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.

David Childers - That light hitting the brides hair just makes her glow. I can see a noticeable change in your work lately and I like the direction it’s going.

Ryan Brenizer - Thanks David! I try to maintain core consistency for clients but I’m always evolving around the edges.

John Owens - More inspiring work ryan, love it.

Ryan Brenizer - Thank you John!

Sara K Byrne - the ceremony! wow.

Ryan Brenizer - Thanks Sara! It was actually pretty tough thanks to the strength of the backlight, but it made for a great scene.

Julianne Markow - OH MY GOD that ceremony!

Feisty68 - Beautiful work. What lens did you use for that circular shot of the ceremony? 14-24? 16mm? Love it.

Ryan Brenizer - Thank you! I used a 12-24. When I go wide, I go wiiide.

Ryan Brenizer - Thank you!

Feisty68 - Am I wrong by assuming you meant 14-24mm?

Sam Le - Seriously, you do it every time man. Just absolutely love that wide angle ceremony!

Martinhambleton - Well, I was going to wax lyrical about those two early shots of the bride nearly in tears, about what superb documentary images they were …. and then I came across the ceremony shot. There just aren’t the words for that one. The best I can manage is WOW.

Haryadi Be - always stunning!

Ryan Brenizer - Yup, I meant 12-24.

Ryan Brenizer - Thanks!

Ryan Brenizer - Thank you!

Ryan Brenizer - Thank you Sam!

PeterMahar - You always take some of the best dancing photos! Love the emotion so much, main reason I follow your work is because of the great emotion in your photographs! Keep is up.

Ryan Brenizer - Thank you Peter!

ferjuaristi - crazy good brother.

PD - I too am noticing a difference (for the better) in your work. Nice to see you mixing the traditional/romantic in with the rest of your style.

Ryan Brenizer - I’m a softee at heart.

Ryan Brenizer - Thank you Fer!

Dale Lempa - Beautiful portrait work.

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)

Ryan Brenizer - Testing the new comment system!

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.

Dale Lempa - Excellent wedding documentary. Love the colors and textures.

Ryan Brenizer - Thank you Dale!

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.)

Hempstead House Wedding: Maggie and Jonathan

Maggie is a decisive person. When she first met with me, not long before her wedding, she was just in for a couple days from her home in China, and I quickly realized that this was not the traditional “Convince me why I should hire you” meeting, but rather “This is why I’m hiring you.”

Weddings are hard enough to plan when you have plenty of time and are able to keep checking in the venue — it’s another story when you live almost 10,000 miles away and with just a matter of weeks to put the major details together, but she handled it with grace and all sorts of style, for example putting a modern twist on Chinese cultural traditions by ending the reception in a killer (Western-style) red dress.

As the thermometer pushes 100 degrees this week, we forget what a short time ago that it was cold and windy, but the wind whipped so hard during the ceremony that for a bit I was sure I was going to be documentarian of disaster. But clearly Maggie’s decisiveness included some very strong tents — and of course, no winds are going to bother the sturdy Hempstead House.

Thank you Pieter Sienatra for your help on this fantastic, blustery day. And thanks to Maggie and Jonathan’s friends and family for making it such a fun day — not every groomsman out there would dress themselves up in toilet paper and re-enact the proposal just so the groom could earn the right to see his bride. And we won’t discuss the body hair collection part.

Eduardo Suastegui - Great coverage all around. Looks like it was a super fun wedding.

rich - love the shot of the bride coming up the stairs and the groomsmen after that one. also crazy getting the MOH’s eye in the flute!! awesome work ryan!!

Lukas Gisbert-Mora - Looks like this Wedding was a lot of fun, love the party photos, really bring the atmosphere a live!

Mary Richard Sundberg - I like the outside pics, with the darkness and the clouds!

Chad Neufeld - that photo of her eye through the wine glass is pimp… well done…

Ron - Awesome shots as always Ryan! I was just there attending a wedding. The castle/mansion looked real cool to do creative shots. They did the wedding outside with only umbrellas for the guests… It was blazing hot!!!!

Liberty House Wedding: Regina and Jerry

Whenever my fantastic wedding photographer friends fly in to New York to help me shoot a wedding, I like to give them days that might be well outside their norm. It’s an old magazine photo editor trick to bring a fresh sort of vision to a given story, and gives a different sort of accent to my standard “work my butt off and tell the big story” style. For example, when Sara K Byrne came in fresh from her open-air, rural, hipster Idaho weddings, I had her help with a quintessential high-class Manhattan wedding in the opulent cavern that is the Metropolitan Club.

