Big announcements all over!

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Yesterday I was honored to be on CreativeLIVE, the biggest educational program in the photography industry. It was wild being on camera live in front of thousands of people, and I applaud them for how they handled the insane logistics of Photo Week, their most ambitious program ever. My talk was on overcoming common problems on wedding days, with a focus on using compositing to overcome bad light, as well as a quick creative tool. We made the photo above, which only has one light source for both the warm and cool light, in 30 seconds of shooting and 15 seconds of Photoshop. Since I had three full hours, I also made sure we didn’t miss the forest for the trees — while it is easier to teach portrait techniques in this sort of format, the bulk of our time as wedding photographers, and the most uniquely important part, is documenting people and families on an incredibly complicated, emotional day. I spoke to ways to keep the fire inside you that will make EVERY photo better, as well as some important tips for increasing documentary skill. You can buy the program here for $49 — almost 40% off the regular price — here. Buying this session is the strongest possible vote you can give to tell CreativeLIVE to bring me in for a full three-day session (viewable for free!). Part 2 is here, I had the only double-length session so I’ll see if there’s any way to bundle them.

But there’s more…

For years people have been telling me that they’d love to try “The Brenizer Method,” but they just can’t figure it out. It can be really tricky until the light bulb goes off for the first time, and there are a lot of little tricks that can help. So I’ve been working tirelessly to produce an incredibly thorough video that takes you through this from start to finish, conceptualizing to shooting, to post-processing. And I want people all over the world to be able to afford to learn this, so I’m releasing it for just $10 with a pre-order of $8. Find out more at chill.com/ryanbrenizer/brenizer-method.

Watch me on CreativeLIVE Photo Week on Thursday!

Quick Hit from this weekend

I’ll be hosting a double-length session at CreativeLIVE on Thursday from 1:45 to 5:30 p.m! For those who don’t know, CreativeLIVE is the biggest educational network in the entire photography industry, and Photo Week has been the biggest event in CreativeLIVE history, so I’m thrilled to be a part of it. This should be the working direct link to hit at 1:45 EST on Thursday!

I’ll be talking about how to do the very best work possible while dealing with the chaotic, problem-filled environment of a wedding day. Now you may think that, with clients like Jessica and Mike, and light as good as this, that this is an inappropriate image to use. But here we were dealing with the most common of wedding-day problems … a very strict time crunch. So here’s a little preview tip: The key to doing good work in these situations is the ability to pre-visualize a scene, knowing your equipment innately, and clear, direct communication of goals, costs and benefits. We were rushing to the limo and I said to Jessica, “Do you see that light over there? If we walk over there and I set you up in it just right, it will take three minutes total and you’ll get a great photo out of it. I know we’re in a hurry so I want to see what you think.” And happily she agreed.

Now, the real key then is that if you say three minutes, it should take two and a half at most. Every minute on a wedding day is precious. (And actually the shooting, including two panoramas, took 45 seconds.)

See you all on Thursday!

New Leaf Cafe Wedding: Brenda and Solomon

When you take two people with something like nine degrees between them, and you surround them with their college professor friends and family, there are some things you might expect, like the heartfelt, clever, well-executed speeches, or the performances of classical music by some of the groomsmen. You may not expect breakdancing. But Brenda and Solomon’s wedding hit all of these notes and so many more, from a gaggle of adorable flower girls dressed as fairies, to a beautiful ceremony at the surprisingly pastoral northern tip of Manhattan in the New Leaf Cafe, and exquisitely managed details (that I may add in a director’s cut of this post — I’m posting from the road at the moment).

In fact, there was so much to pack in that I found myself desperately wishing that the wedding day were longer, not something that often happens after a full day of beating myself into a pulp to get the best photos I can at every moment. When their friends finally let loose on the dance floor, it was like a coiled spring ready for release. These professors can party.

Thanks so much for having me share this day, and thanks to Pieter Sientara for his help.

