Tag Archives: new york city wedding photographer

Central Park Boathouse wedding: Jennifer and Marc

Sometimes love is stately, refined and intimate, romantic and quiet. Sometimes it is messy, raucous and public. The vast majority of wedding-related media focuses on the first aspects, but my favorite weddings are the ones that show both: Two people deeply, obviously in love, showing it through countless intimate, gorgeous moments together … and then, as they say, it all comes out on the dance floor. Weddings are public celebrations, so let’s set aside decorum and show how deeply, broadly, and loudly we care about our guests. Let’s get crazy.

Jennifer and Marc’s Central Park Boathouse wedding perfectly exemplified all of this. It was hilarious and heartwarming, wonderful and wild, and made full use of this strange but fantastic record string of nice-weather weekends we’ve been having. (I can’t tell you how much wood I knock on every time I talk about this.)

And I got to share it all with Tatiana, once again proving herself to be the biggest secret weapon in the world of wedding photography.


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Layers of a Lovely Day

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Sometimes the problems solve themselves, at least when you have brides like Jennifer, awesome enough to brave a forest trail in a gorgeous couture gown. We’ve had this strange but beautiful thing where all the rain and nasty weather has fallen on weekdays. The New York Times even had to point out that there is no reason for special seven-day cycle in the weather. Me? I credit karma.

Apparently the reason that sometimes you come to my site and there is no site here is that someone out there has been attacking ryanbrenizer.com for a long time. We’re working on fixing it, but in the meantime, please hold back for a bit, Mr. Cyber-Jerk. I have so much great stuff coming to the blog this week, from gorgeous weddings to camera reviews, that we’ll probably bring the site down all by ourselves.

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


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Heck of a First Kiss

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No matter how long we’re in this business, we should never stop learning and growing and pushing ourselves. One of the ways I did this in 2012 was to try to push myself to capture the first kiss in creative ways. There’s a good reason I hadn’t done this before, of course — this is an extremely important moment that really doesn’t need embellishing, so it’s more important to just capture it than to be fancy and risk not capturing it. But this is an outgrowth of using second shooters and assistants I really trust. When I see a shot that can benefit from a risky technique, I tell them beforehand “OK, your job is just to get the first kiss straight-up and close, keep it simple. I’m going to do something wacky.”

For Annie and Bill the wackiness was a tilt-shift to capture the overhead lights, as well as an SB-900 I’d placed behind the altar before the ceremony started, turning a very dark scene into this.

Lens: 45mm f/2.8 PC-E
Camera: Nikon D3s
Place: The Foundry


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Midtown Loft and Terrace Wedding: Dana and Jamie

I don’t do as many destination weddings as I could because, in NYC, destination weddings come to you. Yes, I would love to go to Scotland and shoot a crazy celebration in the lush highlands, but I could also have clients like Dana and Jamie, you bring all of their guests and the band in from Scotland to celebrate at Midtown Loft and Terrace, a five-minute walk from my studio. And on a Wednesday, no less.*

It was an amazing day, especially thanks to the guidance of planner Christine at Exquisite Affairs Productions and the help of John Edgar and assistance from Dave Paek. John actually grew up in Scotland, so he was my cultural attaché. But even he couldn’t fully translate the heavy dialect of the grandfather’s nonetheless hilarious speech.

Randy kids, wild adults, waving kilts, grand marches, and lots and lots of alcohol. All of the destination, none of the plane travel. Thank you.

*I support this trend. I’ve photographed weddings on every day of the week in 2012, which is not a common feat.


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Sonya and David’s Alger House Wedding

Sonya and David were married on a Sunday. They booked me that Friday — after being unceremoniously double-booked by their photographer. So I didn’t get to meet them in person beforehand — what sort of people are they? I wondered.

Fantastic people, it turns out. The sort of people who wedding photography clichés are based on, because they just sort of do that stuff in real life. The photo in the cab, 100 percent blissful, heads together in a world-class nuzzle? That was just how they were sitting, on their own. They have the type of connection where, when she came down the aisle at the Central Park Ladies’ Pavillion ceremony, he met her halfway … and kissed her.

Sure, breaking tradition keeps me on my toes, but it’s also beautiful to watch.

They followed with an intimate, thirtysomething-person reception at the Alger House, with modern Jazz music from Cate Cox, including a stint with her Dad serenading everyone to the Doors.

