Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The same BUT different!

No two people are alike.

We have all heard that statement. It also applies to snowflakes and fingerprints. However, it also applies to weddings! This wedding season (yes, there is a wedding season!) I have had the pleasure of shooting some truly different types of weddings and it's been quite interesting. I have already written about the Brown Wedding and how that came together. Each event brings a new and fascinating aspect to experience and varied point of view. As the photographer, my goal is to be omnipresence and to be unobtrusive as possible. As you can image, those two beliefs don't always mesh with each other. I am always proud when I see pictures from the guests of the wedding and I am in NONE of them! I know I was there and I took a picture of the same thing that the guest did but I managed to not be PART of the proceedings. It involves a certain amount of stealth.

That said, it is almost impossible to not be involved in what's happening. The words of the officiant will move you whether you are single or married. If you are of that faith, you find yourself mouthing the words of the ceremony, right along with the cleric! The joy of the couple is infectious and you would have to be a stone wall to not smile when the bride comes marching down that aisle. On top of all of that, sometimes you get to capture images of the most spectacular and beautiful settings. The last wedding was a good example of this. The couple got married in one of the most simple yet ornate church's that I have been to. R and J were married in an Anglican church in Brooklyn NY and you could imagine stepping out from the doors onto the English countryside. It was gorgeous and the couple took full advantage of the beauty of the space. So did I.

If you have ever attended an Anglican or Catholic wedding, you know that there is a mass included. Translation: the ceremony is long! I guess that's the trade off: Protestant and evangelical churches have long services on Sundays but short weddings and Eucharistic churches have short services on Sundays and very long weddings! But the length of the wedding allowed me to fully shoot the church, the wedding party, the guests, and all the little details that I would have had to rush with a shorter event. R and J were a regal couple and emanated a love that with carry them forward and that, coupled with a great setting, made for excellent images (or at least, I think so).

My hope is to one day be the photographer for an Indian or a Greek  Orthodox weddings! Those are spectacular visually!

I wish them well and pray that their relationship will always be housed in beauty in the same fashion that their wedding was housed in a beautiful house of God.

Staying in focus...on to the next frame.

Greene Light Photography would like to thank the Pearsons for permission to images and descriptions from their wedding for this blog.

Friday, July 13, 2012

When Life Gives You Lemons

As I mentioned in my last post (Bridezillas), brides tend not to be event planners. As a result, when things go wrong (and they always do), they get frustrated and often ruin their day. Recently I had the pleasure of shooting at a wedding where something went very wrong and the bride and groom took it on the chin and made the best of it. The result? Some really iconic pictures that truly captured their spirit.

S (bride) and R (groom) are both teachers so when they planned their wedding, they wanted lots of details that conveyed that. The centerpieces were apples
 and the table numbers were on mini chalkboards.
Their wedding program was a in the style of a composition notebook. To top it all off, instead of a limo to take them from the ceremony to the reception, they chartered a traditional yellow school bus!
It was a perfect compliment to the theme....

Until it broke down on Atlantic Avenue!

We hadn't gone more than 10 minutes away and were nowhere near where we were planning to take pictures and there we were. Stuck on the busiest street in Brooklyn in a hot, broken down school bus. And that was the tipping point. S could have started to fume and complain and completely destroy her day OR she could roll with the punches and make the best of the situation.  She chose the latter. It was her BEST decision of the day!

There is an old saying that when man plans, God laughs. It speaks to the fact that there is already a plan set out for you regardless of what you think you're going to do.  S realized that the reception hall was actually walking distance away. Furthermore, an iconic Brooklyn building that she had originally wanted to take pictures in front but had gotten scrapped during a logistics meeting, was on the way. It was almost as if she was MEANT to take her wedding photos there. So she summoned up the large wedding party and declared that they were going walk, no...Process down Fulton street to the reception hall!
It was glorious. They stopped traffic to get their group shot.
They walked through a major African market occurring at BAM for Dance Africa like a royal wedding procession. As they turned the corner on the street that the hall was on, a music vendor, blaring music, started to play Lenny William's "I love you". They dropped everything and as Lenny belted out the lyrics "Girl I..I ...I....I....", S and R had their first dance right in the middle of the street!
Magical! All that was left was for the couple to walk down the block to their reception and then they realized that the street had been closed off due to the festival! The were able to walk down the street in grand fashion with S and R in front and their entire party flanking them in celebration!
It couldn't have been planned any better!

I reaffirmed a lot that day. My philosophy has always been based on the two rules:
1.    Don't sweat the small stuff.
2.    It's all small stuff.
It drives my wife crazy but I truly believe that things will work themselves out and the end result may in fact be better than what was originally planned if we just let things unfold. This wedding was a prime example of that and I hope that S and R continue to live their lives like that because, as any married couple will tell you, life sometimes hands you lemons.

Staying in focus....on to the next frame.

