Welcome to 2012.

The other day I almost cried while shooting. Now, I’m not a weepy guy, but that’s not unheard of. You have to be something of a softie to be successful in this business, and there have been times I’ve been glad for autofocus because a beautiful moment was clouded by tears in my viewfinder.

But this was different: I wanted to cry simply because I was shooting, and it felt so good.

It takes a certain kind of personality to be a wedding photographer, to have done around 250 weddings and love the job more each time. There are certainly ways to spend your photographic talents that are more fun to talk about at cocktail parties — photographing celebrities for magazine covers, documenting the atrocities of war. Unlike the former, though, we do something that has inherent value from the start — you can make celebrity portraiture important, but it doesn’t start out that way. Does the world need another photo of Jack Nicholson grinning? War photography, ironically perhaps, is much closer to the give and take of a wedding, but there are far more pitfalls there than just getting shot. I like to use my life and my work to remember that as a people we do more than just shoot each other. We love and we laugh and we dance and we drink until maybe we regret the rest morning, but have memories and moments and connections that last us the rest of our lives. It’s life, but more so. Life is messy and chaotic and confuses the heck out of me sometimes, but that’s exactly what makes it beautiful. The unsurprised live is not worth living.

And it feels so good to take this chaotic world in through my viewfinder and make some sense of it — just enough order to be dynamic, to show the chaos and surprise pulsing against the composition and flow of a story. Moments just happen, but by the time we remember them they have become part of a story. We traffic in these memories, and shape them.

But it breaks down further. There’s something that feels so right about being good at something, about complicated tasks becoming part of your nature. There hadn’t been more than a few days in a row since March that I didn’t have my camera in my hand, and yet here I was after the holidays, after weeks of relative break and separation from my work. The camera was in my hand again and I felt whole. It was like looking down and realizing where you misplaced your kidneys. I compose photos as I look around, all of the settings and composition set before I raise the camera to my eye. I’ve developed a little shrug that, with almost no movement, can make a camera jump into my hands from its position hanging on either shoulder. I change settings as I walk, not looking down, not thinking. My thumb dances around the camera body, 1/250th becomes 1/80th, the ISO shoots up, the flash goes off, or back again, and I’m not thinking about this any more than I’m thinking about putting my right leg in front of my left. By the time I see the jumble of chaos resolve itself in my viewfinder, everything is the way I want it. It just makes sense.

And this is my life, because of you. Because of all of my amazing clients, because of my readers, because of my family, my friends, people who push me forward, who share in my joys when life is easy and keep me going when life is hard. You have gotten me here, and for you I’m going to do things in 2012 that will push it even harder. And for me, because that just makes sense.

sam hurd - love it.

Phil Widmer - Great post. I’ve caught myself getting emotional a few times as well.

Jen Smith - Ryan, I love your written stories as much as your visual ones. Here’s to another phenomenal year of skillfully and creatively documenting what matters most.

Becca Dilley - Thank you for putting so much of yourself out there. Wishing you a wonderful 2012.

Michelle Smith - beautifully put! that is I think what separates a lot of photographers, those who feel it and let that carry them and it shows. Then there are those who yes, they have the eye, the touch, the equipment and so forth but the heart is missing sometimes, the photos are empty. I think that is what people love about your photography, you have heart behind it. You truly are an inspiration sir, thank you!

Charlotte Hodge - Wonderful motivation and insight.
You will do well…You will do great…We are counting on you…to fulfill your destiny….Don’t look back….but keep those tears….They lubricate…our hearts…

Heather Elizabeth - I feel like I could have written this. In the past few weeks since the end of my season, when I don’t have my camera in hand, it’s like the day isn’t complete. Sure, there were other people taking family photos for the holidays, but I went into photographer mode and had to capture it all myself. It’s just who I am. It’s who we are.

Brilliant post. Cheers to a bright and beautiful 2012.

Robin Brenizer - Ryan how did you get so insightful? You are truly inspirational.

Aiyesha - Awww.. this post made me all teary eyed. Truly inspirational. I’ve always believed you (photographer) have to have a beautiful heart to be a good wedding photographer. Wish you a very Happy New Year. Cheers!

Panorama on the sly

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It’s not often that I can pull off a candid “Brenizer method” panorama, but here’s a 10-photo image from when the couple took a break at their Stage 6 at Steiner Studios wedding reception to spend a minute alone with the skyline. Like any extreme panorama, it reads best in very large sizes, so here it is in exactly one percent of the original area. One adage of panoramas is that at any given print size you’re compressing out the noise, handy at ISO 10,000.

10 photos with the Sigma 85mm f/1.4.

Ryan Smith - Awesome like always. I need to start trying to pull this off again myself, I’ve never been able to get it quite right.

Ranjan Ray - Always great to see the “Brenizer Method” from the man himself. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Ryan!

Muliadi Bahrom - Linda Bahrom

Vahtangs Siharulidze - Ryan, Maybe silly question but why for making panoramas you use 85mm lens?

Josh Mitchell - Pulling off anything candidly with multiple shutter slaps from a D3s is pretty impressive in of itself.

Shannon Wimberly - I really don’t even need to comment on the awesomeness of this image….. my critique would only take away that fact….. beyond words my friend.

Michael Tuuk - I love this pano! I’m starting to try these out myself.

Adi Kapoor - Absolutely love the concept and the idea of reducing depth of field whilst still getting the wide angle! Kudos!

Just wondering if its my screen or if I can see a small amount of color distortion in the sky (almost like the vignette where the pictures were stitched together… for example right in the middle of the photograph (horizontally), at the top in the sky above the couple. The sky seems slightly darker in patches, which seem quite similar to a vignette!

