Engagement and Elopements
Warm ocean breezes and late Summer Cape light greeted me as I met Jamie and Aaron for their engagement shoot in New Seabury near Mashpee. I love late afternoon shoots and almost always try to take advantage of this beautiful time of day for engagement photos whether in a city location like Boston or in a more rustic setting. We started out in jeans and beach wear in the dunes and seagrass along the beach then found some great sunset light. We even enlisted a few young boys to row me out on the water for a fresh perspective on a great photo spot.
Jamie had some ideas for the shoot in her head and kept telling me that I can do whatever I want as long as I get this one shot for her. She had in her mind the idea of her and Aaron sitting on the overturned sailboat somewhere on the beach with the seagrass behind them. I’ve worked with art directors and editors my whole career and told Jamie we’d try to create the image she had in mind. We worked at it for about 30 minutes moving the boat here and there. We worked on their position and expressions and then added in some golden fill light from the reflector to give the final shot its warm Summer glow.
I think it is important to connect with my clients and always encourage them to tell me what they want. Some clients are very specific and others just say, “We trust you; do what you do.” I’ll always do what I do–and for the most part that is why they hire me but there is a certain satisfaction when you show the client the image on the back of the camera and she says, “That is exactly how I pictured it!”
When Marissa and Mike asked if I’d come out to Saratoga, NY for engagement photos I jumped at the chance. In all my years living in the Northeast I’d never been. They also mentioned something about a panda bear and that sealed the deal. I had no idea what to expect from the surroundings but hired a local assistant (this is something I usually do to help me navigate the area’s best spots) and went with eyes wide open. Saratoga and its natural beauty made for some great engagement moments. The night ended with some drinks and knoodling at their favorite eatery.
Engagement sessions are as much for me to get to know my clients in a more intimate way prior to their wedding as they are for couples to get some fun, romantic pix in their play clothes. Diana and Ryan were game for anything and made sure to keep it light and fun throughout–as this I’ve come to know is really who they are. I can’t wait for their wedding!
I love doing these sessions on a weekday night (less people) and between the hours leading up to sunset and just beyond as this is the nicest light to work with. Boston is such a walkable city that we are able to get to a variety of places easily.
A thin December sun sank slowly down Beacon Street as Stella and Brian slowly strolled through the Boston Public Garden. Long shadows were their company along with Jason, my assistant, and I. Stella wore a vintage looking coat she purchased in Paris and Bryan looked perfect in his tailored suit. They laughed.
Not an hour earlier had they made it all official during a Boston City Hall ceremony. They were the first eager folks to arrive but that waiting room filled up quick. We’d started our day together at Piers Point Park in Eastie (East Boston) before heading into town. They had memorized beautiful vows to each other and after the officiants legal words and a quick exchange of rings we were off.
First stop the Beacon Hill and the cobblestones of Acorn St. Next we drifted down to Charles Street and then into the Public Garden. After some Mama duck riding we Uber-ed it to Inman Square in Cambridge and Trina’s Starlight Lounge. Trina’s was the scene of one of their first dates but we were too early for the hipster-dive so we ducked into the Druid for some Guinness and Jameson’s. We had the place to almost to ourselves except for a few regulars who bought them drinks and posed for pix.
We ended at Trina’s where they scarfed the famous grilled hot dogs and indulged in some fancy cocktails. Save for the wedding dress this date seemed like it could have been just another regular Thursday night out for these guys–and I think that’s exactly what they wanted.
With just weeks to spare we snuck this lil’ engagement shoot in just before their wedding next week. They had a plan from dress (we changed into saree and kurta at the Sevens Pub on Charles Street), to the places on Boston Common that meant something to them. Late afternoon light did the rest and some impromptu first-dance-practicin’ added a bit of the unexpected. If this is how their Trinity Church ceremony and Colonade reception next weekend will go down it will be quite a day–and they only have to change outfits 3 times that day.
Lots of fun with Sondra and Erik and their little doggie strolling about Beacon Hill and then stepping out in the North End. As a Boston wedding photographer I always encourages my couples to bring props (umbrella’s come in handy) and a quick change of clothes ’cause you never know what Mother Nature will do. S &E took it to a whole ‘nother level having a 4-year-old Yorkshire Terrier complete with hair-do and bling. I can’t wait to see if lil’Oliver will be the official ring bearer for their November wedding. Time will tell–until then we have their Summer engagement shoot–“And her little dog, too.”