A beautiful, fantastic day, despite exactly eight minutes of rain (the ceremony was saved from being moved indoors by the amazingly precise Dark Sky app on my iPhone). Sometimes it’s the jolts in life that get you where you need to be.

Thanks to Kacy Jahanbini for the help and great photos in this last-minute scramble.


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Guastavino’s wedding: Yelena and Ben

I’ve had a lot of challenges thrown in the way of my wedding coverage this year, from hurricanes to closed NYC tunnels to rescheduled weddings, but every once in a while, my couples aren’t just lucky in love, but on the day itself. Yelena and Ben’s wedding missed a giant freak snowstorm by a few hours and a few miles, and by the end of the night, when I was lying on the street in the middle of traffic to get a shot (long story), the snow was all but gone.

There are a lot worse places to be snowed in than Guastavino’s, though, a restaurant and event space with gorgeous architecture and style. The entire day from getting ready to the last moments of the reception was in the building, which eliminates about nine of the top 10 potential stressors on a wedding day.

Take Manhattan chic, add embarrassing and fun stories from family, a father rocking out on the mic with the band, belly dancers, rambunctious kids, and a kind, warm couple who couldn’t stop looking at each other all night, and you have a heck of a wedding.


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Maly and Craig’s Metropolitan Building Wedding

Even though I only met Maly in person after she had already booked me, and didn’t meet Craig until the day of the wedding, I’d been looking forward to this wedding for years.

My girlfriend, a fantastic modern dancer who performs at the Metropolitain Opera among other places, can spot dancers as they walk down the street. We’ve been at a restaurant, and the waitress comes up to our table, and she’ll ask “Where do you dance?” After this long in the industry, I like to think I can look at people and say “Man, they are going to have a fantastic wedding.” And it has almost nothing to do with income — it’s about love of life and family, vivaciousness and creativity. And when I saw Maly’s work through mutual photographer friends, I knew she had that in spades.

For a long time, I did not know that she had also admired my work and that, even though she knew countless photographers (a third of the wedding guests were photographers in some capacity), I was her pick for the day the awesome wedding would finally come.

And man … I was right. There’s nothing to say about this wedding that won’t use an unseemly amount of exclamation points. Every element they filled the fantastic Metropolitain Building with was carefully hand-made, including the stunning cake made by Maly’s mother. Even though these are the most detail shots I’ve ever posted, I’m actually holding back most of the detail awesomeness, either because they should be published in a new-bride-oriented blog or because I want to horde them for myself so I can shamelessly rip them off when I get married. But also because every moment of the day was as filled with life and joy as the couple themselves.

Look at the pictures, watch this cinematic trailer by the great videographer team at Three Ring Media, and try not to fall in love with Maly and Craig. I dare you.

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Osama is Dead; Photos from a historic party at Ground Zero

On a gorgeous September day almost ten years ago, I had just started my morning as the editor-in-chief of an upstate newspaper when one of my reporters told me a plane had hit the World Trade Center. Five minutes later, he told me about the second one, and I knew everything was about to change. Every impulse in me in a reporter told me to drive the 300 miles and be in the thick of it, but I had to manage everything, including an afternoon edition, so I sent out someone else.

Now, I finally strapped on a camera and headed for Ground Zero, but I was met with a site of raucous celebration, not despair. Osama is dead; we even have the body so there won’t be Osama sighting for the next 50 years, and New Yorkers were in the mood to celebrate. Given that it was 1 a.m., most of the ones really ready to celebrate in public were the college kids who were ready to go anyway, which ensured the atmosphere would be of revelry, not contemplation, though we were among the graves of Osama victims.

But if any city is ready for an impromptu rally at 1 a.m., it’s this one. And I’m glad to call it my home.

UPDATE: I wasn’t there to do video, but here’s a quick one I took to just get a sense of the crowd. Also, my friends at B&H Photo asked how I did this technically, given that it was 1 a.m. under low and very tricky lighting. Images have very little editing as befits photojournalism, but I knew I’d have to capture action in near-darkness, so I brought my “night vision” set-up: Two Nikon D3s‘s with the Nikon 24mm f/1.4, 35mm f/1.4, and Sigma 85mm f/1.4. Under sodium-vapor streetlights, white balance gets truly wacky, so I used Nikon Capture NX2 to process, as it has the best white balance control of any program I’ve used.

