I thought I would post a collection of family portraits I took over the summer as I prepare for a busy fall photographing more families! I started my professional career mostly photographing weddings, but as my couples began to have kids, I got into doing family portraiture for them. People sometimes think it is very different from shooting a wedding, but I feel that I approach them similarly. While the moments that happen during a family portrait shoot are sometimes staged and directed, I try to capture them in a way that tells a story about the person, relationship and the love that is happening before my camera.
Even as a professional photographer, I sometimes forget to photograph my kids properly. When I'm with them, I often feel wrapped up in the business of being a parent. However, there are certain key events I have to capture and the "first day of school" photo is one of them. I only had about three minutes to take these photos of my boys but I feel they captured the moment well: the excitement and energy of my youngest and the confidence and "batman" pride of my oldest.
A bride recently asked me when was the ideal time of day to schedule an engagement portrait to get the best lighting possible. It was a fantastic question and one I thought I could elaborate on here.
I've done many portraits outside during the "magic hour" (which stands for the hour before sunrise or before sunset), and it is definitely pretty incredible. The light tends to be soft, warm and very romantic. If you can't schedule it during these times, my next option would be late morning or early evening when the sun isn't at its most intense. The tricky time is mid-day because the sun can be really strong and it causes people to squint which Photoshop won't be able to correct for! If mid-day is the only time you can schedule a portrait, I recommend finding a shady spot because then the strong light won't be a problem for squinting.
And, finally, what about overcast days? Overcast days don't cause problems with portraits because the clouds prevent squinting and you really aren't limited as to where or when you shoot. If the light is really cool and gray, a little flash helps add warmth to the picture.
I'm in the process of designing Melissa & Matt's wedding album so it seemed like a perfect time to blog about it. With great views of the Hudson River and the black and white color scheme, their wedding at the Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers was classic New York. Here are some of my favorite photographs from this lovely event:
There are so many unique places to get married at in New York City and many of these sites have amazing views of the skyline or the water. Whether it's a picture from the window during the cocktail hour or going onto the rooftop, I always make sure to get a shot of the view. It's a great detail that helps you remember the atmosphere and feel of the wedding. Here are 10 wedding shots that have an amazing Manhattan views. Wow, is right!
1) Mandarin Oriental Hotel at Columbus Circle & 60th Street. Look out and you see Central Park and Columbus Circle.
2) 620 Loft & Garden on 5th Avenue and 50th Street. Overlooks midtown Manhattan and St. Patrick's Cathedral.
3) Battery Gardens Restaurant: Nestled in downtown Manhattan, the water and the Statue of Liberty are right outside the window.
4) Studio 450 on West 31st between 9th and 10th Avenues. Cocktail hour on the rooftop and you will see this great view of the West side.
5) Water's Edge in Long Island City is right on the East River and has this spectacular view of the City.
6) The Central Park Boathouse is right in the middle of Central Park with views of the lake.
7) The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers: The wall of windows from this Chelsea Piers location overlooks the Hudson River with views of NJ and the Statue of Liberty.
8) Rainbow Room is right at Rockefeller Plaza and overlooks Manhattan from high up.
9) Metropolitan Club: This historic building has a great terrace overlooking Central Park.
10) Manhattan Penthouse: Great windows at this location overlook the Empire State Building.
I was so excited to see Stephanie & Rob's vintage, DIY wedding featured in Rock n' Roll Bride this week! There were so many wonderful details to photograph, including the bride's dress which she knitted herself. Stephanie's dress pattern and other DIY details can be found on her website. And thanks to Kat at Rock n' Roll bride for publishing. You can see the post here.
Finally, spring has sprung! It has been such a long, hard winter for all of us in the Northeast and with spring comes flowers, chirping birds and outdoor fun. I always love photographing spring weddings. The blossoming trees and saturated green grass makes an awesome backdrop for photos. Here are a few of my favorite spring wedding pictures from the archive.
