Liang and Andrew are a super cute and smiley couple who ventured out with me to Central Park for their engagement session last Spring and we got some beautiful lush flowers and gorgeous green leaves just starting to bud. Their wedding was even prettier at the Cairnwood Estates in Pennsylvania. I remember Liang saying how her jaw was starting to hurt from smiling all day, and you can tell it was true genuine happiness.
One of my favorite stories is how Susan and Henk found me. It’s been a while so I might have not have the details accurate, but Susan and Henk both work in the Middle East, Henk is originally from South Africa and Susan is from Philly. They had wanted to get married in New York City Hall, so they asked their coworkers for recommendations. Somehow my name came up from a referral stationed in the Middle East, so that’s how they hired me! I can only say thanks to that person if you’re reading this!
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?
Two years in a row New York is being hit by a major storm caused by a hurricane, and this year’s Sandy will be a lot more devastating than Irene. The night before the storm, New York City forces public transportation shut downs and evacuations. While the weather is still relatively calm, the city is mostly dead with only a few souls roaming around. This was my perfect opportunity to capture empty streets of a city that “never sleeps”. I drove to some of the more well known spots, from Times Square, Columbus Circle, Apple Store, to Herald Square, Union Square and Meatpacking District.
I don’t need experienced subjects to make great photographs, I need individuals who like to have fun and not be shy in front of a camera. I’ve had couples who don’t like public displays of affection, some who don’t like to smile, or some who don’t even seem to like each other. I ask myself “why did they hire me?” When the subjects and the photographer share chemistry and just try to have fun, it no longer feels like work.
Here are some tips for couples:
- The photographer can only give as much as you put in. Either do some research beforehand, practice, or give ideas and suggestions during the shoot. The photographer can’t read your mind or know your past history of your personality. You need to show him why you’re attracted to each other so he can capture it.
- There needs to be a little bit of acting when taking photos, or rather exaggeration of gestures and movements. Sometimes the camera is 20 feet away and you need to express yourself for an audience far away. Pretend you are both little kids on a play date, show some puppy love, flirt with each other, make love.
- The last thing on your mind should be how the photos look in the camera. That’s not your job. A good photographer will not waste time taking photos of a bad pose, and will never release an unflattering photo – that would only make him look bad.
- Try your hardest not to be shy! You don’t always need to look “cool” for a photo, the sillier you are, the more personal the photos become, and the more people will love it. You want people to love your photos don’t you? Some photographers rely on advanced lighting, crazy angles to make the photo look interesting, but it doesn’t tell your story. I say run away with your loved one hand in hand and play in some secret hideout, and have the photographer run after you.
- Don’t just wait for the photographer’s exact directions. The photographer will direct your general movements, but it’s up to you to fill in the gaps. That’s where the “natural” comes in. Your movements should feel like a movie, not a stiff photo.
- When you talk to each other in a photo, talk about cute puppies, not your mortgage payment. If your partner is making a dirty face when talking to you, change the subject.
- Do things in public as if nobody else were there. No photographer, no pedestrians.
- The guys have the easier role, they can usually be the prop and the girls have to work around them. The girls should always get the attention right?
- Get your nails did, bring lots of breath mints.
I just realized I haven’t blogged any engagement sessions for the entire 2009 year. Here are some old photos. I never had the motive to quit wedding photography, I just took down my website to relieve some stress. You don’t just give up something you have a passion for, it’s in your blood.
You never know what you’re results will come from photo shoots even though you go to the same locations throughout the course of a year. Flowers will blossom and fade, the rain may visit, the colors of the scenery can dramatically change, and construction sites may even decide to find a new territory. Sometimes, just sometimes, you may even spot a celebrity.
These were taken at Central Park, with the girl wearing an lilac vintage dress. Though I usually frown upon soft filter effects, I felt the need to add some to this old fashioned styled shoot to complete the effect. The glow from the water sparkles are layers of white paintbrushing in Photoshop.