outside and soak it up.

It ended up being a beautiful day for them, whatever the weather. I barely remember the wetness, the dirty shoes … what I remember is the ringing laughter, the no small amount of tears, the beautiful decor put together by CocoLuna Events, and the bonds of new friendship I myself had made through this process. It was such a wonderful, terrifying honor … and thankfully, Anna got to wear a beautiful dress, and not a trash bag in sight.


David Pun - Nice!!!!!!

Javier AF - wow

Ian Abdilla - Mesmerising

Ted Nghiem - yep. No work will be done today.

David Frohmberg - Love this!!!! Thanks Anna for letting us be a part of it!! :)

Jojo Pangilinan - great moments!

Molly Grubbs - Awesome photos

Anna Michalska - Stellar work!!

Bobby Matthews - THiS is my GOAL. Wow.

Þorkell Arnar Egilsson - Beutyful and full of life…Thanx <3

Jolene Oldham - Way too much fun was had! So wonderful!

Deepak Kumar - Best Moments

Mike van der Lee - Fantastic Ryan. Excellent balance between posed and documentary – absolutely love everything of it and I’m sure the couple and family too. I strive to be like something similar too one day… :)

Max Parra PH - Amazing

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.


Marco Ramacciato - great job! which camera and lenses did you use?

Sara Kelly Johns - There is such a sense of joy and fun in these pictures–and some are SO gorgeous!

Brooklyn workshop 3/31/16!


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 with the subject “MARCH 2016 BROOKLYN WORKSHOP.” Deposit will be $250. Please e-mail and get confirmation before paying the deposit.

Kome Parnell - When is your next workshop?

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.


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Aliy Syukur - beautiful as always :)

Kerry Morgan Photography - Love this wedding so much!

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.


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Saša Trifunovski - Is that a 14 images stitch up there with the bridal party? How long does it take you to edit that kind of image?

Arnold Gallardo - Probbly done The Brenizer Method way

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!








Charlotte Hodge - beautiful..

Jennifer D'Albora - You guys were awesome and the pictures are beautiful! Jenn from FudgeN’Stuff

Sara Kelly Johns - I’m glad you had a personal break mixed with a stunning shoot. My fave is Sarah and John on the rocks. Oh, wait! In the candy store…too many good ones to have a favorite, it seems!

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.


Sara Kelly Johns - Heartwarming and stunning pictures at the same time! They show a love story clearly…

Harry Angelo Ghislandi Piermattey - Amazing pictures !!!

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.


Serena Jae - So excited for you two and your joining forces! Also, this session is total awesome. :)

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.