Monthly Archives: August 2009

I pretty much knew right off the bat that I was going to have fun with these two! Gabby and James are so flippin’ cute together, not to mention a little silly too! I also knew rather quickly that this was going to be a great e-session photographically as well. It was my can’t miss recipe for great photos again…all together now class, “fun/expressive couple madly in love + great location + good light + lots of TIME + me = great photos!” Check and mark!!!! My only problem with today’s shoot, was deciding what photos to post because I liked so many of them! We met up at Princeton University where these two alums graduated from a few years ago. After cruising the streets of Princeton for a bit, we then headed over to the University grounds, which is also where they will be getting married next year. I can’t wait to photograph your wedding next year guys! Thanks for a fun afternoon!



Notice the use of the Princeton colors, black and orange…

…and again, but this time using Gabby and James’ hair for the black. Damn I’m clever!






When I saw this poster I knew I could do something with it. Notice the modern twist with Gabby holding her iPhone instead of a stack of books.


Ok, so, James graduated Princeton in 2004, and Gabby in 2003, do you notice something missing in this photo? hmmm, why doesn’t Gabby’s class have a plaque??? What’s up with that?






While I was editing this photo, I did a double take after looking at James’ right (viewer’s left) shoe…

… do you see a face too? WEIRD!


I woke up this morning to the sound of pitter-patter on my roof in the form of rain drops. By the time I got ready for the day, threw my gear in the car, it was still raining. In my head though, I imagined writing this blog post and typing how the clouds suddenly parted, and the sun made this miraculous appearance for the rest of the day and it all ended happily ever after etc.! Well, maybe it wasn’t so clear cut and miraculous, but nonetheless, the rain did in fact stop and held out for the rest of the day! The happily ever after was a no brainer after watching Afia and Dan together too! What an emotional day! There were tears shed at every stage of the day; prep, the reveal, ceremony, and the reception. I love weddings like this! Afia and Dan were amazing to work with and made my job very easy, thanks guys. I also wanted to make sure I gave props to their bridal party, so props to Afia and Dan’s bridal party! Why? Well, it was rather hot and humid today I must admit, but while working with the bridal party, not once, did one person complain about the heat. Usually it’s the groomsmen who will complain first because they have to wear pants AND a jacket, but not these guys. True professionals! The ceremony and reception were held at one of my favorite places, the Liberty House in Jersey City. Congratulations Afia and Dan, enjoy that honeymoon to Turkey and Greece!








I love this shot because the chef on the TV is facing the same way as Afia and is also all dressed in white.











I love the look on Afia’s face as she sees Dan waiting at the end of the aisle.

Sometimes the best seats are in the grass!




I snapped this one during cocktail hour.






Yes, that’s a Michael Jackson glove!


Bell Biv Devoe has to take some responsibility for this shot!




I had just photographed Kerry and Dan a few months ago in Central Park for their engagement session, so I knew this was going to be a great wedding with a great couple! I started out at the Ritz Carlton in Battery Park to cover Kerry getting ready, and then it was on over to Saint Anthony’s Church for their beautiful ceremony. I was running a little behind, so I had to park illegally. I pretty much knew I was going to get at least a ticket, but I must say, my heart was beating a little faster when I got back to the car, because I was afraid the car might have been towed! Phew, just a ticket! Some of the really cool parts of Kerry and Dan’s day were because of Kerry’s father. Kerry’s dad is a retired LT. from the F.D.N.Y. and is also the founder of the Fire Family Transport Foundation, which provides transportation to the families of injured, ill or deceased New York City Firefighters. Well, of course he also provided the transportation (in the form of a 1951 Fire Truck) for the groomsmen to travel in. What style! He also brought in the FDNY Pipes and Drums during the cocktail hour, who were awesome by the way! I can’t remember another wedding where so many people were not just out on the dance floor but tearing that thing up! Very entertaining. The reception took place at the über cool Tribeca Rooftop. Thanks for a great day guys, congratulations! Au revoir, enjoy France!




As a photographer, sometimes mirrors are your worst enemy, and sometimes they are your best friend! Today was a friendly day.








It happens!





MACK






Kerry and Dan enthusiastically making their grand entrance into the main room.


FAVE!





Leaving it all out on the dance floor!