Maybe I’m seeing things… lol

Guastavino’s wedding: Yelena and Ben

I’ve had a lot of challenges thrown in the way of my wedding coverage this year, from hurricanes to closed NYC tunnels to rescheduled weddings, but every once in a while, my couples aren’t just lucky in love, but on the day itself. Yelena and Ben’s wedding missed a giant freak snowstorm by a few hours and a few miles, and by the end of the night, when I was lying on the street in the middle of traffic to get a shot (long story), the snow was all but gone.

There are a lot worse places to be snowed in than Guastavino’s, though, a restaurant and event space with gorgeous architecture and style. The entire day from getting ready to the last moments of the reception was in the building, which eliminates about nine of the top 10 potential stressors on a wedding day.

Take Manhattan chic, add embarrassing and fun stories from family, a father rocking out on the mic with the band, belly dancers, rambunctious kids, and a kind, warm couple who couldn’t stop looking at each other all night, and you have a heck of a wedding.

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Alan Langley - Absolutely stunning images – brilliant use of light as ever!! What a gorgeous bride but my favourite shot has to be the flower girl.
Awesome colours and shadows.

fer juaristi - Beautiful wedding my friend.

sam hurd - oh you and your eye balls. incred.

Rajesh J Taylor - The groom is so the BOSS MAN in the second from last image. Beautiful done series.

Brian Davis - Amazing…those reception shots blow my mind.

Becca Dilley - There is an easiness that flows through these photos that makes them even lovelier than their technical skill shows. Clearly a wonderful wedding.

Nessa K - You really never stop impressing me. I’m absolutely… in love with all the dancing photos. :)

Phil - This set was incredible. Every picture was just stunning.
Great way to end 2011.

Max - These wedding pics are so good… I do not know where to start… Awesomeness all around!

Johanna - The second to last one is magical. The whole wedding is magical. AND her dress is so dreamy.

Bec - amazing! I love the staircase shots. Actually every shot was beautiful.

Muhilan - Great pics Ryan !!!

Heather - This wedding is STUNNING!

Katherine O'Malley - Wow! So gorgeous! You just keep getting better and better! An amazing talent!

Heather Swann - these are absolutely, fantastically (

Leah Muse - Their portraits are incredible. Love the shot of her nuzzling in to nuzzling in to his neck.

Natalie - Such a gorgeous wedding! So beautifully captured!

Jared Tseng - The first shot of them dancing is pretty epic!

JESSIE - That first dance shot left me breathless. What a beautiful wedding! You as always are amazing!

Craig Cacchioli - Love the detail shots – especially the one of the dress hanging? How was that lit Ryan? The dress just seems to glow from within!

Kellee Walsh - Amazing Ryan! So much colour and emotion. Gorgeous.

ALMA - Awesome as always.

David Stubbart - you keep raising the bar Ryan…….AMAZING work!

adam houseman - Ryan, you see like nobody else does. Its always a pleasure stopping in to see what you are up to. Can’t wait to see what 2012 holds for you.

34studio - Great images!!! Love the creativity in your work!!!

34studio - Very unique and creative style!!!

Valerie Sebestyen - Wait.. this is real?
REALLY though, this is absolutely incredible work Ryan.

ANDREAS - What an amazing venue! Love those ceilings. The shot of the dancer and her dress being lit up is spectacular.

Lovely work.

Tenielle - Do you ever not nail it Ryan? Ok, so I’ve answered my own question.

angela - Absolutely beautiful work, Ryan! Great work at capturing such beautiful moments of the bride. You have a wonderful touch! Thanks so much for sharing!

Heather Elizabeth - You seriously take my breath away sometimes. The colors in this are amazing. Add in your talent of lighting and composition and capturing emotion. You rock. Hands down some of the best reception photos I have ever seen.

Ian Han - Stumbled on your site while looking for info about Nikkor tilt-shifts… what can I say, amazing work, I love the shot of the couple sitting on the leather couch.

Happy new year

Michelle Smith - wow…. just wow! you are already amazing but I swear you just outdid yourself! chills… tingles… just amazing…

Roberto Farren - Wonderful set of images!! Great photos for the B&G to take from this wedding. Loved the second to last one of the two of them. Regards, Roberto

Jen - Wow!! Amazing pics! The first dance photo is so vibrant. Love the ceremony wide angle shot with the blue walls. And still trying to figure out how you got the shoe shadow next to the shoe. Such a gorgeous wedding!

Craig Cacchioli - Jen,
I think the shoes are on a glass shelf with the shoe casting the shadow laying on its side with the heel pointing towards the toe of the shoe stood up in the foreground.
Then an off-camera flash is held above and to the left of camera (probably slightly forward of camera) casts the shadow of the shoe(s) giving the illusion of an inverted shadow.
If you look right at the bottom of the shot you can just about make out the shadow of the shoe that is stood up.
Love the trickery here Ryan. It’s astounding that you can be thinking of a shot like this in the midst of a wedding!

Derek - So much awesomeness, very inspiring work as usual Ryan!

francoishogue - wow, that’s a superstar wedding. i love how you photographed it! :-)

Lal Bahadur Gupta - Good work

Luis Toledo - Killer wedding Ryan. eye balls indeed…

Fotograf nunta Iasi - I like the movement captured in photographs.

Wedding Photographer Sydney - Love the lights Ryan. Would love to know more about what lights settings (strobe, continuous, etc) you used for this shoot.

Winthrop Estate Wedding: Lisa Marie and Rudy

I knew that Lisa Marie and I would be fast friends from the start. She has a vivacious energy that absolutely never stops, even on a normal day — so I knew she’d be bubbling over at her wedding.

