Charity, Adam and I snuck out of the reception for a minute to get some photos while their friends chatted above.
Luckily my clients trust me. “So … we’re using the light of a vending machine? Haha, OK…”
What better way to spend Independence Day than with Heather and Jordan at their Ritz Carlton Battery Park wedding? You may recall that we’d already had lots of fun together, with an engagement shoot stumbled across by Dave Chappelle. The day was extremely hot and windy — the moment Heather stepped outside her gorgeous cathedral veil almost went flying off the edge of the building — but they couldn’t have been having a better time. They were so excited that every time they saw each other in key moments, from the first look to the ceremony and kiss, cake cutting, anything, they would just keep bursting out in gales of laughter.
Of course a wedding at the Ritz was classy and gorgeous, with a fantastic cake that marked the day in another way, looking like fireworks exploding over the city. We never did see the fireworks display, which was on the other side of the city, but they had plenty of their own. Congratulations!
I just made another massive contribution to Nikon’s bottom line, replacing my trusty D3, which I essentially ground into dust, with a second D3s. This meant that every last piece of gear I owned the last time I made a “What’s In my Bag” video has been sold, lost, stolen, or (mostly) broken. Every flash, lens, camera, everything. So here’s another one. More important than the gear are the reasons behind it — I try to only bring what I can carry to most weddings, and like to travel overseas without checking bags, so everything is carefully planned to give redundancy without taking up needless space.
The short list, for gearheads:
Cameras: Nikon D3s (x2)
Flashes: SB-900 (x3)
COMING SOON: 35mm f/1.4
60mm f/2.8 Micro
135mm f/2 DC
70-200mm f/2.8 VR II
Memory cards: 16GB Sandisk (x4)
Sledgehammer of Light: A Manfrotto 682B and Lastolite triflash
Umbrellas and Lumiquest mini-softbox (not in video)
I also have a bunch of White Lightning studio gear, but I only bring that to weddings when there is a very specialized need, or for photo booths.
This is the point where I note that one of the advantages of living in NYC is that my apartment is made darned hard to break into.
I said in my very last post that I don’t do much boudoir … and then I set out to shoot some. But you can’t blame me; my muse was my wonderful girlfriend. She’s a professional dancer and skilled fitness trainer, but, like most of the people I shoot, has never thought of herself as photogenic. If a gorgeous woman with an eight-pack doesn’t think she looks good in photos, what chance do the rest of us have? So I rose to the challenge, and we had a great time doing (clothed) boudoir in a style sometimes inspired by the noir lighting you can create when you’re doing a portrait shoot at 1 a.m., and also by 1940s pin-ups. Not a bad way to spend an evening.
But what made it even better was the setting: The Mansion in Saratoga Springs, NY. We both fell in love with the place, through and through. With gorgeous Victorian styling and a large backyard for a party, I didn’t know if I wanted to shoot weddings at The Mansion or save it for myself one day.
More to come! (You’re welcome, in advance).
I love shooting weddings in California. Not just because the cities are great (although there is a special place in my heart for San Francisco), but because you can’t throw a 5D Mark II without hitting three great wedding photographers there, so when a couple says “We want to fly you in to shoot this,” I know that their styles and mine will mesh perfectly. That was true with Karen and Kamil, and it was oh-so-true in the case of Valerie and Matt.
I mean, all you really need to know is that they Rick-Rolled their ceremony. After the gorgeous and heartfelt ceremony (with vows that Val, of course, read off her iPhone), the strains of Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up came over the loudspeakers, and the crowd went nuts as the wedding party danced their way off.
I don’t have to tell you how much fun I had; just look at the photos below and the slideshow. Their love, their awesome friends, and their care for their guests having a good time was constantly palpable. Congratulations Valerie and Matt!
