Alger House Wedding: Sabrina and Kumar

When Sabrina and Kumar decided to add 1920s’ vintage elements to their Alger House wedding, they really went for it — Sabrina taught 20 or so of her closest friends how to dance the Charleston. From the couple to the guests to the venue, the wedding dripped with style. But the close connections between the guests made it something more … unfortunately Kumar’s parents were blocked by paperwork from entering the country for the wedding, so Sabrina’s family stepped in, showing that although Kumar was only legally entering the family that day, they’d already long considered him a part of it. The relatively small size allowed a casual charm, including a meandering walk from the ceremony to the reception, enjoying the late April sun in Washington Square Park.

Of course, they knew the weather would probably be perfect, because one of the many factors they considered when planning their wedding was this exchange from “Miss Congeniality.”

“Miss Rhode Island, please describe your idea of a perfect date.”
That’s a tough one. I’d have to say April 25th. Because it’s not too hot, not too cold, all you need is a light jacket.”

Thanks to Jashim Jalal for his capable help on this great day.

001-storyboard002-storyboard003-storyboard004-storyboard005-storyboard006-storyboard007-storyboard008-storyboard009-storyboard010-storyboard011-storyboard012-storyboard013-storyboard014-storyboard015-storyboard016-storyboard017-storyboard018-storyboard019-storyboard020-storyboard021-storyboard022-storyboard023-storyboard026-storyboard024-storyboard025-storyboard

A New Day

Blog 150418 185729 12mm f6 3 577 Edit

Yesterday I started my first-ever 365 project. The season really went into full, non-stop-work mode last week, so this isn’t the best time for some deep, time-consuming personal project, so I’m keeping it vague: I will post a photo online every day over the next year. Some of them will be here, some on the countless different social media profiles photographers tend to collect along the way, but all will be collected on my business Facebook page.

I haven’t done a preponderance of personal work over the past six years not only because I’m shooting for work all the time, but because that work is so personal. A friend of mine said years ago: “I love weddings because the kinds of photos I’d want to take for free happen there, but I also get paid for it.” Weddings very quickly allow me to get to the stuff that matters in people … the emotion, the connections, the history. It might take days or weeks for people to become comfortable with a photographer around if you’re a long-form documentarian, but on wedding days it’s so natural for you to be there, and people have so many other things to think about, that you can get into the varied, real emotional life of people really quickly.

And it also allows me to play visually in so many different ways, because your only real instruction is “here’s the time you have, let’s see what you can do.” Shooting portraits with a wide-angle lens is general rule-breaking. Shooting with a 12mm lens is general insanity. Shooting from a lower angle with … well, you get the picture. The reasons for this is that it takes all sorts of tricks and learned skills to keep this sort of shot flattering, but it can be done. And it opens up the door to creating images that look completely different than the actual scene. Here all we had was about three minutes, a parking lot filled with cars, and rapidly oncoming rain. The lens stretches the venue behind them and the tree above them into looking like they’re on the same plane; the addition of light transforms them from three-dimensional objects to shapes.

I get to play, to try things that, by the rule book, are completely crazy, and then within minutes share in the chaotic emotional energy of a wedding celebration? Most of my job is personal work.

Also, because of the in-season, mid-week timing, there are still some seats open for my May 28 and 29 workshop here in Brooklyn. I will teach all of the tricks to make images like this work and many more, and we will also take you through getting, working with, and maintaining clients. We’ve gotten a flood of people saying that the dates couldn’t work for them, so similar to some of the favorite workshops I’ve done we’re going to allow signing up for just one day: May 28, the shooting-heavy day that runs from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., with breaks for lunch and dinner, will be $650. May 29, featuring portfolio review, all aspects of getting and pleasing clients, and running a long-term wedding photography business that sustains you financially and emotionally, will be $450 for 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Both days (which is recommended) is $1,000.

Vintage engagement shoot at June Wine Bar: Michelle and Matthew

There’s vintage, and then there’s Michelle and Matthew. A lot of people dress up in vintage clothing for shoots, simply because it’s fun and looks great. But when Michelle met Matthew, she was impressed by how he looked in the 1920s strongman-style swimsuit he was wearing. She runs a blog called My Vintage Love, so a good part of their central identity looks back about 100 years.

So when Tatiana Breslow and I thought through their engagement shoot for them, we centered around some bars with beautiful interior woodwork to play off their look. The Campbell Apartments are in Grand Central, so they have to be very careful about how much photography they let in — even with prior approval, we were allowed to shoot with our dSLRs for exactly 90 seconds. One of the photos below was taken with an iPhone 6+, and I wasn’t doing it just to be showy — it was all we were allowed to use!

In contrast, June Wine bar in my studio’s Brooklyn neighborhood was so nice and amazingly accommodating that it almost freaked us out. “Why are you so nice? You know this is New York, right?”

Advantage, Brooklyn.

It is such a great thrill to work alongside Tatiana, and to see how our businesses and lives will improve as we merge in the coming year, and the thrill doubles when we work with a great couple. This shouldn’t be the last you see of Michelle and Matthew.

Sandip Kotiya - I WANT OT BE UR ASSISTANT
SIR

Maggie Gross Greif - Great photo shoot and great wine bar!!

Yucel Yalim - This couple and setting are stunning.