Tag Archives: wedding

Lord Thompson Manor wedding: Jackie and Corey

The classic, ideal Western wedding is sort of a palindrome: you start the day slowly building to the heights of finery, hoping to look better than you ever have in your life, culminating in the stunning formality of a wedding ceremony … and then you let it all go in wild revelry, a mash of joy and sweat and hairpins. It’s how we squeeze every last bit of happiness and camaraderie out of a single day, and Jackie and Corey’s wedding was an incredible expression of the form. Beauty? Well, you have a couple whose ecstasy (and every other emotion) radiates through their whole body, classic style,beautiful, well-thought-out details and all set in the stunning Lord Thompson Manor.

You know the Manor is incredible given that it was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted … who not only designed spaces like Central and Prospect parks, but the area where I proposed to Tatiana. So it was wonderful to be able to share this day shooting alongside Tatiana and working with friends like Styles on B at this amazing wedding. I knew it would be a good crowd, when, within the first 20 minutes, I texted Tatiana “The guys are hilarious; they’re doing improv with all of the decorations in the room” and she said “Jackie is doing the same thing!”

Thank you, Jackie and Corey, for having us tell this story.

 

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Newport, RI wedding at the Rosecliff Mansion: Nicole and Emilie

Nicole and Emilie’s Rosecliff Mansion wedding celebrated Independence Day on many levels — there were countless couture nods, from the red, white and blue clothes they wore to the oh-so-Northeastern rehearsal dinner at Kempenaar’s Clambake Club to the custom color worn by their Instagram-famous dog, Charlie. There were all the trappings of a Newport summer weekend, from casual fun over seafood and fireworks, to impossibly ornate settings like the Rosecliff and The Elms. But it was given a deeper, sweeter meaning when, shortly before the wedding day, the Supreme Court invalidated any laws keeping same-sex couples from marrying in any of the United States

When I started shooting weddings, only one state allowed same-sex couples to marry, and though it was right next door, it wasn’t recognized in Rhode Island until 2013. So not only could Nicole and Emilie show what a smart, driven, devoted couple they are, this can be recognized in every inch of their country. It was a good reason to wave the flag even harder that day.

But there’s a lot more to them, and to the unbelievably gorgeous wedding. They drip intelligence; you feel a bit smarter being near them. They’re the sort of people who use “alacrity” in common conversation, but also the sort to turn into emotive puddles when their dog is nearby. It was such a great feeling to share this day with them, and to share the coverage with my own love, Tatiana Breslow. I’m smiling just looking at these photos again, so I’m going to get out of the way and share them:

 

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A New Day

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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.


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Kimmel Center Wedding: Dana and Zal

Speaking as a groom about to plan his own wedding: Zal, you’re making it harder for the rest of us. First, the proposal: Both Dana and Zal are actors, knowing that Dana’s favorite movie was “Pretty Woman,” he faked an audition for her to go try out — but when she got there, all she found was that she had been put in the right place for Zal to come up, sticking out a limo a la Richard Gere. I knew right from this description that they were going to have a heck of a wedding, but this is only the beginning. Zal had been a member of the Broadway Boys performance group, and Dana knew that he had convinced them to perform at the reception … but not that he was rehearsed and ready to perform a few song with them. At every moment this sense of whimsy and delight at marrying Dana was written in exclamation points on his face, and in every aspect of planning. I got more involved in the planning of the day than usual, helping not just with the schedule and some of the other vendor recommendations (such as our pal Paul Hairston on video) but also things like lighting design, and loved it because both of their excitement even carried through the logistics.

It doesn’t hurt that Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center is a beautiful, dramatic place to hold a wedding. It’s also big. Really big. We were wearing fitness bands that day, and I’m glad, since both Tatiana Breslow and I hit all-time records. We’d love to shoot there again for that cardiovascular fitness, if not for the beauty.

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Alone together

This is one of those pictures that even my large-size blog format doesn’t really do justice — the original is about 150 megapixels.

I can’t post the full set without permission due to extreme fabulousness, but I will ask nicely, because this was a fantastic wedding day.

Brenizer method and flash composite. Because why not.

Camera: Nikon D3s
Lens: 36-image “Brenizer method” panorama with the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 (equivalent of 23mm f/0.38 according to Brett’s calculator)


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Looking Ahead

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Sometimes trying to zig where others zag isn’t enough, and I remind myself to zig where I would normally zag. It’s the best way to see things in new ways, or after taking hundreds of thousands of photos and looking at countless millions more, taking those that make me say the magic words: “Hey, I haven’t seen that before.”

Lens: 35mm f/1.4
Camera: Nikon D3s
Light: Sb-700 on a mini-stand.


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Kruti and Gaurav’s Mahwah Sheraton Wedding

Indian weddings are awesome in a quite literal way — the community celebration aspect, the thousands-of-years-old symbolism of each ceremonial action, the color, the energy — everything is over-the-top. I’ve become quite experienced with their nuances, but in the end saying “Indian wedding” like saying “American Wedding”: there are so many varied traditions that there are always surprises I look forward to. The ceremonial Coca-Cola? Kruti’s entire family trying to sneak grabs at Gaurav’s nose while his side kept it protected? All of this added another layer to the exciting elements I’ve come to know so well.

