It's not really fair having a wedding this great at the beginning of the season. It sets the bar unreasonably high for the rest of the year. Katie and David got married at Rancho Chiquita, a private residence, in the hills of Malibu. The grounds of the home were set up PERFECTLY for a wedding and the incredible house was a perfect backdrop to shoot against. The fact that its in the hills overlooking the ocean didn't hurt either. Haha. :)
Here are some favorites from their day!
I shot Veronica and Jason's wedding in San Pedro a few weeks ago. As I was going through the images I loved how many great authentic moments there were. It got me thinking about my job as a photographer. Looking back over the images from Cyndie and I's wedding, the images that mean the most are the ones that captured a moment and more specifically an emotion. THIS is what weddings are about. Sure, I love to shoot portraits. I'd probably go so far to say that's my favorite part of the wedding day. But, the fact remains that in the end I'm there to shoot a WEDDING... and weddings are about 2 people coming together to join their lives. That is an incredibly emotional thing and we, as photographers, are given the responsibility of capturing it.
I've never received an email from a client saying, "I didn't even know you were there!" I talk, laugh, joke with my clients throughout the day. It makes them comfortable having me around and I feel like I get better images because of it. I'm definitely not a pure photojournalist but I take the responsibility of documenting their wedding day very seriously.
So after thinking about all of that I decided to do and entire blog post only showing "moments" from the day... no portraits, no details. The only images I had any hand in "staging" were the ones from the "First Look" and those I only told them where to stand. The rest were as real as they get.
So here's the contest.
If you're a photographer I want you to blog an entire wedding with no portraits, no details and no staged or directed shots. I don't care if you've already blogged the wedding. Go through and pick out the best moments and show me what you've got.
Leave a comment below telling me you want to be a part of the contest. You'll have 6 days to blog it. Next Thursday I will go through all of the entries and pick my 5 favorites. On Friday I'll post the finalists and we'll have a vote. Monday the winner will be announced.
One last thing... This is not about getting everyone from Facebook and Twitter to vote for you. I'll be checking up on everyone to make sure their not campaigning. Telling people to check out the contest is cool but none of this "I REALLY need your vote to win this contest" stuff I see all of the time. OK? Cool.
THE WINNER will receive a FREE 8x10 10 spread (20 side) album from Madera Books. (or an equal credit toward another size album).
Okay, now on to the images.
I love how everyone in the room has a hand in helping her get her dress on, haha. Only on a wedding day is that normal.
The first look and a quick prayer.
I LOVE this shot of Veronica and her dad watching everyone enter the ceremony. I was able to get this because I had my good friend and awesome photographer, Victor Sizemore shooting the processional. Good second shooters give you the freedom to take risks on the wedding day to get images you couldn't if you had to get the "safe shot".
Another great father/daughter moment.
A few shots from their communion that I love.
Shooting the recessional is always one of my favorite things. The couple is always so excited and usually shows a lot of emotion.
I also love focusing on the couple during the toasts. There's always a lot of great reactions.
This was one of my favorite weddings from last year and I'm just now getting around to blogging it. It was a collection of some of my favorite people to work with and it was at an amazing venue.
Wedding Coordinator: The amazing Angel Swanson
Florist: Kristin from the Treasured Petal
Cake: Melanie from Sweet and Saucy Shop
Venue: Rancho Las Lomas
Kristin (the bride) is a graphic designer and designed all of the stationary for the wedding. It was amazing. So much thought went into everything. Everything involved in the wedding fit together so perfectly. From the invitations to the color of her shoes, even to the color of the clothes she wore during their engagement shoot! I LOVED this wedding.
I love this shot of Kristin's mom helping her get ready... and if you look closely you can see Jessica Claire in the reflection as well. She's my favorite second shooter. :)
A couple of sweet moments from the first look:
I think parents often get overlooked during the wedding day. I love shooting the father walking his daughter down the aisle. Its always such a great moment, and you can tell how proud Kristin's dad was that day.
I also love shooting the parents during the ceremony. There are always so many great moments.
A few portraits on the amazing grounds at Rancho Las Lomas.
The couple with Angel Swanson, one of my favorite people to work with!