There’s something about weddings at remote lodging like the Wintrop Estate in Lenox Massachusetts that makes it feel like a wonderful family getaway where they just happened to throw a gorgeous wedding. Family and guests were already milling around the area when I got there, having slept there the night before, so it was a communal celebration right from the start.

It was a long and not always easy road for Lisa Marie and Rudy to bring this wedding about, and so it ran the gamut of emotions, with tears flowing into laughter and back again in the space of seconds. The sort of people I’m happy to just be around for a day, taking their energy in, let alone photograph.

Chris Bartow - My wife is also a sink sitter. I don’t understand it, but I think there is some sort of market here for a new invention.

Great photos!

May - I’m a huge fan of your work, you make it look unposed and so natural!

Shelby Starbuck - beautiful work Ryan!

Michelle Lee - love the one she sat in the sink! lol it so funny :P

Becky Lane - Amazing, as always.

Devika Shetty - Sigh, beautiful as always!

tomK - Love the elegance of her getting out of the car — nice church reflection in the corner :-)

Becca Dilley - That is a lot of emotion packed into one day! I needed that :)

Anton Chia - Beautiful wedding! Just by following your blog I could learn so much. These pictures are overflowing with emotions!

Kyle - Ryan, YOU have a vivacious energy that never stops. Match made in heaven with this bride. The pictures are so…alive, for lack of a better word to describe it. That means they’re amazing, in case your’e confused.

Brandis Alves - This is a beautiful wedding you photographed! I love the location and my very favorite photograph is the bride in the sink (getting ready) Great job!

34studio - Your work is just amazing!!!

Joni - First time I’ve ever seen a bride photographed sitting in a sink. She looks like a pretty fun gal. Beautiful work as always.

Scenes from a Workshop

In late October, a gaggle of photographers descended upon midtown Manhattan to make mischief and bounce around all sorts of photographic techniques. It’s always a bit of a trick to recap a workshop without re-teaching it, and when so many of the images were created primarily to teach some sort of lesson, but here are some slices of two fantastic days. I taught everything from lots of talky-talk about the business of photography to advanced techniques like the Brenizer method, flash composites, freelensing, intricate light-shaping, dealing with lack of time, different environments — even how to do an entire portrait session while the clients have to stand in one spot! (I had to deal with that one on a rainy wedding day this year).

Thanks so much to all the fantastic photographers who came, to Valerie, who came from Oklahoma and also supplied the dapper male model Brandon, but beyond all else thank you to Wendy, who made the studio look fabulous, who supplied models and who even posed before the camera herself in all of her jumping glory — and mostly for putting up with so many of us crazy photographers for a weekend.

Along the way we broke onto my roof and found out “Hey, this is pretty cool!” So we’ve all learned valuable lessons.

Want to hear more? I’m speaking at B&H on Thursday. It’s apparently sold out (which is nuts because this is the first time I’ve even mentioned it on the blog!), but there is a wait list. More workshops to come in the late winter.

Ryan Brenizer - @paul: indeed. muahahaha.

Fotograf ślubny Lublin - The last two are the best:)

Kent Skibstad - The picture & story looks sooo much better in this wordpress format, than on facebook. The pictures themself looks way better, guess FB does some wacko thing with the photos. Amazing work, as always, looks like great fun & learningful experience.

Reese - I sooo wish I could attend one of your workshops Ryan! Fantastic behind the scenes photos…I esp. love the group flash composite shot and the rooftop image of Valerie and Brandon!

Shannon Wimberly - I cannot begin to say how much your work has affected me tonight….. I know it has changes many a paradigm for me. Thank You! LOve it ALL! Especially Lemonade out of Lemons! wow…..

Rima - Not jealous at all!!!

Craig Cacchioli - Come on Ryan… tell us. Are you using a tilt-shift or lensbaby to get these wild DOF effects or is this post-production?

Matthias Römer - Maybe i´m from – but my biggest inspiration is Ryans work. Anything esle is 2nd :-)

New York Botanic Gardens Stone Mill Wedding: Anne and Griffin

Every time I do a wedding for Fordham alumni I’m reminded of why I’m proud to be one — sure, there’s a beautiful campus in the middle of NYC, including a gorgeous chapel Anne and Griffin were married in, but what I continue to love most are the people. Fun, driven, open, gregarious — the sort of people who know that guests in the middle of heavy revelry, even guests who have been enjoying Abagail Kirsch’s fantastic catering at the Lillian and Amy Goldman Stone Mill, need a little White Castle to keep them going.

Fordham and the Botanic Gardens, right across the street from each other, was a great combination to take advantage of the fall day. The foliage was peaking out, they looked fantastic … and they got to visit her old dorm room, where a gracious but confused girl let the wedding party in for a few photos and then a foosball match.

And the definition of a great reception is when there are so many photos that I desperately want to share with the world, but know I probably shouldn’t.

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Mandy - Wow, wow, wow. Beautiful! All the shots are great, but I especially love the shoe shot! Very unique take on it.

Andy Gaines - Boom! Brilliant set of shots – Some of those portraits are mega!

Danny - Man, that’s awsome!

Anton Chia - That’s why your the master. Two thumbs up!

Zak - Wide range of techniques used to capture wonderful moments; super strong work as always Ryan!

Jon Hurst - Amazing photos! I especialy like the B&W shots of the bride getting ready.

Heather J - DAMN RYAN! This is lovely. And seriously, no matter how I try, I’m never ever to make hairspray look as glamorous as you do.

Max - As usual, a huge inspiration! :D

Reymond Go - Magnifique!

Anne - A sock monkey cake, argyle socks AND White Castle…?! Um – awesome! Beautiful photos throughout, I really love all of the fun expressions in the couple’s photos…

Derek - Incredible work Ryan! Love the bridal shots and the first Brenizer.