A Taste of Things to Come

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I’m working on a little somethin’ somethin’, and The Markows are one of many who have helped with it. More details soon.

Most of you are looking at this and thinking how fabulous Stephen and Julianne are. But those who have taken a lot of Me Method photos are thinking “All those parallel lines and no stitching errors? What strange magic is this?” Well, sometimes a new dog can learn old tricks. More soon.

Camera: Nikon D4
Lens: 71-image “Brenizer method” panorama with the Nikon 105mm f/2 D DC (equivalent of 30mm f/0.58 according to Brett’s calculator)

Venetian Wedding: Erica and Dan Eric

Filipino weddings tend to be an incredibly vibrant mix of deep ceremonial meaning and broad family ties, with more people in the processionals than even attend many of the weddings I shoot. These both lead to a deep sort of community investment in the wedding … or in other words, people are ready to party.

How do you take this energy and turn it to 11? First, you invite a LOT of people, whom The Venetian does a great job at housing in style.. Second, you be twin vibrating bundles of energy like Erica and Dan Eric. A couple that taught everyone how to Dougie for their first dance, and who had her father do a mean Beyonce impersonation for the father/daughter dance. There is warmth and then there is Erica, who at a number of times throughout the day would stop whatever she was doing and give me a hug. “I’m so glad you’re here!”

I was glad too. Glad to be there with such amazing, crazy people. Glad to share the day seconded by the amazing Tatiana, who also got her share of hugs, and my intern Leah. And really, just glad to show you these photos.

The Girl Who Lived

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If you don’t know Kelsie’s story, read it now. Just three months after a car accident that should have killed her, after injuries so terrible that just hearing them described made one of our friends pass out, Kelsie is here, she is beautiful, and she is strong.

Also, she is legal! (Today is her 21st birthday.)

This was shot 1/3rd of a second, hand-held, and lit by an iPhone, finally making use of that crazy 12-24 flare.

This was an important shoot to me, and I spent too much time during it mucking about with behind-the-scenes video, which is a whole new ball of frustration. At the end of the shoot, after equipment failure and getting chewed up my mosquitos and threatened by a large pack of raccoons, we walked back to the car. On the way back, I stopped and looked at this scene. “What’s the story you wanted to tell? What’s the photo you wanted to take?” I asked myself. “It’s time to think like a photographer.” And so we took this.

Kelsie also recently released her first original video. Enjoy her skills:



Camera: Nikon D4
Lens: Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6

Carissa Rosario

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This afternoon I photographed Maxim model Carissa Rosario for CBS’s Man Cave Daily. How was your lunch break?

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Technically the world’s least-overlapped Brenizer method image. I was up against a wall, so I panned about 5 percent extra in the frame to turn this from a 105mm to a 100mm or so.

This used VSCO 4‘s Agfa Scala preset, the first black and white preset for Lightroom I’ve really liked.
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Lens: 105mm f/2 D DC, 9-image panorama
Camera: Nikon D4

Tappan Hill Wedding: Amanda and Mitchell

It’s sometimes hard to describe the unique thrill of a wedding day to people who haven’t experienced them as a photographer. There’s an incredible, omnipresent pressure, knowing that you just have one chance, that you should always do the best you possibly can no matter what … but at the same time it’s so incredibly enjoyable. And it’s made all the more so with hilarious clients like Amanda and Mitchell (who does a mean “slap the bass” impression from I Love You, Man), a fantastic venue like Tappan Hill Mansion, and help from Tatiana’s capable skills and winning ways.

I don’t need to tell you how emotional the day was — you’ll see that. I can only say that I shared in every moment of exhilaration.

Sneak Peek: Jenny and Jerry (with VSCO 4)

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This is always the time of year when I’m so busy documenting incredible stories that it’s hard to find time to share them, but my giant mug of coffee and I will work to show Jenny and Jerry’s gorgeous wedding. I processed this with VSCO 4, which was released today. Don’t worry, I don’t have nearly enough hipster in me to make any money off your VSCO purchases. But they’ve been doing some fantastic stuff over there with a killer iPhone app, and I’ve always like slide film, so I thought I’d give it a try. This was Astia 100F (one of my favorite films), modified with only the stuff from their toolkit.