But what could be fresh to my friend (and fellow Moment Junkie co-founder) Kyle Hepp? She’s based in Chile but spends most of her time in or around airplanes, shooting and traveling all over the world. What can be fresh to someone who was in her third hemisphere that week?

“OK, Kyle, this wedding is going to be fantastic. The couple is extremely nice, I love the Liberty House, the day ends at 4…”

“Four a.m.? Cool! That’s pretty standard in Chile, though I don’t always stay the whole time…”

“No … four p.m.”

That did it. Of course the biggest challenges of daytime weddings are that sometimes it’s hard for people to feel the same sort energy at tea time that they would at mid-night, but with Jerry and Regina’s friends and family there was no need to worry about that. A cold mist turned the dramatic NYC skyline view into an impressionistic panorama, and inside the Liberty House the day was marked by deep convictions — convictions to friends, family, religion, and each other.

While the day was almost entirely culturally Western, the energy was helped further by the deep sense of fun of Asian-style reception games. I am sure Jerry has forgiven Regina by now for mistaking the arm of a female guest for that of her new husband.

Thank you both for letting me share in this day, and thanks to Kyle for doing a great job more than 5,000 miles from home.

Donna Baker Schumann - BEAUTIFUL

Kyle - The pinky shots!!!!!! I love those two together, so happy to see you put those in the blog post.

Thanks for pulling me way out of my comfort zone RB :) I had fun!

Regina and Jerry, if you see this, thank you, it was an amazing day!

Manel Tamayo - Great storytelling!

Deepak Rai - superb

Ed Atrero - Slick job working those shadows in those sweet portraits. Superb work as always, Ryan!

Steve Koo - I loved the pinky shots too! The reception, as always, is a highlight. Great work, Ryan!

Britney Gardner - I enjoyed your lead up to the photos – especially nice seeing the Liberty House during the day for a change. :)

Neil Redfern - How do you manage such creativity at every single wedding?! Amazing images as always – I love the shot of the bride looking out of the car window – wow.

Dale Lempa - Beautiful “moment” photography.

Kandid Weddings - Great reception shots! Captured the atmosphere and emotions very nicely.

The Green and the Gray

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One of the hidden benefits of using so many advanced panorama and compositing techniques to quickly do the otherwise impractical or impossible is that it takes you back to the film days where you can be pleasantly surprised by a photo much later. The result of this tilt-shift pano of Central Park’s urban/pastoral view is exactly what I had in my mind, but it was great to see it take shape.

Lens: 45mm f/2.8 PC-E, 9-image panorama
Camera: Nikon D4

Elissa - Wow, that is both gorgeous and glorious.

Au Patea Ya Boss - nice one

Lyn Rees - Damn, that’s good!

Sean - Cool tilt-shifting aside, I’m digging the pony tail

Paul Johnson - That is a very beautiful technique and photo. Very nice! I wonder how that would look with a lens baby.

rich - tilt shift pano?? crazy cool ryan!

Kim Rix Photography - Very clever and inspiring. I will give this a go in London where there are some beautiful panorama backdrops.

Brillpix Photography - Very nice image. Love the dreamy look that this has created. Looks like it was shot with a lens baby, rather than a tilt shift lens.

www.kandidweddings.com - Cool shot! Has turned out very nicely.

Dale Lempa - Awesome perspective.

Thank You Live View…

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…since there would have been no other way to frame this shot of Alana and Gerard at 200mm without burning out my corneas.

Lens: 70-200mm f/2.8G VRII
Camera: Nikon D4

Ben Joseph - Atmospheric, subtle and evokative. A great shot, perfectly composed.

Ben Joseph Photography - Atmospheric, subtle and evokative. A great shot, perfectly composed.

Lightworks Photography - Beautiful use of the old rule of thirds as well! Beautiful shot Ryan!

Steve Brill - Great composition, and beautifully exposed. Love it.

Boaz Arad - Wouldn’t the DOF preview button work just as well?

Dale Lempa - Gorgeous.

Four Seasons Wedding: Kartika and Varun

I’d been dying to go to Vancouver ever since the Winter Olympics showed off its beauty, and thanks to the Canada Photo Convention and Varun and Kartika’s wedding at the Vancouver Four Seasons, I went two times in a month. Of course, given my schedule this time of year, that means that my grand total of sight-seeing for both trips was about 15 minutes.

