I love crazy portraits more than anybody, and I love well-thought-out details that reflect the couple’s sensibilities. But these moments, the connections between you and the people you love, that’s what weddings are about in the end.
It’s always nice to receive some accolades or publishing, because I neither pay for any advertising nor often submit my photos for publication. Given that, I was very excited to be placed on a list of Ten Inspirational Wedding Photographers by Adorama Camera, along with a number of people who have been international industry leaders for quite some time. Very cool!
What’s better than one of your closest college friends getting married? TWO of your closest college friends getting married to each other! That’s where I’ll be Saturday night, where, if history continues, I will manage to serve as both photographer and official performer of Kid and Play’s routine from House Party. I am elated, excited, and absolutely terrified. You see, Missy is a bit competitive, and a photo I took at our mutual friend’s wedding is pretty much the most-popular wedding photo in all of Flickr. Curse you, expectations!
I’m kidding (mostly). It’s going to be a fabulous day, and with a pair like this, I know we’re going to get expressive, hilarious photos throughout the day. You see, this wasn’t exactly your normal engagement shoot. Your normal engagement shoot doesn’t include commands like: “OK, you see those lights? I want you to stand in them like you are Kryptonian war prisoners!”
Yeah, I’m excited.
There were a thousand moments when I knew I was going to get along with Carol and Johann — this is a couple that spent their rehearsal dinner performing trapeze tricks, after all — but I will always remember when he looked over my shoulder at a nearby wedding photographer and said “Hey look! That guy’s using his flash wrong!” (Yes, yes he was. Sorry about your underexposed formals, Mystery Couple). I love that my Internet presence gives me so many couples with a strong passion for photography themselves, because we can work together on a number of levels, and because this might be their one chance to actually put down a camera and enjoy themselves.
Carol and Johann had a gorgeous day at the Hyatt Harborside in Boston, the sun blazing over the skyline. They also had a hilarious priest who, during the ceremony, told us fascinating bits of Boston history and started calling out to me to make sure everything looked OK. (I gave a thumbs up). The night was devoted to fun, dancing, two fabulous cakes, great family, and a finishing treat of Jones Soda.
Congratulations, Carol and Johann!
I had a wonderful shoot with these two on their fifth wedding anniversary. In 2008, the groom suffered from a disease that left him paralyzed, and he had to teach himself how to walk again. As you can see, he does a lot more than walk. They loved the "Shoot the Freak" at Coney Island, and I had to deal with harsh mid-day light, so I decided to let them have some fun, solving my lighting problem at the same time.
I like the idea of starting engagement shoots in the home — if these shoots are meant to reflect a couple’s actual personality and unique love, where better than where they actually spend so much time together?
Of course, in New York, which I call an amusement park for workaholics, we tend to have less strong connections to our living spaces than in most other places, but they are still important to us.
When it’s in the middle of NYC. Amazing what the right angle and some uncut grass can do.
Only Brooklyn would have roving gangs of hipster art school dropouts. I was setting up this shot by lying in the grass before Rachel and Jonathan got into position, and one called out “Hey buddy, great shot! Very artistic!” I managed to avoid arguing the merits of set-up shots and location scouting with them — that way madness lies.
I do love the final shot, but I give all the credit to the incredible energy Rachel and Jonathan brought to it.
From a fun engagement shoot yesterday with Rachel and Jonathan. I decided to give my computer a workout today with this Brenizer method panorama, which was 53 images with the 135mm f/2. The original file is 211 megapixels. Anyone have a spare billboard to print on?
Here’s a quick shot from an engagement shoot yesterday. I took this by “free-lensing” the 85mm f/1.4 — that is, physically removing the lens from the camera body and moving it around in front of the camera to achieve a selective focus effect. I’ve long been wary of over-using selective focus in my photography, but there’s something about how free-lensing is cost-effective but also possibly insane that speaks to my McGuyver spirit.
(EXIF and GPS. Some EXIF is incorrect since the camera didn’t understand what the heck I was doing.)
One of the things I love about being a photographer in New York City is that you can never see every block, so there are always fresh surprises. Crystal and Bryan’s wedding was my first time at Brooklyn’s Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, and man is it gorgeous. And a great fit for a couple with long ties to the church and the neighborhood. Thanks to Crystal and Bryan’s lively and fun wedding reception in Staten Island, I have now photographed weddings in all five NYC boroughs. (Next stop: 50 states) If it began as a relaxed, fun occasion throughout the whole day, as the night progressed, everyone got more and more into the spirit. Ties became props, the band and guests intermingled, and no floor, wall, or even ceiling was safe.
Yes, you heard that right. I’m pretty sure this is the first wedding I’ve shot where the bride managed to get her footprints on the ceiling. You don’t need me to tell you how awesome that is.
I took this with a point-and-shoot camera while on an 18-hour vacation in Cold Spring, NY. If your point-and-shoot has manual control, you can get a lot out of it by forcing it to do what what you want, including using extreme underexposure to change the nature of a scene.
Now to expand on yesterday’s picture…
Personal work is extremely important to keep a photographer focused and constantly improving. Even with my clients, who are amazing and more willing to experiment than most people, I can’t ever say “Hey, I tried this really cool thing and it didn’t work out. Can you get married again next weekend?” So I’m putting together a little project that should mean some envelope-pushing for me. It might take a little while because it’s busy season, but I’m very excited about it. All you get to know about it beforehand is that, for my main star, I needed more than just a model, I needed an actor with an amazing emotional range.
Luckily I knew just where to find one: My friend Kelly Denicolo. Kelly and I actually went to high school together in the frozen tundra of upstate New York. We didn’t know each other that well, because, let’s face it, I was much cooler than she was. My talent and fabulous singing voice made me the star of all the musicals, while she was more of the subversive class clown type, encouraging students to have disco dance-offs during class-time and thinking up new and creative ways to get detention.
No, wait, I got that backward. She had the amazing singing voice (mine has been outlawed in 43 states), and I was the one who wrote the president that I wanted to secede my room from the Union because I had always dreamed of founding a climate-controlled nation.
But it’s been … several … years since high school, and we hit it off as New Yorkers. She’s focused on her dramatic talents ever since, so I thought she’d be perfect for the project, but I wanted to do some test shooting to see her emotional range on-camera.
I thought she’d be good, but I was wrong. She was amazing. I told her to recreate emotions so complicated even I didn’t understand what I was saying, and she nailed every one with subtlety and seamless transitions from one to the next. Seriously, if there are any screentesters out there, call me.
I’m more excited than ever now to get this project going!