Heather - That shot with the veil flowing in the wind, is INSANE!!

Heather Lambrinides - amazing images… the bride prism is off the charts.

Caroline - Ryan, these feel so real. I love how playful some of them are (the weird kaleidoscope-looking photos of the bride is AWESOME). I also am digging that black and white shot of the bride getting hair-sprayed. LOVE.

Jared Tseng - Your storytelling has such grandeur! I’m not quite sure how you got that kaleidoscope-type shot, but it’s pretty EPIC! Also love the portrait of the couple on the sidewalk.

Atik Ullah Sayeed - this is a nice story in frames.

Chantal Andrea - DAMN. I’m obsessed with the hair spray photo. overall, beautiful, beautiful, work.

heather nan - Been said prior… but loving on that kaleidoscope image of the bride. Brilliant as always!

Fotograf ślubny Lublin - Great story, Ryan!

Michelle Domínguez - Beautiful!

Becca Dilley - There is such an easy feeling to this set that I am digging.

Denitsa Avdzhieva - Beautiful Ryan, I am a huge fan!

Nora - Great work as always Ryan!

Teresa K - I’m left wanting a cheeseburger for some reason…hmmm. But seriously…Becca said it best…there’s a cool, “easy” feeling to this one that I’m totally diggin!!

Shyann - Amazingness as always Ryan! The photo of the bride is so trippy, you know the one I mean! I love it! The one of the couple in the walk way in front of the tree is also full of win.

Beth Shaknis Zarzycki - Awesome photos! Captures the emotions completely!

Paul Edwards - Best wedding Ever!

ed peers - Well and truly Brenizered. Superbly captured.

Lana - Love the portrait location.. great colors and compositions!

James - Very skilled shots, so many techniques used throughout the day!

Alicia White - WOW! That’s all I have to say!

Laura - Such an amazing batch of photographs from the Wedding! Great job!

Tyler - gosh man. always intrigued by your images. well done, ryan.

Tenielle - Umm. You are out of control my friend. Not sure how you did it but it’s in your blood. How you see the world is so very unique, beyond amazing.

Ryan Sullivan - I just happened to stumble upon you on flickr and ended up here and all I can say is I’m inspired. This is amazing. I’m afraid I am going to end up mimicking your style someday, but I assure you it’s only as I discover my own. This is art.

Oh, and for the “kaleidoscope” shot… were you on your head for the whole ride? Absolute brilliant use of unique surroundings.

Donna Puma - You Did an amazing job.. If you could send me some of her face an the wedding party..I will put it on my website and give you credit.
Best Donna Puma beautydoor@gmail.com http://www.donnapuma.com…thanks.

Pam Lear Reitter - You guys are absolutely GORGEOUS!

Phil - Awesome series of images! Love the tight focus!

Caroline Anne - Just perfect. Every time I’m in a limo I try to get a shot like that and always fail to make it look good.

Josh Mitchell - You’ve always got at least one amazing shot where you use a reflection.

Joni- Denver Wedding Photographer - Great photos, I love the black and white shiloette at the beginning of the post. I also love their sock-monkey cake topper… Awesome!

François Hogue photographe - Good, as usual. Really nice post. Love looking at all those beautiful images.

Clark - The capturing way is amazing and wonderful. All expressions and moments are well snapped. Romantic scenes are very lovely and giving a truly feeling.

Donna Puma - 4 years later you are amazing!!!

Coming Soon: Anne and Griffin

111009 133835 35mm f1 4

I like the picture too much to ruin it with some sort of eye pun, but I’m tempted. Quis custodiet ipsos sponsam?

Lens: 35mm f/1.4
Camera: Nikon D3s

sam hurd - me likes.

Andy Gaines - Holy multiple reflections batman!


Rammal Mehmud - This is PURE lovee.

Anton Chia - A most extraordinary shot! Love the optical effects.

Featured in Adorama TV’s “How’d They Do That?”

Mark Wallace at Adorama TV interviewed me for his popular “How’d They Do That?” segment. Apparently he was flooded with questions about the “Brenizer method” and figured who better to explain it? I’ll never get used to seeing myself on video, but we had a great time. Thanks, Mark!

Josh Ellis - Thanks for posting this! I’m subbed to AdoramaTV, but I missed it.

Anton Chia - Great tutorial! I actually learned it by watching you in real action when your shooting the couple in Singapore.

Fox Hollow Wedding: Lindsay and Ron

I’ve had a lot of lucky breaks in this business, right from the photojournalism days. “Hey there, new kid. We like your tenacity. Want to photograph the president?” isn’t something most people get to hear very often. But one of my luckiest is that so many of my clients are people who it is an absolute pleasure to spend a day with, and leave me saying “Hey, we should do that again.”

Luckily when Lindsay and Ron saw their wedding slideshow, they said pretty much the same thing. See you at the 10-year anniversary!

Even a cursory glance will show you how warm, funny, and ready to party Lindsay, Ron, and their friends were. As soon as I hear that a groom can do the “Put a Ring on It” dance, I know we’re in for a good night. The floor at Fox Hollow was packed with friends and family whose reactions let me know that I was right: Lindsay and Ron are fantastic people, and worth celebrating. Congratulations, you two.

Paul Benjamin - The picture of the bride in the car is pretty darned awesome!

Then again the rest rock pretty hard too…

Jashim - Ryan, I have new found respect and admiration for your work. The vision and technique in the final two images especially are just mind blowing!

Charles Gilmore - Very Nice!

Becca Dilley - Those last two tell quite the story of lighting, location, and technique, but they feel really natural and easy. Love all the black and whites in this wedding, as well.