On April 5th & 10th I'll be doing mini headshot sessions for professionals at my office/studio space in NoHo. I've done many headshots over the years but it's the first time I'm offering the "mini sessions." I figured shorter sessions would be ideal for busy professionals, and a lot of people could benefit from updating their work headshot for their company website or social media presence (yes, we know you were a guest at a wedding in that LinkedIn profile photo!) Preparing for a headshot is super important so here are some tips I have for you:
1) Choosing What To Wear: The biggest question I get from clients before I shoot is "what should I wear?" To answer this question, you must first answer this: What is your industry and what are your trying to communicate about yourself and your company in the picture? If you work in the financial sector, it's appropriate to wear a suit. Make sure the suit is well-tailored and isn't too loose or too tight. The shirt should contrast with the suit color and for men, the tie should coordinate well with shirt and jacket. It's okay to wear a newer design when it comes to ties, but you don't want to pick the most current trend because your picture will get quickly dated.
Someone who works in the creative side (say, advertising) can definitely wear a more casual outfit. A button down shirt with or without a jacket would be appropriate. A blouse or sweater would also work. Choosing the right color is really important. Wearing black or white can sometimes be too stark unless there is texture in the fabric or you have an accessory that offsets the color. Jewel-tone clothing is flattering and goes well with many complexions. I think the biggest advice for what to wear is choosing clothing that is simple, compliments your features, not overly trendy (as it will become dated quickly) and speaks the most about what you want to convey about yourself and your company in the photograph.
One last thing for those that wear glasses. I think that if you wear glasses on a regular basis, then it makes sense to have them in your headshot. However, I have done portraits with and without for those that don't love how they look in glasses.
2) Hair & Make-up: As you can imagine, hair and make-up is super important. Haircuts and any hair coloring should be done at least a week before the shoot. If you are comfortable doing your own hair, then there is no need to hire someone. However, if you aren't confident that you will like how you do it yourself, then absolutely hire someone. The key to getting this right is to keep it simple and natural.
3) The Backdrop: In the past it was common to have a graduated grey backdrop for headshots, but that has since become a thing of the past. The feeling now is that the backdrop should be simple, natural and soft. If you are inside with a backdrop, a solid color is best. If you are outside, the side of the building or against a natural backdrop works well. I see more and more people in various sectors having their headshots done outside. I often find that people loosen up a little more when they are outside which lends itself to a more natural looking portrait.
4) Your Poses: Most of the time I direct people to tilt their bodies one way or the other. The side pose complements the body and face. If you are near a wall or side of the building, leaning slightly against it helps. Smiling is important and you want to make sure you strike a balance between the giddy smile and the serious face. Your portrait should say you are approachable and someone you want to do business with.
5) Get Some Sleep! This tip is a simple one, but something people may forget. Get sleep the night before your shoot! When you are well-rested, your face and eyes look more relaxed which is obviously what you want in the pictures. So, don't stay at the office till 10pm or watch that extra hour of TV the night before the shoot, get your z's, folks!
You can see more of Kristine's corporate work here.
Barbara and her mother came to New York for a visit this week and hired me to photograph portraits of Barbara around the city for her upcoming Quinceañera in Brazil. It was so much fun! To make the shoot a little festive, I picked up some balloons before the shoot. Barbara brought a bunch of clothing options, which made it feel like a real fashion shoot. And the best part--it actually felt like spring that day. Happy Birthday to Barbara!
One of my all-time favorite kid's TV shows is Yo Gabba Gabba. With its groovy styling and indie musical guests, it's aimed to please adults and children alike. There is one skit they do where the characters teach kids how to move around to get the "sillies" out. As the robot character Plex explains, the sillies are those crazy creatures that live inside you. Well, I'm here to tell you that when you photograph children, you have to be mindful of the sillies because pretty much all kids have them! Here are some of my tips on how to get kids to act natural in front of the camera.
1) The Reward. It helps most kids to have an incentive. Sitting still doesn't come natural to most children, so I bring lollipops that they can have towards the end of the shoot. If candy is something you don't reward your kids with, bring a healthy special snack or promise them a trip to pick out a toy afterwards. After photographing hundreds of children, kids really respond to the potential of a treat and will listen more when they know it is coming.
