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Aileen & Michael’s Engagement Session at Tree Tops Park

2014 October 30
by rickyste

I pay attention, and I also become friends with the great majority of my couples (in the real life sense and the facebook sense) and I noticed no matter how artsy, cool or different my engagement session photos were, the couples always just posted beautiful photos where they looked their best and / or which reflected their true love for each other.

As one who is always striving to perfect perfection, I listened to the market research and started gearing my sessions more towards what I know all couples want and less for my blog. At the end of the day, who am I shooting for? Besides, I can get photo glory at essentially any wedding given more than ten minutes and a half-decent location, so engagement sessions can be exercises in pure photographic beauty.

Enjoy Aileen and Michael’s session, I think they’re a great couple and I’m very much looking forward to the big day :) Our session was a bit shorter than usual but Aileen marched through the nature hike in impressive heels and I’m very impressed by her determination – and ability to look fabulous at the drop of a hat!

Nayla + Garrett’s Wedding at Fisher Island

2014 October 28
by rickyste

There are few things better than a wedding featuring a large group of longstanding friends, where they all know everyone, love everyone, have total comfort and just want to have an awesome time. Among the many positives boasted by Nayla and Garrett’s big day, this was probably my favorite. It leads to a lot of hilarity, photo worthy emotion and just general happiness.

Another big positive was the unadulterated love and affection Nayla and Garrett obviously have for each other, as evidenced by the free running tears from the two of them as she approached the altar. As the sky went from blue to VERY blue to just flat out dark, sensual BLUE, we shot portraits with the dwindling light and got some ultra gorgeous late dusk shots on the beach, which I <3 so much.

The party was tremendous, and even a flat out thunderstorm couldn’t dampen the excitement, until finally the wedding moved to a beautiful to after-party the night away.

Ileana and Chris’s Wedding at Crandon Golf

2014 October 20
by rickyste

Ileana started her day getting ready in her parent’s beautiful home with a gaggle of her friends and family, everyone ready and willing to take beautiful photos. I love a cooperative crowd and a well lit, interesting spot, and they did not disappoint me, at all, as you can see. It was the kind of getting ready where I just couldn’t take a bad picture.

The rain started up during the ceremony, and it came down in sheets. We had planned on using the golf course for basically all of our portraits and I found myself in the (for me) very familiar position of having to do all the portraits suddenly either indoors or in a very tightly constrained location, this time the little breezeway / driveway at the entrance of the reception venue. And of course, I turned a 10×10 space into 5 or 6 unique photos. Nice Ricky!

The interior was highlighted by an expansive, woody, woody, woody ceiling. This meant I wasn’t able to bounce (boo) so I lit the entire party with directional, off camera flash. The results are, as usual, perfect. Enjoy!

Susie & Shane’s Wedding at the Sea Ranch Lakes Beach Club

2014 October 6
by rickyste

Susie and Shane are pretty much the sweetest, nicest couple you’ll ever meet. They are the utter definition of “in love,” and the level of pure happiness ran very high at the wedding.

It featured both a Catholic church ceremony and a beach Jewish ceremony, and both were lovely. I was happy to have the chance to show off my ability to properly present two such different ceremonies (in terms of of photographic conditions) as well as being happy with the opportunity to see these two married twice in quick succession. It was a fun wrinkle, and they can be totally certain that yes, they are married :)

The reception had a LOT of balloon action happening, and they were a common thread throughout the night – on top of the gushing emotion, raucous dancing and beautiful bistro lights. I had a great time and am really proud of the results.

2014 October 2
by rickyste

Patty and Flavio came to me at the meeting with a variety of interesting wrinkles; first, they were a really fun, good humored couple, which is always a huge plus. Second, they were getting married at none other than the illustrious Cruz Building and had set the meeting based on the strength of the portrait session I had done for my sister. Third, they had a truly international guest list and had lots of people pulling for this to be a wedding to remember (sounds good to me!) and finally, they had already had a full day portrait session in Taiwan and the photos they showed me were truly beautiful. It’s important to me to be the best photographer any of my clients have ever or will ever work with, so seeing a couple with gorgeous photos taken by someone else is a little intimidating I’m sure for most people, but for me it served as a welcome challenge.

And it’s a good thing I welcome challenges, because the Cruz Building is pretty much the ultimate in high effort / high reward. The light is totally horrible, but if you know how to produce your own clean white light, then you can use the positives it has to offer – and the positives are much more positive than anywhere else I’ve had the pleasure to shoot. So bringing out the wild colors, the stained glass, the ornate extravagance all by willpower and external flash was a real accomplishment and I’m very proud of what we managed to do.