I’ve had a few photographers ask me lately if I did any workshops or seminars. I said no, but it did get me thinking about perhaps traveling down that road. So, I have decided to post a glimpse into my thought process while creating a particular photograph. If some of you silent photographer blog stalkers come out from the shadows and show some interest in this, even if it’s a “hey, that was helpful” or even a, “dude, don’t quit your day job” that’s great. If you guys like this sort of thing, I will try to continue with it, and perhaps it will help build the foundation of my future workshops, who knows! And if you have questions about anything regarding the blog post, go ahead and comment, I will try my best to answer them and create a dialogue here on the blog.

While I was out shooting a client’s engagement session the other day I came across a perfect example of how you can turn a less than desirable location into something MUCH better. It’s all about visualizing beyond what’s actually in front of you and figuring out how to accentuate your advantages and down play or even eliminate your disadvantages. I hope to illustrate that here.

So, here is the scene that we walked by. We actually walked by it in the beginning of our session, about 2 hours earlier when the sun was quite a bit higher. This was where the seed was planted in my head. I thought, I bet I could do something with this location later when the sun gets lower. So, I asked my clients if we would be walking back the same way on our return. (I’m not usually a big fan of this as you pretty much see the same stuff you did on the walk out, but I didn’t mind this time, mostly because of this particular location). Anyway, they said yes and I made a mental note to make this the last location of our shoot.

Keep in mind that when I originally walked by this location, the sun was not nearly this low. One of the first things you will notice about this location is that parking lot full of cars. This is a big pet peeve of mine, and I try to avoid ugly parked cars in photos at all times. So, this is certainly one of the negative aspects to overcome. Secondly, there is the nondescript cement walkway here, and then the patch of weeds. When we arrived here the second time in the late afternoon, I quickly noticed one of the biggest positives here, which is the lower sun, just over the ridge there. I love this, as it creates a nice warm light and that cool “halo” effect of rim lighting around the subjects. I also noticed that dark ridge in the background which I knew would act as a nice uncluttered backdrop behind my subjects heads, and would really accentuate that rim lighting. I know I said the patch of weeds was a negative, but it was also a positive too. This enabled me to crop out the cement walk way, after asking my clients to politely jump in the weeds, and I also used them to help me mask out the cars in the background by using a lower camera angle.

Here are 4 quick “bullet points” to my thought process:
1. Yummy warm low sun just above the ridge giving me that rim lighting.
2. Dark ridge in the background which will give a clean backdrop for my subjects heads to pop from, especially with the halo lighting.
3. Patch of weeds to help create some interest and allowing me to get rid of the distracting cars in the background by using a low camera angle. I also found this exact location where the weeds naturally split into a “V” shape, to help create a “frame” around my subjects as well.
4. This is all camera stuff/decisions; Shoot low from this spot to mask out cars, take off the lens hood to help with desired sun flaring, use a shallow depth of field on my 70-200mm to also isolate my subjects, take some test shots and chimping to find a good exposure and setting that in manual mode.

Here are the final photos:

This one (top photo) is a looser crop and I think it really shows the potential of a location when you start maximizing your advantages, while minimizing your disadvantages, and can hopefully help you to start seeing beyond just what’s in front of you.

This one (lower photo) is a tighter crop and more emphasizes the use of the dark background/lighting and “framing” using the weeds.


So, hopefully that was somewhat helpful to you photographers out there. Don’t be shy now, chime in with comments or questions. Also, if you think this might be useful for someone else you know, please send them a link to it: http://lafflerphotography.com/blog/?p=3144

Thanks.

On the way over to meet Casey and Dejan at their apartment in Western New York (which is actually in New Jersey), I looked down at the thermometer reading from my car and it read 100 degrees! Youch! But you would never know the elevated mercury readings by looking at these photos of Casey and Dejan! They were real troopers, and I had fun walking along the water front with them, trying desperately to find some shade! We found a small oasis of shade and also worked with the sun instead of against it too! Thanks for the fun afternoon guys, I am really looking forward to photographing your wedding next year!


I’m fairly certain that I laid in some toxic material while getting this shot, but it was well worth it. Who knows, maybe I will turn into the next Toxic Avenger from NJ!











I was really happy with the way these next two photos came out, especially considering they are standing in a bunch of weeds with a parking lot full of cars behind them! In my next blog post I will show you a little more of how I made them and my thought process involved.

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