Charlotte Hodge - Wonderful…once again…Wonderful…

Adam Houseman - Ryan, the black and white ceremony frame with statue silhouette is so nice. Amazing storytelling throughout.
Lindsey and Ron, you two look amazing!

Teresa K - Amazing work Ryan…you know I’m a fan..your skills are crazy good…this wedding is NO exception.

Caroline - Ryan, you never fail to blow me away. You are a fantastic storyteller. And btw that ring shot shizzled my nizzle.

Kellee Walsh - That ring shot is epic. Completely stopped me in my tracks!

Silvia Estrada Palacios - Beautiful.

Leah Kua - That hairspray shot is a knock out! Love it.

Phill - Quality from edge to edge in four dimensions. Once again you’ve managed to delicately read the pulse of a wedding day and express it in all it’s explosive joy and splendour.

James - Stunning wedding and a really nice set of images!

Kat Braman - your storytelling is second to none. your reception photos always make me wish I’d been at the party.

Heather Kanillopoolos - Those cake shots are just hilarious. I love couples with such spark! Awesome work, Ryan!

Heather J - Seriously, Ryan, that first black and white church shot is amazing. LOVE, the enforcer.

Sally Watts - Wonderful! I particularly like the black and white image of her in the car and the couple portraits that are backlit by flash. Very romantic feel to this whole set.

brie - I love the backlit couples portraits. Your work is always amazing and inspiring, I love how you tell the story of the wedding day. Beautiful work.

lovebirds - I love the use of backlighting – both in the picture of the bride and groom in front of the fence and when the hair dresser is spritzing the bride’s hair. Great work! I’m excited to look at more of your wedding photos.

Blake Burton - looks like it was a heck of a good time! I also love the hairspray shot. Legit!

Ray Duque III - Wonderful, very nice.

Simon Kennedy - Nice work. Shame you are not in the UK.

Anne - Really awesome stuff here. You’ve caught all of the various emotions throughout the day, the last two shots are amazing…

Gail Shea Grainger - Joyous!

Anton Chia - That awesome ring shot with the groom buttoning his vest is the one for me. Loving that deep contrast black and white shots.

Central Park Boathouse wedding: Cathy and Glen

You’ve heard the story about how it started to rain right before Cathy and Glen were going to take a leisurely walk in Central Park before their reception at the Central Park Boathouse. You may not have heard how it also started to rain right before Cathy was going to get into the limo for the ceremony at the stunning Church of St. Ignatius Loyola … or how that limo then immediately broke down, needing a jump start from a friendly NYC taxi driver.

But what you really didn’t hear is how none of that mattered. How much fun they had anyway at every part of the day. How close their family was, how great it was to see her brother Jeff and his wife Emily, whose wedding I photographed in 2008. How rain and electronic problems and all the challenges of a wedding day just become great stories to talk about later when a couple knows how to have fun together, which Cathy and Glen are great at. And, you know, the whole “looking fabulous” thing.

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Joseph - Ryan, I swear you’re in 10 different places all at once.
Wonderful photojournalism here.
Congratulations to Cathy and Glen.

fer juaristi - love this post bro, it has everything I love about your style.

Sam Hurd - Your work is so dynamic it’s insane.

Max - Nice post!! SO many pics to frame!

lindsey - That rain shot makes my eyes sooo happy. This couple looks so wonderful and you can tell how much fun their wedding was. Beautiful photos!

Kyle - Where to even begin with a post this good?! I love them all buuuut….

My favorites are…

Cathy with her hands in the air at the altar. The umbrella shot in the rain, and the shots in the subway. So. So. SO GOOD.

Sully - I am loving this one. The subway shot and the rain TS are freakin amazing man. Great work as always. Also, enjoy Hong Kong!

Graymask - What a beautiful wedding! Your certainly brought it to life with you photo journalism skill. The shot with the umbrella is simply incredible, kudos!

Heather Elizabeth - Dear Ryan, I hate you because you are so good.

love always, Heather.

dan - gahhhhh, so good. so very very good. LOVE the umbrella and rain shot, fan-freaking-tastic.

Matt - Love the portraits of the bride before the ceremony mate, also the tilt shift in the rain, EPIC.

Rae - Holy fricken crap… how amazine is that umbrella shot at the end…. WINNER!

I love how you capture people… their emotions, expressions, responses, reactions, moments <3

Nora - Awesome shots, especially that one under the umbrella…amazing!

Kat Forsyth - Stylish and classic as always, with that extra PJ edge to take it to the next level. Rain shot at the end FTW.

Natalie - I honestly can’t pick a favorite image! This is amazing!

ryan southen - stellar work as always.

Daniel - You never cease to amaze, Ryan. Stunning work as always, bro.

Derek - Stunning work as usual Ryan. The shot of them in the rain is all kinds of awesome.

Sigit Prasetio - This is outstanding!. I love the use of TSE-Lens :)

Shaun David - Amazing work! I love the black and whites.

SF Photo Booth Guy - I really like your natural looking photos, it’s wonderful. All of them are perfect, the color, the light, the couple, everything. I can really say that you have capture the right emotions in a wedding.

Jen Smith - So many emotions! Pensive, sweet, dramatic, humorous, traditional, zany. And she looks cool as a cucumber throughout, despite all the random wedding day issues. Amazing!

Christian Lee - Awesome stuff, Ryan. Love the shot in the rain…wow.

coler - this post sums up everything i think is dope about your style. kick-ass.

Jason Lloyd - Dammit Ryan, you are the man right now!! Some beautiful images here and love the group shot of the guys – ultracool :)

Anton Chia - The interior shot of the church blew me away.