And thankfully I didn’t have to shoot and scan 53 slides of Astia to make this.

Camera: Nikon D4
Lens: 53-image “Brenizer method” panorama with the Nikon 85mm f/1.4G (equivalent of 28mm f/0.45 according to Brett’s calculator)

Mudan Wedding: Fallon and Andrew

To use modern Internet parlance, this wedding was so full of feels. I could have created a blog post entirely of Top 50 Best Heart-Wrenching Sobbing Moments, but that would have edged out the possible Top 200 Best Hysterical Laughs. It’s what happens when you take two incredibly sweet people, one of them a wedding photographer herself, and throw them into a day with numerous ceremonies, from the quiet and reflective to the raucous hardship the groomsmen faced at particularly inventive door games. It’s what happens when family gathers from all over the world to ignore the heat and celebrate Andrew and Fallon. And it’s what happens with a wild group of friends — I don’t show photobooth photos on the blog for a few reasons, but we’ll just say that things got particularly creative and many guests walked out with a pretty good cardio workout.

I was thrilled to be joined on this wedding with Tatiana and Michael Stavrinos, even though all the good photos made my editing job much harder. It’s a challenge I’m happy to take.

Jen Selter

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As mentioned previously, I’ve switched to a new Web host that should keep everything here running smoothly even at high traffic times. I figured there is no better way to test that than with some photos from my shoot with Instagram Queen Jen Selter — with 335,000 followers on Instagram, countless Tumblrs and reflags and pins and so on and so forth, this should wake the servers up.

Jen caught my attention, and not for the obvious reasons. In the age of the Internet, things that were in some ways private behaviors — being a photographer, or enjoying exercise, for example — have become cults of personality in different ways. Having built a great business over the years that comes with what I call “microcelebrity,” I’ve had a peek behind the curtain of social media stars, and I knew there’s more that goes into it than you think. There are countless scores of attractive women out there whose photo collections have 335 followers, not 335,000. I knew that getting there so fast required a great deal of savvy, and doing a lot of hard work while making it look like you’re just taking things in stride. How fast? We did this shoot a month ago, and she had 100,000 fewer followers at the time!

I was about to share a bunch more, but it turns out we might shoot again soon as part of some secret projects we’re both working on, so I’ll save that for a computer-melting megapost. But I’m happy to show that there’s more than meets the camera phone’s eye when it comes to Jen.

Thanks to my incredibly talented cousin Andrew Sutphen for the hair and makeup.

(Ok, one more … for the servers’ sake. More to come…)

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Camera: Canon 6D
Lens: Canon 50mm f/1.2L

The Mill at Spring Lake Heights Wedding: Nicole and Kyle

Thanks to a long string of luck, my clients tend to make description of them a bit difficult. “Extremely nice,” “deeply family-oriented,” “handling stress with cheer and grace,” — on the streets of New York you could pick someone out of a large crowd with just those descriptors, but I’ve been lucky to have this be common threads of the people that hire me. So to describe Nicole and Kyle, you take these and add the deep respect and camaraderie of Kyle’s military family, breeding West Point officers. You stir in the deep bond with his brother, who, in words I thought I’d never write, produced a hilarious, heart-wrenching PowerPoint display for his speech.

And then you add a gorgeous day, the heat that would later scorch the area just poking into the territory of a nice warmth. Finish with a bunch of friends and family ready to spring into the party, and you have a good day. Thanks to Robert Piangozza for assisting.

(Note: If you’ve noticed that this site has run slowly for a long time, blame my old Web hosts and, apparently, my popularity. I’m with new hosts now who have great customer service and the ability to handle the strain of lots of people looking at lots of photos. There are still a few kinks to work out, but if you can see this post, you should be in the clear.)