. . . and a big church ceremony at the Trinity Episcopal Cathedral. This was a different wedding in many respects – not least of which was the awesome site of two brides up on the altar. I worked the wedding all by myself so I had the strange experience of arriving at Sara’s house, shooting a getting ready, and then hustling over to the hotel for Marie’s. Two brides! It was tremendous.
The ceremony was beautiful and the party was so much fun, but the energy reached its apex when Sebastian the Ibis burst in and whupped the crowd (and our lovely couple) into a U frenzy. That is one fun bird.
I was so happy when Marie and Sara hired me, and the wedding was exactly what I thought it would be – a celebration of two wonderful people’s love. You know I’m down for that anytime!
Peachy hired me just around 2 months prior to the wedding; sometimes I meet couples who, for no real reason, just haven’t gotten a photographer yet and I turn out to be the guy. When this happens, a lot of times I go into a wedding feeling like the bride and groom don’t fully understand or expect the level of photographic service I’m going to bring to their wedding, so a short, relatively random booking are often my favorite weddings because I know the pictures are unlike any the people in attendance have ever seen.
The street goes both ways, though. I go into a short booking not having done an engagement session and having a very short amount of time to get to know the couple and what will make them most comfortable throughout the day. I was stunned to find that Peachy and Tal need no such warming up and they were sweethearts from jump street. They both listened to everything I said or suggested and generally made my life easy, pleasant and productive during their wedding.
The venue also has these crazy DJ lights that are just non-stop; I’m talking bright, defined beams of yellow, pink, purple lights in the shapes of stars and whatever else flying around the dance floor all night – with a smoke machine to boot. I figured out around halfway through that I could freeze these beams for dramatic effect, and as you can see, the effect was dramatic!
It’s not uncommon these days to work weddings where, going in, I know there won’t be an opportunity for outdoor, natural light portraits. That’s always a consideration because there is no easier photo to take than a lightly posed, outdoor natural light photo and given twenty minutes or so I can produce a nice variety of great shots.
But when you have a wedding that starts relatively close to sunset (as we did here), or a bride who refuses to set foot outside because of wind or heat (not the case here) or a failure to include time for it by the wedding planner, or any other reason that keeps us indoors, well, I as the photographer better be prepared to produce photos that are beautiful and wedding day worthy in any location under any conditions.
When exploring the dark side of photography, there’s no one better than Randy Borges Photography to have as a second photographer, and we did what we do, lighting up the night and shooting this beautiful wedding in the way that it deserved.
April contacted me waaaayyyyyyyy in advance of her elopement which I found a little curious, but she didn’t want to compromise on photography. She and Chad made the decision to come down to Miami Beach for a romantic elopement and photo session and I was tickled, I mean it’s so rare to have more then 20 minutes with a couple in their wedding gear and it’s unheard of to be able to bounce around from location to location without the invariable concerns about hair, makeup, guests seeing me OMG THE HORROR! etc.
But April had no such concerns, even though she was wearing the same dress at their reception back home in Tennessee; no matter how stupid my idea, she heartily agreed, and more often than not my ideas were awesome after all! It[s wonderful to be part of a wedding day no matter if its huge or small, but the few times I’ve been able to share in an elopement have been very special. It’s really something to be literally the only witness to the moment when two people tie themselves together for life. It’s an honor, actually. Thank you April!
I put an immense amount of pressure on myself to perform at maximum capacity every time I go out to shoot – even a casual reader of my blog knows that – so when I have a wedding where it would be easy to dial it down to 70% and still come through, I’m extra proud.
Kim and Dave’s wedding was everything you’d want: loving, fun and a true celebration. The problem was that it rained, and once the rain starts coming down, your typical country club wedding loses a lot of the original appeal of the venue (namely, anything outdoors). When you’re limited to “the clubhouse” as it’s invariably called, you’ll usually find a small maze of long, wood paneled hallways that don’t lend any interest whatsoever to photos and the Ballenisles is no different.
The one place where it does stand out from the crowd is in the great space Kim used for her ceremony because it had a ton of volume, it was ultra white and it also had huge windows allowing rain muted light to gush in. All positives for photography for sure. I also had a major positive shooting the wedding with me in the person of Jill Erwich, so together we set out to find ways to make the wedding photograph as awesome as it felt in person.
Did we succeed? Well, with a couple who is interested in having a great time and getting beautiful photos, being stuck inside is no deterrent whatsoever. Besides, Kim and I came up with the concept of a first look on a trolley, and that’s definitely an A+! Enjoy – we did!
Marisa’s family and I have a special connection. Like, to the point that I came home from our initial meeting and I told my wife I felt like talking to her father Howie was like talking to an older version of myself. Everyone in her family is funny, sarcastic, sharp and up for a great time and lots of laughs – I fit right in.
