This past week two separate brides whose weddings we photographed some years ago contacted me. Both asked the same question: “I lost the DVD of our wedding photos, do you still have the files?” This got me thinking about how in today’s digital world, we print fewer and fewer of our photos. It’s never been easier to share our photos; we upload them to social networks like Facebook, Instagram, Flickr etc. We pin them, tweet them, like them, +1 them, but are we leaving anything tangible behind for our children and grandchildren to hold in their hands, except maybe a shiny silver disc?
Today, most people view photos on tiny screens with varying degrees of color and resolution. Since most visual content is consumed digitally these days this all seems very normal, but how would you feel if you went to a gallery or museum and all the art was shown on small LCD screens? The impact and the artistry that went into crafting such works in the first place would be lost. To be honest, I love the times we live in, but nothing quite compares at looking at an old photo of a loved one and reminiscing about that person. Maybe I am being a bit sentimental, but a photo takes on a whole new life when held in the hand. I look at it from different angles, I bring it in close, then further away. I contemplate what was happening at the moment the shutter was pressed, then the moment before and after. It is a much different experience for me when viewing images on a computer as I often skip through them quickly barely giving each a glance.
The reason why most of us take photographs is to visually document our lives. So why then would we chance those memories to the fickle nature of technology? I have had numerous hard drives fail and I have a drawer full of floppy disks, Zip and Jazz drives that I have no clue what’s on them because I no longer own the equipment that can read them. I even know someone who accidentally deleted Grandpa’s 95th. birthday party photos (oops!). Sometimes we forget just how fragile our digital images are. Consider printing your photos as another form of back up. It’s ability to be viewable will never become obsolete even as newer technologies emerge. While physical copies are still vulnerable to damage or loss, you can never have too many copies of something that is truly valuable.
I have always encouraged our couples to purchase a bridal album, but I also realize that it’s simply not in everyone’s budget. We do include printed proofs in all our collections and I wish that was something more photographers would offer rather than just shoot and burn. I believe that the photographic print still has value, even in today’s digital age.
I have to admit, I was a little intimidated at the prospect of photographing Sarah and Lane’s wedding. Both Sarah’s father and grandfather were very accomplished photographers. Her grandfather was considered Israel’s topmost culture photographer in the 1960s and 70s and her father was known and respected throughout the fashion and advertising world. Sarah is an actress and film producer which also added to my anxiety. So I knew that I had to really bring my A game.
Sarah and Lane live in Los Angeles. So I never had the opportunity to meet Lane before the wedding and Sarah only briefly. Once I had them both in the same room all my concerns faded away. They are so completely in love with one another and 100% comfortable in each others arms. They were a joy to photograph. They also know how to show the dance floor who’s boss.
A few weeks back Glenn and I spent the afternoon with some old friends. I say old friends because we have a bit of a history with Karron and Zim. Karron has been a bridesmaid for two of our previous brides so when it came time to hire her own photographer we were on her short list. We could not have been more thrilled because these two are a joy to be around. We are really stoked to be photographing their two day wedding extravaganza in a few weeks.
Alexa and Dave chose The Cross Estate in Bernardsville for their engagement session. The estate holds a special place in their hearts as it is where Dave proposed. I completely understand why Dave chose this spot, it is spectacular. We spent a few hours wandering the gardens and fields, the whole time learning just how great these two really are.
Glenn and I met up with Roselyn and Sam in NYC for their engagement session. You really could not have asked for a better day or a better couple. They are so completely comfortable with each other. I absolutely love the way Sam makes Roselyn laugh and the way she looks at him. Since I am a bit behind with these posts (as usual), we have already photographed their wedding so stay tuned.
We met up with Suzette & Karl in Jersey City and headed into New York for their engagement session. They met while attending NYU so we spent the afternoon strolling around the NYU Campus. We wrapped things up back in Jersey City with some great views of The Freedom Tower. Stay tuned because their wedding is just a couple weeks away and its looking to be OFF THE HOOK!
