Portraits: Stephanie in Pasadena

Here is are some more from my session with Stephanie. We wanted to just have a little fun in the warmer weather and get some new looks, including some fitness looks for her book. And of course I had to get a palm tree in there. We don’t see much of those in New York.

And really, who knew all this time she could kick so high?

Reminds me of a story. One time, when I was much younger, slightly more foolish, and constantly practicing karate, I said to myself: “I wonder *exactly* how high I can kick…”

WHAM! Right in my own face. Bloody nose. Luckily Stephanie has orders of magnitude more sense than a younger me.

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Photo of the Day: Stephanie, West Coast Girl

If one of my favorite subjects — actress and friend Stephanie Danielson — had to move to California, at least she did it a week before I headed out there, so we could finally shoot in warm(ish) weather. I love bringing out the color of the crazy lighting you can find at night. I love the natural feel of it, how good scouting can replace or ease the insane amount of work you’d need to deliberately recreate this, and how it feel like we’re exploiting new possibilities. In ye olden days, I might have needed to shoot this with T64 tungsten film — which would have required a full second exposure. Which would have required replacing Stephanie with a mannequin.

More to come soon.

Photo of the Day: Multitasking

There will come a day when only the professional photographers know how to put the camera down and enjoy themselves unrecorded.

Photo of the Day: Depth of Feeling

Photos like these are why I am a “moment junkie.” This is a cheerful hug between the bride, her father, and her grandfather, right after Viviana and her grandfather had a featured dance. Is it envelope-pushing art? No. Is it a picture that will have meaning for Viviana for the rest of her life? I’d imagine so. Let’s not forget that weddings are about moments like these more than centerpieces.

But here’s a bone for the photo-geeks as well: This photo was taken on the D3s at ISO 10,000, with no noise reduction. The mixture of such a high ISO with flash is why the picture is sharp but still lets in all that colorful background ambient light. What a crazy camera.

Wedding: Viviana and Henry at Fordham University

The wedding was at Fordham. The groom went to Fordham. I went to Fordham. My assistant went to Fordham. I shoot for Fordham.

(Sorry, Viv. Penn State is a good college, too.)

I knew Henry a bit when we were in school together, and I’d been looking forward to this one for a while. We’re talking about a couple who met in salsa dancing class — if that isn’t the recipe for an awesome reception, I don’t know what is.

And it didn’t disappoint. From a ceremony at the gorgeous Fordham chapel to a colorful and energetic reception, it was a blast the entire day. And that’s not to mention the groomsmen’s hilarious stop at White Castle on the way to the reception, or Henry bringing in a singer to re-enact a classic moment from one of Viv’s favorite movies: Coming to America.

Awesome.

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Photo of the Day: Shoes and Stripes

I shoot detail. I don’t really show a lot of it, especially on the blog, because … I don’t know, it just seems so easy, at least the way wedding photographers do it. Awesome things are presented before us, and we make them look the way they are. Not the hardest part of the job, but wedding publications eat it up. Too much of this seems unbalanced to me, like centerpieces are more important than love and friends and family.

Still, details are important, and shooting them is fun when you can be creative. And it was rarely more fun than with the geeky and stylish do-it-yourself details of Karen and Kamil’s wedding in Malibu yesterday. More to come.

PS: Since my hobby is making life difficult for myself, I made this not-easy by using an extremely touchy manual-focus lens and having to hold the camera upside down to get the flash where I wanted it.

Engagement: Karen and Kamil

Here is another case of “We just did the engagement shoot, and I’d better get the images out because the wedding is tomorrow!” It does have a certain efficiency to it.

Karen and Kamil have flown me out to California to document their Malibu wedding, and if I thought I was excited before, I’ve reached Ludicrous Excitement after how much fun our engagement shoot was at their alma mater, Harvey Mudd College.

Have you ever seen Real Genius? If not, go rent it. It’s one of the best movies of all time. If you have, though, you remember a scene with a dorm literally bursting with anarchic, geeky energy in every corner. A place like this could only exist in the movies, right?

Wrong. West Dorm, where both Karen and Kamil spent all four years, surpasses every stereotype of every college movie I’ve ever seen. There are pirate flags, and bonfires, and motorcycles, and shopping carts with Pabst Blue Ribbon cup holders. It is college at its most primal, both revelled in and enjoyed ironically.

For the first time, I actually can’t show some of my favorite images from the shoot, because so much of the West decor is Not Safe for Work.

So when I tell couples to find places that have meaning for them, and not just the prettiest possible place, I mean it.










Photo of the Day: Party with the Ram

As I’ve said before, with flash composites (like most wedding photography), it’s not what you can do, it’s what you can do quickly. This was four shots, composited together for optimum lighting, and the whole thing was done quickly enough that you could stand on snow with open-toed shoes.

Maybe I’ll do a speed challenge at my April 16-17 workshop, which still has a few slots open. Sounds like fun.

Photo of the Day: Bring the Drama

Given that Viviana and Henry met in dance class, I knew they could be up to making their presence felt in a big scene. Adding to the drama is a backlight from the Sledgehammer of Light, each strobe at half power.

Photo of the Day: Reflections on a Ceremony

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This week, while I am in California to visit family, teach a bit, shoot some portraits and document an awesome Malibu wedding, I’ll be using the Photos of the Day to tease the next wedding I’m processing, the union of Viviana and Henry.

Keep in mind that I say the following as a go-to photographer for just about every major Catholic organization in New York City, from hospitals to charities to the diocese to Fordham University (where this ceremony took place): Catholic ceremonies can be hard to shoot. The churches are large and dark, but most importantly the ceremony is focused on a beautiful and deeply spiritual interchange between the priest and the couple, which means for about 45 minutes their back is to the congregation, and to me.

This is fine with me. Weddings, after all, aren’t about me … and ceremonies doubly so. But even more than that, there’s nothing I love better than a challenge. I don’t even think about darkness anymore with good hand-holding technique and the Nikon D3s. But I still like to try to find new angles and variety, so here I rested a wide-angle lens above an unused piano for a unique view of the ceremony.