But it was the couple that made the day truly great. By the time I photographed the wedding, I’d already shot their engagement portraits, their engagement party, and Kruti’s pre-wedding ceremonies, so I felt I knew them and their families very well by the start of the wedding day, and it was an absolute pleasure throughout. It takes a solid group of friends and family to stage an entire, 20-minute-long parody of Family Feud during the reception. Not for one moment did a little April showers slow this wedding down, as you’ll see below:

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Joe and Lisa’s Wedding at the Merion

Great clients come from all walks of life — I still remember shooting the wedding of two chiropractors when I started rubbing my wrist and six people jumped up to adjust me. But who could be a better client for a wedding photographer than … another wedding photographer? It’s always a pleasure to shoot another photographer’s wedding — they have a lot of options to choose from, so it means they’re on board with whatever you want to do. And I don’t even have to tell you we had fun — a quick glance at the photos will show you more than I could say. Lisa was a bundle of emotions, from her fantastic smile to no small bit of tears. But really, all you need to know about these two is that they did a fist-bump during their Catholic cermeony. Awesome.

And their reception at the Merion was as wild, emotional, and intense a celebration as I’ve seen. And given that most of my weddings seem to be in a constant competition for craziest dancing, that says a lot.

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Wedding: Reema and Kartik at the Hyatt Regency

This fantastic wedding at the Hyatt Regency was a long time in coming. You’ll notice that this post leads off with an engagement shoot, which isn’t something I usually do.

It’s not an engagement shoot. It’s a new invention of mine I call a “Three-and-a-half-month-later shoot.”

Reema and Kartik’s wedding was so lively, so filled with fun and family and 600 guests, that the only time they could stop to have some photos taken on the wedding day was for 30 seconds as they lined up to enter the reception. So I posed to them a simple choice: We could either take five minutes away from the crazy, constant party to get some great shots, or we could have another more casual shoot later.

They chose the non-stop party, and I think it was the best choice, particularly when they started the night with a carefully rehearsed Bollywood dance.

When you talk about epic weddings, this is epic. Fantastic planning, as always, by Shaadi Chic. 600 guests. Multiple outfits, including Reema’s metal dress that was as heavy as it sounds — ladies, you constantly amaze me with your endurance — and Kartik’s late-night cow outfit. Yes, epic. I really can’t even show you the craziest stuff, so you’ll just have to imagine. Congratulations!


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Wedding: Jackie and Kee at the Venetian

Like most people I photograph, Jackie and Kee felt like they were not naturals in front of the camera. I hate to correct you guys in public like this, but boy were you wrong — and I’d already known that from the engagement shoot. Not only did their great relationship with each other shine through visibly, but they were so wonderful to work with. I kept saying to Dennis Pike and Erica Camille — who helped me capture the day — “Aren’t they nice? Man they’re nice!”

I could spot from the first few minutes of the reception that things were going to get wild on the dance floor, and boy did they — especially once they cannibalized most of the props from the photo booth we were running. A fantastic day within the gorgeous setting of The Venetian, filled with great people.

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Danielle and Andrew: Blue Hill Stone Barns Wedding

I work in so many wonderful venues all over the world that it’s hard to pick favorites. But when a couple tells me they’re having a wedding at Blue Hill Stone Barns, I get particularly excited. You see, I love food. Some people call this being a “foodie,” I call it being a functioning human being. But in any case, there is nowhere I’ve been so devoted to reverence for food — from a gorgeous, pastoral farm setting where the ingredients are grown and raised, to exquisite preparation, just writing about it makes me want to go back there. But I get even more excited when I get to photograph a wedding there with a couple as classy and as fun as Danielle and Andrew.

I could talk about how amazing and strong their family connections were, about how down-to-earth they were the whole day, about the gorgeous ceremony, the exquisite details of the reception, and the food … oh, the food … but mostly I’m excited about the photos, so I’m going to get out of the way and show them to you.

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Wedding: Lindsay and George at the Hershey Hotel

I have always been a chocoholic, so I was very excited to shoot Lindsay and George’s wedding at the Hershey Hotel. And it’s true that the streets in Hershey, PA are paved with chocolate. Or at least they’re colored brown.

Lindsay and George are new transplants to the area, and we’d already had a great time with them and their dog in a NYC engagement shoot, so I expected a low-key, fun, beautiful day — and that’s exactly what I got. The ceremony was in a gorgeous stone alcove, making for a long and dramatic processional. They’d selected the officiant in part for his lively personality, and he delivered in spades with a ceremony that was in turns touching and hilarious: You can see in the photos below Lindsay reacting to his emphasis on “until DEATH!” in the vows.

The ceremony and reception paid homage to Greek heritage, from dual crowns to a slow folk dance that builds to a huge crescendo.

And yeah, there was kind of a nice sunset. You’ll see.

Congratulations!

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