But I had so much fun that I’ll have to come back. Varun and Kartika aren’t just incredibly nice, they’re absolutely hilarious. I’m a softie — usually when I’m thankful for autofocus it’s because something touching has made me tear up a bit. But I had to spend most of this day photographing through the laughter. Of course a bit of door games started that off right — wedding days drive brains crazy, so when Kartika left a complicated mathematic clue about where she was hiding, I forgive the groomsmen for coming up with “somewhere on the 271st floor.”

Eastern and Western traditions have very different expectations for wedding receptions, and it was fascinating to see the Indian/Indonesian/Chinese/Canadian cultures mix with the quirkiness of Varun and Kartika’s own friends and family. Who needs a garter toss when the groomsmen can toss swords around and do a lucky Dragon dance?

Thank you both for flying me out to document this beautiful, hilarious day. And thanks to Rachel Pick for helping on the day and being my local Vancouver liason.

Elissa - This wedding looks epicccc!

Lukas Gisbert-Mora - You really are a master at Ring photos, and everything else.

Lal Bahadur Gupta - Good photographs

Dale Lempa - Awesome. Beautiful portraiture.

rich - love the warm relaxed photos at the end on top of all your awesome documentary work!

yuriy - So wonderful!

From touched to terrified to thrilled in 60 seconds

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Oh, Varun … you mentioned me in your reception speech, saying that my work had made you start loving your work as a photographer again, and I teared up even as I blushed furiously (“I’m a documentarian! No one is supposed to notice me!”) And then you threw me a curve ball, “And now I’d like Ryan to take a really cool shot! Everyone get out your cameras!”

The idea was what you see here … a stylized take on the Uncle Bobism of a photographer’s wedding. But how do you make a bunch of flashes go off when they’re all from different manufacturers … and most of them are camera phones?

Very carefully.

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

Dylan Howell - nicely done. now you need to launch your ios flash app.. :)

Joseph Farrugia - Those seem more like the “AF-assist” light than actual flash bursts……the dark venue would trigger those devices to use something of the sort if they indeed have that feature.

Heidi Huber Photography - Very nice! I’ve caught a few of other people’s strobes during the reception, and I love it!

rich - wow ryan – quite the story and you pulled it off dude. amazing as always

Brooklyn Botanic Garden Wedding: Tracy and Dan

This spring’s cold weather was a double-edged sword. Tracy and Dan were married in May, a bit after the traditional peak of the cherry blossoms at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens Palm House. But thanks to a late-to-arrive spring, they exploded into color just at the right time. The coordinator surprised them with the idea that they could have the ceremony right out in the middle of them, and thank the photo gods that it all worked out.

Of course, the cold hadn’t quite stopped snapping. Want to creating a bonding experience for a group of bridesmaids who don’t know each other that well? Have fantastic light, flowing dresses and a ceremony in the low 50s. By the end they were huddled together, and instant friends just in time for a wild, beautiful party. I tell ym couples that cold is romantic — it makes you want to be closer together — but I didn’t realize how broadly this can be applied.

Thanks to Braham Rhodes for helping out!

Mark Pacura - Absolutely amazing. Love every single shot! Keep scratching my head looking at some of them wondering how did you do it! :-)

Tim Bishop - Some amazingly creative shots, pushing the boundaries for other photographers to not just do what is expected, but go out there and experiment! Love the group shot and shoes/city multiple focus shot. Rockin it Ryan!

Ivor Tetteh-Lartey - Amazing canopy of pink cherry blossom for the ceremony.

Jashim - fan-f****n-tastic!

Elissa - Holy balls. No, seriously, this is killing me. The shoe shot, the pink canopy of blossoms, just everything. Wowzers.

Dave Paek Photography - Fantastic job – no one shoots BBG better than you!

Martin Hambleton - Every wedding needs that much cherry blossom. Stunning work.

Craig Cacchioli - Love the photos under the canopy of blossoms. Gorgeous.

Dale Lempa - Gorgeous photography. You nail it every time.

Darren Bardsley - Beautifully captured images. Love the subtle use of “lens shift”, so many photographers over use and abuse this.

Erran Stewart Photography - Amazing images! Absolutely fabulous!

David @ AiP Creative Photography - Man I love these! I think you used the brenizer method during the ceremony, right? Looks incredible!