Otherwise, the main skills were things I learned in years as a newspaper photographer, such as how to politely elbow your way through a surging crowd and get where the action is.

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Students, including a girl on her 21st birthday, use street poles to show their patriotism.

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Revelers spray champagne onto the crowds below

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After spraying the crowd, he enjoys some of the champagne for himself

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Who knew New Yorkers had so many spare flags?

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And the crowd goes wild for the cameras

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A woman walks past a one-man candlelight vigil

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Nothing says pride like face paint

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The crowd chants for peace

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Marching past the 9/11 memorial

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Scaling Mount Patriotism…

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“Lady, do NOT go up there! You are wearing a DRESS!”

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City worker takes it in…

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Moments like these are more important than car hoods

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The only time I have ever seen a New Yorker happy to be stuck in traffic.

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The sign of the night…

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Let your colonial flag fly…

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Tossed toilet paper hangs above as the crowd surges

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Texting in the USA…

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I can’t get enough of these guys.

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Carried above the crowd

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Vigilant.

UPDATE: There’s a lot going on in the comments, some of it I find quite distasteful. Here’s my view as someone who was there, in it if not of it:

I would prefer Osama have come quietly, but, he didn’t. I don’t really trust these events to be related truthfully given the value of propaganda, but the whole “firing back and using a wife as a human shield” thing, if true, makes me pretty comfortable with their decision to fire back.

One thing I was VERY proud of. Nowhere in all of the NYC revelry that I saw in person or on the news was there the scarcest bit of anti-Muslim sentiment. A guy with an “I’m a Muslim, don’t panic” t-shirt was cheered everywhere he went. No one denigrated or desecrated Islam except for OBL himself. (Online and in some other parts of the country, yes, but that’s not what these celebrations were about)

What’s hard to understand if you weren’t there is that there’s a very simple reason for the atmosphere … it was 1 a.m. These were 90 percent college kids who decided to hook a left instead of heading to the bars. No hatred, no burning people in effigy, just good news meaning an excuse to hang from a light pole on a day where the cops would cheer you on for doing so. Does it really make sense to set a car on fire because your team won a basketball game? Sure, if you listen to your id.

I didn’t think it was the tone I would have wanted, but the more I see people give high-handed criticism of a bunch of people gathering in the streets just to sing songs and share a sense of glad togetherness, the more protective I feel.

I mean, dude. I saw a hippie go up to a military offer and say “Do you mind if I just … give you a hug?” And they hugged. I saw police officers laughing gleefully at people committing (victimless) crimes, yelling “just don’t get hurt!” And 400 people cheering on a Muslim guy waving an American flag I saw New Yorkers not caring about a traffic jam. No hatred, but a sense that we did something right, something we said we’d do, and brought him to justice. (And if the raid went down the way they said, it seemed to have been handled justly).

The atmosphere was joyous and inclusive. When someone shouted “Hooray for the troops!” everyone cheered, then chanted “Bring them home!” The chant merged into “End the wars!” and someone responded with their own chant: “Don’t get greedy!” Everyone laughed. This is how it felt. While the wars aren’t funny, while death isn’t funny, and while the people here took their convictions seriously, even when they opposed each others’, you laugh when anything happens that relaxes your tension just a little bit. You put 1,000 people together who are happy about anything, and it becomes a party.

Do you think none of the celebrations would have happened if he’d come along quietly? If the announcement was “We’ve got him!”

I think there would be countless debates later about what to do with the guy, but I think there would have been just as many people in the streets, and if so, then they weren’t really there cheering for death, and sanctimoniousness must be tempered.

We did the conga when Hitler died, but we also went out into Times Square and kissed nurses when Hirohito … didn’t die.

Personally, I am cheering one of the most successful, precise military actions in history. It would have been easy, but terrible and a disaster, to just send in a Predator and destroy the place. We finally made a series of right, difficult decisions after a series of incredibly competent intelligence gathering. I mean … incredible effective government decisions? Incredibly competent intelligence agencies? And it all worked together to absolutely minimize any impact on civilians? That’s a stopped clock worth cheering.

In short, Americans aren’t particularly obsessed with death — we’re absolutely obsessed with WINNING. And in asymmetric warfare, the events of May 1, whether he had come quietly or not, is as close to a win as we can possibly come.


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