Craig Lybbert - The photo in the rain with the umbrella is pure genius. Loved how you used the umbrella and how you took advantage of the rain. Nice work.

Lukas Gisbert-Mora - Wow! How?

Massimo Carbone - Very beautiful work! :)

Beyond the Dusk

111126 170851 35mm f1 4

I love shooting in November, at least when it’s unseasonably warm as it has been. It could be noon and the sun still comes as a flattering oblique angle. But it also means that it gets dark early. Really early. So if your ceremony runs a little long, you might show up at the gorgeous pier you selected for your wedding photos and find that it’s pitch black, so dark you need a flashlight just to see where you can walk.

No problem.

This was much darker in real life than in the photo. A quick tip: Live View is awesome for nailing manual focus in conditions too dark for your eye to see. It’s a good time to be a photographer when our mechanical eyes can give us a hand from time to time.

Of course, being paranoid is a big part of this game. I knew darkness was a strong possibility, so I brought every continuous light source I own. If nothing else, they made great flashlights.

(The reflection is off a particularly nasty puddle in a pile of gravel.)

Lens: 35mm f/1.4
Camera: Nikon D3s
Light: Backlit with Lowel id-light

Joseph - Ryan, that framing is brilliant (along with the rest of the ingredients in this image)
Well done you.

Dennis Pike - Seriously? You are hands down the most frustrating photographer I know of. Whenever I’m feeling good about my work, all I have to do is open up your blog and I get a nice firm reality check.

Sara - I had a VERY similar experience a few weeks ago.. big difference though.. I forgot my flashlight. walking the focus onto the couple using test shots with the strobes was not fun.

Andy Gaines - That is one attractive looking filthy puddle in the dirty gravel. Great shot (as usual) and some inspiring tips too – Cheers!

Cate Waters - that reflection is from a nasty puddle? WOW!

Charlotte Hodge - This is so so beautiful….the happy couple are very lucky to have this image to start their journey…great job Ryan..

Dithichaya Ruangsirikorn - great.

Jack Bates - Memories frozen in a nasty puddle looking for all the world like swan lake at dusk. I hear MacGyver cheering in the distance.

Priya Serena Kumar - I am in love with you. In the least creepiest way possible.

Michelle Kirnan - When I first saw this image I thought “are you kidding me?”, and now that I know that’s a puddle in a pile of gravel…seriously? Your work is awe-inspiring! I could look at your images all day!

Paul A Hart - Always scratch my head…..how do u get that georgous sky blue?
Great composition, great as always….

Reese - Turning a tough situation into a beautiful one…you never cease to amaze me Ryan!

Becca Dilley - I have to agree with Dennis. Can’t you post something awful, just once? This is stunning, and I can only imagine it is even more amazing at a large size. What a spectacular gift for the bride and groom to remember their wedding with – a quiet moment, beautifully captured.

Eliza - A puddle? I agree with Dennis, you’re kind of infuriating with your awesome talent.

Shari DeAngelo - You, my friend, are a magician. A brilliant, beautiful image!

Chelsea Patricia - Oh my goodness, this is insanely gorgeous.

Anton Chia - This frame is a photo candy for me. You are a magician, a wizard of light.

Review: Sigma 12-24mm Mark II

Specs and Pricing info

111026 160629 60mm f3

This summer, I looked at the gear I tended to use for weddings — never wider than 24mm, dominated by f/1.4 or f/1.2 primes — and said “Ok, let’s shake this up a bit.” So I chose the Sigma 12-24mm, which on a full-frame camera gives as wide a rectilinear frame as any lens for any system — a 122-degree frame of view. To go wider than that, you have to go fisheye. Moreover, the lens is one of the least light-sensitive professional lenses around — it starts at f/4.5 at the wide end, but if you want to zoom you should just consider it an f/5.6 lens, only letting in 1/16th the light of my 24mm f/1.4.

I’d been having a blast with it, working with new possibilities and limitations, when my pals at B&H asked me if I wanted to review the new version Sigma was releasing. Absolutely — the Mark I Sigma is extremely fun but more than a little quirky, and to get solid performance out of it you generally want to be in the f/11 range, severely limiting use as an indoor available-light lens. I figured the new lens would be more or less identical, but with some new coatings, a bit of new glass, but no major changes.

Then I opened the box. The new lens, even though it has the same basic specs, felt totally different. It’s longer, leaner, and with a wider rear element (the Mark I’s is strangely small). It felt sturdier in the hand, and I could immediately see an improvement in sharpness and vignetting wide-open. This doesn’t mean it’s optically perfect at f/4.5, but it does become more than usable — a real optical challenge at this frame of view.

I don’t often shoot blank walls, but this comparison tells the tale quite well. Below are photos taken with the old and new versions at 12mm f/4.5 with the same 1/4th power bounce flash off a white ceiling, on the left and right respectively:

111026 161108 12mm f4

Enough said. The white wall shows a far more dramatic result than most real-world applications, but when you look at the Mark I photo, the vignetting is so dramatic that you think you might have put a DX lens on your camera by mistake. Some of the vignetting on the left of the Mark II photo may be from the directionality of the flash combined with the extreme angle of view, but even then the falloff is far more gradual.

Also, the difference in color is interesting, given that these were taken with the same flash at the same intensity, in “Flash” white balance setting. The older Sigma seems to have a turquoise cast to it, especially in the vignette. Now, of course lots of photographers pay lots of money for Photoshop actions to create vignetting that looks sort of like that, so there’s no saying what’s better. But I strongly prefer the new version.

In terms of basic usage, it’s hard to tell any difference between the two, because a lens set to 12mm f/5.6 has such a deep depth-of-field already that autofocus is almost an afterthought. If you love bokeh in all of your images, this isn’t the lens for you.