It was easier with the expert presence of Michelle from Minerva Photography and Alex Bartole, and of course the up-for-anything couple. Between the crazy reception and the (thankfully) natural light drenched day after portrait session, this was about a complete a display of my talents as I’ve maybe ever had. Enjoy!

Sarah & Francisco’s Wedding at the Mayfair in Coconut Grove

2014 September 22
by rickyste

Michelle from Minerva Photography and I had some very interesting and challenging challenges at this wedding – although finding the emotion between the couple was not one of them. For starters, it was hot. Like, greenhouse in August hot. So keeping the bride and everyone else cool was order #1 of the day, and to accomplish that we kept everyone indoors as much as humanly possible – with the exception of the first look. How could I pass up that grandiose setting?

But shooting the remainder of the portraits in boardrooms and restaurant booths can prove very hard, and I was very proud of the fact that we were up to the task. The easy part was catching the immense amount of love that was obvious and present the entire day between bride and groom, fortunately. Sarah just lit up every time she and Frank got near each other, to the point where I knew if they hugged, there was a great photo there every single time.

So who needs light during a ceremony when you have the light of love illuminating the entire hotel? Well, me, but I can make my own light. The only thing I can’t manufacture – true love – was luckily provided to me in spades.

Dina & Ben’s Wedding at the Rusty Pelican

2014 September 15
by rickyste

You’ve never met a bride who had as much optimism and happiness in her heart than Dina. She was the smile of the day, walking around and just glowing with excitement to be marrying Ben, who was her equal in calm, contented joy. And it was at the Rusty Pelican.

I’ve had my share of heartache at the Rusty Pelican. It’s a venue that appears to offer incredible bayside views, but it lacks an appealing vantage point from which to take said glorious photos. I knew I had Dina and Ben’s wedding coming up and there was no way I was going to let them down, so I took my time every opportunity I got to set foot on the property in the months leading up to the wedding to really scout it for the most appealing photos possible. I found the spots and the right way to shoot them, finally, by the time the big day rolled around.

I came away from the wedding with a new appreciation for the venue and the challenges it presents – and how fun it is to overcome them. I also really loved spending the day with the bride and groom and was fortunate to have been along for the day.

Amy and Ben’s Wedding at the Dadeland Marriott

2014 September 8
by rickyste

Having been a family friend of Amy’s for over 20 years, my determination level could not have been any higher. I was so geeked up for this wedding, I sat in my house the morning of just tapping my foot, anxious to get going.

My excitement was well founded. Amy was every bit the excited, enthusiastic bride and Ben the funny, easy going groom. It’s a real pleasure to do well for people you want to do well for, and this was no exception. The wedding itself was huge with over 300 guests and as such I called in multiple excellent photographers to help out, namely Michelle from Minerva Photography, Erica from So You by Erica Sue, and Alex Bartole.

Throughout the day I was locked in to finding bigger, better, more beautiful ways to show the wedding for the joy filled day it was, and I didn’t disappoint myself. Enjoy!

Jackie and Ben’s Wedding at the Church of the Little Flower

2014 September 2
by rickyste

This wedding was great. I, along with the always superhuman Randy Borges, started out with the couple at the beautiful Biltmore, and that’s always a treat; it’s also a treat to work with a couple as just flat out fun as Jackie and Ben. And their family. And all of their friends. They were welcoming, funny and ready to have an awesome time, and that’s what I’m all about.

The reception really lived up to my expectations for pure celebration factor and the party was non-stop. And, to my glee, the Big Five Club is a truly excellent place to take reception photos – tell me these aren’t beautiful. There was so much action, I was in a complete zone catching it all, and it just kept giving. Congratulations to the couple!

Yulan and Siyuan’s Vacation Photo Shoot at Matheson Hammock

2014 August 28
by rickyste

I like a couple who gets engagement photos before getting engaged. I’ve always been a fan of betting on the come, and this is a classic example. Hey, we’re probably going to get engaged soon, let’s be efficient and get the photos done early!

I’m glad they did because they’re really a great looking couple. Yulan in particular is more or less an ideal photo subject; as you can see, she’s gorgeous. These two live in Connecticut but are Chinese citizens who were down here in Miami for a little vacation enroute to Key West and decided a little photo session with me was a fun holiday activity. Of course, they were right, and got these beautiful photos to boot!