In the fall I shot Kevin and Danielle's wedding in California. It was held at Rancho Capistrano, a really beautiful property in South Orange County. Like most Southern California days it was pretty much perfect with beautiful light and amazing weather... if you're in to that sort of thing. :) I think my favorite part of the wedding though was seeing how the two families interacted. I've been to a lot of weddings but I'm not sure I've ever seen two more loving families. It was a really great thing to be a part of. Here are a few favorites from the day.
It's been too long. Let's just leave it at that.
This is Kenny and Bri. They were clients when they hired me a year ago but after their engagement shoot, wedding in Anguilla last summer, lots of meals and time hanging out they're now great friends to Cyndie and I.
In November Bri called and told me she wanted to surprise Kenny with a trip to New York. We set the whole thing up and she pulled off a flawless surprise. He had no idea they were coming here until they got to the airport! I love a good surprise. :) They came and stayed with us for a few days and while they were here I shot a day after (5 months after) session for them. This was a lot of fun.
All of this stuff was shot within a couple blocks of our place here in Manhattan.
Here are a few of my favorites.
These are the steps of Liv Tyler's townhouse around the corner from us. I guess it would make sense that she has the best stoop in the neighborhood. Ha. Did anyone see her dad on American Idol? He was actually pretty cool. Not annoying at all like I expected.
I LOVE this image. It has a very old world quality to it that I really like. It was processed with a film grain product that my friend Edmund and I have been working on for a while. I think we're almost done with it. Keep and eye out for it.
We went up to our roof for the final few images. I love it up there. Its such an amazing view of the city. I think I'd go up there a lot more if I didn't have to climb 7 flights of stairs to get up there. Haha.
This incredible Nigerian wedding was held at the Penn Museum in Philadephia on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. It might be the most fun I've ever had at a wedding... well at least one I was shooting, haha. I want to shoot more Nigerian weddings... and more at the Penn Museum. So great.
The bride, Bola, is a wonderful photographer based in Philadelphia. It's always such an honor to be asked to shoot a photographer's wedding... it's also a bit nerve wracking. Haha. But you always know if you're shooting a photographer's wedding that you'll have plenty of time for photos, and more importantly, time in good light! We made the most of our time that day, here are some of my favorites:
So this afternoon, Jaclyn and Nate Kaiser, of The Image is Found, both jokingly twittered that they are making a new rule that they'll only travel to places that Jet Blue or Virgin America fly to. This spurred a little Twitter debate between Nate and I about airlines and it got me thinking about why I make the choices I do when I travel.
I'm not sure whether it's apropos or ironic that I watched the George Clooney movie, Up In The Air, on a flight to New York but I sure did identify with Clooney's character and his quest for frequent flyer mile domination, haha. As photographers, we get the opportunity to travel more than the average person. Over the past few years I've traveled a ton and since we moved to Manhattan earlier this year, the past 6 months I've traveled even more than usual. I've found that if you do it right you can both enjoy your travel more and make your travel and destination weddings more profitable. I thought I'd blog about the things I've figured out regarding air travel.
#1 Pick an Airline
There are a bunch of airlines out there and I'm not going to try to say that one is "best" because the "best" airline for you might be different than the best airline for me. The first consideration should be your location. Which airlines have hubs in or near your city. If you're in Dallas, American would be you're best bet. Houston, Continental would be a good choice... etc.
The benefit of choosing an airline with your city as a hub is that you'll have the most direct flights available. This is super important as a frequent traveller. Layovers make your travel days way longer, increase the chance for delays and generally suck. The more planes you take, the more chance there is for a flight to be cancelled/delayed...etc. If you fly direct, there is no connecting flight to miss even if your flight is delayed. Also flights in and out of hubs are, for the most part, cheaper and there are way more available to choose from.
Another consideration when choosing an airline is where they fly. One of the reasons I chose Delta is that when I was choosing an airline is that they were in talks with Northwest to merge and become the largest airline in the world. Either them or their partner airlines fly to more destinations than any other airline in the world. An airline like Virgin America or Jet Blue may meet some of the criteria but they are quite limited in the cities they serve. So if you choose them there's a good chance you'll have to fly other airlines at some point. Pick an airline that will take you pretty much anywhere you want to go and allow you to earn miles on all of your flights, not just on flights to cities they fly to.