It’s been a crazy season so far, but client work isn’t all I’ve been cooking up — I’ve been bursting with ideas for a “workshop on sterioids” aimed squarely at wedding professionals, from the newly minted to long-time pros. And thanks to the help of Adorama, I’m putting together a stretch of instruction, networking, and fun where even the steroids are on steroids. Here’s the run-down:
On October 11, I will be giving a lecture at Adorama for a nominal fee, all about flash composites, like so:
This part of my June lecture was a big hit, but it takes more time to really teach the possibilities and methods of it right, so for two hours I will systematically take people through the steps so even relative Photoshop and lighting novices can try it for themselves and learn what sorts of new compositions open up to you when you don’t care about getting your equipment out of the shot. Adorama are great hosts, and their facility is top-notch for this type of lecture.
The full workshop will be October 12-13 (that’s a Tuesday and Wednesday — so you can come without missing weddings). You don’t have to attend the Adorama lecture to go to the workshop, and some of the content will be repeated, but if you do go to both, I will reimburse the cost of the Adorama lecture.
What, you ask, is a “workshop on steroids?” It’s a night and a day devoted to teaching my perspectives on and answers to the unique problems wedding photographers face — and not just in photography. I will guide you through topics like:
•Effective client meetings (with demonstration)
•Differentiating yourself in your market
•Keeping your passion alive
•Relationships with other vendors, including perspectives from fantastic wedding planners
I will also make sure that the attendees have the chance to show me and each other their work and share information so we can all network with each other as effectively as possible.
And, then, of course, there’s the photography. I’m not going to take you to fabulous places with professional models and perfect lighting and scenarios you could rarely recreate during a wedding. I’m going to show some of my perspectives on turning bad scenarios into good pictures. Bad background? Terrible lighting? Nervous and awkward subjects? Almost no time? These are the things we really deal with every weekend, and will be the main focus. I’m hoping the weather is miserable on the day of the workshop, but we can always pretend.
The cost of the lecture should be about $35. The cost of the night-and-day workshop is $500, and the number of attendees will be limited to a small group. Again, if you attend both, I will reimburse the cost of the Adorama lecture.
For more information and to sign up, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shakun and Tim’s connection is so visible at every glance. I loved the crazy golden glow that was coming in through the leaves, and did this 16-shot Brenizer method with the 85mm f/1.4. Then I said … “You know what? If there’s a glow like that, we might want to follow it.” And that led to this shot.
I recently spent a few days in Dallas to attend a workshop by Erik Clausen (better known as Poser), and meet some wedding photographer friends. Why I have more photographer friends in towns like Dallas and Denver than NYC is one of those mysteries of the Internet. Erik did a great job with the ambitious concept of throwing an entire fake wedding to show how he would handle it. He used one of the couples whose wedding he had shot, and they had absolutely unbelievable chemistry — even though it wasn’t a “real” wedding, their emotions and her tears were.
I have been blessed with a full shooting calendar for a very long time, so I don’t get to second-shoot much. Which is a shame since I don’t get to just mess around with low-hit-rate but cool techniques, such as just playing with freelensing during the formals. So I took this time to have some fun with it.
Every year I do portraits for the Catholic Guardian Society of the underprivlidged children and developmentally disabled adults they serve so well. It’s a fantastic experience and helps them raise sorely needed money. See some samples from this year’s shoot here, with lots of adorable kids.
Yes, as the best man noted, their names rhyme. And frankly, I think that’s kind of awesome — it shows the natural chemistry these two have. Wedding days can bring stress and worries, particularly when the weather threatens rain on and off and whenever the words “highway traffic” is involved. But the moment that Karen saw Aaron, that was it. He was it. Smiles and connection and pink socks. And you know what? The rain held off, leaving only a gorgeous sunset over Manhattan, which the Water’s Edge has a great view of.
As someone whose name starts with Ryan Kelly can attest, the Irish throw some good parties. Mix that with Karen’s Greek heritage, including traditional dances at the reception, and things really get going. But their deep affection for their friends was represented in yet another way — a close friend of theirs, the amazing singer-songwriter Langhorne Slim, performed at the reception, a performance both touching and fun.
This day was so important and meaningful in ways that are theirs alone, so for a public message I will just say congratulations to you both.