2) A Special Toy or Musical Instrument. If your child is too young to have said reward, it often helps to have a toy that can grab their attention. I prefer the musical shakers because they like to hold them, will look at the camera if I'm shaking it, and it's not an offensive-looking toy to have in your photograph! Sorry, Vtech, I'm talking about you.
3) Picking the Spot. Kids of a certain age love to be in control and may decide to exert that control on your photo shoot. Perfect timing, right? By giving them a little control, though, you might be surprised with their renewed cooperation. I sometimes ask the child to choose the spot where we should take the photo. Even if it's not where I want to take it, I'll take a few shots there so they feel like they are part of the process and their voice matters. Then when I see that they feel open to cooperation, we can go to my preferred spot. Reverse psychology works wonders!
4) Let Them Run Together. One of the tricks I discovered may seem counterintuitive but it really works. Let them run! Particularly when I'm photographing siblings together, I ask them to hold hands and make it a game for them to run together when I say "go." Not only can you get great shots of them innocently waiting together (which might be an unusual scenario in your household), you can also get fun action shots of them smiling and laughing as they run.
5) Pick the Right Time of Day. Parents often ask me when we should schedule the shoot. While photographing older children and adults, I would say late afternoon because of that nice late afternoon light, but this typically is not a great time for children. Really the ideal time of day for kids is the morning or right after a nap.
And, it goes without saying, but take lots of pictures and be patient. Photographing kids is challenging but it definitely can be fun and dare I say...silly?
I LOVE dogs! I have an 8 year old mix breed dog named Daisy, and I'm totally obsessed with her. My husband and I sometimes joke that we wish we had owned her on our wedding day because she would have been so adorable in our wedding photos.
When I meet with couples who have dogs, they sometimes wonder whether they should include their dog in pictures on their wedding day or at the engagement portrait. For an engagement session, I vote unanimously "yes." Engagement shoots are super casual so there is plenty of time to wait for the dog to look at the camera and your dog will probably enjoy going on a long walk with you. As for the wedding day, I really think it depends on several factors: your dog's personality (are they calm around strangers? in crowds?), what the weather will be like (if it's a scorching summer day your Newfoundland is going to be pretty annoyed!), and the logistics of transporting the dog (will someone be there to help care for it and bring it home after the ceremony and/or portraits?). Photographically, dogs make awesome props in pictures, but I think you just need to consider the comfort level of your dog and how it will work with your wedding time-line.
Finally, if you do bring your dog along for a shoot, here are some tips:
-Treats. Probably goes without saying, but bring lots of yummy treats! Like children, dogs need a little bribing if you want them to sit still for a picture.
-Extra Hand. I had a recent engagement shoot and the couple paid their dog walker to come for an hour to help get the dog's attention and hang out with the dog when he wasn't on camera. It was super helpful. Bring someone along to help if at all possible.
-Nice collar and leash. You put a whole lot of effort into what you are wearing so don't forget to consider what kind of leash and collar your dog is wearing. I've seen cool ones on Etsy as well as ones custom made by the florist.
Here are some of my clients posing with their four-legged friends. :)
Last week I felt inspired by the weather and had to take some pictures. The snow hadn't melted yet and there was this magical thick, white fog in the air. I went to South Mountain Reservation right near my house in S. Orange, NJ and snapped these pretty landscapes. The Mamas and the Papa's song, "California Dreamin'" was definitely going through my head when I edited these shots today. Thanks for looking!
Valentine's Day was last Friday and it got me thinking about kissing. As a wedding and portrait photographer, I'm witness to a lot of couples smooching! Whether it is spontaneous or art- directed, a kiss can really make a picture. Here are some of my top 10 kiss photographs:
It's been a long time in the making, but I'm happy to welcome you to my new website and blog! My goal for this blog is to showcase my recent work and to provide tips on preparing for a professional photo shoot. Thanks for stopping by!