This wedding featured some very interesting moments – including a tooth extraction (photographed but not featured here) – and plenty of fun. I got to use some of my other non-photo talents; the bride was working on her vows and was having trouble closing it out so, being the wordsmith that I am, helped out and gave her a nice kicker to end her sweet, beautiful vows.
When they were up on the altar and she read them, I felt happy for her and proud of my assistance. And then the groom went ahead and gave a monologue that couldn’t be matched by anyone, really, declaring that his love for her went not skin deep, but down to every molecule, every atom of his being, that every mitochondria yearned for her with each and every shallow, longing breath of his essence. So I think maybe my helpful addition might have undersold the love that beats between these two :/
Marni and Jared contacted me and let me know they are friends with a prior couple (who I loved) so I came in ready and hoping for a great party and cute portraits and got both. Marni and Jared are deceptively hard partiers, as was their whole crowd, and it was awesome.
Which was a good thing; weddings at golf / country clubs can be a dangerous proposition because those venues are, by design, somewhat bland, inoffensive places. They cater to senior citizens mostly and any sort of bold design statement could cost them overly critical grandmas. But the Boca Pointe gets some respect from me for redoing a lot of the interior to take it out of 1992 and into 2010 at least And good for Marni and Jared for timing their wedding right in order to get the advantage of the changes, it really makes my life easier!
Congrats to the happy couple!
Sarah and I are both excellent communicators – like, so excellent we were talking on the phone pretty much daily leading up to the session. Sarah shares my love for books, photography and idle conversation, so I knew we were going to have fun at the session.
It turns out Francisco is the opposite – a man of few words. That is, until he spent half an hour with me. Ricky has a way of getting everyone to open up By the end of the session we were all laughing and joking like old pals and putting together a really pretty collection of photos. The wedding should be more of the same!
Kim is my sole Facebook success story – for all the ads I’ve run, for all the likes I have, she is the only person to ever actually hire me after finding me on Facebook. And for all the money I’ve spent, it was worth it just to shoot Kim and Jack’s wedding.
They are the best kind of couple – relaxed, fun and totally willing to do whatever popped in my head. For example, when it came time to do the bridal party / bride + groom portraits, I found the hotel a little lacking in visual interest. Lovely place, but no real striking backgrounds. The catering manager told me to shoot against the water because that’s what all the photographers do, but of course I scoffed at that. Water pictures are for night time (see below). Fortunately for me, next door there’s this abandoned warehouse parking lot with bright colors, a beautiful large gate to frame against and an overpass right above it that creates a really interesting, beautiful photo. And the bride, groom and entire wedding party gladly made the little walk to Ricky’s Warehouse Lot, trusting me that it wasn’t disgusting but beautiful.
That’s the kind of couple I wish I had every time. Plus their party really was awesome.
I like to think I’m different than other photographers. Maybe I’m not, but I’m thinking I am.
Case in point: the railroad museum. Whenever I go there, I see the other three or four photographers there shooting their engagement sessions exclusively in or near the trains. Sure, it’s cool that they have trains at the place, but for me, the real draw is everything OTHER than the trains. The grounds are awesome for pictures, between the exposed brick walls, the huge arches, the treeline – it’s all beautiful. And yet, while everyone is fighting over the front of some train engine, I have the other 95% of the place to myself. Silly photographers.
This wedding was nuts. I went to high school with Paul so I already knew he, like me, was a little deranged, but as it turns out, the entire family, the entire guest list was a little off the rails. I mean, when I’m the one urging reason and calm at a wedding, it’s edging into the absurd.
Here’s what Randy Borges and I were presented with:
1. The bride and groom wanted a purely candid wedding – that is, no posed portraits. I don’t mean “fifteen minutes and we’re done.” I mean, zero portraits. We actually managed to put them in a headlock and get 8 seconds of posed photos (really, I checked the times on my files) but that was it. All couples prefer candids, but this was to the extreme.
2. The couple went for the Guinness World Record for Longest Hora, and the groom sported a Go Pro camera mounted on a helmet to record the (as it turned out) record setting Hora. It also featured all the primary players being tossed within a few inches of the ceiling on multiple occasions. It was frighteningly awesome.
3. The groom told me he was going to do a shot called the “Manly Man” that entails the drinker to snort some salt, pour some lime juice in his / her eye, and then take a shot of tequila. When I heard about it I was like “yeah, ok” thinking maybe the groom and one other person might do it, but as it turned out, like 45 people did it, including the bride.
4. The groom jumped in the pool and it all happened so fast I was unable to really set up a glorious jumping in the pool photo, to my total chagrin
And then, of course, generalized revelry to the extreme. So, all told, with the myriad challenges, I left the wedding thinking “there’s really no one better than me to have worked this one.” I liked the insanity. Would have liked a few portraits But I respected the purity of their vision. They had a very specific vision of their wedding (the vision closely resembled chaos) and they followed through. I respect that; plus, when a couple has their wedding be an ode to anarchy, I have to be on board. Ricky Stern Photography never shies from madness.
One of my first weddings – my third, to be exact – was at the Sundy House and I remember loving all the funky aspects of the property. I love interesting, and Sundy House has interesting for sure.
But at this wedding, the property got overshadowed by the nutty spirit of everyone involved. This is a crowd that came to have fun, and so instead of me trying to figure out how to shoot through three levels of leaves and architecture I was just running around trying to keep up I had a lot of fun with Angie, Mike and their entire group – their bridesmaids in particular were just awesome to hang out with. And that’s really the kind of wedding I want to attract, the one where everyone is chilled out, there to have fun and treat me like the friend with a camera instead of the “vendor.”
It’s to everyone’s benefit – I have a blast for the 8+ hours I’m with the couple and they get the best pictures I can find. When I feel as comfortable around a couple as I did with Angie and Mike, well, let’s just say I take an emotional interest in their wedding photos, and I love that.
There was a little period of time there where I was at Brickell Key like three times in five days, and obviously the challenge is not turning in the same exact session to three couples in succession. I tried with Jamie and Mike to differentiate their photos from the others by going for a mix of straight-up pretty and somewhat artsy, with the results below.
I had a temperature of 102 that day and midway through I fell off a ledge and faceplanted into some bushes, which was fun, but honestly I didn’t mind spending the day with this lovely couple, feverish hallucinations or not.
Kaylin and Brad’s wedding was very interesting. The first half was entirely in their condo on Brickell Key, culminating in the ceremony that found all their guests and me on their balcony. The result was that I had no opportunity to move at all and had to find a way to shoot it in a compelling and flattering manner from the same spot about 2 feet away from the bride and groom. It wasn’t the easiest task, but I really enjoyed the difficulty and came up with a lovely, intimate perspective on what was an emotional and heartfelt wedding.
The reception took place in Coral Gables’ own Globe and I was more or less shocked when I saw what a beautiful job they did setting it up. I honestly didn’t know what to expect at the wedding but, as is usually the case at small and / or atypical weddings, the photos are beautiful, quirky and just plain different, all good things.
It can get really challenging giving couples semi-unique sessions when I shoot at the same locations over and over (Matheson, Bill Baggs, Greynolds, etc). Of course, I use and re-use these locations because they’re the best options in the area; large, free and beautiful. But yes, it can get repetitive.
That’s why sometimes it takes a special couple to bring out a different aspect of a location. Stephanie came with a plan to get in the water, much to Angel’s dismay, but he’s a trooper and into the drink they went. That added element gave me a new spot to use in a very overused location and it was thanks to the couple having creativity, an open mind and a willingness to get wet. Seems simple, but it’s rare. I really appreciated it and of course the in-water shots are the best from a very strong session. Bravery pays!