#2 Stick with that Airline
Frequent flyer programs benefit "frequent flyers" and you'll never be a "frequent flyer" if you're flying a different airline every trip. All airlines have frequent flyer programs but the benefits vary greatly between airlines. If you fly a budget airline such as Jet Blue or Southwest, basically, the only benefits to frequent flyers is award travel (free flights). With full service airlines you'll still get the award travel but you'll also get a ton of other benefits.
#3 Rack up the miles
Once you reach elite status, usually 25,000 miles in a calendar year, you get all kinds of fringe benefits. Here's a list of a few:
Priority Check In. Frequent flyers always have their own check in line. There's no waiting in a line of a hundred people at the airport anymore to check your bags.
Free checked baggage. With Delta, my guests and I get up to 3 bags a piece at no charge and the weight limit is 70lbs not the usual 50lbs. This alone is worth hundreds if not thousands per year.
Priority Security Screening. At most airports there is a lane for first class or elite travelers. Again, no more waiting behind a hundred people. Security screening now only takes a few minutes.
Priority Boarding. As a photographer this is one of the biggest deals. When I travel with my camera gear, the last thing I want to do is gate check it. I want it with me the whole way. As a frequent flyer with elite status I get to board the plane before the general public, meaning there will never be a time when I get into the plane and the overhead compartments are full.
FIRST CLASS. This is huge when you fly a lot. I've never paid for a first class ticket but I now fly first class almost exclusively... easily 90% of the time. Delta, and most other airlines give free or very low cost upgrades to their frequent flyers. It makes a big difference having the extra legroom but the biggest difference is the "shoulder room". The fact that there are only 2 seats in first class where three fit in coach makes all the difference in the world. There's never a time when I worry about who is going to be sitting next to me in first class, but every time I have to sit coach I dread the waiting game of watching the people file in. I just know when I see the 6'5" 350lb mountain man, he's going to sit right next to me. Also, meals and drinks (even alcohol) are free in first class which is pretty nice.
Priority baggage handling. I think this is one of the coolest things Delta does. Whenever I check a bag a special tag is placed on it and upon arrival my bag will be among the first delivered to baggage claim. No waiting around for 30 minutes as bags trickle on to the carousel.
Bonus Miles. Once you make it to elite status, you get between a 25% and 125% bonus on your travel. Once you get to a certain point miles start adding up like crazy. At the beginning of the year this year it took me 5 round trip flights from LA to NYC to earn the 25000 miles for a free flight. Now it takes only 2.5 round trip flights because I get a 100% bonus on all travel... fly 5000 miles, get 10000 frequent flyer miles.
#4 Don't sweat it if you have to pay a little more to stick with your chosen airline.
If I were to fly American Airlines I'd have to pay $25 each way to check one bag. Sticking with Delta saves me *at least* that much over another airline. If the difference between tickets is even more than that, the fact that all of my miles are with one airline more than makes up for it. The average cost in miles for a free flight is 25,000 miles. If I have 6000 miles with Delta, 8400 with American, 3700 with United...etc, it doesn't matter that I've got 18100 miles in total because they're with 3 different airlines. I'm still 16400 miles from an award ticket. Don't worry about paying a little more for a ticket with your airline, you'll get it back later.
#5 Pack light.
If its possible carry everything you need on. The time you'll save by not checking bags and not having to wait for them at baggage claim is worth way more than having your choice of 14 pairs of shoes and 23 outfits for that week long trip.
There are lots of other tips I've picked up but this should do for now. Maybe this will help you, I sure wish someone had told me all this a few years ago. :)
If you have any tips I'm missing here leave me a message in the comments. I'd love to hear them!
Since posts without pictures are boring, here is an image from a wedding I shot in Anguilla (in the British West Indies in the Caribbean) last month. I'll be blogging the whole wedding this week!
Sometimes I get close to what I'm after, this time I got exactly what I wanted from a wedding party photo. I love *everything* about this photo.
I've got to give Amanda some props. It was about 16 degrees that day and she was such a trooper. Sooooo cold, and she never complained once! My kind of bride! :)
Since we're smack in the middle of winter... (well most of you are, we don't really get winter here in Orange County) ...I thought I'd pull out a wedding from last summer that was never blogged to warm you up a bit.