Greene Light Photography would like to thank the Browns for giving permission for this blog and the use of their images.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Brides are not generally event planners. Most women generally have a job that does not involve coordinating a very large special event. Even when it is part of their skill set, it's very different when it's YOUR  event! Why do I bring this up? Well the one thing that is consistent for every event, be it a wedding or a birthday party or a cocktail reception, is that things go wrong. All the time. The things is that event planner, being IN the business, KNOW that things can go wrong. In fact the expect it and either plan for it or are really good at thinking on their feet. Like I mentioned, most brides are NOT wedding planners! They tend to not expect the little (and sometimes HUGE) snafus that can happen at a wedding. And what happens then? Well...they have a whole show dedicated to just that! Bridezillas!!

A lot of people often ask me whether I have encountered any Bridezillas when shooting weddings. My answer is always "not really". Why? Because I understand what makes brides crazy most of the time and work towards alleviating their stress and/or getting the hell out of their way!! Think about it: you have been planning ONE event for around a year, down to the smallest detail, and after all that planning the fondant melts, or the flowers are slightly wilted, or the place serves chicken instead of quail, or the photographer shows up late! It can be maddening! I don't blame these women for being mad! But here is the difference between a regular bride and an event planner: the EP would have known not to have a fondant cover cake out in the heat, would have moved the best of the flowers to the front where most people will see them, would know that people don't REALLY care that you served quail, and would have been in touch with the photogs long ahead of time and ensure he was there on time! I just make sure MY portion of the day doesn't cause her stress and maybe help her to navigate the rest of the things that are causing her anxiety (I shot the cake early because I knew it would melt, I will edit the flowers in post and they'll look perfect, I will take a glamor shot of the food that will make people THINK it's quail, and you can count on me being there an hour EARLY!). Being an event planner myself helps me to calm my brides because I need a calm, happy woman for the best pictures!

Speaking of a wedding where something went wrong, my next blog is about a wedding that had a major snafu and how the couple turned it into a great, memorable day that resulted in some of the best wedding pictures for them! Stay tuned.

Staying in focus...on to the next frame!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

do overs...

Every kid has played a game in their life (at least I hope they have) and messed up in some fashion. A misstep in double dutch, a bad swing in baseball, a slip in pitty pat. And just when you think it's over and it is the turn of the NEXT person, you hear the ubiquitous battle cry of the playground...
"DO OVER!!!"
Cue argument and pleading!

The fact of the matter is we all live with something that we would love to do over. These are not necessarily regrets but things that we'd love to again. Life gives us a different perspective to the things that we experienced earlier in our days. It can be as simple as watching a movie that you LOVED as a kid (I advise not doing this one...it makes you wonder what the hell you were thinking back then), or going back to favorite place again. For me, it has taken the form of wanting to retake EVERY picture that I took before I started learning more about photography.

I wonder if all photogs go through this? I traveled a lot with my wife when we were not parents. We went to some fun places. For our honeymoon, we went to the most photographed place in the world, Italy! I look at our pictures from that trip and YEARN to return and retake everyone of those shots!!

Recently, I got an opportunity redo a shot that I took years ago. There is this brook in a place called Frost valley that I wanted to photograph. I got a chance to and took the shot ...and it sucked. I learned how to shoot running water and recently purchased the equipment to do it properly. I returned to the same stream, changed my point of view, used proper technique, and VOILA!! I love the shot. Here is the before and after. Next up, back to Italy!!
The "Before" image
The New Image "Frosted Stream"

Monday, June 25, 2012

Daddy daughter dance

I have been a photographer for years but professionally for about 4 years. It has been a great ride and Greene Light Photography is growing. I really enjoy everything that I do and most of all, I enjoy preparing for gallery shows in November...oh yeah, my next show will be in November! LOL Out of all of the types of 'jobs' that I get, I truly enjoy weddings. That is something that you won't hear a LOT of photographers say! Weddings are lucrative but they are A LOT OF WORK! Most photogs don't enjoy it.

One of the moments in every wedding that touches me is the Father/Daughter dance. It's such a special moment and every time we get to that dance, I loose myself in the experience. I have been a father for almost as long as I have been a pro. Each time I see a bride step to the center of the floor to dance with her daddy, I fast forward to a day when i will do the same with MY daughter. I am transported so deep into thought that I OFTEN have to remind myself to take pictures of the ACTUAL dance happening before me!

Interestingly, that results in BETTER photos. I channel all of the emotion that I am feeling at that moment and take shots that I think that reflect that love that a father feels at that time. That's what makes a photographer great! Being able to understand what emotion that photo is supposed to convey and try to capture it. After all, isn't a photo supposed to remind you of how you felt in that moment? When it happens, it's magical! Hopefully, I can keep capturing those images and hopefully, it's for one of you!

Onto the next frame...staying in focus!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The New Look for Greene Light Photography!

Welcome the new look for Greene Light Photography! New Content! New CONTESTS! New Offers! Look out for: Monday Mantra - quotes about photography, just for inspiration! Wordless Wednesdays - a GLP original image to brighten your day and for your comments. Thursday Tips - helpful photography tips from the GLP and other trusted sources. Friday Friends - every week we will spotlight the website of a friend of GLP. Let me know if you want to featured! This Summer, let Greene Light be your source for ALL your photography needs!