But what sort of things IS this lens good for? Well, it’s wide. Really, really, really wide. So wide that anyone placed near the corners of its pictures looks like Jabba the Hutt. Like with a fisheye, shooting at 12mm is generally something you’ll want to do sparingly, but when used right it can give really dramatic accents.

For instance, it’s hard to find a better lens to show off the interior of a particularly ornate church:

111001 155329 12mm f5

And while subjects too close to you or too close to the edges of the frame will look clownish, with the right placing you can get a great deal of a scene in the frame without looking crazy. Here you can see a lot of the scene, including the same little peninsula I’m standing on, but it doesn’t scream “Crazy wide!!”

111105 181743 12mm f7

And the same here, because the human elements are close to the center of the frame:

111106 170456 12mm f6

The real strength of it is to see commonplace scenes in very different ways. Because it’s so wide, every parallel line instead becomes something converging toward a perspective — which might drive architects crazy, but can also make for interesting compositions:

111030 151840 12mm f14

Not to mention the sort of “reverse compression,” where your subjects can fit into any frame or arch or space that would normally be too large:

111030 205018 12mm f5 6

Sigma has done a greg job with the revamp of this lens — there are always going to be lots of challenges from shooting ultra, ultra-wide, but with the new model at least the challenges are just coming from perspective instead of lens design.

If this sounds up your alley, purchase it here.

Ryan Seung Burkett - great review

Matt Shumate - One of my favorite (secret weapon) lenses. It’s got a learning curve like a tilt/shift (since it has so many issues), but once you get it, no other lens would do.

Nick Beaulieu - That comparison of the white wall is quite something.

Matthieu Rodier - And why not the Tokina 10-16 f2,8? It opens much more and makes nice pictures!

Jack Bates - Thanks for the review and example shots. I like how you break down the old vs new, then give practical examples from your wedding shoots (and wow, great shots).

Rick - Thanks very much for your article, Ryan. I am an amateur and have the first version of this lens but since I only shoot with a DX (waiting for D800), I hadn’t noticed the vignetting. I’m very glad to see Sigma constantly improving their products. A lot of friends are too brand conscious and don’t understand that some Sigma lenses are really great. Your article about the 85 convinced me to buy it and I couldn’t be happier. Thanks for all the work you put into your blog and real life reviews!

jensaddis - The shots are nice and sharp and transport some nice atmosphere. Whereas I think the one with the hammock the photo is not dominated by the actual main interest, the people but too many other things.
I use the Tokina 16 24 and love it … sharp, nice perspectives, veryvery solid and superb quality build. I think it is even the same quality or … a tick better than the nikon lens. and it starts at 2.8! I just love THIS lens;-)

Ryan, thank you very much for your reviews. this one convinced me that I did the right decision when I bought the Tokina …

jensaddis - sorry some mistakes in my comment before;-((( hit the button to fast. It is the tokina 16 28, 2.8 and there are some punctuation flaws …

Cheryl Moreno - Very beautiful shots!

Neil Kronberg - Do you remember whether the church interior shot was taken with a tri/monopod? It’s difficult to gauge how dark it is in there, especially since it had to be taken at least at ƒ/4.5.

Anton Chia - Totally adore the stunning shot of the church.

George - Hello Ryan,

thank you for this review! Why didn’t you go with the Nikon 14-24mm 2.8?

Best regards from Germany, George

Sal - Hi Ryan,

Exceptional work my friend. Sigma makes great lenses for their price but i have yet to find something that will accomodate my FX sensor. I have been looking at and finally pushed the buy botton on the tokina 16-28mm FX f2.8 you might want to take a look at that one. Its for Full frame bodies and are made for canon and nikon. Let me know what you think. BTW if you ever need any help drop me a line and ill be there. Keep up the good work. Wish you a happy, Healthy and prosperous new year.

JargaPix - Good review Ryan. Great images, but you already know that. How do you like this lens compared to Nikons 14-24?

John P. Argueta - Good review Ryan. Great images, but you already know that. How do you like this lens compared to Nikons 14-24?

Lukas Gisbert-Mora - This church picture is incredible. Any plans on making a book Ryan? I know that you must be very busy but I love to see some of your work explained.

Lukas Gisbert-Mora - great photos Ryan, I love the Church shoot, amazing combination of lines. You should make a book.

Oat Vaiyaboon - Does the new 12-24 use the same lens hood? or the same diameter. I’ve made a cokin x-pro ring for the old 12-24, just wondering if it will be usable on the new lens? Thanks.

StefanOn Foto - Nice review and amazing photo works! Can I ask if the two white wall pictures are both at 12mm? The old lens seems to capture less view field of the other.

Jon Sharman Photography - Ryan, this is a great review, thanks! Going to NYC this weekend and trying to decide between this and just a 20mm – think I’ll go with this!

Nico Georgi - Very beautiful shoots! Thanks for the review! http://www.momentabdruck.de

Oguzhan Suer - Great review man. I have been looking for that kind of review. Thanks for sharing…

Coming Soon: Cathy and Glenn

central park boathouse wedding

It was brought.

Esenam - Perfect shot, Wow. What lens did you use here Ryan?

Rima Darwash - beautiful

Anton Chia - I saw this pic in the main blog post first before this and it really caught my eye. I would be really interested to know how was this lit. I am guessing a CTO gelled small softbox behind the door radio triggered? Or was it a continuous light? Stunning visually grabbing shot.