To the point that I really did feel a lot of pressure pulling in to her house for the Getting Ready period. It was pretty close to shooting for some of my own extended family and I wanted to make sure I left no opportunity unused. It was threatening rain the entire time I was in Marisa’s house so I knew we had to hurry up and get the portraits going because soon there would be no more outside option. We took as many pictures of Marisa as possible, kind of rushing through, but what we ended up turning out was gorgeous. It just goes to show the absolute importance of making sure a bride has twenty to thirty minutes of being totally ready prior to leaving for the ceremony, because you end up with gold, it gets everyone comfortable and the bride ends up with beautiful portraits.
After our indoor, skybridge first look (awesome) we were off to the races and played my favorite game of “make a small indoor visually repetitive space look incredible” as we lost the ability to use the golf course due to rain and humidity. Fortunately, I’m something of an expert at this by now, and the results speak for themselves. I’m so happy for Marisa and Matt, they’re a couple made for each other and this was also that rare instance (well, maybe not that rare) where I was the ideal photographer for the couple. Makes me happy!
I got this nutty idea one day last week to take video throughout an entire engagement session to show what I see when I’m shooting, and I think it translated the experience pretty effectively. I am completely self-obsessed -especially in terms of photography – so this video is pretty much my favorite thing ever. Check it out and then see the results below!
Leslie is a photographer and her best friend and bridesmaid is a photographer, so knowing this I felt the pressure. I can’t walk into a wedding where I know for a fact that the bride has a photography education and blow it, you know? And by blow it I mean “not incredible”.
Fortunately I had the world to work with here. I had a beautiful bride and groom, a very fun and willing bridal party, a beach with good light, big rocks, an honor guard, a tent, sparklers, and of course a terribly interesting lighthouse. Much to my total humiliation the bride even had parasols that I completely neglected to incorporate into the photos. The shame!
Although every singly one of my pictures at this wedding is astounding, the long shutter speed atmospherics are truly exceptional – not to mention my “couple kissing in a lightbox at the base of the lighthouse at dusk” miracle. But above all my favorite may be the “tiny bride” picture I took as a special request from Leslie. I love a great sense of humor in a couple and these guys have it in spades I loved the wedding, I had so much fun with everyone and I know that shines through in the photos below.
I expected this wedding to be all good things – lovely, romantic, pretty – but I got even more than I expected with the reception. I was stunned to see the level of detail I had to work with, especially with the food and dessert presentation. A good part of being a wedding photographer is it forces you to look closely and carefully at everything; if the big wide picture has already been taken (or doesn’t look very good) then the tiny can suddenly carry weight of its own. Like shrimp, a humble creature in reality but glorious in the photo.
The couple was visibly amused by my relentless stream of portraits (accomplished in a 12 minute window before it started threatening to rain) and even I was surprised at how beautiful they turned out. All in all, this turned into a gorgeous wedding gallery and I couldn’t be happier for Tatiana and Dom.
I walk into the Omphoy for the first time and my eyes just start darting around incredulously. How had I never been there before? It’s usually somewhat of a struggle to find visual interest in hotels because blandness often wins the day in terms of the design; non-offensive and broadly palatable seems to be the goal for most. The Omphoy, on the other hand, just gives you all kinds of weird, dark, awesomeness from the cool blue light wall to a clear lucite foosball table (!) to the fact that just everything has a shadowy, moody lighting feel. I instantly regretted not having 4 hours to do portraits (which I never do but this was the spot to have it).
So it was a pretty excited Ricky that arrived to the bride’s getting ready room. Nicole is a gorgeous bride who fit her dress perfectly, styled herself beautifully, and knows how to roll with the punches. The plan was to go out to the beach to shoot bridal party pictures and bride + groom photos but when we walked out to the deck it was WINDY, like, all caps windy. I immediately turned to her and said “you don’t want to do this.”
Impressively, she and everyone else trekked down to the water and we gave it a go, but it was obvious no hairstyle would survive even ten minutes out there, so we retreated. That’s when I went into portrait overdrive, getting as much as I could with difficult lighting and short time, but the couple kept agreeing to do more, either out of pity for me or confidence (I think it’s the latter), and we eventually found our way to the pool deck which had wind protection and built in backdrops. Yes.
The reception was similarly difficult to light – dark, oddly shaped room and varying ceiling heights – but the truth is, at this point, I see the challenges and my responses always bring out interesting, beautiful light solutions. I shot this wedding alone and it’s an achievement. The pictures are wonderful, but if you had seen the difficulty of the conditions presented by the Omphoy sans beach, you’d understand just how glorious these are. Love it.