Last night, I had a Grand Opening of my new studio on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. It’s so convenient to be closer to the action, right down the street from many of my clients. I was really proud of how we put the night together, mostly due to the efforts of food writer and culinary student Rochelle Bilow (who has a great new blog, by the way). I mean, let’s face it, left up to my own devices I probably would have served chips and dip. Instead we had a home-made spread of curry, za’atar and lavendar-brown sugar puff pastry straws, foie gras mousse and jam sandwiches on white bread, and honey-baked figs stuffed with pancetta! Now that’s a party.
It was such a great feeling to see everyone who came, including a number of couples whose weddings I’ve shot! I’ve always felt that my couples, being awesome people, would get along well together, and that proved to be true. I figured people would come, mill around a bit, enjoy the food and leave, since it was a Sunday night, but we all stayed around talking and laughing until almost midnight!
One really fun revelation that came up in conversation: I am apparently so unobtrusive on the wedding day that people get worried. A few of my clients have had people come up to them and say “I think your photographer is missing shots! His flash isn’t going off!” (I was either using ambient or bouncing it so it wasn’t in their eyes.) And one couple said “We knew to trust you, especially after the engagement shoot, but talked afterward that we really hadn’t noticed you around much. But then our friends posted photos of the wedding on facebook, and you were like three feet from us in each one!” There is a reason that ninjas and wedding photographers both wear black.
I’ve been so blessed to get to spend important days with so many wonderful people. It’s crazy to think how fast things have taken off. I wasn’t someone who picked up a camera for the first time and said “OK, how do I turn this thing on? Found it! Now … let’s shoot some weddings!” It was only two and a half years ago, after having already covered two U.S. presidents and a few Nobel prize-winners, that I said to myself, “You know, I think I could photograph a wedding and not ruin the most important day of someone’s life.” Careers in this business usually start slowly because of the long booking cycle and importance of word-of-mouth, so it astounds me to think that in the time since, I have photographed more than 100 weddings.
And now, finally, I am dipping my toes into some new areas. After shooting hundreds of thousands of wedding photos a year, after inventing and popularizing a new photography techique, I think maybe … maybe … I could teach some photographers some new tricks, ideas, or even just help them maintain that sense of fun and passion that is so important to me. I’ve already done one casual workshop in New Orleans, with a second get-together in Chicago next month, but watch this space for more systematic workshops come January. Shooting weddings is my greatest passion, and I’m not going to slow down my booking cycle to teach but, as they say … winter happens.
I was spending my time as a host, but I took a few quick snapshots:
View from the entrance
The viewing wall
Rochelle tastes her creations
Thomas opens the wine
Thomas with Kindiya and … Thomas
Jasmine with Emilie and Noel
Brendan, Thomas, and John
Brendan likes to get his Halloween on early