Posts in Category: Engagements

Jeanne + Vincent

Jeanne is another close friend of mine who moved to SF area after getting married. It seems like a trend for technology based companies. I shot her engagement in San Francisco, and her destination wedding at Tensing Pen in Negril, Jamaica. A photo shoot from a cold climate to a hot one. I normally wouldn’t plan an evening session due to difficulty of lighting, but I really enjoyed the results of the evening city session with a full moon.


Gerrine + Homam

I adore this couple, whom I’ve had the pleasure to become good friends with over the years. They’re silly, hammy, incredibly down to earth, and they just enjoy life. Their engagement shoot was in Coney Island just a year before Sandy hit, and their wedding was out in Forest House Lodge just outside of San Francisco. The wedding was assisted by friend Fern Lee, not only do I adore her, but the couple did too!


Diana + Anthony

Diana and Anthony booked an amazing house on top of the hill in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. It was great location to have the bridal party stay for the duration of the trip, and to have the wedding over looking the ocean.


Taylor + Quoc

I loved workng with Taylor and Quoc, two of the most child-like and playful personalities that makes everyone else around them happy. They are truly kids at heart and you can tell from their photos alone. They got access to shoot at Fenway Park for their engagement session, and their wedding was at The Liberty Hotel, which used to be a jail.


Juanita + Hung

Juanita and Hung are a playful and cute couple, and completely laid back, which is my perfect kind of client. Their engagement and wedding took place in Philadelphia.


Correct Print Sizes

Dear clients, please read your contracts and packages carefully, especially when you’ve paid a few thousand dollars for the professional to deliver products to you. So far, my most common complaint (even if only 3 times so far), is the apparent incorrect sized prints I provide the clients. Apparent, because the clients seem to read 8×10 inch prints, when it is written 8×12 inch on my package. I have clients demanding that I send them new images in the correct size. While I understand it seems to be a common consumer print size and most picture frames sold are 8×10, it is not the correct print size directly out of professional cameras. So here is a brief lesson on proper image ratios and why 8×12 is better for you.

I offer two print sizes in one package, 8×12 and 4×6. You can do the math, it’s the same ratio of 2:3. That means when you get the prints in either size, nothing is cropped and nothing is missing. You are getting everything you see. If you decide to get 8×10 photo, you have to crop 2 inches off, that’s 16.66% of the image you are losing, and it becomes a 4:5 ratio.

I will apologize in advance for all photographers who do not mentally think about a 4:5 ratio in their viewfinder while busy shooting a hectic wedding day. In the worst case scenario where you happen to buy an expensive custom frame that is in the incorrect ratio, I can always do some Photoshop magic and shrink the photo to fit a 4:5 ratio and reconstruct the missing edges with the clone tool. That is if you don’t start the message with an angry and demanding tone of voice telling me I owe you a completely new set of photos.

Annie & Xin

Annie and Xin wanted to capture an old China feel, and what better place than Chinatown in New York City. The poses required for this theme is different from your typical affection-filled engaegment shoots. There is a mood of conservative coyness, a silence, and a hidden emotional story that doesn’t need words or public affection to express. It was a fun experiment and I encourage more couples to engage in themed sessions.


Barbara & Jason

I was fortunate to visit Chicago for the first time to photograph the engagement of Barbara and Jason back in 2011. We visited different locations between parks and the city, including the famous Cloud Gate.


Marie + Dan

Here’s a look back at Marie and Dan’s engagement and wedding portraits. One look at Marie’s eyes and you’ll never wonder why Dan fell in love with her. Due to my schedule I couldn’t capture her wedding day, so we scheduled a portrait session after. It’s not everyday you find out a bride can drive stick shift, so why not let her do some drifting action?


Consumerism Destroying Art

Before the days where everyone could afford a professional DSLR and have access to cookie cutter portfolio websites, finding a wedding photographer was a local search, usually through word of mouth. It’s easy to see how saturated the internet is with aspiring wedding photographers, anyone with spare change can start up their own business and practice at friends’ weddings. The competition is fierce, the selection is overwhelming. We are in the age of smart digital shopping, the days of Fat Wallet turned to Groupons, getting the best value for your money, seeking discounts while expecting highest quality. This is good practice for mass produced products where it drives costs of products down due to demand, however, this is killing the art of photography, specifically wedding photography.

Back in the days when digital was only slowly taking over film, and internet portfolios were rare, wedding clients did not complain about not getting their money’s worth. Considering you get married once with one set of photos, how could you really know if someone could have done a better job, or even shot it differently? You accepted what you got. This is not to say you should accept low quality work even if you have nothing to compare it with, but also not to expect the entire wall found on your Pinterest to be in your album.

There was Google, and now there are massive wedding forums and Pinterest that showcase the world’s most beautiful wedding photos all in one convenient collection. As brides continue their research and soak in all these images contributed from thousands of photographers, they get more excited at the fantasy of what their wedding can and will look like if they just hire that “perfect” wedding photographer for the lowest possible cost. Brides will even go as far as sending a photographer images shot by someone else they would like said photographer to emulate. Offensive? Probably just a little.

In the bride’s defense, most of my clients are not like this. They have followed my work for years or have a personal connection with me just by looking at my work. They have not been saturated with fantasies. They accept reality and respect an artist’s personal vision. I am talking about the brides that try to be a smart shopper and think too logically. They want the photographers to be robots and artists at the same time. They want high quality portraits, artistic vision, unlimited group photos, a documentation of every face, and a customer-is-always-right mentality. You should see the typical photo-list that clients used to show me, it’s a joke how long it is. I personally don’t believe you can have it all.

If you want an artistic vision, an artist needs space and room to breathe, relaxed, and not feel the pressure to also include cookie cutter portraits. If you want full documentation of every guest, then hire a studio with 5 photographers and you’ll get 250 great passport photos. Do not expect a photographer to have the ability to switch on and off the artistic side to match your hectic wedding schedule. Your entire day will set the tone for a specific mood, and a photographer will inherently feed off of that mood. These brides do not treat photographers as artists, they have no feelings for people they paid to serve them on the most important day of the entire world. They are never “satisfied customers.” There is always something to complain about, and when they do, it’s a poopstorm. As a smart consumer, there is no excuse for a photographer who tried his or her best. Disregard the fact that this person was willing to spend 10 hours documenting your silly little day, and that he or she took some amazing photos, but maybe had difficulty with certain situations. Mind you, weddings are not an assembly line of the same product, it is a day of unlimited combinations of lighting, environmental, and personal factors that change how a photographer works. For a bride to nitpick what she sees as faults in her wedding photos and have the audacity to say her memories of the entire day is forever lost or ruined because one or two photos cannot be cropped to her liking, really says something about her character and how she treats her friends and others.

Finally to my point, brides, be realistic about the unique circumstances every wedding photographer has to approach on a weekly basis, and are trying their best to produce something they would be proud of. You cannot expect a 100% success rate on all of the images, and you have to accept each artist for their strengths and weaknesses. This is the human element. If you research a photographer, really get to know his or her work instead of congesting your mind with the “best images” from the internet. Art requires you to have an emotional attachment or a personal connection with the artist, not a checklist of requirements. In the end, you are only doing yourself a disservice to yourself if you love to find the faults in everything. If you appreciate the positive things in life, then you will cherish the moments captured by even the simple photographs.