What’s not to love about Erin and Matt? They love the Yankees, They are from Brooklyn (one of my favorite boroughs), they love great music (possibly the best selection of music I have ever heard at a wedding ~ and I have been to A LOT of weddings!), they gave me all the time I wanted for photos, they have amazing friends. So what’s not to love? Nothing I say…they are just plain AWESOME! So enjoy a few of their photos and relish in their awesomness.
Allie and Albert met while attending Monmouth University. So it only made sense to use it’s most impressive building, Wilson Hall, as a backdrop to their engagement session.
Woodrow Wilson Hall was built in 1929 at a cost of $10.5 million as the private residence of former F.W. Woolworth Co. president Hubert Templeton Parson and his wife Maysie. During the campaign of 1916 the mansion was loaned to President Woodrow Wilson as the presidential summer home. It has been known as the Summer White House since.
While the building encompasses some 130 rooms on three main floors, we focused our attention on the Great Hall and gardens. That was fine with us because while difficut to tell from the photos, we spent most of the afternoon dodging the rain drops. The mansion was the setting for the 1982 film version of Annie, but we couldn’t get Allie to wear the red wig.
What makes an exceptional image? Well, quite frankly a lot of things. For starters you need to begin with the best capture possible, both in terms of aesthetics and photographically. Photoshop is a tool that should be used to enhance an image and not for salvaging poor images. I hear all too often “you can just fix it in Photoshop”. “Fixing” something in Photoshop is not as easy as it sounds. There is no magic button that you press and whoosh like magic amazing photos pop out. There is no substitute for good camera technique.
So you ask, how to get the best capture possible? Simply, hire a professional. A well-trained, seasoned professional photographer can size up a scene and maximize it’s full potential. After all, many years and a tremendous amount of practice and hard work has gone into honing their craft. They understand how the colors, shapes, light and dark areas of a scene will all work in concert with one another to create an amazing photograph. Moreover, they know how to light and expose the subject so they can, later on, in post-production exploit those elements to capture the viewer’s eye and hold it within the frame. The file your camera produces is just the starting point; it is the raw material that allows a photographer to begin to realize his/her vision. It is that vision that will dictate how they capture and ultimately process the image.
When Glenn and I turn over images to our couples, we want to provide them with the best quality possible. We do this by taking the time to make amazing photographs initially and turn them into superstars during the post-production process.
This process can be time consuming. It is not unusual to spend hours working on a single image. This is why most large studios cannot produce the same type of images that smaller boutique studios can. They simply cannot afford the time to nurture each image into an eye-catching piece of art.
“We don’t take photos, but rather create images”. This may sound like snooty artist talk, but there is a distinction. The former can be a great snapshot while the later pushes the creative potential; making an image that is something new, fresh and inviting. Our couples are all special and unique and we want their photographs to represent that.
Here is a real life example. A before/after from a recent engagement session:
BEFORE (Directly Out of Camera):
The goal here is not to alter reality, just enhance what was already there. You can see that there is nothing wrong with the unprocessed image that came directly from the camera. But by taking the time and care to bring it to its full potential we were able to deliver to our couple a beautiful piece of art that they will treasure for years to come.
Jennifer and Ken had a perfect spring day for their wedding. We started the day’s festivities in White Plains at the Crowne Plaza. The girls from Vis a Vis Artistry were on hand and did an amazing job with the hair and make-up. Then we headed off to The Glen Island Harbour Club for the rest of the day’s events. Jen and Ken decided to have a “first look” and see each other before the ceremony. I love it when couples decide to do this. It is a way more intimate first meeting and it allows them to fully enjoy their cocktail hour. The day was filled with emotion and it was such a treat to be allowed to share it with them. Thanks again and congratulations guys!
I just love the excitement on Jen’s face as Ken signs the Katubah and makes it official.
Ken was getting some serious air here.
Jen and Ken joined us in the photo booth for our crew portrait.