Giorgio Guglielmino - Great pictures! I love how you captures theirs happines :) The last 2 pictures are my favs.

Betty Matthews Hurtado - Amazing pictures, unbelievable talent! several favorites..

Mercedes - Ryan these are gorgeous! That shoe shot is…wow. And that canopy of blossoms is so pretty.

Sally - Which camera and post processing program do you use, Lightroom or Aperture?

Val - Great pics. That looks like a super fun wedding!! Were they all hams or did you have to bring it out of them? Great stuff!!

Valokuvaaja Janne Miettinen - Amazing stuff :)

Steve Koo - Beautiful work, Ryan. I love the recessional shot at the end of the ceremony!

Kandid Weddings - Great lighting on the flash composite as well as the last shot.

Mario Colli - Amazing Ryan.

Pk Kataria - Ryan mentions that he used 20 lights for the last image but then says he only had about 30 seconds to get it done, something about using 1 light 20 times.. can someone explains what he did here please? Curious amateur photographer.

Frederic Swennen - These trees…wow!

Steve Brill - Excellent work Ryan, it certainly looks as though everyone had a great day. Really enjoyed the post, keep up the good work.

Coming soon: Tracy and Dan at Brooklyn Botanical Gardens

Select Canvas

This setup took 20 lights, but we only had access to Tracy and Dan for about 30 more secons. No problem — same light, 20 times. For 19 of the frames, they were on their way back to cocktail hour. Dramatic photos AND cocktail shrimp, we can have it all!

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Tamron 11-18mm f/4.5-5.6 Di-II

Dale Lempa - Dang diggity dog. Cool lighting. I was already asking myself how you did that, before I read the write-up. Nicely done–a great way to make your couple happy AND still rock the shot.

Bryce Wade - Absolutely in awe of your flash composites. D90? That makes it even better.

Tommy B. - Would love to see a BTS post/video on how you would accomplish this sort of shot (i.e. lighting the couple, lighting the scene, etc.)!

Alessandro Aimonetto - With a d90. The demonstration that creativity beat technology hands down…ever!

Julien Leveau - Hi Ryan, what do you mean by 20 lights… 20 flashes? and I don´t get the next, same light, 20 times, for 19 of the frame… I thank you a lot if you can explain me that, its several times I see these kind of explanation and I don’t get it :(

Doug Goodridge - In the absence of a write-up yet I’ve got to ask about the D90…why use that specific camera when others are other more capable? Great shot though. ;)

Lauri H - Awesome shot. You have yet again proved that creativity and knowledge can always beat technology. Do you use a tripod to create these shots or simply keep things as stable as possible while your assistant moves about with the flash? If you do use a tripod it must be darn light not to be a complete nuisance during the rest of the wedding?

Sometimes the best way to use a tool is not at all.

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Yesterday I lectured and taught at the WPPI Online Road Show in Atlantic City. As always it’s an honor to work with these folks, and I liked the set-up where I could talk about concepts in the morning, and then show them hands-on and let people try it for themselves in the afternoon. I was tasked with teaching techniques for working with speedlights, and we went through everything from reception shooting techniques to how strong your flashes can really be when you use them right (lighting a subject at ISO 100, f/29 at 1/8th power!)

But one of the most important lessons I taught is when to ignore me. Or specifically when to ignore the plan and the tools you’ve set out for yourself. In a lighting class, we’re going to overshoot and overlight — that’s how teaching works. But start simple and if you make a setup more complicated, know exactly why you’re doing so. Don’t use tools just because you brought them. Because even when you’re teaching a class on flash, it’s a crime to ignore a good sunbeam.

Camera: Nikon D4
Lens: Nikon 28mm f/1.8G

nikk wong - Can you at all allude to how you can light a subject at f/29 at 1/8th power? Crazy!f

Lorenzo Photography - The subtlety of that reflection is brilliant.

Dale Lempa - So true. For some reason we feel obligated to utilize all that we brought, perhaps to justify the purchases, or to impress the client.

Matt Hildebrandt - I was there in person. Seeing Ryan’s technique used to create a well-exposed subject w/ a totally dark background in bright sunlight made the trip worth it!

And yes, Ryan, after shooting this weekend, I’m going to implement the changes you suggested on my website. The critique you gave me was time very well-spent.

David - Great advice Ryan! What makes a good photographer great, in my opinion, is the ability to respond to the location, people and light in front of them and not rely on tried and tested setups. I’d still love to attend one of your workshops though!!