Mad-Men-themed engagement shoot: Megan and Michael

RK2 6170

I was going to wait to post these … but I’m no good at being patient. Megan and Michael did such an awesome job at putting together a Mad-Men-themed engagement shoot, that I had to share some more. Everything from the newspapers they’re holding to the details of their clothing are either from around 1963 or, in the case of Megan’s dress, a prop from the show itself! And of course it helps to have access to the sorts of places the characters would actually frequent — first a 1960s subway car, from the New York Transit Museum, to the Gramercy Park Hotel — a bastion of New York style for most of the 20th Century.

Editing is crucial in photography, but they looked so fantastic and I had such a good time doing this that I’d be comfortable showing every last shutter click from this shoot. They even rocked the light tests. I can’t wait for their wedding in September.

Derek Olson - Why aren’t they smoking in every photo? ;) Beautiful work. And the couple, they nailed it!

Tracy Morter - Gorgeous! I love the almost cinematic look to these and the colours are wonderful.

Elissa - Their attention to detail is marvelous. Goodness, they look fantastic. And Ryan, you photographed them beautifully. Love this!!

Emily Porter - These are awesome!! They are such a classy, gorgeous couple.

ayeshasa - i’ve never even watched mad men… yet… but this is all kinds of awesome. their style is _impeccable_, and your lighting is killer as always! they are gorgeous and the mood is incredible. love this!

Courtney Thomas - wow. executed amazingly.

John P. Argueta - Awesome! Lighting looks great! All that’s missing is some Whiskey. No wait, it’s there too!

Sownak Roy - Awesome! Love the train environment.. very daily life :)

Seth - This entire shoot is amazing but there is something really unique about the top right shot. Its like a still frame cut from an old film reel. I love it.

Diane Hornbuckle Dobry - Ryan–loved it. Did they meet on a subway in “real life”?

Brianne Daul - More of Megan Duffy & Michael Kinney’s awesome engagement shoot! Ryan Brenizer Photography did a fantastic job!

David Francis - Absolutely fantastic!

Peter Gibbons - Incredible set — the mood is just perfect. Really envious of your eye!

collages - I’m wowed! This shoot is fantastic! Awesomely executed by both you and the couple!

Mary Sylvia - Wow, she is GORGEOUS. These guys so perfectly suit your style of photography…

colleen - this. is. a. ma. zing!

esenam - This is so cool Ryan, love the every single shot.This is a story well told!

Missy - Can haz rockin’ green dress? WOW. Oh, and the photos are nice, too. ;)

Alan - I am not normally a fan of themed engagement shoots as they can easily become tacky but this just takes it to a new level. So very, very cool. Perfect couple, unbelievable attention to detail and of course amazing photography.

Melissa Jean - Oh my goodness. They did a WONDERFUL job! Hmm, I think I need to go watch some more Mad Men now =)

Anton Chia - Like frames from an old movie.

Sesiunea foto de logodna « Blog de Mireasa - […] tema filmul sau serialul vostru preferat (serialul Mad Men este o excelenta sursa de inspiratie). Sursa fotoViitorul sot este pasionat de masini ? Foloseste-te de asta pentru sesiunea foto! Sursa […]

Radek Radunski - Great material, light and climate. I really like

Sesiunea foto de logodna | Blog Media Film - […] tema filmul sau serialul vostru preferat (serialul Mad Men este o excelenta sursa de inspiratie). Sursa fotoViitorul sot este pasionat de masini ? Foloseste-te de asta pentru sesiunea foto! Sursa […]

Chelsea Patricia - Ummm, this is all kinds of awesome.

New York Love Story, 60s Style » Ryan Brenizer — NYC Wedding Photographer. Problem solver, storyteller. - […] quick peek at Megan and Michael’s wedding. With an engagement shoot like this, you can be sure the wedding was a stylish affair. — Camera: Nikon D3s Lens: Nikon 35mm […]

Keith Hodgkinson - Excellent stuff,story telling images that leave you thinking.What a great couple of characters.

Adrián Volt Saéz - precioso trabajo. siempre excelente.

WASIO - this is simply awesome!!! love everything about this session!

Tabrizi’s Wedding: Amanda and Bennett

Driving rain and zero visibility the night before couldn’t keep me from making it down to Baltimore for Amanda and Bennet’s wedding at Tabrizi’s. Luckily the rain broke overnight, and the day was absolutely perfect.

Amanda and Bennett are great guinea pigs for me. I shot part of their engagement as my first shoot with the Fuji X100, and I shot part of their wedding on film with the Hasselblad H2F. It’s hard to go wrong with the beauty and sense of form and style of ex-dancer Amanda.

Valerie, my summer 2012 intern, rocked it on this shoot, and a couple of the photos are hers from when she could get in places I couldn’t, either different angles on the ceremony or one memorable point where she scrambled up on the roof of their house. Pure gumption.
View full post »

gabe aceves - There’s no mistaking a Ryan Brenizer wedding. Full of awesome moments, great photos and yes, babies eating shoes :)

Ryan Brenizer - Haha, thanks Gabe!

Ian Han - wow! gorgeous images, especially the shot through the flowers.

Olivier - Very nice work ! I like this reportage…

Ivens Nascimento - Nice work!

Charlotte Hodge - My friend an Architect from Spain… Pablo…saw your work and.asked me to forward his words to you……………………”No doubt…he is an artist and not just another wedding photographer…his pictures takes feelings…emotions…small moments..and you have to have a very good eye, not only those in your face but in your heart, to capture this beautiful pices of life….tel him this, please…in my name.”..

Diane Hornbuckle Dobry - I love the shot of the bride and bridesmaids (“If you like it then you should have put a ring on it…oh ohoho oh oh..”).

Kat - Love, love, love the photo of the bride getting into her dress and how you put the pictures of the groomsmen side by side (rehearsal dinner vs. wedding day).

Anton Chia - I dig that freelensing shot. Two thumbs up!