I’ve worked the same wedding venue back to back many nights and shot engagement sessions in the same location on the same day but no matter how often and how similar the locations, no two sessions are ever the same. As a photojournalist I know its the people I photograph that make my photography come to Life and give it its Essence. My job is special in lots of ways. I don’t sit in a cubicle (no offense to anyone who finds that appealing), I never watch the clock (ready to slide down the dinosaur’s tale when the quittin’ time whistle blows) and I’m usually always surprised how this job keeps me present in the Right Now without me feeling overworked or overburdened. This is Zen in the Art of Photography at its finest.
My aim (no pun intended), like Eugen Herrigel’s in his famous text Zen in the Art of Archery, is to somehow allow my subjects to photograph themselves. No I haven’t lost my mind. I want this to feel effortless even as I hump my gear and myself up trees, into ponds and and all over the place, quickly switching lenses and perspective, changing position all the while keeping the mood light and fun and engaging. Tons of contradictions abound but I truly want the camera to find a way to shoot itself. Much like Herrigel’s arrow finds its natural state at the center of the bullseye so to do my subjects find their organic bullseye framed within my sensor confines–that is their natural state. This process is best when it happens in the viewfinder but sometimes must be found in the edit and brought to light (The number one reason you hire a professional photographer).
The examples here are with Elyse + Bill and Emily + Jared and show how their own personalities play in some of the same environmental spaces. They are running the show even though they don’t know it. They are crafting the look and feel of their photographes without being aware of it. Sure I am framing things and swapping lenses, etc but it is their own confidence and insecurity to be vulnerable that allows the moment to happen.
I want my posed or orchestrated moments to have the look of spontaneity–as if this is all happening organically. Except that I’m Present yet unconscious. It is effortless. A long slow Ujjayi breath out and I never feel my finger release the shutter–maybe 6 frames per second even. There is a flow and a sequence but in the end there is the unconscious talking to the conscious mind in the edit room. This process takes patience and balance. My subjects, like the arrow, have already found their perfect resting place.
Temps were in the 90s in Boston but Jessica and Leo were cool as could have been in front of the camera. They had a plan in mind and spots they wanted to hit–mostly the Boston Public Library and Copley. The late afternoon light was yummy and the haze provided a natural softbox–plus it didn’t hurt to have an assist from my super second camera, Chris Gagne–thank you! Just some pix from our day in the late-afternoon light of mid-Summer.
Of all the engagement spots this Boston wedding photographer has photographed over the years Nahant has to be one of my all time favorites. I was so happy Lissa and Brian chose it as I rarely impose my will on the “where”; I like the spots to have meaning for the couples–whenever possible. The day was a bit overcast but warm with a chance of rain but the scenery and all the different nooks and crannies that this gorgeous spot has to offer is Mother Nature in all her glory – no matter the weather. There was one shot where I asked that they go way out on one of the rock formations. The tide was coming in and I knew they had hurry. These nature lovers easily traversed the rocks and incoming tides but as I was shooting from a good distance away I was only able to watch. A couple of perilous spots and a quick jump had them out on the point. We communicated via cell phones and experimented with different positions. I then ran, camera gear banging against my hip, around to meet them on their return–thankful that my clients were safe but excited to show them the shots. Here’s some for all to enjoy!
When Carlo and Ashley asked me about photographing their wedding in Guatemala, a place that has captivated my spirit since I first journeyed there 5 years ago, I created a vision in my mind from the start. I have to say that our pre-wedding shoot-around surpassed even my wildest visions of “what-could-be”. With my buddy, Brynmore Williams, shooting stellar video and my incredible friend, Jacobo Quan Hidalgo, sherpa-ing equipment and holding lights, we were able to capture some beautiful scenes.
We started the day at Casa Santo Domingo where we will photograph their wedding this Saturday. From there we moved on to these little known and barely visited ruins just blocks away from all the tourista traps in the center of La Antigua. This was Jacobo’s secret find. Once a beautiful church it was destroyed by an earthquake and subsequent flood in the 1600s. Now it is owned by the mayor of Antigua.